The Three-Legged Stool

December 17th, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

Rich: Good morning everyone! It’s been a couple of months since I’ve recorded from my office. I couldn’t resist this morning for two reasons. First of all you’ve got to check out my beautiful view. I’ve got this amazing view overlooking the golf course with the ducks and geese flying around during the winter and beautiful mountains. You know, the primary reason we do business is to have incredible lives and to enjoy all the gifts that God gives us. The reality is we oftentimes forget that, so this morning I am so grateful for my view on life.

The second reason is one of the proof-cases of The Zigzag Principle was my super moms. After a year of attempting and swinging and missing they have their first really good hit. Emily, say hi to Colette.

Colette:  Hi!

Rich: Colette is running a company called Golden Zephyr and has had a great little win here. Emily is behind the camera there, say hi Emily.

Emily: Hello!

Rich: Emily and Colette and going to be interviewing today to assemble a new team for a new project and they were asking me what the key things were that they really needed to look for while interviewing and hiring. They have already compiled and composed their list of questions and you know this is an area where I’ve done pretty good through the years. I’ve literally hired and fired thousands of people, but it wasn’t until the last year and a half that I really discovered and put in place what I call The Three-Legged Stool of Hiring. The three legs are this:

Leg Number One: Skill. You have to check for skill. Rather than just talk about skill you should actually run through an exercise. Run through a series and sequence of events that they’d be doing on a daily basis. Leg number one is skill. However, a one-legged stool is pretty wobbly, isn’t it? So most people figure out you also have to have a culture fit and a personality fit. This leads us to the second leg of your stool.

Leg Number Two: Culture. You need to have a little bit of mojo in the relationship. So of course, particularly in the second interview you want to be interviewing for culture. Even with a second leg your stool is still pretty wobbly so this third and key leg is a concept that I wrote about in The Zigzag Principle.

Leg Number Three: The Doorman Principle or the Gatekeeper and that means screening potential hires for your values. The worst, most difficult hires I made in my career were incredibly skilled individuals that sometimes fit with the culture but didn’t align with the long-term values of the company.

When we started using this principle we started developing super-star companies. This little team that I have outside the door here: Stephen, Matt, Eric, and Jared who leads the team now. You’ve got Curtis and of course Emily behind the camera and all these individuals all together make up the most powerful team I’ve ever worked with. You’ve also got Landon running the warehouse and Zach down there with him. Everyone is focused. Everyone is contributing. There are no issues and they are a total delight to work with.

It takes all three levels, not just two. Skill is number one, culture is number two, and most importantly are the values. Go forward, build three-legged stools, not one or two, and hire well.

The Three-Legged Stool

December 17th, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

Rich: Good morning everyone! It’s been a couple of months since I’ve recorded from my office. I couldn’t resist this morning for two reasons. First of all you’ve got to check out my beautiful view. I’ve got this amazing view overlooking the golf course with the ducks and geese flying around during the winter and beautiful mountains. You know, the primary reason we do business is to have incredible lives and to enjoy all the gifts that God gives us. The reality is we oftentimes forget that, so this morning I am so grateful for my view on life.

The second reason is one of the proof-cases of The Zigzag Principle was my super moms. After a year of attempting and swinging and missing they have their first really good hit. Emily, say hi to Colette.

Colette:  Hi!

Rich: Colette is running a company called Golden Zephyr and has had a great little win here. Emily is behind the camera there, say hi Emily.

Emily: Hello!

Rich: Emily and Colette and going to be interviewing today to assemble a new team for a new project and they were asking me what the key things were that they really needed to look for while interviewing and hiring. They have already compiled and composed their list of questions and you know this is an area where I’ve done pretty good through the years. I’ve literally hired and fired thousands of people, but it wasn’t until the last year and a half that I really discovered and put in place what I call The Three-Legged Stool of Hiring. The three legs are this:

Leg Number One: Skill. You have to check for skill. Rather than just talk about skill you should actually run through an exercise. Run through a series and sequence of events that they’d be doing on a daily basis. Leg number one is skill. However, a one-legged stool is pretty wobbly, isn’t it? So most people figure out you also have to have a culture fit and a personality fit. This leads us to the second leg of your stool.

