Brad Costanzo is a serial entrepreneur and host of the popular Bacon-Wrapped Business Podcast. He’s an investor, consultant, and marketing expert who helps businesses and executives grow through innovative solutions. Brad specializes in finding opportunities and filling in gaps where he can positively affect a company and produce new profit centers.
In this episode, Brad walks us through the mental models and principles that have made him a highly sought after strategic ideation consultant. Watch and listen, as he deep dives into how he uses cognitive keys in creating amazing ideas and lucrative opportunities for both him and his clients.
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Joe: 00:00 Hey guys, it's Joe Troyer
and welcome to another episode of show me the nuggets. I'm super excited to pick up a conversation that I was having a couple of months ago with a, with a friend to hear. Brad Costanzo. Brad, man, welcome to the show.
Brad: 00:19 Thanks Joe. Man, it's a, it's a pleasure to be on. This is a lot of
fun. We had a lot of fun back in August when we were hanging out.
Joe: 00:27 August was great. In LA. And I want to kind of pick up where we
left off, but before that I got to do a little bit of an intro. Tell everybody who the heck you are, what you do, what you're up to. And then I got to admit that for you this is harder than most. You do a lot of different shit.
Brad: 00:44 Yes I do.
Joe: 00:45 Very hard to box in. For those of you guys that don't know.
When I think of Brad, I think about connector like you know, everybody and you know, so much about such a wide diverse range of topics. But I gotta say, I would highly recommend that you guys go jump and watch his podcast. So bacon wrapped podcast, one of the only podcasts that I listened to,
Brad: 01:10 Not bacon, there is a, there is somebody out there with a
business podcast called the bacon podcast. This is bacon wrapped business
Joe: 01:17 Bacon wrapped business. So I'm listening to the show for man.
How long have you had it? Like years.
Brad: 01:24 I think it's a little over five years now.
Joe: 01:26 Yeah. So probably the longest standing podcast that I've been listening to, so that's pretty crazy to say. So Brad does a lot of really cool things with ideation and ideation workshops. I know that I'm not painting the best picture of that, but we'll really unpack that here today. You're the founder and CEO of Costanza marketing group. You've been behind some amazing, amazing entrepreneurs and partnered with some crazy people. You've helped people like Jesse Itzler. I know, I actually met Kent Clothier through you big in the real estate space. Obviously Jesse has quite the list of accomplishments and whenever I speak with you, man, it's just like Holy crap. Like I walk out and I'm like I've been thinking like a kindergartener, right? Like I should be playing at a much bigger level. So really my goal today
is just selfishly, man, pick your brain and let everybody be a fly on the wall for this conversation. And I want to give them that aha moment, right? That mind blown emoji. Right. like, like I have every time that we chat.
Brad: 02:30 No, I love it. I'll try to do the introduction justice.
Joe: 02:35 So welcome officially to the show.
Brad: 02:37 Thank you. Well, let's rock and roll. Let's make sure that these
people listen in, that I have a good time and walk away from here going, wow, that was, that was worth it. That was worthwhile.
Joe: 02:47 Awesome, man. So why don't you just do a little introduction,
tell us where the heck you come from. What, what have you been doing in this marketing space? I know that's hard for you.
Brad: 02:57 Yeah, no, actually it's not that hard. Like the, the brief overview
to give you kind of a context of my story and then how it, you know, plays into somewhat where my strengths are. I was, you know, after college I was, I got into sales and no marketing. I mean sales. I only knew sales I was really good at, at going out there and talking to people and you know, and I liked the sales process. I hated the cold calling and all the other stuff that came along with sales. I was in financial services. But then throughout the, throughout my time you know, both as a financial advisor and then as an analyst I was always kind of side hustling and doing some other kind of entrepreneurial side gig just partially because I just wanted to, because it was fun and I get bored.
Brad: 03:42 And I do remember when I got into a, I got into real estate
investing and I flipped it about three houses, but I realized that a lot of them fell in my lap like these deals. I didn't go out there and generate these leads. It was just like I put my ear to the grindstone and or the pavement. And then when I tried to replicate that, I knew nothing about marketing from direct response to anything. I was just, they put me on the phone with somebody and I can sell them. And I knew nothing. Fast forward to 2007, the financial company laid us off and I was faced with two choices. I had just happen to read the four hour work week by Tim Ferriss. And that inspired me to say, okay, if it's not even about working four hours a week or getting rich, it's, you actually don't have to go out and give your resume to somebody and have them bless you as worthy of getting a paycheck anymore.
Brad: 04:31 I was like, screw that. I just, I'm running away from a job. So
that's why I, I, I just like, I'm going to figure this stuff out. So I launched an info product and a software product at the same time with two different partners and I did more work probably on the info-product side and the software, but it just became a, and it was in the dating advice niche, right? Like I was selling magic tricks, like a magic trick course, and I was selling it to through as like a JV partners with all of the dating gurus and pickup artists, crowds. So I was never really creating, I never really created a dating product. But long story short, at the time, there was a bunch of gurus out there and like Neil Strauss had this book called the game and he's talking about using magic tricks to pick up girls and so, right.
Brad: 05:17 And, but he knew one of the things, and by the way, this, this
isn't just part of my story, this is also, I think there's an entrepreneurial lesson in here because what I did was equally smart and stupid and equally stupid at the same time. And I'll explain how that says, but it all has, this is all focused on like opportunity opportunity identification I guess. So the opportunity I identified was that there was a New York times bestselling book and becoming all the rage people Googling pickup artists, et cetera, because Neil Strauss was, his book was so huge. And in it he mentioned using magic tricks to pick up girls. He never mentioned how he never mentioned what Tricks did or how to do them. So he kind of left else hanging. I knew a bunch of bar tricks, like to win bets with friends and when drinks and occasionally if I was flirting with a girl, it wasn't cards.
Brad: 06:05 I was like, Hey, here's a napkin. Let me make it disappear.
Stupid shit. So but I realized like I went and I was like, I like magic tricks too. I had a longterm girlfriend at the time, but I was like, I like magic tricks. I typed in, pick up artist magic tricks and it didn't exist. Nothing like that exists. You could go learn magic tricks from magicians or you can learn how to pick up girls. And I was like, you know what, if I'm not a pickup artist, but I would buy this course if it existed. And I was looking around and it just so happened that I had, you know, read Tim's book and he's like, you can make information, money selling information online. So I was like, you know what, if I'm the only, if I, I bet I'm not the only one searching for this right now.
