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For this episode of E-coffee with Experts, Matt Fraser interviewed Michael Buzinski, CEO of Buzzbizz Media, a multimedia and marketing firm located in Alaska.
Michael shares his unique story of transitioning from a musician to founding a thriving marketing firm, highlighting his expertise in sales and entrepreneurship.
Watch the episode now for some profound insights!
If you fill a need, there’s no need to sell. What I did was I found how much value were they willing to invest in this particular time.
Hello everyone. Welcome to this episode of E Coffee with Experts. I’m your host, Matt Fraser, and on today’s show, I have with me a very special guest, Michael Buzinski. He is the CEO of Buzzbizz Media, an award-winning marketing firm based in Anchorage, Alaska, and currently, he’s moved to Chicago. Right, Michael?
Just south of Chicago in Springfield.
And he’s a renowned digital marketing expert and bestselling author. He has earned a reputation as a marketing visionary. His groundbreaking concept, the Rule of 26, has helped countless businesses double their website revenue. Join me today as I chat with Michael on his journey, his vision for the industry, and his mission to help entrepreneurs achieve digital marketing success.
Michael, I know you go by Buzz that’s your nickname. So I’m gonna call you Buzz throughout the interview, and I hope you’re okay with that, but I just wanna say thank you so much for being here. It’s a pleasure to have you on the show.
Thanks for having me.
Yeah. Hey, so just curious, how would your university professors describe you as a student?
They wouldn’t because they had never met me. Oh. I went to the University of Phoenix online courses. I was actually in the middle of building my first agency while I was going to college. After the Air Force. That’s, why I got out in 2005 and started recording studio. I was a working musician from 13 to 28.
From 13 to 28. You were a working musician.
I was a jazz trombonist recording jazz trombone at the age of 13. That broke up when everybody went to high school. So then I picked up a guitar, within the year we were playing I had a little punk band that played odd gigs. The first time I ever played for anything for compensation was these giant M&M cookies. We got, each of us got one of those and a bottle of Snapple. That was our first compensation.
That was your compensation?
That was Our compensation, I think we’re, oh, wow. 15 maybe. Wait, I might have been 16 by then cause I think I had a car. No, I was 15 and a half, I think so. Yeah, it was right around 15, 16 years old. And we played at the San Francisco University at their prophylactic art show. And so there’s all of this prophylactic art in front of us in this big hall, and we’re on a stage playing punk rock.
Kind of a disconnect.
I don’t, they like, we had people coming from the quad come into the hall. Oh. So we did our job. There
There you go. There you go. That’s pretty amazing. So from 13 to 28, but I know you said you were in the military.
Were you in the military? Yeah, so I, in, in that period. So I was always working on music. I got into marketing right around 16 as well. So I cut my teeth at Bass TM Tickets, which is now called Ticketmaster. Their headquarters is in Concord, California. And guitar Center. I did Sales and Marketing for Guitar Center as well. And Olan Mills Portrait Studios. I was an area supervisor for seven studios, ad ran seven studios for them in Northern California. I did all that by 21.
How did you get started in marketing then, at such young age? What drew you to it?
Sales. Yeah, so I, my, I grew up on a farm until I was 12 and a half, something like that. So right up to sixth grade. The parents got divorced.
Moved with my dad to Sacramento, California. So I was, now I got introduced to the city life. One of the things he said was, I will put clothes on your back, put food in your belly, a roof over your head, anything else, go get a job. Yeah. And so at, 13 and a half in California at that time was the earliest you could get a job. And we had just moved to Concord, California, and I went and got a job at Burger King. So about a, I did not last long in Burger King. No? no, because it just, it was boring. I think I was there for maybe eight months to a year or something like that. And so my next job was not in food. I am not, I’m doing this anymore. But I worked my way up from busting tables at Burger King up to the cashier. I was the youngest cashier on their staff and I was one of the most accurate cashiers on their staff. Cuz I could count. I think No, that was that actual thing like I thought everybody helped. But anyway, it is yeah, they’d have anyway, Long story short sales are the easiest thing to get into if you do not have an education or experience. Yep. Because people who sell things, their company sell things, will take anybody willing to try. Yeah, because back then you could pretty much work for nothing, minimum wage back then was $3 and 35 cents. So that’s all to pay you, right?
