Welcome back to The Elite Advisor Blueprint! This week, Cameron Herold (@CameronHerold) joins us to discuss his new and upcoming books, his newly established COO Alliance, and some of the extensive knowledge he’s gained from a lifetime of entrepreneurship.
Cameron has been an entrepreneur from quite an early age. From owning his first business at 21 to starting 1-800-GOT-JUNK? at 42, Cameron has built and run successful businesses for thirty years. He is also a thought leader, author, and coach who helps individuals and businesses bring their vision to life through focused and efficient daily goals. Recently, he established the COO Alliance, a program aimed at second-in-command leaders who want to connect with and learn from their COO peers.
- How writing a book changed his career trajectory
- How to hire and grow with A+ talent
- The secret to delegation
- Why focus is the most important ingredient to his success
- Lessons from his books, Double Double: How to Double Your Revenue and Profit in 3 Years or Less and Meetings Suck
- The importance of time away from work
- Building meaningful relationships with people whose work you admire
- How 1-800-GOT-JUNK used FREE PR to put their name on Starbucks cups around the world
- The lesson Cameron learned from a random encounter at Burning Man that changed his perspective on life
Cameron has been an industry leader for a long time, and rightfully so. Be sure to take advantage of this one-on-one time with one of the world’s top coaches and entrepreneurs!
Already heard it once or twice? Please leave a short review here, and tell me which guests I should have on!
- Listen to it on iTunes.
- How Cameron feels about ticking off a major bucket list item this year. [3:20]
- Why Cameron established the COO Alliance and how it came into existence. [5:52]
- What framework to use when searching for top talent — especially as a salesperson transitioning to running a business. [7:02]
- The accounting lesson Cameron learned in high school that still affects him today. [10:17]
- What Cameron learned about the school system and how it could be improved. [14:24]
- Why it’s important to measure and monitor a few crucial aspects of your business, rather than getting lost in the many important things. [15:49]
- Why it’s critical to have a book if you’re a thought leader. [20:52]
- How Cameron’s life and career have changed for the better since he’s published books. [22:07]
- Cameron’s process for deciding which moves will be most impactful for his business, including speaking, writing, and taking on clients. [24:50]
- What technique Cameron uses to identify and stick to his most important goals. [28:06]
- Why free time is such a crucial part of Cameron’s (and your) success. [29:45]
- How to fix the problem of overworking or refusing to delegate tasks. [35:05]
- Tips for finding great people to hire, full-time and otherwise. [37:32]
- Secrets for headhunting great employees. [40:27]
- How to get more out of your meetings, and make them not suck. [48:42]
- Cameron talks about his upcoming book on leveraging free PR and how to do it well. [54:02]
- Who Cameron thinks of when he hears the word “success.” [59:00]
- What Cameron would tell his 21-year-old self about business. [1:00:42]
- Why you have to continue to resist judging people by their appearance. [1:03:50]
- The best business advice Cameron’s ever received. [1:06:07]
- How Cameron has become friends with many incredible influencers and entrepreneurs. [1:07:41]
- Cameron’s number-one piece of advice for reaching success. [1:12:35]
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with Cameron:
- Double Double: How to Double Your Revenue and Profit in 3 Years or Less by Cameron Herold
- Meetings Suck by Cameron Herold
- The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs: Elevate Your SELF to Elevate Your BUSINESS by Cameron Herold
- Let’s raise kids to be entrepreneurs – Cameron Herold at TEDxEdmonton
- The COO Alliance
- Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
- 10xTalk – Dan Sullivan and Joe Polish
- Genius Network
- Mastermind Talks
- Scribe Writing
- Burning Man
- The Front Row Dad’s Retreat with Jon Vroman
- Tools for hiring great people and getting stuff done:
PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE
- Hal Elrod – Author of The Miracle Morning (also check out Hal Elrod on the podcast)
- Jon Vroman – Founder of the Front Row Factor (also check out Jon Vroman on the podcast)
- Jayson Gaignard – The Mastermind Talks Podcast
- Elon Musk – CEO of Tesla & SpaceX
- Warren Buffett – CEO of Berkshire Hathaway
- Marshall Goldsmith – Founder of the Marshall Goldsmith Group
- Michael Hyatt – CEO of Michael Hyatt & Company (also check out Michael Hyatt on the podcast)
- Jeff Bezos – CEO of Amazon
- Andrea Baxter – Co-Founder of Smart Cookies
- Tim Ferriss – Author of The Four-Hour Workweek
- Tucker Max – CEO of Scribe Writing (also check out Tucker Max on the podcast)
- Joe Polish – Founder of the Genius Network
- Dan Sullivan – Co-Founder of Strategic Coach (also check out Dan Sullivan on the podcast)
- Yanik Silver – Founder of Maverick1000
[0:00:36] Brad: On this episode, I’m joined by special guest, Cameron Herold. He’s been called “the best speaker I’ve ever heard” by Forbes Magazine Publisher, Rich Karlgaard. Cameron has empowered business audiences all over the world to take the actionable steps needed for hyper growth. Cameron actually got a start as a lifelong entrepreneur by starting his first business at the age of 21 and later helped turned 1-800-GOT-JUNK into a household name as he grew the revenues to over $100 million during his time there. He also runs his newly formed COO Alliance which focuses on coaching and growing the number two in command through his proven strategies. His two books, “Double Double” and “Meetings Suck,” are both business best-sellers. And as of this show, he’s just released his latest book, “Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs” co-authored with Hal Elrod.
Although this was officially the first time that I’d met Cameron, this whole conversation felt like talking with an old friend. You guys are going to love it.
Here’s just a few highlights of an incredible conversation I had with Cameron. We talked about what is a “vivid vision” and why should every company have one. We talked about the number one thing everyone who speaks publicly should always have. And included in that advisers, public seminars, public workshops. You should always have this. You guys are going to find this incredible. We talked about the secret to niche marketing. We talked about why meetings don’t have to suck in a simple framework for holding great meetings, what’s the secret to landing free PR and how this led to 1-800-GOT-JUNK? being featured on Starbucks cups around the world, the best business advice Cameron ever received, an app Cameron uses to get the three most important things done every single day. And we wrapped the conversation with an experience that Cameron had at Burning Man – for those unfamiliar, a music festival in the middle of a desert that taught him to never judge a book by its cover.
Cameron went above and beyond for all of the Elite Advisor Blueprint listeners by offering all of you his first chapter from “Double Double” on creating a vivid vision as a free download. It’s available at www.bradleyjohnson.com/Cameron. That’s spelled “C-A-M-E-R-O-N.” And, as always, we have show notes that include links to all the resources, books mentioned, everything else we cover are available there as well. Thanks for listening. And without further delay, my conversation with Cameron Herold.
[0:02:52] Brad: Welcome, everyone, to the Elite Advisor Blueprint Podcast. I have special guest, Cameron Herold with us here today who I’m tremendously honored to have. We are introduced by our mutual friend, John Ruhlin. Cameron, so welcome to the show and I’m really looking forward to all of the knowledge you’re about to ready to drop off with us here today.
[0:03:12] Cameron: Great, Brad. Thanks for having me. I’m super excited.
[0:03:14] Brad: Cool. So I just have to ask right off the get go. We’ll get to all the business stuff here in a second. But my buddy, John, gave me some insight or info that you just completed that your first full marathon. So what brought that all about and what did you learn from it?
[0:03:29] Cameron: Yeah. I’ve had that on my bucket list for probably eight or nine years formally. But I’ve had it in the back of my head for about 25 years that I wanted to run a marathon. I always knew that I kind of needed to. And back in April, my wife, one morning, we’re long in bed talking about kind of where we’re going with the next year. And she kind of kicked me and said, “Are you going to run the darn marathon or are you going to keep talking about it?” And I was like, “Yeah, I’m going to run it. Of course, I’m going to run it.” Meanwhile, inside, I’m like, “Uh I don’t know if I want to do this.” But I signed up the next day, signed up for the one. I said I wanted to do it but at the time I was 50. So I had kind of had until I was turning 51 to get this thing completed. And my birthday is the end of this month. And so I signed up for the one which is closest to the very end of that year, got a couple of friends to help me out with it. I got one to do all my long runs with me here in Scottsdale. I got another friend to fly across the country and actually placed me in a marathon. So I completed it early ago, about this week.
[0:04:21] Brad: Congratulations. That’s huge.
[0:04:23] Cameron: Thank you. Yeah, I’m pretty excited.
[0:04:25] Brad: Was it easier or harder than you thought it was going to be?
[0:04:27] Cameron: The training was harder. The training was significantly harder partially because I have a bit of an insane travel schedule for speaking. And I’ve done some global events. So it was hard fitting those runs in. The actual race itself was much easier than I thought it was going to be. I think partially because I’ve trained in 95-degree weather in Scottsdale. And I was able to run in Portland in 55 degrees in the rain. So my body was really thanking me for it. So, yeah, it was much easier. I think that’s the key to training right there. Do the more extreme version of what you’re actually going to end up doing. Yeah, it’s funny because I started the race thinking I’m one and done, like I will never do another marathon. That’s it, this one race. And then I finished and I was like, “Let’s do a couple in Europe. I want to do Chicago. I want to do Colorado.” I actually signed up for another marathon four days after finishing Portland so I’m pretty excited.
