Known by audiences and fans as Mr. Persuasion, Jeff Tippett is a subject matter expert in persuasive communications. He helps people increase their effectiveness, gives them powerful tools for attaining goals and dreams, and helps them positively impact their organization—all as they learn techniques for communicating persuasively with others.
Jeff has given over 500 presentations including keynotes and seminars. Others feature Jeff’s expertise in persuasive communications through articles, podcasts, and blogs.
I particularly liked Jeff’s message about “respect yourself and charge what you are worth.” Such an important message for all my podcast listeners. I also loved his description of himself as a ‘financial conservative” – and I believe that is another important take-home. The ability to to be a cautious spender can be so important.
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Ingrid: Hello, and here we are today with Jeff Tippett. Hello Jeff.
Jeff: Hey, how are you doing?
Ingrid: Great, thank you. Now your Sunday evening is my Monday morning and honestly we so appreciate you spending your Sunday evening with us. And so it’s an honour to have you here.
Jeff: I’m excited to be a part. This is a great way to spend my Sunday evening, so I’m excited to be doing this.
Ingrid: OK, we’ve got some great questions for you. All right. So let’s just start with what … And we know you have more than one business actually, but what business are you in? What is your business? Tell us about it please.
Jeff: First of all, I’ve always been an entrepreneur. As a kid, it was in my DNA. I would go knock on the neighbours’ doors, I would get gigs, raking yards, mowing grass, and then I would hire my friends to come and do the work, fulfilling the contract. So it’s always been part of my DNA. When I was in existing companies I was an ‘in-trepreneur’. I was starting things within companies. I think it’s just who I am.
My current company is Targeted Persuasion, and I launched that in October of 2014. I launched it to be a political company, to do highly specialised digital targeted ads for political campaigns and I actually launched the company at the worst time possible. For us here in the states, we were preparing for a big election in November and I launched in October out of the scarcity – at the worst time. But I did it and I made it.
Ingrid: It’s funny, there’s a number of people who do just for some reason, pick the worst possible time to launch a business. So you started in 2014 October. Why did you start that business?
Jeff: I felt like I was going to burst inside. I was working at another firm, I was working at another agency, PR, Marketing Advertising, and I was great at what I did. But there was just this inside drive that I just had to get out and I just had to. It took something a little awkward actually for me to fully launch out. I had registered my company name with the federal government, with the state government. I had built a website that was just in development mode. It wasn’t live, it was just in Dev mode and I had done the prep work, but mentally trying to get myself ready for that big hurdle of cutting the cord and going out on my own.
And honestly I had so much fear that I was just having a hard time making it. And the person that I was working for at that time somehow found out about it. And so he came to me and said, “Jeff, here’s the choice. Either you drop all that and focus here, or you can just go ahead and start at your new company.” And at this point I was like, “Thanks. Here we go. Let’s do this.”
Ingrid: You just needed somebody to push it. So you were going to burst, I love that expression because I know that feeling sometimes. So what did you want from the business from day one? So that’s sort of like, what was it that was going to be different being in business as opposed to working in this PR firm?
Jeff: The freedom to be able to do the things that I was passionate about and the things that I truly loved. And I was in a good scenario, but oftentimes I had to do client loads and things that just weren’t part of what I really wanted to do, and part of it too, I guess I reached that stage in life where I wanted to make sure that things that I was doing really mattered. That they matter to me and that they matter to other people and I could do greater good than what I could do in that current situation. So I really wanted freedom and I wanted a chance to do great work.
Ingrid: Yeah. And we often feel constrained by someone else’s vision. I mean, some of us are lucky enough to actually work in a business where we’re actually really aligned with someone else’s vision. It’s perfectly fine to work in someone else’s business, but for some people the alignment’s not there and as you said, you were about to burst. So this is one of my favourite questions and the listeners know what question five is, when did you realise you were actually in business? When did it feel real? Because everybody has a different place. Everybody’s moment is slightly different. So when was yours? When did this business actually feel?
Jeff: Well, for me, my backdoor neighbour when I launched the company was a CPA entrepreneur and so we would have those back of the fence conversations, and I remember early on telling him … In fact I do feel fortunate that I put my shingle out and as I said it was the wrong time, was the worst time to launch a company. But I put my shingle out and in the first week I signed a half dozen clients at the worst time.
Jeff: Right? I know. So I was like, “Whoa, this is amazing.” And I remember telling my backdoor neighbour like, “All right, I got enough money to make it from week one to week two.” And he was like, “Jeff, here’s what’s going to happen.” Because he’d been down this road, he said, “You’re going to think week one to week two, and then you’re going to think month to month, and then you go from thinking quarter to quarter and before long you’re gonna be thinking year by year and planning things out.”
