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Conquer the Chaos: Navigating Niche Growth and Relationship Building with Tim Riddle

Tim Riddle, CEO of Discover Blind Spots, joins Clate Mask to discuss niche growth and relationship building for financial advisors. They discuss the importance of clear and consistent communication, the power of content marketing to address client problems, and the role of automation in streamlining business processes.

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Clate Mask (00:27):
Welcome everybody to this episode of the Conquer the Chaos podcast. I'm your host, Clate Mask, co-founder and CEO of Keap, and I'm really excited to be with you here today with a friend of mine who's got a lot of great things to share, great entrepreneur, and somebody I've had a lot of respect for over the years. Tim Riddle, great to have you here, Tim.

Tim Riddle (00:45):
Thanks, Clate, I appreciate it. It's great to be here.

Clate Mask (00:46):
Good to have you. It's fun to do this in-person. A lot of our episodes are not in-person, so it's fun to be in-person. I'd love for you to tell the audience, I know what you do. I've been a fan and follower of what you're doing for financial advisors for many years. You and I talked probably for the first time four or five years ago, and then we talked again a couple years ago and I watched what you were doing as you're going through the COVID craziness. I'd love for you to just share briefly with the audience what you do in your business, Tim.

Tim Riddle (01:17):
Yeah, so we help financial advisors and we help them communicate, but the value add that we try to say is we help them communicate using their voice to their audience. Really their audience is two groups. It's either a prospect or a client. Sometimes advisors will say, why do I need to communicate with clients from a marketing standpoint because they're already clients? I always say, because you want 'em to talk about you. That's really the simple version is, we have a simple way that they can use their voice and really develop that, nurture relationships with both prospects and clients.

Clate Mask (01:57):
We'll talk a little more about what you do in serving your financial advisor clients. I think as we were talking, you see a lot of chaos in the lives that they're living. It's funny when you say, well, I help them communicate. It's not that they can't communicate, it's that they're wearing so many hats or doing so many different things and we see this very commonly across small businesses. But what is it that you see that, and by the way, I just need to say this real quick because for our audience who might say, well, I'm not a financial advisor, or I don't do marketing services for a vertical. I think there's a couple of things to take away from what Tim just shared, which are really important. First of all, you found a niche and you really niched down, and this is an important part of what I teach in the strategy key to success in conquer the chaos of getting really clear on your market, getting clear on your niche, the whole riches and niches thing.

So maybe before we get into who you serve, how'd you get to your niche? How did you get to that? Because I think a lot of times people, I share this that many times, entrepreneurs will circle and circle and circle, and it'll take 'em a long time to find their niche because they're willing to take whatever business comes to them instead of saying no to the things that are not really what they're trying to niche down to. I'll say that usually a dollar of revenue that's inside your niche is worth five to 10 times a dollar of revenue outside your niche. I say that so people will realize, oh, I got to be careful about just taking revenue to keep the lights on, keeping myself busy because I'm saying no to revenue that's in my niche that will help me specialize, help me raise my average fee because I'm becoming more of an expert and become more successful in my business. I think it's worth it for us to pause for a second to go, well, how did you find your niche? You've got a very defined one.

Tim Riddle (03:52):
Yeah, so it's an interesting question. When I started the business five and a half years ago, I said to people, I should write a book about this is not the way to start a business. When I started it, I had an idea, nobody cared what I was going to do, nobody knew what I was going to do and nobody was lined up to be a client. So at $0 and my very first client, I said, could I do this for you for free? Just to prove the concept wasn't a financial advisor. In that first probably year, year and a half or so, yes, if you were breathing and you had money, I was trying to make you a client, but as fate has it or whatever, a good friend of mine is a financial advisor, and we were having a conversation one day about nurturing relationships with his clients and prospects and how can he do that? He said, oh, well, I take 'em to lunch. I was like, well, how many clients do you have? And he was like, oh, about 350. And I'm like, well, how many lunches did you have last year? He was like, huh, not that many. Not that many. Well, tell me more. That moved us in that. We went from a phase of we didn't know it was financial advisors to, we went to a phase where, well, maybe financial advisors and anybody else who's breathing and has money. And then about year three of our business, I remember when I said to our team, I said, I think we need to change our website and we need to go all in on financial advisors, and we need to close the door of saying that this is all we do. We had that scary conversation.

Clate Mask (05:25):
It's so scary. You're like, you mean we're going to stop doing this business? Do you realize that's what pays the bills? That's what keeps the lights on. I mean, it's a scary prospect.

