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Recurring Revenue

#
36
Chris Do
Published
March 1, 2017

Chris Do leads a keynote with the Pro Group to talk about managing recurring revenue.

Read Transcript
All right, cool. Hey, guys, welcome to episode 30 six, we're going to be talking about one recurring revenue this week, and this is a topic that Rob Mac started, and now we're getting some clarity as to why this is really important to you. Here's what I heard him just say. He said that he was concerned about runway. He was concerned about having a book of sales thinking about the long term. I think he's even tiptoeing into a situation where you might sell the business. So what's the company worth if it's only worth something, if you're in it all the time? There's no predictability. There's no projections. There's nothing there. So you're living kind of hand-to-mouth from job to job. So he's wondering how has blind been able to survive in the last 22 years without doing much of recurring revenue at all and recurring revenue? You can think of it as a retainer you can think of as a subscription model if you're in the software space. Are there any of the words in terms that we could use to describe this, you guys? Essentially, your client has agreed to pay you a specific amount of money for a type of work, and they're making a commitment over a period of time. OK you can think of it as financing. There's lots of ways to think about this. I know Mr Blair ends is a fan of this as an alternative way to get more money from the client when they have sticker shock. So that's a strategy. So let me first go into how we've run our business. And then we can talk about this. And we're going to just open this up. OK, now here's the why. What problem are you guys trying to solve? And I'm going to go and edit this document in a second, but we're going to have a conversation about it. OK, so from my own experience. In the very early days of the company, my goal was always to charge way more than what it would cost me to do the work. So when Rob was talking about having some cushion of 100,000 or something like that, that's great. Except for even by a year or two, we already had hundreds of thousands of in the bank because we just charge so much money up front. That means that we could run the company effectively for seven or eight months without doing a single other job. The amount of money we were looking at in those early days was so great relative to the amount of work, and you guys have heard me say this before when we're doing commercial work. We were charging the clients $10,000 per title for their TV commercials. And when you're doing a car campaign, we're talking about 28 32 titles. OK the design took a little bit of time, the animation took a little bit of time to set up, but once we set up the animation files, all we had to do is swap the deal out. So if it's supposed to say 2.5% APR and for a different region, it's at 2.1% Swapping that out, hitting render putting the files on a drive meant we made another 10,000. Those are you guys that are familiar with the after effects work. Realize how simple that is to do. But back in the day, there were only a handful of shops that did this work at that level. And so we're able to command a premium. There wasn't a lot of competition. Now, of course, fast forward to 2017, all that has changed now as a race to the bottom. And so we operate typically anywhere between 6 and 7 months of runway. And on a different episode, we've talked about how to calculate your runway. I'm not to get into that right now, but basically it means I have six or seven months of financial maneuverability without going into the red, and that's a very healthy status of our company. Now, many of you guys are literally going from month to month as in New checks are coming in to pay off this month's rent or salaries or whatever else you have. And that's a tough, tough situation to be in. OK, now that's not to mention the new business that we're in, which is the future, which we have completely passive income. The company is worth something, whether I survive or not. OK so there's a lot of things that we're going to get into here. OK, so rob, let's open it up to you now. Why don't you ask like one or two questions? And then we will get Aaron and Tina, who have a lot of experience with doing retainers and especially Tina, who 80% of her sales come from retainer type situations. Look, I think one of the biggest things I was struggling with, I've actually had to have a few retainers in play and they're strictly ours for dollars, which which is fine. But I'd love to figure out if there was some way to bring the whole putting value in the strategy of it instead of straight hours, $4 coming up with a way where it's based on value. And I've seen a couple of systems out there where people do these things with like credits, where they try to do some price abstraction by instead of buying hours, you're buying credits and a video is like three credits and a post is one credit and this kind of thing. And I'm wondering if anyone has tried that or had a success and any ideas around that. And then also ideas around pitching people on just doing this stuff in general. OK, so let me understand the question, then whoever has an answer can chime in. Excuse me. Why isn't it switching to my mike? All right. Well, whatever. All right. So what Rob was asking is, is there another way to charge so that it's not ours for money? Now, when you say credits, that's an abstraction of ours again, you're basically selling units of time against money. And I don't know of any other way. To charge a retainer. So let's find out from the group who's got an answer. Well, this is Aaron here, guys. First of all, I did that live stream, Rob based off of your question and I've never charged based on value. It is definitely a trading time for dollars, and that's something that we're running into right now, where we don't necessarily want to scale out any wider. We don't want to grow our team much wider, but we are kind of hitting a ceiling in our own agency because we are still essentially trading time for dollars. But one thing that I want to say, I can't answer that part of the question, but the other part of the question I can't answer and that is I'm sorry about the background noise. I'm in a diner, guy. It's all good man. It's all good. You know, how do you sell retainers? Well, first of all, I think that with Chris and what you do, I'm I'll just look at your business model in general. Like a lot of what you do, man is very large ticket items when you're doing videos for Microsoft, which are like a one off massive project for a very large company and the type of stuff that I do. And I think most of us in the future do is, you know, just general graphic design, work, web development where I'm not saying you don't do that, but like this is where we decided to Institute retainers because we felt that the relationships that we wanted to have with our clients needed to be ongoing. So I'll give you a really good example. One of our clients, they need ongoing design work. Why? because they do trade shows, because they do ongoing marketing and advertising, because of the ongoing Facebook ads, Google ads, campaigns, things like that. I mean, these are not like small mom and pop shops. These are companies that are doing a few million a year. Typically, we find our sweet spot to be around 5 to 10 million a year, like if they're doing that amount of money a year in revenue. They're very active in marketing and promoting themselves, so they're very active in paying for sponsorships at trade shows, maybe magazine ads, maybe they have ongoing videos, things like that. What they're looking for is a strategic partner. Someone that they can align with in the way that I've presented it in the past is we are considered to be like your outsourced CMO. You know, for a company that can't afford to have an in-house marketing department, you can act as that. And we've set up systems like Trello and toggle and other things to provide them with 100% transparency and visibility to make them feel and totally understand that we are literally a direct extension of their company. We have a 30 minute response time. I mean, essentially, if you really look at like if you really think about what we're doing, we're saying, hey, we'll come and work for you. It's kind of like we're taking on this role of an employee, what we're doing it at an agency level for four retainer based. I mean, we charge $200 dollars an hour for our retainers. So that's what we charge right now. And it seems to be working out really well. It definitely reduces the ups and Downs that we have in our business, right? We can. We always have money coming in, no matter what. We have a runway for the next nine months like it provides a certain level of security, but I'd say it amounts to about 75% of our business. The other 25% go to one off projects. And in fact, most of the one off projects are actually from the same clients that pay us a retainer. But they need an overage of stuff because of maybe they need something done that's expedited. Or maybe there's just some random one off project that they come typically from our retainer clients. So I'm going to shut up for a second myself. You guys have any questions. Yeah, I got questions for you. So you guys that are doing retainer models, how are you structuring the deal? Like, let's get into the nuts and bolts of it. If are you charging based on a discounted hourly rate, like if they were to hire us, let's say we're $350 an hour, which I think we are OK. $350 an hour. But if you go under retainer model, are they buying in bulk chunks of time like, say, 30 hours at a time, at a slightly reduced rate like, say, to 70 five? Is that how you're doing it? Can you talk about that? No so I'm not. We're not doing that. They're paying $200 an hour. And if it goes above and beyond the retainer, it's $250 an hour. Anything above and beyond that, unless it's a one off project that comes from one of our ala Carte menus where they can kind of pick and choose something. So how do we sell it And how do we structure it? We have a slide in our deck that says things like, so we do things like and this is something I learned when I was at the inbound conference hosted by HubSpot in Boston last November is that if you give them an itemized list of, hey, this is what we're going to do for this ongoing retainer, they can hold you accountable to that forever. And if you give them a one page document that says we do things like, let's say, digital advertising, there might be Facebook organic, Facebook paid Google seo, you know, whatever those things are. Graphic design, print, video all your capabilities. Essentially, you put on this one slide. And then the way that we structured is at the beginning of every single month, we sit down with the actual CMO or the CEO of the company that hire us is the retainer. And we say, well, what are the main objectives that we want to focus on this month? And we create those that column with inside of our Trello and we know what we're going to do. So I kind of answered a little above and beyond that. But I think the first thing is having that slide in your deck with all of your capabilities. We do things like this. So for your $200 an hour that you're paying us at the beginning of every month, you get to select and prioritize what we talk about this. We select and prioritize based on strategy based on the vision and the trajectory that they want to go. What are we going to execute and what are we going to deploy this month? And we do that every single month. And again, you're still selling time, so if we do things like this and they run out of the allotment of time because they're throwing five campaigns at you and they can't hit items two, 3 and four, that's on them and not on you, right? We identify that early, honest, open conversation. So at the beginning of the month, we look at and say, well, what are our main objectives is to launch three campaigns. We have a good understanding of like, listen, we can probably launch two and get the third one started. Like we were very open. So part of our time queue and we build we build for conference calls. So when we're discussing this stuff, this falls under the strategy category and the conference call for you. And we're and we're actually going for that. So there's no amount of time that we spend working on a project. And this is all going through toggle, which is again, it just provides 100% transparency. And the crazy thing is, and this is what we want for our customers. We want our customers to be able to look at the results that they've gotten in their business and then cross-reference that to the amount of time that we spent doing, whether it be graphic design, strategy, web development, video production. We want them to cross-reference our productivity base to their results to say, OK, what can we? We should do that again, like we like what vitals did this month with their allocation of time. Let's do that again, because we want the same result. OK, so let's turn it over before I bring on Tina to weigh in on this and some other people, I think Sarah is saying she's done a lot of this too. So we'll go Tina and then Sarah. But does anybody have a question for Erin specifically? How do you structure like minimums of stuff do you have I'm assuming part of the cell here is that you're prioritizing them and setting aside some agency time for them every month. But is there like a minimum that you're shooting for? And then how do you also upsell it if you do it all? Yeah, I mean, our minimum level of engagement when it comes to an ongoing retainer is $5,000 a month. That's our minimum level of engagement. Our minimum level of engagement on a one off project is $10,000 a month. So what $10000? Excuse me, so that might be for