Jeff: So I was extremely happy to launch out and to get a half dozen clients signed early on. I still did wonder though, was this like a little freak thing that came up and just all of a sudden something happened? Is this going to go away? Am I really in business? Am I not? And for me what really settled it for me was surprisingly very early in my company in the very first quarter of launching my company, I signed this little company, international company out of California that most people have heard of called Airbnb. And I signed Airbnb as a client to do public relations work and public affairs work in the state of North Carolina. And at the point when I sat there and I signed the contract and I got the signed contract back from Airbnb, it was like, “Yeah. I’m here now. I’m playing with the big dogs right now. I’ve got my first international client. I am really in business.”
Ingrid: Isn’t that fantastic? And so if we think back to 2014, was that when you signed up Airbnb? Were they one of those early ones?
Jeff: Yes. They were not one of the early ones. It was like the first part of January, coming into that when I signed them.
Ingrid: That’s pretty big achievement quite early on. Nice work.
Jeff: Yeah. It was a lot of fun to work for them. One of the big lessons I learned even working with them, I was doing great work for them and as my contract was wrapping up to do the work that the first couple of years that I worked for them, it wrapped up. And this other group who … In public affairs we have these policies we’re trying to move forward for our clients, and the people on the opposite side of the isle, the hospitality industry, reached out to me and said, “Jeff, you did such creative work with Airbnb. We loved all that you did and you were so respectful to us in all of our negotiations and you were always trying to find common ground with us. And now we have this big contract.” It was about a quarter of a million dollar contract. “We’ve got this contract. Would you be interested in coming over and helping us with this project?”
Jeff: So I go from this side to go over there. But it was a very big lesson early on, don’t make enemies. Never make enemies. Even if you’re dealing in opposite sides of work, try to find common ground because you never know. They might be writing you a cheque.
Ingrid: It is such a good lesson that everybody is … Well, it’s just about treating people with dignity and respect anyway. Really. You and I had a pre discussion, so I feel in our interactions, I can tell that, that’s the sort of person you already are. That everybody is important, not just because they might be writing a check down the road, but because they’re a human being and they are running their business and at the end of the day everybody’s just doing the best that they can at the time with what they have. So yeah.
My next question is about how did you know people wanted what you were offering? So there you are sitting, bursting in your existing business with your boss and with your other team and you got this idea for another business. How did you know that what you wanted to do was going to be viable? That there were actually going to be customers that wanted it? How did you have that sense in the early days? I mean, you got a good endorsement because people signed up quickly, but before that, how did you know that what you were offering was going to be what people wanted.
Jeff: I was doing a lot of research early on, I was seeing some gaps there as well, what we’re faced … just wasn’t being met, that need was there. And especially within the regional space of where I was, there was nobody locally that could help with these political candidates and this type of work to go in and do this type of work. And so the early stage conversations I was having, people didn’t want to always have to work with a company out of Washington DC. They wanted to be able to work with someone within the state that have the expertise that they needed. So there was some early stage work and I also interviewed, oh gosh, probably nine to 12 people, early stage. People that are running really large companies that were in very similar spaces, and I was very upfront with them.
Jeff: I was like, “Tell me everything wrong that you see with this picture. Tell me everything that could go wrong with what’s happening and these things that I’m talking about and what I want to do.” I wanted to hear the bad. I didn’t just walk in and people to say, “Oh man, that’s just fantastic.” “Just tell me what I’m missing here.” So I had a lot of early conversations that were extremely helpful to me.
Ingrid: That is such a good point, Jeff, because it’s so important to have the information, do the research and get out there before you actually make the commitment to start. And that’s part of that minimum viable product, it’s part of presenting yourself as a business. Thank you. So you probably just needed your laptop and a lot of enthusiasm and a good list and an internet connection. But as you walked out the door from your previous job to start this business, if you hadn’t had clients, where was money going to come from in those early days? Like what preparation had you made financially?
Jeff: Well, I’m a financial conservative, so I had been saving money. I had money stacked away to make myself prepared enough. Even before I knew that was going to happen, I knew something was going to happen and I knew that I wanted to be prepared. However, I feel very fortunate in the fact that I launched, I had clients and we made payroll and we’ve been profitable since day one. And so I never ended up having to dip into my savings account. Even growing the company again to the next levels, I never had to go out and seek additional funding in that because I stayed so frugal early on. And the things that really mattered, like the website, we did do a really nice website because I knew that that will be my calling card and people would see that.
