Episode #17: Next Steps After Starting a Business

This week, we are talking about the practical steps that you can take to start your own business.  On today’s episode, Russ and Mika are digging a little bit deeper into a topic that they have addressed in an earlier episode. Once again, they are talking about business, and specifically, they are addressing some of...

On today’s episode, Russ and Mika are digging a little bit deeper into a topic that they have addressed in an earlier episode.

Once again, they are talking about business, and specifically, they are addressing some of the practical steps you can take after you have started your own business.

These steps range from how to set up payments, tips for branding your business, what you can do to land your very first client, and much, much more.

In this episode, you will learn:

• Why you need to build a runway before you can take off.
• How to make it as easy as possible for your clients to pay you.
• The difference between hiring contractors and employees.
• Tips for developing successful branding strategies.

Mentioned in this episode:
Russ Perry on Instagram
Mika Perry on Instagram
The Sober Entrepreneur by Russ Perry
The Russ Perry Show
The 100 Most Creative People in Business 2018
The Chainsmokers
Kirkland Protein Bars
The New York Times
John Lee Dumas
Thou Shall Prosper by Rabbi Daniel Lapin
The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris


– Hey, everyone. Welcome again to another episode of Good To Be Home. I am Russ Perry.

– And I am Mika Perry.

– And we are coming to you from yet another recording location, our girls’ bunk bed room.

– So if you’re on my Instagram, you’ll see I recently did a reveal of the girls’ room. This is Paige and Reese’s shared room. There’s a cute, little bunk bed in it, and really pretty wallpaper. Today is our around the one-year mark of our home being built, and so we’re doing a lot of the warranty inspection, and touch-ups, and repairs, so there are a million people in our house today. And the only place we could get some quiet without people walking through and walking past us is the girls’ room. So we’re on the floor.

– Can you hand me the Elena guitar?

– Oh.

– I think so we don’t have to have put in some soundtrack later. ♪ But now that I’m here ♪ ♪ There’s a mission at hand ♪

-So we’re surrounded by kids’ toys and books, and pink.

– Yeah, my microphone is on books like Wall-E, Dragons Love Tacos. Russ’ microphone right now is on a Women’s Devotional Bible.

– But anyway, let’s get to it, everybody. We’re excited to come back to you here, regardless of our location. Today we’re actually going to bring you back to another conversation on business. So you can go to our website,, and have a listen. And the first time we talked about this, we ended things just about some ideas of some businesses that we thought would be good. And today, we’re actually gonna talk about really practical parts of starting a business. So we’re gonna talk about where to get started. We’re gonna really get into branding, which is a powerful thing me and Mika are both passionate about. And then walking through just how do you get your first client? What would we do to go get our first clients?

– What have we done?

– And.

– And yeah, what’s worked?

– But before we get there, as always, we have our reading, listening, eating, and loving sections. Mika, take it away.

– Okay, so for reading, I recently picked up Fast Company, the magazine, at the airport. And they got me with their cover, because they put Reese Witherspoon on the front, and I love Reese Witherspoon. Who doesn’t, right? Our daughter, Reese, was partly named after her. And she was the cover of The Top 100 Most Creative People in Business, and I thought that was just so intriguing, because it’s combining two things that I love, business and creativity, into one article. And what was even cooler, not only did I learn more about Reese Witherspoon, and her company, Hello Sunshine, which is like the next face of multimedia, how she’s approaching the platforms that she’s producing movies, and she has an Audible channel, like incredible things I had no idea that she was doing as a producer and creator. Not only does she have a fashion line and kids, it’s amazing, but the first five most creative people in business were the kids, the teens, that came out of the Parkland shooting in Florida, and how they have single-handedly changed the conversation and even some laws around with gun control more than adults have been able to do for this whole time. And I’m not gonna get into opinions on gun control or anything like that, but they’ve started their own nonprofit. They’ve been able to identify what they personally at ages 17 and 18, what their strengths are, like engaging in people, the backend of business, all these things to create a functioning nonprofit.

– Wow. I mean, there’s definitely a problem, whether it’s tied to guns, or the pressures of society, or mental health. There’s a lot of reasons why people think there’s a problem. There’s definitely a big problem. And for those kids to be tackling it, that’s inspiring.

– So cool. So yes, I was very inspired by that. Listening, super sweet and short, The Chainsmokers. I just like ’em. So this morning, when I was dropping the girls off at school, I put on a playlist of Chainsmokers, and I just need to give ’em a shout-out, because they are so good.

– Everyone loves Reese Witherspoon. Everyone loves The Chainsmokers.

– Yeah.

– No one ever got upset that The Chainsmokers came on.

– Exactly, so I’m just saying, me, too. I love–

– They’re coming to concert in Arizona.

– I know.

– In October.

– And actually, that made me think of it. Do we have tickets?

– I have tickets, would you like to come?

– You do? Can I go?

– Maybe.

– Maybe?

– I’ll have to see.

– Okay. Eating, I just finished a Kirkland, that’s Costco’s brand, Kirkland’s protein bar. And I have consistently been buying them. They recently came out with two new flavors, chocolate, peanut butter, and cinnamon roll, and they’re delicious. And I have had such a busy week that really, I’m living in my car. And having something that I can grab and go, and eat for protein, especially after my morning workouts when I can’t get to the Vitamix and make a protein shake or whatever, has been very helpful. And I have the wrapper right here, because I just had one. And I was looking at the ingredients, ’cause I was like, oh, no, I’m gonna say I’m loving eating something that’s extremely unhealthy. But actually, other than the whey protein isolate, there’s dietary fiber from tapioca starch, cashews, almonds, sea salt. There’s cinnamon, and stevia. And that’s it.

– Oh, really?

– Yeah, so.

– Wow.

– They’re really–

– I never eat this, ’cause I always thought they were kinda garbage.

– No, and I think what they did is they kind of copied Quest.

– Ah.

– As the base, because they’re very similar in texture. And I’ve always been a fan of Quest. In fact, I think I mentioned in my stories, they sent me some bars recently, and they were delicious.

– Shout-out to Quest.

– Yup, thank you for the bars. Maple waffle, they were awesome. This one has 21 grams of protein, which I think is a threshold grams of what you can process, protein, your body at a time. Like if you eat something that has 40 grams of protein, that’s just marketing, because you’re not gonna get any benefit from that extra, except for calories and fat. So I recommend these. They’re really good. Kirkland brand protein bars.

