- The biggest questions companies have during a crisis [4:41]
- Ways to increase productivity right now [7:51]
- How to build company culture in a remote-run business [11:32]
- The type of leader teams need during a crisis [15:01]
- Three things Cameron did to grow his business from $2 million to $106 million [19:09]
- A mistake that almost caused 1-800-GOT-JUNK to fail [21:54]
- How to be prepared for massive success [24:37]
- The best ways to outline and realize your business goals [29:19]
- What NOT to do right now [35:20]
- How coronavirus could change businesses for the better [37:50]
- Advice on making remote hires right now [40:40]
- How to break through your goals.
- Plus so much more.
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- Cameron’s YouTube
- The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs by Hal Elrod and Cameron Herold
- Double Double by Cameron Herold
- Free PR by Cameron Herold
- COO Alliance
Aaron Amuchastegui: Real Estate Rockstars, this is Aaron Amuchastegui. Hey, I’m so excited to interview a good friend of mine today, Cameron Herold. I’ve looked up to Cameron for several years. I first got to see him speak in Vancouver or was it Whistler? A couple of years ago, spoke to GoBundance group, at the time was talking about how to hire, how to lead, how to build businesses.
I went to a two or three-day retreat in Scottsdale and really got to dive in with 10 or 15 other companies and get some one-on-one time. Really changed the way I set up my businesses. If there’s ever a question I have about negotiating with an employee or working out salaries or how to create culture, Cameron is my go-to guy.
I thought this would be a great time for us to chat with how many changes are going on with the world right now. Cameron coaches leaders, he builds leaders, and what the world needs right now is a ton of leaders. Cameron, how’s it going, man? Where are you at today?
Cameron: Aaron, thanks very much for having me on. By the way, if people are watching right now or seeing any clips from this later as well, I’m sitting in my bed. I am in Scottsdale, Arizona under this quarantine right now. I’m also in recovery from my hip replacement. I got my hip replaced 10 days ago so that’s why I’m actually working from bed today. I do have proper outfit on and I’m engaged, so if you see the pillow behind me, that’s why.
Aaron: That’s a great zoom etiquette even just to start with. Cameron is sitting in bed, post knee replacement, but he’s dressed up. He’s ready for the interview. We’ve seen so many jokes lately of people entering their zoom call not showering, showing up for work so that’s–
Cameron: I was going to put on my Hugh Hefner’s smoking jacket and pretend that I was lying in bed but I didn’t have three girls with me, so.
Aaron: Yes, if you had the robe on. Cameron, so you’re stuck in Scottsdale, you’re 10 days in from recovery. It seems like lately, a bunch of people have been reaching out to you on social media and asking you what to do right now. You lead leaders. You run the COO Alliance. There’s so many different things that you help and people are asking you how to lead. What should we do for your business? What’s the biggest question people are asking this week?
Cameron: They’re starting to ask questions around sales and marketing, and how do we do sales and marketing when our prospects are nervous or scared? Is it wrong to be out doing sales and marketing? They’re starting to think towards that. The last two weeks there was an awful lot of questions related to damage control and risk mitigation and expenses.
These things on do I lay off or do I furlough, do I pay people, what do we do? Then there was also a lot of the fear stuff. I actually even coach a CEO with 100 employees over in Milan, Italy. They are in the geo hotspot for Coronavirus in Italy right now. I’ve been talking to him a lot over the last month, and just gotten the insights from them, too, that I’ve been sharing with clients.
Aaron: Wow, he coaches someone in the center of Milan. It kind of sounds like that’s the evolution people have. Beginning of last week, we got into that damage control panic mode of like, “What if we lose a bunch of subscribers? What if we lose a bunch of customers?” We looked at our costs and said, “What would we have to cut? What do we have to do if we have to sustain for six months?”
Cameron: This was a discussion I had with the CEO recently. She had 65 employees and she was talking about all of her cost-cutting, and I said, “What revenue ideas have you come up with?” She was, “Oh, we haven’t had time for that.” I’m like, “What marketing have you been doing in the last 10 days?” “We haven’t had time for that.”
I’m like, “So wait, you’re worried your business is going to shrink because of this, and you’re finding all the areas to cut? If that’s all you focus on, your business will shrink. You’ve never gone two weeks without doing sales and marketing and business developments in your history, why would you stop now?” People tend to get so panicked and restricted that they don’t even notice they’re taking their eye off that revenue ball.
The second discussion I had this week with a client, he’s got about 85 employees based near Detroit, we were talking and he said that the average business in his industry will shrink by 30% this year. He was putting in plans in place to be able to manage through that 30% contraction. I said, “Where are you on the body mass index against Americans? He goes, “I’m in the top 1% on health?”
