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In this episode of WP Minute+, Justin Ferriman discusses his business ventures, including founding LearnDash and his latest project, BrightGrowth.

We’ll also discuss GapScout, an AI tool for software businesses to analyze customer reviews, which didn’t go the way he had hoped. He’s now selling GapScout due to development hurdles and legal issues with review site policy changes, leaving him with a small taste of failure.

Ferriman has pivoted to consulting, using his strengths in marketing and strategy to coach startup founders, offering personalized advice and roundtable discussions, despite the approach’s intentional lack of scalability.

His key advice for WordPress entrepreneurs is to leverage personal strengths, be passionate about work, and be discerning in client and service selection for maintaining high standards.

Key Takeaways

  • Justin explains how he is now selling his business GapScout after running into challenges building complex AI technology and changes to review site terms and conditions.
  • The GapScout experience left Justin feeling defeated but taught him to focus on what really energizes him in business.
  • Justin has transitioned to coaching and consulting for startup founders, playing to his strengths in marketing, growth strategies and maximizing profits.
  • He is being very selective about who he works with through warm outreach and relationship building vs trying to scale massively.
  • For WordPress entrepreneurs, takeaways are to focus on your strengths, cut out parts of business you dislike, and be selective about services you realistically can deliver at a high level.
  • Justin leverages Medium for content marketing and gets great organic reach without having to worry about blogging or SEO himself.
  • Overall it’s a story of reinvention, lessons learned from failure, and the importance of playing to your strengths as an entrepreneur.

Important links

Justin Ferriman

[00:00:00]

[00:00:00] Matt: It’s the WP minute, plus your home for long form discussions around the WordPress ecosystem, deeper insights and conversations that you won’t find on that other five minute WordPress podcast that we do. Follow both podcasts@thewpminute.com slash podcasts.

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[00:01:01] Matt: Hey, Justin, welcome to the program.

[00:01:03] Justin: Thanks for having me, Matt. Pleasure to be here.

[00:01:05] Matt: Last time you and I officially chatted I think was Pressnomics. We were just talking in the in the green room I think we had an official interview back at Pressnomics by a plant in the foyer of the of the hotel So it’s always good to have you on talking about business and WordPress stuff.

[00:01:26] Justin: Yeah, that was actually, life was a lot different then. So, I’m excited to talk to you about kind of the changes that have happened and, catch up, with you as well.

[00:01:34] Matt: For folks that don’t know that was When you were running LearnDash, which was now Or has now been acquired, by the Stellar Group, Liquid Web Group. I don’t know the official acquisition, parent is there, but they’ve been running LearnDash, for a while now. Sitting on the sidelines. How does that look?

[00:01:51] How, how are the optics for you going well? Do you ever look at it and go, my God, I’d be going in this direction these days?

[00:01:57] Justin: Yeah. Well, first of all, kudos to the team there. I know a lot of the people stayed, and then they’ve augmented the team accordingly. And with the, you know, tapping into the stellar marketplace or their whole, you know, their whole reach that they have in their portfolio is really good. naturally I look and watch and see what they’re doing.

[00:02:14] And yeah, occasionally I think, you know, I might do something differently, but that’s not my ship to sail. So I’m happy for them. And, honestly, I think they’re doing a great job.

[00:02:23] Matt: It was like, it was like when I was in WordPress web hosting, many years ago. And, and even now, like in looking back at the podcasting hosting space as well, I’ve been in both web hosting and podcast hosting spaces and it’s, it’s sort of like a relief where it’s like you want to be in that game sometimes you’re like, Oh, I would love to go back in, you know, be in the podcast audio world, like deeply rooted in it again, or web hosting world, but then sometimes you’re just like, ah, it’s kind of nice not to have to battle that out.

[00:02:50] Justin: That’s the same thought process I go through. at the end of the day, I’m happy with, with where I am.

[00:02:55] Matt: So today we’re going to chat about a couple of different things. One, you had started a new product called GapScout. I remember messaging you when you first, had announced it. And I was like, hey, you know, let’s chat about it. Let’s talk about, you know, where you’re going with it. I think this is something that the WordPress product market really needs.

