Dan: Hey, guys. Welcome to Marketing Cheat Guides. Thanks for joining us today. Today I have on the show Chris Penny, a local Canadian who is focused down on a niche, he runs chrispenny101.com, focusing on marketing to lawn care professionals. He’s been kind enough to join us here on the show. Chris, welcome to the show. Thanks for joining us.
Chris Penny: Thanks Dan, this is exciting. This is my first video interview. I’m no longer hiding behind those words.
Dan: Awesome. I’m glad that you came out, it’s good to have you on, for sure. Why don’t you tell our audience a little bit about yourself, and how you got into the marketing business, specifically into the lawn care marketing business?
Chris Penny: Okay. It’s a super long convoluted story, starting with the neighbor’s asking me to mow their lawns when I was 14. That turned into fully maxed out root, to be able to handle with school at the same time in the solar seasons, in the spring and the fall. From there, I was trying to figure out how to scale, so that … I didn’t want to hire employees, because I knew I didn’t know what I was doing. I knew that some middle-aged labor staff probably wouldn’t respect me at all if I wanted to manage them. Instead what I did, was I sold franchises to my friends in university.
Chris Penny: Basically, I just said here’s everything I figured out so far. I had no upfront fee, I just gave them the equipment for free, and then I kept a percentage of their sales. It was like if they didn’t make any money, I didn’t make any money, I lost money. That worked really well, it was pretty crazy summer business, and that’s probably where I first started being concerned with digital marketing. I was starting up these franchises, and they had to go from 0 to 50 in a couple months in the spring. I could kind of seed off some of the root from an existing franchisee, to kind of give them some work to get started. Otherwise, we were mostly doing door-to-door sales at the time. It was mostly learning to deal with rejection, and it’s the best way to learn what your clients are thinking, really. Getting the door slammed in your face a million times, it’s a good way to get started. For me though, the best way to learn is to teach, so being forced to teach these … Not forced, but being in a position where it was my job to teach these students that were my friends, other university students, how to sell door-to-door.
That was pretty powerful. That was right about when I think, it was probably about ten years ago, that would be. Around then, our clients were just starting to have email addresses overall. A lot of our clientele in lawn care is elderly people, so they’re offended almost if you asked them if they had an email address back then, so it wasn’t easy. We were starting with digital then, and that was really supplementing the drops that we were doing, because we had to get these lawns fast to get these guys going.
Chris Penny: That evolved. It was a really good summer job, but it wasn’t a career. It’s great to make ten grand in the summer if you’re a student, but you can’t live off of that. I decided at the beginning not to get into snow, so I needed to find a way to go from offering ultra cheap service, because that was our stick. We were student … You can trust us, but we might make mistakes, but we’re the cheapest price in town, so deal with it.
Chris Penny: It helped. It totally got us going. Eventually, I wanted more than that. I wanted to … I wanted better margins, because if anything went wrong it would just kill our profits for a long time, so I eventually transitioned away from the students, and towards a managerial model.
Chris Penny: Basically, what we did was we reduced all of our drive time, which is a huge expense in lawn care world. Took our most densely populated part of the root, doubled our pricing, and then doubled the service value. I was looking at what are all the things I can add to the service, that cost me next to nothing that enhance the experience that would justify doubling my pricing. Kind of ambitious, and that’s kind of how I handle this business. I always thought of it as my kids’ business, I was 20 years old at the time, living at my parents house, hardly had any experiences so if I screwed up, life goes on.
Chris Penny: I figured that was the opportunity in my life where I could get away with that. I kind of held myself responsible for failing fast in this part of the business. Doubled the pricing, dropped the clients that weren’t profitable, and then held my breath to see whether anybody would sign up or not that spring. It worked. It worked really well. That was … You were mentioning wanting to talk about nicheing down, or nixing down. I think that was probably my first kind of experience with that concept, because I realized we went from … When I changed the marketing message from being cheap to expensive, I thought what would happen was my closing rate would just drop, and I would only close the expensive ones. Really what happened, is all of a sudden all of these guys that were seeking expensive work came out of the woodwork, and the business was so much easier to run. We went from four to 500 lawns a week, down to 150 lawns a week, and we were making the same profit, kind of thing.
