Nate Hagerty has been serving in the tax and accounting industry for over fifteen years and is one of the leading marketing voices in the space. He is the CEO and Founder or TaxProMarketer, a company considered by many as the premier marketing agency in the industry.
In this episode, Nate gives us the story behind the success story, from the humble beginnings of his company to the massive shift in thinking that led to its exponential growth. Nate generously shares the lessons that helped him build a truly successful lifestyle business.
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Joe Troyer 0:47
Hey, everybody, it's Joe Troyer, and welcome to Show Me the Nuggets. I'm super excited for today's guest. And I'm super excited this this is looking really good on our end, we're on zoom today for the first time ever. So we'll see how this turns out. Maybe this will be the new destination for the podcast. But today, folks, we have Nathan Hagerty here, and Nathan is a big wig folks in the tax and accounting space, and has been for quite some time. Nathan probably doesn't know this, but I've been following him for for years. And I actually got introduced to Nathan, first through a previous podcast guest or Nate, Nate's telling he actually goes by Nate. So I actually got introduced to Nate through a previous podcast guest that I really, really admire. Dustin Struckman, um, Dustin said, Man, you got to see what these guys are doing. Check it out, they're doing some really great things you should get to know them. And then fast forward and we actually met in person briefly at a mastermind that we're both in. And so Nate operates Tax Pro Marketer. He is the founder and CEO we'll have to blow him up a little bit here three time 40 under 40 honoree by CPA practice advisor, and he's doing some really, really cool things in the tax and accounting space. And guys, I'm really excited to have him on because Nate wouldn't probably normally show up to things like this. But he said right before the recording, I'm just happy to help you feed your content machine. So guys, we're gonna take advantage of it. So without further ado, Nate, thanks so much for coming on the show.
Nate Hagerty 2:24
My pleasure, Joe, and I'm here because of you, I told you this before we got started, but the way that you serve the way that you offer yourself to your community, and to every group that you're a part of, I love the boundaries that you set that you're not on Facebook, I love all the things that I know about you. And you know, I think we met in war room, years back and man like it's, it's a pleasure to be with you. So thank you.
Joe Troyer 2:49
That's awesome man. Thanks for making time for us. Give us a little background, man, how did you end up in this crazy world of digital marketing and agency life, so to speak.
Nate Hagerty 2:59
And through the back door, like maybe many of us, I was in youth ministry for years, and I was working for an organization called young life and they were going to transfer my wife and I out of the area where we were. And so I was looking for a job. And I ended up finding this guy who was on the committee of my local young life thing, and he ran a tax business. Okay, get a job because I could coach football and lacrosse and just do the thing that I'm doing, and just do this on the side. Well, it turns out, he had built this massive empire. His name is Chauncey Hunter, Jr. and he was in a high level mastermind group with Dan Kennedy, Ryan deiss. And some of the top info marketers of the pre internet days. I mean, guys that we've all heard of Yannick Silver, I mean, like some some of these guys that are still massive, Ben Glass. So I had no idea about this one, I kind of dove into his world. And I fell in love with marketing, I fell in love with information marketing, and that whole world, I met Ryan Deiss way back in the day, but when he was sold his first information product that was in the room, and that was I mean, massive rush that that guy is so talented and gifted. I'm so thankful for him. So I kind of got into the back door not expecting that I'd be into this world. So I was doing coaching consulting alongside Chauncey a few years and started my own agency, my own business back in 2007. And, I mean, it's been quite a ride since then, it was as an implementation business and marketing services company. And a few years back, we figured out that we're an agency so that's a very, very short version. I mean, I've seen a lot of failure, maybe like a lot of your guests or people who are listening. I this is one of my favorite stories. If you don't mind me just tell him this real quick because I think a lot of us we see the these success stories and we don't realize that there's a long journey that comes You know behind that story and, you know, the overnight success built in over decades, right. And, you know, my first in my first year in the business, I really didn't know what I didn't know. And I was terrible at accounting and all these things, I knew that I could sell and I sold the heck out of what we were doing. And I was doing really well on platforms. And speaking and I brought in our first year of business, we did this back in 2007, we did like 800 k plus, in that first year of me basically going to events speaking, you know, creating rushes at the back of the room and doing the thing. And then I feel like I overwhelmed my production people, I overwhelmed by my very nascent team. I had a couple clients not pay me, after we delivered the work with like, hard costs attached, like 12 $14,000 of hard costs for these things. And I woke up one day, and it was like April of 2008, I'll always remember this. And I figured out like