[00:03:12] And then, we’re going to also talk about, Well, maybe that ship didn’t sail the direction you wanted it to go into. And now you’re back into the consulting game, but let’s start with Gap Scout. what is that product? Cause you, you have it up for sale. I have that correct

[00:03:27] Justin: Yeah, I’m happy to get into that a little bit. So gap scout is an AI product that looks at all the reviews that you have on your business, particularly for software was the direction. So if somebody had their Software business on Capterra, G2, maybe the WordPress repo, TrustPilot, several of those sites.

[00:03:46] GavScout would look at the reviews and find themes using AI based on how well your product was doing. So sort of like sentiment analysis, but then also looking at the market as a whole. So you could put your competitors in there or anybody else that you felt like was in your space. And it would identify opportunity based on what people were saying.

[00:04:05] so that was it in a nutshell that started in August, 2022, which was right at the end of my year contract I had to have with LearnDash, post sale. So after the sale, my, I had to stay on for a year, I was really involved for the first, let’s say three, four months, then it was more, you know, kind of as needed advisor.

[00:04:24] And as I started working less in that area, I started thinking like, well, what do I, what do I want to do with my time? And at the moment I thought software was what I wanted to do. And we can get into that, but that was where GapScout came from. I used to do that manually for LearnDash, looking at competitors, looking at reviews on these sites.

[00:04:43] So I thought, how do I, how do I automate that?

[00:04:46] Matt: as a, well, I’m interested to learn, and I’ve known you for a while and, and we’ve known each other for a while and I’ve, I’m a non developer. Semi technical, right? Like if you put us in a room, you and I are probably really technical compared to a lot of folks who are just off the internet, but are also business builders like you and I would probably be considered pretty technical because of things we can do with WordPress and technology, but in our tighter knit world of WordPress folks, we are the beginners.

[00:05:13] We don’t know how to write code, or at least I don’t know how to write code. And I always wonder what it’s like for somebody to go back into another business. Create another business like app scout, like you did with learn dash as a non developer. Is it that same sort of like confidence level? Like I’m going to find.

[00:05:31] I’ll find the developers or I’ll cobble it together myself first and then try to get product market fit and then build a team around it. Or did you build a team around it to develop the product this time and try to jump into it? the new, entrepreneurship came that way.

[00:05:44] Justin: good question. I think I had confidence already just because of the LearnDash journey. I also today or I guess last year and starting that I was a different starting place than I was in 2012, 2013 coming into WordPress. So technically, as you alluded to, I know a lot more. I’m not a developer by any means, but I can have those conversations pretty intelligently.

[00:06:06] And, obviously with the sale of LearnDash and everything from a financial perspective, things were different. So that opened up avenues for me in terms of finding developers. It became a lot easier. budget wasn’t really constraint in that regard. So in terms of marketing, I just did the same thing that I did with LearnDash and it worked, I started creating content, blogging, sharing those blog posts, doing some really high level SEO.

[00:06:29] I’m not really skilled in SEO, but I know the basics. And the basics are all I’ve needed in the past. So the blog brought in people signing up for the email lists. a few thousand people on it as I speak today, just from writing content, you know, no paid ads or anything like that. Aside from sponsoring your stuff, of course.

[00:06:48] And then, finding developers. I wanted to go, obviously it wasn’t a WordPress product, so I was kind of putting the feelers out there for other avenues. No code was always something I was interested in, especially for like a version 1. 0 found an agency after interviewing several, maybe more than several, maybe like eight, different agencies and kind of pitching the idea.

[00:07:12] Found somebody that really meshed with, and, he’s a great guy. We’re still friends today and brought him in to start. He had the, his team, his small team is a boutique development shop. And so together we started building things out based on the specs I put forward.

[00:07:28] Matt: Do you feel like, well, first let me ask you a question about the, the SEO route. it was a while since you had to start from something from ground zero and like build up that audience, persona, marketing funnel. were there any lessons there from starting from scratch that was a stand out lesson to you?

[00:07:46] I look at SEO these days as like I’m kind of re re jiggering WP minute to be more WordPress professional content focus than it was just strictly WordPress news. and I look at the SEO game today and I’m like, my God, I don’t even know. Like I feel I’m a, I’m like super nervous. I can’t even compete in this game, right?

