MarketMate interview with J. Ryan Williams
J. Ryan Williams has over 20 years of experience in application development and has been producing audio and video for nearly 30 years. He founded Websuasion in 2007. He is a system engineer and application developer, working with clients to develop custom application architecture.
He’s the one you’re likely to see out at networking events and the first point of contact. He roasts is own coffee and collects vinyl records. He also plays in various bands and releases vinyl on his Headphone Treats record label.
Stone Payton: Welcome to another exciting and informative edition of Market Mate Atlanta. Stone Payton and Corey Rieck here with you. Corey, we're starting to hit our stride, man. This is our second episode. I think, as my oldest daughter would say, this is going to be a thing.
Corey Rieck: I think you're right. We've got another great guest today to talk about, you know, working together and referring business. And we're fortunate to have Ryan Williams with us, who is the president and founder of the Websuasion Group and also Capocus! Ryan, welcome.
Ryan Williams: Thanks for having me.
Corey Rieck: So, I've been looking for somebody to do a video type production and, you know, live video, podcast, webcasts. And I had the pleasure of visiting your studio recently. And, man, that is really impressive.
Ryan Williams: Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, we worked hard on it.
Corey Rieck: So, you have over 25 years experience in what you do. Walk us through that arc and how you got to where you're at now.
Ryan Williams: So, I had a strange winding road towards -
Corey Rieck: None of us have had that experience.
Ryan Williams: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I find it's not as strange, you know, in retrospect, when I talk to more and more people. Everybody kind of comes through different perspectives. But, yeah, I started as a recording engineer. So, I went to Georgia State University for commercial music and recording as a record producer.
Stone Payton: So, you're not impressed with anything I'm doing back here?
Ryan Williams: Oh, very impressed.
Stone Payton: Usually, I'm putting on a show, people are looking at me like wow.
Corey Rieck: You should look at Stone when you're talking.
Ryan Williams: No. No. Any level of gear is great with me. I'm always happy to nerd out on that stuff. But, yeah, so I mean, I started out in the old, it was like '90s analog days, tape machines, and all that kind of stuff. Sort of towards the end of it and I came up through the apprentice program, that was a real and important part of that industry. And at the time, the industry was kind of starting to already show signs that it was in decline. And I realized pretty quickly that either I'm going to be spending seven days a week, 16 hours a day producing bands that I really, probably, didn't like and have very little family life, or I needed to find something else. And it just so happened at the time, this thing called the web had started and no one was taking it seriously. This was '94 or '95. No businesses thought that it had any possibility to make any money or anything. So, we were kind of a la carte. We could do anything we wanted.
Corey Rieck: Really ahead of your time on that, too.
Ryan Williams: Just lucky, though. I mean, it was just like, "Oh, there's this cool thing that we can mess around with." And it's just, you know, level platform that anybody can go into as long as you just want to dabble around it and figure out how it works, because it was very, very technical at the time and still is. But, especially back then, you had to figure a lot of stuff out to get even online.
So, I had some friends at this company called MindSpring, which is a local internet service provider at the time. They were programmers back there and they sort of took me under their wing and said, "You know, you have an aptitude for programming and you should do some projects with us on the side." And that's kind of how I got into that. So, I've run this dual path my entire career of music on one side and running a label, and producing, and doing radio shows, and getting more and more into commercial side of production, and then also doing development at the same time for large scale applications, mobile apps and Cloud development, and stuff like that.
Corey Rieck: Well, you seem to be in the right place. Twenty-five years of experience, tell us how that business has evolved and what you've experienced with that.
Ryan Williams: Oh, it's been crazy. I mean, we saw e-commerce come along, like Amazon and all of that come out of almost nowhere. There really weren't mechanisms in the early days to even take payments online. So, just the whole commerce aspect of the web developed right in front of our eyes. And everybody would have ideas. Like I said, I came from the music and production side, so we were always thinking how can we reframe this to where we're not dealing with the major labels and stuff like that. How can we go direct to the fans? And so, we would build websites that way and try to hook into these payment vehicles and just watching that happen, Napster, all of that kind of stuff that happened with music sharing, peer to peer, that was -
Corey Rieck: Napster.
Ryan Williams: Yeah. It was completely game changing in a detrimental way, unfortunately, in a lot of ways.
Corey Rieck: Is the fact that you have the experience with the audio and the recording, that seems to me like it would be an advantage doing what you do.
Ryan Williams: I think it's an advantage from the marketing side of what we do, definitely.
Corey Rieck: How so?
Ryan Williams: Well, we do a podcast that you were just a guest on -
Corey Rieck: I was.
Ryan Williams: ... coming out here in the next few weeks. We're about ten episodes into that. So, it's still early days, but that is a great vehicle for us to promote other businesses while promoting ourselves at the same time.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. Absolutely. I think that your podcasts are incredibly impressive.
Ryan Williams: Thank you.
Corey Rieck: The video quality is excellent, the sound quality. You have a studio down there. I mean, I really came away from our meeting recently very, very impressed.
Ryan Williams: Thank you.
Corey Rieck: You've certainly put in a lot of time and effort. And you have how many employees now, Ryan?
Ryan Williams: There's six of us and we have a few others that we can bring in when we have overflow.
Corey Rieck: So, you have capacity?
