BluShark Digital 0:00
Welcome to the SEO Insider with your host, Seth Price, Founder of BluShark taking you inside the world of legal marketing, and all things digital.
Seth Price 0:11
Welcome, everyone. We’re so excited to have Alex here from Prospecting On Demand. Thank you for being here.
Alex Schlinsky 0:17
Yeah, thanks for having me, Seth. I appreciate it.
Seth Price 0:19
You know, in fo- you know, sort of following you on social and seeing the work that you do with bringing people with their growing agencies together, as well as the work that you’re doing, sort of coaching and working with larger organizations. Talk to me about how did you end up with this sort of two pronged approach to to an agency?
Alex Schlinsky 0:37
Yeah, I would say the main method was I kind of stumbled, frankly, ass backwards into running an agency. After I graduated high school, went into college, I did an internship for an attorney, I wanted to go into pre law, the attorney very quickly explained to me that he, that he really did not like his life and how it turned out. And as a very impressionable young adult, I think it really changed the trajectory of my life, to not want to go into pre law. The luck of the draw so happened to be that Facebook had just come out with business pages at the time, he asked me to post for him on business page every single day, I did that for a few months, made some money doing that. And then he connected me with about 15 to 20 other attorneys that he went to law school with in the last six, seven years, and ultimately all those people became clients. So I had this great side hustle agency, like one of the main things that I do when I speak at events is like I ran a seven figure or six figure agency, for four years without even knowing it, as like this unique angle of like, what do you mean, you didn’t even know it? And when I graduated school and realized I had no more energy to go back to school, and I didn’t know where to start. That’s when I started looking up like if this could be a real business. And then I got all the ads, right. So I got the Tai Lopez’s I got the Dan Henry’s I got the Dave Rogamoser, Moser, I got Sam Ovens, I bought some courses, I learned how to build a better agency. It took me about two and a half years or so to make it work, um it wasn’t like a fly by night, Instantaneous success, which I think is a really common trope and misunderstanding in the industry, that it’s just super easy to have immediate success. But as soon as I did that, I realized how insulated the market is like, it’s very lonely, you know, being in your office, all the time. If you don’t have like a proper office, a real team, people that you’re speaking to being on Zoom, or Skype or Google Hangouts, whatever it is all day. So I wanted to build a community. And so slowly, but surely, I did one on one coaching, and then built it into Prospecting On Demand, and then built that into a team of 12. And then built that into 50 people, or 50 agencies, which ends up being about 120 people total in our community, which is incredible. And just realizing like in order to deliver the service that we want to deliver in prospecting, on demand, and being different. And contrary to what you know, other programs are, we’re a client success company, not a client acquisition company, inherently, that means we’re not scalable, which I understand. So in order to branch out from that, I also wanted to be able to do corporate sales consulting, because I just love doing that. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some pretty large brands, some massive marketing agencies, and then a few b2c companies, too, I just worked with Restore Hyper-Wellness, like a cryotherapy company that has like 130 locations, did some corporate sales consulting with them too, which was a lot of fun. So I’m really involved in both of those areas. And I even have like a third thing Seth, that I really do, which is running events, you know, it’s, that’s a whole business in and of itself, because we do meetups for our community, three times a year, and we’re about to run 150 person event here in Tampa next week. So I’m pretty excited about it.
Seth Price 3:32
That is awesome. You know, it’s funny, I see your hat. And, you know, when I started a law firm, almost about 20 years ago. And it was like, hey, I need to make a buck. My buddy wanted to practice law, I didn’t. And we divided and conquered from day one. And when we had this really tiny law firm, like culture wasn’t something I’m worried about. Because like, my, my partner is like a very charismatic trial lawyer. People loved working with him because he cares so much about his clients and did work so hard to to advocate for them in the courtroom, that culture sort of I was it took care of itself. But yeah, the two principals, we knew everybody, everything was great. And that, you know, as the firm grew, it’s now a 43 lawyer firm, we were in a position where you don’t know everybody well, particularly staff. And that, you know, as you pyramid, culture becomes something that takes a lot more thought and purpose than when it’s just, hey, let’s make sure that we have a once a week happy hour, and we go out and just doing a happy hour just to supply someone with alcohol. It’s like we’re actually spending time with people, whereas now their actual firm events that I’m not even at, chapter two, you know, we spun this agency out of the firms the accidental agency was my in house team, wanted to give them opportunity. Next thing you know, I just looked up the other day like blink, talk about overnight, you know, eight years later, 350 law firms that we’re working with, it’s pretty crazy.
