We’re used to associating portfolios with creative professionals, like artists or writers. However, the concept of a “Portfolio Life” has become essential for career survival.
Our guest is serial entrepreneur Rodney Goldston as he shares experiences he earned as an employee in various Fortune 100 companies helped him build a successful solo consulting practice.
It’s the story of JugHead Media on this episode of The Build.
Announcer: From 2820 Radio in Philadelphia, it's The Build: Conversations with entrepreneurs and innovators about their dreams, their triumphs and their challenges. Joe: Portfolios, we are used to associating portfolios with creative professionals, like writers or artists. However, the concept of a portfolio life has become essential for survivor, not just as an entrepreneur, but in almost any profession. Today on The Build, I am talking with serial entrepreneur Rodney Goldston. He is going to tell us how experiences he earned as an employee in various Fortune 100 companies helped him build a successful solo consulting practice. He will also share his list of the scales you will need to work on to make an impact in your career. It's the story of Jughead Media coming up next on The Build. Announcer: The Build is made possible with support from 2820 Press, providing business consulting and content strategy services to customer-obsessed companies nationwide, more information at 2820press.com. Joe: It's The Build. I am Joe Taylor, Jr., showing you this week by Rodney Goldston, founder of Jughead Media, welcome. Rodney G: And RodneyGoldston.com Joe: Talk a little bit about the distinctions between the two, but we often collect origin stories on The Build. Tell me a little bit, I think we share some common background. We both came from large organizations and at a certain point there was a little bit of a kick to go from being a key player in a big team to a founder. Tell me what that journey was like for you? Rodney G: Thank you, Joe, for having me and for me it's been several things. I have worked for several large organizations, starting when I graduated from Temple back in the 90s, my first job was with a company called Lucent Technologies, loved my job. Not thought, I did. I wanted to retire from Lucent. I wanted to be a sales trainer. I was on path to move to Colorado and I was doing well as a salesperson. I showed up for work one day and they had sold our entire division. None of us across the country worked for the company anymore and I did not want to work for the new company. Rodney G: I decided to start a company called Stealth Marketing and I developed a technology called Adtrack that I sold it to auto dealers. What we did was we would monitor off-line response rates for dealers. Essentially, we sold them toll-free numbers and if the dealer had 10 ads running simultaneously, we would give them 10 separate toll-free numbers and we would monitor, it's called Dialed Number Identification Service, the information paths over the phone line for the dealer and report on it in real time. I did that for about four years and decided this is too hard. It's too difficult growing a business. I am a Fortune 100 guy. I will go back to work. Rodney G: I bounced around a little bit and then landed at General Motors and thought I would retire from General Motors. This was in 2008. I had been there two years or so and 2008 rolled around and I am a little slow sometimes on the uptake. I should have saw it coming, but hindsight is 2020 vision. We were closing dealers down every week. My clients for General Motors financed were the auto dealerships. I came into work one day and low and behold the automotive crisis hits and I worked for General Motors and my office was the first one that got shut down. Rodney G: I had a good friend who was in banking at the time and he still does. He does reverse mortgages. His name is Don Graves. If you need a reverse mortgage, call Don Graves. You can reach him at Dongraves.com. Don said, "Rod, I am going to teach you how to do this." He was at the time was the top reverse mortgage representative in the country for any lender and he said, "I am going to show you how to do this. This will be the easiest thing you have ever done." I said, "Great Don, show me how to do this." Rodney G: I believe and I go to work for a company called Indy Mac Bank, which was owned at the time by Lehman Brothers and 30 days later, the banking collapse hit and they sat down. We spent about a year there and bounced over to Wells Fargo. I think I spent three years at Wells Fargo before they pulled out of the reverse mortgage space. MetLife hired almost all the reverse mortgage people across the country I think it actually and people didn't realize MetLife had a bank, but overnight MetLife was the biggest reverse mortgage player in the country after Wells Fargo pulled out. On a board meeting they announced to us in the room where they brought us all into train us that they were selling their bank. People started to cry and it was like something biblical, wailing and moaning and gnashing of teeth. Rodney G: I decided at that point that I was going to go back into business for myself. I had started this company. At the time it was called Flagship Digital Advertising. What I wanted to do