Sam Ovens: Hey everyone. It's Sam Ovens here. And today, I have Michael Giannulis on with us. And, Michael's got an awesome story. He started with me back in like 2015. One of my first ever students, but he didn't start at the typical stage where someone's starting from scratch, or starting from one or two clients. Back then, he already had a publishing business where he was seeking out experts on different topics, helping them publish their own course and help them market and sell it in everything.
And, back then his business was already making around seven figures. And then, he went through my course. He's been through a few of my courses. And the biggest thing that he really took away from that was systems. How to think in terms of systems, and how to build efficient systems and get more with less, and basically, conquer chaos in a growing business.
And, through doing all of that, he's been able to grow his business now where it's about 100 employees, and to the point, right now, where it's making around eight figures. So, in this interview, we're gonna dive into his story, figure out how he got started, how he got to seven figures, and then how he got to eight, and all of that.
So, thanks a lot for jumping on today.
Michael G.: Awesome, yeah man. I'm so glad to be here.
Sam Ovens: Let's go back to 2015, when you first started working with me. What was going on back then? What was your business like?
Michael G.: Back then, I had begun doing these kind of things, selling info, as far back as 2006, is when I got started. So, I had kind of already been out there doing the whole internet thing for quite some time. And, around 2015, when I first kind of found your programs, I was at a point where I hit seven figures as a company. I, myself, didn't earn all of that. But, it was fun, but it was also beginning to get tougher, because I saw myself having to work extra hours and put in a bunch more focus than I felt like I was gonna get out of it. You know?
So, I was trying to find some way to automate things more, and to begin to replace myself, especially on the having to write copy side, and the system side as far as creating funnels and all of that. So that's kinda where I was at back then.
Sam Ovens: Got it. And then, how did you come across me?
Michael G.: I think it was purely impossible at that point in time not to come across you, because you pretty much were all on Facebook ads everywhere. I mean, there wasn't a day that didn't go by I don't think I saw your ads somewhere. So ... and because, being the space that I'm in, I'm kind of odd in the sense that when I see these ads, I judge if I want to pay that person not on, "Does the ad speak to me personally?" But I almost judge it, because I'm a copywriter too, so I look at how the ads are structured, and the way they're done. So it's kind of odd for me. I'm not your average guy in that sense.
But yeah, you were everywhere. And I was impressed by the fact that you were doing, I think, back then even, retargeting and all sorts of stuff, which was advanced, especially then.
Sam Ovens: Got it. What made you wanna join the course and work with me back then?
Michael G.: I think, as I was saying to you before we began, one of the things that I always do is, I always like to buy courses, buy programs of anyone that I see kind of coming up or getting started because I believe that you can always learn something else from someone.
So, for me, I was trying to figure out how you operated. How were you doing your ads? How were you doing your followup? How were you doing your sales calls? I kind of ... for one, I just enjoyed going through your entire sales cycle. And that's a thing that I'll go do as well. But then, too, I thought it was cool to actually buy-in so I could actually see your scripts. I though that was also very good. Your sales call scripts were very, very powerful. I enjoyed, especially, your whole pause thing.
The funny thing is, I've been on other phone calls with people trying to sell me Facebook ad services or things like that. And I actually recognize them going through your script, which always kind of ... it makes me laugh. You know? I'm, "Hey, it's the Sam Ovens' script."
Sam Ovens: People use it on me. That's what I find funny. I'm like, "I wonder if they know who created this thing?" But it's gone through so many hands now, that they don't even know that ... you know what I mean?
Michael G.: Yeah, yeah. For sure. I did one kind of bad thing once, where they did the whole pause thing, and I knew it was your script. And I know how you stress, "Don't say anything. Wait til they talk." So I was like, "Let's see how long they'll not speak for." And I promise you, we sat in silence for like six minutes.
Sam Ovens: [inaudible 00:05:54]
Michael G.: And then finally, they finally spoke, 'cause [crosstalk 00:05:57]
Sam Ovens: That's painful.
Michael G.: ... I'm not gonna crack. Yeah, it is hard. I just did it more like a science test for me. But, yeah, they finally spoke. They were like, "Are you still there?" You know? But yeah, that was interesting.
Sam Ovens: Six minutes.
Michael G.: Yeah.
Sam Ovens: See, I would've talked before then. Something's going wrong if it goes over like three minutes, man, something's going on.
Michael G.: Yeah, that part is hard. That is the most painful part, 'cause humans, we wanna talk so bad. We want to make sure that they're still there and all of that stuff. Yeah.
Sam Ovens: So then, I get why you joined, and what your business was doing. But let's go back before that, way back to when ... How did you even get started in this business? Did you have a job? Did you go to college? What was going on?
Michael G.: Yeah, my background, I grew up pretty poor. I wasn't like dirt poor. I had a great family. My mom, kind of a single mom. And I grew up around people that worked so hard. My mom, she worked all of the time. And we just did get by.
So, growing up, I would always say, "I don't want to work that hard for someone else." And I think I was always geared towards trying to do my own thing. So, when I was 18, the very first thing that I ever purchased with a credit card was a Carlton Sheets' No Money Down, How to Buy Properties, real estate stuff. And I tried that, and failed at that.
I actually have a whole side story where, at one point in my life, I started, with a friend of mine, a goat farm. That's a whole other story. But, I was always trying to find my thing. And I would go to college, get kind of burned out on it, drop out. I just couldn't find my thing. Finally, when I was about 24, I had worked for a bit, as an overnight stock-boy at a Walmart. And I was kind of like, very much at a point where I was like, "Why does my life ... I thought by now I would be [inaudible 00:08:33]." Instead, I was just struggling. I didn't have a car. That was like a temp job, so I didn't have that. I was at home still with my mom. I shared a bedroom with my brother.