in a moment, because I should have been tracking this months previous, that I was staring at $100,000 of debt. And I had come into the business with no money. I didn't I mean, I bootstrapped the thing. I figured I just sell, sell the thing and then fulfill it, right. That's what everyone always says. And, and I freaked out, I opened four credit cards in the space of like, four hours. And, you know, I like my credit line, the first credit card, I got 15 K second credit card, you know, 8k third credit card, the agency started figured out what was going on, I got like 4k, and then like $800 Um, and, uh, and then I had a friend who I was very fortunate in having this friend who had he basically like, he was an heir to a coal mine. And he had a bunch of money coming through and didn't know what to do with it in 2008 financial crisis, he lent me almost $60,000 at 3%. And payment's not starting in three years. And then five months in, he says, Hey, I just want you to know, praying this morning, you just keep that money. And so that's the only reason I'm in business today. I mean, that's the only reason I'm on your podcast is I had a friend who was so benevolent to lend me this money and very generous terms, and then forgive the debt. Because we really pivoted at that point, we went to online marketing, and we started doing things differently. Got a real accountant, which was ironic because I work with accountants, but that's a whole other thing. And so I just feel like I'm here, just by the grace of God, and we built this, you know, we're doing like, 125 k a month now. And it's a it's a whole different thing. So,
Joe Troyer 7:44
dude, I love that. I love the grace. I love the honesty, too. Most people would know, right?
Nate Hagerty 7:50
We know, it's funny is I actually I tell that story in like my first indoctrination series of when people kind of enroll in our membership. You know, I, I tell that story like four months in because we also have a lot of kids. But we were infertile for a long time. And we were adopting. And so we actually have four children that we adopted, and then three biological children. So we have seven children. Um, but this whole process happened during the adoption process. So not only did it put my business at risk, it put my very few having a family at risk. And I had to live off of the money that we set aside for adoption. And that was great for my marriage. I mean, it was awesome. You know, like it.
Joe Troyer 8:31
It takes time being an entrepreneur and married man,balancing everything, man. So yeah, I want to point out something else that you said to like, you don't know what you don't know. That's so hard, man. And it's so true. You know, we walk into things. You know, it's almost a blessing that we don't know about all these things, or it would probably start us from from ever starting. But it's crazy. Like, when I built my first business, I didn't know about unemployment. And I didn't know I hired somebody to do payroll, they did payroll, they never paid the 941s. Right. And so clearly, the the state of Ohio was coming after me, as I had like a business at breakeven or roughly, and was like, you owe us $150,000. I'm like, wait, like maybe !50 grand the first year, right?
Nate Hagerty 9:30
You probably hired one of my clients to help you
Joe Troyer 9:36
But yeah, it's so crazy. You just you don't know what you don't know. And unfortunately, like that is gonna happen, you know, in every entrepreneurial journey at some point. So how did you end up picking the tax niche? Was it just
Nate Hagerty 9:50
sort of like, I sort of fell into it because I was hired by this guy who was a coach to the tax industry. And so I it's not a model that people can emulate you know, find somebody who's guru and go work for them, although, maybe not, right? I mean, find, find a guy who has a following in the industry and go work for him at very cheap, you know, labor prove yourself. And if they've got the right kind of abundance mindset like my guy does and did and does, they'll help you start your business. And he said, when he hired me, I don't want you working for me four or five years from now, which is at the time, I was like, dude, I just need a job. But he put in me, that desire for entrepreneurship. And it was, it was massive, I give that, you know, speech to some of my employees too. So, you know, it's, it's, uh, that's, that's how I am. So I've been in the industry for 17, 18 years. And it's been quite a journey, because tax and CPAs they, they're wired differently than I am. But I jumped into it. Like, I figured out pretty quickly that one of the ways for toward success in serving a particular industry is diving in both feet, to the industry and the nerdy things about that industry, and not holding yourself at a distance. But really like, like figuring out how people tick, know the language, understand the seasonality dynamics, understand, like the things that keep them up at night, rather than what you as a marketer or entrepreneur might be thinking about. And, you know, I actually I have my CPA clients now coming to me for tax advice, and asking for interpretation of new rulings. And, you know, I, I've never gotten my CPA, I'm not that kind of, like, I don't need the certifications like these guys do. But these guys are required 24 hours a year to continue education. And I'm just paying attention really close, because I write for them. And I'm getting them asking me questions, because I've been doing this for so long. So here I am, I'm stuck
Joe Troyer 12:02
I'm curious Nate, is your ideal customer and accountant that does stuff for businesses or for individuals, or most of your clients, purely around tax season.
