In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob checks in with Mike Taber about his progress with Bluetick. They talk about new growth, where that growth is coming from, theories on why customers are choosing Bluetick over competitors, and more.
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Rob: Welcome to this week’s episode of Startups for the Rest of Us. I’m your host Rob Walling. This week, we catch up with Mike Taber. I get an update on his progress with Bluetick. Mike was my co-host for the first 448 episodes of this podcast. Now he’s a host emeritus. He comes on every couple of months and updates us on his story and his progress with his software product bluetick.io. It’s a good update this week. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but needless to say, things are going up and to the right for Mike.
Before we dive into that, I want to give you two things. Number one is invitations for Microconf Connect, which is our online community. The first invitations have been sent out. If you haven’t checked out microconfconnect.com and you are interested in being in a community of, well, there’s more than 1100 applicants at this point, so depending on how many actually come through and sign up, let’s say it’s going to be many hundreds, if not close to a thousand, of indie-funded and self-funded startup founders from around the world. If you’re interested in that, head to microconfconnect.com.
Number two, if you haven’t shared this podcast with someone that you think could get value out of it, it would mean a ton to me. If you feel like you’ve gotten value out of episodes over the past three months you’ve been listening, three years you’ve been listening, the biggest thing that I look at when I look at the success of the podcast, there’s a couple of things.
One, I look at the feedback from listeners and the comments that we receive and the growth of the subscriber base. Really been focusing on that over the past 6–9 months to try to get the message out to more people. The message that we can be ambitious, and we can build life-changing businesses without sacrificing our life or health or family or our relationships in order to do that.
We’d really appreciate it even if that’s just a tweet that says, “Startups for the Rest of Us is a podcast that I enjoy,” or if you do a one-on-one email or text to someone, I would really appreciate it. With that, let’s dive in to my conversation with Mike Taber.
Mike, it’s been a while. How are you doing?
Mike: I’m doing good. How are you doing?
Rob: I’m doing okay. It’s been six weeks to the day since our last conversation. Actually, we ran a Twitter poll a few weeks back because I got a couple of comments on the last episode. Let’s say I got 10 or 12 comments through Twitter, email. and posted to the website. One of them said, “Oh, it’s uncomfortable when you and Mike talk because I feel like you’re putting a lot of pressure on him.” Then someone said, “You should be easier. You should go easier on Mike.” I thought, “Wow. I don’t feel like I’m being hard on you.” Do you feel that way?
Mike: I don’t think so. The questions that you’re asking are pretty valid questions. I feel like it’s easier to answer them. I’ve commented on this before, it feels easier for me to answer them now because there’s more time in between each episode when we talk. It’s like I have more time to work on stuff and I’m not distracted by other things that are going on. I don’t really think so. I don’t know. Maybe I would have felt differently right after an episode is recorded. You can ask me again right after this episode if they were tough questions.
Rob: Totally. That’s the thing that people should know is like you and I were very deliberate, in advance, offline, before we started this whole series of following your story. That I said, “Look, I’m going to ask you questions that I think are helpful to the audience. I want to ask you questions that I think are helpful to hopefully keep you motivated and accountable. Is that okay?” I got your permission to bust your chops a little bit. I’ve never felt like I’m over-the-top, up in your face, sell, sell, sell, buy, buy, buy. I’m not being outrageous. I’m genuinely just asking. I know I am asking some tough questions, but I don’t know.
Anyway, after that, I ran a Twitter poll and I got 114 responses. The results were 8% thought I should go easier on you, 31% said I could push you harder, which I was surprised by, and 61% said they felt like I’m striking a good balance. Overall, 31% Mike, a third of the people want me to bust your chops more. It’s funny.
Mike: It’s all right. If you want to bust my chops a little bit more to appease that 31%, I’m fine with it.
Rob: I don’t. This is very natural. The thing is these conversations, at least from my perspective, are not forced at all. I’m not doing anything that doesn’t feel very natural in the conversation. I’m genuinely just curious about what’s there. When I ask, “Why didn’t you do that?” I’m genuinely curious why you didn’t do something. Anyway, let’s start talking about stuff because I did go back and listen to the last few episodes. It’s been a while. It’s been six weeks since the last one and three months since the one before that. I almost forget the story sometimes of exactly what was happening.
