Is your Small Business Memorable? Podcast

Want to know how to be memorable as a small business?

Stop boring folks with your mundane actions!

Make them remember you with every interaction. Take a listen below and subscribe to the podcast.

Hiring Nightmare

Let’s talk a about a dirty word in the blue collar biz world…. “employee.”

Hiring folks can be a nightmare for those of us doing physical labor jobs.

It’s not easy finding quality people to run a hedge trimmer all day or a guy willing to clean out septic tanks for $12 an hour, 45 hours a week.

So what to do? You want to grow that business, and you can only get so much done as a solo operator.

Let’s talk about it….. take a listen below and subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher.

Productization of Blue Collar Services

I hear a lot about productization from online gurus. 

It makes sense to create one product that you can sell over and over. As opposed to working by the job or hour with every client.

Is this possible with businesses like plumbing work or landscaping? Oh yes, and we will check out some ways to make it happen.

Taking Action versus Endless Planning

Today I talk about the importance of taking action in a small business.

Why? Because planning for weeks does not pay the bills! Getting a customer by calling up folks and asking for referrals is what brings in some cash.

Check the show out and let me know what you think. Oh, and if you are up for some good insights from 5 successful entrepreneurs and one evil genius, go here.

Who Did You Help Today?

No matter what blue collar service you are providing, you are helping folks. Even if they swap some of their dollars for you showing up to unclog their toilet, you are being of help.

Too many times businesses get a bad wrap for taking advantage of consumers. Often news reports talk about small businesses “giving back” to their local community. As if the business owner has been “taking away” from his community by making a living with his craft.

Most small businesses are not guilty of this. Those that do underhanded things and cut corners don’t tend to stay in business very long. Word spreads quickly about a contractor who doesn’t show up on time, charges unreasonable rates, or does shoddy work.

Bad reviews spread much faster than positive ones as most of you know.

I love the Zig Ziglar quote about helping others to get what they want allows you to get everything you want. 

It makes sense. If you help enough people remodel their homes, you will rake in a healthy living so you can provide for your family. And of course you can grow your remodeling business and help even more homeowners get what they want.

As for helping people who are not paying you? I know many of you blue collar guys often do free work for those in need.

A gentleman who lives near my grandparents helps them out on occasion just to be a good neighbor. This landscaper also keeps up my great aunt’s lawn now that she is a widow. No charge.

All over America there are business owners who are doing well, by doing good. Not only on jobs that pay the bills, but on free work just to help out.

Not to mention all the blue collar businesses that pay a decent wage to their employees. Sure, it’s no fun to work on a septic line all day or run a trencher for eight hours. However, at the end of the week these employees actually have a real paycheck. Unlike working at Walmart or other big corporations, unless you are in management.

This has just been a shout out to all you blue collar business people out there who are helping folks on a daily basis. We see you.

Your good works are not unnoticed.

Cold Emails for Inbox Hoarders

Do you know why none of your potential customers open your cold emails?

  1. You are too scared to send them.
  2. The subject line is boring AF so they never see them.
  3. Or you get lucky with a decent subject line, but then write a pile of nonsense in the body of the email.

Let me tell you a secret. People’s email inboxes are worse than the homes shown on “Hoarders.” They don’t have time for one more email…. unless it makes them?


You need to make potential customers curious about what you have to say. Not only in that first email, but all the emails you will send afterward.

email inbox clutter

If you’re in the landscaping business, and you email a church about doing their new fountain project, how will you tease them? Not by cussing like I do here on a regular basis.

You can get them to pay attention to you by sending an email with a subject line like:

  • “What if your fountain”
  • “About the fountain”
  • “What if”
  • “We’d better talk”
  • “Fountain heaven”

Those subject lines create a bit of a mystery. It’s like seeing an odd light under a door. The only way to see where the light is coming from is to open the door.

Once this church person opens your email, you better have something to say.


If you even think about telling them “how long you’ve been in business and you provide quality work at reasonable rates,” stop and throw your keyboard out the window! Or hit your fingers with a mallet for typing out such mundane words that will never get a potential customer excited about your fountain creation skills.

How about you start with a story about two similar projects your crew made with their own hands and the sweat of their brow. Tell a story of how you all were invited for a BBQ once the project was finished. How the grandma was so excited to tell her grand-kids about how you and your team worked so hard on the water feature.

And how you all had never had homemade biscuits, so she made y’all some. Don’t all grannies believe they are the only ones who ever make homemade goodies?

By telling a story, you’re becoming real to the person you want to have a real conversation with. No longer are you a landscaper pitching your services in return for a paycheck.

