Achieving success while delivering social good.
AJ Rollsy is the Founder of CORE Marketing Method.
AJ is determined to help correct the failure and stagnation rate in small business so that entrepreneurs can bring their biggest dreams into reality. AJ is also the author of The Drowning Entrepreneur: How to Unlock More Time, Money, and Your Best Entrepreneurial Life.
Learn more about how AJ Rollsy can help you live your best entrepreneurial life by listening to this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur above and don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts – Stitcher – Spotify –Google Play –Castbox – TuneIn – RSS.
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Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, Founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, where I'll reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go.
And with us right now we've got AJ Rollsy, the one and only AJ Rollsy, and AJ, you are the you're an author. You're the Founder of CORE Marketing Method and you're found on the web at ajrollsy.com. You're one book that I think we're going to talk quite a bit about is The Drowning Entrepreneur: How to Unlock More Time, Money, and Your Best Entrepreneurial Life. Simply because I think that a lot of folks that are listening to this podcast, you know, they they love what they do. They know they're making an impact in the world, but very easy to kind of get sucked into it and maybe lose that lifestyle that you want. Or maybe you say, you know what, I'm going to keep making sacrifices right now I'm going to keep on sacrificing. And then Someday, I'll get that life that I really am doing all making all the sacrifices for. So I'd really love to get into kind of like timing and knowing what phase of business we're in, right? When can you enjoy life. But first joining us
now because I think my connection might have broken up a little bit there. But you know, it's it's an absolute pleasure to be with you. I love your program. So thanks for having me on. But you're right. So entrepreneurs, typically and I'm like this I'm imagining you might be to Josh and people listening. We probably have business somehow woven through our DNA. We can't help but want to be in business and so the right way we're built right and we feel often we feel purposeful enthusiastic. But here's something that's really interesting. So I'm really had a split life Josh, I've worked in my own startups and small businesses, like I had my first small business with employees when I was just 12 years of age. And, you know, I followed that path. And I've had several of my own since then. But at the same time, I've also pursued a role as a global marketer for some of the world's largest and most profitable companies. And so I've had a really, I think, great opportunity to see two different ways of viewing business or viewing life in general. And the truth is that their strengths and weaknesses to both, but what you just described, about having this idea of something great and wonderful off in the future, but day to day getting stuck in some kind of a pattern. This is very, very common, and thanks for referring to my new book, because actually, this draws from a really large study that I did, which was based around five countries around the world and more than 1000 business owners and what we found is While there were six common desires for why people started a business and many of those things you were just touching on, you know that feeling of inspiration or or just always wanting to be their own boss or wanting to create wealth, whatever it might have been, pretty soon after getting into business, if that business owner was fortunate enough to actually survive the first year, after that business owners really commonly and I'm talking about more than eight out of 10 say that on a day to day basis, they experience for common worries, and this really has the effect of kind of sucking joy out of their existence much more than it should. And so, you know, what the final one what you just alluded to, but the first three actually, we're and this is in the order that we hear about them is money worries and it's not just about Yeah, not not just about cash flow. That's a common issue. But often it's about people to say, I don't want to deal with money. I don't want to chase accounts, it's just my least, you know, I like the idea of numbers and growth, but there's aspects to money that is a common worry. And in a similar vein, they talk about time worry so you know, I'm spending all day putting out fires or engaged in low ROI activity, you know, spinning wheels and putting out spot fires. And this kind of time Larry effect can can really take away from that joy and inspiration of business ownership. Yeah. And then, and then the final two, and you alluded to one, which was really the last one. But the third one that people talk about sometimes is, this is a bit of a catch all phrase, but I call it the buck stops with me anxiety, which means I've either got imposter syndrome, or perhaps I, you know, I have a nagging doubt that I don't have everything stitched together where you know, when you're an employee, Josh, someone else has that problem. But right, when you're the man or woman in charge it always with you, right? So people report that this sometimes can cause some anxiety as a business owner. And then the final one exactly as you suggested, people say I have a dream for my business. It's a vague idea might not might not even be written down, but just a hope to have a really prosperous, thriving business. But there's a lack of a clear path forward. How do we get from today to that destination? So let's pull things together. You know, About 85% of business owners report that this plagues them more frequently than not, and really causes them to kind of have a reduced sense of joy as a business owner. So I was not happy with that. It's a very common story of any business myself, as I said, and I can attest to it at different times having all of those four.