Brad: 06:41 So I did a, I set up a squeeze page for a course that I would buy
if it existed, right? Like how to pick up girls and magic tricks. I even mentioned Neil in the book or on the page and a ransom traffic, like Google ad words, traffic to it, and I spent like 600 bucks and I had a decent size list. All of a sudden I was like, man, people actually want this. And I didn't know what I was doing. I
had never built a site before, et cetera. But I let the demand tell me that, all right, people want this. So then I got busy creating it. So then the, and I'm still on, this is on the brilliant side, and I'll get to the stupid side of this in a second. But so it was a blue ocean. Nobody else was doing anything like this.
Brad: 07:20 So then that allowed me to you know, just be the only one, the category of one. Now here's where it gets stupid. There wasn't enough people searching for how to pick up girls with magic tricks. There was some, and it was enough to kind of get it started, but there, there sure as heck wasn't enough search volume on there, whether ad words or SEO to, to fund a full time lifestyle. So now, and that was the stupid part, which is trying to do something so unique that if nobody else is doing it, sometimes that tells you why. There's a reason why. But what that allowed me to do is say, okay, if I've got a good product here and people who buy it like it how can I make sure that I can get this in the hands of those people? Well, I wasn't selling to magicians because they were super basic tricks.
Brad: 08:08 I need to just sell to the pickup artist crowd. So I started to build
relationships with the with the other pickup artists in the niche and instead of just going, Hey man, will you promote mine if I promote yours? And the general affiliate thing, I started off, cause I had started to build a little bit of a list and I just started going out to like three or four of the top guys and just, man, I love what you're doing. I think my audience would love it. Can I promote you? And you know, can I interview you? Can I promote you? Can I do this? And I'd make a little bit of money on affiliate product. And then in return, it just allowed me to generate those reciprocal relationships. But I just led with, let me promote your stuff to my people. They love that.
Brad: 08:47 And everybody else was asking for something else from them and I wasn't. So then the next step I did is I realized that the I realized that the, that traffic I had gotten from those big relationships, but now I needed the bigger relationships and I didn't really know how to get them. So what I did is I, I, I started to think I'm not the coolest kid on the, on the playground, right? Like I don't have the biggest business. Not everybody knows who I am, but how can I make myself the center of like, how can I get myself some social capital and some social gravity, I call it, where I have the people that I want to approach me. So I simply created. And this is back in 2009, I created a a syndicate group. I called it the seduction syndicate and it was very quiet.
Brad: 09:32 It was like the first rule of seduction syndicate. You don't talk
about it. And it's where all the dating advice, sex advice,
relationship advice gurus, and pickup artists go to you know, manage. I was managing the launch calendar for the industry and one of the things I did there, so instead of just doing a Facebook group, w which didn't exist at the time, it was in Google groups, this still exist by the way. But so I put up a, a, a page and in order to join, I just told my friends, if you're in it, I says, Hey man, you know, bit more people than I do. Invite them into this cool group we've got. So they'd invite them there, they'd have to fill out a basic application, like five questions, including their number. And then it said, great, I'll, you know, this is created by me and you know, Brad Costanzo, I'll reach out to you and talk.
Brad: 10:18 So it mandated you had to get on the phone with me in order to
have a conversation. And that allowed me to just simply, you know, put the velvet rope up and force them into a position of wanting something from me, a value. And I was able to give it to them without cost. I wish I'd kind of would've charged now. But we built a relationship. We're just on here talking. I was like, man, I know your stuff. I love it. It's super cool. By the way, do you have an affiliate program? I'd love to promote it. They said yes. And now because I'm in a more powerful framing position, it allows them, I mean it'd be kind of stupid if they go, man, that that product sounds really cool. Like I'm happy to promote it too because once more they want into my party.
Brad: 11:00 And that, that single act of creating this online syndicate of other people kind of a mastermind if you would. Yeah, just created so much reciprocal promotion there that I never had to buy any traffic and I think the best year I ever did it was like half a million dollars in sales of a $47 one time non subscription product. So I'm trying to give you my backstory there with a lot of details to kind of some of the ways I think where it's like how do I get their attention in a way that gives me that, that gravitas of that word and makes them want something from me. So I did that and then a couple of years later I sold that business and started consulting and I started consulting people on various things. Like I wasn't just, I wasn't just like, Hey, I'm a traffic consultant or this kind of consultant. I was kind of a, a opportunity consultant or a gap.
Brad: 11:53 I think of myself as well. I'm looking at what they're doing, what they're not doing, and I'm looking for gaps that I can potentially fill on a performance basis and say, you know, listen, if I come in and I do this and I create a new profit center for you, will you give me a percentage of the, of the pie? Because I had learned a lot and I realized that business owners, there's a lot of things they'd love to do, a lot of big ideas they have, but they just don't
have the time and the resources to deploy them. And if I did, I knew that we could create a really good strategic partnership that paid off. And I've kinda been doing that in one form or another for the past, maybe seven years is a lot of consulting and I do some acquisitions. So I look for businesses that I may be able to, to invest in or outright purchase in things that I can potentially have a lot of ability to move the needle with. So hopefully that gives you the a, that's a big nutshell, but that covers some of my backstory on the stuff. I'm sure we'll get into some more specifics, but
Joe: 12:53 Man, I love that that social capital, right? I, I wrote a note and
for me, I'm always thinking about that. What's the play behind the play? Like that makes everything else like, not even matter. Right. it reminds me of a Gary Keller's book, the one thing, right. But that's how I'm always thinking, like, what's the one thing that can give me all of these relationships that, that I don't have to go seek out each and every individual one. So that's absolutely brilliant. So how, how'd the podcast actually end up getting started then, if you don't mind me asking?
Brad: 13:27 It's funny, I was, you know, as five years ago or at this time,
probably six years ago, and people were, some people were starting podcasts, not anywhere like it is now. And they were like, man, you should totally do a podcast. Like I love talking to you. We like, and it was one of those things like, you know, you and I would get on the phone and talk like, Oh, we should totally have been recording this. There was so much good stuff shared. And I was like, all right. Yeah, but I don't want to do the Brad Costanzo podcast. I mean, I wasn't a, I'm not a guru name, like out there. I was like, I wouldn't listen to the Bradco Costanzolshow, but I was like, but I think it would be fun. And then one day a buddy of mine did a podcast episode of his own and it was really good.
