How to overcome the imposter syndrome and build a 6-figure consulting business, with Noah Fleming

Joining me today is a founder who built a thriving consulting company. I invited him to tell his story, so you can learn how to do it yourself.

I also want you to see how, when he started telling clients that they should pay him because he’s the expert, the imposter syndrome hit him.

We’ll learn what he did about it. Noah Fleming helps businesses get new clients, and more importantly, retain them. He’s also the author of EVERGREEN: Cultivate The Enduring Customer Loyalty That Keeps Your Business Thriving.

Noah Fleming

Noah Fleming


Noah Fleming helps businesses get new clients, and more importantly, retain them. He’s also the author of EVERGREEN: Cultivate The Enduring Customer Loyalty That Keeps Your Business Thriving.


Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey there Freedom Fighters, my name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of, home of the ambitious upstart and I should be really clear about that I use the word ambition for a reason. There are some people in this world who feel that they want more.

And most people if you tell them, hey I want more, more than my life, more than what I’m doing, more consulting clients, more customers, more of anything, they’ll say, “Why don’t you just be happy with where you are? You don’t need so much. Why not just accept that things are the way they are?”

I’m not going to pooh-pooh that; that’s fine for some people, but there’s a small group of people in this world who do want more despite that, who aren’t going to be satisfied where they are. They want to learn more, write more, create more, build more and for that audience and that audience alone is what Mixergy is here for.

And joining me today is the founder who built a thriving consulting company. I invited him to talk about how he did it so that you can learn from him, how you can do it yourself. I also want you to see what happened when he started to pitch his services to clients.

How that inner imposture syndrome started to actually creep up and we’re going to learn what he did about it to overcome it, how he dealt with it. I think you’re going to start to see some of yourself in it, even if you don’t think you have it, I think you’re going to start to see there’s a little part of it that’s inside of all of us.

Noah Fleming is the entrepreneur you’re meeting today. He helps businesses get new clients and more importantly he helps them retain those clients, he keeps customer loyalty. He’s also the author of “Evergreen: Cultivate the Enduring Customer Loyalty That Keeps Your Business Thriving” and I’ll talk to him about that book. But before we get started I want to tell you about That’s a website that you go to if you want a page to put on your site that will conserve insanely great, convert not conserve, convert insanely well. I’ll tell you more about them later.

First Noah, welcome.

Noah: Thanks Andrew it’s great to be here.

Andrew: What city are you in?

Noah: I live in Kingsville, Ontario so I’m just over the Detroit, Michigan border on the Canadian side so very small town. I live a town of 20,000 people.

Andrew: Is it rude for me to tell you that you’ve told me the city that you’ve been in so many times and every time you tell me I just ignore it because I think, oh somewhere in Canada that I’m never going to go to, a small little town. What’s he even doing there?

Noah: You might be right, it’s a very small town, there’s not a lot going on here but you know 40 minutes away we’ve got Detroit. There’s a lot going on in Detroit right now. We’ve got all the sports you could ever want. They might not be the best sports but we’ve got the sports, entertainment, music and we’ve got businesses, there’s a lot going on here.

Andrew: Did you ever feel that, that’s going to limit you?

Noah: Oh it does limit me and you know, there was a point where I realized that I couldn’t build the type of business I wanted to build just living in this small town. I tried for a long time. I tried to consult with local companies, local businesses, your local mom and pop shops and actually work with a number of them where I live. But I realized there was a very kind of a ceiling and to get me on that ceiling I knew I had to get out and about. And so the kind of words I go with right now are, you have to get out and stay out, right?

Andrew: Which is easy if you’re a guy right out of college who doesn’t really have an apartment, maybe he’s living with a roommate, maybe he doesn’t even have a girlfriend. But you’ve got more than that, I’m looking over your shoulder, there are hardly any places that big in San Francisco. I’m looking over your shoulder, of course you have a family, how’s that impacted with what you’re doing?

Noah: It’s immensely impactful. I’ve got my wife and we’ve got two little kids and as you know now it’s a challenge, right, you want to be home with those kids. You want to be there for them, but one of the things my business has allowed me to do is really giving me that freedom. So I do have to go away for a day or two at a time here or there. I go away for speaking engagements, but the reality is you always come home.

My business has allowed me to have a really great lifestyle which is good. One of the things I often state is most of the lifestyle entrepreneurs are working harder than anybody I know, they don’t have much of a lifestyle.

And so I’m really trying to have that lifestyle. It’s a small town, it’s a good place to live, it’s a good place to raise children. Sometimes it might be nice to be somewhere else.

Andrew: Okay. And I intentionally wanted to start off this conversation with that because I don’t want that to be a limiting issue for people who are listening to us. I frankly don’t get as much out of living in San Francisco as I thought I would or that other people think they would. I think there’s this belief that if you’re in San Francisco and you’re in the tech community or start-up world in general, they’re handing out cash and everything is easy.

Noah: It’s like this though, I mean I have clients right now that I work with that aren’t here but we get together exactly like this. We meet on Skype and we talk about things. I can be there in the board room or I can be there with the client while he’s in his own house.

And these are the things that technology enables us to do so you don’t really have to be in New York, you don’t have to be in Toronto. It might be easier. It’s easier than getting on a plane to go and see a client, it’s easier than getting on a plane to go see a prospective client. But the reality is, I can get on a plane and be to where you are in five hours.

Andrew: Okay so in this conversation we’re going to tell your story and through your story people will pick up on ideas that they can use to help with their consulting companies, to deal within inner criticism and basically to just help get ideas for building a successful business in general.

But before we get into that, since we talked about some of the challenges. Give me one big positive thing about being a consultant and building this business that you’re about to tell us about? What’s the best most exciting part about it?

Noah: I think it’s kind of what we were talking about, I get to write my own paycheck, I get to write my own hours, you know what I mean? There’s nothing better than that. To be able to wake up one morning and you know this morning when I was with my wife and my daughter. You can’t beat that.

Andrew: I remember you and I had a meeting about a year ago and I said how about we meet at this time and you said, “No, I have a date with my daughter. I’m going to spend time with her, let’s pick another time,” so I’ve seen you do that before. What about on the idea of living in the world of ideas where you can come up with the creative idea, put it in the client’s head and then see results. How does that feel?

Noah: Oh I mean that feels amazing, right? The best clients that I work with are the ones that are moving forward on those ideas. They’re the ones that aren’t afraid to push forward on new things, to try things, to fail; all this stuff we already know.

But when you actually see it happen with your clients, those are the ones that are succeeding. So as an example, I’m working with a guitar client right now, and we’ve looked at kind of his customer base. He said, “I’ve got 7000 customers, I’ve got 100,000 Facebook fans. How do I leverage this?” So he came to me and said, “I want to leverage this.”