I made 4 25 an hour, no, $3, and 75 cents an hour.
That was your job, my life. Yeah. And so through the years, I just worked my way up through those. I went back to the food later in my high school. Just for ease. Just the hours at night that I could get versus the day job stuff. And whatnot. But by the time I was 17, I dropped out of high school and went to work for Olan Mills full-time. Then got recruited by Guitar Center, then got re-recruited back to Olan Mills, and got re-recruited back from Guitar Center. So, I kept getting this ladder of promotions between the two companies which was great. And so I ended up as the youngest assistant manager of any guitar center at the time in San Francisco when they were on 19 missions. So that lasted until it didn’t.
And you were doing in-house sales?
Absolutely. And marketing. So I was marketing in charge of training salespeople, doing the marketing, in-store marketing, and helping with the professional musicians who would come in. So I had Kurt Hammet, who was one of my personal clients. But I would serve all the bands who would come through town, like Green Day, Von Lawns, Metallica, UV 40, Van Halen, and all the, as they were coming through, they needed things, I had to deal with all of that stuff. Did all the marketing and merchandise for the store. those types of things. For Olan Mills, that was the same thing. It was sales and marketing. That’s back when it was like the same department, as sales and, yeah. Not sales, then marketing. But then I joined the service and, all that time I was always playing, always in a band. The ultimate goal was to become a rockstar, but at 5’6, moderately talented, and always a step behind the trends. I was, yeah, that’s another story for another day, but tell me about it. It just, and I ended up in the military because I just was hitting all of these ceilings at the time to get a, like an actual mid-management job in one of these big companies. You had to have a degree. Yeah. And I’m like, I’m not gonna sit and rot on your branches for four years. So
I hear you. Yeah, I hear you. So I don’t have a degree either. I know you went back and got one and I’ve thought about it, I got a diploma. But do you think things would’ve been easier had you gotten a degree, Michael?
I don’t think I’d be where I’m at today if I would’ve stayed and got a degree and try to work in those. One of those companies doesn’t even exist anymore. Yeah. Oh, the Mills doesn’t, I don’t think it exists. I don’t think so. Probably not Mill. It was one of the largest, if not the largest portrait studio in the country at the time. Wow. But, then Guitar Center is gone pretty corporate. I probably would’ve, if I stayed at Guitar Center, it might’ve been easier, but I don’t know. I’m an entrepreneur.
Yeah. Okay. Have you always known, okay? It sounds like you and I are similar. I got my first job busting tables. I had my first paper out when I was 12 and my first job in a restaurant when I was 14. And I’ve always been an entrepreneur. Has it been the same thing that you’ve always done?
Yeah, my first gig as an entrepreneur was picking up walnuts from my grandfather on my farm and the farm in Chico, California. He’d paid me a buck 25 per gunny sack. that was my first taste of making my own money at the age of seven and then during, and then, music is an entrepreneurial endeavor for sure. You’re marketing yourself, you’re getting gigs you’re creating art that you want to sell, and all that good stuff. And then I went into the Air Force to get out of California and get a degree. And I was like I gotta get a degree in something. And I didn’t know that. And I had my own photography company for a minute. That did outdoor portraiture, so we’d go and climb on rocks and mountains in the mountains and stuff like that. And do, you know, high school portraits in the wild instead of in the studio and stuff like that. So I always had something a little bit different. I didn’t know that I could be a full-time entrepreneur until I got out of the Air Force. I went into the Air Force at 22 and got out at 31. I was in nine and a half years. All that time I was helping some of my friends as they were getting out to market their businesses. I was marketing my bands, releasing albums, and doing those types of things. And I got into recording. I had my first computer that was bought so that I could record digitally. And so I built up a digital studio in my bedroom while I was an airman in the Air Force. And so I got good at it. I ended up having a good ear for it and the technology was, it was easy for me. And yeah, so by the time I got out, I was like I’m not hireable cuz I didn’t get that degree I was supposed to get while I was in, had way too much fun in the Air Force. And so I was like, I’m gonna have to go do something else. And so I. One of my friends is yeah, I don’t see you becoming a rockstar, but I see you managing rock stars. I was like, I would hate to babysit rock stars. They’re a pain in the butt to babysit. So I was like, but the next best thing was to record them and help them get better results than I was able to get out of the studios that I recorded in. And that was my first, that was my first mission to help working musicians get quality recordings on budgets they could afford.
