More Leads Online Podcast Episode 002
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Austin (00:00): So, Hey man, what’s up?
Dustin (00:02): What’s going on? My friend.
Austin (00:04): How you doing?
Dustin (00:05): I’m doing all right.
Austin (00:06): Yeah. Yeah. How’s how’s, COVID pandemonium treating you out there,
Dustin (00:13): Honestly. Not affected at all. I haven’t stopped working at all where I’m at in Texas and kind of more specifically where I’m at in Texas. It’s very spread out. There’s never people on top of each other as it is. So generally everybody’s really not worried. Like a lot of people are up in like New York city and LA, we just don’t have the same kind of lifestyle.
Austin (00:37): Yeah. We’re, we’re over here by Chicago. So that’s sort of you know, we’re like in the thick of it a lot of a lot of protesting and whatnot going on, but
Dustin (00:49): Yeah, even, you know, like when the housing crisis happened in 09 and the economy tanked and all that stuff, Austin, we just kind of were like bloop and just kept going, you know, like where we are is generally not affected very much by what goes on in the rest of the country, which is kinda awesome.
Austin (01:06): Yeah. I mean, honestly, that sounds pretty nice right now, so I guess, I guess that’s why why you would move to Texas.
Dustin (01:16): Yeah. And or if you’re like a glutton for punishment and you just really like 110 degree heat every day.
Austin (01:22): Yeah. Well that’s the trade off, right? Yeah. Cool, man.
Dustin (01:26): So are you, are you working from home?
I am. Yeah. Yeah. I’ve been it’s been really cool transitioning. It was a little bit difficult like disciplining my schedule that way, you know? Cause at first you start to get into this like, well, just kind of like piecemeal, loosey goosey, do a little this little that, but then you realize like you actually need some structure in your day. So I’ve been like making sure that I put a, you know, work shirt on with the MLO logo and like I’ve got an alarm set on my phone you know, for a specific time that’s like, all right, this is what I’m sitting down. And that way my, my head’s not in a thousand different places.
Dustin (02:16): Yeah. Yeah. I think it would it would drive me insane being somebody that does work outside every day, not being able to do that for months on end would just drive me crazy. My son has been off of school, you know, for months and he’s 15 years old and he’s just, he’s at that point where he’s like, I got to get out with my friends, I got to get outside he’s he’s in martial arts and he’s not been able to practice and do it everyday. Like he was and just I’m like, you’ve lasted months. I don’t even think I could last days I would be going out of my mind. So I feel for you man.
Austin (02:47): What’s so, so tell me, you know, I know, I know you, you were a tradesman and then you started your own company and then you moved into YouTube education. What are you, do you have a full time job right now that you’re working as well? Are you back in the trades?
Dustin (03:06): Yeah, so I work for another company doing custom houses and a lot of commercial, like small scale commercial. I still have my company. So I do a lot of, I use that basically for side work. So I have insurance and license and everything, so I can do work whenever I need to. And I do Electrician U, so I stay very, very busy.
Austin (03:28): Yeah, man, it sounds like it. So tell us a little bit about just that journey. What made, what made you want to branch out and do your own thing? What was that experience like? Cause you’re not, you’re not with the company that you were with before you started your company, are you?
Dustin (03:50): No. Well, the company that I’m with now is a company that I’ve worked with in the past. Oh, okay. Okay, cool. Yeah, but there’s been several different companies, so no, really. I mean the decision to go out of my own was always there. So from a young age, I was a single parent and that comes with a high cost to it. Generally. Any of you that are paying child support out there now? So I was an apprentice at an early age and it was the first kind of job that I really liked and actually wanted to stick to, but I knew that I had to stick to it for years before I could start getting paid really well. But then I knew once I started getting paid really well, I would start getting paid really well and I would learn a trade and a craft and I’d be able to just continue kind of an upward trend on my salary and my ability to provide for my family. So I just knew that if I kept sticking with it and kept getting the licenses, that eventually I could go out on my own, I could have my own company and then I could make even more money. And so just from day one, that was always my goal. And I’ve always kind of been a hustler. I’ve always had two or three jobs at one time. And so the, the chase to make more money has always been there.
And now you have a pretty solid YouTube platform. Was that just sort of like a, a transition into like keeping with the times that like a, like an, even like a better avenue to like do your own thing
Dustin (05:14): Kind of at first it was when I started live wire, when I was doing my own company, I was trying to think, how can I use social media? You know, like most of these companies are 50 year old dudes and they’re just, they it’s, they’re in phone books and it’s all reputation based and they don’t really utilize online very much. And I’m this kid coming in and I’m like, how do I use all these new things? And so, you know, I started Facebook and Twitter and I was just trying to fish to see what would make people respond and where were my customers at? And I just tried everything. I tasted all of it. And most of it was not very beneficial. And so I was like, well, maybe YouTube, you know, maybe there’s something that Austin people would watch and come across my videos and be like, Oh, I want to hire that guy.