[0:05:16] Brad: Very cool. Well, as a former football player, I’ve pretty much was trained in the opposite of marathon training, you know, short bursts and then rest for a while. I have not quite made that commitment. But I’ve done a couple of tough others. But one of these days, I might commit to pulling one of those off.
[0:05:32] Cameron: Well, you either do or do not, as Yoda would say.
[0:05:35] Brad: This is true. Well, I haven’t made the commitment. So at this point, it’s do not. So obviously, I’ve given some background on you, all of the things you’ve done over your career to this point in the intro here. But we were just talking before we went live here. And you’ve got something you’re very passionate about right now, the COO Alliance. And what’s cool is I’ve heard a lot of CEO coaching programs. I’ve never heard of COO coaching programs. So can you give me where that was all born from, how it came about, why you’re so passionate about it? And then, as a caveat, if you want to apply that to financial services and some of the things that some guys might be able to learn from that, that I would just love to hear the story.
[0:06:14] Cameron: Sure. Yeah, I think what happened was I started to realize I’ve been coaching entrepreneurs and CEOs all over the world for nine years now. After I’ve built 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and left there nine years ago, I started coaching entrepreneurs and CEOs but up to very, very high levels, like coaching monarchy in the Middle East. So I coach the CEO of Sprint. So I’m coaching real businesses and started seeing that there were all kinds of groups for entrepreneurs to go and learn from. There were EO and YPO, and Vistage, and Genius Network, and Mastermind Talks and Maverick, all these amazing places for entrepreneurs to go. There’s great places for financial advisors to learn, places for lawyers to learn, places for marketers and for engineers. But there was nowhere for the second in command. There was literally not a group anywhere for the COOs at a high level to go and learn from each other. So I created the COO Alliance as a way for me to educate these second in command so that they can actually grow the entrepreneurs’ company and literally got huge response from it right away.
I tested this as an idea with the few of my clients second in commands and held the event here in Scottsdale and sold it out within 26 hours. So I think maybe the lesson for the financial advisors is try to fish in a pond where nobody else is fishing. There’s all kinds of ponds out there but we always tend to go for that same group. I bumped into someone the other day who is a financial advisor. And she only works with children of high, high net worth individuals. She won’t work with the high net worth individuals. She only works with their kids. I talked to someone the other day who only works with divorcees. And she’ll only work with female divorced clients. She won’t take on anyone who’s married, so literally finding these little niches and going really deep into those. I think that is what I tried to uncover with the COO Alliance as well.
[0:08:03] Brad: Makes sense. So speaking of second in command, my experience from financial services is you’ve got these great type A personalities. As a self-admitted guy that has ADD, a lot of financial advisors definitely relate to just it’s a sales mentality. And I think one of the toughest things – and I’m into your book, “Double Double” – and you said something in there about how you guys were able to find A type of talent at 1-800-GOT-JUNK? I think that’s a constant struggle in financial services. And it is that transition of running a business as a sales guy to running a business as a business owner that a lot of guys struggle with. So do you have some ways or some frameworks that they might want to think with how they can break through that and find that top talent?
[0:08:54] Cameron: Yeah, well, so the way that you have to break through is before you’re worrying about finding top talent is you have to set your mind in a different level. And that means you really need to start visioning your company as a company, not as a sole proprietor with just you running it. So the best example I’ve got is Elon Musk. Now, everyone talks about Elon but I’ve known Elon for 25 years. Elon’s brother worked for me in 1993 and I was a reference for him to his very first round of funding in ’95. So I’ve known Elon for a long, long time.
The reason he created the Tesla Model S as a seven-seater car, he has five kids. So he wasn’t going to build this amazing car unless it would serve his family. So he leaned out into the future, wanted a car that was similar in design than his McLaren F1, super fast, super sexy, but also could sit his kids. And he kind of said, “Who’s with me?” Their financial advisors, the way they need to look at their business is lean out three years and do what I call the “vivid vision.” I describe them in pretty good detail on Chapter 1 of “Double Double.” I could give you a PDF that all of your listeners can get a copy of and read it for free.
[0:09:58] Brad: I love that.
[0:09:59] Cameron: It describes in detail how to visualize their company three years from now, without worrying about how they get there. They have to picture it as a business with other moving parts. And I think if there’s always that one person doing everything, they’re going to kind of be best into that. But if they lean past that and the design of business is bigger, they’ll get there. Another thing is they have to surround themselves with the best. Your network is your net worth. And, I think, too often we spend time with people that are just like us. We need to be spending time with people that are running bigger businesses, operating at a better level, thinking at a bigger level. And I’m part of three groups that I raise my bar with all the time. I’m part of Dan Sullivan’s 10X for Strategic Coach. I’m at Genius Network with Joe Polish and part of Jayson Gaignard MasterMind Talks. And those three groups raise my bar and raise my game. They also make sure having me around with other entrepreneurs that are doing big things and venturing in big ways. So I think that’s for anyone who’s listening is to kind of surround themselves with those people.
And then, remember, we don’t have to be the ones to figure all the stuff out. It’s already been figured out. All we have to do is our own niche is stand to rip off and duplicate. So when they’re trying to think about how do they grow their business from where they are out here, instead of trying to grow it from where you are out, try and design what it looks like out here and reverse engineer that.
[0:11:20] Brad: So, now, I have to bring this up because you mentioned it. So watching your Ted Talk you did a few years back now, over a million views. So obviously, it’s resonating with a lot of people out there. You talked about basically how you did accounting. Would you share that story for the audience here because I think there’s a great lesson to be learned there? And a little background, the talk was on children should be entrepreneurs. And that was kind of the framework that this story came in.
[0:11:46] Cameron: Yeah. So I realized at a very young age that education was a way to get somewhere. And I also knew at a very young age I was never going to have a job interview. I was never going to get a job. I would always be running my own business and growing companies. And I wanted to take accounting as one of my courses in university. But then, when I got into the course, I realized I have a form of dyslexia called “dyscalculia,” which is I flip all of my numbers. And I have 17 of the 18 signs of attention deficit disorder. And I was busy running a company. I had 12 employees when I was 20 years so I was doing other stuff. I guess to shortcut, I hired someone to run my accounting assignments for me. And I was running a bar and I hired one of my bartender/bouncers to do my accounting assignments. And every week, I’d pay them in beer and he would hand his assignments. And so I cheated basically. But at the end of the day, when I was going to write my final, my dad said – I was crying because I knew I wasn’t going to pass the finals. So I had no idea what the content was. And he said, “Well, how did you get this far?” And I said, “I paid somebody to do my assignments.” And he said, “Well, good. You learned how to hire your first accountant.”
And that was actually probably the more important question for me in university than memorizing how to do accounting was I didn’t have to be good at everything. I had to go and find people who are good at it, find people who loved it and hire them to do it. And then I could do what I was really good at. So, sure, I didn’t pass accounting because I did it properly. But I learned more about accounting by hiring someone to do my bookkeeping than from actually going through the course. So, thankfully, my transcript is terrible and it would never even get me a job. But I learned a lot from that.
The funny part is kind of the whimsical epilogue. About ten years later, I was contacted by the writer of the university textbook for managerial accounting, the course that I had cheated in. And she asked me if she could quote me in the section on budgeting as an expert, not because I cheated in the course but because she’d been reading about 1-800-GOT-JUNK? And so I’m actually written up in all of those university textbooks in the course that I cheated in. I’m an expert.
[0:14:02] Brad: It felt interesting how that works out. It’s just out of the retreat in Philadelphia on how to be a better dad run by a guy named Jon Vroman. He’s a multiple time college – basically speaker of the year at the college level, never graduated from college.
[0:14:17] Cameron: What I learned about it is our school system is fundamentally messed up. I think what we should do with school is this. Now, it worked a hundred years ago. Here’s how I think schools should work: all students should get an A. They should all get the same result. All students should work together in groups. All of the tests should be open book. All the exams should be open book. All of the students should collaborate, research together, propose together. And they should all get the same result because that’s really the way the world works today. You don’t have to memorize everything. It’s on Google.
What we have to teach people is to find information, pool it together, synthesize it, work together as a team, collaborate, use each other’s strength. People do presentations. To have a system where only the top two kids in the class are the best and everybody else is worst, I was fundamentally beat up for 12 years. Every single day, I was told by the school system that I was stupid and I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t going to fit in. How is that possibly helping when you give everybody an A and have them work together and work on their strengths? And I think if we change school that way, it would be incredible. The problem is the educators don’t like it because it doesn’t work the way they like it to work.
[0:15:28] Brad: Yeah. I read a book that just blew my mind along that same concept, “Mindset” by Carol Dweck. It talks about a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. And, unfortunately, when you call somebody dumb, you’ve now fixed in their mindset, “Well, I’m just dumb. I can’t. Might as well not study. There’s nothing that is going to do it for me anyway.” All right. So let’s go onto another challenge for financial advisors. There’s a quote in your book, “Remember, it’s not about measuring everything. It’s about measuring and monitoring the right things.”
And so, let’s start at the most basic level because I think a lot of – especially very successful advisors – it is a sales mentality. It’s onto the next appointment, appointment, appointment, appointment and not a whole lot of time to track things along the way. So do you have tips for maybe some other businesses that were very sales-oriented that you’ve helped in the past? And just maybe even step number one to actually measuring things so you can know how well things are going?