ongoing strategy. That answer your question. Is there another part to that? I was thinking at some points you have, so you have overage is that, oh, how do you work out? Yeah so at the beginning of the month, if we determine that with that one client that we're going to be spending x amount of time doing things like whatever we decide if they want additional things like we have one client right now that wants us to do 10 videos that are like tutorial instructional videos that when they log into their back office system, it walks their customer through that. Those are that's considered a one off project, and that's above and beyond our scope because we're also designing collateral for upcoming shows. We're doing web.dev. We're doing ongoing SEO and things like that. So when it comes to like a one off budget like that, we just let them know like, listen, this is above and beyond the scope they already know because we do have an a La Carte menu for videos specifically, so they know exactly what they're going to be paying for that. It's just a conversation, man. I mean, I think that we come in, we come into this as an agency. And we don't come into this as a freelancer, as a couple of guys, just kind of doing this one on the side like. They do not have a problem paying us. Our clients don't they don't question it. And it's mainly because it's a different level of customer than I have three years ago. The customer I had three years ago, it would be balking at a $5,000 ticket item. You know, these guys are like, yeah, just send us over the report. And we'll get it paid. Our CFO will take care it. They have a CEO, they have a CFO. I think people that are really doing business and companies that are doing big business aren't looking at those things as much. It's just it's all about communication and showing a transfer of value. And if there's things that are above and beyond, just say that and then they pay for it. Are you running at month to month or are you having some sort of commitment to six months or 12 months or so? We we have a six month agreement, but they actually we actually have a 30 day lockout clause. So with a written consent, they can back out of the. So it's like it's like a soft six months. It's six months. And then if they want with a 30 day email or some sort of a written notice, we would back off of that ongoing retainer. But we do. We recommend that they give us 6 months so that we actually have some sort of metrics to measure the value in which we're providing their organization. We need time to do that because some of our campaigns take two to three months to even deploy so. Right, so I've got a big question for you, man. So here's my thing. If are you making them commit to a six month period at the $5,000 a month minimum because it almost looks as if you guys are a temp agency to fill in a problem? That's how it feels like to me. I mean, that's the best. That's a great way to describe it. Sure Yeah. Like I said earlier, I feel like an employee time, right? Sometimes but but we're not. We still hold this in their mind. We they come to us for strategy. And the reason I think that the difference is this a temp agency doesn't come in and do strategy. A temp agency doesn't come in and help them define where their vision is moving forward. They don't look at them as a strategic partner. They look at them as worker bees. They look at us as a strategic partner because of the fact that we use strategy. So before we even start any sort of things, like the things like stuff I'm talking about, we spend an entire month just doing strategy the whole. Typically, the whole first routine or plus a little bit extra. It's usually about 10,000. They need to spend that 10K to get started with us to even do the 5K a month. So like, we build our relationship based off of the precedence that we solve problems and will help you execute within alignment of what we're trying to do. OK, so you guys are like consultants on call with production abilities, capabilities, right? Because a lot of consultants do not know how to make anything, that's what separates you. So you can come in, do high level stuff and then you can go and actually execute it. But you're only on for as long as they feel like there's value in that engagement, right? Yeah, Yeah. And the thing is, is one of the things that you taught me, I think pretty well was that we burrowed in really deep with our clients. We have about five clients right now and. Maybe this is a little too bold, but I feel like I don't think that they could. I think it would really, really hurt them if they pulled away from us. We are such an integral part of their business of their day to day business like they look at us for systems. They look at us for organization and look at us for executables and look at us for strategy like we are. I mean, we're partially owners. Essentially, you know, is the way that I think these guys kind of view us. And I mean, some of us, some of them are having them, having us come out to these conferences that they're sponsoring, they're paying for us to do these quarterly meetings and they're flying us out. So like, yeah, we're really more of a strategic partner in that sense. OK, got it. Chris, could I chime in as well on this because it will? How's it going, sir? Please I think a really good way of looking at this retainer model is essentially not as a temp agency, but maybe very much like a consultant, like a high end consultant. Think of McKinsey, like it's essentially McKinsey, plus the option to continue and continue working with them. So rather than a one off project, the way we've looked at it is how do we ensure that we constantly have communication with that client? The retainer is a really good method for us to do that. We track ours. We we don't actually outline the amount of hours we do that. Sometimes in communication, say we kind of aim for about 10 or 20 hours in this retainer. But when we go over that, we upsell additional services. So this month we have identified you need a landing page or a video or photography or this kind of strategy. So we take that as an opportunity to just keep the conversation going and then add additional items very much in the same way that Aaron is doing. So let me clarify something. Will you kind of outline the retainer as a unit of time? However, you're not going to hold yourself accountable to that meaning. Based on these objectives, we estimate this time and this price. But if it only takes you two hours to do it, the clients don't get the difference between the time, right? Absolutely so we, we out on our invoice, we actually outlined the goals, things that we're going to do at a minimum and then say, look, that strategy is going to change every single month. We'll have a meeting. We'll figure out what we'll have a strategy meeting, we'll figure out what it is that will actually be doing that month. At a minimum, you're going to get a blog post and some social media, but we'll figure out what else will do that. Because you guys are reporting. The time. No, we report tasks we don't report at the time, right for wills motto. You can't report that time because that's not how he wants to work. So will is moving towards value based pricing, saying this task really is valuable at this price, and then we're just going to do it. And only he only brings up time if it's going to go over the time or he wants to upsell something else. Right but assuming that OK, so if you get into value based pricing, most of the times, if you do it correctly, if you know your business really well and you can manage your clients, you will make money every once in a while. You have to actually eat the cost. That's that's the issue with fixed fee pricing, right? So meaning if he estimated 10 hours and it took his team 13 hours, that's on him and he can't technically go back. He shouldn't go back to the client versus Aaron's model, which is we're going to sell blocks of time. If you go over, you pay more. If you go under, you pay less, supposedly, or there's a minimum and you don't get a credit back. So the two different models here. so I have AI have a concern, and it's that we're talking a lot about charging for time and everything from the future. So far has been against doing this. So from what I've seen and I don't have $5,000 a month clients, I have $500 a month clients, but it works really well for me. But what I see is that you need to be able to tell them, I'm going to do this for you. And it can make you maybe this much. I want to charge you x of it. That's how you do value based pricing, and I'm concerned that we're still talking about hours here when the retainer. I don't think the purpose is to simplify how much time is put into a thing. It's to expand liability for the company that has the retainer because when you have a lawyer that's on a retainer, they come to you whenever you are in jail, they're not going to say, OK, well, it'll take a week. We got a draft up a quote. No, they're going to be right there because you've already paid them, and that's one of the biggest points you're selling. So you have a question. That's my concern. It's a concern, more so is that we're all talking a lot about charging for time when I'm not sure if that's how the monthly motto isn't to charge for time. In my view, it's to charge for expanded liability. And you know, that almost partnership relationship. Does it matter? I mean, as long as you're securing business, who cares as long as you're getting money and you have work to do every month? Anything is going to take you an x amount of time. Yeah, I was and I was going to just kind of add to that to I was going to say, I mean, the reason why we went towards this because we didn't use to do this, but this is something we changed to in the last year. I mean, imagine what your business would be like if you knew that every month you were going to make 20,000 $1,000 a month every month, no matter what, like, how would that? Would that help you sleep better at night? Would that allow you to do more aggressive things in your own marketing and advertising? Would it provide you time to hire an intern or hire someone else to do video production to start a podcast? Some of these other things that you want to do. So for us, it was a necessary evil to sacrifice, not necessarily what we want to do. I would rather be in this position where we're working with, you know, the Xboxes of the world and doing 100,000 things. But because I'm not there yet, I need to build my runway. And as we do that, this was a necessary sacrifice. And I'm not saying this is the best way to do it either, because we are running into an issue where we can't scale. We don't want to hire more people. We don't want to take on more clients. You have to find that out now and you have time on the retainer. And so does the other person who is brought this up. Yeah well, so putting time on the retainer. And the invoice is not going to get you to that point. You want to. If you want to charge for value, you can't charge for time as well. Hold on, hold on, hold on, everybody. Let's just relax everybody. I don't see how you have too much coffee so that everybody Slovaks. Well, we're asking at a moment. Yeah just give me a second. Everybody just I'm telling you, is everybody chilled out before I meet you all? And the average chill. We need to bring the energy level way down. A couple of deep breaths, everybody. What we've done is to ask ourselves, who's interested in a retainer model in recurring revenue, why we want to do it, and then we're going to get into solutions if you don't like this model. Just be curious as well, because I'm curious. All right. Everybody here can do it a different way. So you still in my world. There's 1,000 different solutions. There really are, and I don't have the secret answer to anything. I only have the answer to myself. Everybody's allowed to do whatever way they want. OK, we're asking people to share and to open up. So we have to give them the space to do so. OK let me just recap really quick and then turn it over to a couple of people. Just understand what's going on. There are two people thus far have been talking Aaron Pearson and will those are their names? OK, Aaron Pearson says. You know, truthfully, it is really where we're working on temp basis, but we're doing very high level stuff and we do deliverables we can charge over just when it goes beyond scope, beyond the allotted hours. He likes it a lot because I just spit on myself because it has some kind of predictable month projections. So that he can sleep at night. He can manage his bills and finances versus me because our model is very feast or famine. We're either so busy we can't keep up with the work, and Matthew and the team are working all night or I'm sitting there hearing the crickets chirp and I don't know what to do and then panic starts to set in. So those are the models now. Will's take on it and and he's articulated very clearly. We are selling value. There's an objective to do. We're going to solve that problem for you, for that we will charge this every single month. And as our relationship deepens, we will then recommend other things that you might consider doing for which there's an additional price for it just being paid monthly versus one lump sum up front. That's very clear. Jacob brings up the point. Hey, we're always talking about value based pricing, and that's a whole other conversation altogether today we're going to talk about recurring revenue, monthly retainers. Let's table that part and then Sean, hold on. Hold on. Rachel and Sean says, who gives an F if I got money in my pocket? I don't really care what you call it, how you skin that cat. I got money in my pocket. I can pay my bills. I got baby formula to buy and diapers to put on babies. OK, now. Mo, I'm turning it over to you, and then Tina is going to go, we've got to do this. This