I’m like, “How about in terms of wealth?” He goes, “I’m totally in the top 1% on wealth.” I said, “How about your business? How does it do against all the other businesses in your industry?” He goes, “Definitely top 5%, top 10%.” If you’re in the top 1% to 10% on everything, why are you preparing to the average on the way your business operates this year? Why don’t you plan to be–
Because to be minus 30 on average, that means some have to be minus 50, some have to be minus 70, some have to go bankrupt, some have to be minus 10, some probably have to be plus 30. Choose to be in that group that goes plus 30. He goes, “Holy shit.” He goes, “Let’s start talking about it.”
We then spent almost 90 minutes talking about how to do acquisitions during this time right now, how to actually drive sales and marketing with his team, how to grow his salespeople skills. It was mind-blowing. Now, he’s got his entire leadership team focused on growing this year, while everybody else’s slow.
Aaron: I think that is such a huge thing for any of our listeners out there right now. It was the same trap that I fell into. For the first few days last week, it was like that, and I think Wednesday I woke up and said, “Okay, I’ve done the damage control. Now I know I can survive, but how about thrive?
Let’s start reaching out to our people proactively.” We did a webinar on Friday and there was hundreds of people that stayed on for two hours. It was like, “Wow, that was the best webinar we’ve ever done at a time when people have questions they need answers. They need us more than ever.”
Cameron: I think if you’re out there proactively in any business, but for the most part, most business and services still need to go on. If you had a big market three weeks ago, you certainly still have one today. If you don’t keep going on the sales and marketing, you’re not going to know that you’re there, or retooling your business right now. It’s a great time to retool.
It’s a great time to work on all your SOPs and systemize everything in Process Street. It’s a great time to clean house, clean your warehouses, clean your offices, clean your desks, clean your filing systems, delete old files. Imagine if you just spent two weeks where you never have time to do all this deep cleaning. Imagine you spent one to two weeks deep cleaning. Send employees into the office, one or two a day to just clean their space out. How about training our people?
We often have the excuse, “Oh, I don’t have time to train my people.” Now you have time. Imagine if you train them on interviewing, train them on effective meetings, train them on email management, train them on time management, etcetera. If you could really work on skill development right now, you can come out of this strong too.
Aaron: Yes, investing so much on that skill development and then really taking advantage of the time. I don’t know what the number is for the amount of commuting time that people are saving right now. We’re not in the car. Even though people have to get used to working from home and communicating remotely and working from remotely, there’s an opportunity for things to become more productive, right?
Cameron: Oh, yeah. I think there’s going be a couple of huge quantum shifts that come out of this space. The first thing is I think all of the companies are always against telecommuting, always against working from home. They’re pretty quickly figuring out that it actually can work. It’s really going to open up for every company, for the most part, the ability to have remote teams, remote employees, fractional employees, off-shore employees.
That changes the global landscape of employment. It also changes the global landscape of commercial office leasing for office face. I think we’re going to see companies that have never ever, ever considered it strongly starting to have that as part of their culture or their DNA going forward.
Aaron: Yes, I’ve had businesses that everyone worked remotely, I’ve had businesses that we all worked in an office, and I’ve never had the hybrid. Coming out of this more recently was realizing there’s pros and cons to both. When all of us are face to face and we have that energy and we’re excited like working on things together it can grow somethings.
When we’re working remotely we can work more efficiently. There’s less distraction. We can focus on different projects. I think when we come back into this my team’s going to be a hybrid of a couple of days a week at the office. A couple of days a week at home. I think everybody is going to appreciate that as we get through there. One big thing, you are like the king of culture.
Every time I had gone to the workshops with you, it’s been about building culture, building that company where everybody wants to be on the bus. We toured a bunch of cool offices in Scottsdale and saw that set. What do you think happens with culture in this time? When people are working remotely, you can’t have the fun stuff on the office walls to build culture the same way. Do you have any ideas or tips for people to build culture?
Cameron: Yes. Interesting timing. I just got off a coaching call coaching a client in Detroit. He’s got about 100 employees. He runs a manufacturing shop. I was talking to him about culture while they’re basically in shutdown. He’s fully paying all of his employees for three months. Full salaries, paying them all. Decided to make good on it and he’s blown their minds.
Completely blown their minds. While they’re gone, he’s redoing the internal office face. He’s got it all being repainted and redecoed and all fashioned up so that they come back to a cool space. Great time to do that. Second thing is we talked about, what can you be sending them twice a week that will help make their lives better?
He’s already taking care of the financial side, but what about health? Could he send them meal plans once or twice a week? Could he buy them all cookbooks and send them out to all of his people? Could he send videos of cooking stuff? Could he send out activities to do with kids, activities to do with your spouse, activities to do with your friend while remote?
Could he start creating some fun content to share with his–? His employees wouldn’t expect that at all. Then we also talked about when they come back to work, what’s one activity we can put in place that’s new, that’s never been done before that the employees will have fun at and can engage in getting some fresh air and some activities? If you think about Detroit, what are some of the sports that Detroit might be known for?
