Henry Ford once said that “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” Joining Joe this week is one of Magnetic Marketing’s amazing partners, Tyler Garns, the Founder and CEO of Box Out Marketing. Tyler talks about how his marketing career flourished at Infusionsoft, how he transitioned from being part of a team to starting one of his own, and the importance of recognizing your strengths and your weaknesses.
About Tyler Garns:
Widely regarded as “the original Infusionsoft Ninja,” Tyler Garns is an award-winning, world-renowned marketer who has played a major role in the development of automated internet marketing campaigns since the early 2000s.
From 2007 to 2012 he led the marketing team as a Vice President at Infusionsoft, taking the company from 300 leads per month to over 25,000 leads per month— helping to double its annual sales on three separate occasions.
In 2014 he founded Box Out Marketing (B.O.M.), a top Infusionsoft implementation agency that helps Infusionsoft & Keap users get the most out of the software.
Tyler has been sought after by some of the big names in the marketing industry including Frank Kern, Perry Marshall, and Brendon Burchard. He is a regular speaker at marketing events around the world including GKIC InfoSummit, GKIC SuperConference, Traffic and Conversion Summit, Perry Marshall’s Adwords Master Event in Maui, Frank Kern’s Operation Total Freedom Event, ICON, Ramon Ray’s Small Biz Technology Tour, Infusionsoft’s Small Business Success Tour (8 Cities), Inbound Summit, JJ Virgin’s Mindshare Summit, MarketingProfs and SuccessCon.
With a degree in human biology, Tyler takes a scientific approach to marketing and combines it with the “art” of messaging and persuasion. Bringing these disciplines together has created impressive results for his clients, earning him a 5-star reputation industry-wide. Having worked with thousands of entrepreneurs for over a decade, Tyler has become the go-to resource for those who are ready to take their business to a whole new level.
A Southern California native, Tyler is a dedicated husband and father of four, as well as an avid surfer and church leader. One of his greatest passions is to help fellow entrepreneurs succeed at levels they hadn’t thought possible.
Tyler Garns - Magnetic Marketing
Joe Pardavila: This is Dan Kennedy's Magnetic Marketing podcast. You'll meet folks that are using the Magnetic Marketing principles to take control of their advertising and marketing dollars. I'm Joe Pardavila. Let's do this.
Henry Ford once said that coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress and working together is a success.
In other words, you really need to build a great team. And joining me today is one of our amazing partners here at Magnetic Marketing. He's the founder and CEO of Box Out Marketing. His name is Tyler Garns. Hello, Tyler.
Tyler Garns: Hey Joe. Thanks for having me on.
Joe Pardavila: Thank you very much for being such a great partner to Magnetic Marketing over the years and Dan Kennedy.
Before we get into your relationship with the team and Dan, let's talk about you. Before Box Out Marketing, what were you doing?
Tyler Garns: Back in 2007 is when I got into this whole world. That's when I started at Infusionsoft, I was an employee there, started as an internet marketing manager, and became the VP of marketing after a couple of years.
That's where I first read Dan's Ultimate Marketing Plan and know, that set the foundation for everything that I learned and did at Infusionsoft and really the foundation for a lot of what we do now at Box Out Marketing. So I've been in marketing for a long time. That's where it all started.
Joe Pardavila: Out of curiosity, how did you come across Dan Kennedy? Because I always love the stories of people finding their way onto Planet Dan, how did you do that?
Tyler Garns: I don't remember exactly, but I'm sure shortly after I started at Infusionsoft, someone said, Hey since you're running marketing, you should probably read the Ultimate Marketing Plan.
So it was probably a recommendation, at that time Infusionsoft was very deeply partnered with GKIC, with Dan and Bill, and was sponsoring a lot of their live events and things like that. So we had a relationship there where we were learning a lot from them and able to share the software with their audience and that kind of stuff. Very great relationship.
