Hugh Culver | What your clients really want (not what you think)

If you teach businesses how to boost their social media profile, create webinars, or similar… check out a new approach to working with clients from Hugh Culver of Stand Out Social. There’s an alternative to teaching that will ensure they follow through and see results. And when your clients succeed in this way… you succeed because they hire you again and again – automatically. This is how Hugh grew his latest business to six figures in just 10 months.

Hugh also shares what happened when he finally stopped trying to be the hardest worker in his business. And that’s just the start.

Check out the episode to find out…

  • How to get the most out of your mastermind group – if they don’t “scare” you, you’re wasting your time
  • The weekly ritual with your team that can change everything in your business
  • Ways to pre-qualify clients so you only work with those that will be successful
  • Where to find the right employees so you can escape the day-to-day – and focus on growing the business
  • Details on a profitable alternative to teaching and consulting – your clients are dying for this right now
  • And more

Mentioned in the show


In our episode, we’re talking with Hugh Culver. He co-created the world’s most expensive tours. He went to the South Pole and other places, and he’s presented to over 1,100 audiences as a professional speaker. He’s the CEO of SOS and the author of Give Me a Break: The Art of Making Time Work for You. Hugh, I’m really excited to have you here. You’ve done a lot of really interesting things and I’m excited to learn more. Welcome.

Thanks, Steve. It’s pleasure to be here.

A tour to the South Pole, that’s pretty interesting. You’ve clearly done some things that others may not have ventured to do, some exciting things. I know in doing that, it probably wasn’t a straight line to get there. I’d love for you to share a little bit about your background and the path that got you to this point in your career.

I started out as young guy in tourism working for my brother. We had our white water rafting company and as things tend to go in my life, Steve, I was looking for what the next thing was and the next thing was Antarctica. I joined up with three other guys. We created the world’s first airline in Antarctica. It still actually is operating, it’s called Adventure Network International. It’s a big successful company. It was just like one thing led to another. With our rafting business, we kept adding on bigger and bigger projects until we became the largest in Western Canada, and then we sold that company. Then the Antarctica thing. We went from zero, literally one rented airplane to a fleet of four airplanes and customers from all over the world. It was just a natural evolution. It really did teach me about building businesses but also in creating companies that you could actually sell.

That’s the goal I think for everybody who starts a business. You start off thinking I’m going to build this thing and ultimately one day there’s going to be a big payout. The fact of the matter is most never make it to that point. They don’t really. If we’re honest about it, we all have that dream if we’re running a business because the payday is really alluring, but the payday doesn’t happen unless you do all the things that lead up to that. I know that wasn’t a straight path for you, I’m sure. What are some of the things that you learned along the way? I know you had to probably push through some difficulties to get to that point where you were able to sell those businesses and have had the success that you’ve had so far?

I have to admit, the first two sales, I was at any enlightened space. I was head down doing all the work and resenting anybody that didn’t work as hard as me. I really was not a CEO.I was just a hard working guy that happened to own the company or be a partner in the company. I think that over the years it’s been a long time now, I went to graduate school, I started up this business and training. If I’m being totally honest, which I want to be, it’s really the last five years that I’ve really assessed my energy levels, what I want to actually build in terms of revenue and team. I have eight people now working for me and what I need to do to be smarter. I’m not particularly looking at selling the business, although I have a very sellable product now. I’ve gone from being a solopreneur as a speaker with two staff to being someone that has eight staff and a regular reoccurring income. I’m more interested in just being smarter. What I really value in my life right now is the time I get away from the company, the time that I get to go and write another book. I really valued my time with my wife and I’m really interested in still building a company.