Nate Hagerty 12:12
So that's shifted it for the first five years of our business, it was probably the individual taxation business that we targeted mostly, because that was the pond that I knew, because the coach that I worked for had that kind of firm, and it was very seasonal, and it was the kind of people that would shut their doors, you know, May 1 and sip margaritas by the pool until September, and you know, then maybe begin opening their eyes and then, you know, December hits, and they're off to the races for six months. And then they don't work. I mean, it's a kind of cool business. But the commodification of that business has rapidly shifted things. So a lot of those folks, unless they've got like a multi location, business that has a system with a brand and they are like an h&r block kind of clone. A lot of the mom and pop tax shops have had to pivot. And so we we've saw the writing on the wall years ago and have been working more directly with the year round firm who does right up work is which we call in the industry for accounting. Who does who has clients on a monthly retainer basis, which fit our model because from the beginning, we we've been putting our clients on a monthly retainer basis, no contracts, they could cancel it anytime we feel like we could we needed to prove the value every month. And you know, it's offered a little bit of churn in our business because when you're on contracts, it puts you in a vulnerable place for someone could just in a moment of anger and you know, email cancel. But you know, it's also put us in a power position because it's forced us to really figure out how to serve our people well so that we can justify our fees on a monthly basis. So here I am.
Joe Troyer 14:01
From the outside looking in, man, it seems like a crazy niche, like just Yeah, all about the vertical working with accountants, you know, having them do my books personally in business, but also seemed like you said all the you know, all the commoditization of the entire market. Seems like it's in like one big roll up right now. And then it really seems I know that we had an accountant that we did some basic marketing for and we did it as a trade for some services a long time. And I remember I got him ranked in Google Maps and he was getting inbound leads, but he could never convert em complaint was always like, you know, the it's like that there's no there's no commonality in any of the leads, all the situations are different, what they want is different, you know, and then like, you know, most of them don't want to make a decision until it's tax time and you have to. So it seems like man like it seems like the odds are really stacked against you.
Nate Hagerty 15:06
Yeah, so totally and and that's a conversation that we're having on a weekly basis with people because I actually was in Perry Marshall's roundtable for a couple years. And he pushed me in a direction that has shifted my thinking in some massive ways, which actually pushed me to the mastermind group that I'm now in with you. And one of the things that he said is that you've got to own the entire process for your clients, because what they really want. Because let me back up and say that for the first time, we've been in business, 13 years, for the first nine years, we were what I would classify more as a marketing services company. And by that, I mean, we did, we had an email marketing program, we had a social media marketing program, we had a website program with SEO, we had a local listings program, right? We had a pay per click program, and you could enroll online, and like pay a deposit, and boom, you become a client. Um, and one of the things that, that we we realized, is that, like, the clients just want clients, they don't really care how they get them. They don't care about social media, you know, they don't care that we were the first agency that I know, we started doing manage social media back in 2009. Okay, before people understood what Facebook was, we were posting every day, handling all the replies doing it all. Twitter, we were doing it all, we even create our own little software for Twitter so that we wouldn't be duplicating tweets across every you know, client. But I will answer your question. Um, so they just want clients, right, they really just want the end result. And the way Perry says is that you've been selling drills when what your clients want or holes, and it was brilliant. And I shifted my perspective right away. And we changed how we onboard clients and a variety of things. But one of the things that we realized as we shifted in that process is because our clients are not an e commerce business. They're not a they're a service professional firm, where you're right people who need an accounting service, they're not going to necessarily feel the pain until a particular, you know, moment, whether it's tax season or every quarter when they're paying their estimated taxes or something or when they get the p&l. I'm not going to feel that right. So there's got to be a way to nurture these folks, you know, over time, and the classic rockem sockem, optin on a landing page, do an indoctrination sequence and get them to an appointment and sell them. Well, yeah, it doesn't work great, because the accountant isn't a good salesperson. And you've also the prospect isn't always ready, right? So we had to build a nurture system. And so we built our own software to deliver nurture emails on a weekly basis. But we do the whole thing where we have an API connection with Infusionsoft and we kind of build it all out and got like the met the massively upgraded Infusionsoft account. And we are like writing all the content, handling all the lists, doing all the things, doing it all for them, so they don't mess with it. And so we send out a weekly email on their behalf that feels like they wrote it. And when you do that, when when a CPA or accountant or really any service professional is doing that nurture personalized email on a weekly or more basis, that's when magic happens for the business. And it does take time. But we realized that this this was kind of the secret sauce for what we were doing for CPAs. And tax practitioners is that email that nurture email? I love it.