Dustin (05:58): And I, wasn’t thinking about the fact that YouTube is really a worldwide platform. It’s not necessarily a localized thing. So what I found out from starting to make these videos is a lot of people liked them and they liked watching the journey of what I was doing. And, but most of them were electricians that were watching me not customers. So it just changed. And I was like, Oh wow. I, I kind of liked doing this. I like talking to electricians about all of my failures and successes and seeing, you know, what they’re trying. And it was a way to just communicate with hundreds of thousands of people and get feedback in real time. So that’s what it turned into. It turned more into teaching and kind of sharing my journey and what I’m doing along the way of me doing it rather than a way for me to advertise to my customers.
Austin (06:42): Yeah. Yeah. I totally understand that. That’s cool. Yeah, it’s sort of like the, the next part of the evolution. Right. so, you know, one thing I wanted to talk about is I watched one of your videos and it was about how to know, you know, whether or not to quit your job. And it was, it was directed at, you know apprentices and, and people that are licensed and have either been treated well by their company or not true to well by their company. As someone who’s probably been in every scenario from the one being treated well to the one being treated poorly or the one having to treat people the way he thinks they’re supposed to be treated like what’s your advice to people that are having trouble, keeping good staff on just so they can grow as business owners.
Dustin (07:46): That’s a good question. There is a, there’s a very big difference between generations of running businesses in the trades. And like I said earlier, most of the, the people running companies right now they’re in their fifties, you know, they’re from a very different generation than a lot of people, my age, I’m in my thirties. And a lot of the kids coming up that are 18, you know, 20 right now, how you treat people in this world and how you talk to people to get them motivated, to do something for you is very different than it was like back in the seventies and eighties or, or even, you know, before that. And a lot of these guys that are, that are in their fifties right now, they were brought up hard knocks old school by guys that were 50, you know, in the thirties, like they’re, you know, they were born in the thirties.
Dustin (08:36): So it was just old school teaching old school. And then, and it kind of compounds. So the people that are running things right now, they think that, that speaking to younger people, the way that they were
spoken to 30 or 40 years ago is, is kind of the same way that everything needs to go. But now you’ve got a lot of entering a predominantly male workplace. And so just the whole idea of mindfulness and of respecting people and all of that, that our society is changing at such a heavy rate. So the one thing I would say to business owners is if you want to retain people, I think you need to understand who you have working for you and what drives each individual, not just what has worked for electricians for the last 30 years. You know, like everybody’s different, not everybody likes to work fast and, and is motivated by somebody putting a fire under their ass.
Dustin (09:26): You know, some people it’s, it’s easier to, to get at them with honey than it is with vinegar. You know, some people want the idea of like security, longterm jobs. Some people just want a promotion and they want to know that they’re important and valued. And so some people it’s money. You just got to understand that not everybody’s the same, that is going to work for you. Each person has different drives. And if you can show people, respect, make them feel evaluated, or make them feel appreciated and valued and make sure that you’re paying them well enough that some company tempting another dollar an hour down the road is not just going to steal them. I think you’ll keep people around forever. I mean, the guy that I work for right now, I would go to war for he’s the only person that I’ll ever work for again.
Dustin (10:08): And it may not be the most pay that I could get out of any other company, you know, doing other work or whatever, anywhere else in town. But I’ve got such loyalty to this dude because he’s such an outstanding human being. And he gives a shit about my family. There’s never any problem. If I got to take off work, or if there’s something wrong, he’s always like take care of your family family first. He’s just, there’s a lot of humanity in how he treats us his people. And he really gives a shit about people. So there’s tons of people that will leave and go to a different company and chase that extra dollar and sure as shit, eight months later, they’re back knocking on his door to come back because they realize like there’s actually something here that matters. It’s not just about chasing that dollar. And most of the time when you go chase that dollar, there’s more that comes with it. You know, you’re, there’s more of a hassle, there’s more shit that you have to put up with for that $1. And oftentimes the devil that you know is better than the devil that you don’t.
Austin (11:04): Wow, man. Yeah, that’s good. Yeah, I think I think that the, the, the generation now, and, you know, our generation, we’re more motivated by like like a sense of purpose and meaning then like this hard work value that was, you know, post world war II or whatever, or even before that, I suppose for sort of like, we’re more like a more heady generation. And so we need, like, we need, like, we need emotional support, you know, something, something, some, some reason behind what we’re doing and like yeah, I think I like that idea of like the humanity of it. It’s like for someone to tap into wanting to help you build your business, which is the meaning that they’re going to need to want to do that they’re going to have to like be spot in, you know, for more than just money. Cause people aren’t really money motivated anymore. And if, and if they are bought in it’s because you’re treating them like a human being and that’s like that’s kind of rare these days and, and it’s sad. I mean it’s something that we’re learning to do cause it’s, it’s never been part of you know, getting your MBA. It’s never been like taught. It’s always like, Oh, convince people that they’re going to get rich and you know, if they stick around and like nobody, no one’s buying that anymore. So, yeah, man.
