Josh Elledge is the founder of SavingsAngel.com, appearing on TV or radio more than 1,000 times plus a weekly syndicated newspaper column & TV segment in 50 cities. He’s the founder of UpEndPR.com – a service that helps startups get big publicity.
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Time Stamped Show Notes:
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [00:25] – Welcoming Josh to the show
- [00:34] – Founder of SavingsAngel.com
- [00:45] – Founder of UpendPR.com
- [0:57] – Josh started Savings Angel because he needed it himself
- [01:28] – They have been able to generate more than $5 million in sales and spend less than $500 in advertising
- [02:02] – Keep your eyes open for entrepreneurial opportunities
- [02:25] – How do you generate revenue in your business? – It’s a membership-based website
- [03:43] – UpendPR and podcasting
- [05:34] -Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: “We all have to go through that growth”
- [07:23] – What’s one thing that you want people to get from your story? – Embrace sales with the point of view of bringing value to audiences and caring about those audiences
- [07:59] – Find what inspires you and what is easy for you
- [08:57] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: Knowing that he needed to have good exposure for his idea.
- [09:26] – He had a small budget for advertising, but he had “a true heart”
- [09:40] – He reached out to a Christian broadcaster, asking for ads but explaining that he had no money
- [10:17] – By being transparent, he created a key partnership with the radio station
- [11:14] – They generated business from providing savings insights to listeners
- [11:35] – “Oh my gosh, this thing is really happening”
- [11:47] – Everyone should experience that feeling
- [12:28] – Instill value in what you do
- 12:37 – “Keep swinging the bat until you hit a home run”
- [12:48] – What’s one thing that you want people to get from your ah-ha moment? – Be “noble and true.” Be authentic
- [13:34] –Biggest weakness? – “Being an idea person”
- [13:40] – It’s both a blessing and a curse
- [14:00] – Biggest strength? – Using his characteristics to help others
- [14:33] – What has Josh most fired up today? – Transforming the public relations industry
- [15:51] – He wants to open it up to small businesses and entrepreneurs. And that’s what he’ll do with UpendPR
- [17:17] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – Fear of failure and being judged
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – You can serve God or any higher power by being true to yourself
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – Allowing my energy to flow and not hold it back
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Twitter
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Think and Grow Rich, and Atlas Shrugged
- Imagine you woke up in a brand new world, and all you have is a laptop and $500. What would you do in the next 7 days? – Talk to a thousand people and find out how I can bring value to those people
- Parting piece of advice – Surround yourself with knowledge and good mentors. Continue to invest in yourself.
- [21:28] – A free Twitter publicity course, at UpendPR.com/fire
Josh: John – Hi! I’m ready to ignite.
Josh is the founder of SavingsAngel.com, appearing on TV or radio more than a thousand times plus a weekly syndicated newspaper column and TV segments in 50 cities.
He’s the founder of upendPR.com, a service to help start-ups to get big publicity.
Josh, take a minute. Fill in some gaps from that intro and give us just a little glimpse of your personal life.
Josh: Yeah, what’s really cool is I started SavingsAngel. It’s a way to help people cut their grocery bill in half and I started it completely because I needed it myself.
The problem is: When I started the company, I had no money. I had, like, no marketing budget; I was in the process of losing a position. And so, because I had no money, and we all know that exposure is everything in growing a business, I was basically forced to figure out – Now, I’d worked in the media a little bit beforehand but that’s the only place I could turn to. And so, really, in a short amount of time, I sat down with 20 media outlets and 18 of them ended up supporting SavingsAngel in some way.
And, as a result, we’ve been able to generate more than $5 million in sales and spend, John, less than $500.00 in advertising, which is kind of rare I hear.
John: Wow is all I gotta say!
And, No. 1, Fire Nation, I just love when I have guests on that; first and foremost, they scratched their own itch. Like Josh said: Hey – I don’t have a ton of money. I gotta save money on my grocery bill. Why don’t I figure it out and help other people do the same? And scratched his own itch.
I mean, there’s so many opportunities for entrepreneurs. Just – you gotta keep your eyes open, Fire Nation, your ears open. And don’t jump on the first opportunity you see. You gotta be passionate about it too but just, you know, kind of turn it over in your head. Say, “Is this something I can be doing two, three, four, five years down the line?”
You know, here’s Josh still talking about SavingsAngel.com.
Now, Josh, let’s talk about today because you do have a lot of things going on now. What would you say are the major ways that you’re generating revenue in your biz?
Josh: So SavingsAngel is a membership-based website and it’s primarily – I mean, it’s pretty well systematized. The work that I do primarily for SavingsAngel today is, you know, making the executive-level decisions. But, I have amazing people and I have found that the best hires that I’ve ever made have been from my own audience, particularly my most passionate users. And so, as a result, I believe in investing in good people and, as a result, they run SavingsAngel so well.
