My Sky: $22,000 in Pre-sales Before His Business Even Launched - with Josh Isaak

Can you sell a product that doesn't exist?

Josh Isaak is the CEO of My Sky a CRM focused on helping small businesses increase sales, manage follow ups and run their business from anywhere. He was also part of last year’s foundation and has been killing it. Before My Sky was even built he’d made 67 presells and lined up over 100 users.

Today Josh will take you step-by-step through his journey to becoming a software entrepreneur. He gives some great tips and shares some of the life-changing advice that he picked up along the way.

In this interview you'll learn...

  • 11:09  what you can do each day to maximize personal productivity and keep focus
  • 16:44  how Josh structured his business to minimize up front costs
  • 18:37  the best sales and marketing tactics for maximizing presales
  • 22:40  how he sold the first customers without a mock-up, info pack, or physical proof of what they were going to get
  • 26:23  how he found a recruited and hired a developer without knowing code
  • 36:41  how he overcame his fear of cold-calling and started being outrageous
  • 37:21  his secret to taking consistent action in his business
  • 48:15  advice for people just learning about the foundation and online businesses

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Show Notes

Podcast transcript:

Andy: Welcome everyone to another episode of Starting
from Nothing – The Foundation Podcast and today I have with me
Josh Isaak on the show with me.Josh is the CEO of MySky, a CRM
software product focused on helping small businesses increase sales,
manage follow ups and run their businesses from anywhere. He was
also part of last year’s Foundation class and he’s been crushing it.
Before MySky was even built, before any product was built, he had
made 67 presales and lined up over a hundred users. He’s one of the
most focus guy I know. He’s totally, like, just authentic, real and
just a really cool dude. I’m stoked to have him on the show.
Josh, thanks for coming on, man.
Josh: Hey, thanks for having me. Appreciate it [inaudible
00:01:06] too.
Andy: Yeah. Absolutely. We’ve got to spend a lot of time
throughout the six months together and then we brought Josh on a
mastermind trip with us and we just got done hanging out in Des
Moines at Dane’s birthday party.
Josh, for people, let’s just give a little bit of background. Let’s talk
about … let’s first say, where were you at when you started the
Foundation? Was this a business you are working on or what were
you starting with? Let’s start there. And then tell me at the end of
the Foundation what results did you see.
Josh: Sure. Yeah. Before the Foundation started I was in a
bunch of offline businesses. I finish doing that. I was actually at a
point where I didn’t know what I was going to do. I was looking at
doing a corporate job and then I also … I saw you guy’s video with
the Foundation, I want to get into software. I thought it’d be an
amazing, amazing venture to get into.
Before the Foundation started, I actually had done a little bit of idea
extraction and got one big pre-sell before I actually start the
Foundation. Then I joined the Foundation and started exploding.
Andy: Wow. I didn’t know that.
You started just focusing on idea extraction before even the course
got going. And then at the end of, say, the six months, where did
you find yourself at?
Josh: Somewhere I never expected to be. I had a business
running, it was crazy. Like I had never done software before and I
saw the videos and I wanted to do software. I really want to be an
online entrepreneur. At the end of Foundation I had … like you said
67 clients. I had software that people are using, they’re loving it and
it was working, I was like, wow, we created something I had no clue
how to create and it’s working. I had this path and a vision of
growing an online company and that would only took me six months
tops to do that. It was incredible to be in the Foundation.
Andy: Sixty-seven people. Are these all … were they all
paying users or they just using the software? How much revenue
was that bringing in?
Josh: Yeah. They all pretty paid. We had about 22 grand in
revenue before we launched the business.
Andy: How much?
Josh: Twenty-two grand.
Andy: Oh, wow.
Josh: Yeah. You didn’t know that either.
Andy: Twenty-two grand in revenue before the software
was even built.
Josh: Yeah. Yeah. Before we launched the business. We
got a bunch of it before the software is built and then as we’re
building the software we got more. We’re in like a beta period with
the software and we kept getting more people buying into the beta
program before our product was really even full. Yeah, as we were
doing it and before, the revenue came in.
Andy: Beautiful. Beautiful. Let’s go back to the beginning.
About a year ago is when we started doing content and posting some
stuff online. How did you find out about the Foundation?
Josh: It was actually through a friend. I remember the time.
I was sitting on a couch in my house and I had no clue about online
businesses. I’ve been running painting companies and screen
companies and recruiting stuff. I didn’t know anything about online
stuff. I didn’t even know what a product launch was.
My friend came up to me and said, “Hey, this is like one of the
sickest product launches out there. Frank Kern was even talking
about it.” I’m like, “Who’s Frank Kern?” I have no clue who these
guys are. And then I watched the video and I was like “Wow, this is
really, really cool.” Then [inaudible 00:04:35] like, “I want to do my
own product launches. This is amazing. This online stuff is
incredible.” And I just started following the Foundation and Dane
and all the content that was out. It kind of started from there, start
from that first video, the ‘one word in business’ video.
Andy: Got it. Got it. You had some successful businesses
that were already running. You’ve done … what was it? Your
painting business was doing multiple six figures. Why did you want
to do something online? Like why want something else?
