Another episode of the Solopreneur Grind Podcast is live!
In this episode of the SG Podcast, I talk to Rob Barratt about:
- The journey of going from 9-5 employee to starting and scaling his next 2 successful businesses
- How Rob took action and put himself out into the world to get early feedback and traction with his business
- Tips and tricks for marketing in 2022 including podcasting, blogging and more
And much more.
You can listen to the episode on your favorite podcast platform here, or watch the video/read the transcript below!
Rob’s website: https://www.theindustryleaders.org/
Rob’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robertbarratt/
[00:00:00] Josh: Hey everyone, this is Josh from Solopreneur Grind for episode 119 of the Solopreneur Grind podcast. I’m here with Rob Barrett. Rob, thanks so much for coming on the show today!
[00:00:12] Rob: It is my absolute pleasure, Josh. Thank you for having me.
[00:00:16] Josh: Awesome. Rob, could we start just with a quick intro? Love to hear a little bit more about you and and what you’re working on hese days.
[00:00:21] Rob: Yeah. So first of all, it’s a pleasure to be on episode one nineteen. That to me now is a special number. I appreciate that. I am a former construction professional from the uk turned entrepreneur. So. I trained as a er, became chartered got a masters in law, moved across the world to work on huge projects in Asia, and then took a complete right turn and went into the, the crazy risky and very, very fun world of entrepreneurship.
[00:00:48] Josh: Right. So where were you at, Rob? Like what, what age, what, what part of your life were you at when you decided to make that shift? And, and maybe take us through the, the thought process. Was it a certain trigger? What was it that caused the change?
[00:01:03] Rob: It’s a really good question and it’s something that I think about a lot actually.
I think it wasn’t just one thing that, that sort of made me take that, that leap. And I think that has gotta be true from most people that do something similar where they go from a career to kind of. Starting out to do something on your own. I think there has to be like a few things that kind of push you over the edge rather than just one kind of major life event.
So for me, I would say kind of the major things were definitely. I felt like I’d kind of reached a bit of a glass ceiling. I had a really fantastic job. I had a wonderful salary. I worked with some really, really talented people, and I had a great boss. Those are all reasons to stay in a job, not leave one
That’s what I thinking. . Yeah, but I felt that. Like my future was kind of mapped out. And I wasn’t necessarily excited about that. I wasn’t excited about where that journey was gonna take me. I didn’t really want to do my boss’s job when he retired which was kind of the natural progression for where I was going.
I was still learning, but kind of that inflection of where you learn a huge amount at the start of your career had gone. So I’d learned an awful lot and it was in, you know, a great kind of managerial role, but. I felt like I wasn’t learning at the same rate. And I also found that outside of work I just wasn’t really that interested about thinking about work.
And, you know, popular wisdom tells you, Well, that’s a good thing, you know, you need to switch off. But for me, I want to be curious constantly about what it is I’m doing and how I can be better, how I can improve. And I’d spent, you know, my twentie. Doing that. You know, I’d I’d, I’d done a degree, I’d done a master’s, I’d got chartered, I’d become a fellow of a different another institution.
I’d basically got all the, the letters that I could possibly get after my name. And, and really tried to go as far as I could in the career. But then I just kind of realized that, well, okay, what’s the next step here? What, what does this look like? What do I want for my future? So that was definitely, you know, a a couple of things in there.
And I think just as an industry for me, you know, construction, it, it was fantastic to me. It took me around the world, but I felt like I was seeing the same problems on projects. Every time, you know, I’d go to a new project and the issues would be the same. It’d just be, you know, the, the, the place you were working in was, was different.
And to me that was It was frustrating because I, I feel like, you know, there’s, there’s so much room and I always read that that industry’s right for disruption and it is, but it’s gonna take years and it’s, it’s really gonna take systemic change at, at government levels around the world to really make, make big improvements in the way that construction projects are run.
So that was kind of another thing for me. It was like, okay, well what kind of industry do I want to be in? So then I started to get a bit more curious about doing different things. So yeah, I would say like those were the, those were the two kind of major, major things that pushed me into sort of making a big change.
And then, yeah, like I, I, I just started to get curious about other stuff and just start having those conversations. And I’m a big believer that once you kind of put that out there in the world, that maybe you’re looking for a change or maybe you’re looking for, for something else. You know, you just start reading different books perhaps, or you start looking at different websites and think, Oh, that’s interesting.
Like, I wonder why that exists, or I wonder how. That seems to seems to happen, you start to then bring that out into the world and have the conversations with people that you might have had 12 months ago and it leads to different places. And that’s exactly what happened to me. It took me down kind of an entrepreneurial.
[00:04:10] Josh: And, and so why do you think or, so, so first of all, I, I’d love to hear what, what happened next from, from those conversations and that new research, but was it an easy decision to kind of go down the entrepreneurial road? Were, were you at all thinking about, Hey, maybe I’ll just get a new job in a different industry?
Or from the outset, was it kind of, you know what, I want to do something on my own.
[00:04:32] Rob: Yeah, I, that’s a great question. And I think the, there was that option to go and retrain and do something in a different industry. The problem was I didn’t really know what, I just knew that I w I was getting interested in different things and interested in the world of entrepreneurship whatever that means, right?