Aaron: I don’t know. I’m from Westcoast and now Texas. I’m not the right answer for that.
Cameron: Detroit people are known for Hockey. Detroit Red Wing one of the original six hockey teams. They’ve got baseball and football like everybody else but their one of the true hardcore NHL cities, the Motor City. We talked about just go get two road hockey nets and 10 road hockey sticks.
Imagine if you create a little road hockey league within your company where one game was played every day of the week and the teams are made up of a mismatch of some manufacturing people, some finance people, some salespeople, and some marketing people become a team. You force them to start hanging out and get to know each other.
He’s going to do something like that and I think it’s looking for ways to connect with your employees and know that they matter. Making sure that they know that they matter is going to be more important than ever. Making sure that we’re aware that they have extended families that they’re worried about. They’ve got a mom or a dad who’s 79 years old that they might be worried about or they’ve got a cousin whose compromised and might be worried about, et cetera.
Aaron: There’s really so much to impact right there. Part of company culture and building is taking people from those different departments and having them work together towards something that they normally wouldn’t. Adding some fun back into the workplace, especially when they’re going to be coming back after a time of this concern and things like that.
One of the things that I’ve seen you perform on stage before maybe in a group is that triangle of needs, like people’s basic needs. At the top, I think is first they need safety. They need shelter. They need to know where they’re going to live. They need to know where they’re going to eat.
It’s now like he’s attacking that first. Leaders, we have the opportunity right now with people around us, whether it’s family, friends, employees to make sure that they feel safe. How we lead during this time, they create a totally different culture, right?
Cameron: The other thing our employees are looking for more than ever right now on culture is followers want to follow and it’s time for leaders to lead. They want leaders who are connected with reality. We can’t be so oblivious to the fact that we’re in crisis but they need to have positive and some momentum and some forward motion to go after.
It’s like being empathetic to where we are because we’re not going to talk about it all the time. We get it. There is a pandemic. We’re in it. We got it. Let’s put that aside for the week. We’ll talk about it– We know we’re there, but to talk about it all the time is pointless. Now let’s talk about growing our company. Taking care of our people.
Growing ourselves, growing our systems, where are we headed, cutting expenses. Acquisitions when your competition is drowning. Stick a hose in their mouth. That’s where we need to be focusing on as we go forward climb. It needs to be done by a leader who is calm, focused, energetic, and still connecting with reality but not obsessed with talking about it all the time.
Aaron: That’s super good advice for everybody out there right now.
Cameron: Just for a second, I think about my mom when she was dying. She was terminally ill with cancer for six years. She didn’t want to keep talking about the fact she was dying. We all knew she was dying and she felt like shit. To ask her how she’s feeling after chemo and radiation, she won’t talk about that. She won’t talk about what we were into and what we’re doing that was fun and where we’re going and what our plans were going to be and memories of our past life. She won’t talk about all the other shit.
Aaron: Yes, totally you’re right. It’s all over the news. It’s all over everything. It becomes all part of family conversations and everything that’s there. Originally, that triangle was like, “Hey people need shelter, safety, food, and then they get to start adding these different things.
With the pandemic like this at first, “All right, protect yourself, put your oxygen mask on first, make sure you can grow but then don’t take them off the price.” Let’s still talk about the fun exciting stuff. What are the shifts that we can do out of this and what’s the fun stuff? What’s the good news going on in the world? Whatever you focus on, grows.
Cameron: Where your focus goes, energy flows. That’s something that I actually learned even going through my hip replacement surgery, was I was told by the doctor I also had to get some dental stuff done. They said, “Don’t get that dental work done right now because your body will be trying to heal two spots and it won’t know what to do.” I’m like, “Wow interesting.” Your body intuitively knows heal the damaged spot. My focus is sending all this energy down to my hip. If I had two focal points in my body that needed work, the body gets all confused and goes into shock.
Aaron: Yes, it is totally like that.
Aaron: Fun side note, the 1-800-GOT-JUNK, one of the big things that you did, you took it from 2 million to 100 million as the COO there. They were actually at my house a few hours ago out here in Austin. They’ve been my go-to for the quick little thing, a great example of a franchise that grows, that has that around there. When it comes to businesses that you’ve built and grown, is there one or two big things you learned with the big companies that you think everybody should strive for?
Cameron: Oh, for sure. We took it to 106 million, just because I don’t want to shortcut myself that last six .There some things that I’ve learned. Do you want to go failure learned lessons or just overall?
Aaron: Let’s start with that. Yes, the failure lessons are the big ones.
Cameron: Let me tell you the three things just so I don’t forget them. The three big things that we did to make sure that we scaled the company. When I came in, we had 14 employees at the head office. We were doing about 2 million in sales. I focused the company around three core things. Number one was to drastically raise our prices by about 40%. We went from $338 for a full truck to $438 a full truck overnight.