Chris Penny: With clients that don’t complain all the time about a preauthorized credit card, that really woke me up to the power here. From there, I learned a lot about the digital marketing, but specifically, how to carry the marketing to attract specific people, but also try and repel other people, because I was answering the phones a lot of the time, or I had assistants helping me answer the phones, but it was expensive, so I really didn’t want all these leads for crews, or people who weren’t going to convert. That was where I realized if we crafted the message a certain way, and we put certain messages into it, things kind of like the preauthorized credit card, that scares people away who are looking for cheap pricing. Things like better design on the websites, putting a little bit more money into video, and things like this to differentiate us from the competitors, having a stronger guarantee. What else did we do?
Also focusing on the experience, I guess. A lot of companies will just blow off the mess that they make, we’ll take the extra five minutes and blow off all of the surfaces, kind of thing. It’s just little tweaks like this, that people notice, I guess. I’m trying to think of where I extrapolate from there to the mowing, or to the marketing that I’m doing now.
Dan: When you made that transition from you were running it as a student business, you were going upscale, did you continue to have your buddies running franchise model for you, or did you take it back and go from 450 divided by five six guys, to 150 run by you and employees?
Chris Penny: Yeah, the second option there. Because it was student based, that also meant that as they graduated, they couldn’t really keep going, which it sucked. A lot of them had built up roots and relationships with clients, but the whole model was based on around it being students. We couldn’t really justify it. We pushed a few of them a little bit beyond the students, but I didn’t want them to make this their lives. It was meant to be a summer job, it wasn’t enough money to live off of. The margins in the snow, the snow is a whole different business, so I never got into the snow really.
Chris Penny: Yeah, eventually they graduated and moved onto grownup jobs, and that was around the time … We actually, we really struggled finding franchisees, so that was an issue with the model as well. I think it was too good to be true, kind of, and especially if you compare with some of the other student franchises.
Dan: I [inaudible 00:08:49].
Chris Penny: All right, right on. I had friends that did them all, and I was kind of their secret guy to help them out. In return, I was learning how the models worked, so that I could copy it for mine.
Chris Penny: We did struggle finding franchisees. We spent our whole winter doing it, and we found some good ones, but it still was frustrating that even if we did find a good one, we’d have them for a year or two and maybe three years, then they’re done with university and we had to find new ones. That’s where I had the manager model, and it was the exact same problem again, that actually had me selling the company a few years later, because I decided not to do snow, it meant that I didn’t have year round employment, which meant it was the exact same guys who are happy to be collecting [inaudible 00:09:39] through the winter, or employment insurance. A lot of these guys were awesome workers, but I think that their passion was more the winter months, than the summer months. The summer was done so they could have their free time in the winter.
Dan: Snowboarding, skiing, sure.
Chris Penny: Yeah, but their passion wasn’t the job, and it meant that I was working all day long with these people who … They weren’t there because they loved to be there.
Chris Penny: We subcontracted a bunch of snow for some winters, but snow was 24/7, and you’re on call, and it’s high liability. Lawns are a lot more forgiving. That was a lot of the reason why I got into the lawns. What attracted me was the ability to do it on my own schedule, more or less.
Chris Penny: Eventually, I really enjoyed the growth, and the speed that I can make changes in the company over the years, and I felt as if I had kind of backed myself into a corner eventually, where I’ve spent 15 years building this business, and it was never a big business. I was a part of a group called Service Autopilot Academy, and so this is a group limited to 100 lawn care business owners through North America. I think it’s 500 US a month to be a part of it, which meant that the caliber of guys in it were awesome. After about a year of learning from these guys, I realized that my company was always going to grow half as quickly as the guys that were operating year-round. I don’t know, I got really depressed. I had this sense that because I had put all my time and energy towards lawn care, and now lawn care … I don’t know. I had really attached my self worth, and who I was, to this endeavor. Just the fact that it was making me so miserable eventually, and I wasn’t getting the traction that I wanted despite the endless time I put into it, I got really depressed.
Eventually I sold the company, not even to … I made money on it, but I sold it to not even the highest bidder. I was more concerned with passing it onto somebody who would be able to continue looking after these clientele that I had built such long-term relationships with.
Chris Penny: I wasn’t in the state of mind to be as profitable as I could’ve been, I don’t think.
Chris Penny: It was kind of a nasty period of my life, and that’s where … I sold it, and had enough money to live for a few years off of it while I figured out what I was going to do next.