Tim Riddle (05:33):
So we did that. We revamped our website, we changed all the messaging. We said, this is who we are. And 12 months after that, we saw almost double, not quite double the growth in regards to that. That was proof for us to say, we want to be an expert in this and really go deep instead of going really wide and an inch deep across the board.

Clate Mask (05:59):
Well, on average it takes about three years for businesses to, we've surveyed and watched our customers and watched small businesses. It does take on average about three years. But a lot of times businesses will stop short of fully getting down to that niche and they'll find a level of sustainability, survivability maybe is a better way to say it, but they're not yet really, really doing well. They're not to a place where they're feeling like, Hey, this is why we started this thing. It's really going, and it's because they're still in that, they're still a little too general, too broad. I applaud you for pushing to get to that and then making that nervous, scary move. I always like to ask people, when you're at that point, what is it that you did? What did you have to say no to that was scary in order to say yes to your niche?

Tim Riddle (06:53):
Yeah, I think it was number one to quit prospecting clients that were not in that niche. That saved a lot of time because we weren't trying to develop those relationships in an area that wasn't.

Clate Mask (07:05):
Do you remember how much of your clientele was inside the niche versus outside the niche?

Tim Riddle (07:12):
Probably when we made the decision, it was probably 60 financial advisors, 40%.

Clate Mask (07:20):
Well, you had done a pretty good job then of getting to that point. A lot of times people will make that determination when it gets to be 30, 40, 50% once it hits the majority. But it's a hard call to make because you're looking at the other business and you're like, but what usually will happen, particularly in service businesses is you can continue to service the non niche clientele for a while. So you still have some revenue that comes in, but then you're ramping up the niche clientele, which sounds like is essentially what you did. It's a big gulp moment, right? It's like, okay, here we go. This is what we see all the time with small businesses, the fact that it took you about three years and then you saw a real ramp up in the following 12 months says that you made the move at the right time. That's really great.

Tim Riddle (08:12):
The other thing it did that I didn't expect was that in that 12 months, because we were so niched and focused on that one market, we were able to double our fee, our retainer we worked with. We were able to double that over, not overnight, but we were able to say, well, maybe we should charge 30% more. There was no objection. Maybe we should charge so and so when there was no objection because it was like, this is all we do. Now I use it as a sales point when I'm talking to someone, I say, this is all we do. If you're a financial advisor and you want help, this is all we do. It is not a segment. This is what we do every day of the week.

Clate Mask (08:54):
Well, and that doesn't surprise me a bit. In fact, it fits right in line with what I teach and share and observe and have reflected back to me all the time. That's because of your expertise, there's two things that are driving that. One, your expertise is becoming specialized. It's truly more valuable for you to be able to share with that client things that you've seen other similar clients do, things that you can really come out from a perspective of wisdom, not just ideas or suggestions. But the other thing is then you bring that expertise in a much more compelling way. This is the part that what that does then is it drives demand. As the demand goes up, your price can go up and you get an opportunity to raise your prices.

And what happens that business owners will see this, that they start to realize, oh my gosh, this is magic. Now I can charge this much more. It makes the math work in the business. Everything starts to work better. It's so much more fun because you get to actually be in your expertise. You get to be paid and rewarded for the work that you're doing, as Dave Ramsey says, with certificates of appreciation from your customers that have clients that have president's faces on those certificates of appreciation. You get paid better for it, you get to do work you really love, and then it gets so much easier to sell because the word of mouth and the credibility that you have just gets so much better. I think that all of that is to just say, if you're in that place where you haven't yet found your niche, you might be feeling like it's a little bit of a catch 22.

You have to have some expertise to niche, but you have to have a niche to get that expertise. That's why what we find with our customers, it's about once they get to a meaningful critical mass of their clientele that is of one type, it starts to move, it starts to go, and it usually ends up being like a third, a half of your customers clients are in that same niche. But the thing that I want our audience to hear is to push themselves to it because it's too easy when you get to the beginning. You've got two of the same customers or two clients in the same niche, and then three, and then four. You want to lean into that because getting another client, even though they might not pay you as much, that's in the same niche, and I love that you did that.

You're like, Hey, I'll just do it for free generally. But when you start to get into that niche, you want to build out that niche as fast as you can because it will start to have a snowball effect in terms of the economics, the price point you can charge, the efficiencies, your expertise, and just the fun. So thanks for sharing a little bit about that for an audience that is not yet to your niche or maybe you kind of plateaued in something sort of general and you feel like it's time to go deeper. It's worth it. It really is worth it. Okay, so let's talk about your niche. Let's talk about what you do for them. I know you wrote a book. Tell us a little bit about the book that you wrote and then we'll come back around to what problem you see them in that then helps you, enables you to help them get out of that problem by being their voice to their clients. But tell us a little bit about the book and the problem that you see them in.

