Lee Goff is an entrepreneur who grew up in the deep south of the USA. He was raised in Pascagoula, Mississippi by people who taught him to work hard and do what is right. He started his first agency, GETUWired, in 2003 from his upstairs bedroom with absolutely nothing.
After growing GETUWired into a multi-million dollar digital marketing agency, winning the 2012 Technology Partner Of The Year, 2013 Infusionsoft Innovator Of The Year, and also the Top Company Culture – Entrepreneur Magazine in 2015, he decided to step out and retire. He thought he had “arrived!”
Through the stress of starting and running this agency, he suffered a massive heart attack at the age of 43 in the same month he sold the business.
Since exiting in 2016, he has focused all his energy on creating and implementing guaranteed ways to make starting, scaling, running, and potentially selling a successful agency easier and dramatically faster – while still being very profitable.
What you will learn
- The importance of life balance
- Life is not all about money
- How to work smarter and not harder
- How to create quality of life as an entrepreneur
- The predictable agency growth formula
- Why you need systems and processes to scale your business to the next level
- The importance of keeping your product line simple
- The 4 step agency growth system:
- Lead Magnet
- Lead Harvesting
- Automation and Pipeline Management
- Key Performance Indicators
Jeff Bullas: Hi everyone, and welcome to The Jeff Bullas Show. Now, today we have with us, Lee Golf. Now, Lee and I are actually physical distancing. I stopped using the word social distancing because it's physical distancing because we're still socializing, even though we are physical distancing, because I don't want socializing to stop or even to be distanced. Anyway, welcome to the show, Lee, and I'm just going to introduce you to my listeners. Lee grew up in the deep South of America in a place called Mississippi. He founded and grew a multimillion dollar agency, worked his ass off, made it really successful with his partners, decided to... What he did was, he said, "I don't want to work in the business. I want to work on the business."
Jeff Bullas: So he set up a management structure so he could leave and retire and sold it for quite a lot of money, enough that he could retire. But Lee had a little challenge in that he'd worked so hard and got so stressed that he had a massive heart attack when he was 43. So welcome to the show, Lee. I'm looking forward to hearing your story and some tips on how to be successful and how not to be successful, because I think that's going to be woven into it as well. So welcome to the show, Lee.
Lee Goff: Thank you so much for having me, Jeff. I'm so glad to be on here and I'm looking forward to this. It's going to be a lot of fun. And I love, I love the physical distancing incentives. I love it. I'm totally stealing that. I'm going to use that. I love that. So that's good.
Jeff Bullas: Yeah. Well, I stole it from someone else by the way, but it's okay. And they should remain nameless because I've forgotten who they are because sometimes I forget things. That's what happens if you're over 50, in fact when you're over 60. Yeah.
Lee Goff: What's my excuse? Hold on. No, but I will tell you, we're marketers. Well, none of us ever have any original thoughts. All we do is take, we steal from the people who did it before us and then try to make it better, is all we ever do.
Jeff Bullas: Yeah, exactly. Lee, let's dive into how you all got into this crazy world of digital marketing and became an agency. So where did this all start? Like it woke up at the age of three when your consciousness was emerging and you went, "I want to be a digital marketer." Or, "I want to start an agency." I'm sure that didn't happen, but yeah, some people want to be violinists at the age of three or it's thrown into their hands. So how did it all start?
Lee Goff: Well, it really did start with me at a very early age. My stepfather raised me, but he was pretty much my father. He raised me from the age of one and my grandfather was an entrepreneur. And so I was literally immersed into the small business lifestyle. And to me it was normal. I didn't know that there was anything different. And my dad being able to come to my tennis matches and just spend time with me. Which is ultimately all kids ever really want, to be able to spend time with their loved parents and things like that. And again, I didn't understand how valuable that was until I got a little older, but I knew at the age of 12 that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I started cutting grass in my neighborhood and one of my ally, he's still... As a matter of fact, he married into the family. He's a really good friend of mine, his name's Matt Parker. And he was a neighbor. And I think he was about a year younger than me.
Lee Goff: And boy, we got so competitive. We were price cutting each other. We were trying to race down the street and get there first. It was fun and competitive at the same time. And that's where I got a lot of that drop. Just seeing my father have the ability and have the money to be able to be there and support me with his time and his love, not just money, but with this time and his love, and then Matt Parker and some friends of mine having some friendly competitions and just get snowballed from there.
Jeff Bullas: Okay. So you grew up, stepdad looked after you, and he really was your dad in the end. So did you grow up in Mississippi? Is that what it was?