Chris Penny: Started daily ritual of ice bath and cold showers as an alternative to taking antidepressants. is one of my heroes, and he talks a lot about that. I decided if I … I don’t want to get too dark, but my decision was if the cold showers don’t stop the suicidal thoughts, I’ll take the antidepressants.
Chris Penny: I did it a year, and never took them.
Dan: It worked. You’re endorsing cold showers?
Chris Penny: Absolutely. I can write a whole paper on the benefits of it, and I don’t think we really understand the science of it, but it’s powerful. It was just a matter of knowing that I was able to make myself do something that was that uncomfortable, and knowing that probably the rest of the day there’s now way … No matter how dark my mind got, I’m probably not going to be that uncomfortable. It put me into a position of power over this, over these sensations. I’m now in control of the worst part of my life, as opposed to it controlling me.
Chris Penny: For me, depression was very closely related to control, and in that traction I was mentioning before.
Dan: How did you make the jump then? You went through that period of a couple of years, what brought you into digital marketing?
Chris Penny: I knew a lot about the marketing because I had to survive off of it for so long.
Chris Penny: I worked for a marketing company in Ottawa. I won’t say what they’re called, but I didn’t have much confidence in what I had learned and what I had taught myself, but after working for them, I had a lot. The value they’re providing for the pricing that they were charging, it just really opened my eyes. I can actually seriously compete with these guys, because the results that I’ve created for myself for the effort that I have to put in relative to what these guys are doing is wow. I lasted with them for a month before going out on my own, and offering marketing to people around Ottawa. I kind of started in my personal network, and it worked, but I learned pretty quickly after the first few clients that I had that the results I could provide for them weren’t … I wasn’t in tune at all, as what I was for the locks.
Chris Penny: That’s where I thought let’s try and focus on the lawns again, and see how this compares. I’ll never go back. From there I started a Facebook group, it was called Lawn Authorities, and it’s targeted specifically at lawn care professionals who are looking to build an authoritative business. I combined the knowledge of my niche along with the knowledge of what I learned from the lawn care business as to … It’s all product creation at the end of the day. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for years, I guess, is what is the perfect product to sell? In the end, it’s about experience, and I’ve learned people don’t remember what you did for them, they remember how you make them feel. It’s science, but it’s about love, really. It’s about caring. I said I’m not going to sell myself, I’m just going to help, and I’m going to help people specifically where I know that I can leverage my knowledge to help them the most.
Rather than trying to help everybody, who in the world can I help the most? That came back to the lawn care guys, again. Who in the world … Where have I experienced the most pain that I can help people avoid. That’s what I did, I just set myself. I figured that it was just like doubling [crosstalk 00:17:09]. I’m just going to do it, commit to it, and if it doesn’t work then I’ll give up and I’ll do something different, but I’m going to commit to it before I’m going to fail fast. I started the group, and then just started sharing random things I thought might be helpful, might be interesting. Without selling myself. It’s kind of crazy how well it works, how well it’s recommended.
Dan: Would you say that your understanding of their fears, frustrations, aspirations, wants, has played a big role in you being able to attract those people to you, because you know what is keeping them up at night, what’s frustrating them, what those pain points are?
Chris Penny: Yeah. It’s more than attraction. I find inbound marketing, if you do it right, they kind of attract themselves. Word of mouth, or you can … I use social automation, and some ideas like that. I managed to get a lot of Instagram followers really quickly, and then I kind of built finalists to drive that traffic back towards the group. I used some good marketing tricks to make it work, but the magic was getting them to trust me, getting them to care about me, I guess. Knowing that I care about them, is what I’ve been trying to give away, or trying to show them.
Dan: How do you do that? I’m curious as to how you show them that authenticity? Obviously you do care, and that’s part of the magic stuff, but being able to convey that to other people via digital platforms, what are some of the things that you’ve done that seem to resonate with your audience?
Chris Penny: I think it’s partly what I have done, but almost as equally what I haven’t done. I’ve yet to sell myself. I’ve mentioned that I have … I posted like twice, kind of thing, so far. Saying I have availability for work to do. I put in the description of my group, a link to my website right at the very bottom of it kind of mentioning what I do, but that’s about it. I think by having zero kind of desperation, no push to sell, and then giving lots of information, and focusing on what I know are fears and concerns that they have. More it’s just facing the fears that I have. Rather than thinking about it for them, If there’s something that’s keeping me up at night, and I know that … I feel as if I have a good grip on what I should be doing to fix it, I’ll kind of share these kinds of ideas.
