If the cost of actually acquiring a customer. Is more than what you can actually charge that customer. Then you don’t have a business.
Boss Uncaged is a bi weekly podcast that releases the origin stories of business owners as they become Uncaged Trailblazers, Unconventional Thinkers, Untethered Trendsetters & Unstoppable Tycoons. We always hear about overnight success stories, never knowing that it took 20 years to become a reality. Our host S. A. Grant conducts narrative accounts through the voices and stories behind uncaged bosses in each episode, guest from a wide range of backgrounds sharing diverse business insights. Learn how to release your primal success through words of wisdom from inspirational entrepreneurs and industry experts as they depict who they are, how they juggle their work life with family life, their successful habits, business expertise, tools and tips of their trade release. The Uncaged Boss Beast in you welcome our host S. A. Grant.
Welcome to Boss Uncaged. On today’s show, we have Trent Phillips, better known as the digital OG Trent goes by many titles. He’s an executive, he’s a CEO, he’s a day trader. He’s also a business partner of a baseball academy, one of the largest baseball academies in the southeast. In today’s show, we’re going to talk about his digital agency bizography.com, a great take away from today’s show is lead generating Trent dives into a mantra that he learned from his mentor and that he’s passing it on to us as well, too and the reality is, if you’re not getting leads, then your business is dying without any more spoilers. Let’s jump right into the show. Without further ado, the digital OG Trent Phillips. Trent, thank you for coming out to the show today.
Thank you for having me.
So I’m going to work on together for a long time, and it’s about around 2000.
Oh, yes, it’s been a while and time actually flies when you’re having fun, I guess.
Yeah. Yeah. Actually, remember the first time I met you was that I think it was like a restaurant like. Oh, Charlie’s.
Exactly. Exactly and we met through one of your school colleagues who was actually doing some work for me and she mentioned that she had a friend who was very creative. And I said, well, let me introduce myself to this guy.
I think I showed up in a suit and you had like a tracksuit.
Yeah, that’s about as formal as I get most of the time.
Got it. Got it. So who are you?
That’s a good question, because who am I? The answer is I’ve actually changed over the years. I’m originally from the Raleigh Durham area and really kind of got grew up in a family of hardworking people. Mother and father were just people that believed in hard work and had a couple of brothers and sisters that started their own businesses and kind of piqued my interest. Harold, a brother who owned a cleaning service and had a sister who owned beauty salon with just from a distance watched them run their businesses and doing all the things they needed to do to make their businesses grow. And over time, I just kind of knew that I wanted to do that at some point. But as a teenager, you know, I just wanted to be Reggie Jackson, the Oakland A’s but after high school, I went to college and majored in business. I was fortunate enough to get a lot of exposure to different aspects of business, marketing, accounting, finance, management, and graduated from college. I was out looking for a job, and every time I went to a job interview, someone was asking me about what kind of computer skills you have. And I had none. So after about the 15th interview of actually having that question, I realized that, you know, I needed to find a way to get some computer skills. So the first thing I did was I got a job working in an electronics store. Luckily for me, the guy who was selling the computers quit. So the manager asked me, he said, well, do you want to actually take a stab at selling computers? And I was like, well, sure, I don’t know anything about them, but I’ll figure it out. And this is a long time ago. I’m probably going to age myself here, but this is when they had Commodore 64 and TR s 80s were the technology of the day and, you know, their software like Vizi Calc and that type of stuff. So it was the early days of the computer business that was my first introduction to technology. As a result of selling computers, I decided to go back to school and got a computer science degree. There are really kind of understood what the technology was all about and what really made computers work, but I never really wanted to be a programmer. I was always a sales and marketing guy and so I realized that there was a career selling technology. And so that was the path that I wanted to go on. And that’s the path that I pursued and luckily, I had an opportunity to get it a job in a software company and walked in the first day and the company is growing really fast. And so the only office that they had available was a whole janitorial room where I had a bunch of brooms and mops in it. And so they transformed that room into my first office. And so I had the smallest office in the building. Within six months, I was the top salesman in the company. So from small rooms, big things happen, I guess you could say. But it was something that I wanted to do. I was very interested in doing. I had some very good advice at a very young age. When I was in the software company, a guy came by and he said, look, you want to be in this business. The first thing you need to do is you need to learn how to be a student of the business and so learn everything you can possibly learn about the computer business. Even if it’s not in your area, it will actually help you in your career development. And I took that to heart. I took that to heart and I learned as much as I possibly could about hardware and software and networking and all the different aspects of technology and over the years, that advice has actually been a godsend for me, because as we all know in the technology business, the technology changes all the time and so there was always something to learn.