Lee Goff: I did. Yeah. I grew up in South Mississippi. And so it was a place called Pascagoula, Mississippi. It is a shrimp town, a blue collar town. And I eventually went on to college. I dropped out of the University of Southern Mississippi, never did graduate and floundered around in jobs for a while. And then eventually, I started working for a company in Oklahoma City. And that company had hired a web development company to do a login portal for our clients. And our clients at that time were like Boeing and Armstrong, multinational conglomerate, Fortune 100 type companies. And so this company was writing this app for us. And one day we're going to log in and there's this big yellow box with big red numbers, about this big. And it was 25, 24, 23, 22, 21. And so we called him, "Dude, what in the hell is this on this? What is this?" "Yeah, when it hits zero, the whole system is going to shut down unless you pay us more money." Extortion like literally. Illegal extortion.
Lee Goff: And so obviously the CEO got his attorney and the cops involved and all that fun stuff. And at that time, his name was Brad, I was like, "Brad, give me this project. I can totally do this." I've never written a line of code and I still haven't and I never will, but I knew how to get it done. And so that's exactly how my first agency got started, as I took that contract over, I got the people on the project and we rocked it out. And then the way I communicate, I don't communicate in tech, no, I communicate like a traditional small business owner. That really resonated with the small business community and just kept going. Just boom, boom, boom, boom. Jump ahead 13 years, we're a multi multi million dollar agency. I'm running it by the numbers, meaning KPIs, work two hours a week. And then I sold it and here I am.
Jeff Bullas: So that was... You were about 43 when you sold it, is that correct?
Lee Goff: That is correct. Yes.
Jeff Bullas: Okay. Right. So you sold it, what, about five, six years ago? Was it?
Lee Goff: I'm 47 now. I sold it in June of 2016 and I took some time off. I actually had my heart attack the month that I sold my agency. So two of the biggest life moments you can ever have, other than having a child and getting married or things like that. It happened in the same month. And I actually asked my doctors about that and they said, "Yeah, that's pretty common that whenever the stress releases in your body," and me knowing that I'm about to get paid, a lot of the stress is released out of your body and stress acts like nicotine on your arteries. Meaning they contract. And whenever you start to release that stress, they start to open back up. And that's when you get those flack moments and things like that, that burst, and that's how you have a heart attack.
Lee Goff: And so it's interesting that the transaction piece of that, what I'll call the end of the rainbow piece, the piece that's supposed to be what you worked so hard to get to. But that is when I got my heart attack. So I took like six months off, and my mom came up and I had my daughter and just took some time off, got my health and stuff back in order. And then in 2017, I started my coaching business. But I didn't do any promotions at all. All I did was just private consulting and I put about $200,000- $250,000 into creating content courses with a singular purpose and that purpose is to make agency owners' lives easier. It's tough out there, man. It's just tough. And anything that I can do to make their lives easier is what I'm here to do. It is my calling. It truly is my life purpose, passion outside of my family and daughter, obviously.
Jeff Bullas: Right. So the experience, obviously you're going, "I've arrived. I've got all this money coming into my bank account. I can sit back, rub my hands, go fishing, play golf." Was that part of the thinking? And with the heart attack, what actually happened? How did you know that you were having a heart attack?
Lee Goff: Good question. I'm actually playing golf in Los Angeles. A buddy of mine, you actually might know him, Damien Zamora. You've heard of Damien Zamora?
Jeff Bullas: No, I haven't. No.
Lee Goff: There's Damien and a couple other guys and they're pretty big ballers of the space. So I'm in the Costa Mesa Coach Club and playing golf. This is seven o'clock in the morning, out in LA, Orange County actually. And had a biscuit. I don't know if I had something for breakfast and hole number three, man, I'm like, "Dude, serious heartburn. I got some serious heartburn. And got to about hole number nine, and I was like, "Man, this heartburn is getting worse. Man, this thing is not getting any better." And I said, "I'm going to hold off for a few holes and hopefully it'll get a little bit better." But it didn't.
Lee Goff: So about hole 11 or 12, I went and pulled back to my room. A wise man would have probably went to the emergency room at that time, but I didn't. I sincerely thought it was acid reflux. I thought it was heartburn. So it feels identical by the way. At least in my experience, you can't tell the difference. It literally feels identical. It's just really bad heartburn. And so I went back to my room and I didn't eat and it got better. The pain went from like a, I don't know, an eight or nine to like a two. So I'm like, "See, I knew this was heartburn. I knew it. There was no way it was a heart attack."