Tim Riddle (12:11):
The book's entitled Communicate or Else. The working title that I got outvoted was Communicate or Die. The team said it might be a little bit too much. Communicate or Else- a new perspective on marketing for financial advisors. The whole idea is that great communication builds relationships. I always say when I look back at my life and I look at relationships that I have that are really strong, if you peel away the onion and you look and say, why is that? There's probably a lot of reasons, but somewhere in there is clear and consistent communication.

Clate Mask (12:48):
Oh yeah, I love that. Clear, consistent communication.

Tim Riddle (12:51):
And if I look at relationships that are fractured, there may be a lot of reasons that they're fractured, but somewhere in that onion is unclear and inconsistent communication.

Clate Mask (13:02):
I got to just stop you there for a second because Conquer the Chaos is about both the personal keys and the business keys, and you're talking about it in the context of financial advisors with their clients. If they don't have constant, clear, consistent communication, it hurts those relationships. But it's true in our families, it's true with our friends, our high school buddies, it's true of our neighborhood friends, it's true of everybody. Clear, consistent communication. I just wanted to pause you on that because I just think about if we just applied that across our most valuable relationships with loved ones, friends, family, how impactful that can be- clear, consistent communication.

Tim Riddle (13:47):
For financial advisors, unclear or inconsistent, what they're defaulting to is the mainstream media to connect dots that you don't want 'em connecting. But if you give away your voice where you're like, I'm just going to be silent, then you're allowing them to do that, and now you're fighting that battle. So why would you give up controlling that narrative? The illustration I used, I got a chance to speak at one of the advisor conferences last fall, and I said this to the room and afterwards several advisors came up and said, I know you were using a little hyperbole, but boy that hit home. I said to them, I said, my wife Stacey, and I've been married 38 years. I said, so everybody in this room, you probably meet with your clients at least once a year. Sometimes you meet twice a year, portfolio review, whatever.

I said, if you're really aggressive, you meet once a quarter. I said, but let's just pretend you meet once a quarter. What if 38 years ago when Stacey and I got married, I said to her, I say, Stacey, lemme tell you what's going to happen once a quarter, we're going to sit down and we're going to talk for an hour, and I'm going to turn my phone off and we're going to lock the door, no distractions, and I'm going to be looking in your eye and I'm going to be totally focused on you. When you finish that conversation, you're going to feel like we're really connected once a quarter, but other than that, I'm never going to speak to you. I said, yeah, I wonder if I doubt we would still be married. So it's that in between and also segregating it from sales to say a touch point doesn't always have to be asking for something, a touch point of showing you care nurtures the relationship. For us, it also gives the advisor a chance. We always talk to them about, we want them to move from being a trusted financial advisor to a trusted advisor. When you're a trusted financial advisor, there's a box around the relationship. It's all about finances. But when you move to being a trusted advisor in someone's life, there's no ceiling to that relationship.

Clate Mask (15:45):
That's awesome. So let's talk about your clients who are trying to have clear, consistent communication with their clients. Why don't they? I have some theories based on my book, Conquer the Chaos, and I understand what life is like in small business, but I'd love to know what you see when you get in with them. What's the problem? Why are they, because everything you described totally, I'm sure if I'm sitting there as a prospective client of yours, I'm like, yep, Tim, you're right. If I could just have clear consistent communication with my clients, we'd have much better relationships. I'd make a lot more money, they'd be a lot happier with me. I'd probably get a lot more referrals. I buy everything you're saying and obviously not everybody's doing it. What is it that you encounter when you're working with your clients?

Tim Riddle (16:36):
Yeah, I think it comes back to your chaos comment on that topic. So our very first financial advisor client, we changed our model of working with them right after this happened. I created a lot of content to allow them to work using his voice, but either written or video or whatever, and delivered it to him and said, here you go. 60 days later, I checked back in and said, how's that going? He said, Tim, I haven't had a chance to look at it. I'm like, you're killing me. It was on the one yard line. All you had to do was walk it in. That's when I said, well, what if we actually manage that for you? And we've got this system called Keap that uses automation, but it's not going to feel awkward. It's going to feel very, very personable.

Clate Mask (17:26):
You got all the content created, you got it all ready to go, but your client was not able to get it over the goal line.