Josh: Yeah. You know the reason why I want to go online
is for one, it really hit me that I want a reoccurring revenue. Because
with the whole painting thing it’s like you’re always searching for
that next job. Even though I did a lot of money worth of … In the
painting company, you’re always searching for the next job. You’re
always selling the client over and over again. Whereas, if I sell
software or something which is reoccurring. I mean, you sell
someone, you make sure they’re engaged and they’re loving your
product and they’re going to pay you every month. That was huge.
And then the other thing is like … a big pain I had when I was
running my painting company is I had to be there all the time.
Andy: Yeah.
Josh: And I was stuck in my town. It was so stressful
leaving because I had these employees and jobs and I should be
there and helping out and getting stuff setup. Whereas, I saw that I
could be anywhere really working, and it’s been like that. I’ve been
travelling to Des Moines to Boulder, wherever it is. All I needed is
my computer, that’s my work, right?
Andy: Yeah.
Josh: It’s incredible. Those are the two main things I want
out of it.
Andy: Got it. So, you saw the intro video, the “Do you
know the most important word in business” on our foundation.com
site now. Then what happened?
Josh: That was probably in the summer sometime and then
that kind of put the seed in my head and I kept following the
interviews like I saw a bunch on Mixergy. And then what really hit
me, it was funny, I was actually going to a house to do an estimate
for one of the businesses I was in, it was offline business, going to
the house do an estimate. Before that estimate, I was listening to
Dane’s idea extraction call with the pool guy and I’m like, “This is
incredible,” like, “I love this. I need … this is doable. I can do this.”
It was funny because I was in my offline business like, “I need to do
this.” From that point, I became obsessed with the Foundation. I was
like, I was seeing these people get in I was like, “Man, I’m never
going to make it.” That was like … I was so self-conscious that I
wasn’t good enough to be in it, I couldn’t make it. So I started try
idea extraction on my own.
Andy: When you started trying, we put some content out
there but we didn’t give the entire framework. What was that
experience like?
Josh: It was good. It didn’t really go too far. I knew the
principle of it so it was really good to get my feet wet and realize
that it’s actually for real, like it really works and it just made me
more excited to join the Foundation. I was like …
Andy: How did you know it was for real?
Josh: Because I basically sat with the president of an old
company I was involved with. I sat over, we had coffee or
something like that and I just asked him the one question I knew like
what was the biggest challenges you’re facing and he actually told
me and we start discussing different solutions. So I just knew it
worked. This wasn’t any just … it was real what you guys are
talking about so that made me just extremely excited to try and get
in the Foundation.
Andy: Beautiful. Beautiful. So that was probably
September-ish when you were just kind of starting, running with
them on your own. The launch, we opened up in October of last
year. How was the first month for you? What was your expense
like?
Josh: Let me think back. It actually wasn’t what I expected
because we came in … I came in wanting to grow business and then
we started doing productivity and mindset stuff which was really
awesome; I just didn’t expect that and it was incredible. I think the
biggest thing I took that out first month was just how to structure my
mornings and my days and you and Dane just … I don’t know what
it’s going to be like this year, probably it’s even better. But you and
Dane talking about productivity and mindset was incredible. So, that
first month was really cool. Some I wasn’t expecting but some I
loved.
Andy: Beautiful.
Josh: Yeah.
Andy: Beautiful. When you read that, what changed in your
day?
Josh: When I did the mindset stuff?
Andy: The mindset stuff. Yeah. Let people know like what
… what did you learn from that?
Josh: Yeah. I didn’t know how in-depth you want me to
here. I definitely will tell you.
One of the biggest things I learned was the most … doing one hour
of uninterrupted action in the first part of your day. It’s so key. I
don’t know everything I learned from you guys and other things, it’s
all combined at one but like what I learned was that one-hour
uninterrupted action the first three day are your most important task.
If you do that, in the first part of your day, that’s when you have the
most will power. So, you’re going to get that done to really, really
high level and then from there moving forward your day … it goes
usually smoother because you have the most important stuff done. If
you don’t do anything that day just get done your most important
stuff in the morning. It was incredible.
And then I transitioned into running the business because when you
starting a business and run idea extraction, also there’s so many
different things to do. And if just focus, okay, what is the most
important thing I have to do now? Let’s do in the morning, get away
with because if it comes at 3:00 and you haven’t done that most
important thing, it’s really hard to do it because you’re tired and you
don’t have any [inaudible 00:10:01]. That was like a really, really
big thing. That helped me so much starting the business.
Andy: It’s so interesting. With you and Geordie and Carl so
far and all of you said the exact same thing. And all of you were
three of the top student. Yeah, for sure. It’s interesting that that’s
like a common thread that you guys all have.
First month goes well. At what point did you … You started off
with just kind of the small business niche which is a massive niche.
It’s almost like not one at all.
Josh: Yeah.
Andy: At some level. Why did you pick that?
Josh: You know what? It was a little bit of a story, and now
we’re trying to niche down.
We started in a niche and then I love sales. What happened is
they’re just starting realizing that more people have signed for a
niche actually wanted it. It was just happening kind of almost
organically so we just broadened our focus and that was … I
actually talk to somebody. It was really fun in the start because I
could sell a lot more but now it’s probably like not the best thing we
did because now it’s too hard to target. Now we’re like, we were
like focused and we’re broadened. Now, we’re looking to focus
again because you can’t market something to a high level if you’re
not focused on one niche.
Andy: Yeah.
Josh: Yeah. It was learning. [Inaudible 00:11:20] because
we have people from all over the place in our system but we still do
need to focus down.