Lee Goff: And so I got to bed, I woke up the next morning, I have to fly back to Atlanta. And I had 100% blockage on the lower left ventricle of which is the one you see in all the movies, the one that actually does the pushing. I had 100% blockage on the LAD, that's the main artery that feeds that part of the heart. It's a true miracle, I'm not even kidding you, true miracle that I'm sitting here before you. Half the people who have a heart attack of the kind I had, it's called a widow maker, they never get off the ground. When they hit the ground, it's done, half.
Lee Goff: Another half die on the way to the hospital. It is a true miracle I'm here. And that's one of the reasons I take so much passion and pride in trying to help. I don't want... There's no need to have to go through that much stress doing it. I will tell you the retired part sucked. I will never do that again. The golfing and the fishing and all that fun stuff, I will never do that again. I will always be giving back to the community that served me so well.
Jeff Bullas: Yeah. That's really fascinating. So I heard an interview the other day Tim Ferriss and the CEO of Toms Shoes, the one that's giving away 200 million shoes too. He actually walked away and retired for nine months and he went back.
Lee Goff: Yeah. I'm telling you it's miserable. Don't ever do it. It's so... Nobody at the age of 40 and see, here's the thing. And I actually retired from my agency at the age of 40. And what I mean by that is as I was running by the numbers. And so I worked two hours a week. I'd go in every Thursday morning at nine o'clock and I had what's called a leadership team meeting. And I'm looking for... I got a KPI book. I don't have one in front of me here, but I have a KPI book and we'd go through the book and they're explaining what's going on. And so my retirement was actually the last about two and a half years I owned my agency. And I'll tell you what, that nobody at the age of 40 is retired. Maybe in LA or New York or something, you might run across that, but you don't run across that very often in your average town across the globe.
Lee Goff: So there's not people out there hanging out that are 40, 45 that are retired and that's doing their own thing. So it gets lonely, it's boring. And you can only do so many little projects around the house and things like that. And that's when I dove in 2017 and I hired a full time staff. I'm telling you, we sat in my offices for a full year, creating all the tips and tools that you would need to scale to a multimillion dollar agency.
Jeff Bullas: So your really passionate purpose now is to help people live a fulfilled life, build an agency without stressing out and scale it without killing themselves, which is essentially what you almost did.
Lee Goff: Yeah. I was so driven that I didn't pay attention to the signs. I was in warrior mode and I didn't matter how much I hurt and how much... It just didn't matter. I just plowed straight through it. I'm here to tell you, as one agency owner to another agency owner, please do not do that to yourself. It will catch up with you. Okay. Power coach, take some of that stress out. Whether it's me or not. Okay, it doesn't have to be me, but if you hire a coach, make sure they've done what you want to do, but you must relieve some of that stress. It'll come to get you. And if you've got little ones out there, like I did, you will never get those development years back, ever. You will never get them back.
Lee Goff: And Jeff and you and I were talking about this. After they grow up, they get their own personalities, they're going to do their own things. Parents are just not going to be as cool as they used to be. You will never, ever, ever, ever get those years back. And it's hyper critical to me to help owners still achieve their business and financial goals while not giving up on the quality of life and family times. It's literally why I'm here.
Jeff Bullas: Yeah. Well, we're going to get into what some of your recommendations are to actually scale an agency in a minute. But I want to touch on that a little bit more in terms of what are some of the life skills that for being in business that you would recommend to people? You were driven, so you're working hard, you're working long hours, you're stressed. It must've been seven days a week, or near to it. What are some of the things that life skills that you think people should be aware of if they're going to, whether they're in business or whether they're just.. Because essentially at the end of the day business is part of life. So it's really just life. So what are some of the life skills-
Lee Goff: Yeah. They're the same things.
Jeff Bullas: Yeah. So what are some of the life skills you'd recommend now after having that interesting moment in time that made you pause?
Lee Goff: Well, this one's a little bit funny, but it's true. Amnesia is the one thing all entrepreneurs better have. Because you're going to make a lot of mistakes and you don't need to live in them. You need to move on like they never happened. You're going to have a lot of people come after you. You need to move on like it never happened. And this is just a good one. Again, that's a little bit tongue in cheek there, but there's some truth in that for sure. But at the top of the list would be... And this one's a slippery slope, so I'm a little bit hesitant, but the delegation of ownership as entrepreneurs, we truly believe that we can do things better than other people. And the fact is most of the time we probably can. That's what makes us entrepreneurs.