Dustin (12:44): Yeah. And I think, I think maybe the interview process when I’ve interviewed for a lot of these companies out there versus when I’ve interviewed people I think there’s kind of this old school way of interviewing where you just ask a whole bunch of bullshit interview questions that don’t really mean anything. Or you could ask things that are very specific to your business and get to know the people that are sitting in front of you because everybody’s going to bullshit themselves in an interview. I mean, nobody’s going to walk in and be like, I’m really shit. You shouldn’t hire me. You know, like everybody’s going to put their best kind of BS performance together in an interview. So I think if you get really specific and understand who you’re talking to and who you’re hiring you’re, you’re not going to be surprised out of left field in a year when one of them wants to leave, you’ll know like, okay, this person does not really do well with conflict and I’m very alpha conflict, you know, kind of person.
Dustin (13:34): And so it’s not even just being like extra kind because we’re a softer generation it’s as a business owner, you’re responsible for the success and failure of everything. If employees don’t work out, it’s your fault too, you know, to a large extent, if your business is not doing well, it’s your fault. Everything is down to you. And so if you find yourself there’s companies that I’ve worked for, the, you know, the, the owner was just a dick and it would, there was a turnover nonstop constantly, and the companies were great. It was like really good training. And, and the idea of teaching electrical theory and safety, like the whole bedrock foundation of a great company was there, but there was zero follow through because everybody wanted to quit all the time. So just, I think really, really understanding who you are and needing to be flexible.
Dustin (14:18): Not saying you need to be soft because there are, again, there’s people you need to turn the heat up on and that’s how they, that’s how they respond well, and that’s how they do well. They feel like they’re being challenged with a little bit of heat and pressure on them. But I think you really need to understand each one of your guys and girls that are working for you and just know, okay, what is the thing that’s going to piss them off so much that they’re going to jump ship or what do I need to do to keep them here? What do they value? Do they value time with their kid? Okay. Maybe like an incentive is to make sure that they’ve got some extra time throughout the year or something that’s, that’s valuable really specifically to them. Because I think a lot of the problems in the workplace in the workplace in the trades are because everybody’s kind of templated and treated the same and everybody’s different, you know, there really is no equality anymore. It’s, it’s like each person is very, very unique.
Learn the 6 things to do before hiring a marketing agency
Austin (15:08): Yeah, man, that’s good.
Au (15:10): Mmm.
Austin (15:11): So, you know, we, we’re a digital marketing company. We handle like the, getting people, new clientele sort of side of things. But what we run into a lot is sort of the problems that our clients are having that aren’t related to getting new business there’s sort of two parts of a business that’s like getting work and
then knowing what to do with it. Right. Um and So, you know, for you, what were the obstacles When you were doing your own thing that you ran into as far as trying to grow a company? Yeah.
Dustin (16:01): So for me, because I was kind of I was attacking things in new ways. I, I really didn’t, I wasn’t very picky at first and I just kind of took on whatever I could to get revenue and to start building my company and ended up doing a lot of like work that I didn’t want to do that was, you know, just crap work for very little money. But I started to notice that the companies on Google, if you were high rated or, you know, like if you had a lot of stars and great reviews that people were more likely to call you. And so I would think about, well, this person, that’s going to pick up the phone when they talk to me, they want to do they want somebody that’s like, hello, hi. Yeah. Sorry, I can’t help you. Or do they want somebody that’s like, how are you doing today?
Dustin (16:50): Like my name’s Dustin, it’s really nice to talk to you. You know, they want, they want somebody that they feel like they can trust instantly. And if you can, you know, within the first couple of minutes, if you can build trust and respect towards them and like, make them feel like you’re really hearing what they’re saying, that you’re not just like playing a video game while trying to listen to them. Like a lot of these people do just but just really, really care and show that you care and show that you do good work and that other people talk about you in a good way, the phones will start ringing. So I never really had a problem with the phone’s not ringing. I had a problem with there being too much work. And I had a lot of lead feed services that I was paying fees for.
Dustin (17:29): And I was probably paying too much money in fees with, you know, like I had Yelp and Angie’s list and home advisor and house, and like all these different things. And I was paying every single one of them, which was cool because our phones never stopped ringing. And, you know, at certain points we were like two to three months out on work. But the problems that I ran into were that I was, I was putting myself into too many places that were not niche enough for the kind of work I wanted to do and the kind of work that was the most profitable for me. I was just trying to make every customer happy and doing every kind of work that I could do. And it ended up, you know, swiping my legs out from under me because I just lost more money doing things that way, rather than knowing the right level that I should be charging for the exact kind of work that I like to do. And only taking jobs that I know that are, are margin rich or that are, you know, profitable for me.
Austin (18:20): Totally, man. Yeah. I think you know, it’s a scary thing to pare down what your company offers because the first thought of a business owner is that they’re leaving money on the table. But it’s like a long game. Cause when you I owned a company a few years ago in a different industry and probably out of the entire industry, we were the most unaccommodating in a sense of like what we offered, but we had the best like turnaround and reliability communication. And we could just be very clear on what it is we did. The pricing was like spot on and we knew exactly how to do that. Same thing over and over and over again. And so I just, I can’t express enough how much I agree with that statement. It’s like, it’s like reverse psychology for your business.