is not the Senate here. We're going to have an orderly conversation about this. All right. OK, so. So I think what Jacob was saying is very I mean, it's not like going for a very different view. It's also the same view. So basically, there is a model which is having a retainer. Which person mentioned that having a retainer based on hourly? So they have a discounted rate and then after that, they charge over it. But actually, what Jacob is articulating, I think, is that we could have a value based model, which is that this is actually I already signed an agreement with a client to do that. So they give me a monthly fee and it doesn't involve any work. So this is only to be to allow them. Sometimes whenever they need me, they pay me for whatever they like, whatever job or project we agree to on. They pay me an extra for that. But there's a minimum fee that they pay me each month just to make sure I'm available for them. So they don't, for example, they need me after one month and then they call me up and then I say, oh, this month I'm already booked. A lot of work. Yeah all right. I think this is the best way. So you don't have. But actually, I think all of them are valid models just like everyone's choose whatever you choose your own adventure, man. It's totally cool. OK, great. Now we have clarity. Moe and Jacob have a similar business model, which is pay me a monthly fee. Just to reserve the right to call me kind of thing, and I will prioritize above everybody else. And I like that, right? And I just also want to say that I don't put hours on an invoice, so I would never say I spent 10 hours for you. Can we get do we get it? We totally get it. I get it. OK, as long as we're on the same page because we're totally good. OK, we're good. All right. All right now, Tina, your turn. I don't know what do you want to talk about? I don't know. You're like, hey, I want to say something, so I'm turning it over to you. Well, what I really love about this and you know, it wasn't really a model I started with in my career, but I love knowing at around the 12th of the month, all of our. So all of your what bills are paid internally? At the 12th of the month? I don't know if that's the exact date, but I know something like that. That's that's a really nice feeling. And above all, I don't really care about the rest from that point. Like you could argue about whether you want to do it or not, it's just nice to know that everything's paid. And if we want to go after a larger client and spend a little bit more time working on the proposal, we can do that. So it's almost just like another extension of your business that makes sense. Yeah I like it. I have a totally different business model, but I like it, so I'll tell you the other way that I've understood the value of doing a retainer. Let's say you want to sell 100,000 website. In our case, that's our minimal level of engagement. It's 100,000. And the clients are that's a big financial commitment for us. We can't do that. So this is where I might get really creative. I've never done this, but let's say we want to get really creative. Let's say we're do $30,000 up front for the strategy part and for a period of 10 or 12 months, you're going to pay us $10,000 per month, ok? And we're going to work on it. And the delivery of the site will be this. And then we'll do maintenance for you, whatever. So over the life of the job, it's actually 150,000. So it's actually more than what I was going to charge, but I've allowed them to pay it in increments. And it's a contract. They have to stay on for 12 months. Now what Blair is saying, oftentimes they love the relationship and they've become used to having available and working on the projects for them. So in which case, after the 12 months, the likelihood if you've delivered is that they'll continue on that $10,000 a month and it's a wonderful place for you to be. To me, that is a really great hybrid model. Has anybody here had success in that space where they were able to take a big job, break it out into chunks, get paid upfront for some of the heavy lifting and have a guaranteed contract for a period of time? Anybody here have success doing that. I, I think I have if I understand the question correctly, meaning it starts with a big job, but then you break it up into chunks that lasts a lot longer. You almost like a payment plan. So one of my biggest clients right now. They came to us for a small project which was to design an annual report, and then it turned into a lot of other work. They've probably spent about $60,000 with us and we just I'm expecting a $20,000 deposit for another project. We're working this week for them. And so basically the big one that turned into more work was putting together a marketing budget for them. And basically, I followed the core framework of doing discovery and strategy to the goals and prioritization and how that translates into all of their marketing efforts. And so basically, we track the user's journey through the conversion funnel and then filled up all the different channels that their users' attention is on. And then we broke that up into a budget, and so I charge them $15,000 for putting together the budget. And guess what it turned into like, OK, well, we could spend X amount of dollars here on traditional marketing. We could spend X amount of dollars here on digital marketing. We could spend X amount of dollars here on website design. So basically it's like $15,000 to put together a proposal for them that would keep us busy for the rest of the year. And so that first project, which was just the marketing budget, turned into, OK, well, how are we going to do some of these deliverables? Well, my business can help you. And so then we after that project, we work on a what I call content stacking. I said, you guys need another annual report, but instead of creating an annual report, why don't you use all that content for your website and creating blog posts? And you could use that same content to post on social media? And then we could update your website and basically get the same content and repurpose it in different formats. And so we're still working on that, and that was from six months ago. OK, cool. Anybody else want to chime in on this and then I want to have a debate about this, and everybody can argue at that point. Anybody else? Yeah I forfeit the debate already, Chris. No, you can't. I want to talk about it. Ok? anybody else have a different model that we're not talking about just yet? I had a quick question for Erin. I can just chime in. Yeah, please. By the way, Chris, I have to tell you, is everything that you do just cool because I mean, like your house just looks like it is there. Yeah the technical answer is yes, Carlos. Yes, it has to be. Hey, Aaron, can you still hear me because I can hear you? All right, cool. Thanks for being so transparent with all that stuff. I heard you mentioned that you have a 30 minute, 30 minute response time for your clients. Mm-hmm I'm just wondering, do you have an SLR in place in case you don't meet those 30 minutes? Or how do you how do you go about that if you can't get to them in 30 minutes? What's the term you use slr? Yeah, I sell a service level agreement. So sometimes clients that ask for an SLA like we develop software if they require support for the software because it crashes or they need support right away, a lot of them want to see that SLA up front to make sure we're going to respond to them within an x amount of XXX time frame. So, yeah, yeah, 30 minutes, if not, what happens, I guess? Yeah so so first of all, the 30 minute response time is something we verbally say. It's not actually in our contract. We just let them know like, listen, we're available, but there's a way that it has to be done. Number one is they have to tag one of us in Trello. So if they tag like our agency and trello, every single person within our organization gets it and it's around Robin to the first person to respond. And what we mean by a response time is like we literally are just saying, I acknowledge what you're saying. Let us look into it and we'll get back to you. That doesn't mean we're going to have an answer for you within 30 minutes. So really, it's just and it's all done through Trello that I say I meant Trello. It's all done through Trello. So the commenting on here's the thing I've got myself a new digital strategy. I'm a digital strategy director. We've got aiden, who's essentially the creative director and the director of operations. He is in front of his computer all day. If not, we have Mauricio in New York, which is on another time zone. So we're kind of between the three partners. We're covering all these different time zones where all of our different clients are in, no matter what. And then we also have some people that are in-house working for us. So no matter what, nothing falls through the cracks. And we just want to give the customer that confidence knowing that like, listen, we are going to support you. We are here for you. We're not just like, you're not going to hear back from us in two days. It's not how we operate. And it isn't how we operate. We get back to people same day. And when you only have five clients, it's pretty easy. I Gotcha. Yeah, I guess that's one of the limitations, right, you're very limited to how many clients you can actually take on, right? Like you said, scalability is an issue. Right now, the thing is we would need another 8 into to grow our business and finding another Aiden is extremely difficult. And cost a lot of money. You know, we need a project manager, and that was actually one of our questions that we wanted to talk to Chris about is, you know, he has I don't know how many creative directors he has there. I know he's got Matthew Martinez and there's a few others and we're curious, does that person, Chris, are you? Did you hear the beginning of that? I heard the whole thing, man. All right. So and this is kind of a question back to you because we're trying to figure out how do we scale this right? We've we've hit our capacity. We're making good money. Everybody's happy, we're building our runway. But we wanted to, you know, if we want to become a million agency, we need to add on 10 new clients. Now are these creative directors that you guys have at blind? Do they manage? They sell the project, manage the project, work with the client directly. I mean, I know that you have to have some participation like I would in our agency. I do initial strategy. I typically sell it, but then after that 8 and manages it. So if I wanted to add on 5 more people like, maybe don't think about my business, I'm more curious about your business. Does Matthew manage all of xbox? Yeah let me ask you our question to you guys. Here we go. What's that? He wants the secret sauce. I will tell you guys everything. No, seriously, you guys, you guys are in the Pro group. There's a reason why we're here. This is a safe place for us to share and do so in very transparent ways. And I will try to be your. You're an ambassador for how open it is. OK, so you guys can hit me up with anything, there's very little that you can ask me that I'm not going to tell you. There are three creative directors, essentially. Two of them have been with me for years, Matthew and Greg, and they run almost all the commercial projects, ok? The only thing they don't currently run are the branding projects, and typically what I do is I onboard the client. I sell the strategy, I do the strategy work and then I bring in Matthew or Greg, and now I'm bringing Ben burns into the fold to manage it. So 99% of the work that's being done in the service space, it's done by one of those three guys. So Matthew himself, just this year alone, has already done over a million of work just for Xbox alone, and he's onboarding the client. He's writing the treatment he has. He goes to dinner with the client. So as far as they know, I'm just another dude at the building, even though they know I'm the owner and I will talk to them from time to time just to make sure they know that the count is important to us and important to me personally. The only times I step in or when there are issues, issues, good issues like, hey Chris, they're asking us for 45 more deliverables. What do we do? So I chat, Chris, the client needs to hear from you right now. I feel the job slipping away. OK, let's talk a little bit about predictability and runway. Now there's something that Jose has talked about before, and I'll reiterate here for you guys, when you're in the non retainer model, which is the business, I'm in a bid on a job. I do the job. And I try to do it as efficiently as possible. I try to charge as much money for it as possible while paying the least amount to get it done. That is the cushion that I live in to survive in the lean months. OK, now for us, we're moving away from job and working on campaigns towards having accounts, accounts or what ad agencies have. There's a guaranteed media by every single year and they make a percentage on that. That's that's slightly different than your retainer model. And if you're shopping, you're like, who cares what you call it? It's money and money out. That's fine. So there's a little bit of a difference. Now We're in this position now where the agency for Microsoft is. Eisenberg and Eisenberg now feels so comfortable working with us that they don't even make us competitively bid the projects anymore. It's a rare place to be in, and it's taken years to nurture. I've known the founders of Eisenberg for almost 22 years, and in the last two years Matthew has been taking over the account. And they love him. They call me personally to tell me how much of how delightful. He is to work with, and it's been amazing. OK, let's go down the line now. We also are doing all the Anime Expo work, and now Ben burns is leading that along with Matthew. They split the chores there and I