In any of my communications I’ve got to say that I made sure they look like a million bucks. But at the same time I was sitting in my loft on the second floor. I didn’t even have an office at that point. I was sitting on the loft of the second floor of my house working away, making it feel like I was in some big massive office, right? But I was just in my home and I kept expenses under control from the early on.
Ingrid: It’s very tempting to spend money where it’s not necessary. And as a financial conservative, I love that expression. I hadn’t heard that before, but that’s … So personally to save that money, how important that is to have that buffer because it really gives you the confidence, doesn’t it? Even if there aren’t customers in that early days. And what do you think the difference that makes to your approach as you approach some of those early customers, if you know that you’re not desperate?
Jeff: It enabled me to say no. The people that I might have said yes to, that may have put me in the wrong place at the wrong time. There is a confidence that comes when you’re … You realise “I’m okay. I’ve saved, I’ve prepared and I will be fine.” And it enabled me to be selective in who I brought in, people that I brought on the team or clients that I took in, to do things again that wasn’t going to put me back where I was and where I didn’t want to be doing things I didn’t want to do. And even today. So now for me I also do some side investing in real estate and that’s part of it for me, it’s just to make sure that it’s always comfortable around me.
I was still scared. I remember like maybe three, four months in, sitting with my CPA, going through the books and my computer was starting to slow down and he’s like, “Jeff, you need a computer.” I’m like, “No, I can’t buy a computer. I’m not buying a computer.” And he was like, “Jeff, I’m holding your books. You’re fine. Go buy a computer so you can keep taking your business to the next level.” I was like, “Okay, I guess I will then.”
Ingrid: But that’s such a good approach and it’s such a terrific answer and I hope everyone’s listening to that, is that by having that buffer, it gives you the freedom to make the choices that you really wanted to make, which was the whole reason for starting your business. Because if you don’t have that, then you end up with the wrong clients and you end up back where you started. And I see that over and over again because people get anxious about not having the money, so they take any client at any rate and then there they are. Thank you for that. Okay. So now how do you find new customers? How do you know where they are? Help us with that.
Jeff: A couple of things. Word of mouth is huge for me. For example, in the state of North Carolina on Sundays, old blue laws prohibited us from being able to go in and buy alcohol at a restaurant or in retail before noon on Sundays. And I crafted and ran this statewide campaign called Free the Mimosa. And we passed it, first of all so people can now on Sunday mornings they can get a Bloody Mary or whatever they want 10:00 AM at the restaurant. But because of that … So word of mouth and the work itself faces a lot of public facing, a lot of that work people see and they’re like, “Oh, you did that.” Just like how I got the hospitality contract because of seeing the work.
And then another big way for me was through speaking. And as we talked earlier, I was just up front, I was speaking for free. I wanted to be the industry expert. I wanted to be the guru, the go-to person in this space, because I know there’s a magical leap in persuasion when people view you as the authority in whatever the area is. And I think it’s great today that we don’t have to be the authority in everything most likely to succeed. We can be at the authority in a very specialised area. And in my case, I don’t need every public affairs call. There’s a certain type that we like to work with. So being the industry expert to being out speaking, I started speaking for free and then as we were talking early, what it led to was another revenue stream for me as well.
So my thinking now is now that I have one revenue stream with my company that’s been very successful and doing well, and then the speaking all of a sudden it emerged itself. All of a sudden people are saying, “Well …” And I’m used to speaking for free, and they’re like, “Hey, Jeff we’ll give you a thousand dollars if you’ll come speak.” And I’m like, “Oh heck yeah, that’s amazing.” I just wanted to get clients in and then now it’s anywhere from $10,000, $25,000 to go in and speak. So that’s become a stream of revenue in and of itself which was part of my thinking earlier on. I didn’t know how to do it, but I knew that I wanted multiple streams of revenue and I wanted them to align as well. I didn’t want to be off selling comic books somewhere. I really wanted everything to align.
So I have a communications firm, I speak professionally as well and I speak on persuasive communications and the superpower of persuasive communications. So it aligns, it’s another revenue stream for me. In the same time it still brings clients to the door. So if a person likes to speak and they enjoy speaking, one of the best things they can do is find ways to get on stage and really become the industry expert in a very targeted area.
Ingrid: Isn’t that fantastic? So what happens to people who don’t? Like people like you and I Jeff, are more than happy to stand up. I mean I love to be super prepared for talks and in fact I’m doing a couple of presentations in the next couple of months and I don’t want to practise them today because I still want them to be sort of spontaneous. But I like to know what I’m going to say. I like to be prepared. That’s it. I could stand up and talk for half an hour on my given topic without any preparation. But what about someone who doesn’t? And I know that’s taking us a tiny bit away from our questions, but there would be people listening who want to start a business, but that’s not how they feel comfortable, standing on a stage or being part of something like that. What do they do?