Andy: How long did it take for you to discover the idea that
you want to build?
Josh: Not very long actually. This one … the MySky
CRM-1 was actually … it was a little different of a process than …
by the first part of Foundation principles but very much the same in
terms of mindset.
I was talking with a friend who is a CEO and I came across the pain
in conversation and I just kind of put my hand and said, “I want to
do software. I want to solve this for you.” That’s kind of how that
one happened.
I did start another one in the Foundation. I picked an industry, idea
extraction industry and then found the pain. That probably took me
about a month, a month and a half to find that pain. So, there’s two
businesses I started and they’re both different. Yeah, different ways.
Andy: Beautiful. Tell me about the CEO that you met and
where the idea for MySky came from. Like, what was the
conversation like and how did it start?
Josh: Okay. Yeah. I should think back here. All I can
remember is we’re in our office, we’re talking and she said, there’s a
105 distributorships under her so there’s separate … 105 separate
businesses that are in this very unique screen business niche. She
was saying, she wanted them to owe you Sales Force. But there was
some problems in that. It was really expensive. I was even saying,
you know, for a small business Sales Force is huge. It’s kind of
cumbersome. All I remember saying is like, I remember Dane and
you guys in the back of my head [inaudible 00:13:03]. This is an
opportunity. There’s software that they need and the solution is
probably not there. So, there was a pain that they had that I couldn’t
… those businesses weren’t growing because they didn’t have
anything to attract … stuff but they’re using Excel and post-it note
and stuff like that. I just said, “You know what? I want to do
software. I will build it for you.” I just threw that out there and
about a month later we ended up agreeing that we were going to
serve that 105 businesses niche with a customized solution that was
simpler and easy to use that Sales Force. It really happened that
simply just kind of listening to a pain and being ballsy enough to
say, “Hey, I’ll do it for you.” I have no clue what I was doing but I
said yes.
Andy: How did you know you could build it? You don’t
have a background on software, do you?
Josh: Yeah. No, I don’t. No, I don’t. I just knew that I
wasn’t going to quit and I was going to make it work. Yeah. I just
believed that I was going to deliver on it. In the back of my mind, I
knew I had. I knew there is someone in my network that does build
software so I knew. I neatly had like a way to go to get someone to
do the thing I know what I do because I have no clue how to code at
all.
Andy: Still?
Josh: No, yeah, still. I know like … I could maybe change
something to bold or italic or [inaudible 00:14:25] but that’s about
it.
Andy: Holy cow! Did she pay you?
Josh: She did. Yeah. Yeah. There was … we’ve gotten
about 15 … I think even … 22 grand might be low. I think we got
almost … I think we got almost over 20 grand from that particular
persons who build up for these businesses and then we pretty sold
another 50 businesses on top of that.
Andy: Oh, wow.
Josh: Yeah.
Andy: Run those numbers by me. How does that actually
work?
Josh: Just for saying that we want to build something for
their businesses, the 105 separate businesses. We negotiated a fee
from the manufactures. They gave us … they actually had told us
they’d give us 40 grand but they’ve given us two-thirds of that. Like
I said 22 grand might be low.
They’ve given us two-thirds of that already and then we also had the
opportunity to go and charge monthly reoccurring revenue to all the
105 businesses because they’re separate from the manufacturer. We
sold 20 of those businesses between 150 bucks and $400 sales
between 20 of those businesses. And then we also have another 40
to 50 businesses outside of that niche that we sold them the product.
That makes sense.
Andy: The 150 to 400 dollars, is that monthly or is that a
one-time fee? Or …
Josh: That was for three months upfront. So, the
Foundation model we did. We asked them to [inaudible 00:15:54]
three months upfront for exchange and 10% off for life on the
product.
Andy: Wow. This is so incredible. So, the person you found
… so you had basically this list of 105 people that were just really
hot prospects.
Josh: Yeah. Really warm, yeah.
Andy: Because their manufacturer was kind of nudging
them to do it.
Josh: Exactly. Yeah. Absolutely, yeah.
Andy: What month is this in the Foundation?
Josh: This started … so we started pre-selling that list …
the warm list of 105 in November.
Andy: (Laugh).
Josh: Yeah.
Andy: One month in?
Josh: Yeah. Yeah. We started. And then by the end of
December we had 20 sold of the 105. So we just … we’re doing
ninja stuff on marketing through list, emailing and calling and it
worked really well. And just basically doing idea extraction on
them.
Andy: You’ve got to tell me some of your marketing stuff
for people. How were you getting such incredible rates, response
rates?
Josh: Okay. Yeah. It was really fun actually because it’s the
first time I’d ever done. I used MailChimp or I think we used
ToutApp actually to begin with. Never done that. All I knew is I had
your guys’ info and then also … I had Gary Vaynerchuk in the back
of my mind saying like jab, jab, jab, jab, hook. So I give value, give
value, give value then sell.
So, what we started doing is we started giving value in terms of …
we had a list. We put a WordPress blog up and started blogging and
just gave them the access to blog post which really valuable for their
businesses. And then what we did is we said we wanted to … we
sent emails out to all of them through ToutApp so what you do is
you create a template, email the whole list. And then we said that we
want to talk to you. We’re building this program for you guys. We
do want to make sure we know what you want out of it. Basically,
we want to do an idea extraction call.
