Adam is an international social media speaker, marketing manager, and co-founder of Bluewire Media. Adam helps implement Bluewire Media’s web strategy system to deliver more leads, more clients, and more revenue for remarkable mid-sized Australian clients who are driven to ‘own’ their market niche.
Click to tweet: Fire Nation, Adam shares his incredible journey on EntrepreneurOnFire today!
- “Overnight success takes at least 10 years.” – Unknown click to tweet!
- Adam didn’t realize what the phrase “dress to impress” meant until it was almost too late.
Entrepreneurial AHA Moment
- Adam’s AHA moment is a valuable insight for every Entrepreneur in every industry.
- BlueWire Media has a lot of great things going on right now, but there is one thing in particular that really excites Adam.
Small Business Resource
- Google Reader: Read them in one place with Google Reader, where keeping up with your favorite websites is as easy as checking your email
- EverNote: Remember everything
Best Business Book
- Mastering the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish
- Bluewire Media’s website
- Web Strategy Planning Template (free download)
- Twitter: @Franklin_Adam
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John Lee Dumas: Okay. Let’s get started. I am simply exhilarated to introduce my guest today, Adam Franklin. Adam, are you prepared to ignite?
Adam Franklin: You bet!
John Lee Dumas: Alright! Adam is an international social media speaker, marketing manager and cofounder of Bluewire Media. They implement Bluewire Media’s web strategy system to deliver more leads, more clients and more revenue for remarkable midsized Australian clients who are driven to own their market niche.
I’ve given Fire Nation a little overview, Adam, but why don’t you take a minute. Tell us about you personally. Let us know who you are. And then tell us about your business.
Adam Franklin: Absolutely, John. So I started the business eight years ago and I was lucky enough to start it with one of my best mates, Toby Jenkins. We’ve actually been in school since Grade 1 together. So that was over 25 years ago. We did school, we did high school, university, water polo, we’ve traveled together, and then we thought of a big, great idea to start a business together. So it has been a fantastic journey. I feel very privileged to going into business with such a good friend and it’s been a really exciting time.
John Lee Dumas: Well I’m really glad to hear that you’ve had a good experience with a friend because you always hear two different stories. Sometimes, it is a great experience, and then other people just have a disastrous experience and really bad things happen. So I’m glad you’re on that other end of the spectrum, Adam.
Adam Franklin: Yes, it’s been fantastic. A lot of people warned us at the start, “Oh, why would you go into business with a friend? You might end up being not friends” But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think why would you go into business with someone who you don’t know if you’ve got a lifelong friend? It seems to me like a perfect option for going into business.
John Lee Dumas: Awesome! I’m really glad that worked out. Let’s use that to transition now to our first real topic, Adam, and that is the success quote. At EntrepreneurOnFire, we like to start every show off by getting the motivational ball rolling and getting Fire Nation really excited for the content that you have for us. So Adam, what do you have for a success quote?
Adam Franklin: My favorite success quote is that overnight success takes at least 10 years. It’s amazing how many times I’ve heard that in my eight year journey so far. I’ve studied entrepreneurs and I read their books and I followed their businesses, and the recurring theme consistently is that it takes at least 10 years to be an overnight success. I guess if you read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, he argues that it takes 10,000 hours to master something and that 10,000 hours actually takes 10 years of your life to actually be doing it, to master it, to actually be good enough to be considered a success.
John Lee Dumas: That is so true on so many levels. Malcolm Gladwell and the tipping point, the 10,000 hour rule is definitely in effect. I count down mine in podcasting. I’m at about probably 3% or 4% of the way there, so that’s pretty exciting [Laughs].
Adam Franklin: [Laughs]
John Lee Dumas: But you’re at the eight year mark right now, Adam. That’s got to be pretty awesome.