Jeff: So a big productive of earlier on for me was just having been in the community and having networked, and not just like being a person there but like serving on committees. So like with our chamber of Commerce, it’s extremely large here in Raleigh. I served on every single committee that was there. I was also on the board of directors. So you can also be a person of authority as well, even if you’re not speaking by joining groups like this. There were some non-profits that I served on the board and it enabled me to meet other people that would be potential clients for me as well.
So that was another way that I was able to reach out. But I never liked to be the type of person like looking up trying to get someone, I really wanted to be on the equal playing field or be up just a little bit. So chairing a committee when you have a chance to do that. Every single possible way to show leadership in every single opportunity, as long as it aligns. I’m not talking about going way out, but as long as it aligns and it puts you in front of your target market and you have a chance to exhibit leadership, it’s a no brainer. Go for it.
Ingrid: Thank you. That’s such a terrific piece of wisdom there. Thank you. Okay. So, you don’t have to tell us … Well you did tell us that people offered you money to come speak, but without talking about your actual pricing strategy, how did you decide like going back to the beginning there in 2014, getting those first clients then moving on to other projects, how do you decide a pricing strategy? What’s your philosophy for that?
Jeff: So in my case, having worked in firms and agencies in the past, we’re very much like a law firm where your bill is billable hours. So I instinctively knew what the hourly was going to bill out. So I was able to do that. One of the decisions I made earlier on, was I did not want to start with reduced billing. I did not want to have reduced pricing to come in and say, “Hey, I’m new in business. This is my new company. I’m going to give you a cheaper price.” So what I promised them was you’re going to have excellent service, high quality service and great customer service in the things that we do and you’re going to get a fair price. But it was never that I was going to come in as the underdog in pricing.
And what that set me up to be was from the very beginning I could be up on a pedestal. basically. This is a reputable company. Sometimes we think because we’re new and we’re starting out, we kind of like put our prices are extremely low, but then that’s how people view you, is by the prices that you charge. So if you’re great at what you do, and you’re comfortable with that, set the pricing high enough that people will respect you and pay what you’re worth. Otherwise you’re going to be doing so much work and spinning so many wheels trying to make things happen that you’re never going to get ahead and get the place you want to be. So putting your pricing up there as soon as you can.
Ingrid: Yeah, actually it’s so funny. Thank you for that. I was having a conversation with someone on Friday who’s about to put their price up to just over the thousand dollars or around the thousand dollar threshold. And she said, “Do you know what? I think I’m actually going to get more clients because it’s just going to set a different tone.” I’m not sure what her price is right now, but it’s obviously more. It’s a different price. But she said there’s just something about setting it around that price that she feels it will actually attract more people.
Ingrid: So there’s a lot of confidence when you’re good at what you do and people want what you’re doing. And as you said you’d been in the industry, you knew what they charged, so why would you charge less? And you knew what you were charged out at in that industry.
Jeff: Respect yourself and charge what you’re worth.
Ingrid: Yeah, totally.
Jeff: And then do a great job for it, but yeah, absolutely.
Ingrid: And do a great job. Yeah. Okay. So right now Jeff, you’re creating new revenue strains, but do you have an exit strategy? Do you sort of see where this could go at the end? Like do you imagine where … You don’t have to tell us what it is, but do you have like a succession strategy, an exit strategy?
Jeff: Yeah, I do. My love is being on stage. I love being in front of people, and so my plans is I’m heading further down the road as we talked a little bit earlier. I’m developing some online programmes as well, so that I can work remotely and live wherever I want to live. So I want to keep writing. A second book is coming out. I want to keep writing and keep things going out that way. My public affairs and communications firm, I will take less and less of a role in that company and allow all the creatives to really get that going. I will focus on my speaking, but I am going to, after I get through this next round of speaking with my engagements in 2019 and I think in 2020, I’m actually going to pull back on the number of speaking gigs that I’m willing to take so that I can drive my price up even more and speak less, make more money, have more time to write.
I want to live in different places. My kids will be out of high school at that point. So I have a lot of freedom to be wherever. And by developing things online, I’m especially interested in helping entrepreneurs and business owners get on the stage, if that’s the path that you want to take. I think it’s an amazing path, amazing journey, especially if you can help people, and you really can … When I speak, I like to see the light bulbs go off. When people are catching it, they get your message and you know that their life is going to change, and maybe that looks like increased revenue. So their kids are going to go to dance, or the kids are going to get tutoring or whatever all that looks like. I’ve seen it. So I really want to take the next phase, develop it online. So for me it’s going to be less with the public affairs, less speaking, higher prices for speaking and then do my work online and really coach. And spend my time helping other entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Ingrid: To do that. You just happened to mention they’re your second book. So, do you want to tell us what that second book is called while we’re here please?