[00:08:06] Because I feel like I don’t know anything about SEO anymore other than the basics. And I don’t think I can really make an impact. What about you? Did you have a standout lesson? Because it seems like you were getting some good traction with, with SEO.

[00:08:18] Justin: Well, I might have different reservations today, given the boom of AI. So when GapScout started. It wasn’t jumping on the AI trend. I mean, AI was ramping up, but it wasn’t the chat GPT stuff. Didn’t even really explode until later fall of 2022. So, that kind of changed SEO as we know it now and all these Google updates, but.

[00:08:40] I just followed the same formula that I did. I don’t know if it was right or wrong. I did learn that it was a little bit more challenging to get traction, took longer for people to, you know, for finding the content in general, but I just did the simple, I mean, find a keyword and then create spoke content from that.

[00:08:58] Primary keyword link everything together and then made it around what the industry was, which was market research for gap scout. So started with that and then did a little bit of build in public, which was something I’d never done to get maybe some wheels going that way. I think it helped. I was on indie hackers sharing the content there, sometimes making posts that took off and then in creating the content. As GapScout became more well known, a few viral Reddit threads that featured GapScout took off. And so that helped. So I, I, I don’t know much about SEO either. I just know that, you know, creating helpful content that’s by humans, I never used AI to create it. Was working to the extent that it works today.

[00:09:44] I’m not sure, but at the time it did.

[00:09:47] Matt: And let me give you one. Let me give you, let me frame it one way, because if it were me, if I was like, hey, I’m gonna go start a business, I would do the only thing that I know how to do, which is YouTube channel podcast and just be public about Absolutely everything. And that’s like my only way of, like, this is the only way I know how to launch something is just like talking about it and being about it.

[00:10:06] What’s your take on build in public? I see two camps. They either say do it or don’t do it. Don’t specifically give your competitors the advantage. I only know how to do marketing, you know, in the up front telling a story’s personal kind of way.

[00:10:18] So, interested to hear what your take is.

[00:10:21] Justin: great question because before I started, I had those same concerns as well and they turned out to be well founded. I think, one of the things that happened was I shared a lot of the GavScout story. There was no tool really like what I was creating. And somebody, a competitor, indie hacker as well, came out of the woodwork and created an MVP.

[00:10:47] It was really, I guess in comparison to GapScout, I really couldn’t compare in terms of feature sets, but he got something out and started trying to collect payment and probably did and then got bought out. I think it was more of an AccuHire by another firm that he just kind of reached out to directly to the person for the buyout, I believe. So it does have that risk. I was more motivated by it than anything because I still believed in the product that I was creating. However, it was a lesson learned that the build in public community is a positive one by and large, but there are some people that are just scouring those forums and those hashtags to see what opportunity can they jump on.

[00:11:26] They don’t have the original ideas themselves. So they go and find somebody that does. And they build something quicker. They get something in the market quicker, maybe make it a different price point. Overall, I enjoyed the experience. I thought it was in that positive. I think gap scout wouldn’t have been found in certain channels, maybe not even shared in some of those Reddit threads that I mentioned that that took fire.

[00:11:47] Had it not been for the building public, approach. I always treated it like a marketing channel really is I had my content marketing and then there was that I guess adding a voice or a persona to the product instead of the brand and I thought it was good. So I encourage people still to do it. But yeah, be, be aware that there are folks that are going to maybe swipe your ideas.

[00:12:10] Matt: I want to fast forward just a little bit so we can set the stage. You, you are selling Gap Scout. One says… Is the market not working? Is the profitability not there? Is it just too hard for, you know, you and let’s say a virtual team to do without tons of money in the back end? Why, is GapScout up for sale?

[00:12:33] Justin: It’s more of a personal reason than anything. So the project is a good one. The product is a good one. There’s interest. I kept encountering issues in terms of technical issues with my team as we were trying to build this out. And that’s just, I guess that’s just the nature of AI. I think we all like to simplify it, but we ran into issues that we kept having to push out the release and in order to make it work the way that I envisioned.

[00:12:59] And each time I ran into these issues, I tell my wife, I’d be like, man, I, I don’t know why I’m doing this. I, I don’t have to do this. Software is hard. this is the part of software that I always hated. I love the marketing. I love the telling people about cool stuff you’re doing, but. Not the biggest fan of, you know, bugs and fixes and these types of challenges.