It’s it’s like, you think like, man, like, well, if I do this thing that I’m really don’t want to do well, maybe that would turn into like another customer and it will. But at some point you’re going to get to a point where you’re plenty busy and your guys are not trained because they’re not the mastermind, know everything electrician that you are. And so you’re going to end up having a lot of things falling back on you. You’re going to have a ton of questions from your guys. You’re going to have problems. Those problems are going to suck the profitability out. You’re going to have to like go punch. You know, you’re gonna have a punch list, a mile long of stuff. You have to go tidy up because you didn’t have the right part or you didn’t have the right thing. And then when you start to like niche down into like, okay, we, we only do this. Like the more you, the more you do that, the more you realize there’s all these ancillary benefits of like, Oh man. If all we do is this and that means we can stock the truck with like these parts, we would have never stacked the truck with before. And then they’re just there. It’s stuff like that. And it’s like, man, the like, there’s like things that you just just surprise you of like, Oh man, when I’m not doing everything, you know, to be everywhere has to be nowhere.
Dustin (20:47): Yeah. Yeah. You’re the whole wearing 18 hats thing. It’s like, I found that out too hiring. I’ve never really just hired somebody to work for me before. So hiring, I think I hired too soon. And so I automatically had this need to keep revenue going and just take whatever jobs I could and not turn anything down because I had other people whose rent and bills were reliable or, you know, they were relying on me to keep them busy. And so the, the hiring too soon is probably what shocked me hiring somebody that was not experienced enough, that couldn’t just be completely independent as a revenue earner more as like a helper that was like right at the cusp of being able to do things solo. And just having to be trapped in that revenue trap instead of you know, if I think if it was just me for the first like year or two by myself, I could have batted away at jobs that I didn’t want and really figured out what my niche is, what I like to do, how to run numbers, how to, you know, profitability, all that stuff without having the looming hiring problems of, of a, of a whole bunch of people to kind of take control of my train for me.
Austin (21:59): Yeah, man. So like hypothetically cause I’ve, I’ve seen that situa on too. And I think that is probably one of those ancillary benefits that I’m talking about of being patient and dialing back. Because if you had, if you were to go back and play it differently and say, okay, we’re taking only these jobs, this type of work at this profitability then you would have had less work, probably more money in your pocket. Because an extra 10% margin is not it’s not, how do I put it? It’s like, if you, if you’re only making this this much and this much is your cost to do the job, then if this gets bigger at all, that’s a lot of money, you know? Like to put it in another way, if at the end of the week you have $0 and all your bills are paid, but the next week you charge an extra hundred dollars for everything you do.
Austin (23:01): That means the next week you have a thousand dollars in your bank account where you had nothing. And so that’s kind of the way I think of like margin is like every extra bit you squeeze out is the money that actually goes into your pocket. But anyways you talked a little bit about making the phone or your, your, your, from my experience, nine out of 10 phone calls aren’t even answered by tradespeople, which just blows my mind because we’re in the business of making people’s phones, ring. And the first thing we have to confront, well, the first thing you have to confront is do they even want the phone to ring anymore? And like you said, it’s like the, we record these calls and we listen back and people are like working while they’re talking on the phone. They’re like, hello. You know, it’s like, yeah.
Dustin (23:59): They’re in a panel right now, hooking a breaker up and they’ve got an earpiece and they’re like, Hey, how’s it going? Cause they don’t have time to stop.
Austin (24:06): Yeah. And they’re like missing questions that are being answered to them cause they’re distracted. And that’s assuming they even answer the phone. I’m telling you nine out of 10 companies like it’s actually, when you, when you’re looking for, you know service work, you know, if you’re like looking for your house or something like you would have to call like 10 companies to get one to like answer. Yeah.
Dustin (24:31): So is that just localized in a certain area that you’re looking at or is your finding that over large area?
Austin (24:37): That’s just, that’s just from, from call from calling on so many companies. That’s a,
Dustin (24:45): But I wonder, I guess what I’m asking is I wonder if that is, if you’re in LA and you’re some homeowner that wants, you know, service done and you call, is it the same as it is in like Ohio or New York city? Or like
Austin (25:01): Yeah, I’m, I’m saying like, no, it doesn’t seem to matter which city or which state I’m calling in. You know, in less and less, someone’s assuming, cause it’s an out of state number that they don’t want to answer. But like, to me it’s like that could easily be a customer. I would not as a business owner, I didn’t not answer out of state numbers. Yeah.