Yeah. So before we I want to talk about maybe some action items on things that we can do. So AJ, how did you find yourself me? What were you doing before you owned your first business?
Right? Well, as I said, I had had very small enterprises as a kid because like many people, I'm just go to entrepreneurship flowing through my veins, but, but I kind of pursued a few different tasks just unlike you folk living in the US where you're lucky to have entrepreneurship as a really well respected career path when I was younger, so I'm in my mid 40s. Now, but when I was a kid in Australia, part of our culture there is that if you wanted to say that you're an entrepreneur, people look at you sideways, you know, are you are you flaky or you're untrustworthy. Somebody's kind of hidden idea about the concept of being an entrepreneur. Now, fortunately, that's changed a bit since since those days. But for me, that was definitely the case. And I probably, I probably felt a bit of social pressure. And for that reason, I ended up pursuing a career in the corporate world, in technology and in healthcare, a couple of other little fields. And so over many years, you know, I started out as a junior marketer, all the while having a business on the side, I've all went out of business consistently, but even within those corporate set, I sort of navigated towards a destination that was really around launch strategy and the training of brand marketers and global corporations. So, you know, in some of these, you know, very big companies, they know that they're going to be launching a product that they've got a lot of hope in. And so they need somebody like me to come in and assess the marketplace, think about the opportunity and develop a marketing plan to launch and then take that thing into into existence. So the early part of a business as it is true A brand as well, if you start strong, it tends to have a really pronounced effect on the lifecycle of a business or brand. So that was really my specialty. So I've been blessed. I've had a chance to live all around the world and my family, and I've been treated well in that corporate world. But even though I like it, and I've learned a lot at heart, I'm still a small business entrepreneur. Yeah,
yeah. So if we could go through and talk about maybe some of those, those four major challenges that we that we experience and, and maybe just kind of talk about, well, how do we counteract that? Yeah. So AJ was the first one money was that what Yes,
money concerns and you know what, Josh, I would actually bundle, money and time in together. So those concerns that come up, when we get to the root cause of that. It's because there's some perennial shortcomings for small business entrepreneurs. On the whole were wonderful people I like to thank But on the whole, we're terrible at having a well articulated plan and we have very poor side Psychology around risk and probability, right? And that's a good thing because it helps us kind of launch out of the gate and just do something bold. If any of us looked at the statistics, no one would ever start a business. Right? Right. But But we do it because we have to, we've got fire in our belly. But the issue is, that's not enough to really sustain you into the years after launch. So the answer The short answer to those first two is really about having a really well articulated plan and a good psychology of risk. And there's a way to achieve that. Fortunately, for the other two, you know, I think the answer to imposter syndrome and just not you know, not feeling sure if you should be the woman or man at the top as the boss, I think a lot of that is just about a commitment to improving your own capacity growing as a business owner in terms of growing in in your knowledge and understanding what what it means to be in business. So that means having a relentless desire to one and I, you know, I think people like to Richard Branson, who is clearly an outstanding business person, for that matter Bill Gates, these two entities jewels, which we all think of those as being icons in business, but actually, they are relentless learners today, you know what I mean, they will continue to soak up information. And I think that has a profound effect on somebody's ability to increase it and forever improve. So that's the final and the last one about, you know, no clear path forward, which really nags on people who are ambitious by nature, or kind of really keen to grow business, but not sure how to get from where they are today to a big bright future. Again, this comes down to a method, methodology, and the plan. So it's not enough just to write down, I'd like to be a millionaire. It needs to be a stepwise approach with milestones and a logical path forward. So in my book, I kind of touched on these themes. And, Josh, I don't want to jump ahead, but there's two other things that I'd bring up if I could. Yeah. One is that while I found these four common worries, there was a really interesting fact that I stumbled upon, and that is that while it's not always true, that somebody who has those tradition No markers of business success, like lots of money in the bank or 1000 customers turning up every week, those people tend to only be moderately happier than the average business owner. But the opposite direction was absolutely true. Which is to say, if somebody said that they felt more fulfilled in business and happier day to day, then actually they heavily over indexed for business success. So it seems to go that direction rather than I'll get successful, and that'll make me happy. It seems to be interestingly enough, most of the other direction, if I can find fulfillment and happiness, I believe it tends to be causal for business success. So let me touch on what I found was three pillars that were really frequently mentioned bodies, happier and more fulfilled business owners. I think this is wonderful because you can start to engineer this