Sam Ovens: Hey everyone, Sam Ovens here. Today, I have Sean Smith on with us, and Sean's got an awesome story. He joined Consulting Accelerator a while back now, and then he later on joined Uplevel, and he's also joined the Mastermind too, so he's been through the full spectrum. Back when he joined, he had an agency and now, he has a business that helps Amazon sellers sell more products with advertising, like PPC ads. In today's interview, we're going to talk about why he made the switch from the agency to the Amazon thing, and also, how he's been able to grow from around 30,000 a month, up to about 60,000 a month now. So thanks for jumping on with me today.
Sean Smith: Thank you Sam. Really, really blessed to be here.
Sam Ovens: Let's go back to the very start of this thing. Why did you first join Consulting Accelerator? What was going on back then?
Sean Smith: I first joined the accelerator back in the day, it was mainly because of my buddy. My buddy Taylor told me about it. He was one of your ... He's been doing your program for a while now, and he just kind of described how it really helped him with doing pricing, everything. Everything he learned from it. So I joined it off his reccomendation, off the back of his reccomendation. At that time, I had already had an agency, and we were kind of like, we were growing. We had account execs, and we had analyst team, and all that stuff. But really what I benefited most from was the mindset stuff. I still use the alchemy planner everyday. The alchemy of self workbook really helped a lot, like, get into the detail, and it was kind of the mindset stuff, because I got to a point where I was doing pretty good. I didn't have to worry about money as much as I used to, and so it was kind of like, why was I waking up in the morning?
Sean Smith: So your program really helped with becoming more detailed about what you want, and also having a mission and vision. So the accelerator, that mindset portion, really helped me with staying focused, and staying purpose driven in my business, as I got to a point where money, I wasn't as worried about money as I used to be. So that's where the accelerator really helped me, and just structuring my life man. It's a lot less stressful when you have structure. So planning out the day, planning the day the night before, that was kind of where I got a ton of benefit from the accelerator.
Sam Ovens: Nice. So you joined accelerator because your friend told you about it. Then you wen through that and you got, mindset helped, and also organizing anything helped. Then this was when you were doing the agency stuff, right?
Sean Smith: Yep.
Sam Ovens: So explain how, what problems you were having with the agency and how you thought accelerator might have helped you daily?
Sean Smith: Oh the problems. It was about ... The problems, how the accelerator helped. It was just about building a routine, thinking differently about my business. I don't know, you talked about meditation, you talk about building a routine. When I didn't have structure, you would just wake up in the morning, and you would just have this kind of haphazard approach to your business. Right? You'd wake up and then you would just be like, the first message you see is the one you respond to, type thing. For example, checking messages, you said that's the worst thing to do. You should block everything off and focus on a project, meditate, and focus on something kind of like deep work. So I started doing that, my stress levels went down like crazy, and I was able to handle messaging in a more contemplative way. I was able to, like you talked about how you'll just let email stack up, let the chaos build, and I never did that. I'd be like, if people messaged me, I'd be like, the best thing to do is message them right back. When you think reactive, it's hard to grow, and it's hard to grow quickly, and it's a lot more stressful.
Sean Smith: So I would just kind of let the chaos build up, and then I would see that nothing would happen. I'd be like, I have all these messages in, but I'd look at my numbers and everything was fine. So it was just kind of like those things, about how to manage everything, manage the growth. Because I have more people and my attention is being divided between people, and so just being able to step back and see everything. You talked about zooming in and zooming out, so I didn't know about the zooming out part, really that well, and I didn't know how important it was. So I was always in, just in it, and it's so hard to see things when you're in it because I don't know, you just can't do it. Your brain just can't do it. So being able to, you talk about stepping back, focusing on projects. So where I was in the agency was just being very reactive to everything. I mean, I was growing, it was great, we were delivering a good product and good service, but it wasn't sustainable and it wasn't scalable.
Sean Smith: Since I was completely involved, when you keep responding quickly, people expect that. So you have to train people, you have to train them to get results, not necessarily to get your attention. So that was huge. That was something you taught in the accelerator, and kind of in the mindset portion of it. So that allowed me to step back and scale. It was a lot less stressful, and really kind of be less reactive in the business.
Sam Ovens: You said that well. You got to teach them how to get results instead of how to get your attention. Because I swear people are conditioned when they're brought up that a lot of it is about attention. You know what I mean?
Sean Smith: Yep.
Sam Ovens: It's funny now if you look at the marketplace, a lot of people have forgotten about the results part. They're just trying to get attention.
Sean Smith: It's true. Like, I don't know, like responding to things or being on social media constantly. A comment isn't a result. You have to step back. Then when you start to scale, you have to think differently. I don't know, your brain has to kind of evolve, because if it doesn't, then you don't go anywhere.
