And the training he found out approximately connecting with influencers alongside the manner.
Many of the tech founders we’ve interviewed genuinely consider the first enjoy that set them on their course to entrepreneurship.
For a number of them, it all began once they got their first laptop or cell smartphone. Or the first time they made a sale and found out that they may virtually do it.
Andy Drish’s route, even though, didn’t start with a computer.
Or a telephone.
Or a sale.
It began with a shovel (more on that quickly).
Today, Andy’s agencies have helped lots of students learn how to master the artwork of selling on the net, and his great-known business, The Foundation, generates more than $2 million every year by way of delivering a number of the satisfactory educational content material—and effects for clients—in its marketplace.
In this interview, you’ll examine the instructions that Andy discovered—and the strategies he used—to move from residing in a small city in Iowa to becoming one of the most connected entrepreneurs in tech.
A Life Lesson Learned Digging a Ditch in Iowa
Though he now lives in Boulder, Colorado, a thriving tech hub, Andy didn’t grow up everywhere close to the tech world.
I grew up in a town in Richland, Iowa, a town of 600 people inside the middle of nowhere.
Andy began working extraordinary jobs, picking corn,picking corn, and doing landscaping paintings whilst he was thirteen.
When he grew to become 16, he went to paintings together with his dad at the own family construction commercial enterprise, in which he found out one of the most crucial training of his life.
I was 16 and thought it became going to be notable, due to the fact I thought he’d let me pressure the machines. But at the first actual day of work, my dad appeared me in the eye and said, “Andy, I’m going to educate you the way to use a shovel this summer, so that you study which you don’t need to spend the relaxation of your lifestyles doing this.”
My dad spent his whole life doing manual hard work—and nevertheless does. He believed schooling changed into the manner out.
That summer I learned my options had been to get knowledgeable or spend the relaxation of my lifestyles digging ditches.
Work difficult. And smart. You can spend a life-time working difficult, but to obtain real freedom, you have to teach your self to work smarter, too.
The Terror Of Going $eighty five,000 into Debt… Without Actually Realizing It
Andy found out to price education and each difficult and smart work.
But he didn’t realize just how luxurious getting an education could be.
When I become 18, I didn’t recognise how tons education surely costed. I simply assumed every person turned into going into debt for college. When I became taking out pupil loans, I didn’t recognize how lots it would simply price to pay the ones returned through the years.
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During university, I found out my monthly pupil mortgage fee could be $750/month. The average advertising and marketing most important makes $35,000/year in Iowa. I freaked out.
The math simply didn’t add up. There turned into no way I should live on that. But I didn’t have the information or skills to begin a business but. And the job marketplace was quite grim.
So the idea of graduating in reality terrified me.
That worry got even extra extreme and painful for Andy while he studied abroad.
I studied overseas in New Zealand. Until then, I had in no way been out of doors of the U.S. I fell in love with traveling. The people. The tradition. The web sites. It was all so first rate to me.
One day, we hiked a mountain and stayed there in a single day to observe the sunrise. I took this picture:
I take into account being surrounded by all of this beauty, and just being pissed.
I had simply fallen in love with travelling. I’m sitting on the top of this mountain considering how I become going to graduate in two years, and I’d never be able to tour like this once more.
I’d have to spend the rest of my lifestyles shackled to a desk in company America with two or three weeks of excursion in keeping with yr, and I’d by no means be capable of see a lot of the sector I so desperately craved to discover.
The fear of residing a life without freedom to journey terrified me greater than something. That’s after I were given interested in constructing a business online.
Prioritize freedom. Working tough (and clever) doesn’t count number in case you aren’t free to do the things you like.
Getting Bitten by way of the Entrepreneurship Bug While Hating Life in a Cubicle
Andy graduated and become lucky to find a activity at Principal Financial Group, running in numerous advertising and marketing and technology roles.
He learned plenty, however some thing become missing.
I didn’t match in. I recall looking round thinking “how can human beings be satisfied right here?” Everyone felt ‘useless’ at the interior to me. There changed into no ardour. No creativity. Nobody clearly cared approximately their paintings.
I could sit down in my cubicle and listen to podcasts like Mixergy and study Hacker News.
I became reading the entirety I should due to the fact I desperately wanted out.
Of all of his side initiatives, the first to take off turned into the result of purchasing a web direction.
Two years into the job, I noticed that Clay Collins from LeadPages released considered one of his first information merchandise. It became known as Project Mojave, and it became all approximately the way to ‘release products’ in area of interest markets.
I bought his first course for a $one hundred and it changed into a complete recreation changer for me.
I released a internet site in six weeks that turned into producing $6,000 a month in revenue teaching advertising. That became greater than I become making at my desk task.
After the release, I instructed Clay what occurred. He asked to feature me as certainly one of his pinnacle case research. We created a case observe together and became friends… and nonetheless are.