Because there, you know, there’s, there’s millions of different options, millions of different routes you can take. But for me, I think it was just, I was just open to opportunity. I was just, I, I just kept my ears very much open to to the right conversation with the right person or the right opportunity.
And that actually turned out in the unlikeness of places the. I was talking to a friend, so I was living in Hong Kong at the time and I was talking to a friend who happened to live on the same street. And we went for a hike and he’d just been to New York and he was saying, you know, how, how great it was there.
And the, the food was fantastic and it was, it was kind of really easy to go out and, and get great sandwiches, great bagels, and why didn’t that really exist in Hong Kong? And I said, Well, you know, this is the kind of thing that like, it, it’s crying out for here. Someone should do that. And then roll forward six months , we’d done it.
We we, we, we kind of just really dove into that, and that was, it was a crazy experience because it’s not the kind of thing that I would recommend to everyone. It’s not for the faint of heart. You know, I, I didn’t set out with a plan sitting in a, in a construction office thinking, ah, you know, one day I wanna open a restaurant.
I just was kind of open to the opportunity of PO potentially doing that. So, you know, we, the, the long story short is we opened it we were really successful. Within two years we’d sold that. And then I was like, Okay, what next? So I think it, I just kind of took the first most interesting path that I could, rather than deliberately sought out a new career, I was just deliberately looking for the right opportunity that kind of excited me and, and lit.
[00:06:14] Josh: it. And, and for that business, did you quit your job? Like what was the, what was the decision making in steps when you know, did you kind of find that opportunity and say, Okay, time to leave my job? Did you start that restaurant while still. keeping your full-time job. What did that look
[00:06:30] Rob: like? Yeah, I, I mean, I’m a big believer if you, if you’re gonna do something, you know, I, I guess you and your listeners have kind of heard the expression if you wanna take the island, you’ve gotta burn the boards.
So I’m, I go all in. So, you know, I, I left my job and decided that, you know, I’m gonna pursue this. This is, this is something where we’re gonna do. And we, you know, I like to. One of the reasons we were so successful is that we did everything right. You know, we, we made sure that we kind of got the right people involved and we learned the right things, you know, So we went to New York and like in this example, learned how to, how to make bagels in, in a kosher culinary center.
And then we came back and partnered with chefs and we got the right architects on board to design the shop out and make it feel like we wanted for people to, you know, to have that same experience that, that we knew we wanted to give. So, yeah, I think like for me it was, it was a case of you just have to go all in and throw everything at it.
And you know, if you fail then, and it’s kind of the way I’ve been brought up, but if you fail, well at least you give everything. I think if, if you to look back and fail and say, Well, you know, I could probably have done that better or I should have done that, which I think is worse than Yeah, you’ve already got yourself to.
Yeah. No, that,
[00:07:38] Josh: that’s a great point. So, Rob, you, you sell that, That’s a success. What? What happened next?
[00:07:44] Rob: Yeah. So I just kept on turning, like I, I uh, everyone said to me, Are you gonna open a new restaurant? I was like, Well, and I’ve just sold one. I don’t, I don’t need to open another one. I think I’m really looking to do something.
The, like, again, it interests me, but why I wanted to do this time was to be more deliberate. So one of the questions you asked me is, you know, why didn’t you just change industries? Why didn’t you just change careers? Or, you know, what you could have started a business doing something very, very specific.
What I did in that instance was I kind of took the opportunity that, that sounded interesting to me and went with it, but this time I, I said, Okay, now I kind of know what I want from a business and what I don’t want. And what I want from a business was freedom and flexibility. The ability to be able to work anywhere I wanted to.
It sounds kind of cliche, but I wanted to be able to, to help people on a bigger scale. So, you know, as a restaurant you, you’re, you’re helping people in a particular neighborhood or in a particular city. But I wanted to be able to do something that actually like, would help people on a much, much bigger scale.
So I knew that I had to do something online. I knew I had to get an online business created and I did have a few ideas. And I really. Crafted one. I had one like the, the, the seed of one was planted when I was working on construction projects. You know, I’d seen this like big need for, for people for professionals to be able to come in a very short notice as consultants and do some work on.
Construction projects, and often there just isn’t the talent there in, in that city or it’s not available at kind of the volume that’s needed. So I thought, okay, brilliant. You know, I’m gonna create an online marketplace. I mean, I’d never done it before, but I was like, Well, how hard can it be ? I mean, the answer’s very hard.
But I thought, well, yeah, you know, this is something I’ve gotta do. So I really started to investigate that, put a lot of work into it, and then launched that business. And then that’s when you really find out like, ah, okay, if you’re gonna do anything online, like you, you need to have either like the right connections, which basically is leveraging influence.
Either you need to have a huge community already that definitely helps. Or you need to have very, very deep pockets to spend a ton of marketing. And I would say 99.9% of entrepreneurs. And so entrepreneurs don’t have a clue what they’re doing when it comes to marketing. You know, everybody. I guess you included at some point, Josh, I know I have spent money on Facebook or Instagram or Google Ads.
Not really knowing what you’re doing. Maybe you get a decent return on it, but most of the time you just get, you know, a nice pretty report that tells you how many impressions and engagements you’ve got. Maybe you are lucky and someone filled out a web form or even called you, but for most people I think they just, they just burn cash and that’s definitely something that I.