Brad: 14:02 I listened to it, I forget who it was now, but I, I shared it on my
Facebook feed and I was like, this is some, listen to this episode, we'll have Joe Troyer that's some bacon wrapped business advice if I've ever heard it. And I looked at that post and I was like bacon wrapped business advice. And I was like, that's got a cool ring to it. I was like, if I ever do a podcast, I'm going to do that one. And then a few months later I, long story short, I decided to start one and I called it bacon wrapped business with Brad Costanzo sizzling hot business advice guaranteed to make you fat profits and that name it did two things. Number one, it's kind of cheeky and fun, but it, but it also, it also stands out, right? It's a little bit of a pattern interrupt. Like, what the hell is bacon wrapped business?
Brad: 14:45 And it gave me the opportunity with the cheeky fun name to be
a little less serious and it just get on there and just talk about things I want to talk about. And the, the, you know, the cool stuff that's going on in all types of fields. So it's not just marketing, right? It's business. And I talk a lot about acquisitions and, and capital structure and I talk a lot about you know, really other things. That's what's working now from hiring to team, building to leadership. And it just kind of gives me the ability to get access to influence. Which is a big deal. Those two words are like access and influence are the two hinges that swing very big doors. And I know they have for me, they actually have for everybody, even if they don't realize it. And the, because I also realize the more access to influence or influential people I get, the more access that I get that, that I then get right.
Brad: 15:35 Like the cooler people you hang around, the more successful,
the more successful people you have access to. So as I get access to influence, I build access and influence and the more influential I get, the more access I get and the more access I get, the more influential I get. And I think of a lot of people who are sitting here and go, wow, yeah, that's actually true. You know, how can I get more access and influence at the exact same time? There's a whole nuance to this. I've written, you know, I've done videos and articles about this because it's actually a much deeper subject that, as I said, it unlocks a lot of doors.
Joe: 16:09 It's funny. I was going to ask you like, how has this helped you in
your business? Like how's podcasting help? And it's like, man, you just answered it, right? Like
Brad: 16:16 Jesse, Jesse's, Jesse's a billionaire. He's married to a billionaire, a
Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, and he's a, you know, he sold a company to Marquis jets and here's old marquee jets to Warren Buffett. He sold Zico coconut water to Coke. He owns the Atlanta Hawks or he's one of the owners. And you know, on my podcast, I reached out and I interviewed him because he launched his book and we had a great time and I, I just found a way to stay in contact with him, just continuously adding value. Not a lot, but I hooked him up with a speech. I went and saw him at a, at, you know, at the event that I hooked him up with and we got along and then he asked me some questions that I was able to answer. And the next thing you know, I you know, he hired me to be his strategic marketing consulting for his personal brand.
Brad: 17:00 And this is a guy that I would've, you know, secretly, I hope
Jesse is not listening. I would have paid him to work for him, but he paid me to help guide his personal brand and channel a lot of
the demand and desire for his time into a new business model, which he's rocking and rolling with right now. But that's what, just one way that it's done it other ways. As I bought businesses off of some of my listeners and I have helped them structure deals, I've gotten consulting arrangements and clients and it's just been a a fantastic way to get my foot in the door with really anybody.
Joe: 17:34 Yeah. I mean that goes back to your social capital [inaudible]
right. At the end of the day yeah, your access and influence. That's, that's absolutely beautiful. Yep. And I love, by the way, your your point of view of the podcast, right? Come join me. Be a fly on the wall. If you like it, great. If you don't, that's fine too. Go catch the next episode. Like that's very much my motto because I don't know where my brain is going to be tomorrow. It could be about marketing, it could be about e-comm, it could be about YouTube ads. It's like I'm going to jump around, right? Like, and I want to make sure that my podcast can stay flexible. So thank you for allowing me to rip you off.
Brad: 18:11 My pleasure.
Joe: 18:13 So Brad, one of the things we talked about a lot in LA when we
were together yeah, in August was was your idea of, of cognitive keys. Can we unpack that a little bit? And this was like the point in the conversation point in dinner where I was like, Holy shit, like I gotta get up. Like, this is so good, but like I've gotten so much like I need to leave right now Al before I'm just like steamrolled and have nothing left
Brad: 18:39 I appreciate that, because sometimes this is some stuff I took
for granted, but cognitive keys is kind of a working title I gave to something as this visual. So I'll start off with this concept of, you know, you've seen a janitor walk around a building, right? Like I think back in school and we had this janitor would walk around with a big key chain, big circle it like 60 keys on it and you know, he'd go up to a door and he'd stick a key in a Nope, that's not it. And he'd flip through and he'd find the right key. Finally, it would unlock the door. Some keys would be like skeleton keys. They'd unlock, you know, almost every door. Some was just one specific one, but he always had our big ring of keys and all these tools that he knew, there's no door he couldn't get into.
Brad: 19:15 So keep that vision, that image in mind as you know, I explained
this, so you had a hard time introducing what I do because I am not, I don't fit into a single box. I think of myself more as a strategic opportunor, which is a coin, a term I coined. And it's different between an opportunity seeker who just looks for
opportunities versus an opportunity maker, right? So an entrepreneur is somebody who organizes capital, resources, takes bricks and make something out of nothing. And I believe that opportunities aren't found. They're created. I mean, you see the seed of an opportunity such as I saw a guy talking about using magic tricks to pick up girls and he has gotten a lot, you know, and I, so that was the seed of an opportunity, but as an opportune, nor I created something to capitalize on that.
Brad: 20:02 Right. So I'm keeping that in mind. It's very hard for me to even
delineate what I do for clients. And it actually makes it sometimes hard to market. I more than anything, I am a strategist and I help people find those gaps between what they are doing and what they could be doing and looking for the opportunities to help them out quicker. But that's been hard for me to, you know, personally put you know, where this is a badge. So I went back to my clients and by the way, this is a, this is a, anybody who has clients or even just friends, I, I suggest you do this. I went to them and I was basically asking them, you know, what is my unique strength? And, but the way I framed it was, why do you really pay me? Because for some clients I just give them advice.