Ryan Williams: We do. Yeah. Absolutely.
Corey Rieck: What's the most interesting thing about what you do?
Ryan Williams: It depends on who you're talking to, probably, whether it's interesting or not. But I mean, for me, what I do, my strength, really, is taking that abstract creative musician mindset and kind of working with the logical side of my brain as well as a programmer and putting those two together. And it allows me to see problems from a different angle than a lot of times, like a general business person would. So, I'll come into a company that is struggling to scale. You know, it's too costly for them to hire on more employees and do the work that they're doing the way they're doing it, so they tend to not take new clients on. I can go in and look and see what they're doing and with a knowledge of what I know is possible technically, I can show them some new pathways.
Corey Rieck: So said differently. You've put out a word that, I think, is really crucial for business owners, and that's scaling. And some are hesitant to do it. Some don't know exactly how. But I'm gathering from knowing you the last six months that you leverage technology and social media to do so. Is that a fair assessment?
Ryan Williams: Yeah. Technology, definitely. Social media from a lead generation standpoint, absolutely, is a component of that. But from the technical side, usually, we're dealing with having departmental communication improvements, like bringing in those kind of improvements to a company. So, a lot of times you'll simply find people are doing data entry over and over and over again for the same client, for instance. And these systems they have in place and these different departments, they're not talking to each other. So, we come in and we create a system that automates that entire process. And, usually, it's not, like, automating away people's jobs. We're usually trying to make them more efficient.
On a small business level, we're making the people that are already there more efficient because they're at a point where they're not going to hire more people anyway. It's too costly. You know, bringing on another staff person, paying benefits, having the office space to handle that, computers, all that kind of stuff. If we can eliminate the need for that and make the people they have more productive at sales and marketing or whatever they do, then they win. And it's a small investment upfront, really, when you look at the numbers.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. One word that it comes to mind with discussing what you just shared with us is enhancement.
Ryan Williams: Yeah. Yeah. Enhancement and niche too. I think those are the two things that we tend to focus on a lot. I mean, if you listen to the podcast, you'll find me talking about niche a lot. And that's because a lot of times these companies start up, they do everything with a broad brush. So, they're trying to solve a lot of problems for people, but they fall into a niche. I mean, I'm sure that happened with you, too. I mean, when you first started doing insurance, I'm sure you're probably doing whole life and term and all that. And then, you found this, like, long term care. "Hey, I can really, really go to town with this."
Corey Rieck: I think it found me, but yes.
Ryan Williams: Yeah. Well, I think that's how it happens.
Corey Rieck: That’s what happens, right?
Ryan Williams: Yeah. I mean, like, we tend to do a lot of medical clients. We tend to do a lot of financial tech and a lot of service industries. I never, starting out, would have focused on those industries. We just fell into them, found success with -
Corey Rieck: How did you fall into them, though?
Ryan Williams: Well, usually, it's a client knows somebody who's got a business and they go, "Hey, we know these fellows over here who can, like, program really well. You should try them out." Then, we get involved very heavily with the business. And sometimes it's just through our partnerships. Like, my actual business partner actually runs several other companies. He tends to be in the real estate sphere. He owns an HVAC company, a pressure washing company, a real estate investment company. So, obviously, we kind of fell into those sort of patterns of working with similar companies like that. But going into it, my perspective, I never would have thought I was doing that. I thought when we started out we'd be doing more marketing kind of stuff. And then, I found over time, I don't like doing that as much. You know, I'm better at building complex systems and I get into that.
Corey Rieck: You know, you mentioned earlier that you have acumen with sort of the creative part and you're able to sort of put that into an analytical programming sort of model. But I have to tell you, from knowing you and interacting with you and watching you, you're very good with people, very good at business development, very good with the networking.
Ryan Williams: Thank you.
Corey Rieck: And I know that somehow that must be - does that present challenges for you and conflict in terms of what should I be doing? What do I like doing? What am I best at?
Ryan Williams: Yeah. Absolutely. All the time.
Corey Rieck: How do you deal with it?
Ryan Williams: I'm still figuring that out.
Corey Rieck: Aren't we all?
Ryan Williams: Yeah. I mean, for the first 13 years of Websuasion - I was a solo entrepreneur for a while and then, in 2007, we started Websuasion. So, at the time that I've run that, we were all just referrals from other clients, other technical clients, usually. So, somebody came in to me, they were having a technical conversation immediately. And I didn't have to know how to sell to the general public. We barely had a website. Even though we were web developers, we, ourselves, barely had a website because we didn't need it. We were referred a lot. But as my team grew, I had to keep that sales funnel full. And about a-year-and-a-half ago, I realized I've just got to get out there and I've got to change. I've got to actually act like the president of the company that I've been president of for 13 years and stop billing my time out so much. Bring in more programmers and go out and do business development. And that was a difficult thing to learn.
Corey Rieck: How so?
Ryan Williams: People don't understand what I do. People don't understand the complexity of what we do and the scale of what we can do. Even though they've known me for years, they still don't quite get it until they actually see it in action. And that can vary so widely from company to company, the solutions. It's very hard to explain. So, I usually try to make metaphors when I'm talking about it. Like, you know, think of it like the trucking industry. And I'll find some allusion to where I can explain complex topics and and go down that road. But, yeah, that's the trick how to explain what we do to general business people.