Things were tough. I finally was able to scrape together a few bucks, thanks to my mom. And I bought a cell phone store, 'cause she had just refinanced her house. She had some extra cash, and I bought this kind of small cell phone store. And, I got it to the point where we made about a 1000 bucks a month, is what I brought home. I had all of this time. So I would be in there like 12 hours a day, six days a week, or seven days a week.
And, just like most people do, I'm online. And I'm like, "How to make money online." And I started to find blogs. This is back in 2006. So, I was kinda like trying to find stuff. And then I actually found a blog that I enjoyed. It talked about how this guy, how he made 10 or 20000 a month, just by blogging. And I've always enjoyed that type of stuff. So, it's kind of cool, because today's July 3rd, right now. And, it was actually on July 4th, 2006, I started my first sited. It was a blog site, onlyonemike.com and it's still up to this day now. And I blog there still.
But, it took me literally like 48 hours plus to get that thing up, 'cause I had to install databases and all kinds of stuff. Now, you can get a site up in like 20 seconds. Back then it was hardcore. And so, I started that. And my whole goal was to throw ads on there and just get paid something. And pretty fast I found out, "Wow, it's not that easy. People don't just show up."
But, the cool part that came out of that was, there was a person that I knew when I was a kid. We went to the same church. And she actually happened to see it and read one of my blog posts. And she emailed me and said, "Hey, Mike, I read this post." She was like, "I think you would make an incredible copywriter."
And I was like, "Oh, thank you. That's so nice of you. What is that?"
I had no idea what that was or is at that point. So, she explained it. These are people that write ads. And I was like, "Oh that's so cool."
So, she actually invited me into her office for a job interview. I had the cellphone store. But, she basically ... We talked about a job and it didn't really go anywhere. So then, I actually was like, "You know what? I'm gonna do this internet thing." I don't know how or what, because what I did is, on my blog site, I sold one of her products, as an affiliate, and I made 500 and I was like, "Wow, that's a ton of money. If I can do that five times a month, I'm gonna make 2500, that's way more than I bring in now."
And, I was kind of dumb, but also I was prepared in a sense. So I actually sold my cellphone store, and I was gonna do this whole internet thing all on my own. I sold the store. And when she found out, she was like, "Well, look. Why don't you come get a job with me? And I'll train you, and you can kind of get your feet wet."
And I was like, "You know what? Fine." So I did it. I sold the store. I went and got a job with her. And she sold personal development stuff. So she sold the info products. She sold jams and weird Amish stuff. So, I jumped in. I was there when she was trying to take ... oh, and all of the stuff that she did, was offline. So, direct mail, post cards, sales letters. And I helped, just because I was young, I helped take her offline stuff online. So we'd run AdWords and do all of that stuff.
And so, I teamed up with her. And then after about maybe a year, she asked me to create a course on how I blogged, because I had built the blog up to probably where I could earn about 1000 bucks a month or 2000 bucks. And so, I was like, "Okay, sure." I created a course on that. And I taught people how to blog and how to build their own opt-ins and how they could use Ad Sense and ads to help get paid more.
And back then, it was like 2007. That was quite cool, you know? Now it's kinda ... we all do that stuff. But, so I was able to build that course out and then sell that. And then I did about six figures on that. And then, she offered to make me a partner in the actual company, 'cause I had people coming now to me saying, "Hey. Could you write ads for me? Can we partner on this or that?" And I think she kind of was like, "Hey, let's keep him here."
So, I did that til about 2010. And that company finally ended because the different owners went their separate ways. I was kind of, then, on my own. I kind of, at that point, also, this is a whole other side story. But, at that point in time, I weighed 540 pounds. So, I'd really let myself go and just blown up to be just so big and very, very bad ... in very, very bad health. And, so I actually tried out for a TV show. And I got put on the show. And it was on ABC.
And so, I kind of had all my, at that point in time, all of my business stuff, I kind of put it on hold. And I lost, in about a year's time, on the show, I lost 255 pounds. And I went from, on the show, I was 493, all the way down to 238. So that was a whole year of time.
And then, when I did all of that stuff, and I came back, I was like, "Okay." It was kind of like starting over again. I think it was like 2012. And then, at that point, I started creating systems, again, with a few friends of mine. And we created systems for some different MLM type companies. That was kind of what I did. Building that up til about, just til the end of last year. And then I started to do more of the traditional, going back to how I started doing more of the selling info and services around a certain topic. So that's the story there.
Sam Ovens: Got it. With the info business you had when you first started working with me, what was that? You didn't actually create any of the products? You were just helping other people, other experts publish their products.
Michael G.: Yeah, basically, that was the big thing. Yeah, we would look for other experts to provide content. I have never been a huge, huge fan of cranking out content for me. I don't mind it, but I kind of enjoy, more, the business side of things. I really enjoy [inaudible 00:16:57] getting a team in place and getting the team to figure out how to do things.
So, yeah, we would kind of always outsource, in a sense, the content side by finding experts, because the thing that I've always seen, is that most real experts in their topic, or their field, are experts in that. And they're not really experts in how to sell, or how to do big time ads. And, the other issue, is that usually, they under-price their services, because they don't fully understand the value of what they have.
