Feb. 21, 2022

Ep41 - The Wisdom of Mary Fain Brandt, Jo Draper, Colleen Kochannek, Ramon Ray, and Rob Cosman

Ep41 - The Wisdom of Mary Fain Brandt, Jo Draper, Colleen Kochannek, Ramon Ray, and Rob Cosman

Episode Forty One Features Guests Seventeen Through Twenty One Imparting Wisdom and What They Have Learned
My Key Takeaways:
I was extremely lucky to get the following guests as my next five interviews:  
Episode 17 - Mary Fain BrandtEpisode 18 - Jo Drap...

Episode Forty One Features Guests Seventeen Through Twenty One Imparting Wisdom and What They Have Learned My Key Takeaways:

I was extremely lucky to get the following guests as my next five interviews:  

Episode 17 - Mary Fain Brandt Episode 18 - Jo Draper Episode 19 - Colleen Kochannek Episode 20 - Ramon Ray Episode 21 - Rob Cosman

In this episode:

  • Mary Fain Brandt talks about how to get rid of feeling like you are stuck in your present job and how to leverage LinkedIn to move forward.
  • Mary encourages job seekers to text ten people and ask them 'What makes me fabulous?'
  • Mary shares the differences between a personal LinkedIn profile and a LinkedIn Company page.
  • Mary shares about how to go about building a brand using LinkedIn.
  • Jo Draper talks about what she refers to as the 'Seven Chakras of Business'
  • Jo relates how she has suffered from the Curse of Knowledge before and how patience has helped her in dealing with it.
  • Jo also discusses some of the differences between the free and professional versions of CANVA.
  • Jo admits that she too suffers from the inclination to underprice her services and how she has corrected that in her business.
  • Colleen Kochannek opens up about being let go from her safe corporate job and how she rebounded from it.
  • Colleen also goes on to relate why she thinks those of us over 50 make the best entrepreneurs.
  • Colleen also dispels the myth that we need to be on all Social Media platforms and that we should be very intentional with our focus on it.
  • Colleen advises against getting too crazy when creating a lead magnet.
  • Ramon Ray defines the word 'BRAND' and expounds on how it applies to us and our businesses.
  • Ramon goes on to define the 'Celebrity CEO' concept and how it can help us succeed in business.
  • Ramon also relates on some of the issues that cause entrepreneurs not to succeed in their businesses.
  • Rob Cosman introduces the concept of Online Arbitrage and how he uses it to make money on Amazon.
  • Rob introduces some of the software tools that enable him to be successful.
  • Rob discloses what categories are best for entrepreneurs to start with initially on Amazon
  • Rob shares his own podcast with us and why he does it.

 Be sure to hit Subscribe in your podcast app so that you don't miss it or any other episodes.


Be sure to hit Subscribe in your podcast app so that you don't miss it or any other episodes.


[00:00:00] We're actually starting off today with episode 17 and going through episode 21. The reason for this is because episode 16 was actually a continuation of John Moyer. Talking about hypnosis and his YouTube channel. Our first guest is Mary Fain Brandt the CEO of Mary Fein brand consulting. Founder of the LinkedIn bakery. 

[00:00:22] And an international LinkedIn trainer, speaker, and strategist. 

[00:00:27] Greg Mills: Okay. Now, what do you recommend for somebody that feels stuck in their current role and wants to try something new? How should they leverage LinkedIn or how can they move forward?

[00:00:38] Mary Fain Brandt: Well for the job seekers, this last year, everything shifted and we haven't seen the fallout from the pandemic. We're still experiencing shortages with, in some industries. You've got to know which industries are taking off. Also remote work and, the hybrid model is here to stay. So that is something to take into consideration.

[00:01:00] Mary Fain Brandt: If you're thinking of pivoting, you need to take inventory of what you're passionate about in the professional sense and where your skills lie. There's some simple exercises that I go through with my clients. Here's one, text 10 people and ask them what makes you fabulous. Don't give them any context, right?

[00:01:18] Mary Fain Brandt: Just ask them what makes you fabulous. Are you a problem solver? Are you a community builder? Right? Then you take some of those key words and you start looking at jobs. So instead of going right into looking for jobs, you need to do the foundational work of who you are. Creating your own personal brand.

[00:01:38] Mary Fain Brandt: I know you might think that's only for business owners, but I'm telling you in 2021, everybody needs to create and implement their own personal brand. As a job seeker, that's totally going to make you stand out, especially when you get on LinkedIn and start engaging with others and creating content.

[00:01:58] Mary Fain Brandt: So create a personal brand and start growing your network because your network is probably where someone's going to introduce you to someone that knows the company that's hiring or knows the hiring manager or hears from another group of an opening that is perfect for you.

[00:02:15] Greg Mills: I'm a company of one, should I even bother with a LinkedIn company or just use my personal profile? And if so, should, how should I even use the LinkedIn Company profile?

[00:02:26] Mary Fain Brandt: So I always recommend that even the solo preneur. So you have a personal profile on LinkedIn and let's establish the difference. A personal profile is yours. It belongs to one person. It should have your headshot. It should not have the logo of your company. LinkedIn- that goes against the terms and conditions.

[00:02:47] Mary Fain Brandt: They want the personal profile to be personal. So it needs to have your headshot and information about you because we want people to connect with you, the person,

[00:02:56] Mary Fain Brandt: A lot of people do that. They'll put the logo up and you really shouldn't do that because at some point LinkedIn will start monitoring and they can shut it down and then you've lost everything.

[00:03:08] Mary Fain Brandt: So your headshot should be just a clear headshot. You should be smiling. It should be a current headshot. So you look like the person that you are in person. Forget vanity. I had a colleague post the other day, Hey, I just updated my headshot. It's it's been like five or seven years. He's like, I've lost some hair.