7 years later and I’m presenting Clay in our upcoming Bootstrapped Software Summit. All due to the fact we met seven years ago from that one direction.
Take motion on an Influencer’s thoughts. Get effects. And share the ones effects with them (and the world.)
Influencers love while people get consequences with their thoughts because it makes them look proper.
Read their blog. Buy their course. Put the thoughts into motion. Show them the effects. And they’ll need to get to recognise you.
It turned into so cool to turn out to be friends with Clay. I recollect analyzing his content material on-line for see you later. But I in no way thought we’d truely turn out to be striking out together. Since that enjoy, I realized that is a ninja hack for moving into contact with influencers who're generally unreachable.
You can use this method over and over to get linked with some of the most important influencers online.
The Embarrassing Business Failure and Starting Over From Nothing
As quickly as that enterprise released, it came tumbling down simply as fast, leaving Andy pissed off, unsure and demoralized about his destiny.
Unfortunately after the release, I had no concept how to maintain the commercial enterprise. So our sales slowly faded until I close the web page down six months later.
It became brutal to admit I failed. I changed into so near leaving my activity. I changed into purported to be this “a success case look at” for Clay. And then, all the unexpected, I had not anything.
It became embarrassing, frustrating and I recall beginning the next yr feeling so demoralized.
I had labored for a 12 months on a business and I had not anything to expose for it. I needed to start throughout from scratch… again.
Andy became again at 0 all over again, and nonetheless operating complete time in company America.
He went to SXSW, one in every of the biggest meetings in tech, and got here home inspired by the people he met.
He was so stimulated, in truth, that he took a massive risk.
At SXSW I changed into surrounded by using people my age who have been doing precisely what I desired to do.
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They were walking six- or seven- determine organizations, visiting the world, and after I met them I found out: they’re not that lots smarter than me. If they could do it, why can’t I do it?
I realized I had to make a large exchange. Immediately.
I walked into my boss’ workplace Monday morning and said that I want to go element-time and I best need to be running three days per week so that I may want to start a commercial enterprise at the facet.
I couldn’t accept as true with it, however they said sure.
Invest in events and surround yourself with people two to three steps in advance of you.
Going to events can be one of the highest leverage investments you could make because you’ll be surrounded by means of your tribe of humans.
The key is to surround yourself with human beings only a couple steps beforehand of you… however no longer too a long way ahead. If they’re ten steps ahead, it’ll be tough to relate to them. If they’re two steps in advance of you, it’ll encourage you and show you an entire new realm of sensible possibility.
Putting His Back Against a Wall
With his task (and earnings) scaled lower back and a few newfound free time, Andy’s ft were to the fireplace.
Except that he wasn’t certain what to do next.
Thanks to some advice from his pal (and now business accomplice, Dane) Andy began cold calling real property sellers to look how he ought to assist them.
Eventually, Andy got a success.
I ended up bloodless calling a realtor in Colorado who changed into doing these advertising and marketing campaigns wherein she might associate with neighborhood companies and ship out discounts to her past clients to incentivize referrals.
I cherished that concept, and I concept I’d try promoting that as a advertising system to other realtors.
I called it Referral Squirrel, and on my days off I might do nothing however cold name and try to construct the business.
It changed into a grind however I didn’t care. It felt SO EXCITING to have momentum and a product to promote again. Especially this time due to the fact each new purchaser was worth $67/month. (I most effective needed to make $4,000/month to depart my task, that's best 60 customers.)
Everything modified once I got the primary real property agent in Iowa to use it.
When the top agent in Iowa signed up, I observed I didn’t need to “sell” anymore. I simply told potentialities, “Scott’s certainly one of our clients.”
Everyone knew he changed into the first-rate. So if he did it, it have to work. After that, the whole thing got easier.
Get the #1 chief in a marketplace as a consumer and absolutely everyone else will observe.
Markets regularly play “comply with the leader.” If you can get the number one leader of a marketplace the use of your services or products, each person else will comply with nearly at once.
Ask yourself, “Who is the most influential man or woman in our industry who we should get using our product or service?”
Then locate innovative methods to reach out to them.
Andy found creative methods to attain pinnacle sellers.
Top agents have been busy and didn’t reply to email or cellphone calls. So to get my foot inside the door with them, I used to send a dozen warm chocolate chip cookies and a gallon of milk to their workplace. They cherished it.
In the field of cookies, I’d write a bit letter that requested for 10 mins of their time to proportion an concept with them. Almost anyone called me again within 48 hours due to the fact the cookies have been unique, one of a kind and reduce via the clutter.
Finally Quitting His Job and Claiming His Freedom
Andy grew his commercial enterprise continuously by means of operating element time on it, and sooner or later it was bringing in enough cash to permit him to give up his job.