Our last episode was actually really positive. You were upbeat and things seemed to be working well. You had grown the revenue of 50% in two months. You’re still early-stage so folks know—percentages can be deceiving. That’s where we last left you. I’m curious to hear about your high point over the past six weeks. What was your biggest win or the moment where you felt the best? Then conversely, the biggest setback or where you were feeling the worst.
Mike: I think that in terms of the biggest win is I had a customer, and I know that this is on your outline already, so I’m going to totally blow it out of the water. Your question was about the big customer that I had to sign on a couple of months ago for $500 a month and are they still around. The answer is yes, they are still around, but they also asked to upgrade to an annual plan. That just came through yesterday so that’s all set. I’d say that’s probably the biggest one.
In terms of a low point, I can’t really point to anything specific where it’s like, “Oh, I wish this had gone very, very differently.” I’ve got a bunch of things that are up in the air right now. I’m optimistic that some of them will come through and then there are other things where I have to play things by ear for a little while to see how it goes. I don’t know how they’re going to play out yet.
Rob: Congratulations on that; that’s big to get. For them to request to go annual implies that they’re using the tool, they’re enjoying the tool, and they want to use it for the coming foreseeable future. The challenge that I always see with, especially early-stage products, that are really finding their footing is that you can get a big customer, but they’ll stick around for two weeks or a month or two. Then they realize, “Well, this just doesn’t fit what we need.” That is why I kept circling back on that topic is like, “Hey, you have this customer paying you a chunk of money. Are they still around?” That’s great. That’s really a good sign in my opinion. Congratulations on that.
Mike: Another thing that I would say that is, I wouldn’t say there was a particular point where it was a high point as well, but you have mentioned that I had grown revenue by about 50% over the course of two months. Then over the most recent two months, I’ve grown it by roughly another 50%. Basically, double where I was about four months ago. Maybe it’s 4½ months, maybe close to 5, but it’s still pretty close to that. It depends more on how things shake out through this month, which it’s still very early on in the month, but from the looks of it, I would expect that I will eclipse that point.
Rob: Is a big part of this your warm/cold email campaign? Because the last time we spoke, your report was it was working very well, you were getting upwards of 50% response rates, you had so many learnings that you actually had to back off of it so you could get other work done, you were saying some calls were running 1½-2, you had a bunch of notes, and that some were turning into customers. Is that a big part of this? Because to double in four months even at early stages is still traction. That shows that something has happened that wasn’t happening in the prior 18 months frankly.
Mike: Yeah. I look back at the outreach campaign that I was doing. It’s interesting because only one of those conversations has turned into an actual customer. There are maybe three others that are still prospects. One of them is in a trial but I have to implement some additional things before he’ll actually start paying for it. The trial itself right now is like I’ve extended his trial because literally, certain things don’t work for him. I’m trying to go through. I basically just have to implement a couple of extra features before he can start using it. At that point, I’ll restart his trial more or less.
I don’t see any direct correlation between the conversations that I’m having and the revenue, which is weird. Because I look back at it now and I just went through and counted. I’ve had over 30 calls with people in the past 5-6 weeks. Those are just the ones from my outreach campaign, but only one of those turned into a customer.
Rob: That’s crazy. Where’s the growth coming from?
Mike: I’m still working on it.
Rob: Oh, no. You don’t know.
Mike: It’s from a variety of sources. Some of its recommendations are from other people. I onboarded somebody over the past two weeks. They’re a real estate attorney in New York City, and they heard about it from a Facebook group. Somebody else had recommended to him. I’m like, “Well, who was it and what organization was it?” They said it was from the EO group which I think is Entrepreneurs’ Organization or something like that. You have to have a business that’s doing a million dollars in revenue in order to even be eligible to join, and they have to verify it.
Somebody in there said, “Hey, you should check out Bluetick.” I don’t know who that person was, but I don’t necessarily care either. The person signed on and I helped him get everything set up through Zapier. They asked me already about upgrading to an annual plan. I said, “Well, we could do that now but why don’t you wait a month or two and see how things go and then if everything is working well we’ll upgrade you.” It’s very casual and conversational about that.
I think that that’s a good opportunity to try and potentially get either additional recommendations or more revenue what have you. I’m sure these people know other people. I definitely think there are opportunities there that are coming about just from having these conversations.