It, it it did not work out for me at all. So yeah, that, that business actually morphed into something else. But I mean, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll let you jump in here with a question because I feel like I’ve, I’ve talked a lot there. Yeah, I mean,
[00:10:21] Josh: you say a lot that I can definitely relate to. I think especially when you’re talking about a marketplace which is double sided, meaning you gotta do double the work, right?
Mm-hmm. and, and keep them both kind of like close enough so that one side doesn’t drop off. So you, you definitely gave yourself quite the challenge. So what, what ended up happening with that Rob? And, and I guess the other question that pops into my head is at what point did you realize, okay, this isn’t working, Let’s pivot, or whatever you want to call it, that you ended up doing?
[00:10:51] Rob: So that business, I put an awful lot of thought into it, and then we registered and started the business. I think it was on something like the 16th of March, 2020, which was not a great time to launch a business. . Yeah. You know, I, I couldn’t go and share hands with people at networking events. I, I was picking.
The phone to call people. And obviously they weren’t in the office then you were trying to get hold of them via mobile and it was just a disaster, like in terms of marketing and in terms of like outreach to people. So then, yeah, I spent fortune on ads that didn’t work. And I thought, well, you know, what can I do here?
Like right now, like the, the world is kind of against me, but I still need to, to get, get my name out here. And it was actually a shrock of look like an. Business acquaintance just got in touch with me and said, Hey, listen I’ve just done an interview with this platform. Do you want to, I want me to recommend you, like, this could be something that you might be interested in.
So I did it and once I’ve done the interview, I just posted it on LinkedIn and kind of showed people that, Hey, I’ve just been interviewed about this platform. This is, this was cool. Hope you like it. And the response was amazing. Like, people start to get in touch with me, like, ah, that’s really interesting.
I haven’t spoken to you for a while. What are you up to now? What are you doing? It kind of like lit the fire for people. Like it put me back in front of them at like back top of mind. . So then I thought, ha, that’s interesting. Like, that’s, that’s a really interesting concept and it actually helped me as a so entrepreneur at the time to, to get the word out about my business.
I thought, well, that’s kind of interesting, like maybe I should do that to try and promote my own business. Right now, the marketplace. So I started to reach out to people in in the construction real estate industry. And then just interview them. You know, people that I found interesting are people that were particularly influential.
I just reached out to them, asked them if they wanted to be interviewed, if I could share their stories so that they could then help other people in the industry. You know, their, their insights and their experience might help other people which is generally the case. You know, people are often interested in other people that are further ahead or further down the road than them because they want to, they wanna get there faster.
So, The response to that was great. I started to interview them. I started to publish those interviews write blogs around it, and then all of a sudden I was getting so much more traffic to that website than I was to my marketplace that that just became the business. Like it was natural. I just followed the traffic and then followed the money because then people wanted to start paying to, to be on the website.
They wanted to be interviewed by me. So it was a, it’s a real journey. Like I, I always say to people that I kind of ended up running this business by accident, but I’m so glad I did. Like it’s a happy. It’s, it’s fun. I meet some amazing people. I’m, I’m really building a fantastic network of people all over the world that I wouldn’t possibly have met by doing any other business.
Definitely not the, the marketplace that I set up. So yeah, it’s it was kind of a happy accident from going where I was planning to go to where I’ve ended up. But yeah, every day now, very cliche. Well, every day’s just fun and it’s different. Yeah, ab
[00:13:31] Josh: absolutely. And I think it’s also a great sales strategy in the sense that if, if you’re struggling with sales for a business, start a podcast and interview the people you’re trying to get those conversations with.
Cause ultimately, if you break down sales, you, you’re building relationships and having conversations with people to try and hopeful. Provide them with value in exchange for money. And one good way to start those conversations is through a podcast. Don’t worry, Rob, I’m not trying to sell you anything. But podcasting is a great way to, to network, right?
So you know, especially coming for me someone who’s been doing it for quite a while. So, Rob, when you realized that there was traction with the podcasting, And I love how you put it, kind of like following the money, following the traffic. That’s usually how most of our guests end up finding that business that works is, is not necessarily coming up with an idea sitting in a room by yourself and then going out to the world.
It’s usually going out to the world, doing a whole bunch of things, and then getting signals from the world that, Hey, this is actually what people want. When you realize that, How did you, was that a separate business? Did, did you kind of completely shut down the other business in that brand and start a new business with a new brand?
Like what was that kind of
[00:14:49] Rob: transition like? Yeah, it took a little while. I mean, obviously this, this didn’t happen overnight. This took like a series of like months and months to kind of work out that okay, this, like you say, I’m listening to the market signals. This actually is probably the way I should be going.
So it was probably. Nine to 12 months before I, I closed out that original business down and then kind of ran with this other one. So I was definitely kind of juggling a couple of players at once, but it was, it was helping me in, in all kinds of different ways because I was learning a ton about you know, how to, how to set up a media website.
Now I was meeting some very, very interesting people and then also kind of like really getting to grips with like, okay, well maybe this is. I didn’t wanna just jump from one thing to another. I wanted to be very, very sure that where I was going was the right place for me. And also definitely from kind of a data backed business perspective.
But I just wanna touch on something that you did. You mentioned as well you said, you know, for business owners, like setting up a podcast is a, is a great thing to do. I do agree with that, but I actually think there’s something better. I think it’s appearing on people’s podcasts like I’m doing now, like it’s mm-hmm.
