The Newsletter Pro - September 2019

208.297.5700 SEPT





Track These Key Performance Indicators Client Success How to Win at Business Do Your Employees Like You? The Means to Gain the Insights You Need




Meet Katie Hill

Buy a Fanny Pack, Change a Life

When I make a money decision, I’m always okay with playing the long game. I don’t do get-rich- quick schemes, and if something sounds too good to be true, it is. These two philosophies have kept my money safe and secure for a long time, and I don’t break those rules. I pay cash for most things. Debt is dumb. My primary house is paid for and so is my cabin. I don’t go into debt for things that aren’t assets, and I don’t have a mortgage because my home is where my kids rest their heads at night, and I want to make sure we always have a good, safe place to sleep. My financial advisor friends think I’m dumb for doing this. They think I can get that money working and make more money if I invest instead of paying off my house. First, that is a big risk. When was the last time the stock market guaranteed you a return? Paying off my house guaranteed a 4.5% return, and it has been one of the best decisions I ever made, because it removes a massive amount of financial pressure. Maybe I could make more in the stock market, but since my house has increased in value by 50% in five years and I haven’t paid any interest, I’m doing pretty well from a rate-of-return standpoint. Oh yeah, and I sleep very well at night, which, to me, is priceless.

successful and owns two businesses. He wanted to know how I invest my money. I don’t talk about investing a ton, and everyone has their own theories about what to do and how to do it, but since I have done a good job accumulating wealth, I’ll share my opinion here. Of course, I am in no way, shape, or form suggesting you do anything I’m about to detail here; these are simply my preferences for investing, and you should really seek the advice of someone who has degrees and certificates and is way smarter than I am. I think it is important to understand someone’s goals and motives before you listen much to what they say on this subject, so let me spell out mine.

I was on Facebook the other day, and I saw a post from a wannabe entrepreneur who said that renting your home is a smart financial move. They went on to say that you should sell your home to their investors who will sign a lease with you and rent the home back to you. They made the case that all the equity that is tied up in your house isn’t doing you any good and that you should pay rent instead of a mortgage and invest the money. This is some of the dumbest financial advice I’ve read recently, and that brings me to my main point: You need to be cautious about who you listen to for advice, both personally and professionally. There are a lot of fake rich people peddling you advice on the internet. Anyone can rent a nice car or house. Anyone can get a loan or mortgage, but few people have built real wealth. The same is true in business. A few months ago, I was talking to a guy who took eight-plus years to build his business to a point where it made $1 million a year in sales, and then he sold the business. Now he’s a guru teaching you how to be as successful as he is. He seems like a nice guy, but $0–$1 million in over eight years isn’t special.

I’m in this game for a few reasons:

1. I was very poor growing up, and as an adult, we couldn’t afford food when I first got to Idaho. I never want to be poor again.

2. I want generational wealth.

3. I want to live the life I dreamed I would as a kid — which means have fun, travel, and not worry about money.

Last week, I got a call from a friend of mine asking me for investment advice. This friend is very

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good deal presents itself, I can move very fast on it. Of course, the market would have done way better — a bit more than three times better — but it is smart to have some cash around for an emergency. I do play in a few risky areas, but I play in these areas with the understanding that I may lose some or all of the money. I have recently bought some low-priced, high-risk, but potentially high-return stocks in the cannabis industry. Frankly, I’m still pissed at myself for not buying Amazon and Facebook at less than $30 a share when I knew I should have. I simply got busy and forgot to put the order in. Cannabis will be federally legal in the next decade or sooner, so like it or not, the genie isn’t going back in the bottle, and there’s money to be made in that industry for sure. I tend to keep the ultra risky investments like this and a few I have on sites, like, to less than 5% of my overall portfolio. This is surely the short version of how I invest my money. Your risk tolerance and/or goals may be different than mine, and in no way should you use this article to make any financial decisions. P.S. One of the ways I’ve been able to build wealth is by having crazy good customer service and an amazing product that works at The Newsletter Pro. Those two things combined have allowed us to grow at 0.006%. (No, that’s not a typo — six- tenths of a percent per month in Q2.) If you want to build long-term wealth, you have to first take care of what you’ve got that is creating wealth, and for many, that is your customers. What can you do to keep them and get them to spend more money on things they need or are already buying? Newsletters, because newsletters crush it at that. If you haven’t chatted with my team yet (or if you haven’t been in touch in the last year, as so much has changed), I highly encourage you to schedule a call by going to . On the call, we will learn about your business and give you expert advice from a Pro on the best course of action to help you achieve your personal and business goals. You can also call my office during business hours at 208.297.5700, and my talented staff will be happy to assist you. –Shaun That said, I hope my strategy gave you some food for thought.

that control and ability to affect my own future that makes this an attractive vehicle to me.