I was writing a blog about this, about how I was in this trap for so many years where I equated busy with success. I actually looked for examples to prove that I was right. I would look at busy CEOs, busy executives, and I would say, “There you go. That’s the evidence.” I need to strive for more of that. It really has taken me a long, long time to realize that this is stupid. It’s just stupid because not only does it burn me out, it sets everybody up for failure. Nobody can keep up with me. Nobody is going to feel good about their achievements. I’m going to look at them with some comparison in mind. It’s just stupid. One of the things I’m most proud of right now is when I find a job and give it to somebody, and I mean completely where they actually write the instructions. We have a routine in our business with SOPs, which you know all about, Standard Operating Procedures. My favorite thing is that someone on my team who has the capabilities, there’s a need, we’ll write the SOP. Then when we talk I’ll say, “That sounds good. Why don’t you go edit the SOP?” I never touched it. In fact, I never look at them. To me, that’s the ultimate that I’m looking for right now.

That’s the best advice around creating that documentation in your business ever is have had the person doing it do the documentation. The way you just described the things that you want to do that you’ve moved away from this mindset of having to be the busy CEO all the time. I was talking with our mutual friend, Dov Gordon, and he brought up a point really around understanding. He said the thing that he finds with the business owners that he is working with that they really struggle with is understanding what they want.

We’re inundated with all of these images from social media and from the press and all these successes in business that we see and we think that that’s what we should want and that’s not always what we really want. I think there’s a lot of tension there in people. When they’re having a really hard time making something work, I think a lot of times it comes from the fact that they’re trying to do something that they don’t really want, they haven’t really thought and gotten clarity around that.

I think there’s also a fear factor and the fear could take the shape of, “I don’t like losing control,” or the fear is, “I want everything to be perfect.” Especially for people that start out as doers and then became leaders, the fear is it won’t look like the way I do it. I think it really requires a lot of introspection and maybe a little bit of pain to recognize that putting in longer hours is just really a recipe for failure. It may hit you when you’re 50 or when you’re 60 or when your partner leaves you or when the kids leave home and never want to call back again. It’s hard for, particularly males to understand that their story is leading the ship. It’s not their logical brain, it’s the story that they’ve made. That may come from watching their dad, it may come from some mentor they had early on. The people that I really admire right now are the ones that have tons of time for sure exercise and fitness and for also a reflection and then rewriting the rules. They rewrite the rules.

We’re having a planning session next week. The four main people in my company are going to get-together and what we’re going to be looking at is how do we just rewrite everything that we’re doing with our SOS business? We’ve been at it for five years. It’s a very successful company. Our customers love it and I don’t think it’s good enough. I want to rewrite it and what that’s going to mean is we have to be basically willing to burn the ships. The simple thing is this year we switched to US pricing. I bet we debated that for six months to switch from Canadian pricing to us pricing. We’re in Canada, but what we noticed is everybody in Canada charges US dollars because that’s where a lot of our customers there come from. We debated that for six months, and then when we pulled the plug and did it, nothing happened. Everybody just started paying US dollars. My point is that we hang onto these old stories and it doesn’t necessarily serve us.

I think that runs rampant and not just in business, I think that’s part of the human condition. We get tied to what we know and even if it’s not ideal, the fear of the unknown is so great sometimes to make that leap. You mentioned that about five years ago, you had this enlightenment. What triggered that?

Part of it was I wrote a book. I wrote a book called Give Me A Break and that’s a big effort and you get this win when you get the book out and lots of good things happen, but it also made me realize that, that one piece of effort has had a huge multiplier effect on my business. It made me more valuable as a speaker. It made me more credible as a coaching consultant. It allowed me to then start coaching other speakers. At that point, I was about 55 years old and I was just starting to wonder, “What else would be a big leverage effect in my business?” All of this grinding away with emails and all of the minutia didn’t make that kind of effect and impact that just spending a couple of months working on one project did. I think that was maybe one of the tipping points for me was why did I wait so long? For the audience, it could be basically getting past yourself and hiring one really good person who is actually better than you, rather than a bunch of minions who you can happily delegate stuff to.