Joe Troyer 18:56
I love it ,Yeah. I mean, I don't know, like any local businesses that do that. Like we as internet marketers just think, like, that's a foundational thing. It's an easy thing. Yeah, that's stupid. But you know, why can't they just do it? Right, but you really took it as let me let me do this for them. Because I know it's not gonna get done otherwise, and this is what's gonna bring the results. So yeah, about this, and I need to make a solution.
Nate Hagerty 19:18
Yep, exactly. Yeah, I mean, that we forget how kind of typical, we do has been for so long. And, and unique. So many small businesses are so stuck with how they do things. And they had no system, they have no nurture methodology. They have no intake methodology, and no indoctrination methodology, and no onboarding methodology. And this is something we've had to do in order to survive, because, you know, marketing a national business. It's like you're in a shark infested waters. And so you've got to do all these different things. The local business is It can be a little bit of a different environment. And so they can be lazy or they, they can rely on other ways. And sometimes they do very well when none of that stuff in place because word of mouth has worked for them in the local environment. But if they really want to build something long lasting, especially now pandemic land, and all these different things, they've got to build these systems. So yeah, we know they're not going to do it. So we just do it.
Joe Troyer 20:25
I love it, man. I love it. And, and that means that all you really care about is the results for the customers and you're willing to get them the results. And that's what's gonna keep guys obviously successful for the long term. So I can already hear, I can hear listeners going, Yeah, but Nate, how do you write an email that the clients okay with? And how do you write as the client, I can hear the butts and the objections. So Oh, man,
Nate Hagerty 20:53
Oh man, that's super hard, I have to admit, because I, we have almost 300 firms that we do this for on a weekly basis. And I have to write something in the first person that they are comfortable sending to their clients as if they wrote it. And I've got clients all across the political spectrum, all across the spectrum when it comes to current events. And I've got to be able to kind of nail that voice. So that they so honestly, that's, it's something I'm just really good at. I'm a writer, and that's, that's been like my, my greater my greatest gift, coming into this business I can speak, I can figure out the marketing back end, you know, I'm not dumb with software. But really, the thing is trying is nailing that voice. And so, when our clients send this stuff, I mean, they get amazing feedback. So what I try to do is I try to write from a position of bemused detachment, and have our clients be that trusted advisor, who is speaking to people about their best self, right, and, and I don't have my clients, you know, stick their flag in the ground related to politics or anything like that, although, in the tax and accounting world, what they do is very oriented. It's very kind of connected to the political process because of tax code and congressional, whatever inaction and so I, I make the IRS, the enemy, and Congress the enemy, because we can all agree on that. I make mass media, the not the enemy as much as a dangerous drug to be careful about. And, and I come kind of those, those two things. I rest in Congress, the enemy, and mass media is a dangerous drug, those sort of guide a lot of how I communicate on behalf of our clients, because everybody can agree with that. We can all recognize that those those things are dangerous, or whatever. And no, everybody wants to keep their own money. And so it's easy to make IRS the enemy. So it's great in our industry, there's a clear enemy, there is a reason to communicate to your people on the regular because of tax code changes or whatever. And that's different for other industries, and the HVAC industry. Who's the clear enemy? Weather I'm, you know, a plumbing industry, you know, like, Who's so we're fortunate in that way.
Joe Troyer 23:27
I love it. Yeah, we've, I've been able to get most of my content and emails these days written by somebody else internally, literally, for everybody watching this, if you're not a unicorn, right, it is possible. But Nate, I think people wouldn't barely believe that. I've been able to do that. But they've been reading all my emails, I bet you with all these customers, right? How many did you say you guys write for?
Nate Hagerty 23:55
I don't know, the exact number of it's about 300.
Joe Troyer 23:57
I mean, that's, that's crazy to think about. So it is possible. And that's great advice about
Nate Hagerty 24:03
We have some clients, and you're doing it for like over a decade, because we've been doing that email marketing since 2008. So I mean, we have some people that have just been doing it, and all of their clients feel like they wrote it.