So what kind of technology business are you into? I mean, I’m talking about tech as far as hardware, software. I mean, what do you do exactly?
Well, for the last 20 years, we built what we call today a digital marketing agency, 15 years in the software business. I literally just got burned out from, you know, riding airplanes and living in hotels and running from one rental car to the other. So at the age of 38, I left the software business and went to the basement of my house and started a Web design firm. My last job in the software business was selling Web base software and so I have been introduced to the Internet and the promise that the Internet had and this is 1999 to kind of give you some time perspective. So I went to the basement of my house, put together a business plan and started out just trying to figure out how I was going to convince people that the Internet was going to be the greatest thing. I remember one of our last sales calls that I have when I was working for a software company was at Home Depot and I was sitting in the CEO’s office and he gets a phone call from one of his suppliers, some little small company out in Arkansas who made cabinets and the guy was having problems logging into the inventory management system at Home Depot and a light went off in my head that the big companies, they have all the resources to, you know, programmers and computers and that type of stuff but the small guys, they didn’t have any of those resources. And usually they were the Lone Ranger and a lot of cases. And I felt like there was an opportunity to work with small businesses and provide technology services to those guys and in particular websites, because at that time, websites were a very new thing. And so I pursued that angle.
Got It, So you’re looking at in hindsight, you’re talking about 20, 30 years in the game. Is anything that you could have done differently to get you where you are a lot faster if you could do it all over again?
Well, you know, you always can think of things that you would want to do differently. I wished I had met Bill Gates and worked with him on building the software business. I probably wouldn’t be in the software business right now, the technology business right now but, you know, I don’t have any regrets. I think everybody actually builds a path to their career. My journey has actually been a very good journey and I don’t have any regrets about that at all.
So I guess another factor would be, you know, your family life. How do you juggle your work life with your family life?
Well, I was lucky because my wife was in the software business and she had actually graduated from California Berkeley’s Computer Science Department and literally one day some long haired hippie walked into one of her classes and said, hey, anybody who wants a job show up at two o’clock tomorrow at this place and she did it. She got a job in the technology business. That company ended up being Informix and Informix actually grew into a very big company and it was actually bought by IBM in 2002 for a billion dollars. So she knew the game. She knew all of the things that came along with a technology business. We both traveled and we traveled a lot. I think we didn’t have a kid for a first five years were married because we just basically travel all the time but when we did start having kids, we literally actually used to hand off my oldest son in the airport. I would be coming in and she would be going out or I would be going out and she would be coming in and we would literally hand the kid off in the in the airport to one another. And so, you know, after doing that a few times, we realized that, you know what, one of us had to actually do something different that actually allow us to be around the house a little more and so that was part of the impetus for me to go into the basement of a house and starting a Web design company.
Well, that’s pretty interesting. Do you have any particular morning habits or morning routines that you do on a daily basis that get you ready for your day?
Well, you know, I try to as much as possible, get up and work out in the morning, then always happen but if I can get, you know, three or four days a weekend, that’s pretty good for me. That kind of clears my head and while I’m working out, it allows me to think about the things that I need to accomplish for that particular day or for the week. So that’s, you know, my biggest routine is just working out.
Got you.How much you benching?
I’m not benching anything actually
How about you, a big guy like what, 6’2″-6’3″ ?
Oh, actually 6’4.5″. But I’ve never been a big weight guy. I was always more so into just running and just doing a lot of different sports as a kid, you know, I just never really was that guy who went in the weight room and picked up 500 pounds and yelled and screamed and t just wasn’t me.