Brad: 20:49 For some clients I go deep and I help them with entire traffic
and conversion strategies, et cetera. But I'm like, what do you really get out of working with me? And whoops, my camera's shaking here. And they, all of them said in one form or another, it's the way you think. And it's like, I can't, I wouldn't have come up with this in a million years had we not been bouncing this ideas off of each other. And you came up with like really out of the box ways, but simple out of the box ways. Like, man, that's so innovative. And now Joe, that made me feel cool, but it also made me go, Oh damn, that's cool. But I don't know how I think like, how do I duplicate, replicate, systematize that. Like I don't know. So I sat down one day, I was about a year ago, and I started to list out on a piece of paper how I think and I, you know, there's a concept called mental models and mental models.
Brad: 21:38 An example of a mental model is the 80, 20 principle, right? 20% of your inputs are responsible for 80% of your outputs. And that is a mental model. And I started to think in terms of, well, what are the mental models? What are the principles, what are the rules of thumb quotes? Little things that I've learned from super simple to super advanced that have helped me. And I started to write and I started right in just on one page, like front and back. I got like 75 of these and I sat back and I was like, I'll be Dan. Like that's kind of cool. And so some of them were like as simple
as 80, 20. Another one of them that I wrote down was the real simple stuff, right? So some of this stuff is not super advanced. Failure is feedback. Like there's no such thing as failure.
Brad: 22:18 Only feedback, which I learned from my days. Getting my
certification in neural linguistic programming, which yeah, I cannot fail as long as I'm gathering data on what to do next. And it's just, remember that another one is the 10 80 10 rule, which similar to 80, 20, but it's like on any project, if I can start it off with the first 10%, like let's say it's a, it's a piece of copy, right? Like I'll come up with the hook and the big idea and here's an outline of the offer. I'll hire a copywriter to go in and fill in the next 80% so that I can come in and just do the final 10%. So I'm only on the bookends, starting it and polishing it. And that little cognitive key helps me remember when I'm looking at a big project that looks harrowing and hard.
Brad: 23:05 It's like if I can get first 10% and the next 80 can be done by
somebody else and I can Polish it up, then this is going to be a lot easier to do. Some of the other ones I wrote down as simple as reverse engineer it or what's the, and I'm just, I'm, I'm looking at a list here cause I keep them handy, you know what's the big idea? Price versus terms in negotiation. You know, if I'm going to buy your house, your business, your something from you and sales, you can get your price or my terms or I get my price and your terms. But it's never, you never get your price and your terms typically. And that's just one of those little things that I remember. Another one that I'm thinking here is the concept of Disney dream storming.
Brad: 23:49 So Disney dream storming is a, is a process that I do. In fact, it's
so integral to the success of my business. Then my very first podcast episode ever was on this concept, which is to remember that whenever planning a project by myself or with my team or partners, is to break it out into three extremely distinct frames whereby you're either dreaming, planning, or critiquing. You're never doing two at the same time and you give equal weight to all of them. So in a quick example would be you and I want to start a business like we're going to create a new software to do X, Y, Z. So the first thing we're going to do is understand we have to step into this dreamers state of mind. It is dreamers office, you know, and the only thing we're allowed to do here is have fun, dream and imagine.
Brad: 24:40 What would it be like if it was fully baked and amazing, but
there's only two rules. We cannot plan it here and we cannot critique it because we're not in that frame of mind. And when the minute you start to planning fatigue dream at the same
time, you start to really water it down because you're like, Oh, shoot, what's going on? And then that leads to kind of like idea abortion. Then the next step is once you've got, I've got a cool dream in mind, you step into this role of of planning it out. Like this is the, the, the realist frame. By the way, the reason I call this Disney dream stormin I mean is it was modeled after the way Walt Disney built his empire. He literally did these things. So in the, in the planning office, there's, you know, you and I just created this idea for this super cool software that runs your entire business without ever lifting a finger, right?
Brad: 25:30 Like artificial intelligence, super human computing. And we're
like, all right, well what would, what would it take to get this done? How might we do this? And by the way, that the concept of how might we is from design thinking and it's also a, it's also used here because it's, you're, you're not saying how do we do this? You're saying how might we do this? How might we accomplish this? Because when you say how might we, it kind of removes the necessity to have it like be real like, well we might do this, we might do that. And it just opens up, you know, the ability to brainstorm. Now when you're planning it out, there's only two rules. Don't add new stuff to the dream and don't critique it yet. Cause third, when you're all done with the dream and all and all done with the plan, you do what most entrepreneurs do not do because it's no fun, which is you give equal weight to the critic, the spoiler Patty pooper.
Brad: 26:26 You know you go in there and you go, listen, the goal of this
now, so if you and I were on this team together, we're going to step into this other office and another setting and we're going to say, look, we've got a kick ass dream and a plan that just might work, but we need to create insurance. There's a lot of things we may have overlooked in our delusional optimism that every entrepreneur has to have. So what are we missing? And you're going to ask questions like, do we have enough capital? Do we have enough time? What are the resources? Well, how will this take time and materials away from what we're already trying to accomplish? Does my wife want me to spend more time with her and I'm coming up with this new idea that's going to take me away from that? You can probably guess what the two rules here are.
Brad: 27:05 Don't add more stuff to the dream and don't solve the critics
questions while you're in the critic's office. Like just wait, wait til you get out of there and then take it back to either the dreamer or the doer and go, all right, those were some really good points. Thank you critic Namaste day and now must stay over here and fix this problem, right? Like how can I, how can I solve
it using a different mindset than the, you know, the one who came up with the problem. And by doing this you systematically operate at a much higher mental level and you're able to come up with much better ideas. And by the way, you know we talked about like ideation, this is part of the ideation process. It started with a problem and then going through a framework so that you can create better ideas, more fully baked that are not either diluted by critiquing it before it really gets started or not so optimistically delusional that you just ignore with, you know, all the critics responses that are going to derail you.
Brad: 28:10 And I've done that before. I've gotten really optimistic and I'm
like, I'm just going to do this anyway. And I put blinders on and and, and the business fell apart because of the things that would have been easily preventable had I not had, I had done this process on it. So this is my big, long-winded soapbox about, you know, the things that I came up with. I got like 75 of these and in fact, all of us, all of us do, every single person has principles and keys and mental models that we've used for success. And you know, like, I actually recommend that everybody just sit down and think, well, you know, what are the best quotes at the top of your head? What are the best lessons? And like if you were to teach somebody else real quickly at like 20 minutes to do this and just give all your best little one-line advice, what would it be?