[00:03:28] Mary Fain Brandt: Some of it's gray, I didn't look like the old headshot. He's like, pro tip: Update your headshot. And I agree with that. You know, we want to be more relatable to the people we connect to it. So your personal profile is personal. Should have a headshot should talk about what you've done.

[00:03:44] Mary Fain Brandt: Your experience section. You should have a robust About You section. Your company page is an extension, right? So that is the company page. You can have your logo, you can put the articles up there. Now they allow you to write articles on company pages, which can really help you drive traffic through Google.

[00:04:02] Mary Fain Brandt: That's a whole nother training session. But I do want to say they have updated the company pages where you can have call to actions, like sign up for my event, register for something, visit my webpage, get more information. But company pages are still a little blah. They don't get a lot of traction.

[00:04:23] Mary Fain Brandt: There are ways to build your followers, but it does take time.

[00:04:28] Greg Mills: How do you advise going about building a brand on LinkedIn?

[00:04:33] Mary Fain Brandt: So you really need to know who you are, what you value. So I value time. Like the, probably the biggest thing I value is time and people, and I don't like my time to be wasted. So I don't waste people's time. My show is 30 minutes. Bite-sized tips for busy entrepreneurs. Right. So it's bite size. So that's what I value.

[00:04:54] Mary Fain Brandt: And that's what people expect for me. So you want to build your brand on LinkedIn? Yes. It's your colors, it's your font. It's your logo. That is probably 20% of your brand, to be honest. The bigger part of your brand is how do you want people to feel when they see or hear your content? So on a live show, I want people to feel energized.

[00:05:17] Mary Fain Brandt: I want them to learn something with my content that I put out. I talk with my hands. You can see me right now. I talk with my hands. I'm joyful, I'm energetic. And my branding is all like that. Because it's too hard to be two different people. Right? If my branding was very subdued and quiet and very calm and then you were to meet me, the branding would be off.

[00:05:38] Mary Fain Brandt: There would be a disconnect and people would go, but that's not Mary Fain Brandt online. I don't know who this Mary Fain Brandt is. What else is she hiding?

[00:05:49] Greg Mills: Now how often should someone post on LinkedIn and what should they be posting?

[00:05:54] Mary Fain Brandt: Ooh, that's a loaded question. You should post what your audience wants to know about. So if you're a job seeker, are you positioning yourself as a thought leader in the industry that you're either in or trying to get to? So if you're a manager trying to move into a senior manager or a VP role, are you posting content that is relevant to that position? So, culture, How you handle teams, Leadership Development. Right? So that's a really loaded question that I work on with my clients, one-on-one. We come up with a 30 day content strategy that they can kind of rinse and repeat. I actually find 90 days of content strategy with someone -three months of doing it with them, helps them, so then they can go and do it on their own. So content wise for business owner, what are you pushing out? What do you want people to do? Do you want them to sign up for something? Are you looking for more engagement? Is this a brand awareness month? I think it was in March,

[00:06:53] Mary Fain Brandt: we finally rebranded. We got the new website, up new logos. So I was trying to announce that to the world. So I was, sharing, Hey, did my new website. Hey, can you jump over there and make sure there's no typos? Cause y'all know I'm dyslexic and I've read this thing 10 times. So I think one of the, the mis-marked on LinkedIn with content is people aren't humanizing it enough.

[00:07:17] Mary Fain Brandt: They're thinking above the level or they're overthinking it. Have some fun with it and humanize it. I always say H to H human to human, there's a person behind the profile. There's a person reading your content, talk to that person. Don't overthink it, make it more conversational.

[00:07:34] Mary Fain Brandt: So that is like one tip. As far as how often. Again, that changes for what are you working on right now? What is your goal for LinkedIn? Is it brand awareness. Are you trying to get your name out there? I always say if you're just starting off post twice a week, you want a little more post three times a week.

[00:07:53] Mary Fain Brandt: It's not Instagram. You don't need to post daily and you don't need to post twice a day. They actually say, if you've posted, if you've created content and it's getting a lot of engagement, And a lot of reach, they say don't post until it starts to die down because then you're going to take away from it.

[00:08:12] Mary Fain Brandt: But it just depends what you're doing. Right now, with LinkedIn Remastered, last week, we were posting every day about this to get people, to sign up and to tell them instructions. Like, Hey, you're going to be getting emails, join the group. So really depends on what you're trying to accomplish.

[00:08:29] Our next guest is Joe Draper from Australia. She's the owner and founder of live virtually. She brings fun and magic to Canva graphics and documents. For course, creators and coaches. As well as runs a virtual consultancy. 

[00:08:46] Greg Mills: now you've mentioned the seven Chakras of business, and I believe that is part of your live love, manifests program. Can you talk about that a little bit? 

[00:08:54] Jo Draper: I started out with six members. I didn't want to have a lot of members cause I would just want it to, put everything together and make sure that it was a viable products. So I've had six members now or wrong week nine, 10 we're on week 10. So basically, yeah.

[00:09:13] Jo Draper: Seven loss of seven. So because there's seven chakras the seven weeks. So they, we start off with the base chakra, which is your systems, your foundations, and like your legals and your insurance, and you know, all those things that you need when you start your business. And then we work up into, um, the sacral chakra, the solar plexus, the heart throat.

[00:09:40] Jo Draper: Um, third eye and the crowd. So each week, I do a recording, so there's a module. so for this week, I've just got, setting goals in alignment with your business. So, I go through do slides and a recording. We also do a group mentoring session once a month. And I've just introduced a contact creation session because I found that most people are able to get what they want to prepare for the month.

