John Vuong’s experience of working with more than 5,000 local business owners inspired him to start his own company, Local SEO Search, in 2013. John’s expertise is on small and family-owned companies and the blood, sweat, and tears it takes for these businesses to succeed. Although there are many SEO tips and tricks in this episode, the real value is for people who own or manage a local business.
If you can do something that you’re passionate about, but also have a secure nut so you’re not worried about living and your survival’s being taken care of. Then you have some gestation period between success or failure and success, you know, so I’ve truly believed you’ve got to keep hitting the ball.
All of that experience is something that I love because I learned how to communicate and connect. And it was just a beautiful experience, you know? So. Yeah, I mean, I failed, but it was, it was beautiful.
All right. I got Neil here on the establishing your empire podcast. Thanks so much for coming by the house and doing this.
Thank you for having me. I’m. I want to just say, I apologize for all the scheduling issues, trying to get this going. It’s been it’s been a time when I’ve been making some transitions and, and I appreciate your.
course, you know, the thing about a podcast, it’s always a want to have not a need to have. So I totally understand. And it actually happens. Yeah. It’s not the first time know it will be less. So luckily I get to do these at my home office, so I don’t have to like go someplace or schedule something. So it’s not, not too difficult to set up, but why don’t we start off with the seemingly easy question, but not always.
It’s just tell us a little bit about yourself.
Who are you, Neil? Yeah. So grew up in Minnesota. And my parents you know, came from India. So I have an Indian background and basically lived a pretty nice childhood. My grandparents raised me, my parents were both entrepreneurs and were very much into work.
So I had a childhood. And I got really amazing wisdom for my grandparents. My grandparents were into aryuveda and all these amazing things. And my dad was kind of more of an entertainer salesperson type vibe got into janitorial or janitorial products and stuff. But mostly he was a fun person to be around and he taught me how to dance.
And I used to dance like Michael Jackson as a business, as a child. So I had a very interesting childhood. I was like one of the only Indian kids in my, in my town. So I felt somewhat special and different, but also had a pretty normal childhood for the most part. I had some traumas for sure. Broke my hips and my legs and all sorts of things, probably due to some dancing and also just, you know, parenting in the way that they were parented, you know, which is a common theme in most people’s stories.
Which leads me to some of the work I do. But yeah, grew up in Minnesota loved tennis and table tennis and racquet sports
that actually, yeah. Yeah, for
sure. But yeah, overall just had a pretty cool life there. Certain things definitely like, you know, are my roots in Minnesota still, but overall, now, Texas man.
And how long have you been here in Austin? I’ve been here
eight years. Oh yeah. Nice. Since 2008. So I’ve been here for a little bit as well and seeing the growth and the change. Austin has been both positive and negative. I’ve enjoyed seeing the city grow and I’d rather be in a growing city than a dying city, but there’s also some.
You know, the life changes out of the city. Right. So why don’t you tell us a little bit more real quick and we can go through kind of how you got there, but tell us, like, when, when you talk about your businesses, you are now, what’s kind of the main thing that you’re doing. Cause it seems like there’s a lot
Yeah. So the main thing would be cacao that’s that’s the thing that I’m most passionate. And it was also a big part of my healing journey is using various plant medicine and then noticing how cacao this chocolate bean can, can make someone so much happier and also take them out of their, their head with.
You know, I used to drink coffee and teas and all these things that would put me very stimulated and this was really amazing. And so I asked myself, you know, this is my passion, what can I do about it? And I wanted to focus on creating more ceremonial cacao on this planet. 95% of the cacao in this world is hybridized.
And, and it’s kind of like a sacred thing that I believe can have a lot of change and help a lot of people. Needs to be preserved. So what’s the difference between
cacao and chocolate?
So chocolate is like an after thought of what the original thing is, which is cacao. And a lot of times as a Dutch process of alkalizing and making cacao into chocolate.
So it’s it’s kind of like taking sugar cane and making it into some form of sugar. But it’s not the original thing as such and most of the chocolate you find is not the original the actual genetics of chocolate. So,
and like, so people that are sitting at the cows probably extremely small compared to like what, where it should be like on those journey with cacao, like what stage or level do you think you’re at or want to get to at, or wherever you want to
Right. So, I mean, I feel like I’m at a stage where I can taste and feel and know a lot about what I’m consuming. It’s kinda like a Somia in wine. When you consume something enough and various types, you get a knowledge about it. And I feel like I have a pretty solid knowledge about it. I’d love to still learn more.
And then also I’ve been meeting connections through the cacao world. And there’s people who specialize in keeping the sacred bean and my dream and my goal. And my next investment is only focused on standardizing that process and making sure that people start labeling that, making sure the ceremonial beans are rectified, notified, and know people know that they’re consuming.
It’s a lot of times, you know, you get this fair trade and it’s, it’s nothing like that. It’s just. Something
and because it was just my lack of knowledge. Like some, when you say seminar, ceremonial, excuse me. Like what’s it actually mean? Like is that is actually actually what we do in a ceremony or is it something
It’s all of the it’s a ceremony is the actual genetics. So there’s three types of genetics beans that are well-known Trinitarios, Creole, and Fronterra. So these types of things. Are the ceremonial beans, the original beans that were found in 7,500 years ago, potentially in the rainforest potentially either Ecuador, Peru, it’s still, no one really knows, you know proof says it’s found first their equity versus his boundaries there.
But I used to work for the rainforest partnership and I learned a lot about some of the details on the history and a lot of the actual science behind it. So ceremony is conducted definitely with intention. So. It’s not like you’re making your morning cup of Joe. But you can do that with ceremony, like a cow and you you’re basically setting your intention.
You’re doing some form of energy release, so it could be breath work. It could be movement, it could be dance. It could be even journaling for that matter, but various traditions have different ways of activating the medic. And you literally are almost, you know, praying and into the cup and drinking it.
And then going through some form of catharsis, like a cathartic release, where you’re able to feel incense and emotion that hasn’t been seen and are held and you’re able to express it and fully move through it. And how
is that based upon the actual, what you’re drinking and then and how much is your for less
It’s, it’s there. I mean, you can’t drink a cow and go to sleep. You know, it’s going to do something to you and just that. And it has all these amazing bliss molecules. There’s actual chemicals in. A medicine that activates releases oxytocin. So the first time you fall in love that energy is in the body.
And if you’re aware of it, you’re going to feel it. Yeah. And you know, so for
me, that’s super interesting. Cause I think we always have emotions tied to a lot for things. Foods want them drinks, coffee, all this. And I think a lot of people have some positive and negative emotions to coffee. I wasn’t a big coffee drinker.
I was, I’m more of a, I like a lot. So like. Which is still, you know, a higher stimulant caffeine, but we did our honeymoon in Africa, on a safari and, you know, they serve your coffee and it’s like this fantastic coffee outside your door, right. When you wake up. And so I don’t, I’ve been drinking coffee more now.
Cause I think I just, you know, have this positive emotions towards it, but I still only like the cold brew because I just don’t. I think it’s too acidic. I think in my mind so I think a lot of us are looking for that stimulate and what I, what I’ve found that if I, you know, coffee, a lot of times isn’t enough.
I have to actually be out and move around because I sit in front of a computer all day. So how can somebody that just a normal, like, you know, office worker or whatever. This is something in the morning type of thing.
What do you recommend? Yeah, so coffee and cacao are kind of like, then they’re like the opposites of each other.
They both have similar ingredients. Both of them have theobromine, but the amount of theobromine in cacao is like the amount of caffeine in coffee. You, so it’s like complete opposite in that sense. There’s still coffee, caffeine. And. But it’s kind of the amount where it, instead of energetically bringing you a lot here, it brings you a lot here.
It’s, it’s literally theobromine is a hard opener. That’s what it’s made to do. So it’s definitely something anyone can consume. And I think it’s better for work for me. I feel like being in a happier place when I’m working feels better. And if you look at my organization, everyone seems to be more joyful.
But just like anything, moderation is very important. So I. Even cacao fasts, and one cup of coffee requires 32 glasses of water to balance your internal pH. So just like anything, like if you’re on a honeymoon and you’re drinking really good wine from France, you know, that’s going to be amazing. And our body has certain limitations, right.
So if we’re not actually healthy, it has some form of. Anything can be not so good for us. Right. I feel that way about it. Mostly. Yeah. I mean, I think
balance is not just in food and drinks. It’s just about everything. Why don’t you? Well, let’s back up, but I love that because it’s just something, I have very little knowledge of it, but I’m always interested in, in you know, new things and trying to.
You know, work in front of the computer. Like I said, it’s not, it’s not everyday I can get out and about, and I am a very energetic type of a person to always looking for new ways to do that. But let’s talk about kind of your journey a little bit. So, so you were, you did a lot of dancing as a kid. Like what, what, what, tell me go any way anywhere you want to go in the path?
Yeah, sure. So you know, in Minnesota I was dancing. I had a lot of fun. Expressing myself, but then there was the trauma part. So that’s kind of like the work even cacao helps with is is that, so, you know, I went to college in Wisconsin and in Florida, as well as England, I went to three different colleges and I studied hospitality and the reason I got into hospitality is my father was in pharmaceuticals.
And he used to travel a lot and I used to go visit with him and these awesome hotels. And I just loved the feeling of people being taken care of and just this amazing people, love food. And I love food. I’m a foodie myself. And it was like learning that, that hospitality feeling of, of creating a space where people feel welcome and at home.
So that’s the path I went on. And, and then I was working at a hotel. I was 21 years old. I was a director of catering for 300. And I had gained so much weight from just the Western lifestyle. And that’s when I went back into what my grandparents taught me, the, you know, the way my grandma would procure and garden, and my grandpa would go to like four or five different stores and markets to get the right foods and the right vegetables.
It was that I learned that sensitivity. And, and in that sensitivity, I. Implementing aryuveda and implementing the doses and balance and went down that path. So a cacao and all those things came later on in life, but it was first healing, the body and healing the mind and healing the soul and getting out of the toxic lifestyle that I was living.
So, and then how
I actually, like, you know, I’m sure 24 years old, 20, 25, how did you actually move to that next step? Right. You’re working in a job, you know, that’s unhealthy, but like some of those. It’s sometimes it’s really hard for people
to move out of that. Totally. It was, it was addicting. I was getting paid very well.
I was in a partnership with a very beautiful human and we were connected from college and we were on the marriage path and everything. And my parents came up to me one morning and told me we have an amazing opportunity. My parents have a janitorial and sanitation supply company and a company in India.
One of the largest companies in. Approached us to do a joint venture. So my parents were like, we need you to leave your job and we’re moving to India. And so my, my partner and I both moved to India and we started working and doing this joint venture. The joint venture took a long time and a lot of money.