Rob: Right. That’s the idea is if they do end up being happy, and they sign up for annual, right after they pay for annual, a great ask is, “I know you heard about me through an EO group, would you mind posting back to that group and saying, ‘Hey, I’ve just signed up. It’s been a really good experience.’” At this stage, it’s doing things that don’t scale. At this stage, all of this just helps get you to where you want to go.
Rob: I’m curious then. Customers are signing up and you obviously have some growth going on, something that I’ve asked you multiple times is why Bluetick? Why did they sign up with Bluetick and not go to one of your probably dozens of competitors, I’m guessing? Last time you had said you had some theories but you hadn’t really figured that out yet.
We tossed around some things like Bluetick checks the mailbox every 10 minutes whereas a lot of your competitors check it every four hours so your data is more up-to-date. You’re more thorough in terms of seeing I think it was like trash and spam and some other folders. Is that it or has there something else that you’ve figured out why these folks come, sign up, and convert to annual with you and not one of your competitors? That key differentiator.
Mike: I don’t think there’s a specific key differentiator in the products, but the recommendations certainly help. As part of those 30-plus calls that I have gone through, one person said, “Hey, I have this customer over here, these couple of customers, and I think that you should go talk to them. For this one, feel free to use my name and say that I said that you should reach out to them.”
I reached out, talked to them. I don’t think that this came up in our last call because it was since then, but I basically had a conversation with them. They said, “Yeah. Actually, your software sounds like it would be really helpful for us. Send me a proposal,” which you wouldn’t think most of the time you’d need to send a proposal to somebody. It’s over $1000 a month for this particular customer. They said, “Send me the proposal.” I sent them a proposal and then without even me asking or following up on the proposal, they didn’t have any questions at all. “This is great. This looks good. I’m going to introduce you to our technical team. Let’s set up a call with them.”
Did that, went through the technical call. At the end of the call, I said, “Are there any objections or questions you have or any problems you see in switching from what you’re using now into this?” They said, “No.” Now I’m at the point where they said, “Okay. Next week’s bad for us, but touch base with us the following week. We’ll see how things shake out from there.” I’m optimistic that that will come in. That’s over $1000 a month in MRR from just that one customer, but I definitely know there are certain things that they’re going to need. The point I’m going after though is the reason that that person took the call was that they got a recommendation from this other person they knew and trusted.
Rob: That makes sense. Your title tag on your website, bluetick.io, is, “Cold and Warm Email Follow-up Software.” Then the headline is, “Personal outreach at scale for all of your follow-up emails.” There’s cold and there’s warm and you’ve tended to be in the warm area of getting things you need from other people. If an accountant needs a tax return, he can put it in here. I’m just giving an example. I guess you don’t have any accountants.
Mike: I do, actually.
Rob: Oh, you do? Okay. Or a conference organizer needs to bother sponsors until they pay, you put them in Bluetick and they would do that. Which of these new sign-ups over the past four months are they using? Are they doing it more for the cold or more for the warm?
Mike: Most of them are warm, to be honest. As I’m thinking about it, most of them are warm. They’ve done business in some way shape or form but it’s not a tight relationship, it’s very loose. Maybe there was a transaction of some kind. Maybe there was a trial that was downloaded. Maybe there was an introduction or something along those lines. There was at least some touch-point and then they go in to use Bluetick to help move them to the next step and strengthen the relationship.
Rob: It’s less about sales. It’s part of the sales process but it’s not usually the first step in the sales process. There’s at least some relationship then it’s how do we keep moving it down, which is what you wanted to do. Remember, we talked about it a year ago. You said, “I feel like a lot of the cold outreach is spammy. I have a struggle with how some of these folks are doing it.” This feels better to you?
Mike: Yeah. What’s interesting, though, is that those that I’ve had come on so far, those tend to be like they want to do the warm outreach, but then the demo for the customer who the price quote I gave them (I think) was $1200 a month. They’re going to have upwards of 20–30 mailboxes and their growth anticipation is going to get up to between 50 and 60 by the end of the year. What they do is they do lead gen for other companies. They basically work with marketing agencies who are trying to do market analysis and market research, and they get people on the phone to talk to those companies.
