August 2, 2021

The Underground Marketer Podcast

Episode 17 – INTERVIEW: Oliver Duffy-Lee Coaches Agencies to Scale to Over $20K/mo Recurring Revenue

The Underground Marketer Podcast
The Underground Marketer Podcast
Episode 17 - INTERVIEW: Oliver Duffy-Lee Coaches Agencies to Scale to Over $20K/mo Recurring Revenue
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Learn All You Need to Know About Launching a Creative Agency in a Crowded Yet Expanding Market 

In today’s episode, I interview Oliver Duffy-Lee, founder of LaunchPad Academy. Oliver is a business coach for creative agencies. He helps them build the business of their dreams by finding and winning the clients they really want to work with. He spent most of his adult life working in marketing but always dreamed of going his own way. He realized that it’s now or never – one last try at succeeding by himself. And he did. 

Less than 2 years ago, he started his own remote coaching business. Using his professional experience, through a process of trial and error, he was able to adapt and improve quickly. His business grew as well, and now his coaching program enlists more than 50 members. 

3 Big Ideas

  1. Start with your target audience in mind and build around that. Don’t focus too much on the product and how you’re going to sell it, but who you’re going to sell it to. It’s better to begin by conducting market research, figuring out what people need, and think about how you can help them. 
  2. You probably think that it’s better to find an untouched market, to start up in a blue ocean. But that’s a fallacy. You need a lot of resources to be a pioneer in a new market and success is not guaranteed. Instead, launch your business in a pink ocean where there is demand and working business models. 
  3. Focus on the outcome, not the activity. Always keep in mind the reason why you are doing it. Even though the activity is boring or makes you afraid, your goal will keep you moving forward. 

Show Notes

[00:01:17] Oliver introduces himself and shares his life story.

  • He says that he never thought he would become a marketer, even though he spent his entire career in marketing. 
  • He studied Spanish and History in university but went on to work as a copywriter. He realized he was better at sales than writing copy and he quickly rose through the ranks. 
  • When he realized that his possibility of expanding and growing further as an employee was limited, Oliver started his own business 18 months ago. They currently have over 50 members and growing. 

[00:04:19] Tudor wants to know what prompted Oliver to start his own business. 

  • Oliver says that this was not his first attempt at launching a business. In fact, he has tried 3 times before. 
  • However, this time was different. He realized that if he doesn’t quit his job and start a successful business now, he never will. 
  • What ultimately prompted him was the fear of missing out on his own potential and being stuck working for other people.

[00:06:12] Tudor and Oliver talk about the current state of the marketing industry. 

  • Oliver says that they keep a long list of all their competitors. Despite there being a lot of competition, the market is still massive – a lot of people need help. 
  • Tudor says that he has noticed that a lot of marketing agencies started popping up especially after 2018. However, many of them are struggling to differentiate themselves. 
  • Tudor thinks that this explosion in the number of marketing agencies was caused by the appeal of an online lifestyle and the low start-up costs. You only need a laptop and you can work from anywhere! 
  • However, he adds that many people wrongly assume that it’s easy to do. When it comes to creative businesses, your competition is global. In Tudor’s experience, those building local service-based businesses have a much easier time. 

[00:09:35] Oliver shares the lessons he learned from past business attempts. 

  • At first, he tried a life coaching business. But he was too young and inexperienced to actually teach others what to do. However, he recognizes that he had a strong desire to coach and work with people. 
  • The second one was an agency business on content, scriptwriting, and presentation design. His mistake was thinking too much about the product and how he is going to sell it instead of whom he’s going to sell it to. 
  • When he started his current business, he was already helping people. This time, he focused on his target audience. 
  • He says that a lot of similar businesses can’t differentiate because they are thinking too much about the service and how they are going to sell instead of who they want to help. 

[00:14:03] Tudor asks Oliver if he has any advice on finding the right market for your business. 

  • A lot of new entrepreneurs mistakenly attempt to find blue oceans. It’s not only hard to find these untouched niches, but they can also be unprofitable. You need a lot of effort, capital, and timing to succeed in a blue ocean. 
  • One big issue is when new business owners try to serve a niche that they have no passion for or knowledge of. To avoid this, put together a list of niches or sectors that interest you and you’d like to work in. You don’t want to spend your days immersed in an industry that doesn’t interest you. 
  • Another big issue is that if you manage to find a blue ocean, you are going to be the pioneer that will have to convince others why they need your service. It may sound easier because the market is less saturated, but this is a fallacy. Oliver recommends the Ikigai Exercise to help you find something that works for you. 
  • It’s much safer to go into a pink ocean, where you already know what works and you can learn from your competition. Also, Oliver advises to do market research and figure out what people are struggling with. He recommends contacting people on Linkedin and ask them questions to find the best niche for you. 

[00:23:53] Oliver talks about how he keeps track of his competitors and monitors the market. 

  • He and his business partner are constantly targeted by the ads of competitors and that’s how they find out more about them. You can either wait to be targeted or look them up first. 
  • They dig deeper and they get into their competitors’ funnel, see what their e-mail automation is like, what their follow-up is like, how omnichannel their marketing is, etc. 
  • Oliver noticed that very few agency coaching programs or consultants are teaching the agencies how to run their own ads. Tudor says that it’s much easier to get clients via ads or paid advertising for e-commerce businesses when you sell a product. It takes a lot more effort to market a service because they tend to be more expensive.

[00:26:37] Tudor and Oliver discuss the best ways to get new clients. 

  • Oliver thinks that all marketing agencies are looking for ways to get leads consistently. While everything works if you’re doing it long enough, advertising in funnels is a missed opportunity right now. 
  • Tudor finds this interesting because he tried funnels a few years ago and it didn’t really work out for his business. For him, the most successful channel has always been relationships. He says that many agency owners focus too much on trying to build a machine that will get them clients instead of nurturing real-life relationships. 
  • Oliver agrees that referrals are incredible. However, the problem with referrals is that you can’t control the quantity or the quality and they have to be based on trust. It can’t be your lead generation method because you’d be vulnerable. Ultimately, he thinks it’s a better idea to implement some sort of automated referral process. 
  • Tudor adds that past clients are another very valuable resource. He recommends collecting a list of past clients and keeping in touch with them. He was able to reactivate past clients by just following up with them. 
  • Oliver shares a trick he learned from a mentor of his: organize a party but only invite past clients. It’s a lot easier to rekindle that old connection than to start a brand new relationship with a client because it takes time to build trust. 
  • Tudor recommends the book The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes. He came out with the idea to dream 100 strategy and also talks about how to reactivate your clients, such as sending gifts. He gives many ideas of small things that you can do that can make a big difference. 
  • Oliver thinks that if you do something that 99% of your competitors don’t, you’re gonna succeed. For example, sending random gifts to people forms a nice personal connection.

[00:32:50] Oliver offers advice on how to get a stronger and more positive mindset and get things done. 

  • It’s hard. For instance, we all know the cliche of “pushing yourself out of your comfort zone”. And many people wrongly think that this means doing things that you’re afraid of. But this isn’t enough. 
  • Oliver’s definition for “pushing yourself out of your comfort zone: means doing things that you’re not even sure you can do but doing it anyway. For example, reaching out to bigger and bigger clients after you assumed you could not deliver for them. Try it out and see what happens. 
  • Another big thing is to focus on the outcome, not the activity. The person who focuses on hitting 10k/month is gonna succeed over the one who can’t be bothered to reach out to 20 prospects daily. 
  • In order to stay focused, you need to be clear and specific about your outcome. “I want to grow an agency” is not enough. You need to be more specific, such as “I want to grow to 15k/month agency with a 60% profit margin, 3 people working for me, and 1 virtual assistant.”
  • Tudor thinks that people nowadays focus too much on the process, such as hit the gym, cold-call, etc, and they lose track of the goal. While the journey is important, you need to focus on why you started in the first place. 
  • In his TedTalk, Bill Gross says that the single biggest reason why start-ups succeed is the timing of the launch. Is the market ready to receive your business? For example, Airbnb was launched after the 2008 recession, when people wanted to make some extra money or travel for cheap. 
  • Another very important factor is the number of actions that the business owner takes every day. The more you do, the more you’ll fail and learn. This can help you improve by implementing new strategies and ideas. If you think too much but don’t do enough, that’ll ruin your chances. The more you do, the faster you will grow. However, this implies doing what needs to be done, not procrastinating or doing something that’s not helping your business. 

[00:42:34] Oliver shares his advice for being objective and holding yourself accountable. 

  • You have to learn to be very objective to your own failures. Don’t beat yourself up, instead, analyze them objectively and learn from your mistakes. 
  • This will really help you improve and stay consistent. Don’t kill your progress over a failure – we all fail. 
  • Focus on why you’re doing something – this creates the motivation and desire that will push you through fear and insecurity. Knowing why you’re doing it makes you more resilient because you realize what this suffering is for. 
  • Oliver says that American runner David Goggins really helps him with keeping this mindset, that all the hardship will be worth it in the end. 

[00:45:55] Oliver talks about how he grew his business to 50+ members. 

  • He learned from Taki Moore how to go from 1-on-1 coaching sessions to 1-to-many coaching sessions. He built a group coaching program and started a group coaching membership-type deal. 
  • The key to their success was using a highly personalized outreach-based approach.  His first 10-15 clients were his dream clients because they knew each other and were comfortable. Working with them proved a big advantage in improving the course.  
  • He got his first clients by sending around 25 Looms on Linkedin every day to other agency owners that he knew. It took him less than 2 months to get these dream clients. 
  • Nowadays, they run lots of ads and help people from all over the world. They scale through an automated advertising-based approach. 

[00:51:17] Oliver shares his group coaching methodology and talks about how it evolved over time. 

  • Launchpad 1.0 was a 10-week program about finding your niche, understanding your target audience, packaging your offer, regeneration sales, and scaling. 
  • After 2 months, they realized they needed to change it because people needed bespoke services. They needed a personalized approach because they have different needs and goals to work on. 
  • They built a new program, which was the membership program. It is more bespoke – each member has a 1-on-1 meeting with a trainer once every 2 weeks. In between those 2 meetings, they are sent to the Vault (members area) where they have 12 months worth of curriculum. 
  • Now, they keep adding more and more things. Every Tuesday, they have live sessions, group coaching courses on subjects such as leadership and mindset. On Wednesdays, they have drop-in Q&A sessions. Their goal is to create some sort of community 
  • A lot of their competitors are only doing 1-on-1 sessions or only group sessions. Their differentiation strategy is including both aspects into their program and having frequent contact with their members. Their goal is to turn clients into fans. 

[00:55:25] Tudor wants Oliver to share more about how he hired the trainers. 

  • He hired trainers because that’s the only way to scale. There is a limit to how much a person can do. 
  • They had some very talented team members that they hired as trainers. However, they are still in the process of building their training side. That involves finding top-quality coaches and giving them whatever they need to build their sessions around. 
  • Every time he outsources a part of the business, it improved. They outsourced marketing, membership engagement, sales, and they all improved. Now they outsource the training and he hopes it will go well.  

[00:59:12] While Tudor is wary of partnerships, he wants Oliver to talk about his own experience of partnering up. 