[00:13:18] I just, I didn’t have that motivation. The final straw for me was when a lot of the sites that I was going to be extrapolating these reviews from started changing their terms and conditions. pretty draconian really where they don’t allow analysis of their data. So a case in point being, boy, I think it was a Keptera G2.

[00:13:40] They updated their terms and conditions so that you technically can’t even go without AI, without computers and copy reviews about your product or any product, put it into Microsoft Excel and either run some formulas or even just analyze it and extrapolate. Insights and then sell those insights to maybe a client who hired you to do that.

[00:14:03] Technically you can’t do that. And that was what my lawyer told me. So when these terms and conditions were changing, I reached out to my lawyer who I really trust and him and his partner looked into it and he was like, yeah, this is, this is real. They do it on purpose. they want you to pay a license fee in order to access the content.

[00:14:23] So I reached out to these folks and yeah, they were, they were eager to have those conversations. But these are tens of thousands of dollars a year for these license fees. So it changed the model that I wanted to do. I wanted to be priced lower than because the information’s out there. Did my mind. It was like, can we just analyze it and like make it easy for folks?

[00:14:45] When I didn’t want to be having to be charging 150 or 99 bucks a month or whatever for. For some of these tiers, I wanted to make it more like WordPress friendly pricing. Cause that was a market I really cared about. That was the final straw for me. I, you know, dealing with lawyers and these contracts, I was like, I don’t need it.

[00:15:02] I don’t need this. And so I talked to the individual that I was working with to build this out and told them my decision. And so, put it up for sale and he had some connections and then not just like the whole business, obviously the business up for sale, but the licensing of the technology that was built is also up for sale for people that want to use it internally.

[00:15:21] And there’s been interest there in conversations. being had, as of right now, there’s nothing like locked in and that’s okay. If, if nothing comes of it, I can live with that, but you know, hopefully there’s a home for the right person.

[00:15:33] Matt: I want to, like I said, we jumped ahead to figure out what happened to GapScout. Now let’s rewind back a little bit. Looking back at this, do you think You would have approached building scap Gap Scout differently had you not sold LearnDash and Were and had the resources to hire a team in other words if it was Justin’s first project and you had to Blood sweat and tear it all the way up without being able to hire a technical Partner out of the gate.

[00:16:01] Do you think you would have approached this differently? Would it had a bit a different outcome or maybe you wouldn’t even approach this business at all.

[00:16:07] Justin: Maybe I wouldn’t have approached it at all because even when I started LearnDash, I had to hire somebody. I hired an agency for the version 1. 0. I was working a job at the time and I had some savings and so that’s what I used to pay. that agency to do it. So I wouldn’t be looking to pay somebody.

[00:16:22] Maybe I would have picked somebody not in the United States and somewhere to take advantage of some, some of the currency exchange. But, in terms of marketing, I would have done exactly the same. I would have probably done a little bit more work. I hired somebody to do a lot of the articles. So, I will probably would have been writing them more myself.

[00:16:39] that would stay the same, but the build, I’d follow a similar plan. Maybe I’d find someone, someone else, but given the complexities of AI, I think those costs, costs of those projects are going to be higher than a WordPress project.

[00:16:52] Matt: the brand name Gap Scout It’s pretty nice. Is that something that you had owned? Did you have to purchase that

[00:16:58] I just, I just went to the domain, you know, look for domains and found that one. and it was just freely available? It wasn’t like 5, 000 or anything,

[00:17:05] Justin: no, it was just. Freely available right there for 10. It was good. obviously we all, a lot of people know HelpScout. I used HelpScout for years so that was kind of front of mind. And then I always talked about, like, finding gaps.

[00:17:17] Gotta find a gap in the market. You know, when I was running LearnDash you know, where are our current gaps? And so that was the vernacular I used. so I just kind of combined those two.

[00:17:25] Matt: Yeah. The, and that’s, it’s an industry term, right? Like gap analysis, right? When you take a look at like where you can go and stuff like that. one might say, you know, and we’re going to start to. Shift into where you’re at today, where you’re going into consulting and helping folks sort of formulate and get their businesses kickstarted, one might say, well, why not just pivot gap scout and be a more human approach and actually work with people to find the gaps in their business.