So, I pretty much get to just show up and do all of the media stuff. And, I gotta tell you John, I really prioritize that. When I’m doing other work – let’s say I’m working on, you know, maybe making some decisions about what goes on a website – on a particular page – and I get an email from the Chicago Tribune, I’ll tell everybody, “I’m sorry. I gotta drop what I’m doing right now” and I have to immediately take care of that reporter.
And that’s been my philosophy for the past 9 ½, 10 years and, as a result, it’s meant millions and millions and millions of dollars of free advertising for SavingsAngel because I believe in serving audiences and serving influencers.
John: So, SavingsAngel’s bringin’ in some revenue.
Anything else in your life?
So upendPR – It’s interesting. Going to podcast movement, the first one, I was really new to the world of podcasting and just talking with other podcasters, they were asking me about my story and I said, “Well, you know, I’m new at podcasting but, you know, I’ve done lots of media. I’ve been on radio and TV” – now, more than – getting close to 1,500 times –
Josh: I’ve been published more than 500 times. Yeah, it’s crazy.
And so, just kind of telling them that story and sharing with the, you know, kind of the success that we’ve been able to create and, you know – All of a sudden I had all these entrepreneurs who were like, “Wait a minute. You gotta teach me how to do that.”
I’m, like, “Oh, really? Would that be something –”
And, are you sensing a pattern here? It’s like, “If I were to design something, what would it look like?” Just kind of asking all those questions and, you know, for me, I’m at the stage in business where it’s all about leaving a legacy right now and I’m so passionate about helping other entrepreneurs become successful because I know how frustrating it is to have a brilliant, million-dollar idea but, because no one hears about it, it dies on the vine. That makes me sad.
And, at the same time, I know other start-ups and other small businesses that have approached PR agencies for help and they get a bill for $5,000.00, $10,000.00, and the results, they’re – You know, they’re not always that great and that can be extremely risky for a start-up.
So we’ve essentially created a done-with-you solution and – You know what? For my market, for the company that’s looking for a solution that’s under $1,000.00 a month, it has been an absolute slam dunk.
You know, really, again, creating the service that I’ve needed for so long. Again, another pattern here.
John: Just scratching your itch, Josh. I love that.
Now, you’ve scratched your itch a few times. It’s worked out a few times but, hey. You are not just going to hit a homerun every time you swing the bat.
So, let’s talk about – not just the difficult moments. Let’s talk about the worst moment. Take us there, Josh. Tell us your worst entrepreneurial-moment story.
Josh: Ahh. And it’s, like, painful to recall this but we all have to go through that growth and we all need to, at some point, discover – you know, and really build up that grit to do it.
And, before I really had that grit, I had started a small-town newspaper – and this is a while back. But the one thing, John, I was so afraid of – I could do any job in that business but the one job that I was just petrified of doing was sales, because of my belief and what I thought that was sales was. I thought that sales was talking somebody into something and then I would get the benefit.
And, you know, I failed miserably. I ended up losing a home. I ended up having to declare personal bankruptcy over that. And, as a dad, as a husband, that really, really, really sucks.
And so, thankfully, after that experience, eventually got into a position where it was nothing but sales. And it was five years of really cutting my teeth in understanding that sales is really about serving other people and helping other people. And, if you help and serve enough people, guess what? You’re gonna be okay.
And sometimes, it takes a little bit of patience because I know we’re all looking at those bills that are due at the end of the month and we’re like, “I gotta get those commissions. I gotta get that business.”
But I’m just telling you that if you can design this where you can just relax and just focus on being an awesome person and just helping as many people as you can, it will come.
John: So, Josh, that’s tough moment that you experienced. I mean, you learned a few things from that. What would you say your biggest lesson is? If you could just sum it up for Fire Nation. What do you want to make sure we get?
Josh: One of the best things that I would recommend is: I want you to truly embrace sales where, if you can truly just love people and if you can love bringing value to audiences and if you can love just making other people’s lives easier, you’ll find that business – and I’ll say PR, public relations, in particular – is going to be very, very easy for you.
John: Fire Nation, I think a core here is, like, you need to look in the mirror at some point and just say, like, “What is something that inspires me?” Like, “What’s something that’s easy for me that seems difficult to other people?”
Like, when someone says, “Wow!” Like, “John (or Josh or fill in the blank) –” like, “How do you do that?” and you say, “Well, it wasn’t that hard” because for whatever reason – for any number of reasons – it wasn’t that hard for you. Then, boom. That’s something you can maybe dial in on and say, “Wow. Is this a kind of a gift that I have that I can maybe infuse some passion into and then create a business around?”
Because, again – just because it’s easy for you, Fire Nation, or because it comes naturally, it doesn’t mean it comes naturally for everybody else.