  • His partner was one of his first clients. Oliver says that if there is someone in your client base that you could hire, do it.
  • Oliver admits that he is biased because he had such a great experience having a partner. However, he says it’s essential to always trust your instinct. 
  • He thinks that problems arise when one partner feels that he is doing more than the other and resentment piles up. One way to combat this is to be clear on who owns what. Don’t assign the same roles to both of you – split the tasks. 
  • Tudor adds that you need to decide on the legal issues from the beginning and that you should have the same vision and goals for the future. 

[01:04:42] Tudor asks Oliver about their hiring process. 

  • He’s trying to recruit people that he knows, usually clients. He’s looking for people who have coaching experience and are good listeners. 
  • Tudor says that this is a good approach. It’s better than hiring a stranger based on a first impression. 
  • Tudor’s approach to hiring is telling them about the worst day at work and analyze their reaction. If they have an unreasonable reaction, like getting excited (desperate) or giving up (quitters), then they are not a good fit. A good candidate will have a reasonable reaction, accepting the reality of the situation but still moving forward.
  • Oliver prefers using creative tests, such as old briefs. However, he admits he doesn’t enjoy recruiting. He has his marketing team in Romania and the client engagement team in the UK, so he doesn’t want to choose someone who would not be an ideal addition to the team. Each team can recruit its own people. 

[01:09:57] Oliver shares his experience with building a company remotely. 

  • They have one fixed weekly meeting and communicate often on Slack. For now, it works. 
  • The #1 priority for him is happiness. He ensures this in 3 ways. First, recognizing the performance. Second, giving employees the freedom to do what they want as long as they deliver. Third, the safety they need to make mistakes and learn from them.
  • Tudor thinks that the key is to hire people who have the right personality to work remotely because there are people who need more interaction and prefer an office environment. Another important trait is that they have to be self-motivated in the sense that they need to take responsibility for the job, figure things out on their own, and don’t need to be hand-held. 
  • Tudor also used to think that it’s impossible to have a remote company, that you need people at an office where you can supervise them. This is nowadays an outdated way to think about business. It’s a lot more efficient to work remotely, especially after Covid-19. 

[01:15:50] Tudor asks Oliver if he experienced any legal difficulties when starting a remote business. 

  • At the moment, all of the teams set up their companies themselves so it’s just company-to-company consultancy fees. 
  • One of the things with a virtual team is that you can no longer track the number of hours that someone works. The outcome is much more important and they are paid for doing their job successfully and efficiently. 
  • Tudor thinks that those based in the USA have a much easier time when starting a business compared to those in the EU because of all the paperwork. 

[01:18:29] Oliver’s book recommendations for our listeners.

  • Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari – everyone should read this book. It should be compulsory reading in all schools around the world. It gives you a better perspective on who we are, where we come from, and where we’re going. 
  • Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller – a recent release. It’s a lovely framework on how to build a brand and make it stand out. 
  • Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss – written by an ex-FBI hostage negotiator, a stoic who will teach you how to communicate effectively, keep your composure, and de-escalate a difficult situation. 
  • Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff – Tudor’s favorite book on sales as well. You will learn about the power of framing and that everything is framed in a way that influences the outcome. If you are struggling to sell, this is what you should read. 
  • The Challenger Customer by Brent Adamson – a geeky and dense book. If you are fascinated by sales, this is the best book that will just explain everything to you. 
  • Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins – a great book for improving your mindset and overcoming adversity. 

[01:27:35] Lastly, Oliver discusses the future of his business. 

  • There are many agencies out there that can’t afford their coaching program. So right now, they are focusing on packaging their training into something that is affordable.
  • Their goal is to attract new clients. If their clients can increase their income by using the affordable course, they will surely become academy members. 
  • They also plan to improve the academy. That’s the main innovation they are working on right now.

Recommended Resources 

Ikigai by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles

The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes

The Single Biggest Reason Why Start-ups Succeed Ted Talk by Bill Gross

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari 

Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss 

Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff

The Challenger Customer by Brent Adamson, Matthew Dixon, Pat Spenner, and Nick Toman

Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins 

Book an Agency Growth Audit with Oliver 

Oliver Duffy-Lee Website

Contact Oliver on Linkedin | Instagram | Facebook

Full Transcript

Read The Full Transcript

Introduction    00:00:03    Marketing, explosive growth, and revolutionary secrets that can catapult your business to new heights. You’re now listening to The Underground Marketer Podcast with your host Tudor Dumitrescu, the one podcast devoted to showing new businesses how to market themselves for high growth. 

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:00:34    Welcome to the underground marketer. This is the place where we deliver the real truth about business and marketing, and we explore big ideas that can help new businesses thrive and grow into big ones. I’m your host Tudor. And today it’s my pleasure to welcome Oliver Duffy Lee, founder of LaunchPad Academy, aimed at helping founders start and scale creative agencies and also marketing director at World Products LTD. So Ollie, I’m glad to have you here. Welcome.   

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:00:56    Hey Tudor. Thanks so much. It’s really, really cool to be on your show. Awesome.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:01:00    All right. So I mean, the best thing is to get into it. If you tell us a bit about your story and how you got into actually launching this business, the LaunchPad Academy, give us a bit about your history, how you developed and what made you start it.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:01:17    Cool, man. Well, listen, uh, I tell you one thing I definitely didn’t do. I definitely didn’t go into life thinking I’m going to become a marketer. I don’t even really still consider myself a marketer, but I have spent the last 10 years and my whole career so far in marketing. So that’s kind of, I kind of feel like that’s a story that a lot of people in marketing have, but I went to uni, studied history and Spanish. I’m not sure what you studied, but probably something much more useful. Um, but uh, you come out of uni with a degree in history and Spanish and, uh, you can’t really do much. Obviously you could speak a bit of Spanish, which is nice, but had nothing really I wanted to do and managed to get a job as a copywriter, because one thing you do learn to do with a history degree is write.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:01:58    They make you write loads and loads and loads of stuff. So I became a copywriter quickly. And I know that’s a passion of yours by the way, absolutely quickly, uh, quickly realized that my talents were not on the creative side, much more on the sales side. So I became client manager, account manager, account director, and soon had my own little pool of clients. And I said, literally it was actually quite big. We had, we had Volvo in my pool. We had grand vision, really big clients, GSK, big clients. And it became a point and I’m not sure, I’m sure you’ve probably had experiences like this before, but there’s this funny moment in these mid-size to big agencies where you’ve got these account directors that basically are bringing in a big majority of the agency’s money through their clients. And at that stage, you kind of think, well, I’m not really sure why I’m doing this for you guys, because I don’t have a stake in the company.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:02:53    And frankly, if I left, it could be an interesting situation. So, I had about maybe taking ownership or having a stake or equity and nothing happened. So I left and I was already mentoring a couple of, uh, my agency friends. I basically thought, you know, instead of starting an agency from scratch right now, I did two things. I sort of went into partnership with my friends at World Products. They were building an agent. They wanted someone to build the agency side of their business, so that, and then we launched, well, we, I didn’t know at the time it was launch pad academy, but I started doing proper training with agencies instead of just a bit of mentoring and about 12 to 18 months later. Now we have the launch pad academy with, you know, 50 plus members and it’s a real thing and it’s, it’s kind of hard to believe all this has happened recently, to be honest.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:03:46    Wow. That’s, that’s awesome. So, I mean, it sounds like you’ve had, you’ve built quite a bit of experience before you took the jump to become an entrepreneur. So how was that moment for you when the guys at the, at the agency you’re working for basically didn’t want to make your partner or increase the pay or do some, or share the benefits in some way? How was that moment for you? Was it hard in terms from a mindset point of view or was it like, I just have to do this and it’s the next step? And it’s just the obvious thing to do. 

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:04:19    Yeah. It was really the obvious thing to do because being completely honest, all my cards on the table, this was, this is probably the third proper business I’ve tried to launch in my life. The fourth business I’ve been involved with the first one was fairly successful, but just fizzle out. So I had tried and failed a couple of times to get something going on my own while, you know, as a side hustle, you know, and this idea of running alongside, running a business alongside this other job, which was very demanding, I clearly knew wasn’t going to work. So this was third time and it was very obvious to me that I had to quit in order to, in order to start this up. And I guess it felt scary, but actually it was more the fear of if I don’t now what’s going to happen next because you know, maybe eventually I do get some equity or maybe eventually they do start paying me much more money and then, you know, maybe I’ll get comfortable. Maybe we’ll have children. And then maybe I’ll never leave that, that felt, that felt scarier if I’m honest at that stage, because it was the third time and yeah, it wasn’t, it wasn’t scary to take the leap at that point. 

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:05:27    So it was sort of fear of missing out on your future potential if you stay. 

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:05:32    A hundred percent. Right. And, and, you know, for one, for my wife and I, virtual lifestyle is very, very important to us. We both work for ourselves. We both can work from anywhere. So yeah, that’s awesome. That whole thing was in jeopardy. If I didn’t, if I didn’t quit at that point, you know? So it’s, um, it was a big risk. Um, obviously it was a big risk to do it, but a big risk not to do it. And yeah, it felt good. And by the way, who knows, like we’re only like 18 months in who knows what might happen. It might all end in tears, but things look good the moment. Pretty good. Yeah. Yeah.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:06:05    I mean, it seems like you are building a solid foundation. I think you mentioned 50 plus members, so that’s, that’s very good. Hmm. Yeah. Yeah.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:06:13    I know the membership, the membership is growing amazingly. Well, I can’t believe how big the market is today. If I, if I was to show you, um, my business partner and I, we have, uh, a nice collection of all of our competitors, basically people who on the, on the surface do exactly the same as us. It’s a pretty long list. There’s like, there’s like hundreds of, of people like us. And we just find the market’s massive. Still, there are so many agency owners that need help. So yeah, I’m kind of amazed. That’s one of the things that surprised me the most. 

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:06:44    It’s one of the interesting things I’ve been noticing this trend as well. So I would say from 2018 to today, there has been a massive explosion of, uh, marketing agencies. Yeah. I’ve been in this field for about nine, 10 years. Maybe now, initially also started as a copywriter, similar to you. And the thing is that yeah, there has been this explosion of agencies and a lot of them are struggling to differentiate themselves from what I’ve noticed back when I started doing this kind of work and I went freelance, there wasn’t anywhere near as much competition.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:07:21    Um, why do you think there’s this, uh, this new influx since 2018? 

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:07:24    I’m not exactly sure, but I think that the online lifestyle has been promoted a lot more. There’s a lot more coaches and people who are selling courses about how people can make an income through the internet or online. And since agencies are relatively straightforward to open, I mean, it doesn’t take a big capital, right? It’s a creative business. You don’t need to have a lot of assets you can work from anywhere. I think that it attracts a lot of people.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:07:56    I think you’re completely right. It’s funny. It’s a low start-up cost. You can start out with basically a laptop, at least that’s what people tell you. And that is in theory true. Yeah. It’s low barriers for entry and probably those skills that people have, whether it’s content creation or copywriting or design can be done with fairly low, like you don’t need lots of moving parts. Right?  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:08:17    Absolutely. And I think that one thing that many people don’t get, you know, they, they just looked at, it said it’s a low barrier to entry. But the thing is that I think that this business is a lot more difficult than a lot of other businesses that you can do, especially since with creative businesses, your competition really is pretty much global it’s work that can be done from the distance. Um, and anybody can compete with you. The, the pool of competitors is much larger. So I look at people for example, who are building local service businesses, and they have a much easier time, especially online, you know, competition is much lower. 