Adam Franklin: Yes. The eight year mark, it’s gone really quickly. I mean sometimes you look back and eight years has flown, but it has been such an exciting adventure that I hope there’s many more decades to come. But eight years has gone very quickly. We’ve learned a lot. We’ve improved a hell of a lot and we just keep persevering and we keep chipping away and getting better at what we do and loving every minute of it. I think if we didn’t get up every morning and love it, it would be a really challenging thing to do, but getting up and working with one of your best mates with the business and colleagues who you adore, it’s a pleasure every day.
John Lee Dumas: Well let’s use that, Adam, to go back in your journey because that’s what EntrepreneurOnFire is about. It’s about your journey as an entrepreneur. As every entrepreneur knows all too well, failure, challenges, obstacles riddle our path as entrepreneurs and we face those challenges every single day on certain levels. Can you take us back to a time in your journey when you experienced a failure or just an incredible obstacle and how you overcame that?
Adam Franklin: Yes. Absolutely, John. I guess starting out our business, Toby and I, we had never run a business before, we’ve never built a website before, and we literally had no business experience and no web programming experience. You know what we said? Really, sort of very few know and I do share this story with entrepreneurs because they can appreciate the challenges that you do have to overcome. That was how we started the business. So before we had even built our own website, we were out pounding the pavement, knocking on doors, trying to win new business with the challenge of not actually having a website ourselves and not actually knowing how to build one either. Paradoxically, it wasn’t an issue. It was actually our greatest attribute because our passion has always been running a business and learning business, and then we could always hire the technical skills to deliver on the websites that we sold. One of our early mentors, Mike O’Hagan, an Australian guy, his company is called MiniMovers, we saw him speak probably in our fifth or sixth week in business. He’s run his business for close to 30 years and it’s a furniture removalist business, but he has never moved a piece of furniture in his life and he said that was the key to his success because he could focus on all the different things you need to in order to run a successful business and grow a successful business without getting distracted by getting trapped in the technical skills. I guess as Michael Gerber would say in The E-Myth, often, the technicians don’t make the best business owners. So the fact that we did have no business experience and no web experience actually worked very much in our favor because we could focus on the things that we were truly passionate about.
John Lee Dumas: So Adam, take us down to the ground level. Share with us an actual story and an example of where you guys really failed or just really ran up against an obstacle early on in that journey.
Adam Franklin: Yes, sure. I guess some of the early mistakes we made was we thought well since it was our own business and we were the boss we could wear whatever we wanted. We had a couple of meetings early on, and for some reason, looking back, it was stupid, but we’d turn up in shorts and a T-shirt to these meetings. We were at the end, I wonder why we didn’t win that business?
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Adam Franklin: [Laughs] Well, obviously, they didn’t take us seriously. We looked like we were just strolling up the street to these meetings. Ever since then we realized, if you want to be taken seriously, if you want to be paid like a professional and do professional work, then you got to look the part as well. So ever since then, we were in the shirt and suits, looking the part. Sometimes that’s unusual for a web company. They’re traditionally in jeans and a T-shirt, but we’ve taken a completely different track and looked very professional in the way we look all the time, whether it’s in public or in public speaking or just the client meetings around the office. So that was one of the mistakes. Not really looking the part and not being taken seriously as a result of that.
John Lee Dumas: That’s a great insight, Adam. Thank you for sharing that with us. We’ll actually use that to move into our next topic, which is on the other end of the spectrum, and it’s kind of what you’ve alluded to right here. You had an aha moment of sorts when you realized that, hey, it’s not working when we’re dressing not that professionally. It’s just not giving the right kind of perception that we want to give off. Can you share with us, Fire Nation, a really large aha moment that you’ve had at some point in your journey as an entrepreneur that you’ve really turned into success?
