For these solo episodes I want to share more about my personal entrepreneurial journey and give practical tips to help you in your businesses. My goal is to provide you with personal stories about how I did what I suggest so that you have different stories to draw from for inspiration. Today I want to help you learn how to market your business.
Because of this podcast, I spend a lot of time learning about businesses in many industries. I thought it was interesting but I could never figure out how to apply what I was learning to my business. I thought they were completely different and that it was fun to learn about, but not applicable. Boy, was I wrong. This week I wanted to focus on the marketing side of running a business. I want to help you learn how to market your business. In this episode I want you to learn how to draw on both your own industry, and other industries for inspiration.
Using What Works to Market Your Business Better
As a window cleaning company, we are always seeing what our competitors are doing. One thing they do a lot is use yard signs on busy roads. I thought that was a good idea, but I wanted my own unique idea. I was too focused on being the “only one” that I completely missed a great idea staring right at my face. Once I recognized they worked for a reason, I started using them as well. Turns out, lots of companies do them because it actually works!
Now obviously you should follow the lead of what is working for your competitors. But on top of that, you can look at other industries to help you get some ideas and set yourself apart. For example, many product companies work with influencers. I thought, why can’t that work for me as well with window cleaning? So I started to reach out and work with them too. It hasn’t been as successful since it’s not an impulse buy, but it’s also helped get us free publicity and credibility, while also helping drive a few sales.
Another example of this is with Better Than Granny’s and using a strategy I learned from Tristen Persons (Episode 035). He sends out press boxes with each drop that are customized and specialized to each individual. I started doing that with my cookies since each month has different flavors. It’s been a great way to get people to share about us naturally while creating lots of goodwill.
Listen to the full episode to learn how to market your business better and take lessons from every industry to use in your own.
Kyle Bringhurst: [00:00:00] You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You shouldn’t even want to. Take the wheel and improve it and make it a better wheel for your own application. You’re not going to use a wooden wheel on a bicycle. You’re going to turn it into metal, but you still keep that same form. You just changed the form factor to fit what you’re doing.
[00:00:15] What is up everyone? I’m Kyle and I am the host and founder of the Freedom to Fail podcast and Fail nation. A community where failing while pursuing our dreams is a positive and taking uncertain chances is celebrated. This podcast is for those who have a dream of starting a business or doing something they’ve always dreamed up, but have been held back by their fears.
[00:00:34] Our purpose is to share the unsuccessful stories of successful people so that you can learn how to take the first steps towards achieving your dream. You deserve to live a life full of freedom and freedom. Let’s do that.
[00:00:49] All right. What is up? Fail nation. It is Kyle here. I’m just sitting at my house. It’s a beautiful spring day. Finally feels warm for once. And you know that living in Utah, sometimes it can be made, but still snowy. So the fact that it’s almost in the seventies right now, it’s just my favorite thing in the world.
[00:01:08] And it makes me want to go out and just work hard and crush it at life. So that’s what I’m doing today. I’m sitting here at six 15 at night and I am just still going hard wanting to get this content out to you. I know it’s been. A little while since I’ve brought that. And I sincerely apologize. So I’m going to really try and moving forward on being more consistent.
[00:01:30] But first, since it is getting really warm, nothing says some are like me, like a nice. Cold Coke, zero. I don’t know why I was actually talking to my roommate about that today and Coke, zero. Just, it makes me feel so good and it makes me feel like summer. So here I go. Got my Coke. Zero can. Oh man, that sounded so good.
[00:01:55] Ooh, baby. That is a delicious first sip. So now I got my Coke zero. I am ready to go on today’s solo episode with you, and I want to use these solo episodes to be a lot more, more informative for you guys entertaining, obviously, but also helpful and practical so that you guys can listen to these and have.
[00:02:19] Some sort of idea afterwards of what you can do in your own businesses to be able to find more success. So a little bit of an update with my businesses, because I feel like part of my job as a podcast master and somebody who wants to show people how to run a business and do it successfully through my guests is also to go through that same experience.