Jeff: Sure. I’m so excited about this book. This one I had been thinking of for a while, and I am so close to finishing the book in fact.
Ingrid: Oh, I know that feeling.
Jeff: All right. You started into this and you’re so excited and just like write, write, write, write, write, and then you hit a little low, then I was back at it. Now it looks like I’m on the very final chapter for my editor and my publisher. But my book is called Unleashing Your Superpower. Why persuasive communications is the only force you’ll ever need. And true to my personality, my big statement is this, is that we all live or die based upon our ability to persuade. And what I do in this book is help people understand how you craft messages, how you position messages, how you ask people, how you become an industry expert. Because as we were talking, if you’re an entrepreneur starting out, I mean, just think through all the people that you have to persuade.
It’s new clients, new customers, it’s funding. People that you’re bringing on board, all this there, or if you’re a CEO of a company, or if you’re in sales, if you answer the phone, or if you just don’t want to live alone for the rest of your life, we all have to persuade. So in the book, my goal here is to really help people understand, and it could be landing pages, it could be phone conversations, it could be email, it could be cells, it could be the sea level, just helping people understand, here’s your toolkit, but what you need to understand to move people. And to make sure too that, that we really do differentiate between manipulation and persuasion. Because sometimes we think they’re the same thing and we have made them synonymous, but they’re not. The two of those are polar opposites.
Ingrid: I’m so glad you just added that last bit because I was going to ask you, where does persuasion sit with that sort of influencing, manipulation? Those words are all used today almost interchangeably, and yet it’s in … Well, I would be interested what your answer to this is. What differentiates those words?
Jeff: The word manipulation means to control or to influence, but to do it cleverly, unfairly, or unscrupulously. So that’s really making people move in the place that you want them to go for your own benefit, and oftentimes we do that. It is easier oftentimes to manipulate, and salespeople can be great at manipulation, but my biggest pushback to that is one of the highest expenses we have in owning companies is acquisition of new customers. So through sales, yeah, you could probably manipulate somebody to to buy that for the first time, but if you’ve manipulated them, the chances of them coming back to the second or the third time, they’re not going to do it. They might do it just to get rid of you. The opposite side of that is persuasion, and persuasion is where we work with people and through the purity of argument. Not the negative, but this going back and forth with our ideas that we then persuade or we move them along to where we want to go and it’s in their best interest as well. And when I’m teaching on this, I tell people to watch. There’s two magical words that you can watch for at the end of the sales or at the end of a company meeting or whatever it happens to you when you’re working and trying to understand, “Hey, did I just manipulate or did I persuade?”
And the two magical words are, “That’s right.” So when you talk to them and they get through and they’re like, “You know Jeff, that’s right.” What that tells you is that now they believe that knowledge for themselves, and they see this as their benefit and why it’s good for them. And at that point you haven’t manipulated, you’ve persuaded, right? And it’s for your good and it’s for their good as well. I have a chapter in the book we talk about helping others in order to define what you want. And that’s a big part of this, is making sure that at the end of the deal you’re happy, they’re happy and they’re so glad that things have transpired the way that they have.
Ingrid: Well, and I was just about to say, “That’s right.” I was thinking, everything you’re saying, I’ve just agreed. And so yes, mind you, I think you and I are out of the same persuasion actually.
Jeff: I believe that.
Ingrid: Which is so good. But thank you for that because it really is important for us as business people, as human beings existing in a world where interaction and persuasion is such an important part of our everyday life. Like you said, working in families, having relationships, whether it’s friendships, intimate relationships, collegial, at work, there’s so much of manipulation that goes on and that feeling of being manipulated is awful, and we don’t want to leave our clients feeling like that at all. And we know what it’s like because we’ve all been on the receiving end of that.
Jeff: Yes we have.
Ingrid: We can’t wait for that book to come out, I’ll be getting a copy when it comes out. So let’s go back to your business, and a little bit of reflection because people listening are thinking, “Oh, what do I need to do to get really … What’s one thing you really wish you’d done differently at the beginning? If you think back to those early days, is there anything that you wish you’d done a bit differently?