– Okay.

– Finally, loving. This is kind of jumping off a topic I addressed in my Q and A episode, which is how do I plan, and how do I do my Instagram and Instagram Stories? Someone asked me, which I didn’t address in the Q and A, but afterwards asked me, what apps do I use for social media in general, other than the actual platform? One thing I didn’t mention is that I do like to plan my layout and plan my content visually. So Planoly is a huge one that’s very popular. I personally don’t like it, because you have to pay pretty early on for the subscription. And I don’t, for me, don’t find it useful. I just want the visual, to see my feed, to see the layout of placing the pictures, because that is actually how I plan my content. And then everything follows that. So I have been using Snug. And guys, the developers, Snug is not working very well lately, and there’s been lots of bugs. So last night, I downloaded something called Plann with a double N at the end. And so far, so good, so.

– All right.

– Just wanna recommend that.

– I don’t use any of those, and it shows, ’cause your feed is so much more beautiful than mine. I just post a lot of black. That’s my style.

– You do.

– All right, on to my list. So forgot to mention, everyone, this is a list that we do every week. You can go to our website to get the full list of all recommendations we’ve ever had, So what am I reading? I’m old school. I get The New York Times delivered every day to the driveway. Kinda to your annoyance, I feel like, at times.

– I’m a little annoyed.

– I read ’em, but I love ’em. You know what my favorite part about getting The New York Times delivered? Now first of all, why do I have a newspaper subscription? Let’s be honest.

– Let’s start there.

– The reason was is I do read stuff online. I love The New York Times quality. I love a lot of the arts and culture stuff that they do. And their online platform’s gated. So you only can read so many articles, and then you have to pay. And it was like a crazy amount. It was like, get the online subscription, or for $6 a month, or a week, or something, you get the paper every day. It was so cheap to get the paper every day in addition to the online subscription, and so that’s what I did it. And I have this visual of me, which I do sometimes, sitting down, having a cup of coffee.

– I was gonna say, that’s a really, that’s where it ends, is it’s a visual, because I don’t think I’ve ever seen yousit down and read it.

– So I do think the best use for it has honestly been when I go travel. I’ll take a copy with me, throw it in my bag, and that I take onto the airplane. And I love having something to read on the airplane like the newspaper.

– And the reason I don’t like it, because it’s something accumulating on our driveway. And while we were in Italy, our neighbor, Lindsey, was texting me, hey, do you want me to collect all these New York Times?

– I should’ve paused the subscription.

– You should’ve.

– No, I did pause the subscription.

– Oh.

– Anyway, well, I’m reading it. I love it. What am I listening to? Total change of pace here, everyone. I’m listening a lot to my assistant, Nicole Lovelady. She and I have been working so closely together, she’s actually in our house every day helping me with some experiences and some events. I’ve not been listening to any music lately. So I don’t really–

– You’ve been so busy.

– I just have been listening to her tell me updates and talk to me all the time. It’s just I hear her voice in my head. But I do value and appreciate her quite a bit. She almost made it onto my loving list, but then I found something else. ‘Cause she’s been extremely helpful in helping us. So shout-out to Nicole. What am I eating? Today, Mika baked some bread, and I had an Italian sandwich with homemade eggplant, truffle spread, salami. It was amazing. I just ate it like an hour ago, and it was so good, and sort of nostalgic from our trip. So good flashback moment there. The bread was on point. How’s the bread-making here in the States?

– It’s been hard. Something with the rising, the heat levels, the oven, something is not jiving. So I’m having a hard time.

– Okay, figure it out. It was good, though, today. Now loving, I do a ton of travel, and one of the best benefits of running a business is when you have a point accrual system. So we spend a lot of our advertising on the American Express, so we get a ton of American Express points every month. That’s how I spend a lot of my points is through travel. So there’s this service, it’s literally like an online travel agent that I highly recommend and love called Flightfox, F-L-I-G-H-T-F-O-X. And here is, I haven’t recommended this yet before.

– You said you used to use it and then stopped using it.

– Okay, well–

– It’s back?

– It’s back, ’cause they, here’s the reason I stopped using it is I thought I figured out the system.

-And you didn’t.

– And I didn’t. So I had a couple snafus with flights this past summer. And anyway, this might be a repeat recommendation, but I’m back in the good graces of Flightfox, or it’s back in the good graces of me. And again, it is simple in the sense that they will beat the best deal you can find online, or you don’t pay. So if you find a flight for a certain amount of money, or you’re using points, and you can find this, they will find a better one with the exact parameters you require. So I love it, and I’m using it to book some travel later in the year. And hopefully it works out, ’cause all of the travel that I’m doing in a couple weeks and you’re doing to Japan, we used Flightfox for.

– Can I mention a travel tip here since we’re talking about it?

– Oh, yeah. Bring it back.

– And since we’re talking about Nicole.

– Oh, yeah.

– So sweet Nicole has been helping us round up all the reimbursements and vouchers from our crazy flight back home from Italy. And calling, she’s been on the phone with Delta for like hours every single day. Turns out, and I wanted you guys to know this, because I didn’t know and Nicole didn’t know. If you have a canceled flight out of Europe, and it does not get rescheduled to get you out of there within three hours, your entire flight is reimbursed.

– Nice.

– Doesn’t happen in the States. It’s a law in Europe.

– Right, and the reason Mika’s bringing this up is we did not hear about this from anybody. Delta didn’t tell us, anyone. The only reason we were contacting them was because we had some other flights that were affected that we had to pay for changes, and we were trying to get reimbursements there. And it just so happens that they were like, oh, by the way, you can get all of this. So we’re getting quite a bit of a refund coming back at us for that. All right. Well, great update, Mika. I love to learn every week of what you’re reading, listening.

– Yeah. You, too, Russ.

– Eating and loving.

– It is kinda fun to catch up.

– I think this will be interesting, ’cause I’m gonna be on the road for about three weeks.

– Mm-hmm.

– So when we get back together and record some more, it’ll be fun to catch up, ’cause I’ve just been around you so much. I feel like I know what’s up.

– So Russ is leaving this Sunday to go to Idaho for a week, then he’s gonna be in the Philippines for a week, and then we’re gonna meet up in Japan.

