Ajay Prasad owns GMR Web Team, a digital marketing agency dedicated to helping businesses maximize revenue from internet. He also operates a seven-figure web based business, GMR Transcription, which he built from scratch and grew by using the same strategies that he uses for his clients.
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- GMR Web Team – business founded by Ajay
- GMR Transcription – business founded by Ajay
- The Pumpkin Plan – book mentioned by John
- Guide for Entrepreneurs – working title for the book Ajay is writing
- PunkSPIDER – Ajay’s Small Business Resource
- Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson – Ajay’s Best Business Book
3 Key Points:
- Stop trying to make everyone happy.
- If you don’t love what you do, you’ll constantly be longing for the other side of the fence.
- Create a customer avatar STAT.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [00:37] – John introduces Ajay
- [00:47] – GMR Web Team
- [00:57] – GMR Transcription
- [01:19] – Ajay’s personal life
- [02:17] – How Ajay generates revenues today
- [03:39] – Worst Entrepreneur Moment – Dealing with unhappy customers every day
- [06:29] – When you focus on making everyone happy, you lose sight of the people who are already happy with what you’re doing.
- [07:14] – Create free time to focus on happy customers
- [07:49] – I created a profile of my client
- [08:24] – Choosing to work with happy customers
- [09:21] – The Pumpkin Plan
- [10:13] – Entrepreneur AH-HA Moment
- [10:33] – Know who your customers is… create an avatar
- [11:18] – Once you know who your ideal customer is, everything starts to fall in place
- [12:30] – Don’t rely on luck; just plan ahead
- [13:32] – Ajay’s biggest weakness as an entrepreneur – I trust people very quickly and I’m not very good at attention to detail
- [14:37] – Ajay’s biggest strength – Business strategy
- [15:52] – What has Ajay most fired up today? – Our automated platform for building reviews and writing a book for entrepreneurs
- [18:02] – Ajay’s Guide for Entrepreneurs
- [18:31] – Be clear, be clever
- [19:45] The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? — A stable corporate job
- What is the best advice you have ever received? – Always give customers more than they expect
- What is a personal habit that contributes to your success? — I reflect and I am focused on analyzing the return my customers are getting
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation — PunkSPIDER
- One book to recommend – Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson
- [24:48] – [email protected]
- [25:09] – Unless you enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll tend to give up very quickly
JLD: Yes, all right. Ajay owns GMR Web Team, a digital marketing agency dedicated to helping businesses maximize revenue from the internet. He also operates a seven-figure web-based business GMR Transcription which he built from scratch and grew it by using strategies that he uses for his clients. And Fire Nation, if you've ever been on one of our show notes page and you see the transcription, that's GMR Transcription because they do them for us every single month. Ajay, take a minute, fill in the gaps from that intro and give us a little glimpse of your personal life.
Ajay Prasad: You know, I am a daddy. I have two sons, a husband and entrepreneur, in that sequence I like to say. And I have been entrepreneur for 12 years now. Before that I was in the corporate life, corporate world. And I just wish that I had started my entrepreneurial journey sooner than later. I'm just thrilled, I really am excited to come to work and I feel blessed.
JLD: That's amazing. I love all of that. I love the order that you put your priorities and it just speaks to me at a very deep level that you have your priorities in order, Ajay.
Ajay Prasad: Thank you.
JLD: And we talked about it a little bit in your intro but let's kinda break it down a little bit more here. We don't need specific numbers but break it down for our listeners who are entrepreneurs, who are small business owners who are looking to create viable businesses like you've created on multiple levels. How do you generate revenue today?
Ajay Prasad: We have two sources, I would say, of business right now that we get. We generate new businesses through digital marketing, like we do for our customers. It's search marketing, advertising, paid advertising and everything that we do. So we do that for ourselves. And then of course since we have been in business for 12 years now, we do get quite a few referrals. So those are really the two main sources of new business right now.