We send those emails out to list then what we did, like, the biggest
thing we did which helped us sell those 20 really quick was that we
looked at all the opens and click rates through ToutApp of the
people clicking our emails and engaging in our blog. So, anyone that
showed any interest in what we were doing either blog posts or
opening, clicking our emails, we call them right away. That just
allowed us to get all the people that were like not only warm, they
were hot.
And then from that point … That first call I had, I think, I made the
sale on the phone and I almost couldn’t talk after. I was trying to
scream and yell and I couldn’t do it. I was calling my … the other
people that were involved and I was like, “We got it. It worked. I
can’t believe we just got money.” We don’t have everything. It was
incredible. I could barely talk.
So, yeah, really just came from emailing out and calling the opens
and clicks because those are the hottest ones. And then [inaudible
00:18:41] between those sales calls we did … we did blog post just
to give value but I can talk further about the sales call. Sales call is
fun.
Andy: Yeah. Let’s talk about this. Well, one, the CRM
space is already competitive as hell and you got big players like
Sales Force and Highrise from 37signals and Base and just like a
whole bunch of products out there; many products that raised money
that have huge teams behind them. Why would you want to go
compete in this niche?
Josh: You know what? I just wasn’t scared of that. We
sensed that there were still some opportunity there because the
reason why is because we started talking with these businesses and
even though there are so many of these Sales Force and stuff out
there, they weren’t using them.
Andy: Yeah.
Josh: And they needed them and they wanted them. So we
thought that, hey, I was almost honestly embarrassed to mention in
the beginning that I was in the CRM space because I thought that
was flooded. But I just came to … when we actually make the call
and you actually talk to the market that you’re dealing with, then
you kind of really know what’s going on. And we found that there’s
so much room in it still because … A big, big reason why is because
people know the Sales Forces and they know Zoho.
Andy: Yeah.
Josh: But the problem is with the small businesses. They’re
just not usable for them. And so the battleground is for those small
businesses. I think there’s … for us we found there are some space
there.
Andy: So, when you sell somebody, how do you convince
them that you’re just not just another Sales Force or you’re just not
another Base or Zoho?
Josh: I just tell them. And then they see … well, the biggest
thing is when we do a demo or a walkthrough with them. They
basically just realize themselves that this is something different. It’s
an easy to use system that’s beautifully designed and it works for a
business. Like we’ve had people come over from Highrise from
Insightly from Sales Force all over [inaudible 00:20:34]. Just our
focus is on ease of use for small business and right now our product
kind of sells itself on that.
Andy: How did you do a demo when you didn’t have a
product?
Josh: Oh, [inaudible 00:20:45]. No, we couldn’t before. So,
how do I sell people before we had the product?
Andy: Yeah.
Josh: Okay. You got some awesome question I’d love
talking about.
The biggest thing I found was … was don’t sell your product. Like,
just be interested in them. When we did the calls with the list of 105,
the first questions we asked was, just how are you doing? How is
your business going? And just get them to open up about what’s
happening in their business. How are sales doing? Just help them
anyway you can with their business and after you’ve given the help
and actually showed interest in their business, then you have the
opportunity and the permission to tell them what you’re up to. So,
we always went across that way.
We told them who we were and what we were hoping to build but
first thing is first is that we want to talk about you and your business
and see if there’s any way we can help and where you’re at. After
that … that’s [inaudible 00:21:39] that we went into. “This is what
we’re doing. This is the offer. It sounds like this is going to help you
with what your problems are and pains are. What are your thoughts
on that?” And just kind of went to the sale from there. It was always
value first and be interested in them first and that worked. We didn’t
have to show them mockups, we didn’t really use anything.
Andy: They didn’t have to see images or like … what
they’re going to get?
Josh: No. No, nothing. I didn’t use info pack really at all for
sales before we had product. Just talking.
Andy: Incredible, man. So, where were you at? December is
when you had a bunch of people sold.
Josh: Yeah.
Andy: What did you do after you started selling people? Did
you have like a holy-shit-I-actually-have-to-build-something
moment?
Josh: Oh, man. You’re bringing me back to the pain. Yeah.
No.
Andy: (Laughs)
Josh: (Laughs) It was so stressful because those 20 that we
sold, we told them that we’re going to have a beta product ready for
them in February. We were not ready. We barely had the framework
down of the system. I couldn’t even use anything by January and so
we were hauling, hauling to get this thing done by February. So, I
was like, yeah, holy crap, man. Is this going to work? It’s the
transition curve. Like you’re on this high because you’re selling and
all of a sudden you realize, “Oh my goodness.” There’s like a really
hard thing. You come as dip and then you’re not dip and you’re like,
“I got to push through,” so you just push through and go back up.
So yeah, that was it. We push so hard to get something else at least a
little bit usable for them in February, and then we launched it. We
just said, we’re going to launch what we have and launch early and
it worked. It wasn’t anywhere near full but it was still something
they could use and give us [inaudible 00:23:23] on.
Andy: Weren’t they pissed?
Josh: No. No, not really. I think just because [inaudible
00:23:32] and we had a relationship with them. We kept giving
them value and we kept giving blog post. We did some webinars
with them to help them out. I think their biggest thing was like we
don’t want all the focus be on our product in its state. We just want
to give them as much as possible and then give them the product as
well so we kept doing things that were beyond just giving the
product. We kept giving value, value, value. I think that’s what
really, really helped. And then just setting the expectations of … this
is the first version and we’re really looking to build with you from
here. And that’s what they signed up for.