Lee Goff: But taking on that level of ownership for everything in your business, at first, it sounds awesome. And it makes you wanted and desired and powerful, but it will eventually, it's a trap. It's a mousetrap. You will get caught in that. And you will have a very difficult time getting out. So get some really solid people around you and delegate ownership to them and let them wow you with the results. I learned that from actually Eisenhower reading one of his books, one of his leadership books and it's so, so true. Another one would be, just do the right thing. In other words, a lot of people are... One thing that drives me nuts, is this “fake it till you make it” scenario. I'm sure I know you've heard this and that comment was around when we were growing up, but it's not like it is now, meaning do the right thing. Stay above the line.
Lee Goff: People will endure themselves to you out of honesty and integrity and ethics. And you want the type of relationships that will stand the test of time in both business and personal. And when you fake it till you make it, or you get those fake photos and for Lamborghini's or fake PayPal checks, whatever the hell it is you're doing out there, people know. They might not know right out of the gate, you're going to probably pull the wool over a few people's eyes. Maybe even a lot of their eyes. But eventually it's going to come back and it'll get you. And one of the most common ways it gets you is the fact that the next time you launch a product, nobody trusts you. So you can't do it. You have to reinvent yourself, literally every three to five years.
Lee Goff: And in the info marketing, you've seen it, Jeff. You know your brand is you. Your brand is you. You don't go brand some cheesy product that is dead in three years, you've got to reinvent everything Jeff Bullas is. What makes Jeff Bullas so awesome is that Jeff Bullas is sincere. He is authentic. And by the way, I've known Jeff for what, I think about three years now, we worked together a few years ago and we don't sound like we talk every day, but you obviously get to know the character of a guy whenever you work with them through a campaign. And you did the right thing again, even when nobody's looking. You went above and beyond. I think we negotiated a deal last time. And not only did you give me that, you gave me a couple of other things and that didn't go unnoticed. That's why I reached out. That's why, "Hey man, can I get on your podcast and vice versa?" So that's how you build those types of relationships. And that with no doubt, it's the things that count. That's what counts long term.
Jeff Bullas: Yeah. So what about things like, obviously, if you don't look after your body and your mind as well, what are some things you do to look after your body and mind as well?
Lee Goff: Definitely meditation and quiet time. I get up every morning and do 30 minutes of quiet time, meditation, praying kind of thing. And the one thing that I really, really did not take care of well is my health. I'm better about it now. Old habits are hard to break, growing up kind of thing. Eat organic and cardio. I'm going to tell you right now, the more organic you can eat, the better, the cleaner your arteries, everything will be, the cleaner your mind will be and make sure you get out there 30 to 45 minutes of intense cardio, just take care of yourself, man, mind, body health, you know what I mean? It is what it is. And get up there and take care of yourself.
Jeff Bullas: Yeah. Well, I used to be a runner since I was the age of 12, because I'd asthma as a kid. So I got into the habit of running at the age of 12 and really never stopped. But in the last, about 12 years ago, I transitioned to road cycling. So that's my 30 to 40 minutes of exercise along with just a good solid exercise, keep moving. I live next to Sydney Harbor. So I go for lovely walks morning and night,as well.
Lee Goff: You know what, that actually, just staying active. Just keeping, what I call for... I have a term. It's called Lee-isms and we use them in my coaching all the time, but it's called forward movement. I live on the lake here. It's not as cool as Sydney Harbor, that's for damn sure. But with a very active lifestyle kind of thing; parks and skiing and tubing and knee-boarding, and that has a big... Don't stay stagnant for too long anywhere. That definitely helps a lot as well.
Jeff Bullas: Yeah. Cool. Thanks for those insights because I think it's important for people to understand that life doesn't stop because you've got a business. It can be dragged into the vortex that can be deadly as we both heard and we both understand. So you've gone in and want to do this coaching course and you've created around the four pillars. And I think maybe it's time to actually go into that. So you've had your come to Jesus moment, as we might say-
Lee Goff: Literally. Yeah, like literally.
Jeff Bullas: ... you decided that's what's important and you're going, "Okay. I need to make sure that other people look after themselves and their business and do it in a sustainable way." So let's dive into the four pillars that is a structure you've given for people to grow their agency business. Let's dive into that. So why go, let's relive how it works.
Lee Goff: All right. I'm going to start with a quick little story here. In 2008, I learned a very valuable lesson. I think we all did. If you might have been in business at that time, we all did. Meaning, you know what, you better be up, you better optimize, you better reload your business when things are down. In other words, you don't just sit there and wait for them to reopen again. You reload, you get better. And that's exactly what I just did with my coaching business during COVID right here. I completely reloaded everything, brand product lines and everything because of all the learns that I got over the first three years. And as a result of what's called the reload program that we're kicking out, there are three primary components that all agencies must get in place.