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:08:58    Um, much easier for them to target, um, high intent traffic through Google ads and things of that as well. Yeah, yeah.

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:09:04    Exactly. Exactly. So, I mean, you told me something that interested me a lot. So you mentioned that Launchpad academy is not your first entrepreneurial venture. So I was wondering if you can tell us, or if you’re, if you’re happy to tell us a bit more about the other ventures that you tried beforehand. And basically I think that listeners would be very interested to know basically what lessons you took from them, why they didn’t work out if that was the case and how you moved forward from that.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:09:35    Yeah, of course my friends. So really, really nice timing to ask me that question, because the first one I wanted to do was going to be a type of coaching business. Uh, so that kind of has happened. I mean, both of these weirdly now have kind of happened, right? So the first thing was going to be some sort of coaching business. It was going to be more to do with live coaching, more sort of slanted towards communication is that classic thing, right. Of like a 27 year old that wants to teach everyone how to live life. Yeah, yeah. Um, no experience, no real hard times to teach people about, you know, so it was very misguided, but I guess what was in there that I could see was this really strong desire to coach people into work with people and try and help them transform.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:10:15    Right? So that was nice. That completely failed. And actually both of these failed for the same reason, I tell you in a second, the second one was more of an agency business. And that was more to do with basically content script writing presentation design. And that didn’t work out as simply because well, both of them didn’t work out because I started with the mindset of, this is what I’m going to sell, and this is how I’m going to sell it. And no point in my mind, did I ever think, who am I selling it to? And what’s their problem. So I had, I was building these weird little businesses around selling things, selling services or selling courses or selling something and had no, I had spent no time at all thinking about the exact person, the very specific type of person that wanted my I stuff and what problem they had that I was solving.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:11:07    Okay. And so from what’s happening now is, um, I went into this, fell into Launchpad because I was already helping people. I was already helping agency owners to do this very specific thing, which is grow that business. And therefore the whole business, the whole academy started around, you know, exactly who you’re helping, you know exactly what problem they have. It turns out they had these, these agency owners have about 20 more problems, which are just as important that we sit now and help them solve. But it starts with a very specific problem, which these people don’t know how to find them when clients, and as much as simple as that sounds, the first two businesses I had, I had spent no time thinking about that. And it’s very interesting what you said just a second ago. You said lots of agencies out there finding it hard to differentiate themselves.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:11:51    One of the big problems that agencies have when it comes to differentiating themselves is that they make the mistake that I made in my first two ventures, which is they’re thinking about what is the service they want to sell and how are they going to sell it? So what’s the service and what’s the marketing technique I’m gonna use to sell it. Is it cold email? Is it called DM? Is it LinkedIn DM? And that’s probably the question I get the most from, um, struggling agency owners who, who just reach out to me, should I do cold email? Shall I say cold DM, should I do cold LinkedIn outreach? So people are thinking about what they’re going to sell, and they’re thinking about how they’re going to sell it and not thinking about who’s the very specific person they’re going to help. And what is the really unique problem that they have that no one else is serving for them. And I think if you switch, if you switch your mindset around, it seems very simple. You may, by the way, come out with the same answer. It’s very possible. We may come up with the same answer, but it’s unlikely to be a service that you come out as the answer is much more likely to be a problem with a solution attached to it. Does that make sense? 

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:12:54    Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, I’ve seen this problem, not just with agencies, but with a lot of new entrepreneurs, generally. In fact, we had an episode before, which was titled something like start from who, not from what, which was, yeah. It was getting at a very similar idea to what you’re talking about. And I agree that that’s very important. I mean, it’s very interesting how, um, as a copywriter, you know, you, you learn that you have to focus on the client, but somehow when you try to do this for yourself, you always have the tendency to think of what service and how am I going to reach out to them first.

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:13:34    Do you have any tips to give people about a sort of process that they should go through when they’re starting with who. So how should they go about finding a market that they would like to approach? I mean, there’s a lot of ways to get to this. I mean, some people say, you know, you should start from something that’s economically viable. Others say, think about the stuff that you know, what to do and people who could be helped by it. So do you have any advice on that? Yeah,  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:14:03    Of course. I mean, look, there’s a massive push in the agency world to find blue oceans, right? So find these niches, which are just completely unserved by anyone ever. And there’s so many issues with that. There’s two big ones. One is that what ends up happening is there are these really talented agency owners that are serving a niche, which they have no idea about, and they don’t care about air conditioning, roofing, windows, and doors, skip hire. If you are genuinely passionate about skip hire, right? And you have spent a few years sort of understanding that industry, you might be a perfect ads person for a skip hire business. If you haven’t, if you’re a marketer and you have no interest in skip hire at all, I wouldn’t bother because going to spend your life talking about skip hire, you’re not going to be talking about ads.

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:14:55    You’re gonna be talking about skip hire. So I think the first thing is when you put together a list of choices, for which niche, which sector you want to work in, make sure that every single one on that list actually interests you. You don’t have to be madly passionate about it, but make sure it at least interests you, because let me be very clear. You’re going to be spending your days immersed in that industry. So if it doesn’t interest you on some level, you might as well go and be a lawyer or go and be an accountant or librarian, because it’s the same thing, right? Yeah. Second thing. That’s a problem with this is that if you find the truly perfect blue ocean, so say you managed, you win the, you win the niche game and you find this niche, which is absolutely unserved, okay. Then you’re going to have a much bigger problem.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:15:43    And that problem is that you are going to be the pioneer that has to go into that sector and convince them that they need your service because that, that sector has never been touched by your service. Let’s imagine this Facebook ads and let’s imagine you’re an ad agency and you’ve decided let’s go with the skip hiew thing again, you’re the first ad agency ever in the skip hire industry. Well, you’re the person that’s going to have to convince every skip hiring business that ads can work for their business. And that is much harder thing than to convince someone that you’re more, you’re better than your competitor. So I think the first thing is, don’t worry too much about this blue ocean stuff. I understand it might be easier. It’s less saturated, but it’s not that important. Really. It’s not that important. The second thing is, make sure you are actually passionate about this thing, what we use for this. We use an adaptation of the Ikigai exercise. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of that. Yeah,  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:16:34    I know it. It’s great. Yeah,  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:16:36    Exactly. So Ikigai trying to help you. It’s a Japanese methodology trying to help you to find your true calling your true meaning right now. That’s a great place to start after that then. Yeah. You can do a bit of market research. You can look at, for example, look on LinkedIn, how many available second and third connections do you have in that particular sector? How many can you reach within a one or two connection requests in that sector could be a good place to start to see how big or how available that is, but only start doing market selections stuff. Once you have decided a list that you’re actually passionate or interested in. Yeah. That’s,  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:17:14    That’s absolutely fantastic advice. I wanted to go back a bit to what you said about blue oceans. And that’s very, very interesting because it’s one of the things that I was also talking about recently, a lot of people that there’s this idea of being that has been promoted, that you have to go issue starting a business after he blue ocean, and that’s how you’re going to be successful. And I agree with you that that’s not actually how you have the best chance let’s say of being successful. The thing with blue oceans. I think that you’re absolutely right about that. I mean, if you’re the first there, if you’re the pioneer, what people don’t realize is that it’s going to take a lot of money for you to make it work. I mean, if you go back to the days of say PCs, when PCs were first invented in the seventies, those companies spent hundreds of millions of dollars. And by the eighties, you know, by the mid eighties, approximately 10 years after PCs still didn’t have mass adoption. So I think that a lot of people underestimate the effort and just the amount of capital that is required to truly conquer a blue ocean. Sure. The rewards, if you manage to do it are great, but it’s also exceedingly difficult. I like the idea of a pink ocean, you know, won some competition, but not too much.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:18:36    I completely agree. Nothing scares me more than the blue ocean too. Honestly, I I’m terrified of them. I’m terrified on this so much. There’s so much danger in a blue ocean, right? So first of all, let me tell you, our competitors are an infinite source of amazing ideas. So when we are obsessed with our competitors in a really healthy way, we love watching our competitors. We love getting in their marketing funnels. We love being in their programs. And just seeing what they’re doing that for me is such an under leveraged advantage of being in a reddish ocean is you have infinite sources of amazing ideas when it comes to marketing and delivery and delighting clients, okay, blue ocean. You’ve got none of that. You’ve also got to do this whole convincing thing, which is true. And what I should say is I’ll be very clear, like my expertise very much is rooted in the agency industry.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:19:23    I would imagine that if you took an industry, for example, like the SAS business, you wouldn’t want a very red ocean, right? Because then you’re going to be, you can only compete on features. You can’t compete on personality or rental relationships. And then you’re on a price down to the bottom. So, you know, a space like, um, for example, I guess there’s lots of artists. So you wanna find a pretty bright blue ocean for that, but in our industry, what we’re talking about in marketing in the agency world, honestly run from the hills. If you see a blue ocean, if you actually find that, find one, run for the hills and look for something a little more pinkish, a little more reddish, because it’s just going to make your life so much easier.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:20:03    Yeah. I can definitely agree with that. And I mean, I work with businesses with quite a bit. I work mainly in finance, in the finance niche, but I’ve also worked with coaches and with e-commerce businesses quite extensively. And I’ve seen this idea be true pretty much across the board. It’s much safer if you go into a pink ocean where there are already models that work and that you can look into, as you said, you can see what your competitors are doing and you can do it better than they do it. It’s much safer, you know, that it’s going to work. Whereas if you go into a blue ocean and it’s completely blue, then you don’t have any idea.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:20:42    Yeah. A hundred percent. I would say this as well. Just going back to something we were saying before on, on niches, right. And blue, this is related to the blue ocean thing. Because one thing that I am shocked, uh, agencies will come to me. And by the way, just to be clear, my door’s always open, right? So if your, an agency and you’ve got a question, please do knock on my door. I’m just relaying questions. They come to me quite a lot. And one of the questions will be, uh, I can’t decide between, um, this, this niche and this niche. It might be like e-commerce businesses and it might be accounting firms, for example. And the question I will ask, they’ll say, which one’s best. And I say, well, when you spoken to them, which one do you think has the most challenges, but you can fix.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:21:21    And of course they haven’t spoken to them, right? So here’s the thing. If you want to know, what’s the best niche for you. And if you want to really know what their problems are, knock on their door and ask them what they need. And this is really, really simple. Just go find anyone on LinkedIn. Maybe if you find 10 people, you messaged them all and you say, look, I really, really value 10 minutes of your time, just to ask a few questions for market research, I will buy you a virtual coffee, or I will donate 10 pounds to this charity as a, as a thank you or something like that. And at least I promise you, at least one or two of them will come back to you and say, yes. And then you’ve got a great opportunity to actually do your own bit of market research and see what these people are struggling with. Unless you do that, you are only ever going to uncover about 15% of the truth that you can only find out about 15% of the truth about your niche or your market until you’ve spoken to these people. So that’s the big piece that a lot of agencies miss when they’re doing a niche selection.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:22:16    Yeah. And this really takes us into the idea that the knowledge that’s already out there, that you can find on Google, you can find on YouTube and so on. That’s already dated knowledge. You know, if you want to create a business, that’s going to be successful. I truly believe that you need to uncover something. That’s not known by a lot of people. And that’s where the truly valuable knowledge really exists. So I definitely sympathize a lot with this idea of yours. And it’s a funny thing that if you reach out to people and you just want to ask them some questions, a lot more of them are open. If you reach out to them and you try to sell them something almost nobody is open. 