Sam Ovens: It just gets unmanageable. You can't reply to things, you can't check everything. Your best bet is just not to even look.
Sean Smith: That's true.
Sam Ovens: When it comes to social media, yeah, that stuff. Of course you still have to look at messages from your team, and someone's got to be looking at the customer support. But the social media stuff, yeah, those systems aren't built for scale. They're made for the average person that's excited when they get a message because it's a rare occurrence.
Sean Smith: Yep.
Sam Ovens: So then, tell me ... You started with the agency, tell me why you decided to change out of that and get into the Amazon thing?
Sean Smith: Yeah, so well, the agency is around Amazon too, right? It serves the same purpose, but it's just using a DFY model. You have this evolution of a consultant, right? It's like a straight line, and then it has DFY, one-on-one coaching, something like that, then it's group coaching, and then a program. I can't remember off the top of my head, but it's the evolution of a consultant. At the end of the accelerator, there's this video where you start talking about how you can't scale with the DFY model. You just can't do it, right, which makes sense because to scale, you have to have a product that you can sell over and over again. Right? That's what you have to do, and with DFY, there's too much customization, there's too much involvement on that front. So that last video in the accelerator just resonated with me. Our goal is to serve as many people as possible, and to be able to serve as many people as possible and get them results, it's like DFY won't work. Right?
Sean Smith: So the training program does work, right, because it's a much more scalable model. That video just resonated very well with me. I just talked to my partner about it and I was like, “Man, we have to get into Uplevel because it's going to allow us to scale, serve more people, and get more people results.” It'll be a different model, it's going to be a lot of work because it's a different model. It's a completely different model, and there is a learning curve to it. But we were like, “We have to test it.” So we got in, and we just started doing the work.
Sam Ovens: Got it. So I understand that, and you were doing the exact same thing because you were helping Amazon businesses with done for you, with the ads, with that and then you just decided to change the vehicle of delivery from doing it for them, to teaching them how to do it themselves.
Sean Smith: Exactly.
Sam Ovens: So let's explain it, first of all, in its done for you form. Who the niche is, and then what their problem is, and then how the solution works? Just so people who are listening can understand the core building blocks of this thing.
Sean Smith: Sure. The audience or the market is Amazon businesses. Amazon businesses. Once they get to a certain point in their business, once they start to scale, they have this problem where they're not managing their advertising very well, or they can't keep on managing it well. So what they do is they'll look for an agency, or a consultant, to manage those ads for them because-
Sam Ovens: These are Amazon ads?
Sean Smith: Amazon ads, yep. Only Amazon ads.
Sam Ovens: Say this business sells, I don't know, batteries or something. They list them on Amazon. Is Amazon not enough, just to list your product on there and then for it just to sell?
Sean Smith: Yeah, it's not enough because Amazon treats organic ... Yeah, a lot of people ... If you put up a listing, like you say, we have batteries. Somebody puts up the listing, it's there. They have the picture, they have all the information on the product page. It's not enough for them to just ... It's just not going to come because there are other competitors. Long story short, you need ads to drive traffic because-
Sam Ovens: This is the only one with that thing, for example. Like if it's your own product.
Sean Smith: If it's your own product and you're the only one with that thing, and it has search volume, then yeah, you probably don't really need them because nobody else is competing with you.
Sam Ovens: Got it. So these people probably originally came to Amazon just thinking it was going to work organically. They get maybe a trickle, and maybe a little bit, but then not much. So then they decide to try the Amazon ads, and how do the Amazon ads work? Compared to say, running Facebook Ads or Google AdWords or something? Explain Amazon ads.
Sean Smith: Yeah, sure. So Amazon has its own advertising platform within they call it the seller central, where the person who runs their business logs in to see all their stuff, their inventory, all their reports. So they have this advertising platform within their own dashboard. What the really unique thing that Amazon does is they treat organic and paid purchases with the same organic juice, you could call it. So if somebody types in a key word and searched for AA batteries, and they click on your ad and they buy it, then you get organic attribution for that specific keyword. So ads not only help in terms of driving sales for the product, it also helps with organic visibility, which is huge. I don't think AdWords does that, so that's what makes it a little unique.
Sam Ovens: It does actually, in a way, indirectly. It's interesting you say that because ... And so does all ads because ... But probably nowhere near as much as Amazon because it just gives more traffic, and a purchase, and a whole bunch of the ranking factors in PageRank is traffic and purchases.
Sean Smith: Oh yeah, that's true.
Sam Ovens: You know what I mean? So it's literally feeding it up.