Tim Riddle (17:34):
They didn't know what to do with it. They were so busy doing all kinds of stuff.

Clate Mask (17:36):
We all understand this. Small business life, as I say, there are not enough hours in the day. There's too much to do, the truth is too much to do. You can't do it all. Why do you wear all the hats? It's why you're doing so many different things, juggling the balls. Invariably things start to slip. Things start to drop through the cracks, whether it's leads or customers or projects or deadlines, or you just have things that start to slip. Sometimes they slip our minds, sometimes they slip our systems, our people are forgetting different things, but there's just too much to do. It sounds like your client was successful enough that he hired you to do this stuff, or at least was like, Hey, even if this was your first client that you were saying, Hey, I'll do this for you.

By the way, there's probably a lesson in that too. If he didn't pay enough for it, then he is probably not going to actually use it, right? The age old, no good deed goes unpunished. But when you are so busy, when you're so busy in small business life and the chaos, which is summarized as an overwhelm that comes from too much to do and inadequate systems and processes. What I hear you saying is yeah, literally too much to do. The systems and processes weren't there. You identified that recognized, oh, you don't have a delivery system to get these things out to the market. I've got one in Keap. How about if I become a full service partner for you and help you get that out? Sounds like that's how it played out.

Tim Riddle (19:13):
Yeah, that's exactly right. That's awesome. Yeah, I always say there's tons of content that's never made it off the cutting room floor because somebody didn't think, well, where's this going? Who's going to see this and how are we going to deliver this? It seems obvious you would think that, but so many times it doesn't.

Clate Mask (19:35):
Right. So good for you. You saw that with that client. What have you seen as you've continued to work with your clients and what is it that holds them back from doing the kind of clear, consistent communication that you're recommending to them?

Tim Riddle (19:52):
Yeah, I think first of all, the default is that a lot of advisors, part of the narrative we're trying to change, but the default is clear and consistent communication is just sending a bunch of Wall Street Journal articles or market updates.

Clate Mask (20:11):
You receive them and you're like, I don't even know what this means. Whatever. Okay, thanks Tim for sending it to me.

Tim Riddle (20:17):
They get frustrated because they're like, I'm sending all this stuff out, but nobody's reacting to it. I'm not surprised. They do business with you. They might say, it's a nice article, but I don't do business with the person who wrote that article. What do you think? I want to hear your voice.

Clate Mask (20:34):
It can be the greatest expert market expert writing the article, but that the advisor's forwarding along, but the relationship resides with the advisor, not with the expert.

Tim Riddle (20:48):
Yeah, absolutely. A great example, I know we're beyond COVID but one of the things that we saw during that time when we were creating this content that was personalized and maybe video piece, so that the response that advisors were getting, it didn't surprise me, but I didn't think about it this way. They said what surprised them is that clients were responding and saying, thanks for sending us. It was just so good to see and hear you. They didn't say, wow, that content was great. It was great to see your face and hear your voice. It all funnels back to that relationship piece.

Clate Mask (21:29):
Yeah, that's the key. I mean, you talked about clear consistent communication and relationships. I talk a lot in the book about the strategy, the customer strategy, and it's about building relationships. That's the whole thing, the whole customer life cycle, how you take people from lead to client to rating fan, it's all about building the relationship. What's interesting is you've got very capable financial advisors who probably have given a scenario, could sit down and say, Hey, here's what you need to do. But it's nurturing the relationship, building the relationship that opens up that opportunity. They're like your friend, he's got 350 or whatever, and he's busy doing different things and doesn't keep that relationship building going. Your program is you come in and capture all the content, then get it distributed out there through a customer strategy to build relationships and automation using Keap to get that out there for your clients. You run it for them, as I understand you actually do that for them, but that's how you help them build relationships so that they can grow their business through their connection that they have with the client.

Tim Riddle (22:39):
One little thing that's just real simple, and Keap allows us to do this, but it's just a simple little thing, is that we always say the content that we want them to create, we want it to be wisdom content, not knowledge content. I always say people will listen to knowledge, but they'll follow wisdom. My justification for that is we probably, I haven't asked you this beforehand, but we probably both know a lot of really smart people who do a lot of dumb things,