We started to look at it and we found a lot of interesting things. People buy more than one of his guitars and that’s kind of interesting because when you buy a guitar it’s kind of that thing you buy. You might buy one if you’re kind of a tinker like me, I’ve got one over in the corner.

But his customers were buying two or three and when we started to sift through the data, we saw that, so with that client you know we’re moving forward on his own custom crowd funding platform. Where his customers can come and say, “I’ve got this great idea for a guitar and we’ve just launched the thing a couple of days ago and it’s already taking off” just amazing stuff like that. To see them take those ideas and capitalize on them…

Andrew: Why do these clients want more than one guitar?

Noah: Well that’s the interesting thing, I think they collect them. One thing we found is that, we monitored their customer service calls and one of the things we heard was people would call and say, “I just buy them to stick them on my wall.”

And that was kind of something we thought was interesting. But then we started to hear again and again and again and again. And so then we realized that people were buying these things not just to tinker on them but they were collecting them.

And so we’ve started to now look at ways to increase the size of the sale with things like the collectable frames for example. Here’s the guitar but here’s the frame to slap it right on the wall and stuff like that.

Andrew: That makes sense. All right so that gives us a taste of the kind of work that you do, I want you to just go back a little bit before you did this. You were working a corporate job. How did you feel about doing that?

Noah: Yeah. It was horrible.

Andrew: What was horrible about it?

Noah: Well you know I actually I feel like this is like the scene in Saturday Night Live, where the host comes back. For some of your viewers I was actually on Mixergy a few years ago doing one of your master classes and so…

Andrew: It was fantastic.

Noah: Yeah it was a lot of fun and at that time I had told that story already. I had left my corporate job but it was that feeling that I spent 20, however many years we spend in school and I got out of school and I thought, I’m going to embrace the world, the word is my oyster. And then I couldn’t find a job.

I finally found one and I was shuffled in to kind of this office without a window and it was just everyday I was making this commute and everyday I was miserable. My whole life I had the entrepreneurial bug. And any entrepreneur you know has some story of that. They just do, it’s kind of in our blood, it’s kind of in our DNA we all have that. So I always found myself struggling between should I go into the corporate world where I’m going to have this kind of secure guarantee paycheck or do I do my own thing?

So I was in the corporate world for about one year and that was as long as I lasted and I started to make some money which I told in that story, I had these membership sites, I was working with different communities. My wife said to me, “If you can make the same amount or more for six months, then I’m comfortable with you leaving your job.”

So six months to the day I took my boss to work that day and I said, you know, I’m leaving and I haven’t been back since, that was in 2005. And so just so much has happened in those years but I realize that was a world that I just didn’t fit in to.

Andrew: That’s a great line, so you knew that the line for you was as soon as you hit the same amount of money with your business as your making with your job and you did it consistently for six months then you’re good to go.

Noah: And you know my dad worked in a factory his whole life. And growing up my dad always told me, “Write your own paycheck.” He always pushed me that way. He never pushed me… he pushed me to go to school to get a university degree to do all that great stuff and then he always said like, “You can do this. You know my paycheck is determined by someone else. If you really want to make some money or do some great things, write your own.” And so just that kind of always stuck with me.

Andrew: You know, I read your book “Evergreen” and one of the things that you tell clients and you tell readers of that book is to have an origin story and talk about their origin story. You just told us your origin story. Hating that 9 to 5 job, your dad being in a factory and telling you, write your own paycheck instead of continuing to do what I did; why is it important for people who are listening to us and why is it important for businesses to have an origin story?

Noah: An origin story which I originally talked about in that master class, was really a concept to get people interested in what you’re doing. People are more prone to do business with people they like, with people they trust, with people they’re interested in.

And so I remember we talked about this with you and you’ve got a great story and you’re passionate about this and people connect with that, it resonates with people. The best companies in the world, the best companies that have the highest profits and you know the greatest earnings, they all have a great story.

Andrew: Give me an example of a well-known company that has an origin story?

Noah: The easiest one is always Apple. Apple is a great company with a great story. Amazon you know they’ve got a great story. And we talked about this in that last course. But Amazon has this story that they’re passionate about books, that’s kind of their character.

And they never kind of stray away from that; yeah they sell electronics, they sell everything under the sun, but the core is they love reading. They love to connect with readers; they love to connect with people that want to consume knowledge, right? And so people connect with that, that resonates with people and that’s the importance of having a story.

Andrew: So you decide, I’m going to take this new direction and one of the first things you do is you hire a guy named Alan Weiss.

Noah: Yeah that’s an interesting story in itself. You know I’ve been reading Alan Weiss books for years. So if your readers don’t know who he is, they can go to Amazon and they can search for Alan Weiss. But Alan Weiss is probably the most well-known solo consultant on the planet.

He’s written more books on consulting than anyone else in the world. His top selling book was “Million Dollar Consulting” and when I read this book it just blew me away. He didn’t talk about hourly fees. He talked about making big bucks for doing consulting work. He didn’t talk about $500 a month on a little retainer, he talked about $10,000 a month retainers.

Andrew: I see and so you it showed you how to think bigger.

Noah: Yeah I read all his books and so you ask me how did I start working with him. I thought if I’m going to hire a mentor, if I’m going to work with somebody, I’m going to go right to the top. That’s where I’m going to invest in myself and invest my dollars. So I invested in a mentorship with him which cost a bundle.

Andrew: How much?

Noah: $20,000.

Andrew: When you spend $20,000 to have somebody be your mentor, do you feel like; I just got scammed?

Noah: No, I look at it this way, it’s the investment in yourself, right? It’s much an investment in me as it is in him. So some people say, well you should never pay for a mentor right? Well it’s a little bit different from that. It’s a little bit more like a coach. But a common person we both know is Ramit I know that Ramit works with Jay Abraham.

You got to go right to the top if you want to work with somebody that can really help you. And I thought, if I’m going to get serious about building a great consulting business I might as well work with the best.

Andrew: What do you get for $20,000?

Noah: I got a… it was about a year long coaching/mentorship program. I spent a couple of days at his house. So I would fly down to Rhode Island and spend a day with him, kind of me and him one-on-one working through all my different challenges, different issues I was dealing with, different opportunities that were ahead of me and how I could capitalize on them. And then there was the constant access too, to be able to call on him when I was dealing with a client or creating a proposal. So I can pick up the phone, it’s almost like your little hotline and be like “Alan, I’m about to meet with this client and I think he’s going to say this; how do you think, I should respond?” And so that’s kind of the part of it. Alan has coached and mentored I think something like you know 7000 consultants or something around the globe.