now into your business even if you're just starting out, or if you're a solo entrepreneur, whatever it might be. So those three things the first one, this one's a little bit in my mind, this is the toughest because it actually points to having some structure in place, but happy a business owners absolutely say that they feel that there's a degree of predictability in their business. So what this means is they have a sense of what's coming next month, next season next year, they've been in the game for a while, probably. And they have a feeling for the rhythm and patterns in their business. Okay, so that one's a bit hard to fast track. But I would say that having structure but the next two apps, you can do now. So the second one, and this was the single largest factor in increasing happiness and fulfillment for business owner, it's a social element. So for example, if you have employees, or even if you've got outsourced, you know, a virtual assistant or graphic designer on the other side of the world, whatever it might be, if you like engaging with these people, and in fact, you choose to spend time with them, even if you weren't working, then this seems to be really supportive of your happiness, or for people who are just in business for themselves. They might say, you know what, my husband or my wife, they're not in my business, but I know they've got my back and they're really supporting me in my entrepreneurial journey. So this idea of a social quality was really pretty protected with someone's happiness. And then the final one and this, you know, as a kid that was brought up by religious parents, I guess this gets the heart for me a little bit. But the notion that you might have a, an articulated and deliberate ongoing effort for social good in your business, and that can be anything from a grand plan for, you know, charities or whatever, all the way through to a really consistent but modest approach and say something like, I really want to take care of my staff. You know, I'll give you one example, if I may. I, one of the businesses that I examined was here in the US, a guy had a chain, small chain of laundromats and dry cleaners. And he said that his staff never wanted to leave working for him. And this was an immense source of pride for him. And so he would go to great lengths to do things like help out with college support for his employees, kids stuff like this that he didn't have to do. And you know, the bottom line is this final pillar of social good is really about doing something that doesn't return to you immediately in your business, but just because it's a good thing to do, and It's an idea that you believe in. I, you know, I'm speculating now, Josh, but I think the reason why this is so helpful,
everyone in business has weights that are good, and we sort of bad, you know, it comes up, right. But if you can point beyond this week's short time horizon and say, you know, that other thing I'm doing, that just remains a good thing to do all the time. I think it it creates a bit of a harbor in the tempest, and it helps to sustain you in those worst weeks or better weeks. And, you know, the bottom line is Josh, the entrepreneur, the business owner, listening right now to your show, they're the most important asset in their business. And so they are sustained and more likely to be putting out their best work, and that's going to have the most pronounced effect on their business.
So in terms of predicted with your mind, go through each of these here. So in terms of predictability in business, I know you know, when some people are kind of getting started and let's say they kind of get started maybe as a freelancer or You know, they're just kind of really working so low, it can be very tempting to believe that sales is a result of market forces or forces beyond my control, right? Man, people just aren't coming through the front door and buying my product. I don't know the ads just aren't working right now. And so what would you say to that person?
Well, I think it's a very natural and human thing to do. But in the same way that people look at the sales transaction. Or they might look at the marketing tactic, the what I call the execution, which is the E in the CORE Marketing Method. By the way, these are the last really downstream effect of a lot of stuff that came earlier. Yeah. So you can do a whole lot before you ever get to that point of sale being realized or not on a client being landed or not have a marketing tactic winning or failing. There's a whole bunch of stuff you do beforehand, and that other stuff which includes things like planning, developing a good understanding of success and metrics, A whole bunch of stuff that they're they tend to be the less sexy things for entrepreneurs, but they help to make us feel more stable. And, you know, corporations, big global corporations, in many ways that can be a little bit boring and not terribly exciting. But, you know, I can say somebody who more than once has taken brands from zero to a billion dollars in annual revenue, I can tell you that there's a kind of cold consistency to what they do that helps to create stability. I mean, think about it. We don't very often hear about the toys r us or C is going on. Those are such exceptional events that they make the nightly news, right? Most businesses, global businesses, they just took a head doing 100 and 304% of last year, they're like and I always use the analogy of saying they're like a tanker on the ocean. That is impossible to knock over and it's slow and boring, but it always gets to its destination. Yeah, small business owners tend to be more like the jet ski which bounces around at a million miles an hour on the ocean. They look like a heck of a lot. Have fun, they go like a, you know, Bat Out of Hell, but here's the problem, they get knocked over easily, and they often don't have an endpoint in mind. So I think learning from both can be a really useful idea.