I’ve actually started going down the road of looking out there to see what marketing agencies that are out there that are currently doing lead gen and see if I can get conversations going with them to ask how they’re doing that now. My suspicion is most of them are running a bunch of different campaigns in parallel.
They probably have anywhere between 20 and 50 or 100 mailboxes, which I would basically be charging them for each one of those, but let’s say that it’s 50 mailboxes at my current price in which I’d probably cut them a bulk discount at some point. I don’t know what that would look like. Let’s say it’s just raw numbers alone right now, fifty mailboxes at $50 a month is $2500 a month. That’s huge.
One of those customers could substantially start moving the needle for Bluetick, especially if they go and sign up for an annual plan. Not that I think that they would do that on day one, but fast forward a month or two if it’s working better for them than their current solution then it would make sense for them to go to an annual plan to get a little bit more of a discount.
I do think that there are opportunities there are for Bluetick to go in and do some competitive displacements for people who are using things like SalesLoft, Outreach, or Reply because it does have that more in-depth hooks into the mailbox and it can do more in-depth checks to make sure that it’s identically identifying, was this a reply? Was that a reply? Did I get a reply from a different email address or was it forwarded? All those kinds of things. I just have the capability to do a more in-depth analysis that I don’t think that those other products have nor do I think that they care about. Their pricing has started going through the roof like they’re really going upmarket in terms of the pricing.
Rob: Which leaves a nice opportunity for you because even having these several hundred dollars a month/low four-figure per month clients is such a different business than a $40 or $50 a month app. You need so many fewer clients. Bravo to that. High ARPU (Average Revenue Per Customer) is just one of the Holy Grails. That’s awesome.
Mike: I’m working those angles to try and see how that works out. I just don’t know how it’s going to play out yet.
Rob: You never do. It’s pipeline stuff. Listeners should realize you’re not saying, “I’m counting on all of these deals to close.” You’ve done sales enough to realize that only a certain percentage of your pipeline closes. But the fact that you’re even sitting at the table with someone who could feasibly pay you $1000, $2000 a month is so far removed from where you were a year ago or 18 months ago.
That’s the part I’m excited about because you don’t need all of these to pan out. You just need a certain percentage. You’re growing, you’re off to the races, and you’re profitable, supporting yourself. You get to the point where you can hire someone to handle your audits and rewrite that sealed .NET component.
Mike: What’s motivating about it is that I feel like I’m winning a disproportionately large number of them, too.
Rob: Why is that?
Mike: Honestly, I think it’s me. It’s the conversations that I have with people. Even in the demo that I did with the customer that I did a custom proposal for, when I was talking to them they were asking questions about the software and how it worked. They had some very specific requirements as well, which I was shocked by because most people are like, “Oh, I just want to be able to detect replies and be able to send out emails and make sure that those are going out to people who didn’t reply.”
One of the specific requirements they had was they’re like, “This has to be able to send an email out as a reply to a previous email and it has to include the contents of the other one.” I said, “Yes. It can do that. This is exactly how it looks.” and I showed them an example. They’re like, “That’s perfect. That’s exactly what we need.”
It’s just being able to have that discussion and then also explain this is how it was built and this is why it was built this way. Fascinated is not the right word for it, but they really liked hearing that the person on the phone giving them the demo was the person they would also talk to for support if they needed help, or the person who built it. If there’s something wrong and it doesn’t work, they can talk to me and I can get it fixed for them. Whereas with the current vendor they have, it’s got to go through three layers of support, there was a project manager and put out a roadmap. You don’t have to do that with me. You’re going to talk to me. I can get things done.
Rob: That’s the thing when you’re small and you’re competing with venture-backed startups or even just larger companies, founders will often say, “Well, I’m outgunned.” How can I possibly compete with them? You can. You just have to use your advantages.
Mike: Didn’t you call this—I think it was in Microconf Europe—the founder advantage?
Rob: Maybe I did. Thank you for reminding. I’ll have to go back.
Mike: I think that was you.
Rob: I don’t recall but we should find out. Anyway, in Judo, you’re supposed to—even if you have a larger opponent—use their force against them. Let’s say they swing at you or whatever, it’s more about dodging and pulling them in the direction that they swung to flip them over or whatever.