Andrew: Can you talk a little bit about that meeting that you had with him, I think it was the first one where you had dinner scheduled for 6 p.m. and how did he show up?

Noah: So you know, I’ve read this guy’s books, I’ve invested this money, I’ve gotten on a plane, I’ve flown to Rhode Island and I’m staying at a hotel and I get this email that says,” I will pick you up for dinner at 6:00″ and so I rolled down to the lobby at 6:00 and out goes this Bentley to the front door. And I get in and I meet Alan and we go out for dinner and he buys a $500 bottle of wine.

We have a great dinner, a great discussion, we had some drinks and some dessert and then I went home and the next morning he picked me up and that’s when our day together started. And so now when I meet with Alan and I go and do that, it’s kind of the same process. He takes you out for a great dinner, spares no expense and obviously I’m sparing no expense in the investment with him. I’m aware of that, but you know it’s a great time and there’s great value to it.

Andrew: Do you remember the first thing that you learned from him when you worked with him directly?

Noah: I learned a lot from him but one of the first things that came out of that first discussion was really the concept of believing in myself, believing that I was an expert, right? He kind of says to me, “What are you waiting for? It kind of seems that you’re a little bit nervous, a little bit stand offish about spreading your expertise and getting out there and reaching out to clients and getting in front of them.” And he said, “Are you waiting for somebody to knight you? ” And I said “Well, what do you mean by that?” And he did a little thing and he said, “Your knighted, you’re now the expert” and it wasn’t so much the gimmick of those words, it was more the feeling that I needed to understand that.

I was really good at the work that I was doing. I was really good at the clients I was dealing with. I had a great track record, I just needed to internalize that myself and get out there and really take things to the next level.

Andrew: What would go on in your head before he had that conversation with you? I think that, as I said at the top of the interview people will identify with it if we talk openly about what was going on.

Noah: Well there’s a lot of things that go on with entrepreneurs in particular I found is; one is the idea of the imposture syndrome. There’s a great book which I think is the same title “The Imposture Syndrome” but it talks about the feeling of when am I going to get to be found out, when are they going to catch me. When are they going to realize that I don’t really know what I’m talking about?

Andrew: What were you talking about at the time, what was it you were going to do consulting on?

Noah: I was doing very much the same things that I was doing now but on a much smaller scale. So I was really working with clients on maximizing the value of their client base, retention issues, even more kind of strategic marketing. I really… I talk about this in the book but I really consider marketing is an equal balance of getting and keeping.

Andrew: Yeah.

Noah: And so I helped them with all those kinds of issues.

Andrew: So why didn’t you feel that you were enough of an expert?

Noah: There was a few different times where things like that came up. So when I really started to pursue speaking as a way to reach clients, to reach people, getting on a stage in front of 300 or 500 people, that’s when those feelings I found would really kind of course through my veins you know.

It’s easy to put on a blog post you know to hit enter and just kind of never look at it again or just kind of stand up. But when you’re in front of people, you kind of have to deliver, you know what I mean? You have to give them something good. And so I struggled with that a lot especially in speaking.

There was one example where I went to a speaking engagement and I was going up this escalator. I arrived at the conference early and as I’m coming up the escalator I see this huge, huge poster. It’s got to be 20 feet high of me, okay? And it says “our keynote speaker.” This was actually in Washington. We were going to connect that weekend when you still lived there.

Andrew: Yeah, DC.

Noah: I had this feeling, my speaking engagement was the next day, and I just wanted to get on the plane and go home. I didn’t even want to show up.

Andrew: Was there a sense that there is someone in the audience you knows more about this than me and they’re going to wonder why I’m I up here or they’re going to see one mistake or maybe more than one mistake and they’re going to think that this guy was just poorly picked?

Noah: Yeah, I mean it’s often all of the above. Those were the types of feelings I would have. Is my content good enough. Is my material interesting enough? Will this really help people? Are these stories interesting, am I funny? Is there somebody in the audience that knows more than me?

These are all the types of things that you deal with and so with me it was particularly strong in that kind of area which was speaking, that was a challenge for me. Now I can get up there without any kind of preparation, I can speak.

Andrew: We’ll get into how you got your clients, what work you did with them, but I just want to ask one more follow up question on this and that is; it’s one thing when you’re up on stage and you come up with the right words and you impress people without saying something stupid that tells somebody in the audience that you don’t know your stuff. But when you’re working with clients, they’re paying money and if they don’t get the results it doesn’t matter whether Alan Weiss knighted you or not, if the work doesn’t work out then you’re screwed, right?

Noah: Right.

Andrew: So how do you deal with that thought process?

Noah: You have to be someone smart about that, you have to be able to deliver on the promises that you’ve made. One of the very interesting things about Alan’s model is that it’s a value based billing… he teaches value based fees. So you don’t have hourly fees, you bill on value.

And a proposal isn’t signed or a consulting project isn’t signed until a relationship has been formed and until you have what he calls conceptual agreement. So you and I both conceptually agree that these are the objectives for us to accomplish.

These are our measures of success and this is the value to be derived. And when you have those things and you have this partnership in a relationship and you’re both very clear on what those objectives, those metrics, and the value is, then you really can’t go wrong unless you know you’re over promising or you’re setting unclear objectives. If I come to Andrew Warner and say, I’m going to help you make a $100 million next year, right?

Andrew: Then you couldn’t deliver on that but what if you go into a guitar store and sit down and say, “Okay what’s our objective, what’s our metrics and what’s the value?” And they say, “I would like to sell more guitars and the matrix are if we did a number of sales that we’ve make and the value is, for every 10% extra sales that you get, for me I make X number in sales and profits, life would be good.”

And then you say, “Okay, great I can deliver it” and then you have to go and figure out the guitar industry and you don’t know the guitar industry you only have one guitar right? You don’t even have any hanging on your wall. So the question I’m getting at is, you don’t know, how do you… how can you make a promise or how can you work with a client when you can’t possibly know as much as they do?

Noah: Well again it has to be a trusting relationship. You, the consultant have to believe that you can deliver and I’m not going to over promise. So if the guitar guy says, “Our revenue is $5 million,” again it’s the same example. “And next year we want to earn $20 million,” I probably can’t do that.

But when he says “Our earnings are $5 million a year, we’ve got 7000 customers, we know that they do this, we’d like to increase the revenue from those clients. We’d like to maximize the value there.” Then, we’ve got something to work with.

Now we’ve got a kind of an objective, we can create metrics around that and then we can come to an agreement of what the value is, so again. It’s all about the relationship. So we both have to conceptually agree on what that value is.