Lee Goff: You must have an agency sales system. You must have a service framework and you must have a leadership including KPIs framework. Now, let's start with sales. We have the four pillars of a successful sales system. And out there in the agency world, I have to, and I did not know how big of a deal this was, but they don't have sales systems. They just do friends and family referral. And some of the more advanced ones do have some basic lead flow and some basic sales system, but they don't have what's called a closed loop automated sales system. So let me explain what that is. There's four pillars to it. Pillar number one is what's called your lead magnet. So I think we're all familiar with the lead magnets.
Lee Goff: What makes our system, in my opinion, a little bit better, is we focus our lead magnets around what's called pain points instead of features and benefits where a lot of people have a tendency to make that mistake. If you focus your lead magnets around the pain points, you will harvest substantially more. And we'll coach you exactly how to go about doing that. Time bound, precise and simple. And that's the formula we use to write a lot of those lead magnets. You have to be able to create them very, very quickly. And the reason you have to go to create them very quickly is because you are going to be testing them out constantly. This is not like you build out some perfect, magical little lead magnet and everybody's going to just love your design or love your copy. That's not how this works. This is simply not how it works.
Lee Goff: You will throw 10, 12, 15 lead magnets up against a wall, see which one pitch, which one resonates, and then go back and just really dial it up and take it to a whole new level. But don't put that much level of effort or energy into a lead magnet and a system until you know it works. So that's why you have to go to create these things very quickly and deploy them just as quickly. And now tip number three under pillar one is what's called prospect vetting. So when someone opts in to get these lead magnets, the way my system works is you will literally double and triple your lead flow overnight by diversifying your lead magnets and focusing on the pain. Well, that is really good and really bad. You don't want to spend a lot of time with tire kickers.
Lee Goff: So how do you determine who's a buyer and who's a tire kicker. And so you have to have a smart system that recognizes and gives them some simple steps actions on their own that they can take. And if they take those steps, then they can earn to you based upon their actions that they're a hot lead and they're worthy of your time. So you have to have a prospect vetting process in there. So that wraps up pillar number one. And so just to recap, pillar, number one is you got to bring the pain. You've got to be able to do it really quickly and you better be able to weed out the tire kickers. That's pillar number one.
Lee Goff: Now, pillar number two is what's called lead harvesting and a contact. I'm sorry. A call to action management system. Now lead harvesting is... A lot of people are like, "What the hell is that?" They don't know what to is. They're like, "What is that?" So if you have a call to action management system and these tools are relatively new on the market, I'm not talking about a web form from a CRM or in and out that. I'm talking about this actually in WordPress or in your content management system or whatever you're using. And you can deploy lead magnet like call to action sliders, ribbons, exit intents, any number of things that there's about 12 different types you can use and you can deploy them based upon the content on the page. So if you have a blog article around how awesome Jeff Bullas is, and you have a lead magnet, Jeff Bullas's top 10 ways to dominate social media or whatever it is, it's not rocket science to put that lead magnet on that page. Duh.
Lee Goff: And so whenever you can be agile, or this is called having an agile CTA management system, you create these lead magnets, and then you put them into a dynamic agile content called an action management system. And you're literally deploying them, boom, boom, boom, boom, all over the place in different content sections and you do it on your website. You do it great. I've seen it not in use and you know this stuff. And if you do that, I'm telling you right now, your conversions will go through the roof. And you've done this and you know the power of delivering the right content at the right time to someone who's reading something about that. And then of course you need to be testing and targeting constantly split testing and targeting your content to the precise person on that page.
Lee Goff: And having an agile... I keep saying content management, so CRM, but and having that CTA management system, it allows you to do that. Without having that agile call to action management system, it takes forever. It takes just too much time and you can't do it. Too much labor, but with this in a matter of 10 minutes a week, literally like 10 minutes a week, you can go in there and say, "Boom, boom, boom, boom," determine what's working. What's converting. What's not. And you start to paint a picture. "Oh, okay. That's doing that. And here's another page with similar content. I'd be willing to bet if I take that and put that over here, I'm going to get to double up on the conversions on two pages now." And all these things, they pop right off the page at you. But without a call to action management system with reporting, you would never know. Yep.
Jeff Bullas: Yeah. So this is where automation becomes really important, isn't it, in terms of what the technology allows us to do today?