[00:10:15] Jo Draper: And me included, and I can get a plan of what I want to do and where I want to post and what I want to do, but actually sitting down and creating it Is another matter. You just sort of put into one side. You know, it's like, oh, I better do that. post today. So then you got to jump into CANVA or, you know, jump into Facebook or wherever you're going to post.

[00:10:37] Jo Draper: So we've actually got a two hour session and that will be like Pomodora. So it will be, you know, a 20 minute do some work. I'll help them with anything that they need. So if anybody needs a tutorial on CANVA or, it might be that they're doing email marketing and they need to know how to set up a template in their email provider.

[00:10:58] Jo Draper: So we'll do all that on the session as well. I also offer an additional service with Voxer mentoring. So if somebody needs more one-on-one support, we do a monthly Voxer mentoring session as well. So there's loads of bonus tools in there. So I've got planners, I've got habit trackers. I've got journals.

[00:11:18] Jo Draper: So there's lots and lots in there now. So I'm actually got a webinar. At the end of the month to, people how to it's called Hack Your Tech. It's for again, the spiritual women to teach them how to create very simple and easy text system that they can use in their business.

[00:11:37] Jo Draper: So that might be a client onboarding system or, using Google workspace , and CANVA in their system. There's ways that you can use a very simple system or you can have a very sophisticated system. 

[00:11:52] Greg Mills: I've often heard and I think a lot of us suffer from what we what's called the curse of knowledge. How have you gotten around that?

[00:12:02] Greg Mills: And I should back up and explain to our listeners, curse of knowledge is. When you understand something and you think that everyone else does.

[00:12:09] Jo Draper: I think it's understanding people, and therefore understanding body language and taking somebody on a journey from a to B or a to C, because some people don't tell you. That they're finding that thing difficult. And an example, I've run a couple of CANVA workshops now.

[00:12:36] Jo Draper: When I first did my, first workshop, I wrongly assumed that people would know what Canva was and that they would already have an account. And so we had women turn up. They didn't even know what CANVA was. So I'd sent, , templates out and sent links and said to people, if you haven't signed up yet, here's the link sign up.

[00:12:59] Jo Draper: It's a free account. Here's the templates that you're going to need on the day. And then we get to the day and you go, Okay. did you get the emails? Yeah, I didn't know what to do with them. To, the usual person that's a really simple step it's not that simple to some people.

[00:13:22] Jo Draper: And I think patience is probably the biggest. thing that you need to have, and if you don't have patience to sit with somebody and nurture that person on their education level, because you don't know if that person has learning difficulties or they have any other difficulties. So to be able to stop, take the time and go, okay, where are you at?

[00:13:52] Jo Draper: You know, and they've gone. Well, I don't know what that is. So just taking them through the actual step-by-step process. I know really breaking everything down sort of to the nth degree, is probably the, the other side of the curse of the knowledge.

[00:14:14] Jo Draper: Yeah, and I suppose nurture is a good word. Nurture who it is that you're educating.

[00:14:19] Greg Mills: Now I've, I've used Canva. I probably use a fraction what can be done with it, but it seems to be a pretty, pretty good little program. And I'm using the free version. What are the differences between like the CANVA Free and CANVA Pro?

[00:14:34] Jo Draper: the biggest things for people like me who work with lots and lots of different women, I can have all of their brand kits, so their logos, their colors, their funds, um, all separately. So that when I go into say I'm creating an email header, when I open up that email header, I would then change that brand kit to there.

[00:15:02] Jo Draper: Yeah. So we'll go with, Greg, I'm going to open Greg's brand care and he's got a month's wrap Fon and he's got, um, Ariel and then his colors are blue, green, yellow. And so I've got all those there very simply. And then I can use your font. So if I was using a template, I can then easily change the fonts, change the colors into your words.

[00:15:31] Jo Draper: The other, there's a couple of things too. You can store a lot of photographs. So I've got like thousands of stock photography, that I've purchased, in there plus like lots and lots of different folders. So I've got, for example, I've got a live virtually folder. And then within that, I've got my social media, I've got my membership, I've got my clients.

[00:15:59] Jo Draper: And then within the clients, I've got sub folders for clients that I've worked with regularly. And then I've got another sub folder for ad hoc clients and then within there. So, it's very, very granular. The biggest thing for, CANVA Pro is the background remover. So say you've got a photograph and the wall behind is like just really distracting or something.

[00:16:24] Jo Draper: You can actually remove the background and just have the person which is really good for like Facebook headers or, your Facebook banner is where you've got an event. To be honest. I don't think it's that expensive for what it is. If you think how much Photoshop costs. It's not that expensive for what you actually get. 

[00:16:49] Greg Mills: Okay. Now in your VA business. Are you, are you still focusing 

[00:16:55] Jo Draper: 

[00:16:55] Jo Draper: I still do quite a lot of one-on-one. However, moving forward, I, um, working on, some workshops and courses, and again, your membership, obviously, um, Out there into the world now that I've had a few weeks with a few people. And so, yeah, I'd say trying to move in the one-to-many, but still keeping in that?

[00:17:25] Jo Draper: very educational, niche of teaching people, what they need to know in, in the simplest way possible. 

[00:17:34] Greg Mills: You also mentioned something just a little bit ago about pricing themselves. And I know you've talked about, people undercharging themselves with regards to price. Why do you think that is.

[00:17:47] Jo Draper: I do it. I do it myself. I totallyunder price myself. And I think most of us do. I think price is more about value. So what are you paying for when you hire me? Well, you paying for 30 odd years of experience, plus you're paying for my knowledge of all of these platforms . Realistically it shouldn't matter if something takes me 30 minutes to create, it's not 30 minutes, you know?

[00:18:20] Jo Draper: We still trade time for money. And that's one of the things that I'm trying to get out of is.