Jeff: I wished, and though I don’t live with regrets, if I could change, I would have relaxed a little bit more and enjoyed the process of what was going on. And for me, even though there were savings, I still had this fear. And a lot of times we go through this imposter syndrome, where we’re concerned that we really don’t have it, and even signing the first contract, it’s like, “This could be just a fluke.” So now when I take risk and like as I’m looking to go into this online programme as well, I can approach that with so much more calmness and peace about me. Going back I would just wish I relaxed. And if I can say that to people today, if you’re looking at doing this, have fun. It is so much fun starting a company. It’s so much fun creating the ideas, building your website, having the very first client meeting. It’s so much fun. Relax, breathe and enjoy. Enjoy it.
Ingrid: That’s very good. And so this is a slightly different question. Is there something that you wish you’d known from the start? If there was some wisdom or, I don’t like the word advice, but if there was something you’d known at the start.
Jeff: I would have written a book sooner. That is one of the fastest ways to set yourself up as an industry expert. It is also a great asset to give clients, to get potential clients as well. And there’s just something about handing them a physical book. It shows that you dominate that space, that you understand and that you are the authority there. It really helps move them over. I wish I would’ve gotten in, and especially the book that I’m doing now, I wish I would’ve written this like a year or two ago in this process. It is what it is. And I learned a lot more since then, but getting some type of book out there faster, and there’s so many great tools and ways to do that today, that’s one thing I would have done sooner.
Ingrid: And that’s such a good point because we’ve both written books. It just takes so long. Like the whole thing takes so long. From the time, even once you’ve finished it, there’s still the cover and then there’s the editing and then there’s just so much to it that I was looking back at my original cover of my book, sorry, and this is your interview not mine, but actually my original working cover was January 2015. And my book was actually only officially launched early this year, so that’s nearly three years of … I know that’s a bit longer than a lot of people take, but it does take longer than you think it’s going to, so, like you said, get started earlier. Put something out. Now, could I just ask you with the book, would you recommend, because not everybody has the resources to write a whole book, would something like a considered white paper or an Ebook, would that do the same kind of thing do you think?
Jeff: I think it’s a great way to start. In fact, when I first started on my first book, what I did was I planned out a series of blog posts because I knew I could pop out a blog a week without any problem. So that’s what we do. We kind of write randomly, and we go over here, we go there, we go there. So what I did was basically do what was to become a chapter, and then I would expand it a little bit more and turn it into a white paper that I would offer up for free for people to be able to download. So I kind of took it in stages. So the first one just kind of slowly evolved and came out, but it helped with the process and it helped me getting the writing down and the commitment to writing.
So absolutely. You might not be able to write a book today, but could you write an article that goes out as a blog? That could go out in a newsletter for your clients? It shows, “All right, well, can you think through like what are the gaps?” Like if they’re in your class, what are all the things that they need to know? Could you do a three part series on that, and just get out like a page at a time and just start pushing the content out to other people? Especially when people start consuming it and they like the content, it does motivate you to get more of it out. So yes, even if it’s a three paragraph blog, get it out there.
Ingrid: Yep. Just get writing the stage. So, it’s like the stage, it’s like getting involved in it. It’s about getting out. Yep.
Jeff: That’s exactly right.
Ingrid: So, who apart from yourself, and we talked about your neighbour over the back fence and your CPA who encouraged you to get a computer and that there’s been a few people in your journey, and you can either name names or not, who’s been of greatest assistance to you? What sort of people have you had assistance from along the way?
Jeff: Well, I think early on, speaking with people who had gone in the same space but had gone a lot further than I have. I think that those were some of the people that were extremely helpful to me upfront as I got started. Of course we have our professional services, like, like my attorney was a great resource to me. My backdoor neighbour, my regular CPA as well. And I also read a lot as well, so I find a lot of authority and others through reading. I listened to a lot of podcasts, and one of the services that I’ve been using recently that has been a been great for me is a service called Blinkist, which allows me to listen to a book in 15 minutes.
Jeff: Yes. So what it does for me and you know, I have to take the kids to school, I have different things going on. I can queue up the books that I want to listen to and in 15 minutes I can listen to all the highlights from the books. And sometimes I’m like, “Wow, this is really good. I think I’m going to get that book and go a little bit deeper into it.” Other times I say, “I got what I wanted out of that book.” So that app has been an amazing resource person in my life that talks to me every single day.
Ingrid: Could you just say it again? Blinked?
Jeff: Blinkist. B-L-I-N-K-I-S-T. It was a $60 investment for the year. They have so many amazing books on there. Especially as I want to hear different perspectives and listen to different styles, it’s just an amazing resource. It’s the best $60 I spent a year is in my Blinkist subscription. I just couldn’t go through it. I could spend an hour, hour and a half a day when I’m taking the kids back and forth to school. So that’s four to five books a day. I can catch all the highlights from those books.