Sean Smith: Yeah. Yeah, so it's a similar situation. Amazon uses conversion rate and overall sales, and things like that, for their rank factors.
Sam Ovens: They probably use satisfaction a lot too, huh?
Sean Smith: Like customer satisfaction?
Sam Ovens: Yeah.
Sean Smith: Yeah, you'll get penalties if you don't keep up with customer messages, and if you're getting poor ratings.
Sam Ovens: That makes sense. So the ads help this person start moving this stuff. Are they very expensive? Because ads on other channels like Facebook and stuff can be quite expensive for someone selling batteries or something.
Sean Smith: It's a new platform compared to AdWords, it's brand new. It's only been around for three years or something like that. When it started, it was so cheap, like two-cent clicks, right? Now, it's just ... I mean, it's more expensive than it used to be, but in terms of return on investment, it's generally a better ROI than any other platform at the moment. Another really unique thing about Amazon ads is they tell you the sales that you get in the actual dashboard, which is very unique. With Google AdWords, you have to set up analytics and things like that, Google Analytics. It's very simple, so they'll give you a dashboard, how much you spent, how many sales you got from that, and its attributes to the click. So yeah, that's kind of how ... They have a better ROI than ... I read on PPC Hero that, I think, they have a better ROI than any platform at the moment, generally.
Sam Ovens: Got it. That's interesting. Then you help people, you help Amazon sellers with the ads.
Sean Smith: Yep.
Sam Ovens: That's what you did as an agency.
Sean Smith: Yeah.
Sam Ovens: How do you differentiate yourself from other people who say they help people sell more stuff on Amazon with Amazon ads?
Sean Smith: These are really good questions. I would say differentiation wise, that's a good ... What is that USP that we have? Well, one of the things we focus on that makes us a little different is we kind of focus on seven and eight figure businesses. So people with bigger amount of products that need to scale their ads. If you have a few campaigns, it's easy. But when you start getting 20 SKUs or 30 products, you want to run ads for those, and that becomes a mess. So we have software and we also have, Amazon has these operations you can use, with bulk operations, you can use with spreadsheets, to do things at scale. That's one of the big, really massive differentiators because a lot of people use Amazon's user interface, which is extremely slow and inefficient as a platform itself. So we don't use that at all. We use software and then the Excel files to scale and manage things. So I would say that's a huge differentiator.
Sean Smith: Another thing I guess is we just provide a solid product. Amazon is kind of like this gold rush, right? There was ASM, and there's this big gold rush, and Amazon is growing, I mean, you know man, it's ridiculous. Their ad revenue, I think, is 4% of the total market right now, or something like that, and they're climbing pretty quickly to compete with the duopoly. So that massive growth rate, there's a lot of Amazon sellers and service providers. So when you get this gold rush of service providers, some of them might not be accredited, they might not do as well of a job, and so one of the big differentiators is we're honest, we work hard, we're in it for the long-term, and we want to serve people well. I feel like that's a big differentiator in the market, when you have a gold rush where there's low barriers to entry and anybody can get in.
Sam Ovens: Yeah. I guess that could be summarized as in you're just better, which is actually a point of difference. You know? It is a point of difference.
Sean Smith: Yeah, I'm just better.
Sam Ovens: Like how's Michael Jordan different from other NBA players? He's just better.
Sean Smith: He's just better. Yeah, he's just ridiculous.
Sam Ovens: So you were running into troubles running this as an agency, trying to scale up, because of the typical agency problem where it just gets too complicated. So you saw the video where in accelerator, where I talked about creating a program, you joined Uplevel, and then you started to create the program.
Sean Smith: Yep.
Sam Ovens: Walk me through how that went. What was that journey like?
Sean Smith: I'm always surprised at how many people don't just do what you say, right? When we started this Uplevel thing, we said to ourselves, “Has Sam provided us an ROI with the accelerator?” We're like, “Yeah.” So when we bought into it, we were like, just do what he says. Don't veer from the path. Just stay focused and on task. So what we had to do was, number one, the first thing that we did was, we kind of made this promise to only do what you ... We stay within the limits of the program, which aren't really limits, but just kind of do the blueprint. We called it the blueprint, and just do what you said. Go through each video step-by-step, implement each action. So what does the process look like? Well, the first thing you said to do was pre-sell it. That was really hard. We were pre-selling at a price point that we normally didn't pre-sell at, and so it was really, really nerve racking to ask for that price on a call. So the pre-selling was a little tough, just because I had to get used to that.