And in that process, I took my American express card and I started. Importing care team. My mom was flying into New York city before she to drive in India and getting care team treatments done. So it basically takes your, your fuzzy frizzy hair and it makes it flat and beautiful for a period of four to six months.
So I, I contacted my mom’s salon and I started, I became the first, the only importer of care team in India. So that’s, that was one of the things I did for three years. And my mom is still doing that. So that was, that was like going to India and immersing myself in the culture. It became really easy to just start living healthily and having support.
For someone who’s
never been to India. Just a quick side question, like where what’s your favorite places where to go?
What do you love about India? India is like, I feel like I’m such a culturally fruitful place where people just are comfortable being with each other. I love India. And I love the food and just the very, the, the, just the variants that are there.
You know, you go to north India, south India, it’s so different everywhere in even the way they consume, even the way they believe in terms of spirituality. So different. My favorite place is called gold. And go is like a peninsula. And it’s one of the most beautiful places. If you asked me it’s been owned by the Portuguese a lot and no one really owns Goa.
It goes between India and various governments. And it’s just one of those very sovereign places where people go to vacation and people go from all over the world. Kind of like Bali. I don’t know if you’ve been to Bali or I haven’t.
Yeah, but obviously
know about Bali, but you know, the BGS and the John Lennon and all those guys used to go in and create palaces there.
And there’s beautiful places all over and it’s amazing. It’s like scooter life, you, you drive a scooter around. Eat fresh food and it’s really good.
That sounds amazing. So you’re importing and doing all this, what happens next? W why, why did you stop doing it? I
guess, stopped. So, you know, it was part of my own growth, you know, like as an Indian son, only one Indian son, Belief that I had to take care of my family and I had to create something for them in order for their lives to move forward.
And it was all these things that I had to work through in order to start fulfilling my own dreams and my own passions and carotene. Wasn’t my passion. So I decided to go back to the U S and rebuild my life again. And, and I had different thoughts on what I wanted to do with that business. I also became very aware of health and just the way.
The world worked in certain ways of, of just toxins and things. And I truly believe that keratin wasn’t good for humans, you know, personally. So I didn’t want to put my energy into it anymore, you know? And so I came back and I hustled and, and rebuilt myself. And yeah, it was cool. So what was the next thing that you
did that was successful or
anything that, yeah, so I started another business.
It was called outstanding dining. It was kind of like a group on for restaurants, family owned restaurant. And local charities. So charities that I believed in and, and so I would tie them together and it was basically like an app and I got, I think 75 local, Minnesota restaurants signed up and we were doing that for a bit.
And then, yeah, it wasn’t, it wasn’t something that really took off, but
w w well, one of the questions I like to ask about, like, starting something like that is there’s always so many want to be entrepreneurs. And they always want to start something. And you know, I think one of the traits of entrepreneurship is maybe just allowing, not hearing all the no’s before you start or whatever it is, but like any tips or tricks, I’ve just actually getting started with that
Yeah. I mean, If you can do something that you’re passionate about, but also have a secure, not say you’re not worried about living, you know, your survival’s being taken care of. Then you have some gestation period between success or failure and success, you know, so I truly believe you got to keep hitting that.
You know, like the only way you’re going to be able to hit that ball with confidence and authority is, is by not doing that first. You know? So I, I just, all of that experience is something that I love because I learned how to communicate and connect and it was just a beautiful experience, you know? So yeah, I mean, I failed, but it was, it was beautiful.
and did you have like a side hustle that you were watching perhaps,
or. It’s still in the hospitality industry. I was a general manager for a hotel and arrested. Even in between those years, I was a chef at a restaurant. I also was a bartender. I ran a, a local that’s actually not local it’s based in Denver, but it was a pop-up bartending service.
So I was a manager of that. I did all these things, you know, just to keep the doors open and keep moving. You know,
it’s so funny. It’s very civil me. I’m always doing multiple things, but chef real quick. What’s your favorite? Like seasoning, like if you have a go-to one that you just kind of always have to have.
Yeah. So it’s not a have to have, but I’d really love truffle. Okay. Yeah. I can go for, you know, making anything truffle, like, you know, it has its own grounding feel to it and it’s nice. Yeah. Yeah. And
that, that took off where now a lot of things aren’t actual truffle,
but truffle it’s true.
Yeah. Ma I think mine would have to be lemon pepper is, seems so basic.
It can take some very boring dishes and at least give some life to it at least a little bit. And if you don’t have lemon pepper, then you know, obviously lemons and pepper work actually even better, but just a little bit more effort to put in there. So what was one of the things that maybe worked or didn’t work that’s of note with the with, I forget what the business was that we were doing.
Yeah. That the hot, that, where you had the multiple
areas, what did, what worked and didn’t work? Yeah. Yeah, just getting into the heart of like, getting to know people and getting to know what they needed and being able to communicate from the heart space, that was like the best experience. And also recognizing like my dream of wanting to own a restaurant needed it.
It’s still there, but I knew that there was time between when I was going to start it and you know, all of that, just like learning. Absorb wisdom, you know, and, and see the hard work people put into their business and then try to be there for them in the most integral way possible. So, yeah, I mean, that was, that was, it was a loss in the sense, like, I couldn’t fulfill all their dreams, but I got to at least experience, you know, a lot of what it takes to be a restaurant owner.
So what kind of restaurant would you want? Yeah, I’ve got an, I’ve got a really good idea. It’s a farm to table. Are you Vedic restaurant? So like, I love Casa and I’m a huge fan of Casa. But I would love to make something like Casa, but more plant like flavor. And I’m more of the curries and the, and the, in the long take, like things that take a long time to make like the long taken curries and the boss monkeys, rice, and the and things, making something like that, where it happens serves only once a day.
But food is being created all day, you know, and that you can taste that flavor in that work it’s been created. So I think some of
that was great because one just like tactically, like something can show up and get their food pretty quickly. Right. Because it’s, it’s ready to go and you can make it in mass.
Right. As opposed to. Having everything being very specific. And then you could also tell really great stories around your ingredients because it’s in season or you got at the certain farm or whatever. I could see that doing really well. Also with that. Is this something that you could do pop-ups with, you can start that way, right.
And to test some stuff out,
you know, Casa allows me to cook in their restaurant and I’ve done it a few times where I’ve had a Curry nights and things. And I
give a little quick background on Casa. Cause there’s a lot of people I actually have there’s all over the world. So sometimes they
won’t. So let me tell you a little bit about Casa, Casa de.
Is a macrobiotic restaurant, but it’s also like a spiritual center. It’s a space, a community space where they have facilities all over my business. Third eye meditation lounge is inside, along with another other businesses. And it’s a beautiful nonprofit been around for 30 years. Serving similar food for 30 years and it’s all a hundred percent organic.
They try to do as local as possible. And it literally feels like integrity. Just walking into the space. It’s like this beautiful, very tropical feeling that you are.
I feel like you’re in a different country, but you walk in and it’s like downtown Austin, which I’m sure 30 years ago was not even downtown at all.
Right on the way from downtown to Zilker park or something. But. Let’s see, actually, that’s take a side note because there’s so many different areas. I do want to talk about meditation because I think. Something that’s very helpful, helpful for a lot of people, but a lot of people don’t know who or where to start.
And we can talk about it in any direction you want to go. I do think that people would get some value on like how to start meditating and where to,
yeah. I’ll just talk about a few things about meditation that I know that’s based on my experience. You know, I believe we all, I believe that the. The body keeps the score and the issues are in the tissues and our nervous system and how we feel in our body is really important on how much you can meditate.
So if you don’t feel good in your body, it’s going to be more difficult for you to manage. It’s gonna be more difficult to calm the nervous system down and to process certain things within the body. So, I mean, for me, I started out and I went to Vipassana and I did the 10 day silent meditation retreat, which helped me face a lot of.
Has helped me face a lot of my trauma and, and allow the feelings that I wouldn’t allow myself to feel that come up. And that was very helpful from there. I learned all sorts of techniques and ways to meditate and, and also heal my body. Cause I think it’s a simultaneous thing. You, you, you can meditate, you know, forever.
But then you can also integrate some of that stuff. So it’s kind of like taking. I re a backpack when you need a suitcase. And if you, if you don’t heal the body, it’s going to feel like you’re always on a shorter journey than you could be on. Essentially. Does that make sense? It does.
And I’ll take it another side note.
Cause as though it was fun. So you’re like the third pipe, probably fourth or fifth, actually they have done these, you know, these long-term silent retreats, right? Maybe walk us through a little bit of that a little bit more. Cause I think it’s so interesting. Something that I haven’t done, but it’s
something that I’m very interest.
Yeah. So I went to the DAMA, Siri, Kaufman, Texas, it’s this organization is beautiful. They have these centers around the world and it’s, donation-based they take care of you, housing, food, you know, everything you need. And it’s just this little room that you get and it’s so beautiful. This. So my experience was I walked into this room.
I have my suitcase, and there’s nothing really that you can bring into this other than like clothes and that’s it. No supplements, just you. And it was really cool. So I walk in this room. I’m in here, got a schedule. And it’s basically 10 hours or so of meditation or learning your there’s some, some classwork.
There’s a, there’s a, a man who started his foundation who’s passed and he’s got videos that you listen to every night. The cool thing about it is if you’re, if you’re with what, what has happened. Every question you have gets answered in those videos each night, which is interesting. This guy obviously put this program together with a lot of intention and you do have questions.
I feel like I had questions and you can’t really speak to anybody about it. So this, this video at night, it was really helpful, but it’s basically breakfast at six in the morning. You get a lunch, a small lunch, and then a small dinner, and then you’re basically. One hour meditations is happening every, every hour.
And then you, you’re kind of like just in a spot where you don’t move for an hour. Each time the meditation happens. And the first three days you’re concentrating only on the air that’s coming out of your nose. And then it goes deeper. So there’s different practices that you’re learning, but really you’re learning body awareness.
You’re learning sensations, and you’re also learning to come up and feel the blocks because there will be blocks that come up when you’re not dealing with anything in the world, other than yourself. You will start to feel some of the things that are potentially within you. And do you
go in there with like a goal and, you
know, I, you know, I, I did
like a business idea or this or that, or relationship
health, or I think after the first one, you could probably do more of that.
Maybe if you do come in with the goal, that goal might not be apparent. If you face something else within your soul’s journey. You know, so I don’t want to say, you know, I know,
right? Yeah. Because you’ve been through it and back to just the normal meditation, I think a lot of people have troubles quieting their brain.