[00:17:50] And that’s the consulting business too

[00:17:52] Justin: Yeah, I considered

[00:17:53] Matt: or?

[00:17:53] Justin: No, no, that’s the same thought process I had. I was like, maybe that’s something I do. I don’t know if it was just being worn out from that project in general. And, know, while I could have done that, I wanted to maybe shake out the cobwebs and the weight of that whole project. I mean, that was a year.

[00:18:11] From start to closing the door decision to close and a year of a lot of thoughts and thinking into Gap Scout what it could be what I wanted to be being excited about it going through peaks and valleys. And so, yeah, I thought about maybe I just pivot into something like that. But I actually took a little bit of a break from everything to, like, really do some some searching and what I wanted to do.

[00:18:32] After, you know, after gap scout.

[00:18:34] Matt: Is there. A word that summarize or a phrase that summarizes this experience. And again, I’ll frame it on how I would potentially feel and have potentially thought about things or like products that, you know, that I have, either let go or, just failed with, you know, sometimes you just, you, you do feel burned out, you feel.

[00:18:56] disappointed and disappointed in yourself, specifically, exhausted. but sometimes you come out and you feel determined, right? And you feel like you came and you, you learned a whole new lesson. You say, okay, I look at this approach as all right. It didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, but I don’t hate that experience.

[00:19:14] And I feel like I learned a whole bunch and now I can kind of clean the slate off and start a new on something else. Do you have something that summarizes this? Sort of experience, with Gap Scout.

[00:19:25] Justin: Yeah, honestly, man, I felt pretty defeated at the end of it. I, I’m fortunate that I have a very supportive wife who kind of kept me my head above water. I was also mad that I did a disservice to myself. I think I jumped into software too quick before really thinking about what I wanted to do or what energized me.

[00:19:45] I kind of went back to what I knew. And that felt good or felt comfortable on some level. And I was excited initially out the gate to do that transition, but clearly, clearly I, I don’t know. I didn’t really take some inventory of what I needed or what I, what I should be doing, what energized me the most because I started the fizzle, started the fade, and I was.

[00:20:08] Not enjoying the process, which is something I’ve always been really good with in the past, I guess, just knowing what energizes me and doing, you know, staying in true to myself in that regard. So yeah, I was defeated. It stunk a lot and I was mad at myself too, for not really like taking the time I needed to figure out that next, the next phase, but I didn’t learn a lot and it was You know, there were some ups for sure.

[00:20:37] I know a lot about the AI space. you know what I do with that information we’ll see, but it’s been helping me in some regard with, with what I’m doing now. So, it was, you know, I don’t regret the process. I’m not one to live with regrets, but the, you know, it’s a lesson learned to really, for me to, to touch base with myself a little bit more before I jump into a project,

[00:20:56] Matt: There’s, you know, when I zoom out and I look at, you know, I hate to say it, but like the, the, the real world of, of tech startups, I guess the, the, the big VC funded world of tech startups. Right. And I see these CEOs and, you know, you could just tune into somebody like Jason Calacanis is, this week in startups, although he hasn’t.

[00:21:14] He’s been covering a lot more than AI these days. that’s a whole other discussion about, you know, sort of what he’s done with his media channel, but there was a time where he was just interviewing CEO or startup founder after startup founder on his channel. And I think I see some of these CEOs, or founders who just really look at it as, this is a product that I’m trying to put together, and if it doesn’t.

[00:21:38] If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, and they don’t care, because a lot of it is, it’s just, they raised capital, and everyone sort of knows the game. Like, one out of a hundred are really going to work. But for folks like you and me, we don’t have that kind of, Luxury, right? Like you, you can’t just sit there, do nothing, your wife, your wife is going to look at you like, come on, Justin, do something like, let’s do something valuable here.

[00:22:01] But you still need to earn an income. I’d assume at some point you’re like, okay, I got to get something going here because I’m young and we still got many, many years left on this earth to do something. does this change your Perspective on building that next business. Will you look at it more utilitarian like where it’s just like look I Pieces of the puzzle get them in front of me and let me just do this thing and would you care less about I?