I’ve only done Judo a couple of times, so it’s not something I’m an expert at, but when you are a small company you are super agile. You can get stuff done super-fast. They can talk directly to the founder. These are the advantages that you can just use against larger companies over and over and over. There are others as well. All that to say, that’s cool to be able to do that. Obviously, it doesn’t last forever, but while you have it, this should absolutely be something that you’re taking advantage of.
Mike: I totally am for the time being.
Rob: Cool. Curious, some of these other questions I’m not even sure are worth going into since things are working. You’re doing demos, you’re talking to customers, you’re selling, and they’re writing you checks. It’s like, “Should you even be bothering with these other things?” I come back to the podcast tour where (I guess) you put it into Bluetick. You were doing cold outreach to try to get on podcasts. Scaled it back a bit because you got busy with calls. Then you ramped it up again. Curious for an update on that.
Mike: I had scaled it down and I’d planned on ramping it up again, but I started sending out a couple of emails and I haven’t gone back to start sending out more of them. I was basically doing it individually. It’s like approving them one at a time. I got busy with all the phone calls and everything. I haven’t gone back to that.
I basically have stopped learning things from the conversations that I’ve been having with the people I was reaching out to. I’m going to put some of that stuff on autopilot and try to involve myself a little bit less. Instead of pitching it as, “Hey, I’d like to get on a phone and talk to you because I’d like to learn,” now I’m going to present it as, “These are the things that I’ve learned. Are there ways that you can help me or other people that you could refer to this particular product because I think I have a better story or position around that?”
I’m going to do that instead. Now that my learning process there I think it is a little bit more complete. I’m going to go back and start doing the podcast outreach again. I just haven’t done it yet.
Rob: Yeah. You’re trying to balance four things. Development of features is one thing; sales and learning, which is what a lot of LinkedIn and that warm outreach; and then marketing. You haven’t been doing much marketing because sales and learning are taking so much at the time. It sounds like you’ve learned. I think what you’re saying to summarize is you’ve learned about as much as you need for now and you can really dial that down and then switch some focus to marketing to then generate leads for you to continue with sales, right?
Mike: Yeah. I don’t want to not correct you, but to narrow it down exactly on the learning side of it. The reason I’m backing off on that is because I’m starting to hear the same things over and over. It’s not that I don’t think that I have anything left to learn because I certainly think there’s lots more, but the people that I’m talking to it’s getting repetitive now. I’m hearing the same things over and over. Going through the rest of the list of people that I was reaching out to, I don’t think that that’s going to be fruitful in terms of learning stuff. I do still think that there’s a lot of value in continuing to reach out to those people and seeing if there are people that they could introduce me to or put the product in front of.
Rob: Right. You’re switching from learning to sales. In essence, you’re switching that campaign, which is exactly what I think you should be doing based on what you’re saying. It’s funny for these episodes that we do every month or two, it’s typically been a roller coaster; one where you’re up and one where you’re down. We now have two back-to-back where you’re up. You got it, so it’s going to get boring for people after a while, Mike. If your #winning every episode, people will stop listening. Next episode, bring some low points.
Mike: I’ll say I got a hangnail.
Mike: They’re terrible.
Rob: I’m joking, obviously.
Mike: I can barely type with my finger. Do you want to see that finger, Rob?
Rob: Not really. Good thing this is an audio podcast. I’m happy for you and I’m happy the way things are going. Again, it’s like we’ve talked about this sealed .NET component for so long. The last episode I finally said, “You know what, if sales are working I wouldn’t replace it right now unless it’s causing you the inability to close sales,” because right now, number one is getting revenue up. It was my thinking at the time. We were both agreeing on it. You were saying, “Yeah. I know I need to replace it at some point.” Given where you’ve been, have you ever given it a thought over the past six weeks?
Mike: I have. It’s more, I would say, over the past 1½–2 weeks where I’ve started to look at that a lot more. The main reason for looking at that is that I mentioned it earlier but I didn’t go into the details of a customer where I basically extended their trial because certain things weren’t working for them. To drill into that is they have an exchange server.
Rob: That’s their first mistake?
Rob: Oh, snap. No, I’m just kidding. Send hate mail to mike@mike—
Mike: I didn’t say it. It wasn’t me.
Rob: I know.