As Dave Ramsey would say, you wouldn’t take a loan on your house (assuming it was paid for) to invest in the stock market. So why would you delay paying off your house to invest in the stock market? Remember: The financial advisors get paid when you invest the money with them, not when you pay off your house. If it’s a toss-up between investing for retirement and paying off the mortgage, I’d do retirement first and then hustle some more to make extra money to pay off the house early. Once I was investing 10%, give or take, of my gross pay, I’d switch and send the money above and beyond that to the mortgage. If I had credit card debt or car loans, I’d pay those off first and then invest for retirement. You’re unlikely to get a good enough return in the stock market to justify 18% interest rates on credit cards. Today, I only use credit cards for points. If you’re one of those people who isn’t disciplined enough or organized enough to pay them off each month, then don’t even use them for points. I use the points to get gift cards for personal purchases. It comes out to about $30,000 per year in benefit to me, so it makes perfect financial sense in my case. A little-known fact is that rewards from credit card companies are nontaxable. My preferred card for that is the Capital One Venture card. For more “passive” investments, I prefer commercial real estate. It is hard to find a good deal right now, but investing there is the smart play. It’s better than fourplexes and single-family real estate, and I think it’s way better than apartments, but some of that is a matter of opinion. The reason I like commercial real estate is that I can set the leases up as triple- net, which means I’m only responsible for things on the outside of the building. Repairs and other issues inside the building are left up to the person renting from me. This measure makes these investments way more passive. I also put money in other small businesses — but to be clear, not dumb money. I’m not paying a 10-times multiple on top-line revenue for a company that isn’t profitable … that would be crazy. And yes, I got asked to make that investment just two weeks ago. I love buying into and helping grow businesses. My take on this is invest in what you know, and frankly, all businesses are the same. Of course, there are a few differences here and there, but getting customers, keeping them, upselling, and managing employees is all the same. The reason I like investing in small business is that I’m a big believer that I can outthink and outwork just about any issue a small business can throw at me. It is

On that note, if you have an established small business and you’re looking for outside money and help, please email me at Shaun.Buck@ I’d be happy to chat and consider an investment.

I’m also a big believer in having a strong rainy day fund. I keep a large sum of cash on hand just for when times get hard, and they will get hard again. Of course, many people think this is also a bad idea. They say the value of the money is going down, as my money market is only getting 2.5% interest. They may be 100% spot on with inflation, but I’ve learned two things about keeping cash on hand that have served me well over the years. “I PAY CASH FOR MOST THINGS. DEBT IS DUMB.”

You can make some great money when you can move fast and write a check.

In the last 20 years, if I was getting 2.5% interest on my cash each year and I had $1 in my money market, my cash today would be worth $1.64. Inflation in the last 20 years would mean that dollar in purchasing power in 1999 would need to be $1.54 today. I may not be making an amazing return, but I’m also not losing ground, and when a






tells you if your business is growing or dying far better than your sales numbers do. You should have a full understanding of your business’s churn number and churn points. PIPELINE REVENUE – This is used for anyone who gives a quote and closes business in the future. Pipeline revenue is the total sales volume you’d have if you won each and every piece of business you quoted over a given period of time. I look to the pipeline revenue number as a leading indicator of future sales. For example, if we need to produce $100K in new pipeline revenue to close $30K in sales the following month, and 20 days into the month we’re at $54K in new pipeline revenue when we should be at $67K, we better change something fast or we will not hit our goal in this month and likely not in the coming month, either. AVERAGE ANNUAL REVENUE PER EMPLOYEE – This is a great number to track. If I know your sales number and number of employees, I can do some simple math to get revenue per employee and know how healthy your company is or is not. Most companies over a million dollars in revenue will have a minimum of $100K in revenue per employee. It is not uncommon to see small businesses with $125K, $150K, or $200K-plus, depending on the industry. Most Fortune 500 companies have a minimum of $500K in revenue per employee. The more revenue per employee, the more effective your business is at maximizing its greatest resource — the people who work there. This number can skew down a bit if you are in a stage in your business where you’re growing fast and hiring a lot of people. If you’re not in that stage and you find your revenue per employee at under $100K, you are likely very overstaffed or the business is going to struggle to ever turn a good profit and maybe even survive, in most cases. Personally, I track churn and pipeline revenue weekly and average annual revenue per employee monthly. Armed with these numbers, you will be in a much better spot to be proactive in your business, as you can solve minor problems before they ruin your month, quarter, or year.