Dustin (25:23): You know, I will say when I’m out in the field it’s different being a startup, you know, cause I’m actually doing the work and wearing tools. And so when the phone calls come in, it’s more difficult for me to stop in the middle of a job that I’m doing to answer that phone. And it’s important. It’s super important, but it’s hard to stop when another customer is being charged, you know, on the clock. So if you have like an office person that can field calls for you all day long, then there’s really no excuse to be missing calls, but that’s something you gotta pay extra for. And then I think the other thing is there’s a lot of these lead feed services out there. It seems like most of the time, if you type into Google electrician, Cedar park, Texas, which is where I’m at, I’m on the map, it’s going to show the top rated companies by most amount and highest reviews, if you want to organize it like that.
Dustin (26:12): But all of the rest of the results that aren’t on the map Angie’s list, home advisor, house Angie’s list, home advisor, it’s all these middlemen that get in between me and my customer. So the customers are just like, I don’t want to sit and look through like whatever, I’ll just click a link and they end up on homeadvisor.com and they have to create an account. And so they’ve got now there’s call centers of people that are taking in phone calls for us, for electricians. And they’re, you know, we’re having to pay them money. And I think that that whole model kind of stinks, but I think there’s a lot more reasons as
to why we’re not really getting the kind of answers to phone calls. A lot of it, I think too is like, we’re all slammed right now. So if we, if we can afford to not answer the phone because we’re so busy, we’re not going to answer the phone. You know, if we don’t have that high need to, and it’s unfortunate, but in Texas it’s like 1500 electrical companies. So there’s so much competition, but there’s also so much work that it’s really not a sweat to miss a call. And I know that’s the shittiest way to look at calls coming in.
Austin (27:10): You’re there was a one of the landscapers that I watch said something to the effect of you’re no longer in the landscaping business, you’re in the recruiting business. And I think like it, it really all comes back to solving the getting people good people in that will show up that want to be in a trade at all. And then keeping them happy, keeping them around after they’re trained and keeping them from starting their own business, keeping them happy enough that, that doesn’t happen. If you can do that at the rate at which you can grow your business, then, I mean the, the potential, some of these trade companies that, that tap into that they just like three years in, they’ve got like 55 trucks and it’s like, how do you do that? And it’s like, it’s like, well I’m not a trades person.
Austin (28:19): I’m a businessman. And I just like looked at this and I said, Oh, any place where there’s this pool of sales that can be tapped into, you just have to figure out how to scale the company. And I think that’s where that’s why phones aren’t being answered is because people are busy. They can’t, they feel like they can’t find good help. They feel like when they do that, help just leaves them. And and they’ve sort of just been resolved to like, okay, well, it’s going to be at, this is actually, I mean, this is my dad’s story. He’s like, well, it’s just going to be me and my, my son, my, my brother and a couple other guys and we’re gonna take on as much as we can and then turn down what we can’t. And they, you know, he kind of like gave up on the entrepreneurial vision. And now he essentially, you know, is working full time in the field. And so, you know, I think that’s kind of like what, what, what, what our company, as a marketing company for tradespeople is really up against is a bigger issue than getting more calls.
Dustin (29:31): Yeah. A lot of the companies I think out there too, that are 20, 30 year companies, they don’t need a marketing company. They’ve got reputation. There’s companies that are nationwide 1500 employees. They get huge contracts calls. They could give a shit less. If there’s some marketing company that thinks they can do SEO better or something, you know what I mean? They’ve been established and there’s even small time mom and pop shops that these guys have again, reputations of 30 years. So the phones are just going to ring they’ve, they’ve done all the work in the past. They don’t really need to do that. But I think for a lot of these companies that are coming up and that are starting out and they’re in their first couple of years, like, it’s really important to get your name out there and to get it out correctly and understand how phones come in.
Dustin (30:15): I mean, a lot of, a lot of electricians are all electricians or just electricians. None of it, I don’t mean any electricians that are like pro business degree guys, and know the value of a missed phone call. You know, like if you read a lot of books and you’re entrepreneurial, like I am, and you’re just a nerd and you like, listen to Gary Vaynerchuk, talk about, you know, the attention of human beings and all that. Yeah. But like the average person is not like that. The average person that wears tools just wears tools for 10 years. And he’s like, you know what? Tired of working for somebody else. I want to work for myself. So
I’m just going to go get a guy to make a logo, go make a website for me, and I’m gonna wait for this phone to call or the, you know, a customer to call and it just doesn’t happen. So I think that the education out there is needed because a lot of these younger guys don’t really have any idea what they’re doing. They’re watching older guys, but they don’t realize these older guys have been around for 30, 40 years. And that’s why the phones ring.
Austin (31:03): Yeah. Have you have you read the E-Myth, I’m sure? Yeah. And it’s like, I think, you know, it kind of comes back to that, but just in, in a trades, it’s just that same concept through a trades lens of like you, you actually have just created an elaborate job for yourself. That’s maybe more stressful than the one you had before, but
Dustin (31:28): You have no experience in. Yeah.