Alex Schlinsky 4:57
Seth Price 4:58
And one of the things that you know, has struck me. And the difference, and I’m curious because you work with, a bit of a preamble, but just to give my background too, right back at you, was that, as you know, you work with a lot of people that are trying to get to that seven figure moment. And I don’t think that I was focused on culture at that point. But I know that, that culture, thankfully and people that my partner in the agency piece really focused on it so much that as it evolved, that almost becomes the stickiness or glue that allows you to scale that without it, you’re always good with yourself. And the question is, no, it’s hard for me to think back to those early days. But when you’re dealing with people trying to break free, where they’re just getting their management team in place, like what are some of the steps you think are most important in order to create a culture that is positive and will allow for smart growth?
Alex Schlinsky 5:55
Yeah, I think it’s such an important point, to know, like, to me, I’m a huge sports fan. I love the Miami Dolphins, Miami Heat, I’m very inspired by sports. I’m inspired by, you know, team mechanics and operations, especially grown adults who are paid exorbitant amount of money to achieve a certain goal together, where you have to sacrifice for the other person next to you in order to achieve this together. And that’s really what what a team is and what culture is. And I find a lot of people in the range of like that 25 to $50,000 a month range, they have a lot of like, outsource team, and they’re trying to figure out like, how do I build from here? And they’re kind of Atlas Shrugged, right? They’re just carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. And they don’t really know how to create and curate an experience for team as they would for their clients to grow. And there’s so much focus and effort in the industry about, you know, booking sales calls, closing deals, fulfilling for the client, servicing the clients and retaining the clients. But there’s a lot less focus on making sure you do the same exact thing for your team, right? There’s this amazing book about calling like, never lose an employee, I forgot who wrote it, it’s incredible book, strongly recommend it. But I think a lot of people don’t actually have like a core mission or core values. And I think it falls back to the inherent, you know, mantra of hustle culture. In general, it’s just like, the only goal is more, there’s no actual definite goal or reason or KPI. It’s just more, and so people wonder why they struggle with burnout, or struggle with stress or anxiety or why they don’t ever feel fulfilled. And it’s because they are not allowing themselves to do the deep work of identifying what matters to me in this company. What matters to me in terms of my life, how do I want to spend the precious time I have? How do I want to spend the money that I want to make what I want to do with those things, most people don’t do that work, and instead either live a gurus life, or they just go with moving the goalposts consistently and more. And that’s why it’s pretty much impossible to create a culture, you can’t have a team that can buy into a clear goal, right? If you’re in the NBA, you’re trying to win the NBA Finals. If you’re in the NFL, you’re trying to win the Super Bowl, that is a clear goal, a clear mission statement, not let’s just do more, let’s get more this quarter. Let’s sell more, grow more, retain more, that is not a clear enough goal. So I think the main element of culture is understanding what is the actual goal at hand, not just for the individual running the company, but also for the actual company itself. I think that core mission statement is really important. And most people just kind of bypass it, they think it’s mumbo jumbo fake business, its not real. That’s why I’m always wearing the hat because of my community. I care about it. Also, because I’m balding. I mean, that’s another, you know, very fair reason to wear the hat consistently. But ultimately, it’s important to me to have a really strong community for my team. And for my clients, I spend as much effort and energy on ensuring that my team is bought into our mission statement, as our clients are bought into the mission statement. Because when those are together in a symbiosis, they have the right synergy together, it becomes a really effective machine to achieve the goals together.