Sean Smith: So we pre-sold it, we did pre-sell it. We said to ourselves, we're not going to start building this thing until we get at least one customer, which is what you told us. It's the proof of concept, right? Well, the proof is like three for the ads, but for this one, to build the program is you need at least one customer. So we just put out there that the results we were getting. We started doing the farming, social media farming, where we would post results for clients that we got in our agency. So we had this mix of people coming in who wanted to work with us as an agency, but we had to explain that we were only working on the training program, which was totally fine. But we posted that, and then we got an influx of people who were interested. So once we posted that, those results, on social media of our best clients' performance, people were commenting and sending us DMs. So we set up calls from there, and then we pre-sold. We got our first pre-sale, and then we were like, we got to start building. But we had three other calls, so we ended up pre-selling four accidentally, kind of, which is really nice, and that really helped with the cash flow as well.
Sean Smith: So we pre-sold four of them, four of the training program packages, and those calls were tricky because you're selling kind of like a vision. Right? You don't have anything, and so you have to be honest and clear about what's going to happen. So we were just like, hey, after we close the first sale, we're going to start building it in a week, so that we can start getting enrolling, and we should have the first video done in a week. So learning that, the pre-selling was really nice because once ... The pre-selling is kind of like this mountain that you have to climb, and then once you have the training program, it makes selling a little easier. Because if you can pre-sell the thing for the same price as selling it, then it's just psychologically a lot easier on the mind, and you have more confidence built up. That was interesting.
Sean Smith: So we got the first pre-sale, and then we just started building the program based on what you, you know, building the NVC, based on going through each video. We didn't anticipate how ... Oh man, those videos take forever. When you build the training program, it's arduous work man. It really tests your ability to do one thing for a really long time, alone. You get to a point where you're running the business where you're talking to people more and stuff like that, and then you switch from that to doing a video alone, there's a transition, which is fine with me. I work alone anyways, so it wasn't too much of an issue. But yeah, those videos, we want to do them right, and we went through your workflow and how to set up everything. So we just did everything and we wanted to get the NVCs as soon as possible, so we tried to pump out one to two modules a week, and then balance that with sales. So that's kind of how we got started and where everything started for the Uplevel training program.
Sam Ovens: Yeah, it's good. I like that part about ... I don't like that part about creating courses, making them really good, it's real hard work, but it's a good moat.
Sean Smith: It is.
Sam Ovens: Because other people are just like, “I'm not doing that.” Just to even copy it, it's too hard.
Sean Smith: It's so true. We would have a process for it. We'd create, the video is 15 minutes or even 30 minutes, and it takes hours to create. Because you have to have resources, cheat sheets, you have to have Excel templates. The actual piece that you teach is not very long, but if you want to make it really good, you have to have the MP3. There's so many pieces to it that's happening on the backend, you have to edit. It was wild man. Then we had to use data from our existing-
Sam Ovens: Are you editing your videos?
Sean Smith: Yeah.
Sam Ovens: Why are you doing that?
Sean Smith: That's a good question. Because I have to use data from ... I use data from accounts and I can't show their data, so I have to blur it out.
Sam Ovens: That's why you create a demo account.
Sean Smith: Oh.
Sam Ovens: If you notice, if I log in, just go look at the details in all of the videos in my trainings, both of them. I'll use the email [email protected]
One, so people can't see my real email. Two, because I have a separate account in Infusionsoft, and ActiveCampaign, and Facebook Ads, for everything in with that login. So I can log in there, and play around and show that. I also have another domain, samevansdemo.com. So everything, I have created another instance. So I have my normal, real operation, and then I have my demo operation. I do the trainings on the demo because otherwise, it's a nightmare man. There's information all over the place that you don't really want to have in a training, like your email address, your clients might be private information, all sorts of things.
Sean Smith: One thing that's tricky is even if I create that email address, I still have to have access to real data. To do the training program, I have to have access to one of my client's accounts to be able to download the information. So I was wondering what's a workaround for that? Because I have to see the spreadsheets and make all the changes and stuff. Should I just change the data in the spreadsheet?
Sam Ovens: Yeah, well I mean, what sort of data is this spreadsheet?
Sean Smith: Like products, it'll be somebody's specific SKU or something like that, that we don't want other sellers to know about. Because in the Amazon space, people get a little-
Sam Ovens: So I would just change the SKUs, scramble the SKUs, and then leave everything else the same. Because then it will look real because it is, but they can't piece it back to that core thing.
Sean Smith: Okay, I'll do that. I think that'll save me some time. Because yeah, editing, blurring it out, that's-
Sam Ovens: Oh yeah, you can't do that.
Sean Smith: All right. It's gone, it's dead. We're going to go bury it after this call.
Sam Ovens: I don't need it. It's hard enough. It takes sometimes a day or two to make all the content, and then it takes an hour or two to record. Then it might take an hour to export. I'm not going to be editing on top of that.