If I see … A lot of it comes from current clients, actually. Rather than .. It’s a little bit awkward sometimes to say the way that you’re running your business isn’t ideal. Instead what I’ll do, is I’ll just kind of passive aggressively say it in my group. I’ll use that as direct examples. I’ll find mistakes that people are making. A lot of it comes down to guys trying to sell to everybody. Even in the lawn care business, it’s guys trying to sell to everybody, guys that are desperate for work, guys that are focused more on their incomes than they are on the value they’re providing. These are the biggest mistakes.
Dan: In every industry.
Chris Penny: Yeah, anywhere you go. It’s easy to be a guy who … I don’t know, just ask people questions about what they’re concerned about, and help alleviate them. Offer more than just technical tricks. Offer maybe … Just motivation. It’s hard to say, it’s super woo science, it’s super lovey dovey.
Dan: It’s working.
Chris Penny: It works. Yeah, it’s a chicken in an egg question, which one. Do I do it because it’s working, or am I doing it because it’s just feels like it’s the right way to do it.
Chris Penny: Yeah, both. Yeah. One of the biggest things for me, I just did a 20,000 kilometer trip around the states in the last year with my girlfriend, and we did it out of our car. We air bnb places while we were gone, which pretty much covered our fuel expense. It almost cost nothing. I’ve been working a lot with the idea of minimalism also, and so the less that I’m concerned with money and the more that I’m concerned with experience, it seems to really add fuel to this whole fire. When people are buying from me, I feel like they’re buying from me because they know that I care about their businesses, and that I want to help them grow in a way that they can offer great employment to their staff. That’s what I get out of it. I feel as if I keep focusing on that being my main payout, the money just follows. Of course there’s economics to it, and I have to cover expenses, and I have to … I definitely have an aspiration to make money, but it’s not the number one goal.
As soon as I needed a second or third goal after first showing that I care about people, second not being desperate. By not being desperate, I mean, I’m happy to walk away from a deal with a client. If I have somebody coming to me and it’s all about money. If they don’t care about me, it’s not going to work. If we can’t relate, this might not be the best way to build a scalable business to a billion dollars. I don’t think Apple cares quite the same way I’m thinking of these things.
Dan: You care about their why, this is the whole cynic thing, right? It’s their why first, then their what, then their how, as opposed to the other way around. I think Steve Jobs cared about what he cared about fanatically.
Chris Penny: Right.
Dan: I don’t know, maybe it is the way to build a billion dollar business.
Chris Penny: All right, I’m happy you pointed that out, good. I don’t know, just build the business around love and respect, as opposed to money. Then pick a niche, because [crosstalk 00:23:52]. Exactly. Nobody wants to hire the guy that can do it all for everybody, because he probably can’t. There are a million other companies in the world that offer the same thing that I offer, but they don’t really know what it’s like to be halfway through a lawn and have it start raining, and then have the grass clumping up, and then getting stuck in the driveway. That’s a part of the everyday life, so the fact that I can kind of sit there and share that opinion with them and relate to them, when I talk to these guys on the phone, I’m not just some marketing guy that doesn’t have a clue, who’s trying to guess which keywords. I know what these guys are doing, I know what their life is like. I think having that personal connection, it makes everything so much more worthwhile.
Dan: On that, I’m going to ask about your 20,000 trip. One of the reasons you were doing that from what I understand, was to do this lawn care TV. Were you interviewing people as you were going around?
Chris Penny: Yes. I have yet to get the videos edited. I have learned that the library has a great computer for me, so I’m going to get the power I need to get those together. Yeah, so we interviewed eight different guys around the US, and got shots of their whole setup, and their shop. What I did, was I kind of mimicked Tim Ferris interviews, and how he has consisting questions. The idea was not to necessarily be implementing their answers, but just to kind of offer insight into what does a guy running a 20 million dollar company, what’s he thinking, what is his frame of reference? What’s his Headspace, to a guy running 100,000 dollar company, or something like that. No right or wrong answers, but just seeing the difference in perspective was super powerful to me.