Mike: Anyway, the issue is that yes you can enable IMAP on an exchange server, but the default is to not have it enabled. There are tons of sales organizations out there where they have exchange server. Unless you have a device that directly goes into the exchange server to use these exchange web services, basically, it doesn’t work. And Bluetick relies on that IMAP component.
What I’ve been doing is this person tried to sign up. They went in, try to add a mailbox, it didn’t work. I went through all these things trying to figure out how to make it work. The only way to do it is through exchange web services, which I have a component that can do that, the one that I have now can do it, but it’s got to be rewritten. The underlying storage system has got to be changed in order to help support that.
I knew that all that stuff needs to be done anyway in order to basically replace how that sealed .NET component is currently used. It was never a priority before because stuff works, but now it’s at a point where I have to replace this. I have to rewrite some of that code otherwise I can’t get this customer onboarded.
Now it’s a barrier to revenue. I can justify it now especially since, I think he said there’s 70 sales reps in the organization and if I can get it working for him, its land and expand because he’s more than willing to introduce me to these two managers of all the sales reps, but I have to get it working for him first.
Now, I’m in a position where I have to do this now. Technically, I don’t have to. I can say, “Screw it. I’m just going to go find other customers.” But the combination of this particular person needing that and this customer where there’s $1200 of MRR is initially on the table, where I know that their mailboxes are going to be coming from their customers.
My suspicion is at least some of those customers are going to be using an exchange server. It did come up in the call when they asked, “Can you integrate with an exchange server?” and I said, “Yes,” thinking that I can do it through IMAP. Then, I onboarded this other customer and realized that’s not going to work if you have to go through the IT department and the IT department has to justify why they’re going to turn that capability on for a particular mailbox. Now I’m like, “I have to fix that at this point.” That’s why I’m looking at it now.
I’ve spent the last week or so looking at redesigning it, doing a bunch of different prototyping and testing and figuring out how it’s going to work. I’m pretty close to being able to move forward with it. I just haven’t written any production code to screw with it.
Rob: Good for you. That’s cool. That’s actually good news because that’s exactly the time that you should be doing it. It’s when it impacts revenue. You’d mentioned last time you can flip in the database to do it for one mailbox at a time, which also is a nice luxury to maybe not have to deal with all of the data migration that will take a week or more all at once. That’s cool.
Something else that we talked about a few times is that Enneagram test, it’s a personality test. The reason that we started talking about it was we’re talking about you know what motivates you deep down as a human being and also what are your blind spots? We all have these blind spots in our personalities that perhaps behaviors that aren’t helpful to us getting stuff done. I’m a fan of these personality tests because they just help (in most cases), give me insight about who I am, what my blind spots are, what motivates me, all that kind of stuff.
When we were last talking, you had taken the Enneagram but you said you hadn’t really dug into it to suss out actionable bits of things that you should think about on a day-to-day basis. It’s fun to read through the whole doc, but if you’re not going to then somehow implement that in your life then it is all just a waste of time. I’m curious if you had time to go through and highlight and maybe a couple of key takeaways you might be able to take action on or at least be aware of in your day-to-day.
Mike: Yeah, I did. I started going through, and I was going to highlight a bunch of stuff. Then, I said, “I’ll just underline it instead,” which is close enough. It’s one of those things where the different personality types that it has for me printed out it, comes out (I think) 16 or 18 pages; it’s about six pages for each one.
There is a lot of stuff underlined. Some of it is just notes for me, but there’s also stuff in here where I like the fact that they put together things and they say, “These are ways that you can make things work better.” Some of them are things I’m already doing. For example, one of them was like, “Oh, if you’re this particular personality type then it can very much help you to either get in a room with other people and just talk about these types of issues or do journaling and write that stuff down.”
It was interesting that I discovered the journaling aspect on my own because I’ve been doing that for a couple of years. I do find it extremely helpful because I can sit there and basically do a brain dump at the end of the day. I’ve found that by doing that, it helps me clear my thoughts and helps me sleep at night. Then, there are a few other things that I went through. I still have to go back through it again just because there’s so much here. I definitely think there’s a lot more in here that I could probably pull out. A few, I wouldn’t call them productivity hacks but life hacks, so to speak, is like, “Oh, do this, and this other piece of your life will be made easier.” If that makes sense.
Rob: It does.