[00:02:42] Myself. So I have been, as you guys know, I have a window cleaning company called majestic, and now that we are in the spring, we are finally hitting our busy season. And so we’ve been getting ramped up. I’ve been hiring a bunch and going through all the trainings, getting my guy’s ready to go out there and to clean all the windows, doing all that fun stuff.
[00:03:04] But what I’ve learned is that hiring and training. It is not as easy as one might think. I want people who resonate with the message resonate with the company and what our goal is. And that whole goal with majestic is to provide a quality experience for our employees. Where they can earn full-time money while working part-time during school, because that’s what I did when I started it.
[00:03:32] And that is the whole driving purpose of this is to have everybody who works with us, be able to work part time and still be able to make like 15, 20 bucks an hour while just doing it part-time, which is a lot of times what you would get in a basic job working full-time. And so I thought that with having that good of pay, I would get a lot more qualified applicants, but.
[00:03:54] That has not been the case. And it actually leads me to one of the stories. And one of the experiences that I had, this was the end of February. I hired this guy. He seemed to be on top of it, out of all the first hires that I had this year, I was actually most excited about him because he put in the most effort as far as asking questions before even meeting in person too.
[00:04:21] Do the first in-person training. So I was like, man, this guy is awesome. Shows up to the first in-person training. He already knew
[00:04:28] Kyle Bringhurst: [00:04:28] the techniques because he had watched all the training videos and I was so excited for him. Then we assigned him to work with me and one of the other new employees at a job a couple of days later for his first on the job training.
[00:04:43] So he comes with me to the job. Shows up, we’d end up doing the job together. He does a really, really good job and I’m impressed and I’m super excited and I give him all the equipment and I’d sent him over an email so that he could sign up for payroll and do all of that put in all of his information so that I could pay him moving forward.
[00:05:05] So I didn’t even think twice about giving him that equipment because I was just like, yeah, he’s solid. He’s got to go. He’s got to be working with me. And I’m excited. So I signed him up to do another job with me. And the night before he texted me and he’s like, Hey man, I am not going to be able to make it tomorrow.
[00:05:22] I just had this emergency come up with my family. And I was like, okay. Yeah, obviously he can’t be here. So just go take care of that. And then this next day we’ll have a job and he’s like, okay, sounds good. So the morning of that job, I texted him. Because I’m there and he’s nowhere to be found. I tried calling him, he didn’t answer.
[00:05:42] So I just sent him off that text and he responds and he’s like, Hey, my sister got COVID. So, uh, I, and I was with her last weekend, so I’m going to stay home and I’m going to get tested. And I was just like, well, dang, that sucks. But obviously as an employer, I didn’t want to be doing anything that could potentially put our customers in harm’s way or any of our other staff, because we deal with a lot of senior citizens and stuff.
[00:06:09] So I was like, yeah, stay home, take care of that. And then let me know. What you hear back about the test? So a few days goes by, and I don’t hear anything from him. I call him, he doesn’t answer. And so I leave a message and I’m like, Hey, have you heard back? I just am ready to get you out. I’m super excited to work with you.
[00:06:27] And just want to know what I should plan on, whether it be you starting now or in a couple of weeks after quarantine. Nothing. So I texted him nothing, and now it’s been like a month. He still has all my equipment. I go on to the pay sites to see if he had entered in all of his information. And it still was completely.
[00:06:48] Completely blank. So my guess is that he came and learned
[00:06:55] Kyle Bringhurst: [00:06:55] to do everything and then turned around and took the equipment and is now going to do this on the side with my own equipment. So that is a punch in the gut for me as a business owner, I go through all my time thinking that I have this awesome employee.
[00:07:12] That I can trust. I give him my equipment and now I have no way to get it back from him because he hasn’t given me an address. He isn’t answering my calls or my texts. And obviously this is a big learning experience for me, because I was just so trusting with all the people I hired. And I’m just like, yeah, if I’m hiring them, they obviously want to work for me.
[00:07:33] I never once thought that one of them would want to steal my stuff and take everything they learned. So. The whole point of this podcast is to learn from your mistakes and adjust. So what we’ve done since then is with our new employees, we give them an online training that they only have access to when we provide it to them and we can take away access at any time.