Andrew: I see and I can see how that will avoid all kinds of problems. First of all for you, you don’t want to be paid by the hour because then you’re locked into working hourly and people don’t value the results; they only care about the hours. And I can see how it gives you clear goal and they’ve committed now to help you get to that goal. So you know what you’re doing and you know that you can expect them to do some work to get you there.

What about this as a process, I remember actually talking to search engine optimization consultants back in the early days of SEO and I said, “How do you deliver results for people?” and they said, “Look there are 10 things that we do, anyone can do it on their own but I know it’s going to increase people’s results if for example we have clear title tags,” nobody had clear title tags at the time.

If for example we have clear URL structure, people didn’t know how to do that. If I could do these 10 things that anyone can do a monkey can basically do it. I know I’ll deliver results and anything on top of it is bonus. And so by having a clear set of actions that they take with everyone and knowing whether their client has taken those actions or not, they know that they can deliver results.

Noah: Yeah but the problem with that is, a couple of things. First they’re focusing on a kind of a methodology. So they’re wrapped up in their 10 things, you know what I mean. That’s not what really consulting is. And a lot of people get this wrong. A lot of people think that, there’s a lot of… in the internet marketing world, there’s a lot of talk about this kind of local offline consulting. You see a lot of products about this, a lot of people talking about this but that’s not really what consulting is, you know what I mean? Consulting is being paid for your expertise, it’s being paid for the value that you can bring.

Andrew: It’s not being paid to implement a system that you know and maybe they could learn do it on their own but they don’t want to do it on their own?

Noah: It might be, but I’m not going to lead all the time with every client saying you know, I’ve got these 10 things. I want to know what it is you need. I want to know if there’s a fit and where I can contribute to that fit.

Andrew: Okay. How did you get your first client?

Noah: Well one of my first very first clients were all local, so again it’s exactly what I was just talking about. It was the mom and pop shops. It was the…

Andrew: Were you going door to door knocking on restaurants and saying, hey I can help you with your website because it’s using this cruddy flash?

Noah: Well you know it was people that I knew. It was through referrals through introductions and it was more… it was not really here’s your crappy website; I can help you fix it. It was more… they would reach out to me and they might say, “You know, we hear you talking about marketing, we hear you’ve got this, you’re doing that. So here’s one of our issues.”

One example is kind of my first local restaurant client. They came to me and said that things are going really well. “We’re really busy but we’re not growing.” And so the immediate question I ask them is, “How often are you getting in touch with your customers?” And they were just kind of like a stone walled look and they said, “What do you mean?” And I said, “How often are you reaching out to them, how often are you connecting with them. How often are you emailing them?”

And they weren’t doing any of that. They said, “Well people come in and they have a great experience and they have great food and they’re going to come back.” That’s not how it works. Customer loyalty is the function of kind of day to day, ongoing marketing and relationship building.

So the one example I talk about in “Evergreen” is that’s really why a lot of restaurants fail because they get too caught up in the content, the process, the food. If I can make grandma’s meatballs then I’m good enough to run a restaurant, is what many people believe. I don’t need to do all that marketing stuff. I don’t need to get my customer’s emails and write them emails, and I don’t need to have a Facebook page and I don’t need to do all this stuff because I make grandma’s meatballs, why do most restaurants fail? Because they were focused on grandma’s meatballs instead building that relationship with their customer base.

Andrew: So you recognize that they’re making a mistake that frankly every restaurant that I can think of has made. To wait for the customer to come back, I don’t think I’ve ever had a restaurant email me or mail me or anything. So what do you do to fix that for them?

Noah: So this is the idea of the consulting that you’re asking. I do the simplest thing I could possibly think of. I say, well start collecting emails. I say start getting some information, find out who they are, let’s get their names, their addresses, their phone numbers.

And so they looked at me and they looked around and I said. Okay let’s do it and so they start doing it. And within a year they’ve got 2000, 3000 people on their emailing list, they’ve got 2000 addresses that they can send direct mail to.

Within two years they’ve got 6000, within three years they’ve got 9000 and it’s just snowballing from there. Then they start to just say “Okay we don’t even need to do print advertisement anymore, we don’t even need to do traditional advertising because that’s not working. But let’s send this out to our database, let’s send this out to your customers and see what happens.” And now all kinds of good stuff happens, they launch loyalty programs, they launch special clubs, they launch private memberships within… I’ve taken the membership model and put it in this restaurant where we actually charge people to join specific clubs and specific members.

Andrew: What do you mean, what’s a membership that a restaurant could open?

Noah: Well so you know everybody does a loyalty program, everybody has got a card. I think most of the cards the point cards they’re all useless. We all have enough of them in our wallets, we all have enough of these kind of point accumulations that don’t really get as much.

So I say, lets charge for it but let’s make really, really good. So how do you do that and how do you make it really good? Well you do it very similar to a membership site; you give them things that other people can’t have. So we give them, we have a private menu that we stick on the table. It’s always there, the regular menus are there and then we have a black leather folder with a special menu in it.

And so you open up your regular menu but then everybody looks and says what’s this? You know and they open that up because it’s gorgeous. It’s beautiful. And this is the loyalty menu, this is the menu that only members of the club can have. And you can only be a member of the club if you pay to join.

Andrew: I see.

Noah: And so you know what happens? People join because they want the double burger with the gold flakes and the truffled mushrooms and the cheese oozing off the side. And so people join. But then all the other interesting stuff starts to happen where we can track spending, we can track how often they come in, we can get in touch with them when they’re not coming too often. So these are the types of things that I can do with you know a small business to have a huge impact.

Andrew: What software do you use to keep track of how often people are coming in?

Noah: They use a… it’s a service in Canada that ties in with their POS system and so there’s a lot of systems out there that are like this. And then we just go in, and I talked to you about this back when I did Mixergy a few years ago that everybody needs to have an Excel friend. Well I still have my same Excel friend, a guy named Shawn Veltman, who I think you’ve talked to, I believe.

Andrew: Yeah I’ve worked with him for a long time, he really is an incredible Excel friend. He’s not just an Excel friend he’s…

Noah: He’s amazing and so he will help me the same way. I’ll take him the data and I’d say, “Shawn do you see anything interesting here. Can you help me find out if this is happening?” And if this is happening and then is this happening?” And he tears through this data and he’s got one of these beautiful mind heads and he sends it back to me and says, “Here you go.” Just the insights we can find out are incredible.

Andrew: Yeah before barometrics plugged in directly to stripe and allowed us to see how long people were signing up, to see how long people stayed up subscribed to Mixergy premium and when they would join and when they’re likely to cancel and so on, before all that, I kept giving our data in encrypted formats so people could… So that their private data wasn’t revealed, I kept giving that data to people who were supposed to be Excel spreadsheet jockeys or Excel jockeys and none of them could do anything with it.