Joe Troyer 24:16
That's awesome, man. So I went and checked out your website again, right before we jumped on the show. And I'm curious, man, what's up with this membership? It seems like you don't even offer services.
Nate Hagerty 24:28
Right? So we came at that strategy from the information marketing world. And from the beginning, we created a membership because I wanted to sell by teaching and sell by offering value at the front end. And rather than just taking people right to like, here's what we do, here's how we sell, or here's what we sell. Here's our services and pricing. Forget about that. I wanted everyone like people to raise their hand and come to us In a place of like, intention, and not trying to propose marriage in the first date. And so we did that from the beginning, even when we were this marketing services company, and we did social media and email marketing and website services, kind of ala carte, you could never buy it by just going to our website, you could never enroll as a client by going to our website, that's been a that was actually a really, potentially very wise decision, because it created an audience and it created an authority positioning from the beginning. And that has, I think, been the key to our continued growth. Because we've never had a down year since that first year. We've grown every year, at least 10% every year. And you know, we're we're set to be at the upper end of just under 2 million this year. And we 13, you know, sweet grown throughout. And I a big part of that is because we built an audience and not just created an email system to sell, sell, sell.
Joe Troyer 26:06
I love that. I'm curious if if I was to build a community, right? And kind of follow after your footsteps Nate? What would you say? Like if I wanted to go into a vertical and create a community? What are the key like three or four things that you'd say like, Joe, just make sure you've got to get these things right. And you know, you'll do well,
Nate Hagerty 26:27
again, it's the authority positioning from the beginning. Like, I think a lot of people go into a niche. And well, let me let me slice that stop that and correct it. There's been enough gurus out there who told people to come in with authority positioning that a lot of people have come in with an overblown sense of authority positioning, and they actually cut and paste this stuff. And they go, and they claim to be an expert. And they're fake experts, right? They're not, they actually don't know what they're talking about, I would say, come in with the mentality that you do know more marketing than people in your industry. But learn the industry and serve the industry and go to the trade shows of the industry, or the vertical or the niche, whatever it is, and do the hard work of shaking hands with the sales reps of the software companies that serve the industry, getting to know the CEOs of the current businesses that are out there that aren't like yours, do do the thing to like, understand, you know, if you're picking a vertical, don't just come in with your cut and paste system, figure the thing out and and know your customer and know that now that can be shorter than it took for us. I mean, I've been in the industry for a long time. From the beginning, I, you know, took that authority positioning. But the other part that I did is I've formed relationships with other influence with influencers in the space, who I could serve and come to, with something to help kind of like what you do, gentlemen, this is this is, you're very good at this. And I think that anyone who's probably listened to your podcast, has heard you model this and speak about this, from, you know, throughout all of what you do. And that is, again, forming relationships, build building systems that can help you do that. So that you would have permission to speak to the audience of the person you build a relationship with. I mean, so if I was coming into an industry, I would learn the industry recognized that I need authority positioning in in the industry, and build relationships with the people that are already gatekeepers in the industry, do those three things, the rest of it is details, whatever service or marketing stuff that you do, or widget software you're building, it doesn't even matter. The big picture, if you do those things, then you're gonna win. And you have patience, and like an attitude to serve and not just extract revenue, you know, you're gonna win.
Joe Troyer 28:56
I love it. So true. So so often we get stuck in all of the details, instead of focusing on the bigger picture, and make sure and that's where most people completely blow it is they are focused on those things. So that's, that's great, man. Tell us a little bit about your, your packaging, what what's your average customer kind of package price deliverables at the highest level.