[00:18:26] Jo Draper: to stop trading time for money, because we still charge on an hourly, an hourly rate rather than per package, actually pricing ourselves. And I suppose it comes down to. How much do you want to earn, you know, for your year, what's 

[00:18:43] Jo Draper: going to be comfortable for you.

[00:18:45] Jo Draper: What do you need? You need to pay the mortgage and get shopping and pay your rates. And I know that stuff. So how much you actually need, what the buffer on top of that, how many hours do you want to work per week? How many clients do you want to work with and what does that look like? And then, you know, taking that.

[00:19:06] Jo Draper: Hourly rate if you like, but then creating packages around, well, what, what do I offer? And then an example of that is I sent an email out to my current and past clients, a couple of weeks ago saying, Hey, I've got two spots to do 30 custom made social media graphics and I'll include 15 bonus stories.

[00:19:31] Jo Draper: And I put a package price on that and I had four people come back and say, yes, I'll have that. And that to me was a really good indication of, well, that package actually works. So now I can take that package into the market and go, Hey, does anybody want this? Like, it wasn't like mega expensive, but it meant that 

[00:19:53] Jo Draper: if somebody taught me a little bit longer, I still had that buffer of time.

[00:19:58] Jo Draper: Whereas I wouldn't have, if I'd have said, oh, it would take me an hour or two hours, you know? So I think it's just thinking about things differently, I suppose. And Yeah, Looking more at your packages and the courses that you want to ride. And I know a lot of people now. Wanting to do courses and memberships because a lot of us are wanting to get away from the one-to-one.

[00:20:30] Jo Draper: I've got quite a few women in my network that wants to start working with, teenagers and children, which, then you've got to then target the parent, but also the child, because you want the child to say, Hey mom or dad, I want to do this. It's only. X amount. So it's just filling that value.

[00:20:53] Jo Draper: So what is the value? People like bonuses. So, when you do stuff and you, you give, you've got a package, one of the bonuses. So the bonus for me could be, okay, you get a 30 minute session with me where we go through what your issues are, and I can then point you in the direction of what you need.

[00:21:15] Jo Draper: So it might be somebody joining my membership. I would suggest you start with this module, this module and this module, rather than them going in there and going, oh my God, there's so much content, you know? So it's just, yeah, I suppose it's just a different way of looking at what we offer, but not being afraid to try things and just going out there and going, Hey, what do you think about this?

[00:21:42] Jo Draper: And asking your audience? know, I saw in Facebook this morning, somebody who has gone on and said, oh, is, $55 too much for posting or creating images and posting content for somebody for a week? There was like 150 comments and almost every single one of them said, it's too cheap. 

[00:22:04] Jo Draper: I'm like no way, because that's going to take you so long to do, especially if you're doing it for somebody, then you got to go and find their images. You've got to find their colors, you've got to get their content. And you've got to know how to write in their voice if you're going to start writing captions for people.


[00:22:23] Colleen Cohain equals. Was episode 19. And she talked about how she helps women from the typewriter generation become successful laptop entrepreneurs. 

[00:22:34] Colleen Kochannek: I was laid off fairly unceremoniously, with 10,000 colleagues in a major kind of industry downturn. Right? You know, I just had kind of had enough of the corporate world. I'd had enough, what I call death by PowerPoint presentations and conference rooms.

[00:22:50] Colleen Kochannek: And I just decided to start my own online business and thought, how hard can it be? After all I have all this experience. And of course on day two, I was like, Oh, holy heck what have I done? I have no idea what I'm doing. So I kinda jumped in feet first and, started, an online magazine. And that's where I realized how much I didn't know and how unprepared I was for the online business space.

[00:23:15] Colleen Kochannek: But that's also where I started figuring things out and I started learning everything and kind of figured it out and made a go of it. In the meantime, a lot of people like friends started saying, how did you do it? Like at 50 Colleen, how do you do that? How do you do that? And then I just, I recognized a huge gap in the market because I started taking a lot of online classes with, you know, some of the big names that teach how to do these things.

[00:23:41] Colleen Kochannek: And I would go in these groups and I'd be like, Is anybody here over 50 and they would kind of come out of the woodwork. And so I knew I was onto something that there were a lot of us out there wanting to start online businesses, but we were also a little like hiding in the shadows for lack of a better term and not really wanting to raise our hands and ask those potentially

[00:24:05] Colleen Kochannek: what I call the, "you know, grandma can't work the smartphone" millennial eye roll, questions, you know, so we weren't asking the questions. And so, I subsequently started this business, the Scrappy Frontier, where I, focused explicitly on helping women from the typewriter generation start their online businesses. 

[00:24:24] Greg Mills: So why do you think that women over 50 make the best entrepreneurs?

[00:24:29] Colleen Kochannek: Oh, how long do you have? Well, first of all, I think any of us over 40, 50, make great entrepreneurs

[00:24:38] Colleen Kochannek: because just the simple math, we have a lot of decades under our belt of, professional experience, life experience, personal experience, and it all just kind of culminates into this, kind of perfect storm of.

[00:24:56] Colleen Kochannek: What's really needed in entrepreneurship, especially online entrepreneurship because, as you know, it's not what the, marketers tell you online that you can, start your business while you drink. Pina coladas on the beach. It's actually a lot of work and it requires a lot of discipline and, persistence.

[00:25:15] Colleen Kochannek: And we have that at our age. We definitely have that. And I also think just this notion of this really deep expertise in a lot of areas. And the funny thing is I find a lot of the women that I talked to, they don't actually believe that they have skills or something they can sell. 

[00:25:35] Colleen Kochannek: Because it's oftentimes something they've done for so long that has become just so a part of who they are that they don't see it as a skill.