You become the artist who is loved by little old biscuit-making grandmas all over the county.

fountains by landscapers

Cold emails do work. Obviously, you want that first email to lead to a phone call, then a meeting.

No one is gonna write you a check for a $40,000 fountain after a single email. Even if the email is epic.

The email is designed to get paid. With the recipient’s attention. If you get that attention, you have succeeded.

To recap.

  • Get attention with an awesome subject line. No trickery, just something that relates to the actual message and generates cat-killing curiosity.
  • Tell a story about your work, but make it resonate with the potential client’s needs. Get inside their head. If you are writing to the pastor of a church, paint a picture of a sermon out in front of the fountain at sunrise.
  • Follow up with a second email if nothing happens after one try.

Cold emailing does work. It is a process however. You can’t just do it once and give up if you don’t get a response.

Most of all, make sure you have something to say. Our inboxes are full enough without filling it up with boring sales pitches telling us about how great your company is.

What’s in it for us if we do pay you with our attention?

Think about that long and hard as you craft your first cold email.

10 ways to get a Customer in the next 20 minutes

I love me some “action” when it comes to blue-collar business marketing. Predators in the animal kingdom don’t wait on the phone to ring in order to feed their families. They pounce at some point.

Podcasts and articles about how others built a business or made $100,000 last year with click-funnels are interesting. Sometimes they provide a good outline for you to do the same in your business.

All to often, this happens though. You try to do what some other business person did and you fall short in the first few days. Then you give up.

The problem? You are hearing a highlight reel of their plan. These entrepreneurs on EOF, if they were truly successful, didn’t become successful overnight. They get 20 minutes to tell their story.

So the ugly, grinding work is left out many times.

Here’s the grind. It is taking real steps to connect to people who can and will buy from you.

Skipping what I’ve done personally or read about others doing in business, here are 10 actions that should lead you to a new customer in the next 20 minutes.

You don’t need to build an audience or create a funnel to make this happen.

BTW I had a guy tell me on one business FB Group that I shouldn’t expect miracles for $10 / day with Facebook ads.

Is getting one customer a month a miracle? After spending $300? Hell no.

Here’s proof. Take some of the actions below and tell me if they resulted in a new customer to add to your list. Without spending three C-notes.

10. Call an old customer that dropped off your radar and try to reconnect. Situations evolve over time. Just because you haven’t heard from a client in a year doesn’t mean they don’t like you. Maybe they lost your number or have been too busy to look at projects they need done around their house.

9. Take 100 business cards and a box of doughnuts to local influencers. Hair salons are a good start. Small churches are a nice target too. The local beer store is another one. These spots are in the know. They hear rumors before they are ever mentioned on Facebook. Why? They are connected to the community.

8. Walk into 10 businesses and hand them your card. Do you know how rare this action is now?

stand out from competition

7. Email 20 businesses or individuals that may need your service. Make sure to ask them to pass the message along to a friend or co-worker if they don’t need you at the moment themselves. Use two different pitches to see which gets the better response.

6. Update your freaking website so that visitors will know what you want them to do. Do you know what you want them to do? If you want them to call you, then make that point obvious. If you want them to request a hassle-free estimate, make it the focal point of the front page. People need to be led!

5. Order some signs and ask 10 people to let you place them in busy spots around your territory. Signs still work people.

4. Schedule seven posts on your Facebook Page (business or personal) about your work over the past year. Schedule them so that they run daily for a week. Consistency! Tell stories about the leak you fixed for free and the elderly lady that cried when you tore up the bill. Or show pictures of your decks that you love to create.

3. Call 10 businesses and ask about their current provider. Scary to talk to people right? Right. That’s why you will be one of the few taking this tact. Do it well and you might get more business in this manner than any other. Forget you are intruding on their time. Don’t say weak shit like, “I hate to bother you but….”. Lead with an amazing line that shows them they are lucky you did call them to let them know about your amazing service. If you do believe in your work, this line will be truth.

2. Post an ad to Craigslist. Make the offer unbelievable and use great copy. Make the ad stand out to the person you would like to reach. If you want a landscaping customer, make sure to post the best photos of projects you have done in the past. Think of the perfect customer and write the ad directly to that one person. This is key.

  1. Email or call a current customer and tell them you are seeking referrals. You had a spot open up and would like to fill it with good people like them.

Share your success mini-stories in the comment section.

Don’t be a Hard-head about Small Business Trends

A man can sure get comfortable with his plumbing business or grading operation. Especially when the signs on the truck state, “Since 1985.”

That’s one hell of a run buddy! Lots of guys have came and gone in your industry in 32 years. Some kicked the bucket altogether, and yet here you stand. Still making a good living with your craft.

construction business trends

I can see where it would be hard to change or latch onto a new trend if things are going good with your lawn service. Why change if things are good?