I offered to do anything to just get some understanding of how long members were staying and nobody could it except for him.

Noah: That’s right. We did a little stuff for you, right?

Andrew: A lot of analysis on just basic data that I pulled out of at the time I was using premium web card.

Noah: That’s right. I mean he was able to go in there and pull that info out and then give you these insights which were pretty powerful for you I remember.

Andrew: Yeah it was. I see and so that’s how you’re doing it, there’s not any special software that goes into it. It’s whatever software they happen to have access to just like any other Canadian restaurant and your friend Shawn.

Noah: Yeah, you know this is a major company tied in with the credit card companies and the software’s very… it’s lacking. You would think that some of the very simple insights that we want to know would kind of be common knowledge but they’re not. But if you could think through things that would be interesting to know like how long a Mixergy subscriber stays with you for.

Andrew: That wasn’t around until just a few months ago, maybe a little over a year ago that’s unreal.

Noah: And we were talking about that, the importance of that for what, three or four years ago now. Pretty cool.

Andrew: I see how you got your first clients, so basically is word of mouth, people who knew you as the marketing guy. Then you started to put together a complimentary breakfast.

Noah: Yes. So there was that point where I… That sealing where I realized it I wanted to work with bigger clients, if I wanted to work with bigger companies, kind of the 5 to $250 million range which is really that small to medium sized business, I realized that I needed to get out of Kingsville where I lived and I had to do something interesting. And so one of the things I’d learned from some of my colleagues was this idea of putting on a CEO breakfast. And so I did a breakfast in Toronto at the Four Seasons Hotel, it was gorgeous.

I sent out the invites via FedEx, I picked certain CEOs that I wanted to have there and I sent out the invites and they came. So there was this moment, my breakfast was at 7 in the morning. There was this moment at 6:40 where I was standing in the hallway with nobody there and here’s these imposture syndrome feelings again, who’s going to show up, is anybody going to come?

And slowly I see one guy coming down the hall and by 7:00 I had 15 CEOs in the room. And one of them looked around and this was in Toronto and he knew a bunch of people at the table and said, “I don’t really know why we’re all here, but I’m shocked that you got these seven guys in this room”.

And so that was another one of these big investments in myself. There was a big risk there; I’m renting out the Four Seasons for breakfast. I’m paying them to cater a breakfast; I’m FedEx-ing invites to people at 15 bucks a pop, I’m sending out 50 invites. So there’s a huge expense to this, but it’s just the same idea of investing in yourself trusting in yourself and getting butts in the seats, you know what I mean?

Andrew: What did you say to get them to come in, what were you offering? It wasn’t just about the breakfast and the coffee?

Noah: So just to get a little context to that. Before that I was really diligently building my email list, whether I was speaking, whether I was going to events, anything I was doing. And so I had a number of people that were already reading my stuff.

They were reading my emails but I never pitched anything, I didn’t have anything to sell to them. I said, if you want to get in touch and talk about consulting, feel free, but otherwise I’m just going to keep writing great material every week. And so that’s what I did.

And so when I sent out these invites many of them had kind of predisposed relationship with me, some of them didn’t. But I asked one of the guests that would be there I said, “Do you mind if I use your name on the invitation and say, People like Andrew Warner from Mixergy will be in attendance.” And Andrew said this about Noah, right?

And so this is the type of way I crafted that invitation. So we do a great breakfast. I create all the material, I’m up there with a flip chart, I’m doing this, I’m doing that…

Andrew: I’m sorry, but were you saying I will talk about marketing and people like Mr. X will be there, is that it?

Noah: Yeah, pretty much I mean I said, “Join me for an exclusive CEO pure level intimate breakfast event where I will be discussing why customer loyalty is the biggest thing in 2014. If you’re not focused on it then you’re going to die a dreadful death.”

Andrew: I’ve got it. So there was something they were going to learn, a group of people they were going to meet, and a beautiful environment they were going to enjoy their breakfast. I see and that’s when you spoke and did that lead to customers?

Noah: Oh it lead to a ton of business, it was the best a couple of thousand dollars I had invested this year by far.

Andrew: I see, how much talking do you do at a breakfast like that? If someone wanted a copy it, I want to give them a sense of how much talking to do and at what point to pitch.

Noah: I did about an hour and a half and it was very kind of discussion focus. My goal was to get them talking. You know I didn’t prepare much except a piece of paper with some bullet points, a few concepts from my book I wanted to show them.

But I really wanted to get them talking so I would ask them to… I had these CEOs breaking up into groups and doing kind of work together, tell each other your three biggest challenges this year and what you’re doing to overcome them. And then we’re going to report back and that sort of thing. And so then they would report back and I would make some notes where I would provide my input on different issues. And so about an hour and a half, you can probably do that sort of thing.

Andrew: I see. Boy I can see the imposture syndrome coming up right there. These kinds of entrepreneurs don’t want to be told what to talk about with their friends. This feels a little too much like school. What if they just have a conversation about how they don’t want to do this?

Noah: And that’s why it’s important to know, really know kind of your ideal buyer. To know the size of the company, to know that kind of customer avatar, that customer archetype, who would fit well in that room. Because you’re not going to have the VP of marketing for Starbucks sitting with the $5 million guitar CEO. It’s just not going to be a fit.

So you need to put a peers of peers into that room and then if you can get them talking, if they trust you, if you can get them to open up, you can create a really great environment, some really great dialogue. I have done these events now in Michigan, I’ve done them in a beautiful hotel here and I get the same sort of reaction, the same sort of response each time and they generate business.

Andrew: What about this, I’ve got my book here on my screen with my highlights and one of the things stood out for me. Someone who said, “Honestly Noah, we’re so busy with new customers that we don’t have time or resources to devote to our existing customers.”

The thing that made me bring this up right now is; a lot of people have budgets for marketing. You help with loyalty, you help with retention, aspects of marketing but not the kind of things that they think about. They have money that says I want to bring in a new customer for X dollars per customer who can get me for extra less and this guy what’s coming in and telling me retention? I can’t measure that, sorry.

Noah: Yeah and that’s why I want to show them why they’re, A, that’s wrong. Or B, if you’re going to do that, let’s make sure you’ve got everything in place properly to keep that customer, to care for them, to nurture them, to maximize that value because a lot of people are running around like adrenaline junkies.

They’re chasing after new customers, they get them and then they lose them. So they, going back to the Evergreen kind of metaphor, they drop their customers like dead leaves. They’re like deciduous trees, where every winter they are cold because they’ve got no customers, they’ve got no growth and so they’re constantly trying to figure out how do they put more leaves, more growth on the tree.