And obviously it’s very easy to reach for your phone or TV or, or whatever it is or a drink, or you can go on a large list there. What’s some just basic tips. I think for someone who. You know, they, they hear that 10 day retreat and that that’s way too much, but maybe they’re starting to feel like they need to start doing something.
What’s a great way to just,
yeah, totally. There’s some really cool techniques that you can do prior to meditation. So I say getting all the energy that stagnant or anything that’s within the body, getting that up, moving, shaking a tap. That’s really good. And then there’s also these little devices you can get there’s meditation devices, you can actually use they can do light therapy.
There’s something called a NuCalm, which puts Gabba on your PCIX. Right. Right here, it’s an acupuncture pressure point and it literally helps you shut down the brain. And then there’s followed by that there’s actual sounds that connect with the GABA and helped you get into a meditative state. So I actually love that.
I use that on a lot of my clients. And that’s just great for anybody you do that for an hour or half an hour, even it’s like four or five, six hours of additional sleep that your body receives from that transmission. So it’s
interesting that you say the tabbing cause I, what I do use in this, I guess you could be in the meditative area, but when I get nervous, I count my breasts and tap my fingers.
And I’ll do a three and three out just to kind of reset myself. And what’s great is you could do it without anybody knowing it’s, especially before you know, you’re giving a big speech or something. It’s a great way to just quit thinking about all the, what ifs and all these nervousness that are popping up and just focus on breathing.
And I think the tapping helps with that. It was Tony Robbins that I heard that did that. I don’t remember where it was from, but that’s what was very helpful. That’s very basic because he could just do it on the side. And you’ve kind of talked about, and I know we were going to jump around the journey, but you’ve talked about clients.
So when, when you say that
what’s that mean project, me and my partner, and a few other healers, it’s called a rooted integration project, a rooted integration project.com. It’s basically a four week program where we help reset the nervous system, get the gut health, the brain health, the heart health, and creating basically more, more coherence.
So we use heart math. We use a Tre, which is tremor release exercises. A lot of times trauma is stuck in the psoas and we help release just basic trauma in the body. And then we teach various meditative techniques, clearing technique. And we also have a shaman who helps with some ceremony work. So plant medicine potentially can be used, but we meet people where they’re at.
And most importantly is for people to help develop a secure attachment to them. So they understand, you know, what they’re bringing to the world and understand the separateness and the connectedness in between.
What’s kind of a, either a normal client or an ideal
client for you guys. Yeah. So someone who potentially, you know, has trauma or has found awareness with the trauma, doesn’t know how to actually heal or integrate someone who’s taken plant medicine who needs some support.
Someone who’s lost a family member, anybody who’s needing emotional connectedness, also inner child healing. So we, we do regression work. We do a lot of emotional work, so people are having hard time accessing their emotions. We help them do that. Yeah.
So it’s kind of, you know, I guess a different way of kind of a psychologist with a little bit of you know, but also with the body, it sounds like too, kind of the
merging of all the bodies, mind, body spirit.
So all of it.
Yeah. I’ll I’ll yeah, that’s a great way to put it. And how’d you even get into that stuff, obviously, you’ve you kind of have this interesting path and you were getting more connected to yourself. And then a follow up question with that is how did you make that into a business? Cause that’s something that’s super interesting.
I think a lot of people start getting involved in these unique areas that might not be so mainstream, but then they just kind of keep it to themselves or just
do with their friends. I studied tantra, I learned seven levels of a lineage and I just started teaching. I had a clients about 10 years ago.
I started. Just implementing all the things I learned after two years of celibacy, after going through my own progress of the program, I learned from this couple who’ve been teaching for 40 plus years. They were 70 plus years old and they had all this energy and vitality and I was. Sign me up, you know, so that was my first teaching.
I become certified in somatics and Reiki and all sorts of things. But Tanisha was for me, one of the most important things that I wanted to bring to the Western world in an appropriate integral way. So I started teaching the COVID. And I did this a hundred day celibacy course about seven or eight years ago here in Austin.
And it was a huge success. I think we, we made like 50 grand, you know, and it was awesome. It was like, wow, this, this actually is great. And, and to this day, a lot of these students are people very much involved in my life and I’ve seen so much progress from it. I believe you have to root down to right.
And tantra is one of the greatest tools to root down, to rise up, to get strong in your core and your mulabandha and in the lower parts. And so it was tantra that taught me a lot of these foundational work. And from there, I just studied everything I could possibly study. And I put together a program based on what I thought worked best.
And it’s always improving. I’m always taking more courses and learning more that I can implement with this project.
So what about the haters that sit there and say that. You making money off of this stuff. Do you have any, any flack in that
area? Of course, money and I think is very powerful. And you know, if you’ve read rich dad, poor dad, you know, you’ll understand just the basic concepts and power around money and.
If you value something and, and you want to do something about it, money has to be exchanged. And I think that’s important. So I
see money as fuel, right? And because you have to have it, and let’s say in your field, if you want to reach five people and stuff like that, that’s fine. You don’t have to, you don’t have to charge for it.
But if you want to reach 5,000 or 5 million, you’re going to have to have some fuel
a hundred percent, a hundred percent. If I don’t feel comfortable with the work I’m doing, if I don’t feel. In that exchange. I don’t want to be there. And it’s it’s energy for me to be able to share that space. So I value it.
It’s not cheap. Our program is $4,000 per month and I don’t think that’s a small investment. It’s a mortgage for some people. So, you know, nice mortgage.
Yeah. But you know, it’s also investment in yourself is what in a lot of people that want it want to get to the next level. To me selling on value is different than selling.
Like, you know, I’m going to give you these four attributes to whatever you’re saying. Hey, what if I can. Really some blockage of you. So you could invest in some place or starting a company, or
not only that is preventative medicine, right? So it’s genetic work that we do that help prevent things that are in your genetic line.
So we do actual gene work. It’s crazy. Like you can prevent a lot of things that your parents went through. If you get awareness, And that’s, that’s all it is. And that you can’t pay. If you can’t go to the Western, you can’t go to a doctor and you can’t even go to a psychologist to find that information it’s deep work.
I say, you know, parents of alcoholic or something is that, and that’s kinda what you’re saying is,
and fix something like that. Not even fix it first, we figured out the root of how it started. That’s how trauma works. It’s it’s, it’s something that happened too fast, too quick, too soon. You didn’t have any way of, of processing or.
Finding the ground from there. So you’re still holding something that’s nervous in the body. That’s, that’s how trauma works, really. So it could be that they’re traumatized from something within their family line that caused the alcoholic gene to turn on. So we then find that and access it and process and heal.
was it. Are there any traumatic trauma there that you would like to share that, that you went through that got you on this
I mean, I went through a lot of things with my own father and my mother that, you know, definitely taught me a lot about how to even recognize trauma. I didn’t even know I was traumatized for so long and that’s a lot of people’s story.
Sometimes people think that this happy go lucky lifestyle in life. And trauma, what happens is it when it comes up you get to see some of the parts and the areas in which these patterns are stored and you get to heal, not just that aspect, but your, your family’s reason for carrying it too. So it’s really beautiful.
The circle that happens. Wait, sorry, what was the question again? There was
some traumatic stuff that you .
So when I was a child, I walked into a party with my parents and very nice lush. Beautiful home. And, and I don’t know exactly what it was, but there was an energy there and this, this person was unbuttoning my coat and fondling me right in front of my father.
And for a long time, that was an unprocessed trauma that caused me to not first of all, trust men, my father, and we had a huge gremlin between us for a long time, which got cause a lot of abandoned us and all sorts of things. But I’m at a point where I recognize. His story and all the things that created that incident, you know, and no longer causing blame and shame and all the things around that.
Well thank you for sharing that’s I mean, that’s that stuff can, you know and I’m very happy also on the flip side of it, that you’ve been able to recognize it, which is a big step and then, and deal with it to move through it because you don’t want that weight
to carry around forever. Trauma you carry people’s pain.
That’s not yours. You know, so it’s like I was carrying not just my feelings and emotions, but my father’s and his emotion and reaction was also traumatic. So you get to learn these things. And
because he probably felt very, very belittled as well or worthless or whatever it would be. It’s probably more than Muslim.
It was his inner child that was present at that moment to which you get to learn some of these. Through something called completion process, it’s a form of hypnosis that I also have trained in. So yeah. W w
why don’t you give us a little bit more on that? I suppose also there’s so many different areas
and completion process is a tool designed by teal Swan.
And what it is is it’s allowing, let’s say a traumatic incident that happened in your childhood. You there’s a whole set and setting that you create in order to have your adults. Comfort your inner child during that space. So if you have had something in a feeling or emotion, or even an incident that you feel still unsafe around, there’s a, there’s a way to bring your adult self to comfort your inner child.
And that’s what the process really is. It takes about two hours. Oh, wow. Yeah.
And you know, one thing I wanted to get to as well with a lot of these sayings is let’s say that somebody who doesn’t have a lot of money doesn’t live in Austin, Texas, But has some of these, you know, this trauma or traumatic experiences that they do want to begin to work through.
You know what, what’s a good place to start.
we recommend first thing is read the book. It didn’t start with you. That book actually comes with a bunch of worksheets that I utilize for my clients as well. It’s great. It helps you start to uncover and then process. Just learning how to sense your feelings is a great way to start moving emotions that are stuck in the body.
So there’s tools start doing that, and that will bring you to the next thing, which could be yoga or whatever it is that helps start moving the energy or tapping or emotional, you know Tre you know, things like that. So you can find a Tre practitioner in every state in the world, basically. And then what’s,
what’s, you know, what’s five years out for you.
Like, what are you, what
are you looking forward to doing? Totally I hope to have. Created really amazing connections with cacao and potentially owning a farm myself or creating more sustainability for farmers traveling and, and really sharing the medicine that is cacao. I think that’s probably the focus for the next few years.
I’m also potentially working with a franchise advisor. To make third eyes something that we can bring to other cities and to bring to other communities. And that’s also goal. And our do you guys have
plans for just selling like the rock a cow? We do it. I feel like it’s do that now, right? Yeah. Yeah.
And is that more in like a powdered state in a hard, slow?
Well, what we do is we take a cow paste, which is everything that comes from the actual being other than the, than the fruit like the. So the relish or whatever you want to call it. And we, and they grind it up into a paste, so that has all the fat in it.
And when you transport that it’ll melt. Right? So we do focus on making that and we ship it cold a lot of times. But we take that paste and we, we cold crumble it into a powder so people can consume it easier. And that’s one of our flagship products is the third act of cowlick, elixir. And people just add that to their hot water and use one of those little latte mixers.