– Yeah. So anyway, but let’s get to our topic of the day. So I wanna have a really practical conversation. Our business episode, got a ton of great feedback from it. And we left everyone with just this idea about how it’s impacted our lives as well as some random fire, you could do this, too, businesses. Mika and I are both entrepreneurs. We both started our own businesses, multiple businesses. And there is then the next step of, okay, I have a great idea, now what do I do? And it sometimes is common knowledge, or we believe it’s common knowledge, because we’ve done it. But the reality is, is it’s not. And this episode is just like a really practical, quick dive into where you should start, and how you can get going with whatever idea that you’ve chosen.

– And I feel like this is gonna be very applicable to those, obviously, that have an idea, and want to move forward, whether that’s leaving their full-time job somewhere else to pursue a passion and dream of theirs with their own business. Or if you are already in your own business and have started marketing and sales, what are ways that you can keep growing and pursuing that dream and passion? So think it’s applicable to a wide range.

– Nice, so I wanna start, because I think I have a unique perspective as traditionally the primary income earner of our family. And I wanna speak to the guys out there who might be thinking about doing something new. Unless you’re 18, and you don’t have a family, to all our 18-year-old listeners out there, you don’t listen to this tip, ’cause it doesn’t apply to you. But for everyone else who’s thinking about starting something, the first tip I have, the first practical piece of advice when you’re getting started is make sure you’ve built the runway. So what I mean by this is any business is going to be a change in your life, either financially, emotionally, time, energy, whatever it might be. Like I’m in the middle of a new start-up right now with the work we’re doing in Idaho and my personal consulting. It’s like a start-up. I’m workin’ nonstop. The runway is effectively like an airplane. It has a length of runway that it can use to get off the ground, and if it doesn’t, it crashes. But most likely,it will get off the ground. If the runway’s too short, then the plane will crash, ’cause there’s not enough time to get up and going. So no matter what you do when you’re starting a business, you don’t wanna put yourself in such a high-pressure situation where you are not able to have enough time or money to get something started. Now there’s a million, million, million ways that you could go about this, whether it’s investors, or a side hustle on the nights and weekends, or whatever it might be. I personally remember when I started my first company, I actually timed a surgery around when I really wanted to start something, so that I could use sick leave, and I had my arm surgery. Remember when I broke my wrist?

– Yeah, yes. I didn’t know that.

– So I worked a lot on King Creative, my creative agency, during that to work on sales. ‘Cause I could stay home and recover, and I could still work with one hand.

– You’re so smart. Even back then.

– Well. We could talk about a lot of other things that I made mistakes on. So there’s a million and one ways. But what people tend to do which sets themself up for immediate failure is you put too much pressure on yourself, or you quit your really great job and you have no finances lined up to support you that it becomes overwhelming, the amount of stress, and then you’re just like, ah, this, I’m not gonna do it. I’m gonna go back to what I am. Now a significant other could be a very reliable runway. I remember when you were working when we started Design Pickle. So there was some cushion there. I had an extra layer of finances coming into where I was at, and it really made a difference. You really helped out a lot getting all of this off the ground. All right, so to continue on, the next practical thing about running a business is how do you get paid? Or how do you get paid? Maybe is a better inflection. And think about it, it’s actually not necessarily as easy as you might think around taking people’s money. So the best, best, best, best, best, best, best app ever, I mean, it literally could be on every loving list I ever have is a company called Stripe, S-T-R-I-P-E. Stripe is a merchant processor, so it’s a super easy thing to get set up. You need a bank account. Technically, it should be a business account. Although, I don’t think they check. And you need a tax ID number, which you get set up in like 48 seconds with the federal government. And in about five to 10 minutes, you have a software online that you can charge credit cards with. From there, if you’re just selling services, you can just key people’s credit cards in, and hit submit, and it’ll charge it. Or if you’re like my company, you could sync it to stuff, like you could sync it to a website, you can sync it to an online store, and that’s how it will charge people’s credit cards. It’s totally secure. It keeps all the cards safe, so you never have to worry about card numbers lying around. It’s instantaneous, so you get paid the next business day into your bank account. So when you’re dealing with a business, cash flow’s really important. And if you don’t have a way to take payment immediately, then that could become problematic. Remember when you were having to chase down checks from clients?

– Yeah, so I would say my tip is make it as easy as possible for your clients to pay you. And if that means you’re gonna incur some sort of processing fee, I think it’s worth it. I switched. At one point, my primary method, the way that this business was set up was like obtaining checks from clients.

– What business was that for people that don’t know?

– Professional organizing. So I was a professional organizer, and the way that it was set up is that you, the client writes you a check. And I was like, this is so archaic. I don’t even know where my checks are. And also, I was tracking down disorganized people to write me a check. And that just was not gonna–

– The nature of the people who were hiring you weren’t, they’re not organized.

– Yeah, yeah. But they love being on their mobile phones and shops, so I chose PayPal, and that incurred a fee. We did have Square, but there was also a fee on that one, too, and then also, there wasn’t an online payment. You either had to manually enter in Square, or swipe the card. And a lot of times, the client wasn’t present. So I think my tip here is think of how your client, it’d be easiest to pay in the nature. Are you a merchant that you’re gonna see them face to face with every single transaction, and there’s multiple transactions per day? Square could be a great choice. If you’re doing a service and your client’s not around, I couldn’t do Square very easily, so PayPal and email, after the service was completed was much easier, and they click and they pay. I think Square now has an online payment thing, right?

– They’ve both evolved.

– They’ve evolved.

– I can’t say I’ve used Square a lot. They’ve did a great job. Square’s kinda like Stripe. PayPal, I forget about all the time. But actually, ladies and gentlemen, PayPal is a good standby. Everyone can figure out PayPal. And contrary to some belief, you don’t need a PayPal account to use PayPal. So if someone’s like, well, I don’t have a PayPal account, or I don’t use that anymore, there’s just a button right beneath the log-in that says, have a credit card? You just click that, and they just put it in their credit card. So you don’t actually need a PayPal account.

– Yeah.

– Which I think a lot of people think you do.

– Yeah. So for me, PayPal worked really well, and it was valuable enough for me in my time that I didn’t have to track down clients for invoicing and all that.