Seth Price 8:47
I mean, so much to unpack there. And I’m trying, to there’s three themes and hopefully I can remember them all. But one of the things, I’ll even start with this, I’ll come back to the, more of the culture. But one of the things I talk a lot about, I have another podcast on law firm growth, which we talk a lot about the distinction. And how old are you?
Alex Schlinsky 9:07
Seth Price 9:08
You’re 32. So I got two decades on you. And one of the thing that drove me and gotten me where I was, is what is now defined as the hustle culture. You know, the work day didn’t day five or six, you took calls on the weekends, you did what it took to push things along. And this whether it was as an employee, as a young lawyer, or working in tech before I had, you know, in marketing before I had BluShark, but that it was like going the extra step outside of work hours was something that was just part of my DNA. And that one of the things that I think that my generation is having an issue with, is that we’re watching the next generation or the current generation. Let’s say which you’re at the older end of the, we’ll call it the Gen Z group, where it’s not you know, the hustle culture is not looked upon favorably, that calling people after hours, emails after hours texts, you know, if the house is on fire, my team’s generally there, but they don’t want to be bothered. And balancing that. Because, you know, in one sense I really struggle with it, in one sense, I know the power that that hustle can bring, and where it can take you. But I also know, you know, you’re talking, we’re gonna go back to the growing and what you know what that goal is, but that the idea is that if you want people to hang around, and that’s not the mentality of those people that is that, you know, how do you balance that drive to move on? [Inaudible] Culture.
Alex Schlinsky 10:36
I have great insight here. So I actually wrote a book about this called the anti-hustlers handbook. Because I’m really impassioned by this, right before we started the recording, I met, I made an anecdotal comment that yes, I’m 32, but at 29 years old, when my wife was five months pregnant, I had open heart surgery. And ultimately, the surgery was successful, thankfully, and I’m good. And the surgery has a very low mortality rate, its like less than 1%, because of how amazing you know, the medicine is, and thank God, but in general, you know, in terms of odds, right, the the day that you would likely die is more likely the day that you’re, you know, chest is opened up, and you’re having heart surgery than random Wednesday, right. And I think one of the main things that I learned through that process, first of all, is I became an old soul, for sure, very quickly, because I recognize the most valuable asset we have much more importantly, which was our time, right. And I think a lot of people struggle mostly with understanding this value of time, because what we do is we have a everyone has a, like a time slot right at the sand, right. And ultimately, what we see is people will borrow from future sand that they have, thinking that they’ll have that time slot. And unfortunately, that’s just not the case. Sometimes we don’t all get the you know, amount of time we had hoped. One of the things that my dad used to preach to me consistently as I was growing up was two very important concepts that I believe wholeheartedly for every, every type of human being or entrepreneur, which is one there’s a time and place for everything, there’s a time and place for hustle, hard work, sacrifice, etc. And a time for place for leisure, relaxation, taking a break, etc, right? It doesn’t have to be one or the other. It’s a time and place for everything. And the second thing is that there’s more types of wealth than just finances. I remember, you know, growing up growing up in a Jewish community, walking to temple every single Saturday. I remember looking at this house, a two story house had a Mercedes Benz in the front, had a had a Lexus. My house had a Toyota, had a Nissan clearly there’s a discrepancy. I’m 11 years old, and asked my dad and audacious question. I said, you know, Aba, which is Dad in Hebrew. Why are you not as successful as these people? And I’ll never forget this, my dad stopped me in our tracks, pulled his hands on my shoulders and looked me in the eye. And he said, I’m the most successful person in the world. I was like, What are you talking about? Right? Like even at 11, I can understand the concept of delusional, I didn’t know the vocabulary word, but I understood the concept. And he went on to explain that I’m the most successful person in the world because of your mother who loves me, and the relationship that I have with her, because of you and your two brothers and the family that I have, from the community that cares about me from the roof over our head from the blessings that I’ve been provided. And that concept, that mindset is so incredibly important, because in the day and age we live in today, especially the