And you’ve got your morning drink. That’s a
lot of fun. And then. Take a kind of a look back like, all right. So you’ve done a lot of interesting things a bit all over the world. It sounds like. What kind of advice would you give all the way back to like, you know, 16 year old self?
Yeah. Yeah, it would be probably to read certain books, you know, and get more info, get more knowledge around certain things that I feel like I’m playing catch up on now, you know?
So yeah, I mean, it would be to also have, don’t forget to have fun. Yeah. And remember your roots, remember how important it is that that culture brought to you? You know, there was a time and a place where I felt like my culture, wasn’t something I could be proud of and that’s completely shifted as I’ve dived deeper into it.
what about any, so you talked about, you know, we just talked about what you would recommend yourself, but in any regrets or along this path?
Yeah, definitely. Not like regrets, but just. Be slower, you know, just take more time, find, find meditation quicker, you know? I think those are the things, you know I feel like I had a beautiful life, but it happened too quickly and I wish I could have just slowed down a little bit.
I feel like that’s something. And so it would say when they’re older, so it’s great that, you know, maybe we didn’t recognize that when we were 16, but you know, the younger than better to recognize slow down. And I feel like that as well. One thing that I, it was a quote I heard or something. I do firmly believe it, in order to slow down time, you have to create your new experiences because otherwise, if you’re doing the same thing every day, your brain kind of gets on autopilot.
And it’s very
forgettable. Right? I believe that in some aspect, I feel like consistency is good. But then if you can just make 1% shift within consistency. So you’re still consistent, still in the masculine, but then you’re finding creative ways to integrate that consistent thing that you’re doing. So you’re getting better at it or you’re getting optimizing it or whatever it is, you know, so, yeah.
like, and so we do like, I, you know, to have our food at certain times and having shelter had a lot of different things that need to be consistent. Yeah. What about like, I’m sure you get with a ton of these like common myths that you hear in cringe. It could be meditation. It could be in the other areas that you do, but anything that you just want to talk about that like, just kind of, you hear and you kind of
want to talk about, yeah.
So, you know, in Austin it’s really popular now, the hot bats or the hot the sauna and then the cold baths, you know, and, you know, I really feel like putting yourself in a position to be hot and cold. Can be really good for the nerve reset the nervous system sometimes, but doing that constantly doesn’t allow for gestation to happen.
So I really believe integration is being able to go from dissonance to resonance and finding consistency and being resonant. And I feel like right now in our spiritual community, in various plant medicine communities, it’s too much of the medicine. It’s too much of the. The, the party without the, the rest and the meditation and the, and the parts that require integration.
So I know it’s cool to take mushrooms and all these other things, but you know what we’re doing at third eyes, creating classes and spaces where people can integrate, you know, what they’ve learned from their journey and to really slow down, to speed up so that, you know, they have more focus and clarity.
They feel more fulfilled in their life. And I think that’s really important.
So let’s talk more about plant medicine. And I have very little knowledge in this area as in personal out knowledge, but I’m very interested in the area, right. So I’m actually just take it wherever you like it. You know what, what’s a very common questions that people have asked you, or what do you guys start with?
Like w w w
wherever we want to take it. So so in terms of health, just basically, I believe that when we’re healing, we have a lot of symptoms and when we heal too quickly, So when our body is, is doing something internally, that’s moving something too quickly. Energetically our physical body may not be able to handle it.
So you know, Plant medicine can, can be really good if let’s say you have a block that your consciousness can not overcome. Plant medicine can be helpful to help you change your state in order to move through something, you know, that can be potentially painful or traumatic or whatever it may be.
It could be even genetic that you have no idea about that you’re carrying, you know, so. Depending on what it is. There’s various different plant medicines. There’s things that open you up. There’s things that bring you in this things that is various things. So like ketamine is a disassociative. Iowasca is one of those things that can be very spirit.
It’s like a spirit molecule where it connects your soul to, you know, to the earth in a very, in a way that can be very disruptive. Can take a long time to integrate from. So that’s why I believe set and setting are super important. Let’s say you lose a partner of 20 years, you know, and you have a hard time processing it and your children are tired and you don’t have a lot of, you have a lot of time on your hands.
I asked them might be good for you, you know, but let’s say you’re an entrepreneur and you’ve got shit going on and you can’t take two months off for three months off to rest and do that. I will ask us not recommend it. I would potentially recommend maybe mushrooms, which has a quicker gestation time from recovery.
Because these are poisons in our body is going to react in a way that will heal in certain ways. If you’re, if you’re in the right space and you have the right time and you have the right dealers and support around you. So it’s really sentencing. And all these different medicines do different things.
Our Western world is becoming very open to that in our current timeframe, which is cool. However, there’s an extreme to everything, right? So. I really believe, you know, the person who’s procuring the medicine, the person who’s receiving the medicine have really good intentions is coming from a really grounded place.
And, and really decides, you know, this is what I want to do. What do you ask the right person? What they need, you know, and where do you see you kind
of the future of this? I mean, it seems like you said it, you know, the U S itself seemed like they’re becoming more and more open to some of these MDMs and stuff like that.
Where do you see
this? Yeah, like MDME are our sassafras. That’s like more of like, let’s say someone who’s been bitter for a long time, you know, it needs to find more love. It’s a good one for that. What I see it going is, do you know what spiral dynamics is? I do not know. Okay. So spiral dynamics is this, is this a.
Thought belief system in which there’s various types of consciousness that live in our planet right now that if you believe in spiral dynamics, this is the first time in our life where we have so much variety of consciousness. So there’s different groups and people and humans who live in a certain vibration live in a certain lifestyle that carry a certain vibration and consciousness.
That’s why there’s so much difference right now, this very much difference between our parents. Or grandparents and grandchildren, whatever it may be technology and various human or earth changes have created these separations. Not that it’s good or bad, but because of this new consciousness that’s coming, you know, we’re going to have a lot more evolution.
So I believe we’re going to evolve. And, and that’s what I see at our future being is being more evolved society. But with variance, you know, there’s still people in our world living primitively there’s people who are living very much in a technological AI world. So you see how there’s so much variance
and when you say kind of evolve or primitively.
I have, I think I got a pretty good idea what you’re saying, but are you saying basically at some people just won’t make it to the next kind of state that they should be in or they’re just going to live poorly or like, what do you mean?
See, I don’t believe in shooting, you know, are like shooting on me or anyone because everyone has their own life and purpose.
Right. So dogs going to be a dog and maybe next life there’ll be a human, I guess what you’re saying now. Yeah. So that’s the reincarnation aspect of how I believe. So if someone eats Doritos, smoke cigarettes, drinks, alcohol, they’re going to live out their life purpose to whatever it is. Or if you look at like a guy from SunLife organics who completely shifted his life and how now has these juicing places and yo you know, healthy things, people can make a shift, you know, and it’s not any.
Like forced to do. That’s an internal thing, you know? So I, I truly believe everyone’s, life’s purpose is their life’s purpose. And if they decide to upgrade their consciousness, that’s going to be a sovereign personal choice and then they’re going to do it. And then and it could be even a downgrade of consciousness.
very much so. Right. Yeah. And, and kind of that’s, it’s interesting. Cause that’s what. More where I, how I grew up as is believing a lot of those different things. And the religion that I grew up in was very much in the reincarnation of kind of moving your soul to the next journey next step, and try to move up.
C and then there is no hierarchy though. That’s where the sovereignty and the unity comes from because the dog and the, and the, and the, the very evolved person hold the same amount of power that creates the. The same godly energy that circulates in that dog is in that human too. That’s the only way we will be able to see them.
On this dimension. So what does success look like for you? So success for me, I’ve been around, you know, outwardly successful people and I’ve been around people who I never thought would be successful or is successful, but successful to me is feeling really good. And the being so nervous system is happy.
Physical body is happy. Sex life is intact and fruitful. Finances are, are good. Friendships are really strong. Community is strong. So I don’t want to be rich and lonely. I’m not going to be that guy. I don’t care about that. That’s not my end goal. My end goal is to be surrounded by loving, amazing trustful people who are creating in this world.
And, and, and it’s, there’s no like unseen unsaid competition. Creating beautiful creations together and sovereignty, you know, so success to me is being able to give to the world, you know, and, and create with the world. So, yeah.
So what do you think what are you proudest of that you’ve have you’ve accomplished.
So it’s, it’s an internal thing. That’s proud. I don’t, I can’t be proud of it to other people because it doesn’t make sense. But for me to overcome all the physical challenges and to be, you know, an athlete to be a a competitive pickleball player, it feels. Or even tennis player, whatever it is.
I felt like that could have never happened in my life, just from all the difficulties I had from just walking. So that to me is such a thing I’m very proud of. You know, I feel like that’s an accomplishment. Absolutely. Yeah.
Anything that we didn’t cover that
you would like to. So I did start a rejuvenation center in Costa Rica.
I started this thing called blue zones, rejuvenation. I had a tragic incident after I was working for my family’s business and I wasn’t in integrity and I wasn’t living my passion and I lost part of my finger. Oh, wow. I’d never noticed that. Yeah. So I lost part of my finger in a boating accident. I was wakesurfing and a rope got cutter on my arm and I pulled my hand back and it caught my finger and it completely changed my life.
Spirituality wasn’t on the back burner. It was like on the front burner and I was ready to follow my dreams and start third eye and do all the things before I started third, I started blue zones, which blue zones. I dunno if you know who Dan Bittner is. He’s probably a 10 time bestselling author of the blue zones book.
He was a national geographic photographer who made his name and did some amazing things. And. Places around the world that people lived over a hundred years consistently. And that’s what called blue zones. So I studied the blue zones. I got into it and I created a rejuvenation center in Costa Rica called Costa Rica called blue zones rejuvenation center.
So I left everything. I took all the money I had and I invested into this hotel and we converted into a center and we started doing these things and I just fell in love with Costa Rica and retreat. We got a season, this, this letter from a guy named Dan Bittner who wrote those books. And my partners were lawyers who did not want to change the name.
And I was like, I just want to do retreats. You know? So they were like adamant about it. I was like, you know what, I’m going back to Austin. And, and in that time, a gentleman gave me some investment to, to start making elixirs. So I started this whole business, just making it like. And in my retreats, I used to make these really awesome elixirs, cacao, elixirs, and golden milks and all these things to help people feel good in their body.
And that’s kinda how I started out. Third eye is really
interesting. And so is, is that retreats still there?
And no, they went. I was kind of the, the brain around the whole business. They went back to the hotel, but I did build a yoga teak, so they did get to
keep it, keep it. And do you still travel back to Costa
Or I haven’t. You know, I desire to go back, but other places that I desire to put some energy into, it’s so
hard. There’s so many amazing places in the world. I actually haven’t been to Costa Rica because my wife has been multiple times. We’ve been to Nicaragua. I had an amazing experience there and I loved it.