Was that the first, so was that the first business that you started?
That was my first full-time business in 2004. Or Buzz Bizz Studios. Anchorage Alaska. Don’t ask me why, don’t ask me why. I decided I stayed in Alaska cuz I loved Alaska and there was no other place to go and start the business. And I had seeded my business moonlighting as a sound engineer for the local bars that had live music for a few years prior to me getting out. So I had already built up a reputation as a sound engineer in Anchorage. And so by the time I opened up, one of my first tactics was they had these units that would record live to cd. So kinda like recording on a tape. In the old days, you could record directly, so, there was this failing bar in Eagle River, and I was like, we could do Battle of Bands on Wednesdays. So nobody’s here, so who cares? And I’ll bring in four or five bands. So now you have 20 people, minimum, that are gonna be here, drinking booze, right? And ordering food. And their fans. And they’re gonna bring as many people as possible so they can get the votes to win the competition. so I would recruit four or five bands and I would record them and I would plug the output of the soundboard into the CD burner. So at the end of their set, I had a branded cd because I printed, all my information on it. And yeah. And then I put their name on it and the date that they did it. And I said, here you go. And so they had a live recording that I created for them live, and I said, and if you came into the studio, I could do even better. And they’re like, oh my gosh, this is awesome. So I actually had a multi-track recorder that would be plugged into there, so I could remix their live stuff and they would pay me extra to do that if they didn’t want to pay to come in and record at the studio. So that’s how I cut my teeth. But, While I was still in the Air Force and then I opened up my studio after that. And, by the end of the first year, I made $72,000. I kept 22,000 of it to live off of. And I realized that living off of starving musicians was a bad business plan. Lots of work
That is true. Not picking a target market is, but hey, you learned, you learned so much from doing that.
You would think I would learn better because my next target was small businesses, which don’t have a lot of money either.
I know exactly what you’re talking about.
But it, I built a multimillion-dollar company serving micro to small businesses in Alaska. We ended up, spanning out across the United States as digital. And remote work was able that, that was capable, the capabilities kept coming and coming. Digital marketing became a thing by 2007, 2008. Yes. I was an early pioneer of that. I used to teach. Digital marketing at the local Anchorage Chamber of Commerce. And the agencies would send their employees to go listen to what I was saying because they hadn’t adopted digital marketing yet. They didn’t have strategies.
How did you learn? Wow. How did you learn? I was a tinkerer? I like to, yeah, did you launch your own site, and just like for instance, Kyle Roof learned about SEO. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with him, but he learned it from launching his website with warming up some text.
It was a lot of that. I built my first website when I was in the Air Force in 1999, so by the time we were building websites, I stopped. That was the last website I ever personally built.
Yeah, in 1999, I built my website for Buzzbizz Studios. It was the last website I ever physically built by myself. Now I’ve designed hundreds of websites. For myself, mainly because by the time I had a team, I had other people. I’m an entrepreneur. I’m not supposed to be doing the actual work. I’m supposed to be marketing the work. I’m supposed to be going, finding the best fit for the business. I’m supposed to be recruiting people who are better than me. I’ve always made it a point to be just smart enough to be dangerous and then surround people who are geniuses at the things that we’re gonna offer. So it’s, I’m a strategist. So I’m an entrepreneur and a strategist. So if I have a strategy that’s gonna work and I’m gonna find the people who can execute it, and then I’m gonna go market that strategy with the know-how to a target market that needs it. Cuz I’ve never sold anything as an entrepreneur. It’s always finding people who need something and I fill that need either with a solution or a product that they want. And then that’s what we’re supposed to do. So that’s what we did. So I built out a full-fledged media production house. We had our print shop, web developers, graphic designers, videography, and audio studio, all in this 2,400 square-foot area in this old dilapidated commercial building in Midtown Anchorage. Yeah. It was, it is hilarious, but, It worked until we grew out of that, and then, we kept building it out. But then over the years, people started hearing about buzz knows a lot about marketing. Or I would just get in conversations like how are you using X, Y, and Z that we’re producing for you? And cuz I, I had imposter syndrome back then. I had it bad and so I didn’t too, didn’t think I was qualified to give marketing. Wow. So I gave it away. I’m like this is my opinion. Yeah. And they would use it in work and they’re like, wow, that was a great idea. Any other ideas? Buzz. And over a while and then I found out that giving it away to get to production didn’t always work. I would end up giving the ideas and then they would run to an agency who would then take it, take everything over cuz they have their people that they liked. So eventually we started offering the services as a paid service because then we could control whoever controls the budget, controls the production. And so I grew it into absolutely. Accidentally technically into a creative agency. It was a multimillion-dollar creative agency. We had 13,000 square foot facility in downtown Anchorage. We did everything in-house.