Sean Smith: Yeah.
Sam Ovens: Whatever I record, I just push it out.
Sean Smith: I noticed with building a module, I don't know how you feel about it, but you can't stop and come back. At least for me-
Sam Ovens: One take.
Sean Smith: Yeah. Because you have to come back to everything. You have to know where you were-
Sam Ovens: No, I play it as a game. One take.
Sean Smith: One take.
Sam Ovens: Even if it's three hours man, I'll do it in one take.
Sean Smith: Yeah.
Sam Ovens: And then it gets good because once you get into it, you're like, can't fuck it up now because I'm an hour-and-a-half in. And it makes it easy to edit. Plus people like it too because they're like, “Wow, this is just ... He's really just doing this in one take, with one attempt, and it's not scripted or anything.” You know?
Sean Smith: Yeah. I'll do it that way man, because I know, yeah. I noticed in your videos you do that, I could see where you'll change something in the slide, or something that ... Yeah.
Sam Ovens: Yeah, because sometimes you spot a little error, and you just got to change it right there and then, and keep going.
Sean Smith: Yep.
Sam Ovens: Because otherwise, it's just not worth it. It might make it that much more polished, but it takes too much time and it doesn't add that much value to the user. So it's like, it's fine.
Sean Smith: Yep.
Sam Ovens: So you made the program, you pre-sold one of them, then you started selling it and you started scaling up. What's it been like selling a program versus selling done for you?
Sean Smith: That's a really good question. In terms of the differences in models, on the agency side, one of the benefits is you have retainers. So retainers is monthly recurring revenue that you can kind of depend on, right? There's a stickiness to it kind of where if you earn a client's trust and they get results, then they're going to want to work with you. So you almost kind of have this safety net, I guess, of income. So that's one thing, so that. Then the other thing on the agency side is you're managing several accounts, and so you're actually implementing things, you're doing it, and so you have to go in there, and then you have to communicate with the client. There's a lot of interaction on that end. With the training program model, what's really unique is you have to be good at sales because you don't have that retainer. You're selling a program, and so you have to really get good at that, which I like to do. So I'm very, very happy about that. So you have to get good at the sales side of it, and so you have to able to sell way more than you would with an agency, because you can get up to a certain revenue, and that would be monthly recurring.
Sean Smith: On the training program side, you can just sell more. There's really no ceiling because with the agency side, if you add on clients, there's the implementation part of it on the backend, but there's also a relationship part of it. So when you scale, you have to figure out, like you have to have account executives, account managers. And then if you're kind of the face of the brand, which I've been kind of, people really want to work with you. Right? That's kind of one thing. Then people are trying to pull you into it a little bit, so that's kind of tricky. So you're scaling up and you have all these accounts, and you have to get account executives, which really kind of thins the margins a little bit. Then it's just more you'll be managing them as well, and so that's one thing on that.
Sean Smith: So you start to see this kind of like ... In the beginning, when you're small as a consultant, the margins are high and it's a little easier. But as you scale, it becomes a different model. And it's not better or ... Well, I like the training program model because you can just keep doing it. Since you're not doing anything and you're teaching them to do it, you just keep selling it over and over and over again, and there's really no ceiling on how many you can sell. The only things that pop up when you start scaling up the training program is the amount of time for support, mainly because you have more people in the program and you want to make sure that they get results. That's been kind of the big one, is the support side of it. But it's just, you know, you can just do more. You have to learn how to sell, but you can just ... I don't know, like you said, scale it to the moon.
Sam Ovens: Yeah, it has its little points, but they're way higher. So much higher, you know? The agency starts breaking at like 10 clients, maybe five even. My course business starting breaking at like 15 million a year.
Sean Smith: Yeah, that is [crosstalk].
Sam Ovens: It was like 10,000 customers. So there's a big difference between five and ten thousand.
Sean Smith: Yeah. I'm finding I like it. One other really cool thing is when you do the training program, since you're not constantly having to work with the relationship management side of it, it allows you kind of to step back, and just kind of look at things from a bird's eye view. I don't know, it's given me more time to step back and keep learning your training. It just gives me more room-
Sam Ovens: It's to clean up your thinking because you don't have so much bullshit. Man, the client management stuff is mostly bullshit. You look in any agency, you can't tell me that much value is created in those stupid meetings.
Sean Smith: Clean up your thinking-
Sam Ovens: Or those reports. Those damn reports. They're useless, and everyone wants them.
Sean Smith: I like that, the clean up your thinking. It's so true man. Helped me clean up my thinking.