– Having the runway, getting paid. Now make sure you’re running a legal operation. That’s my next tip here. And yes, you do need to create a business. We’re in Arizona. It is about as easy as going to Trader Joe’s to start a business in Arizona. You actually now can do it online through the Arizona Corporation Commission. Not everyone of you, I know, live in Arizona, and it can be kinda crazy. Just don’t do this. Don’t do it in a state that you don’t live in. Especially when you’re starting out, people think like, oh, I’m gonna start a business LLC in Delaware, or Wyoming, because there’s no taxes, or this, and you get all this misinformation. The best tip I’ve had is just start a business in the state you’re in. If you get to a point where you need to avoid corporate taxes in a certain strategy and you need to move your LLC, that’s gonna be a great problem to have, and you can do it later. But start your business LLC. Form that. Varying ways to do that. And then you get your EIN, which is what I mentioned, the tax ID number. And then you take those two sheets to a bank, bada boom, bada bing, you have your bank account.

– Now what about when you start needing to hire people to help you? So contractors, and independent contractors versus employees. I feel like that’s to next thing that comes that is very, like a lot of misinformation can get you into legal trouble.

– Well, first if you’re just hiring them on the side through cash you’re paying from your personal accounts, that’s a big no-no. And you always wanna have the mindset that your business is gonna grow and be something substantial one day, and you don’t wanna have a bunch of money moving around that was not accounted for. Tax man will find that. So when you’re going to hire somebody, you always want that to be done through the actual business accounts. And a lot of that has to do with liability. If you pay someone personally to help you, and something bad happens, the entity, or person that paid them, is responsible. So if I pay you, Mika, to help me fix this house, hiring you ’cause I have a house-fixing business, and I hire you to help me with clients, and I don’t have a real entity set up, if you get injured or something bad happens, then I’m personally liable. The room we’re sitting in, our personal house becomes an asset that a creditor or someone could sue us and get. Now if I’m running everything through my business, it’s all protected legally. So it doesn’t matter how bad things get, then you’re able to have that protected. So when you’re hiring people, the question is always like, okay, we got that out of the way. Do it through your business, no brainer. Now do I hire a contractor, or do I hire an employee? I think that was probably your real question.

– That was my question.

– Sorry.

– It’s okay.

– I want people to make sure they don’t get hammered legally.

– Yeah.

– It’s tough, ’cause there’s a lot of laws about it. Also, again, where you live, there, I think, is different levels of complexity. It’s easier to hire a contractor. So contractor is effectively someone that you pay directly, and they’re not working for you full-time. There’s no management of them, meaning they’re not showing up to work at a specific time. You don’t give ’em equipment to work with like a computer, or a car, or something. And typically, they work with other people. So they have other clients, they do other stuff. That’s a good frame for a contractor. Now realistically, everyone you hire when you first start’s gonna be a contractor, ’cause there’s so much red tape and headache to set up employees. But as soon as someone becomes that person that shows up at a certain time, reports to you, comes to an office on a regular basis, and you’re their main gig, they have to be an employee. You gotta set that up straight, because that’s, again, one of those legal ramifications. And if you’re in a strict state like California, and New York, Illinois, Michigan, Florida, they will come after you aggressively if you’re not doing that right, even if the employee never tells them. It’s not like the employee tattles, and all of a sudden, you get in trouble because you had them set up as a contractor and they should be an employee. So it’s super important to do that. And the states want that tax money that the employees pay, so they’ll figure it out on their own. We actually got in trouble with that completely by accident. And I still am pissed that we had a contractor who legitimately was a contractor.

– I remember, it was, yeah.

– And she got wrapped up in another issue about employment status, and we got pulled into it.

– I remember that.

– It’s just like the main strategy when you’re rolling is set yourself up straight, get some clients, which we’ll talk about in a second, and then figure out the help you need to fulfill on that right out of the gate.

– So maybe set yourself up, you can think of it as the company that you want, set it up to the company that you’re trying to grow and achieve to be.

– Right.

– So that you’re taking it seriously. And all the groundwork, the runway, is set up for you to grow into that, and you won’t have any, you’re not learning as you, taking the steps as you go.

– Exactly.

– Building that runway with every single step and brick laid down.

– Exactly. And there’s limitations of money and time that you do.

– Sure. And I think the hard thing about the contractor thing is like when you don’t have enough business to warrant a full-time employee. You’re in that in between stage.

– Well, you know what I found is the accountability knowing someone’s committing to me, and their life, they’re dedicating that to the cause that I’m building, really makes me wanna grow the business. I wanna fulfill on that. Every one of my employees that started off as a contractor, I basically said, “Look, this is where we have to start you. “I’m growing this company. “I’m gonna work my butt off. “Let’s get you to an employee as fast as we can.” ‘Cause it showed my commitment to them the sooner we were able to do that.

– And so it’s a win-win, ’cause they’re committing as well.

– Yeah. And I would even argue for those of you listening who have your own businesses that haven’t really grown, look at how committed you are to other people to help you grow it. If you have an army of 1/2 contractor freelancers that just sort of float in and out, and you’ve never actually made the commitment to somebody to be an employee, more than likely, you’re business is not growing, ’cause you’re just not committed to it yourself.

– It’s a mindset.

– Totally.

– Mm-hmm.

– So speaking of growing, let’s talk about sales, marketing, and branding, the fun stuff.

– Fun, but difficult.

– Right.

– Fun, but challenging.

– Enough of this legal entity, mwa mwa mwa. It’s not a HR podcast. All right, where do you wanna start? Let’s start with branding.

– Okay.

– What’s branding?

– What is branding? Branding is the visual, and, mm. I don’t wanna just limit it to visual. The very visual and, ooh, that’s like a word.

– I’m pantomiming for you.

– I know.

– Come on, get it.

– Branding is the representation to the community at large of what your business is about.

– That’s too complicated.

– No, it isn’t. I thought that was very generalized.

– Okay.

– It’s how you represent yourself to your potential clients.

– What do you mean represent?

– Visually, with words, I guess, but the identity that shows what you’re gonna get.

– You’re getting closer.

– Oh, do you have an answer in mind?

– Oh, yeah. I’m coaching you as we’re going through, yeah.

– Oh, no, really? Okay.

– So what happens, how does your body react when you see a brand that really resonates with you?

– So if you don’t know, Russ ran a branding agency for years, so. Okay, wait, say that again?