Adam Franklin: I think my biggest aha moment, they very much came almost prior to starting the business or in that lead up period, thinking about and preparing what I might actually do for a business because I’ve been looking at a lot of the people I admired who were the most successful people, at least living lives that I wanted to emulate. They had plenty of freedom of money and freedom of time to be doing what they wanted. They lived great lifestyles and they’re able to spend their time doing things that were most important to them. The recurring theme with all those people is that they had a business and it wasn’t necessarily that they went to uni and got the best grades and got the best jobs. That didn’t necessarily correlate with the people that I saw in my life that were living the lives that I really wanted to emulate.
So the common theme was that they had their own businesses, and that was the aha moment. That’s when I realized that I’ve got good marks at school but not good marks at uni because I didn’t put in as much effort, but none of that mattered as much if you found something that you were passionate about, a business, then that was the key. I sort of discovered that before I started the business. It was the reason I started the business. So it was very much aligned with the Rich Dad, Poor Dad book and that really validated the thinking there that going into business because you want to grow and run a business and bring in income and grow a team, that was really the aha moment before I started Bluewire Media.
John Lee Dumas: That’s a great aha moment, Adam, on so many levels. I just really again love your references to books because every time you start talking about a certain topic, a book pops in my mind, and every single time, you end up mentioning that book before you’re actually done. So it’s so important to continue to educate ourselves with this type of books and with this type of mentalities. Obviously, you are too. I’m really excited to hear what book you have to recommend to Fire Nation later on, but before we get there, have you had an I’ve made it moment?
Adam Franklin: Yes. Absolutely, John. Every day when I get up and look out over Bondi Beach from my unit, I just feel so – I’m living with one of my best mates, I’m in business with another really great mate. We have a brilliant team who I love working with. I get paid to speak and travel and meet some amazing people along the way. So every day I wake up and have this amazing feeling of yes, I’ve made it! But you’ve really got to – it’s because you set goals along the way and they were goals that I set in previous years. So of course, there’s still much more I want to achieve and I do set goals that are personal goals and business goals every three months, but you can’t forget to look back. I remember what Jack Welch says in some of his speeches that you’ve always got to celebrating milestones along the way because it’s the journey that’s the fun part and not necessarily the destination. So I feel very, very lucky every day when I look out to the view of Bondi Beach and I just feel that I’m so lucky, but then again there’s so much more I want to achieve and I’m going about doing that at the moment, I guess.
John Lee Dumas: That’s just such a perfect mentality, Adam, because so often as entrepreneurs, we’re so driven and we just set these goals like you’re talking about, these three month goals that you have. We drive hard to them and then we reach these goals, and then we just set that next lofty standard and continue to drive forward to that. It’s so important to enjoy and appreciate the milestones along the way because that’s what being an entrepreneur is, it’s about the journey. That’s why EntrepreneurOnFire is focused on the journey, because that’s really what it’s all about. If you’re just so focused on the final destination, then when you get there, you’re really going to have to wonder, was it all worth it at that point because you weren’t enjoying the entire journey. So I’m definitely glad to hear that you’ve been doing so, Adam. I definitely encourage you to keep with that mentality.
On that note, you have so many great things going on with your current business right now. Your speaking engagements, you’re doing different podcast interviews. A lot of great things are going on. Bluewire Media. What’s one thing that’s really exciting you about your business right now?
Adam Franklin: The thing that’s exciting me most about my business today is the fact that inbound marketing is working so well for our own company. Inbound marketing is the notion of publishing remarkable content on the web, whether it’s in the form of a podcast like yours, whether it’s e-books, whether it’s a blog, whether it’s free tools and reports that you offer and attracting people into your website and attracting people to your business rather than interrupting them with advertising messages which has traditionally been the way to market your business. The fact that inbound marketing is working so remarkably well for us excites me, not only because I’m the Marketing Manager of Bluewire, but because we offer these services to our clients and we’re practicing what we preach and trying everything out and it’s actually working really well, so I’m excited for that and I’m excited that we can be taking everything that we learn, marketing Bluewire, and taking that back to our clients so they can do similar things.