was do digital screenage, digital signage. I was ahead of that curve, believe it or not. When I first launched it, placing the digital screens was easy, because of the economy, finding advertisers was difficult. It sat for a while and when this whole thing with MetLife came about getting laid off, I decided to go back to work for myself. Rodney G: I did business under that name Flagship Digital for a bit, then change to Jughead Media. People ask me, "Why do you call it Jughead?" I get this question all the time. They either asked me is it because I was in the military? I say, "No, those are jarheads, not jugheads." They ask me if it was about the Archie's Comics? and I say, "No, actually I name the company after a Prince song called Jughead. I think it was on â€¦ Which album was that? I believe the album, it came out around '96 or '97. It was the one where he wrote slave on his face. Joe: It was one of the New Power Generations one. Rodney G: Are you a Prince fan? Joe: Oh yes, we are going to get along just fine. Rodney G: No wonder we get along. Anyway, the first time I heard the song, the very first time I heard it, I kept a section in my planner at the time called "Someday Maybe." I wrote down in the planner "Start a company called Jughead" and that's how it came about. Joe: There you go. The interesting thing out of that story is when I have been talking about entrepreneurs for years, but specifically for this series and folks keep saying the fear that many folks experience when thinking about starting their own company is where is the job security going to come from? You were telling a story I have heard again and again, which is, "Oh, I am going to retire from this company. This is a big Fortune 100 company. I will be able to have a gig here for 40 years." What happens is in our current economy for the last 10, 15 years, you don't know until you roll into the office that you have been traded like you are a baseball player or even worse, the company has just gone out of business or folded a certain portion of its operations. Tell me a little bit about how you have taken what you have learned in those cases and started to structure some security for yourself as a business owner? Rodney G: I don't know that we have security in what we are doing? What of the things that Seth Godin always says and I agree with is we have to be doing things that might not work. As an entrepreneur, I am not afraid to lunch. But what happens is I am always afraid my two month. I'm like, "Oh my God, am I going to lose a client? Am I going to pay the bills this month?" I'm never afraid to launch, to get out there. Rodney G: I have a business idea every day. I was with my buddy, Don, actually and he read a book called "Entrepreneurial DNA" he was telling me about that describes various types of entrepreneurs, categorizes them, which I thought was very interesting. He talked about Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin conglomerate I guess you would call it. Richard Branson is an opportunist. He sees an opportunity and he takes advantage of it. Rodney G: I think that's the category I fit into. I walk down the street and I say, "That's a business opportunity there." I could be in 10 different businesses and the skill I think I need to develop is how to structure those, how to structure a team around the business to get one going and have somebody running it or have a group running it, so it doesn't need to be day-to-day and then move onto this opportunity over here. There are different types of entrepreneurs. I think it's important to figure out what type you are. I just got that literally last week, "I'm an opportunist." Joe: Along those lines, a lot of folks will see an idea when something gets presented in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, here's a new company, "Oh, Uber, oh what an obvious idea. I could've started that." But the reality is it's often folks making the decision to take that idea and actually turn it into something. What enables you to actually go from identifying what could be a good business idea and actually executing it, launching it? Rodney G: If I go back to Stealth Marketing and Adtrack, what actually happened was I was doing something else and talking to auto dealers, uncovered a need. There were only two big companies at the time doing it. I became a prominent regional player. One, there was not a lot of companies doing it. We were still in the age of people trying to figure out what the Internet was. I had built an analytics product before we had analytics as a word. So because I understood technology and liked it and I love marketing, I was able to put together a solution to the problem. Rodney G: I think the key for an entrepreneur is being able to observe the world they live in. When I say "world" your world could be Southwest Philly and so you don't have to be the best marketer or hoagie maker in the world. If your world is Southwest Philly or a 10 block radius in Southwest Philly, West Philly that's your world. Can you become the best marketer in Upper Darby? Can you become the best marketer in Southwest Philly, the best hoagie maker or the best whatever? How we define world, I think needs to change. Rodney G: A lot of times entrepreneurs think, "Well, I