Ingrid: Wow, that’s pretty fantastic. Thanks for sharing that. And your attorney and your CPA will be glad to know you mentioned them as well.
Jeff: They’re good people.
Ingrid: So Jeff, where do you get feedback? Because clearly you’ve been successful and to be successful, having good feedback is part of that cycle. Who gives you or where do you get feedback from?
Jeff: So along the way I’ve had different coaches that I would work with. And I’m at that phase right now where I have just made an agreement for the next 12 months to spend the most money I’ve ever spent on a coach. And my thinking is this, I have never gotten to the next place where I wanted to go in life without a coach who is already been there further. Think about it, what professional athlete would try to perform without a coach?
So why do I think I’m so much better and don’t need professional help like people that have been along this journey and gone further than I have? So I have just signed a contract with someone. She has helped numerous speakers get to six and seven figures building out their speaking business. I have a 12-month agreement with her. It’s the most money I’ve ever spent in a year paying for a coach, but I am so happy to pay that money because I believe it’s going to get me, I know it’s going to get me to the next place in my speaking business.
And for me if I just signed one contract from working with her, it’s worth it. But having coaches in my life, I wouldn’t go any other way. Sometimes we’re just like, we feel like we know it all or we’re scared to get a coach. No, find someone. Even if you can’t afford it and you have to find someone. A mentor that’s been further down the road that’s cheaper or free or whatever. Find these people in your life.
Ingrid: So the thing you look for in a coach is someone who’s further down the road than you. Someone who’s done it. Someone who’s-
Jeff: Or helped others get that far down on the road.
Ingrid: Or helped others get that far.
Jeff: Exactly. So like my speaking coach, she’s Word & Speaker’s bureaus, and she’s helped coach people to six and seven … In herself, she does speak, but that’s not her space. She is a coach so she has taken other people where I want to go and I see the track record. If you’ve done it, if you’ve helped these people and we aligned … We did early stage conversations where we had Skype meetings and things like that to make sure there was a good alignment. If we align and we can head in the same direction, then you’re worth it. Get off the money and pay for a coach to help out.
Ingrid: Yeah. Well, as a coach I can totally agree with that.
Ingrid: But I also only want the commitment. Like I can hear your commitment to this process for the next 12 months and that’s a huge part of the coaching. It’s like once you’ve made that commitment, just grab it and run, and run fast. Yeah. Fantastic. So someone comes to you and says, “I’m thinking about starting a business, Jeff.” What would you tell them?
Jeff: I try to, for me, I always wanted to hear their story. I want to understand because sometimes people get caught up in what they think is the fun of this and the beauty of starting a business, and yes it is. This is wonderful, but it’s a lot of work. It takes a lot of commitment and dedication. So I kind of like to test some of that out. And we’re in an area here, I live in Raleigh, North Carolina which is a hotbed of startups. And we’ve got a lot in the train, a lot of startups, and it’s pretty sexy. The startup community is very sexy here, and so sometimes people will just say, “The cool thing is start a company.” No, you may destroy your family. So like have those conversations early on, but understanding do you have the drive? Do you have the determination? Do you have the feel of the product? Do you understand the market?
I talk through all those things, but oftentimes I feel like we can kind of work on the product, work on the market and all that. If they have that internal drive that it takes to push and to make these things happen. Because it’s not easy. It’s never been easy work for me, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Ingrid: Me either. And that’s why I do what I do. Because the whole idea is if somebody wants to start a business, let’s set a solid foundation so that you can go on. Let’s get you set right, get the financials right, get the energy right and get the message right and yeah, totally. Okay. So the last question about you and then we’re just about ready to wrap up and thank you so much for your time, Jeff. Three characteristics that you have, and I know our listeners listening are probably already kind of summing them up as well because I know that’s where we get to this part where you feel like we know the person so well, we could really answer the question. But what do you believe are your three characteristics that have made you successful in business?
Jeff: First of all is a curiosity for the unknown. So I like to go into a dark room and figure things out. I don’t want someone to show me the path, I really want to go out and explore. The unknown excites me. So that’s one of the things. I think part of it too, like my drive and my passion, I just love what I do and so it’s not a chore to me and it’s been this way since I’ve started my company. There hasn’t been days I didn’t want to throw my hands up and quit, if I had hair I would pull it out. There have been those times, but at the same time, I live with his passion. When I was a kid, my mom’s most used phrase with me was, “Settle down, Jeffrey. Settle down.” Because I just had so much energy I wanted it to keep moving.