[0:16:28] Cameron: So, again, I begin with the end in mind. So I try to look at where I’m going and then figure out what’s the best path to get there. So if the destination for one of our viewers is here, what are the top three things they should measure to make sure they’re on track for that? What are maybe the top ten things they should measure to make sure they’re on track with that? So think about that for a second.
The next part is I think we have to remember that it’s about measuring the critical few things versus the important many. If you think about your card dashboard for a second. When you get in your car and you’re going for a drive, your dashboard has a bunch of data on it. And what things on your dashboard do you see or do you look at more often than anything else? The speed, OK? That’s the number one. Gas. And it’s the biggest dial. And you look at gas.
[0:17:14] Brad: Well, I look at my battery monitor now because I’m a Tesla guy, so-
[0:17:19] Cameron: That’s why we like each other. So we look at the speed, right? That’s number one. And the dial is a very big dial. And then we look at our battery or gas because we need to know how much time. But we only look at our battery or gas every couple of days. We look at the speed almost constantly. And we also know that the car is measuring everything. So that if we have to take it to the dealer and we plug it in, they can actually look at all of the data. So you want to have the data available and the data being tracked. But you don’t necessarily need to look at it. So as an example with our financial data, in terms of your business, looking at your PnL or your balance sheet, your cash flow state, I don’t sit and look at that on a daily basis. Heck, I don’t even look at it on a semi-annual basis. But I know that it’s being tracked. I know that it’s solid and I know that a financial advisor will look at it and go through it with me and give me insights, the marketing side of things. I know that all of my leads and tracking is being done in Google in ad words and my Facebook campaigns. I know that all of that data is being tracked.
I don’t look at it. But once a quarter, I have somebody come in and look at all that data and give me advice. So for me, it’s more important to ensure that everything’s being tracked and that I plug in my business every quarter to have some experts look at it and tell me what’s being looked at. I think more often than not, we have business people sitting behind their computer playing business person and I believe it’s people by day, paper by night. They should be ought landing more clients, talking to more clients, building their business, building their brand and then having somebody else look up the data later.
So for me and my business as an example, I have one quarter data point. That’s it. And my data point is this: how many speaking events do I have booked on my calendar for the next 12 months? And as long as I have at least eight on my calendar, I know that everything is good because that’s the top of my sales funnel. The more speaking I do, the more clients I get. And we it all just kind of flows through my funnel. So I only look at one. So my speedometer is booked paid speaking events. But I know that everything else is being tracked and I can plug my business in once in awhile. I think if our viewers would think about that and what’s that one number or three numbers that you need to measure to make sure your business is going to be successful, and then just obsess about those three.
[0:19:44] Brad: Cool. What’s interesting is I just listen and hear your business model. It’s really not that different than a financial services model. A lot of our advisors give public events, would then lead to set appointments on from there, right? So what’s interesting, you know, I see a lot of advisors set their goals to the opposite way where it’s these big high in the sky numbers. So I’m going to do $15 million, $20 million of assets. But they don’t actually break it down to what are these weekly activities that I need to be performing to get the big results.
[0:20:13] Cameron: I have my business plan. I know what my revenue is going to be. I know all the different product categories and services and how much revenue will come for me to one. I know my activities that I need to on a quarterly and monthly basis to get to that plan. All that stuff is there but I know the one core number is speaking, right? And then, from there, I know my coaching clients and speaking events and how many have to come from my own speaker’s bureaus. But, to me, measuring all of that stuff means I’m spending too much time measuring my business and not enough time doing my business. And as long as I know where I’m going – most people don’t know where they’re going. They don’t have that plan. They don’t have that path. You mentioned that our viewers are doing speaking, many of them. I’ll tell you for sure. If they don’t have a book, no one is going to take them seriously. But if they’re in that advising space, they need – if they’re a thought leader, they need to have a book.
So I know you know, I’ve just done my second one, “Meetings Suck.” So now, I work with a group called Scribe Writing and I can give you a link to it if they want. Or listeners can actually get some free stuff, like going to my link from Scribe Writing. But they need to have a book. Scribe Writing will interview them, pull all the contents out of their head and have a hard copy book that they can give away to clients. So I do the speaking event two days ago in Detroit to 850 CEOs. All 850 got a copy of my book. My cost for a book was $1.40 and shipping is about 80 cents. So it only cost me $1,800 to get 850 people my book. Talk about positioning yourself in the marketing space, right?
[0:21:46] Brad: So, Cameron, you said they got your book but it sounds like did you ship it to them as an effect?
[0:21:51] Cameron: No, I shipped it to the event and made sure that every single person in the audience had it. I will never do a speaking event without a hundred percent of the audience getting a copy of my book. You get in the event buying the book, or the event buying at a cost or me giving it to them for free. But everybody will always get a copy of my book. It’s a marketing piece.
[0:22:08] Brad: All right. So I’ve got about four questions rolling here. So I’m going to pick one. First one is my buddy, Michael Hyatt, he – and I’m in the middle – by the way, I will endorse Scribe Writing right here. Two of my 90-minute phone calls in and it has been a game changer. And this is me hiring a professional writer before and struggling and battling for about probably four or five months now, to now where it’s just like 90-minute call, talk like we’re doing right here and, boom, it’s all laid out. It’s awesome. I know you’re involved with them and do a great job.
[0:22:45] Cameron: I did in the first book a completely different way. My first book, “Double Double,” took me 18 months to write.
[0:22:50] Brad: Really? Wow.
[0:22:52] Cameron: I’ve done one with the traditional way six years ago and I did one with Scribe Writing. I’ve got two more that I’m doing with them now. It’s an amazing process.
[0:23:00] Brad: So we’ll dig in on that in a second. So going back to my buddy, Michael, who’s a former CEO of Thomas Nelson. Just been in that world a long time. He said there is life before the book and there is life after the book. So can you speak to that with your first book, “Double Double?” How did perceptions change? How did your business change before and after the books? Let’s go into that subject.
[0:23:21] Cameron: Well, a funny part of that is my first book, when it first came out, is version one. In the introduction, it said, “Thank you to my wife, Jane.” And now, if you read “Double Double,” it says, “Thank you to my wife, Kim,” because we’ve been divorced and remarried. So it was like before and after for 30 months. I get along really well with my ex-wife. And my wife and ex-wife get along great. So we can all laugh about it. But I definitely got a wife before.
[0:23:47] Brad: That’s a big change before and after the book.
[0:23:52] Cameron: My book has definitely positioned me as a thought leader and an expert. It’s been a way for my ideas to get shared with people and for them to share it with others. It was a way for me to get all these ideas swirling in my head and package them in a way. I didn’t have a desire to be a writer. I didn’t wake up in the morning and have some need to say it. My clients wanted more information and it was a way for me to position myself as a more impactful thought leader. My speaking fees have tripled since I put my book out seven years ago. Now, they tripled. And my coaching fees have tripled. So, I mean, yeah. It did for sure.
[0:24:32] Brad: Game changer.
[0:24:33] Cameron: Yeah, big time game changer.
[0:24:36] Brad: All right. So quick takeaway if you haven’t caught on yet. If you’re a financial advisor out there and you want to take things to the next level, you need to write a book which a number of our clients have written books. So I’ve also seen them before and after and it’s huge. All right. So let’s go to this, Cameron. How in the world do you speak as much as you speak? If you have now two books and in my last conversation with Tucker, who’s your compatriot over at Scribe Writing – Tucker Max, for those of you that know of him – you’ve got two more books on the works currently. So three more? Did you add one?
[0:25:11] Cameron: I’m coauthoring “The Miracle Morning For Entrepreneurs” with Hal Elrod. That’s right, number 14. And I have two more books with Scribe Writing, one on PR and one on Vision that are both coming out. And I’ll delay those two because “The Miracle Morning For Entrepreneurs” comes out November 14. I’ll delay the PR book until around March or April. And I’ll do the Vision book. It’ll be ready. It’ll come out the doors kind of December. So when people are ready to do their New Year’s resolutions. It’ll come out December 2017.
[0:25:40] Brad: There you go.
[0:25:43] Cameron: For like until I’m done.
[0:25:44] Brad: Only like one more book a year from that point on?
[0:25:48] Cameron: No. It’s a lot of work. These were ones that had to be written. My BHAG is to replace Vision statements with “Vivid Visions Worldwide.” I have some major platform speaking events that allow to speak about lending free PR because I’m now pretty much a global expert on landing free press. So that book had to be done. And then, the opportunity of co-authoring with Hal Elrod for “The Miracle Morning For Entrepreneurs” was just a no-brainer when he asked me, I said, “Yes.”
[0:26:13] Brad: Yeah. Hal’s the man.
[0:26:16] Cameron: “Meetings Suck” was the one that really had to be written, you know. I’m just so frustrated with people complaining about meetings. And the problem is meetings aren’t the problem. It’s that we haven’t trained our employees on how to run meetings.
[0:26:27] Brad: OK. So a takeaway here, because a lot of our clients struggle with the same thing which is super busy schedules. They’ve got the BHAGs, I want to write a book. I want to get a radio show live. Just the big things. So what methodology do you have to be able to fit all of this in and put space on the calendar for it?