Corey Rieck: Well, to me, I mean, you had me at scaling, enhancement, leverage. And, I think, any business owner that wants to grow would be very interested in hearing about those three topics. Would you agree?
Ryan Williams: Yeah. And even understanding what that means. I think, scalability is a term that people throw out in marketing meetings and stuff like that, but they don't really get in depth into what that actually entails. And a lot of times, from our perspective, it's a technical thing. It's data. It's how your data flows throughout your company and how you visualize that data. So, I'll tell you the biggest thing that most companies do wrong is that, they don't take a look at what they've already done from a data perspective. They don't have a way of analyzing the work that they've already done for clients over the years. And seeing this is actually what's most profitable. They think they know what's most profitable for them. They think they know what they do best. But when you actually have data, you can show what they do best. And that, a lot of times, is eye opening and opens up other possibilities for revenue, streams, and cost savings. I mean, I fall into it, too. I mean, I've done a lot of things that I see my competition doing this product or this service, and I feel like I need to do it, even though I hate doing it. And I've had like -
Corey Rieck: That never happens to any of us.
Ryan Williams: Right. And you just have to realize at some point I'm not in competition with them. I've got my own niche.
Stone Payton: So, when you mentioned lead gen, that's what perked my ears up. Most of our clients here in the Business RadioX system are in professional services. And a lot of them are really great at practicing their craft. And really struggle with the marketing side of things. And so, they are, I mean, so thirsty for rigor, discipline, strategy. They make their prospecting and their marketing more predictable. But you've had some success, not only using your media platforms to do that for yourself, but you're also helping other clients do this. Talk more about that.
Ryan Williams: So, we're getting more and more specific about what we do in the same way that I was saying on the programming side. You know, from the production side, we started out like, "Hey, we'll do your marketing videos. We'll come out and do location shoots. We'll do this one off little YouTube videos for you." And we found that, you know, there's a lot of other people doing that. That's not necessarily the most productive thing for us. We have a facility at Pinewood Atlanta Studios - that's where Corey recorded the podcast - that we can do multicamera and, like, green screen backdrops and all this kind of stuff. So, we just really need to focus on that and give clients, like you said, that really, really struggle with a framework. Give them that framework. Find those writers for them. Put the whole thing in place so that they can just go in and share their expertise. But they don't have to worry about putting all the elements together, distributing the content themselves. We do the whole thing for them.
So, really, our focus - we have a few clients, one of them is this guy named Phil Town, Rule One Investing. He is kind of a Warren Buffett strategist from that perspective. And he's got a large following, a YouTube channel of 250,000 people. Some of his videos have millions of views. He does one a week. But he'll come in and he'll record for, like, six hours and he'll just, like, run through, you know, weeks and weeks of material. Just reading from a teleprompter that's already been pre- written for him. He comes in, he does this for hours, then he's off. He's off doing his business. And it gets handed off to my staff or the marketing company that we're working in conjunction with. And he never touches it again. And that's the kind of system that, a lot of times, businesses have to have in place to be successful with this. Because if you're not continuous with it, you can't look at what it's doing for me next week, or this week, or in a month from now. You have to look two years down the road, this video that I did today is going to have a big effect on my business that I can't foresee right now.
Stone Payton: So, have you had any success kind of eating your own chili? Are you doing this for yourself or is that a struggle for you like it is for some people?
Ryan Williams: That's always a struggle. You know, like the cobbler’s shoes, he has the worst shoes. That's my big thing this year. Corey, probably, has mentioned before Vistage. I've joined Vistage, which is a CEO roundtable. And part of the reason for that is just so that I can really focus on how to best use my time for my business and not, like I said, be worrying about billing my time out to my clients. Let my staff do that kind of stuff. So, I'm trying harder and harder to focus on our own content. But, you know, as soon as that starts being successful, then I've got to deal with the new clients tomorrow morning. So, I mean, this is back and forth tide of doing very well at it and then doing very poorly at it.
Corey Rieck: You mentioned one thing, Ryan, about your client, Mr. Town, that comes in. He does the filming. He does the video and the podcasting. And he has content that he's produced and written. And then, he hands it off to you. And I think that that is a really important concept not to be lost on the listenership here, because I, personally, can be involved in only so much. And I just need to know that it got done.
Ryan Williams: Exactly.
Corey Rieck: I don't want to know how to build a watch. I want to know what time it is.
Ryan Williams: You're not in the business of releasing content. You're in the business of selling policies.
Corey Rieck: And I think that that's a really important thing for every business owner to consider aligning themselves with, what I call, SME, subject matter experts. People that that's their strike zone. Just like, you know, Stone's expertise is radio. And, you know, he's done incredibly well with that. Your expertise is, you know, web development apps and so on. And I want to get into the apps here in a second. And mine is helping people understand and implement long term care. And I think it's very important to align yourself with people that can help your business. And I think I've been searching a long time for somebody that can intelligently do video and audio, and I'm thankful that I found it.
Ryan Williams: Oh, awesome.
Corey Rieck: So, you also help people with apps, right?
Ryan Williams: Yeah. We actually developed, what's called, full stack applications, which means -
Corey Rieck: I don't know what that means.