have to be Nike. I have to be number one." I think one of the things, Joe, I find more than any time in the history of our country is we can make a living. I don't have to be Phil Knight. I don't have to be making $1 million. I can make $100,000 out of my basement with one or two clients. I think that's what technology has enabled us to do. Companies like Google, I tell people all the time get certified with Google doing something. Google certified photographers. You can go out and take pictures with the 360 thing and you could make a ton of money. People didn't understand that. Rodney G: One of the best things I did and the second thing I did was it started with me just getting certified through Google and learning to do AdWords and I was able to pick up a contract just doing AdWords. Starting with AdWords grew into, we managed to websites. We provide content. We do analytics. You don't necessarily today have to start your old thing. You can latch onto something that's already been done. A lot of times though I think what happens is if you get in the game too late â€¦ Rodney G: For example, I am a HubSpot partner. Man, I don't know how many there are now. If you get in the game too late, Seth Godin again says, "The best time to start something is always typically maybe 10 years ago, 15 years ago when it gets talking about technology or blogging. The second best time is now." Now is always a good time so that we should act and getting into working and back to work and I think a lot of times what happens is when we are working for the man, we just don't have a lot of time. If you are going to work 40, 50, 60 hours a week and don't have a family, my God, it's like your hours are consumed. It's very difficult much think about something, much less start something because you just don't have the hours in a day. You got to sleep eight hours. Rodney G: For me, quitting cold turkey â€¦ My mode of operations has always been I'm just going to quit. When I was working at Lucent and they decided they were going to sell the company, I met an auto dealer named Jerry Miller, actually he owns the Audi and the Porsche stores in the Philadelphia area. By chance, I met Jerry and he befriended me. On the first meeting we were talking and he said, "Young man, you can do your job or you can do this business." That was on a Tuesday. I will never forget. It was on a Tuesday morning. Wednesday, I decided to just quit my job. My wife came downstairs and she said, "Aren't you going to work?" I said, "I met this guy Jerry Miller who told me I should quit." Joe: What was her reaction to that? [Crosstalk 00:13:51]. Rodney G: It was a blowout. The thing is though we never looked back. During that time, Joe, I will tell you I drove luxury cars. We never missed a mortgage payment. We saved the money. I'm not saying it was easy because it wasn't easy, but I am a believer. I'm a Christian, so I say there is a lull of faithfulness that our needs were met and beyond our needs, to be honest with you. Because the first time I did that, I saw a level of success. Then I chose to go back to work. It became easier for me to just say, "You know what? I can make it on my own," so I know that I can figure out something to do that I can provide a living for myself and my family. Joe: I think one of the things you are touching on is there is a thread of conversation I have seen over the past few months over the concept of looking at your career as a series of words of duty. A lot of the veterans I work with tell me that it's easy for them to conceptualize this because they would say, "Well, I did three years doing X. I did three years doing Y and now I'm going to do three years running this business and maybe I will sell that and do three years doing the next thing." Joe: There is a great book on the market called "Grind Hopping" that takes the same approach. The idea that as it gets harder for us to find companies where we can work for 30, 40, 50 years, if you conceptualize this idea of what's the project I am working on now and what's the next project? For you, it sounds like that's one mode. It seems like thinking about this from a project by project standpoint is also given you a little bit more control over that work-like fit? Rodney G: I just start thinking about it that way. Jeff Goings just wrote a book and he talks about living a portfolio based life. I really just started seeing it that way. When you think about this idea, we should be doing things that might not work. Those are the only things worth doing. That's the only time we can really carve out a niche for ourselves is if there is no path. Rodney G: If there was a path, Joe has already done this and it's working for Joe. One, Joe is my competition and there is probably 50 people like Joe already doing it, so I have got to figure out something that works for me and it might not work, so it becomes a project. I am going to try this for the next year. I am going to give it a year. If it works, then maybe we would do it, maybe it becomes a big business or maybe it becomes something that we do for the next four or five years and then we move on to the next project. Rodney G: That's exactly what by, I don't want to say by mistake or just maybe by default this happened. I have this