[0:26:45] Cameron: Sure. So I do an impact filter with an ROI analysis. So I take a look at what’s the idea and what’s the real impact it’s going to have on my business, and then what are my costs? What are my people costs, my time costs or my money cost? And what ROI am I really going to get from that? And if it’s not big enough, I cross it off the the list or I delay it. So I’m very clear on where I’m going. My nickname is “Cheshire.” “If you don’t know where you’re going anywhere, any road will take you there” from Cheshire Cat.
I’m very clear on what my vision for what my company looks like three years from now. And if what I’m working on today doesn’t drive me to that vivid vision three years from now, it’s not worth writing on the list. So I’ve gotten very good at saying no to opportunities. The reason I’m on your show is you’d help me build my brand. You’d help me to share my ideas, helps people understand my products. So this is a clear yes. It’s easy. It doesn’t take any time. It doesn’t cost me any money. It’s limited to one hour of my time, but it’s massive reach that I’ll get. So that’s a yes. But to do my own podcast is a huge no.
[0:27:47] Brad: Well, which I’m guessing if we did the math here real quick for an hour of your time, this is a huge investment that you’re sharing with us so I appreciate it.
[0:27:54] Cameron: Yeah, my coaching time is $3,300 an hour. So I’m giving up my doable time for sure.
[0:28:00] Brad: No pressure on my part. This better be a good show. So let’s keep going here. You hit on a powerful point there that’s actually in your book, “Double Double,” and there’s a parable about Warren Buffett – and I don’t even know if it’s true – but he was helping his pilot do a goal setting list and he had his top goals. And then he said, “Well, what are you going to do with the rest? So here’s your top three goals? What are you going to do with the rest of these goals?” And he’s like, “Oh, work on them when I get time.” And he’s like, “No, that’s your “avoid at all cost” list.” Right? So that’s a very strong point you make in “Double Double.” Besides just some of this filtering stuff, what about the stuff where it’s a buddy that asked you to do this, you feel obligated, or do you have any clear set rules that just kind of help you break through that?
[0:28:43] Cameron: I had a real big aha moment yesterday at this event I go to called “Strategic Coach,” Dan Sullivan’s 10X program. And one of the guys in the group said, “You’re not only wasting your time, you’re wasting your life.” So I’m looking at my time now as a very, very finite commodity and really realizing that it is about saying no more often than saying yes. I’ve always been pretty good at that. But I’m no longer going to just say yes for the sake of saying yes because this is my only life. And I don’t want to waste my life. You’re right about the activities. I mean, look, I don’t think we should have a to-do list. We should take our ideas and put them into our calendar and make our calendar our to-do list. If we don’t have enough time in our calendar to do this stuff, you either have to cross off the list or delegate it or outsource it. But our calendar is our to-do list. How much time is it going to take to work on my project? When are you going to do it? Put it on your calendar, otherwise all that stuff just becomes very stressful.
[0:29:44] Brad: It’s a great tip. So while we’re on the subject of Dan Sullivan. You mentioned a big piece of your success has been essentially your free days, right? Actually, unplugging from the business and just actually live life without the worry of any business stuff that’s going on outside. I got some insider info that you’re also a fan of Burning Man. Is this a piece of your free day or can you kind of talk through philosophically what that does for you? Because I know a lot of advisors struggle with that.
[0:30:18] Cameron: Yeah. So I will never work at night. I’m always done at 5:30. I don’t do client calls. I don’t do any work. I don’t try to catch up on e-mail. The reality is we’re never going to catch up. We’re never going to get it done. We’re always going to have more goals. As we get our list done, we’ll set new goals. So you tend to lie to yourself by saying, “I’m just going to work tonight to catch up,” or “I’ll just work this weekend to catch up.” What you’re really saying is “I’m not that engaged with my spouse or my kids or my hobbies or my friends. So I’ll fill my time with being busy with work as that fills me.” But I think that’s a sad life. So I won’t work weekends and I won’t work nights, which means I don’t check e-mail. I don’t work on my business. I don’t read business books. I read books for fun. I play golf. I’m running. I’m hiking. I’m playing tennis. I’m hanging out with my wife. I’m hanging out with my children. I’ve got four kids. I’m really engaged in that aspect. And on my vacations, I don’t read business books. I read books for fun or I just hang out. And I work really hard when I work. But I play really hard when I play.
[0:31:23] Brad: Is it that easy or was there something that you had to work through to get there? Has this been a struggle for you in the past at all?
[0:31:29] Cameron: For sure. Yeah, I was written up in the Wall Street Journal back in October of 2000 as somebody whose career went very high and flamed up stress. I had a complete burnout. I collapsed on the floor at the elevator sobbing in tears. My mom was dying. I just quit my job. Our company went from $64 million to $3 million over the course of two months. I’ve sold my house. I was moving from US to Canada. I was literally redlining on stress. I had a metallic taste at the back of my neck where I can almost taste like I was chewing on tinfoil, the back of my neck. And it’s actually a chemical secretion caused by stress. So I’m just not willing to go there anymore. I was 35 pounds heavier than I am today. I would start every dinner with a Manhattan. I would finish every dinner with Grand Marnier and have a couple bottles of wine in between them. I was thinking that was just OK. But day after day, after day, after day, working, working, working. I was a complete stress case. I’m just not willing to go there anymore.
[0:32:22] Brad: So was it flip the switch at that point? Or was this bringing some great coaches into your life that helped you get through that? What was the turning point?
[0:32:29] Cameron: That flipped the switch pretty hard for me. I mean, I’ve had moments along the years that I’ve fallen for sure, I trip and fall and I wake myself up. But I’m more aware now. I’m more aware when if I go to dinner with business associates and I order a Manhattan, it’s a sign for me that maybe I’m stressed. Maybe I’m not doing this to enjoy the Manhattan. Maybe I’m stressed. If I’m catching myself being manic, I slow myself down. If I’m starting to think about work a lot, I’ll unplug. So I definitely catch myself for sure.
[0:33:00] Brad: Huge lessons for our industry there. It’s interesting because I think our industry has a perception of success is what’s on stage, either in production numbers or awards or whatever. And a lot of times, when you pull back some of those stories, not all – I’ve met some very successful people that have great balance – but a lot of them, it’s from 70-80 hour weeks and it’s just not sustainable long-term.
[0:33:26] Cameron: I think, look, if we go and look at professional athletes for a second, there’s not a single professional athlete on the planet, not one, who is working in their exact professional athlete space for 60 hours a week. Maybe working 10 hours a week or 20. Golfers maybe are working more than anybody else because they’re five hours for four days straight in the golf tournament, so maybe that’s 20 or 30 hours. But they’re not. Then they take a couple of weeks off. Or a professional football player, they’re not playing a game every single day. You need to detach. You need to take a break. You need to work on your game. But you also need to have activities outside of your game. You need to have other passions and other activities. And, look, if we show up at our friend’s cocktail parties or our friend’s parties or the club, or on vacation and all we have to talk about is work, it’s boring. I don’t really care what you do for work. You don’t really care what I do for work. I want to know about your sports. I want to know about your passions and your fears and your insecurities and your joys and what you’re doing for fun. I don’t really care what you do to make money.
We don’t really care what any of our friends to make money. So we have detach from that a little bit. And if we’re only going to be happy when we get to the horizon, we’re never going to be happy because the horizon keeps moving. So to get, “I’ll slow down when I get to this goal,” no, you won’t because you’ll set new goals. Or “I’ll only work for these next three nights to catch up,” no, because then you’ll be behind on your next list of stuff. So we’re lying to ourselves. And it’s just not worth it. We get one life.
[0:35:00] Brad: That’s powerful stuff right there. So let’s speak to fixing the problem. So going back to type A personalities, advisors, and we all know only we can do everything the best, right? That’s rule number one, the type A. Did you have issues early on delegating things to where you could now hand things over to keep team members? And going back to your whole concept of “Double Double,” – which actually I’ll let you say it because I don’t want to butcher it – so for those that haven’t read the book, the concept of “Double Double,” what does it mean?
[0:35:31] Cameron: Yeah. So, yes, I definitely had trouble with delegating. It’s a learned behavior. When I was really starting off in business with college pro painters, I was a franchisee and we only had four months to run our business. We didn’t have time to hire and train and delegate. We had to do a lot. So I became kind of stuck in that mode. And now, what I recognize is I need to get something done but it doesn’t mean I have to do it. In fact, if I take my effective hourly rate, I should delegate everything below what I’m earning per hour. So if I’m doing something with less than $3,000 an hour, it’s not worth my time. It’s never for me to delegate everything and need only to work on those high, high revenue-producing activities. So we started bringing a chef into our home to cook for us. Now, I don’t do any work around the house at all, like zero. There’s no reason I should because why would I do a $12/$15 an hour task where I could spend that hour finding one more coaching client and pay for landscapers for the next 10 years?
I really think of my time as that finite resource. And I would rather do stuff for fun or work on my highest revenue producing activities than just being busy, so that includes in our personal life. So “Double Double” is all about how do you double your revenue and double your profit in three years or less which is really growing your company by 26% three years in a row. For me, that’s actually very slow. When we built 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, we doubled six years in a row. Even with my current business today, I’m 500% in nine years. So I’m well past the “Double Double.”
[0:37:10] Brad: So you just wanted to chunk it down so people could keep up basically is what I hear you say.