Sam Ovens: Yeah, the creating the course helps you do that a lot because it's to force you to put it into a structure, and into containers, and all the interconnections between it. You have to define terms for things, set parameters, you have to take this thing you know how to do, and put it into a structure that other people can follow. That really forces you to think it through.
Sean Smith: I like how you talk ... That type of thinking is good for running a company as well, right? Whenever you have to segment things-
Sam Ovens: It's good for being a human.
Sean Smith: It's good for being a human.
Sam Ovens: Knowing how to think is very beneficial for everything.
Sean Smith: Yeah, well said. Well said for sure. That's hilarious.
Sam Ovens: Steve Jobs said something similar. I watched lots of his documentaries. He's got a really good one, which is like a private interview one with him. But he says that one thing he thinks everyone should do is learn how to code or write basic computer language because it really forces you how to think.
Sean Smith: Yep.
Sam Ovens: That's kind of what a program is. It's just taking this thing that you want to happen, all right, like you want this thing to happen, and you know how to vaguely explain it. But then it forces you to break it into every damn step, and then define everything and get everything exact. It's painstaking because you have to take something that you would usually just have a conversation about, and it would just be very high level, into a damn process that has to work. That there, that's what computer programming is because you're taking a concept and turning it into a machine that will actually do it. That's also what a program is, in a way. It's like you're taking ... It's even got the word program. You're taking-
Sean Smith: That's true.
Sam Ovens: You're taking this vague thing and you're putting it into step-by-step instructions, except instead of a CPU processing it, it's another human.
Sean Smith: Yep, it's true. Now that I think about it, it kind of forces you to ... Whenever you're doing programming, you have to think a lot slower, and you have to look at things in a more detailed way. So you build these if-then statements in your head, and I don't know, I feel like my thinking is a lot more slower, and I think, better. Because like you said, learning to code it, it's meticulous man. Programming? I'm not a programmer, but it's extremely arduous and brutal on the mind because you're sitting there, just digging for needles in haystacks, especially when you're troubleshooting lines.
Sam Ovens: Yeah, it's like you have to focus on ... You're writing out a sentence that has objects in it, that is calling items from a database that have been previously stored there. So you've got these different libraries, so you have to hold all these libraries in your mind. This is what happens when I'm creating a program. I've got the niche library, and the foundations library, I've got the messaging library, the pricing one, the mindset and goals one, and all of these things are full of these different users. Then I'm writing a line and it's calling these different things, and it's interconnecting them each time. So what you can't do is write a line where you specify an object where you haven't previously got the user to define that object.
Sam Ovens: So if I say, yeah, if you just use your niche and then you do this ad, people are like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, niche? What is this?”
Sean Smith: They have to call that.
Sam Ovens: Yeah, so that's why that has to go first. They define that. Now, when you call niche, they think their thing. Yeah, and then when you say mindset, they think their thing, and so you know how to ... It's all just interconnecting it all. It's not just ... That's why it's quite hard, that's why I forced myself to do the slides, and the cheat sheets, and all of that, versus just standing in front of a whiteboard or something. Because you can just stand in front of a whiteboard and just kind of babble, and you kind of explain it. But it is nowhere near enough for someone to just execute it.
Sean Smith: Yep, I agree.
Sam Ovens: And that pain is something that people try to avoid, is making the slides. But it's good for you.
Sean Smith: It is painful, I agree with you, because it's so slow. You go from working on accounts, doing these things, certain things where I guess more immediate satisfaction. But when you work within the structure, a certain context and structure, you are forced ... Because it's something on the agency side we've been doing for so long, that I can do it quickly. But whenever I'm teaching someone and going, like you said, doing the slides, man you got to really slow it down, and just step-by-step. Yeah, it's brutal man.
Sam Ovens: Yeah, it's good training in getting unhooked from instant gratification.
Sean Smith: I'm definitely getting unhooked-
Sam Ovens: So you're just chipping away at this thing, you're chipping away at this big thing. You're chipping slowly, but then before you know it, you've built this big ass thing. Then everyone likes it, and you're like, that was worth it. Then it's hard for people to do, which makes it a good competitive advantage.
Sean Smith: That's the big thing. I never really worry too much about competition, mainly because if I kind of go through what you're saying, then I'm always going to be ahead of the game. Like you said, we built this thing, it was just one by one, and then at the end of it, you see, you're in Kajabi looking at it and you're like, “Man, that thing is a beast.” It's so massive.
Sam Ovens: You look at the word count. Consulting accelerator is like the equivalent of 15 novels.
Sean Smith: That's wild dude. The most profitable novels.
Sam Ovens: Yeah, it's a lot of stuff in there.