younger generation, they are in a place of nothing is ever good enough, ever. And the mindset and mantra for someone that has been in hospital recovering from open heart surgery before I’m meeting my first child, right is the understanding that none of those things matter. No one wants to be the richest man in the graveyard. Everyone wants the ability to live the life that they want with financial freedom, time, freedom, location independence, and making the impact they can. And that’s different for every person. And the only way to do that is by defining it. There’s a time and place for everything. The easy way that I recommend it in the book is three steps. It’s very, very, very simple to do. You define it for yourself. Not from Tony Robbins, not Jocko Willing, not Alex Schlinsky, not Seth Price, not your parents, not your wife, you. You define it, what do you want, and why, define it, then design it, just identify clear milestones that are needing to be achieved in order to get the result that you want. And then lastly, do. Hustle culture tells you to skip define tells you to skip design, and it just has you do, and that’s why people get lost. That’s why they struggle. If you just do those three things define, design, do, you will be able to achieve exactly what you want. And for some people that’s working seven days a week, and for other people that’s working four days a week, and myself cannot tell you whether or not that’s a good thing. It’s whatever’s best for you. That’s my man- that’s my mantra related to anti-hustle.
Seth Price 14:31
Well, let me take the, this sort of morphs into the second point I want to talk to you about which was you talked about the goalposts moving, and I get it. We aren’t an NFL team, and I love the fact that it’s team, right people who morph into family, I think get into trouble with the analogy, whereas team is a really, really good one. Not everybody is on the team the whole, for their whole lives. They may come and go and that’s okay.
Alex Schlinsky 14:51
Seth Price 14:52
But one of the things that you know, you mentioned was, hey, there’s a national championship each year. How do you as a business, agency, what have you, keep that when you don’t have a Super Bowl to aim for? And instead, you know, it is very often what, are you hitting quarterly numbers? What is the annual growth? And what does that mean to a member of the team?
Alex Schlinsky 15:13
Absolutely, yeah, it’s all about defining the game, right? You define the game, how long is the game, oftentimes, Younger entrepreneurs will play this very awful game of a month to month game, as if some sort of payment taken on August 31, is any different than a payment taken on September 1, even though it changes the trajectory of the p&l for that month. But it’s irrelevant, right? Like anyone that has experience in the game knows, sometimes you’ll have a month that isn’t as good. And then the month following is just explosive because of investments I had to make that didn’t, you know, reap what you sewed until three months later, it’s just part of the industry, overall, the main model that I usually advise on when it comes to identifying like, what’s the game that we’re playing? How do we motivate the team? Is having those core values, having that mission statement? And then for each and every person on the team understanding their specific motivations? Like, why are you working with this company? What can we do? And I don’t mean the motivations in the like unselfish way. That’s such a common trope in the team environment, like, oh, I’m bought in like, I love it’s like, no, why are you selfishly working with us? You’re giving us your most valuable asset in exchange for money? You’re giving us your time. Why are you giving us your time, for what purpose because if we understand what every single individual on our team absolutely wants, we can collectively put together a goal that can achieve what we all want. And that model is the most effective thing whether you’re playing a three month game, six month game, annual game, some people are playing a game to buy a company, some people are playing game to sell a company, some people are playing a game to have stasis, there’s no right or wrong. It’s just defining it is the key. And I think the biggest problem in the industry we have today, by far in my opinion, is allowing other people to define for you, it is the riskiest, stupidest thing you could possibly do. Listening to someone else preach what they tell you you should do. It’s supposed to be inspirational, not taking it where you’re supposed to go, it’s supposed to tell you what you should define not what you should do. That’s not the model.
Seth Price 17:05
Understood. So give me examples of where you seen, given like in the agency world, what are some of those goalposts that you can put that aren’t just revenue for a month, a quarter a year?
Alex Schlinsky 17:10
I mean, the ones that we commonly see, right, are beginners want to hit $10,000 a month. That’s very common.