Mike: Some of it is just managing negative emotions. Some of it is being able to express feelings about certain things or be more assertive about what you want or what you need. Generally, I’m a low-key person, low-maintenance, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t have needs that somehow need to be met. I just don’t really talk about it. I’m much better at advocating for other people than I am for myself.
Rob: Yeah. That’s something good to know about yourself, right?
Mike: Yeah. I intuitively know that but seeing it written down on papers is like, “Hey, this is a part of your personality profile. Here are some ways to deal with that.” Some of it is you read through some of this text that’s in here and some of it is just coaching. It says, “Hey, you may believe this, but has anything ever really gone that badly? The answer is probably not.” It’s just a good reminder.
Rob: Indeed. How about your sleep? How’s it been in general?
Mike: Generally, pretty good. The past week or so has been pretty stressful. It’s funny because in the Enneagram there are specific sections in there that call out and say, “When you are under stress, if this is your personality profile then you switch over to this other thing. These are the types of behaviors you exhibit.” For the most part, they’re pretty dead-on. It’s nice to go through and read those and see that those things can impact my stress levels, which then turn around and impact my sleep. Last week or so has been pretty stressful, but I think there’s definitely some strategy and takeaways in there that I can leverage to help clear that up.
Rob: And that’s something that was game-changing for me (it’s gone up and down but let’s say) about 8 or 10 years ago. I realized that I would just wake up in the morning or I would just be walking around and I would feel this enormous amount of stress. I would just feel it, live it, and let it consume me.
Over time, I learned through stuff like this, this self-awareness and these tests, why do I feel that way? I think there’s a biological component. When I look at my family history on both sides there’s all these anxiety disorders and all this stuff we don’t need to go into here. I’m naturally prone to just have constant mid-level, I won’t say high-grade anxiety because I don’t have panic attacks, but I do have low- to mid-level stress all the time.
What I learned to do was I would say, “Why am I feeling that way? Literally, why am I feeling that way?” I would say, “Well, it’s because someone said this,” or, “It’s because I’m worried about this revenue thing,” whatever. But then, I could actually look at it and say, “Well, how likely is that to happen and how bad would it be if that happened?”
Then, I can just try to left-brain myself out of it. It works for me to really look at it and say, “Look, there’s no new information. You can’t fix this. It actually isn’t going to be that big of a deal if it happens. If it is, there’s contingency A, B, and C that I could use to get around it. So put it to bed for now and if it comes back up then deal with it.” You know what, 90% of the time none of them come back up. It’s just wasted. It’s just wasted worry. It doesn’t help anybody to worry about it.
I’m not saying you or anyone else should do that, but it works for me. The only way that I came across these types of coping mechanisms is, (1) is being married to Sherry, (2) listening to the Zen Founder podcast, and (3) learning this about myself to know, “Wow. This isn’t normal and other people don’t feel this way all the time.”
All right. As we’re wrapping up, I’m curious what, between now and our next chat, what are you most looking forward to?
Mike: I’m going to be diving back into the technical side of things to rewrite that email synchronization mechanism and get it working so that the exchange server can just be connected without having to worry about IMAP or enabling certain things. It should just work at that point. I’m hoping that by the time the next time we get on a call, that stuff will be taken care of and at least started onboarding this customer that I quoted the $1200 to.
Those are the things that I’m looking at the most, and then trying to go through and see if I can have some more conversations with other marketing agencies that do lead gen or do market analysis and outreach; because they’re doing it at scale with small numbers of people, and it’s not as if they’ve got 80 people that need to be trained to use Bluetick. It’s a handful of people that are using it on behalf of a much larger group of people. I do think that that could potentially be an area of growth, but I don’t know yet. I want to explore that quite a bit more.
Rob: Sounds good. As always, thanks for coming on the show again, having a conversation. I always enjoy chatting with you and the listeners benefit from it as well.
Mike: Awesome. Thanks for having me back and I will definitely keep you guys posted.
Rob: Awesome. Talk to you soon.
Mike: All right. Bye.
Outro: I always enjoy my conversations with Mike and it’s good to hear him you know feeling well and feeling motivated. If you’ve been a listener for any length of time, you know that he’s definitely had some entrepreneurial ups and downs. To get to two positive updates in a row, I’m thankful for that.
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