When really I can help them focus on things like once you’ve got them, how do you keep them, how do you on board them properly. How do you make sure they are spending the right amount? When is that customer behavior changing? How do we pinpoint those sort of actions and really capitalize on them.

Andrew: And that’s where the name for the book came from, Evergreen?

Noah: Yeah there’s actually an interesting story of where the name for the book came from, I was actually on my honeymoon and so this was again after I’ve left my corporate job and I’m finally making money with this membership site.

Andrew: Wait but you were married before your job.

Noah: I was married but we had no money. I was working this job, I wasn’t making much, my wife was still a teacher on probation, we had just bought a house. So we got married and we didn’t go on a honeymoon, so finally when we had some money we said, “Let’s go on our honeymoon.”

So we went out to British Colombia in Canada, I don’t know if you’ve ever been out there. You’re kind of… you’re West Coast anyway, you know what it’s like.

Andrew: Yeah I grew up in New York, so we used to go up.

Noah: And so we went to British Colombia and we stopped at this place called Cathedral Grove right over at Vancouver Islands and there are these trees in Cathedral Grove that are, some are 60 feet wide. You know the Redwoods of Sequoia Forest in California there, trees like this, they’re just 150 feet high, as wide as Greyhound buses and so my wife and I are out there and we’re on our honeymoon. And we’re walking through the forest and we’re all alone and I’ve got my beautiful wife in front of me. And I would say that to people say, “What’s going through my mind here right?” But it wasn’t what you think it is, it was the tree, it was this concept of the evergreen, it was this metaphor that was just staring at me.

And I was thinking about my work with retention and with membership sites and it was like all kind of coming together. And so that’s really where the idea for “Evergreen” came from and that really became my focus then for the next five years. I was really focusing on how do I take this and build this kind of system, this kind of program that I can help with any company to get customers and then to keep them.

Andrew: Let me talk a little bit about LeadPages, my sponsor, you know LeadPages is actually founded by previous Mixergy interviewee, Clay Collins who said, “Andrew, I got such a great response from just being interviewed. I can’t come get interviewed everyday, how about I pay you and you’d talk about my product every day?”

So I want to make sure that I do get to talk about it because even before he said that I was a customer of LeadPages. I had been almost from the very beginning because it’s such a great product. What I had was a problem; I knew that I needed to collect email addresses, anyone who’s listening to my voice right now heard Noah earlier talk about how we had a client who was starting to collect email addresses and by doing that his business took off.

They had to do it in person, I get to do it online. But if you do it online you need a good page, a page that will really explain to people why they should give you their email addresses, why they should trust you, what they’re getting in return. Well I’m not a designer; I don’t have a designer on staff.

I’ve researchers but I don’t have designers. So what did I do, I went to one of the top design places. LeadPages, they obsess about designs that increase conversions and I picked one of their landing pages and got over a 70% conversion rate. And I got, maybe not a 70 with everyone, not definitely 70% conversion with all my uses of my LeadPages. But over 20% every time I use they them, they were that powerful. And so that’s why I want to recommend them to you.

Now some people out there are actually so good that they could create a better template, a better design that gets even a higher conversion rate than the existing pages on LeadPages. Well if that is you and you’re listening to me, I want you to create a template for LeadPages. They will sell your a template to their customers, customers like me and they’ll ship 100% of that money to you. This is an incredible opportunity but it’s not unprecedented. I interviewed entrepreneurs who built templates for other platforms and did over a million dollars in sales. So this is something that LeadPages wants to help people who are good creators do on their platform.

So here’s what I have got for you. Go to; you can see tons of great examples of pages that they create at LeadPages that will increase conversions. And if you have an idea for something that will convert even better than what they have, there’s a button on that page where you can submit your own design, they will sell it, they will power it for you, they will even make it easy for you to create it so you don’t need to know everything about HTML, you just need to know basic things. Go to

Noah, we talked before we started about how… I’m having trouble breathing today. They didn’t hit until I talked about LeadPages. Thankfully I got my hot water, how’s your breathing doing I know your recovering from a cold.

Noah: I’m okay; it’s a Canadian bronchitis cold that I’m just about over it.

Andrew: I don’t know what it is with me.

Noah: [inaudible 00:46:01] awesome by the way.

Andrew: Thank you, I’m working on it and getting better and better at it. You know ever since I was a kid I wanted to be in radio. I wanted to do what guys like Howard Stern or Rush Limbaugh used to do. I’d listen to those guys for hours. Even the local guys whose names I can’t even remember I would listen to for hours and the one thing that always held me back was this thought that I had this running nose, it’s going to keep running what do I do?

That actually and how do I get up every morning? That used to be an issue for me. So I decided to get up every morning, now I get up every morning at a reasonable time. Number one and number two, with podcasting it doesn’t matter what time you wake up as long as you record.

The thing that I haven’t been able to deal with is the running nose. I keep on going to doctors trying to figure out what to do with it and I haven’t resolved it but thankfully it hasn’t held me back. And the reason it hasn’t held me back is because I’ve got a mute button right here, as soon as I’ve trouble I hit the… I do my thing and I come back.

Noah: There you go.

Andrew: But sometimes it gets me as I do it. So I see how you got those clients. I’m guessing that in order to give a good presentation in that room and feel confident that you started by speaking to other groups. How did you learn where to go and talk and what to say to people to convince them to care about your message and maybe even sign up for you service?

Noah: I mean that’s a good question. It goes back to what we talked about earlier, you really do have to know your stuff, and you have to know your area of expertise. You have to know where you can provide value.

Andrew: Let me stop you there, I’m sorry but you were known as the retention guy. I think that I don’t know any other retention guys. If somebody asked me about a retention guy I would go like, oh yeah Noah Fleming. How did you pick that, how do you figure out what your thing is going to be?

Noah: You have to pick something that you’re passionate about and something that you’re good at. I think the days of, I said this to Jeremy your producer, but I think the days of you know, if you’re passionate about worms for example, you can make a career out of that.

I think that’s true for a very small number of people but I think that’s more of a hobby. Where a passion is something that you’re good at that provides great value to people that you love doing. Well I know that I’m really good at helping companies keep their clients, maximize the value of those clients, earn more revenue and do better marketing. I know I’m good at that.

Noah: Look at how many of your clients don’t, or how many businesses in general don’t even recognize that as a value when you present it to them and say, I can help you retain more clients and bring more of your current customers back in. And they say, “Hmm” and you have to convince them.

Noah: It’s a battle, right?

Andrew: How did you know that this was… how did it stand out for you as a need? Were you running your own membership site? And realized, “Hey I’m losing a lot of money because people aren’t coming back,” Was it something like that?