portfolio of things I have done. I have some great work I have done for big companies, but then I have a whole bunch of stuff as well I have done on my own. I have run a direct mail center because I did it for our auto dealers. I did it out of my house. I still get the Pitney Bowles stuff in the mail. A guy came to my house a couple of years ago. He said, "You are my largest client." I said, "Really? I have been shut down for three years, man." I said, "That's sad." Rodney G: I have done direct mail. I have run a direct-mail operation. I had a content development company before we knew what it was. I owned a newsletter service we sold to newsletters called "Behind the Wheel," where we provided all the content. You just paid us. We did everything. We handled the mail and the writing. I have this portfolio like you said and it has been built around to doing these entrepreneurial projects over the years. Rodney G: In marketing what we do, there is a concept of being a specialist versus a hybrid. I am very much a hybrid. Matt Cutts is very much a specialist. I tell folks all the time. I don't think Matt Cutts takes on clients because he is with Google, but I said, "if you could hire Matt Cutts or Danny Sullivan, please hire them and invite me to the meeting because I am reading all their stuff and I want to be in the meeting and I want to hear what they have to say. But if you cannot hire them, I am a good hybrid and so I could piece a lot of things together." We have in marketing this idea of should I be a specialist or should I be a hybrid? I think that's a decision people have to make for themselves. I see you can make money doing both. I think making money as a specialist takes a little longer, but if you do you probably make more money. But being a hybrid for folks, like you and did, it becomes, "Can you do a newsletter?" "Yes." Rodney G: The first time I got asked that question from an auto dealer, I had no clue. I was there to talk about something else and they said, "Well, we have been wanting to do this newsletter. Can you do one for us?" "Yes. I can do it." I had to go and call a friend of mine who has been a wonderful mentor to me and he was running an agency at the time. I said, "I need to do this newsletter. I don't know what to charge?" Then he showed me how to do this. Yes, I am very much a hybrid. If I was a doctor, I would see myself as a family practitioner. I can diagnose and I can help and I can bring in other specialists when the problem gets beyond what I can do alone. Joe: Rule one sounds like if you made the sale, stop selling, say yes and then figure out how to deliver. Rodney G: Oh yes, when someone asks you can you do this? If you want to be a hybrid, just say yes and go figure out how to do it. Joe: Rule two is figuring out how to create that demand among potential customers and clients. For you, what's the process like to cultivate potential new clients for your business? Rodney G: In today's world, the HubSpot answer is just do content development, but there is so much content on the Internet now. I think old-school networking will never go away. We talked earlier about a big opportunity I am working on now that we cannot talk about, but that just came about because of face-to-face meetings. I actually walked past a lady a few years ago on the street, didn't know my wife recognized her as someone going â€¦ We go to a big church, over 1000 people, so it's very difficult to just know someone. She said, "I think that lady goes to our church." We stopped her. We said, "Hey, do you go to Covenant Fellowship?" "Yes." Got to be friends with her just casually over a number of years and through that encounter on the street is how this other opportunity, that's one of the ways it came about. Rodney G: This idea of developing content and people find you and people find Jughead Media all the time on the Internet, follow my form, but it's very difficult to turn that into business sometimes, particularly when you are in an environment where you have larger agencies. I think that that becomes difficult. I am good at networking. Rodney G: I wrote an article on RodneyGoldston.com a few weeks ago about just saying hi. I like people. If you put me in a room with 100 people or 1000 people and just give me enough time, I will eventually have met them all because I like talking to people. Out of talking to people, we find opportunities. When I leave here, actually I am going right over to [Tefna 00:21:43] Street, no it wasn't the thing a while back, it was a brother networking event I just happened to go to I met a guy at the bar. We were sitting around having drinks and he says, the franchise has infusion software and he says, "I am just really confused." I just say, "You know what? I happen to be a certified hotspot. They all work the same." He goes, "Can you help me?" "Yes." Joe: Then immediately run to Amazon and get the manual on how to do this. Rodney G: He has got it. He is going to give it to me. He says, "I have the manual." I've never be the manual, though. Joe: Well, it sounds like that's the structure of being a successful hybrid entrepreneur is knowing how to adapt a set of things you have learned to new situations. Rodney G: Right and with crowdsourcing and networking, for example, you