They’ve got good,
good cow there too. I’m sure they do. I’m
there, right? I mean, they’re right next to Costa Rica. One way that she described Nicaragua is it’s like Costa Rica, but like 20 years ago before it got so popular, The days it’s not near as popular because we, you know, we have a pretty negative commentation and of the area as Americans, but also it has had some political instability over the years.
There’s been a, there’s a million people from Canada. They’re like, they’re like, yeah, it took me 14 hours to get here. I’m like, yeah, I got here in six hours, you know, like, or, or five and, you know, from Austin, cause it’s straight south and pretty easy. And they just don’t have that negative connotation of the area.
And then there all the time, and there’s fantastic surfing. And you can say on Alma temp is this like volcano that you can stay on and right up on a horseback and just, and it’s cost nothing like literally nothing.
My friend has a property up. She owns a property that she, she doesn’t know if she’s gonna go back to but it’s crazy because you can own property there, very inexpensively.
And but there is a little bit of fear around the local war that’s happening there and you can lose it all. Yeah, yeah, for sure.
When we were there you know, we weren’t stupid. Didn’t do anything crazy, but we felt totally safe at the time and that obviously could be fluid, but we were, there was, and also it’s a touristy.
And the fact of the Nicaragua Nicaragua’s touristy, which is nothing like touristy places that are known to house travelers, just fine. Airbnb, places like that. So, yeah. And this is my last question. I end every podcast with this. How would you like to be remembered? Yeah.
Yeah, so in India they have this thing called
So someone who is heart giving, you know, someone who. Is able to give, you know, with less thought involved, you know, so obviously having good boundaries of what I need to do to take care of myself, but being able to give with a good heart and that’s something I feel like is really important. I love it.
Yeah. Well, Neil,
thank you so much for being on the podcast. Thank you for having me. Pleasure. Yeah,
that’s great. Cheers. Yeah. Cheers.
Me and you were average people. We probably skip the ads and we feel like the results that appear on the map or below are earned Google already vetted them. So you are a trusted Google, and whenever someone clicks on it, your site and they reach out, they already know that you are solid, right. You are one of the two or three other vendors that they want to see and work with.
Welcome to the Establishing Your Empire show. A podcast that inspires entrepreneurs, creatives and future business owners to pursue their passions, grow their organizations and build their empire. My name is Daran Herrman and creatively I’m best known for my photography. But business wise my claim to fame is growing a company from $15K per month in online sales to breaking the one million dollar a month barrier. And I’m sitting down with interesting people to talk about their process, the lessons they learned and how they have Established their Empire’s.
I got John Vuong here, an SEO, local SEO expert. It’s going to be a very exciting podcast cause I am in the SEO world as well. I love marketing getting people out there and be, you know, be able to be found on Google as opposed to just big businesses. Right. So. John, why don’t we just start off with, you know, what’s your, what’s the elevator pitch?
Who, you know, who are you, what you do. Okay. Yeah. So, I, I started this agency seven years ago. I founded it, it’s called local SEO search. And really what we do is we help small, medium size, family run businesses, mainly in the service sector, but mainly verticals that are, focused on delivering products and services in a local community.
Right. I like your local dentist, plumber, physio, Cairo, mom and pop, but really sustainable businesses. I really want to partner with them to generate more visibility for them on, Google in particular, and expose them to more opportunities. Right. Because a lot of people just don’t get how it works with Google.
So I really want to partner and. Form a longterm relationship with business owners that want to transform and provide a more digital presence for their business. So I want to kind of go, go back in time cause I’ve read your sh your history. And I think it’s very interesting and it makes sense that you got into SEO, but maybe give us, you know, let’s go back before the SEO days, you know, kind of what, what was kind of maybe your first gigs or whatever that kind of got you on this path.
Right. Yeah, definitely. so I’ll go way far back. So I, I started my, I guess I didn’t even know at the time, but when I was here, growing up, I had a newspaper rope and at that time I know I hear a lot of stories. I T I hear a lot of entrepreneurs starting, you know, lemonade stands paper or whatever. My reason was really, I had to support or.
Find food and support my family. Right. And buy items for myself. Like if I needed t-shirt or shorts, I would have to pay for it myself. So we came from immigrant family moved. To Canada from Vietnam during the war. So my parents came without much, right. We didn’t know the language. We were in government housing and really were, we knew was ourselves, right.
We had to support one another. And so growing up, that’s all I knew, which was family and taking care of each other. And during, you know, growing up from teenagers up to my college years, I had multiple jobs and. It wasn’t really like understanding I was really doing, but I wanted it an opportunity to really see what was out there.
Right. So I, I got gigs from restaurant waiter jobs to factory jobs, to lawn care, to accounting in inside an office to you name it. Like I kind of did it with like 20, 30 different jobs. Right. And yes, some may have lasted for a week. Some may have lasted for a year. Right, but it gave me an opportunity to see I enjoyed and what I didn’t enjoy.
Right. And that’s it. Beauty, I believe in living in a Western society, because you have options, you have the ability to do whatever you want. If you had the willpower to get a job or not. Right. so really for me, early stages, it was all about just discovery being curious to see what’s out there and, yeah, right after college.
So I finished my, college degree, agree in business finance and. Once I finished, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. honestly I really wanted to continue traveling because I had that one exchange program during college, out to England. And I loved that experience. It allowed me to, you know, meet new people, have a new culture that I never embraced in my life.
I’ve never flew in my life until that time. outside of, you know, growing up when the extent of travel that I had was. An hour commute from the town that I lived in. Yeah. Which was Hamilton, Ontario to Toronto. And it was really a fair that we had free tickets too, because you know, my parents were ungoverned assistance and that’s the only thing they can afford us.
Right. So to me, that’s all I knew in terms of travel. And so for me to travel outside, To a college, an hour away and then flying to a new country that was like, unheard of. Right. So just that whole experience, allowing me to see what was potentially available, for myself, for the world. And so many people, so many opportunities.
So curious. I was always trying to ask questions and absorb as much as I can because. You know, going to a new country, you get to see so many different types of ethnicities, languages, cultures, you name it. And it was amazing, right? Yeah, because for me, I was fairly sheltered, I would say. Right. so it just allowed me to.
Open up a little bit. And my first job was really in sales and, it was advertising sales and I didn’t really know I was good in sales or I didn’t even know what sales really was all about, but I had to take it on because it was a great opportunity for me to start paying off my debt. Right. Because going to college, I had to fund it.
Yeah. Jump in real quick. Cause I, I love that. The fact that you’ve got a lot of jobs at a young age, so my first. Java’s at 13 years old, same kind of upbringing where like, you know, if I wanted to t-shirt or shorts or even, you know, a pair of decent shoes, like that was all on me. you know, ever since I can remember which shape really shaped a work ethic that you’d even know what’s happening.
Right. You didn’t know you’re doing this workout that you just know you need money. Right. So any, I think it’s interesting, cause I don’t know how many kids actually go and get a job and all that. and I don’t even know what my question is, but do you, I mean, like if you have a teenager, you’re going to make them work at a young age or like any thoughts there, of how that shaped you of working really young and having to have all those experiences 10 years before a lot of people have them.
Yeah, I think that allowed me two. I guess it’s all about experience over education. I feel like now that I look back, right, it’s like anything could be taught in a book. You can read it on your own. Right. But real life experience, real relationships. That’s what it’s all about. Right. Getting to know real people with real questions and genuine people, real authentic, raw questions.
Right. And then the experiences, as much as there’s digital experiences today, it will never be real life flying meeting, going to a different country or culture and real experiences because those memories will last a lifetime. Right. and it can never be replaced. And I also do agree with the, the traveling.
There’s something about immersing yourself into a new city, a new culture, a new area, even if that’s, you know, with the U S we are pretty lucky that it is so massive. So my first travel experience was Washington, D C as like a senior in high school. Cause we went to nationals for this government, kind of pitch competition.
And that was amazing to me. And then, and then my first overseas experience, it was times that, but, You know, I really do think it’s not only is it motivational now at my age, like I, I have to travel. I can’t right now so much, but, when I do travel as kind of a nice reset period for me to get kind of back into the motivational mind, creative mindscape because it’s really easy to just get task heavy in the daily world, but, back to your, so, so now you take a sales job, right?
And go ahead and continue your story. Yeah. So I don’t think I answered your question going, like I look back, I would say, because I do have a young child right now when he becomes a teenager, even before that I would want to embrace him with travel. So I’m thinking of humanitarian stuff, which is looking at third world countries and seeing how though 98% of the population really live right.
Get them grounded on. How fortunate and lucky he is living in a Western society in brace with what he has and feel fortunate with what he has. Right? Because the more raw it is on understanding what he has and appreciating it is, and being grateful, the better he’s going to become growing up as a human, right.
As a person. So I’m more like. That’s why I learned growing up, like I was able to travel and very fortunate, I know enough to do so and going to multiple continents, continents, and seeing how, you know, rundown or third world countries, people live versus what we live. Right. And really get nitty gritty on the community and speak to them directly.
Right. That’s what it’s all about. Like real people, real connection, real time, you know, it just that’s. That’s what life is about. Right. I love it. so that’s the answer, but I want to get back to my story. So, so in terms of like, yeah, my first job, It was 17 years ago. So, back in 2012, 2003, I finished school and, I, I got this job.
It was really sales, advertising sales. It was, it was called the red pages. Right. And yes, everyone heard of the yellow pages. Everyone knew it was a printed directory. Own books, phone numbers. This was the, was the first printed directory of websites going to every single home in business. I thought it was a great idea because Google didn’t really take off.
Yeah. And internet was really slow at the time. It was still a dialogue. Right. And people who had computers, they didn’t have smartphones back then. Yeah. Computers, desktop. So maybe it was the, or so very slow in terms of like, speed of finding information and just to get online, you know, it took at least a minute to just get the dial up going.
So you kind of want to have it. You didn’t just go online just to like go online, you use it and said, okay, I’m going to do this chat thing, or I’m going to research this paper or whatever. Usually kind of had a little bit more of a plan. Then just jumping on your computer and hitting Google Chrome and typing anything.
It had a little bit more of a process before that turning on the computer, took three minutes to boot up and then logging into the network. Like internet took a couple of minutes cause this guy lab, and then it was, I don’t even think Chrome existed at that time. It was probably I E right. And internet Explorer was dominant player.
So you had to. Go through 10 minutes before you were able to do a search. And even during browsing, it took a long time. Right? So people don’t well understand what has transformed last five to 10 years. Right. But back when I started, it was like selling this product and idea concept of ad space. And I enjoyed it because I was true believer in it.