Well, if you believe that good is the enemy of great, then you need to consider that change can be a positive thing.

If you can’t bear the thought of change, just keep chugging along the way you have been for three decades.

Looking into new trends is for business people seeking to reach the next level. Sometimes it’s difficult to reach that next level if you only do things the old-school way.

Sure, old-school is better than new-school in many ways. I’m with you there. I use pen and paper for to-do lists and note taking. I’m a caveman that believes smartphones just allow me to keep millions of lists that I can never get to.

I have a buddy that runs a beer store. Old-school as they come. The guy is super successful with the way he runs his business.

However, he has refused to try out the new craze among smokers.

Vaping is just a fad, he thinks.

Maybe it is. Before I just cast it aside, I believe it would be wise to at least test the market. He could always just stop selling them if the demand died off.

If he decides to get in the vape game later, he can still make some money with them, since he gets plenty of foot traffic to his store. Yet, there’s the consideration that many vapers will have found a go-to spot to get their vape on by then. Never to return to my friend’s store.

Not a big loss in the short term. As I said, the guy is doing steady business.

In the long run though is where it could hurt without him ever knowing it. If every vape customer spends $8400 in the next 15 years, then that’s money that could have propelled him into an even earlier retirement.

Hopefully you’re not a vaper. This new form of smoking is pretty irritating. About the same as the lung darts of old- school smokers.

But if you’re a small business owner, you need to watch for new trends in your industry. You can’t chase every new service or product that comes along.

Just be sure and take time to think about how these new trends can help you head to retirement a little sooner.

  • For plumbers, there have to be quicker ways of handling small jobs that just take up your time. Could you not set up a group chat with three small time plumbers to let them do those pesky tasks? You can still make money on top of what they charge.
  • For lawn care providers, you best pay attention to organic weed control. While this service is a tiny fraction of what chemical weed control is, it will only get more popular as people continue to pay attention to their health.
  • What about you roofers? Are you going to continue to climb ladders to check out roofs when you could use a drone to save some of that up and down effort house to house?
  • If you are a builder, you need to know what interior trends are catching on. Be one of the first to start using an exotic material for ceilings and you will be able to charge more.

The reason is because your competition won’t know how to price it since he didn’t pay attention to remodeling trends like you did.

organic weed control

Before you accuse me of trying to get you all to run out in front of a parade that hasn’t gotten started good yet, let me be clear.

You don’t want to bother with trends that don’t pan out.

That means you shouldn’t try to be the first to jump on a new trend for your service business or bakery. Being the last to notice the trend is even worse though.

A trend that lasts just a couple years can result in revenue that you never would have earned. As a bonus, this new product or service could lead you to future trends. Or it could open your eyes to different ways of doing things.

My Grandpa retired from a cotton mill after 42 years.

Now his side-hustle (hobby he says) is picking up unwanted pallets then reselling them.

pallet business

The guy is 81 years old! He loves to work and is super sharp with money.

With the pallets though, there has been no innovation. He just manually loads them or has help from my dad.

He refused to change the way he ran his little biz, so he just stayed at the same level. That’s fine with him. Pop wasn’t looking to become a 90-year-old millionaire.

Still, there were lots of options that could have resulted in more money for him with less work.

His skill was in finding the free pallets and he had a good relationship with several buyers. The man has never met a stranger and loves people.

He could have easily just went around getting more pallets to sell and hired a crew to do all the work. He could have sold some of the boards to folks selling Pinterest worthy pallet art on Etsy or at flea markets.

To say he ignored any such trends would be an understatement. He is so locked in on what he’s doing, he doesn’t even listen to the radio in his truck. It could distract his mind, he says. This guy is a character.

So he certainly wasn’t checking Google trends out or Etsy or eBay on his computer that he doesn’t own. Or using the internet that he would never surf if he would pay for it.

Pop is doing good. He just likes getting out of the house. Says he’d like to die with his workboots on.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

But if you are trying to go from $100,000 / year to $300,000 / year in your painting business, then you can’t get too comfortable.

If you do, the younger competition may blow by you as you chug along.

Even if you keep the competition at bay, they may still keep you from reaching certain goals by snatching new customers who only sign up with them because of the fresh new service they offer.

My buddy with the beer store is really competitive.

I believe he would go for the vape setup if he thought he could crush the guy across the street a little faster.

BTW, that competing store has went through four owners since my friend bought his package store.

Clearly he knows how to run a business without getting caught up in too many trends.

I just can’t help but picture him dreaming of the store across the way being turned into a parking lot if he were to push even harder with the next big thing.

beat blue collar competition