I said, “Look, we’re not making any money. Our franchisees aren’t making any money, so let’s raise our prices. If people don’t use this, we’re no worse off because we’re not making any money anyway.” We can’t deliver a great service like we want to and have a great brand like we want to and don’t make money if we don’t charge enough.
We have to be the Starbucks of junk removal or the FedEx of junk removal. We have to raise prices. Brian, the CEO, pushed back a little bit but was smart enough to just trust me on this one, and we went for it. It was huge for us because it gave us all that extra margin to run with. Sure enough, all of our competitors started to raise their prices as well. We set a whole new bar for the industry that was actually profitable.
Second thing was, we wanted to turn our company into a cult. I really want the organization to understand that to really grow quickly, you had to be slightly more than a business, slightly less than a religion. You had to be in that zone of a cult. It was because we’d always need more great people, more great people, more great people. The culture is what was going to allow us to bring those people into the organization quickly.
Thirdly, it was PR. It was how much free press coverage could we get about our company because the more press coverage that we got, anytime our competitor was ever mentioned, we would be mentioned with them. Our customers and our suppliers and our potential employees would believe everything they read in the media much more than they would believe what we told them to be true.
Those were really the three core pillars that we built the organization off of. We ended up landing 5,200 stories about our company in the media over a six-year period. We went on to become the number two company in all of Canada to work for. Our pricing is probably another 10% or 15%, 20% higher than it was when I left after building it for six years.
We’re in that zone of a world-class brand. They’re about 450 million in revenue now. I’ve been gone for 13 years, so they’re still scaling. On the failure side, we almost lost the company at one point. At one point, we had been growing so quickly, opened up in Australia, opened up in the UK, opened 13 corporate locations, paid $600,000 in bonuses, spent $800,000 on a rent owed, about a million dollars in taxes that were owed.
We sucked a whole bunch of cash out of our bank accounts to pay cash for it all thinking so you do in your company. We didn’t understand how to run a big company, but we’d become one. We had 3,000 employees system-wide. We had 250 people at the head office. Our head of finance, Hendra, was very quiet, very amiable, very analytical. He would never push us.
If he did push us, it would be like this, “Cameron and Brian, I think you guys should be careful. I think we might be going to, are you sure we’re going to be okay?” We’re like, “Yes, we got this.” “Okay,” and he’d walk away. We never really, even if he got angry, it was like, “I think we should be careful. You should be more careful.”
When you get too dominant, expressive guys, we steamrolled over top of that until the point that Ryan had to borrow $420,000 from his mom one day to meet payroll two days later. We almost lost the company. We were getting daily pro forma cash flow statements updated every single day. We had to literally turn the corner on this behemoth. That was a big mistake that we made.
Another one that I learned was just keeping things on my plate for too long. There’s a lot of tasks that I was quite capable of doing, but I didn’t love to do, a lot of tasks that I was able to get done, but I wasn’t delegating to other people fast enough. Sometimes my best work, it’s something I sucked at was terrible versus somebody else’s okay effort, but they were really, really good at it.
Getting stuff off of my plate and into the hands of other people, momentum creates momentum. As an early-stage entrepreneur and where I’d been trained to college pro painters, a lot of it was around the radical individualism and really I can do it, I can crank it out, I can do it, I crank it out, but that doesn’t scale. That was another big lesson to learn early on.
Aaron: You talked about growing the company and not being ready to be a behemoth. Even though it happened to me on a much smaller scale back in 2011, 2012, I had no idea what was going to happen. At first, it was like, when you start a business, you want to grow it.
People don’t always have that vision to what they’re going to do later, or they don’t know their why. Then you get all this money and you’re not ready. What can people do to prepare to be that big company? Is it vision stuff? Is it have the right accountant? What could have happened differently to be more ready?
Cameron: I’d say two things. The first one is vision. Really, really, truly having a strong vision of where you’re going and what your company looks like in the future so you know what you’re building and what you’re working towards. Secondly, would be some pro formas and some budgets or plans that you’re working towards making that vision come true.
Third, would be probably working really, really closely at extending your network of mentors, of people you can plug into, of coaches, of mastermind groups to join, of peer groups that you can be in of other CEOs. The more that you can realize that you don’t have to know how to do everything, you just have to know the people who know how to do those things so that you can either ask them questions, get mentored or outsource to them or hire them.
I think that’s a huge lesson for people to think about in the early days. Know where you’re going, focus on the plans to get there, and build those masterminds and the coaching relationships and the network of individuals you can turn to. One of the biggest things I learned to GoBundance was I’ve got half a dozen to a dozen amazing guys that I really liked spending time with that know a lot about real estate. I knew nothing.
Aaron: Entrepreneurship can be such a lonely thing, especially at the beginning. When I was early on it, I hadn’t met other entrepreneurs. I didn’t know other guys, I didn’t know other guys that were successful. The only people I could talk to were other parents in line at my kids’ school.