[00:25:44] Colleen Kochannek: And I'm like, are you kidding me? That is amazing. It's an amazing skill you have. So I think just the age, the deep expertise. Self-awareness the persistence, the patience, we know it's not going to be an overnight thing like you hear on TV or in, on social media. So I think we just have a lot of that going for. 

[00:26:05] Greg Mills: Brings up a question about social media. What about somebody that you know is not necessarily on like Facebook or Instagram? are they out of business or are they, can they move forward? How do you advise going with that?

[00:26:21] Colleen Kochannek: If you want an online business, You need to be online. And, in my opinion, my personal opinion, you would be a little crazy to not take advantage of the opportunity social media offers because you can reach the entire world with a Facebook ad. Okay. A hundred bucks or a thousand bucks, which people are like, oh, that's a lot of money, but I'm like, go back to the olden days when you had to put an ad in every little local newspaper and every circular and on TV.

[00:26:53] Colleen Kochannek: And so it's, definitely a love, hate relationship with my audience because we're not, I don't care what you had for breakfast. So why are you showing me that on Facebook kind of notion, but the opportunity is there. And so. I think it's an important thing to jump into, but I also think it's really important to jump into it in a way that's comfortable for you and not getting caught up in all the trends that you see happening.

[00:27:19] Colleen Kochannek: My audience and my students will often be laughing. Do I have to go like on Instagram and dance and point, and I'm like, no, not if you don't want to, not, if please don't please. Don't if you don't want to, but social media is, a huge missed opportunity if you're not going to use it.

[00:27:37] Colleen Kochannek: And of course paid advertising on social media, will get you where you want to go a lot faster than just organic or free content marketing, for sure. For sure.

[00:27:47] Colleen Kochannek: . And I think the great thing too, is there are a lot of,platforms. You know, Facebook, isn't the only one. If you're more comfortable on LinkedIn, do LinkedIn, if you're more comfortable on Pinterest, do that. Instagram do that. So I think there's a lot of opportunity 

[00:28:02] Colleen Kochannek: I think when we do use social media, we need to be very intentional about how we use it, because you can get sucked into this black hole. That becomes a huge time suck for your business, if you're not doing it very intentionally.

[00:28:19] Colleen Kochannek: I think it does have to be a choice, but it can be, you know, a harder go in terms of promoting and building a list and an audience without it, but it can certainly be done 100%. I know a lot of people complain about the platforms and, oh, it's all ads and it's this I'm like, these are for-profit organizations, folks. They owe you nothing. And their number one goal is to sell ads. Ad revenue is how they make money. And so platforms like LinkedIn are definitely having to adapt to get a much wider, broader audience in there.

[00:28:53] Colleen Kochannek: And to do that, it has to become more personal, so to speak. Uh, it's kind of like Pinterest used to be about recipes and things like that. And now it's everything

[00:29:03] Greg Mills: okay. Now you mentioned list-building earlier. Can you elaborate a little bit on that?

[00:29:09] Colleen Kochannek: Yeah. So list building, AKA building your email list. AKA getting people onto an email list is something that needs to happen from day one in any business. People don't understand really how to do that and they don't understand the significance of it. Building an email list early and continually, like it needs to be on your job jar, all of the time, because it's the only communication and access to our customers that we really fully control. Social media, you know, they have their algorithms and they determine what content gets put out there.

[00:29:48] Colleen Kochannek: Do you know, they determine who it gets put in front of. We don't have control of that. They can shut your account down, they can lock your account, all these things. So getting people into our own sphere and onto an email list is really, - it has to be a number one priority. And if you do it right, and you have an email list, I know people who are not on social media.

[00:30:09] Colleen Kochannek: I mean, they're on social media, but they've never run an ad. And they're doing very, very well simply by having a great email list and nurturing that email list and promoting to that email list as well. 

[00:30:22] Greg Mills: Okay. What kind of lead magnets do you recommend?

[00:30:25] Colleen Kochannek: Lead magnet. Simple, easy to consume, super helpful, solves one problem. Do not write the ebook. Do not write, do not create a 10 hour course do not do not because that's just going to go into somebody's graveyard of files on their laptop. You want to give your customer a quick win. A quick result and a quick taste of you.

[00:30:49] Colleen Kochannek: That's really the sole purpose of this email and you know, of a lead magnet. And it's a transaction. I tell my audience like this is a transaction it's for free, but they're giving you their email address. So it has to be super valuable. Give them a quick win, make sure it solves something they want solved makes their life easier and they can basically look at it.

[00:31:10] Colleen Kochannek: Do it, get the results. Kind of fall in love with you and then it can go in the graveyard. That's what a good lead magnet in my opinion should be. 

[00:31:19] Greg Mills: What are some of the typical mistakes that you find people make when they're starting out?

[00:31:24] Colleen Kochannek: Some that I've already mentioned. They want to DIY everything. They don't want to invest any money at all in it. And it backfires because let's say you do learn how to set up your website. And guess what? You're not a coder, you're not a designer. So you now have a website that looks like, 1982 threw up all over it, it looks amateurish.

[00:31:51] Colleen Kochannek: So then it devalues your business, so this notion of not wanting to invest anything in your business is I think is a real problem. It's not, business-minded, it's maybe more hobbyist and there's a big difference. So trying to DIY everything takes too much time and you can't be great at everything.

[00:32:10] Colleen Kochannek: So it's going to show for sure. I think another mistake is not managing expectations. Actually believing the gurus that, you can work from the beach, drinking your Pena colada and make money while you sleep. It's not going to happen. I mean, eventually it could happen, but it's not going to happen till you put in the work.