Is it not there anymore? Cause you said things did past tense.
No, I closed that down. I grew it broke, and so by 2018, I shut the doors. So basically I had a multimillion-dollar company and I was paying myself less than six figures. There’s, that’s called entrepreneurial poverty.
There are so many things to unpack here. Okay, so first of all, let’s back up a little bit. Sales, was there a person that, like I learned from Tom Hopkins, how to sell? I learned from Brian Tracy. I learned from Zig Ziegler. Some books I read. I also learned from being in restaurants and learning how to sell food. Did sales just come naturally to you? Or was there anything training?
It comes back to, so when I sold guitars and portraits. Okay. Yes. It was natural. It was natural to me, only because I didn’t sell anything. I was never there sitting in front of people saying, you’re going to spend this much money with me. What I did was I found how much value were they willing to invest in this particular time. So in Portrait Studio in Olan Mills, their tactic was cold call as many people to get them into the studio for a free session and then get a free eight, eight, and a half eight by 10 portrait. Okay? Now we want as many people in the studio so that we have all these individual groupings and all the other stuff. So the sales start in the studio. Okay. And yeah, and I was a photo and I was an amateur photographer it was real easy, for me to get into that. So then we’d get these families in the holding eyes. Then a week later we’d have proofs and all of those groupings and everything, and so we would show them all of the options. I would, I’m very good at the creative side of Where is, where are you gonna use this? Who can use this? Who else needs it? Just asking the questions. Asking the questions. The questions rack up their bill. Okay. Now? Yes. Okay. Done. And they didn’t understand it. I was like, you just asked questions until there are no more questions to ask, and either they’re gonna buy or they’re not. You’re not gonna talk somebody into buying. The one time I talked somebody into buying, they spent over a thousand dollars. They came back and they blamed me for spending the thousand dollars. They’re like, they pushed me into it. I was like, I didn’t push shit. I was like, you just, you had ambitions for what you were gonna do with all of these portraits for your granddaughter, and then you got hype and it was, you were in the hype. It was, yeah. You were in the moment.
That’s what we call, the ether, like in the car industry, we call it, they’re in the ether. They’re in that moment
Guitars are the same way. Guitars and cars are a lot alike. It’s because you fall in love with the image that you have when you’re either in the vehicle driving it or having it wrapped around your body. The nicer the guitar, the better you feel as a guitarist And so I would always put the best that I knew. Because I asked the questions like, how much are you looking to spend? I’m still looking to spend 500 bucks, so I put a $700 guitar in front of ’em. Why would I put a 700 guitar? So they understood what a couple more hundred dollars would give them in difference in value? And show them value. That’s my value. They created their value. I didn’t talk into a $700 guitar or a thousand dollars guitar. I just show them what else was available. Cuz a lot of times they didn’t know what their money could buy. So if they could buy it, they could buy it. I didn’t, I never sat over somebody saying, are you gonna buy this? Are you gonna buy this? Are you gonna buy this? No, I just let ’em sit there. I let people sit and play the guitar for an hour. Yeah. And if they got annoying, I give them headphones so they could sit there for two hours while I was working on another deal. And I’d work three deals at the time and my boss would be like, how are you keeping all these people happy? They’re like how do you know they’re happy? Yeah. Because they all have big fat smiles when they’re freaking giving you their credit card. I was like, yeah, because I give ’em space. Let ’em sell themselves. If you fill a need, there’s no need to sell.