John: Like, don’t have that curse of knowledge where we just say, “Oh, well. I know this” or “I get that.” That doesn’t mean that it’s simple for other people and that could be your gift.
Now, let’s kind of move into, Josh, another story. This one’s gonna be an AH-HA moment. This is gonna be an idea that you had a light bulb that went off at some point in your journey.
So take us to one of your greatest AH-HA moments and tell us that story.
Josh: Well, I think my biggest AH-HA moment in starting SavingsAngel, in particular, was being in that position of knowing that when you start a business – Again, it could be the best idea in the world but if nobody knows about it, then it’s just not gonna go anywhere. It’s a non-starter. Exposure is everything.
So, again, some people will spend a lot of money in Facebook ads and, if you’ve got a budget to spend in Google ads and Facebook ads and that sort of thing, you know, God bless you for that. I didn’t have that. But what I did have was a true heart.
And when I put myself in a position, and being – in a very humble position, where I would go to a radio station. And one of my biggest media outlets at the beginning was a local Christian broadcaster. And I just explained to them my mission and I said, “Look. I’m just gonna be frank with you. I’d love to buy ads on your station but I’m just not in that position right now but here’s my mission. Here’s what I want to do.”
I believe and, in my case, that if we can empower people to do what they already want to do – People love giving and, if we can just allow them. Kind of take away that fear of scarcity. If we can help them fill their own cups, then they will be in a much better position to fill the cups of others.
And so, by just being completely transparent with people and saying, “You know what? If they’re gonna judge me for that – for not having a budget – let them judge me.” But I’m going to be very, very transparent with who I am, what my mission is and, again, I believe that my heart was pure in this case. Because I looked at what I created and it was – it would do a lot of good if I had the right partners who would help me with the whole exposure side of things.
And, lo and behold, yeah. It ended up being an amazing partnership where, instead of doing ads for the station, I would just deliver value for their listeners.
And I – So, in my case, I would share with them the three best grocery deals that they need to get – that they can get, you know, for 50, 60, 70, 80 percent off that week and it was good content for the listeners. It was great for the radio station because it was a good segment; it became very popular. And, as a result, we ended up generating a lot of business from that.
And it’s really cool, John, when you get – I’m sure – I know you know this day, when this happened for you, but, you know, when you look at what you’ve collected and you look – maybe it’s your bank account or some deposits or something like that – and you just, kind of, wheel your chair back and you put your hands on your face. You just kind of look up. You know, like, “Oh my gosh. This thing is really happening.”
And I want that experience for the entrepreneur that’s – has that great idea and they’re struggling right now. And I believe you can do that. And I believe that the key to unlocking that is to truly just, again, lay your cards on the table, ask your friends who can help you and just go out and find people to serve.
John: Fire Nation, you’ve heard me say this quote before by Albert Einstein: Try not to become a person of success but rather a person of value.
And if you just instill that in everything that you do. Just like Josh said. When he went, you know, in a way, hat in hands, to the radio show but, at the same time, he wasn’t really asking for a handout. He was just saying, “Hey. I have a way that I can provide value to you. No, I can’t really pay you money right now but I can potentially generate money down the line and I can potentially add value to you in your life right now”, the worse they can say is, “No.” And then you just say – walk away and you say, “Okay. What’s another opportunity that I can add value to?”
And you just keep swinging the bat in those areas until you just hit a homerun. I mean, you never stop. That’s the thing. You just keep doing that, Fire Nation, over and over again. So, I love that takeaway.
And, Josh, in just one sentence, what do you want to make sure Fire Nation gets from your story?
Josh: If you are noble and true and you don’t worry about putting on airs and, like, “Oh! I have to have this –” you know, “this glossy front to my website.”
You know, again, that’s a little bit different subject in terms of branding but people crave, audiences crave, authenticity. That’s – When we see someone on a reality –
Oops! John, I’m sorry. You said one sentence. I’m like – I’m like breaking out the professor hat again. I’ll stop right there.
But I’m just gonna say that the transparency’s your friend and audiences are so smart and they will tell exactly when you’re trying to pull one over on them and when you’re just –
John: Besides a run-on sentence, what’s your biggest weakness as an entrepreneur?
Josh: No. I think you pretty much nailed it right there.
No. I’d say, aside from that, would probably being an idea person. Because, you know, when you’re blessed with lots of ideas, it’s very tempting to want to pursue them all.
John: It’s a blessing and a curse.
Josh: It’s an incredible blessing if you can find a way to harness that.
John: But it’s a curse if you can’t.
Josh: It’s – Yeah, for sure.
John: What’s your biggest strength?
Josh: So my biggest strength would be now being in a position where it’s all about helping other entrepreneurs. That blessing of being an idea person is – It makes people go, “Aah. What?”
And, you know, really real – really appreciate, you know, the fact that you can pull this inspiration from seemingly nowhere.