Ryan Williams: So, it means from the database all the way up to the user interface. So, we're developing how the data is stored, how we query it so that it's efficient and fast and scalable. Again, that word comes up, scalable.
Corey Rieck: There's that word again.
Ryan Williams: Because so much of what's on the web, if it's not done by the right people, it's not scalable. You get to a point where your website breaks when you get to 100 clients because it just runs too slow, for instance, or your web portal. So, we are very good from the 22 years of experience starting that in those early days of the web. I'm very good at designing systems that scale. And then, we handle that all the way through the process. So, we build what the user sees, the interface, whether it's a mobile app or the actual website itself that you're touching and clicking on, what you're interfacing with. But what's going on behind the scenes is up in the Cloud. And most of that logic is not ever seen by the client. And, you know, we do that very effectively and that's a rare thing.
Corey Rieck: You know, you hear the term app frequently. How do you decide if building an app is applicable or if it will be fruitful for a business?
Ryan Williams: So, there are two categories of apps. There is the mobile app and then there is the web app. And then, on the back end of both of those, there is this centralized business logic that lives up in the Cloud. So, if you're doing any kind of mobile app or you log in, you've got some server in the background that's running that has a lot of stuff going on that nobody sees. So, that's one of the first things that people aren't aware of. They think when you're building a mobile app, you're just building the thing that's on the phone. That's 20 percent of the app. The other 80 percent is actually happening on a system up in the Cloud that's doing all this processing and all this work and all this data storage.
So, they are expensive. Mobile apps, especially, are expensive prospects. I mean, to build a mobile app for under $25,000 is really very difficult, especially, efficiently. But Cloud apps are much more dynamic. They're much easier to deal with. You don't have to deal with Apple. You don't have to deal with Google. So, you can implement something as a small business on the web. And then, as you're seeing success from that app, then you can launch into mobile. So, that's usually how we try to coerce our clients to, like, let's start with something that's very dynamic. We can change very easily that's less expensive. So, for half the price, you can do a web app. So, those are kind of the two categories.
And that's distinctive from a marketing web site. A marketing website is not the same thing as what we're talking about with apps. So, apps is something that you're logging into. You're doing some work that specific to the business's niche and the client's needs. And you're doing that in a way that is helping your staff to be more efficient and helping the client to be happier with the result.
Corey Rieck: What I'm hearing you say is, it speaks to the issue of enhancing workflow and efficiency. And correct me if in my advanced age I'm wrong about this, and, also, maybe removing a portion of the human component so the accuracy might be higher.
Ryan Williams: Yeah. So, there are things that computers are always going to be better at than humans. And there are things that humans are always going to be better at than computers. And we try to make that demarcation. What is your company really good at? What is the staff good at that is really the heart of the company? You know, that's customer service, that's sales, things that you cannot automate. You can talk about lead generation and stuff like that all day long, but, ultimately, you're still just leading up to a sales conversation with a human. Unless, it's just a widget that's easy to sell, it's going to fly off the shelves. That's rare. Usually, we're selling very complex services or very complex products that need some human interaction, especially on a larger business scale that are higher priced products. And so, for that, that's what the human element really does well. Humans are bad at data entry. They're bad at -
Corey Rieck: This just in.
Ryan Williams: Yeah. They're really bad generally at spreadsheets. Like, 80 percent of our clients come to us with some mammoth spreadsheet that they've created that's hard to maintain. They're pulling data from multiple systems. Their formulas are wrong, so their data is wrong half the time. And they're like, "Can you help us?" I'm like, "Yeah. We can automate all that away." So, the thing that they were spending four hours, sometimes two days, working on just to give a spreadsheet to the CEO - just to give a report to the CEO from the spreadsheet, we can do in milliseconds. So, it'll blow people's minds once they see how effective that kind of thing can be.
Corey Rieck: That, to me, is very fascinating. So, it seems to me you're using technology, you're leveraging, efficient, you're removing a portion of the human component out of it because you have data, and things that, historically, humans aren't very good at, and you're taking that out of it. So, when you sit down with a business owner, you know, do you guys establish KPIs, key performance indicators? How do you establish the metrics of what you're measuring or what you're processing with your expertise?
Ryan Williams: The metrics are usually pretty easy. I mean, once you know what the value proposition is and what the value to the client is of a new sale, then I can usually work backwards from that. Without being too specific because we do have NDAs and stuff, I can give you kind of a general idea of one of the clients that had this experience. They were doing a spreadsheet. They were developing a report off the spreadsheet that they were selling to their clients for a human resources testing. And so, they were taking test data. Somebody was copy pasting it into a spreadsheet, configuring all of this stuff, running a report. It took about 20 minutes each and they're charging about $150 per report - $150 to 200 per report that they generate.
Well, a client comes into them. This big health care client says, "Okay. Great. We love this. We want you to do 1,000 a week for us." Well, they're like, "We can't. We'd have to hire 10, 20 people. We'd have to get a new facility, computers. There's no way we can do that with the spreadsheet process that we've been doing for 15 years that's worked very well for us when we were a smaller business." They could not scale. Literally, could not scale because of their system. So, we were able to take that spreadsheet, build all the algorithms and everything into the Cloud, and we can process a thousand in, like, three minutes.
Corey Rieck: That is really impressive.