It’s just a brilliant way to kind of, you can leverage other people’s network. You can obvious, obviously leverage their listeners, like people who, who follow your podcast may or may not have heard of me before. So this is a great chance for me to get the word out there. So, if you’ve just launched your own clothing brand or you’ve just launched your own online BTC marketplace, You should be looking to, like, how can I leverage other people’s network?
How can I get the word out about my business on a budget? So I think it’s very, very important to, for anyone who’s thinking about starting a business, you should probably be starting to like, look at what you can do in terms of getting the word out there before you even start. You know, maybe you can stop blogging and showing your expertise around a particular subject.
Maybe you could start getting interview to talk about this idea that you’ve got or to talk about your journey. So, All these things really add up. And definitely from from an SEO perspective, like organically, if you can start a website six months or a year before you actually launch the business and start selling products, you’re gonna be in a much, much healthier place from a marketing perspective.
And it’s gonna be much easier for you down the road for, for customers to find you and for you to, to grow quickly.
[00:16:58] Josh: Absolutely. It’s, it’s great advice. Any tips for someone who does want to start getting on more podcasts? Is it as simple as, Googling and, and reaching out, or what are some tips you would recommend
[00:17:12] Rob: there?
There are a few ways you can do it. I think the easiest ways to leverage, leverage your existing network. So go through LinkedIn or, or Twitter Facebook, you know, whichever is your kind of platform of choice for where you spend the most time where you interact with the most people. For me, that’s linked in.
I think it’s just such a valuable platform from that perspective. But go through your contacts and see, you know, see who’s, who’s doing this kind of stuff and see if they will have you as a guest if they want. What do they, what do they need in order for you to be on there? But I think like something, Something that is even better and like helps to provide just a little bit of social proof that you actually know what you’re talking about.
For anyone to take the chance on, on interviewing you in the first place is to, is to block just right a few blocks. The key is really showing what you know in that niche and the niche that you’re serving and really trying to think about what your audience is looking for. You know, what would your target customer be searching for on Google today?
Answer that question and answer it with the best possible content, like on the internet. You, and that’s you. You really need to think in that way. You know, if you’re writing a blog you need to remember that there are two types of content on the. Absolutely fantastic content. And the rest, and the rest is rubbish.
If you’re, you know, everyone says the best place to hide a body is opposed to of Google. It’s true. Like no one goes there . You, you need to be on page one, and ideally you need to be in the top three spots. And if you can’t get in the top three spots like, okay, like get onto page one. But that’s been something that I’ve learned.
I learned the hardware from that marketplace. And I’ve really pushed from, from our perspective, and it’s actually now, it’s kind of, it’s a service we offer. You know, we, we help people to, they can write blogs with us and we publish them so they get a back link from us, which is vital for seo. We’ll find podcasts for them to be on.
We’ll even write their blogs for them if they want. And obviously we’re using kind of expert copywriters. So that’s kind of, those are the kind of things I would think about. I would think about marketing early. Leveraging your network. And also just like really don’t be afraid to put yourself out there in terms of your expertise through blogs or through social posts.
[00:19:09] Josh: Absolutely. It’s great advice. And, and one thing I’ll quickly add, because now I get reached out to not a lot, but enough that I don’t have to go looking for guests anymore. Reach out to people, keep it brief and, and include links to those things that you just talked about, Rob, Kind of the, the best emails I get, whether it’s from someone who wants to be a guest or maybe the agency they’re working with is just, Hey, Josh, this is the person.
This is what they do. One or two sentences, here’s a link to their blog, or a link to a previous episode they’ve been on. What do you think? And, and that’s usually enough for me to either make a quick decision or maybe send a few follow ups. And, and make sure that they’re the right fit for the show. But just another tip more for on, on the outreach side, if, if anyone’s thinking about doing that.
[00:19:57] Rob: I like that. And I think that’s, that’s a very, very good point because you know what you’re talking about, there is kind of like social proof. Like why should I have this person on, like who are there, you know, what do they mean to me? What might they mean to my listeners? How might they help them? And if there’s nothing about you out there, That’s a problem.
As you know, one bit of advice that I give to a lot of entrepreneurs, and so entrepreneurs starting out especially, is Google yourself. Like type your name in Google and what comes up? Like, are you on the first page? If you’re not, who is like, who’s, who’s your namesake? And what do they do and why are they there?
I actually started something like a kind of a fun campaign around this. So I, I got the industry leaders is, is on the first page of Google. I think we’re either the first or second result if you type in industry leaders. We’re, we’re right there. , but I thought, ah, you know, I focused so much on the business and I focused so much on other entrepreneurs and getting them to page one.
And their businesses. I was like, Well, what about me? You know, I completely neglected my own personal brand. And I thought, well, that’s stupid. You know, I really, I really should be focusing on that. Mm-hmm. . So around about two months ago, I, I, I had this kind of epiphany moment and Googled my own name. So I just typed in Rob Barrett and I, I thought, okay, well, most of my customers now were in the US and the uk also like North America and the uk, so I, I.
Switched my Google settings just to see what came up. Ran that search on Incognito and it turns out there’s a comedian called Rob Barrett in the uk who is quite popular in the, in the southwest of England. He obviously has bought the name rob barrett.com. And that appears at right. Now or did the right that appears at the top of page one to Google.