John Lee Dumas: So Adam, no two days are identical for most entrepreneurs, and I know you’re no different. But at the same time, I like to pull the curtain back at EntrepreneurOnFire here and really look into a day in your life. Do you have two tasks that do seem to take up a good portion of your day, day in and day out?
Adam Franklin: Day in and day out, yes, and they are the two things that I’m definitely trying to set more time aside to focus on, and that is writing. Whether it’s my own blog, my guest blogging commitments, whether it’s e-books, whether it’s our website’s content, I spend a lot of time writing. That’s something that I realized I just need to set time aside to practice, to get better because ideally, I would like to write a book next year with Toby, my business partner. So writing is the thing that takes up most of my day, and if I’m lucky enough, then speaking as well is the other thing that occupies my day. Preparing presentations, practicing presentations, and the foremost part is actually delivering the keynote presentations to an audience.
John Lee Dumas: Absolutely! We’ve had some great guests on the show. Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz, Erica Douglass from Whoosh Traffic. We’re recently had Chris Brogan and Seth Godin on the show. And all these people are just talking about content marketing and how important it is, especially with all that Google is doing to get rid of the black hat tactics and tricking the system. Like you’re just not able to trick Google anymore to the level you used to be and it’s getting tougher by the month. What is really working for you, inbound marketing-wise? You’re talking about writing great content. Share a little bit more of that with Fire Nation.
Adam Franklin: Absolutely! It’s a couple of steps approach. One, I blog regularly, so that attracts a lot of traffic to our website. Secondly, we’ve released a series of premium tools. So one of them is our Web Strategy Secrets e-book and another one is our Web Strategy Planning Template, another is a social media guidelines templates and social media planning template. So these are free tools that we’ve released on our website and anybody can go and download them for free. All they’ve got to do is pop in their email address in there and their first and last name and they can instantly download these tools. The reason that’s working so well is that people really want to understand how to use the web. They know that marketing, they know that business has changed because of the web, but they’re not quite sure how to go about implementing stuff for their own business. So there’s a ton of searches online for social media templates or web strategy templates. So we are actually coming up very high in the search engines and getting a hell of a lot of traffic because we’ve got tools that people are looking for and tools that actually help them solve a problem that they’ve got.
What most people don’t realize is that on the web, most people at 75% of people – and that’s a HubSpot statistic – 75% of people are looking for information because they’ve got a problem, and then once they’ve done enough research online or you’ve educated them with your free tools, then the next 23% of people are looking to, once they’ve realized they’ve got a problem that you might be able to solve, then they’re looking to compare you to your competitor. That’s when you need information on your site – information about your staff, information about why [Unintelligible] over a competitor. And then finally, it’s only the last 2% of people that are ready to take action, and too many people try and go from and skip out those first two steps of education and then providing information about the company. They try and go straight to the call to action to call now or fill out your inquiry form straight away without that lead-nurturing education process. That’s something that we’ve realized, and because we’ve got so much useful, valuable free content on our site, we’re getting a hell of a lot of people interested in our business and we can gradually educate them so there’s no shortage of leads and inquiries coming through to Bluewire.
John Lee Dumas: So Adam, what is your vision for the future of Bluewire Media?
Adam Franklin: Yes. The future for Bluewire is the same as it has been since the early days, and our BHAG, our “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” as Jim Collins calls it, is to be “the Google of web strategy.” It’s important to be able to say it succinctly. The Google of Web Strategy is only five words, but it really conveys where we want to take the business. We want it to be obviously web-based. Web strategy is the niche that we want to own, or the niche as you Americans say. Web strategy is the niche that we want to own, and being Google, it’s always a very popular place to work. It’s very successful and it makes people’s lives easier. Google has tremendous revenue, but the majority of the people that use Google are just using their free service. So they’re making the world a better place by making people have better access to information for free and they just happen to make a huge amount of revenue from a particular product that they have, but they’re making the world a better place and providing lots of free tools as well. So we really try and emulate Google in a lot of the stuff that we do.