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:22:58    When you position someone, this is about status, right? When you position someone as an expert and you want to learn from them, they feel that they have the status and they’re more safe. They have to say yes. 

  

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:23:10    Absolutely. No. I think that that’s very powerful. And, um, I have a friend who runs a business in, um, he, he does. Um, so he provides services for Amazon sellers and he has switched from the sales approach to this, uh, this approach of first starting a conversation, asking them questions. And it’s a lot more effective for him. So yeah, I might definitely share the same, uh, the same kind of views. So earlier in this discussion, you mentioned about competitors and how you religiously let’s say keep track of them. Do you have any process that you use? I mean, how do you figure out everybody who is a competitor? How do you monitor the market?  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:23:53    We are both me and, um, my business partner. We are both agency owners. So we are, we are literally both our target client and our, we are the, the sort of service provider at the same time. So we are constantly marketed to, by our competitors. We’re constantly in that, in their funnels. And we just sort of dig, dig around and we, we do up to 10 and we do dig a bit deeper. And, um, we do find out good stuff from those people. And I don’t think, I think that’s, that’s kind of like when you are a geeky marketer, you kind of buzz off that stuff, right. You kind of buzz off getting into someone’s funnel, seeing what their email automation is like, seeing what their follow ups like seeing how omnichannel their marketing is. And when you into marketing, that’s actually a really easy thing to do. So yeah, we do. We do a lot of that, to be honest. I mean,  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:24:43    Do you search for ads? Do you search for them on Google, based around certain keywords? Or do you just wait until they sort of contact you? Yeah.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:24:51    Well, for me, I’m definitely more of a waiter. My buddy Radu, he, he is such a geeky marketer. I’m sure he won’t, he won’t mind me saying that, that he probably does go searching for it, but yeah, a lot of it, a lot of it we don’t have to because we just wait and it’s such a saturated area, the sort of like agency coaching agency, consultant area that you just have to wait around and you will get hit. And it’s funny because something that we realize now is the, all of the agency coaching programs, all of the agency consultants are using ads and marketing like that to find their clients. Very few of them that we’ve seen are teaching agencies themselves, how to run their own ads for their own agency. And, uh, I don’t really know why that is at this stage.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:25:37    I think that part of the reason for that may be that it’s more difficult to, I mean, it’s much easier for example, to get clients via ads or paid advertising for e-commerce businesses, which sell a physical product, I’ve noticed is much more difficult to get clients for services. So for example, when in my agency I do ads for an e-commerce client. We have a much easier time and the results are much easier to come about. Then when we work, say with a coach, it takes a lot more effort to market a service from what I’ve seen via paid advertising than a product it might may also have to do with the price, right? Because services typically tend to be towards the higher end in terms of price, whereas products, you know, they, you have probably from around 20 to $150, most of the products. So they sell much faster.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:26:37    Yeah, I think, I think that’s definitely part of it. I think the moment, what we’re seeing this, this is one of the myths, the biggest missed in the agency market in terms of marketing, every all agencies are looking for a way to get leads consistently. I would never say any lead generation method doesn’t work. If it all works, everything you’ve ever heard of works, if you do it long enough and you study it well enough and you analyze it well enough, but I think ads and funnels, which is something that we, we give to our guys in, in launch pad. I think it’s a massive missed opportunity for agencies at the moment, mainly because most of them are running ads for their clients. It’s not like we need to teach these guys how to set up a business, a face of business manager account, right? Like the native in there, then it’s just the strategy and the targeting. And honestly, it’s so, so possible. So I think we’re going to see this change a lot in, in the future. Not so sure about Google. I think, like you said earlier in the conversation, that’s probably a better local strategy, but, um, when it comes to agencies, lead generation, I think advertising and funnels is really a missed opportunity right now.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:27:42    That’s interesting. I remember trying funnels at one point about, I think two years ago, and it wasn’t very successful maybe three years. I think it was three years ago and it wasn’t very successful at that point for myself as an agency owner, the most successful channel has always been relationships, you know, going from business owner to business owner by far the most successful one. And I think that agents, you owners, especially online, you know, they have this tendency to think of wanting to build some kind of machine that’s going to get them clients and not, they don’t think enough about building relationships and using the clients and the Goodwill that they have already built  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:28:25    A hundred percent. The referral referrals are absolutely incredible. I think if you can, there are some people really interesting people who are talking about building referral systems. Uh, so it try to try to get referrals automated because the problem that you have, where they, there we go, trying to automate things again, too. Yeah. The problem with referrals is you can’t control the quality or the quantity. So as much as they are amazing, they come with loads of trust. Freud like built in. They’re very easy to convert, generally speaking easier anyway. And, and yeah, they just feel good because they come with lots of trust. The problem is you can’t control when they come and how good they are. So yes, that’s got to be a part of it in my world. It can’t be your only part. It can’t be a hundred percent of your lead generation because you leave yourself a bit vulnerable. And I don’t know about you, but what I’ve definitely seen in my life is that when you are absolutely rolling in, when you can’t take any more work, when you’re stacked, that’s when the referrals are just rolling in. Right. And then when you’re, when you’re thinking, oh God, I don’t know, August is coming up. I’ve got nothing in August, like zero where’s the referrals app. And they’re just, they’re not there. Right. So yeah, it’s kind of, um, I have a love, hate relationship with them. The other  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:29:39    Very valuable thing past clients. Right? So, I mean, everybody, I think should collect a list of past clients and keeping in touch with them. I mean, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been able to reactivate a client that I’ve worked with before, just by following up with them. And I think that that’s another missed opportunity to basically get more work, just keeping up with people.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:30:03    Yeah. You know what, that is such a good point. And I had this, I have this a long-term mentor of mine, his name’s Patrick. Um, he had this great idea. We never did it. Uh, he used to be one of my bosses, my old agency, and his idea was, um, we hold parties with, you know, certain guest lists of clients and we’d have like external speakers and it would just be a nice little party dinner party. But the catch was the only people that could come were lapsed. Clients were old clients and such a good idea would be such a great way to get all of these people together that we had worked with before. Um, just in a room. And like you say, we so easy to rekindle that relationship because exactly one of the hardest things to do is to start a brand new relationship with a client. That’s really hard. There’s loads of weird trust issues going on. You’ve got a little bit into their system. Yeah. That’s tough. So it kind of, you kind of get a new client without all the hassle in that situation. <inaudible> about  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:30:58    That. There’s actually this awesome book for sales. It’s called the ultimate sales machine. I don’t know if you read it by Chad Holmes, he came out with a dream, a hundred strategy. You probably heard about that. And also, um, he basically talks about how you can reactivate your clients and he gives a lot of ways, you know, sending gifts to this and that. And I find that you, you don’t often think about these things. You know, there are simple things that you can do, but they really do make a big difference. And it’s sort of hard to wrap your mind around that at first, you know, and you try to do all the cool and fancy stuff. And you forget about the simple stuff. That’s actually giving results.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:31:39    Yeah. A hundred percent. If you can do the stuff that probably 99% of other people are not doing, you are going to win most times. So like ending gifts at random times to random people who you probably don’t consider deserve gifts. Yeah. That’s going to be a great strategy. Right. Surprising people and having like a nice, um, nice 

personal connection with people. Like, yeah. It’s really nice that sort of stuff’s missing today. 

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:32:01    Yeah. I see. I also have another question we talked about, 

um, looking at competitors and how people should start from who more often than from what and how, and you mentioned that this was a really big problem that you see in people in terms of the business owners that I work with. I see, I also see a big problem in mindset. And I mean specifically about how they see themselves, you know, whether they see themselves as successful, whether they see themselves, because a lot of these people, they know what they should be doing, but for some reason they’re not doing it, you know, procrastinating or they’re afraid to take action or whatever it is. Do you have any advice with regards to that for people  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:32:46    Advice on how to get a stronger mindset to get things done? 

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:32:51    Yeah. Yes, exactly. So get a more positive mindset so that they can actually take action.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:32:56    Yeah. Well, here’s the thing, it’s hard. It’s really hard. Like you have to do lots of things. I’m not sure if we talked about this before, like I remember talking about this before and people talk about pushing themselves out of their comfort zone. Right. And I think, I think the, what that means has been lost for a lot of people, because I think what a lot of people think pushing themselves out of their comfort zone is, is they’re just doing stuff they don’t want to do. And frankly, that is doing stuff you don’t want to do is not going to be enough to really win at when you’re starting a business. Now, in my definition of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is doing stuff that you’re not really sure you can do. Right. But doing it anyway. So a great example is like reaching out to lots and lots of bigger clients that you might have thought, oh, can we deliver for them?  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:33:44    I just trying it, see what happens, because unless you try, it won’t happen. Exactly. One of the big tricks there’s and there’s plenty. Like I studied a lot of mindset. One of the big tricks that I teach people is you have to focus on the outcome and not the activity. You have to keep your eyes on the outcome and not the activity. And if you think about there’s two sides of you, one of you is saying, I cannot wait until we hit 10 K a month. I cannot wait. It’s going to be so amazing that right. That person is going to bend over backwards to make that happen because they’re focusing on the outcome. If you focus on the emphasis, the other person who’s focusing on the activity saying, I really can’t be bothered to reach out and send 20 loom videos to two to 20 prospects today.

  