Brad: 28:52 Because chances are those are the things that's led to your
success. And then getting off the soapbox and just one second. The way this helps me now is I've taken all of these little one liners and I've fully bake them out. I've been writing and doing some videos and just really exploring how does this work and what situations, what problems can it solve? Because not only am I trying to solve problems in my businesses and this reminds me that I've got a lot more opportunities or a lot more capability than I thought. It's like kind of like, Oh, wait a minute, I run through my list. I go, what? I haven't tried this key yet. And that would just might unlock all the doors. But now whenever clients hire me, you know, they're hiring me to help them find those doors and go, how do we, you know, what's the best way to create you know, recurring revenue might be something.
Brad: 29:41 Well, the first thing I'm going to say is do we need recurring
revenue? Right? Like, are we asking the right question? Are we, should we be looking at this from a different, you know, with a different lens because I love recurring revenue but in all cases it's not the right thing to do. But so they bring me in to really kind of help find out which of these ideas are going to have the most impact with the greatest confidence and ease. And then
how do we implement them? And that is my soapbox of monologuing
Joe: 30:12 So welcome everybody to the state that I was at at dinner. I just
got done eating a ribeye and I'm like boom. I just sat there I think for like three minutes and it was just like, wait, what? Okay thanks. I start writing down, right? Like a bunch of examples and actually left there and I want to say thank you cause I left there and on my flight back I had a red eye and actually I ended up not sleeping and I came up with about 34 different mental models or cognitive keys and I couldn't sleep because my brain was just like, it was a great event. And then like the end of it was you talking about these models and I'm like, this is great, but I'm like, I've never really shared these mental models. Like they come out in a webinar or they come out in a podcast here or there, but like my team, like how do they not know the way that I think? And they don't know these things. I'm like, if they just knew these, like our communication would be so much better, they'd be able to understand the way I think. Like they'd bring projects to me that were where I expected them to be like. And so just for me as a communication mechanism was like, man, I, I got to think through these.
Brad: 31:23 It's super cool when you do that. And I think this is one of the
things that, you know, it's, it's not, you know, as entrepreneurs and business owners and we're busy and we're, a lot of times we're trying to learn stuff that is an immediate tactical way to put more money into our business or to solve a very specific problem. So we learn at these very, very tactical levels and oftentimes we don't take the time because it feels like we don't have the time to take a step back, take a deep breath, look at it from a 60,000, 30,000, 10,000 foot view. And oftentimes just say, are we asking the right question or the wrong question because you know, we're so zoomed in on what we're doing. We don't know if we're doing the right thing. We may be doing things right, but we might not be doing the right things.
Brad: 32:07 And it's, it's a luxury I say to be able to define the time to do
this, but it's also a necessity. One of my favorite books is a by guy by a guy named Keith Cunningham called the road less stupid. And in it, I mean the whole thing is really take time to think and ask yourself bigger, different questions. Because you know, as entrepreneurs, as CEOs, as business owners, we really are paid to think, we are not paid to do. This is why I get, so I get so much animosity. The idea of that that ideas are worthless without execution because it's not true anymore than children are worthless without, until they're become grown productive
members of society who are contributing to the economy. It's not true. Ideas are the seed of that. Everything is built upon and without the people coming up with the ideas, even like how valuable is the idea if I never execute it right now?
Brad: 33:04 You could say none if there's no value, but what if I have this
idea and I licensed it to you and you execute it and you pay me a 5% royalty or something of that nature. Then as the, I didn't execute it at all. Now the idea got executed but I don't have to execute it. Right? But there is X, there can be extreme value in taking the time to actually come up with a right idea that is more than just, Hey, this is a brainstorm like harebrained idea, right? Like this is a real idea that this is an idea that can move, you know, can disrupt industries, right? So I think by taking the time to really ask those right questions, everything else can be, you know, hired automated these days, et cetera. It's like, it's really easy to do to actually execute things. So I think More emphasis gets put on execution than it should, because otherwise we run around executing stupid shit.
Joe: 33:52 So how, how do you keep that frame of thinking about ideation
and the importance of that, right? Versus just getting stuck in the execution and management?
Brad: 34:13 You know, for me it's scheduling time to by myself or with
business partners or clients or team members to really sit back and ask and ask questions. So am I, am I doing this? I mean, it's really the only, it's really the only way to continue that frame is to say you know, am I answering the wrong question? Am I serving the wrong audience? Am I doing you know, is there something kind of like you mentioned Gary Keller's one thing. What, like what does the one thing that if, if, if I was able to accomplish this, it would make everything else? I don't remember like superfluous or dumb or easy. That's like another one that I learned from from Tim Ferriss, which is what would this look like if it were easy? All right. That's just a great question to ask yourself.
Brad: 34:59 And I think that's one of the keys to keep yourself in this frame.
But you know, although I said like a execution isn't everything. Like ideas are really, you know, the seed of it, there is a time to jump into execution so that once you have that idea, you know, the key to everything is momentum and getting that momentum because you know, it can push you forward. Which is why I, you know, I'm a big believer in that, you know, create a minimally viable product, service, etc. Which is what I did in the very first thing with when I had the idea for the magic trick thing. I, how can I validate this? How can I figure out if
somebody wants it? How can I pre-sell it before I, but you know, before I launch it and it's a it's, you have to train yourself to get into this state of mind of continuously asking questions of your you know, of what you're doing, of your business of even your lifestyle.
Brad: 35:51 You know, you can ask your questions like, what, you know,
what am I doing right now that is contributing to my beer belly? You know, for instance, what am I doing right now that is, that is, you know, taking taken away from my sleep that is doing this because I think if we ask those questions, it allows us to kind of come up with the answers in a, in a way that I dunno, our subconscious kind of accepts in a, in a more realistic way to where it doesn't feel like I need to get to bed by 9:00 PM or 10:00 PM and then I'll get, you know, we can, that's like willpower. But if I ask myself those questions, I go, all right, what am I doing right now that is maybe detracting from a good night's sleep? And I might say, well, I'm drinking every night, or I'm going to bed at two in the morning and waking up at six and I'm just writing it down.