So it’s been my mission for the past couple of months just to overtake it personally. So like it’s kind of a fun thing to do cuz it keeps me, it keeps me constantly producing content. It keeps me pushing my own brand, personal brand out there. But it’s also like a, a very, very good social proof of people to say, well, This is why you should do it, because, you know, every, every month I’ll take a screenshot and find out what’s on page one this month.
And I’m, I’ve already started to climb. I’m already there just from producing content and pushing it out through, through our website and doing interviews like this. So, like, very soon I’m gonna over overtake that guy’s website and, you know, maybe I’ll reach out and apologize. Maybe I’ll go and see his comedy show and introduce myself.
It’ll be super weird. But yeah, I think that’s that kind of thing. Like when, when you, Josh are receiving you know, pictures from people, like the first thing you’re gonna do is Google ‘EM or go on LinkedIn and have a look at them. So it’s vital that if you are approaching a podcast or you wanna get interviewed somewhere, that you’ve really got some sort of presence online.
And that doesn’t mean 20,000, well, 200,000 followers. Mm-hmm. . It just means that you can be seen as an expert in your field for, for what it is you wanna speak about.
[00:22:24] Josh: Absolutely. And, and the other little part though, the last part I’ll add. I wanna make sure that if someone’s gonna come on the show, especially as we’re recording this with video, those listening might not be seeing us right now, but those watching on YouTube are, is I wanna make sure that the guest is gonna show up and they have a decent webcam and they have a decent mic.
Mm-hmm. and there’s sound quality. You know what I mean? Cause we had scenarios where that, that hasn’t been ideal. So even just one previous episode that you were on where. Someone could see you, clearly hear you clearly. It goes a long way for someone evaluating whether to have someone on the show. So anyways so Rob, this is, this is really helpful.
So once you started getting traction that those nine, 12 months went by, you were like, Okay, this, you know, this is kind of yet, let’s, let’s get rid of the old one. Let’s go all in on the, as Rob likes to do, go all in on, on what’s working. What were those next few steps? Or, or, or, or what’s happened since then?
How, how have things gone? Any, any bumps along the way?
[00:23:24] Rob: I mean, as a, so entrepreneur, entrepreneur, like daily, there are, there are things the mid, the main bump for me is things just don’t happen as fast as you want them to. Right? Like, my to-do list never gets too done. Like, it’s, there, there is constantly stuff that’s like, that’s open on there.
So I think that definitely is a, is a source of frustration, but it’s minor. Like, honestly, like I, I . you could have told me six, seven years ago, like, this is the life I’d been living right now, I’ve been your hand off. Like I’m, I’m, I’m in a very, very lucky position. I’m really happy that, that I’ve got to this point just through curiosity.
But in terms of like the path yeah, I think there’s a very clear progression. And this again, I think is something that people should be taking notice, notice off, because it’s like the steps are the same, the simple, and it applies to whatever industry you’re in. So the first thing I did was show my expertise in a particular subject.
Then I started to find other people who knew about that subject as well, and then speak to them. And then you could, you could literally just take their lessons and apply it to your own business or to your own career. But in my case, I did both. I used what they told me, but I also. Pushed it out so other people can learn as well.
So I went from speaking to people in construction, real estate, to marketing, to coaching, to finance, to even things like sexual health and wellness. Like we literally covered every single industry. So I started to speak to people in different industries, and then I’ve, I’ve then I’ve got a network.
So one, you know, I’ve shot my expertise and, and I’ve put myself out there, which is the hardest thing to. Then I start to build a network. And then once you start to build that network, it goes back to what you just said there in the, like, you can Google someone and you know, ah, okay, yeah, they’ve got a little bit of X or Y in this industry.
They know, they know something, they’ve got a story to tell. Then you start to connect with more influential people. And that’s what’s really started to like push us further and further, like in terms of like domain score and in terms of like interest from other people. Like either personally reaching out to me through LinkedIn or coming to the website and filling out the form and saying, Listen, I wanna learn more about this.
I wanna get published with you guys. I wanna be on the website alongside Isabelle Cowell, who I, who went in six months from zero followers on LinkedIn to being an influencer on there. And I is, is really going somewhere as a 21 year old like having just left university. Or I wanna be alongside Nancy dta, who’s a Silicon Valley ceo who we interviewed last last year.
And she has an amazing story. She set up a, a, a communications company with her husband and it’s wildly successful, but they had a lot of bumps along the way. That’s the kind of thing like once you start to put yourself out there, really amazing things happen. But you just need to make sure you do it.
And then once you start to meet influential people, leverage that.
[00:25:51] Josh: Yeah. It, it’s such a great way of, of putting it and I love how you kind of simplify it. I think business and, and interested to hear if you agree, business is actually quite simple in terms of. The couple steps you can take to reach success.
The hard part is doing it and doing it consistently and adjusting along the way as, as the hard parts come along, as they, as they inevit inevitably do. So I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on that, Rob. And then also, At what point did we start thinking about money, right? Cause you, you start interviewing people and building your network.
At what point did you start to kind of build products or services around that? If, if at all? Or was it a, you know, an advertising play or how, how did, how did the money come into the mix?
[00:26:36] Rob: Well, I guess I’ll, I’ll start with that question first. Like when did money start coming into play? I constantly, every day before I even started this website when I was doing the market player, like money was always there because I think.