Sean Smith: Dude, so much so. One thing I really like you teach, is it never stops. Right? You don't just stop building content. You know what I mean? We were thinking we finished our V1, and then we're like, “We have to make it better.” Because that's kind of what you teach, is you have to make a V2, and a V3. The funny thing is, it doesn't get easier, it actually gets harder. Because when you want to make it better, there are things that you missed that you have to go in and change, and they're usually things that make it more difficult to create.
Sam Ovens: Yeah, I usually find you forget about how hard it was the last time. So you have kind of a false belief that it's going to be easier, and then you realize how hard it is to even make it the same as what it was. Now, you've got to make it better, which isn't fun when you ... when the heavens ... But that's what improvement is, you know? It's hard work, and if you want to go to that next level, you've got to dig deeper to find even more, and then even more. Because you need more drive and more commitment each time you want to go to another level.
Sean Smith: Yeah, you got to push yourself pretty hard. You got to kind of go to that edge a little bit, but not go over the edge.
Sam Ovens: How do you get clients for your program, your Amazon program?
Sean Smith: I guess one thing, when I started my program, me and my business partner, we've been doing ads for two years, or two-and-a-half years, so we were pretty well known. We had spoken, and so we had a brand, which ... But I would say, let's just go through literally what we did. Here's what we did. We posted on social, we posted on LinkedIn and Facebook on our timelines every day. We used your swipe file, and so we focused on posting results. So we focused on posting results. We had posted some videos on tips, like little quick videos, we'd make them pretty fast. Then we would just maybe write one out. And I'd try to batch it, so every Saturday or Sunday, I'd create seven, so that I don't have to do it. I don't know, I don't like to do it every day. I like to have it batched out so then I don't have to think about it. Then it gives me time to kind of feel the messaging.
Sean Smith: So that was one way, is posting on social every day. It was LinkedIn and Facebook. Then the other way was sending people messages. So finding people in Facebook groups that are relevant to our market, friending them, and then sending them messages. It's new-age attraction, you teach it in the Uplevel, and that helped out a lot. We're having to cut down on the amount of messages we send. Facebook is definitely ... We used to send 50 a day, and then we started getting some messages saying like, “Hey, you're not using this program the way it was meant to be used. So we're not going to allow you to send a message for the next four hours,” or something like that. So we've kind of-
Sam Ovens: Can you find them on Amazon? The people who are your ideal clients.
Sean Smith: I guess we could. Hold on. Yeah, I guess we could.
Sam Ovens: Can you not buy their product?
Sean Smith: Yeah.
Sam Ovens: Come in as a customer.
Sean Smith: Hold on. I want to test it.
Sam Ovens: And then buy one of their products, and then come in as their customer. It's always a good way.
Sean Smith: Okay. As a customer. What would be the best way to reach them?
Sam Ovens: Well, you know Amazon.
Sean Smith: I do. Yeah, I know what it is. Yeah, okay. I want to test that. Because I mean, you know, if you think about it this way, even if I sunk ... Let's say if I spend a thousand bucks, right? From products from potential clients. If I close one, our training program is $4800, so that's my CPA for Facebook Ads. Same thing.
Sam Ovens: To legally change your name to Jeff Bezos, it'll probably help.
Sean Smith: Dude, that would be ridiculous.
Sam Ovens: I mean, it's doing direct outreach.
Sean Smith: I'd have a lot of fun-
Sam Ovens: Everyone would be like, “What? Jeff Bezos wants to help me with my ads?”
Sean Smith: Dude, I'd have to, I don't know man. I definitely couldn't do any Skype. I'd have to take off the option to do video Skype calls on my-
Sam Ovens: Oh no, it'd just be like ... You're not actually him. You're not pretending to be him. But you just so happen to have the same name, which is pretty funny.
Sean Smith: Oh yeah, I know what you're saying. Dude, that'd be-
Sam Ovens: I don't know if I'd do that because it's a bit too far, but it would be funny.
Sean Smith: That would be hilarious.
Sam Ovens: If you legally did it too. Because if you were just using a pen name, then it's kind of sleazy. But if you legit went all the way, then if your actual name was Jeff Bezos, then you could legally message people as Jeff Bezos.
Sean Smith: Don't tell me to do that. I might ... Yeah, you're going to have a student named Jeff Bezos in your training program soon. I'm just joking.
Sam Ovens: So what's the future look like for you? What are your plans for the next one, three, five years?
Sean Smith: That's a good, good question. One of the things that I haven't fully been able to do is execute on everything you ... Like you had this pin-up called the winning formula for mixing promotions. I haven't been able to do all of them in a month, and so that's one of my goals, to do all of them. Because we're doing well without it, imagine how we would do with it. So that's a big one. I mean, one, three, five years. So let's say, one year, just keep growing the program. Basically, month-over-month, I have certain goals that I'm trying to hit, and then I just want to keep growing it as soon as possible. So November, I want to do 50, and then the next month, probably 75. Then I want to hire a sales rep. So kind of what we did was, so since we're doing about 25k in the agency, I want to get to 50 in one month for the training program, and then I want to hire a sales rep.