Lee Goff: That part isn't a hundred percent automated, but it does lead to pillar number three of which is automation. So yes, it leads straight into the automation piece. And so what happens is let's say you're delivering this lead magnet, Jeff Bullas's top 10 ways to dominate social media. They opt in and they give you your first name and the email address. Standard, what everybody does. From there, you bounce them over to the prospect vetting process. And we have a precise process we put everybody through. And so they'll answer a few questions and they'll go through these two steps. It's super simple. Now they complete that prospect bedding, what happens then is they got the name and email. So automation's already going. Top of mind, brand penetration, all that's already going. Only if they give you the phone number does automation create a deal or an opportunity in your pipeline and set up even pipeline automation.
Lee Goff: So you have a smart system that's delivering content to the right people at the right time. You have a smart system determining whether they're hot or not. And you have a smart system that if they're hot, it's setting everything up on a tee that you need. The value in all that is that one sales rep now can do triple if not quadruple the productivity that they could do with that before having a system like this. And it's unbelievably powerful, unbelievable. It's a game changer, absolute game changer. And of course the most important part of any automation piece that you eliminate followup failure, is the 800 pound gorilla in almost every single small business. The day you eliminate followup failure is the day you take the first step to being a true successful business. Meaning that you get that contact record and that database, and no matter what your imprint, imprint, imprint, imprint.
Lee Goff: So once or twice a month at least, preferably more, you're getting your brand in front of them. High value, newsletters, education, and things along those lines, and you do it brilliantly. And so just to eliminate that followup figure, remain top of mind in your prospects with automation, and again, you'll see substantial increases in sales.
Jeff Bullas: So pillar three is titled?
Lee Goff: Pillar three is titled automation and pipeline management. And that's what we just covered right there.
Jeff Bullas: Right. Okay.
Lee Goff: Yep. And pillar four is going to be your KPIs. You got to be able to track successes and failures. And in the past KPIs was a nightmare to harvest all of that stuff. You had to go 42 different systems, things were all over the digital world out there. Well, in a close the loop system, it all becomes actually very easy. The system does it for you automatically. The only thing you have to do is make sure you track revenue in there. If you take credit cards, it does it for you automatically. Now, if you take a check, then you have to manually go put that in there. It takes you, I don't know, five seconds to go in there. And it's ridiculously simple.
Jeff Bullas: Do you use checks too? I haven't seen one for you.
Lee Goff: I haven't seen a check in so long, but a lot of people do. They don't want to pay the merchant fees of which I think is penny wise, I've gotten through it, but I get the money instantly, I pay 3%. I don't have to ever do anything again. To me, that's the best 3% you'll ever pay for your like. And so the way this system is built is as soon as they opt in to your lead magnet, it's assigning a lead source. It's setting all the KPIs up for you. And then you get this real time KPI dashboard, and this is gorgeous. I'll send you a screenshot. Maybe you can put it in the case notes, the podcast notes. And it literally will tell you all subscriptions, growth revenue, individual products, as your opportunity pipeline is there, you click on it. It pops everything up. It's all in one clean, concise KPI, performance dashboard.
Lee Goff: And therefore you can track where your money's coming from because that's entrepreneurs. If I paid to go sponsor anything, a sponsorship and event, and then I get back home and I close five deals in my head as an entrepreneur, I'm assuming that all five of those came through that event. The reality is that four of them probably did, but the fifth one probably came from something you did a year ago. It's the way it works. And so if you can associate that numbers back accurately to the lead sources, then you don't know where to go. And I'll tell you what, let me give you a prime example. This guy right here. You, we did this promo together a few years ago. I can't remember what the hell the topic was right now, but I think you drove, I think it's about 350 or something. You performed. You did exactly what you said you were going to do. And then afterwards I was very disappointed in the actual immediate sales.
Lee Goff: And it's not your fault. That was my fault. My messaging was off. It was my fault. My messaging was not in alignment with what... It just wasn't. One of the first promotions I did was with you. I was very rookie at this. I made a ton of mistakes. Jump ahead two years. I'm looking at my KPI dashboard and I see Jeff Bullas, and I'm like, "Holy shit. Boom." It went through the roof. And I don't know exactly when it happened, but at some point in time, over the next year or two, some of those 350 contacts or groups that you drove into my system came back in here. They got different things. They got whatever it was. They got different on demand or one-on-one or whatever it was. And I can't remember, I want to say that that lead source drove, I don't know, about $15,000 to $20,000 in revenue, which is really close to about a 10X return. And you could never ask for us exactly what we all are looking for.
Lee Goff: So there it is right there. So without that, I'm telling you, without that dashboard, you and I would have had another conversation. That's true.
Jeff Bullas: Well, I would have had a conversation with you anyway. That doesn't really matter.