Andy: And so with that open communication, even though
the first version was super minimal and paired down, they trusted
that you would iterate with them and continue to go with them.
Josh: Oh, for sure, yeah. Because that was one … the sale
… the reason … the way we sold was that we want to build it with
you because we want your input as it’s going so we’re going to
bring you in early and not with … Yeah, that was huge.
Andy: Beautiful.
Josh: Yeah.
Andy: So, development stuff, its December, you don’t know
how to write code. What did you do? How did you find a developer?
Josh: Yeah. So, again, that was a little different with so
much [inaudible 00:24:40] the Foundation. Right away, when I
found like, holy crap, we’re actually going to build something and I
don’t know how to build it, I went to my network. I always do
things with my network first because I think that good people know
good people and …
Andy: Yeah.
Josh: I hope I’m a good person. I went to someone that I
actually had worked with a little before. Back in 2009 he helped
develop a little bit of a lead tracking system for our businesses. I
went to him and said, “This is what happening, this is the contract
we got. You want to help build this business?” He said “Yeah,” and
then I just cross my fingers, hoping he was a good developer and
he’s unbelievable. Now we’re partners. So, I went there first and I
was extremely blessed and lucky to have a really good person in my
network.
Andy: How did you structure the relationship with him?
Josh: We went even. We’re both, I think, had … the
partners had equal value in the business so we went completely
even. Some people would advise away from that but we went even
in the business.
Andy: Got you.
Josh: It was equity. Yeah.
Andy: Just put equity and then no [inaudible 00:25:56]?
Josh: Yeah. No. So, that helped me. The reason why that
was so good is because I think I would personally advise people not
to go to do such a big solution, like this CRM is a huge product.
There’s like 800,000 lines of code plus right now. It’s huge.
Andy: Oh, wow.
Josh: Yeah. Half of that are tables they said but they
literally … our programs are literary coded like 400,000 lines a
code. And there is a huge product.
The niche, the more specific you can get with the problems out
there, the better. That is a way better [inaudible 00:26:30] outsource,
to outsource the development of it. But for me, to outsource the
building of a CRM would have cost $80,000. I mean, it would have
cost … plus more than that. That’s why doing it with the partner
was so key for me because they’re not for cost. But yeah, that’s why
… hopefully will be coaching the Foundation this next year and I
would advise to get to the level three, four idea in your idea
extraction so it’s like, like you guys have said. It’s not like a one big
solution like the CRM but it’s more like, hey, it’s a solution to sign
documents online via your iPad. That’s so much easier to develop.
Andy: Super, super, super niche. Yup.
Josh: Yeah. Yeah.
Andy: Easier to market to at times.
Josh: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
Andy: So, February, you do your first release. What happens
after that?
Josh: Then, so after the first release, it was just a ton of
talking with customers and kind of being with them through that
development spot and figure out, okay, now, what do we do next?
What are the next important features? And you have to continue …
continue with being involved which your clients and see what they
want or what they need out of it. It was just basically adding
features that they needed from there and making sure that we’re
doing a good job in giving them what they’re visioning. So, yeah,
that was … our development … after the first launch of the beta, our
beta period was very, very long, like it just ended August 1st.
Andy: So, you got these presales from this group of 105
people.
Josh: Mm-hmm.
Andy: How did you start marketing to a wider net of people
after that?
Josh: Yeah. Your question … What I did is … basically, it
was really crazy how it happened. My friend runs an
entrepreneurship. He runs a group where he speaks entrepreneurs
and business owners and help some grow through accountability and
content. He looked at our [inaudible 00:28:29] he’s like, man,
people need this, more than just screen companies. They need this
so why would you stay in this? That one little niche. Why don’t you
expand passes? It was a really good deal. Let’s try it out.
And he gave me two people that probably could use it from his
group, a network of people and I called them on the phone. Without
… again, same process without showing them anything, I sold them,
pre-sold them on the phone and got credit card. So, it was whole
again. Value, value, value and then we gave them the offer and
[inaudible 00:28:56]. It was like, wow, that was like a skin care
product person and a personal trainer that we just sold on this
system as well. On the phone … it was easy. I was like, “There’s
something to this.”
So I started going to meet-up groups, like small business meet-up
group and his group of people he trains and I just started like sitting
in and just asking people again, asking people what they do and tell
me about yourself. They naturally actually asked me about you and
then I sold people on our system from there. Then we started getting
all these … other people that way. We just kind of barebones; go to
where the market is and then started working.
Andy: Wow.
Josh: Yeah.
Andy: What are you doing now to market it?
Josh: So now … it’s really fun now. I’ll tell you about
marketing and sales.
Marketing, we have … it’s really simple. We have a Facebook
group and a Twitter account which actually brings in a lot of leads
from us … for us. Other thing I do which has been really good is I
do a lot of interviews like this. I tell my story and how we started
and what we’re doing. I’ve done probably eight to ten interviews out
there and that’s been crazy for these people coming and knowing
who are in traffic.
Another thing we’re starting to do now is get our outbound going
again. I’m niching down because we need to. So I’ve chosen … I
think the market we want to talk right now, we’re going to have …
well, anyone can use our system; it is what it is. But the one we’re
going to really target is actually the trades industry and specifically
within the trades industry, I’m trying out the flooring companies. So,
flooring installation which is very similar to painting, to screen
companies, to plumbers, to roofers; all that goes hand in hand. But
I’m doing that through LinkedIn.