specialize in video and audio. If I got a project, a really big project, I could always come say, "Hey Joe, let's partner on this." Or if you get something that says, "We need to do some analytics and AdWords, and need a good person, I know a guy." The project can run through 2020 Press and maybe we partner on it. I think in the world we are in today and the economy we are in today, one is all this hype about social media and connecting. But it's difficult to truly connect with people over Twitter and Facebook. You have 1000 followers. I can't connect with 10,000 people, but I can connect with Joe. I can meet Joe here, do a podcast and say, "Joe and I have a commonality. We like funk music. Do you like coffee, Joe?" Joe: I don't like coffee, which is ironic because the first guest on our series is a coffee manufacturer. Rodney G: I like the three things. I like Starbucks coffee, funk music and barbecue, not necessarily in that order. I can get along with just about anybody who likes those three things. The point is about connecting. There is a connection made because I attended an event a few months ago and the connection gets made every do something. That's building that network and you never know where that might take you and what opportunities might come from that. Joe: A few episodes back, we interviewed a young lady named Amber [Wanner 00:24:22]. In her mid-20s, already running a highly successful company called "Candidate." She told us the same thing. She is a combination clinical recruiter and matchmaker. She built this company with nothing but a one-page landing page no big technology behind it because her secret sauce was leveraging presence at events. The flip side of that is I think we have both met a lot of folks that come from this notion there must be some way to either make money online or develop a business where you don't necessarily have to leave the house. What would you say to an entrepreneur that might be a little bit more introverted that may be less comfortable about getting face-to-face with folks? How can they overcome some of that fear or some of that nervousness about interacting with people? Rodney G: Overcoming fear with interacting people, I think you just have to do it, take a class if you have to, go to You-to-Me. There has got to be class, right? There has to be something if you really are not good at that. But I think this idea of making money online, I don't make money online. I have made a lot of money through the Internet and with technology, but there's nothing to say on a RodneyGoldston.com. I made $1000 in one hour about a year ago because someone read a blog post and said, "Can you come talk to some kids about this for me? We'll pay you." I thought, "Yes, yes." Joe: It's rule one. Rodney G: That person, it turns out, works out for Kenny Gamble, a charter school organization. Through not trying to sell anything â€¦ I wrote a blog post called "Seven Things Anyone Can Do To Be Successful in a Digital Marketplace." This guy reads it, works for the organization, says, "I want you to come talk to our kids about it. We will pay you," which I would have done it for free, by the way. I go there. I do this talk, meet all these wonderful kids, educators. They offer me a job on the spot. They said, "Can you come in and work with kids?" I turned down the job, but it put me in that network again. Rodney G: Through the writing, now I have developed another network. I think that gets back to what you were saying earlier. It's a project. I have RodneyGoldston.com over here and it's been a project now for about three years. I have been blogging and writing and I just write about the things I like. Stephen Biko, the South African wrote a book called "I Write What I Like" and that's my model for my blog. I just write what I like. It tends to be focused on marketing success type stuff, but I write the things I like. I write what comes out of me. I am not trying to sell anything, so I am not driven by that. These things come out, I write. Rodney G: I was just telling you that Start Grind picked me up as a writer just this week, but in the application you fill out they ask you to point to your own blog or writing. You won't find a whole bunch of stuff on my site like "seven things you can do for this" or eight ways â€¦" I wrote a blog post a couple months ago called â€¦ Oh man, I really offended a lot of people when I wrote it, "You Are Just Average If You Are Working For The Man." I didn't mean any harm by it, but what I was trying to say if you understand what it takes to be an employee in the world, employers need average people for the most part. You can be an exceptional employee, but employers are not looking for the top person in videography because they can't hire that person. They can't. The standard becomes very average. Rodney G: What happens I find is when we go into working â€¦ When we become an employee, it's very difficult to become excellent because companies have rules and if you break them, they fire you, so you end up remaining very average. The only way to become excellent at something is to get out of that environment. You might be an excellent employee. Employees are making millions of dollars. You can make millions of dollars as an employee and I liked