And I excelled, I really did. I didn’t know much about sales, but I enjoyed the whole process. This process and the mentality of what goes through on like psychology of that human behavior, right on why, what triggers people to want to buy from you or the product, but really it boils down to you believing and, and they trusting you.
Right. And it’s all based on relationship building. So over the years I listened to so many audio books, went to a lot of live events to really learn more on sales techniques, mimicking and trying to like, just have mentors, but more people that have been successful. In my field. Right. And just following it yeah.
In replicating exactly what they did. So I didn’t want to do anything new because if don’t change, what has worked right. Or so just continue on that path. So, you know, for me, that sales journey. lasted for 10 years and I got better. I learn, I, you know, improved and I built tons of business relationships.
And, that’s when I felt I was ready to take on that new journey of starting my own agency. And I, I don’t know if this is right, but was there a step in there where you were, with the yellow pages as well? Or just the red pages? Yeah. So red pages, couple years, and then yellow pages or was it for five years?
So, yes, definitely. I moved over to yellow because even when I was at red, that was my goal. Right. It was still the dominant player, at that time in terms of advertising. Right. And if I wanted to play in the sales, got to be where everyone knew where I was in terms of a brain. Right. and it took some time to even get in, right.
Because it was more, it took, I was doing telemarketing. I was starting at the bottom and moving my way up for trying to get a book of business. Right. so just like anything you have to evolve, you got to prove yourself, you’ve got to earn your way. Right. And people don’t see that when you’re a business owner, they don’t, they expect you to just sit up there or come with a lot of money and become that, whoever it is.
Right. But they don’t see you grinding it out for many, many, many, many years, if not decades about the grind. I would imagine with yellow pages, if you’re a sales person, was that like outside sales, like literally knocking on people’s doors. Yes. So red pages and yellow pages and every sales environment was phone call, cold calls, knocking on doors, soliciting and, you know, networking, you name it, going to conferences, trade shows, doing whatever it is to generate new business, right.
Biz dev, And yeah, it was for me, I thought it was always a challenge, but I had a lot of fun with it coming up with different strategies. Just the fear of getting rejected. Wasn’t really anything for me. So I built a very thick skin and it was more a boat like that. That drive of wanting to win. And I know you said that was actually, my next question is how do you overcome the fear of rejection?
I understand that thick skin, but did any processes, or do you think I thought it in any way to help people that might not be able to do that as easily? Yes. So early days, it’s all about like your mental state, right? Where you need to come prepared for a lot of rejection daily. And you know, you train for that.
You basically listen to a lot of videos or audio or whatever. Right now it’s like videos on YouTube or podcasts or whatnot, but you have to be in a good state to really get bombarded with rejection all day long. Right. So if you’re going to have a goal of making a hundred calls today and speaking to maybe five potential prospects to make those five prospects, prospects actually, impactful, right?
Yeah. So what are you going to say during those five first five seconds to make a difference for them to actually continue to listening? Right. So just coming in with the same mind set and frame of mind so that you can empower yourself and get through the day. and it’s so hard, I’ve done telemarketing for a brief period of time in college.
And, you know, I mean, even when people call me still, even since I’ve done it, I still like, no, I just hang up the phone. And I think the thick skin I think becomes developed over years. Right. You don’t just show up with it. for me, I would just the excitement of the sale of closing the deal. I think overpowered my.
Problem with the no, you know, the re rejection. And for some reason, I, I, I always made it kinda like a game and only thing I did that on purpose, it just was like, you know, like you said, I’m going to call a hundred people. I need to get five to talk to me and close to, like, I think I got so, Convinced that those numbers were, were like the numbers to do.
And like, I just was working to go, okay, now, you know, I got one now I’ve got 99 more people to call, like you just check it off a sheet. Right. are you able to do that same thick skin when it’s your own company? Oh exactly. I built it. that’s how I started this company actually. people don’t see, like they think it’s very easy to just, and start a business without a lot of like skill set, but I’m so lucky to have a skillset of sales and marketing, because that allowed me to, come in with a lot of.
I know energy or not being afraid of rejection or failure, because what is the worst that will happen? They say no. Or they slam the phone on your face, like, or closing the door at you. Like, so what move on it? They don’t take it personally. Right? So for me, that’s what really got me going. Right? Cause I knew I was strong in sales and sales was the most pivotal, most important thing in the.
As an entrepreneur, right? If you’re going to be successful, you need to learn how to sell. And if you cannot sell, like knowing you will hire the best salesperson in the world, but they will not believe as much as you will. And they’re not going to work as hard as you will. Right. So you better learn how to do it.
You know, as good as you can. And I think kind of, yeah. one of the things that I hear from that also is you use those 10 years of having a corporate experience is to build your skills, your sales skills, your entrepreneurial-ship skills. And so if you don’t have, I have that, maybe it is a good idea to get a job for a little, right.
Maybe it is to learn in somebody else’s systems, right. And you know, somebody’s scripts and to understand what works and, and. To know when you have the sale kind of on the line, you know, where you can actually go for the kill and try to get the sell. Right. so let’s, let’s go. actually, so right now, like, okay.
Covance happening. Right. And I know we’ve got a whole lot of story to get to, but I don’t want to forget this. Small businesses, I think are the most hit here. I was looking at some charts. It basically everything with the stock market is, you know, five, six big companies, maybe 10 is doing extremely well.
And all the small capital and medium cap businesses are just struggling. So I want to get really tactical real quick and then we can get, we can go in any other direction is what could a small business do SEO wise, or even just business wise that you can recommend to help them during this time. Yeah. So last, I would say it’s been challenging for a lot of my clients and just the whole small business retail industry, right.
Service or product related. One thing I always want to let people in on is trying to own your clients, right? Which is own your database. And a lot of people forget about that. They spend so much money on advertising trying to cultivate new customers, but they don’t even have a system or a process where they’re dripping with newsletters or an active.
Information email or social media fee. And if you have worked on that for many, many years, or if you haven’t yet better start scraping your existing database and staying, keeping them top of mind, because communication is more pitiful with all today than ever. Right. Constant updates, because with COVID, there’s always something going on stage one, stage two, and you need to inform your active clients, your loyal customers on what’s going mine, how you are adapting and pivoting.
And what are your hours? Like? What changes you have? Like, are you doing PPP E or, you know, what are the measures? Because those are the most loyal customers and they’re the ones that will refer you business. So you take care of your customer base. So. That’s one thing I would always advise people do, but in terms of like digital and SEO standpoint, I mean, it’s more important than ever today that to have a digital presence, right?
Like if you haven’t looked at buildings website and making sure that people can easily find you navigate and look for you or service or product, you’re missing a huge opportunity because people are spending way more time in front of a computer today than five months ago. All right. And what do you see as the positive future after covered?
Because there’s obviously some negative aspects and Wingo on those all day, but I mean, to me, I got excited about the new world that we’re getting in here. I think we’ve moved forward five, 10 years and a lot of these digital spaces. So what, what, what do you see the postcode COVID world for these kind of local businesses?
digitally. Yeah. So I think it’s going to be a hybrid model, because a lot of people we’ll dictate what’s going to happen, right. Users, user behavior. So if users expect things. Which has easy navigation, easy transaction Eve, easy, never does delivery. Just like the Uber’s, the Jesse’s or whatever it is, right.
For doors. They expect things at their fingertips. Right? Social instant. Right. So you just have to quickly adapt to what that user expects and wants. However, you still need to be core to your foundation of running a really solid business and focus on what is important to you, right. As a business owner.
So there’s a hybrid model of, yes, you’ve got to take care of your active clients, but what are the new customers potentially seeking you out using in terms of content? Platforms mediums. And how are they searching for you? Right. So, you know, as much as there’s so much information out there producing a lot of different forms of media and content and trying to cultivate new business, it’s all all about like understanding who your ideal fit is saying, who your tribe and persona of clients are, and then cater that message towards them.
So, I would say hybrid of bricks and mortar traditional, but really take into account like your website is what a traditional Brits and mortar was five or 10 years ago today. And it could be way more robust cost. And if you’re willing to take on that next step and challenge, you can make it like a storefront and you may not even need a storefront anymore to save a lot of your costs and invest more on digital.
And then with the COVID, let’s say that you have a limited budget, but you’re you, you, you know that you got to go do something, right. And you can take this, any kind of a business that you want to take it in. You got a limited budget, but you need new, you need more customers. It’s not paying your bills right now.
And you got all of these employees that you want to make sure that they have, you know, you want to provide for them. What would you recommend them to do? Like right now, So I, I hear your question. It all depends on the niche. w what stage you’re in, like, what, what position you’re in, in terms of, like, do you already have some solid client base or are you just cultivating new clients?
And also, how long have you been in business? Right, because that will depend on how you strategize in terms of marketing. Because if you, if you already have an existing client base, Market within your existing base, that’s the easiest way to grow your customer base. But if you’re looking for new and, you know, acquiring new customers, you need to figure out like, as urgent as you want to grow your business, people are to shop, right.
So. What is their mindset like and how do you drip them so that they get closer to the end goal of making a purchasing decision. So where should you invest? Is it top of the funnel information or near the end of the funnel, but you need to position yourself as the expert, no matter what. Right? So invest into multiple streams of different, various forms of digital and understand the value.
Everything brings to the table. Right. I wouldn’t say just do one because it’s hard to know if that one thing we’ll work like Facebook ads or Google ads or SEO, right. Or creating video and putting on YouTube and flying it. Like, will that be the one savior? I would say probably not. Yeah, I agree. And I actually love the, the thought there is if you’ve been around for a long time, because I think a lot of the businesses, especially like restaurants, it’s spit on Brown for a long time.
And haven’t really innovated over the years are a lot of them are failing. But I think the key takeaway of if you’ve been around for a bit is, you know, you gotta market hard to your own customer base because they’re there, they’re loyal. But they it’s. Hey, if you’re not in top of mind, we forget about you.
Like, it’s not nothing personal. We, we just do. That’s why we all do these marketing activities is there’s a million options, especially when we’re talking about restaurants. I live here in Austin, Texas. There’s there’s even new ones popping up during COVID. We just got a restaurant the other day does just opened, like two weeks ago.
So, you know, market heavy to your base and stay top of mind. So, to go back to, and I know I’m jumping around, but I didn’t want to forget about COVID-19. And I do feel like a lot of people get a lot of value of the covert chats. So when, when you started your own company, when did you think that?
Like, why, how did you make that leap forward of saying, okay, I’m not going to just get another job. I’m going to do my own thing. Okay. So this is interesting because for me at that time, seven years ago, I just left a fairly decent job. Like I was at yellow pages, presence, gold circle. I was earning pretty good six figures or whatever.