Ryan Williams: And they're charging the same.
Corey Rieck: Because it still has the same value. There's now time and materials -
Ryan Williams: Oh, more value. More value now because we can make the reports even better and more dynamic. We're using better technology and so we can make them interactive and all kinds of stuff. The clients love it.
Corey Rieck: And there's no chance that the data is inaccurate because you've systematized that.
Ryan Williams: It's way more accurate. I mean, there's always chance of data inaccuracies but you deal with them as you can, but they're not coming from a human error.
Corey Rieck: So, this is an unbelievable business case for you.
Ryan Williams: Yeah. It's a great one. They paid for that application in two months.
Corey Rieck: I mean, you know, they were doing - how many applications did you say they're doing a week? A hundred?
Ryan Williams: Probably, two hundred or something like that. It was the best they could do. And they needed to move up to, like, 1,000 or 2,000. So, they would have not taken that contract.
Corey Rieck: And, now, they're able to do it in three minutes, a fraction of the time. So, they're more productive than they were in less time. Yeah, that doesn't work for me.
Ryan Williams: Yeah. And, now, they focus their time on business stuff. Like, they've gone almost exclusively from consulting and generating these reports to a significant part of their time is in business development now.
Corey Rieck: That is really impressive. And so, these folks were charging, you know, $100 or 150 a test. And, generally, what did it cost you to build the app?
Ryan Williams: Probably, 75 grand. So, you know, if they're doing 1,000 a week at that point or more, I mean, yeah, it was easily paid for.
Stone Payton: But you have the kind of shop where I could come to you and say, "I have process X. I wonder if we could automate this, streamline this." And the answer may be no, but it might be yes with your mindset and your background. If we shared with you a-half-a-dozen processes, you might say, "You know what? Take process 3 and 5 and I think we could really help you guys."
Ryan Williams: I have yet to walk into any business that we couldn't improve.
Corey Rieck: That doesn't surprise me.
Ryan Williams: I mean, I could walk into my business and look at it, and find ways to improve it through technology. So, what we tend to look for are businesses that are successful despite their ineptitude at the productivity side and the technology side. So, if they're already doing great, they already have ten plus employees and they're doing, you know, several million dollars of business a year, well, we can probably double that for them in a short period of time if they put the investment.
Stone Payton: And they can put their energy where it has the most value and has the highest return. I have a couple of examples from my little world. We're not producing, you know, album quality audio here. You know, we're just recording a conversation. But for years, I've been paying people to take the raw audio, like from this conversation we're going to have, and they do some stuff. You know, they've learned the stuff that you learned. And now, candidly, there are some services where I can just do a little bit of stuff upfront, put it in their thing, they'll do a lot of that. And I bet you I'm spending 10 percent on audio processing, 10 percent of what I spent a year ago. And, actually, the quality is a little bit better.
Ryan Williams: Sure. Absolutely. And you have more time.
Stone Payton: And the same thing with transcription.
Corey Rieck: So, where's the decision?
Stone Payton: Right. Exactly. It's a no brainer for me. And so, what that does allow me to do is, to your point, what I don't think a computer can do quite as well as me is the conversation I'm going to have this afternoon with my new studio partner in Rome. That requires some Stone time. But I've got it now because I have to fill that.
Ryan Williams: The subjective and the abstract, computers will never be good at. Well, not in our lifetime, probably. I mean, A.I. is getting kind of scary to the levels of how good it's getting. But your general business is not going to be - you know, the Facebooks and the Googles will be able to tap into that in the next few years more and more. But your general business person is not for another ten years, probably. But even then, you still have subjective. I mean, business in general is so complicated. I have yet to meet anybody that was intelligent who actually thought they figured it all out, you know? Because as soon as you have something that works, things change.
Corey Rieck: Well, I think it goes back to what I said earlier, as a business owner, a business owner considers their business as a pie. And a component of that is marketing. Part of that is social media. Part of that is business development. A component of that is accounting, and operations, and the cost of goods, and, you know, the ink toner and all those things, and personnel. And there's only so much time. And, I think, what I keep coming back to is leverage, automation, and using technology. And there are things that only Ryan Williams can do. There are things that only Stone can do. And, I think, there's a thing or two that only I can do. And, I think, you have to be smart enough, to your point, to get out of the way of things you're not good at or that you're not qualified to do. And, I think, it's so easy to get to a point where you say, "Well, I can do that." Okay. What's the highest best use of your time? What's your fastball?
Stone Payton: I know I've fallen into the trap, because it's going to take me a while to teach her or him how to do it. So, let me just knock it out Saturday morning. I mean, that's a death knell for us, right?
Corey Rieck: And, I think, leveraging your time - I think, if you have technology and you have the right partners, like you guys, like Stone - I consider you a tremendous partner. It pains me to give you a compliment on the air. And if anybody asks me about it, I'll deny I said it. No. Stone has been just a great, great partner in all sincerity. Everything that he has said about this has come true. It's been accurate. And I think that, Ryan, you're in the same boat. I think, if you've got your business planned out well enough, you can drive whatever numbers you want between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. And if you're not doing that, you've got to take a look at what you're doing every day and in it's peeling back the onion.