It’s great to start something as a hobby, and ironically, that’s what happened with me. But I think you’ve got to have your eye on, on a goal. You’ve got to be looking at like revenue. You’ve got to be thinking about how can, how can I serve people in the best possible way with something that they want and need?
But monetize that eventually. So yeah, I, I’m a big, I’m a big advocate for giving away something for. Right at the start, working for free almost if you need to, if that’s what helps open the door for you. But at some point, like you need to put food on the table. So I think you, every entrepreneur needs that in the back of the mind, and I think every entrepreneur, true entrepreneur does.
Otherwise you’re a hobbyist. So I was always thinking about that. But in terms of like, when. When industry leaders started to monetize, it was quite early actually. And we, we did that through paid interviews at the start. People approached us, so we, we had PR agencies coming to us and saying, Hey, listen, like, you know, we’d really love to get the CEO of this business onto your website.
How do we do that? So that was kind of the, like the initial ads, like we kind of experimented with ads and placing them on the site. Honestly, I think I really learned a big lesson about the way the internet works. And for me, like ads are fantastic if you are a huge, huge business and maybe your, maybe your content isn’t, is either super, super viral and it’s just a one time look and, you know, maybe people will come on and have a look at your website and like they, they maybe see one ask or they like and then click through onto an ad by accident or, or not, You know, maybe they, they, they are served something that they actually genuinely.
But ads are an annoyance from most people, and I think people need to think about their websites as as real estate. I like to think about my website as like, it’s either, like I, I’m, I’m building like a city and I’ve got networks running everywhere, and I want people to, to drive to my to, to my front door, which is the homepage on my about page, on my Products page.
So in order to do that, like I don’t stuff my website with ads that take people to other places. I wanna keep them on the website. So instead of where I, where I placed ads for a couple of months when we were experimenting, I quickly learned that, ah, maybe I should be put in a link to another article that might be related to this one that’s helpful to people.
Or maybe I should be put in. An image that will take people to my get published page so they can become a member and then they can start to get published themselves and, you know, maybe we then can convert them into, into a customer. So I think that was definitely like a key, key lesson is that like, yeah, you should keep money on the mind, but I think in terms of like your website as well, you really need to think of that as real estate.
And you don’t put a billboard for somebody else in your front garden if you, you know, if you’re selling essentially the same.
[00:29:20] Josh: Absolutely, especially if you’ve got a product or service to sell. Maybe if you just have a pure content blog with no services to sell that, you know, maybe that would make more sense.
But, but I totally agree. So Rob, what, what does your day to day look like now? Like you, you said initially the goal was to build a company that you know would provide you more freedom, location, independence, all that kind of. , how do things look now? What? What’s your day to day like? What, What are what?
What’s the fun stuff? What’s the unfun stuff? We’d love to hear about that.
[00:29:53] Rob: Yeah, so day to day so when I started the the marketplace I, I did that as a digital nomad. So I used to live in Hong Kong with my partner. Then once we’d sold the business, like we left, and then I was just doing, I was writing and also then setting up this business on the road.
And then we kind of like zeroed in on Barcelona, Spain, somewhere that we might wanna try live in. So this is where we are right now. Like I, I work from home my day. Pretty cool actually, . Like I get up pretty, pretty early make sure I’m doing some kind of deep work in the morning. I also do some copywriting work for for a company in the US as well, which I really, really enjoy.
And that kind of helps people that are kind of further down the road, like businesses that are slightly bigger, but slightly bigger budget, so they don’t need to necessarily worry so much about like the initial leverage, which is what the industry leaders helps with. So I feel like I’m helping entrepreneurs every day, like at different stages of the.
So like the industry leaders might help people with who are just starting out or they’re like, like less than three years in business and they’re just start to get like that steady revenue stream and they want to start to really push to get to get found by people. And then the other side of it is that like the other part of my day is spent helping entrepreneurs that are maybe sort of three to five or sort of five to 10 years in and they’ve got a steady revenue and they’ve got more marketing budget.
And then we can then really use that to kind of help. Spend that in the right way and drive even more leads and grow quickly, so, Right. Yeah, it’s it’s, it’s a busy day, but it’s all wrapped around like online marketing getting the word out there about your business and really just, just helping entrepreneurs kind of yeah, like Monday to Friday and sometimes Friday not as well.
[00:31:27] Josh: That’s, that sounds awesome. So, Rob, you mentioned earlier in terms of great opportunities for marketing, especially at the. Getting on people’s podcasts, blogging, Do you have maybe one or two other ways, like what are some of the top opportunities for marketing a business right now? And I’ll, I’ll quickly date it where at the end of August, 2022, if anyone’s listening down the road, cuz we know how often, you know, these marketing things can, can change with all these social media platforms, et cetera.
But yeah. One, any one or two tips you would, you would recommend for marketing a business right now?
[00:32:01] Rob: All right. I, I’m gonna, I’m gonna talk about this from someone who perhaps doesn’t have a huge network of people or didn’t go to an Ivy League and just can’t just call up a friend and be like, Hey, I’m starting this business.
Like, can you get me in front of a, a venture capital firm? I’m gonna talk about this for the 99% of entrepreneurs that start something and, and really aren’t sure. So I think like, yeah, it’s August, 2022 right now. But I think blogging is still important. You know, it, it can cause people to run, like run for cover and think, Oh, I really don’t wanna do that.