Seth Price 17:26
No, no understood, is there something beyond just revenue?
Alex Schlinsky 17:30
Yeah, absolutely impact, right cultural impact time availability, impact to your team impact statements to your clients? How do you affect people, the value of a company that is doing marketing is not just a dollars and cents company, its the understanding of the impact that’s made in a downward trajectory, right. So the company, you know, hires a salesperson who sells a team member, or who sells a client whose client now gets more clients, and then the end users of the person that you’re working with, gets impacted from that, because the only way they connected was through the ad that you were able to provide for them. That type of model makes a huge difference. The question is, do you care about the KPI of impact? A lot of people use that as a, I care about it. But only because of like, what culture tells you to care about, like, oh, well, yeah, I care about it, but they don’t actually care about it. I think one of the things that’s okay to take ownership of is, if you just want to make money, there’s nothing wrong with that. You’re not doing anything wrong. There’s no concept that every single human being on the planet has to want to solve world hunger, right? That just doesn’t have to be the way. That doesn’t make someone inherently a bad person. Right? I would say inherently, you’re a bad person, if you’re selling as a charlatan, or you’re, you know, selling just for the sake of that person’s money in their pocket is better in mine. Yeah, I would say that makes you a bad person. I would agree with that. But in general, if the concept is just, you know, exchange of finances, that’s okay. What else outside of impact and outside of money, right? It’s time. What time freedom can be created. And what what outside of time? Location independence, the value of actually exploring the world that we have. It’s a it’s an incredible and beautiful world, and most of the people in the world don’t have the opportunity to explore it, right? That’s the benefit. The money is not about hoarding, it’s about utilizing effectively, I truly, sincerely believe that, because the most replenishable resource, the only resource that cannot be replenished, is time. That’s the only one. Meaning it needs to be utilized with the most precious understanding of how do I actually maximize this, either through my team, or through my decisions, or both.
Seth Price 19:26
Interesting. So, you know, one of the things I think one of the benefits of COVID has been that we allow our employees now to be anywhere. We were in one rowhouse, townhouse in DC, and now have people around the country, around the world, and even the people from DC, very often can take and use their time when they’re not working and see the world, which I think is just awesome. One of the things that, you know, always early on at my law firm before I even had an agency, I’d see people in law firms talking about core values, a plaque on the wall, and I was like, this is nonsense, the stuff in the plaque was very often counter to what those people actually stood for or actually did. What do you, some of the techniques or tools you can do to try to come up with those core values that are legitimate that represent not just, you know, that are not just positive to say, but are actually livable, and ones that will benefit an agency or a company as it grows?
Alex Schlinsky 20:25
Yeah. So first, I’ll tell you what not to do. Don’t go to Chat GPT and ask about the core values. I think that is something that we’re commonly seeing now like allowing Chat GBT to spew out milk toast garbage for like emails, or prospecting messages are core values of your company, leverage it as a tool to help you not to use it as a crutch. I think that’s a really important framework first, because I’ve actually seen people use this, Seth, as a model. The other concept regarding core values are either if you’re just starting and developing core values, like what mattered to you most, if you already have a larger company, meaning you have 5-10 people you work with, you’re making 50, 75, $100,000 a month, but you don’t have a mission statement. You don’t have core values, because you’re listening to this, and you’re realizing, I’ve kind of just been doing more just moving the goalposts, we, we can never score a touchdown, we’re just always indefinitely at the one yard line, and then push back to the 50. To keep going back towards just growing more, getting more getting more, but you don’t really know why you’re not really certain of it, one of the best things you can possibly do is communicate with your team. What does the team do this job for? Why are they doing it outside of the money? Right? If it’s outside of the money, what are they doing it for? Right? If they all won the lottery, how many of them would stick with you? The reality is not all of them will, there’s, that’s okay, that’s fine. But if all of them had financial independence, right, how many of them would still give it to you? Right. And a lot of people don’t understand this, because so many human beings don’t have financial independence, unfortunately. But when you look at human beings that do have financial independence, very few of them are just sitting on the beach all day drinking mai tais, most of them are still utilizing their time, or efforts to make some sort of impact, or do something, with their time. And not just because they’re bored, because they know what platform they have, and want to utilize it again, another thing that just really inspires me about team sports in general, due to the fact that every single person that plays in team sports usually would be financially independent, what do they do outside of team sports, to impact their communities to impact their families impact the nation at large, like those things are really impactful and important. How do you develop core values? It’s through journaling. It’s through deep work. It’s through the time that it takes and most of the time, people will askew this because they’ll be like, you know what I’d rather do? I’d rather like figure out some better retention strategy. And that’s why people don’t actually take the time to do it. It just takes effort to be considerate of what core values and not the milk toast ones of oh, transparency, vulnerability, care, satisfaction, happiness, like, try a little harder, right? Give a little bit of effort of what really matters to you. What are you really trying to do in this company, is a really important element.