Leg Number Two: Culture. You need to have a little bit of mojo in the relationship. So of course, particularly in the second interview you want to be interviewing for culture. Even with a second leg your stool is still pretty wobbly so this third and key leg is a concept that I wrote about in The Zigzag Principle.

Leg Number Three: The Doorman Principle or the Gatekeeper and that means screening potential hires for your values. The worst, most difficult hires I made in my career were incredibly skilled individuals that sometimes fit with the culture but didn’t align with the long-term values of the company.

When we started using this principle we started developing super-star companies. This little team that I have outside the door here: Stephen, Matt, Eric, and Jared who leads the team now. You’ve got Curtis and of course Emily behind the camera and all these individuals all together make up the most powerful team I’ve ever worked with. You’ve also got Landon running the warehouse and Zach down there with him. Everyone is focused. Everyone is contributing. There are no issues and they are a total delight to work with.

It takes all three levels, not just two. Skill is number one, culture is number two, and most importantly are the values. Go forward, build three-legged stools, not one or two, and hire well.

Transparency is Powerful

December 3rd, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

This past weekend I was invited by Nancy Singleton to speak at a conference. I sit in a Mastermind with her and I’ve always liked and respected Nancy. She has amazingly high energy, a can-do attitude, and most important of all is her sheer, raw belief that anything is possible.

Nancy asked me to speak on the new world of SEO and present a new technology that will allow people to find and retain leads for their sites and businesses. I was particularly impressed as Nancy got in front of the crowd and, with transparency and openness, explained that some of the theories that she thought were high-powered last year actually ended up not working. One example she specifically stated was that social media turned out not to be a lead generation source, as she initially suspected it would, but instead was more of a supportive technology. The crowd was instantly drawn to Nancy via her truthfulness and listened intently to everything else she had to say.

Later on that night I watched as Nancy and her family played bluegrass music together and there was Nancy up on the stage, strum, strum, strumming her instrument and again I noticed how everyone was naturally drawn to Nancy.

I think one of her greatest characteristics is her authentic, open transparency. Too often in life we attempt to behave perfectly and act like we know everything and when we make a mistake we’re afraid to admit it. I believe Nancy’s following is largely drawn to her because of her authentic openness and transparency. We can all take note and learn a lesson from this. When we make a mistake we can admit it, when we stub our toe we can show it, and when learn something new we can adjust and adapt. I think this is one of the most powerful ways we can gain and retain new followers.

Thank you Nancy for once again teaching me this profound lesson.

Transparency is Powerful

December 3rd, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

This past weekend I was invited by Nancy Singleton to speak at a conference. I sit in a Mastermind with her and I’ve always liked and respected Nancy. She has amazingly high energy, a can-do attitude, and most important of all is her sheer, raw belief that anything is possible.

Nancy asked me to speak on the new world of SEO and present a new technology that will allow people to find and retain leads for their sites and businesses. I was particularly impressed as Nancy got in front of the crowd and, with transparency and openness, explained that some of the theories that she thought were high-powered last year actually ended up not working. One example she specifically stated was that social media turned out not to be a lead generation source, as she initially suspected it would, but instead was more of a supportive technology. The crowd was instantly drawn to Nancy via her truthfulness and listened intently to everything else she had to say.

Later on that night I watched as Nancy and her family played bluegrass music together and there was Nancy up on the stage, strum, strum, strumming her instrument and again I noticed how everyone was naturally drawn to Nancy.

I think one of her greatest characteristics is her authentic, open transparency. Too often in life we attempt to behave perfectly and act like we know everything and when we make a mistake we’re afraid to admit it. I believe Nancy’s following is largely drawn to her because of her authentic openness and transparency. We can all take note and learn a lesson from this. When we make a mistake we can admit it, when we stub our toe we can show it, and when learn something new we can adjust and adapt. I think this is one of the most powerful ways we can gain and retain new followers.

Thank you Nancy for once again teaching me this profound lesson.

Transparency is Powerful

December 3rd, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

This past weekend I was invited by Nancy Singleton to speak at a conference. I sit in a Mastermind with her and I’ve always liked and respected Nancy. She has amazingly high energy, a can-do attitude, and most important of all is her sheer, raw belief that anything is possible.