– How does your body, how do you react physically or other when you see a brand that is really connects with you?

– Great, it’s positive.

– Does it make you feel a certain way?

– Happy?

– What about a brand that’s not so good, how does it make you feel?

– Lame.

– Right. So branding could really be more basic than all that. It’s how companies make their clients feel.

– You feel? Oh. Okay.

– Now those feelings can lead to sales, but they could also lead to recommendations, complaints.

– Sure.

– Whatever it might be.

– Well, I mean, I agree with you that at the end of the day, it’s the emotions. Emotions can drive sales 100%.

– And because we have eyeballs, and ears, and snouts, and noses, we use senses to build our brands.

– I love that. Because I’m trying to think. I’m like, okay, visual.

– Yeah.

– When you think of branding, you think of a logo. You think of colors. You think of an image that represents a company. But then–

– It’s more.

– It’s taking it the next step. It’s how it makes you feel.

– Remember when we used to be on our W Hotel kick, and we always stayed at, like go to Ws?

– Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

– They all smelled the same when you walk in.

– Right.

– I bet even still, the one in Old Town Scottsdale, we walk in there, it’s gonna be the same scent.

– Mm-hmm.

– Part of the brand.

– Well, there is a company out there that specializes in commercial scents. So at the Ritz-Carlton in Tahoe, I love the smell of their spa, which they put into a candle. And I have it at the house. That’s how much I love it. And whenever I smell it, I think of the Ritz-Carlton in Tahoe. Then they had it in Newport Beach the other weekend when we’re staying at the Lido House. And as soon as I walked in the spa, I was like, this is that smell. And I asked the spa lady, like I was a crazy person. I was like,”Oh, my gosh, is this Golden Bamboo?” And she’s like, “Yeah, how did you know?” I was like, “Oh, my gosh.” Told the story, and she’s like, “Yeah, it’s called Scent something. “It’s a company.” And I looked into their company online.

– Oh, gosh, is our house about to be equipped with this–

– Commercial scent.

– Commercial-grade scenting?

– I would be lying if I said I didn’t look into it. I was looking at their email this morning that they sent. Anyway, yeah, so scents, I think, Dave hit it on the nose that there is a need for, that scent is part of the sensory process of brand identity. And just like you said, the W Hotel.

– So branding is, now that we’re out of the classroom, branding is one of the things that people overcomplicate the heck out of. Because you just hear what we talked about. They’re like, well, I’m not a Ritz-Carlton. What the heck? I don’t know what to do. I have this idea. Now thanks to Russ Perry, I’m set up correctly, and I’m not gonna stress him out about my shady business structure. Now how do we get out there and get clients? It’s all starting with your brand, but it doesn’t have to be commercial-grade scents and all of these complexities. What is the most powerful scent we have as Homo sapiens?

– Scent?

– Or?

– Or, sorry, sense.

– Sense. I was like, well–

– It’s not scent.

– Sight?

– Yes. So that’s why a lot of people, when they think branding, they go to logo.

– Mm-hmm.

– They go to colors, because our visuals are what drive us immediately. And it’s true. Someone walks into a room. They’re wearing a garbage bag or they’re wearing a suit. You’re gonna visually have an emotion, a reaction to them.

– And it’s an easy-to-distribute sense.

– Right.

– It’s easy to get out there.

– Yeah, and what’s cool is there are so many cool brands, great brands out there that are investing billions of dollars in high-level design, that typically, a consumer or someone starting a business kinda has a rough feeling of what’s kinda good visually, or what’s not. It’s not like we’re an agrarian society that’s never seen a packaged good before. We actually see the Apple products, and Nike, and all this stuff. So when you set off to create your brand, start with the visuals, and think about the feelings that you want somebody to have. Think about the feeling, the reaction that you want somebody to have. Which maybe it’s a consumer product like a scent, and you want it to be very inviting to women. Maybe you’re just, I don’t know, a contractor who repairs squeaky floors, and you just need something, and it doesn’t matter too much, ’cause that’s not necessarily the reason why people are hiring you.

– But that squeaky floorboard guy, contractor, can think about about what’s the message. And when you were saying that, I was thinking about reliability.

– Mm-hmm.

– How can you convey that feeling of, okay, trustworthiness.

– Yeah.

– Are you gonna use unicorns and rainbows in your branding? Probably not. Whereas, something.

– A balloon magician might do that.


– True, and but I think the problem I see people have, because that’s where people get overwhelmed. Oh, what does reliability look like? Okay, here’s the hack. There’s a ton of sites out there, not my company, but other companies like 99designs, or Upwork, Fiverr. You can go online, and you can get all the branding done super affordable from professional designers. That’s the hack. Have a professional do it. You don’t need to hire the New York City agency guy.

– Now you’re specifically talking about your initial branding and logo and what–

– To get the visual.

– Yes.

– Yeah, so we identified go for the visuals first. Now when you’re creating the visuals for your brand, see we’re trying to build like layers of a cake.

– Sure.

– What’s branding? Emotions. Okay, now we do visuals. I’m gonna tackle the visuals with my brand. How do I do that? Hire a designer. Hire someone professional. Good news is, you can literally get someone to do it for 99 bucks, or five bucks on a site like Fiverr. Granted, there’s gonna be some difference in equality and experience. But know what those emotions are that you want. That’s the key. Hi, designer, Mr. Professional, or Mrs. Professional. I would love a brand that conveys reliability. I would love a brand that conveys eagles, ’cause I really like eagles, the animal, and I want to soar above the competition. Whatever it might be. Have some clarity.

– So rather than eagles, it’s patriotism and loyalty.

– Eagles can mean a lot of things.

– Yeah, okay. So you can be specific.

– I love Philadelphia.

– So you can just throw out random things that you love.

– Yeah.

– And then that’s gonna be great, because then your brand represents you.

– Now you know why I have a company called Design Pickle.

– Pickle.

– ‘Cause I freakin’ love pickles. So yeah, it’s important. And don’t beat yourself up trying to think you gotta figure it all out. You gotta hire someone. There’s a million resources out there to do it. And the good news is, one will be drawn to you. You’ll feel one. You’re like, ah, yes, that’s the one. And that’s good enough for now. Don’t need to do market research. Don’t show your parents. Don’t show your kids. Just pick one for you, and roll with it. And now you’re done with branding. Like, you got it, you can move on. Or at least, the visual brand.