Joe Pardavila: And Tyler, you call yourself, I don't know if it's ironic or not, but the original Infusionsoft Ninja. What do you mean by that?
Tyler Garns: It is actually a name that I picked up from Clate Mask, the CEO of Infusionsoft. And he referred to me as the original Infusionsoft Ninja once.
I thought, hey, I kinda like that. Just put it on my stuff. There's a lot of people out there that know Infusionsoft now that are experts at it. I think where that comes from is I was, in the very, very early days, just hacking the software, really just getting it to twist and bend to my will.
To get it to do anything that I needed it to do. I was doing that of course, at Infusionsoft. I was managing Infusionsoft's own Infusionsoft account. And so we developed during that time period, a lot of the tips and tricks and processes and systems that people all over the world utilize now.
Joe Pardavila: Excellent. And for the folks not familiar with Infusionsoft, not to get into too much of a plug here, what's the elevator pitch on them. What do they do there?
Tyler Garns: Yeah. Infusionsoft is a sales and marketing automation platform specifically for small businesses. One of the challenges you run into when you're running a small business, you're bootstrapping.
And so you end up signing up for various different tools to help you with different things. And sooner or later, you got a whole hodgepodge of tools that are duct tape altogether. You might have sticky notes on your desk, a stack of business cards, you got a spreadsheet tracking your leads, you get your email where a bunch of other contacts is.
You might even have a contact database of some sort. You might have an email marketing program and none of these things talk to each other. So if you just bring it all together into one place, it allows you to organize everything, systemize things and automate a ton of stuff. It's really awesome.
Joe Pardavila: So in 2012, you decided to take all of your bag of tricks and branch off on your own. And then you became your own small business with Box Out Marketing. So tell us about the transition from being part of a team to then basically starting your own.
Tyler Garns: Yeah that's a good question. When I first went in and talked to Clate and told them I was leaving, going out on my own, he said, alright, you'll do great.
He said, but it will be harder than you think it's going to be. And I thought I've been doing this for a little while with Infusionsoft. I understand the software. I understand marketing. There's going to be a cakewalk. And I went out on my own initially just doing private consulting and it was actually awesome.
It was easy. It was easier than I thought it was going to be, easier than he said it was going to be. And I figured, Hey, I'm smart. I figured this out. And then I realized, okay, I'm just playing kind of a small game, just doing this one-man consulting gig. And I had desires to help a lot more people. That's when I formed Box Out Marketing and started an agency.
That's when I realized that I really didn't know a whole lot about running a business. Once you actually have to become a leader, lead people, organize stuff more, create a vision and lead people towards that. That's when I realized what Clate was saying was actually true and that it was harder than I thought it was going to be.
But it's been a great ride.
Joe Pardavila: And the ironic part of what you do, a lot of people in the marketing world who are doing startups is, essentially you're a small business helping small businesses, is that's basically the easiest way to explain that, right?
Tyler Garns: Absolutely. We are in the trenches as a small business, just like all of our customers are so we can empathize and understand them and help them. I think in some really great ways.
Joe Pardavila: And so how does Box Out Marketing innovate? What are you doing that separates you from the others? Because like we mentioned, there's a lot of people involved.
And so what do you do to break off from the rest?
Tyler Garns: One of the things we've done in this last year is we built a platform for the way our customers interact with us and request implementation. Let me back up. If you're familiar with Design Pickle, it's a similar model.
And what that is basically, we're no longer a standard agency where we offer full service, copywriting and strategy and implementation and all that kind of stuff. That's what we did for years. But this last year we've made a shift and now it's a flat fee service. Where you log into our platform and submit requests.
So you might say, Hey, I need a webinar campaign. Here are the details of the campaign, et cetera, that goes into our queue. Our team builds it and sends it back to you. And so you can submit unlimited requests each month. Our team will go through them one at a time and get as many completed as you can in a month.