And I basically said, I can continue doing this, but customers might, my pain, active book of business clients were frustrated. They knew that medium was something they were going to eventually move away from. Right. So writing was on the wall telling me that I either go with the shrinking sinking ship or, or I pivot and figure out what my next move was.
I re invested five years there and it was either finding another job in sales or, try something right new. But while at yellow pages, like I mentioned, a lot of my customers were saying like, look. I’m not getting the same return on investment that I used to get five, 10 years ago. I would be spending more money today than I used to.
And not as many calls right now as me rep my revenue is dropping. Like all these signs were there. So then I was like, look, I knew there was a disconnect there. So where are people going? You know, traditional media was still print, trade shows, television billboards, and all that stuff. But what’s the new media, like I’m hearing a lot of buzz from Google.
I’m using Google myself. I’m like, okay. Paid ads and then was organic ad. And for me, organic was very to yellow pages because people are in control. It’s earned space and you position yourself as a leader, an expert. Right. So I had to figure out how that would work. But before I did that, I was like, I was very lucky in a sense where my wife, we just recently got married and she was fully supportive.
Right. And that was one big critical point in my life where if I had to do it myself, I don’t know if I could have, because the first couple of years I had to grind it out. I was bootstrapping. I didn’t pay myself. I was paying. Do you want all my staff and every, all the systems and processes and software and all that stuff.
But for me to have tried to do it myself, but with all the other obligations, like mortgage or rent or food shelter and all that stuff, I don’t know if I could have right. I I’m lucky. I’ll be honest with you. And I was fully supportive with my support system. And with that in mind, I was able to elevate and grow and make a lot of mistakes early years.
but I was out there just selling, right? Like I knew my strength was selling. So I went out there sold and I got clients, but then I had to figure out how to do this stuff because. I didn’t even know anything about SEO. I just knew that people wanted it and I sold it. It was more like now I have to figure out how to perform that duty.
Yeah, I understand that completely. And I think that’s a good segue into the next question of, you know, SEO is kind of this one area where everybody kind of knows what it is, but not really. and I don’t know if we need so much to define it so much, but maybe what is. Your approach to SEO. What do you, what do you do that’s maybe a little unique or exciting to you?
It could be the exact same thing that everybody else does. cause I, I guess, let me let, I’ll let you ask the question and I can kind of answer my question side of it too. Cause I think there’s a lot of areas, SEO, there’s the tips and tricks and tweaking and you know, back office stuff. And then there’s a lot of other things too to SEO.
So, I’ll let you take it any direction you want, I guess. Yeah. So SEO, as I kind of learned over many, many years and going to conferences, reading, why watching tons of, you know, informational stuff, it was all about like, just positioning yourself as that leader, that expert, that thought leader, authoritative figure in your local industry niche in your market.
Right. So that people, your customers will then. Look for you wanting a service, they’ll seek you out right. With a keyword or whatnot. And you’re top of mind, you’re digitally appearing on that first page. So what is important for you to understand as a business owner is there’s a lot going on in the backend.
There’s over 200 plus signals and Google is not just going to focus on. You because you are now writing a blog or now that you have a website that is creating fresh content. Well, other people have been doing it for 10 plus years before you write, or, and there’s millions of other websites, or if not, billions competing for certain keywords and certain phrases that you want to compete for.
Right. So how do you expect to compete with them? So that’s the dilemma. Everyone has to go through and understand, right? The challenges. A lot of people think it’s very easy. Everyone thinks that, well, I just got a call and they guarantee me. Right. They’ve gotten so. I guess people are jaded by this whole industry because they get calls, they get emails and they’re all false promises because it’s not Google, that’s representing themselves.
Right. It is other people that think they know what they’re doing. But they have no solid track record. And you don’t know who they are in the back end, where, which country and what are they doing performing, because this is like a black box happening because it’s all Google and people don’t understand how Google works in the first place.
So for me, it was all about like understanding what this Google algorithm is all about. There’s hundreds of pages that you can read tactically on how their RankBrain AI works. What dictates our website and why it’s important. So the more of the, I guess, Standard stuff that you probably hear about keep producing good content, backlinks reviews, reputation on page fixes, technical fixes.
Yes. Those are solid foundational stuff, but I’m always thinking like you as a business owner, all you care about is being on the first page or phone calls, revenue, increasing sales, so that you. See a good ROI, right? Because that’s what yellow pages clients, all they cared about was right. So for me, that’s the exact same approach I take on with all my clients.
All they care about is getting good return on their investment. Right. I pay you 5,000 bucks. I better get 20,000 in return or whatever completely. And that’s always the case, right? If you’re not pitching ROI in no matter what business you’re in, it could be the marketing companies, SEO companies, you could be selling any type of service that that’s what people care about.
My approach to SEO is, you know, I think we have a similar, I think a lot of people who’ve done it for a long time. Have very similar stuff. One that one approach to I do like is. lot of times we can make these quote unquote, you know, blogs or SEO pages, landing pages. But I like to make those kind of sales pages too, because look got to have all those keywords in there.
Anyway, Mazda, we’ll get some excited about your service. And I think that’s one differentiator differentiator that a lot of people will make an SEO page. And it looks like an SEO page, especially, especially, you know, five, 10 years ago. because I also said that I think of that customer flow. Let’s see, we get you, you know, ranking with that page.
Let’s also make sure that the customer converts on that page, right. They buy your service or your product. and, and it is funny that you talk about the black box of SEO in those, so many people that are just spamming you $79, guaranteed. I think they just care about getting that $70 $79 from you for a couple months.
Right. And then you shutting them off, right? They’re not there to stay around. On the journey with the customer. Right. I don’t know, as soon as it’s a funny world and it changes so often, I think, you know, I think we’re both a little bit, you’re more technical. It sounds like the me on the SEO side, because that’s constantly changes.
So I’ve kinda, that’s somebody else that does that for me, that, that’s always been good in that, you know, and I kind of stay away from the tips and tricks and the, that they’re just, you know, it always is changing too, but to me, Whether it’s SEO or ads or any in, in just any type of marketing, it’s still has to have that human element of, okay, I like this person.
I like this company. I want to do business with this person or they answered my question, you know? but anyway, we can go all day with this stuff. I think, So, I, well, and I think you might’ve already answered this, but my next question was kind of going to be something about like a common myth of SEO.
So besides the black box places, what’s some other common myths that people fall into, I think. Okay. So we always get the same thing kind of questions, right? How long will it take? And is there a guarantee. Right. And the both questions are very similar as I answer. I’m like, I don’t know the answer, but I’ve seen clients rank after a month and I’ve seen clients take three years.
Right. and is there a guarantee? No, because I don’t own Google, but I can try to position you as the expert. Right. So it’s like putting and letting them understand, like it’s. It’s a journey, right? It’s all about like who, who are you benchmarking with? Right? Because if you have even ventured in this journey of digital and you expect to get really good ranking overnight or in a couple of months, and you’re competing with some heavy hitters that have invested in SEO for like five, 10 years, like good luck.
Right. So they have to be informed enough to understand what they’re getting themselves into. And that’s the one big black hole, like a lot of these businesses that are jumping into SEO, they don’t really understand what actually. Happens in the backend and what needs to happen. Right. And, you know, I’ve seen a lot over the years in terms of like, and I, actually, the reason I continue doing this is because I love to work with good business owners that are a core on small business, because that’s what I really connect with people, real people with real solid.
Foundation of taking care of their local tribe or making an impact in their local community, because those are the core of what human element is all about. Right. Taking care of their people. Right. And I love, you know, Helping them achieve that in a greater way. Right. Making more of an impact. And so for me to partner and build a strong relationship with them, and I know they’re good people in general, and they’re going to take care of their clients.
I know I’m doing good by partnering with them because I’m. You know, just doing good in general, right. Versus just taking on anyone that are in it for themselves. I totally try to avoid that at all costs because if they’re just in it and wants a guarantee and all that stuff, and I’m like, that’s not me.
Right. Go keep looking, keep shopping around. Have you ever had to fire a client? And if you have any recommendations on how to do that, Yes, I fired, I would say three or four clients over the years. I’ve done a really good job, vetting them over the years as well. So, as much as the inbound, they seek us out.
It’s more about. Asking the right questions to see if they’re going to be a good fit for my agency. Right. so yes, we’ve had a couple of referrals actually that I didn’t do a good job vetting because I thought my clients have already vetted them. And I didn’t go through the same due diligence that I would have if they were a cold outreach to me.
So someone that were referred, and a couple instances where. One or two months down the road, they were more of a nuisance because they were the ones that wanted to be in full control of my whole campaign. And I was like, okay, are you, are you doing the work or am I, and why are you hiring someone? If you think, you know what you’re doing?
Go ahead and do it right? Because it’s crazy. It’s like you hired them plumber, but you tell the plumber exactly what they need to do. Well, why even hire someone do it yourself then? All right. I completely agree. I love the vetting process, you know, it’s kinda like when you hire somebody, you know, why don’t we, instead of hiring them in and then having to fire them, you know, do your vetting process a harsher first.
So that way you don’t have to fire them later. what about selling against, you know, just ads, like, you know, when we talk about SEO, Yeah, there’s obviously the, it takes a minute. It’s a snowball effect. It’s going to get bigger over time, but it’s not right now. And a lot of people want it right now. So any, any tips or tricks of selling against spending money on just, you know, Facebook ads, Google ads.
so we have a lot of clients who continue to do ads. They compliment SEO with ads, or eventually they move away from ads to just right. I always, you see, try multimedia mix. See what works for you because every product or service will have different mediums, right? So if you are a product, continue doing Facebook or Instagram to promote and, you know, display yourself with a really good right, good landing page, good offer.
And you might get new transactions right away. But if it’s longterm type of client, and this is where SEO can really provide really tremendous value, you position yourself as. What is your ideal client look like? What’s that persona and create a whole campaign, your website, your whole marketing campaign to focus on speaking directly to that ideal customer.
Right? And then when you start ranking and you start getting out there. People who read those landing pages and service pages and any digital presence. Yeah. You have knows exactly. If you fit that mode, then they’ll reach out to you. And you’ve already been, I added them to a point where they already know so much about it.
They touch it on every single property. You check out your testimonials, case studies, all they care about is reference checks or price. Right. And that’s what you want eventually. Right. But it takes time to build it and people. You know, ads are right away quick, you can put it up within 24 hours or a couple hours.
Right. And see if it works or not. And that’s fine. But majority of the customers today, users are staying away from ads because they feel like being bombarded. Right. They’re not in control of their search. They are pushed stuff at them. So me and you were average people, we probably skip the ads and we feel like the results that appear on the map or below are earned Google already vetted them.