Noah: Well it was different; it was… when I created my first membership site, when I saw somebody give me money. My idea was I’m going to do whatever it takes for that money to not stop. I want that to keep flowing for the long term, so I’m going to do whatever it takes; I’m going to build a relationship; I’m going to over deliver.

I’m going to be there for that person, I’m going to give them whatever they need. And then it kind of developed into more of this, okay, that’s all good. I can do that, but how do I look more at the kind of inner workings of what’s going on here?

But I also noticed that it’s just… I call it the acquisition addiction, it is back to running around chasing you customers without having any idea of how you’re going to keep them. And to me I think it’s really just kind of arrogant foolish business, you know what I mean? You can… businesses are focusing too much on how we drive people through the door without how do we keep them? So…

Andrew: So Noah if somebody is listening to us and says “I would like to be the something guy the way that Noah is the retention guy.” Is the way to come up with that, to look at your own needs, your own problems and then use that or is there another way to come up with what the message is going to be?

Noah: I think it’s you know what you’re good at, what are you passionate about? What do you like doing and then how can you convey that to others to help them? And so if I’ve been able to do it with something like retention, then anybody should be able to do it with some pretty much any topic that can provide value to somebody.

Andrew: I found out that it’s about that smaller version of the bigger thing that most people focus on. So most people focus on marketing, Rand Fishkin in the early days said I’m focusing on just SEO; this is going to be my obsession.

Most people focuses as I said on marketing. You said I’m going to focus on just the retention marketing to existing customers or doing what it takes to keep them around, again using marketing as the bigger pie. The small slice that Pep Laya decided that he was going to focusing on was optimizing conversions.

And so it seems like if you take a smaller piece of that bigger pie that everyone wants, then you could be known as that guy who owns that part of the marketing.

Noah: You can and I might be known to some people as the retention guy but I could tell you that 60% of my clients right now, I’m not working on retention issues. I’m working on marketing issues, I’m working on helping them craft their messages better. I’m working on helping them build customer communities, I’m working on helping them engage customers. I’m working on things that we’ve done before. So there’s that theory of specialize don’t generalize. I actually want to generalize because I don’t want to be known as the guy that can only come in and help fix…

Andrew: And why not, I would have thought that what’s you’d want?

Noah: No, I mean that I don’t want to be the guy that only works for restaurants on retention issues. There’s a much bigger pie out there, if I can work with any company in any industry on marketing and retention issues and so that’s where I’m focusing right now.

I’ve got clients in hospitality. I’ve got clients in manufacturing. I’ve got clients in retail, I’ve got clients in the online space and what I find is that the same issues that the manufacturing guy is dealing with with marketing and sales and those issues, are the same issues that the other guys are dealing with.

Andrew: So you tell me you don’t want to be known or the person who’s listening to us who says “I’m considering a consulting business” does not want to be known as the niche guy or the niche girl.”

Noah: I want to be known as the expert in my space. So I may not want to be the retention guy but I want to know as the expert that can come in and help any business build a great customer loyalty.

Andrew: Okay, so is customer loyalty the big picture?

Noah: Well I think the big picture is strategic marketing. But there’s all those little spokes around that. So one of the examples that Alan worked on with me earlier is that you put your sweet spot in the middle. So let’s say my sweet spot is strategic marketing, so I draw a circle with strategic marketing in the middle.

What else comes off strategic marketing or customer loyalty, whatever is in the middle, it doesn’t matter. But you’ve got a customer service, you’ve got sales, you’ve got marketing, you’ve got advertising, you’ve got customer support, you’ve got customer retention. So you kind of just go around, you pick all the things. I had an insurance client who said I don’t know what to talk about. I don’t know what to blog about.

So I did the same thing, I drew a circle and I said “Okay insurance is in the middle. Here’s the first spoke, and you could talk about life balance. And the second spoke you could talk about life insurance you could talk about car insurance, you could talk about home insurance. You could talk about protecting your loved ones, you could talk about preparing for death, preparing for somebody in the family dying unexpectedly, a safe planning.”

Andrew: Does that make it hard though to be a consultant? I can see how it helps the insurance client write more. But doesn’t it make it harder for you as a consultant if you’re not known for one thing because then you don’t get the kind of referrals that I keep thinking of when someone says, “Who do you know for retention?” I say “Noah Fleming” and another thing is if you don’t have a clear small focus you have to keep making up solutions on the spot as opposed to continuing to build and use the tool-set that work for you.

Noah: As I said, I want to be known as the expert right, I want to be known as the expert in a number of different areas that can help with a number of different things. So think of a guy like Jay Abraham. Jay Abraham, what does he say, he’s worked with 8000 different industries because he’s the marketing guy.

But what else does he focus on? He focuses on leadership, he focuses on innovation, management and so it’s kind of the same thing. If I focus on marketing but I’m also an expert in customer loyalty.

Andrew: There’s a book.

Noah: And you get the credibility behind that with a thing like a commercially published book or when you’re speaking on stage, then that’s when people come to you. I haven’t picked up a single client from something like social media. I don’t know one of my CEO clients who has found me through Twitter or Facebook. But they found me through something like you’ve said a referral that somebody said, you’ve got to talk to Noah Fleming. Or they’ve heard me speak or they’ve seen something that I’ve written for a newspaper or a different publication. And so you need to start really thinking about those expert levers as opposed to saying, I’m going to focus on this one little tiny area and just kind of carve that out.

Does that make sense?

Andrew: It does. It sounds different from what I’ve heard from other people who said focus in on one thing, be really good at that one thing and be known as that one thing. But the other thing that you pointed out is you want to be known as the expert; it’s not about social media driving customers, but recognition for your expertise that does and that’s why the breakfast and the speaking engagements help and even being here on Mixergy and doing that master class with us help.

Noah: Yeah and maybe I’m saying it not as well as I could but I don’t want to get myself caught in a too small of a bucket. I don’t want to be known as the guy that only works with membership sites, which is probably where I was when I talked to you years ago.

Andrew: Yes.

Noah: You know I don’t want to be known as just that guy. Like I said I don’t want to be known as the guy that only works with the travel industry because I want to work with everybody. There’s a finite space out there of people you can work with if you’re in aerospace consulting and there’s a lot of people that do that well. In fact I know another consultant who works in the aerospace industry in Canada and she does remarkable. But it’s just a different kind of way that I want to approach it.

Andrew: One of the first meetings that you had with Alan Weiss, he says, “Shadow me” and so you start shadowing him. He looks at an email that he gets from one of his clients who says, “Hey I’ve got this book proposal with Wiley do you know what I’m talking about?

Noah: Yeah I do.

Andrew: And what did Wiley say to him?