So what we believe we've done is we've turned the value equation upside down where people are paying very low, monthly fees to us versus very high agency fees. They're paying very low monthly fees and they're getting 5 to 10 times the amount of value. Because we're able to work so quickly and efficiently to build the campaigns for people and get them launched.
Joe Pardavila: Interesting. Okay. And I've heard you once use a Jeff Bezos quote about wandering as an essential counterbalance to efficiency. Why did that quote hit you so hard?
Why did you feel that?
Tyler Garns: Yeah, and I think anyone who's been in business for a long time feels a bit of that or a lot of it like you're just wandering sometimes.
And we've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and we've been very successful. We were very successful as a full-service agency, grew a very large team, multiple millions of dollars in revenue, and all of that stuff was great, but we shifted our model a few times.
We shifted the way we deliver our services. We shifted the way our team operated. When you look back on it, you feel like you're wandering a bit to find the right thing. And I think that's all valuable. I think it's really valuable. Again, looking back, it's valuable sometimes when you're in the thick of it, it's difficult, but looking back, there are so many things along the way that I realized, oh, we learned this through that challenge.
We learned something else through a different problem or situation we were in. And now it's all kind of culminating in our new service. We call it the factory. So our new service called the factory is the way we deliver our implementation services with Infusionsoft. And it's a culmination of all of these things that we learned along the way, wandering, along the path.
Again, I think it's really nice to be able to look back and realize that. But when you're in the thick of those wandering, sometimes it can be a little frustrating.
Joe Pardavila: And what kind of clients do you service? Do you run the gamut or are you in a specific niche? Tell me about some of your people.
Tyler Garns: Yeah, that's a great question. Our niche is Infusionsoft. So we don't focus on a particular industry or type of business or whatever. Our customers are all kinds of small businesses from your local attorney down the street to influencers who have massive audiences all over the world to people who have fitness businesses.
Just about anything you can think of as long as they're using Infusionsoft. And they're most likely past the startup phase. We don't work with a whole lot of people that are just starting, who need help developing products and all that kind of stuff. It's once you're up and running, you've got products, you've got services, you've got customers, you have Infusionsoft.
You want to just get more value out of Infusionsoft, that's who we work with.
Joe Pardavila: And as an entrepreneur, when you were working with the Infusionsoft team, you helped grow their revenue. I think to $40 million. What's it like now that like now you're growing revenue, but it's all about you?
It's for you. It's not, You're not doing it for anybody else. How much sweeter does that feel when the revenue grows? When it's your own baby?
Tyler Garns: Oh yeah. It's a whole different ball game. One of the things that I think the leadership did really well at Infusionsoft was they got everyone personally involved by giving stock options and things like that.
So there was some of that sense of ownership, but being able to really just call the shots on your own, know that all the upside is yours, as well as the downside, right? We go through those very different challenges. It's just a different level of freedom. And I believe that's why we go into business for ourselves.
That's why entrepreneurs exist because we want more freedom. It might be more freedom to do what you do the way you want to do it. How you execute your service or your fulfillment or whatever, you've got a better way to do it. And you want the freedom to do it. It might be time freedom. You're looking for financial freedom, whatever, but I think ultimately it comes down to freedom and that's the joy for me is being able to have the freedom and all those different areas of my life.
Joe Pardavila: But also that freedom tends to add a little more stress when all of a sudden you're running this very successful company and a worldwide pandemic hits everyone. So as that entrepreneur not having to have the boss or the team to lean on, that it's all on you. Tell us what your thoughts were at the beginning of the pandemic and what you were feeling and what were the first steps you took?
Tyler Garns: I had the wonderful experience in my back pocket of having been at Infusionsoft when the whole market crashed back in 2007, 2008, 2009,, et cetera. And I saw that during that time, the online business world grew and Infusionsoft grew really fast. So there's this kind of idea in my head that, hey, we're going to be okay.