Austin (31:35): Yeah. And it’s like, Oh, okay. So now you went, you know, you traded one, one less than ideal situation for another. And it’s it’s the entrepreneurial cycle, right? It’s like, Oh, I could, I’m the one who knows everything about electrical. So why don’t I start a business then it’s like you just, you actually started a different job for yourself. You just, you just hired yourself as the maintenance person for your company, not the CEO. And so that’s where you, and I just think of business through through like a, a lens where I probably couldn’t understand that. Any more at some point I, at some point I did have that in a different, in a different trade. I did have that experience where I was like, what is this idiot doing? Because I didn’t realize what it was like to be a completely overwhelmed and burnout business owner that makes terrible decisions left and right. And I’m like, what is this moron doing? Like, I’ll just go start my own company and then, you know, que the education process. So, Yeah, that’s good.
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Dustin (32:50): You know, another thing that I’m kind of curious about, it seems like everywhere you go, there’s a turnover rate. You know, there’s, there’s some companies that have some guys that have been working for their employer for like 20 years. Most of them were like five, six, seven years. And then they go to a different company. And I wonder if there’s ever been a study done in our industry as to why there’s like a five year kind of hump of where these people start to go. The wages are not like crazy, flexible everywhere, you know? So it’s not like they’re getting these massively huge opportunities and raises elsewhere. But I’m, I’m curious to see why other than just people not feeling like they’re valued, like if there’s other reasons, other factors as to why people leave companies, because that is something that I don’t think a lot of people plan for it as a business owner, as a master electrician. A lot of, I think you, you think that you’re going to hire a guy and he’s going to be with you 20 years and you ended up training the crap out of him and you make all of these assumptions and arrangements in your mind of what the future is gonna look like. And then they could be, you have a great working relationship with them. And then after five years, all of a sudden they just like moved to Seattle and you’re like, shit, you know, like now you got to start over, you got to find another person. And then you find somebody that same thing, you know, they last for like four years and then they just leave. And I think that happens more often than not. So I think that it’s kind of an unplanned thing by a lot of business owners that they should maybe be planning for the fact that people are only going to stick around for X amount of years. So understanding, like I need to get the most profitability, do the most training that I can get the most
profitability out of them over a certain amount of time, knowing that they’re probably going to leave. And I don’t even know if that’s a good business metric or something to think about or not. But I think a lot of the, a lot of people just get sideswiped and ended up feeling hopeless because they’re losing people that are great to other companies that are great.
Austin (34:48): Yeah. And I think, I think you, you hit the nail on the head. Like the, The thing that you’re, I think the reason it hurts so much is because you’re needlessly losing people. It’s one thing, if, if there’s actually a really good reason, if this person, you know really is happy, completely happy, and then they go into something, that’s the next step for them? It’s like, bless you, goodbye. That’s not really what happens. They make some lateral move, like starting their own business and starting the cycle over again. And I think, I think you hit the nail on the head. It’s the reason is it’s because, you know, I I’ll tell you in my own experience, I was treated like dirt by an employer. I said, screw you, buddy. I’m going to take all your clients. And I went out and tried to start my own business, and I did take all of his clients. And then when I tried to start hiring people, I was completely stressed to the gills because I was had no idea what I was doing, running a business. Um and I hadn’t, I hadn’t I, I, I didn’t have, well, the, the biggest thing is I didn’t put people first. I started seeing all of this money coming in and people, people were a utility by which I could get that work done because I was starry eyed and I was looking to the future and wanting to grow the business. The second time to make this story short, the second time I started a business I put the employees first at the expense of money and customers. And what I found is that the customers were actually much happier because the employees were taking care of them better when I put the employees needs first. And it’s just a mentality shift, I think it’s, I think, I think it comes back to the humanity thing that you’re talking about. It’s like the word company means band of people. And until you start seeing your company that way you’re not going to solve the personnel issue. And until you solve the personnel issue, you have no business marketing your company in a serious way. Like what we do, where we can just turn the dial up and get you as much additional business as you can handle, you know, in the digital world. That’s, that’s a real thing. And that’s, that’s what we do. But the more we do it, the more we’re just running into the entrepreneurial myth these personnel issues and stuff like that, it’s really not. It’s not so simple as getting a bunch more work.
Dustin (37:27): Yeah. Yeah. And to be fair, to be fair I think a lot of, Oh, dang it. I just forgot where I was going with that. I’m so sorry. I had a good be fair.
Austin (37:44): Be fair Dustin.
Dustin (37:46): Yes. It’d be fair to people. Oh, when I think when somebody, when a st electrician goes to work for a company, the master electrician is usually the one running the company. And they looked at that person as the respected one that has all the electrical knowledge. And when there’s kind of gaps where they think I don’t like this guy, because, you know, he’s making all these decisions and it just doesn’t make sense. I think a lot of people forget that they’re making business decisions. They’re, they’re playing a completely different game, as well as trying to be the most expert knowledgeable person at that company for the electrician part. They also have the business stuff, the marketing, the budget, like all of these other things that you don’t even consider is going on. And it’s easy to, it’s easy to just judge the
owner of a company and not like them because, you know, you just expect them to be an electrician with a lot of knowledge, but they’re trying to be a business person and making hard decisions that are probably not popular to you. So from the employee standpoint, you got to have a little bit of understanding of what these people are trying to do.