So, they're kind of like, "Oh, well, I'll sell it for cheap because it's not hard for me to do it." They think about how hard is it for them. And for them, it's not that big of a problem, because the amount that people will pay is proportionate to the problem that you're gonna solve for them, right? So I think that's why experts downplay, in general, their services, because the problem isn't as big to them as it is their customer.
I've often found that I could to go experts who were charging way under and offer them an affiliate type of structure, where I'll say, "Hey, you're selling this for 200, I'll pay you 85 bucks of sale." But then I can turn around and beef it up some and sell it for 1000. And they're still happy to get 85 bucks. So that's kinda the structure of the things that I had done before.
Now, we're taking that to the extreme. Now, I've built out the team. I have a compliance team, I have a copy team. I have a design team. I have a tech team. We had CTOs and COO. We have this whole entire structure. So now, my main job is finding these experts and really scaling them.
So, what we specialize in now especially is, if you can teach people a unique, proven way to make income, in some kind of alternative business structure, we can pretty much scale that thing big time. So, on the E-commerce side, this year, I think we'll hit somewhere between 30 to 50 million gross sales. We're about to roll out our second brand here in about a month, and it's gonna be real estate investing. On that side, we can take that thing very very big.
And, the other key for us, too, is we look for gurus that are not professionals, if that makes sense. We look for people that are just truly experts, doing their thing. And they don't even think about scaling it they're just kinda like, "Hey, I'm just kinda here." And we take them, find them, and then we blow them up from there.
Now, what's extremely hard, what makes our industry super tough, is there's so many scams out there and all of that stuff, that we're basically ... We're fighting in an industry that high school such a black eye that we can't even afford to screw up. If a customer isn't responded to super fast, their brain instantly goes to, "Is this a scam? Am I being scammed?" We're always fighting against that.
That parts hard. That's probably the one thing, if I could change one thing, it would be that part of it. But, at the same time, I also enjoy being the good guys in a bad industry, if that makes sense, too. We're always trying to fight against that and that's probably the toughest thing. Then, next to that is compliance, because here in the states, the FTC, they're always saying, "You can't say this or you can say this." And it's not the stuff that you think of.
Obviously, we're not gonna say, "We guarantee you're gonna make this much income." It's the stuff that you don't even know you can't say til you dive into it. The bigger you get, the more risk you got. So, for us now, we have two different compliance attorneys. We have a full-time compliance guy on our team, and that's all they do. All they do is pretty much bring our conversion rates down some. That's kind of what I say.
But, in a sense, we're trading some profitability for sustainability. And that's a big key. So, I find, now, that my main job as CEO and co-founder, is driving change that I wanna see, recruiting the top people that I possibly can. And beyond all that, too, just communication, doing my best to communicate top down. And also, opening up doors for the different teams to talk to each other, because so many times, there's stuff that, when it comes to me, I'm like, "Oh, that's so easy. That can be fixed by doing A, B, and C." But they don't understand that, or they don't know it, 'cause they don't see the whole bigger picture.
So, I spend most of my time now ... I try to help the different teams meet up in some way. That's where I'm probably not like your average person right now that you consult with. But that's ... I was there, and I've been able to scale up. But then, once you scale up, then it's a whole other host of things. You know?
Sam Ovens: And then, when you went through my different programs, what were some of the main things that really helped you grow your business?
Michael G.: The big things ... I think the big one that I enjoyed the most was probably two things. I love the whole calendar system. So that is a big one that I can trace right back to you. We took a lot of the calendar structure and applied that to our sales team. So now, our sales team has ... it's all calendar based, and all of our followups, we have text messaging, email, phone calls. Everything that we do, we're always pushing, "Book a call, book a call, book a call." That's all the time.
That was the thing that I took from you way back then. We even still use schedule once. Although, we might be changing that now, because we found one that we can build an API with. So, we're gonna start to test out some cool stuff where we can actually auto call people that buy from us and we can hook into via API and talk to them, and let the API, right over the phone, book their time. So we're gonna test that out.
The other big thing was Facebook ads. I think, 2015 was probably when Facebook ads were just starting to kinda pick up steam. I think before then, everyone was like, "Oh, Facebook ads suck." It was kind of like, 'cause their targeting wasn't quite there yet.
Sam Ovens: I don't even think they had conversion pixel until ... I don't even know. ... In '15. I don't even know if they had like a proper purchase pixel. I know they had like a lead pixel.
Michael G.: Yeah, I don't think they did, either. Yeah. And I mean, I recall trying Facebook ads in 2012, 2013, and it just being like an expense. You couldn't really see anything. Everyone had kinda said, "Oh, Facebook's for seeing pictures of family, that's it."
So I think that you were amongst the first people to actually show that you could get a direct ROI out of it. That was a big piece for me. I liked how you went through and just said, "Here's funnel one, here's funnel two. Just go through these things. Here's how to do your calendar. Here's how to write your ad. Here's how to do your VSL."
It spoke to me, because the way that you teach things is a lot the way that I do. I think it's because we actually wanna show people what to go do. I think it's like, when I think about, "How am I gonna teach something?" I break it down into every single possible step, which can be a lot for some people. Might be like, "Whoa, this is way too much." But, I know, 'cause I've sold books [inaudible 00:27:00] said this way back when. Courses, most people don't do anything. They just get the course and they might skim it, and that's it. If you don't show people exactly what to do, most people, they're not gonna go do anything.
So, that was also a big piece for me, just seeing the way that you had it structured. And I did, on a side, I actually started a small ad agency. That one's grown, I think we may have hit seven figures last year, but now quite. I'd have to see. But that gets hardly any of my time. I brought in a guy to kind of operate that. We used your script.