Brad: 36:39 And just like somebody giving you advice, I'm asking questions
and then I see the answer and I go, huh, yeah, I guess the answers right there in front of me, you end up having these little mini Epiphanies and going into that, like from a marketer standpoint, and I, you know, copy and conversion is kind of my big thing. Asking your clients, your customers, et cetera, questions that elicit these little Epiphanies from them is way more powerful than telling them, listen, if you know you need to exercise more and eat less and you'll lose weight, that feels like you're preaching to me. But if you, if you do this, you know with questions, they kind of soften it. And if you, you can ask question after question after question until the person goes, huh, I know the answer. Like, you're absolutely right. By the way, that's exactly what the entire psychiatry and psychology industry is built upon. They don't fix your problems. They ask questions to elicit responses that you go, that you accept as your own. Because when we accept a, a premise as our own, we believe it more and us really skilled marketer is able to get somebody else to believe that their idea, your idea is their idea. Yup.
Joe: 37:48 Well said, man. So is there something that you found helps put
you into that ideation kind of flow state, right. Where it's like the, these are the activities, these are the thoughts, these are the things, like this is the day, this is what sets me up. What, what helps you get into that state?
Brad: 38:07 Everything's working out. I always have the best ideas when I'm
working out, by the way. And it's actually one of the ways that I've kind of programmed in my brain to I, I enjoy working out. But one of the ways I've programmed myself to go to the gym, even kind of when I don't feel like it is I've reinforced the fact that I have my best ideas at the gym. It happens to be true. And there is something to that. Like when you're kind of moving and you're like lifting weights, you're going through something, you're on the treadmill and you're kind of zoning out. You're out of your normal. Those ideas come. It's like when they happen in the shower, but you don't have, you typically don't have to motivate yourself to go to the shed, take a shower. Especially if you're married, your wife does that.
Brad: 38:47 But the gym, beach walks, I'm lucky I live right on the beach so
you know, I can just go for a long walk on the beach. But long walks in general helped me do that and help me get re- centered. And then the third thing is I absolutely need to bounce ideas off of somebody else. I almost need to hear myself say them in order to in order to know if it's any good or not. So, and one of the, one of the apps I use now, if I'm not with somebody, it's called Otter O T T E R. Dot. AI. And it's a, you know, it's a web app as well as an iPhone app. And so I use it amongst many other capabilities is instead of using voice recorder, it is a voice recorder that transcribes better than Siri in real time.
Brad: 39:32 And it's amazing. So I'll just whip out Otter and I'll have an idea
for an ad copy or a business model or just any, a positioning change or something like this. And I'll, I'll just record it in there and then I don't have to listen to myself again. I just get to read it. But that allows me to verbalize it. And as I verbalize it, it comes out better. And I just act like I'm talking to somebody. Those are some of the ways that I keep in that nature or that kind of state of mind. And then once I have those ideas, I, you know, I come back, I get to work and it's either me or I delegate out to somebody. To get it implemented because yeah, I mean implementation is kind of important, but you know, and I also one more thing about ideas is less anybody think like, man, the last thing I need is more ideas.
Brad: 40:16 These aren't ideas like, Oh, I could do this, I could do this. These
are once more like shiny object ideas. These are big ideas. Like how do you really discover the big ones and drill down deep to know that this is worth it and that cause that might be a whole new profit center you're missing. It might be something you've been neglecting that if you stop neglecting, you would be able to change absolutely everything. So I just want to make sure
that people who are understanding this is, it's not about more ideas, it's about bigger breakthrough ideas that have actually I can also talk about this a high level of impact or an what I call an ice score. So I didn't come up with this. This has been in the, you know, ma major consulting industry for a very long time.
Brad: 41:06 But whenever I come up with ideas, I may have 10 ideas just for
like, if I'm, if I'm consulting you on how to grow your business we made together come up with 10 really good ideas that, that could move the needle. And in fact, I'll give you a real example. So one of my clients hired me to help them improve retention because they realize that if we improve retention by one week, like if we just moved it up from, I don't know, like it was like six months of retention from six months to six months and one week that I would add like another $60,000 a month to their revenue, just, you know, cause they do a lot of money. But, so instead of focusing on customer growth, I was like, well, what are some of the customer retention strategies? And I came up with like 30 of them and then I started to pair them down.
Brad: 41:48 And what I did is I have a spreadsheet that I use called an ice
sheet, which stands for impact, confidence and ease. And the first thing I would do is I'd list them out and then I would score them. All right. On a scale of one to 10, how much impact would this have if it, you know, if it worked, right? Like one idea would be, you know, completely rewrite the same you know, a new ad, a webinar if it doesn't exist, right. It's like, okay, if that works that's got a 10 ad, like hire a customer support rep, what kind of impact will that, well, that's probably going to have a three really on moving the needle depending on what you're trying to do. But I'm going to rank them in terms of [inaudible] score them in terms of impact, one to 10, 10 being the highest, then I'm going to take a look at my confidence level.
Brad: 42:31 How much confidence do I have that you know, in this impact or
that, you know, we'll be able to pull this off. Like, or how much confidence, like, yeah, it's got a 10 impact, but I dunno if it works, but I'm also only 50% confident that, that it would work right. That that would be an idea. Like for instance, a new product line. Oh, we can add it, print on demand tee shirts. Well maybe a five. So, but then the next one is we're going to look at the ease. So that's the, I see any, well on a scale of one to 10, how easy is it? And then my little spreadsheet averages amount and the weighted average and scores them. And then you sort it so that you can say, okay, I have all the ideas we have. These are the ones with the highest average score of impact, confidence and ease. And chances are that's how you should start in what order of prioritizing the ideas. So there's a really
systematic framework of this. So a lot of people think is just brainstorming and it's definitely not.
Joe: 43:26 Yeah. So I, I love that. I actually first heard that just in LA, I had
never heard of the ice framework. And so like that's been, that's been monumental for me. It's, it's been really good. So I'm the type of person, like when I start thinking about something, like I've got to get it out of my head. If I have an idea, like I need to think through the end so that I can like release it and let it go. And so I've always used like ever no, and like just written stuff, whiteboards. But I never had any way to, to really with, with repetition and with ease figure out with score for it. So the ice framework has been like amazing for me.
Brad: 44:09 You said you've actually, have you used it like on a spreadsheet
or this idea? Yeah, yeah.