[0:37:17] Cameron: I kind of dumbed it down but my business today is up 50% over a year ago. Actually, it’s up 50% in the last six months over the prior year’s revenue, like I’ll probably double this year on a seven-figure business already. I’ll double it again. Yeah, I’m dumbing it down.
[0:37:32] Brad: So let’s circle back around to the delegation factor because in the book, “Double Double,” you talk about a talent. And that is a big struggle with financial services because guys just struggle to find good people. So tips to this?
[0:37:47] Cameron: Yeah. So this is true in every business. People struggle to find good people because they don’t sit down and define what does a good person have to get done in their job? And how do I find someone who has done that before? And we often don’t need full-time people. We can hire people to do components. We can outsource. We can hire fractional. We can hire. Heck, you got places like Elance and oDesk and HireMyMom and Fiverr where you can have experts doing stuff. You can’t see her right now but I had – well, I’m going to show you, hang on.
[0:38:20] Brad: If you’re not five minutes early, you’re late.
[0:38:23] Cameron: There you go. So that’s literally like a huge cartoon that I had made that’s like a two-foot by three-foot painting. But I had the cartoon designed for $5 on Fiverr because I couldn’t find the example that I wanted the illustrate which is, stop saying “sorry, I’m late.” What you’re really saying is “No, I’m selfish. I don’t respect your time.” So I had this cartoon made for five bucks. Now, I don’t need to have a graphic designer in-house. But every once in awhile, I need graphic design work, so I post what I need done. Somebody’s doing that for five bucks. But we often don’t think that way. We’re often like, “Oh, I can’t afford a designer.” You don’t need a designer. You need something designed. I think we look for A-level people to work on a project for an hour or project for five hours. You don’t need to have a full-time sales person. Maybe you need someone to sell five hours a week. You know, freelance economy is huge right now.
[0:39:13] Brad: Yeah, it’s amazing. It’s changed my life.
[0:39:16] Cameron: It didn’t exist in our parent’s era. When the best of the best in the financial services industry the 50 and 60 year olds were starting, they didn’t have freelancers because they didn’t have a computer to go find them. You go look at classified ads in the newspaper. So they’re not wired this way. But now, these experts will work for three hours, five hours, 25 hours, two weeks, a month, and they’re all online and they’re all saying, “Hey, hire me.” Why do you want full-time employees when you can have experts working just for that fractional amount of time? So I think that’s where your financial advisors will really grow is by looking for the freelance economy.
[0:39:51] Brad: And typically, from a price standpoint, substantially cheaper than you could hire somebody full-time at an hourly rate in the US. It’s crazy from my experience.
[0:40:00] Cameron: Yeah. Take a look at a site called “HireMyMom.” These are brilliant women that are at home and they want to work during what I call the “mommy shift” which is when the kids are at school between 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock. And you see like former heads of sales or heads of marketing or heads of copywriting but are doing work for four year, $50 an hour just to keep their brain flowing. But they used to make $300,000 a year.
[0:40:24] Brad: Wow. Very cool. Never heard of it. I’ll check it out. So let’s go to in the book, “Double Double,” you mention essentially, if you want to get great talent , they already work somewhere else. And the whole mindset of – because I’ve seen it a lot where if you offer kind of industry standard wage, the people that show up are the people that don’t have a job currently – so can you speak to your secrets to headhunting great talent?
[0:40:50] Cameron: Yeah, so step one in looking for great talent is to recognize that A players are already working somewhere and they’re going to leave a full-time job to go work for an average company. So you have to make your company an amazing place. Now, that’s not just a curse that means they have to be aligned with where they’re going. They’re only working with other A players. They’ve got a good environment to work in. They have to understand that what they’re working on is driving value. They have to be paid at a reasonably good level, not necessarily the absolute best, but a reasonably good level, lots of good vacation time, just really, really treated well. That’s step one.
Step two is you have to think about what are the things I need to get done in the next 12 months and hire someone who has done those things before. You don’t want to hire someone who knows how to do it. You want to hire someone who has done it. So the example I always use is the swimmer. Let’s say we needed a really good swimmer in our company. Most people would look for someone who’s fast and strong and competitive and a team player. But that could be a six-year-old, fast as a six-year-old, competitive as a six-year-old, a team player as a six-year-old. Now, what I want to do is hire someone who has won Olympic records, who has won in individual and team events, and has won Olympic gold. I don’t want someone who knows how to do that. I want someone who has done it. But the difference between hiring a fast, strong, competitive team player and someone who has one Olympic records is very different.
So when we’re hiring people, we need to think about what are the things we need to get done and let’s find somebody who has done that stuff. And often, that’s why you can get the freelancers because they show you what they’ve done. And you don’t need them full time. More often than not, if you have somebody 40 hours a week for the whole year, they’re spending 30% of their time getting “reply all”-ed and CC-ed, and going to meetings that suck. What you need them to do is that 20 hours a month of really, really core work. You don’t need them the rest of the time.
[0:42:43] Brad: All right. I’m going to steal a thought out of our listeners’ heads that I know is going on right now. They’re like, “Oh, yeah, that works in other businesses, Cameron. But it doesn’t work in mine.” I’ll give you an example. A lot of our top clients, they’re going to be doing a lot of direct mail, where they’re doing public events typically at restaurants where they’re going to try to invite people. 500,000 will invest full assets to show up, hear them speak for an hour and then hopefully book an appointment. So if you can here for me hire a marketing director virtually. What are your thoughts there? Is that possible? Somebody to run an event like that?
[0:43:16] Cameron: Yeah, absolutely. You can hire sales people as well. You can hire people who are just going out and doing the marketing and sales for you to fill your funnel. And then you go in and close the deal. You could spend more of your time in places where your clients are spending time, like join the private clubs or spend time around the events. I have a friend in New York City who joined the board of Guggenheim and he took the role that no one wanted at Guggenheim. He took a fundraising role. So his job was now to cold call every high net worth individual and go into their offices and sit and talk to them. But he had the Guggenheim business card to put in their door. Now, imagine being a financial advisor who’s on the board at the Guggenheim. Brilliant, right? This is a guy who he fought his way around the issue. Everybody’s doing what you’re talking about. Everybody’s booking. Everybody’s coming to dinners. It’s the same stuff, different day.
They probably go fish in ponds that nobody’s fishing in. They’re going to get lazy indoors that nobody’s getting in, so sales funnels, managing your data better, creating value and creating touch programs with people, or finding a niche that nobody else is in.
[0:44:21] Brad: Do you have some examples, some different niches? It’s niche in Canada, I noticed, with my Canadian friends. I always go niche in the US. I think it’s a cultural difference.
[0:44:30] Cameron: Yeah, I know where you’re going. We still use the King’s English.
[0:44:34] Brad: There we go. OK. Do you have some examples of some cool, different niches, different advisors or different business have gotten that too that might help?
[0:44:46] Cameron: A couple that I heard recently are divorced females, only going after divorced females. They won’t take on any male clients. They won’t take on any married female clients. They’ll only deal with divorced females. Second because they have predictable cash flow. They’re all getting spouse’s support. They’re getting child support, right? While they’re sitting on money and they don’t have a manager. Another one is the children of high net worth individuals. Another one is small business owners. Another one could be pro athletes. Another one could be going after just being a financial advisor for lawyers or just being a financial advisor for doctors, just being a financial advisor for dentists, pick a market and go deep into that market place.
What happens is people are worried that, “Well, then I might miss this guy.” Well, if you’re trying to be all things to all people, it means you’re nobody. But if you become that expert in a niche and you’re willing to lose, that if I’m just going to be a financial advisor for dentists, and I say no to lawyers and no to business people and no to teachers, yeah, I’m going to lose those but everybody knows I’m just going after dentists. So when they talk to a dentist who need a financial advisor, they think of me or my book is financial advice for dentists. Now, I stand out. Now, I could actually give my book out to people. And so you just have to pick a niche and just stick with it forever.
[0:46:00] Brad: It’s interesting on that concept with your upcoming book. Hal Elrod’s “Miracle Morning,” great book. But now he’s targeted it specifically. And, “Hey, I’m going to bring in Cameron Herold as my co-author for entrepreneurs,” because obviously you’re an expert in helping entrepreneurs. And so he knows that’s going to speak more directly to that individual.
[0:46:18] Cameron: Right. He also has “The Miracle Morning for Realtors.” He has “The Miracle Morning for Network Marketers.” He has “The Miracle Morning for Families.” So he’s created these niches and he’s going deep into that niche. It’s exactly my point. But I think too often what will happen is others will be like, “No, I don’t want to lose that one deal over here.” OK, then it’s kind of like light. If you think about light for a second, if you disperse light, it will light up a room. If you highly focus a light it becomes a laser and it can cut through steel. The best of the best are the ones who highly focus. So me, as an example. I charge more than almost any other coach on the planet except Marshall Goldsmith. He’s the only one I know who charges more than me currently. Like COO Alliance, if you’re an entrepreneur, you’re not allowed in the room. CEOs are not allowed in the room. It’s only for seconds-in-command. So I’m really kind of niching myself.
[0:47:05] Brad: How many CEOs do you had try to sneak into your events out of curiosity?
[0:47:09] Cameron: I have a couple that are co-owners. But I actually made sure that they really are the COO to the real CEO of the business, even though they’re the co-owner.