That's the other piece. I think that your script was jus so good. It's tough for me, 'cause I'm not a very direct person. So it's hard for me just to be like, "Okay, how much do you make?" And then kind of stop. That part, for me, is kind of harder. But, if you bring in the right people, then you're good.
That's kind of what I do with things is ... I think the secret to the success that I've had is that ... and I didn't plan this, I didn't try to make myself this, it just is the way that I am, is I'm a great combo of two things. One, I don't stop until I figure something out. And then two, once I figure it out, I'm done with it. I don't feel the need to keep doing it. So that forces me to teach someone else.
Most people are business owners, the problem they have is, they have part one. They'll bust their butt and they'll figure it out. But then, they'll fall into the trap of, "Well, I'm the only person that could ever do this thing." And they'll just do it over and over and over. And they'll stay stuck because they wanna do everything. They wanna have perfection.
For me, I'm just not that way. I get burned out. I'm like, "This is boring now." Once I've kind of conquered something, I'm just done with it. And so, that forces me to train someone else. And at first it was hard, because I would follow up and be like, "Oh, they're not doing this right or that right." But then I realized, if I can get four or five people doing 80% of what I could do, that's way better than me doing perfection, which, even me, I'm sure I'm not actually doing perfection. I just think that I am.
So, that's a big take away for people here. It's like, don't think that you have to do everything. Don't think that you're the only one who can do the job that you currently do. Everything that you do is a job. That's what I think of. If I get up every day and I'm doing the same thing, that's someone's job. And if in the afternoon's I'm doing this thing, that's someone's job. So, whose job is it? Who can do at least 80% of what I can. It might take them three months, or six months, but that's fine, because time goes on either way.
That was the other thing that I did is I looked at your systems and I thought, "Okay, how can I break this down to be someone else's job?" Because that's just the way that I am.
Sam Ovens: Yeah, plus also, you need ... Most people can't really hire people to do things, 'cause they haven't turned it into a system. So they think it's magic. Magic is basically just something we don't understand. We see the problem. We see the solution, and then we think what we do is magic. But really, if you just break it all down, there's a step-by-step process there.
And, most people I've noticed, they don't do that. They just think that it's some sort of magic or talent and that no one else can do it. But they just haven't taken the time to break it all down.
Michael G.: What's funny, too, that I've found ... and I don't know why this is. This is some deep psychology stuff. But, if you were to take someone and say, "Okay, here. Go start your own consulting company," like you teach. Most people will try it out. Might do it. Probably won't.
But, if you were to take someone and say, "Here's 5000 bucks, each month. Your job is to start a consulting company for me." Most people would go do it. And it's because, I think, as an employee, they set their more disciplined, I guess, that they'll follow through.
But I've always found that to be so odd that [crosstalk 00:32:00]
Sam Ovens: It's short-term thinking. That's it. So most people can't cope with not making any money in the short-term. If you're putting in work, and you're not seeing money coming out, and then you've got bills. You need to eat food. You wanna have fun, and you want money. You can get money from a job, most people just can't think longterm. That's their fundamental flaw. That's why the love Instagram and Facebook and stuff, because its instant gratification. That's going into milliseconds now.
To be a proper entrepreneur, you gotta be willing to get gratification three years in the future. You know what I mean? That's a big jump from a Facebook post. You know what I mean?
Michael G.: Yeah. That's very true. And that part is true. I don't wanna sound insensitive, 'cause I do know, if you don't have income, it's hard, especially if you have kids and family. And that's one thing where, when I got started, I didn't have anything.
That's the other thing, too. I think that the reason why it's become almost a trope, is the whole, "I was poor. I was struggling. I had no car. Bankruptcy." I almost think it's because, that's what it takes to be so desperate to fight through all of the things that you have to fight through. It's not like people make that up. They truly were there. I think that's the problem. I think if you're comfortable, it's too hard to change. But, if you're in major discomfort, and you don't have anything else to go do anyway, then you're gonna fight for it.
That's how it was for me. I was young. I didn't have a car. I didn't have kids. I didn't have to pay for anything. So I didn't really have huge expenses. But, I didn't have a job, so I was trying to find the thing for me. And I think that's where, I think the older you get, the tougher it gets, because then if you have kids, and you have a spouse, you gotta take care of them, too. So that part gets harder as you get older.
Sam Ovens: You have to keep finding ways to make yourself uncomfortable again.
Michael G.: Yeah. Yeah. And a big thing now that I found, and this is what I try to do now when I bring people on, is I look for ... and I don't know this. I don't know if I've ever found any stats on this. But I would assume that maybe 20% of people are intrinsically motivated. And probably 80% are externally. I find that the people that have the success are intrinsically. Internally, they set their own goals. They want certain things.
And you can't teach this. You can't be like, "No, think about what you want longterm." Its this weird ... I don't know if it's like a brain setting that we haven't figured out yet. But for me, I don't need someone telling me, "Get up at this time. Clock in by this time. If you don't do this, you're gonna get punished."
I think that the most successful people are those types of people. But, I do think you can get better at it. When I was younger, man. It was so hard for me to ever be up and [inaudible 00:35:41] Now, 'cause I've seen the success, I've been able to kind of change a lot of the way that I am. So there is a component of it that can be fixed over time.
Sam Ovens: It's interesting you say that, 'cause ... I'm just looking for it now, 'cause I've ... We hire quite a lot of people right now too. We've got 50 at the moment. I've been interviewing people this week. And I've written down the things that I like to look for in a hire. And what you said, I've noticed that, too. I'm just trying to find down exactly what I wrote, 'cause it's precisely what you were just talking about.