And so that’s what I did. That’s so true for the first million in my business I just went out to people, then, our first tactic was selling business cards. Okay. So business cards, I sold business cards. I had a homeless guy that helped me paint my studio. He had, he needed a place to stay the whole yard, so I was helping him out. So everything was taken care of. He was good with the brush. It was awesome. So I’m giving him cash and he’s living at the homeless shelter right across the street, so that’s where he’d have to go. Like by five o’clock he had to be there so he could have a bed for the night. Okay, great. So that’s another story for another day. But sure. When we were all done, it was like what a screen you would have. I was like there’s this phone book right here. And, we had just partnered with Vistaprint. And I could print full-color business cards and sell them at a profit for as much as the local printers were selling one-in-two-color business cards. I said you need to call everybody that, every business in town that I can drive to, and ask them who prints their business cards. And after they asked that, I says, do they do full color? No. What if I could give you full-color business cards for what you’re paying for a one or two-color business card right now? I would be amazed. Okay, great. Buzz will be there at blah, blah, blah, and then set it up, and then I’d go and I had a little portfolio. You had a homeless guy doing this before and afters, all this stuff, and they would get all stoked and they go, yes, I want them. Okay, great. Can I have your graphic design files so that I can print them? We don’t have full-color graphic design cuz we’ve been doing the tube. Oh, no worries. We have a graphic designer who can do that for you for another $55. Oh yeah. And so we built up a good, and then after that they’re like, we can’t have this one in two color postcards anymore and our envelopes need to be full color and all the other things that go along now and our brochure needs to be full color. And so we would build up that and upgrade their marketing. And we get all that graphic design on the back end. Oh, where’s your website? What? What website? I heard about these websites. These are cool, aren’t they? This is what is new stuff, right? You can afford a website. Yeah, sure you can. Sure you can. So then we go to that and then we go, you need a video on your website. Video on my website. My God, that would be so cool. So cool. Don’t we got a videographer? Come over here and do a little synopsis of yours. You’re what you’re selling, what makes you different? We’ll put that on your page. That is so cool. Buzz. You’re awesome. yeah. Just fill it up from there. But it was one thing at a time with every client.
Yeah. And you had an introductory offer that was low cost. Low risk. Yeah. It’s like a no-brainer because you create created so much value. It’s so smart.
This is a funny thing. I don’t do that anymore. I go, I said I just had a consultation with a medical provider and I told him what he needed was a fractional CMO. That’s what I do now. I don’t make business
Fractional CMO. Yeah. Of course
When you’re first starting. Yeah. You gotta start wherever you can. And back then, I didn’t know that I was a marketer. Nobody gave me permission to be a marketer. Okay. I had imposter syndrome for over a decade and a half. On this shelf behind me, I have AMA Awards from American Marketing Association. Up the Wazu Visionary Market Award of the Year, marketer of the Year Pinnacle Awards, all that crap. I have so much glass and I still, in 2013, and 2014, didn’t believe that I was as good of a marker as anybody else in the state. Yeah. Even though the associations that say who is the best told me I was.