Nancy asked me to speak on the new world of SEO and present a new technology that will allow people to find and retain leads for their sites and businesses. I was particularly impressed as Nancy got in front of the crowd and, with transparency and openness, explained that some of the theories that she thought were high-powered last year actually ended up not working. One example she specifically stated was that social media turned out not to be a lead generation source, as she initially suspected it would, but instead was more of a supportive technology. The crowd was instantly drawn to Nancy via her truthfulness and listened intently to everything else she had to say.

Later on that night I watched as Nancy and her family played bluegrass music together and there was Nancy up on the stage, strum, strum, strumming her instrument and again I noticed how everyone was naturally drawn to Nancy.

I think one of her greatest characteristics is her authentic, open transparency. Too often in life we attempt to behave perfectly and act like we know everything and when we make a mistake we’re afraid to admit it. I believe Nancy’s following is largely drawn to her because of her authentic openness and transparency. We can all take note and learn a lesson from this. When we make a mistake we can admit it, when we stub our toe we can show it, and when learn something new we can adjust and adapt. I think this is one of the most powerful ways we can gain and retain new followers.

Thank you Nancy for once again teaching me this profound lesson.

Giving Thanks

November 26th, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

Today I received an email from a good friend of mine that included a video one of his associates made regarding the things we should be grateful for in life. I preempted the post I had already prepared thinking how much more appropriate this one would be, given the upcoming holiday.

We’re so blessed to be a part of the business community and to have the capability of making an impact on the world. It is especially nice during this time of the year to have a reminder to reflect and acknowledge the important and joyful things in our lives. My mentor, Alan Hall, frequently asserts that giving all credit and acknowledgement to God is one of his most profound and vital principles. I think one of the greatest attributes that we need to remember and apply in our lives is to not think that we have achieved all these things ourselves, but to look around and to be really grateful for the beautiful things that God has given us. Oftentimes even the challenges are growth opportunities where we can experience gratitude. I want to thank Alan for sharing this message with me. I now share it with you with the hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.

Giving Thanks

November 26th, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

Today I received an email from a good friend of mine that included a video one of his associates made regarding the things we should be grateful for in life. I preempted the post I had already prepared thinking how much more appropriate this one would be, given the upcoming holiday.

We’re so blessed to be a part of the business community and to have the capability of making an impact on the world. It is especially nice during this time of the year to have a reminder to reflect and acknowledge the important and joyful things in our lives. My mentor, Alan Hall, frequently asserts that giving all credit and acknowledgement to God is one of his most profound and vital principles. I think one of the greatest attributes that we need to remember and apply in our lives is to not think that we have achieved all these things ourselves, but to look around and to be really grateful for the beautiful things that God has given us. Oftentimes even the challenges are growth opportunities where we can experience gratitude. I want to thank Alan for sharing this message with me. I now share it with you with the hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.

Giving Thanks

November 26th, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

Today I received an email from a good friend of mine that included a video one of his associates made regarding the things we should be grateful for in life. I preempted the post I had already prepared thinking how much more appropriate this one would be, given the upcoming holiday.

We’re so blessed to be a part of the business community and to have the capability of making an impact on the world. It is especially nice during this time of the year to have a reminder to reflect and acknowledge the important and joyful things in our lives. My mentor, Alan Hall, frequently asserts that giving all credit and acknowledgement to God is one of his most profound and vital principles. I think one of the greatest attributes that we need to remember and apply in our lives is to not think that we have achieved all these things ourselves, but to look around and to be really grateful for the beautiful things that God has given us. Oftentimes even the challenges are growth opportunities where we can experience gratitude. I want to thank Alan for sharing this message with me. I now share it with you with the hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.

Giving Thanks

November 26th, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

Today I received an email from a good friend of mine that included a video one of his associates made regarding the things we should be grateful for in life. I preempted the post I had already prepared thinking how much more appropriate this one would be, given the upcoming holiday.

We’re so blessed to be a part of the business community and to have the capability of making an impact on the world. It is especially nice during this time of the year to have a reminder to reflect and acknowledge the important and joyful things in our lives. My mentor, Alan Hall, frequently asserts that giving all credit and acknowledgement to God is one of his most profound and vital principles. I think one of the greatest attributes that we need to remember and apply in our lives is to not think that we have achieved all these things ourselves, but to look around and to be really grateful for the beautiful things that God has given us. Oftentimes even the challenges are growth opportunities where we can experience gratitude. I want to thank Alan for sharing this message with me. I now share it with you with the hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.