Michael G.: Yeah, it's the more you bring people in, the more you see it. You know? It's kind of the way it goes.
Sam Ovens: Where is it here?
Where is this thing?
Yeah, one of the things that we look for, like what you were talking about just then, is these people are like ... they've got something in them that, it's like a need to prove themselves. You know what I mean?
Michael G.: Yeah, exactly. That's it.
Sam Ovens: It's like a chip on their shoulder or something.
Michael G.: Yes.
Sam Ovens: And it's often from being misunderstood or underestimated. Or you know what I mean?
Michael G.: Yeah, it's like the underdog type thing. Yeah. That's a great way to say it, too. It is. It's definitely like the wanna prove something. That was me, totally me. Even to this day, there's still that part of me that is terrified of going backwards, which, I'm sure isn't good. I'm sure it could be fixed. But, that continues to drive me. There's always that part of me that I'm only as good as the thing I've done last. And so I continue to push and push and push.
And, I think right now, that has served me well. At some point, I'll try to get in there and maybe fix it. But, there is that piece of me. And yeah, the people that I have brought in, that have done well, for sure, they wanna prove themselves, and they wanna earn it, too. That's the other thing. Some people wanna earn it. Some people wanna be given it. And the people that wanna earn it are just 10 times more productive.
I recently brought on a good friend of mine. I brought him on solely because I knew that he was gonna work all that he could, 'cause he was trying to kind of earn his way in. And man, he has. He's taken over our Facebook ads. And he just goes crazy. I mean, all day, every day, he's in there trying this. Trying out that.
That's the other thing, too. The best kind of people, they're not afraid to fail, 'cause they don't see it as that. They don't see it as a fail. They see it as trying. They see it as testing. Some people that ... if you view screwing up, or not getting the result you were trying for as failure, then the fear is there. That fear will keep you from trying. And so, instead, you've got to change the way you view it. So it's not failure, but it's an attempt. It's trying. It's split testing.
Think about that. What if we all thought of a split test as a failure. Half my split tests fail! That's the point. It's supposed to fail. So, that's the other big piece to it. In our company ... and this costs us, sometimes. But, it's good still, overall. We tell people, "I don't care if you screw up. I would rather you come to me and say, 'I tried this. It cost this much and it failed or it didn't go like I thought.' I would much rather prefer that than getting a call every day, 'Hey, what should I do? Hey, what should I do? Hey what should I do?'"
I want people to think on their own. And so we kind of give them space to figure it out. And definitely, the whole fire house thing. It's like trying to drink from a fire hose. But, for us, people either kind of figure it out, or they fall off. That's kind of the ... and the ones that figure it out, are the ones that stay, and they do awesome things. The only hard part is, those kinda people don't stay around forever, because they keep going up, which is good.
Sam Ovens: Why are manholes round?
Michael G.: Why?
Sam Ovens: I don't know. Why are they?
Michael G.: So people can get in and ... I guess get in them and out of them.
Sam Ovens: Couldn't they do that if they were square, too?
Michael G.: Probably, yeah. Yeah.
Sam Ovens: See, we ask questions like this. When I ask random questions where there person isn't gonna know the answer, to watch how they then will problem solve it. Do you know what I mean? I'm not interested in the answer. I'm interested in what steps the person would take. You know what I mean?
Michael G.: Yeah, the thought process. That's good. I'll throw that one into my next one [crosstalk 00:41:45]
Sam Ovens: There's lots of them you can ask. Like tons of them, because you wanna put someone ... The biggest thing I've learned with hiring people is that, you don't ask questions that determine whether they have competence. You get them to display it. You know what I mean?
Michael G.: Yeah.
Sam Ovens: Instead of seeing if they have it, you get it to emerge naturally in the conversation. You throw them in a situation. You let them solve it, rather than just asking questions. I've noticed this, too. To take my company to the next level from here, we need everyone in the company to think and act like an owner, like an entrepreneur that owns the company.
It's easy to get people to follow a system. But to try and get them to think ahead, solve the problem, create a system, test it, make it better than the old system, and then teach it to everyone else and do that, that's something else. You know what I mean?
Michael G.: Yeah, yes.
Sam Ovens: But, most entrepreneurs, they don't get out of just themselves doing it. They don't even create a system for themselves. Then you got the guys and girls that will create a system and work it. And then it's rare to get someone to create a system and teach other people to work it. But, what's the the rarest, and only the best companies do this, and that's create a system yourself, get someone to work it, and then hire people so good that they keep innovating the systems and teaching it to other people. You know what I mean?
Michael G.: Yeah, yeah. That's where I'm at right now, is trying to bring in those people. I think I've got some of them, which is awesome. But-
Sam Ovens: Engineers. You just wanna hire engineers.
Michael G.: Yeah.
Sam Ovens: That's what I'm doing now. Basically-
Michael G.: Engineers.
Sam Ovens: ... I'm only looking for engineers, 'cause that's their mindset. You know what I mean?
Michael G.: Yeah. That was something that I've always had, which was a little bit odd, is, I'm kind of good mix of creative and science, which is weird. But, that's what helped me, I think, get to where I'm at, because I had enough creative side to write copy, to create offers. But then I had the math side to kind of like track it and test it and do all of that. It's just an odd thing to have.