Yeah. Great. I can relate to you. I can relate to you because I told you off camera and everybody who listens to this podcast knows that I worked at a car dealership as the marketing director, and took them from the second worst dealership in Western Canada to number one. I don’t need to repeat the stats. And I still had, I had the imposter syndrome. I didn’t even know it existed. Until Jeff Sauer, I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Jeff Sauer. I’ve heard the name. He’s he owns, I can’t remember, but he’s an analytics guy, but he started his agency in any way I won’t get into Jeff, but anyway, I had Jeff on the show, data Driven, is what his website is. And he started his agency that he exited and sold and He sent down an email with the subject line, do you suffer from the imposter syndrome? And everything in that email, every line that he said was describing me. I told you offline that I spend a half hour every day watching LinkedIn learning or some kind of digital marketing videos at two times the speed, cuz I never thought I knew enough. And then I went into the dealership and I crushed it with everything that I was doing. And it was just normal to me. And my friend came up from Florida to help the dealership with backend marketing. I won’t get into it, but I said, do they have somebody, do other dealers, have someone like me? He’s Matt, nobody has anybody like you in the entire continent that I’ve met. And he was on the cover of NADA magazine, so he knows what he’s talking about. But the point I’m trying to make is I had all this success and knowledge and all these things, and yet I never thought I was good enough. I never gave myself permission to call just like you, to call myself a marketer and when. Jeff sent out that email, I might get a little emotional later. It changed my life because it unpacked the box of me knowing that I had this syndrome, so I overcame it. By the way, I read a book, I can’t remember what it’s called, but it was on Amazon. And it’s a book about imposter syndrome by a psychologist, and I realized I didn’t have to be an expert. I didn’t have to be number one. I’m not Dan Kennedy. I’m not Joe Polish. I’m not Perry Marshall. I’m not Ryan Dice. I’m Matt Fraser and I’ve learned all these things and I can implement all these things and I have a, like you, I have a knack for it and I have, an ability for it. And I can see things that aren’t there. And I, I can build funnels and I can visualize things and just, oh yeah, you should you, I can do this, I can do this and do that. Yeah. I didn’t do this and I’ve just given it away for free because I didn’t think I could charge for it like you. And so that was my moment and one thing that helped me, and the reason I’m telling you is cause I wanna find out what helped you.
Because what helped me was realizing those things and just unpacking those things. And not comparing myself to others and not thinking that I had to be the know-all, knowing everything about marketing. And that even if I didn’t know it, I could figure it out. And then I went to get my certification for the OMCP online Marketing Certified professional certification. And I scored rather high on the test. I won’t say the number cause I don’t wanna boast, I scored high, much higher than the median average of what people scored on the curve to pass. And so that helped me too. All these things have helped me. And what, but what was it, what was the, so what was the defining moment that you found out that this is a thing, the imposter syndrome, and then how did you overcome it or how have you taken steps to overcome it?
So I think the beginning was as, so you know, you asked earlier like, how did I get good at all the things that were cutting edge back in the day, right? And it’s and that’s, through just doing, right? Yeah. When I started teaching at like the Chamber of Commerce, I like and learning about digital marketing. How do you use emails to market your company? Yeah. How does social media fit into your your marketing strategy? I had agencies, big ad agencies sending their people to come learn from me. Wow. Okay. All I was doing was digging. I just dug and dug and dug, I was the strategist for my company. I finally got myself a sales staff, and all I did was go out and talk. I was the front person, just like Neil Patel, Joe Polish, and all those guys right there. That’s all they do now. Is like it’s all strategy and they have people who get this stuff done. Done. Yeah. Okay, great. So I learned from that like that was the model you did. That’s how you did that. If you’re good on stage, you go do that. That’s your job as the CEO of your company. Okay, great. Did it. The problem was, I wasn’t practicing it. I was all strategy. Okay. But I had put people around me again that knew how to take what I started with. And then they were creative enough to test things. And I’m very scientific with my marketing, so I’m, we’re always testing, okay, let’s try this. Let’s try that. The problem was, I had never thought that what we were offering was something that people would be able to pay or would be willing to pay a premium for. And so I learned that’s how I grew my company broke, I wasn’t charging enough, and I was recruiting the wrong type of businesses into my company. Okay. And that’s why the profitability went down the tube. Down the tubes. Okay. Now, That all said when I decided to reinvent how I did business.
I had to do that, I became a marketer again. Okay. I wasn’t a spokesperson anymore. I was, I went from 22 employees down to three. And I started over as a virtual company at the beginning of 2019, before it was cool. Okay. And built everything back up. I fired, and I had 300 companies that were serving with buzzbizz creative. Yeah. Down, I think we narrowed that down to I think we got it. Or like initially down to 60. And that got boiled down to 12 and then built it up back from there. Through that process, the reason for all that attrition was I was learning what wasn’t profitable, and the more I read on things that are out there, cuz this is now 2018, there’s a lot of books out there about the stuff that I’ve been doing.
I found out that I’m reading what I’ve been doing over and over and over again. And so it’s I’m not learning anything by reading these books, so I must be onto something. So I need to just keep doing what I’ve been doing and innovating, right? Yeah. How we approach SEO, we don’t call it SEO where I’m at my company because I created a methodology called digital engagement optimization. After all, all the traffic in the world’s not gonna do you any good if, nobody’s engaging with your website and converting. American Marketing Association said my mind was blown, gave me a freaking award, and I’ve been selling that ever since.