[00:07:57] And also they go through day one of training with us, just in a neutral site, learning the basics. And then they go through another week of training with us on the jobs as well, but we don’t give them their equipment to take home. They have to do a good job with us show that they’re learning. And then at the end of their training, they have to pass off that they know exactly how to follow our systems and our processes.
[00:08:22] Before we sign away the equipment to them. And, you know, as I said, sign away because they are agreeing and signing a contract, basically saying that this equipment belongs to us. It is our property and that we need to get it back. But that brings us to something that I sometimes have struggled with. And that is where do you draw the line between trusting and employee to the extent where they take advantage of you and not getting to the point of micromanaging?
[00:08:53] And that is something that I think a lot of business owners struggle with. I think that there are plenty of business owners like me who go out there, they hire employees and they have these Rose colored glasses that everything is going to be perfect. These employees are going to knock it out of the park.
[00:09:07] Sometimes they do. Other times they don’t. And then when they don’t, they just become disenchanted with the world, with all of their employees. They think that everyone is just milking them for their money. And they’re just sitting there without doing anything to contribute to the company. They become jaded and they become bitter towards their employees.
[00:09:26] I think it happens a lot more often than people recognize and realize. I’ve heard that firsthand from plenty of other entrepreneurs. Now, luckily it’s not something that usually lasts because. Most entrepreneurs realize, or hopefully get to the point where they recognize that that is super unhealthy, but it is a phase that entrepreneurs can go through where they just think that all employees are bad and that they can’t do anything without standing over and supervising every last move.
[00:09:57] And everyone out there knows that that is a horrible way to work. That just causes so much anxiety for both the entrepreneur and for those employees. So one thing that I really strive to do and that I’m working on right now, going through this process myself, is keeping in mind the percentage of people that I work with and that I know that are genuinely good people.
[00:10:19] And yeah, that is kumbaya. Cool. Everyone’s good bloodied. But in reality, I am a believer that most people are good. And so, yeah. That one person took advantage of us and they took our equipment and I’m most likely, I’m never going to see that again, but I can go through the list of we’ve had probably over 60 or 70 employees to this point.
[00:10:41] And only a couple of them have given us any real issues. And most of them have been easily correctable. So I just wanted to bring that up because I am still learning as a business owner. I still don’t know exactly how to do all things. Hiring and training is something that I have really struggled with.
[00:11:00] So I’m really working on that, but I wanted to put that out there to let you guys know that if you’re going through something similar, you’re not alone, you just have to make sure that you learn from those mistakes and put in new safeguards for your company. So that, that doesn’t happen again. Yeah. It can happen once and you’re not going to learn, or you’re not going to know what’s wrong until something wrong happens, but then once it does, you have to fix it.
[00:11:22] No, I’m not saying that this is going to be the perfect solution. Because I don’t know, we just implemented it, but we’re going to do it because so far it’s shown good results. And then if something else comes up that is completely wrong and points out a big blatant flaw in our system, then we’re going to redirect our energies and pivot towards something else.
[00:11:43] And that’s just how business works. You don’t have the answers right off the bat. Nobody does. So you do things right. And you do things as good as you can, until something comes in your way and forces you to stop, to think about things and then revisit, evaluate if you need to make a change. So today that is something that I really want it to talk about is just some of my struggles and what I’ve been going through so that you guys can see that I am in this as well.
[00:12:10] I’m grinding, I’m hustling, doing everything that I can to be successful. And I want to show these lessons to you guys so that you can learn. From my mistakes as well, and learn other things that can help you both for me and my other guests that I have on the podcast. Now, the next thing that I want to talk about kind of goes alongside the idea of just me talking about my businesses and where I’m at, because I want to do that a lot more on these solo episodes.
[00:12:38] So I’m going to talk about my cookie company called better than granting is for just a couple of minutes and then just finish off with. A couple of lessons that I’ve learned about how you can be successful with marketing so better than grannies is something that I’m just super passionate about. It is what I love to do.
[00:12:56] If you ask my friends and my family, I’m always baking and making desserts and doing all of that because I just get super happy about it. That is something that I just love so much or just sweets. And I want it to do this on the side, just grow it to the point where eventually I can get majestic self-sustaining, which is my goal for the end of this year.