get calls from the CEO on a regular basis and we love Matthew and now we love Ben too. And that's what they're supposed to do for me. And that's about half a million. Maybe, maybe it'll get higher, but we'll see. And that's an account. So where agency of record they call me for any of their deliverables? Does that make sense, aaron? Yes, Yes. Uh-huh any follow up. Nope OK, actually would just say, I would just say because one of the last things you said is like your agency of record, where agency of record for all of our clients, so they call us for any deliverable they don't just call us for specific things. Right and that's the thing. And if they feel like they need more deliverables just up their retainer, yeah, OK. You know. All right. I'm going to try me on this one. Yeah so, Aaron, I think you're right. There's a scalability issue there and it's we've come across that as well the Aden's of the world. And for us, the range of the world are really difficult to find. And I'm not sure how often you come across the Matthews Chris, but they're very difficult to find. And then the question becomes about retaining and managing them. Yep, making they're happy. It's the I guess what we're trying to do is figure out we want to minimize the amount of errands, mats and Adrienne's that we need, and we want to have a whole bunch of people who are replaceable components in that machine. So we essentially have account managers that we're all transitioning to right now is we want them to be doing less and less of the work because they're great relationship builders. They're they understand value, they understand strategy, but they don't necessarily need to be doing all of the hands-on work they need. They just need to be. The example I always give is the Gordon Ramsay. They need to be the chef at the pass. They need to make sure that everything that leaves the kitchen is of a quality that it needs to be. So and that helps with the scaling thing, so what if what if Matthew could run 10 Xboxes but didn't actually have to stay late, didn't have to execute the work and then just used contractors and employees to execute the work to a level where he's happy with all the guys who's got their microphone on is that you just turned mine off. And that was. I think it's Sean. Sean, I think you've logged in like 45 times, yeah, it's having a problem on my computer. I'm going to log off real quick, please. Microphone Yeah. Thanks, John. You're killing all of us. Hold on, guys. I'll meet him. Everybody just sit tight there. I took care of it. OK right, who was talking before he killed all of us, but it goes well. That was just it was yeah, yeah, there's an issue with exactly exactly what you do have identified. So we're I think, what we're doing right now, hopefully we'll work well. I'd be more than happy to report in a future call on how well it's actually working, but so far, it seems to be working quite well. All right. Let me let me respond to a couple of things. OK the projects that we're working on are ginormous. They are relatively speaking. They used to be even bigger, believe it or not. OK so Matthew, typically he broke our winning streak of not having to work late or the weekends, and it's not really his fault that my guys managed the team really well. So for the most part, 8 o'clock would be considered like, we're getting into late hours here, you guys. We were from 10 to 7 and we try and not to work on the weekends. But he broke it and he broke it for a very good reason, because the clients love something that we did. And then they wanted to use it for all Xboxes when you boot up the screen. So now they had to scramble and get this thing done as well. So that was an extra job that we had to just take on. And there was more money for the company, thus necessitating working very late hours and also working on the weekends. So the guys were grinding away. And I think one of them was there to 5:00 in the morning. Now, typically it doesn't happen. We manage our projects really well because I'm very mindful of not burning my guys out. How did we retain these guys? How did they come into play? Both Matthew and Greg were former students of mine, and in a way you could consider Ben burns, a former student of mine. I like them. I like the personality. I like their attitude and their capability or ability to learn and grow. So we brought them in. I think Matthew might have interned for us for like a half a second freelance for us, and we brought him in. Now these guys are really great. They could be running their own companies, but I suspect they don't want all that stress. So I do my best to make sure they have a lot of autonomy to manage their projects. The way they want, and they have a big say in how we manage the company overall. They know all the books, they know all the numbers, and I try to take care of them financially to the best of my ability. The way I retain them is I would like to think I pay a pretty fair wage, but really it is a windfall profits. I use my own discretion, but I give bonuses and when times are great, we were giving 30, 40, 50,000 bonuses. Believe it or not, I give away a lot of the money because to me, it's not about the money. All right. And that's how I retain them. I treat them fairly and they all know that and they trust me explicitly, ok? That's how I retain them. They were former employees or former interns, former students, and you can see this a long relationship there. And we've had dinner together. We hang out. These are people I have great relationships with. Now what we was talking about is a slightly different model where it's more like a machine and it runs and it's very predictable. And there's no high drama and you just go in, you get the work done and you get out, right? Well more or less? No, no, no, no, no. Not quite. I think your model and my model or our model is fairly similar. Oh, OK. What what we found is, is we do the exact same thing we want. We we share the profits. We we I'd like to say pay really well as you possibly can. But we also offer the promise of as this continues to grow, it's we're going to share in the windfall. But we just want it. I think it's very similar. So sorry, I'm kind of meandering. It's very similar. We just want to make sure that we have the pipeline of the next Mathews, who are coming up, have a whole bunch of different contractors, temporary people, juniors and hopefully one of them will be that diamond in the rough. Right? all you have to do it. It's my that you will let me respond to will. Then back to you, Aaron. OK, you're totally right. Well, this is how we do it. We bring in interns and they come from all over the world. We train them. We see who is going to make it, who's got the right attitude. And it's just like a farm system, right? You keep advancing and the ones that are really good at articulating their ideas and managing other people to become art directors and the ones who are really good at talking to clients, become creative directors. And that's how it goes. And there's a pipe and there always has to be that pipe because guess what? Everybody wants to make more money. And the jobs aren't getting bigger. They're getting smaller. So you constantly have to rely on an influx of new talent. And I say new. I mean, they're relatively inexperienced. You can pay them less money relative to their experience. And so that it keeps the whole system moving along. So it's constantly managing that. And that's not an easy thing to do. Aaron, back to you. Yeah, I just want to say something that I think will kind of alluded to as well, that we do. I don't want people to think that we actually that our agency does every executable. What Aiden does is aid and manages our subcontractors, our other agencies that we're aligned with. Will and his agency is one of them. We hire them for certain deliverables that fall under the retainer of another one of our clients. So we're not actually doing all the work. We are managing it and we are essentially the general contractor. I mean, we are the CMO or the acting CMO. So the goal, I think for us to scale is to find more aiden, because we have a list of amazing subs, but we don't have a list of people that we trust that we could hire underneath our agency to talk and communicate with our clients, sell Access Act on behalf of us. You know, that's the difficult part. The executables. There's tons of subs out there. There's lots of amazing designers and videographers and producers. I mean, you can find all that stuff. The hard part is finding another person who was just as good as a business partner but is not an actual business partner. That's that's been our struggle, right? OK, so Aaron, I have some advice for you. Aiden's not on the line, is he? No Sam will look right at the camera and pretend like he's watching this later because he's in the group, Aiden. Here's what you need to do. You need to delegate your workload. You need to be grooming the future agents. Because the company is bottleneck with you right now. I mean, you should do it just because there needs to be a succession plan. Heaven forbid, you get hit by a truck tomorrow. The whole company goes down Aaron's livelihood. Mo's livelihood all depend on you doing your job, so you do need more general contractors. And the only way you're going to do that is to start spending the time right now. Now, the resistance I always get from entrepreneurs is God. It takes me longer to tell people what to do than to do it. Totally true, but you're talking about a mid to long term investment in people and infrastructure. You need to have a process and a system, and no matter how complicated it is in your mind, it's not as complicated. You start to chunk it out, break down your process into bit-sized pieces, and you train people to do each one of those tasks, and I'm going to prove it to you. My 13-year-old son is working for me, and soon you will not be able to tell the difference between who's posting. It could be my 13-year-old son, or it could be me. That's the goal. Right now he's working on Adobe Illustrator and he's going to get there, so you should be able to do this right? That's all I'll say on that. We're going to move on. OK anybody else want to open it up before we fight the battle on? I'm ready. No Tina and I have actually been talking a lot about this, and my question is going to be how often is it that the right person exists out there and it's just a matter of recruiting them? And how often is it that we actually need to train them up? We really have conflicting opinions on this one. Oh, OK. Oh no. OK I've not been prompted by Tina. Are you texting me? No, I'm scared. Nobody's texting me. This is going to just be straight up my opinion on this. If you want to hire somebody who we would call turnkey who's ready to go on day one, you will pay a premium for that, for sure. Because somebody else trained them and they're jumping from one job to the next because they want to make more money. But they do come with systems and protocols and possibly even clients and resources that you currently. Don't have we've done this to a great deal of success in the past, well, we basically not just by the person, we're buying their resources because they bring in different people, they bring in different processes like, oh, here's how we did a company, a what do you guys think? And then we were like, OK, let's do a hybrid between these two. There's some good things to scrape from that. My preferred way of doing is to groom it in-house, but it takes time and energy to do. The only way you can do that is you buy your manager, the Aden's and the team of the world time. You can't expect them to carry a full workload and then to change this future. Well, John, are you back? What's going on here? All right. And you need to be able to train these people, and that's how it's going to get done. OK, so you have to give them some breathing space. That's the problem. All right. Who on that debate? I was the clear winner. But you know what? But you be a loser later. So there's no winning when you're married. No, no, then you're absolutely right. So the completely nailed it. It's we're trying both. We're trying both. And I think over time, as we grow, we're going to have to figure out the recruitment criteria, who's going to be that kind of rock star. But we're also going to have to have a really good process on how do we bring up the juniors and how do we funnel them into that role? Yeah, because this question has been sitting here since 8:49 AM and he's been very patient. I'm just going to throw this out. It's a little bit off topic, but I'm not sure how to say his name, but it's honest. He's asking everybody, like, can these concepts work in motion? Can I get a client to become to, to hire me to become an account? And the answer? short answer is not very likely, but it does happen. If you work on a campaign that is long running like a Ford. What is it? F-150 pickup thing? They typically do hire a company for a good period of time because at the churn these things out, you know, the Timothy Leary rants that Ford f-150. They hire a firm for a while until they get tired of working with them. The reason why in advertising, they don't really work with you for a very long time is because of this, because the lifespan of the art director, creative director at an agency is like three to four years at most. And so what they're thinking about is a diversified portfolio, and it does not behoove them to have all one look from all one company. You have to look at it from that point of view. They're looking like they have to make the jump when they get laid off or when they need to go to another agency. So they like variety. Think about it like, do you want to show in your portfolio one kind of like one kind of look and one kind of account, you probably do not. It's dangerous to do. And that's why, in my opinion, this