Clate Mask (23:11):
I might be one of those. Sometimes

Tim Riddle (23:12):
The old EF Hutton thing. People lean in their commercials, and that's that wisdom piece. We always tell advisors that don't be afraid to share the why behind the numbers instead of just telling somebody, this is how much money you need to retire. Talk to them about what they're going to do in retirement, how life's going to change, and are they ready for that? They're retiring one time. You've walked hundreds and thousands of people through retirement, so you have some knowledge, I mean some wisdom that you can share with them in regards to that. But we always say the content is really simple. It's just three parts introducing the topic and usually the topic, I always tell 'em the topic. It is either a problem or a confusion. I said, if you can't answer that, this is a problem or confusion, don't talk about it. They probably don't want to care. Talk about the sky being blue. Well, that's not a problem or confusion, so I don't need to do a concept on

Tim Riddle (24:11):
In the middle is, here's the solution, how we might solve that for you. The key at the end is just to invite a conversation. Hey, if you want to talk more about social security and how that works, click this little link and let's just find a time to talk. When they do that, the person looking at the content might be doing it at 10 o'clock at night. You might say, well just email us or call us. Well, if it's 10 o'clock at night, they're probably not going to get their email out. They're probably not. But if they're like, okay, I've done this, now it's in your court, you get back in touch with me. So again, it's that whole delivery process is trying to not just say it's personal content, but even how we deliver it is trying to be personal.

Clate Mask (24:57):
There's so much here to what you're doing. I mean, what you've just described is the content marketing strategy. So many business owners are jumping straight to their solution that they miss the whole relationship building process. They miss the whole opportunity to open up a conversation that can turn into the customer buying the solution. But you said something really important. It's something that I learned a long time ago, and I still make this mistake. I see entrepreneurs making this mistake all the time. It's that we are so used to our solution that we think people know and care about our solution. They don't care. They care about their problems. Yet we spend so much time talking about our solution. It doesn't matter who the entrepreneur is, we all do it. It's a natural thing. A good friend of mine, Don Miller, Don and I were talking about this a couple of years ago, and he said, yeah, when you're fishing, you use hooks.

When you're an entrepreneur and you're fishing for clients, your hooks are problems. You talk about the problems, you get problems out into the market, you get your problem out into the water as the hook. It's such an obvious thing once we stop and think about it. Yet most entrepreneurs, we get caught up in talking about our solution. I love that what you said was your content is about the problem because that's what matters to them. That's why they will be up at 10 o'clock at night reading it because they care about it. It's probably keeping them up at night. They're reading about the problem, you're doing it in a personal way so that they care about it. Then you're making a really simple call to action, a simple way for them to get engaged and have a conversation, build the relationship.

I appreciate that little quick primer you gave us on content marketing and how powerful it is for entrepreneurs to think that way instead of thinking about our solution. Another way I say it is that Dan Kennedy taught me this years and years ago, and he said, to be successful in business, you need to become a marketer, but you don't become a marketer of your product. You become a marketer of information. And then he said, but you don't become a marketer of information about your product. You become a marketer of information about the problems that are solved by your product. If you slow that down and think about it, that's it. That's really content marketing to say, oh, I don't create software at Keap. By the way, our engineers would all laugh. I don't create software at Keap, but we don't create software. If we want to be successful we've got to speak to, we've got to become marketers, but not just marketers of information, but marketers of information about the problems that our software solves. Automation, okay, well what problems does automation solve? That's what we need to be sharing and speaking about because that's what matters to our customers. That's what you're teaching your advisors to do. It's what smart entrepreneurs everywhere do when they realize, oh, this is what it means. They realize it's not just about marketing, it's about marketing information about the problems and fishing with the hooks of problems.

Tim Riddle (28:12):
One to even tag onto that, in this market and in any service business industry, referrals are a big thing, right? We always tell our niche, our advisors, it says, can we get out of the 1970s referral business. Clate, can you give me three names of your friends and family? I can harass and now they're going to be mad at you because you gave me their names and they have no interest. I said, think about it differently if you position yourself as a problem solver. Clate has a friend who has a problem that I just talked about how I can solve. Clate is now motivated to introduce that friend to me. I want to help because you become the hero of the solution. I'm just the benefactor of that. Isn't that a much better way to get referrals, is to be positioned that way. We've had clients that we knocked on the door for years and they just ignored us and ignored us. And we had one that we've been working with for a couple of years, and I got to know them well, and I said, can I ask you a question? I said, why did you finally call me? Because like I emailed you for a couple of years and you didn't even respond. I didn't even know if you even got my email, which is normal, normal. I said, why did you respond? And she said, we set some things out, some communications during a week, and we set several things out and it all got botched up and it was terrible. Our team was going crazy. I went, wait, I think I have an email from somebody that might be able to help us. But she was not motivated because we do great things. She was motivated because she had this problem and she thought, wait a minute, maybe they can help us solve that.