Okay. I’m creating that because I’m seeing the needs. I’m a need-based marketer. What do you need? You need new clients. What kind of clients do you need? All that stuff. So then I went to college, right? I went to college and I was like, okay, I’m gonna get a marketing degree. Cuz then if I have a marketing degree, I could then I can charge the big bucks.
I can charge what I’m worth. Cuz I’ve got all the case studies, I’ve got everything to back me up, right? Yeah. But I still didn’t feel validated there. So I went and started the marketing and I got into my first marketing class. And I’m like, this is not how marketing happens. So none of this is all bullshit.
Does not surprise me. Does not surprise me at all.
Yeah. So I changed my major immediately into small business management cuz I’m a business and maybe, yeah I didn’t do it the first time cuz I grew it broke, right? Grew. It broke. It didn’t teach me much. The funny thing is I had a minor in entrepreneurship. Because they had that. Okay. And I didn’t learn a lot, much ever there. But the nice thing was, is that it validated, it kept validating what I already knew. And then I read a book, it was called Profit First, by Mike Michalowicz.
Shut the Front Door. I know exactly what you’re talking about. Cause I’ve, you and I have had such a similar journey. It’s mind-boggling. Keep going.
I learned that I didn’t have a marketing expertise problem. I had a money mindset problem. And once I understood my relationship with money and then flipped it on its head, like Mike Michalo teaches people how to do, yeah, my world turned upside down.
My rates have five Xed over the last four years and I’m, and the amount of services that I offer has shrunk to probably about 20 or 30% of what it ever was at the height. Of my relaunch. I’m not even talking about when we had a creative agency it’s 10th of what we used to offer as a creative agency. And I’ve also learned that collaboration makes me an even better marketer. So I don’t have to learn all of the things. I just learn the things I’m interested in. And I make sure that I keep experts on the other stuff close to me. So as a strategist, I go, yes, Mr. And Mrs.Client, this is something that I know enough to be dangerous about and now we’re going to bring in this expert to execute it. And then I put the best of the best on their team so that they’ll never leave me because they’re like, buzz always puts the best tools in front of us to make us money.
Yeah. And now I’ve learned that’s my job. My job is to understand the strategy, get it on paper so that they understand it, and then put the people in place that can best execute it, and then manage that from there. And then do the same thing with SEO.
Are those people who work for you now, like they work for you when you say you put them in the business, are these subcontractors that come and work for your clients?
No. They’re other entrepreneurs that are in marketing. I just make friends with all the agencies out there that are social media agencies and anything that doesn’t have to do well, even strategists.
And SEOs that don’t do service-based businesses, cuz that’s who we focus on. So I have friends who are SEOs in e-commerce, SEOs for retail, SEOs for hospitality, and SEOs for Real estate. These are industries we do not touch. Yeah. I give that to them. And then what they do is they go I don’t wanna deal with financial advisors and home contractors and medical specialists. They’re a pain in my butt. I said I know how to talk to ’em. Bring ’em to me. I’ve got it. And so we have those three, we have those three in those three verticals in SEO, and everybody and everything gets farmed to other agencies. And we have an agreement like, Hey, listen let’s all work in our power.
And do the best we can for our clients. So we have clients forever. Yeah. And let’s make each other money. So they pay me a little extra for bringing them clients and I pay them extra Oh yeah. For bringing them, clients. So it’s not that I’m not making as much money, but guess what? I keep my bandwidth for where my team’s power is. And so now I’m more profitable because we’re not trying to figure crap out every day. We’re fine-tuning what we’re already good at.
Yeah. Absolutely. Can’t remember his name. Friends of his on Facebook. He has a seven-figure agency.
A seven-figure agency. I know who you’re talking about.
Yeah.Josh Nelson. Yeah. Yeah. Josh Nelson. I think every agency owner should read it. And how you should, so what you’ve done is you’ve picked a niche and picked only a certain set of profitable services, but you’ve also positioned yourself.