I’ve joined a group of 3600 flooring employees or owners or
whatever they are, on this group in LinkedIn. I am basically
emailing … connecting with every person, emailing them a bit of
like a strange question email and waiting for the responses while
having conversations about what their challenges are. And then
naturally going into our product.
Andy: What’s the strange question email for people who
aren’t familiar?
Josh: Sure. Yeah.
So, strange question email is basically an email that … a template
from you guys. Basically to gather interest from whoever your niche
is and trying to get … trying to figure out what the challenges are in
the niche. It’s that first contact with your market of asking them to at
least just give you, if they have one challenge they’re willing to
share in their business. I don’t know if I explain that right but well
enough, but that’s my view of the strange question email.
Andy: Beautiful.
Josh: Yeah. And it works everywhere so … Yeah, I was
working on LinkedIn. Beautifully I sent out five emails, I actually
got one response already so it’s great. Yeah.
Andy: Wow. So, we left off … February you did your
release. That went well. What did you spend the next four months
doing?
Josh: After February?
Andy: Yeah.
Josh: Oh my goodness, Andy. You’re asking me tough
question. I can’t remember yesterday.
What did I do the next four months? For me, I mean, our business
partner, he worked on development. I mean, just developing the
features we needed and making sure there’s [inaudible 00:32:25]
baby because there was a lot of bugs when you started doing a beta
product and keep updating it. What I started doing is trying to get
more sales. So, I was spending time in meet-up groups. On boarding
people, I’ve show them our very minimal … we’re showing very
minimal beta version of stuff. I was writing content, like blog post
and stuff just to kind of give value to our current client base and
then just figuring out what the heck to do because I have no clue
what I was doing. I was probably really, really inefficient with my
time because I had no clue what I was doing but yeah, that was the
bulk of it. I was trying to figure out how to get more sales.
Andy: What were the hardest parts in the Foundation for
you?
Josh: Ooh, that is good too.
Probably it’s the most unexpected. I came from a sales background
before the Foundation in my offline businesses. I remember in the
application, I think there was a question like, what can you help
people within the Foundation if you were to give something in the
community and I said oh, definitely sales.
Andy: Yeah.
Josh: And that’s true. But one thing I overlooked is cold
calling because I hadn’t cold called in so long. I had people do that
for me and I just went and did the sales. The most least expected
challenge and toughest part for me was actually pick up that phone
and I was so scared to do it. I told you I was in a niche and doing
other thing in the Foundation, I had to literally just call people in the
niche and trying idea extraction. I was so scared to do it. And I kind
of just halted. And I had to … it was amazing, amazing experience,
probably the one that standout for me the most in the Foundation. I
had to swallow my pride which I had a lot of it in sales.
Andy: Yeah.
Josh: And I had … and then what I did is I told my group in
HipChat, the community in the Foundation that I’m really struggling
with cold calls. I didn’t want to say it and I thought that what was
going to happen was that they’re going to tell me everything I was
thinking so I was like beating myself up and I was like …
“why are you struggling? [inaudible 00:34:39] what you do? Pick up
your crap and do it.” I thought that they were going to … say those
exact same things to me and I put the question out there. I’ve
mentioned Mitch’s name so much.
Andy: Yeah.
Josh: Mitch Bowler, he responded back and he said
something that stuck with me, it’s going to stick with me forever.
He said, “I give you the permission to be outrageous.” That meant
so much to me because when I expected him to be like, to get down
on me for not calling people, he said, “I’m okay if you’re failing.
Just go, be outrageous,” and that gave me the permission for myself
to be outrageous and fail if I had to fail. That changed the course of
things for me. And then I found my groove and my 20 mile march
where I started calling and it just started rolling from then. It was
incredible.
Andy: Tell me … So that was the catalyst for the 20 mile
march. Tell people what the 20 Mile March is. I love this concept.
Josh: Yeah.
Andy: When you talked to us in Vegas.
Josh: Yeah, 20 mile march, that was so key. It kind of goes
hand in hand with the whole the most important task in the morning.
Like it’s all kind of interconnected. There’s just one more piece to
the puzzle.
So, 20 mile march … yeah, it was a concept from … in a book
called Good to Great by Jim Collins and there’s a brief background
of it. Where it came from was two explorer teams, years ago trying
to get to the South Pole. There is two different teams led by two
different leaders and one of the teams would … they were just balls
to the wall. They are marching like 50 miles in the sunny days and
they’re just marching as much they could because they want to get
to the South Pole first. But what happened is … during the nice days
when they marched 50 miles, they didn’t have any energy to march
when the storms came. And when there was really low points in the
trip, because it was a long trip. That whole moving a ton for and
then they were halted like that just … that wore them out. What
ended up happening for … to make the long story short, is that
every single one of those people in that team died. They didn’t even
reach the South Pole.
And then there was another team to contrast that led by, I think,
Edmondson is his last name. He was an amazing leader. He said to
his team, “We’re going to march 20 miles every day no matter
what.” So, during the sunny days, they only marched 20 miles. Even
though they could do 50, they only marched 20. During the storms,
in low points, they are marching 20 miles still. They made it to the
South Pole and back to their starting point or ending point right on
time, exact same day they said they’re going to do it with food to
spare. And it was this insane contrast and that applied to business is
incredible.