 Give Me a Break: The Art of Making Time Work for You

Give Me a Break: The Art of Making Time Work for You

What if you went out there and found someone that actually it was scary how good they were. They were so much better than you and you paid them really good money to basically take a lot of junk off your plate so you can actually be much more strategic. For some of you, it may be to go in and look at the 2018 calendar and say, “I’m going to take three weeks off to get my act together, but I’m going to do it in a way that I come back, not just by lazing on the beach, but I’m actually going to maybe create something while I’m there. I’m going to learn Spanish or I’m going to go and learn how to surf.”You can satisfy your need to learn, but you’re going to actually do something that is scary. You’re going to put it on the calendar and you’re going to take time off. What is it that you need to do that’s going to create a leverage effect in your business? I just keep looking for more of those.

A lot of people will go around asking, they’re going to hear this and they’re going to ask, “How do I know what that is?”How do you go around and find that? How did you know the book was going to do it for you when you wrote the book or did you know?

I didn’t know. I had no idea what it was going to do for me. I just knew that this is something I’ve been putting off. I started talking to other authors and what I pieced together in my mind was it’s not that big a deal. What they would constantly say to me is once it was over, I wonder what the big fuss was. I thought, “I’ve been able to co-create flights to the South Pole, how hard could writing a damn book be?” Also, what is the story I’m telling myself, “Authors are different. That’s the story.” That doesn’t serve me. What I started doing is talk to authors and I realized, “No. They’re just like me. They procrastinated, they fumbled around, they didn’t like it. They’re just like me.” I guess I could just take the first step.

One of the first things I did was I just phoned a printing company. I said, “Give me a quote.” Now, I knew what I was talking about. I am a big advocate of signing up and taking courses, especially live courses where you fly somewhere and you actually are in a retreat or you’re at a conference and you’re learning and experimenting and surrounding yourself with people that are different than you. I get really excited. I’m going to a conference and there’ll be 250 people there and it just stimulates me. I think that just showing up every day is a fool’s game because you’re going to get more of the same nonsense that you’ve already created for yourself.

I’m a big advocate of having a mastermind group, but really make sure that in that mastermind group, those people are better than you. You do not want to be the smartest person in the room. If your mastermind group is boring you or you hear the same stuff every, every week or every month, get out of it. Just save yourself the time because you’re fooling yourself thinking that that’s actually serving you. All you’re doing is you’re just getting bored. Get stimulated, be around people that challenge you and scare you and put something on the calendar.

Hugh, that last bit of advice is priceless. In fact, I encourage folks to come back and listen to it again. Write down those three steps that you gave everyone. What I’d like to do now is talk a little bit about the things that you’ve got going on in the business now because I think they’re exciting both because the service is great that you’re offering. I know we’ve got at least one of our clients who is now client of yours and also because the pivot to this new model that you’ve got in the business is a little bit unusual. You don’t see a lot of people going to what we call it done-for-you services now because it seems like it’s a lot of work. I think it’s a good one and we’ve made a similar pivot. I’d love for you to talk a little bit about how that’s working.

First of all, I think that we’ve been going through five years of online, online, online, and I think that the bloom is off of that formula. I do get inquiries as I know you do every week from people that want to know “How do I create an online course?”They’ve had some modicum of success doing it live and now they say, “I’ll put it online.” The challenge with online or those kinds of programs is that it’s hard to get people to complete them more so than ever before. Maybe when they first started all the Lyndas’ and Udemy courses of the world, people completed them. I think now people are much more likely even when they pay $2,000, to quit halfway through the course and never complete it. There’s a real break in accountability there.

There’s an accountability break for the student, because now they feel bad. “I invested $2,000 or even $19 or even $197 and I didn’t finish it.” Now, they feel bad and they’re breaking their self confidence. Then there’s a break in accountability for the person that designed it because basically they have to convince themselves that it’s okay to have failure because they have no way of measuring it. I thought, “I was really interested in promoting my blog because I like to have more traffic.” If I’m going to work so hard to write a blog post, I created a system where I use my social media to get me more traffic. Essentially, I started posting everyday to my social media and I saw, “My traffic is going up.”