JLD: So Fire Nation, every day Ajay wakes up and he's excited to go to work. And he generates revenue in these different streams. And I will say, knowing Ajay, as he continues to see opportunities in this world that make a fit and for what he wants to do, he's gonna add those revenue streams when it makes sense. And that's how you build and grow a business.
Now, Ajay, you are loving life right now again. You get up, you spend time with your family, you have great businesses generating really solid revenue. You come to work smiling and skipping along because you love what you do, but it wasn't always amazing. And, you know, as we all do, you have some tough times ahead. It's just the rollercoaster of being in business.
But I want you to take us back to a moment in time that you consider your worst entrepreneurial moment. And, Ajay, take us to that moment in time and tell us that story.
Ajay Prasad: Sure, John. I will take you to a time when I was almost ready to quit, frankly, and I was thinking about freshening up my resume. This was like three years after I had started GMR Web Team. Even GMR Transcription, I had already started and it was doing a little bit. It had not taken off.
But on Web Team I was literally spending 80 percent of my time trying to work with unhappy customers. And I have a philosophy where I really believe in complete customer satisfaction, even though I come from – in my corporate life also I was in those kind of industry where customer satisfaction was very important.
Ajay Prasad: And I was spending just, like I said, 80 percent of my time every day it seemed like, dealing with unhappy customers. And I had really – there was a time when I was thinking that maybe this is not for me and ready to quit. I mean, that was the lowest point, I would say, of my business.
JLD: So kinda take us to that moment, Ajay, because I really want you to dive deeper here. I mean, you kinda brushed over, you said you were dealing 80 percent of your time was with unhappy customers X, Y and Z. What was that moment that you were just like, this is it, this is enough, like this is the lowest of the low? What did that moment look like and how did you pull yourself out of that dark hole?
Ajay Prasad: At that point you start to really questioning your judgments, right. So you start to wonder, was this the right thing to do? Is this for me? Maybe I'm not [inaudible] [00:04:36] for business. So all these doubts start to creep into your mind which I really believe that almost every entrepreneur goes through this phase.
And so that's what I was going through and I was really wondering if I am doing the right thing. Now luckily one of the habits I have, and I'll take you what changed, was that I was really lucky enough – you know, I have one habit that I come every Saturday and I tend to sit down and reflect. So in one of those down points when I came in, and don't ask me what happened to me, I started listing all my customers then and next to it happy, unhappy, okay.
And that's where I – so that was the big ah-ha moment for me was once I created a list and crated who was happy, was unhappy, I had only 17 customers at that time but guess what? Only three were unhappy. The fourteen of them were really happy. But because I was so focused on making everyone happy, so I was just not – I was totally ignoring the ones that were thrill with what I was doing. And I was just all worried and I unfocused on the customers who were not happy.
So that was the ah-ha moment. And when I started to look at the – you know, you start to say, okay, what's the common things about the customers who are unhappy and were happy? A team emerged out. It was very clear what kind of customers were unhappy [inaudible] [00:06:21] everything common. And then the happy ones had many things common.
So at that point I decided that, you know what, I'm just going to focus on happy customers and not on unhappy ones because they are different breed anyway. And I just resigned those three accounts and guess what? Eighteen percent of my time got freed up and I was not stressed out. I was not listening to the complaints and yelling at my people and say, what the heck you are doing. All of a sudden I had free time to think about growing my business, to spend time with the customers who are very happy.
And, boy, it really worked. And the best thing that happened out of this was I created like, think of it as a profile of who is going to be my client because I knew that this is the kind of client who'll be happy. And then instead of taking anyone who walked through the door, I started to make sure that I will only take clients who fit the profile that I know will be happy. And that's what we still do now nine years later. We are still insistent on taking the right ones.
JLD: Fire Nation, what a concept. Choosing to work with happy customers, with happy clients, with just happy people in general. And, Ajay, there's so many things that I wanna talk about for the next couple of seconds here that just were cropping into my mind as you were talking, because it's so important, Fire Nation, to give yourself time to reflect. And, Ajay, that's what you did. You went in on a Saturday, you gave yourself time and space to just reflect. When the phones weren't ringing off the hook, when your emails weren't piling up, you gave yourself time to reflect.