Maybe that was a false idea. I don't know. But I felt like because of that experience, I believed anyways that the majority of our small business customers would be just fine and that our business would grow. I also consciously understood that this was going to be an opportunity for me to have to step up and really lead. To lead our team and to lead our customers through the challenge.
So we had a lot of conversations both with my team, as well as webinar-style with our customers, where I was just trying to get people into the right mental headspace. I created rules for our team, no checking coronavirus stats during the day while you're working. Because I would find myself just curious. Hey, what's going on?
Is this thing blowing up? I'm checking the stats. I'm wondering what's going on. I'm wondering how it's spreading. But I just said, look, no checking the stats. We talked about just mind control, control of your own mind. Like just, there are things we can control. There are things we can't control with what's going on with this pandemic.
So you gotta put it aside. We got to focus. We talked a lot about how we're going to provide value to our customers. We started up a whole daily webinar series that we called the small business lifeline. So we said, look, a lot of you guys are struggling out there. For as long as we can see a problem with the pandemic, we're going to hold this webinar.
Basically just live coaching, as you get on and we'll help you. There's no real structure. It’s just getting on a first-come, first-serve, we'll coach you and guide you through whatever challenges you're having with the pandemic. That was a really good proactive thing.
I think for us to get mentally in the right headspace and it helped our customers a ton. To me, it's all about leadership and that's something I've had to learn. I'm not naturally a CEO. I actually didn't want to be the CEO of my own company. I tried to get my brother to come to be the CEO, but eventually, it just fell on my shoulders and I realized, okay, I have to be the leader.
I have to be a CEO. I gotta grow up and learn how to do this. And that was a tough thing for me. But again the whole pandemic thing was just an opportunity to flex that muscle a little bit and really practice some more, that idea of leading, leading people through challenges, which, whether it's the pandemic or it's something else there's always going to be challenged in business.
And so I think that's what leadership's all about is creating a vision and leading people through those challenges.
Joe Pardavila: That's great. And Dan Kennedy always talks about the fact that no one is ever going to care about your company, as much as you do. Your employees are as great as they could be, as much as they love you as a leader or CEO, they're never going to love the company as much as you. You're going to stay up at night, during the pandemic, thinking about what you're going to do tomorrow.
So for you how do you go about finding the right team that meets your vision? That will care as much, obviously not as much as you, but will care enough that they will stay up at night and worry about what's going to happen the next day.
Tyler Garns: Yeah. Some of those answers will feel a little trite because it's what all the books say to do.
But I found a lot of truth in it and it's really about creating your purpose, mission, and values, and having those clear and then hiring and firing according to those. And so our hiring process centers a lot around the values. And we talk about the values and we create skills tests around those values.
We have skills tests on the responsibilities they are going to have, and we want to make sure they can do the job, but at the end of the day, that's truthfully less important to me than the core value match. If they match with the values, then we can train on the other things. And interviewing along those lines has been really important.
We have just an amazing team right now. And I think a lot of it comes down to just getting people who align with our values. And then the second piece for me has been similar to what I just said about Infusionsoft is we've got everyone financially aligned to our goals as well. So we have a financial plan for the company that everyone is aware of.
And they're all aware of what their payout can be if we follow that plan and achieve our goals. And so in incentivizing people personally for the success of the business I think is really important. For me, having a job is really terrible. If I'm going to stay up late and work hard and think about all this stuff a lot, I want to be rewarded for it.
And I think most people feel that way, but if you just get the same old salary you've always got, no matter how much effort you put in, then that deflates people, I think.
Joe Pardavila: What was the one thing that surprised you from moving on from working with a company to starting your own? Because you knew you're going to be the boss or you knew you were going to hire, you knew you're going to fire people, but was there something that along the way that was like, Oh man, I didn't expect that?
Tyler Garns: I always knew that I'm not a CFO, I'm not an accountant. I'm not great with that kind of stuff. So I always knew in the back of my head that, that wasn't my strength, but I'm really good at marketing and sales. So I figured, Hey, I can just drive revenue, and everything's cool. It's all good.