Seth Price 22:50
Well, and to serve as a final wrap up, tell me a little bit about about your, your program, and how it how you bring people in and what you what you do to try to help scale some of these, these great ideas.
Alex Schlinsky 23:01
Yeah, so one of our core values is the idea of being a client success company, not a client acquisition company, that’s a main core value of our business. The reason being is what we find in the agency space right now is about, I don’t know the exact number, but 80 to 90% of the people running coaching products, really all they do is they have like a 3 to 5k a month marketing agency, and then they want to teach it. And because there’s no barrier of entry to run ads on Facebook, there’s no MBA for how you became a genius mastermind marketer. You know, people are able to sell snake oil and get people into programs that they’ve been burned before. And then it’s not a good experience, or there are legitimately quality coaches, but they provide a mantra or model that’s not hand to hand support, because it’s not scalable. So instead, what they do is they provide like group calls with 150 people on it, or they provide a course material that’s really quality. But you have to figure out how to build this and effectively utilize it in your plan, which some people are capable of, and a lot of people aren’t, we try to spin that on our head at prospecting on demand, every single client we work with, every single one, has a private Slack channel with 11 subject matter experts on my team to their one team member. And then if they have the executive team, two or three other people, CMO, CEO, COO, etc, right? And by doing this, what allows us to do is actually go very deep into each business to really help them hand by hand to get them to where they want to go. We think of it in the Wizard of Oz is essentially our motto, like what’s the yellow brick road we’re working towards to your specific Oz, we’re not going to tell you what the goal needs to be. We’ll align you and support you and help you but we’re going to give you the exact steps that we believe needs to happen in order to achieve that specific goal. So you can find that satisfaction and we feel very confident saying that there is not a single coaching program out there that does what we do at Prospecting On Demand because that core principle of truly being a client success company over a client acquisition company, is real, we only work with 50 agencies at a time. On average, we’ll have 46 to 50 agencies working with us pretty consistently, and people will work with us for two to three years depending on their goals and size. And that’s essentially the model. That’s what really differentiates us in the marketplace and what has allowed us to have, you know, success, seven years running, where, in the time of the seven years, the amount of other gurus that have come and gone, that became crypto experts that became Airbnb, you know, house flippers, that moved into real estate, that started their own marketing agency that do done for you marketing services, like changing the whole landscape. Just talking about 1000s of people, we stay focused on what we’ve done best, which is creating a community and culture of high quality entrepreneurs and agency owners that we can help hand to hand achieve the goals that they have.
Seth Price 25:40
That’s awesome. Well, thank you so much, Alex. This has been tremendous, really great, great energy, love, love the philosophy behind it and the fact that you’re touching so many people and hopefully get to connect in person someday soon.
Alex Schlinsky 25:53
Amen. Thanks, thanks for having me.
BluShark Digital 25:54
Thank you for tuning in to the SEO Insider with Seth Price. Be sure to check back next week for fresh insights into building your brand’s online presence. Episodes are available to stream directly on BluShark Digital’s website.