whole idea of the motion design project for four advertising agencies, it's not a great relationship. However, if you're in the broadcast design space, that can totally work because they hire you to do the network rebrand and there's tons of deliverables and they might work with you for a while. But like all things, things get old and stale. They bring in New people and you have to bid against the New people all the time. All right, let's get back to the debate. Does anybody else want to know anything about this particular thing, or should we just get really ugly and just go at it? Anybody else? Now, are you sure? All right. I guess I wanted to start off by saying I'm not a big fan of the retainer model personally, and we should go back and forth on this, and I'll tell you why. Because you guys know I do work with Tina and will and Aaron, and I'm doing my best to coach them. My my problem is this I want to get the money up front, and there's a lot of liability for me to kind of spread it out, especially if there's no guarantee. So if I'm going to do a retainer model, I almost say, you know, I'm thinking in my mind, I want it to be for 10 months. I want it to be for six months. There has to be a minimum, otherwise it doesn't make sense. Now, a while back, because you've got larger jobs, right? Well, let's talk about that, I don't know exactly the difference. It's all turning on me right now. All right. It's going to get dirty. And rob, get some popcorn. OK, go ahead, Tina. Let's debate it. Go ahead. No well, you're dealing with clients that are paying you hundreds of thousands of dollars. We're we're dealing with people that are paying us thousands of dollars, so there's a difference, right? There is whatever. Let's talk about this, though. But inherently now I know technically there are differences between what you and I do for sure, but we're basically selling creative services. So my whole thing is I'm trying to share with this group. Why you're charging maybe less money than you think you can get? No, I absolutely agree with you. We should be charged. We're getting there for sure. But but if you're a retainer strategy up front, you really reduce your overhead at the head of the engagement. So in that way, retainer might actually work, right? I don't know. Explain yourself. Talk to me. In practical terms, what does that mean? So if you're doing strategy and strategy doesn't have a lot of overhead to it, right, the whole discovery is overhead, correct? Yeah so if you do a retainer that's monthly, you can kind of catch up to the money you'll need to invest after discovering if you charge monthly beforehand. I mean, just give me an example with real money, how are you doing this, jacob? Talk to me. So if you through discovery session, find deliverables such as loco website, et cetera, if you figure out through precor, write an evaluation about how much value that's going to cost and get a decent estimate on what a quote is going to be for the job. You can figure out how much to charge them monthly so that by the time you're done with discovery session, you have a little overhead there to invest into creating executables. OK well, I'll tell you how I do it, I'm not sure I'm going to get very specific with you guys, ok? I was hoping for a little bit more concrete, but I think I know what Jacob's saying. You guys know this is how we do it. We charge anywhere between 30,000 to 50,000. A new strategy that's always that up front. That's just how it begins. And we give you an estimate for what the other deliverables might be, but we're not committing to any of that because we're not going to bid in the dark. OK we do discovery. We then have a new prioritized list of deliverables or executables. And then we price it out now based on what we learn about what each one of these things need. The video is not as important as we thought. The website is not as important, but let's just say some kind of signage or some kind of promotional event has to happen. And we to design it. OK that's where we want to spend the money, but we build all of this up front now. We prioritize it with the client. And there is no discussion of retainers. Not at all. When when would I ever bring up the retainer concept? I haven't felt the need to do that yet. But if they were like, you know, Chris, this is lovely. We want to do this, but we need to break these into chunks and then we can explore that. I've only had one or two retainer clients before, and they were both OK, but I don't love that model, because what you guys find is more comforting to know that you have three, four, five, six months of money coming in. I look at it like I'd rather have the money now because I can do more with it. I can hire people now. I can do different things. could take more risk today. It's very uneasy because I just think the retainer is going to end and that gives me anxiety. But how about having posed together? So having the retainer, you have monthly money coming in plus your project. So we take 50% of the project upfront on all this bluster. So I mean, what is the drawback of the ship if we have nothing, I just haven't been able to negotiate that yet, and I've luckily luckily, I know you guys, you guys hate me for this, but my clients have agreed to pay me up front or for the whole amount. Some of them pay in advance, so I'm never going to stop that. So we learned a long time ago that a client has to be somewhere in the hundreds to $200 million in revenue just to be able to not afford us, but to have the marketing budget to work with us. So coincidentally, it turns out we're working with multibillion dollar companies now. And if you ask me if that was possible a few years ago, I was like, no, that's not going to happen. I'm working with 1,000 mayors or millionaires. It just doesn't work. They don't have enough money. And dude, if I had those types of opportunities. And I was taking those, I would not be putting them into a retainer either, right? I hear you. Right? I get it. Totally so I want to tell you guys something. All right. Let me see if I can spotlight myself here. Spotlight might be OK. I want to tell you guys something. Why am I pushing our clients to pay us even more for the logos? Believe it or not, I'm not doing it for me. I mean, it's nice to get paid a lot of money, but I'm actually doing it for you. And the reason why I share in the group is not because I'm trying to brag or browbeat you, because I'm going to prove to you what many people say cannot be done. You guys, oddly enough in some of your questioning or even in your encouragement, are telling me, Chris, go prove it. Tell me you can charge 18,000 for logo like, all right. So we put it on our website $25,000 for logo. Just for you guys to show you it can be done. And like I said earlier this morning when I posted, we are close to closing a six figure logo design job and I'll let if it happens OK, and then we'll push for 250,004. We'll just keep pushing into what is the ceiling to this? I do not know, but I'll keep pushing just to prove to anybody that wonders if it can be done. You guys are motivated me to do that. And then hopefully, when you guys see something, it's like the Roger Bannister thing where he ran the 4 minute mile or the five minute mile, whatever the minute mile was. And everybody said it couldn't be done. People said, you're going to, your heart's going to explode. The human body cannot run the mile that fast. Then he did it later that year. Six other people did it. And now high school students are running that same amount. It is just because people believe it cannot be done right. So let's open it up. Well, can you hear me? I can hear you. No, I'm asking. Will can hear me, is he there? Believe? let's pretend like he can hear you. What do you want to say to him? I want to say, I want to compete with you. I want to bring you with me. I'm not trying to compete against you, you guys. I'm just trying to show you can be done. All this stuff can be good. I think a lot of people here see that. I mean, me personally, I know it can be done, but I also think most of the people here at a stage where they need to scaffold to be in the position to make that happen. Right? and and I see, like some of the more successful people or seemingly successful people in this group are doing this kind of scenario. And it seems to be working really well, you know, in the last call and in some previous conversations like I had with, well, some other people. But in the last call, you said to me one of the things maybe you think about doing is hiring people. And I'm kind of like, I'm like a recovering agency owner. You know, I've had I had a team and had to fire people, and so I'm really hesitant to do that without knowing that there's a little bit of stability. And to me, this is more it's not one or the other, it's not retainers or nothing. It's not big projects or nothing. It's a mix. It's bringing them together. So that's one of the reasons I want to bring this up is because I'm trying to build up the mix of the retainer side to provide a little more stability. So I can then focus on hiring some folks without worrying about having to fire them. And I can work on building that awareness funnel and and on and on. OK, I'm going to help you right there, rob, because for a creative person to fire another human being, it takes a toll in your life and your energy, and it will shorten your life for sure. I feel your pain. I've had to let people go. I've had to let friends go. I've had to let people who are the sweetest human beings, and it's just look them in their eye and just put them out of their misery. Ok? so I have a thing that you can do that might help you. I'm not telling you to hire people before the work warrants it, and I told Sean toboggan this that you've got to be like working all day and night and where you feel like you're losing your sanity, then you should hire people. I don't want you to hire people because it's getting a little bit uncomfortable. I'm working six hours today and it's just too much because you're not ready, so you should be stacking up the work and then delegating it to somebody else. Now, here's what you can say when you bring in the person. I want you to not think about it from your point of view, but think about it from their point of view. They want the job. They like you. They like the work that you're doing. But you can't get over yourself because emotionally, you're scarred. OK, well, hold on, hold on. So this is what you're going to say to that. As a recovering agency owner, I'm reluctant to hire you because the last thing I want to do is to fire you and I don't have enough runway and predictability in the work that we're doing to hire you. Now, if you are willing to come on board knowing that what, I'm not going to act hastily, but it might come to that point in which I have to let you go, are you OK with that? Knowing that? Would you like to come into our company knowing that free, free choice free will? Would you do that? They look right back in you, in the eye, and they're going to tell you the same thing. Yes, please bring me on. All your guilt is gone, dude. And you're practicing transparency. OK, hold on, hold on. You practicing transparency. You're just saying what you think in Little steps. So that you can be relieved of this because you're holding it back, you're holding it inside and it will kill you. Yeah, I'm not there with you. I'm sorry, I have a hard time with that, I think can we get more back in the nuts and bolts of this? Absolutely you want to get back to the fight? Let's do I really want who's up recurring revenue retainer? I got your logo. Oh, hold on. OK, I don't want that time. You want to talk about logo tina? I think we should change this. Like, why are we talking about this? Let's get a six figure. No, no. Let me let me get a standpoint standpoint. All right. Close the loop on something really quick. Close What what you said, rob, I think is very accurate. Retainers are not for everybody. You take a mixture of everything. So I do a bit of retainers. We do a bit of one off. It really just depends on the level of which your customers currently are. I don't think there's much of a debate or an argument. It's like, listen, if you see an opportunity to get residual income from a client, take it, especially if you have employees or children or other people that you need to take care of. If you're working by yourself and operating by yourself, do whatever the hell you want. But for me, I know that I've had to fire a lot of people and I don't like doing it. I'm going to hire a lot of people. I've gone through the churn. It's just there's a sense of security, of having the retainers. So that I lose you guys. OK, now we're listening. So so I don't think there's much of a debate. If you have an opportunity, do it. If not, don't do it. If you're not interested, I mean, you can do whatever you want. I don't think there's any right or wrong scenario. I just there's really something really reassuring about knowing that every month, you know, we're going to get $50,000 a month, you know, and then anything I want to sell above and beyond that I can as a one off project. It's just, I don't know, I've never had that type of security in my business and and I really like it. So if you do find an opportunity for someone who needs ongoing stuff, test it out. If it doesn't work, you can put your own 30 day clause out of your own six month exit strategy, right? you can put your own exit strategy and say, you know what? This is working for us, whatever. I don't like it, but test it out. Try it. I don't think there's much of a debate, though. I mean, sell it however you want. At the end of the day, we're here because we're trying to start a business. We're trying to, you know, build a company, build something that's bigger and greater than us and provide value to our customers. And