– The visual brand. Now what if it’s a personal brand?

– Same rules apply. What do you want your audience to feel when they interact with you? We talked about Instagram, and how detailed you are with the layout. Your Instagram feed conveys a feeling. There’s a brand there.

– Mm-hmm.

– You’re using visuals to do it. Mine does, too. Mine’s much different feeling, because I’m using much different visuals. So beyond things like logo, colors, then that’s sort of the complex parts of branding that I don’t want people to worry about, because then it becomes, that’s when people just say, ah, I’m not gonna do anything.

– Mm-hmm.

– Or I’m just try to do it myself.

– I think it’s important, though, too, you should not overlook it, whether you’re building a service or product-based business, or you’re creating a personal brand. And on the note of personal branding, I’ve heard it in various areas and from different people, but in this, it’s gonna sound old to say, in this day and age. But in this day and age, in 2018 and beyond, you should have a personal brand set up for you, because that’s the direction it’s going, whether you don’t have a business, but who knows what you’re gonna be doing? And so you have to be conscious of a personal brand. If you have a social media, you are inadvertently creating a personal brand.

– And actually, the opposite’s exactly true, too. I met with my friend, John Lee Dumas, podcaster. We talked about the importance of building my personal brand, even though I do have a business. “What happens when you don’t have “that business anymore, Russ? “You don’t wanna start building your personal brand then. “You want it to fuel your current projects in life “and what you’re doing. “You have a business now. “But if that business goes away, you sell it, whatever, “you give it off to your clients, or your team to run, “you want that personal brand to still have existed “for some time and be mature.”

– And by personal brand, it means what do you stand for? What are your interests? What are your experiences? What do you have to offer people? What are your thoughts and ideas? What are they getting from you?

– It’s the same as a business.

– What are you putting out there? Yeah.

– Your personal brand’s same as a business. What do I feel when I see this brand? What’s the value they’re gonna give me? And if you’re a business that applies, if you’re a personal brand out there communicating and connecting. And look, your personal brand may not be about making money. It may be about charity, or church, or being an awesome mom, or dad, or sister, or traveler. Doesn’t matter. You’re out there creating some form of value.

– Exactly. And when I closed my last business, or handed it off to someone else, I kept my personal brand going, because I knew how much I had invested into it with time, and effort, and the thought behind it. But then also I said, you know what? I’m gonna keep right now just focus on a personal brand, because who knows what’s gonna be coming up next? And I want my story to continue, and what I put out there to continue.

– Love it. There’s no question that branding is just a crazy, crazy, big, huge, deep pit industry category for your business. But I hope that these are the basics that someone could get going. Mika, is there anything else you wanna add on to branding that that new business owner might need to be considerate of?

– I think it might help if you’re absolutely clueless of where to start in terms of branding is just don’t try to imitate others, and try to stay in your own vision, and your own lane, and what’s true to you, because that is gonna translate the best in your branding. If you are like, hey, I’m gonna go to this company, or this Instagrammer, or see what they’re doing to get some ideas, I think it can start clouding your judgment on what you personally like. So I think the best ideas to first go with what you like, and then see where that leads you. And then once you’ve established the basics of your branding that really reflects you, that’s when you can start tweaking it with the details if there’s anything that needs to be added with market research.

– Right, AKA searching around Instagram.

– Yeah.

– The best form of market research there could be.

– And it depends. It might not be Instagram. It depends on your business and what you’re trying to do.

– So you make a good point, and I think we’ve touched on this throughout the conversation of branding that it could be easy to get overcomplicated.

– Mm-hmm.

– Now what you tend to do when you overcomplicate your branding, or you spend crazy amounts of money on your logo, and crazy amounts of time doing research, is you actually avoid the thing that matters, which is the next subject we’re gonna talk about, and that is getting clients to pay you.

– Yeah.

– I cannot tell you, when I had my agency, how many clients wanted to work on branding for months to the point where you were like, are you actually gonna go sell something at any point in this project? I mean, I’ll happily take your money to talk about how you feel for a long time, but it’s not a sustainable business model unless you go get people to pay.

– Right. So not getting clients to pay you, but a step before that is finding a client.

– They go hand in hand.

– Right.

– Finding the client who will pay you. I guess a client is a someone who will pay you.

– Yeah.

– Otherwise, it’s just like your friend.

– Right. So how to get customers, clients, yes.

– A client. So we both had very different businesses. My businesses had been online. Mika’s first business was in-person, like a very much a service. Actually, I take that back. My design agency, I guess, my first ones were very much in service, too. So we’re gonna just kinda give, both of us, a quick rundown of where we would start today, though, where we would start today to go find our first clients, and how you’d go about that.

– Okay, so if you are a personal brand, I mean, that’s kind of what the influencer, blogger market is, is you are selling yourself to become an advertiser of other people’s products. So your client is an advertiser, is another company that is selling a product or a service, and you’re the middle man. So if that is your business, which is not really mine. I will add a little asterisk there, because I am in the middle of the service and the products that we’re working on currently for Sobr, for Good To Be Home, supporting your business and your coaching, and what I’m doing online kinda ties to that. But at the same time, I love the lifestyle space, and I love content creation, and I have a lot of brands that I love personally, and so I’m sharing that. And in doing that, I develop a partnership.

– Right.

– And I collaborate in that way. But let’s just step out of what I’m actually personally doing, but just if you are someone who is developing a personal brand, and you wanna be an influencer, or you have a service, and social media is the best platform to sell that service or product. I think if you want to work with brands, and collaborate in the blogger, influencer way, to just ask, is to get out there and email and ask. And I think a lot of people get paralyzed in that step. The way I have found my partnerships is I’m like, well, I’m already buying it, or I’m already loving it. Let me just ask if they wanna start kind of like a relationship. Let me get to know this brand a little better.

– I thought you were gonna give the most complicated visual strategy of marketing and content creation, and I was preparing for it. And instead, you went a totally different direction, which is pretty much what I was gonna say, which was go get the business. Go ask someone to help you.

– Just go ask.

– Who would buy from you.