I dunno how to do it. But ultimately, like I think you need to be. To be blogging because it makes you think about what your customers are searching for. So you don’t necessarily need to talk about a day in the life of x i your business. Cause probably most of your customers aren’t interested in that.
They just wanna get their problem solved right now, and if you can’t solve it, they’re gonna go find someone who can. So I think if you can start to think about common questions that people might Google, for example, about a a, a product or service you’re offering if you can answer that question.
1500 word blog, put it on your website. Or better yet, go put it on somebody else’s website who gets more traffic than yours. And then they can link back to your website. Mm-hmm. that will push you up Google’s rankings. That’s, it’s like it’s like the online equivalent of getting someone throwing a, a life ring to you from, from the ship or from the top of the cliff, like, They’ll pull you up.
So if you can get published on a website that gets more traffic than yours, do it podcasting or get an interview cuz there, there, you know, there are more ways than just podcasting get interviewed. Obviously people do written interviews or you can do like, like YouTube stuff as well. So I think that’s definitely, definitely worth something looking at.
I know I’m a huge advocate of podcasts. I really do love them as a way to, to get found and, and to talk about what, you know. And, and just leverage people. I, I really do. I mean that, and I, I don’t want that to come across as like you’re using people. I don’t think that’s what this is about. I think if you can leverage someone who’s more influential, if you can leverage their network, you wanna do it in a way where, It comes from a good place, so you are actually helping that influencer.
So for example, if you are starting a, a cosmetics company maybe you’ve seen someone that’s already got a cosmetics company and you know, they’re not like Unilever, but like they’re selling, they’re doing great business on Etsy and maybe they’ve got 20, 30,000 followers on Facebook or Instagram.
Reach out to them. And like if there’s something that, if there’s something that you’ve seen on their profile or their website that either interests you or you think, Huh, actually maybe you could do this better. Tell them, like actually offer that value to them. And then you start to build up a relationship with them.
And it does happen. I’ve done it myself. I’m still doing it. I like doing it every, every week. If you reach out to those people, and you can demonstrate that you actually care about what they’re doing and that you can help them in some way, and you’re, you’re not asking for anything. That’s how friendships submitted genuinely.
Yeah. Once you tap into that kind of world of influence, it really, really does help you. Right? And I think these are things that people often get lost with. They might think, Oh, well I can send that initial outreach message and maybe, you know, we can have a little bit back and forth for 24 hours and I don’t see the point in it.
Or I can write three blogs and then you just run out with steam. Like you need to keep. Building this platform right at the start which is why I said earlier in the show that it’s very important for you if you’re thinking of starting a business, like sell that website 12 months before you actually launch and you think start blogging, start putting content out there, start answering people’s questions, because once you build that foundation, it’s so much easier for you and you’ll move so much faster in the future that once you are assigned to, to get noticed by people.
You won’t have to pay for people to come through the dorm, buy from you or you’ll have to pay a lot less than your competitors, let’s say that. So I think that that kind of mindset is very, very important for, for entrepreneurs. Like you should be thinking about what you can do right now for very, very little money of even for free to, to really promote yourself.
That’s gonna help you in one year, two years, be much, much further ahead than people who aren’t doing that.
[00:35:49] Josh: Ab, Absolutely, and, and I think in most respects it’s a virtuous cycle, at least from my experience where, for example, you start a blog and then yes, it could be hard to come up with ideas, but then after a few months, or even a few weeks, or if you have a Jo, a blog that’s been sitting around, you hop on search console and you can see queries.
That people are typing into Google and that you might even already be kind of addressing, but now there’s a new idea for another article or, you know, stuff like that. With, with the podcast as well, once you hit a certain level of episodes it becomes easier to then reach out to those people that, for example, I’ve had some guests where I felt I was, you know, Hitting above my weight, as they say in, in the boxing world.
But because you have a pod, you know, Hey, I do have a podcast. We’ve got, in my case, a hundred plus episodes. Are you interested in being on, and because as you said earlier, podcasting is so popular, It’s a great way to market yourself. And heck, people love talking about themselves. It’s a, it’s an easy way to start those conversations and those relationships.
So anyways, I just wanted to jump on with, with some of those thoughts as well. Rob, this has been very helpful. I have two more questions. First one is totally selfish. What would you recommend for a podcaster like myself? We’ve the Solo Grind podcast. Been around for a couple of years now episode one 19.
I, I love it. I’ve had great guests. What would you recommend to me to take it to the next level?
[00:37:14] Rob: Okay. I like this question. It feels like a question I would ask , so. I actually had a look at your LinkedIn profile and your website before I came on. Cause I thought, I wondered if you might ask this kind of question.
I would look at your previous guests see who’s doing big things or maybe bigger things now than they were when you spoke to them. If they’ve got big following, reach out to them. Find out if there’s a way you can collaborate. Maybe they have a podcast that you can be on. I think like for you, I.
And, and I’d say this for a lot of podcasters because a lot of people start podcasts and don’t realize how hard it is to monetize them or how hard it is even to get like the right metrics and right data to, to know if it’s working. So I think like keep an eye on the data for sure. Like your downloads obviously, but.