Austin (38:46): I think that like, so when I was the guy who was hard to work for boss, the emotion that I had almost every second of every day is will you please do your job the right way? You have no idea what I’m going through. And then when they would like, be like, Oh, you know, about something stupid, like showing up to work on time, you’d be like, are you kidding me right now? Just do the one thing. Right? That’s all. But I think the street of understanding goes both ways because what I had to do to solve that problem was to recall what it was like to not understand what the business owner is going through and treat my employees as such. And I think that was this unlocking moment where things just started to like all really fall into place. Cause I solved the personnel issue because I was like, Oh, you have no idea. This stress I’m under. So when you treat me, like, I’m not under stress, it doesn’t piss me off because I remember what it’s like to be an employee. And I remember how absolutely earth shattering it is to get treated like dirt by someone who you really look up to. And so, and, and, and how, how very little like respect and motivation and encouragement I actually needed, you know, just like one, like dude, good job today, you know, like
Dustin (40:13): All the difference in the world, man.
Austin (40:15): Yeah. Like just remembering to be like, Hey, you did that thing. Right. That was awesome. And it, and it really, it really helped me get stuff done today. Like that stuff is like huge coming from the person in charge. And, and, and sort of like when you tap into that, it’s like, I think you’re totally right. Like, I don’t mean to beat up on, on the business owner. If any, if for any other reason than for him to get out from under the pain of being a business owner and it’s kind of tapping into that humanity that you’re talking about. Cause it’s just people, you know, that’s what we do.
Dustin (40:54): Yeah. It’s, it’s hard to, it’s hard to remember that when you’ve got 9,000 jobs a day and all you’re hiring people and paying them just to do their one and you really need them to do they’re one and they’re not doing it. And it’s really easy for the pot to kind of boil over quickly because you’re so stressed out that it comes off as being a dick, you know, and you forget these people don’t have it. They have their one thing that they’re trying to do. And, and maybe as a business owner, just understanding that you’re kind of a unique person that you handled 9,000 things and you, this is your company, you decided to do this. So you it’s really, it’s your responsibility to, to kind of keep your cool and understand that you’re not people that are working for you or not like you And have a little bit of humanity. I know it sucks and it sucks to try to rely on people and them not follow through. But again, they’re not, you, they’re not going to care about your company as much as you do. You’re just trying to get help. So Um I don’t know. I I do need to cut out here in a couple of minutes. Do you have any
Yeah, well, I wanted to you know, we had a pretty funny conversation when I first called, cause you’re like, is this an SEO company? Cause you could, could you please lose my number? And I’m like, no, I want to do a podcast. And so I this for, for, for, for our benefit we’re, we’re, we’re a company that started actually we were started by a number of other companies that were unhappy with their digital marketing agency. And so we were started to kind of solve a problem in an industry where we kind of have a bad rap. And I just wanted to kind of get your perspective from a trades person. You know, people are obviously based on the conversation that you and I had, people are being promised the world by SEO companies, digital marketing companies, and then they’re not getting a ton of follow through or they just don’t understand what’s possible. So, you know, from my perspective, as someone who really believes that this is like a seriously pivotal thing for like growing a business quickly these days what can we do to stand apart from people that are making the same claims? And, and also to stand apart from the litany of, you know, 10 phone calls a day that they’re getting from salespeople from these companies.
Dustin (43:41): Okay. So I did notice when I started my company that all of the SEO companies in the U S just came out of the woodwork and I was getting phone calls left and right. And at first I was like, Oh, okay. You know, this is a great idea. I know enough about web design and building websites and everything. That SEO is a pretty important thing. But I didn’t really care about it because I know that being an electrician is more of a word of mouth thing anyways. I naturally, if I do a good job that person’s going to tell 10 people and I’m just getting my phone’s just going to keep ringing. So I don’t really care so much about SEO, but when I finally find an SEO company that, that, you know, that I give a shot, a lot of stuff was promised or was maybe communicated in a way that I thought that I understood and it didn’t quite understand what the offering was. And then I found myself paying for services and it seemed like a lot of it was haphazardly put and it just presented it in a really crappy way. Like a lot of them would build these like websites for me that weren’t my own website. And they had all these key words and phone numbers and pictures and stuff that they were self-generating just so that I could get ranked better. And a lot of it was just kind of, it seemed like high schoolers that had taken some web design classes were calling themselves SEO companies and anybody that can, that knows a little bit about coding and how the internet works can be an SEO company. And so it just, I got this just really heavily, just bullshit taste in my mouth for all SEO companies out there. Now there were a couple of people that I would just go to networking meetings with and I would meet people and they would introduce themselves and say, Hey, I’m an SEO guy. I’m like, get the fuck away from me, but I would sit down and talk to them for long enough and be like, Whoa, okay. You know what you’re talking about? This is a whole different thing that you’re talking about. You’re not talking about a gimmick. So I think for a company like you to get through to people like me understand that most of the time, people don’t want to talk to you. So somehow you got to get through that. You know, maybe not be ha be so pitchy, but understand your audience and try to get to them in a more meaningful way. For example, like nowadays, if you want to get in front of somebody on a screen, you have to do something that appears native to how they’re using a platform rather than making it seem like it’s an ad. You kind of have to get to know the people in a certain group.