[00:22:24] Hate to say it this way, but do you think you’ll care less about the next business? Then then what you’ve learned with learned ash and and gap Scout

[00:22:33] Justin: don’t think I’ll care less about the business. I think I’ll just be,

[00:22:38] Matt: Or have less ownership, right? Like sometimes I think I should just start like a dumpster business, a business that I just drop off dumpsters at people’s residences to clear their houses. And I just go and pick those dumpsters up. And I don’t love that kind of business, but I see it as like, I don’t have to think I just have to get dumpsters in people’s driveways.

[00:23:00] Right. And I sometimes think like, God, I could do a business like that. Cause I’m not going to care as much or just be like reading dumpster reviews 24 hours a day. Like I do in WordPress world. Right. So I look at it that way, but go ahead. Your, your thoughts on that.

[00:23:15] Justin: no, that’s a, that’s a good way to put it. And there, there was some temptation there to do some stuff that you don’t really have to think about. highly anymore. I think for me, it was, I mentioned it with the gap scout and even with learn dash, the things that parts I hated about software. And now that I’m in the position I’m in, I’m like, well, I don’t, you know, I don’t have to do anything.

[00:23:33] So what do I want to do? And what I came to with that is like, why don’t I take the parts that I do love being creative, being competitive, being, You know, marketing in particular, growth strategies, maximization of, of tools and or processes, things to really push the bottom line and profitability, like those kinds of stuff, that kind of stuff I love and how can I do that by getting rid of the stuff I don’t like.

[00:24:00] And so when I thought about that, that’s what brought me to the coaching role that I’m doing now, because I get to do that with other folks that are in WordPress, out of WordPress, that are building their businesses. Either they’re at seven figures and trying to get higher or they’re just starting. I have a big range of. Clients right now in terms of where, what their background is. And they, you look, they want to go down a path I’ve been down and like that stuff is what energizes me now. So to answer your question, I’m really just being very picky on doing something that gives me a lot of joy without burning myself out on the stuff that I.

[00:24:35] Just don’t have to put up with anymore.

[00:24:38] Matt: Yeah, a hundred percent. which. leads you now to your next sort of, chapter, not building software, but helping others that might be building software, your, your agency, if you call it an agency or consultancy called bright growth, talk to us about who you’re serving and how folks can engage with you.

[00:24:55] Justin: Yeah. So I’m a business coach and I have people that are in software, agencies, excuse me, agencies as well, and some that are selling products like digital courses and online courses, which naturally is an industry I know very well as it happens to be. And so, it really, the process is, is threefold.

[00:25:14] See, this is something that I didn’t really have as a founder until the later years. and that was somebody to bounce ideas off of founders in general. We run our teams and we have the ideas, but we have no one that really keeps us in check or like that we can go to. we might in an informal capacity, but that’s usually a few and far between that we reach out.

[00:25:33] I started doing it more regularly with LearnDash and it really helped the bottom line, to be honest. And so I wanted to recreate that. In a way for founders, to get over the hurdles that they’re facing the programs threefold, and it’s intentionally not scalable. I’m not selling online courses. I’m not trying to get huge cohorts of people.

[00:25:52] That’s I’m trying to form relationships. And so I have a small group of people, today I’m looking to bring in a few more, but as you’ll hear. I can’t do this for everybody. And one is I have one, one on one call with folks. It’s hour, hour, 15 minutes. And we talk through their pressing challenges and get creative and really getting the weeds on like how they can overcome those.

[00:26:14] And I share my experiences where possible. I share my resources as well. I have a lot of connections that if it makes sense, I. I try to connect people, and then we create action items and I hold them accountable to the promises they make to themselves to get these things done. Aside from that, that call in the month, there’s also a founder round table, and that’s where I get everybody together on coaching, and we have a very regimented process about, how we go about this call.

[00:26:42] People state an issue that they’re having. A problem or a decision they’re trying to make and the whole roundtable of founders of different industries, not just software, not just WordPress, but agencies in and out of WordPress, for example, and people selling products, they give advice on what they would do.

[00:26:59] We have this process that we do to do that. So we keep it very pointed and actionable as well as, you know. Something that helps spark and generate ideas and people really respond well to that because founders are creative, like, you know, like we all have different solutions and the idea isn’t to find the solution in those calls.