being an employee. I loved my job at General Motors. I absolutely loved the job I had at Lucent Technology and I loved the job I had and Wells Fargo-MetLife. I wanted to retire from all those places, never wanted to leave. I was always forced out through mergers and selling and things of that nature. Rodney G: I don't have anything against employees. I just think we need to understand the only way to become excellent at something is to get out of that. Not that you can't make money. That's not what I'm saying. I am saying if you want to be excellent at it, if you want to be excellent in what will we call this, videography? Joe: We will call it content development. Rodney G: If you go to work for a company that company is going to have rules. They are going to have rules about what you can write, what you can say. You could write whatever you like. You could do a Stephen Biko, I write what I like and you could write what comes out of you. I got an email one morning â€¦ Rodney G: Well, let me get back to how I started the blog. I started the blog when Seth Godin told me to, believe it or not. Google had us down at an event, the Google Partners had an event in New York. Seth Godin was a speaker. Anyone remember Welcome Back, Kotter and Arnold Horshack and what Arnold Horshack used to do whenever he knew the answer to something or had a question he would go, "Ooh, ooh, ooh." When they opened the questions up for Seth Godin, I did an Arnold Horshack, "Ooh, ooh, ooh." I'm jumping up and down and they said, "You." The first question I asked was â€¦ I had just started this idea with Jughead Media. My question was something along the lines of, "I have this agency I am trying to do and I got certified to Google, but I am reading about personal branding and all that kind of thing. I don't know what to do, Seth?" Rodney G: Seth said, "When you are small, you are always the brand," and he said, "You should have a blog." That next day I came back and I launched RodneyGoldston.com. We have a blog over on Jughead Media, but what I really enjoy writing and spending my time is over on RodneyGoldston.com because I write what I like. I write what comes out of me. I'm trying to think of the author wrote "Newsjacking." Joe: David Meerman Scott. Rodney G: I am doing this blogging and I read all of David's books as well, "Newsjack." I am this huge fan of Seth and David. I am reading David's blog one day and he had written when the guy who did the map app for the iPhone 4 at the time or iPhone 5 got fired, David wrote a post about that. I differed on the opinion and I wrote a response to it on my blog and I think the title was "What Would Steve Jobs Do?" a wwwjd thing. It was called "What Would Steve Do a Response to David Meerman Scott?" I write this and I comment on David's blog that I have a different opinion and here it is over here. Rodney G: I wake up one morning and I remember it was on a Sunday and I was laying in the bed. I comments are not enabled on my blog and that's a Seth Godin thing. I get to this email and is from David Meerman Scott and I fall out of the bed literally. I'm like, "Oh my God, Angie, David Meerman Scott sent me an email." The email basically just says, "Hey, I read this blog post." He says, "This made my day." I'm like, "I made David Merman Scott's day?" He goes on about the blog post and he goes, "That thing you wrote on Seven Things Anyone Can Be Successful, that is great." I felt just so good. I thought, "Oh my God." I don't have comments turned on my blog and my blog would blow up if anyone saw that David Meerman Scott had read my stuff. I would be an overnight success. For me, that was worth more than money. Joe: It's validation that somebody you respect â€¦ Rodney G: That in this environment where we are trying to be what's the term I want to use when we are writing content? You actually do that someone who was literally making a lot of money doing this and is probably named one of the top five marketers in the world reads this and says, "This is great." Yes, it really did, but that's what I really love to do. Rodney G: On Jughead Media that's where I make my money. I make money on the Internet by providing services and getting back to the initial question you were asking, for me it's always been to services. I have never been an Internet guy that makes money by showing people how to make money on the Internet because you have those people, right? I'm not saying they don't make money. They don't know what they are doing. Joe: But there is a group of those people â€¦ Rodney G: Yes, just pay me and I will show you how to make â€¦ That's never been me. Me, it's always been I am going to find need, identify a need and I am going to develop a service around that need. That has worked for me. Joe: I think that echoes what we observe a lot in our organization, which is we have hit this era of what we keep calling content. The TV and radio producer in the keeps cringing when we hear it called content because it's like what's it go into? But since we call it that now, audiences use that more to validate their assumption about who you are than they do to â€¦ I don't know that anybody besides they are going to wake up today and say, "I want to do business with someone who has written a list of