You know, it reminds me of, you know, the secret, that film that came out, you know, over 1012 years ago, you know, there was one line that I, I actually committed to memory because it was just so impactful. And that is, you know, people look at their current state of affairs and say, This is who I am, that's not who you are. That's who your current state of affairs, or who you were, who you were previously, we're always living in this residual. And so what you're experiencing in business today is based on the activity that you are doing, I don't know small business, you know, maybe 90 days, 6090 days ago, maybe even 30 days ago. But, you know, so if you're really grinding it out on sales and marketing right now and you're doing all the right stuff, you'll enjoy the fruits of that, but it's just going to take a little while. For Who's to catch up for, you know, the business to get closed and that sort of thing. And so I think it's really important that we say, Well, what is and this is, I think, where it gets really helpful to have someone who can act as a CFO with your company, because they can help identify, what are the activities that are the revenue drivers. And so then you set benchmarks for them to listen, you know, for us, for example, you know, we have, we're getting better at this. But, you know, I know that the more video emails that I can send out to, you know, people that are in our pipeline or you know, we're we have relationships with the better. So if I can send 100 video emails a month, that's my bottom line. I know that's what I need to continue growing. So that's, that's one metric we watch, you know, and all these other follow up things. They're all revenue drivers. And that's how we grow and You're not setting goals for that. I and again, I'm kind of extrapolating what you've advised based on things that I'll be honest, like, we're we're always trying to improve on these things, but we're not perfect. And so I think now that we have, you know, a CFO that's kind of helping us, you know, set some of these goals. It's good because it really helps build that predictability and stability in business, because that's really what it all comes down to. It's like my wife is a family therapist, and it could be tempting for her to say, Well, I don't have that many clients that week, this week. So therefore, I must not be a very good therapist. No, that actually probably has very little to do. It probably has to do with the fact that maybe you're just not, you're not getting as much visibility as you as you should have 6090 days ago, when I first being introduced over the top of the funnel, and we just know that that sales cycle takes you know, maybe 30 days for most people before they pick up the phone and or, you know, scheduled appointment or something like
that. Exactly. And you know, the other thing to think about with that is that I always say that executions, tactics and executions that you're doing, they're going to look different for every business. But they should always work backwards like this. So a tactical exit execution that you invest in, even if you're not spending money, you're still investing focus and time and energy. So there's an investment, right? And in business, we're in the process of making bets. And the idea is actually that we make bets where the risk is in our favor, not against so I always use the analogy of too many business entrepreneurs are really like Gamble's walking into a casino, where they're full of passion, but they put chips down on the table. And you know what, when that roulette wheel spins, eventually they're going to lose because the odds are not in their favor. But the other person making a bet in that scenario is the house and the casino knows that their odds are in the casinos favor so they will continue to bet Of course, there's a risk every time but they know that it'll play out in their favor, eventually. So what I try and say is get a healthy view of risk, where you use insights over assumption. So you don't draw from just gut instinct only. There's a room for passion and agility in business, for sure. But you make your bets based on insights. And now working backwards, the way I suggest that happens is you choose tactical executions that try and deliver upon a particular imperative, what I call a strategic imperative. And the idea here is that you've fully year you've set just, you know, lifting something from Stephen Covey here, I always like to put down three wildly important goals. I've got three businesses at the moment, Josh, three different businesses, and each of them have three wildly important goals, the biggest businesses in the world, including a really large health care company that a few years ago, I did work for here in the US. This was an enormous business with multiple billion dollar brands, but the President could stand up and say to the whole organization, 75,000 employees, there's three things we're going to do this year. So if a company like that can do it, well, you and I and every small business owner can as well right. So if When you've got three in when you've got three big goals, then all you need to do is say, Okay, if I pick the first one of those three, the goals, I just want to choose between two to four strategic imperatives, these are things that will happen that if I achieve those beautiful things, then that big goal will be recognized, right? So the big goal is often something like the outcome, the top three of business podcasts in the world are some sort of big dream, that's a big goal to stretch for, and the strategic strategic imperative, the things that have to happen for that to take place. So it might be, I don't know, you know, broadcast a high quality program every day. So you know, you've got some sort of a strategic imperative that will allow that to happen. And then underneath that, those are the tactics, the things that I do to make sure that happens. So it's a, it's a, it's working backwards like that. So for that if you if you build that model, it means that a business person is not doing random ad hoc tactics, just you know, shooting from the hip and hoping for the best. They're always delivering on an imperative, which will bring you up to that big goal. And again, I know it's not very sexy sounding and it's not what entrepreneurs like to hear. But it's it's really useful information.