What surprised me? What snuck up on me a few years back? As we were growing the agency like gangbusters. It was going really well. We're selling well, we're servicing well, we're growing the team, but all of a sudden I realized the company was bleeding cash. That was a little bit hard to understand because we were selling so well.
And I couldn't figure out, like, why is this happening? It seemed since the revenue kept going up every month, then we should be good.
Joe Pardavila: That's common sense. Yeah,
Tyler Garns: What you realize in a service-based business in particular, when you have to hire really good talent is that your overhead starts to increase, once you have really good people who do the work.
And then you have to have managers of those people. And then again, you have to have managers of managers, and once you start building that kind of structure, it starts to get rather expensive. And although we were selling well and on paper, we were growing, our revenue was growing. Profit was decreasing as we grew and eventually went negative.
And that really snuck up on me. I didn't expect that. And again, as I said, I'm not the finance guy. And so I wasn't necessarily ahead of that. I wasn't ahead of it at all. I was behind it but that was a great lesson that I learned that I need to, as the CEO, understand that stuff better and be ahead of it and be modeling out our finances along with our growth of the team and other overhead to make sure that we're on the right path.
So that's a point, four or five years ago where we had to make an important shift in the business as well.
Joe Pardavila: Wow. And it's funny you say that because Dan talks about this in his books too, about when you're the CEO, founder. You don't have to do everything, do the stuff that brings you joy.
So like you said, you love the marketing aspect, but when it comes to finances, stuff like that, you have to find someone who's really good at that. So did you have to go and seek someone to remedy that for you or you handle it all internally?
Tyler Garns: Yeah, I got some outside advice. And like I said, I realized that this was a muscle that I needed to develop.
And although I got some outside advice, I didn't necessarily hire it out. I felt like it would be more valuable to me and the company if I really started to understand it much better. And we have of course an accountant that kind of manages all of our stuff, but I do a lot of the day-to-day.
And then he advises more on the macro level.
Do you enjoy it, Tyler? Because one of the things is like, you want to do things that bring you joy. Is that part of it? Is it just like grunt work for you or are you starting to enjoy that part of being the boss?
I didn't enjoy it at first.
What I enjoy about it now though, is the strategic side of it. Now that I understand strategically how the finances work and the way the business grows. I get really excited about it. I love to sit down in my little spreadsheets and start to plan out, okay if we do this if we do that if maybe this product launch doesn't go well, and plan out all the scenarios and watch what happens with the numbers.
That gets exciting to me. So yeah, I love it at that level, the macro strategic level. And then I let our accountant take care of the details and the taxes and all that kind of stuff.
Joe Pardavila: Good idea. So you've mentioned a couple of times, you've been doing this marketing thing for quite a while.
How much has changed since your days working as an employee to now working on your own, what are some of the major shifts you've seen in terms of marketing?
Tyler Garns: I was just talking about this yesterday. I was delivering a training, a webinar, and we're talking about tracking. That's one of the things that we've seen major shifts in.
We have such an ability to track things now that we didn't have before, but at the same time, we have less ability to track certain things than we did before as well. So for example, privacy laws have limited the information we can get from say someone who comes from a Google search. It used to be that when someone searched keywords and they came to your website, you could capture those keywords.
And then of course, if they fill out a form, you pass those keywords into their contact record. Now we have that search data along with their contact record, and that can inform our marketing of course. Now, though, because of privacy laws, we can't capture that data most of the time. Google prohibits us to see what keywords they searched on unless they clicked on an ad.
Of course, if they clicked on an ad, then it's a little different, but on the organic search, we lost some of that capability. So the tracking and automation are the things that I think are really expanding and growing. But then you've got these conflicting ideas like privacy laws that start to change that a little bit.
And it's always a moving target, seems to be moving faster and faster, but it's fun. I think to me, that's fun. I enjoy the change. I enjoy the challenges of trying to keep up with it all. If it stayed the same all the time, I'd be bored out of my mind.