[00:13:18] I want to, by the end of this year to have majestic be running itself where I only have to put in about 10 hours a week, I have a team in place with solid systems that they can run themselves. And. Grow the company by themselves. So that’s my whole goal. And my whole plan for this year is to work really hard with majestic and doing better than granny’s on the weekends so that I can still get some brand recognition out there with better than brownies while preparing majestic to run itself.
[00:13:48] And then next year focusing completely on better than grantees. So what I want it to talk about with that, that whole tangent is the fact that better than Grammys has been kind of on the side burner for the last couple of months, number one, it’s winter, or it was winter. And so a lot of our business last year came from farmer’s markets.
[00:14:09] Obviously COVID made the farmer’s markets even smaller than they usually would be, but we still had a really good showing at all those farmer’s markets. And we almost always sold out. So this year that’s my goal again, is to focus on farmer’s markets. But what I’ve learned, look at what. Is going well in your own industry, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
[00:14:30] You don’t have to try and do something that nobody else has ever done. As a matter of fact, most people that are successful do it by following proven success strategies from other companies or individuals. Nobody is going to reinvent the wheel and you shouldn’t have to, you shouldn’t even want to, the wheel is good.
[00:14:48] So just take the wheel and improve it and make it a better wheel for your own application. You’re not going to use a wooden wheel on a bicycle. You’re going to turn it into metal, but you still keep that same form. You just changed the form factor to fit what you’re doing with window cleaning here in Utah.
[00:15:04] One strategy that has been really well done is the placing of yard signs in. Busy areas just on the sides of the road and you drive anywhere and you see those yard signs and it’s a really good strategy. And at first I was really annoyed because I was like, dang it. Those are all my competitors, but then I started doing it as well.
[00:15:24] And so I ordered 50 yard signs to place on the side of the streets of busy roads. And I’ve started getting a lot of calls from them. So yeah, it sucks that my competitors are there, but they’re also doing something that is working for them. Why wouldn’t I try and do the same thing? So look at what your competitors are doing, and if they’re doing it and to keep doing it, odds are that is working for them and you should try and implement it in your business.
[00:15:49] Now on the flip side of it, one way that you can differentiate yourself is by looking at a completely different industry and taking what they’re doing and applying that for your business. For example, I own a window cleaning company. It’s not very glamorous. As a matter of fact, if you see me on a day when I’m working, I’m going to be covered in sweat.
[00:16:13] It’s really hot. It is not the most enjoyable or beautiful looking job in the world. So why would influencers want to work with me? Because influencers always show off things that are beautiful, right? Well, that’s something that I had no idea about, but I had seen these other companies like jewelry or other things working really well with influencers.
[00:16:37] And I was like, you know what, I’m going to try that out with window cleaning. So I started reaching out to influencers and I was like, Hey. I will clean your windows. At first, I did free. I learned a hard, hard lesson from that, that yes, you get brand recognition, but you aren’t going to get a lot of sales right off the bat.
[00:16:55] And so doing it for free with these massive influencers homes ended up costing a lot of money. So that’s one lesson that I learned, but I still was working with influencers and I would get a few bids every single time from them posting on their stories and then their followers following us and asking for bids and.
[00:17:13] We started working with them. So like I said, giving away free window cleanings to the influencers. Wasn’t beneficial to us. That’s something that a lot of industries do is they give away their product. So I tried to just copy exactly what another industry was doing to mine. It didn’t work. I adjusted that ended up giving them a discount, doing it for extremely cheap, a price that I would only ever give it to my immediate family or the closest friends.
[00:17:39] And what I saw was that. They were still willing to do that. So I wasn’t losing money on them anymore. And they were still willing to promote their window cleaning and show off their homes that now have these beautiful, clean windows. And I was still getting a lot of following from their followers that saw those stories.
[00:17:57] So that was just a tiny little switch that I made. To the process of how I work with influencers so that I no longer have to worry about losing money. I can still make money on all those houses while still getting the benefits of working with influencers. Another example that I want to talk about with using other industries is with better than grantees.
[00:18:17] So by doing these podcasts, I have learned a lot about what people have done to find success and to drive sales and to get their word out. And one thing that really stood out to me that I just fell in love with immediately, and I’ve seen him do it extremely well for lots of success and just see how much it has grown just in the months.