I don’t think it would be that hard to become a niche expert. If you were to join all the Facebook groups, spend an hour a day paying attention to what their concerns are, what are the posts that keep coming up, how do people talk to each other, call up 10 or 20 guys in varying business sizes, and do an interview kind of like this one maybe, and before you know it, you know more about the niche than most people do. I think that right now it’s kind of a gold rush in that sense, where a lot of people are maybe concerned about automation, and that’s where they might be losing their jobs, and that might be why they’re thinking about starting up a marketing business of some sort. Actually on the trip, my girlfriend … I told her I was going to be working. I wasn’t just not working for three months. I was finally location independent for the first time in my life after having been tied to this business in Ottawa.
I was working from my laptop. I said if you want I can coach you to build a business of your own, so that way you have something to do while I’m working. She worked as kind of a physiotherapist assistant in the US, it’s called physical therapy, I think. What we did, is we made her a niche expert in the world probably, for exercise rehab copyrighting, because she knew … It’s not a physiotherapist, she doesn’t have the schooling. She has an undergraduate degree, but she had about three or four years in basically being a personal trainer for her exercise therapy.
Chris Penny: We looked at … And she enjoyed writing, so those two went well together. Rather than going on Upwork, and applying to all the writing jobs, she only applied to the physical therapy writing jobs. Now she has a huge portfolio of physical therapy writing jobs, and she knows she can close one in ten that she applies to.
Dan: Premium, because they want that particular expertise.
Chris Penny: Right. Now she’s making twice what she makes at the physical therapy job, and she’s dropped down to … She’s doing two days a week with them, and soon to be one day a week. She’s on her own schedule, she’s making twice the amount of money per hour. She’s in control, so you’d think it would be almost impossible to get into writing about personal training. It’s like because how many guys are there? How many Instagram personal trainers are there? A million, maybe. How many of them make no money at all? Like all of them. They have been doing it for years and years, maybe a few. She picked this up in about three months, so the power of the niche.
Dan: It all comes back to that, it’s easy to become an expert in a small pond.
Chris Penny: Right. Yeah.
Dan: Looking back now on your journey, you’ve been in marketing how long? Two, three years? Marketing, not marketing your own business.
Chris Penny: Marketing for other people’s business?
Chris Penny: Yeah, about two years, about a year, two years. A year of figuring it out, and a year of doing it seriously.
Dan: Now help some of our audience, give me two or three things that you wish you would have known earlier in the journey, that you discovered through trial and error, or just experience, that would’ve been nice to know at the beginning of the journey?
Chris Penny: Yeah, I got into the lawn care business hoping to location independent, and then 15 years later realized it wasn’t working, and then about a year later did it. If I had known off the bat, I think rather than … I think I would have studied the industry, rather than working in it. I took the long road for sure. Failing fast, it’s crucial, so I see so many guys just spending all their time watching YouTube videos, when maybe instead they should just try, just do it. Just do it.
Dan: Nobody’s stopping you, pick up your own camera, make your own video, do whatever you want to do. You’ve got to swing the bat.
Chris Penny: Yeah, go out and fail. Go and try, and fail as fast as you can. It was like the door-to-door sales, it wasn’t let’s try and find those three percent that are going to say yes. The goal was instead, let’s try and get the door closed in our face 97 times. Because we know if we get the door closed in our face 97 times, we’ll pick up three.
Dan: There’s a book by that title, go for the no.
Chris Penny: Right. Right on. Go for the no. Study the niche, pick a target, and don’t sell everything to everybody. Pick one specific thing, one specific group of people, spend a finite amount of time researching that group of people, so I don’t know, ten hours before you have to fail at least once. Maybe after you fail five times, then you can go do another ten hours, but that’s it. Learn the niche, fail as fast as you can, and then learn from failing. Don’t learn from youtube. Yes, learn from youtube, but you’ll learn a lot faster from actually just doing it. You’re not going to hit them all out of the park off the bat, so it doesn’t matter how many youtube videos you watch, you’re still not going to hit them all out of the park.
Dan: Okay, so how do you currently divide your time? Now that you’ve figured out your niche, you’ve built an audience of six, 700 people in your lawn care group, which sounds like it’s your main attraction strategy now in terms of driving work from the group. You go to the group to add value, and then a percentage of the people in the group are going to search you out and hire you. How do you divide your time on a weekly basis now? What are some of the buckets you invest time into?