Joe: 44:13 No, no, no, no. I just started using it since LA, but basically I take
all, I've taken all of my ideas that I've been like chucking in Evernote and pictures of whiteboards and now we've been taking time to actually go put those and plug those into the ice framework. And then I added a column that is based upon type of activity. Is it, is, is it a sales, is it a retention? And I've broken it down into categories. And so now,
Brad: 44:39 Yeah, I've actually done this type of thing. I left those out for brevity. But yeah, I am 100% those are, That's amazing when you do that
Joe: 44:45 It's, it's almost like your keys, right for me is just like, it's my playbook. Like these are my ideas, these are like all these all these things that I've taken the time to think through because I have as a person have to think through them so I can finish it and I can like shove it away. Otherwise my brain is just like stuck on those ideas and it just wants to solve those and not, yeah,
Brad: 45:06 Actually I am exactly the same way. And that's, so the cognitive
keys are designed to kind of come up with those. What are those big ideas? Right? Like, okay, well if I use this key such as, you know, like blank, you know, and it's like, okay cool. That creates this idea and this creates another idea. And I've got like five great ideas but like, Oh well which ones now you plug them in. Now you get really systematic about this. And that's how it really happens. This is the way people are. You don't just brainstorm. It's like boom, great idea, let's go implement it. Right? There's a process to this stuff. And I mean this is the stuff that I happily, you know, I get paid very well to help, you know, businesses and entrepreneurs really think deeper at, at their
business and think about a different way to go about it. And sometimes that's who sometimes, you know, it's a who question. Sometimes it's a what question? Sometimes it's a when or a how. And you know, it's just, it's a shame to me. I hate seeing so many really talented entrepreneurs just, just get so busy that they don't have time to do the most important stuff, which is thinking high levels. So, you know, there, there's my opportunity gap is, you know, they hire me to help them do that amongst other things.
Joe: 46:17 And you do that a lot in like one day, two day workshop type of
style too, right? Kind of hands on with it.
Brad: 46:23 Yeah. I have some clients on an ongoing process who retained me. So kind of the way I work is I'll either work by retainer for unlimited access to me. So when they, when they have big problems, they want to contact me. It's like, all right, look, I'm on call, I'm a brain on call. Basically. Brad. Yeah. Bradipedia you know, private access to Bradipedia. The next, the next side of that will be like performance based performance-based projects to where, for instance, if I identify something that you know, I'm really good at and that I can help get you through this. I was like, all right, let's, let's create this. Maybe it's a retention project, maybe it's a customer acquisition product, maybe it's adding a completely new channel or, or just a new profit center that they haven't worked on. I'll take on myself and, or my team will, will take on and we'll do it for, you know, a percentage of the profits.
Brad: 47:16 But that's because that's us investing. I'm investing my time, my
energy, my IP, sometimes my capital into making this happen. So that's kind of my, I consider my very much my strategic partner program if would. And then there is the then there are the like intensives and workshops, et cetera. The stuff that I will do, I just had one the other day where several business owners, we got in a room and everybody was trying to solve bigger, stickier problems and kind of just zoom out from their business and go, you know, what can we come up with? How can we reposition this? How can we, you know, solve these things. And we all kind of work together using some of these frameworks and kind of gamification stuff that I do that's kind of a lot of fun that helps, you know, unlock this new way, these new ways of thinking.
Brad: 48:03 And I, they are, they are the most fun things that I do personally
like is totally different than like a mastermind. But those are typically the ways I work. And then once in awhile, if I see a business that I, I just really find interesting I'll try to acquire it, if
all, or part of it. Because if somebody is doing some good things and maybe they're stuck, I mean, maybe I could be hired as a consultant, but I know that I'm gonna put a lot more effort into it if I actually own a piece of the business. So, you know, I bought a couple of businesses in the past, in the past year, one of them were about to resell and I'm just always looking for opportunities like that, especially service based businesses, even marketing agencies and other service based businesses are ones that I'm always looking to invest in or acquire just because you know, those are some of the things that I know that I can really move the needle with.
Joe: 48:55 Definitely 100%. Cool. So how, how do people learn more about those opportunities for the workshops, the one-on-ones, things like that? I don't usually let people pitch themselves here, but Brad, like how do they learn more about that type of stuff?
Brad: 49:09 They can, they can typically follow me on they can come to my website, they can get on my newsletter where, you know, they can follow me on social media. So occasionally I'll post it there. A posted on my newsletter. I don't have a place on my website right now where you can you just book a a where you just book a like an event. I don't actually have any events coming up in the next few months just simply because I'm going to be traveling, but Brad costanzo.com there's a a work with Brad page on there where you know, it's just an application and you know, you fill it out and if it looks like something that I can potentially help you with, we'll, you know, we'll get on the phone and we'll discuss what that looks like. I've got a, you know, a great newsletter over in bacon wrapped business.com where they can just jump on the newsletter and hear about it and once more, yeah, it's not a it's not a pitch.
Brad: 49:54 I'm very selective in who I work with and that's actually why
I've, you know, one of the reasons I've been so successful with my clients is comes really down to client selection. It's not necessarily that I'm any smarter than any body else out there, but I try to pick people to work with that I know I can hit it out of the park for. And you know, if I, if I'm not confident that I can help, I'm not gonna take somebody's money and just BS them, I'll refer them to somebody else who will BS them. But the yeah, I mean those are really, those are really the best ways. But yeah, in 2020, I am going to be some more, some more of these workshops, both in person, like, I'm sorry, both one-on-one, a group and even virtual intensives, which is one of the things that I've really started to do lately are these kind of compression coaching sessions, which I call them.
Brad: 50:42 Which by the way, for anybody out there right now who's, this
is not a, so much a pitch as an education on something that you can do as well. It's been very, it's been very powerful for me and some of my clients who I've taught them to do it. So if you sell advice in any way or want to, one of the biggest problems I've seen with the expert industry is the fact that folks are selling. You know, they'll sell eight week, 10 week courses for $10,000. Right? Like this is what you get and it's going to take you this long to get to get it and it's going to cost this much. Well that's cool for some people. But there's this concept of like high ticket payers versus high ticket players. So high ticket payers, somebody, yeah, that's, that's the majority. They're people who are just starting off like, Hey, how to build a business online or how to build a coaching business and I don't know much about it.