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:34:26    Like I’m not feeling up to it. I’ll just put it to tomorrow. That person has completely lost sight of the outcome is completely focused on the activity. So here’s the thing be very, very, very focused on the outcome. And in order to do that, you need to be so, so clear and specific on what outcome you want and why you want it. So if your suggested outcome that you’re going for is I just want to grow an agency. It’s like, well, okay, you might grow your agency to 700 quid a month and you still grow in an agency. Is that what you wanted? Probably not. Right. So you need to be unbelievably specific in what you want. Like, I want to grow a 15,000 pound a month agency with a 60% profit margin. I want to have three people working for me and one virtual assistant. And I want an office in shortage. All of a sudden it’s like, okay, that’s going to happen because you have such a specific goal, you know exactly where you’re going. And if you focus on that rather than the activities you need to get there, you’re much more likely to get there. If that makes sense. Absolutely.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:35:28    I mean, this mindset thing at first in, especially if you don’t have experiences and entrepreneur, it’s hard to wrap your mind around it. But in my experience with business owners, at least this is, this tends to be the critical factor. There is some psychological reason there, why their business isn’t growing faster and it’s not at a different level. And I think that the stuff that you mentioned, that’s key, you know, focused on the outcome, you tend to attract what you focus on. And also there’s this idea. There’s this modern fascination with the process, which I think is mistaken because people nowadays they’re focused just on the process, you know, hit the gym, cold call, whatever it is. Right. And they lose track of the goal. And we have all these books that say that all goals are in that important. It’s the process that gets you there. And yeah, but that’s only half of the story because I believe that you can’t design a process that effective until you have a goal, you know, because you always measure the process by looking back at the goal and how it’s actually getting you towards your goal. And that’s how you refine it over time and you improve it. Basically, just focusing on the process. I think you end up being tactical and you have no strategy. And the strategy is, as you said, the goal.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:36:49    Yeah. You know, there was this really, there’s this really smart guy. I think his name is bill gross, but I’m not sure. And I’m really sorry I’ve got that wrong. But anyway, he did a, he did a Ted talk. He basically has. He started, I don’t know, 200 plus companies. He did this study on what is the, the one big thing. What’s the one factor we can focus on one factor. That’s going to make a business successful. What is it? Right. He run, he ran things through like team idea, quality, all this other stuff. Yeah. The one factor that was head and shoulders above the others when it came to the success, that was the influencing. The success of a business was the timing of the business was launched. Okay. So was the market ready to receive that business? Okay. Great example was Airbnb came at a time.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:37:36    I think it was just post recession. So people wanted extra cash. Also at the same time, people weren’t prepared to stay in hotels at the time. So they wanted a cheaper alternative. That’s kind of how it works. People say renting out rooms, et cetera. There’s a similar sort of situation with Uber. Um, timing is crucial, right? So here’s the thing, Facebook. Yeah, exactly. Facebook, all of these things. Timing’s crucial. So let me be clear right now is an incredible time to set up an agency. It is incredible time to set up an agency. Timing is perfect. So if we take bill Gross’s point saying that timing’s the most important factor right now, if you’re starting a digital agency, it’s perfect. Now there’s another factor after that, which I think is the only other important factor. And that is the amount of actions that, that business owner takes each day, the amount of actions they take and I’m all for working smarter.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:38:25    I don’t work particularly hard. I don’t think I work more than like 50 hour week personally, but the amount of actions you’d make in a day are going to be directly proportional to how much progress you and how fast you grow. Because the more stuff you do, the more stuff you’ll fail at the most live things you will learn. And the more you can pivot and make changes and make new strategies and new ideas, if you are slow. And if you are too contemplating, and if you are thinking too much, not doing enough, that’s going to really damage your chances because I guarantee you, there are agencies everywhere right now, starting up and they’re trying everything they’re really hungry. So believe me, the timing is perfect. That’s taken care of, but the amount of action you do is directly proportional to how fast you’re grow.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:39:13    That’s that’s awesome advice. I mean, if you can find the link for the Ted talk, that would be great because I mean, I can put it in the links for the show notes. And I think that our listeners will be very, very interested in that for sure. I mean, there’s, there’s quite a few things here. I agree with most of what you said. However, I will say that the action has to be smart because I’ve also seen business owners who take a lot of action in the, a lot of stuff, but they take the wrong action. And the reason why they take the wrong action is to run away from the right action. You know, there’s some reason why they don’t want to do that thing. Right. So they keep doing other stuff instead, but they keep themselves busy. And I think that this can be a big problem. So, I mean, this takes us back to the psychology of it being at the center of things.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:40:03    Yeah. I think that’s a really good point. So you’re saying that people are going to keep hammering away at one thing. Not because they think it’s going to work, but because they really don’t fancy doing that other thing, which they know they should do, you know?  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:40:13    Exactly. So, I mean, if you think about people who idea hop, for example, they go from one idea to the, to another or agency owners who go from one channel to another, they do a little bit of work in one channel, right. And it doesn’t work. And instead of doing the stuff, that’s hard psychologically, because you need to face your failure. You need to learn from it. And so on. They prefer to jump to a different channel and start from scratch again. And they’re actually taking action. Right. But they’re moving away from taking any action. That’s actually meaningful.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:40:47    Yeah. I, I couldn’t have put it better myself, to be honest. It’s a really good point. You know, you’ve got to give something, nothing works instantly. And if it does, it’s probably going to stop working just as quickly. I mean, exactly what to work really hard at this stuff. And you’ve got to really be consistent. You’ve got to be, I think something that’s very underrated is objectivity. And I think you have to learn to be very objective to your own failures. So you have to really suck at something. Say, say, you work really hard and you managed to get a lead. And then the lead agrees to get on a course, your first ever. And you’re so excited and you’ve got your sales script ready? It’s all good. And then the sales script, the sales meeting goes completely pear shaped. It goes, it’s absolutely awful.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:41:30    Now everything in your body, everything in your mind is telling you to tell yourself to give up. And you’re a failure, right? You worked so hard. You got that one meeting and you failed, right. Objectivity would let you do this. It would let you say to yourself. Wow. That was really interesting. That meeting went absolutely terribly. I wonder why that was, let’s go through it second by second sentence by sentence and see where I messed up. That would be interesting. And when you can take that level of objectivity to every single one of your failures, honestly, that will really, really help you. And that will really help you to improve. It’ll really help you to stay consistent. One of the reasons like you say that we don’t, we’re not consistent. It’s because we, we kid ourselves that we’re a failure. We’re all failures, man. We are all absolute failures at everything until we work at it. So yeah, I completely take your point. I think it’s a great, I think consistency and objectivity are lacking in a lot of cases, a hundred  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:42:27    Percent. So I mean, how do you actually go about being objective? I think that’s what a lot of people struggle with.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:42:34    Yeah. I don’t know. You know, because one of the things I was told, I think this is a great piece of advice, by the way, one of my mentors said, look, if you find something easy, probably means you’re pretty good at it. So first thing to say is, if someone’s out, then you find something really easy. Think about what those things are, because they’re probably your natural talents and you should probably double down on them. All of them. Yeah. Yeah. But, um, I mean, I never found it hard post, like being like 22 or 23 years old, I think I was pretty, very precious up until that point. Then I entered the world of work and got my ass kicked like every day and basically realized that there’s no point in being precious. There’s no point in that it doesn’t serve you in any way, being defensive and precious about yourself and fragile. There’s just not enough time. There’s just not enough time in the day. That makes  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:43:21    Complete sense. And I think that it is indeed a thing that you sort of have to grow into it. I mean, you don’t get comfortable being uncomfortable, you know, without going through this process right. Of facing your failures and so on. So I think that definitely taking action on things in this regard is, is one of the keys. Otherwise it’s very, very difficult. I’ve also found something else which is helpful, which you sort of mentioned before, which is basically being very clear and specific about your, why, you know, so if you know, why you doing something, I found that that creates motivation and it creates desire, which can push you through fear and through whatever else is there. You know, it’s sort of like when you’re very in love with someone, you can do anything for them. Right. It’s sort of a similar thing here. So I think if you, your why is really clear and you clarify that then you have a lot more energy that you can use in the process.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:44:23    Yeah. For sure. You become resilient. If you, if you know exactly why you’re doing it, you’re like, well, you know, all of this is, is absolutely in proportion with the amazingness that I’m going to achieve. There’s a guy I’m sure, you know, David Goggins, like, yeah, I’m kind of a bit obsessed with him because I need some of him, like every day I need some of that just repent. And he’s probably a bit too far on the sort of all out suffering to gain a train side. I agree for most people, he probably is. And I think for me in general, he is, but like a little bit once a day, like a couple minutes, I’m like, and I’m like, I’m back in action. Right. So I think I kind of like that. I it’s too much for me all the time, but I think you’re just struggling just whack on a bit of David Goggins and I’m back into action round. Yeah. I definitely agree.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:45:18    And I think that, um, having good role models is for sure, part of the journey as an entrepreneur and more specifically here as an agency owner. And I mean, this brings us back to launchpad academy, what you do now. So we talked about a little bit so far of what you did until you launched launchpad academy and why you did it. So let’s go a bit more into how you actually grew launchpad academy, two 50 plus members. And after we discuss a bit about this, we will also go into what your plans for the future are. Hm.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:45:55    Yeah. So, um, I had no idea what I was doing. I knew I wanted to be a coach and, but didn’t really know the coaching is very, there’s a, the coaching industry is very sort of open with how it teaches others to do it. So there’s a lot of people go into coaching, they think, right. I’ll do some one-to-one coaching now. That’s great, very, very unscalable. Uh, and actually frankly, quite monotonous because if you’re going to be doing the coaching all the time, so there’s two different people, but it’s the same stuff. It can get a bit monotonous. So I started learning from a guy called Taki Moore. Who’s an absolute, incredible person. And he basically taught us all the process of moving from a one-to-one coach to being a one to many coach, basically how to build a group coaching program. And I became obsessed with this idea.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:46:43    I came absolutely obsessed with it and all the way in all the back end of last year, it was just a mad rush to get this, this amazing sort of group coaching membership type deal going on, which we got to, like, we got it. You know what I would call now launch pad 1.0 was launched in December in December, whatever last year was 2020, of course. Yeah. And, um, it’s come so far from there now I just basically scrapped for the first members. We did loads of LinkedIn outreach. We actually developed an approach on LinkedIn, which was using loom videos. And I notice, I think I sent you one too though. That’s true. And you want to draw and, um, he didn’t join by the way guys. Um, yeah, we had developed this approach, which I think was pretty cool. Uh, I’ve noticed now a lot of people doing this and what was great about that was that allowed me to allow me a couple of things.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:47:42    And when I spoke to loads and loads of agency owners, it meant that my LinkedIn account was filled with loads and loads of agency owners. And it, frankly, it just meant that the people who onboarded with me basically knew me from the word go. So they knew, and they knew me pretty well because we’ve been through a couple of sort of sales meetings. We’d spoken on LinkedIn a lot. Um, they were consuming my content. So it meant that the first sort of like 10 to 15 members, they were really comfortable with me. And they really were my dream clients, right. My dream members, since then, we’ve done loads of stuff. Like we run lots of ads. Now we have people from all over the world and we scaled through more and more sort of automated in an advertising based approach. When people come coming through advertising, they don’t know you as well.

  