And the third thing I think is my love of people. When I work with clients, it isn’t just about the work and us getting a contract and then writing us a check. It’s like understanding their goals and where they want to get and where do they want to be and realising, “All right, I can help you get there. Right? And I want to see you succeed. I want to see you win with this project that you’ve hired us to come in.” And just love those people. I just want the very best for them. I’d say those are my three.
Ingrid: That’s really lovely. Thank you. Thanks so much Jeff. Jeff, we’ve had so much of your time on a Sunday night and it must be heading towards your dinner time or whatever you eat on a Sunday night. Before we go, is there anything else? Please tell us again the name of your book. Tell us how we can get in contact with you, but is there anything else you would say to our audience who are aspiring or who are maybe still in those early days of getting going with their business?
Jeff: Yeah, so part of my life story and my message and understanding persuasive communications came through an international adoption of a baby from the country of Haiti. And it was a time of civil unrest. It was a time of total … The government was collapsing, the bureaucracy was falling apart. The president was being run out of the country. It was the first time I’d had guns pointed at my head and machetes held at my neck and had to flee for my own safety. And it was in that time that I learned so much about persuasive communication, but probably even more important to me than that, and I did in six and a half months, was finishing the adoption and standing in the Miami Florida airport, and I’m holding this baby who’s almost one-year-old, and we found out she had a double ear infection, so from the flight she was in a lot of pain. She was still whimpering. At that stage her body was just shaking and so I ended up holding her.
And yeah, I was feeling accomplished. And then it just kind of went out the window and I started looking at her with this amazement and this curiosity of starting to wonder what’s she going to be? What’s her life gonna be like? Would she be a doctor and heal people? Will she become a humanitarian and go relieve suffering? Would she be a teacher and impact hundreds of young kids lives that will then impact thousands of other lives? Was she going back to Haiti? And while I couldn’t answer any of those questions of course at that phase, what I did know was this, was that was the first flap of the butterfly wing in the butterfly effect. Which is that first flap that eventually over time and over space creates these powerful, massive hurricanes. And so I looked at her and I knew this is the first flap, and I don’t know where this is all going to go, but I know that this work that I did is going to live beyond me, and she’s going to touch other lives, and she’s going to impact people that I will never even know.
And sometimes as entrepreneurs and business owners, we get so much down into what it is we’re doing and making payroll for that next client. And sometimes it’s good just to pull back out and look at the bigger picture of what we’re doing. And sometimes that means hiring people and that means their kids can go to dance lessons or the kids can get tutoring and we’re going to impact those lives. So if there’s anything I can leave people with is, pick back up, pick your head back up. Look at the bigger picture here, think about the greater good. Because that’ll make you get out of bed tomorrow morning and go do this one more time when you realise that this is beyond just these little transactions, there’s little things that I’m doing, we’re impacting lives for the greater good and they can live, and it will live well beyond us.
Ingrid: There’s nothing to say after that, isn’t it? That’s so lovely. Thank you Jeff, very much. And I’d have to say, given that it’s Monday morning, I’m certainly marching into my week with a new sense of energy.
Ingrid: Yeah. And if this is what you do on stage, no wonder people want you. And just considering that you are who you are, for you to have spent almost an hour with us this morning. I think we feel very, very privileged for that. So thank you very much. I feel-
Jeff: I’m grateful for the opportunity. Thank you.
Ingrid: Okay, so I’ll just gather myself. Thank you. I just feel overwhelmed. So would you like to, just to finish, give us the name of your website, then name of your book, how anyone could contact you if they want to?
Jeff: Sure. My website is jefftippett.com, which is J-E-F-F-T-I-P-P-E-T-T.com, and my contact information is there. And there is some stuff about my new book as well there. There’s some blog posts as well. Anything I can do to help people. I’m here. I’m in the game. I’m here to help out.
Ingrid: You’re in the game, yeah. And all the very best with your new course for speaking, for helping people speak. I think that’s an honourable … As someone who loves speaking, we can never learn enough about how to craft our art, because I think speaking is an art. And facilitating, working with people, inspiring them from the stage. Yeah. And as you said to me in our pre chat, that light bulb coming on when you can see that in an audience, it is magic. And I think the other thing is that you never really know where that touches. To your point about the butterfly. I can remember people coming to me and saying, “You know, you said something that changed my life.” And I don’t even remember meeting this person, but they’ve been in an audience and you just don’t know. Even with this podcast, we have no idea whose lives we touch with this podcast. And that’s exciting for me. That’s tremendously exciting. Thanks.
Jeff: So keep flapping that butterfly wing.
Ingrid: Keep flapping that butterfly wing. Thanks so much, Jeff.
Jeff: Thank you for the opportunity.