Lee Goff: Wow. No, no, no, no, no. We're totally out of COVID. I'm all about that. But I have no doubt at all about that, but I'm talking about as far as going another-
Jeff Bullas: Yeah. I got you. Yeah, and I think that's interesting thing you mentioned was, is that people quite often take a short term approach to lead generation and business. They're not playing the long game and you're tracking actually the long game, which is actually really, really fascinating. And it's something that I really struggle with because people go, "Oh, we didn't get five sales today."
Lee Goff: Man, that stuff drives me nuts, man. I swear to you, to this day, I still have people coming to me, "I'll give you $2,000 for promotion, but I better get 10 X in 48 hours." And I'm like, "See you later." I don't know what to tell you. You don't know that that is ridiculous. Not granted you can go out there and do that in some flash in the pan kind of scenarios and you will be doing it again in 12 months. My strategy, the long game is it's a constant churn.
Lee Goff: If I'm putting 350 from you, I'm doing about 250, 300 from just my organic efforts, not including other referral partners, I'm dumping five, six, 700, 800 leads into my system. I'm sorry. I was before COVID and I will be again coming up, dumping past six, seven, 800 leads into my system every single month. And it just churns. It just constantly churns every month, three, four, 5% of those will bubble up. They'll get a book or a course or whatever, however it manifests itself. And you just got to constantly churn, constantly churn. And that's the machine that I was talking about, once you get that machine going. That machine will run for you. And that is how you create personal time and financial independence.
Jeff Bullas: Yeah. So tell me a little bit more about the business model you have. So you've obviously got an education course. You've got coaching. Can you tell us, how do you engage with your clients?
Lee Goff: Well, over the years here, we've been trying to really dial in our product line to satisfy all aspects of the agency success journey. And there are four primary phases of a freelancer who are graduating into agency and then eventually coming into, what I call a small to medium business up to about 10 million. So the first phase is what's called freelancer. That's about zero to 100,000. You typically have one or two part time contractors, no real leadership team, pretty much live and die off of the upwards to Fiverr, friends and families, referrals. You pretty much live and die in that space. The next step is going to be what's called a successful freelancer. There are a hundred thousands, about a quarter of a million. They typically have about three to five, probably a couple of full time, two or three part times, they're starting to get a leadership team structure.
Lee Goff: They might have one lead source. In other words, they can go out and do organic social media blogs or whatever it might be. And they're getting a few leads that way, but they still rely pretty heavily on Upwork and friends and family and all that fun stuff. Then from there, you get to what's called a small agency. And that's going to be the quarter of a million, 250,000 right there up to about the 1.5, $2 million. And everything just grows a little bit more. You got about 15 to 20 employees. And then at the... Anyway, long story just keeps going. You're going to have maybe one to two dedicated lead sources that you can actually go pay and turn on and scale up and scale down when you need to, you've got your friends and family's dialed in, your leadership team still it's there, but it still needs some structure.
Lee Goff: And at this point in time, it's really all about... And I don't want to use the word clone because a lot of people think that we're going to try to hire somebody like them, of which by the way, will be one of the biggest mistakes you ever made. Do not do that. How you replicate yourself in a business is not to go out and hire someone like you at all. That's exactly opposite of what you should do, actually. How you replicate yourself in business is you create systems and processes to take over the stuff you did. That is how you build and scale a business. You should think systems, processes, automation first, if you can do it through that method, we need those methodologies right there, always do it through one of those three first. Then if neither have any of those work, throw labor at it, but don't throw labor at it first. Throw systems, processes and automation at it first.
Lee Goff: And so that's it. You know what I mean? So just to be able to get out there and replicate yourself through systems and processes that's because in that small agency face space at that three quarter of a million or 650 to about 1.2 is where you're starting to run up against the inevitable glass ceiling. And you never see it. You don't know why you can't get past that hurdle, your revenues, you just can't quite break through a number. And it's usually about 650 to about 1.1, 1.2 million. They just can't seem to figure out why can't I break through this number. They're working their asses off fingers through the ball and they just can't make it through it. And I am telling you right now, the reason you can't is because you're doing too much, you did not delegate any ownership.
Lee Goff: You're probably interjecting yourself into projects when you should not be. You need to trust your leadership team and put in systems and processes. That is how you break through that glass ceiling. The fourth step in the agency's success journey is someone that just really needs to take those systems and processes and dial them in to an elite level to get to that eight figure mark. And everything at that level is very custom. That's where you're going to need to really get a guy like me to come in and sit side by side with you and work on really getting into the details of what's going to take to fix some of these problems that you're experiencing. So it's almost always going to be leadership, vision, mission, purpose, core KPIs, things along those lines at that level that you really got to get dialed in.