Nate Hagerty 29:22
And at the highest level, we do a fully custom everything. And that's at just under $3,000 per month. And then ad spend on top of that. We we have a few of those clients, we don't have a lot. It's ones that we kind of go in and create a whole new content everything and I get personally involved with that client, not just with kind of the the category of client. And so you know that that is like our ultimate client and we have hobbies five of those. But our core, you know, the probably the 95, five of our client base, maybe 9010 is our core package. And we, we build a custom WordPress website, Wi Fi content, multiple posts per day, we do all the keyword research. So we optimize it for, you know, on site and off site, SEO, we do all the local listings, things that happen have to be done Google My Business, we manually claim, Yelp, Apple Maps, Bing, you know, we do all the local stuff that needs to be done, we optimize those we feed content, social media, are feeding posts every day, we're actually going to every page, at least we've done up and down with different software's that help us do this. But we actually handle replies, we engage on behalf of the clients, we do all of it on Facebook. We tried doing LinkedIn for a while, but their terms of service are so restrictive from a scaled standpoint that we can't get in there. Basically, if somebody were, if we were to do LinkedIn for somebody, they would have to kind of give us the keys to their entire existence. And the end, it also violates Terms of Service to do it at scale. So I wish that we could I wish that they had a way. There's company pages, there's ways to do it. But there's just not nearly as effective for the LinkedIn platform. So we've experimented with that failed. And so we just do Facebook on behalf of people. And then email marketing is, again, the bread and butter of what we do. I've sort of already explained what that looks like, on our side. So local social email, We'll also do manage Pay Per Click for people and build search campaigns. for them. We've found we try doing Facebook campaigns on behalf of people but for our niche, we found that that interruption model, it's it's a tough model for tax and accounting firms unless, like you've got a CPA that can really be good on camera. And can can do that interrupting thing with the video and can can communicate in that way. And most of our clients aren't that way. So we we've really worked with cert and GDN. And that's been come our our best Pay Per Click source. So we put it all together and we create what we call an online marketing machine. And we like take care of everything. For the for the savvy marketers who are our clients, they see our stuff is like their content machine, and then they can pipe you know, snipe in and do whatever else they want it on top of what we provide. So then we have an essential package that's stripped down that does some reputation management, social media, but doesn't include the email. We do some ads for them, some landing pages, that sort of stuff. But it's not the full online thing. fsaOne of the things that I am now barking about within my industry is the rise of the cut paste gurus who are selling Click Funnels and ads. And I love Click Funnels. I've been using it since like they launched it like, you know, I've known Russell Brunson for a long time, you know, from before he had Click Funnels. And I love it. But for a local service business. There's some there's some possible issues for long term longevity it I mean, there's some great things about it. But when you when you built an online marketing engine, that's just ads to Click Funnels, and don't have all the other things for a local service business. You're really really playing with fire and putting your eggs in a particular basket, you've got to be good on the phone and sell people and put them through a hot box email system that most CPAs don't want to mess with. But like, there's probably five to maybe gosh, there's probably like almost up to 20 of these cut and paste gurus who come into our vertical. And they got their system, their whatever they name it system that they've swiped from somebody else, and they've got the thing and you know, it works for a few. That's great, but it's not a comprehensive thing.
Joe Troyer 34:10
Yeah, I mean, I've never gotten into it, Facebook, for local services just for that very reason. I can generate a lot of leads, but I could never get somebody to show up in the office and show the return. Right. And I could never get a dentist, a dentist office, whatever my client was even that had staff to follow up, let alone a lot of my clients that don't really have that front office staff or any availability to do that. So yeah, I've always stuck with search just because conversions were easy. I could get butts in the seats and train for them, you know, a whole lot easier than the interruption model.
Nate Hagerty 34:47
One of the things we're working on is the phone piece because that's that's really hard. One of the things that Perry advised me to consider building is like our own Call Center, where we would actually handle the phones. For people, and we haven't, it's a huge undertaking, we have not yet done that. But we're building a project that could accomplish that with its partnership with some financial planners that would work with some of our CPA clients, because financial planners are used to having to be in the shark infested waters, unlike CPAs. So we're kind of building something behind the scenes that might solve that. But if I can wave a magic wand for my clients that would help them to answer the phone and talk on the phone. Because I have mystery shopper my clients all like, and it is ugly. And that's like, we're driving all these all this traffic to get phone calls, and emails and opt ins. And when the phone call like the CPA picks up and their assistant picks up, and they're grumpy as heck, and they don't like it. It's the most maddening thing for marketing agency
Joe Troyer 35:51
yeah, we I'm in one of the agencies I'm a part of. Now, we do twice a week, phone coaching, and we play secret shopper every month, and we share the recordings. And then we actually in that business, number one reason people leave is appointment no shows is the number that we get left as an agency. And so we started the agency training program for that. And we actually keep track of the conversion rate on the phone. And we're we're wizard man warning systems in place, telling them that basically, they're not getting our guarantee that they're going to get booted as a customer, if they don't like get into shape. So we can turn the tables a little bit, because they won't take action until the very end, until they're complaining with us that there's a problem because it takes them too long to spot. So we've got I pressive.