that's what I think of when we do this and the reason why we do the retainers. Our clients really like them. They prefer them. They get so much more out of it than just having this one off thing because that's what they need. They don't want to hire. They would pay 20 grand to develop something in a house that we're providing them for 10 grand from an agency perspective. So it's a win-win. And that's all each. Great you pitch it straight out of the gate or are you flipping it from finished up the project and then you're turning it over? We do. We figure it out after discovery. So first we charge K for discovery. If the goals and priorities look like in the awareness section that they need ongoing things like seo, Facebook marketing, graphic design, maybe landing page email sequences like I showed you guys live stream, if they need like landing page designs and things like that, then we'll say, listen, we can do this as a one off project or what might be better? Consider us an extension of your company instead of hiring five people to do all these executables that we discovered. You know, let's put you on at $10,000 a month. So it's just a conversation point, and I'll tell you what some of the companies, they prefer to have that relationship over just doing a one off project. I don't want to do something and then be like, well, good luck. Hope that works out for you. It's like, no, we really want to measure what are our results moving forward. And we want them to view us as a strategic partner, not as just a design firm, you know? Yeah can I add something to this? Aaron? Yeah. Let me spotlight you. Give me one second dude who's speaking as well. I will let me spotlight you. Go ahead. It's strange staring at my own face, by the way. I completely agree. And rob, there's something there's I think there are two conversations here and I really want to clarify them because on one hand, we're talking about the retainer. And on the other hand, the topic here is recurring revenue. And I think this is where the disconnect, even in our conversations was. You're looking for how can I implement this strategy retainer? How can I implement this marketing retainer, the social media retainer? You may not need to. What we're looking for is revenue streams that you don't have to actively hunt every single month. What we've implemented are, like we have posted, we have social media, we have marketing, we have graphic design retainers, we have security retainers for clients that require that kind of reporting and updates. And I think that there's an opportunity for you because you're a software guy to do the support retainers or update retainers or so. Don't look at it as just this is a marketing retainer period. It's just one of the many options for recurring revenue streams. We're digging a little deeper. Still, we're trying to figure out how to really ingrain ourselves in our customers' business in a way where even if they remove us or their business changes and they remove that need for the marketing retainer of them for hosting, we still have them for security. One of the ideas we're playing with recently has been we're setting up a whole bunch of e-commerce platforms. Why are we not figuring out how to capture some of that as well? He can. Can you hear me? Yeah, hold on, Sean. Give me a second. Don't kill us with your audio again, dude. I'm trying not to. It's almost like a band for life where you where's your face? There you are. OK oh, man, I'm too close. Wow let me back up a little bit. So one of the things that I was going to say is that for the retainer model, it hasn't been a problem for us to sell it. What has been an issue with me, one of the things that has held me back until now because we're now getting into having more of an ongoing relationship. What's been a problem is the confidence in being able to fulfill the work that's going to be required for that. But I think we're at that level now. And so it's been one of the things I was going to ask is I'm surprised it's not requested more clients because it's always requested of clients. When we're going through discovery and we go through the conversion funnel and we talk about branding and branding is influencing people's gut feeling through different experiences. Will part of their experiences, their website, their social media, email, all of these different things. And the question always comes up most times is can you guys help with some of those things? And a lot of clients they prefer to work with unless they have their own marketing department in-house? They want to work with one company that can help them with all of those things. And so what I was going to say, well, the question is, I guess, you know, Chris, does that not get asked of you when you're going through discovery like, oh, can you guys help us with all of these things? They do ask us now that we have a plan of attack, the strategy has been defined and we know no, these are the deliverables. We just get into budgets and negotiations and then we move forward. One of the great things about having certain size clients is that this is all and honestly chump change for them. When our clients are building $200 million buildings and maybe even more than that, these little things like nothing. They spend more money in parties or bonuses for their team. They really do. So it's nothing for them, and it's a good place. I just want to say something about during the discovery process, when we have the desirability and ability, sometimes I ask them they might desire it, but their inability is really low, like they don't have the time, money and resources to do it. But that's when I come in and I'll be like, well, listen, we can make this attainable for you. So if I told you that we can do this and roll this into an ongoing relationship, would that be something that interest you? They're like, yeah, OK, we're going to bump that ability up, right? Or, yeah, so it's just it's just another way to utilize those kind of columns to let them know like, hey, we can, we can make this sustainable. The other thing that I wanted to add to that is for if you're going to sell retainer, it's going to be harder if you just focus on one particular thing, like if you are just a graphic designer and we specialize in logo design, then there's really not a lot of room for retainer. If you are just an SEO guy is going to be hard. That's why I like Will and Tina, and I know you and you guys have a wider array of different services that you're providing, says web design, web development, seo, social media marketing. We can do video email marketing, so you have this whole list of different services that you could offer a client. OK, hold on, hold on. Sorry I was going to say I want to close out the recurring retainer alternative revenue model runway thing really soon in the next few minutes because I'm going to open it up, we can talk about anything. So rob, do you want to have the last comment question about this particular topic? OK, well, I was just going to ask whether you guys identify a client who's going to be receptive to retainer or type work before you'd get into Australia's stage where you maybe identify it. So you kind of scoping out people that are going to buy it and make it worthwhile going through the process to get some of their work? That's a great question. Who wants to answer that? I can tell how we do it in our sales process put and I'd like to hear from Aaron and and from will. But the way we do it is, we say we do four things we do brand strategy. We do brand identity or identity design with a UX design, and then we do marketing integration. So those are the four services that we offer. So that in strategy, if people just want to hire us for strategy, we can do that. Do you want to hire us for logos, graphics and design work that can do that UX design? That's web design and development. And then the marketing integration. That's the part where we talk about the brand as a whole and you influence people's gut feeling through different experiences. And we know that those experiences a lot of times are the message is convoluted and so we can help give you brand consistency across all of these different platforms. If you want to do that. And when people are interested in that, then we'll talk more about that. But we offer it as a service available, not as the primary thing that we're going out. Anybody else want to weigh in on that? Yeah so basically for us, so we don't actually upfront identify that they compare it to ownership. We choose which client is already interested in working with us for long term. For example, they have already done a couple of projects with us, so we identify. We suggest for them that instead of having the risk to wait for the next month to ask for a project and we might not be available, then they might pay a monthly retainer to just make sure we are available for the next project. And we may before we ask this question. Sure, there they love our work and they want to continue working with us. Well, I want to get to Tina, Tina, you get the last word, and I'm going to close out this segment. I kind of take a different approach where I don't really tell them what we do. I usually ask them what their business objectives are like. I start with that. And I just want to hear more about them. And then usually they go away and we say we thought about the problem, and here's how we think the best way is to resolve it. And then we give them options that makes sense. Mm-hmm Yeah, I mean, I guess maybe, maybe I was thinking and this is possibly more print based than something digital, but say, for instance, if somebody needs to produce a monthly magazine or a catalog or anything that you kind of know that there's a need for each month or each week. And I guess ad agencies kind of do that where they know they're going to be doing repeat advertising, digital press or whatever. But if you kind of identifying those sort of clients that would need to do something on a regular basis, then you almost you've identified it before. You've even done the strategy for whatever it is they're looking to communicate. I just say real quick that a monthly engagement should always have, like regular communication with the client, so that should be happening weekly or daily. Whatever it should be, those contact points should already be established if you have a retainer. OK, but getting back to Rob's thing, rob, your whole thing is if you look at clients within a certain industry, they're already accustomed to paying something over a long period of time used to working on an account level basis. If you target those people, selling their retainer to them will be the easiest thing. You don't have to train them on how to work, right? OK I think that's great, you guys. We're going to close out this particular segment. Thanks for tuning in. I can tell this is a very popular topic because there's 43 of you in the room currently at the high of 45. That means you guys were engaged the entire time. This boggles my mind. I'm going to have to do a little digging as to why this is so important to you guys, and I need to figure out what the pain points are. OK, so that's it for this episode. We're not going to open it up open sessions. Anybody can ask anything and we can get into it. OK I know there are a lot of questions in the comments in the chat window, so if you have something to say, just be very succinct and fire away. And let's talk about it. We're not is this. This is nothing to do with a war topic, nobody open typekit. Can we jump into the questions I posted in the week where you can't? Yes can you ask it for everybody who doesn't know what the question is? Sure Yeah. So how do you practice or kind of rehearse scripts that you might want to use when you're in a pitching scenario? And how do you stay focused? So there's bits that you make sure you don't forget if you're needing to communicate everything that you need to get across. Ok? I think there's a couple of different questions in there. Are you talking about pitching or a presentation like a keynote presentation? OK, so yeah, probably more the latter. Yeah, like a presentation? Yeah OK, great. I just did one yesterday to be, believe it or not. So I have a very specific process that works really well for me. I'm a visual storyteller, and when I put lots of words on this screen, I find myself both imprisoned by it and there's like, it becomes a crutch for me. So one of the rules I've had for myself is this is that a lot of times we mess up speaking, if we try to write our whole thing down. And then we're trying to say that same thing. And if we don't use the same words, if we don't phrase it the same way, or if the jokes are inserted exactly the way we want, it starts to trip us up. So now we're reading off the screen versus engaging and looking at people, and that's much, much more important. OK so what I like to do is do a combination, a couple of different things. I write an outline and I start to block out the talk by moving slides around really fast. And then I use that as reminders or prompts as to what to talk about. When? OK. So if I want to talk about my story, I might just write the word my story, and that's all I need, and I will tell that story. A better version of that is to show a picture of my life when that triggered that moment, like in my mind. So if it's something about something that I struggled with, if I have a personal picture, I put it there. If not, I will use a piece of stock photography. And just like one word, I like to use big, bold headlines like 200 point type. Just put it right there. And that helps me to block out the story. And I kind of think about this, and you can start it backwards. What are the three things you want them to know and what's the one thing you want them to walk away with? Because chances are that's all you're going to be able to