Clate Mask (29:59):
Yeah, there you go. And that acute chaos that she was in where she was like, oh, you are nurturing. You're building that relationship over time that didn't have any clicks, didn't have any opens. It was very little response that you were getting. But she was seeing it, she was hearing it, she was understanding it, she was opening it, she was checking it out. Obviously she was reading it. Well, that's great. I appreciate you taking us through a little bit on content marketing. The other thing I don't want to get lost in this is you really touched on Keys to Success four and five, strategy and automation because it, it's the content strategy that's about the customer lifecycle and what you're taking, you're helping your clients take their clients, you're helping financial advisors take their clients through a journey and helping them to get their message across in the right way.

That's when you get right down to it. Customer strategy is really just about, okay, well what needs to happen? Then what and then what. You're just taking 'em through that process so I can see you do that well in the content strategy. Tell us a little bit about, I do love to talk about automation. Mostly because of the problem that it solves. What kind of self-respecting entrepreneur would I be if I didn't talk about the problems solved by automation? But reality is that your clients can't do it all. The average small business out there can't do it all. They can't keep up with everything that needs to be done. So what have you found that automation unlocks first for your clients, that you run their automation for them, and then second, what has it been, how has it helped you conquer the chaos in your business?

Tim Riddle (31:48):
I will talk about my business first of all. One of the things as we've grown and our top values to be highly responsive, well it either be highly responsive one of two ways. You either have automations and systems that allow you to do that, or you go hire a bunch of people and you throw bodies at it.

Clate Mask (32:09):
Yes, which by the way is the big-company way of doing it and it works because their margins can make that work, but in small business it doesn't work. If you're adding payroll, you're losing profit and you can't make that work. Too often people think, oh, the business is going to be great. The work starts stacking up, they're adding payroll instead of profit, and they get very frustrated and it becomes a systematic chaos that you're experiencing, which ironically is because you don't have the systems to do things more efficiently.

Tim Riddle (32:42):
I credit Keap, thank you, for making me think that way, even changing my narrative of how I was thinking about addressing that. Because there comes a point in any business where when you're starting out and you're an entrepreneur in the first few years, you're like, I'll just work longer. No way I can outwork. I work 24 hours a day.

Tim Riddle (33:02):
Been there, right?

Clate Mask (33:03):
Yeah. Got all the passion, I'll just keep going,

Tim Riddle (33:05):
Keep going, I can do it. But then at some point there was a crossroads of saying, wait a minute, we need to automate what we can as long as we still feel like it's providing a personal touch. That's the fine line for us. If automation takes something and it automates it, but it makes it impersonal, we don't want it. That's been the beauty of Keap for us is that we're able to still do that. We're able to still sit down in a day and create systems that now will work over the next three or four months without having to do it one task at a time.

Clate Mask (33:44):
And you can do it with upwards of a hundred clients that you're running it for, which is just amazing. You're able to create that kind of automation for them in all their businesses to scale the personal touch. That's a lot of time. One time years ago, I had a customer come to me and say, what I love about Keap is that before I could build relationships with hundreds of people, if I was doing great, now I can actually build relationships with thousands of people. I remember she said, first she said dozens, she said, maybe hundreds. If I'm doing it great. But it's that age old rule, you can only do it so much. I think there's a Dunbar's law that's 50 that you can have real relationships with. Then how do you take it to the next level? Well, you have to create automation, but do it in a personalized way that feels meaningful to people and it actually is meaningful because you've designed it for them and others that are like them. They can go through that experience and feel the personal touch that you are able to, by the way, do not just for your clients, but then do it for all of their clients.

Tim Riddle (34:50):
The thing that I would applaud Keap on is that with all of our clients, they all feel like their strategy using Keap is personalized just for them. I love that. There are just this many clients that we can't use Keap because of our area and we said, no, no, no, we're not going to do it. But positive what it did is that we ended up having to use a competitive and a product when those advisors will come to me and say, Hey, can we do so-and-so my answer is always no, I could do it and Keap,

Clate Mask (35:33):
They have to use that for compliance reasons.

Tim Riddle (35:35):
I can't do it here. That's why I said at the beginning, what I loved about Keap was that it was a great system today in day one, but it has the flexibility to grow with me. Many times I feel like I'm only scratching the surface. Whatever is whatever you want to dream up, we can figure out how to do that.