For me, I, if I was you, I would be starting to try and get myself on other people’s podcasts because it’s the, it’s the best way, right? Like I, if and this applies to any business, but people buy from people right at the start that don’t buy from a business. So yeah, if you’re gonna go and buy some new train issues, yeah, you’re gonna buy from Nike, right?
You’re not gonna buy from a guy on the street. You know that Nike is a brand. But I think for small businesses, it’s super important to not hide behind your branding or your logo or. Anything, and that’s why podcast is such a great way of getting the word out there. So you obviously have done really, really well.
You’ve got a lot of episodes, you’ve got great following. I would now start to think, well, huh, maybe I could be on someone else’s podcast a lot more often or maybe I could start adding more blog con blog content to my website to help other podcasters who maybe are episode zero. And they want to get to where I am.
This like, that kind of stuff is super important. And then you know, that kind of content is important because not only does it, does it help people who come into your website, but maybe you can publish that on someone else’s website because you know, I might be interested in publishing that for us, because I think a lot of our readers might be interested in that kind of stuff as well.
So I think basically, Until you, you hit the, the, the Joe Rogan level of of, of kind of downloads and, and Spotify contracts. I think you need to have that kind of hustle mindset constantly about where can I get found where can I get the word out? And who’s gonna do that best for me right now?
So I would look back at your own your old network and, and just go through that as a starting point. And then after that, maybe think about how you can get booked on, on the podcasts or, or write blog content that helps other podcasters. Does that make sense? Great. Yeah, no,
[00:39:29] Josh: thank you. This was great, great advice.
Rob. My, my last question that I’d like to ask pretty much all the guests is, what are one or two tips you would give to someone right now who’s working a nine to five? You know, if, if you can go back to put yourself back in old Rob’s shoes, you’re, you’re working the nine to five, you’re, you know, there’s something else out there.
Entrepreneurship, you know, something. What are one or two pieces of advice you, you would give to?
[00:39:55] Rob: I mean, don’t leave the nine to five to start a restaurant overnight. That’s crazy. In the most competitive restaurant market on Earth definitely don’t do that. But I think seriously, if you are in a nine to five now and.
if you like it, stay there. It really, there’s no need to upset the cart. The world is crazy right now in terms of inflation and everything else. Mm-hmm. , this is maybe not a time to take crazy risks, but if you really are intent on starting your own business and starting something, I would really look at your bookshelf, or I would look at your podcast library, or I would look at the websites that you visit most often that aren’t, you know, your daily newsfeed or whatever, or if it is your daily newsfeed.
Like what kind of news are you more interested in? What inspires you? That is very, very cheesy, but like I could probably map my own entrepreneurial journey in books. I really could. I, I kind of know books that I picked up from, from a bookstore in maybe an airport when I was kind of, Thinking about what to do or a little bit lost.
And I’ve still got them. And like now, and again, I’ll go back to them, but like, I think you need to have that level of curiosity, but you need to not just be curious. You need to be looking at, okay, what am I curious about? And kind of thinking, stepping out of your own head a little bit and looking at what is it that I’m reading?
And why does that interest me? And what opportunities exist in that space and what things don’t exist in that space that should. And then I think that will get you really kind of monitoring down the path of entrepreneurship and, and just, yeah, go for it. If you’re really set on it, go for it. I love it.
[00:41:19] Josh: One, one last additional quick question. If, what are, what are one of one or two of your favorite books? Sounds like it might be hard to, to narrow down, but one or two quick
[00:41:28] Rob: recommendations. Wow. So there are a lot. I really like Influence by Robert Cini. I think that’s an amazing book. I think that is great for anyone who’s gonna sell anything or anyone who has ever been interested in why you buy things and you, you don’t realize you find out crazy stuff on there about why Ware topware as a business was one of the best business.
Ever. I didn’t know some of the stuff that I read in there. That’s a great book. I just read Deep Work by Cal Newport. I think that has changed the way that I not only work by the way that I live my life. And I’m right now in the middle of reading 80 20 as well by, I think it’s Richard Co.
I think the guy’s name is K or c h, that book That, that one’s valuable because it really makes you focus as a business owner on what’s important. You know? Mm-hmm. , 80% of the value comes from 20% of your clients, or 20%, you know, for you. Definitely 80% of your downloads will come from 20% of your podcast, your most popular podcast.
I would take a look at that and look at those stats and it, it, if it’s not 80 20, it might be 90 10. Definitely is for me on, on some of our content. So I think that book definitely is, A game changer for the way that you think about the way you spend your time and, and, and what is valuable, really deep down.
[00:42:37] Josh: Awesome. Great. Rob, this has been very, very fun, Very helpful, very entertaining and, and yeah, certainly a lot of great advice. If anybody wants to get in touch with you or learn more about your business or follow you, where do you recommend they.
[00:42:52] Rob: Yeah, so you can find me on LinkedIn. You just search “Rob Barratt”.
And I guess that’s gonna be in the show notes, so I won’t you to spell that out for anybody. And if you’d like to take a look at the industry leaders’ website or you are interested in getting published on there, getting your blog content on there, or having us book you onto podcasts, then come and take a look at theindustryleaders.org and we will help you out.
[00:43:14] Josh: Awesome, Rob, thanks again for coming on the show. I really appreciate it.
[00:43:16] Rob: You’re very welcome, Josh. It’s been been a pleasure. Thank you.