Got you,u were being addressed while you’re in the gym Right?
Hey, guys, let’s take a quick break and here is from today’s sponsor
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Back to the show.
Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
Retired. I’ve been doing this now for about 35 years, 15 years in the software business working with five technology companies, three or startups that actually went IPO. So that was kind of a blur and then started a web design business and actually having that company kind of evolve into a digital marketing agency over 20 years, 35 years of technology is a lot. Now, I’m just kind of looking at just cutting back and simplifying life a little bit and just doing some other things that I like just to maybe do some volunteer work and that type of thing.
So being the giant tech and we know that tech changes literally like it used to be, like every 90 days now is like every nine days. What do you see the industry going in the next 20 years?
You know, it’s funny, when I got into the technology business, people were doing timesharing on mainframes. When I took my first computer class, it was actually programming COBOL on punch cards, so it’s kind of funny how things have happened. We went from timesharing on a mainframe to working on many computers to then the advent of PCs and then PCs had to be networked into a client server environment and then, you know, came along the Internet. And so I remember Sun Microsystems used to have this slogan, the network is the computer. And so everything that was about networking and then just things that just evolved and so now we’re at a in the cloud computing era. It’s kind of funny in a lot of ways. It’s kind of like the old timesharing punch card area. So things have kind of almost come full circle in some ways.
So what are your thoughts on, like, artificial intelligence? And I mean, those things getting to the point where they can do majority of the jobs and they can execute way more than people could individually?
You know, it’s interesting and I think is exciting in a way. I was lucky enough to work in a Cisco software company. The basis of artificial intelligence is literally based off of statistics and basically algorithms and that type of stuff and. I think A.I. is going to be a very useful tool for all types of businesses and individuals. I think that we have to be careful about the use of artificial intelligence and how it’s actually applied to everyday life. I’ve always believed that technology is a tool and an enabler, but it is not to supplant humans.It’s actually to be a tool for humans to actually use.
So why do you do what you do? I mean, why did you even get into this business?
I was, as I mentioned, you know, just. Really just trying to get a job and in the early 80s, the technology industry was really growing up by Microsoft or cool. Those companies were born around the late 70s, early 80s Apple Computer. And so I was just trying to find a career and lo and behold, bumped into the career of all careers because now technology is everywhere. It permeates everything that we do on a daily basis. And a lot of cases it’s actually taken over industries. You look at what Tesla has done to the car industry, it’s just totally transformed that that business. And you can’t think of a section of life today where technology hasn’t actually touched it. And so in retrospect, I kind of hit the jackpot. I hit the area that not only has grown, but is actually literally growing tentacles into every aspect of life on a daily basis.
Oh, definitely. Very interesting. So, I mean, being a year in tech, what are some tools that you use on a daily basis that you can run your company without?
Being in a project based business, you’ve got to have project management tools, and so we use Trello for managing our Web projects and marketing projects. We use CRM tools like HubSpot for tracking contacts and sales opportunities. We use quick books for all of our accounting and accounts payable accounts receivables. And I just used a lot of phone based productivity tools for task management. I use CamCord for actually just getting business cards and keeping track of contacts. We use MailChimp for email marketing and so there’s just a number of Web based tools that we use to make it all work. You know, you have to learn a lot of different tools but the good thing is that a lot of these things are now connected. And so we have seamless integration between those tools and it increases our productivity dramatically.
Well, what the email marketing side of things you said, you use Mailchimp, Have you use other providers before, like CostaContact, for example, or do you have a preference? I mean, I know you use a Mailchimp, but is there a particular reason why you use.
Well, you know, literally, HubSpot has email marketing and CostaContact was actually around before Mailchimp was. And I think as a business owner, you want to use things that actually are going to improve your productivity and I think being intuitive, easy to use approach that MailChimp has really caught my eye. I was able to use it literally out of the box without any training and that’s important because, again, I’ve been in the technology business for thirty five years. I remember when the first thing you did when you use technology is you pulled out the manual and you read the manual on how to do stuff. Nobody does that anymore. And so if you can’t literally just open up an application and start using it right away and figure it out, then you’re not going to probably use it very long and so it has to be easy to use. It has to be intuitive. And I think MailChimp is something that has met that criteria for us.