Sean Smith: I'm going to do what you said, you said the best way to do it is have them sit next to you, and just ... Because it has to be there, right? So that's going to be the first person that I hire. We just want to keep growing the revenue. Our first milestone is 100k a month, just using LinkedIn, Facebook Ads, and Facebook. Then probably around 100, 125k, maybe get a second rep, and just keep scaling the up. One thing I learned about your program is, super crucial, is getting really good at the ads side of it because that's your specialty. Right? That's what you've really scaled it up with in terms of the whole company, you spend so much money on ads. So learning that portion of it is a huge, huge part of it. So I want to get just smoking good at those. So that's going to be kind of what we do. I mean, I'm kind of in it for the long-term. In terms of number goals, I guess I haven't planned them out for one, three, and five years.
Sean Smith: In terms of really long-term Sam, I was reading Principles by Ray Dalio, and he says the two things humans are engineered for is meaningful work, and meaningful relationships. As soon as I read that, I read it recently, I was like, man, this is going to change how I do everything, and it's going to make me a lot more ... I don't know, I'm going to be able to do this for a really long time if that's how I focus. You've even talked about at the quantum, that your mission and vision, it shouldn't be a number. Your goal shouldn't be the number. The number one goal should be the vision and the mission of your company. So I'm really banging that into my head because I want to be able to do this for a really long time, and I know I want to do it, but I have to condition myself that way. Right? Humans, they're not built to think super long-term, and so you have to condition the mind. So that's my really long-term goal, is to condition my mind to where I just want to keep going forever. I know that's really high level, but I know that long-term, that's what's going to do the best for the organization.
Sam Ovens: Nice. What would you say has been the most transformative part of going through the Uplevel program?
Sean Smith: The most transformative part was seeing it work. That was the big one. We bought it, we paid $5,800. Right? We're like, “$5,800, let's just do it.” So far, we've made in five months, $189k in revenue at an 80% margin. So dude, I just look at it and I go, “It works.” The stuff you taught us works. That was extremely transformative, number one. And then number two, kind of how you've used business would be the big one, where ... Well, that's not Uplevel though. That's more like how you think about things, for example, you talk about Mark Zuckerberg and ... Like people who run the biggest companies, they're not looking to leave. You got to pull them out. Gates is a good example. The only reason he left was because he knew that he was getting old and he couldn't keep up. He knew his market moved so fast, so he needed to hire somebody young. The first one was the most transformative, just seeing the money, and then number two is kind of how you taught, how you view business, and things like that.
Sam Ovens: Nice, cool. Then what would your number one piece of advice be for other members of Uplevel or accelerator?
Sean Smith: It's extremely simple. Just watch the videos, do the work, show up to the Q&A calls. Simple.
Sam Ovens: Yep, it's simple, but it's ... It's common sense, but it's not common practice.
Sean Smith: You just got to shut everything out, right?
Sam Ovens: Who would've knew? Maybe if you buy a course, maybe you should watch it. Maybe just watch it.
Sean Smith: Do it, test it.
Sam Ovens: It's like if you bought a movie, maybe play it.
Sean Smith: Just focus on it and just don't do anything else.
Sam Ovens: Yeah.
Sean Smith: Yeah, so-
Sam Ovens: That is it. Once that happens, the other things just start unfolding. But that's the start.
Sean Smith: Yeah, you can't make it complicated. Even with the training program, sometimes I get a little outside of it. So I have some of your pin-ups taped to my wall, and I just kind of use those to check me. My number one check is am I doing everything that was taught to me to do? And if it's a yes, well then I have to be a bit more creative and figure out how to maybe scale those efforts that you told. Or maybe ask you in a Q&A call, or Jesse, or Nick. Then number two is if the answer is no, then just do what the thing says.
Sam Ovens: Nice. Then how can people learn more about you?
Sean Smith: If they want to learn more about me, they can just go to ppcamsaccelerator. com.
Sam Ovens: Cool. Well thanks for jumping on and sharing your story. Looking forward to doing another one with you soon when you get up to the next level.
Sean Smith: Oh I'm going to get there Sam. We're going to be doing it sooner than later my man. Man, I'm so excited, you have no idea.
Sam Ovens: Awesome. Well, thanks for taking the time and we'll speak soon.
Sean Smith: All right Sam. I'll talk to you later man. Thanks for having me. Bye.