[00:32:30] Colleen Kochannek: So you have to come at it with that. It takes a lot, the learning curve is steep. It's really steep. So you have to be in it for the long haul. I see a lot of people get in it. It's like I've been doing this for three weeks and it's not working and I'm like three weeks. And so we have to give it a fair shake.

[00:32:48] Colleen Kochannek: We have to give it a fair shake. Another thing I see kind of along the same lines are people who kind of jump from like magic bullet to magic bullet. Because they're looking for something to grasp onto, which I totally get because that learning curve is steep. but I think if you can, settle onto one thing that you want to do, give it six months, give it six months.

[00:33:10] Colleen Kochannek: And even if that idea doesn't work, you've still learned how to do all the things. So, but you have to give that idea a fair shake . That's a huge mistake I see. But definitely the not wanting to invest any money. Another thing I see is not wanting to, , hire, I mean, outsource for things like that, but also to get help like education or get a coach or something like that, which I don't understand because I jumped in coming from education because I know that if I can go to an expert, who's already done it.

[00:33:43] Colleen Kochannek: I can learn it that much faster. So I think a big mistake is not investing in a coach or somebody who can help you move faster in your business. for sure. if you're serious about getting your business up and running. 

[00:33:57] Ramon Ray, the founder of smart hustle media and an entrepreneur in residence at Oracle net suite. Was my next guest. And he shared his knowledge regarding the starting a brand. 

[00:34:09] Greg Mills: Now we hear the word brand get thrown around a lot. How do you define the term brand?

[00:34:14] Ramon Ray: Yeah.

[00:34:14] Ramon Ray: It is thrown around quite a bit. And I think that some people may say a brand is what people say when they don't talk about you, what your customers memorize you by and things like that. And I think all of those are correct. I know for me, Greg really what's important for me is I think, yeah.

[00:34:27] Ramon Ray: What do people know you best at? I know for me, a lady came up to me after an event. Ramon I know you like burnt pancakes. I was so honored because she thought it was like a negative. She's like, I hope you don't mind. But I said, no, I talk about my love of burnt pancakes and bacon, every two weeks. I cut it down from every week.

[00:34:42] Ramon Ray: So I'm glad that that's clearly you've been in the Ramon funnel enough to know that's what I like. So yeah, for sure, Greg, I think that a brand is important. What do people know of you as, and I think if you don't have a brand that people are like, huh, Ramon don't really know what he does. How do they know where to place you and peg you, to know what they want to hire you for or what to call you for, even if they need advice?

[00:35:04] Ramon Ray: So I think brand is in one point It's your website and things like that is an important part of the brand, but I think it's really, why do people rally around it? What are you offering to people of value that makes them want to take notice to what you're doing that I think is brand, all of us were arguably say Michael Jackson, moonwalk, Mike Tyson boxing, Katy Perry singing.

[00:35:24] Ramon Ray: What's Greg known for? What's Ramon known for? So I think that's important. 

[00:35:28] Greg Mills: What is the Celebrity CEO concept?

[00:35:31] Ramon Ray: Yeah, it's a made up of two or three key pillars and it's really about personal branding. But the Celebrity CEO concept is that you can be well-known in your market or industry. You don't have to be globally known. You don't have to be worldwide famous. But you can be well-known in your slice of the world.

[00:35:47] Ramon Ray: So if you're a plumber in a small town in Dallas, Texas, you may be well-known in that area because you give cookies to all the kids after a plumbing job in the home, whatever it may be. That's your brand you're well-known in that area. So the Celebrity CEO is encouraging small businesses that listen, you may not be well-known as Donald Trump or Barack Obama or whoever it is.

[00:36:08] Ramon Ray: But you can be well-known to that specific sector of people and they can call upon you when they have a need. It's also about building a community of fans. So many times, Greg, I'm sure you talk to people and we push so much to want to get a sale, but I'm like slow down a bit. And instead of going so fast to get to go for the sale, try to build trust and relationship as my friend, John Jans talks about. And you can do that by educating people, providing them content of value that over time they're like, oh, Ramon for the 77th time taught me how to tie my shoes on his video.

[00:36:40] Ramon Ray: Maybe I'll buy shoelaces from him. That's a silly example, but that's what the celebrity CEO that you can build a community of fans, nurture people to buy from you. And you build that relationship of trust and relationship with them. 

[00:36:53] Greg Mills: Now, what are some of the typical mistakes that you find people making when they're trying to start out either in a traditional business or in an online business?

[00:37:01] Ramon Ray: Yeah, I think some of the keys to business success, I found, I think A, who are you serving? What problem are they having? Where are they located at? These are three things that are very important. Then you have the aspect of what are you charging them? Are you charging the right price to make a profit for your business, dealing with overhead and things like this.

[00:37:20] Ramon Ray: Then as you come to that, what's the team that you're putting together to help you build that. To help you serve that customer. Other thing it's important to ask yourself are what's the purpose? Why are you doing what you're doing? Which in fact should be the first question, because that drives you.

[00:37:34] Ramon Ray: What's driving you and forcing you to do it. What's the vision you have for your company. Our vision at Smart Hustle is have fun. And do the right thing. So I think that once you have these things in alignment and a Jim Collins says his book Flywheel, it's something I hold near. And dear Flywheel, once you get this in your business, then you're able to have a system that generates and goes on and on and combined with your systems and processes.

[00:37:58] Ramon Ray: And you have a successful business. There's some things that, that a business does that fails. Their pricing is wrong. They're losing money on every item they're making, or they're not charging enough, or they don't have the right team and, or hiring the right team members. To help execute on their vision or they're working with the wrong type of customer.

[00:38:16] Ramon Ray: That's a drain on them. So there's several things you can get wrong in a business, but I find that once you get it right, you can build a big, a nice business, big or small that supports your family and enables you to serve your community. 