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:48:27    It’s not a closer bond. So it takes a longer time to get them into the system to get them into our way of working. But because we spent that first few months just working with our absolute dream clients, like I can’t emphasize these, these people, they were absolutely perfect. A lot of them are still in the, in the program. And that allowed us to set this amazing culture, this beautiful culture in the live calls we have, the vibe is so so-called and people help each other out. So I think that was really key to the success was having a very highly personalized outreach based approach for the first, uh, you know, 15, 20 members and then scaling from there. That’s really been part of the keys to the success of, of what we’ve got so far. And I mean, it  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:49:08    Sounds like you also went, went for an approach, which involves quite a bit of nurturing, right? I mean, E these 10, 15 members, it took you quite a bit of time to get them initially, because I mean, obviously you’re having conversations on LinkedIn connecting with people and then obviously sharing your content. But how long did it take to actually reach those 10, 15 members?  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:49:33    Oh, about a month, a month and a half. I would say the start of this year, uh, I was pretty relentless and I’m really pleased. I was because it means that when people are telling me that Legion’s hard and the outreach is hard and it, you know, it needs to work hard. I can say, well, you know, I sent 25 looms a day for about six weeks and I got lots of nice clients out of it. So you can, I think, yeah, I was pretty relentless man, to be honest, but it was a great, it was a great start to the year, uh, is what needs to happen.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:50:05    And for the first four launchpad basically version one point, oh, how are you getting the clients back then?  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:50:12    Um, LinkedIn outreach as well, much less personalized, much more higher volume, honestly, even your one year ago, LinkedIn outreach, it was kind of a free for all, like anyone could do it. You could just sign up to any of the automation softwares there. You could make these wonderful lists on sales navigator and you could just go ping and you’d probably get some bites. Right. So, yep. That’s all changed. Obviously. LinkedIn is probably what, in what, in my mind done the right thing and restricted quite heavily what you can do. So that’s how, that’s just how I did that was very sort of a one dimensional, um, LinkedIn outreach to begin with.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:50:49    And did you already have your, um, your methodology, so to speak about coaching these guys prepared? Or was it more like you said, the framework for it, like having weekly live calls and I mean, you can free feel free to tell us a bit more about the framework, how it works, how things happen in your group today so that people can both understand the value and they can see the thinking and the process that went behind in actually creating it.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:51:17    Yeah, of course. So, so launchpad 1.0, is it was a 10 week program, basically. It was, um, 10 weeks, uh, taking you from, despite the finding your niche, understanding your target packaging, your offer, lead generation sales, and then scaling. Okay. That it was 10 weeks. And I kind of thought that was going to be it, but within, I think two months of that happening live, we wanted to change it. And the reason why is because we realized that people need bespoke service. So what we built and we built a completely new program, which is this a 2.0 this membership thing, which is much more bespoke. Every one of our members has a one-to-one meeting with either me or one of the trainers. Every two weeks in between those two weeks, they get sent into the members area. We call it the volt and we have a 12 months worth of curriculum.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:52:05    So each month they have a new thing to look at. The first month will be foundations. So niche target offer pricing. Second month will be sales process. Third month will be a type of outreach. Fourth months will be something else. And we’re always building on top of that. What we do now is, uh, would keep adding more and more things. So every Tuesday we have live sessions, group coaching calls, which is really cool as teaching new things. You had some leadership stuff. Last time we had some mindset stuff, um, the week before, and then we also do drop in Q and a sessions with all the group on Wednesdays as well. So it’s so much contact with, um, with everyone. It creates this wonderful community and really what what’s nice is that a lot of agencies have different goals, right? Some agencies want to be just done for you.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:52:50    What we’re seeing now is a lot of agencies want to do a bit of dumb for you, but they also want to do a bit of training. Well, we can definitely help them there as well, because we are agency owners that have training businesses. So we can take them one on these ones, a one side’s. We can take them on a different path and we can help them build their training programs and stuff like that. So what I think is really nice and why I feel very comfortable with having as many competitors as we do is most of the other programs out there are either doing a one-to-one stuff, which is okay, but you don’t get any of the community value or they have all the community value, but they don’t have the bespoke one-to-one of it as well. And we found a way to do both, which makes it work for us. And, um, I just think for now that’s a really good amount of value we can give.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:53:35    That sounds awesome. I mean, you mentioned that something made you realize that people after Launchpad 1.0, after the 10 week program, something made you realize that people need a bespoke service for this. So what exactly was that?  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:53:50    Well, probably because everyone’s different and everyone takes things slightly differently. There’s a few different reasons. That’s the main thing is that everyone’s different. Everyone needs their own sort of pace and their own sort of path. The other thing is that if you think about the service that agencies give to their clients, we’re generally speaking really good client care. People were really good at looking after our clients. We’re really good at listening to them. We’re really good at giving them a very bespoke service. So I kind of want to mirror that and I want them to feel like they are in this amazing world. So one of the things we also teach our members how to onboard their clients, how to deliver for their clients and how to sort of deliver. So they turn them into fans. We talk about turning clients into fans. Now, big part of that is making your clients when they buy something from you for the first time, making them feel like they’ve just joined the second incredibly exclusive club, that’s a secret, the best kept secret in the world. And it’s got loads and loads of special value in it. And we take the same approach. We want to make our clients feel exactly the same. And yeah, you’ve got to have a bespoke one-to-one part of that. So it’s delivered.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:55:03    I see. That definitely makes sense. I heard that you also mentioned that some of the one-to-one meetings at the moment they happen with trainers. So can you explain a bit about the process, how you actually built that side of the business? Like, did you hire trainers from the beginning? Are these people, your partners or how is it organized and how did you land on that framework?  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:55:24    Well, scalability is the reason why, because if I’m doing more one to ones and we’re going to have it, we’re going to hit a cap. Very, very sweet. Um, scalability is the reason why, why it has to happen. So then fortunately, I’ve got some, uh, really talented team members. Re-do my business partner is one of them. He takes a number of these one to ones as well, and we have other people and we’re in the process of building our training sites. So that involves finding a very, very special persons coming as our head of training and then just giving them whatever they need to build the training side of the business. So we’ve got really top quality coaches to come in because the way I see these things is whenever I’ve outsourced a part of the business, I’ve wanted it to improve in the process. So we outsource marketing, marketing, improved, no end, we’ve outsourced our membership engagement. That’s gone up in spades, we’re outsourcing our sales. Now I’m hoping conversions will go up. And when we outsource the trading, I’m hoping the training quality goes up as well. So nice, nice. It’s really, really important. If we’re going to take a hit on our margin, we need to be investing that, that extra margin into improving the offering. Otherwise it’s not worth it.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:56:35    Absolutely. I mean, that makes a lot of sense. And a lot of people don’t think about this, you know, namely when they outsource, they just want to free up time and they sort of expect that they will get a bit lower quality in it. I think that’s the wrong mindset to have, like you set up for yourself for failure. If you do that for actually getting the lower  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:56:55    Quality, I’m looking forward to having a bit more time, a bit more head space, I’m sure. You know, you’re the same, right? That, that, that ability to sit and think and, and have a clear head is limited these days. So I’m looking forward to having more of that, but it’s got to improve the offer. Otherwise we’ll die. Otherwise we’ll die. The market is so fierce, man. We gotta, we gotta keep improving. Otherwise we’ll die. Absolutely. No,  

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:57:18    I, I definitely agree with you on that. By the way I meant to ask you, is your partner Rodriguez, he Romanian because his name sounds Romanian.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:57:28    He is. And weirdly, yeah, he’s a romanian and weirdly, uh, we have a big following in Romania. Uh, we’ve got a, quite a few Romanian members. So, um, yeah, no, I had nothing to do with Romania just like a year ago. And now I feel like Bucharest plays a big role in my life.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:57:45    I see. I see. Did you partner then with, um, with Radu, for launchpad academy, 1.0 as well, or is this something that emerged over time? 

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:57:55    He was a client. Uh, he was one of our first clients. Yeah. And I knew, I knew this guy was, um, was dedicated because he actually purchased his membership or his course on Christmas day morning. And I kind of thought about, and said this guy, if he’s, if he’s sitting there learning on Christmas day morning, I know that this guy’s probably someone I want around. So yeah, he was a great student. He is an agency owner. Everyone that works as part of our team has been involved in agency at some point. And which I think is important. Even like the member, even though I had a membership, no me, she she’s worked in agencies, uh, basically her whole career. So we keep that in the staff or in the team, but yeah. Um, Randy was a client and on frankly, if anyone’s out there, who’s thinking about doing next hire, look in your client base. If there’s anyone in your client base that could become a good person to work for you, then that’s a great move. Uh, both for agencies and for, and fast,  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    00:58:49    A lot of people and especially some of the previous guests that I’ve spoken with, actually two of them so far and myself included, you can add three of us in total are kind of wary when it comes of partnerships in business, namely that for us, they haven’t really worked out. So do you have any sort of advice that you can give people when it comes to partnerships in business?  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    00:59:11    I’m probably the worst person to give advice about this sort of thing, because my bias is leading massively towards intuition. They lead massively towards speed and efficiency. And when you combine speed efficiency and intuition into a decision-making process about your partner, you’re probably going to make quite a snap decisions. Now, I think I’ve got pretty lucky. I think Randy makes an amazing partner and, and we, and he’s massively improved the business. So, but I don’t, I wouldn’t take advice from me because generally the advice is going to be, go with your gut on that one. I see. I think there’s probably lots of good advice when it comes to like the legal side of things and, and that sort of thing to make sure that you are covered. I think that’s important that, you know, consult the right people get legal advice to make sure that’s okay. Yeah. I’m more of a non-owner thinker.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:00:01    Has it made any difference? You sort of brought a partner on at a later stage in your business? Like not from the get-go.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:00:08    I think it works better because, um, the dynamic is such that I think one of the, one of the pigs I see, obviously I work with loads of agency owners. I’ve seen partner horror stories right now. I think up to five plus people who I’ve worked with this year agencies who I’ve worked with this year started with a partner and now I’m going solo. Yeah. So I see, I see the problems everywhere. I think one of the big problems comes when there is a perception that one partner is doing more than the other, and there is a feeling of unfairness and there’s a feeling of a lack of effort right now. One of the ways to combat this is to be crystal clear in who owns what and delivering massive amounts of responsibility to each person. So what not to do is to say we’re both the CEO, or we’re both the MD and we’re both head strategists and we’re both head of creative.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:01:04    That’s a terrible idea because you’re constantly stepping on each other’s toes. You’re constantly going to be thinking the other person’s got that when they don’t. And you’re constantly going to be duplicating effort when you don’t need to. So don’t do that be very, very clear whose role is what, what their responsibilities are. And don’t meddle with that side. I’ll give you an example, rod, who’s our head of operations. He also basically is head of marketing as well. When it comes to those areas, he has more of a say than me. I won’t overrule him on any of those things, even if I think it’s a mistake because that’s a great way to dis-incentivize someone and that’s a great way to start starring a good relationship. So I think you’ve got to divide up who does what you’ve got to divide up, who’s responsible for what? And you’ve got to let that person really run that part of the business themselves. No, that makes complete  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:01:52    Sense. And I agree with what you said. I think another problem that can come up here is not sorting out the legal issues upfront because I’ve heard from many people, at least that they sort of got in business, they built something, they got some customers and then they found each other in a disagreement over the legal staff in how the company is split up and so on. I think that can tend to become a big problem if it’s not addressed from the get-go out. And I think that you are right about this. The, the structure needs to be there from the very beginning. If it’s not, you can run in all sorts of complications later on. So, so, uh,  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:02:32    What, what is, um, what is your experience, have you had fallings out? Was it similar to, uh, like a lack of perceived lack of effort or things like that?  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:02:40    The one that happened with the very first business that I opened was, um, definitely along those lines, we basically had different visions. So I think that that’s one thing that we didn’t clarify upfront, but one thing that emerged over time and obviously if you were split 50 50, and one wants to go one way and the other ones to go the other way, then it doesn’t really work out. And there was also a bit about that perception of unfairness. But I would say that the biggest thing was definitely having different visions for the company and the business. I think it’s  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:03:18    A great point constantly checking in on the vision. So, so crucial.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:03:23    I think that has to be there from the get-go. I mean, if you don’t both buy into the same vision and you don’t share the same goals for the business, then it’s not going to work out. Like, for example, if one of you wants to build it into a massive company and the other one wants to scale it to a certain point and then sell it off those two paths, they may not seem that different in the beginning, but the differences are going to show up, right. Because you’re going to need to take different decisions when you get to those points  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:03:53    A hundred percent. Yeah. And it’s funny because like, it’s one thing jumping into a business, which is doing like, you know, six K a month and it’s like, yeah, let’s partner up. And then you turn around and maybe, maybe the business is doing 60 K a month and you’re like, hold on. How much of this is mine? Like how, how am I covered? So like, yeah, I agree on some checking on the vision, constant checking in on who’s responsible for what, and also constant checking in on, on who actually owns what I think that’s probably a good idea. 

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:04:20    That’s fantastic. I also wanted to ask you, because you mentioned about the trainers and obviously hiring people, bringing people in, do you do the hiring personally? And if so, when, and even if you don’t, what sort of methodology does launchpad academy have at the moment to ensure that the quality is there, you know, when you bring somebody in as a trainer? Hmm. 