I mean, I can remember Austen Jackson, our Vistage chair, telling me five years ago, "Corey, write down all the things that you should be doing in your business and then write down all the things that are a waste of your time and that you shouldn't be in, then come back to me." And I was like, "Oh, okay." So, I did all this and I realized the fastball theme coming back to what you're good at, what you should be doing, and leveraging subject matter expertise. And, I think, one of the great things about this show is I'm going to be able to highlight people that have really helped me. And, you know, growing up, we had this phrase in the house and we would say, "Yeah. We can ride with that guy." And what it means is, people that are loyal, people that are looking at things on a two way street, I think, in any relationship.
I mean, Ryan asked me a while back, "Hey, we want to be on your podcast and video," you know, which I was on recently. And it was really cool. And so, I naturally was thinking, "Oh, you know, Ryan did me a solid. I got to come back to him and help him," which is why he's here. So, I think that developing those relationships where you can say to somebody, "Hey, I don't know what I'm doing here. I don't know how to do this. Here's what I'm trying to do." And being able to get from somebody like Ryan, "Okay. Here's what you might do to get from point A to point B." And it'll happen in a fraction of the time as opposed to if I tried to do it myself. So, I think, a lot of this, to your point, is being smart enough to know you don't got all the answers. And most people that I try to interact with would subscribe to that. They don't think they have all the answers.
Ryan Williams: And I think a lot of business people, people who tend to start businesses tend to be sort of the control freak.
Corey Rieck: That's not us.
Ryan Williams: Do it yourself mindset and, like, they started their entire business, and they learned how to do the accounting side, and they learned how to do the legal side, and they learned everything they need to know, you know, trial and error for what they do. And the idea of having somebody take that over was very difficult for me.
Corey Rieck: A hundred percent.
Ryan Williams: And I still, at times, struggle with it. I mean, you mentioned Austen. Austen was one of the people that said, "Look, you've got to stop doing the production of your podcast. You've got to hand it off." And I was really reticent to do that and did that recently and it has been great. Like, it's fantastic.
Corey Rieck: Well. when you think about the case study, Ryan, that you just brought up with the company that was doing the testing and they were doing a couple hundred tests a week and now they can do - what? - a thousand in three minutes, I mean, that's a pretty significant hammer. And I would be willing to bet that you could probably bring that to any business.
Ryan Williams: Sure. To some extent or another, yeah. I mean, you know, the more expensive the product, the easier it is to get those kind of results.
Corey Rieck: Why is that?
Ryan Williams: Well, I mean, if you have a very, very tight margin, let's say, you have a widget that you make, you know, five cents on. Well, we have to sell a heck of a lot more widgets through the technology to justify putting it into it. So, not all businesses are perfect for this. Another one is time. Like, one of the things that I learned really early on was to try to stop selling time and start selling value. And try to also start selling IP. Like, having IP that I can resell over and over again, because that scales. Again, we get back to the scale thing. Whereas, if you're selling time, you have only so many buckets to sell. And so many companies start out billing their time. And the problem with that, too, that we found over the course of 12 years, we got faster and faster with what we do, we got better and better with what we do.
So, we had somebody who would be competing with us, say, we're $200 an hour. They're $25 an hour. Well, it takes them ten times as long to do that. So, really, it ends up costing the client more in time and everything else.
Corey Rieck: And they probably don't do it as well as you.
Ryan Williams: They don't do it as well because they don't have the experience. I mean, they're doing their best. And they, eventually, might get to that point. But we are getting faster and faster, but we're not charging more for our time. So, actually, us getting better is a detriment to our wellbeing as a company. So, for us to actually bring in more people, treat it as an apprentice system so that we're always training, always teaching, always moving that down the road so that we have the the experience that anytime our programmers are having a problem, they come to us where they go, "How do we solve this?" "Okay. Well, this is how we typically fix this problem." But we can really leverage, you know, bringing new people in. We can leverage our experience. And we can charge for value.
Corey Rieck: How do you determine, Ryan, if somebody has intellectual property that's scalable and resalable? I mean, walk us through that.
Ryan Williams: So, the intellectual property aspect of it - I'm not an intellectual property lawyer, so I can't get too deep into that, you know, without kind of just going by my experience - usually, it's some knowledge that you've developed through working in your industry. So, let's say, for instance, you've done something for 20 years, you know how to sell this product, you want to teach other people how to sell this product. And you've got this unique experience, just like you were saying earlier. You know, your personal experience and your ability to sell has come up with some unique perspective. There might be a lot of other people selling this product, but they do it in different ways. You found this unique thing that you think works for people who identify with you. You want to sell that. Well, you own that material as soon as it's fixed in a fixed form. So, as soon as you write an article, write a book, record a podcast, you own the copyright to that material, you own that IP.
And so, it's just a matter of monetizing it. It's a matter of figuring out how to get people to enter that course and give them value in a way that you can charge for it. So, that's when we're starting to move more and more in Capocus! towards doing digital content courses. So, we're actually helping people who are subject matter experts to come in, kind of dump all of that out of their minds, all that information out of their minds. We'll get somebody to clean it up, write it, organize it, and then we'll break it into, like I say, a 12 week course. And then, we will help them do the marketing to generate the people coming into a webinar, for instance, to sell that course. And then, manage the course throughout the process to the end of it. And then, you just relaunch that course over and over again.