[00:38:28] Rob Cosman was my final guest on episode 21. He has managed to sell online via Amazon and home Depot. As well as running his own e-commerce business, despite living in Costa Rica. As an ex-pat

[00:38:43] Greg Mills: now, let's switch gears a little bit here, and I'm going to kind of throw both of these out. You mentioned Online Arbitrage, as well as Amazon. Can you walk us through those?

[00:38:54] Rob Cosman: sure. So I sell on Amazon and I use a method. In the biz. We call it online arbitrage. So it's really just flipping re 

[00:39:03] Rob Cosman: reselling it, flipping stuff. So what I do is I'll go to a website like Walmart and I'll find a Lego set that's maybe on sale and I'll buy it. And then what I do, because I'm here, I have it shipped.

[00:39:15] Rob Cosman: So I have a lady who works for me in Toronto. It's shipped to her, or I have a couple of prep centers. So there's businesses out there that will prepare your products for you. So I have, I used to have them in the states, another one in Canada, plus my helper. So I ordered the stuff it arrives to it's in the prep center.

[00:39:31] Rob Cosman: They'll, inspect it, make sure it's not damaged. Then they'll create a shipment in my Amazon Seller Central, like my backend that, 

[00:39:39] Rob Cosman: and then they put it in a box and they ship it into 

[00:39:42] Rob Cosman: Amazon for me. And it sits there until someone buys it. So someone goes on and they they're looking for this Lego set.

[00:39:50] Rob Cosman: It's a Star Wars Lego set, let's say, and they look at it and they say, oh, it's, you know, 199, it's Amazon Prime. And they add it to the box. Most people you'll look and you'll see, sometimes it's shipped by Amazon sold by Amazon. Sometimes it's shipped by Amazon sold by Rob Cosman, but a lot of people don't really notice that.

[00:40:08] Rob Cosman: And so that's what I do. There's kind of two main methods either. I'm buying things at a discount and trying to sell them to kind of the normal price or I'm buying things, usually like normal price and selling at an inflated price, either due to demand and supply. It's hard to find some stuff that's like particularly Lego sets that might be retired or harder to find , um, shoes and boots and things. 

[00:40:33] Greg Mills: Okay. Now, do you use any type of special software or, things for track deals or how does that work?

[00:40:42] Rob Cosman: I use tons of it, but it'll just starting out. It's it's it's really simple. So one thing is there's this one little software, and if anybody shops on Amazon, this is going to change your life. It's called Keepa K E P a keepa.com. So it's a Chrome plugin for your Chrome browser and what it will do, there's a free and a paid version.

[00:41:01] Rob Cosman: The paid version is like 15 Euro a month. That's what I have because it shows me a sales rank. 

[00:41:06] Rob Cosman: But what this does is it will show you the historical price of that item over time and then you can set an alert. So if, for instance, you're looking to buy this PlayStation and it always sells for 300 bucks, but every once in a while, it drops to 250, you can send an alert to 

[00:41:20] Rob Cosman: say, Hey, send me an email when it drops to $250 and it'll send you a.

[00:41:27] Rob Cosman: So KEEPA plugs into the data from Amazon through like their backend and it's always pinging it, it's gathering 

[00:41:33] Rob Cosman: historical pricing and it's also gathering what they call a sales rank. So you look at our listing, it'll tell you what a 

[00:41:40] Rob Cosman: sales rank is. And that's a number anywhere from like one to, like millions.

[00:41:44] Rob Cosman: But depending on it, say, if I look at a toy and it has a sales rank of 2000, I know that's probably selling me this time of the year. Maybe it's selling 50 units a day. So there's data available using like Keepa to help me make these decisions like, Okay,

[00:42:00] Rob Cosman: this normally sells for this after the Amazon fees, you know, how much money am I going to make on it?

[00:42:06] Rob Cosman: And how quickly would that probably sell? So that's one tool that I use. And another one is one called AZI Insight and it's another Chrome plugin. When I look at the Amazon listing, it pulls up this little calculator. And I put in my bike cost. So it pulls in what the current selling price is. I put in the buy cost and it shows me my profit margin, my ROI right there.

[00:42:26] Rob Cosman: It pulls in all kinds of data as to how often, you know, historical pricing. Um, what's my break, even all those calculations right there. So literally I can look at a Lego set, look it up really quickly on Amazon and putting my bike cost and show me right there. Okay.

[00:42:42] Rob Cosman: Is, you know, will they make the threshold of how much I want to make?

[00:42:45] Rob Cosman: Great. And then the sales rank, well, how often would sell, Okay.

[00:42:49] Rob Cosman: I'll buy three of them. I'll buy 10 of them. I'll buy 20 of them. I'll buy a hundred. Right. 

[00:42:53] Greg Mills: Now, what category do you recommend somebody just starting out to focus on?

[00:42:59] Rob Cosman: When you first start out, you're going to be gated is what they call it. You're not going to be allowed to sell every type of brand or product. Some of them 

[00:43:06] Rob Cosman: are going to be gated forever. Others require you to find a good wholesaler, a correct wholesale act. You get on gated. Um, others will just open up over time and then new brand new account.

[00:43:17] Rob Cosman: Amazon's not going to trust you to sell Nike's because they think you might send it fake Nike. So when we first started out, probably Home Goods, is what you're going to have, like coffee makers and, things like that you might be able to 

[00:43:29] Rob Cosman: start with, but really it's about just scanning.

[00:43:31] Rob Cosman: So you download the Amazon seller app on your phone for free. I have a paid one called Profit Bandit, but you can just use that. And literally you just scan items. You go up to them and you look at the barcode, you scan it or you look up the barcode on, on the website and see if it gets sell it.