Then I tried outsourcing it and I realized the problems with outsourcing overseas. Then I looked for people that live right where I live. I live in central British Columbia. I live in a beautiful part of the world. It’s very hot and dry here. This is where all the orchards are and all those ski hills. There’s a lot of fantastic people here. I started hiring people here and now we have clients in five different countries that use our service. They pay us every month and we read their blog and then we actually post to their social media accounts and we let people know about that blog. We also include curated content. This done-for-you service to me is a really amazing opportunity for people to look at with their business. If you’ve got any kind of intellectual content or any kind of solution that you provide, maybe there’s an opportunity for you to actually do the work for the client. There are some obvious examples, people come and clean your house, they come and cut your lawn. That’s obvious examples. That’s a done-for-you service. What about in the intellectual service? What about in the training service? Is there some way that you can actually do the work for you?

Some of the ones that really got high profile would be Hello Alfred, which was created by these two women that met in Harvard. It’s actually a technology company, but what’s cool about Hello Alfred, is they’ve gotten multiple steps beyond just house cleaning. Now, they will do anything for you. When you subscribe to Hello Alfred, if it’s available in your city, you can basically get them to bring balloons to your wife’s birthday. You can get them to decorate your host before you arrive home for your kid’s birthday party. They’ll run off and get your laundry. They’ll go and do errands for you. The idea is for a busy person living in an urban center, this is going to reduce your stress level and for not very much money, basically you’ve got this assistant working for you. That’s what I wanted to create. I wanted to create a done-for-you service that basically reduced the hassle on this piece of a person’s business that they didn’t have any other solution for other than DIY or trying to outsource it themselves.

I think it’s such a smart approach because you’re seeing so many people now get educated through all these courses and when they go and buy the course, they don’t necessarily want to go through the steps themselves. Most of the time they don’t want to learn any of it. They want the result at the end. What I find, particularly if you’re selling to business owners, most of them already have a full plate. There aren’t very many skills that they’re going to take on for themselves. If you can come in and offer them something that frees up time and the monetary exchange for the time is, is something that is reasonable that they can wrap their head around, it’s an easy sale. It’s a situation where once you get a client, they never go away because they can’t replicate that nor do they want to replicate that service.

Here’s an example. Trevor Turnbull is just become a client of ours with SOS. What Trevor does is rather than teaching people how to use LinkedIn, he’ll do it for you. This is the flip that people have to make, Steve. For example, if I teach a course right now what part of that could actually do for you? In other words, yes, it’s great that I educate you. Trevor also can teach you about LinkedIn. Lots of people teach you about LinkedIn, but that then basically presupposes that you’ve got the time and the energy and the motivation to go and do the work. This is where the formula falls apart. People happily pay $2,000 or whatever it is to learn about LinkedIn, but then they don’t do it. Trevor, as one example, says, “I can teach you, but you can also hire me and my team will do it for you.”

Whether that’s adding followers or it’s actually mining your list and these sorts of things. I think that for people listening to this, they just need to think more creatively and ask themselves, “What part of what I sell right now, could we actually do for you and maybe even charge a premium amount for that?”What would happen then is that I’m fully accountable for the results I produce and I don’t have to worry about you finishing a course or all that. I don’t have to chase you down and if you do it correctly, you don’t have to even promote this thing every year because they keep coming back to you every month.

That is the most important reason to do it because you’re fulfilling a need that is always there. It’s continuous and it makes the whole process of building the business so much easier because all of your sales efforts then our compounding.

There all these examples. For example, as a coach. As a coach, you could get paid every month to work with that person’s employee or to work with them. That’s an example we’re very familiar with, but I think now in our online world, there’s lots of other examples that nobody’s really tapped into. What about someone that basically manages your inbox? That’d be a great service. The inbox goes to this person first and then you only get the important stuff to look at. Rather than me having to filter through or create rules or unsubscribe, this person will go to my inbox first before I see my inbox. It’s looking at what is it that we’re inundated with that is basically slowing us down and could I create a service that solves that problem for a person and they got to pay for it? Steve, once they start paying for it, they’re not going to go away because why would you ever want to go back to the old ways to do it?