communicate. Now I've made the Cardinal sin of trying to say too much in a deck, and I can tell like, it's valuable to me, but to them, they're all glassy eyed and they can't absorb any more information. OK so I like to use visual slides as prompts to tell me along the story. Now a good storyteller. It figures out the transition from moment to moment. So while you're rehearsing, talk about it and like, oh, that was a little disjointed. Whenever you watch a movie and you're realizing that there's a cut point, the editor and the composer did not do a very good job. And if you believe it, if you watch films, there's hundreds of cuts, but you don't feel like there's a cut at all. It's because they've worked on these transitions, right? I'll give you an example. When a person reaches for a door and there's a tight shot of them turning the door, the next shot of them could be in the death in Death Valley. It doesn't matter because we're accustomed to knowing that when the door turns, something else will happen. So we talk about is when I'm teaching sequential design is learning how to cut on action. So when you're structuring your deck, think about that, think about how it flows from moment to moment and be OK thinking and working like an editor, moving whole scenes around just to get the flow to work. Ok? there's a very simple story structure, too, that you can follow. They'll help you a lot in your presentations. Start with the problem like this is the way things are. OK, so that everybody can relate to you. Yesterday, I gave a presentation, it was all about branding, so what did I do? I started with a failure to say like, this is what I learned and then when I went to apply it, I had a horrible failure. So everybody in the room now is nodding their head and thinking, OK, we've been there too. Here's how I got out of that. And that leads me into my entire presentation. OK, so I hope that helps you a couple of other things that I want you to do. If you feel like anxious, which I do, I can literally hear my heartbeat in my ears. That's how nervous I am when I go to speak. One thing that I've practiced and it helps me out a lot is to be wholly present where you are and what you're feeling at the moment. OK, give you an example. I'm waiting to speak and it's 45 minutes to my time to go on and I realize they don't have a wireless larval ear or one of those ear things. They have the person holding the mic and then I can see the person is speaking. One hand is holding the mic, the other hand, is holding the clicker. And I was thinking how annoying I should have brought my own lovelier. I have all my own gear so I can speak with my hands, like the way I'm speaking with you right now. So I got over myself. I'm like, instead of being angry, let me just focus on this. So when I got up, the first thing I said, and this is me practicing transparency and being present to the moment I said to the audience, usually when I'm up here speaking, I don't know what to do with my hands. Now I have no free hands because I'm holding this and I'm holding that. I got a laugh from the audience. They feel you and then you start to get into your story, and it kind of makes it a lot more comfortable for you to speak. OK, just to be present to know where you're at and to acknowledge that, to say, I'm fully aware I shouldn't be up here today, I'm fully aware that you guys have better things to do. I'm fully aware that it is really early for all of us. And I appreciate you being here. That's it. As I help you. Yeah, sure. I think I completely thought he on that kind of anxious tip, you know, you kind of get there's been very things. And tomorrow I'm going to go and do a interview on a business show on the radio station. So it's kind of in my mind, you know, like obviously, they're going to be asking you questions and I have to answer them. But there's certain things I want to make sure I communicate. So it's just trying to remember those and making sure I can get them in within what they're asking me as well, you know? Yeah now I've had a lot of experience and practice answering questions for my students and when I go out to teach. So it's become very natural for me actually thinking on my feet. It's more natural to me than having prepared things. It's the exact opposite for some people. Here's one tip I'm going to give to you when somebody asks you a question that you don't know the answer to. Don't feel so compelled to rush out and answer. The way you buy yourself time is you re articulate the question back and you walk them through your thought process, and that's usually enough time for you to figure out the answer to that. So let me understand this question. You want to know about my childhood about this, and I'm searching through my mind right now, which are the two or three most important things that have happened to me. I'm going to have to boil it down to when I was seven. And then you talk about it like that. That's about enough time for you to figure it out. And by stepping through the process of what you're thinking about, it actually make it very easy for you to kind of learn about the answer yourself. OK A lot of people feel like I've got to be smart. I've got to answer the question right away, and some people have that gift. I do not. And we train our guys on conference calls, specifically when the client asks you a question, you don't have a good answer to just say, that's a great question. Let me think about that for a second. It's usually enough time to figure it out. OK, good. Yeah, I've kind of I've seen I've seen you do that, obviously on bits and bobs. I've watched that right? It's kind of, yeah, I need to implement that and make sure it's OK. Stay cool. Yeah, it's OK for you not to have the answer right away. Yeah and you can say, you know, you can even punch. You can say, I don't have a great answer for you. And rather than give you some kind of thing that comes out of my mouth, why don't we move on to the next question and circle back to this when I have a better answer for you? OK, so you punt it and you can come back and you're going to get a lot more respect from your, from your host and from your audience. If you do that. Co OK. Yeah, Thanks. Yeah OK. Who wants to talk about something else? Anything else? There's a lot of questions coming in or comments on the side here. Sean, I don't know if that's your name, but he had a question and he said, is mic isn't working. And he's asking the difference between type I and type Ii typography. And please someone some resources so that I can learn some things missing. I think Neshat is referring to the tier one, tier two, tier three designers, I think. And that's a good question, but we should have that question offline within the group. OK what I'm talking about is type I or tier one learners are still trying to figure out the game. This is still a hobby for them. Tier two is like they moved up to the next level. They've learned their craft, but they don't know how to grow their business. And tier 3 is a lot of you guys in this group. You've learned your craft, you're learning your business, but you don't know how to get your business to the next level. And so those are the differences, I think. I think that's what he's talking about, but then he mentioned typography, and I don't ever recall talking about typography in that same way unless he's an Art Center and he wants to the very specific curriculum, which we can talk about later. OK OK, are you saying, OK, thank you. Thanks for reading that. Tina, I want to encourage more of your live stream. That's just one of my questions. What's that? Are you using a prime lens right now to do a lot? You mean this call right now? Yeah, dude. I have some sick gear. I have some sick here. I'm not kidding. I'm not lying to you. I changed out my gear all the time. This is not a prime lens because I'll prove it to you. It zooms in. Oh, there you go. OK but 2.8 it's f2.8 and I have a really awesome lens, guys that does like f point nine, so the background would be totally blurry. OK, but it's a manual lens. And it's a little trickier to work. And it's heavy. It's like metal and glass. That's Aaron's question there. All right. So you could be like our reoccurring revenue client for, like, I don't know, canon or I should be. I really should be. They should be throwing a lot of money at us, especially Panasonic. And, you know, we're getting close to that point, you guys. There's a company there called Ben they're sending me a 4K monitor for free. And it's like a professional color grading monitor, right? There are Taiwanese company, they sent me a projector and like, you need a projector here, so they're starting to send us stuff. But I also want money. I want money. Is it because you're afraid of me? What's that? Because you're so pretty. That must be it. You know what the skin camera do? I love you for wearing that. Thank you for sharing the Black on Black. Yeah, it's great. I love it. Drinking the Kool-Aid. Rocking it. Proud Yeah. So if you guys want to know my gear, I can take a picture this behind me. I mean, all around me, it's super messy. You guys really. Honestly, that's why I need to do it this way, because you don't want to see what's all behind me. I have books and papers and everything just notes. I'm like 12 monkeys here. Just writing every note that I can think of. All right. OK anybody else want to talk about anything? I guess I can jump in. So it was just back to the recurring revenue stuff that we've been talking about. That's something that I had been thinking about just because I normally priced new projects, how you guys do it. I just, you know, I priced the project and it's done and it's done. But you know, I've built up my client list over the past almost five years. And so I just constantly have consistent work. But there is definitely is that time where it's like, maybe sometimes it is feast or famine. It's like, I don't know if they're going to come in, but now I've built it up to such a level that it's like, OK, it's consistently coming in. But I think one of the problems that I'm having is it's just not enough money. So it's trying to figure out maybe to get the clients a little more engaged. And that's where I started thinking about doing stuff like that. Maybe it's putting SEO plans together, maintenance contracts on websites just to have that little bit of cushion. That way, I get that peace of mind kind of like what Aron was talking about. And so but let me ask you a question. What's your average size of engagement? That's that's the thing. I don't I don't really know because I don't really have one, but you know, you do have one. Trust me, if you take your last six or 12 projects, whatever they are, the invoices for the last six or 12 and you put them all together, you throw out the highest and the lowest and you average the rest like Olympic scoring. OK, what's that number? I'd have to look it up and get back to you. What would your gut tell you, dude? Probably, probably around a couple of thousand dollars. OK so the thing here is you need to. I mean, obviously, you need to be able to add a 0 to that. Exactly here's how we're going to get there, you guys. We're going to veer into logo land because that's what Tina wants to do anyway. Yeah I don't want to do that. I mean, let's do it, you guys. I'm going to get to play here, guys. All right. Thank you. Thanks for tuning in. I know you're busy. You got a lot of things going on. I hear two things like thing in the Facebook just to reference to what I was mentioning. So when you were curious about my things like slide, that's an example. It's in the Facebook group. So Peter out, guys, thank you. Awesome Thank you. OK got to get out of here to guys. See it. All right, Sean. Yeah thanks, John. All right. So I don't care if you guys don't do logos, that's fine. Just substitute what you do for the word logo. The first thing I want you guys to practice doing right now is just to double your price. So if you're charging $2,000 charge four, if you're charging for charging whatever number you at, just do double. And you're supposed to get a couple of people to say no. If all of them still continue to say yes, you have a problem. You're still not charging enough. I want you to keep doubling it until you get to the point where like, wow, people are going to pay this, I want you to shop yourself, OK, and that's the kind of place that I'm in. I want to be able to pinch myself every day and say, I can't believe this is my life. How amazing is this, ok? It's a very simple process. Just keep doubling. You don't have to be at 30,000 for a logo or a website, just double whatever you're at right now. I think if you're doing it right, more than half the people should say, that's too much money for us. And here's what I want you to do in this group are all sorts of people at different levels. Some people went to school. Some people didn't. Some people in the United states, some people are abroad. So what I want you to do is this when you get a project and you say my rate is $30,000 and they're like, we can't do that, we can do 15, you say great. Thank you very much. Then you go pass it down to the person one rung below you in this group that you think can do the job. You wash your hands of it and you ask for a finder's fee of 10% I think we should all get used to that concept of paying a finder's fee. And there's nothing wrong with this, you guys, because my reps, I paid them all day long on jobs. They sometimes don't even get me. I'm paying them a percentage of sales all the time. Let's just get used to this. This is how business is done, ok? You can do out of the generosity of your own heart and just give it to people. But I think we need to start acting like in the professional where I'm just how it's done. So you make a little bit of money and you wash your hands, and that's not your responsibility at this point