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:04:42    Well, um, again, finding people who are basically our, our, our clients, like we’re speaking to a lot of people who have been members who are also coaches and seeing if we can get stuff to work with that, because I think first of all, when it comes to the training side and when it comes to being a coach, there are certain things that having coaching experience will really help you with, you know, because coaches are good at listening to someone and actually hearing what they’re really saying. They’re good at listening to someone and understanding when to ask them a question back to make them realize something or when to tell them what the point they may missing is. So, uh, we’re pretty clear on only getting, uh, bringing in coaches who basically our coaches have coaching experience and perfect if they’re agency owners as well, even better, if they are excellent staff members. And there’s a couple of people who I’m pretty confident will really already slot in there.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:05:35    That sounds very good. So, I mean, if you develop them organically, obviously you, because I mean, the problem most people have is that you get somebody for an interview, right? And you only have relatively short amount of time with them. And a lot of that, the interaction that happens there tends to be sort of scripted, right? You don’t see the real person, obviously they want to get the job. That’s why they’re interviewing. And it’s hard to get behind whatever that initial impression is and to see what the person is really going to be like, because the risk is that you hire somebody and you bring them on. And then three months later, you find out that they need to be replaced and somebody else needs to come in and learn or their responsibilities and so on because they just were in the right fit for the culture and the not really straightforward to test for that. Obviously for you, since you, you get a lot more exposure to them, that’s better. Like you get a lot more information for myself. One of the methods that I like to use is that basically I ask, I tell people what the worst day, you know, doing that job is going to look like, and I watch for their reaction. And, uh,  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:06:52     There are three reactions, you know, there, there’s the reaction that they’re still super enthusiastic. Yeah. I won the job. I want to do this. And then I know that they’re not a good fit because clearly they’re too desperate to get the job. They will say anything basically to get the job, if they have the opposite reaction and they’re completely an unenthusiastic, this is not for me, then it sort of clear, but the third one is the interesting one. If they start to contemplate how they can solve those challenges and make it better, you know, those are the type of people that I’ve seen do much better. And I was wondering if you have something needs like this that you, you would like to share with people.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:07:28    I think that’s an absolutely, uh, I’m going to take that because I really, really liked that too though. That’s really, really smart. And it also, what’s quite nice about what you just said is you, you hadn’t said that it would kind of be like, yeah, I want the person who is really, really positive, but you’re right. That’s just someone that’s just saying anything in the moment just to make sure you say, yeah. Okay. You got the job. Interesting. Exactly. One of the things I think I’ve done recruitment for a long time, we recruited in our, in my previous big agency as well. I’m quite a big fan of live creative tests, not prepared stuff, but live created stuff. Now I know there’s lots of, um, bad press around here. Apparently, you know, BrewDog had lots of bad press about using that stuff in, in their agile business and stuff.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:08:09    I’m not doing that. Like one of the things we used to do is we used to use, um, old briefs to see what people came up with creativity. I think that’s quite a nice thing. I wouldn’t at some people attempted to use live briefs. And I’m, I’m a bit skeptical about that because there’s going to be a conflict of interest where you might want to use an idea of someone who you’re not going to choose. Yeah. And that’s not very fair, but old briefs and things like that I think are really, really useful. But honestly, today I don’t enjoy recruitment. So what we are doing in launchpad, this is different to what we do in world products. But what we’re doing in launch pad is we are basically, I have my leadership team. I have my core team basically built and any, any extensions we need from that, unless it’s a completely new sort of arm or sector, like head of training.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:08:55    For example, I just put it to the person who’s in charge of that area to go and find support for themselves. I see. And for them to run the recruitment process and for them to be in charge of it. So, you know, in terms of our sales team, we’re going to build it in India in terms of our marketing team, we’re building it in Romania in terms of our client engagement team. We’re building in the UK, but that will be no me. So that’s more the way I want to do it. And that’s mainly because the last thing I want is to ruin one of my teams day or life by choosing someone who they can’t go on with. But I just, I want them to be in full control of that. I want them to feel empowered, to go and find the right people. That’s the strategy we’re taking right now. Right.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:09:38    So, I mean, that’s very interesting. So you went for this remote company building approach, which is interesting. I’m also doing something very similar. You have any advice for business owners who want to build their companies remotely as in not have an office or anything where everybody meets that you can offer them.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:09:57    I’m still working out. If I’m honest, I’m still working out. I wouldn’t say we’ve mastered it. We move all of us. I think move around quite a lot. We’re not sort of fixed in one place. We have one fixed team meeting every week, no more. We’re constantly talking on WhatsApp and on slack. And what it seems for now is it seems to work. So when I decided started leading people and leading a team like, you know, six or seven years ago, I decided that the number one priority for me was going to be happiness. I wanted to create happiness all the time, mainly because, and I didn’t know this at the time. I now know this mainly because back then I was absolutely obsessed with people liking me. I S I recent, I since then have done lots of personality tests and I’ve sort of dialed that down a little bit, but I was obsessed with people like me.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:10:42    So happiness was really important. And I think from happiness and how do I create that? There were three things that came to mind. One was recognizing good performance. That was really important. Second was giving people loads and loads of freedom to do the thing. They weren’t the way they want it to do it. Yeah. Well, the way they chosen to is probably going to blow up in their face, had to let them do it because that’s freedom because then there’s the payoff. One time they’re going to do it and it’s going to be something completely new. But if you’re going to do free, if you’re going to still give someone freedom, you’ve got to give them safety as well. You got to say, yeah, you’re free to do it, how you want. And if it completely messes up, it’s on me, don’t worry about it.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:11:17    So those three things have sort of underpins how I’ve led teams since then. And I think those three things work really, really well in a remote or a virtual team, always finding people, doing something right. Recognizing fought them for it in public spaces like WhatsApp or whatever, letting people be being very clear that people have complete freedom to do what they want to do, letting them be clear as well. On top of that, that it absolutely is on them, that it gets done. And, you know, telling them that if they get things wrong, that’s fine. That’s just part of life. I think those three things will really serve you.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:11:50    Well, that’s an awesome philosophy of doing this all to have. So thank you for sharing that. What  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:11:54    About you, man? How do you find the remote leadership stuff? Right.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:11:57    So I think that, I agree with what you said. I think that the key here is that you need to hire, for me, at least you need to identify people who have the right personality to work remotely. And the reason I’m seeing this is because there are people who they’re not as good working remotely. Like they need a lot more, let’s say interaction, that’s face to face and in an office environment. And that can tend to not work out very well. So that’s definitely one thing being capable to recognize the people. Another trait that’s really key is that they have to be self-motivated. They don’t have to be self-motivated the way a business owner is self-motivated, but they have to be self-motivated in that they take responsibility for their job. They like figuring things out on their own. They don’t need to be handheld. So I would say that those are the two most important things that I’ve realized.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:12:57    Other than that. Yeah. You have to reward good performance, as you said. Absolutely agree with that. And you have to otherwise manage people. Well, so with regards to the safety thing that you mentioned, yeah. I agree with that. At the same time, I still think that the responsibility aspect is important. So I think that the jobs and the, whatever the job description ends up being needs to be very clear and everybody needs to know what they’re responsible for. If they struggle, they need to communicate. And if these things are done, you know, things can work out. Well. I used to have this mindset that before, and it’s very interesting that you asked me this because before I used to have the mindset that, you know, it doesn’t really work to have remote company, you need to have people at an office, you need to supervise them, you know, kind of the, let’s call it the old style mindset about business. But I’ve since come to see that it’s a lot more efficient to work remotely, and I’ve gone a lot more in this direction ever since COVID because obviously all of us had to and things are good. You know, I, I like working remotely now, and this is the plan for the future. Yeah.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:14:09    I love it. I love it. I think it’s that I think so much, so much healthier for people. I think, you know, something you said that, which really caught my attention is, um, you want to work with people who are hungry, who are sort of self-starters who yeah. And then the question is, okay, how do you spot that? And something, I think you can see, you can look at what someone’s done in their life and you can spot whether they are hungry and they’re self-starter because how much content are they posting? Or how much, uh, how many little ventures have they done? How many little side hustles that they put on? I’m not saying you have to have that. Right. I’m just saying, if you’re looking for clues of whether someone’s, if you’re really looking for a self-starter someone who just isn’t waiting for, be told what to do, just does stuff, look at how much other stuff they’ve done in their life. How many other ventures they’ve done? That’s a good indicator. Yeah. Yeah. There’s another one that I really like, and that’s seeing them take initiative.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:15:00    There are some people that you just talk about a project on and you sort of tell them what they have to do. And they’re like, oh yeah, I will do that. And that’s pretty much that. And then there are other kinds of people and you tell them what they should do. And then they start asking you questions. They obviously care about it. There are a lot into the work they want to be good. You can see that. I think you want to go for that kind of person that takes initiative and takes responsibility for them.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:15:27    Yeah. A hundred percent. A hundred percent. 

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:15:29    Yeah. With regards to this remote discussion, I also wanted to ask you if you faced any legal difficulties, uh, in terms of building your company remotely, because obviously you sort of straddle across multiple legislations and the UK is no longer for example, in the EU. So how does that sort of thing work out? Yeah. 

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:15:59    You had to bring Brexit into this. Huh? Yeah, well, really simple answer to that is, um, at the moment all of our teams are they’re set up as companies themselves and we pay them as companies. So it’s just, it’s just companies, company, consultancy fees in a way there’s a couple of people who are a little bit different, but generally speaking, that’s the way we’re looking at it. Not necessarily on full-time payroll and with that, actually that is actually a really, really nice thing because one of the things you’re going to have to do, uh, with a virtual team is you’re going to have to forget about the amount of hours someone works because you ain’t gonna be able to track it anymore. So if that’s something you care about anyway, forget about it. Anyway, it doesn’t matter outcomes, much more important, but what’s quite nice about that is there’s, there’s no control we have over it. And in, in our agreements, this is like, it’s more like a business to business relationship in that respect is in, this is the service I’m going to do for you. And this is what we’re going to charge you for. So I feel, I feel more comfortable that way probably as we grow, we’re going to need to change that a little bit, but, um, I’m going to seek much more stringent, legal advice than just me doing it. I see.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:17:03    I see. Yeah, yeah. It can  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:17:05    Be a problem. I mean, the biggest problem is that things in the EU, in my opinion, are a very bureaucratic, especially when, once it gets into the VAT staff and so on, it tends to be the bureaucracy only increases. And I don’t think that that actually helps business owners. I think that people who are based in the states generally tend to have a much easier time from this point of view.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:17:29    Yeah. I have, I haven’t spoken to many us business owners, but certainly look, VAT is a great point because if you’re essentially paying employees and you’re having to add VAT on top, that feels a little bit strange. So yeah, I agree. That’s something that if you’re going to grow in a virtual international team yeah. Get, get advice on that workout, how you can, um, you can work around things like VAT and things of that, because that might be a problem, to be honest. Yeah.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:17:56    Yeah. I mean, uh, he can be quite a big problem depending also on the state that you’re in, in the EU. So that’s why I basically wanted to ask you if, because I know that a lot of people are facing difficulties in those areas. Right. So I also wanted to ask you one more thing and I ask all the guests about this. So, um, basically I wanted to ask you what your top five book recommendations are when it comes to mindset, business, entrepreneurship, this side of things, because our listeners tend to be very interested in that.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:18:29    Well, you say that and then immediately all of my book, a book recommendations, just go out the window. Right. So, um, I’ll, I’ll go with the ones I can remember that I love for now. And, um, we can go from there. So the first one, I think this book should be read by everyone that lives. Okay. I think this book is not just a book that should be read by a few. They should be read by everyone. In fact, I think it should be compulsory at final year of school across the world. And that book is Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. So the reason I think is so important is because even in the first sort of hundred pages of that book, I’m not sure if you read, have you read it?   