It was really difficult to get those answers. When I first started getting exposed to masterminds and business coaches and being able to reach out to guys like you about, like, “Hey, this guy’s asking for a raise, and I don’t want to lose them, but I can’t afford. What do I do here?”
Cameron: It’s one of the reasons why I’ve always hated that whole adage that learning from failure is good. I’m like, “No, learning from failure is really expensive.” If someone else has already learned from failure, why don’t we learn from them before we fail? Why do I want to fail to learn stuff? That’s a terrible model.
Aaron: Learn from someone else’s failure. Right now, as we look at the time that we’re in, I try to look back into 2001-2002 and 2008-2009 for us to try to relook at failure from back then at what happens and maybe help people focus on what’s out there. Whatever industry people are in, I think you can look at what’s in the past.
If your business wasn’t around in ’01 when things change or in ’08, ’09 when things changed, find people that have and study them, and reach out to them. I’ve got a call out for this. I’m reaching out to a guy in the industry on our foreclosure listing company. I’m wondering what’s going to happen to our subscriptions during this time. I’m like, “I’m going to reach out to the guy that has more subscribers in his software than anybody else and he went through this in 2008-2009.” I’ve got to ask him what happened.
Cameron: So simple, right?
Cameron: It’s amazing how we tend to– It’s partially because we are conditioned in the school system that if we had to learn something, we had to learn it, we had to study it, we had to be good at it ourselves, we had to work really hard at it. That’s not actually what scales to company. You have to be a little bit lazier and a little bit more connecting to other people. It needs to get done, but not by us.
It’s funny you mentioned 2008-2009. Chapter 11 of my book, Double Double, and it was named Chapter 11 on purpose, is how to grow and it’s slow. It’s all of my best tips that I took out of the 2008-2009 crisis on how to grow your company during an economic downturn. People are flocking back to that chapter today because it’s been 11 years since we’ve really had one of those.
Aaron: Dude, I’m going to pull that back out. I’ve got your book. I’ve got the book, Double Double, pulling out Chapter 11 and reread that. I will end up rereading that because sometimes we even forget our own tips. I need to go back and look at old emails from back to be like, “What was the plan then? What do I need to do?”
Cameron: It’s funny, I was talking to one of my clients, and he goes, “What tips have you got on how to grow when it’s slow right now?” I started laughing and I went, “Wow, I totally forgot about it, but that’s the name of one of my chapters in my books; How to Grow When It’s Slow. Let me just grab the chapter.” I’d forgotten that I’d written a chapter on it. It’s in a book. It’s been published for 10 years.
Aaron: Yes. Even my wife and I have a book, The Five Hour School Week. It’s about parenting and the ups and downs of that. We have to remind ourselves to read it periodically because we wrote it when we were in the honeymoon phase of how to get through all the stuff. Sometimes on tough days, we’re like, “No, we wrote a whole thing about this. Let’s go back and review that,” even though it’s just been a few years.
Cameron: That’d be a great book to make sure you get some PR about it right now so that we can get people reading that book in terms of how to educate their kids.
Aaron: My wife’s page is blowing up right now. That is because of what’s going on everybody is resharing it. They’re like, “What do we do now?” It’s all about the work-life balance of, how do you work from home and teach your kids from home and– [crosstalk]?
Cameron: Send me a link to that when you’re done. I want to share that with my group too, please, if you could send me a link.
Aaron: Awesome. I’ll send you a link and send you whatever you need on it. You talked about vision. Vivid vision is a big Cameron Herald thing. I’ve done it with all my different businesses. In a nutshell, it’s really going deep and writing out kind of what your vision for your company is in three years, in five years.
Elon Musk is great at it when you get to read some of his visions from years ago and what he’s done with Tesla. You guys did it at 1-800-GOT-JUNK and I think that was the company where you guys had actually put it on the wall. One of the things on there was get on a Starbucks cup. [crosstalk] vivid vision and how that came to fruition?
Cameron: Sure. You’re actually bringing up two tools that are intertwined. The first one, the vivid vision is the four or five-page written document that describes your company three years from today. It’s almost as if you hopped into a time machine, you traveled out to December 31st three years from now and you walked around your company.
What’s it look like? What’s it act like? What’s the energy like? What’s the culture like? What’s the office environment look and feel like? How are people working remotely? What technology tools you’re using? What’s sales like? What’s marketing like? What’s operation? You describe every aspect of your company as if you’re standing in that future state looking at it.
You’re not quite sure how it happened but you know what it looks like. Then you get it all rewritten by a copywriter who makes it pop off the page and you get some design elements added to it so it really looks great like your brand. That’s what aligns all of your customers suppliers employees and potential employees that everyone’s locked and loaded on that three-year vision and driving towards that.