And so, yeah, now, I'm trying to find people that can do one job extremely well. But yeah, it's now, "How am I gonna find the person that can do both things well, or see the whole picture well?" That's kind of where I'm at now. [crosstalk 00:44:26]
Sam Ovens: It's interesting, 'cause that's exactly where I'm at.
Michael G.: Yeah. And that's the thing, I would love to grow this company now. I think we're at a point where we could hit 100 within 24 months. But, will that break things? I'm always trying to be like at what point will we break it? That's kind of where I'm at right now.
So, a big thing that I've done that's been awesome ... Actually, I don't get paid for this at all, but I'll show you this book. I don't know. You've probably already gone through it, but, Scaling Up by Vern Harnish. I've read this book probably like way back. And I was like, "Oh, cool book." And just kinda threw it down. Now, because it's exactly where I'm at, I'm like, "This book is like the Bible for me." Like every word, I'm like, "Yes, yes. This is it."
And so, I think that's the thing, too, is you've gotta always be bringing change of some sort. The thing that he goes over in this book, and it's tough if you're not there to [inaudible 00:45:43] of all the books that are out there, for business people. The books are either at one end or the other. The books are either you're getting started, or you're huge. Like, they're for management firms and how to take your billion dollar company and fix this and this. Or, it's, "Hey it's you and your dog in your house, and here's how to get started." There's not a lot of books in between where you're at two million, three, four. five, 10, 15 even. You're just kinda ... there's not books on going from ...
There's a couple of them, but not much, because, obviously, you're gonna sell to the audience, right? The biggest audience is people that are just getting started. And then the audience that will spend a lot is the corporatey Fortune 1000s, right? They'll spend ... they'll buy every book out for their entire company. So, there's this gap in between for scaling companies that are not small, but they're not big. They're just in between. It's kind of like you're just out there eon your own.
I'll throw in one more thing, only 'cause I would love to get your feedback on this. One of the things that I have kinda thought about often, that I go back and forth on, is when it comes to sell any product for people to improve upon where they're at, so either be it financial like investments, or starting a business, or even health, fitness, I feel like there's two types of people. There's seekers, and those are all the people that are just trying to get started, and they're seeking an answer to their pain.
So, there's seekers, but then there's also investors. Those are the people that view it as a way improve upon where they're already at. They've already achieved X and now they wanna achieve Y. The tough part for me is, the volume, and the sales, and the scalability is all in targeting seekers. But, the best clients and the least problems are all in targeting investors. It's probably like everything in 80/20.
When you target seekers, what seekers want, and this is more business side. But seekers, what they want is they want time. They want freedom. They want more income. That's more or less what they want. When you target seekers with your ads, you'll attract seekers and you'll get some investors, too, because investors would still want way more.
But then, on the flip side, so then if you target investors, what they want is, they want things like security. They want growth, dividends. They want safety, too. So, you can target those types of people. But if you target investors, you won't attract seekers.
So, have you ever thought about that in the way that you write your ads or the way that you're trying to scale, because it's extremely hard to scale if you're going after the best of the best people. It's almost like in order to scale big, you have to attract seekers. But then seekers have such high [inaudible 00:49:38] scope of what you've got to be able to follow through with.
Sam Ovens: Got it. What I do is, I mostly target ... I call them civilians. So, people who don't even know if they wanna start a business. They've never even ... they might have never thought about starting their own business. But, it's not about business. Business is a tool, a tool to achieve an objective. Everyone's objective is to have a better life. For me, business is a tool to achieve a better life, and fulfillment, and finding something you're passionate about.
And also, I think that passion and work should be the same thing. I think, 'cause you spend most of your time doing work. It kinda sucks if it's not your passion. So, I target civilians. But, because my results are so big, I also attract, peripherally, the experts. You know what I mean? But also, I don't really care about specifically targeting experts and all of that, because they hear. They know. Other people talk to them and all of that.
The best way to get people who are good is to just be the best. And then word spreads. That's why I just keep my focus on the civilian market. And, they do come into things with distorted expectations. Like, "I wanna make money quick. I don't wanna put much effort in. I wanna have lots of free time and freedom." But, those expectations, you can change them. You know what I mean?
Michael G.: yeah.
Sam Ovens: 'Cause, really what they want is a better life. If the only way to really achieve that is with doing something that's gonna take longer, and putting in some hard work and stuff, they're totally fine hearing that truth, because it is the truth. I think a lot of people in this space, they don't ... they think people don't wanna hear the truth. You know what I mean?
Michael G.: yeah.
Sam Ovens: And, I used to think that, too. I'd kind of always sugar coat things a little bit. I'd never really be that harsh to people when I gave them advice. But then I was like, "You know what? Screw it. It might hurt someone's feelings, but, it's gonna help them in the longterm." You know what I mean?
Michael G.: Yeah. Yeah. I'm finding that, too now. Even as a bunch of stuff that we've brought in compliance wise has actually been a good for us. So we've added a lot more closures and "Here's what the average person will earn." It's not that awesome, but it's because average people do average things, when you view everyone.
I think that people understand that. They know, deep down, they understand that you've gotta do something. So, yeah, that's great. And I enjoy what you just said there because it it, it's true. Business is just a tool. The tool for them, it could be stocks, it could be real estate, it could be your own business. It could be whatever. But you're not going to achieve the success if you don't change what's going on in your head first. That's a big thing.
I've seen, especially, as I've seen you now, over the last what, three years? You've gotten a lot more ... into that stuff. The way you talk now, the things that you teach. Is that something that you found over time? Or is something you've always had but you just didn't bring it out as much?