I think the fear that people have a lot of times in going down that route, particularly if it’s a skill that you have. In the case of SOS, you had a method for promoting your blog. It was a skill that you had developed or an intellectual property that you had developed that you applying to your own business. The fear is, now, I’m going to have to do this. I’m going to have to do this for ten people or twenty people or however many and how is that ever going to scale? How am I ever going to be able to do it? That doesn’t seem like a good use of time. That’s not what you’ve done. That’s not what we’ve done. I’d love for you to talk a little bit about how you’ve taken yourself out of the process?

For short while anyways, I did it myself and that was obviously a nightmare because once I got past three clients, I couldn’t keep up. I tried outsourcing but I realized okay, “Yes, I can save money by going to the Philippines or India, but the quality was horrible.” Then once I came to the conclusion that I was really looking at North American staff, which was actually in my mind exciting because one of my goals Steve, is to provide really great income for a lot of people to work from home, which is what we’re doing right now. We’re getting started with eight people on the team. Five of them are the writers, but I could see us having 50 people.

Once I understood where the talent was going to come from, the next part was the systems because I recognized that this was never going to be successful or profitable unless I had really tight systems. I had to look at how I remunerated. What’s my pay structure like? I realized I can’t afford to pay by the hour because then I’m spending too much time basically trying to get on people and look at their efficiency. I paid by the job. Then I had to figure out, what’s every task? There’s a lot of little tasks so I put a price tag on every task. Then I realized, once I do the sale I don’t really want to actually manage it. I needed to have a person that on boarded and manage the clients. One thing led to another.

Once we had the first twenty people, we basically had figured out the scalable system. From that point on there was really, there’s really no end to how big this can go. Just by using third party online tools, we can actually manage hundreds of people and just simply add more and more editors to it. For me, it was thinking in systems way. I was always thinking my first 200 clients. What would I have to build for my first 200 clients? What I had to do was continually remove myself from anything that had to do with daily management of those clients. Now, all I think about is marketing. I don’t think at all about operations.

One of the best things I did with the business, which was we started eighteen months ago was Tuesday calls. Every Tuesday we look at our statistics. Every Tuesday someone on my team has to update all the numbers and that’s the first thing we do on our phone calls. We look at all the numbers and then we can actually make some intelligent decisions and then we look at our existing campaigns and then finally we look at what are our next steps. That weekly phone call changed everything for our business.

How long did it take you to pull all of that together? To go from it was just you’re doing it and then you made the switch to the North American VA’s and started to systematize things. How long did it take for you to get it all documented and in a place where you felt like you had a system that could deliver the results that you expected at the level of quality that you expected to deliver to clients?

It was profitable in month one and by the first year we making $100,000 a year. We’re doing small six figures and it took ten months to figure out that system. The first ten months was just experimenting and trying to find people. To fill the whole picture is, also finding the right clients. After the first ten months I started to realize, we can’t just take anybody because they’re not going to be successful. There’s certain requirements that the client has to have. If, for example, if nobody’s following them on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn, it doesn’t matter how much we post, no one’s going to see it.

We started to put in a prequalification now. I remember listening to a very well-known speaker who you know as well. He said, “How did I become successful? I found clients that were most likely to be successful and I worked with them.” I realized, “I can’t accept everybody because I was spending a lot of time sitting down for coffee with people and on the phone with them.”I realized, “If I just prequalify my clients before they actually come to us or before I say yes, we’re going to have a lot more success.”That all that took about ten months to twelve months, the first year.

That’s not uncommon. We see that a lot with the businesses that we work with that as they’re rolling out something new, there’s just that period of exploration experimentation before you really get it dialed. I’d love for you to share a little bit with folks about SOS and what it does. I think it’s a great service. I definitely want them to know where they can find you and know more.