That’s the first tool. The second one is what we called our can you imagine wall. That was when we walked into the front office of 1-800-GOT-JUNK on the wall right in front of you as you walked in that door was this big blank wall. Brian wanted to rip people out of the past and pull them into the future. We thought what a better way than to find out what they can imagine our company looking like in the future.
We asked our employees what could they imagine. The one that I put up was, can you imagine a hundred franchise partners, which was insane. When we put it up, we only had 20. Then Brian wanted something big, something really big. I’m like, “How about our logo on the side of the space shuttle?” He’s like, “That’s insane. could get sponsor. Junk hauling out of space?” He’s like, “That’ll never happen.”
I’m like, “What do you got?” He goes, “How about could you imagine being on Oprah?” I’m like, “That’s ridiculous. We’ve got 23 employees.” Then he described what the episode on Oprah would sound like, to what it would look like, and how it would all lay out. I’m like, “Shit, that sounds really good. Let’s do it.” We put that on the wall. We ended up with about 40 different things that we could imagine happening.
Being on Starbucks cups, having our company as a Harvard business school case study. Went on and on and on as to the things we imagined. We put them up on the wall with the person who imagined them his name on the wall. As they came true, month after month things started coming true, we put a big completed red logo over top of them so that you can see that that one had been kind of checked off as done.
It was a really fun way to get the team, the employees to come up with some ideas. The Harvard Business School one is funny. We had a guy coming in for a tour of our company one day. We did tours at our office every Friday with about 30 to 35 business people every Friday for a few years. On one day, one of the tours this guy walked in he goes, “Can you imagine wall it says being a Harvard Business School case study?”
He goes, “Is that serious?” We went, “Yes.” He goes, “I know the guy at Harvard that makes that happen. Would you guys like an introduction?” Six months later, we were approved and for a period of about six or seven years, every Harvard MBA student studied 1-800-GOT-JUNK.
Aaron: I didn’t even really realize that the imagine wall was an employee-created thing, that it was a team-created thing that that you guys got everybody in on it. Like, “Hey, what could you imagine–?”
Cameron: Not everybody. Not everybody, but they had to submit their ideas and if they were good ones that weren’t completely hair-brained, we’d put them up there.
Aaron: A lot of them came true. You guys would now throw cool images for the check boxes. You had the Oprah thing. Did you get on the Starbucks cup?
Cameron: We did get on the Starbucks cup. We were cup number 70 worldwide. I think it was either 5 million or 7 million cups for free. It was a quote from Brian. What was on the wall said 1-800-GOT-JUNK being featured on Starbucks cups. They had a series at that time called The Way I See It and they had quotes from famous people on the cups. It’d be like Yo-Yo Ma cellist or Daniel Ramsay, chef. It would never name their brands or their restaurants.
They were going to have a quote from Brian as entrepreneur. It was all about you are what you can’t let go of. It’s time to declutter your life or something crazy that we made up. They said it’ll say “Brian Scudamore, entrepreneur”. We said, “No, no it has to say ‘Brian Scudamore, 1-800-GOT-JUNK’.” We sent them a photo of our can you imagine wall. We were the first brands to have its name on a Starbucks cup anywhere in the world.
Aaron: Yes. You guys were able to say, “Look, we’ve had this dream forever. It’s on our wall. You can’t leave the 1-800-GOT-JUNK out. Here it is.”
Cameron: Now there’s a fun side story to that. The girl who came up with the idea of having our name on Starbucks cups was Andrea Baxter. She spearheaded the whole thing, made it happen, had it on the wall. When all of a sudden there was a block on getting the name up, I had a personal connection to Howard Schultz because about 10 years later, even more than that, 1994, I was dating Howard Schultz’s kid’s nanny when I was living in Seattle.
I used to have to go into their home and wave. My mentor was being groomed as the CEO at Starbucks. He sent my mentor a note. He got Howard Schultz to sign off personally on the name being on Starbucks cups and that was the way it happened.
Aaron: It’s really magic. Company visions and goals and when you focus on it, it’s just we talked about it with the knee and everything else. What we focus on, grows. Again, that big reminder for right now this podcast is getting released right after we interview it. The reason I want to talk to Cameron is because so many people in the world now think it’s broken.
If nothing else today, we’re going to really challenge everybody to say focus on what’s going to work. Focus on the big visions. Don’t come back on your goals now. Don’t sell your goals short. Take this time to focus on what’s good. Three weeks ago, I did a detailed vivid vision for one of my new companies.
I did my three-year plan and what our podcasts would look like, and what all of our brands would look like, and what our real estate services would look like. We were just getting ready to make that image and then all of a sudden the world gets put on hold. I’m looking at that going, “Do I change my vision?” What do you think of that? What do you think to people that are like, “Do I change everything right now”?