Finding Value Deep, Deep in the Well in the Middle of Nowhere

November 19th, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

Several weeks ago I posted a blog article about Ray Bard’s model of where to fish called “Ponds, Oceans, or Wells of Water“. If you recall there are four segments where you can fish. The first is a puddle. You will not find any fish in a puddle. This is a low-felt needs small market. The second area is a swamp. This is a larger market but is still low-felt need. All you catch there is catfish and carp. The third place you can fish is the ocean. You can find big, big, big fish but they are usually pretty difficult to locate and catch.

The best place to fish, as you’ll recall from the article, is a well or what I like to call the fish hatchery. Here there is a strong–felt need and a tightly constrained market.

Now keep all this in mind as I tell you about a trip I took this past week to the middle of nowhere. 

If I were to define the middle of nowhere it would be Sidney, Nebraska. After landing in Denver we drove for almost three hours, finally arriving at a little Podunk town on a windswept plain.

The only thing going for this town quite frankly is the company Cabela’s. Cabela’s was actually formed in 1961 by Dick and Mary Cabela who were selling hand-tied flies at the time. Their big break came when they began offering five hand-tied flies and charged twenty-five cents postage and handling. It took and the company known as Cabela’s was born.

As I spent time with Cabela executives it became very evident to me that strong values permeated their culture. I’ve said it many times, but let me say it again: What you say ‘No’ to is more important than what you say ‘Yes’ to in the long run. It is easy to define success based on values and the easiest way to do that is by screening and sticking to your values.

I started exploring this about an hour or so into our meeting with Cabela’s and I was able to discover Cabela’s core values. Here they are:

1.    Superior Customer Service
2.    Respect for Individuals
3.    Quality Goods and Services
4.    Integrity and Honesty
5.    Excellence in Performance

These are Cabela’s value statements. You have to ask yourself, “How can a company be three hours in the middle of nowhere in a cold, desolate climate and still rock an entire industry? After all, Cabela’s is the leader in this industry.” After talking with them I found that the answer is very simple.

1.    They fished in a well. They specifically went fishing in a strong-felt need area in a very tightly controlled market.
2.    They declared their value constraints and have not deviated. And by not deviating from it they’ve been able to be a dominant force in the market on all levels.

I gained a lot of respect for Cabela’s and realized at the same time that we can follow their lead. It takes time but us bootstrappers and zigzagging entrepreneurs need to make sure that we cleanly and clearly define our core values and then stick to them. This is what gives us long-term durability in the market. Go forward, Zigzaggers and find your own success in the middle of nowhere.

Finding Value Deep, Deep in the Well in the Middle of Nowhere

November 19th, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

Several weeks ago I posted a blog article about Ray Bard’s model of where to fish called “Ponds, Oceans, or Wells of Water“. If you recall there are four segments where you can fish. The first is a puddle. You will not find any fish in a puddle. This is a low-felt needs small market. The second area is a swamp. This is a larger market but is still low-felt need. All you catch there is catfish and carp. The third place you can fish is the ocean. You can find big, big, big fish but they are usually pretty difficult to locate and catch.

The best place to fish, as you’ll recall from the article, is a well or what I like to call the fish hatchery. Here there is a strong–felt need and a tightly constrained market.

Now keep all this in mind as I tell you about a trip I took this past week to the middle of nowhere. 

If I were to define the middle of nowhere it would be Sidney, Nebraska. After landing in Denver we drove for almost three hours, finally arriving at a little Podunk town on a windswept plain.

The only thing going for this town quite frankly is the company Cabela’s. Cabela’s was actually formed in 1961 by Dick and Mary Cabela who were selling hand-tied flies at the time. Their big break came when they began offering five hand-tied flies and charged twenty-five cents postage and handling. It took and the company known as Cabela’s was born.

As I spent time with Cabela executives it became very evident to me that strong values permeated their culture. I’ve said it many times, but let me say it again: What you say ‘No’ to is more important than what you say ‘Yes’ to in the long run. It is easy to define success based on values and the easiest way to do that is by screening and sticking to your values.