Fire Nation, when's the last time you gave yourself the space to reflect? I mean, every single day I am committed to going on a 90-minute walk to get my 10,000 steps in and reflect on my life, on my business, on my fitness, on my health. This is so important. You have to give yourself this time, this reflection, this space.
And there's a great book, Ajay, that I think you'll really resonate with. I'm not sure if you've read it before but it's a past guest of ours. His name's Michael Michalawicz. He wrote a book called The Pumpkin Plan. And it's so key because he talks about how people grow the best and biggest pumpkins in the world because as the pumpkins are growing and they have one vine and all these pumpkins are growing off all the vines and they're all taking nutrients and energy away, you identify your best pumpkin very early on. And then you make sure that you snip off all the other pumpkins that are taking energy, bandwidth and time away so that all of the energy from that root is going directly to that best pumpkin.
And that's what you did, Ajay. You found what worked for you. You found that perfect avatar, that perfect client and that's who you serve. Fire Nation, how can you do that? How can you snip off those three bad clients and focus on the 14 that are amazing, like Ajay did? This is a huge lesson that I want you to absorb in your business.
So, Ajay, that was my little rant that I just had to go through about what you went through with your ah-ha moments that was spurred by your worst moment. What do you wanna make sure Fire Nation gets from these stories?
Ajay Prasad: I have quite a few entrepreneurs who come to me, or small business owners, for marketing and strategy, that the first thing I always tell them, you have to create this, like you are saying, avatar is a very nice way of saying that, but create a profile that says who is your customer.
Literally, I mean, I tell them that maybe if possible create a picture so that you should imagine who this customer is. Because it is so important – no matter what business you are in, you have customers, right. Either it's business to business or business to consumer, it really doesn't matter. You always have – you're going to have customers, otherwise you don't have a business.
So just making sure who your right customer I think that is the very first step that everyone should be doing. And that's what I advise my customers. Because once you know who your ideal customer is, everything starts to fall in place. Now you know what marketing message will resonate. Now you know where they are going to be – where you can find them, what social media they're on, what TV program they watch, f you are inclined to advertise on TV.
Everything starts to fall in place. What should be a really [inaudible] [00:11:00] proposition. Everything should actually fall in place once you know exactly who your customer is, what they like and why they should be using your product. So that's the big lesson.
And in a way you can tell that – of course I was accepting every customer that walked through the door. So that's why I ran into that trouble. But I would just bless that out of 17 the 14 were the right customers. Only three were the kind of customer that I don't want to have. And I lucked out but I tell my entrepreneur friends, don't rely on luck. Just plan it ahead so that you don't have to rely on luck.
JLD: Fire Nation, the universe has a funny way of aligning things up for you when you put things out in the world. Ajay said have a picture in your mind or draw or find in a magazine a picture of your avatar and start putting those vibes out there. Write down just this 1,000-, 2,000-word essay about who your perfect avatar, your client, your customers.
I have a 2,000-word essay about my perfect listener for this podcast. His name is Jimmy. He's 36 years old. I could go on about him for 30 minutes. I won't but I could because I know him inside out, Fire Nation. Now, I have a lot of other people that listen that aren't exactly Jimmy, of course. We did over 1.25 million listeners last month but because I know who my perfect listener is, I have a clear message and a clear vision and I have a lot of clarity within my business.
Now, Ajay, what would you say your biggest weakness as an entrepreneur is?
Ajay Prasad: My biggest weakness actually has been and still is, but I think that's who I am. I trust people very quickly. And as a result, I have been cheated several times. And every time I get cheated I have to look back and say, [inaudible] [00:13:08] do I need to make any changes?