[0:47:19] Brad: Well, I just see obviously you’re a master of your craft and I could just see how CEOs will be like, “Hey, you know, I know this is only for second in command, but cut me a favor here, Cameron. Let me in the room.”
[0:47:32] Cameron: I’m pretty sure there’ll be some events coming up for CEOs as well. I’m putting about 18 months it’s going to be 120 CEOs on a boat to the Antarctic. And that would be exclusive for CEOs.
[0:47:43] Brad: Wow. Why the Antarctic?
[0:47:45] Cameron: It’s on my bucket list. And I thought what a better way to go than take 120 brilliant people with me.
[0:47:51] Brad: Very cool. All right. Let’s keep rolling here. This is fun.
[0:47:51] Cameron: Imagine if a financial advisor decided to do a ten-day hike to Machu Picchu with 100 potential clients. And they marketed it as an event. And they spent ten days hiking the Machu Picchu or every space camp or even skiing, and imagine if they took your prospects on something like that for them to just another restaurant for just another dinner? It’s in their prospects to pay to go to the event.
[0:48:22] Brad: Yeah, which would have to, in financial services, as you know, with all the regulations, they would have to be them paying their own trip. But just the fact that they organized it and created this movement, I could see how that can be huge. We’ve had a few clients take mission trips to Africa and things like that where clients have come along. So definitely the concept’s a winner.
[0:48:42] Cameron: Yeah.
[0:48:43] Brad: So I feel like we haven’t spent much time at all on “Meetings Suck.” And I haven’t personally read the book yet. But everybody that’s read it is like, “You’ve got to read this book.” So can you give us a 30,000 foot view? Here’s the concept of the book and here’s – I’ll add one other thing on here before I let you run – most financial advisors, they’re actually the opposite of typical business. They struggle with even having meetings because they’re so busy sales, sales, sales, sales, sales. Oh yeah, I should probably let my staff know what’s going on once a month or so. So if you can speak to that, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
[0:49:17] Cameron: Sure. Well, a meeting is also a time when you’re meeting with a prospect or meeting with the client. That is a meeting. So the reality is, and the reason I wrote the book, “Meetings Suck,” is I was getting tired of people saying meetings suck. And the reality is meetings don’t suck at all. We suck at running meetings. What we need to do, we would never send our kid off to little league baseball without teaching him how to catch a ball and throw a ball and hold the bat. We would give them the basics. We wouldn’t want our kid to go to little league and feel like a complete failure. But we let our employees or our leaders attend meetings or participate in meetings or book meetings without having any training. It’s insane. So the reason I wrote “Meetings Suck” was for all employees at all companies to finally have that hundred-page book to teach them how to attend them, how to participate, how to lead them, and how to actually run highly-effective meetings. And that’s kind of what’s happened is people are buying them by the hundreds, giving them to clients, giving them to all their employees. It’s coming off really nicely.
[0:50:12] Brad: So what are some tips you have to keeping your meetings running on time because a lot of our clients struggle with that?
[0:50:18] Cameron: Well, the best way to have a meeting start on time is to finish everything five minutes early. So if we’re on a call from 8 o’clock until 9:30, we finish it 9:25. And that gives us time to walk down the whole, talk to our assistant, get a cup of coffee, go to the bathroom, check your e-mail, and then pick up the phone and write it 9:30 to say, “Hi. I know I’m on time for a 9:30 call. Just a reminder, we finished everything five minutes early.” And that’s how we show our respect. So when you start everything on time by finishing five minutes early, that’s a huge, huge tip.
[0:50:50] Brad: That’s gold. That’s a simple one everybody can learn right there.
[0:50:52] Cameron: Everybody can get it. And it involves no change. You don’t have to put a buffer in your calendar. It’s just stop five minutes early.
[0:51:00] Brad: What other concepts out of the book do you think financial advisors out there could benefit from, just high level stuff that you can share in the next few minutes?
[0:51:07] Cameron: They definitely benefit from the actual structure of running meetings. So every meeting has to have a clear purpose, just the one sentence why are we here? Every meeting has to have a maximum of three agenda items. What are the three main things we’re going to get done in the meeting? And no agenda, no “attend-a.” Just a lot of people will say, “Look, if there’s not an agenda in the note section, what we’re covering, in what order and how many minutes on each item, I’m not coming.” So even when I do my coaching call with clients, they send me the agenda for the call. They rank in order the topics that they want to cover, topic one might be six minutes. Topic two might be 23 minutes. Topic four might be 15 minutes. And then we know how long we spend on each item. And we start on time. We finish five minutes early. And we book everything for half the time we first think about booking it full.
And I always joke and say it’s like a quickie, and you can get it done in less time if you need to. So if you’re going to book a call for an hour, book it for 30 minutes. You’ll get it done. If you want to book a meeting for a day, book it for half a day. You’ll get it done in less time. Those are the basic kind of core premises. But I also talk in the book about how to run all different styles of meetings, how to run a financial meeting, how to run a strategic planning meeting, how to run one-on-one coaching meetings. So I talk about all the different types of meetings and how to run those as well.
[0:52:20] Brad: So literally you’re saying as a company leader, if I don’t put an agenda in there, you don’t have to come to my meeting.
[0:52:27] Cameron: Correct. I also want people to opt out in meetings. It should actually be a badge of wonder like, “Heck. That’s a great thumbs up when somebody says, “I don’t need to be here. I look through the purpose and outcome of the agenda. I’m not needed. It looks like you got it covered.” We should be happy that people are opting out of meetings because they have more productive work to work on. But we also should feel good about not inviting everybody because we want them working on there for their unique ability areas. Jeff Bezos from Amazon has a rule that he only invites a number of people that could be fed by up to two pizzas. They can’t be fed by two pizzas if he’s inviting too many people in the meeting.
[0:53:03] Brad: I like that. I feel like sometimes with meetings in a corporate structure, it’s like, “Oh, I’ve invited this person so I have to invite this person.” It’s like a party. I can’t leave this person out. And you’re actually flipping that whole model on its head.
[0:53:14] Cameron: When I look at the Navy Seals. When the Navy Seals go into a room to kill somebody, one person’s job is to only look this way and they will never look past this angle because they know that somebody else’s job is just to look this way. And it’s somebody else’s job is to just to do this work. And then you know that these guys have got their back. I have to know that if I’m going into a meeting, and that everybody else who’s not in the meeting is doing their job. And they have to know that I’m in the meeting doing my job and we’ve all got each other’s backs. The whole Kumbaya group hug of “let’s invite everybody because we don’t want anybody to feel bad,” really? We’re going to get killed. If everybody running into the room gets to look around and make sure we’re all good, someone’s going to get shot. And we have to treat business the same way. Everyone has a job to do. But it’s not to do everybody else’s job.
[0:54:02] Brad: OK. I want to get to this because this is some more gold and this has been awesome, Cameron. I appreciate it. Actually, your upcoming book is on free PR or basically leveraging PR without having to pay a bunch of money for it. That is if you could just set something up here on a pedestal for financial advisors, they would run to that all day long. So there’s a piece in “Double Double” about this magical wall that you created. I don’t know if that’s a piece in the book or not, maybe that plays in. But I would just love to hear your thoughts on PR and how you guys did it well.
[0:54:34] Cameron: Sure. So actually, I have a video that all of our viewers can watch. They can download it from my products page on www.cameronherold.com. And it’s a video about 90 minutes speaking about on landing free PR. They can get a copy of it there and download it or you watch it online. But the basics of PR are this, every morning, every journalist worldwide wakes up, sits down at their desk and thinks, “What the heck am I going to write about today?” Every journalist. In fact, every journalist sitting down right now between kind of 8:00 AM and 11:00 AM globally is wondering, “What the heck am I going to write about today?” So our job is not to e-mail them because they get hundreds of e-mails. They get hundreds of press releases, would literally pick up the phone, call the journalist and say, “Hey, Brad, if you have two minutes, I think I have a good story for you.” And you know what Brad’s going to say, “Yeah, go ahead,” because you’re looking for an idea. If I call you between 8:00 and 11:00 in the morning and say “do you have two minutes? I think I have a story for you,” you’re going to say “yes.” If you don’t say “yes,” you’re going to say, “No, I’m on a deadline.” And at that point, I say, “Great. Do you mind if I call you tomorrow or Friday?” You’re going to say “yes” because you always want a new story because every day you have to come up with a new story. And nobody’s phoning anybody today. I use the same way to get PR for 25 years.
It used to get hard to get past the gatekeeper back in the 80s and 90s to land free PR. But nowadays the only people, like when my phone rings, I was going to say it’s my mom but my mom passed away. But it’s like my dad or my sister or my wife calling. No business people ever phone anymore. So you get through the gatekeeper and you’re giving them a story that they’re going to then turn into their own story. So what we need to do is come up with the core angles, the story ideas that we can pitch. And I cover that again in my book, “Double Double” and also in my video, and then in my new book on PR coming up.
[0:56:21] Brad: So you also took this concept and you applied it to your team at 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, if I remember correctly, where you have this, I don’t want to butcher this. IT was this wall of potential things that the company can do in the future, kind of a dream wall.