 Your job is to capture the people and then to move them towards a sale. That's what we do.

Your job is to capture the people and then to move them towards a sale. That’s what we do.

I’m surprised that no one else has figured this one out and actually put this together. I see it in slightly different areas like Pinterest and whatever, but I’ve never seen anybody do it the way we’re doing it. It’s very simple. We read the clients blog every Thursday. One of our team members is assigned to you and at that team member may have three clients or thirteen clients or whatever their load is and they’re assigned to you. Every Thursday they go online and they read your blog, but they also are looking at previous blogs you’ve posted and they’re also looking at your most successful blogs. Because what we’ve come to understand is that if you’ve got a blog and maybe it’s from even a year ago and it’s actually had a lot of social shares, then we’re going to give it more juice because that means that it’s going to bring more traffic continually. We look at your latest blog, your most recent blogs, and then we look at your greatest blogs.

Then we add in curated contents. Every client provides us with a list of safe sites. In other words, non-competing sites that we can go to. Typically it’s like Brené Brown, Inc., Huffington Post, Forbes. We will also go there and about 20% of our content will come from those. We’ll search the web for articles in the last month that were published on those sites that relate to your business. If you’re a leadership expert, we’re looking for leadership articles, if you’re a customer service expert, etc. We take all of that and then we’d go on Twitter four times a day. Four times a day we’re posting for you on Twitter. One of those will be curated, three of those will point back to your blog. Once a day, once a day on Facebook, once a day on LinkedIn, once a day on Google+.

All of that is $197 and that’s all the client pays. Basically, it’s like hiring a person who’s a social media expert, but you’re paying like $6 a day. That goes on year round. We provide you with analytics, we provide you with free coaching. We give you advice on how to design your coach, how to design your blog to be more successful, because after all, we have this whole data set now that we can look. Right now we’re averaging 10% monthly growth to your website traffic. For basically $6 a day, your website will continually get more and more and more traffic, which you can then capture into your list. You can capture as inquiries.

What we’re doing because we’re sharing your content, we’re actually prequalifying your queries. In other words, the only people that come back to your site are the one’s interested in what you wrote. It’s very different than say, throwing a couple of thousand bucks on Facebook advertising and hoping that Facebook’s algorithms make sense. We’re sharing the best of your blog and so people that want to read that and click back and read it from Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn, they are your best people. Your job is to capture them and then to move them towards a sale. That’s what we do.

I hate to use the word no-brainer, people use that a little too much, but having done a lot of that work ourselves, I know what it takes to do it well. It’s not easy to do it well. It’s a great value for the money. If you can get that traffic growth, if you look at that as a form of essentially paid advertising, it’s just done through organic posting, but that’s essentially what you’re doing is paying for that traffic boost. You’d spend an awful lot of money on that.

I just had a consulting company in Seattle signup. She’s got twelve employees. She said, “Compared to trying to get blank name Jane on my staff to do this consistently, this is again, a no-brainer. Because for me to coach Jane on something I don’t really understand myself, is a waste of both of our time. It frustrates me, it frustrates Jane and what happens is we go to our monthly meetings and it’s a disappointment. Jane doesn’t know what to measure. She doesn’t really know what she’s doing. It’s like, “Why would you give a staff member work that someone else can do better at a lower price point?”That’s the solution that we’re creating. It’s at is where people can find out about it. I’m just excited because I think again, if we look back in our conversation here, Steve, I just think if other people look at these kinds of solutions, they’re there waiting for you. What’s happened in the last decade is we’ve become inundated with online responsibilities.

The business that I own now is my second business. In the first one it was a licensed professional service. We were doing engineering, technical staff and our clients couldn’t do it. I mean they didn’t have the appropriate certifications and qualifications to do it. I was sitting around thinking about a year ago that, that model, it’s the perfect model. We had clients with us for 25 years in that business because they couldn’t do the work or didn’t want to do. It’s not that they couldn’t afford to go hire people and bring them in staff and do it. They had no interest in that. It wasn’t their core business.