So, that's a way of, for instance, you could do one-on-one consulting with people and you're selling your time. Or you could do an event locally where you sell tickets to the event and there's a finite number of people that you can get to come to that. But when you go to a digital course, you know, anybody who speaks English, if you speak English, is potentially your client if they're in that industry. So, again, scale. It's finding a way to scale up that value proposition.
Corey Rieck: If an organization has materials and content, is that advantageous for you?
Ryan Williams: Absolutely.
Corey Rieck: How so?
Ryan Williams: Are you saying they have their own -
Corey Rieck: They've written articles. They have their own stuff.
Ryan Williams: Content is the hardest part of everything.
Corey Rieck: I thought the waiting was the hardest part.
Ryan Williams: Yeah. Who was that?
Corey Rieck: Tom Petty.
Ryan Williams: Tom Petty. That's right. That's what Tom said. But, no, content from a business perspective is really, really hard. Because we're distracted. We don't have time to sit down and write an article all the time. So, we try to find ways. Like, these kind of conversations are fantastic because we're just speaking live off the top of our head but it's being recorded.
Corey Rieck: That's a scary place to be.
Ryan Williams: It is. But, I mean, it's being recorded. Great ideas come out of that. I guarantee you, we could probably come up with five articles of information just based off -
Stone Payton: Get the transcript from this, put it in the hands of his people, can you imagine what they would do just with this 45 minute conversation?
Ryan Williams: Right. And it could be from three different perspectives. You know, several articles for Radio BusinessX, several articles for Corey, several articles for me, all based off of these little, like, threads of ideas. And then, you hand it off to the right writer who's appropriate for the tone of your business. And then, you just put it in a system that produces it and releases it.
Stone Payton: He can make a video out of it. You could use the soundtrack, right? And a nice looking visual. There's just no limit.
Ryan Williams: And I think part of the problem is, business owners get really intimidated by the volume and size of how much content they feel like they have to create. When they see other people doing it, they're like, "I don't have time to do all of that." But, really, you're using the same information over and over again in different ways. So, you might come up with an outline of this is the kind of talking points I want to talk about. And then, you'll have an interview with a writer who will script that into an article. Well, an article could be broken down into several tweets, several small videos. So, you're just repackaging the same concepts over and over again because the repetition is what people respond to anyway. Nobody's going to understand a complex topic about web development, for instance, seeing it one time. They're going to hear it over and over again in different ways. And some people are going to respond to the video. Some people are going respond to articles. Some people are going to respond to audio, like this. So, you have to do it all.
Corey Rieck: I think to your point earlier about content and whether or not a business owner would decide to do it, I think, part of my battle has always been what's the first step. I don't want to do it over again. How do I do it right? And sometimes that can prevent someone from taking the first step. And that's why I think, you know, creating these Market Mate relationships is so important. And so, if you had somebody you could rely on and you could say, "Hey, Stone. I want to do a show about this. And here's the outcome I want." And Stone would say, "Well, here's what you've got to do. Here are the steps. Here's what you have to do. And here's where you can come in and do that." And you would say the same thing if I was building a website or I needed an app or something like that.
Ryan Williams: Yeah. Like I said, content being the hardest part of it. Everything else comes out of the content. So, usually, what business people have trouble with is that blank page syndrome. How do I even get started?
Corey Rieck: And getting the right coaching. I think finding the right Market Mates, it's not as easy as one might think.
Stone Payton: Well, before we wrap it - we do need to wrap here in a minute. But before we wrap, I wanted to ask you guys about that. About sneaking out, identifying, and then - I don't know. I don't want to sound condescending - but vetting a potential Market Mate. Because you're talking about going, at least the way I envision, arm in arm with someone to your market place. So, any insight you guys have to offer on that?
Corey Rieck: I'll answer that. For me, it's like no trust. If I don't like the person, there's no chance I want to get to know them. And if I don't know them, there's no chance I'm going to trust them. Maybe that's part of who I am, you know, being a crusty 55 year old guy. But if I don't like somebody, I can't do it. And in my advanced age, I've learned to listen to some things that my gut tells me. Just, for me, there's no other way.
Ryan Williams: We tend to, both my business partner and I, say this often to each other, we like things that are difficult. If there is a program like, say, a referral networking system or something where it's very hard to show up every week at 7:00 in the morning for an-hour-and-a-half meeting regularly, and contribute, and manage it, and do all of that. Somebody who goes through those kind of gauntlets of our Vistage or whatever it is to where you have to come prepared, you have to show up, you have to be likeable, you have to be able to interact with people, that's a really good way to kind of, like, test and vet people. I mean, I've met hundreds of people in the last two years through those kind of programs that, you know, out of those hundreds, I got a solid 40 people out of that that, like, I can always go to them and know that they're going to - if they're going to do that for their own business, they're going to do that for their clients.
Corey Rieck: I think that's accurate. I think the other side of this, too, is that, you know, me having focused on long term care planning since 2001, clients come to me for a lot of things. You know, they'll come to me and say, "Hey, I need a CPA." Or, "Hey, I need somebody to help me with life insurance." And, you know, "Hey, can you help me with life insurance?" "It's not what I do." "Oh, come on. Can you just help me?" "No. It's not what I do. But I have somebody that does do that."