Chris Penny: My main buckets are production, or fulfillment. Getting things worked out for clients. Then helping people, is the other half. I might call that marketing, but I don’t think of it as marketing. I think of it as if I want to put X amount of effort each week into proceeding value for people and ask nothing in return, so at the moment the production side is much more important. I’ve been providing less value, because I need to make sure that I keep looking out for my clients. It’s worked so well that I’ve had to back off on the value of providing, because I guess I’m saying no to people for taking on new work at this point.
Dan: Do you want to continue to grow, or are you happy where you are now in terms of you have enough clients, and now maybe you’ll grow the amount of work that you do with the clients you have? Or, are you still looking to scale up the business?
Chris Penny: I definitely want to scale the business, absolutely. From the production side, I would divide that into my two main buckets are doing the work, but also the other half is building the system. I would say at the moment, I’m probably spending more time building the system than I am doing the work. I don’t know about time. I’ve just been working to … The first client I had it only allowed me to build the system so far, because it was only for them. Now that I have enough clients in different parts of the world, with different size businesses, it’s forced me to kind of build out the system. I took on a few more within my niche, and found out that they take twice as much work. I have to build a whole different system for them.
Dan: It’s custom work.
Chris Penny: It doesn’t work as well, they’re not as happy, I can’t look after them as well, so that’s been another confirmation to me to really stick to what I’m the best at, and so I can put my time into building that system. I’ve been working with contractors, so I’ve been prancing writing out SOP’s, and those kind of things, to really try and nail down what is the secret sauce, and what are the priorities. I have consciously spread myself a little thin in terms of the marketing I provide, because a lot of businesses I work with are … They’re around the 500,000 mark, so they’re not huge businesses. They need a lot of different marketing endeavors, whether it’s social, SEO, paper click.
Dan: They need multi-channels, for sure.
Chris Penny: Yeah, they need multi-channels, as opposed to a bigger business that might hire a la carte for different channels. That has been a big experience for me, learning what are the priorities of the different channels, how can I get the best return for these clients. That’s something I haven’t mentioned in this interview, is my focus on ROI. I think I’m probably crazy for it, but rather than saying we did this many back links for you, or we did whatever you’re ranking for this keyword, I’ve told my clients that I’m … How I get there is kind of up to me, and I might flip flop around on what the best channel is because I test different things, so they’ve had to be okay with that. That’s also another kind of niche in a way, is that I’ve … It’s been a requirement that my clients trust me, and that they don’t try and micromanage me. I found that if I start getting pulled off in different directions for what they’re asking for, I can’t give that same result.
Instead, what I do for them, is I give them a breakdown each month of this is how much money you’ve spent, and these are the leads that it’s generated, and I take it further that I work with them to get deep inside their numbers on their end to understand their margins, and their closing rates on the work that I’m generating. I have a pretty good estimate, so if I know … I make them track their closing rates, so if they don’t, then I probably won’t be able to work with them. I help them put it in the system, so they can track what percentage of the leads I’m sending to them actually close, and then I work with them if they don’t have it, to have a system to figure out what their margins are, and what their profit is. That way at the end of the month I can say this is what it cost you, and this is the profit that you got out of it.
I make sure to do it, I really try and look after them so that they don’t have to worry about it, so I do it accrual and cash-based, so they can see lifetime value of what they’re getting, but it’d be easy to kind of trick them by only showing lifetime value, so I also show the cash face, so they can see your results are actually paying for itself within two months, kind of thing.
Dan: You have the advantage of having run this business before, and understanding how the business actually has to operate from a cash flow perspective. You’re serving them as they should want to be served, you’re serving them as a business owner to a business owner, as opposed to a marketer to a businessmen owner. Very often in marketing, we get focused on our pliant, and focus on our lifetime value and say they should like this, but at the end of the day they still have to pay their employees.