I started exploring this about an hour or so into our meeting with Cabela’s and I was able to discover Cabela’s core values. Here they are:

1.    Superior Customer Service
2.    Respect for Individuals
3.    Quality Goods and Services
4.    Integrity and Honesty
5.    Excellence in Performance

These are Cabela’s value statements. You have to ask yourself, “How can a company be three hours in the middle of nowhere in a cold, desolate climate and still rock an entire industry? After all, Cabela’s is the leader in this industry.” After talking with them I found that the answer is very simple.

1.    They fished in a well. They specifically went fishing in a strong-felt need area in a very tightly controlled market.
2.    They declared their value constraints and have not deviated. And by not deviating from it they’ve been able to be a dominant force in the market on all levels.

I gained a lot of respect for Cabela’s and realized at the same time that we can follow their lead. It takes time but us bootstrappers and zigzagging entrepreneurs need to make sure that we cleanly and clearly define our core values and then stick to them. This is what gives us long-term durability in the market. Go forward, Zigzaggers and find your own success in the middle of nowhere.

Pandas, and Penguins, and Google! Oh My!

November 12th, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

In the spring of 2012 Google released two very interesting updates to their search engine. The first was called Panda and the second was named Penguin. These two technologies combined border on artificial intelligence and I believe these updates are probably the most significant advancement in search technology that we have ever experienced. The world of Search Engine Optimization, or being able to get to the top of the rankings, instantly changed.

This disruptive update introduced dramatic and negative impacts on several businesses that I was running. The last year and a half I feel like I’ve been hiding under a rock and waiting for the dust to settle. However, during these past three or four months I’ve been working on a project, attempting to apply the new methodologies, and I’m pleased to announce that I have had the first breakthrough.

For today’s post I wanted to provide technical information for anyone who is attempting to utilize the web and get exposure through search engines. In days of old there were three major legs that propped up the stool of good search ranking:

Content
Today it is all about fresh, relevant content. While you will still want your keyword density to be at one or two percent the new updates require more sensitivity to good, solid content for humans than ever before.

On-Page Elements
At last count I went through fifty-two variables that were required they be matched in order to achieve good ranking. This includes web elements such as meta data, meta title, and meta descriptions as well as your web URL, alt text tabs, how long the domain had been alive etc. All of these elements combined helped you know where you ranked. These also factor in the updated Panda and Penguin but not as much.

Links
Links were the validation and proof that you were important to other websites. These HREF tags linking you from another website were VERY important when it came to Google determining website ranking. This now has been somewhat de-emphasized and the only value there is if you can get really good, high-end quality referrals from someone. If you’re getting a bunch of links from small, unknown sources it can actually hurt you.

Those three elements used to be the legs of the stool that held up Search Engines. Now the rules have changed. Let me add a few of the other key factors that are now  being taken into consideration.

Page Layout
You cannot use old, duddy, template designs, or old web layouts. Google looks at a website’s layout. You must have new, fresh, and open designs to achieve good rankings.

Natural Advertisement and Information Extraction
Beware if you are overusing advertising elements, especially of advertisements above the fold and if you are attempting to extract user information too quickly. Provide real and relevant content without attempting to monetize too quickly or aggressively.

Time Spent on Site
The wonderful analytics that Google gave us for years that we were so delighted in is now being used against us. How long the user stays on the site is now compared to other similar sites in your industry and is used to score your website based on that information.

Conversions
Google now measures your conversion data to see how well it performs.

Page Views
How many pages does the user go through while visiting your site? If they go to your homepage and bounce out right afterwards it is known as a bounce and you are penalized for it. It’s important that the user goes from page to page while spending time and exploring your site, floating through multiple pieces of content.

Traffic Variety
In days of old it did not matter if you only had one type of traffic source. Google is now measuring traffic variety and where your traffic comes from particularly if your traffic is related to social media. By doing this it shows if a brand or company is permeating and how well it is received.

Social Proof
Google tracks the number of times your company or name pops up in Google circles, Facebook, and Twitter. This allows them to see your reach. This is a huge factor in website ranking.