I’ll in no way overlook the day I quit my job. I consider bursting through the revolving doorways of our workplace constructing, at the verge of tears, knowing that I could never cross again to working for someone else for the relaxation of my life.
That gigantic feeling of freedom was one of the greatest studies of my life.
It had been nearly seven years because I had that moment at the mountain in New Zealand and I finally had the freedom I had craved for so long.
That 12 months Andy persevered to develop his business, and in the end moved to Colorado to learn to snowboard, like he had constantly dreamt of doing.
Life became right.
But a yr later, some other project got here his manner.
Another Big Screwup and Another Big Change
Andy saved growing his commercial enterprise. But he eventually observed that his heart wasn’t absolutely in it.
Referral Squirrel changed into a first-rate enterprise, however I didn’t have a real passion for it. To be sincere, I nonetheless didn’t realize the primary issue approximately real estate, and whilst I ought to promote this product all day lengthy, finally it ended up feeling like just every other activity.
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Andy’s opportunity to alternate that came whilst the commercial enterprise hit a massive, ugly roadblock.
We had a blunder with one of the campaigns that honestly screwed up. We sent out a marketing campaign for a realtor in Omaha imparting a reduction to a restaurant that we had signed the cope with the earlier week.
We sent the campaign out on Monday, and we start to see a flurry of indignant emails from customers.
It turns out that the eating place had suddenly closed its doors for true that weekend.
I turned into pissed. We refunded everything and blanketed the expenses of the campaigns. That mistake fee me a pair thousand bucks and that became the last straw.
I turned into already getting pissed off with the commercial enterprise, and I became telling a friend about what had passed off, and he known as me out and said “you’ve been talking about this for some time, it sounds like you ought to suck it up and do something positive about it in place of just complaining.”
After every challenge, there’s an possibility waiting to be found.
Entrepreneurship is a curler coaster of emotions. Some days are high. Some are low. Often once we stumble upon our largest barriers, something new emerges that’s a good bigger possibility… if you’re inclined to make the leap.
Dane (Andy’s enterprise companion today) have been mentoring people and coaching them to begin software program businesses for the past six months.
He knew Andy had constructed up a lot of connections over time, and a month in advance Dane requested him to help recruit companions for a direction he become launching.
Andy proposed a exceptional concept.
I knew I needed to alternate something so I just said, “Instead of just recruiting partners, why don’t you let me control the entire release for you?”
We spend a whole bunch of time writing the first sales video. We probable spent eighty hours scripting a 10-minute video, and we shared it on Facebook, wherein it got shared approximately eight,000 instances.
At this factor, we had no e-mail list or song report, but this generated an entire bunch of leads for us. We persisted to do this for a whole summer time, and on the end when we in the end released the path, we generated a little over one million bucks.
We found out, “holy shit, we've got a business on our hands.”
Andy sold Referral Squirrel to a marketer he knew in Iowa, and centered his time on the route he had helped launch, called The Foundation.
The Power of Influencer Outreach, and Starting With One
Andy credits a large a part of the fulfillment of The Foundation’s preliminary launch to their influencer outreach approach.
And possibly the most crucial takeaway from that strategy?
You best need one.
You simply need a unmarried influencer, and everything else receives loads less difficult.
Our one was Andrew Warner of Mixergy, who I had approached at South by means of Southwest a couple of years prior.
How does Andy propose moving into the front of influencers? By information—and acting on—what he calls “their pain or pride points.”
When I met Andrew, I didn’t certainly have any connections.
He changed into throwing a celebration at SXSW, and I ought to tell from listening to his interviews that he’s usually yearning and inquiring for audience feedback.
He constantly says such things as “I want to understand how I may be doing higher.”
Of route at a party like that, he’s got one thousand humans surrounding him, so I cross up and chat with him very briefly, and after a piece of small communicate, I say “Hey, through the way, I suppose I’ve got a few thoughts that could sincerely help you with listener engagement and in case you need to speak approximately it, I’d like to get coffee or some thing.”
Immediately, he’s like “oh yeah, permit’s do that.” I despatched him a follow up e mail that night time.
We ended up having lunch together for 30-45 mins. I prepared a list of factors that I notion he will be doing better for me as a listener, and he liked it.
That turned into the beginning of our friendship.
When it changed into time to release, we had a case observe from the primary time we ran the path that turned into certainly a hit with the material. Andrew agreed to interview him on Mixergy. That become a large win that got us momentum early.
Consistently upload fee to humans via listening for their pain or delight factors.
The essence of human behavior can be boiled down into components: Minimizing pain. And maximizing pride.
The extra you could start to hunt for in which people revel in ache or where they revel in pride, the easier it will be a good way to supply value to them.
The greater cost you supply, the greater they’re going to want that will help you in go back.
Andy was able to leverage that initial exposure to get increasingly more interviews and podcast appearances, consisting of being featured on Pat Flynn’s popular Smart Passive Income podcast.