Sam Ovens: What's this? What do I do more of now?
Michael G.: I think you do a lot more mindset and that kind of stuff. The mindset and the systems, even beyond that, too. But just ... I've seen you move up to a higher ... what's the word for it? I'm trying to think of the right word. Just a higher consciousness, I guess I could almost say. Where you're talking above what the tactics are, and even above strategy. It's like now it's become almost like a philosophical thing.
Sam Ovens: Really, if you look at anyone who does really good, they change their entire life. You know what I mean? So, to really get good results, you have to change your entire life around. That might mean your friends. That might mean your environment. That might mean the time you go to sleep, your diet, your habits, your exercising life. It's changing everything. And so, I just try and tell people exactly what the truth is. I just set the bar very high for everyone. I don't care if someone comes in and they've failed school, never been successful in anything, and don't even know anything, right? The bar's still here.
I expect them to do all of the work, do it really well, and to win in their market and make some figures. I think most people underestimate how hard you can push someone. You can really put the bar excruciatingly high. I'm amazed at how many people just go and get it.
Michael G.: Yeah, I can even speak to that from when I was on the TV show. When I weighed 500 pounds, the very first thing that I did on the show, they had me do a triathlon at 500 pounds. So, it was like a 200 yard swim, and [inaudible 00:55:41] mile bike ride, and then a one mile jog. And they had EMTs there, and doctors were there and stuff. I was able to do it, and I was fine.
So, there are things ... and if you were to ask me beforehand if I could ever have done that, I woulda thought no way. Right? That's not even possible. But, going through that experience for me, taught me, I can do it. There's a lot more things I can do." And I see it now. I see so many people that hold themselves back. They put their own restrictions on what they think they can accomplish. It's kinda sad. I think you've done a very good job of this, is getting people to think about that and realize that they can do more.
I think you have a whole other audience if you do that, the whole philosophical mindset breakthrough stuff. You know? That's a whole other thing for you.
Sam Ovens: Really I don't target those people [crosstalk 00:56:55]
Michael G.: I know you don't.
Sam Ovens: ... of that. And that's necessarily good for them. You know what I mean? I kind of have like a Trojan horse. People want to make money and change their life. And that's my promise. But then, when they get in, I'm like, "Okay, here's all the shit you gotta do." And then so it's packaged in the Trojan horse, because that's what's required to get where they wanna go.
Michael G.: Yeah. And that's the thing. That is what people want. And I think, even now, for me, from this phone call. I'm gonna go back and look at some of our training, because I wanna add in more of this stuff. I think that our people need it. You know? And I think you're right. You gotta be more upfront and just say, "This is it. You're here because you wanna make more income. But in reality, what I'm gonna teach you is just a tool, and there's all this other stuff going on."
It's like the whole iceberg thing. It's like, we see the tip of it, but really there's this whole big thing going down under there.
Sam Ovens: Yeah, there's this perfect example I read in Jeff Bezos Letters to Amazon Shareholders, where he talks about handstands. He said that one of his executive team members wanted to do handstands, and be really good at them. So, started practicing herself, first. And then she thought she'd get a handstand coach. And these people actually exist.
She went to go see a handstand coach. On that first lesson, he asked her, he was like, "How long do you think it's gonna take you to be able to do perfect handstand?"
And she said, "I don't know, like can we do it this lesson? Can we do it in the second lesson?"
And then right then he said, "No. This is gonna take you probably eight weeks of practice every day."
Michael G.: Geez.
Sam Ovens: She heard that and she was like, "Oh, man." But then she was like, "Okay, well, if that's what it takes, do I really want it? Yeah I do. So I'm willing to go through that." And now the expectations are accurate.
Then he wrote about it that, in the Letters to Shareholders, he said, "This is a really good coach, the handstand coach." Because the worst thing that can happen is when somebody enters into something and has false expectations. They're guaranteed to not meet them. Guaranteed they're not gonna reach them. And then they're gonna be totally disheartened, and probably give up. Right?
Michael G.: Yeah.
Sam Ovens: So when someone has the right expectations, they stick to it, because they know when it's most likely to happen. So, that's what the big flaw I think a lot of people teach in their courses. It's like, you can't take someone from a total novice to making lots of money and having a Ferrari in like 30 days. That doesn't happen.
Michael G.: Yeah, even if you were to give them a business that was good to go, because they don't know ... One, they're not there yet in their heads, they would probably destroy the whole thing. But two, also, they wouldn't know how to keep it up. So yeah, it's true. You've got to get the people to change the way they think so they can then, therefore, do the thing they're there to do.
We see that. Our most successful people, because in the E-Commerce space .. and again, I'm not an E-Comm expert, but my people are, it takes them about three months of testing out ads. You're testing audiences, products and ads. It's almost like spinning a jackpot til you get the ding-ding-ding, and then all three of them hit. And then, you scale that thing up, and it can run for like six months, and make you ton of money.
But, it's the people that give up, because after the first week or two, they don't have an ad that's a hit. And they're like, "Oh, it doesn't work." It's crazy, 'cause I see people, they'll even come comment on our Facebook ads and they'll say, "Oh, I tried this. It doesn't work."
I kinda laugh, 'cause I think, "Man, like ..." One, I feel bad for them, because they created that in their own heads. And I think it's a way to defend themselves. "It's not that I gave up. It's that it doesn't work." And then, two, I feel sad for people that were gonna give it a chance, but they read that, and they let someone else's thoughts, who they don't even know, who they don't even know them at all, stop them.