[0:56:38] Cameron: Yeah. So that was less about PR and that was more about when we had the vivid vision concept of where the company was going. We then asked our employees and our suppliers and our customers where could they see the company in three years? What could they imagine the company looking like? And they would give us these ideas. Can you imagine 1-800-GOT-JUNK? on the side of Starbucks cups or being featured on Oprah? Or can you imagine being a Harvard Business School case study? And we would put up that on a wall with the person’s name below it. And then we would figure out a way to make those things happen. We were on Oprah 16 months after putting it up on the wall. We had a 7-minute piece on Oprah. We had a guy come through for a tour one day that saw being Harvard Business School case study. And he knew a guy at Harvard that approved the case studies. He introduced us. And for the last nine years, we’ve been studied by every MBA student at Harvard. We were on the sides of Starbucks cups. We’re in cup number 70 in the way I see it campaign. They have these quotes from famous people. We were the first company named actually mentioned, because it said, “Brian Scudamore, Founder of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?” and then it quote, “You are what can’t get rid over something.” It was by engaging our employees in where we are going that they got excited about what they were building as well.
[0:57:49] Brad: And what was amazing about tying the whole PR and the great people together that we’ve hit a lot on in this conversation, the Starbucks cups was actually one of your employee’s big visions. That she was like, “I think we could do this.” And she was actually running with it from what I remember from the book.
[0:58:06] Cameron: That’s right. Yeah. IT was Andrea Baxter who was one of our marketing managers had the idea. And she goes, “Can you guys see this happening?” We’re like, “Yeah, not really.” She goes, “I can.” And we went, “OK. We’ll put it on the wall and you figure out the way to make it happen.” And she went out to Starbucks and in about six weeks later, came back and she said, “They want to put us on one of their cups. But they won’t put 1-800-GOT-JUNK? there.” And we said, “Well, it says 1-800-GOT-JUNK? on the sides of Starbucks cups.” So she took a picture of the wall, sent it to Starbucks and they OK-ed it. It actually went up to Howard Schultz to sign off. And the reason they said yes was because the comment was 1-800-GOT-JUNK? on the sides of the Starbucks cups. So essentially, our vision wouldn’t have come true had it just said, “Brian Scudamore, Entrepreneur.”
[0:58:48] Brad: That’s some ninja sales right there.
[0:58:49] Cameron: Well, but when you know you can figure how to get there, you have your vision, you can reverse engineer that. So that was always, we dealt everything backwards. We started with where we’re going and we figured out how to get there.
[0:59:01] Brad: Very cool. Cameron, we’ve got a few minutes left here for me to start throwing some rapid fire questions at you.
[0:59:07] Cameron: Yeah, for sure.
[0:59:09] Brad: Alright. Let’s do it. So let’s go with, this is one of my favorites, I get some of the most wide-ranging answers here so I’d love to hear your thoughts here. When you hear the word “successful,” who’s the first person you think of and why?
[0:59:23] Cameron: Right now it’s me. I’m really, really happy at where I am. And, for me, I’m in bonus territory right now. I really feel like I’ve actually already made it and everything I do from here on in this. I just feel very happy with where I am right now. That’s not a bravado or an ego thing. But I was always chasing success and I feel like I’m there. So I don’t look at external people and go, “Wow, they’re successful.” I think I measure down versus measuring up.
[0:59:49] Brad: Well, to speak to your story from, it was at 2000, was it too many years ago when you were pretty much on the exact opposite end of that spectrum there?
[0:59:58] Cameron: Well, when I was two years old, my grandfather died. And he said, “With a name like “Cameron Herold,” or “Cameron Gardner Herold,” that kid’s going to be something someday.” And I think I kept chasing that and I woke up years ago and thought, “You know what, I’m already there. I’m already really there.” And I think, for me, that’s probably why I can look at other people and go while they may have a bigger house or a fancier car or whatever, but I’ve got an amazing wife and great kids and my health. And I live in an amazing estate and pretty darn happy. I don’t need anything else to feel happy. I feel pretty successful every day. I know it’s not the answer you’re searching.
[1:00:34] Brad: No. The answer I’m looking for is the truth. And that’s what you just gave me and there’s a lot of wisdom there.
[1:00:41] Cameron: That was the one that just hit me right away.
[1:00:43] Brad: All right. Well, this will be fun. This will be a good one to piggy back that one on. Did you say you’re just now 50, Cameron?
[1:00:50] Cameron: Yeah, I’ll be 51 the end of this month.
[1:00:52] Brad: OK. So you’re 50 now. So at age 21… OK, this will be fun. I’m just going to go right off your bio here. So I’ll read it for the listeners and the people watching here. So Cameron was an entrepreneur from day 1. Age 21, he had 14 employees. By 35, he’d help build his first $200 million company. By age 42, Cameron entered 1-800-GOT-JUNK? from $2 million to $106 million. So if almost 51-year-old Cameron today could go back and let’s start with 21-year-old Cameron that had 14 employees, is there a piece of advice you’d give yourself at that age?
[1:01:28] Cameron: Yeah. I mean, the last chapter of my book, “Double Double” was letters to my 16-year-old self. I wrote something like 65 lessons that I had really learned and internalized that I wish I’d known when I was 16. I’m not trying to sell copies of my books, but the entire chapter was letters to my 16-year-old self. The one that I think probably sticks with me the most is the story about Gorbachev and Reagan. And Gorbachev and Reagan were meeting back in the 80s trying to solve the world’s problems. They both had headsets in listening together of course with the translation. And somebody came running in the meeting screaming and yelling and upset. And Gorbachev laughed and smiled and said, “Remember rule number six.” And three times during the meeting, he said, “Remember rule number six.” And at the end of the meeting, you know, they were solving all the world’s problems, Reagan said, “I only have one question. What’s rule number six?” And Gorbachev smiled and laughed and he said, “Rule number six is don’t take yourself so effing seriously.” And Reagan said, “What are the first five rules?” Gorbachev said, “There aren’t any.”
And I think at the end of the day, that’s really what this is about is this is just what we do to make money. This isn’t our reason for waking up in the morning. So at 21 years old, I wish I’d known that I could laugh and play and enjoy and be a little silly and not take myself so seriously because nobody else is. You know, I think more people are worried about themselves. They’re not really worried about me. They’re not looking at me. They’re not judging me. They’re worried by what everybody else is thinking about them as well. So maybe we should just hold hands and have milk and cookies and have a good time, right?
[1:03:01] Brad: Hence Burning Man, right?
[1:03:02] Cameron: I was just about to say. I’m going to Burning Man.
[1:03:06] Brad: That is on my bucket list.
[1:03:08] Cameron: You got to go. The art is spectacular. The connections is amazing. You’ll never shake hands with another human in your life. You will only hug people. It’s an amazing, incredible, beautiful, amazing space. I’ve been five times. It has blown me away every time.
[1:03:28] Brad: Is it just as of five years ago you started going or is this something that?
[1:03:32] Cameron: I went 2007 for four years in a row and then I took a couple of years off and my wife and I went three years ago. We’re going to go back together. We had the most incredible tantric week together that we’ve ever had in our lives. It was amazing.
[1:03:45] Brad: Well, I’m sold. I’m going. It’s on the bucket list. It’s going to get done.
[1:03:49] Cameron: Yeah. It’s beautiful. It’s amazing.
[1:03:52] Brad: All right. OK. Would that advice that you just gave, would it change any at age 35 or 42? Have you already figured some of that out? Would anything else change?
[1:04:01] Cameron: Yeah, I hadn’t figured it out yet at 35. I probably started to really, when I first went to Burning Man, so 2007, so nine years ago. So when I was 41 and 42, yeah, I guess I started to change, where I met these people. I met this guy who was overweight and he was standing half naked out in the middle of the play with that leather utility coat on. And he was playing a tuba with flames coming out of the top of it. And I’m like, “Who is this weirdo?” Right? And it so happens that he was a billionaire who had made all kinds of money in the business world and he just liked to play tuba and wanted to do something silly. So he stood there playing tuba. And I realized like, “I can’t judge a book by its cover anymore.” I have no idea who people really are.
I sat beside a guy I’ve done the main Ted Conference six times now. And at the main stage at Ted, I was sitting beside the guy who was kind of disheveled and a little bit dirty. And I felt like he was maybe autistic and I’m not going to give his name just to protect him. But Bill Gates came up to say hi. Al Gore came up to say hi. Demi Moore came up to say, not to me but to him. And I’m like, “Who are you?” It turns out he has built two companies and he’s worth billions of dollars and he’s this autistic savant who is trying to change the world in a couple of specific areas. And I realized that I can’t judge based on the way somebody looks or dresses or acts, that people are people. People have their fears and their insecurities and their joys and their passions and their pain. And none of us would get out of this alive. We’re all going to die. So I think for me, for sure, Burning Man and the Ted Conference. Those things changed me for sure.
[1:05:36] Brad: Don’t judge a book by its cover.
[1:05:39] Cameron: I used to, big time.
[1:05:41] Brad: I still do and it’s something I fight. I think as humans, we all naturally do to some level, but it’s amazing, the more wisdom I soak in, people that truly have climbed that scale, they really start to figure that out. All right. Time for two more questions.
[1:05:58] Cameron: Sure.
[1:05:58] Brad: This is an expensive moment here so I’ve got to give my bang for my buck here. So what was the business advice you’ve ever received?