Jeff Bullas: So essentially you're saying if you really want to get serious, you need to actually put in processes and procedures?
Lee Goff: Unless you want to work 60, 70, 80 hours a week until the day you die, you must go get systems and processes in place. There's just simply no way around it. Or you can do a quality of life business. And I highly advocate this. I'm a big fan of this. A quality of life business is where it's just you and a couple of contractors and you focus heavily on positioning elements so you can run your prices through the roof. And you can make 250 grand a year working 40, 50 hours a week with unbelievable positioning. So there's two different ways you can go about doing that. But if you want to scale your business, systems and processes is the way, the path forward.
Jeff Bullas: Yeah. I was interviewed by a friend of mine, Mike Plener recently, who actually runs a company called Catapult. And he actually takes startups that actually had done a proof of concept, got leads, are getting some sales, takes them from there. And guess what? The systems and processes are what-
Lee Goff: Yeah. I saw a hundred percent. Yep.
Jeff Bullas: And he's doing that for startups. And as we know startups are a little bit wild, whereas I've got a great idea, but at the end of the day, the magic really happens to actually scale with processes and systems.
Lee Goff: Yeah. Another thing a lot of people have a misconception about scaling is that most of the time, people who scale successfully have a very simple product line, it's very simple. Very, very simple, unbelievably simple. A lot of people try to do everything for everyone, a Jack of all trades. They try to be everything to everyone. And I'd advise you against that. I would focus your product line specifically around the pain points of your niche. Keep it simple. You should not have any more than 20, 25 simple, but high value products. And that allows you to scale. I guarantee you if your guy's going in there, he is trimming the fat in a big way. He's making it to where he was called time to close. He is getting that product line so streamlined with what's called positioning and value props where they can really read a script, do this, and then sell something in a matter of an hour or less.
Lee Goff: I promise you, all of these numbers are critical when it comes to getting a 10 X return, and that's exactly what he's doing. He's going in there, he's trimming the fat, he's trimming systems processes, and making it to where you can take pretty much anybody outside of the road, put them in a damn chair with some training for a week and churn and let them loose.
Jeff Bullas: So it sounds like you've created a semi lifestyle business as well, actually.
Lee Goff: Well, for me, a hundred percent. Yeah, yeah. No, no. For where I'm at in my life, I don't work any more than 35 hours a week, period. That's just not how it works. I don't know. Actually the past couple of weeks I have, because I've been getting ready for a big campaign that we're going to be launching. But for the most part, I don't work more than that. I don't work more than 35 hours. I have a 11-year old little girl. So when I say that you don't get those development years back, I practice what I preach. I sold my company and pulled back to spend more time with her. I left her room there where they are anyway. And that's what I do. So I have some Airbnb units and my coaching business, just a couple of... I'm a crackhead entrepreneur myself. You know what I mean? I see a good opportunity and I go.
Lee Goff: I am definitely in a quality of life business right now. I am not trying to scale. I'm not trying to conquer the mountain anymore. I got the tee shirt on that one.
Jeff Bullas: You did.
Lee Goff: In my world, and then before I wanted to go with it.
Jeff Bullas: Yeah. Well, it's fantastic. I think that's a good segue to maybe wrap it up. But before we do that, thanks for sharing the story about what happened when you wanted to arrive, we thought you had arrived. And then the result of that, and then how you had to reinvent yourself. So Lee, how do people find you or even engage you? And so we can leave that with the listeners.
Lee Goff: It's really easy, marketingagencycoach.com. Can't forget it. Right? Super, super simple. If you go to Google, type in “marketing agency coach”, and you will see me. I will always be one, two or three, typically. It'd be very rare when I'm not, or I have a really cool Facebook group. I love that thing. It's so awesome. I don't know about 2,500 like-minded agency owners out there. So Marketing Agency Success G.P.S. Group. YouTube channel, subscribe, make sure to ring the bell. But marketingagencycoach.com is the best place to get started.
Jeff Bullas: All right, cool. That makes it easy. And that's what we like to do because it's all about making it as easy as possible and making sure we've got processes and systems in place.
Lee Goff: Exactly. Yeah.
Jeff Bullas: Okay. So thanks, Lee. It's been an absolute pleasure. Great to see your smiling face again. Good to see you're safe in Mississippi. And the physical distance thing is obviously working, but the social distance thing actually sucks.
Lee Goff: Yeah.
Jeff Bullas: Because we are socializing. So we're good. All right. Thanks, Lee. It's been an absolute pleasure.
Lee Goff: Thank you so much, Jeff. Everybody, have a good day.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.