So you already trust Google in a, into a soul deep that they have done their job. And whenever someone clicks on your site and they reach out, they already know that you are solid, right. You are one of the two or three other vendors that they want to see and work with. I love it. So what did, what kind of marketing activities do you do for your own company?
Like how do you get new customers? it’s a lot of inbound right now. So, over the years, yeah, early days it was all outbound telemarketing trade shows go out there, market market market. and just see if people are interested in SEO. Right. But then over the years we built some more, you know, good reputation industry, you know, Just get out there more, right.
Because it’s all exposed. And if you’re not top of line or if you’re not available, when they’re seeking you out, then you’ve missed an opportunity. So, we do have our podcast as well. so we, we have another platform there. We do a lot more speaking now. so, you know, just getting out there as much as possible and writing for publications, guest posts and other stuff.
but it’s, it’s all about like marketing activities, right. but it’s also inbound. So the type of leads we’re getting is way more qualified, way more near the end of the funnel. And they are. So interested that we probably turned down more clients than we should because early days we would have taken everything off.
Right. But now we have a process to vet them because we were kind of different. We do one year contracts and we don’t. You know, everyone even wants six months. I’m like no seven years of one year contracts. So we do a lot of hard work at the beginning to vet the clients. And we have a very high retention rate as well.
So the type of client that we are going after our longterm relationship built type of clients, and a lot of people that own like an agency myself included like, What’s interesting to me is, is that you all, it sounds like you only do SEO, right? so why haven’t you done four different services, web design, SEO ads, you know, you know, any, any thoughts there?
Yeah. So we, we actually do website design as well because it’s a very close compliment, but ads, we get asked daily and we’re not experts. And I don’t want to be, I want to be known for SEO, local SEO, someone that knows small, medium sized businesses inside out, because that’s what I worked and I’ve worked with thousands of.
Business owners in the small, medium sized space. So I’m an expert speaking business, you know, understanding how they run and what triggers them in every niche. Right. So I can relate to those people. And that’s what you need figure out like when you are running any business, specialized hone down BV expert is trying to be broad or general, right.
And you’ll never be the best at being a generalist, but if you’re an expert at something, that’s where you can really. Be known for that. Right. And I, I completely agree, because you can also, your tension can only go so far, especially as the business owner, so it gets stretched for sure. What about, what’s the, you know, a crazy or memorable moment of you owning a company?
Like anything that’s happened? Any fun stories? Yeah. Like there’s so many different, stories and experiences as a business owner because you’re running around. So many hours in the day, so limited on your time and resources, early days, you’re trying to do everything yourself. And I think at the beginning I was making a lot of mistakes, hiring the wrong type of people, because they, I was really focused on skillset as opposed to personality and core values right on what my goals are and the company’s goals.
And if they’re in alignment, Like the staff. So, I made a lot of mistakes, hiring wrong people early days. And then I had to fire them to find people that actually fit my kind of vision and what I’m after in terms of like my goals, right. Like my, my company goals. And we’re, we have to be all in alignment because staff is the most important people in your whole company.
Clients you can fire and hire any time your staff are not low or they’re not happy, or their interest in the work that they’re doing and they don’t feel accomplished. Or, they have that motivation. Like you’re not doing the best job you can. So I’m always trying to cultivate good employees and.
Embrace them teach them, become more of a leader, right? Like give them more responsibility, give them more, development and understanding of how to be a good person. Right. because over the years, you’re, you’re hiring the twenties and 30 year olds. Right. And you have way more life experience than they do.
So you want them to jump in, and. Taken on as a new career, right. For them. And a team can make your life, especially as a business owner, so much easier, a good team changes. It could change your life, just like your daily, just make you happy about what you do. A bad team can make it not very fun. what about like the normal day in the life?
Like, is there any kind of processes you have or, you know, something similar that you do that keeps you. Going on track, you know, weird Workday is anything that’s, you know, unique or different. I think it’s all about habits. for me, You know, I’m fortunate that, my, my son right now, like he’s a little bit like he’s four, right.
Turning five, and he’s going into school September, but right now he’s in summer camp. So I’m able to actually work. But during COVID, it was very challenging because he was at home. Right. And my wife and I were both working out and it’s very difficult to actually concentrate, but I wanted to continue my routine, which is wake up early.
So I wake up at five I self-reflect and I read, and I do what I need to do for one to two hours. Right. Drink my tea, coffee, whatever. And then. After seven o’clock I make my breakfast with my son, we have breakfast and then I’d take him to school. Right. but then it gives me a chance to really regroup and have that task list or look, review what I’m doing for the day, or kind of make notes on what I need to accomplish right early.
And then. During the day, I really know what I need to do. Right. And I’ll do the best I can then w even though there’s going to be interruptions here and there, because that’s the life of a business owner. And then right at like four or five every day, I pick up my son and I turn off my phone and I. Don’t even connect with technology.
I don’t go on social. I don’t care about my business. I care about taking care of my people, which is the most important people in my life, my wife, my son, right. And all my friends and family. So, and even this applies on the weekend as well, because that’s most important to me. And everyone’s different at different stages in their life.
Right? If you’re just starting off, you have no children and you’re single, of course you can devote all a hundred percent to the business. But for me today, I. This is important to me, but before, or when I was single or when I got married, it was only me and my wife and I probably should have devoted more time with spending more time with them, my wife, but she gave me the fuck to buoy to grow this company to what it is so that we can, you know, give that life, better, you know, Well, we can travel more.
We have more fun spending going for restaurants and all that other stuff, right? Yeah. So you mentioned kind of reading in the morning, Stephanie, any books or mentors that’s helped you along the way? Yeah. So I read a lot, IBM club Robin Sharma that alone. Want me to start that, 5:00 AM, ritual. and then I’ve been reading a lot about health and wellness lately, just because I, I haven’t really taken care of myself.
Right. And if you don’t take care of yourself, you cannot. Be the best version of yourself. And the last six months I’ve read and tried everything from veganism, raw vegan, keto, paleo to, you know, everything carnivores. I’ve tried it. All right. And. I’ve read 30 plus books on it. and I’m listening to the podcast.
So I’m very interested in this topic, but even before I’ve been reading a lot of business and real estate books. Yeah. I’m interested in, right. Eventually I’ll probably look into stocks, right. Because that’s something of interest, you know, so whatever it is, that’s fine. if you enjoy, you know, fictional books or non-fictional or any travel books, just enjoy it and have fun with it.
Cause life there’s so much information out there. Right. And you’ve just got to own it and have fun. Don’t don’t take life too serious too, in regards to your career. Right. You know, whether it’s your own business or even before that, like what, what are you proudest of? Like, what’s something that’s really something that you just are really proud of.
Yeah. So right now, I, I’m very proud of what I’ve kind of been doing, taking care of my team. Right. I’ve grown my team. I started the agency with, freelancers. Right. And then I hired them full time and I built a team around that. Right. And yes, they are overseas, but they are like my family because I traveled there at once a year.
and it’s in Asia and I take them out for a week long, either a cruise or I fly them to a different country and we go on a resort, but it’s like, That was an experience I’ve always wanted because when I was in my twenties, my first travel trip with a company was paid for, because I earned it as a presence, gold circle, but it was most memorable trip in my lifetime.
So I’m creating memories for my team. Now that will last a lifetime. Right. So that’s what, I’m more proud of making an impact with people that actually, I know that. Want to be a part of this journey with me. That’s great. I love that you actually take them on those trips. That’s super fun. I’m gonna have to steal some of that.
what about you talk about when you growing up and you were working really hard at a young age? You know, any advice you’d give that 16 year old self? Just keep. Being curious, keep making mistakes, keep learning, get out there, right? Don’t stay in front of your computer and do social media all day.
Like go meet real people, talk to real people. And, I’m very grateful that yes, and my teenage years I was very sheltered, but when I started working, I was embraced with in sales. I was. Like their salespeople that were in the fifties and sixties, and these were generations older than me and I was working with, with them, learning from them.
And that allowed me to really learn about myself and what I looked up to in people, because I saw them as great fathers, great mentors, great salespeople, great business people. And. That’s what I strive to become. Right? Like people that were successful, but also took care of the family obligations. They had everything in order, right.
A great lifestyle, a great person that are open, right. Sharing, wanting to give. Right. And yeah. Do good with people that they touch. And that’s where I felt like being able to meet so many people in different generations and ages and decades and just. Surrounding myself with just good people. And so what about your future?
What’s the next five years? 10 years. What’s your outlook? What’s your future hold? Yeah, so I’m having a lot of fun. So seven years of this company, I’ve been to Asia seven plus times. and. I every year I try something different. Right. So I’ve been to Singapore. I’ve been to Vietnam. I do. In Malaysia, I go on cruises.
I do a lot of stuff, but that’s my fun time. Right? I’m still early stages of learning how to run a business because I meet so many mistakes. I haven’t really refined the art of processes and hiring, and I’m still learning. So. Maybe like, what I’m trying to do is still continue doing what I love, but learning from mentors.
So I haven’t even reached out to like SCO mentors or business mentors, but I’ve been able to grow the company and just fun with it. Right. So I think that’s my next stage, like scaling, but scaling at the level. I want to scale it because I don’t want to ever give up ownership. Or not being control of the ship.
Right. Because it’s all about just enjoying the moment and the journey. So life is not a race. It’s a slow and steady like journey. Right. And if you embrace it that way and you understand like I’m close to 40 now I still 40 years ahead of myself, right? So let’s meet, they get the best 40 years and let’s break it down.
What’s the next three months going to look like six months, one year, three year, five year, 10 years, break it down to the little subsections and what you want to accomplish. So goal set, and that’s why I always do. For myself and why learning sales. Right? Like have these small little buckets of Chibo things and then go for the big go home run.
But what does that look like? I have no idea. I love it. my last question I end every podcast with this is how would you like to be remembered? someone that just the person truly genuine, authentic making an impact by giving as much as they can. Right. So right now I’m more about giving to business owners, a digital presence, right?
With. Their SEO. but if I’m able to continue giving and making a larger impact by offering it for free, eventually because money wouldn’t be an issue. Sure. I would love to do that. Helping good people, good business owners, however, with the same core values. Right. So that’s what ultimately I would love to do.
Well, John was a big pleasure to have you on the podcast today. I really appreciate it. This is a, you know, So it’s so fun to be able to sit down and chat for an hour and learn, you know, everyone, these interesting people’s stories and how you’re doing it and your approach to SEL. I’ve got some notes I’m going to have to go back on and I refined my own services.
So, I really appreciate your time.