Cameron: It depends. If you’re in the World Trade Center and the plane hits your building and you’re Cantor Fitzgerald or if the mortgage crisis hits, then the mortgage crisis hits and mortgage industry is shot for a year, or if you’re forced to shut down, yes your might have to change. I think where we are right now is so unprecedented that it’s less about our business model or vision necessarily needing to change as to more we’re in about a two month let’s figure some shit out stage.
I think it’s time to work on the business, on the people, on the systems, on the sales marketing so you can come out of the gate strong because we know that we will eventually be allowed back. Then it should be not business as usual but you should be, for the most part, selling your same products and services again. I wouldn’t necessarily force a pivot. I think what I would do is look for any of the things that we can do that have us working on the business instead of in the business.
Aaron: That’s great. Don’t pivot. Grow your brand. Whatever brand you have right now will be around a little bit with a few exceptions. Maybe some new businesses that are created, like some of the biggest businesses are created out of times–
Cameron: Don’t focus on that stuff. Don’t focus on the stuff that’s going to die. Hot stuff always dies. We’re going to die. Let’s focus on what happens when we get through this and how we’re going to come out of it stronger.
Aaron: Yes. We talked a little bit earlier about some of the positives that will come out of this. You look at so many fewer car accidents that have happened recently, pollution, and all sorts of stories around the world. We talked about it a little, can you think of any other positives that you think might come out of this other than people changing their business habits?
Cameron: One for sure is the way businesses can grow. There’s definitely been a tone towards empathy. I think there’s a lot more empathy going along. A lot more of saying hi to strangers than there used to be. I just noticed that even my girlfriend will take me out for a walk at night and throw me in a wheelchair and walk me around the block as my hip is recovering from this hip replacement.
Just talking to people and saying hi to people you wouldn’t normally be waving to, I think there’s a little bit more maybe humanity that’s coming back in. There’s certainly a lot more people understanding where certain the world are that they didn’t know before because they get myopic and focusing on their own world, their own country, they don’t notice stuff outside of it.
That’s going to be a change. I guess there’s going be a clean house where companies are getting good at ripping off the band aid and making decisions quickly and swiftly. That’s a good skill to have that they’ve all now benefited from making those tough decisions confronting the brutal facts. That’s probably a skill that will stay with people.
Aaron: Yes. When you say empathy, that part just gives me chills, because really, I have a grocery store and I’m thanking the people for still being there. I’m thanking the Amazon driver for still delivering. Any place that is kind of still open, half working, I’m seeing innovation.
There’s this sit-down Mexican food restaurant that I went driving by the other night and they have this makeshift drive-through set up. You’ve got this drive thru sign set up. You can order five of the menu items and people are just running it out to different cars. They’ve got cone set up in like a normal parking lot.
You’re seeing this innovation and then they’re like, “Thank you for coming,” and you’re like, “Thank you for being here.” Then the walks. I hope that the people in our neighborhood continue to go for walks in the evening because it wasn’t something that happened before. Everyone is doing it now.
Cameron: We’ve seen a family recently that we’ve never at one seen about walking, and they’ve been out every single night for walking too, so that’s a great thing. Yes, I think there’s going to be some stuff that’s going to come out of it. I think it’s going to be a long, painful, harsh hard road. I think it’s going to be possibly harder than many thought it was going to be, myself included. I think in many ways that there’s going to be some good stuff come out of it.
Aaron: Yes, I’m focusing on that good. For the people that are really putting their foot on the gas right now and they’re like, “Hey, this is a big opportunity and we see it and we’re primed for this,” that need to go hire new talent. Who knows? Right now there’s a whole bunch of government intervention that’s saying, “Hey, keep people employed, will pay for them.”
I also think there’s going to be a lot of shifting of that. I think people are going to take this is as a time to retool. Maybe there’s going to be some good employees that are let go and shifted. How do you think people should go about trying to hire right now? Is it the same as your recommendation for how people always hire? Do you think there’s going to be a big shift of roles and jobs right now?
Cameron: I guess I would certainly be more open to hiring remote. Hire the best talent for the best compensation plan, like the people that work best with your company in your culture, regardless of where they live. They’re always has to be. This is one of the reasons why I keep bringing up training your people.
It’s scary to me how many companies have managers and employees that do job interviews that have never been trained on how to do an interview. That makes no sense to me. You would never spend your kid off the Little League Baseball without knowing how to throw a ball and hold the bat and catch a ball. Why would you let your employees run a job interview without knowing how to do them?
I would be training all my employees on job interviews. I’d be training them all on running meetings. On the interviewing side, I think it’s more of a retooling opportunity than anything. Most companies won’t change the way they do stuff.
Aaron: Yes. I love the tip, though, about just now that we’re going to be reopened and kind of re-shown that people can work remotely. There would be times before that we wouldn’t look at somebody that’s getting hired from far away right now because it’s like, “No, we’re trying to build that culture. We’re trying to get close.” Now that everyone’s used to that, it’s finding the best talent for the right thing.