So let’s say I’m been up and coming entrepreneur. I want to build a company like yours. I want to get into tech. What words of wisdom would you do for me?
Well, I tell all of our clients today is that most of the time when you start a business today, the first thing you would do is actually build a business plan. And a business plan is important still but more important to me is when you have an idea is figure out a plan on how you’re going to get customers, because at the core of any business is the ability to go out and get customers and I had a mentor tell me one time that if the cost of actually acquiring a customer is more than what you can actually charge that customer. Then you don’t have a business, and so you got to be able to acquire a client at a price and then be able to charge a higher price in order to have a business. And so in a lot of ways, businesses are blocking and tackling and the pure sense of that is actually customer acquisition. We help a lot of companies today in our business figure out how to actually get clients and I was reading an article here recently where 750 of the Fortune 1000 CEOs were interviewed and they ask in 2020 what was going to be your biggest challenge? And fifty one percent of them said lead generation and that really caught me off guard but if you think about it, it’s probably one of the more difficult things to do today because the way people consume information has dramatically changed over the years.
Well, definitely good for me. I mean, I think versus the Lead gen, I think is more so the lifetime value of getting the customer. So if you say you get a customer for five dollars on a lead, but the reality is, is over a period of time, you can actually up, sell, cross-sell down, sell and get way more money over a period of time.
Absolutely. Absolutely so the lifetime value of a customer can be significant and so if you can acquire that client, then you can use all of the digital marketing technology and things that are around the day to not only actually sell and cross-sell your products and services to that particular customer, but that customer is also an ideal person to actually get referrals from and as our ideal person to get reviews from those reviews and those referrals are the basis for getting more clients and that’s one of the things that we actually help companies with today is understanding that the acquisition of a client is not just for that client, but also for the potential clients that they may actually refer to you.So it’s important that not only that you have a system in place for acquiring clients, but also a system in place to be able to upsale those clients and actually get referrals and reviews from those clients.
Yeah, definitely some great insight. So how can people find you? I mean, do you have a website, Instagram, Facebook, birth certificate?
Yeah, we….I Have got a birth certificate, its got of has got a little dirt on it. So it’s been around for a while. But yeah, you can find us at bizography.com. That’s the easiest way to find us. We obviously are on Facebook and LinkedIn and all the popular social media platforms, but the best way to get some insight into us is to check out our website at bizography.com
Great. So I got a particular question that I was waiting to ask you this question for. Like I’ve been thinking about this question actually for years now. If you had an opportunity to sit down with somebody uninterrupted for twenty four hours, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Well, it’s interesting, it would probably be Martin Luther King. Because here’s a man who fought for social justice for a group of people who were oppressed for several hundred years and literally, he fought a fight to get not only his race of people, but people that were not actually in the mainstream women, gay, LGBTQ people, union people, everybody that was actually on the fringes to have an opportunity to actually participate in the mainstream and he took the idea that was created in the United States. This idea that we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal and he held that piece of paper up to the mainstream and said, look, this is what you wrote, we want to hold you to it and he went about doing that. So just a conversation with him about, you know, today what he would actually see going on in the world, what the things that he fought for, you know, improving the poverty rate, education, equal opportunity, all of those things would be of interest to me. Financial independence, all of those things would actually be something I want to actually talk to about.
Pretty legit answer.
Well, that’s my man. That’s my man.
Well, I mean, this concludes the show. And I definitely appreciate you taking the time out today and coming out.
Thank you for having me. I really enjoyed it.
Thanks for tuning into another episode of Bosso UnCaged. I hope you got some helpful insight and clarity to the diverse approach on your journey to becoming a Trailblazer at this podcast. Helped you please email me about it. Submit additional questions. You would love to hear me ask our guests and or drop me your thoughts at ask sagrant.com post comments. Share hit subscribe and remember, to become a Boss Uncaged, you have to release your inner beast. S. A. Grant signing off.
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