So why it's a weakness? I don't think that I want to change that too much and so that is one problem that I face. And the second weakness work-wise is that I'm not very good at attention to details. So anything that requires attention to details really I have people work for me because I know I'm not good at that.
JLD: And I love that because Ajay knows his weaknesses so he hires people who are good at those things. He knows his strengths and he focuses his time, his energy on amplifying those strengths, Fire Nation. So, Ajay, on that note, what is your biggest strength?
Ajay Prasad: You know, my biggest strength has been, even in my corporate life, been business strategy. I just stumbled onto it in my corporate life because my CEO just said, oh, you are heading the strategy, which I didn't even know anything about strategy. And I had to literally – after that meeting I literally went to the store and bought every book on strategy and took whatever classes I could take.
But I love that I have a knack for looking at business and understanding the opportunities, where they can. So that is my biggest strength and I totally build upon that. So you give me a business situation and I can tell you – I can almost start to create ideal customers that [inaudible] why you should stand out. I mean, it's just one of those things that I have in me from practice and, I don't know, maybe natural. So that is my biggest strength is the business strategy. And then once you understand strategy than you know what to do.
JLD: Ajay, you have a lot of things going on that you are rightfully so excited about, but what's the one thing today that has you most fired up above all else?
Ajay Prasad: First, let me give you 30 seconds intro on the big problem. So when we are doing digital marketing, and especially for small- and medium-sized businesses, one of the major issues is how do you get what we call the online signal. So basically, how do we get all the reviews that you need? These days you need to have a lot of reviews for conversion because people expect to see your review before they come to you. The Google wants to see the view and takes that as a signal where you should read the entire [inaudible] [00:15:40]. But for small businesses, it's a huge challenge. How do you do that?
And so last year we built an automated platform for building reviews. And we tested it already with our clients. And it's working great which makes it a totally automated system for getting online reviews. So I'm really excited about that. The platform is already up and running. Now I am going to brand it and launch it as a standalone review only.
Right now we are using this for our marketing clients but I want to – now I am so excited about this that just like GMR Transcription, I'm hoping that this becomes like a standalone business where people can come, sign up and then just start to create reviews from real customers. I'm not talking about the fake ones. There are a lot of people who say that they can do fake reviews. But really not only they get the reviews, but they also can see the customer satisfaction, how satisfied they are and why they're unhappy, and then they can fix it. So I am really excited about that.
And then the second thing that I am equally excited about is I am writing a book for entrepreneurs, basically an entrepreneur guide book. And I'm very close to completing that. So those are two things that [inaudible] right now I am excited about.
JLD: Do you have a working title, Ajay?
Ajay Prasad: The working title is The Guide for Entrepreneurs.
JLD: There it is.
Ajay Prasad: Yeah, but I have to think about it and that's the only thing – I have two things left in the book. Everything is done. The title I have to finalize and then I have to write the thank you page. So those are the only two things left, otherwise this book is ready to go.
JLD: Well, let me kinda break down real quick, Fire Nation, my thoughts on naming things, a product, a service, a book, your brand, whatever. You always wanna be clear and clever. However, if you have to be one of the two, always be clear. So many people try to be too clever and it doesn't just make sense when you glance at it.
So The Guide for Entrepreneurs, Ajay, straightforward, it's clear. Personally I like it. And, Fire Nation, don't go anywhere because we're about to answer the lightning rounds. But first let's take a minute to thank our sponsors.
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Ajay, are you prepared for the lightning rounds?
Ajay Prasad: Yeah, definitely.
JLD: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Ajay Prasad: You know, I had a good, I would say, corporate job where I was generally satisfied. I was an entrepreneur within the corporation always. They used to call it intrepreneur, one of those – there was even a word for that. So I was generally satisfied, which is why I was not – I didn't become entrepreneur sooner.
JLD: What is the best advice you've ever received?
Ajay Prasad: I have a mentor which I tell everyone that you should have a mentor by the way. So I have a mentor and when I started I went and I talked to him. And I tell you, sometimes simple lunch arise that you get. So he said, you know, dude, make sure since you are going into the business of helping other businesses, always give customers more than they expect. So that was his first thing.