Sam Ovens: Those people are the weakest of them all, man. If they let something like that stop them, why they just need to get toughened up. They gotta go through the furnace. You know what I mean?
Michael G.: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I see that a lot. We're getting better at that now, from our sales team. It's like, "Guys, you've got to set expectations." Just like what you had said. So now we say to them, "You need to have at least three to five thousand for ad spend. You've gotta be able to float through the next three months." And that changes. That's changed everything.
You know, there's a constant battle between support and sales. Sales guys are more like, "Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah." So we're constantly fighting that. Where, support wants you to say everything you could ever think of, which would kill sales too, so there's that balance between how do you ... The biggest key is not what you say, but does the person believe in themselves.
Sam Ovens: Yeah, your sales guys are obviously commissioned on [crosstalk 01:02:54] that's why you can't do that. That ruins everything. You've gotta align incentives properly, otherwise, I've seen ... You read about it in all of these books that the sales team just crushes the business. They'll call people who buy one product, and basically say, "Yeah, that product you bought? It's not gonna work. You need to buy this other thing." And then, if they don't buy, what are they gonna do that one the sales rep ... they're gonna refund theirs. And so, they can wreak havoc in the system.
Michael G.: Yes. You are preaching to the choir. I just have had a big talk about this, and that's what I've said. I said, "At the end of the day, any problems that come of this are on me, because I'm creating the incentives, so I've got to shift that." And that's a big thing that we're trying to do.
Unfortunately, the bigger you get, it's harder to do it fast. But, we're trying now with one by one. So, I would say, by the end of this year, we should have things fixed up on that side. But man, yeah, that's great to hear that from you, because that's kinda what I thought the past, probably like, I don't know two or three weeks. And yeah, we've gotta change. We've gotta change how people get paid and what they get paid for. And that's spot on, man.
Sam Ovens: Yeah, so we're doing stock options, no individual incentive. Everyone's an owner. Then they're worried about costs, longterm thinking. They're worried about other team members under performing. They're actually thinking and acting like an owner, because they actually are an owner. You know what I mean?
Michael G.: Yeah.
Sam Ovens: That's the best way to align everyone toward true north, because otherwise people are out for themselves. And whenever someone's out for them self, they're not gonna help the company. You know what I mean?
Michael G.: Yeah, yeah. Man, that's great to hear that. Yeah. We're rolling out our stock options program. But, I haven't ever thought about providing stocks for everyone. But that's good. That's a good idea. I think I'm gonna check that out now and see what we can do.
So you just pay your guys then, hourly? Or salary?
Sam Ovens: Salary.
Michael G.: Yeah.
Sam Ovens: Yeah, I mean, we're still getting it balanced. But we used to give people individual commissions. And then we started to take that away and the performance actually went up. And because people should be focused on what's best for the customer, right?
Michael G.: Yeah.
Sam Ovens: It's always about the customer. What's best for them? And if anyone's ever doing something that isn't good for them, then that needs to be cut out. That's a cancer that will take your business down. You know what I mean?
Michael G.: Yeah, yep. Yeah, it's cool. I think we're kind of on the same ... path. We're going through some of the same stuff. So that's good to hear that, man. I'm definitely gonna roll that out here soon.
Sam Ovens: Cool.
Michael G.: That's good.
Sam Ovens: So, how can people learn more about you? If they wanna check out you and what you're doing, what's the best place to go?
Michael G.: The best place for me, for them to go is onlyonemike.com. O-N-L-Y-O-N-E. So, it's like O-N-E. Onlyonemike.com I post there.
Sam Ovens: M-I-K-E?
Michael G.: Yeah, M-I-K-E. Onlyonemike.comq. I have a ebook on there that I give away, if anyone would care about it. It's basically called How to Obliterate the Blank Page. What I'll do is I'll put up a site up there, onlyonemike.com/sam and anyone can do there. They can download the book for free there. It's all the tricks and things that I use when I have to write sales copy, when I'm starting from the blank page. It just kinda takes you through seven or eight things that you could ask yourself so you know who you're talking to, what you're gonna say, what the pain points are, all that stuff. It just kind of helps you get started so you don't have to just sit there and stare at some screen. You know? [crosstalk 01:07:14] I'll put that up.
Sam Ovens: Got it. Make sure the thing up there doesn't have an opt-in.
Michael G.: No opt-ins. All right.
Sam Ovens: 'Cause I'm doing what's best for my customer.
Michael G.: Yeah, well, to be honest, I don't actually sell anything, anyway. But, yeah.
Sam Ovens: We even stopped doing opt-ins. What we found is if someone looks at a piece of content and it's so good, they're going to want to go and do it. You know what I mean? It's a different thinking than internet marketing is being taught. You know?
Michael G.: Yeah, yeah.
Sam Ovens: So yeah, I'm happy ... if you just put it up there, like the PDF, then-
Michael G.: Yeah, that's fine.
Sam Ovens: Happy to send people there.
Michael G.: Yeah, yeah. That's fine by me. I don't sell anything, anyway. I just ... I do podcast interviews, just for practice, just to kind of get out there. So I enjoy stuff like this, and these kinda calls. But I've not sold my own stuff yet. And I'm not sure if I will. I might, but I know right now, I enjoy doing it more so, you know, than being the face of it.
Sam Ovens: Cool. Well, thanks a lot for jumping on and sharing your story. I'm sure it's gonna inspire a lot of people and help them out with their journey.
Michael G.: Awesome, and thanks Sam.
Sam Ovens: No problem. We'll speak soon.
Michael G.: K. Bye.