Profitable for me, profitable for you. See, not everybody’s good at SEO. Not everybody’s good at strategy. True. Some people are tactical in, nature, and so they’re good at say social media advertising. Okay, great. Be good at it. Be the best you can be. Yeah. And that will make you profitable because if you’re really good and it’s the back of your hand, you can train other people to do it. It’s scalable. But if you’re always trying to figure crap out, like when we were a creative agency, we never said no. Oh, we wanna do X, Y, Z. Okay, great. We’ll figure that out. And then we would undercharge to figure stuff out for people. Yeah, that’s the most inefficient and unprofitable way to do business is to continue to create new products per client versus having services that you’re good at and finding clients that need that service specifically, and when they don’t, be a resource for them to point them in the right direction.
Because I’m telling you right now, it’s the business that I have referred out that has created more money than the business that I tried to keep that didn’t fit. because those people are like, oh buzz put us in, in, in touch with Bob, and Bob’s the person who was gonna be a better fit for us.
He’s awesome. You should go talk to him because if he can’t help you, he will let you know who can. Okay, great. Now I’m getting an opportunity to say no more often, making me more profitable every day.
That’s unbelievable. That’s a huge story and a gold nugget for people who are agency owners to take away from this.
I hope so because I wish I’m, I wish for the day, I dream of the day that we all understand there’s more business out there than all of us combined can handle. Yeah. If we just focused on where we’re the most profitable and most passionate about the businesses we serve will be better served.
Business will be stronger in the United States. The middle class will be returned because we won’t have the haves and have-nots, will have all these people in different echelons of business all succeeding at their level and progressing through the middle class. Because some people are okay with being a couple hundred thousand dollars companies.
Yeah, they’re lifestyle businesses, but right now what we have are these solopreneurs who are trying to get to six figures and the people who figured out, oh, I can get a six-figure and get seven and seven double, and nobody in the between. And everybody wants to work either with an Inc 5000 or they want to take money from people who have no money.
You talking about the small businesses, like talking about agencies.
I’m talking about agencies. Yeah. They either got like this, it was like, Hey, we’ll work with you for 90 days and if it doesn’t do this, then we’ll work for free until it does.
Yeah, no, that’s not a way to have a business.
You’re gonna, you’re gonna work yourself out of business that way, right? Yeah. You’re gonna work or you’re going, Hey, you know what? We’re gonna go I know somebody over at Microsoft and we’re gonna get in and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Or, the people over at SPX need this and so we’re gonna sell this, and it’s like Inc 500, the Inc 500 s, there’s only 500 companies. The Inc 5000 only has 5000 companies, and half of them are marketing companies. So that means you have 2,500 companies that you’re gonna go after.
Everybody’s going after them. Yet there are millions of small businesses at every echelon in between. Find your niche, find out who you connect with, find out where you are, when you get done with it for the day and you close your computer and you say, you know what? I just helped somebody put their kids through college today. How much better is your business when you realize the things that are more important than just money?
Yeah. Being a marketer can be very rewarding because we can have such an impact on people’s lives and livelihoods.
I said all missions around that. Yeah, Entrepreneurial Poverty is something very real in this country, and my mission is to eradicate it.
Oh, I’m so inspired. Honestly, I could talk to you for another hour, but I know that we’re at the top of the hour. It’s amazing.
Oh, no, time flies.
This has been fascinating. I would love to have you back on the show. I’d love to. And just, it’s been an absolute pleasure. How can people connect with you online? Our audience connects with you online if they choose to do something.
If you wanna check out my book, it’s called The Rule of 26, and where I, yeah. I boiled down the only three KPIs that you need to pay attention to and website marketing. That’s a rule of 26 .com. And then if you wanna see what we’re doing right now my website, I’m the shoe the, with the cobbler with bad shoes. Yeah, but go to buzzworthy.biz and check out what we’re doing there.
You’re on LinkedIn?
And then LinkedIn, Michael Buzinski. Yeah. And then my podcast. It’s You are buzzworthy.biz.
Yeah. And it’s a cool podcast. I highly suggest you guys check it out. So appreciate it. Oh, thank you so much for being here. It’s been an absolute blast and I hope to get to speak to you again.
That would be great. I’d love to share.
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