Clate Mask (35:59):
You're doing so much of the marketing automation. There'll be a point where I think your clients will want to do more of the sales automation and service automation and operations automation. There's so much more that they can do. I always say, it doesn't matter what percentage of software you're using, it matters what percentage of your business you're automating. That's what we really want to see our clients do. Well, we've talked a lot about automation. As we're kind of wrapping up here.I know from our prior conversations, do we have a real values alignment? There's a lot of satisfaction we get in personal success and business success. As I say in the book, the definition of success for entrepreneurs, as I like to say, it is balanced growth in your business and personal life that produces freedom.

Of course, we look at freedom in terms of money, time, control, impact, but it's that balanced growth that produces freedom that I think you've done a really good job of in your business. You've got a business that you have some of your family members that run with you. Maybe for just a second, could you comment on what you see in terms of that balance growth for entrepreneurs and where maybe in your perspective working with clients and sometimes where people maybe get astray a little bit and get sucked into the business and it's pulling on them so much that they're starting to make sacrifices, they're starting to make maybe decisions that might accumulate to some significant regret or worse down the road. Any perspective you have on this concept of success for entrepreneurs, a balanced growth that produces freedom?

Tim Riddle (37:41):
I think everybody has to have their own tools that they use. The 30,000 foot level I look at is that as an entrepreneur, I didn't sign up for a nine to five job, so I look at seasons. If there are seasons where I'm working long hours to get something done, that's okay as long as it's just a season. But when the season becomes normal and it doesn't change, that's the danger point. There are times that you go crazy and then you get it back. Trying to bounce that, it's never like this. That piece is important for me personally. This is just something I started five years ago. I'm in my fifth year now, but yeah, I write in a journal every morning and I never journaled my whole life. I came to a solution that worked for me where I said, I didn't want a journal that asked me questions. I may not want to answer that question today.

Tim Riddle (38:46):
I just said, you know what? I'm going to write, even if it's just one sentence I'm going to write every day and what's on my mind. I do that first thing and then obviously I list down, here's the big three that I do today. Here are the to-dos. I always say, you have to separate your to-do list. I love to check things off a list and I'll do all the 10 foot level stuff, but I won't do the other ones. That centering first thing in the morning with some quiet time to plan for the day that has helped me. It's also good to have a good board of directors that's family.

Clate Mask (39:21):
They can tell you, Hey, this season's lasting a little long, buddy.

Tim Riddle (39:26):
Hey, if we just have one more week, I've heard ‘one more week’ too much.

Clate Mask (39:30):
Then to have the humility and the respect to pay attention to that. I know there's certainly been times in my life where the season was going long for Cherise and the kids and it was like, okay, we're redlining here. We need to make an adjustment. Sometimes the ego of the entrepreneur doesn't want to hear it says, no, no fights against that. But like you said, you treat them like a board of directors. They're there to help you see when maybe you're not seeing it and make an adjustment on the season.

Tim Riddle (40:04):
Yeah. The other piece that's interesting about the journaling thing, and I didn't do this intentionally to be honest with you. One of the reasons I did it is I thought when I'm dead and gone, maybe my kids will enjoy reading this. I try to be real diligent to do it every single day. There's not a day in five years or if I've missed a day, I go back and write. But when I write today, I did this morning. When I write today, I read what I wrote last year at this time, the year before. That reading only takes five minutes. But it's interesting that it reminds me of the winds and it reminds me of the struggles and it reminds me of perhaps some blind spots that are still blind.

Clate Mask (40:48):
You had such clarity when you wrote it, and now somehow it's faded and it becomes so not clear.

Tim Riddle (40:54):
But everybody has that. And I am not saying that's a system that works for everybody. I do think you have to have your own something that centers you that way or you can get lost in it.

Clate Mask (41:03):
I love the word centering as you were talking about clear, consistent communication. For entrepreneurs, a lot of times the clarity is difficult to get to because the business is so dynamic. There's so much going on. And this is why in Conquer the Chaos I wrote about the three personal keys starting with mindset, then life, vision, then rhythm of execution. It's like you read the book, which I know you didn't, it's not out yet, it's coming soon. I talk about this and I talk about how we set a life vision that the business fits into, and then our rhythm of execution. I have a bunch of recommendations. One of them is the morning routine, what I call morning mastery. For me, I have seven things I do in my morning mastery. In essence, they're about cultivating the mind, body, and spirit.