– Because the worst thing that could happen is that they say no. You’re gonna get 100 noes before you can get one yes, or some sort of ratio of ask and yes and noes. But just ask. And going back to my experience in running a service-based business before, what I’m doing now, it was hard because I came in with a preconceived stigma on myself, or a limitation I put on myself to constrain myself that I was not a good salesperson, because I was uncomfortable with it.

– What were you uncomfortable with?

– First, I was not confident in myself, because I didn’t have the experience yet. So to sell something, it’s hard to do that if you’re starting out, because you’re like, oh, man, I actually don’t have a lot of experience. I have a passion. I know I’m good at it. But I don’t have the confidence yet to sell it and ask someone to pay me to do this.

– Which is a catch-22, ’cause the only way to get experience is to do it.

– Exactly. So at that point, you just have to not fake it till you make it, but you have to just hype yourself up. Hype yourself up, be confident, still be yourself, and just have that belief. And so you have to just be uncomfortable. And that’s in anything in life. You have to get uncomfortable to get results. And so I did it with emails. I think it’s really important, whether you’re reaching out as a blogger, influencer, whether you have a business and you’re selling a product, is find scripts, create emails that really reflect what you’re trying to say really concisely, and then lean on that, and use that over and over. It’s okay, because that person’s hearing it for the first time, even though you may have used that script a million times. And I think that’s where also you’re like, oh, it doesn’t feel authentic. Yes, it is. You wrote that. Send the same thing out to a lot of people. That’s fine.

– Right, and the best book I’ve ever read on helping you understand the value of what you’re selling, especially from a business sense, is a book I just got my copy back from our friend, Luke Kayyem, is the book Thou Shall Prosper by Rabbi Daniel Lapin. It is a Jewish perspective of money, looking at that, and why that’s been a part of their culture. But it’s a non, it doesn’t matter if you’re Jewish religion, or anything. And he effectively says that money is a representation of the value that you’ve created. So when you’re going to ask someone for a sale, or for a project, or anything, I always put on this mindset that I got from this book was I’m actually doing something of value. Why would I feel weird trying to find people who agree with that value? That’s all you’re really doing. Hey, I do this. I make cupcakes, like the lady at the car rental place that you were talking to her about her cake business for a while. I make cakes, and do you need cakes? If someone says no, that means they don’t need cakes, but it’s not a criticism to you. If someone says yes, that means they need someone to make cakes. And taking that personal feeling of acceptance or rejection out of it, it’s more just do they value that at the time or not? And sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t.

– And if they don’t, yeah, don’t take that personally, because I think that can happen.

– Yeah.

– Especially in the beginning when you’re getting those, you’re like, oh, then I must suck.

– Right.

– No, it’s that person didn’t need you.

– Exactly.

– But there’s a lot of people out there that need what you’re doing, or what you’re selling, or whatever.

– Oh, it’s crazy, I mean, I always use this analogy, it really puts it into math, like we’re definitely a small, small company still, Design Pickle, relative to what’s out there. And when I think of the biggest, craziest number I can think of, like what would be the craziest revenue number we could ever have in a year? I’m like, $100 million. If we made 100, 1/10 of a billion dollars, that would be so insane. And then I go, okay. Well, I do the math on our subscription, and it’s like, how many clients would that be? And it comes out, do you know the number? Have I told you this before?

– Mm, maybe.

– It comes out to about 20,000 people. And in the whole world of billions of people, do 20,000 people need graphic design? Answer is, absolutely, there’s millions of people. So the world is huge. And you don’t need to think that just because someone said no, that that means it’s a bad idea or no one values it. And the reality is you don’t really need that many clients to have a life-changing business. You just need a good amount, but it’s not like you need to become the next Google with 90% of the world using your product to be successful. And a lot of people get overwhelmed by that. They just are like, oh, well, how am I gonna find clients? It’s like maybe you don’t need, I mean, you only were able to have like three or four clients at a time.

– Yeah.

– Because it was crazy how busy it would get.

– I think that’s super important to analyze and decide how many clients you would be happy with.

– Right.

– Because you may not need as many as you think to be profitable and be happy with what you’re doing. And to have a set number may work really well for some people. It certainly did for me. Because then you know how many hours you need to put in to get, you have a number, a goal, and that’s helpful in anything.

– Well, our soon-to-be good friend, Tim Ferriss, talked about this in his book, 4-Hour Workweek, and he called it dreamlining. And he’s like, make a list of everything you want, and calculate how much it would cost to get that per month, like what’s the monthly cost of that? And then you realize like, oh, this dream lifestyle that I’ve created actually only costs me, would only cost me $5,000, or whatever. And then you’re like, okay, how much to make $5,000? And like you said, it’s not that far of a reach to create something new that can really impact you. I remember when I was 20, I think I was 23 or 24 when that book came out, and I read it, and I did that dreamlining thing. And I was like, I want this. I wish I could find the original list, and to calculate it out the dream amount of money, this would change my life. And it came out to be like $7,000 a month. And at the time, it was a big deal for me, but the reality was, was that as soon as I put that number down, I now knew exactly what I needed to grow my business to, like it made the growth of the business a reality of why I was doing it. And like you said with the clients, okay, do I get one $7,000 client? Do I get 7,000 $1 clients? And you can really start to figure out your business that way based off of that life that you wanna have, or with the impact you wanna have in your life. Point is, you need to find clients, so let’s talk about how to get those clients. Your tip was go out and ask them.

– Go out and ask them.

– Okay.

– Yeah, go out and ask.

– So that’s gonna only be so sustainable.

– Sure.

– And that’s where marketing comes in.

– So because I can only personally ask so many people at one time, I needed to, so this is kinda getting into the topic of is networking events and networking, is that valuable? So the cool thing about networking is that if you touch one person, like if you get in contact with one person, they have a whole network there. So then they could turn into 10 points of contact. Then if you have another. So it’s like it’s branching out branches of one person. And it’s multiplying. It’s like a multiplier. For me, I needed to get the word out there. I needed people to know me. And that’s for any business. People first need to be able to find you, and know about you, and discover you, because there’s a lot of people out there who are willing to pay, and they need your service or your their product, but how can they do that if they don’t know about you? I had zero advertising budget. I had zero start-up investment. It was just like let’s do this.

– Yeah.

– And I know you were the same with Design Pickle, too.

– Right.