Looking at the longevity, it just got me thinking like, everybody wants the result. Nobody wants to do the work. They want the result. If you can deliver the result and you’re an expert at it, then your job isn’t necessarily to deliver the result yourself, but to architect the system that delivers the result. If you can do that, you can create a really lucrative business that’s very stable that gets you out of all this noise that’s in the market around courses and other things. There’s nothing wrong with courses. We do have a course that we sell. Lots of people sell courses and they’re great, but I think there’s an opportunity to go to a higher level.

A great place to start is to look at your own pain. What is it you’re frustrated by? Again, you’re frustrated because you spend so much time sorting through emails in your inbox. You’re frustrated trying to find files in your Dropbox account. You’re frustrated trying to put together your slide deck. There’s dozens and dozens of things and it’s not going to be for everybody, but for the people that have that as a reoccurring frustration as well, you’ve got a moneymaking opportunity there. What’s great is that there’s this fantastic relationship you’ll create because you’re delivering goods, the results can be measurable and the clients are going to want to come back again. I agree. There’s nothing wrong with great online courses. There’s nothing wrong with educating people. I still get hired as a speaker. I’m going out there to educate people. I’m not doing the work for them. I’m entertaining them, I hope and I’m educating them.

At the same time, there are a lot of services that people don’t want to do. When I call someone up to come to my house, I don’t want them to teach me how to cut the lawn. I just want them to cut the lawn and go away. I don’t need to know how to do everything. Sometimes I just want to hire someone to get the damn thing done. We see this all the time now. People that will create your podcast for you. You just do the recording. You put the mp4 file into Dropbox and he’d go back to your work. I think that’s brilliant. That’s worth $500 a month or whatever it is. Those kinds of services, I think we need more of them and I think it’s important for people to clearly articulate this is the boundary of my service. One of the things when I was creating SOS, Steve, was I tried to really hard to avoid scope creep. People would say, “Would you write my blog post for you for me?” “No. Sorry, we don’t do that.” “Will you consult with me on my blog?” “I’ll help you. I’ll give you some free advice, but no, we’re not going to get into that.” We started out with like three packages, small, medium, large because I thought that’s what we’re supposed to do. It just complicated things. It made our sales cycle really slow. We lost clients.

We really frankly didn’t believe that the small was any good and the big was too hard. We went into one package. We have one price, one thing. Maybe we’re losing some business, but the reality is we’re much more profitable because of it. I think our quality is much better. Clearly articulate the boundaries of what you’re going to provide. My advice is don’t try to be everything. Don’t try to be an all in service. You’ll be crappy at it. That’s for other people like what you want to do. If you want to scale it as you say, this is what we provide. We’re extremely good at it and this is the price point. Now, you’ll be able to scale it and you’ll be much more profitable because you can also then clearly control your costs as well. Otherwise, you just be just becoming an all in one jackknife type solution and it’s going to drive you crazy.

When you go down that road, you end up being just a consultant where you’re doing one off services and there’s very little scale. It’s very hard to get the same level of quality on everything that if you focus and if you put these boundaries in place.

It’s a great whiteboard exercise. You say, “Here’s a problem I’m going to go and solve. How can I do this in the most elegant way so that I have clear boundaries? I have a clear price point and the client clearly understands what the ROI is? They understand the value proposition and the ROI and so what is that package and then go ahead and market it? I think that once you put something like that together and test it out with ten or twenty clients, you’ll start to be able to quickly refine it and create profit.

The website for SOS is and I know you have another website for your speaking. You’re an excellent speaker and you train speakers. Where can they go and find out more about it?

Thanks, Steve. That’s my name which is and there are lots of videos on there as well.

Hugh, this has been an absolute pleasure. I’ve really enjoyed the time we’ve invested together. Thanks for spending some time with us.

My pleasure. Thanks, Steve, for asking. This has been enjoyable.

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