five content management systems? What I want to do is connect with somebody I think I can trust to solve this problem and now let me go look at their blog to make sure they are not a psycho." Or if we want a psycho, maybe we do want â€¦ Rodney G: Yes and that's one idea, but I think when you have a project or portfolio-based life, as you develop a portfolio, then that the online content becomes less important. What I can tell people real quick, I had 100 auto dealers as clients. That's my validation. It didn't matter if I write anything. I've never screwed anybody over. I did an excellent job for every client I have ever had. Here they are. Here's my portfolio. I have worked for these big companies. Here's my list of managers, call them. Rodney G: I am still good friends with one of my first managers, Joe Jones at Lucent. He is out in Florida now living the retired life. He is still grinding it out. I will tell folks in a minute, "Hey, call Joe Jones. You want some validation that I know what I am talking about, that I know sales? Well, called this guy." I think of when you are starting out that's important. I think it's important also now because a lot of people do find us via the Internet and they read the things we write. When people are looking to do business with you â€¦ Rodney G: There is a saying in the sales that people do business with people they like and they trust. I can write anything. I can grab a Seth Godin book or a David Meerman Scott book and just change it up a little bit and write a blog. It doesn't mean that I know that. You know that I know because I have done the work because I have portfolio. I can show you I have done not just online marketing, I have done off-line marketing. For me as a hybrid, because I have done all these things and so when I sit in front of a client, I can tie all the pieces together. Rodney G: Before we started recording, we were talking about, sometimes clients, they don't know what they don't know or what they need. When I have an opportunity to sit down with a potential client, I just try to listen. If he asks some intelligent questions about their space and what they do, but sometimes they don't know or they might have an idea, but you have to be able to tie it all together. Rodney G: I think for marketers or any entrepreneur looking to make a living on their own, it's very hard to do well when you are doing business just as a project. What I mean by that is if I build a website for a client, I am rich while I am building that website if I charge $5000, $6000, I'm great. But once that project is over, then I am off looking for the next website to develop. I think for marketers in particular, we have to develop products, services and systems that we own that we can put clients on retainer for an show value in what we are doing. That's what I have been able to do. Rodney G: I have always looked to develop systems so Adtrack was a system I owned. We built it and once the technology was built, I could put 100 automobile dealers on it every day. It was just a matter of finding those automobile dealers, but we had a system. That was actually the first question I would always get whenever I would show up to someone. This was back in '99, 2000. People were like, "You own this?" and I didn't understand why people were so enamored with that, "Yes, we built it." I just hired a tech guy. I knew what I wanted. They were like, "Wow," owning the system versus this project orientation to your business. Rodney G: Whatever you are doing as an entrepreneur, I think you should be looking to develop systems. Today, with things like AdWords with Google and Bing, you don't necessarily have to own that system. You can develop a system that takes advantage of that. I know an agency, I think they are out of Minneapolis I believe, they built a whole service around the Google 360 and they only work with automobile dealers I think, at least they started out that way. They may have expanded it now, but they built a system. They didn't own the tech. Google owns the tech, but they built a system around or service around the technology and it only serves a very specific niche, which at that point was just automobile dealers. Joe: They can build a system that sits on top of someone else's platform and that's its own kind of hybrid, where you now no longer have to build a process from scratch. Each time you are working with a client, just replicate it and you add the same amount of value but with far less effort on your part. Rodney G: I think also as you do that and you get good at doing certain things, then sometimes the opportunity to develop your own technology or system will come out of that. I think the main point today is people can make a living. You can make a living on here. You can make a decent living working out of your basement, working out of a small office, working out of a place like this you can provide for your family. There's nothing wrong with being an employee. I think it's great. It's just hard nowadays. I wanted to be an employee. I kept getting laid off through no fault of my own. Joe: It's a good opportunity if you are an employee and you have the ability to scout the landscape. You can cherry pick the scales and the experiences you want to develop while