Joe Pardavila: You mentioned how you rallied your troops and you got everything going, as we close things out here how are your members and clients doing now in this gray area now, as we're waiting for the vaccine to be readily available for people. How are your clients handling things right now?
Tyler Garns: And we were doing that small business lifeline program these daily open coaching calls slash webinar type things. A lot of what we were doing was helping people just take action. And I almost didn't even care a lot of the time what action they were taking because people were so paralyzed, that I just wanted them to take action.
Do something. And so for a lot of them, it was, Hey, you've got a list. You've built this list over the years. Pull up a product that you haven't sold a little bit, let's put together a promotion, a flash sale, or something. Let's just do something, generate some revenue, make it happen. So that was an activity for a lot of people.
For some people, it was making major shifts from offline to online. We had a client that was an A/V company, they're a big A/V company. They handle large events for a lot of the top internet marketers out there, and we help them make a shift to virtual events. And we built a whole platform for them to handle virtual events instead of live in-person events.
And so it's been, like I said, for some people some massive shifts to change their business model or change the way they deliver their products or services. And for other people, it's just a matter of staying active when so many people are paralyzed and maybe your competition is struggling and people's revenue is down.
And they're hesitant to invest in marketing. That's the time you want to push on the gas and it doesn't mean you have to invest a lot of money. But you got to do something, you got to stay in front of your customers. And I think that was game-changing for a lot of our customers is just that mindset of, there's stuff I can do. Let's do it while everyone else is paralyzed by fear.
Joe Pardavila: Great. And so you seem like a guy who's future-proof, you seem like you're ready for anything. What's the future for Box Out Marketing? Can you see yourself continuing to do this for a few more years?
Do you see yourself selling off to another bigger marketing company? What's the future of Box Out Marketing?
Tyler Garns: That's a great question. We're very clear on what our plan is for the next few years, I won't share the details with you. Okay. For various reasons, but I'll share with you the future proof options, right?
So like I said, we built this software platform. That allows our customers to log in and submit requests and it manages all of our requests and that kind of stuff. The next phase for us is we're rebuilding that software to make it stronger and more powerful and to allow it to scale. That's a really important part of the future is that the platform has to be able to scale to tens of thousands of customers.
Versus just a few hundred that we have now. The next thing is, and these are some options that are available to us, but the next thing is to make that platform be flexible enough that people using different software, other than Infusionsoft could utilize it. So whether you're on HubSpot or Infusionsoft or Ontraport, or you're just using MailChimp or whatever, that you would be able to log in to the factory and submit your requests and our team could do that.
So that's a potential option for scaling what we do. Of course, there are options as well to sell the company or to bring in venture capital, to reach wider audiences, and things like that. We're exploring all of those things, but we're very clear on what the future looks like, and it starts with making the software much more scalable.
It also includes ramping up our ability to hire, onboard, and train employees, team members. We call them team members. I don't like the word employee. So that's one of the challenges we've run into is we're growing so fast that it's been tough to get people on board fast enough.
Our sales and marketing, I'm actually holding them back. I'm like, look, you can't sell any more this month. And that's because we don't have the fulfillment power and I don't want to bring people in and have a bad experience. And so that's another area where I've been reaching outside of the company for the last little bit, trying to get some help and some advice on recruiting and how we get in front of more people.
And how do we attract the right talent and how can we make all that happen faster? Because that's our bottleneck at the moment.
Joe Pardavila: All right. His name is Tyler Garns. He is the founder and CEO of Box Out Marketing. You get more information at BoxOutMarketing.com. Tyler, thank you very much for your time.
And I really appreciate you for spreading the word out there and not even me too much. I know you're holding back a little bit, but that's the CEO in you, holding back a little bit, so thank you very much. I really appreciate it.
Tyler Garns: No problem. Thank you, Joe.
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