With all of these new rules it is incredibly difficult for smaller companies to compete. However you’ve heard me frequently talk about Barriers to Entry and the importance of those barriers. If you’re able to overcome these new online barriers you can put a huge gap between you and the competition. I believe it is now time to be looking at online presence and search in your online search model, albeit carefully. I wish you well in the brave, brazen new world of Panda and Penguin.

Say No With Money

November 5th, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

This past week I had a business associate come to my office and explain that one of his biggest frustrations came from his top client. This client continually asked my associate to do projects that were not only counterproductive to his company but was actually causing a lot of conflict within the organization. However, he did not dare tell the customer no because it would disrupt other lines of business.

This led me to recall a similar dilemma in my career. I was running Mitsubishi’s Electric PC division at the time and had one particular customer that was very difficult and caustic to work with. They were by no means our largest client, but they consumed much of our resources. I approached my boss, Dr. Peter Horne, on the topic and told him I wanted to fire our client. He looked at me and in his posh, British accent said, “Rich, why would you ever do that? Just triple the price on them. Let them be the ones to say no, thus saving the relationship by putting them in control and allowing you to continue being the good guy.”

It was a brilliant piece of advice. And indeed that’s exactly what I did. My mentor’s advice is as relevant today as it was when I first heard it. I was able to pass my mentor’s advice to my business associate and I want to do the same for you. You can still maintain your relationship with your customers and keep control of your business. Take matters into your own hands and say no to difficult customers by increasing your price. Be the good guy and give yourself more value.

British Secrets with Love from Russia

October 29th, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

Rich: Good morning, everyone! I have William Hackett-Jones here this morning with me. William has flown in from Russia. Today I am bringing you secret British love from Russia. William and I met four years ago while I was teaching a course at the Wizard Academy. William had flown over from Russia. His business was struggling a little at that point and I was delighted to shared several insights that made a real impact in William’s business.

I’m so proud of him and I take real delight in hearing William’s story as he applied the principles and of course worked his guts out. He was able to take his business, which was basically at the point of failure, and turn his business into one of the most profitable translation services in all of Russia. He owns a translation service at the highest margin. Last year he did over a million dollars and will come close to that this year. Now, without further ado let me bring you a Brit and his secret love tips from Russia.

William: Well, Rich, thanks for being very wonderful and for hosting me. I spent the whole day yesterday picking his brain and asking questions so he got his revenge over dinner when he got his whole family to ask questions back. And thank you so much for the course as you said four years ago.

We had just started the translation business at that point and we didn’t really know if we were doing things right or if it was going to work at all. I saw the course advertised and I knew this was either going to tell me, ‘Yes, you’re doing it right’ or ‘No. This is how you should do it’. Some of the things we were doing right and some of the things we didn’t have a clue. I think the very first thing was my previous company had gone bust. We set up with no money and basically no clients. One of the initial precepts of Bootstrap Business is you don’t need initial investments, you don’t need loans, you don’t need those kinds of things. ??You need your intellectual capital, your relationship capital, and maybe a tiny bit of capital. We used my business partner’s credit card with a limit of $2,500 and we used that card to pay our freelancers for the next few months until cash started coming in.

Rich: I love that. Bag the $5,000 I usually start with. You did it with $2,500. I think we have the new gold standard.

William: I think if we’d had $5,000 it would have made it easier. A second one would be very much don’t be afraid to stand out. It’s fine to do your own thing and be completely different. All the translation companies were competing on price and we said, ‘Well, what’s the point of trying that market? Let’s triple the price to stand out and say that what’s far more important is the quality.’ And it has worked. People come to us because they’ve heard about us and they need it, not because we’re trying to sell it to them.

Rich: That’s a great point. I think so many people do tend to think that the only competitive advantage you can have is price, but you’ve proven that is just not the case. You can differentiate actually set yourself above if you say, ‘No! We refuse to compete on price’ and then people actually want it more.

William: You may lose some clients, but those aren’t the clients you want anyway. Those tend to be the problem ones. And I think the other great thing is the zigzagging thing. The concept where we started thinking, ‘Well, we’ll translate a bit and build up some boot capital’ and we got there and we didn’t know what to do next. You pointed it out. First get a bit of money, then add some resources, then scale a bit, then get back to money.