John Lee Dumas: That is a great vision for the future. So Adam, we’ve now reached my favorite part of the show. We’re about to enter the Lightning Round. This is where I get to ask you a series of questions and you come back at us, Fire Nation, with amazing and mind-blowing answers. Does that sound like a plan?
Adam Franklin: Sure thing!
John Lee Dumas: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Adam Franklin: The things that were holding me back from being an entrepreneur – I had no money, I had no experience and didn’t know how to build a website. So they were the things holding me back, but then we managed to overcome them because we decided to go into web design at the start, which had no barrier to entry. That meant that we could start a business with literally $100 to buy a domain name and get that set up. We hired the technical, or actually our original business partner. We did have a third business partner in the early days. He’s who I live with now. He’s one of my great mates, but he actually helped us build our first website because he had the technical skills. After he made the decision to go into his other job, and from then on we hired technical skills to keep the business up.
John Lee Dumas: What is the best business advice that you ever received?
Adam Franklin: The advice was sales are opinion, cash is fact. That was from one of our mentors in the early days as well. We’d often catch up with our mentor and he would say, “So how’s sales going?” and we’d go, “Oh yes, yes. Yes, they’re going really well.” He would say, “So who’s paid?” Then we’d go, “Oh. Yes, they haven’t all paid yet.” And he goes, “That’s because sales are opinion and cash is fact.” He said, “It’s alright, it’s fine if people say they want to buy from you, but then you got to issue the invoice, they’ve got to pay and you’ve got to do the work. You’ve got to put the money in the bank and pay the tax on it and that’s when the job’s done. So cash is fact and sales is opinion.”
John Lee Dumas: Wonderful! What’s something that’s working for you or Bluewire right now?
Adam Franklin: I mean from a personal point of view, the speaking is working really well at the moment. I really enjoy it and I’ve got I think another six speaking gigs in the next couple of weeks. It’s such a fantastic opportunity to be educating people about this whole new world of inbound marketing and web strategy. I personally really enjoy it. It’s a real thrill when you can teach somebody something new from your own experience and it’s a really good way to be marketing your services as well. It certainly leads to more clients if they’ve seen you speak and they like what you’re about. So the public speaking is working really well.
John Lee Dumas: So Adam, you’re in the cutting edge of technology in certain areas. Do you have an Internet resource like an Evernote that you can recommend to Fire Nation?
Adam Franklin: [Laughs] It’s funny that you mention that because you’ve got so many ideas and you get inspiration. It’s always when you’re not at your computer, right? It’s when you’re on a job or it’s when you’re on an airplane or something. So having the iPhone or your smartphone in your pocket with an app like Evernote, you can just record a voice memo or type something in when you’ve got an idea. So I certainly believe in Evernote, but the other tool that I love is just simply Google Reader. I’ve just set that up on my iPhone and that allows me to follow the RSS feeds of my favorite bloggers. So that would be about 30 or 40 bloggers who I follow. Again, there’s only 24 hours in a day. We all have the same amount of time. It’s what you do with that time. So what I love to do with Google Reader is when I’m waiting at an airport or I’m waiting for a meeting. That dead time when you’re normally sitting around twiddling your thumbs. Using that time to read my favorite bloggers’ articles and keep up to speed on what’s happening there. Of course that’s very often when I get my burst of inspiration and ideas for my own blog posts or ideas for my own premium content, and that’s when I jot it into Evernote so when it does come time to sit down and do the writing and do the work, I’ve got the framework laid out and all I’ve got to do is flesh it out a bit more.
John Lee Dumas: What are some of your favorite bloggers?
Adam Franklin: The ones you’ve mentioned earlier, actually. Seth Godin and Chris Brogan are fantastic. Verne Harnish is another fantastic blogger who I follow. There’s loads.
John Lee Dumas: Love it! Do you have a business book that you can recommend to Fire Nation?
