Growth Hacking Interview Series #97: James McAllister
Blogger. Marketer. Entrepreneur. James McAllister teaches bloggers how to build their businesses by telling them what works instead of what they want to hear. Check out what he has to offer at HelpStartMySite.com
How did you start out as a marketer?
I suppose I started when I opened my first business as a kid, selling candy at school. I discovered the power of word of mouth marketing early!
In all seriousness, I was exposed to internet marketing 5 years ago at the age of 14.
Since then I’ve tried to consume as much as I possibly could on the topic, reading every article, book, and course I could get my hands on.
I do think being able to influence people to take a given action is one of the most powerful skills we can develop.
Looking back, what is your hardest struggle when it came to delivering results?
My hardest struggle was – and still is, time.
Sometimes you know when you’re doing everything right, everything you’re supposed to be doing, but you have to wait for the clock to catch up.
Some things just take time to get off the ground, and regardless of how much work we put in, we can’t speed up the clock.
How did you get your first client back then, and what kind of service did you do for them?
Some of my first sales actually came from web hosting affiliate programs to my peers who were also interested in making money online.
From there, I agreed to mentor them in exchange for a share of the revenue. I believe we are always marketing and branding ourselves with our words and our actions.
I let the world know what I was doing and this generated not only interest, but attention for myself.
From there it was easy to get other people onboard.
What do you find most rewarding about what you do?
When you run a business, you impact lives.
Sometimes it’s in small ways, sometimes it’s in big ways, but either way you are making a difference.
The realization that you’re having a very real impact on people is incredibly rewarding.
We have a lot of readers who are bent on becoming freelancers, aside from freelancing how else can someone earn online, and what is your advice?
Freelancing can be a great way to make a living, but I have tried to shy away from it in recent years because it isn’t exactly scalable.
Regardless of how hard you work, you’ll always be limited to the 24 hours we all have in each day.
I would recommend building some sort of business that can run and grow without constant additional work from yourself.
This can be anything from publishing books on Kindle to starting a freelancing agency (rather than being a freelancer yourself.)
If you were given the chance to build your career all over again, what would you do differently so that you will achieve your dreams faster?
I would have started reinvesting back into myself and back into my business earlier on.
I could have grown a lot quicker if I would have taken the money I was making and used it to either grow my education, or invested back into paid advertising.
How is your typical work day structured?
When I wake up, I write down all of my goals for that day and the order in which I want to complete them.
As long as those things get done, I’m satisfied. From there, I take things as they come and allocate time as I see fit.
Can you tell us about a time where you had to put in significant effort up front and then wait a long time for success?
I started out with blogging, and it was honestly years before I started seeing any real reward for my efforts.
If I were rational I would have quit after a year when I still wasn’t making any money, but I knew other people were succeeding with blogging, so I knew I had the potential to as well.
I’m very glad I’ve stuck with it, because blogging has changed my life more than I had ever imagined possible.
You've been tasked with redesigning the company's brand strategy from the ground up. Walk us through your process.
Because it is harder than ever to retain people’s attention, we don’t have a lot of time to shape the image of our brand in our potential customer’s minds.
Therefore, it’s very important that we are very particular in what we want them to remember about us – and we do have to be memorable.
I think it all starts with making it immediately clear what your brand stands for – what core values you represent and what you have to offer.
Nobody remembers average, so it’s better to be exceptional at one or two things than it is to be mediocre at everything.
Can you tell us about a past situation where you had to juggle multiple projects with competing deadlines?
All the time! I actually run 3 separate companies, which can make things difficult at times.
I handle this by outsourcing as much work as possible that doesn’t require my presence, and putting my attention where it’s actually needed.
I think too many people wait too long to hire help, but unfortunately it’s often impossible to scale otherwise.
What recently-developed marketing strategy, technique or tool interests you the most right now?
I was recently introduced the idea of achieving omnipresence in your field by Grant Cardone’s book, ‘The 10x Rule.’
The idea of this is being everywhere at once, and making your brand synonymous with what it is you represent.
McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Nike – these are all brands that have achieved omnipresence in their area, and almost everybody knows what they sell.
I have tried to apply this for my own brand in recent months – commenting on as many new articles as I can, being active in marketing forums, posting on my social media profiles 5x as much as I’ve done previously.
The results have been incredible. I have been featured on more websites in the last month than I was in the last 6 combined.
What do you do to stay up to date with new marketing techniques?
My marketing education has never really stopped.
I’m constantly buying training courses and books because I know if there’s even one tiny thing I can pull from them, my time and money spent was well worth it.
I also have a huge list of blogs I visit regularly that have exposed me to a lot of new ideas and also keep me up to date with changes in my industry, and with marketing at a macro level.
Can you tell us about a project you're most proud of from your past work history?
I’m proud of all of my products, but I’d have to say I’m most proud of my main website, Help Start My Site.
I shut down another site that was already very profitable to dedicate my time here, because I knew this market had much greater potential.
It was very difficult at first to get off the ground since the wealth market is one of the most competitive out there, but it’s growing drastically and I know one day it’s going to be one of the most popular blogging / marketing blogs out there.
This is a market I truly love working in so I have no problem outworking everybody else.
Which one book/blog post would you recommend every Marketer should read?
How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
One of the most important skills you can learn in life is how to handle people – and not just how to handle them, but how to get them to like you, trust you, and do what you want.
The concepts in this book didn’t just make me a better salesman and marketer, it made it easier to connect and work with people in my personal relationships as well.
I actually give copies of this book away to friends because I found it so transformative for me.
What advice would you share with other Marketers who want to become more productive?
Set way bigger goals than you originally intended, and then structure your work time as if you were trying to reach those goals.
In the end, whether or not you actually reach those goals is irrelevant, because it’s the results that matter.
The thing about setting small goals is that you’ll likely end up doing just enough work to reach them, and no more.
Better to set a goal of making $10 million and end up making $5 million than it is to set a goal of making $1 million and reach it, right?