You know, and I do find, though, that a lot of what it takes to be successful in business sales marketing, in particular, is finding something that works. And you just grind at it over and over and over. And over time, it's just like, and it's, you know, and there's so many other flash in the pan things that come and go and shiny object syndrome entrepreneurs, and listen, when you find something that works, you know, and I just when I would I say, when I hear stuff or I'll have employees that will say, Hey, we should be doing this. I say, you know, what we're doing right now is working very well. That's great for them. But for us, we need to stay in our lane because this lane absolutely works and you know, You know, maybe maybe we can expand into that area but right now, but you know, I know that I it's but you know, just keeping that focus. Okay, so listen person who's listening to our conversation you've been listening in now. And so AJ just listed out a great activity. You've all got homework. So here's what I want you to do. Break out your pen and paper just like I've done. I want you to go first off, this will be helpful. You go to AJ, Rosie, calm and go to her, go to a J's blog. And I want you to find the article that says, want to be a happy entrepreneur, you'll need these three things. And that's what ag has been talking about, regarding stability, predictability, having good people around thinking of others. First, I want you to read the article. And I want you to set some goals for yourself on what you are going to do so that you can accomplish these things. Reason why AJ is I want my listeners to be happy. You're in business for yourself, you deserve happiness. That's the first thing. That's your first homework assignment. Number two, is, if you do not have your three big goals written for this year, then you need to spend some time and contemplation, grab a cup of coffee, go hang out in the backyard or gotten back terrorists or whatever. And figure out what are the three big most important goals you can achieve over the next rest of the year? 12 months, and then you come up with the, for each of these and AJ, Is this correct? You come up with three or so strategic imperatives so that you can get that how, what do I need to do in order to get that big goal done? Is that right?
Yeah. So Josh, you got a great example before you said that, you know, if you send out your video, emails that you get a certain kind of response and this tactic realizes between reliable. So what you might have been able to do is say something like, Well, you know, X percent of those emails returns a particular behavior that's important to us from a customer. So because you know that because you've been out with the test it out, it might be something like you want, for example, Josh, you might want 1000 new high value clients, that might be a while goal for the year one of the three big goals. And you've said, you know, what, I know the most effective way for us to do this is to push out these video emails. So the strategic imperative usually has a hard number attached to it. So it's something like, we get 10% of these emails converted to become a customer and I want 1000 so I need to push out 10,000 emails, so that the strategic imperative would be craft and and broadcast 10,000, video emails, whatever that number is, right? But the idea is, there's a hard number in it, and so that you can, you can then go back and the tactical efforts would be things like, create a beautiful email, make sure that I have the equipment setup, these kinds of practical things to do so that that strategic imperative can be met. And then you know, it's you're zoomed out to say five years, which is a really typical planning horizon. If every year you've delivered on three of these big goals, then after five years, you're doing dramatic and drastically wonderful, amazing things. Right. And so I think backwards just 2015 was five years. Like as much for you to realize some really remarkable, big dreams as opposed to just kind of pushing in and having another ego pass. You know, that's the worst. Nobody should be stagnating. When actual success is right there to the grads.