[00:43:47] Rob Cosman: But you know, you're going to be gated in toys for the first bit. If you can get on gated, their toys are good, but I would start probably with. Home goods are usually pretty decent. You know, a lot of people recommend starting with books, um, around your house, just looking to see what books should have both.

[00:44:04] Rob Cosman: I mean, Amazon is a book company. That's what it started with. right.

[00:44:06] Rob Cosman: So use books that would probably cost you no inventory. Just go and start scanning what's in your house and sell it. 

[00:44:13] Rob Cosman: Reference manuals and some textbooks and, things like that, cookbooks, you know, those are what people are looking for, specialty cookbooks, you know, it's the more obscure things, but I never did books that didn't really have a lot of books and.

[00:44:25] Rob Cosman: Books are too much for me. It's just too much time. Like I was starting with a thrifting or you scan a bunch of books and, you know, I just want to be more efficient. So I just, I kind of jumped the books and went straight to, arbitrage and buying brand new items and flipping them. 

[00:44:39] Greg Mills: Okay. Now are you selling any physical products that you are sourcing not via the online arbitrage, like you had started with the vitamin supplements or are you doing any of that now? 

[00:44:52] Rob Cosman: No. So I do have another business with my father 

[00:44:55] Rob Cosman: where we have our own e-commerce website and we make some Home Good products. he manufactures those and we sell those on multiple channels, like Home Depot and HOUZZ and places like that. So, but he makes it, instead of me going and get a Chinese manufacturer, you know, he's the one that manufactures it and, you know, we do like reclaimed wood products.

[00:45:16] Rob Cosman: So he makes those and then ships them out. I handle all the backend. I handleon the customer service calls, you know, we don't get that many, but you know, I get people that call them, have some questions and, you know, I'm Okay.

[00:45:28] Rob Cosman: to talk to, and I can chat with them on the phone. And, you know, it's usually, you know, people like, oh, I'm, you know, confused about square footage and you're not, can you help me through this calculation and, and stuff like that.

[00:45:38] Rob Cosman: So we still do that, but Amazon's not our main channel for that, you know, Home Depot and our own website are the main channel for those businesses. I don't do any of the kind of traditional private label stuff that people advertise. 

[00:45:52] Greg Mills: Now with a Home Depot, how did you get started with that? And do you, do they do like a fulfilled by, well, we'll say fulfilled by Amazon, but fulfilled by home Depot or do you have to handle the shipping?

[00:46:06] Rob Cosman: Yeah. So we do the shipping, we do a drop shipping, so they 

[00:46:08] Rob Cosman: pay for the shipping, I get the orders and then we slapped their labels on it. But it's a drop shipping?

[00:46:12] Rob Cosman: Yeah. So then they don't carry the inventory. We're not available in store. It's only online. But how I got there, so that business kind of evolve.

[00:46:20] Rob Cosman: It's funny. We started with Etsy, you know, when you're doing reclaimed products, reclaim wood products, you know, I saw something on HGTV and I said to my dad, can you make that? And it was like a reclaimed wood light thing. He was like, yeah, I can make that. So we started doing that. And then we were doing some iPad holders that are reclaimed wood 

[00:46:36] Rob Cosman: and we're getting some good traction on Etsy.

[00:46:38] Rob Cosman: Then we evolve to a website called house H O U S Z And that's same type of thing. Third party marketplace. We list our products. We drop ship them. You know, they give us the shipping labels and we send them in. So we did that. And then we became popular in a couple of categories. And then suddenly home Depot came knocking and category manager found me, you know, I think category management might be.

[00:47:01] Rob Cosman: And he's like, Hey, are you interested in selling home Depot? I'm like, heck Yeah.

[00:47:04] Rob Cosman: I am. But I'll tell you, It's an entirely different game onboarding with that kind of a company, like literally six, eight months to set up SKUs and get going and just really slow. And no, like I'm not the smartest guy, but, I kind of understand some of the tech stuff and making SKUs and things, but there was just a whole another level and it was really painful, but like most things, if it's painful and a higher barrier of entry, fewer people are going to do it, so it should be less competition.

[00:47:36] Greg Mills: It's probably worth it then. 

[00:47:39] Greg Mills: So Okay. Let's talk about a little bit about your podcast. 

[00:47:43] Rob Cosman: Sure. It's a, it's called selling from the beach. That's our brand and that's our website. We've obviously we have our accounting firm, but you know, we decided that we wanted to go do more teaching and do more courses and things. Then, you know, we rebranded, so we're selling stuff for the beach.

[00:47:58] Rob Cosman: So, um, my wife has a course on how to create your own children's books, even if you can can't draw or anything. So she did that at the same time. I did my online masterclass. Um, so that's why we kind of roped in all around that. But at the same time it was during COVID and I started listening to a ton more podcasts and I was like, maybe I should make a podcast.

[00:48:19] Rob Cosman: I dunno. That sounds like fun. I mean, Hey, why did you make, when it sounds like fun, right, Greg? 

[00:48:23] Rob Cosman: So I do the same. 

[00:48:25] Greg Mills: of interesting people.

[00:48:27] Rob Cosman: Yeah, So I do the same, uh, interview style kind of. But I do it too. You know, basically almost everybody I've had on the show has been a friend of mine, just, you know, talking about their stories and you know, how they get selling and whether they're selling an Amazon or there's Shopify or, you know, whatever.

[00:48:44] Rob Cosman: And it's, it's fun. It's inspiring. And you know, it's, and that's how I do it, but it's only stuff that interests me. So lately I've been, you know, like I really wanted to talk to somebody who sold Lego full-time. So I found a guy in one of my Facebook groups that sells Lego full-time. So I had him on, you know, like it's, as you said, talking to people that interest you, right.