Nate Hagerty 36:48
I'm gonna have to pick your brain offline about that. Because that because one of the major pain points for us is we look at this top of funnel data and all the calls that these folks are getting. And our clients are saying, we're not getting a business, we're like, Well, here's the call recording, let me explain me why like, let's dive into the data. And you'll see, you know, here's all the number of calls you generated for you. Here's all these juicy leads, I mean, I will call one of my CPAs. And just kind of vent a little bit on this podcast. I think again, I will call them CPA clients and say, hey, I've got a pretending to be a prospect. I've got six businesses, I haven't tapped, I haven't filed taxes. For four years. I've got some IRS debt issues. I've got people coming after me. But I've got this great cash flowing business, I've got a lot of money, I just need to get this IRS thing off my back. And I'll talk to the person on the phone. And they'll be like, Well, Mr. Jones isn't here right now. So just call back. I was like the biggest whale client possible. And yeah, anyway.
Joe Troyer 37:58
No, man, that's that's a huge concern. And you're definitely on the right track. And any way that I can help you out with that, man, I've been involved in a lot of the phone training side of things, because I've had to be because we've generated leads and lots of leads, you know, in, in the last business that I built and sold agency business we were doing over over 8000 phone leads a month. And when I looked at, you know, less than 1000 we're actually generating appointments.
Nate Hagerty 38:24
Yes, we need to tal
Joe Troyer 38:29
So, um, I want to shift a little bit and talk about your team in the world. I feel like there's very different perspectives on team, there's the light, me, I'm so low, I'm going to do everything on my own and not me. I'm not. And I'm going to take all the profit, I'm going to do everything from A to Z, you got the that version, but I'm gonna just outsource fulfillment, and I don't want to deal with fulfillment, you got the I'm gonna have a whole team virtually I'm gonna have a whole team, you know, before COVID, you know, in house. There's lots of variations. I'm curious what point of view you've taken and kind of your takeaways or your thoughts on
Nate Hagerty 39:12
that when I started the business right away, like before I could afford it I had an assistant, because I knew they wanted to create a lifestyle business from the beginning. I didn't want to be a slave to whatever I built. And if I couldn't build it within a certain time frame of time, then I needed to pivot. So from the beginning, I've had staff and it's always been domestic we we have added some overseas staff in the last year, which I'll explain about in a minute. But five, six years ago, my longtime employee who is now my partner actually brought him into the business because he he is so good at all the things I'm bad at he is I hired him and it was the luckiest best decision I've ever made. He's been with me for 13 years now. And my right hand guy Troy Lakey. And he, my COO, now, we have 13 people on our on our team. So, you know, we're not too huge, but about five, six years ago, we realized that we had stumbled into a culture of joy in our business. And we had built something that we looked forward to every day because of the people that we were working alongside. And that's how it's even more, so it's probably two times three or four, that now, because we work with our friends, we were all hanging out watching the Chiefs game last night, because we're in Kansas City, and, you know, go chiefs, the how of that, it's like, I can't give you the formula, except that it's like treat your people well. And it's not about the money. It's about how you go to bat for them, we operate by vision and values, and we hired towards that, we hire friends of our employees. And that's kind of how we always hire, we don't really put ads out there and just get Joe's off the street, we we put the word and we just found the right people, and we need people in our back pocket, who if we have an opening and the need, we kind of build relationships. So we treat our people well, we operate by vision and values. And by that, in case, you've never talked about that, we've got like five points, it's like know, where we're going. And the values is like seven points how we're going to get there. And it's things like we always cover up each other's mistakes, you know, like, revenue is a driver, but it's not the only thing. You know, we just, I don't want to go through the whole thing with everybody. But, um, we've created an atmosphere of joy, we've always given unlimited PTO, we have a two and a half years ago, I think, I don't know if you heard me interviewed with with our guy who runs our mastermind. We do a sabbatical every a week off every eight weeks. And that has created an atmosphere of like, like we've got each other's back, it's created a cross training thing, our clients because with our with our staff, because if half the team is off, the other half has to be able to, like do their thing. And so to answer your question, we've created a team, and we've created joined the team, because we figured out five or six years ago, that the thing that we were most excited about that even if we somebody came in and gave me 100 million dollars to buy my business, the thing that would still want is my team, I would still want that daily engagement with my people. And I wouldn't I wouldn't retire because I freaking love the people that I work with. And I want to do great exploits with them. I want to, like fight battles with them. And, you know, it doesn't matter how much money I make, you know, my needs are taken care of, it really doesn't matter anymore. Because I've got people that I love that I work with.