Noah: Well so one of the things that I did with Alan Weiss is I became one of his master mentors and so what that is; as Alan’s gotten older, he’s kind of stepped away from direct mentoring now. He’s still has some kind of very high fee coaching programs but what he now has is a group of 40 consultants around the globe that mentor people that come into his community.

So if somebody came to Alan and said “I’m looking for a mentor to help me with my consulting practice, can you mentor me?” He would say, “No, but here’s a list of 40 people that I’ve trained, that I’ve worked with, that I’ve accredited to work with people coming into my community.”

So I became one of his master mentors and so part of that required me to go to his house and spend a couple of days training with him one-on-one, kind of really getting deep into his methodology and his intellectual property and the way that he works with clients and the way that he works with mentorees.

And so the way that worked it was a way kind of massive because I was at his house and all day long he’s getting emails or he’s getting phone calls or voicemails from people that have been in his mentor program or in his coaching program. They were very like what I mentioned earlier, “Alan I’ve got this problem, what would you do?”

And so the way that training worked was that he would essentially get these calls and get these emails and then he would kind of turn the laptop to me and say, “Okay, how would you respond?” And or how would you respond to this person or here’s this voicemail, what should we say to them?

And so the one example you gave was somebody wrote an email and said you know I’ve got this proposal with Wiley and they think it’s good but I don’t enough have speaking engagements. So what should I do? So I immediately jumped to the kind of entrepreneurial tactical level down, here’s what you do. I started rattling off different things. Call up these people, do this, do that. It’s very tactical.

And he just looked at me and said, “It’s not what I would do.” And he said as entrepreneurs, as small business owners, we kind of want to believe that there’s all these different ways and we need to get all these opinions, all these sort of ways to do this, because we almost feel like we want to justify ourselves.

But he just said, the answer is not to try and fill the speaking calendar with speaking engagements. The answer is just to tell them, you’re right, I don’t have a big speaking calendar for next year. But here’s what I’m going to do instead. Just give them one or two different things. It’s kind of the Occam’s razor rule, the getting to the point quickly, efficiently as fast as you can.

Andrew: The simpler answer is usually the best.

Noah: That’s right.

Andrew: Let me see what else we need to know about. What else would you say to somebody who’s listening to us who says, “I’d like to build a consulting company.” What else should they know? “I would like to be a consultant.”

Noah: I think it’s a lot of what we already talked about but get the help that you need, get the knowledge that you need. So I spent that $20,000 with Alan that first year. I invest probably that much every year in my own personal development on other things; areas where I think I could improve. So I go to workshops, I buy courses. I invest a lot in myself because I think it’s the best investment you can make. I don’t think anything pays quite that well. Some people are too risk averse to spend a little money. But I believe if I can’t trust in myself to pay back an investment, who’s going to trust in me?

Andrew: So you’re saying yes… what were you going to say?

Noah: I was going to say, you know there’s the idea that bootstrapping start-ups. Spend as little as possible and kind of sleep on the carpet and do all this kind of stuff. But I want to invest as much as possible; I want to invest as much as this start-up needs, as much as this company needs or as much as I need to get to where I need to be. I want to get there quickly, I want to get there fast and I want to do it right. And so like I said, I’m of a sort of different belief. I will spend money on my credit card and invest in myself because I do trust that I can pay it back. I trust that I will make it. I believe that I can pay it back.

Andrew: What kind of revenue are you doing right now?

Noah: I’m doing six figures, I’m doing very well. It’s a good business, it’s a good life balance. I don’t work that hard and so I’ve great customers, I have great clients. I’m home working everyday. By 3:00 I’m done for the day. Some days I don’t work at all, that’s what it’s all about.

Andrew: The book, the one that you actually held up in your hand, that’s mine isn’t it?

Noah: Yes. When I told you that I got this book deal and when I was writing this book, you sent me the first email I got and you said, I want copy number one, where do I send the money?

Andrew: I said I want to buy number one, how do I send you the money, yes.

Noah: That’s right. And I was just you know so honored with that and you sent the PayPal payment for the cost of the book before I even knew what that would be and so here it is. This is copy number one, which I’m going to ship out to you next week. I’m going to get this to you and I really appreciate that.

Andrew: I’m glad to. I remember actually where I sat and read it. I had some backache because of the new baby, I was running with the jogging stroller and it hurt my back and I went to see a doctor [inaudible 01:03:29], the appointment was done and I had sometime before I had to go pick up my son.

So I just sat there and I read your book and one of the stories that stood out I’ve got… you actually sent me a digital early version of it so I can read it in preparation for this conversation. That’s what I was reading. You talk about content as a way of keeping people loyal, as a way of keeping your product from being just about the product and I love this example from GoldieBlox.

They’re so good, do you know the one I’m talking about, they’re so good about… I’ve got it highlighted here. “Being more than just a toy, they’re a message for women empowerment, that women shouldn’t just have Barbie dolls growing up, they should have toys that allow them to think creatively the way Lego does for many boys.” And you said that it’s such a powerful message that people love it, even though they have these reviews like, here’s one that you copied and posted in your book.

“Poorly made, I don’t know if this quality control problem, it seems to be made in India, I don’t know if it’s a control problem or if it’s bad design. The figures that are put on top of the yellow wheels don’t fit snugly so the force of turning the wheels causes them to fall apart” etcetera. “It’s not a good Lego alternative. ” And still people buy it and it gave the company enough room to improve their products and now they have this quality control issue, I think solved.

Noah: It’s a great example of a company that didn’t get too caught up in the thing that it did. If they would have just put that product out there and say, “Here is this toy for girls” They wouldn’t be where they are today. We probably wouldn’t know who GoldieBlox is and a lot of people do know who GoldieBlox is because of the way that they focused on all these other areas, which are important.

Andrew: Yeah. They are so good that I’ve seen people, I’ve tweeted their videos about empowerment and they’re really well done. That’s one of many examples that you’ve got in this book, it’s packed with examples. The book is called “Evergreen.” Is it available yet? Actually by the time this interview is up it will be available. What’s the launch date for it?

Noah: It will be available on the kindle on December 7th, it will be available on hardcover I think the first week of January.

Andrew: All right, congratulations on having the book out.

Noah: Thanks Andrew.

Andrew: Thanks so much for doing this. Thank you all for being a part of it and if you get a chance to I think frankly if you don’t get a chance to you should find a way to make the time and to get a chance to sit down and listen to Noah’s previous conversation with me where we talked about retention.

He is fantastic; he’s one of the best. We were just getting going there and it’s one of the reasons why I decided to stick with courses because it was so good, it proves a concept.

All right, thank you all for being a part of it. Bye everyone.

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