to manage the client nor the vendor you're introducing them. If it's a good fit. That's it. That's not on you after that point, ok? So it's worth to do so. We currently are passing on jobs that aren't a good fit for us because as more people find out about the future, they want to hire us. And it's just not a good fit for mostly for financial reasons, not because they're bad people. We just turn it into the group and pair people up and we just get it off our debt. So I think it was who? Who was it? I've read his name. Where is he, jared? Jared Kessler, I think, is his name. He started the database again, and then somebody made it into a Google docs, which is always should have been. I can't believe you sent me a Word document. OK and you guys start filling it out. Fill it out so that we know your minimum level engagement where you are at your specialty and don't put too many things. Last time we did this, people wrote everything. I'm an art director. I'm a dancer, I'm a juggler. It's like, come on list your core competency that you can back up and what's reflected on your site. You can't back it up. Please don't put it on there. People are going to become very suspicious of you. You don't want that. OK so please put that in there. We're going to refer work to each other, and this is a good thing. I believe there's a lot of potential in this community in terms of it giving back to you. OK, that's that. So you guys double your rate. Hey, real quick on that to add to that. Now I know you were saying like, you can pass down jobs, but what about just trying to want to work with people and collaborate on jobs? Absolutely that's happening to cool. Yeah some people can do one thing, right? So it's whatever it is. Yeah, Tina is working with Aaron. Tina is working with Gabrielle. I know other people here are collaborating with each other, and it's a great thing. Actually, speaking of work? Speaking of work, one thing while I have everybody here. Sorry to interrupt. Does anybody here? Has anybody done a 2D drawing before for an aircraft or for a home? Or has any kind of? Yeah, I mean, we have actually a division for aerospace design. So can you private message me on Facebook after this? This has turned into his personal job. Lauren, why put out in the group? All right, anybody else? We have a few more minutes before I bounce here. Anybody else up? Go ahead, Rob. I've got another question, which touches on how to sell strategy to New business startups who might not be able to afford the full whack. And I'm sort of toying with the idea of possibly doing it as some kind of workshop for maybe 10 people where you charge a smaller amount that you can accumulate the amount you need. And whether you think that would work with multiple different businesses. I used to try to draw out and go deeper. But obviously across 10 people as opposed to one business, really good question. I like it, and I'll give you a couple of different ways to think about this, ok? I went to a workshop from this company called explainer or explain. OK, and what? There they are there. What do they do? They do information graphics. They take complex data. They organize it and make it. So what they did was they did a workshop, and the workshop is totally free, and for the workshop they provide beer and pizza and there's a long wait list. Supposedly the wait list is 3 to six months to do the workshop with them. The workshop does not give you the answer. The workshop highlights the problem. Look, I'll tell you exactly the workshop, and it's beautiful. I will steal this idea very soon, ok? They invite all these people together strangers, friends, whatever professional people and they hand out these things. They call jars of curiosity, and each jar is glass with a lid on it with like a metal lid and it's full of junk. It's like little trinkets, toys, marbles, just weird knickknacks that are just things that you can buy in those coin out machines. They hand it to each person. And then they say, OK, what I want you guys to do is empty out was ever in your jar of curiosity. And I want you to organize it in any which way to make sense. You can organize it by any system that you want, and then you will lay it out. And you would realize I have to figure out how to group things together to give it meaning. And then you quickly realize it's more difficult than it looks. And they said, OK, right? And when you guys want to share people, share it. And the person sitting next to you are across from you, put both your things together and then reorganize that. And then also then explain your thought process and your logic, and you realize it was hard to begin with. And it became exponentially harder when you and somebody else had different ideas about how to organize information. And now you're realizing, wow, OK, I can see now there's a lot of friction here. And then we would share briefly and then he said, everybody put all of your stuff together when you lay out a giant table. And now we want you to organize it and tell the story in a linear fashion. So this was a problem because there are 15 people in the room, we can't agree on anything. Let's check out some of us work together and then somebody tries to explain the whole thing. It's a giant mess. And I was sitting there not only as a participant, but I'm watching this like this is a rather brilliant. They're basically telling you, the owner, you don't know what you're doing. Your team's left up. You guys don't agree on anything. That's why you need to hire somebody who's got some systems. And they would ask lots of questions and share on like those giant sticky notes and they were right up on the board. How did you organize the information so people would organize it by the sound it makes by shape, by color, by use? By size, by texture, and you can see it's all over the map. And that's all they did. So they created awareness of the problem so that people can then hire them to either train them in the solution or just to do it themselves. You see, you're the expert now, so that's one great way to get people in. How do they control this? They control it by having limited access. This workshop only happens every so often for a limited number of people, and they create that kind of artificial demand by choking how many people have access to it. So I know all of the delegates were from different businesses. It wasn't 10 or 15 people from one company. No, it's all over the place. OK yeah, Yeah. And it's on like a reservation list, right? They're not going to meet the whole company. Then naturally, you can see this happen. People are like, you know, back in this giant company that I'm a part of. I'd like to see if we can book our team to come here and do the same workshop with you. You see, now they're coming in as consultants or they can go to them and do the same thing. It's a repeatable exercise and they mostly just ask a few questions and didn't even have to teach anything. So the genius is in the design of the assignment itself. OK, so you guys are thinking if you want to sell print design logo, you might like, I had this idea, right? I was going to show a book of logos, sketches of different concepts for one company. And I was going to ask the audience which logo is the best for this company? And then you guys write it down. We would vote and we would ask, like, why do you think this is the best logo? And it's very subjective, of course, if we did our job. Most of the logos are designed well and people would pick them now. Then I would say then, if the company's position was about delivering value, saving their customers money and empowering them to do more with the money they save, which logo makes the most sense. So I'm back ending facilitation and why having a clear brand definition and the value prop is important to selecting a logo because otherwise it's arbitrary. It's another way to do it. Ok? another idea I had, which sounds very similar to the one that I learned from explain was what if I bought a bunch of LEGO pieces and everybody got a bag of LEGO pieces? And then I would say I would like for you guys to design a house. This build any kind of structure, right? And then they would build an I would ask, well, whose house are you building this for? Tell me about the user. That's interesting. I R&D. Yeah, I think I don't know anything about Aaron's LEGO workshop, but that's the thing that he does. And I think it says something else. But then my question would be, did you think about the user there needs how many people in this family? Are there any disabled people, any special needs anything like that? Did you think so? When we're designing a website, we need to know who the users are. So we're designing it for them. Like your house might be based on utility based on looks, but it's usually not built around a specific person's need. So now we have to teach you about empathy and to learn about your users. So think about those exercises now you can charge money for it. And actually do the work for them, but I think you're in a better position if you just design it to highlight the problem and pull people in, you can charge money for it can be free. It doesn't really matter. Then they come to you to dive deeper. I think it was the idea that I kind of had was if I can get in with some of these businesses before they get too far down the line where they've fallen in love of the name, that might not be right and all that stuff. And if I can kind of sell some value. And so a few seeds that feel like I'm adding a bit of benefit to them, and when they get to the point where they are going further and starting to build the brand, I'm already having a conversation. Do you guys still there? Yeah, I think we lost Chris. I think it's like I saw his little battery icon flashing. That seems, well, that's all. That's mine. Well, I think that guy's spare battery. Yeah all right. What was I saying? Yeah so so the idea of this sort of workshop where I'd get a bunch of people in, so it's affordable for them. So say something like 500 pounds per person and you can get 10 people then. So I'm getting five grand and it still covers a good cost for what I want to do. I'm thinking, how does that work, you know? Or is this a good thing because I'm hooking them and I'm saying, OK, before you've decided on x, y and z, let's have to think about this. So I'm a bit of trust. And then when they get to the point where they can pay this money, it's perfect. We're there and we're having a conversation. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's really good. You know, one of my potential clients, he's a realtor, and at that time I was selling strategy for 10k, and he was having a hard time processing that you don't want to pay, right? And he said, Chris, what if we did strategy? And I invited other people to be a part of it. Other brokers, they would just watch. And that way I can charge them a certain amount and say, as long as I get my 10k, I don't care how much you charge them what they want to do, but I'm only doing strategy for one person for that price, he goes, no problem. It never happened. But it was an idea. It was viable. So definitely encourage that. Guys, it's almost 10 o'clock. Now I'm going to take one last question. Since Rob's gotten two or three questions in, I don't want to just be the Rob show. So anybody else want to ask the question or bring up something they want to talk about then had two really quick things I want to tell you about is the logo stuff. Do you want to ask the question then? Well, I don't know. You started talking about it. And then I asked a question. I ask you, do I have a question about that far away, zach? What what are the list of milestones or deliverables as part of that six figure logo project you're working on? I'm sure it's not just like, here's a logo give $100,000 right? So, yeah, you know, Zach, you guys ready for this? Everybody is doing a logo. Get your pen out. I'm going to tell you the difference between that and what you guys are doing right now. It's nothing. There is no difference, I promise you. It's still the same three logos, the same three rounds of revisions. And believe it or not, the 100,000 logo we're selling comes with a $30,000 strategy session for it as well. That's on top of that. So I ain't going to tell you the real number because it'll freak you guys out, but it's a lot of money. OK, so we still have to do a little bit of strategy, but they're literally asking us for a logo and a usage guideline, so maybe there. It's a little bit different because there are more uses of the logo. So when you're dealing with a mom and pop, it's like, here's your logo, here's the colors and type. But for a big corporation, as we found out, you have to deal with lots of things like email, signature signage, PowerPoint templates just to tell people how to use the logo correctly. And so you have to go a little bit more extensively into do this. Do not do that. And here are examples. And if there are enough examples, people can follow the guideline. So there's a little bit of that. So there's a larger list of comprehensive like brand guidelines. Yeah, but we also charge for that. So Yes. OK, cool. Thanks so you guys you. If you think about Mr Paul Ryan, he would charge $300,000 to do a logo. It is no different than the logo that you guys make. But his process book was incredible. How he sold the logo to the client was incredible. He would literally print them up and offset printing to show them the exploration and the narrowing of the ideas. Because that way, in a way, he was doing strategy with the client. But they were just flipping through the book and going through his thought process of how he arrived at the logo. And that was how he was able to justify the price in which you charged. Well, plus he was also Paul Ryan, so you know, that goes a long way.

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