Every time we did a display, we would create a custom bonus for that precise audience.
For example, if we had been doing some thing for Smart Passive Income, we’d say at the quit, “in case you’re simply digging this and also you need to get into the software program space, I’m going to percentage with you the first set of email scripts that I used to close my first ten customers so you can replica and paste them and send those emails out to ability prospects. If you’re fascinated visit thefoundation.Com/pat.”
Once they get there, they see a video or textual content that announces “good day SPI readers, here’s the bonus that I promised you, simply provide me your e mail cope with and I’ll send it to you.”
Since then, we’ve used those techniques to construct an e mail listing of a hundred,000+ people.
Since that preliminary release, The Foundation has built an email listing of over 100,000 human beings. They’ve been featured in media like Forbes, Inc, Business Insider and more. And they've helped over 2,000 marketers from 40 countries get their start in business.
Andy also released Starting From Nothing, a podcast for bootstrapped entrepreneurs that’s been downloaded over 2,500,000 instances and ranked as the number 1 podcast for entrepreneurs by using Inc.Com.
I’ve usually cherished scrappy, hustling, bootstrapped entrepreneurs. I recognise how painful it's miles to start from not anything. No cash. No talents. No connections. We built The Foundation for different bootstrapped marketers who have to cognizance on profitability from day one.
7 Key Lessons To Help Grow Your Business And Connect With Influencers
One — Work Hard. And Smart. You can spend a lifetime working tough, however to gain genuine freedom, you need to educate your self to paintings smarter, too.
Two — Prioritize Freedom. Working hard (and smart) doesn’t matter in case you aren’t free to do the matters you like.
Three — Take movement on an Influencer’s ideas. Get outcomes. And proportion the ones outcomes with them (and the sector.)
Four — Invest in activities and surround your self with people two to a few steps ahead of you.
Five — Get the number one leader in a marketplace as a consumer and each person else will observe.
Six — After each challenge, there’s an opportunity ready to be discovered.
Seven — Constantly look for methods to add fee to people by way of listening for his or her pain or pride factors.
What’s Next for Andy
In addition the The Foundation, Andy runs some of other corporations and occasions for marketers.
- The Software Summit — Dec 4–7, 2016 — 25+ Bootstrapped software entrepreneurs are coaching how they began and scaled their software businesses from scratch. Including our own Alex right here at Groove, Jason Fried from Basecamp, Clay Collins from Leadpages, and a whole lot extra.
- Vision Day — Dec 14th 2016 — Create your best vision in your enterprise (and existence) in 2017 at some stage in this loose 90 minute workshop.
- Compass — Software that enables marketers realize precisely what’s getting executed in their business… with out micromanaging their group.
A Gift for Groove Readers
Lastly, Andy prepare a touch gift bundle for Groove readers that will help you develop your business.
- The Product Launch Checklist — Andy’s personal tick list he uses while launching new products or companies. This checklist has helped him promote over $5,000,000 of merchandise on-line, launch a #1 commercial enterprise podcast in iTunes and it has helped countless other marketers develop their agencies.
- Stealth Strategies For Influencer Outreach — Andy has spent the past decade refining his strategies to get linked with influencers on-line. He credits these techniques for supporting his career take off. For the first time, he’s written about these techniques in detail so you can use them to help grow your commercial enterprise.
- Both of those can be downloaded without cost proper now with the aid of going to http://groove.Andydrish.Com
Andy’s Required Reading
Groove’s blog subscribers have a tendency to be voracious readers who work tirelessly to higher themselves and their corporations. That’s why we’re asking each of our My First $100K interviewees to percentage their favored blogs and books.
- The Surrender Experiment via Michael Singer — Proof that prioritizing a religious course can lead to large effects in life.
- Ask by way of Ryan Levesque — This is the destiny of advertising and marketing and the fastest manner to get deeply in the minds of your customers.
- Double Double by means of Cameron Herold — If you’re scaling a enterprise past $1M+, this is ebook is a have to examine.
- Psycho-Cybernetics through Maxwell Maltz – This e-book teaches entrepreneurs how to tap into their unconscious mind to create bigger outcomes in their lives.
- The Boron Letters by means of Gary Halbert — If you need to research the fundamentals of direct reaction advertising that to help you collect more customers, quicker… test those letters out.
Your Turn: Ask Andy Anything
Andy has (very) generously agreed to reply your questions in the feedback of this interview. We’re going to be looking carefully and seeking to research as a great deal as we will ourselves, so don’t be shy.
Hey Groove Readers — I love studying the treasured content Alex and the Groove group have constructed over the years. If there’s any questions you have got about influencer marketing, launching products, or what it’s want to develop up in a cornfield in Iowa ;), let me recognize and I’ll solution questions inside the feedback below.
Post your questions for Andy within the feedback below.