You’ve always been a thing of that, like teach people how to have meetings, teach people how to interview. The people that do the interviews have only been interviewed a couple of times in their life where they don’t know the systems with that. Which of your books is the best one for learning how to interview? I know Meeting Suck is the best one for learning how to a meeting. You have one that talks about interviews?
Cameron: For interviewing, I would say there’s a couple of chapters in Double Double that are really focused on it, to give away all the tools that I’ve used for years on how to interview, recruiting and hire. I would also read a book called Who by Jeff Smart that is really quite good as well. It took all the content from top grading and distilled it down and simplified it.
Aaron: Yes. In recruitment, do you think right now, people are going to still have the opportunity to use social media. I think some of the tools we talked about in the past was saying, “Hey, find me this person and I’ll pay your finder’s fee and I’ll help you with that.” I just want to find the best out there. Have you seen a lot of that right now?
Cameron: I think there’s going to be a lot more of the freelance recruiters happening for us now. I think you’re going to find that people are adapting and there’ll be a lot more freelancers in the gig economy. I’m starting to use them just for the COO Alliance to get some recruiters to go out and find me members of the COO Alliance and then paying them a bounty in space they’re recruiting role.
I think that role will become sharper for people to get more adapted. Then we’ll also probably see some of the percentage rates we have to pay drop because they’ll realize that they don’t need 25% if they’re working from home. They get two or three great clients a year, they could do it on 12. We’ll probably find that the recruiting costs using freelancers drops in half of what we’re currently paying.
Aaron: Yes. Some of those big things as people make the shift. I can’t thank you enough for forging us so much time that you’ve given us, especially hip recovery time and things like that. The COO Alliance is the big thing that you’ve been growing right now. I know you’ve got so many books. That’s why I’m asking you which book. I think you have a new one that just came out. The COO Alliance is your big focus. If people are looking for that group for their COO, is there like an entry place to find you, see about what you do videos, things like that?
Cameron: Yes, for sure. By the way, I think the best two books for your niche are going to be The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs, which is quite strong. I co-authored that with Hal Elrod. Then Free PR is another one on how to generate free publicity, which is great for anyone in the real estate industry as well. My COO Alliance, you need minimum revenue criteria of five million in revenue. We like to have about 30 employees or plus, and we’ve got members from five countries. Just go to the cooalliance.com and all the information is there.
Aaron: Yes, and just go find Cameron on social media, too. The first time we ever really started chatting was I had a question about an employee. I just said, “Hey, I’m struggling with this problem. I don’t wanna lose the employee. What can I do it?” He had a million different ideas of how to do compensation or bonuses or different things to make sure we retained them.
I listen to them. They listen to us. Social media you can find Cameron Herold. The timing of the House podcast was actually released today as you and I are recording this. We have an old interview with him on here and I thought this would be a great time for people to re-listen to the Miracle Morning.
Cameron’s book, The Miracle Morning For Entrepreneurs, that he wrote with Hal, Free PR. If we had more time, we probably dive way into that. Right now, it seems like Free PR, there’s a gazillion opportunities for that, especially in the world that we live in and can focus on the positive stuff that’s out there.
Cameron: Yeah, it could be really, really powerful for your group. By the way, a quick side note for you or for anybody, you can edit this out if you don’t want to. My girlfriend has just listed her home in Scottsdale. If anyone wants an investment property, it’s fully furnished, high end, including all stereo artwork, everything ready to go, turnkey package for somebody to have is the higher end rental, small three bedroom place in Scottsdale that’s perfect. She’s heading off to traveling around the world for three years. If anybody wants to pick up a place here, it’s a great one to grab.
Aaron: It’s super nice too. I saw the pictures of them on Facebook. As soon as Airbnb opens back up, I’m sure somebody is going to grab it for that.
Cameron: I think it’s better than the Airbnbs. I think it’s one of those ones that you’ll find people that will rent it for a full year, really good money because they want to have sustainable place for the year. There’s a lot of money in the Airbnb space, what the hell do I know? You’re the real estate guy.
Aaron: We will check it out, look closer at that. Remember Cameron Herold, you can find out all sorts of info about him, cameronherold.com. His books Miracle Morning For Entrepreneurs, Double Double, Vivid Vision, Meeting Suck. I’m going to re-read Double Double Chapter 11 and Free PR with that last one. Cameron, thanks for coming on and providing so much value like you always do. I think a lot of our listeners are going to learn so much today and really have that big attitude shift of focus on the solution.
Cameron: Thanks, Aaron. Thanks very much for having me say, how do you guys GoBundance? I was just chatting with Brad Wymark the other day, who you’re friends with as well. Good to reconnect with you was well.
Aaron: Well say hi to everyone. We’ll have you back on stage soon.
Cameron: Thanks, buddy. See you.