[00:27:15] It’s really to spark ideas for you to come to your own solution. You might get the answer, but really it’s to get the wheels in motion. between all that, the third part is 24 seven access to me, people have called me when they’re on their way to pick up their children from school saying they ran into an issue at work and would explain it to me in 15 minutes.

[00:27:35] We talk it through email me at any time. I want to jump on a quick call. That’s fine. Really being there for these founders, these people that I coach. So as you can see, it’s not something scalable. And I’m, I’m cool with that because I want people to be really happy and feel like they have somebody in their corner that can bring value and help move the needle in their business.

[00:27:53] Matt: Having looked at, the last two products, the last two businesses, the successes and, and failures of each, are you looking at this and approaching this sort of like the, the last question I asked you about sort of VC, EC, VC CEOs and how they’re funded and there’s less reliability on trying to keep their head above water because they have a bunch of money.

[00:28:13] Do you look at this and say, Thank you. Look, I can’t scale it. So I’m not even going to try to do SEO and add words and market the heck out of this thing because I just can’t scale myself that high. Do you look at yourself now and say, okay, the marketing strategy here is going to be pushing word of mouth.

[00:28:32] Like I assume in the back of your head. The competitor in you isn’t, isn’t just going to sit and do nothing, just to keep, just to keep things small and, and,and organize, I assume you have some strategy. so I guess that was a roundabout way of like, what’s that strategy look like. If you can share it and I assume it’s going to be less stressful than having to write blog posts every single day.

[00:28:54] Justin: Great question. this is something new for me in terms of marketing and getting my name out there, but yeah, you have a great point. Like I’m not trying to get hundreds of clients, you know, not even dozens of clients. So the marketing, I have a CRM, I’m using begin by Zoho. It’s not even Zoho CRM. It’s like they’re super watered down CRM, which is how I manage.

[00:29:16] My pipeline. And the cool thing is I just, in terms of marketing, I do, I guess you could say warm outreach. initially when I announced that I was doing this, I didn’t even have a website. I just created a Google doc and told people I was doing this and just. Folks in my market or my network, I’m sorry, that knew about me or that I already have relationships with, or that even done some informal coaching to, they reached out and they, they were like, okay, let’s do it.

[00:29:41] And I just sent them the document explaining whipped up a website just to explain exactly what it is, the bright growth. com that you mentioned. But, now I just been doing warm outreach in terms of folks that maybe I know online, you know, as that goes, that you met in Slack or that you met in Twitter and really just folks that I feel like.

[00:30:02] I could help and I like them or at least I think I like them and I would love to work with them and I just shoot them a note and just kind of say like, you know, this is what I’m doing and if you’re interested, I’d happy to send you a little bit more information. Let’s jump on a call. The big part of what I do is I offer a free hour.

[00:30:19] Of coaching. It’s not a sales call. I’m not really like a sales kind of guy in terms of like pressure sales. Like either somebody wants to sign up, but they don’t, but I want them to see what it could be like. So we get on a call for an hour and I just give them an hour of my time. We talked through a challenge in their business and I give them an action item or hopefully a solution to something that they’re really struggling with.

[00:30:40] And some of them sign up, some of them don’t, that’s okay. And that’s really been my process is reaching out to folks that, really, I think that I respect and that I want to, maybe help out if they’re, they’re open to it.

[00:30:51] Matt: Yeah. And I think that’s, it’s funny. I’ve been thinking about, well, if you look at Twitter, right, we’re recording this, early October, 2023 Twitter just, or X X just, enabled or disabled article titles. In the metadata of the timeline of, of the feed, right? So in other words, you, Hey, I write a post on the WP minute or Hey, this episode goes out, your names in the title episode number, no, one’s going to see that they’re just going to see the featured image, right?

[00:31:20] And I see as a publisher of content that the, that the click throughs from social media platforms, have gone down. Search is always a mystery for me. Like organic search is always a mystery box for me. and I just think of my think, like what happens if you have to go back to traditional marketing and publishing and all of a sudden people are making like magazines again, right?

[00:31:43] Or like I have to go on local radio to reach people because it’s like what. What was, you know, what was new back then became old and then we had the internet and then the internet just got tighter and tighter. So then we went back to like traditional means. I, you know, it’s, it’s so hard. Like every, not every business needs to have like this technology led, SEO driven algorithmic approach to everything, especially in a consultancy where the value is you, and there’s only so much you that that can go around.