Brad: 51:28 So I need the full soup to nuts. Eight week, 10 week, 12 week
course and I'm willing to invest a lot of money cause I don't know the fundamentals. But then there's what I call the high ticket players. People who are actually in business have momentum. They, their, you know, their time is more valuable than money. And the last thing they want to do is sit through an eight your eight week, 12 week program to learn every little nuance that you think I need to know when most cases. I just need one monkey wrench removed and I'm off to the races. So what I often do I was doing this up until just like this month are these monthly compression coaching sessions where I'd get 10 to 12 people on a, on a zoom call and I block off the entire day if necessary. Sometimes we go four or five, six hours you know, for a nominal fee.
Brad: 52:14 And we get on there and we compress down the time, energy,
you know, information needed to actually just get back into momentum or get out of stuck and just kind of understand from a high level, this is what I need to do. And most often that's all somebody needs. Now if you're a total beginner, I'm like, I'm not teaching people how to make money online and build a business from scratch. That's not my, that's not my clientele. But my clientele, I don't have eight weeks to figure this stuff out. I want to figure it out now. And I'd much rather pay you a few thousand dollars to have semi-private one-on-one access. And the reason I say this is kind of education or a recommendation for people out there who could do this is if you do sell advice, but you don't want to create an eight week course or something like that, make the offer to say, look, if you're trying to accomplish this and you're stuck, et cetera, et cetera.
Brad: 53:05 A once a month I do a com you know what, as I said, I call it
compression coaching or I do these virtual intensives where we jump on the phone or we jump on a zoom call with other people trying to do the same thing. You get to pick my brain, et cetera. And it's a lot cheaper than booking a one-on-one consult with me because what this allows you to do is make some money. I typically charge approximately $2,000 for this. And you know, you can charge 500, 10,000. It doesn't matter. But but it also builds a lot of rapport and people go, wow, this person can really actually helped me. I got what I needed and I'm either going to go apply it tomorrow or I'm going to come back to this person and reengage them because I realized that they're a really good consultant or, or pitch. But it's, I mean, it's just like doing it like a small little virtual intensive for people.
Joe: 53:56 I love that. That's a beautiful model.
Brad: 53:58 I can see it really revolutionize one of my client's businesses
when she started to do this. So
Joe: 54:03 I can see where all these agencies like to get to their right
clientele. Like they don't, they don't have time to meet with you and go through your extenduous sales process and like go to these eight week, 10 week courses. I love it. I think it's straight to the straight to the money. And it's the quick fix. It's like time versus money.
Brad: 54:25 People with enough people, you know, people with a lot of time typically don't have a on their hands, typically don't have a lot of money, you know, unless they're the idle rich and people with a lot of money on their hands typically don't have a lot of time. And I know for me I would, if I've got a business problem or thing, like I know a lot about business, I don't, I'm not a super expert in everything, but there's certain things I know. It was, he was an even a friend of mine. He's like, here's what I'm doing. It fit perfectly into something I needed to learn. And he's like, yeah, for $5,000 I'll, I'll show you exactly like over three days. But one-on-one, I'll show you exactly everything I'm doing. Like, okay, I don't want to take a huge course. It was like three hours a day for three days and I just got to pick his brain and go through all this stuff.
Brad: 55:05 And you know, it's made, you know, actually I was learning this
stuff for a client that I was getting paid a lot more than the 5,000 I paid him. But the reason I say this is because I'm the type of person, I'd much rather spend $5,000 for a few hours of your time right now so that I can get it, you know, into motion as opposed to $500 for an eight week course. I wouldn't, I
wouldn't have given him 500 for an eight week course. So that's it. This is an offer that people like me would I call, you know, a high ticket payer, a player would buy. So why not offer that to other people that I want to attract like myself.
Joe: 55:40 I love that I'm in for one of the next ones in person or the
virtual, by the way. I want to see you in motion doing it too. Right? Like you saying, how you model it and how you run it all by itself is worth the price of entry.
Brad: 55:54 Absolutely. Yeah. No, we can make that happen.
Joe: 55:57 So that's awesome man. So first and foremost, I just want to
thank you. We just hit an hour and this has been fricking fantastic. You always know it's a good podcast episode when you look at a clock and you're like, Oh crap. Like we're at a time. So I want to wrap this up by saying thank you man, like you delivered. This has been awesome. I hope that people sit back and go through some of these exercises and some of these tools we've given them and I think it'll allow them to make much better decisions.
Brad: 56:28 Me too though. Thanks for having me, Joe.
Joe: 56:30 So one last question to wrap this thing up, man. Instead of asking you to recommend three books, as you look at your business man today and its current state of affairs, what's the one book that when you look at your business, you're like, man, I see that, I see that book in my business.
Brad: 56:48 You know, there's a, yeah, I, I'd have to say, Oh man. Like I
could, I could recommend so bad. One of the books I've recommended to people though more than I, yeah. More than almost anything lately is got a terrible title. Hate the title. It, it cheapens the content in the book, but it's called the millionaire master plan by Roger Hamilton. Roger developed a wealth dynamics, personality profiling, etc. But this book is so tactically useful but also mentally like mind blowing. I'm like, Oh my God, that broke. Have you ever read the book? I love it. I love everything about it. And it even comes with the personality tests you take, which gives you kind of the roadmap based upon where you're at in your life or your business. Like the stage you're at, which he's got it very delineated the stage you're at, your personal G like areas of genius. And he gives you three things to kind of jump the to the next level based on where you're at. And it's so genius the way it's done. I've never seen a book like this and I recommend it to people all the time. And I, and I refer back to it constantly. It's probably the most
highlighted book after the four hour work week that I've got, which was my entry into this place. But I highly recommend it to everybody.
Joe: 58:10 Yeah, man, that's amazing. I'll definitely check it out. Thanks for
that recommendation. And everybody last thing, call to action. Definitely go subscribe to bacon wrapped business. My, my longest standing podcast that I've been listening to. I mean, it's gotta be going on four plus years. So great podcast. Definitely somebody that I try to emulate in business is, is Brad with you and your podcast. So super appreciate the love, super appreciate all the time here today and all the giving. And hopefully we'll have you back again one day.
Brad: 58:37 Yeah. Can't wait man. Got gotta get you on my show. Let's book
that up after this.
Joe: 58:40 Yeah, man, let's do it. Alright guys. Joe Troyer signing out. So
you're brought rock and roll.