Dustin (45:56): And then you’re like, Hey, so I’m this, and this is what I do. You know, it’s just a, it’s almost like getting to know people better before pitching the idea. Whereas when you’re calling somebody like a master electrician, who’s balls deep in a panel somewhere and too busy for his customers to try to get him on the phone and be like, Hey, I’m an SEO guy. He doesn’t give a shit, man. And most of the time, like I said,
we don’t really see the extreme benefits. So if you have your top three things that you think set you apart from every other company and that 10 companies could call after you, and none of them are gonna have anything like what you have you just gotta blow people’s socks off. You know, you have to have an offering that’s different and maybe shopping all of the other SEO companies to see what they’re doing or create some fake business to get all of them calling you and see, see how it feels and be like, okay, well, all these companies. Yeah. So just different, but give a show. Nope.
Austin (46:49): That’s, that’s encouraging. Cause that’s sort of what we’re doing here. You know, it’s like we don’t have any real benefit from helping this people with this side of the business other than like we just hope that people will get to know us through putting this information out there. And that maybe that will at least take down that defense of that perception of an SEO company that, you know, Oh, maybe these guys would actually do what they say they’re going to do or not be scammy and underhanded and how they’re doing things. Cause that, you know, like stuff that you’re talking about, like there’s actually like you can actually get your company, like your company banned in certain arenas of Google searches by some of the practices that you’re talking about. And so like they could actually do like longterm damage by trying to get like, take the shortcuts of these like of like, Oh, well, if we don’t get caught by Google this might work for getting you ranked. And if we do get caught you’re going to get penalized for like two years or something like that.
Dustin (48:05): Yeah. And I, I think for me as somebody that’s really into the media game and understanding how customers come in contact with a brand and what that all means, the relationship with a customer, your customers are me as a, as an owner of a company. So when you call and you start throwing out words like search engine optimization, most people like, I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, you know, but if I were to have somebody call me that says, Hey, I know that you’re a new company. You’re, it’s, you’re trying to get customers and trying to get quality phone calls for the kind of work you do. So I think I would find value in a person that knows what great web design looks like, what a good presentation of a company looks like and how to get that company in front of people. So maybe more of a solution that I can relate to as just a simple work with my hands, stupid thumbs guy, you know, nailing stuff and pulling wire. Talk to me in a way that it makes me say, Oh, this guy is going to make phones, ring more for me. And I’m going to get more dollars because of whatever he’s doing. But if you start talking about ranking and all of this stuff, well, I mean, you could have a dog shit website that gets ranked number one because some SEO companies, cramming keywords down images, you know, and putting all this meta information in, but it’s not a good presentation. The customers aren’t going to care about that. So like maybe offering a little bit more of a, kind of a coaching of this is what a media presence is. And this is like, let’s look at your website and think about how we can get you ranked higher with a greater product so that people believe in your brand. To me, I would be like, dude, I will hire you in a heartbeat. How much do you want a month? Because I totally agree with you.
Austin (49:41): Wow. Yeah. Have you heard of and I’ll let you go, I know you’ve got, gotta get going, but we’re we’re actually doing the like StoryBrand format now for our, for our customers websites. There’s a, well, Donald Miller StoryBrand basically like there’s a psychology by which people actually purchase things once they get to a website like it’s a far more converting website, you know? And there’s also a psychology by which people just click the back button. And so we’ve, we’ve now got a system that’s like highly repeatable across trades and platforms that, you know, we run each company through this
program of discovering what their story is as a brand. And that basically it makes your customer, not you, the electrician, but your customer, the hero of the day in the story. And so there’s actually like these psychological archetypes that people run through. It’s really crazy. But I’m telling you, this is like,
Dustin (50:52): No, I understand. Yeah.
Austin (50:54): So like, it’s like, it’s like basically like yeah, like the wording is like low key basically saying like, Hey, you’re having an electrical problem. Well, here’s how you’re going to save the day. And I’m the guide. I’m the guide that will help you in your journey to bringing this ring back to Mordor and yeah.
Dustin (51:15): You know, that’s, that’s smart.
Austin (51:17): The fire chasm from whence it came.
Dustin (51:19): Yeah. So that’s good.
Austin (51:21): That’s a, yeah, man. That’s awesome. That’s super called the story. Storybrand StoryBrand okay. Dude. Check it out actually, when. Let’s talk about that off the air sometime. Okay. So, Hey man. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. It’s been awesome.
Dustin (51:38): So yeah. Thanks for giving me a call. Yeah. No good luck with everything. Yeah. We’ll talk to you, man. Cheers. Alright, bye.
Custom Homes, YouTube and More!
Dustin is a jack of all trades working on custom homes, building a YouTube platform and more.