you are with an employer. Rodney G: My wife will get on me if I don't say this. I am able to do what I am doing because my wife is an employee. I was able to just say, "You know what? I can believe this over here," because we did have a steady paycheck coming in. If you have the benefit of having a partner being married, if one person is working and has a steady paycheck coming in, then you have less to worry about. Or if they have an established business and there's money coming in â€¦ I am able to do what I do because my wife is an employee. Joe: You can mitigate some risk and some of the overhead of things like benefits. It's such a curious way talking to American entrepreneurs versus European entrepreneurs, where benefits does not even come into question. They will just say, "There is a guy that sits a few desks away from us at Benjamin's desk here who ask come over here from friends and almost every day he is asking, 'Why are people so freaked out about healthcare?'" That's the thing that for entrepreneurs that can be a big fear factor. Rodney G: Well, I have provided benefits. When I ran Stealth Marketing, my wife did not work. She did not always have a job. Well, she always had a job, but we home schooled for a long time. If you have money coming in, I was always happy to send that benefit check because it meant I was earning money. I enjoy paying my taxes because if I have a tax bill, it shows I earned money. When you can buy benefits is it expensive? Yes, but if you have a business, if you have a system that's generating revenue for you, you can do these things in America and I don't think we should be afraid to do that. Joe: Last question thinking about where you want to go with your business and making that tax return bigger and bigger every year, where do you see things going in 5-10 years? Rodney G: Oh Joe, I don't know. In this project I am working on that I cannot talk about right now, I think that's probably where I will be in five years and we will come back and we will talk about that. I am actually hoping in the next few weeks that it takes off, but that's where I see me spending most of my time over the next five years because that will be a national project in scope because it already is, a national partner is involved in it. Rodney G: People in general, where do I see our economy going? I think the industrial age lasted 80 years. It's over. Most people struggle to find jobs. They struggle to keep them. Like you said, it's very difficult for someone to work with 30 or 40 years someplace anymore, even if you want to. I have a daughter getting ready to go to college. She is going to the University of Pennsylvania this fall. Kids come out of school hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and they can't find a job. I think it's going to remain important over the next 5-10 years to have an entrepreneurial spirit, even if you come out of school with a law degree â€¦ Rodney G: I was on the subway on the way over here and I was looking at , because I am a marketer, I'm always thinking about branding and I remember this last thing was Saul something. He is an attorney and he is an injury attorney and he has this thing on the subway and it doesn't say, "You better call, Saul." I'm thinking, "Is his head buried in the sand? He is not taking advantage?" Joe: A huge missed opportunity. Rodney G: "And his actual name is Saul? He's not taking advantage of this mass media opportunity? " The point is and I keep saying this to my daughter is many attorneys are entrepreneurs. You have to hone your entrepreneurial skills, regardless of what you are doing, whether you are in a tech space â€¦ And everything is in tech space. If you are an attorney, well you need a website. Either you are going to hire somebody to do it and if you hire someone to do it, you still need to know at least enough to ask the right questions to makes sure someone is not leading you astray. Rodney G: I would say develop your entrepreneurial skills. Develop your networking skills. Learn to like people because I think with so much emphasis on social media and building a following, I don't know how many people really get any benefit from it. Yes, I believe some people do, but for the average person in a market, at least spend some of your time doing some actual networking, getting out, meeting people, what I call in sales "shaky hands and kissing babies." Get out and shake some hands and kiss babies and that's my favorite thing to do. Rodney G: I would say for me I have had a lot of clients actually come via the Internet and I have some that come via networking, but the ones I enjoyed the most â€¦ Because I enjoy talking to people. I enjoy going out to networking events, just because I like people, whether the business comes from it or not. I think hone your networking skills, hone your entrepreneurial skills and hone your sales skills because ultimately, we all have to sell. You have to sell something, regardless of what you are doing in this world, it doesn't happen unless a sale takes place. Joe: Rodney Goldston, RodneyGoldston.com and Jughead Media, thanks for joining us on The Build. Rodney G: That's G-O-L-D-S-T-O-N. Joe: Period. Rodney G: Like Sam's. Joe: We will see you again, soon. Rodney G: Thank you, Joe.