What I discovered during COVID actually was the power of journaling. I had heard about it all my life. I'd been told, Hey, this is a good thing to do. I'd always told, it was for posterity's sake, and gosh, I had 25 journals with one or two pages or five pages written in them, whatever. But it was when I started to really habit stack it as James Clear talks about in Atomic Habits on top of my exercise in the morning. I started to get my journaling going, and now I have a couple of different forms of journaling I do. But it's really powerful. It's amazing. One of the most powerful things is when I get a little extra time and I'll go back and read some things that I wrote. When I jokingly said, it was so clear when I wrote it, now I seem to have forgotten.

It's only a month later and I can hear my wife Cherise saying, yeah, exactly. You forgot. So that's what happens though, get so much. There's so many inputs that when we get that clarity in the morning and we write it out, it's so powerful. It's almost like heaven sent messages to us that we can go back and see and read. I love the point that you're making about journaling. I've found I wasn't a meditator and I wasn't a journaler, but I found a few years ago how powerful those two practices are, and I've incorporated those into, those are two of my seven things I do in the morning. I talk about it in the book. I had no idea you were going to talk about that when I said we're like-minded, kindred spirits in some way. It doesn't surprise me a bit that you've found that same thing with journaling, but it's powerful for entrepreneurs when they're in confusion, they're in chaos, and they need to get clear. The focus and the energy and the power that comes from that morning time clarity is fantastic. I think my younger self kind of thought of it as sort of zen woo woo stuff that was like what some people did up on mountain tops or something. I've come to recognize it's what really smart entrepreneurs do. You need that time to get that clarity. So thank you for sharing that with us. It was fantastic.

Tim Riddle (44:02):
Yeah. For me, just a little tag onto that, for me, I always say that great leaders, you're forced to fly at two altitudes. You have to fly at the 30,000 foot level, but you also have to fly at the 10 foot level. You say, well, why shouldn't I just stay at the 30,000 foot level? You'll see where you're going, but you won't get anything done. And you stay at the 10 foot level, you get a bunch of stuff done, but you have no idea where it's going.

Clate Mask (44:23):
You're spending wheels.

Tim Riddle (44:24):
The morning time for me is sort of that, let's get to the 30,000 foot level a little bit.

Clate Mask (44:28):
Yeah, exactly. That's exactly what I teach in the book. It's a combination of the big vision and then the day-to-day execution, and how you take it from a life vision to a 10 year, to a three year, to a one year, quarterly, monthly, weekly, daily each morning. For me, I think particularly for entrepreneurs who have a little bit of ADHD, you need that kind of structure to accomplish big things and to not just be chasing a bunch of different things. I appreciate you sharing that. Well, is there anything else? We've covered a lot of good stuff here. We've gone into some of the different keys to success. We've talked about conquering the chaos in various ways. Any last thing you want to share with the audience before we wrap up here?

Tim Riddle (45:14):
I realize this is not meant to be a Keap promo by any means, that kind of thing. But I got to tell you, we were here at your facility. The first time we've been here.

Clate Mask (45:27):
The first time in five years.

Tim Riddle (45:28):
Yeah. I mean, I feel like I know everybody from virtually, it is the first time we've ever walked in. I love first impressions. When I walked in I was greeted with a smile and felt like I was part of the family most. When I walked into your main area there today, your value of We truly care,

Clate Mask (45:51):

Tim Riddle (45:51):
We genuinely care. Sorry, that just breeds. I mean, it is so evident, and that's not a great word on a wall from my standpoint. We truly feel that. I can't tell you. This podcast could be three days long, and I could give you examples of where you've lived that out. Having values that sound good is one thing, but having values that you actually live out and make decisions by. We're grateful to be a partner with Keap and could not be, I said earlier, our company would be a shell of itself if we didn't have Keap as that engine to allow us to use automation and work smarter, not harder, and still keep it personalized. So thank you for that relationship.

Clate Mask (46:43):
You bet. Thank you, Tim. I appreciate that. We're very intentional about it. We work hard at that. We make our mistakes, of course. But I'm glad you felt that. You felt it over the years. You felt it as you came into the building today. We just love serving entrepreneurs, but liberating, empower entrepreneurs. That's what we do. So thanks for partnering with us, and thanks for spending a little time on this episode of the Conquer the Chaos Podcast. For anybody who wants to learn more about Tim, about you and what you do and your business, where should they go?

Tim Riddle (47:13):
Yeah, probably DiscoverBlindSpots.com.

Clate Mask (47:16):
DiscoverBlindSpots.com. Awesome. Very good. Well, this has been another episode of the Conquer the Chaos podcast. Thank you so much for listening. My message to you is the same thing I say all the time. Keep going, keep serving and keep growing.

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