Stone Payton: Corey, you're good about making sure that you cultivate and nurture that garden of people who have specialized knowledge and expertise. And I've got to get better at that because I know a few people in a few areas, but I don't know nearly enough that I trust well enough to say, "Yeah. Corey, here. Do You want to talk to Susie?" That's a discipline, right?
Corey Rieck: Well, it's very, very helpful. It kind of goes back to the, "Hey, I want to ride with this person." I want to find people I can trust. That goes without saying my clients are going to say to me, "Hey, Corey. What's your experience with this person? In other words, have you done business with them?" So, that's another thing that my clients will ask me because I ask them the same thing. They say, "Hey, Corey. You need to talk to Stone Payton." "Well, what's your experience with him?" "Oh, he's helped me with the radio show. He's a great guy, blah, blah, blah." And then, I meet you and I figure out that it's all true. So, I think that you have to be very deliberate and very methodical. And, you know, we're talking about 19 years on my end of, you know, "Hey, can I put this person in front of a client of mine and be okay with it?" Because I can't put somebody in front of a client and then have the client say, "Hey, this guy, blah, blah, blah, didn't call me." Or, "Your guy, blah, blah, blah, didn't call me." I can't do that and neither can you, I don't think.
Stone Payton: No. Absolutely not. I'm realizing through doing this series, really, I need to do things today and tomorrow to keep my antenna up. Actually, with your permission, I'd love to come out and see your place and maybe some more. But I feel like I'm kind of getting closer to - because right now, when someone comes to me and wants to do video work, a lot of times they think that we do video work. And I don't know where to send them. I just know to tell them, "You know, that's not our lane." But what I have not done candidly nearly enough - Lee is a little better at it than I am, my business partner - is just consistently cultivating those relationships.
Corey Rieck: Well, I think you’ve got to be in front of them. Something happened yesterday. I was helping a client in a company and they asked me, "Hey, can you help me with life insurance?" And they asked me, like, three different ways. I was flattered. She said, "Well, can't you just -" "No. It's not what I do, but I have somebody that can help you. They have the same subject matter expertise with life insurance that we believe we have with long term care." And I made the introduction. I called my friend and let them know, "Hey, I got an introduction. Here's kind of the overview." And then, I send a virtual introductory email saying, "Hey, blah, blah, blah. This is the person I was going to refer you to for life insurance. And I believe he could be a very good resource. I think the two of you should meet and talk." And, you know, then I'm out. And then, the person will tell me, "Hey, here's what happened with that. Here's the outcome."
But, I think, gratitude is really an important factor. And I don't think we spend enough time about it. But, for me, that gave me a level of gratitude to help this man with this introduction that he never would have had without me. And it was a solid for the woman that I referred to, because that's not what I do.
Stone Payton: All right. I apologize, we really do need to wrap. But before we do, let's make sure, Ryan, if someone wants to have a more substantive conversation with you or someone on your team, what are the best coordinates? What's the best way to reach out for that?
Ryan Williams: Just go to our website, W-E-B-S-U-A-S-I-O-N.com, websuasion.com. We've got a podcast there you can subscribe to. We actually do a meet up for people who want to learn coding.
Stone Payton: I’m going to ask that question because I wanted to ask it the whole time we've been talking. What is the thinking behind that? Because you do that for free, right?
Ryan Williams: Yeah. We do it for free. We've taken a little break during the summer. But we did it all last year and we're going to start back up in August - well, end of this month again. But, yeah, it's free. No experience necessary. And the idea behind it is just to find talent for us. I mean, that's the sort of selfish element of it is like, you know -
Stone Payton: But you're genuinely serving that ecosystem at the same time. Which is, what makes all of this tick?
Ryan Williams: You know, that's how I learned, the apprentice system. I do think that's the best. I think that's one of the things that, from a societal standpoint, we're lacking more and more is that apprentice kind of system. So, for audio, I've done it. For video, I've done it. For programming, I've done it for years. And I've built my team based on that.
Stone Payton: Fantastic. I interrupted you. Your coordinates. Best way for people to reach out.
Ryan Williams: Websuasion.com, W-E-B-S-U-A-S-I-O-N.C-O-M.
Stone Payton: Well, it has been an absolute delight having you in the studio today. Thanks so much for coming and sharing your story, man.
Ryan Williams: Thank you for having me. We'll have to get you on our podcast really soon.
Stone Payton: Hey, I would look forward to that. I really would like to visit your place and learn more. Corey, you're batting a thousand, man. We're two for two here.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. No pressure on me there.
Stone Payton: All right. How do folks reach you out and talk to you about long term care planning? Or, as we just learned, anything because you have a guy.
Ryan Williams: You know everybody.
Stone Payton: Or a gal.
Corey Rieck: Yes. It's Corey Rieck. You can email me at corey, C-O-R-E-Y, @ - and this is all one word - thelongtermcareplanninggroup.com. Our website, which I'm told is very comprehensive and useful if you want more information on long term care is, www.thelongtermcareplanninggroup.com. Or you can call me at 678-814-5088. Thanks so much.
Stone Payton: All right. Until next time. This is Stone Payton, for Corey Rieck, our guest today, and everyone here at the Business RadioX family, saying we'll see you next time on Market Mate Atlanta.