Joe Troyer 43:00
That's awesome man. That's so awesome. And you're right, like the money doesn't matter. At the end of the day, once you get to a certain level, it just becomes a milestone, it just becomes a marker of some. Usually it's the only most people I hate about the team. And the team coming to work every day and you come into work every day and enjoying what you do is so big. I mean, I've built multiple businesses that in the long term, they were only businesses, they didn't have the team. I didn't enjoy it. And those are the businesses. I got out like lickety split, like as fast as I but as soon as I got an offer See you later on. And you know, to be honest, for way too little money because I didn't build it correctly. It was just about it was just about the race to get there and the money.
Nate Hagerty 43:47
like I sold businesses like that too. And yeah, this this is way better. it was Tim Ferriss four hour workweek, you know, years ago, that that awesome book, where he talks about how you would create a lifestyle, as if you were rich. You could have the things that rich people will work decades in order to have, you could actually have those things before you were rich, if you just decided that was one of his thesis is and is brilliant. And from the beginning. Like I've set up my life with boundaries. I've got lots of kids, but even before I had kids, I wasn't going to be a slave to this thing. I was going to sew into my marriage so that you know, almost 20 years of being married now. Like it's better than it's ever been. I mean, I that's what I want. I want those things that a lot of people think that they're living for down the line. I want them now.
Joe Troyer 44:43
Like Yeah, heck yeah, dude, that's awesome. This has been an amazing podcast Nate one of the best I've recorded so far. I just want to say and I want to wrap it with with one question, um, you've been a breath of knowledge and and shared a lot of nuggets and a lot have tips through your journey over the years. I'm curious, at the end of every podcast, I feel like every host says, All right, Nate, you know, what's the number one book that you would recommend? Or what's the three books that you would recommend? So I like books. I'm a voracious reader, but I have a problem. I either, like read the first chapter, and I can't put it down, or I read the first chapter. I'm like, yeah, I'm done. So I go through a lot of books where I read that first chapter, and I'm like, I'm done. I can't do it. And I've, I've, I've taught myself that it's okay not to read a book from start to finish, right. And I've gotten over that. So I was like to ask guests, right? When you look at the business that you've built, right, and you look at the life that you've built today, what's the one book that you think has made the biggest impact on the way that you do business, the way that you operate, the way that you see things and why?
Nate Hagerty 45:53
So I'm gonna say a book that you may have read, and that a lot of people probably haven't have not been in this world. Or they've written it off, because it feels like it's part of a brand. And it's not that interesting, but it's no BS, time management by Dan Kennedy. Have you ever heard that?
Joe Troyer 46:12
Man? I, I believe I have. But it was so long ago. It was
Nate Hagerty 46:15
so long ago, right? He's the Godfather. So yeah, yeah. That book oriented me and how I was going to build and run a business and be a businessman. Obviously, the lazy answer is the Bible. Like, you know, I'm a man of faith. And so like i i, that influences everything that I do. And Dan Kennedy is a militant atheist. So it's, so that's, that's a fun combination, right? Um, but I love his perspective on guarding your time. And he was one of the forerunners of that concept for entrepreneurs, his stuff in general, people don't realize how much like gold is in there. The old school direct response guys, they knew what they were doing. So many of the gurus out there like are like intellectual, great grandsons of these guys. And, and they are midgets compared to these guys. Because when you have to, what do you have to do? You know, direct response marketing, using direct mail, where everything that you send out costs $1, then you've got to dial it in. And that's the world that I started with. And when we were sending out these 29 page reports, and the eight step, direct mail sequence, that whole shebang right, those guys. Like most of the internet marketing gurus now are like, spouting off the reheated leftovers of Dan Kennedy and Zig Ziglar, and Claude Hopkins, and Ogilvy and all these guys that had to do it in a totally different environment. So anyway, no BS time management for entrepreneurs by Dan Kennedy is it's a short book. It's like strong beer. But man, it's good.
Joe Troyer 48:07
That's awesome. Brother. Thank you so much for that. And thank you so much for coming on the show. I really appreciate it was an awesome episode. I'm sure it's gonna be one of the top watched for sure. And that'll catch up here soon.
Nate Hagerty 48:19
My pleasure, Joe.