[00:32:16] And I think one would say, well, oh, that’s not going to build a big business. Yeah, but it’s going to build something that is going to be sustainable, profitable, and then maybe even springboard to somebody else. And oh, by the way. It provides value for the people who are who are using it. So the person who is like buying into Justin’s consultation services, they’re not like, this shit’s never gonna scale.

[00:32:39] No, they’re happy because they’re getting the value, right? Like they’re happy because they have access to you. They’re not going to want something that is this infinitely scalable thing because then it just becomes like a wiki of Justin’s thoughts. And you know, hey, you might do that in the future, but it might be at a different price point than the person who has like the white glove approach.

[00:32:58] Justin: Exactly. Yeah. I think it’s, you make a good point. I mean, the, the marketing game in terms of like the content marketing, I think it still works, but it might be going different directions now, just with all these changes in the landscape changes so much. I’ll give an example. I still like the right. And, you know, I want to put out some content and I’ve been using medium to do that now, naturally being a WordPress guy.

[00:33:20] I’ve never really considered it. But I was like, you know, why not? I’m just gonna give it a shot. So I started writing articles there and the visibility you get like instantly is really impressive. Like I started getting like thousands of views and off of the platform too, because their SEO, I mean, I let them worry about SEO, right?

[00:33:38] I don’t have to worry about it. And you can have a little call to action at the end of it. And I get people coming to the website from there as well and forming connections on medium, which I would have never guessed. it’s not something I’m trying to ramp up or anything, but it’s kind of nice. I don’t have to like.

[00:33:51] Think about blogging so much or the platform or the SEO or updating plugins or any of that, I just kind of write and it’s done and it reaches people.

[00:34:01] Matt: Yeah. 100%. last question as we wrap it up here. you’re going to, are you speaking of like keeping your marketing,tight and manageable? Are you, are you thinking of getting into the podcasting or YouTube game and start creating that more intimate type of content to, to grow the audience or you’re just going to stick with, with what works for you right now?

[00:34:20] Justin: For right now, just sticking with this, but if I were to do any of those, it’d probably be podcasting. I have plenty of people to look to look to such as yourself for inspiration there and how to do it right. So maybe one day, but for now, like I’m just quietly building up. My client, my clientele, like message by message with really smart, cool people that, that I’ve enjoyed working with and we’re getting some good results.

[00:34:48] Matt: Love it. just the Fairman bright growth. com that’s bright growth. com. Another great podcast. Domain two words. Did you, was that available

[00:34:57] Justin: that’s that. Yeah, that one is, actually, you know what, that one was available, but I’m paying it on a payment plan. So I was like, ah, all right, I’ll just toss them

[00:35:04] Matt: all right. So that one was a little bit more than Ted bucks.

[00:35:07] Justin: was, but I, you know, there’s the. com wasn’t available, but I’m old school. So I’m like, I want the.

[00:35:11] com.

[00:35:12] Matt: Yeah, a hundred percent, bright growth. com. Check out Justin’s programs. If you’re building up your business, in or outside of the WordPress space, give Justin a shot. You can book a call, chat with him and see if it works. Thanks for hanging out, Justin. Where else can folks find you to say thanks?

[00:35:28] Justin: Yeah. Find me on Twitter slash X or whatever. shoot me a DM on there or just tweet at me. I’m also part of the WP minute group in the Slack group. So you can reach out to me in there.

[00:35:39] Matt: Awesome stuff.

[00:35:40] Thanks everybody for listening and we’ll see you in the next episode.

[00:35:43] That’s it for today’s episode. If you’re a WordPress product business, and you want to get your black Friday deal in front of our audience, including a YouTube video, head to our WordPress product, black Friday placement listing on the WP minute.com. Scroll to the bottom. Go to the footer. You’ll see a little fire emoji next to the black Friday deal listing. Go ahead and click that link and you can purchase a spot in our classified listings. Get a promo video on our YouTube channel or sponsor the podcast. See the black Friday deal listing in the footer of the WP minute.com. Thanks for our to our pillar sponsors pressable and Bluehost. Thanks to our foundation. Plus sponsors the WP world without these sponsors support from our paying members and you the listener, the WP minute, wouldn’t be possible. See you in the next episode.

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