– Like you’ve done this without zero investors, outside investors, you know? So I, in working actually with a business coach, and this is something that we’ve talked about in a previous episode about investing in yourself. And I chose to invest in a business coach to help me with strategies and tools to grow the business. And it definitely worked. And one thing that we tapped into goes back to your love language. And the way I show people that I care is through gifts, because that’s my primary love language. So we tapped into that. And I wanted to get media coverage of my business, but I had no advertising budget. So what I did is I created gifts for them, and I personally went on days where I would hit up all the magazines in town, all the editors. I would totally stalk them, or their assistants, and get in my car. I got Sprinkles cupcakes with my brand on ’em, picked them up in the morning, put on the best outfit I could think of, and hit the pavement literally, and went to each of these, and it worked. I got into, I think, all of the publications.

– Wow. And you used the same strategy again for influencers in your market that were potential prospects for clients.

– Mm-hmm.

– Like real estate agents, and all of that.

– Yes, yes, yeah. So think of the partnerships that you can build in the areas that your clients are hanging out in, or receiving other services and businesses. What’s the demographic? Where do they hang out on a day-to-day basis? How do I get my name into that circle?

– Did you go to mind reading school this morning? Because you’re doing a great job at it.

– Was that your point as well?

– Sort of. So mine is effectively like the Russ Perry version. You did the very Mika version. It’s so beautiful and thoughtful, and everything was well-planned. I took a much different approach in the sense that I didn’t want to have to figure out where all the clients were. And this is a great strategy, because a lot of clients, you may not know where they are at. Like you had knew the people, you knew the addresses, you knew exactly where to go. But if you’re not in a market that that’s narrow, and you say have a small group, or you just don’t know the people, my number one thing that we did from day one at Design Pickle, and I recommend to anyone getting started, is to go to a trade show. And effectively, it’s the exact same concept. I’m even laughing sort of to myself right now, because we both used food in our marketing inadvertently. I guess you did it first, so I kinda copied you. I just spun it a different way. But the trade show is where all of your clients come together into one spot, either at a hotel, a conference center, a church. It doesn’t matter. And there’s trade shows for everything. So it literally does not matter what your business is. I guarantee there is a trade show for it.

– Now do you go as an attendee or as a booth, like sponsor?

– Well, the attendee sometimes is the cheaper option. And you can go, and scope it out, and check it out, and network at the events, and kinda pick up a few clients here and there. But if you’re serious about marketing at a trade show, always figure out a sponsorship. You basically are renting permission to sell the heck out of your stuff. Where if you go as an attendee and you start getting to salesy, it’s like kinda bad mojo. It’s just not good courtesy. But if I have a booth, and I’m a sponsor, my logo’s on the brochure, I’m gonna sell every single person I talk to. And that’s what we did. We went to the Infusionsoft conference, the one that they abandoned. I don’t think that company’s doing very well. Sorry, Infusionsoft. Yeah, a lot of problems there. But the conference they had when it was going was a good success for us. And I actually handed out pickles. And it’s kind of a legendary marketing story in our company lore, but I just handed out pickles. I was dressed as a pickle. But it was the same, guys, this is the same thread I hope you’re seeing here. It’s getting out, and hustling, and asking for it.

– And get uncomfortable.

– And get uncomfortable.

– Like you dressed as a pickle.

– In May. Like it was hot. It was so hot. But it’s about being competent with what you are doing. Because if you cannot ask someone, first of all, if you can’t find someone to ask, that’s one problem. And then if you find them, you can’t ask ’em, then there’s no chance the business is going to succeed. One thing more on the strategies, your version and my version, and why I think they’re genius. No one else is getting out there and meeting people face to face. Everyone is behind a keyboard, behind a phone, behind a computer. So when you actually show up and hand cupcakes to someone, they notice, ’cause no one has done that in recent memory. When I hand a pickle to someone, obviously a little more niche strategy, but still, no one is marketing software and graphic design being silly like a cartoon character and doing fun stuff in real life, AKA IRL.

– So I think our biggest tip here is get personal.

– Right.

– And do things in person.

– Right.

– That being said, what about affiliate marketing? Because I think some businesses are weighing the options and thinking, is that something we should do is to find ambassadors and people to represent us to help us sell and become salespeople?

– A very strong opinion about this is actually influenced by my mentor, Garrett J. White. Why would you trust the number one part of your business, which is making sure money comes in, to someone who’s not a part of your business? So I think affiliate marketing can work way down the road. If you are unable to sell your stuff, no one else–

– Can do it for you?

– Yeah, it’s not gonna be likely someone else can. And if you are uncomfortable, and you’re trying to pass it off to someone to do it for you, that’s just not a good place to be in as a leader of your company.

– So you have to be the best salesperson yourself first.

– Right. If we go back everything we talked about, though, it all trickles together. You set a solid foundation, you create an emotional brand that connects, and then you get out there and you deliver that emotional brand. And like you said with branding, if that brand is rooted in you authentically, you’re gonna find that sales is a lot less salesy and a lot more just I love talking about this all the time, and it’s super authentic.

– Maybe that’s an indicator if you’re always uncomfortable with your product, then rethink it.

– Yeah.

– Maybe you don’t believe in it. Maybe this isn’t what you’re passionate about, and something else drove you to get into this.

– Maybe you’re selling that crazy wrap thing.

– Oh, gosh, let’s not get into MLMs here.

– So everyone, this wraps up a pretty good, I think, coverage of where to go with the business. But as Mika and I always say, we are just here to really guide you, and provide new ideas and insights on that. If you have specific questions, just reach out to ask us on Instagram, either @russperry or @mikaperry, we’re on there. Mika crushed it with the recent Q and A episode. And I think it’d be super fun to do maybe a business one sometime. So send in your Q and A. We’ll love to answer more detail, ’cause this is really high level. And I used to run a company that taught a lot on this. So if you definitely want some nuts and bolts stuff, don’t hesitate to reach out. I love to help. That’s it for today’s episode of Good To Be Home.

– We appreciate you listening.

– Thanks so much. And don’t forget to visit our website,, and give us a friendly rating on iTunes. It means a lot.

– Yup, and thanks for sharing with your friends and stuff, too, and passing along our podcast.

– All right, see you next week.

– Bye. ♪ Oh, oh ♪

– Thanks for listening to this episode of Good To Be Home.

– And don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes and give us a rating.

– See you next time.