Adam Franklin: Absolutely! My all-time favorite business book is “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits” by Verne Harnish. That was one of the books I read probably five or six years ago. It had come recommended by all sorts of different peers and mentors. It kept getting mentioned so we just had to read it. It’s brilliant because it gives you not only the framework to run your business but all the detail that you need to be actually implementing these things. We’ve gone back to see Verne’s workshops and his Growth Summits in Australia, and he really does not only provide you with the tools to run a business and to grow a business, but he also pulls in all the other thought leaders on to his events, and on his blog and his newsletter, he is always up to speed on the best business practice. So he’s been one guy who’s introduced us to so many other business thought leaders, it’s not funny, and his book “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits” has been the framework that we’ve built our business on.
John Lee Dumas: Man! Well with all of these amazing books you’ve been referencing this entire interview, I am going to have to get this on my Kindle immediately because I’ve actually never even heard of his book. So I’m excited.
Adam Franklin: It’s a great book. Well worth it.
John Lee Dumas: So Adam, this is the last question, but it’s definitely my favorite. It’s definitely tricky. So take your time, digest it and then come back at us with an answer. If you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world, identical to earth but you knew nobody. You still have all the experience and all the knowledge you currently have, but only $500 in your pocket, a computer with Internet access and your food and shelter is taken care of. What would you do in the next seven days?
Adam Franklin: That’s a great question, John. So I don’t know anybody but I’ve got all the experience and knowledge that I currently have. What I would do if I’ve got all the knowledge and experience that I have at the moment, I would set up a website with that $500. I would go to a website like oDesk or 99designs.com and get a very basic website set up. On it, I would optimize it for social media speaker because that is the skills set that I have and I would optimize it for social media speaker so that I could hopefully start getting in front of audiences again. From that base, I would start. I would also recreate all my premium tools like the web strategy planning template, I would do the social media guidelines templates and I would pop all of those up on my website as well so that I could start building up my contact list, I could start helping people by contributing useful tools. And then once I had started speaking, once I’ve started building out my contact list by releasing these tools, I’d do email marketing and communicate with those people very much like I’m doing at the moment.
I’ll actually also set up LinkedIn. On that, I would ideally look to find a business partner because with my experience, I know I couldn’t have done it on my own. Having Toby as my business partner has been amazing, and I personally, I don’t think I’d want to start a business on my own. I think it would get too lonely, it would be too difficult and too easy to give up. So I would set up LinkedIn, set up my profile and start looking around for somebody who I really – oh, I don’t know anyone so I’ve got to meet a few people, but find somebody whose skills set complements mine and persuade them to go into business with me and then just start selling.
John Lee Dumas: Wow, Adam! That was some incredible, actionable advice. You’ve given us actionable advice this entire interview and we are all better for it. Give Fire Nation one parting piece of guidance, then give yourself a plug, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Adam Franklin: My parting piece of guidance would be if you haven’t started, just get started. You don’t need to know all the answers or you don’t need to see the path all the way through to completion. Just get started. You’ll work it out as you go. Find mentors, find people who you admire. Ask them for help. Most people are going to be very generous and you’re going to be surprised with how many people actually say that they’ll help you for free. Just keep persevering. There’s obviously going to be difficult times. Roll with the punches. Just hang in there. Enjoy the ride. It’s a lot of fun.
Finally, if you’re interested in any of those tools that I mentioned like the web strategy planning template or my e-book, head to BluewireMedia.com.au and download them. They’re free resources. I hope you find them really useful, and if you do, please feel free to tweet me. It’s @franklin_adam. So I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you, John.
John Lee Dumas: Awesome, Adam. We will link all those up in the show notes. EntrepreneurOnFire.com/93 is where you can find it, Fire Nation. Adam, you’ve been so generous with your time, with your expertise, with your knowledge. Thank you on behalf of Fire Nation. We salute you and we’ll catch you on the flipside.