And second he said, you know, because they will be spending on your marketing, make sure that their return on what they're spending on your services is more than that. So in other words, you make sure that you are profitable for them and give them more than they expect. And I tell you, for my entrepreneur journey that was the best advice and I stick to it.
JLD: What a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Ajay Prasad: A couple of things. So one I already shared with you that I do take – every Saturday I come to office for four or five hours and, you know, I have office so it's not like I work from home unfortunately. But the good thing is that the office is closed on Saturday so I am the only person. The phone doesn't ring. And I sit down and I reflect, so introspect. So that's something that, again, I learned from my mentor back in the corporate days and I still am doing it.
And the second habit I think that really helps me is I'm terribly focused and I'm always analyzing the return that my customers are getting from my marketing activities just following the advice off my mentor. And if I see that they're not getting their return, at least more than what they're spending on me, then I switch, I make changes. There are times when I have even gone and offered services for two or three months free until I get to that point.
So I am very – I know why people are coming to me and I just wanna make sure that they're happy and they're getting more money than what they are spending.
JLD: Ajay, share an internet resource like Ever Notes with Fire Nation.
Ajay Prasad: I use this a lot for my clients and I think that anyone who has a website should have this thing. This website is called PunkSpider.org. And this will, in a few minutes, evaluate if your website is vulnerable to any hacker. It's a fantastic tool and, by the way, it is so good that you have to pledge when you go there that you are not trying to use this to find vulnerability in some other website to hack it.
JLD: Nice. So Fire Nation, that was PunkSpider.org, punk as in Peter, PunkSpider.org. Very interesting. You better believe my web developer guy is gonna be on this ASAP. And if you could recommend one book, Ajay, to our listeners, who know that they're gonna be keeping their eyes out for The Guide for Entrepreneurs, what would that book be and why?
Ajay Prasad: I'll give you the book back because you are a target, you know, the people who are listening are entrepreneurs, younger entrepreneurs, a book by this guy named Michael Masterson is called Ready, Fire, Aim. I look at it also. Very often I go back to it. But it really gives you a step-by-step almost like a guide based on what stage your business is in in the growth cycle, whether you are starting, you're just barely profitable or you are doing very well. So a very good book and I think every entrepreneur should have it.
JLD: Well, Fire Nation, I know that you love audio, so I teamed up with Audible and if you haven't already, you can get an amazing audio book for free at EOFireBook.com. And, Ajay, when you publish your book, make sure you get it on audible because Fire Nation listens.
Ajay Prasad: I will do that for sure.
JLD: Ajay, let's end today on fire, brother, with you sharing a parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you and then we'll say goodbye.
Ajay Prasad: Sure. So the best way to connect with me is I will give you my office phone number which is 714-731-9000 and my email address which is Ajay A-J-A-Y @gmrwebteam.com.
JLD: And a parting piece of guidance.
Ajay Prasad: When you are looking at being an entrepreneur, it's a very difficult journey. So you'll have ups and downs guaranteed. And unless you enjoy what you're doing, you'll tend to give up very quickly so persistence is the most important attribute that will make you successful in the entrepreneur journey. And in order to have the persistence, make sure that you enjoy what you are doing. Otherwise the temptation to give up will be there all the time.
JLD: Fire Nation, you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with and you've been hanging out with Ajay and JLD today. So keep up the heat and head over to EOFire.com. Just type Ajay, that's A-J-A-Y in the search bar. His show notes page will pop up with everything that we've been talking about today.
Again, he gave you his phone number, Fire Nation, so take action and use it if you desire, 714-731-9000. And of course his direct email Ajay A-J-A-Y, so again that's [email protected] All this will be linked up on the show notes page. And I wanna thank you, Ajay, for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you and we'll catch you on the flipside.
Ajay Prasad: Thanks, John it was really good talking to you.
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