Because just like the trip to South Pole, going through starting a
business especially is a draining journey. It takes so much out of
you. If you think you have to march 100 miles in one day, you’re
going to fail. If you can just say, what is my 20-mile march? What
am I going to do every day, five days a week that’s really … doable,
that’s what’s going to keep me enforce.
So, for me, I applied that to my business and said, “Every day, every
morning, I’m going to do an hour of calls or ten calls, one of the
two, and that’s it and once I’m done, I’m done.” That just kept me
sane throughout the whole thing. Now, I have my 20 mile march
now. That concept is so, so key because you can overwhelm
yourself so much and just drain yourself because there’s honestly a
list that never ends when you’re starting a business and you have to
really prioritize and fear that you can do every day that’s
sustainable, right? So, it’s crazy.
Andy, I can’t hear you for some reason.
Andy: It allows you to not beat yourself up either, you
know? Where it’s …
Josh: Yeah.
Andy: Okay. I did my thing today, that’s it. Versus … you
know, in the past, I remember just going to bed every night being
stressed because I was, like, there’s so much more to do.
Josh: You know … Go ahead.
Andy: Go ahead.
Josh: I was going to say, whoever is listening, if they can
take away that one thing from this talk, it’s so important why you
can’t stress it because even now, you always have to remind
yourself. I beat myself up because I want to achieve so much. I
always think I’m not achieving enough.
So, if you can just say to yourself like, what you’ve done is really
awesome, like look at where you’ve come from and look … and just
celebrate a little wins like, what did I do today? What was my 20
mile march? Oh, I made five emails and I got one response. That’s
incredible. That’s really, really good. If you can just be okay with
that and know you’re going to do the same thing every day because
it’s not going to … that’s not going to stress you out and just every
single thing piled up, every single five email, you do every single
ten calls you do piled up over two weeks is huge.
Andy: Mm-hmm.
Josh: If you can be okay with that, just know that that’s the
way … it’s a marathon not a sprint, that is so, so big. Such an
important concept.
Andy: It’s so true. You’re totally right. That one thing is life
changing.
I interviewed a guy last week and he told me about how he decided
to write a thousand words every single day. Within a year he had
written and published two books. I can’t remember, built some sort
of info product and had sold over a quarter million dollars. And the
year before that, he made 60 grand at his job. And it was just
because every day.
He actually built an app called Commit and I think I have one called
Streaks on my phone where every day you commit a one thing and
then you put an ‘X’ and then eventually you get a streak going of
like 14 and then it’s 30 and then it’s like, okay, there’s no way I’m
going to break my streak. We need to incorporate something like
that in the Foundation this year.
Josh: Yeah.
Andy: It’s so important.
Josh: That’s so cool.
Andy: What were some other giant mindset shifts that you
had over the six months?
Josh: Let’s see. I think doing the biggest things was just the
mindset of taking action. I mean, I look at … you guys leading the
chart in the Foundation. I mean, it’s awesome because you guys are
friends now too and it’s really cool to hang out with you. But that
amount I respect you, you and Dane as business people and Deon, I
love Deon. Deon’s become closer as a friend than I ever thought he
would be. I think it’s our Canadian connection.
But … no. Looking at you guys, I respect you so much in business
and one thing I realize what you guys do is you just take action. I
think the inability … most people, they learn and they read and they
watch videos and they learn and they read and they watch videos
over and over again and they’re doing that because they don’t want
to take action because it’s hard to take action. The moment you can
just put that stuff down and apply one thing just like this thing, like
this talk, you can apply 20 mile march tomorrow, do it. The moment
you can just put down the learning and just do something, that’s
[inaudible 00:41:31] changes. For me it was like … in my journey
was like the moment I just said “Hey, I’m going to go idea extract,”
stuff changed. Like 9% of the battle is showing up and just doing
something. Or “Hey, I’m going to send …
I’ve made so many mistakes. I sent out emails to our whole client
list and I forgot to finish the first name tag so I said like “Hey, blah,
blah, blah, blah, blah.” It was supposed to … be specific to each
person’s first name and it didn’t. It was like … it was so obvious
that I was mass emailing people. It just happens. You just take
action. But the nine other times I did it and I took action, it was fine,
you know?
Andy: Yeah.
Josh: I think that whole concept and mind shift that I’ve
just … just do it. Just take action and know you’re going to fail 10%
of the time but most of the time it’s not as bad as you think.
Andy: It’s so true. What happens when you take that
mentality on is that you do make a lot more mistakes.
Josh: Yeah.
Andy: Sometimes, it’s really painful.
I know during our launched last year, we’d setup all of over
segmenting emails and stuff before the launch started. When one
email was supposed to go out, we didn’t fill the email in like we
expected to. So, we blasted out a list of 10,000 people. The message
said, “Insert message here.” And every response like, “what is this?”
It feels really bad at the time but …
Josh: Yeah.
Andy: … it’s just a function of moving fast. I would much
rather have … making mistake like that and get bigger the results
than go slow or not.
Josh: Yeah, it is funny because as you think it’s so bad and,
like, I guarantee most of the list was like, “Oh,” whatever. Waiting
for next email.
Andy: Totally.
Josh: Yeah.
Andy: And what’s funny, what’s really interesting is like, in
hindsight looking back, every time people respond to your mass
email, it increases your open rates and it increases your credibility
with mail service and stuff. So, it turns out to be a really, really good
thing. You just feel really foolish for like a day.