Yeah, so AJ and by the way to to our listeners, I apologize. Sometimes our connection is kind of slipped out a little bit. Now AJ, you give away the book, The Drowning Entrepreneur and to get this book you give it away for free. It looks like right.
Yeah, you know what the truth is? Josh This is more of a passion for me than anything else. I really I'm offended at the at the failure and stagnation right of small businesses when I know that a flourishing small business is a force for good in the local community. So I just want to see businesses succeed. And to that end, Josh, in addition to the book, I was recently on another podcast just like this. And I really love speaking to people like yourself that are helping businesses and equipping them with with more knowledge. But I made an offer to the audience of that podcast. And I'll do the same to your audience if you like. And that is if they go to AJ Rollsy forward slash tour, I'm going to be visiting 53 cities around the US. So if you're a if you're, you know, if your listeners are based in the US, it's probable that they're going to be somewhere near these 53 cities, then I'd love them to come out and participate in a two and a half hour workshop where we can get into some of these details and a lot more kind of depth, you know, and it's very practical, an entrepreneur will be thinking about their business. And you know, normally I'd be charging $60 for this as which I think is a steal anyway, for two and a half hours. That'll be myself and a panel of local experts. But because I want your listeners to really get moving on, I'm going to make this a no brainer. And if they go to that site, they can take up The same offer that I extended to another podcast audience, they can register for just $1. And come along to that event. Think about getting the ball rolling on their business with a more methodical way to grow towards their biggest goals.
Wow. So I'm in Orlando, and I'm looking at your, your schedule World Tour right now. And it looks like I've got Tampa and Jacksonville. How do we know what the dates are?
You know, actually, Thanks for pointing that out. The the the dates are being updated even as we speak so so if people hit the link button, the first thing they'll actually get is a free mini course, which I just give you with some background or concept, some of the stuff we've spoken about. And in that mini course, you'll click on the link for your city, but I can tell you that you folks down there in Florida, from memory that's going to be in just in late March, so we'll be right down there pretty soon. Nice. Nice.
Alright, well, AJ, what's it looks like we're going to meet up then.
Well, terrific. So again, AJ Rollsy, the website is ajrollsy.com. And you want to go and it's R O L L S Y. So it's ajrollsy.com forward slash tour. And also you've got the free book, you've got the $1 ticket to attend the event. And you said it's two and a half hour long, man, you are going to have a busy calendar, my friend.
Yeah, 53 days. I'm looking forward to it, but I am definitely gonna be exhausted by the end. Excellent.
Excellent. Well, listen, AJ, thank you so much for joining us. You're again author and Founder of CORE Marketing Method. And again, your website, ajrollsy.com, great insights. Again, go get the free book, so that you can, it's called The Drowning Entrepreneur. All you do is just click on the red button there and claim your book and I have to check my email so and see if that got delivered to me. I'm really looking forward to that. Really, really great stuff. Don't forget listeners of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur, do your homework. wants you to be 10 times happier or For the next three to five years, AJ, thank you so much for everything.
It's my pleasure, Josh. Thanks for having me.
Thanks for listening to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit UpMyInfluence.com/guest that we've got something out of this interview. Would you share this episode on social media? Just do a quick screenshot with your phone and text it to a friend or postit on the socials. If you do that tag us with the hashtag UpMyInfluence. Each month we scour Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. We pick one winner from each platform, and you get crowned king or queen of that social media. Now what do you win? We're going to promote you and your business to over 120,000 social media fans totally free. Now. Can you also hook us up now in your podcast player right now. Please give us a thumbs up or a rating and review. We promise to read it all and take action. We believe that every person has a message that can positively impact the world. Your feedback helps us fulfill that mission. While you're at it, hit that subscribe button. You know why? Tomorrow? That's right. seven days a week, you are going to be inspired and motivated to succeed 15 minutes a day. My name is Josh Elledge. Let's connect on the socials. You'll find all the stuff we're doing at UpMyInfluence.com. Thanks for listening and thank you for being a part of the thoughtful entrepreneur movement.