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:19:09    I have read part of it. I have never finished it.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:19:11    Yeah. Okay. So what Harari will get you to in the first, like, I don’t know, a hundred pages as he will very clearly get you to understand exactly who we all are, which is just animals and this stuff, stuff we know. Right. But the way he presents this argument is really important. That perspective, I think, is so important because all of the issues that we have right now are based on other levels of importance we put on life, things that are generally imaginary, that don’t really matter. So the first one I would say would be Sapiens. Okay. Another book that I absolutely love is by Donald Miller, StoryBrand fairly recent book and that’s basically just a lovely framework on how to build a brand. What makes different brands stand out? Have you read StoryBrand?  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:20:00    No, no at all. I haven’t even heard of it in fact until now. Okay. Yeah

.  

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:20:05    I would say two or that be on top of your list. Um, new books to a new books to read books. Uh, I would say, and I’m really going to kick myself faster this, because I’m definitely gonna forget one of my favorite books and you know, I’m gonna have to, uh,  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu   01:20:21    You can write to me, we will put it in the show notes.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:20:23    I have to write to you. So the next book I would say, um, I’m a sales person. Okay. So the next three are, are pretty much sales books. So the first one is, uh, Never Split the Difference. Chris Voss  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:20:36    I’ve read that one.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:20:39    You have. Yeah. So Chris Voss, absolute hero of a guy ex FBI hostage negotiator, hardcore dude, very, very calm under pressure. One of my favorite things in people’s composure, one of my favorite things in people is the ability to stay calm when it’s all going mental. Right? And Chris Voss, I listened to him, I read his stuff and he’s just, this is a guy who is absolutely amazingly composed and calm under pressure. He will teach you how to not sell. He does teach you how to sell, but I didn’t take that from him. I didn’t take that from his book. I taught how to communicate in a way where you can always keep composed. You can always keep control in the strongest of arguments. There’s always things you can do to deescalate. What we tend to do in those situations is escalated. Okay. So Chris Voss Never Split the Difference. The fourth one is a man called Oren Klaff. Now I don’t know. Pitch Anything 

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:21:33    Pitch Anything. Right? My favorite really.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:21:35    Yeah. For real, I love it, man. Okay. So Oren Klaff what did I learn from Oren Klaff well, I learned in a word, I learned the power of framing. So everything has a frame. Every interaction has a frame. What do I mean by that? Well, everything we go into is framed in a context which influences the outcome of a situation. This podcast was framed with the context that both of us went into it in, uh, sounds like it’s quite a healthy frame, by the way, the conversation’s gone. If you have an argument with someone or a pitch goes wrong or, or a discussion goes wrong, you’ve probably framed it really badly. So this guy in pitch, anything teaches you about the power of framing teaches you how to not be beta traps, which honestly is one of the reasons why most agency owners don’t sell anything is because they’re beta traps.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu   01:22:24    I’d go absolutely a hundred percent. 

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:22:26    So if you are, this is a great point. If you, like you said today, if you are struggling to sell, probably the best thing you should read right now is Pitch Anything. Is that fair?  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu   01:22:36    I absolutely agree. Yeah.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:22:39    That’s a, that’s probably the book to read right now. Drop everything. Stop listening to this and just go and read that book. And then the final book is such a geeky one it’s called, uh, The Challenger Customer. See, no, it’s actually the second one from that as The Challenger Customer, and it’s a follow on from that. I’ve never written, I’ve never read the challenge of sale. I only read the challenge of customer. I don’t even know who it’s by. It’s so it’s so dense and so geeky. And so like if you’re not into sales, don’t even bother. If you’re not fascinated by B2B sales don’t even bother. But if you are, this is like the drug, this work, like it will just keep feeding you and feeding you and feeding you. And all of the things, if you’ve been in B2B sales for awhile, all of the snags you’ve hit all of the challenges you’ve had. All of the issues you’ve had will be just explained. So, so perfectly well why you had them and how to avoid them. So I would really put that up. That challenge, the customer, I think is a great one. If you’re into B2B sales really breaks it down. That’s awesome. I’m pleased that you didn’t actually tell me that in advance because I would have spent the last three weeks just thinking about what books to include it, but yeah. Yeah, that’s fine. That’s all fine. Do you, do you have  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:23:51    Any recommendations for mindset? Because a lot of people ask about that. So I was wondering if anything comes to mind?  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:24:01    Goggins, I think David Goggins, what was, I don’t know. I haven’t read his book. Right. So I don’t know. But um, I think his book is called you Can’t Hurt Me. Yeah. I, I don’t know. I watch a lot of his stuff. I think that would be a good place to start in terms of, I don’t know about reading anything, but of course, very obviously Tony Robbins is absolutely bang on the money when it comes to mindset as well. Honestly, I don’t feed too much into it because I’ve never really needed to.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:24:26    Yeah, I see. I see. So that makes absolute sense. Then you mentioned never split the difference. I’ve also read the book. The thing for me with never split the difference though, was that I feel that a lot of the negotiation style and the tactics that Chris was gives you, they’re only effective. If you have to make the deal. If the other party basically has to make a deal, some sort of deal with you because I need to think back to his hostage situations, the terrorists, they had to make a deal. You know, they, they could not make some sort of deal.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:25:01    This is why I’ve never really deployed. Many of his thing is, uh, what he teaches in, in sales. In fact, I don’t think sales should be called sales. Actually. I don’t think you should sell anything. If you have the right targeting, whatever else, that’s a conversation for another day. But what is really useful for is high pressure situations. If there’s a situation where there’s tension, where there doesn’t need to be, could even be a home, right. If you’ve got a precedent situation at home where you can just feel it. I agree about that. Yeah. So this is, it’s just good for communication sense because if someone in the room has what Chris Voss teaches you in their armory, chances are, most of those interactions are going to go really smoothly. And that’s why I think it’s important. Definitely not for a, in a sales technique. And I think it’s kind of in misused for that, although he’s made loads of money teaching it. So yeah. Yeah.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:25:51      I can definitely agree with that. That last part, uh, I found much to similar, very similar things. So I much rather prefer Oren Klaff when it comes to sales. And it’s a funny thing, because most sales books out there, they do not teach like a part from Oren Klaff I, and I discovered Oren cloud very late. You know, I discovered Oren Klaff I think about six months, maybe one year ago. Yeah. Until then, you know, I was basically thinking that all sales books on the market don’t teach the most important thing, you know, which was the aspect about social positioning frames and so on, which basically governs the whole rest of the sales interaction. And for me it was a revelation, you know, seeing this on paper, all of a sudden, you know, it’s, I instantly resonated with it. Yeah. 

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:26:40    So true. Like, and this is another reason we’re going back to what we talked about at the start in terms of like the niche you choose and stuff like that, make sure you know something about it, make sure you’re an expert in it because if you read what our in class teaches and I truly believe he’s one of the best salespeople out there, I think you do too, then you realize that you need to be completely on your game top of your game, absolute expert in the field in order to get the results you want. You can’t absolutely. Can’t wing it and be. You need to know your stuff. Yeah. Basically  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:27:12    I think that you can’t be a great salesman, you know, if you don’t know what you’re selling inside and out, and if you don’t know your customers inside and out.  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:27:19    Yeah. Completely agree

.  

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:27:22    Right. So I mean, the final question here that I want to ask you before we wrap up is basically what’s the future direction for launchpad at the moment? What are the plans and what are you thinking to get there  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:27:35    For us? We’re we’re uh, we’re an education business. Okay. So we sell transformation, we sell basically results for our clients. Now, one of the things we’ve learned is that there’s loads and loads and loads and loads and loads of agencies out there that can’t quite afford the academy. And does that mean we shouldn’t help them? Absolutely not. So one of the things we’re really working on right now is packaging a lot of our training into something which is very accessibly priced. We’re talking like, you know, 20 or $30. It will obviously have none of our time in it, but making that accessible to that market that can’t afford to be part of the academy simply so that we can start to create our own clients instead of find them. Because if we can create very interesting, if we can create wins for our clients at a very low value, which we can deliver and we can still be profitable on. And from the back of that, they can grow their business to the point where they can join the academy. I think that’s literally the definition of a win-win. So that is the direction we’re going in as well as obviously being very, very clear on improving the academy offering and everything like that. That’s really the main innovation we’re making now.

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:28:39    I see that. That’s awesome. You mentioned the academy pricing. So, um, is that something that people can find anywhere? Or can you share it or is it something that’s on a per customer basis? Yeah,  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:28:52    No, if everyone is the same price, but we don’t advertise pricing into consultations with people simply because there is a massive difference between and value and until you’ve spent time with someone work out what they really want, then no one sees the true value in something in that way. So yeah. That’s something we, we talk about in private. Yeah. Yeah. 

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:29:13    Makes absolute sense. One last thing only, you don’t mind sharing your email, LinkedIn website and so on for people to see what you’re doing and to contact you and to join launchpad. Right?  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:29:26    Definitely. So yes, my, my website for sure. But I’ll also put a link so people can book what we call a, an agency growth audit into the, um, straightaway. So if you’re an agency and you think, you know, that’s awesome, I help, then you can get a 15 minute chat with one of our team to see if we can help and what your three core challenges are.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:29:45    So can you, can you tell people a little bit about when exactly they should consider taking this audit? Like, should I take it should, what exactly, what position should somebody be in to take this audit? 

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:29:58    So if you find yourself asking yourself questions, if you run an agency, you’re struggling to push over. We used to say, we, we don’t take agencies under 10 K honestly. Now we’ve got agencies in the academy who are doing about 300 K a month. So, uh, would we kind of scrap that, but if you’re in, if you run an agency and you’re not satisfied with the revenue level, you’re at, if you feel like you’re asking yourself questions, like if only I could clone myself, I would be fine. Or if only I could get 10 more leads each week, I’d be fine. Or if only I could raise my double, my prices, all my problems will be over. If those are the sorts of questions you’re asking yourself, then you should take an audit with us. 

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:30:36    That sounds awesome. There’s a lot of direction for people there. Any last comments here, Ollie?  

 

Oliver Duffy-Lee    01:30:41    No, just thank you. First of all, thank you so much for, um, for having me. What I would say is there’s one thing is clear. The narrative is that agency’s markets is saturated. It’s a completely, really hard work to work out. It’s really hard to work to make it work. Truth is maybe it is saturated, but it’s a really good thing. It’s really good timing to be here if you consistently work at it. And if you find you’re very clear on your target market, this is a wonderful industry to be in. Yeah. Keep pushing.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:31:10    Thank you very much then. It’s been wonderful having you. You’ve been a very interesting guest, one of the most interesting so far, so thank you very much then. And we show a lot of luck in the future with launchpad academy. Thanks to the same to you. All right. Bye-bye for the rest of you guys stay tuned for the next episode. And until next time, keep growing your business and providing massive value to the world.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu    01:31:35    Remember you are the reason why we’re all growing richer. Our freedoms are expanding and we’re all living in greater prosperity. Thank you. And until next time.

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