Josh: Write emails like that and you get [inaudible
00:43:34] responses like “what the heck?” Yeah. So funny.
Andy: It is cool though because people see the human side.
You know? We all screw things up.
Josh: Right.
Andy: I think people are pretty forgiving when you’re open
with them.
Josh: Yeah, absolutely.
Andy: What else? Anything else people should know?
Josh: Hey, I’m glad you ask that because I still want to talk
more.
Yeah. Another really big thing is vulnerability. I have someone that
works with me now and he’s amazing. We’re talking one time I was
like, “I think,” I really think this is true. “The level to which you can
be vulnerable really correlates with the level to which you’re
successful.” So, the more vulnerable you can be around people, the
more success you’re going to have. I think that’s true for a few
reasons because people trust you and you’re real and they want to
follow you and be [informed 00:44:25] what you’re doing. It grows
you too because you have this amazing inside look of who you are
and what makes up. You can be okay with that.
I think the vulnerability thing is huge. That’s why … I chose to get
vulnerable and tell [inaudible 00:44:38] where I’m struggling with
and that was a key turning point of my journey. If I didn’t choose to
be vulnerable, I wouldn’t have moved forward.
I look at … again, look at leaders like … take Dane for instance.
Even his birthday party it was … I’ve actually did a Facebook post,
it was amazing to see him. He stood up and said the 30 things he
weren’t before he was 30. Every single one of them was this
vulnerable piece of Dane and he even started crying. And for
someone that’s successful that can do that and be okay doing that is
huge. I really think that being vulnerable leads to success in so many
different ways. And just personally, it’s so good for you. So that’s
one thing I encourage looking at people that I look up to in
businesses is being vulnerable and I like to emulate that too.
Andy: It’s so true. I think it’s really a sign of inner strength
at some level.
Josh: Yeah.
Andy: The more open you can be with people.
Josh: Yeah.
Andy: Dude, this has been incredible.
Josh: Yeah. I just love to chat with you. This is cool.
Andy: I know.
Josh: I’m glad people can listen to it.
Andy: Just hanging out, right?
Josh: It’s like people can join our coffee conversation.
Andy: Yeah. Like on our [inaudible 00:45:46] vacation.
Josh: (Laughs)
Andy: We plan these trips a couple times a year [inaudible
00:45:53]. Snowboarding one, just had Dane’s birthday party and
we did one in June that was … a dozen guys or so and rented dirt
bikes and ATVs and went 4-wheeling for the weekend and so …
Josh: Oh yeah.
Andy: This is like similar conversations to that.
For somebody in your shoe, imagine a year ago and imagine the
person who, this is the first interview they see. This is the first time
they hear about the Foundation and they’re … might be even having
a ‘holy shit moment’ hearing your story. What advice would you
have for that person?
Josh: Well, I feel honored if it’s their first time here in the
Foundation [inaudible 00:46:33] chatting. I think that it’s something
… if you’re feeling that this is scary and it sounds awesome but you
don’t know if you can do it, forget about that thought and that’s
something you have to do. I think that if stuff scares you it’s the
things that are going to grow you. I always offering that level, I
always offer like edge of being scared to death and still doing it
anyways.
I don’t know what you’re feeling. If someone is feeling there’s
something they want to do but are too scared or they’re going to
mess up, I think it’s something that … the Foundation journey, if
you are … have any entrepreneurial bone in you and you want to
start your own businesses, this is an … one of the top things you can
do, in the world I’d say. Let’s just make it realistic, in North
America, if you want to learn how to be an entrepreneur and
actually start a real business in six months. I mean, I did it. I had
never done anything in online before. I would just say that this is
something you can’t pass up.
I’m friends with you now Andy but what you guys do, it blows me
away. Going through it ones, I just want to be involved with it, any
way I can for forever. It’s so cool to see people change. I’d say that
it is the top thing, one of the top things in North America to do if
you want to start a business and grow yourself.
Andy: Beautiful, man. Thank you. Thank you for that.
Josh: Yeah, and you didn’t pay me so …
Andy: (Laughs) No, we haven’t. But you will be. Josh will
be coming back and teaching this year. So, we kind of mentioned to
Geordie that we’re hiring Peter Shallard to create a coaching
program for us and you’ll be getting certified. Some cool mindset
stuff and then coming back and helping next year’s member. So
you’ll be getting mentored not only by me, Dane and everyone else
in the Foundation but people who’ve been there, who’ve been
through the journey that you are on if you’re looking at joining,
which is incredible.
Josh, if people still have questions and if they’re still like, “I’m
confused. Tell me more,” where can they find you online?
Josh: Yeah. Please reach out to me. I love talking to
entrepreneurs and people interested at all what we talked about.
@josh_isaak is my Twitter. Isaak spelled I-S-A-A-K and you can
also look up Josh Isaak on LinkedIn or my email address is
josh@getmysky.com, so those. I’m sure that pretty well written
somewhere too but yeah, definitely, definitely contact me.
Andy: That will be at thefoundationpodcast.com. Josh is
really serious. He’s one of the most genuine people you’ll meet and
so when he says to contact him, he means it.
Dude, thank you for coming on the show today and … yeah, I can’t
wait to hangout again in person some time soon.
Josh: Awesome. Thanks Andy. I appreciate it.

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