Zigzagging in that sense as well brought us some good money translating and then we had a huge opportunity to do some transcription, which is probably one of the dullest jobs in the world, but we learned quickly how to do it really well. Basically there’s nobody else doing it at the level we’re doing it at the level we’re doing it so we’ve sort of cornered the market and that is what took us to a million dollars last year. Transcription and not translation, although the translation is doing very well.

Rich: That is absolutely brilliant and so fun to see is the intense fire and confidence in your eyes now verses four years ago. Absolutely everyone, you can do it. $2,500 and not $5,000 to a million dollar business accomplished by a Brit in Russia. I’m so proud of you and so respect you and thank you for sharing that.

William: Thank you for the help.

Rich: Thank you.

http://eclectictranslations.co.uk/

British Secrets with Love from Russia

October 29th, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

Rich: Good morning, everyone! I have William Hackett-Jones here this morning with me. William has flown in from Russia. Today I am bringing you secret British love from Russia. William and I met four years ago while I was teaching a course at the Wizard Academy. William had flown over from Russia. His business was struggling a little at that point and I was delighted to shared several insights that made a real impact in William’s business.

I’m so proud of him and I take real delight in hearing William’s story as he applied the principles and of course worked his guts out. He was able to take his business, which was basically at the point of failure, and turn his business into one of the most profitable translation services in all of Russia. He owns a translation service at the highest margin. Last year he did over a million dollars and will come close to that this year. Now, without further ado let me bring you a Brit and his secret love tips from Russia.

William: Well, Rich, thanks for being very wonderful and for hosting me. I spent the whole day yesterday picking his brain and asking questions so he got his revenge over dinner when he got his whole family to ask questions back. And thank you so much for the course as you said four years ago.

We had just started the translation business at that point and we didn’t really know if we were doing things right or if it was going to work at all. I saw the course advertised and I knew this was either going to tell me, ‘Yes, you’re doing it right’ or ‘No. This is how you should do it’. Some of the things we were doing right and some of the things we didn’t have a clue. I think the very first thing was my previous company had gone bust. We set up with no money and basically no clients. One of the initial precepts of Bootstrap Business is you don’t need initial investments, you don’t need loans, you don’t need those kinds of things. ??You need your intellectual capital, your relationship capital, and maybe a tiny bit of capital. We used my business partner’s credit card with a limit of $2,500 and we used that card to pay our freelancers for the next few months until cash started coming in.

Rich: I love that. Bag the $5,000 I usually start with. You did it with $2,500. I think we have the new gold standard.

William: I think if we’d had $5,000 it would have made it easier. A second one would be very much don’t be afraid to stand out. It’s fine to do your own thing and be completely different. All the translation companies were competing on price and we said, ‘Well, what’s the point of trying that market? Let’s triple the price to stand out and say that what’s far more important is the quality.’ And it has worked. People come to us because they’ve heard about us and they need it, not because we’re trying to sell it to them.

Rich: That’s a great point. I think so many people do tend to think that the only competitive advantage you can have is price, but you’ve proven that is just not the case. You can differentiate actually set yourself above if you say, ‘No! We refuse to compete on price’ and then people actually want it more.

William: You may lose some clients, but those aren’t the clients you want anyway. Those tend to be the problem ones. And I think the other great thing is the zigzagging thing. The concept where we started thinking, ‘Well, we’ll translate a bit and build up some boot capital’ and we got there and we didn’t know what to do next. You pointed it out. First get a bit of money, then add some resources, then scale a bit, then get back to money.

Zigzagging in that sense as well brought us some good money translating and then we had a huge opportunity to do some transcription, which is probably one of the dullest jobs in the world, but we learned quickly how to do it really well. Basically there’s nobody else doing it at the level we’re doing it at the level we’re doing it so we’ve sort of cornered the market and that is what took us to a million dollars last year. Transcription and not translation, although the translation is doing very well.

Rich: That is absolutely brilliant and so fun to see is the intense fire and confidence in your eyes now verses four years ago. Absolutely everyone, you can do it. $2,500 and not $5,000 to a million dollar business accomplished by a Brit in Russia. I’m so proud of you and so respect you and thank you for sharing that.

William: Thank you for the help.

Rich: Thank you.

http://eclectictranslations.co.uk/