Chris Penny: Right, yeah. That’s a good way to word it, what you’re saying. It was a big concern of mine coming into it, because I didn’t … I’m a horrible employee. I’ve never had a job. I was a ski instructor, and I worked at a grocery store for a couple of years when I was a kid, and that’s it. I don’t like being told what to do. It’s definitely has … The first few phone calls with prospects is kind of like are you cool with this, because if you aren’t then I’m probably not going to be able to make you happy. That’s again, another niche. The ones that I have, when I first started if I was more … If I was more desperate than I was now, I would have been more willing to bend to these requirements, to what they ask. I had one client start off doing billing, and then he wanted to bill this duct cleaning site up, so we moved to that another month, and then we popped to another one within a month. We had spent a bunch of money, and didn’t have, because we had five projects that were just half started.
That’s where I realized even if your business is ten times bigger than mine, then we need to be on equal footing here, because you need to trust me as the marketing guy to figure it out for you, as opposed to just … I don’t want to just sell ten social posts per month. It might be more scalable, and that’s where my system is really going to be really important if I want to be able to scale this business.
Chris Penny: I’ll have to have a very strong system to handle the complexity of actually providing a return, as opposed to just a list of activities.
Chris Penny: That’s again, that idea of looking after your clientele, as opposed to just working for them.
Dan: Awesome. I’m going to give you a Tim Ferris question. What’s something you spent $100 bucks on in the last month that you’re enjoying?
Chris Penny: Oh man, $100 bucks in the last month that I’m enjoying? Isolation tanks.
Dan: I have no idea what that is.
Chris Penny: It’s 90 minutes, and it costs $50 bucks, and it’s a tank that is filled, it has about a foot of water in the bottom of it. It’s kind of like a giant coffin almost, and with about a foot of water in the bottom, and 800 pounds of Epsom salts. You’re virtually weightless, you can just lie on top of the water, basically. It’s lightproof and soundproof.
Chris Penny: You get into this tank, and the ones I use are kind of fancy, they have lights that fades out, and music that kind of calms you down because it’s a little bit terrifying the first time.
Chris Penny: You’re just entering the space of your head. There are no external influences to throw you off, so it’s like a forced meditation on steroids.
Dan: How long do you go for?
Chris Penny: Normally 60 minutes, but I like 90 minutes.
Dan: Do you work your way up to that, or do people start at 60 minutes?
Chris Penny: You can jump out any time you want if you don’t like it, you’re not locked in there.
Dan: That’s good.
Chris Penny: I would start with 60. I don’t know, I’ve been meditating for a while and that helped for sure. It’s not immediately comfortable. It does take a little bit of getting used to. Your first float won’t be anywhere nearly as interesting as your sixth or seventh.
Chris Penny: It’s just this place where you can sort through your thoughts, and I find you’ll have … There’s the thought that comes into your head, and it drives you nuts, and you think about it for a little bit. Then there’s another thought that comes in and takes over, and then there’s another thought that takes it over. After about an hour of being in there, this cycle of thoughts, some of them stop coming back because you’re trying to be like I’m done with that now. Eventually you boil it down to these one or two thoughts, and then you kind of figure them out. I don’t know, there’s nothing else to do. You’re in your head. There’s nothing to look at, nothing to listen to, you’re just in your head. I find now when I’m floating, that I can’t even tell which way is up, so often it feels like I’m floating vertically when really I’m on my back.
Chris Penny: It gets really interesting once you’ve … It’s like you’re defragging your mind. You defrag your mind, and it’s all clear. Then you’re just there in pure creativity. Some people say that they have hallucinations, or they go on kind of a trip. For me lately though, I haven’t been meditating enough, so I can go a whole 90 minutes and just be bouncing from thought to thought. Usually I can come out of it with a short, concise to do list, and I suffer from a bit of a lockup, where if I have too many different ideas going on at the same time, everything just kind of freezes.
Chris Penny: That will unstick that almost every time.
Dan: Interesting, floats. I’ll check that out.
Chris Penny: Look on the float tanks, or sensory deprivation tanks.
Dan: Cool. I really appreciate you taking the time and joining us here. Guys, if you want to check Chris out, you can check him out at chrispenny101.com. Find him online, he’s on Facebook for sure. He’s quick to respond. I know I reached out to him and he was quick to get back. I really appreciate you taking the time. If you guys got something from this video, definitely hit the subscribe button, leave a comment below, and we’ll make sure we get it for you on the channel. If you’ve got something, give us a thumbs up. Really appreciate it. Christ, thanks for taking the time today.
Chris Penny: Thanks man, it was fun.