[00:18:39] Since I first noticed it and talk to him is with Tristin trust in persons. He does a press release box that he sends out to different people in the media or popular influencers every single week. It is a very exclusive box that not anybody can get. It’s very rare and there’s only a certain amount that he makes every single month, but he will send those out to people that are extremely popular or the local media.
[00:19:07] Or even just people who really need a pick me up and need something special that they can cherish and he’ll send out a limited quantity of those to these people. And these people just go crazy because these boxes are meticulously designed and thought about. They’re just beautiful, very unique and different.
[00:19:25] And they’re personalized for each person. He will write a little note. He will get information about them and just make it feel like they were specifically made for that person. And I can’t tell you how many times I have seen, not only from him resharing, but just from other people posting on their stories about how cool these press boxes are and how much they want one.
[00:19:46] So one thing I’ve started to do with better than grantees is send out things that are similar to specific influencers or local popular people that have a big reach and a big audience. Our strategy with better than granny’s is to have flavors that change each month. So once a month, I’ll come up with a list of about 15 to 20 people in the area that I just think would be cool to work with.
[00:20:10] And I just send them boxes of cookies for free. I don’t expect anything from them. I don’t say anything about it. And what I’ll do is I’ll write a note about it. I will make them very specifically designed for them. And sometimes I’ve even gone as far as creating personalized flavors for them based on what candy bars that their family has liked or things like that.
[00:20:32] So that takes a lot of work, but it has become really memorable because yeah, you can go and buy a box of cookies and that’s nice and they taste really good. And you can get a box of cookies for free sometimes, like we do giveaways and that is also really cool. But when you personalize it, you write a little letter and you do something unique for them.
[00:20:51] You add something additional. Like I mentioned, sometimes we’ve created flavors, unique flavors for them. Other times I will add additional items in the box as well, based on what I’ve seen, their family likes, not just cookies, but other things. And then I obviously have my branding on top and stuff. And so, and so people who have received those boxes have shared about it on their stories and talked about it.
[00:21:15] And I haven’t even asked them to, I just want to do something cool. That gets the word out more and makes people feel like they are being seen. So I started to do that and. It’s a newer thing that I’ve been doing, but so far it’s been really good and I’m super excited to keep that going in the future. So, anyway, I know this is a lot and it’s a little bit different than the other solo episodes or other episodes I’ve done, but I just want to make this a lot more practical and share things that I’m going through and struggles that I’m going through.
[00:21:46] And times when I fail or make mistakes that really come back to bite me in the butt. For example, drinking Coke, zero on this podcast. I love Coke zero. And I really was feeling it today. I was craving it so much. I drank it and it tasted good. And halfway through this podcast, my throat started drying up and getting sticky.
[00:22:04] And now at the very end, my throat is dry and it’s kind of raspy. It sounds a little raspy to me. I don’t know if you guys can tell the difference, but you live in, you learn it’s the whole point of this podcast, do something. And if it doesn’t work, then don’t do it again and change it and learn from it.
[00:22:18] This is Kyle with Freedom and Fail telling you don’t drink Coke zero. If you ever do a podcast, that is my pro tip of the day. The last thing that I wanted to say today is I want to learn from you. Well, I am doing well and what I can improve on. So I’ve created a little survey. It’s a short little Google survey.
[00:22:38] You can find it on my Instagram, in the bio right now this week. And it just has about 10 questions about how many podcast episodes you’ve listened to, what you like about the podcast, what you want to hear more about what your biggest struggle is right now. Just a few questions like that. And that will really, really help me know what kind of content to bring you guys.
[00:22:59] And to know what is working and what I need to shift and improve on moving forward. And again, you can find that in the bio, on my Instagram, it’s just at Kyle bring hers. So go fill that out. It’ll do take one to two minutes maybe. And if you do it and enter it, then I’m going to just Venmo somebody 50 bucks, because I really want to make this the best experience possible while you guys are listening to it.
[00:23:22] To the point where you don’t want it to end. So thanks again for listening. I can’t wait to bring you another interview next week.