[1:06:07] Cameron: My network is my net worth. For sure, it’s by hanging around with successful people that I either learn to be more successful or I find easier paths to success, or I find systems to rip off and duplicate or they stretch me, they inspire me. The money that you earn is the average of the five people you spend the most time with. The physical shape that you’re in is the average of the five people you spend the most time with. I’m going to the Ted Women next week with my wife to just be inspired again for nor business reasoning whatsoever other than to unplug and connect to the whole deeper level. So, for me, that is one, my network is net worth.
[1:06:49] Brad: Did that come from a book or a person? Or where did you originally hear that?
[1:06:52] Cameron: It probably came from my dad. I’ve heard the saying later but my dad is the one who got us to understand why you join a private club and play golf. The private club is powerful. So I’m a member of their private club here in Scottsdale, Arizona Country Club. I’m a member at Marine Drive in Vancouver. I’m a member at Vancouver Lawn Tennis in Vancouver. I’m a member at Virginia’s network and 10X and MasterMind Talks, Maverick. So I go to these events where I’m surrounded by brilliant people. And my network is powerful. If I read you my list of who I’m actually one degree away from, like I could pick up the phone and call Elon Musk. You can pick up the phone and call Tim Ferris. You can pick up the phone and call Tucker Max and call Joe Polish. And, actually, I had dinner at Dan Sullivan’s home two nights ago. I really do have these intimate deep relationships with people that are really doing some pretty cool stuff. But it’s because I’ve worked and spent time with them.
[1:07:42] Brad: So other than going to events, are there certain things you’ve done to make sure people like that are influencers that you really respect and want to connect with on a deeper level so that they know Cameron Herold is here for them? How did you connect on those deeper levels, if you don’t mind sharing that?
[1:07:58] Cameron: Yeah, I’ve always been open to sharing and helping people. I don’t operate on a quid pro quo. Yes, I’ll help you if you help me. But if people ask me for help, I say “yes.” Tim Ferriss is one to come to my home years ago and just hung out with me for the weekend with his brother. And we hung out for three days and went to the movie Wall-E, and we talked about weird stuff. And he wanted to just… I was like, “Yeah, of course.” I didn’t know where it was going to go. And this was just as his book was coming out. He wasn’t that famous at the time, and met one of my very first clients because he was sitting in my house and asked me if I knew this guy Yanik Silver. I’ve never heard of Yanik. I didn’t know what a “Yanik Silver” was, but he was a big deal right? Yanik’s how I met Joe Polish. That’s how my book is passed around at Richard Branson’s. Just say yes to those opportunities and help people.
[1:08:44] Brad: Yeah. It’s amazing. That’s happened in my own life as well. I mean, we wouldn’t be on this podcast if it wasn’t for the circle of people I’ve surrounded myself with.
[1:08:54] Cameron: You know, when John Ruhlin and I, John introduced you and I. But Joan and I met at the Entrepreneur’s Organization. We at EO. So we met at a global conference of entrepreneurs that we are members of. I met Brian from 1-800-GOT-JUNK? because I was an EO member. So I was in this network of entrepreneurs. My clients come from YPO and Vistage because I’m plugged into these communities. So your network is your net worth. People that I’m too busy to learn or I don’t have time to be in these groups are just going to kind of, they’re going to flat line or they going to grow it 5% or 6%. But when you plug into the right communities, when you help people, when you have fun along the way, when you don’t judge a book by it’s cover, when you slow down to just connect with people on a human level, it’s pretty powerful.
[1:09:38] Brad: Yeah, so I’ve got to ask a followup question because you mentioned your dad in the book about kind of how he really, he created this whatever, this atmosphere of when you were a kid, that, really, it was like entrepreneur boot camp is what it sounds like. And what did your dad do? Because you’ve mentioned him a lot. He’s obviously inspired you a lot to where you’ve come to today. Can you speak to that a little bit?
[1:10:01] Cameron: My dad was an entrepreneur. And both of my grandparents were entrepreneurs. In fact, I even married into a family of entrepreneurs. It’s all I’ve ever known. My dad just got us to see opportunities, to realize that having a job was a bad deal to look for people’s needs or ways to help people or ways to solve problems. And he got us to realize that it was about leverage. He just keep teaching us these entrepreneurial systems. And he also had fun. He really had his free time. He took lots of vacations with the family and lots of vacations with my mom. And he played golf every Wednesday. And if you call his office on a Wednesday at 12 o’clock, they would all say he’s at the doctor’s office. But they all knew he was at the golf course. He played golf every Saturday morning. But he played golf at 6:30 and he’d be home by 11.
As teenagers, we were just waking up at 11. So we didn’t ever notice that he was gone. He always got his golf game in Saturday morning. It’s golf game in Wednesday afternoon. He was home every day at 5 o’clock for dinner. We had family dinner every day. So I saw my dad engaged but working. And I saw how free time was so powerful and he taught us that stuff.
[1:11:07] Brad: And I also took a parenting tip from your dad, by the way, so you can pass this on. Instead of giving you guys allowances, he basically gave you opportunities to find stuff to do and then negotiate pricing with him.
[1:11:19] Cameron: Yeah, he basically… you know, we recognize that to pay someone $10 a week to do the same thing was like a paycheck. You’re going to get the same $10. You got to do the same things and what people started to do was less effort. So they always happen to nag you and remind you and manage you to do all chores. That’s stupid. So my dad had a list of all things we could do. And then we’d say, “Hey, I want to take the garbage out and be like,” I’ll be like, “Deal for two bucks?” He’s like, “a buck.” I’m like, “No, I’ll do it for two.” He’s like, “I’ll get your brother.” I’m like, “Fine, I’ll do it for a buck.” Because I negotiate how to spot the opportunity before somebody else did. There was an unlimited amount of things that needed to be done around the house, but he taught us how to spot opportunity and how to negotiate and how to hustle and how to get it done in the least amount of time.
At one point, I came home and my dad was really mad at me because I was paying my brother to cut the grass until I explained to my dad that, “Well, you paid me five bucks to cut the grass. He’s willing to do it for three. And I made two.” And my dad’s like, “You know what, you just learned how to hire somebody. That’s pretty cool.” He detached from the fact that I was getting my brother to do my chore when I hired my brother to do it.
[1:12:22] Brad: That is hilarious.
[1:12:22] Cameron: That was the last time I was allowed to do it and he wouldn’t allow me to hire my brother after that.
[1:12:26] Brad: So my question is, is your brother and entrepreneur now too?
[1:12:29] Cameron: He is. My brother bought my dad’s company. My sister is also an entrepreneur. Yeah, that’s all we’ve ever known.
[1:12:35] Brad: All right. Well, last question here, Cameron, this has been awesome. And actually, I got this from another friend of mine, a guy named Guy Carson, that he always closed his interviews with this, and this is one of my favorites, what is one piece of advice you can share with me that led to your success? And I know you already shared “Your network is net worth.” But I guess if we took maybe your number one answer, what would it be?
[1:12:56] Cameron: It’s focus. So it’s sitting down on a daily basis and saying, “What are the top three things I need to get done today?” And it’s working on those three things. If you think about, if you’re going to work for five days a week and you take maybe four weeks vacation a year and you don’t work weekends, you have about 210 working days. And you just got three big things done every day, that’s 630 impactful things. But if thinking about what are the top three things I’m going to get done, so what I do is I use an app called “CommitTo3.” And it’s like $3. And I commit my top three things every day to Joe Polish. And he commits his top three business things to me. And I have another friend that I commit my personal top three with Gordie Bufton. And Gordie commits his personal top three to me. So every day, I have my top three business, my top three personal. And by putting them into this app and committing to another person that nagged me to get that stuff done.
[1:13:52] Brad: I love it. Accountability, that’s what it’s all about.
[1:13:55] Cameron: Well, accountability and also thinking about it. The other thing I’ll do is I’ll write my top three down in a post-it note, and I’ll put the post-it note on the side of my laptop and it nags me all day because I see it sitting in front of me and it reminds me what I really got to get done. The rest of the work is just busy work. We’ll get that stuff done too. But focus on the critical few versus the important many.
[1:14:12] Brad: Awesome. OK, Cameron. I just want to say thank you so much.
[1:14:16] Cameron: You’re welcome.
[1:14:16] Brad: I feel so fortunate that we both know John Ruhlin who also happens to be an incredible guy and that connected us for this conversation. So thank you.
[1:14:25] Cameron: Yeah, Brad. I appreciate it. I’m glad that what you have here is getting some good content here.
The information and opinions contained herein are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by Advisors Excel. The guest speaker is not affiliated with or sponsored by Advisors Excel. Results from the use of these concepts are no guarantee of your future success.
While client appreciation events may be permitted, such event should be reasonable and customary. All producers and investment advisors should be aware of any gifting limitations imposed by federal regulation, state regulation, insurance carriers, broker-dealers and Registered Investment Advisors, as applicable. Investment advisors are strongly encouraged to obtain pre-approval from the broker-dealer and/or Registered Investment Advisor with which they may be affiliated prior to implementing the concepts or strategies discussed in this interview.
The ability to write a book varies by the individual producer’s education, experience and qualifications.
PR is not a substitute for professional credibility, nor should it be viewed as a shortcut for obtaining new clients. Rather, it is a system of branding and marketing designed to help reinforce your credibility and value proposition. Credibility is founded in knowledge and experience.
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