John: Josh, you’re a guy of energy. You’re a guy of passion, ideas. I mean, this is going to be a challenging for you but what is the one thing that has you most fired up today?
Josh: You know, for me, I am so fired up completely transforming an entire industry. And that’s the public relations industry, who I think is fantastic for corporate America, it’s fantastic for huge companies, but I think it’s an industry that’s completely ignored small business, start-ups and entrepreneurs.
And so, I believe that amazing, amazing things can happen with a single person and a single idea and I know that’s where I’m at right now with upendPR.
John: Well, Fire Nation. Amazing things are about to happen in The Lightning Round so don’t you go anywhere. But we’re gonna take a quick minute first to thank our sponsors.
Josh, are you prepared for The Lightning Round?
Josh: Let’s hit it!
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Josh: Oh my gosh. Well, fear. Fear of failure. Fear of being judged.
John: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Josh: I wanted to pursue something because I thought, quote/unquote, “That’s what God wanted me to do” or that’s the best way I could serve Him, when, in fact, I got advice from a wise gentleman who said, “Josh, you can serve Him or you can serve your inner spirit in any way you desire.”
As long as you feel like you’re being true to yourself, you’re absolutely serving your higher power or serving God.
John: What’s the personal habit that contributes to your success?
Josh: Maybe just allowing my energy to just flow and not hold that back. And so, you know, some people might accuse me of being a little bit hyper but I’m not going to change that just because it might be a little bit unprofessional or whatever. I think that whatever gifts you’ve been given, go ahead and embrace it and be whoever you are.
John: Share an internet resource like “Evernotes” with Fire Nation.
Josh: Oh my gosh! For public relations, just embrace Twitter. Because Twitter has completely replaced what you needed to spend thousands of dollars a month in order to do. Twitter is the ultimate platform for connecting with any influencer you desire.
John: What’s one book, Josh, you’d recommend and why?
Josh: The book that I’d – gonna recommend is Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich.
Now, I know that you get that answer a lot but –
John: Yeah, it’s actually been a while, though, so I’m glad you brought it back up. Yeah.
Josh: It’s either that or Atlas Shrugged; one of those two. They were both – They – Each of those two books changed my life in such a profound way. I became who I really was when I read each of those books.
John: Josh, this is the last question of The Lightning Round but it is a doozy.
Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world, identical to earth but you knew no one. You still have all the experience and knowledge you currently have, your food and shelter is taken care of, but all you have is a laptop and $500.00.
What would you do in the next seven days?
Josh: John, I’m not even sure I’d need the $500.00 but I would make it a goal to talk to a thousand people – as many people as I possibly could – and find out what their needs are. Find out – Again, just kind of assess the resources that I have to give, how can I possibly bring value to them and, again, just try to identify what they need and how we can create a win-win together. And that’s all I would do.
And, again, I think the money would probably be optional because I could likely find a way where I could bring so much value to them that they wouldn’t need it.
John: Josh, let’s end today on Fire with a parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you and then we’ll say goodbye.
Josh: Sounds good.
So, you know – and this is not gonna come to a shock to the typical entrepreneur and Fire listener but – I can’t stress how important it is to always surround yourself with good knowledge, wisdom, mentors. And sometimes that means making the hard decisions about the things that you used to enjoy.
You might be a political junkie or a news junkie but you’re not increasing your value and your worth when you listen to that. You might have more trivia to dispend to people but is that really going to increase the value that you can bring the marketplace or your army of friends or the people that look to you as being an expert in something?
So, I think it’s extremely important to continue shoveling coal into that fire and in continuing to invest in yourself. When you are perceived of as a thought leader, you really just don’t need to worry about business a whole lot. Everything kind of takes care of itself when you get to that point.
John: Go ahead and give us the best way that we can get a hold of you.
Josh: John, I have a free gift if that’s okay.
Josh: Okay, cool. And so, I mentioned Twitter earlier. I’m a huge fan of that and I actually created a course. It’s the Twitter Publicity Mastery course. I normally sell it for $60.00. It’s free if you just go to upendPR.com/fire and it shouldn’t ask you for a coupon code but if it does, just use the coupon code, Fire, and it’s absolutely free. I’ll never sell you anything. It’s really just my gift to Fire Nation and, John, you know, my way of saying thanks because you’ve done so much to inspire me –
John: Thank you.
Josh: in my business and thank you so much for all you’ve done to serve so many.
John: Well, I appreciate that and, Fire Nation, you know that you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You’ve been hangin’ out with JE and JLD today so keep up the heat and head over to eofire.com. Just type “Josh” in the search bar. His show notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about. Best show notes in the biz, timestamps, links galore.
And, of course, take him up on that killer free gift, upendPR.com/fire and you’re off to the races with a great Twitter course.
So, Josh, thank you, brother, for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you and we’ll catch you on the flip side.
Josh: Thank you, John.
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