churn number, but after asking a few questions, I found out that they had 24-month contracts and had been in business for 22 months. To add insult to injury, they had 28 total customers. The number alone appeared great, but with a little digging, it was easily discovered that the churn number didn’t tell the whole story. Remember, these are your numbers, and the only person you hurt by not being real and honest on these numbers is yourself. CHURN – I talk about this one all the time. But you need to know how many customers leave your business on any given month. This is the minimum amount you need to get in the following month just to break even. By tracking this number weekly and monthly, you’ll start to see patterns of when customers leave, and then you can take proactive steps to reduce your churn. You can also more easily find holes in your systems and processes when you know this number. Your churn number

Have you ever wondered, “What should I really be tracking in my business? What numbers actually have actionable value, compared to numbers that are simply good to know?” Below is a list of KPIs (key performance indicators) that I track daily, weekly, or monthly, and you likely should be tracking them as well. Of course, not all numbers relate to all industries, so if you run across one that is not something you can track, either find your industry’s equivalent or skip that one. If you can track it in your industry and simply are being lazy, that would not be good. Another important note is this: Numbers are only good if they are valid and real. You need to double-check your math. For example, if you have a 10% customer churn number, and you don’t actively do anything to reduce churn, there is a good chance your math is off. Also, sometimes too good of a number isn’t great. For example, I did have someone boast to me about their 10%








“You make it too easy to get newsletters printed. Each staff member I have worked with has been fantastic! We had concerns of how much time we would have to put into the newsletter, [but] it has been so simple. Great Legal Marketing and other lawyers there spoke highly of [The Newsletter Pro], so we felt good about our decision. It has been great!”

–Mecca Holland, Marcus Vaden Law

vacation alone, split between two trips: 10 days on one trip and five more on another trip. It’s one of our marriage rituals. This vacation comes on top of my taking the whole summer off (May 22–Sept. 3). I’ve had about seven prescheduled working days (like bootcamp earlier this month) that needed to be taken care of, but I’ve had very little work otherwise. It’s been relaxing.

As you read this, I’m very likely sitting on the beach with my wife in Cancun. We’re celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary, and we’ve now been together for 20 years. If I’m being honest, this time last year, I would have said we’d never make it to see this anniversary. I always do something epic for the anniversaries that fall every five and every 10 years. This year, we’re taking 15 days of

“I can’t believe it. The newsletter gets better and better. Graham — where do I start? Pure awesomeness . I feel like he gets how I would like to communicate. I can’t measure how much return I get from my newsletter, however, the response I get from clients and business partners is phenomenal. I know there is no one in my business doing this. It is a great relationship-builder. I went to see one of my longtime clients this week. She was able to tell me things about my family that we put in previous editions. I could tell she felt more connected with me. Thank you for making me look so polished!”


DOYOUR EMPL LIKEYOU? To Succeed, Start by Making Friends

lead you to success,” and while that might be a bit of a stretch, it can certainly put you on the right path. “How to Win Friends” is a gold mine of tips and tricks for building better relationships one question, compliment, and greeting at a time. The book is based on the idea that everyone needs to feel important and that giving a person that glow of self-worth is the best way to make a friend. If you want to be well-liked, Carnegie advises showing interest in people, smiling more, remembering their names, listening while they talk, and making it a point to discuss their interests.

Who would you be more likely to go the extra mile for — a friend or an acquaintance? The obvious answer to that question hints at a truth that has the potential to revolutionize your business: Strong relationships are the key to success. If you can turn your employees, contacts, and customers into friends, you’ll be better liked, more respected, and, in the end, more successful. All you need to make it happen is a copy of Dale Carnegie’s classic business book “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Right on the cover, it promises to be “the only book you need to

–Duane Hamilton, Hamilton Insurance Group





You see, even if I personally work night and day on a marketing campaign for your business and it adds hundreds of new customers each year, you will never get a business that allows you to take the summer off and/or go on five vacations, including a 15-day vacation for your anniversary, if you don’t have solid systems in place beforehand. The reality is that adding more customers to a flawed set of systems and processes without a customer retention strategy in place is a horrible plan and won’t allow you to achieve any of your business or personal goals. But again, more customers is what everyone wants, even though for five or 10 years they’ve been working on getting more customers and are still struggling. Mark Twain once said, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” Well, guess what? The vast majority of entrepreneurs focus their time and effort on … more new customers, and, when you have a bucket as leaky and broken as the vast majority of entrepreneurs do, you get a slow- growth Groundhog Day business that sucks.

I’m happy to tell you how to win at business, but the issue is that you may not like the answer.

You see, what most people want is a magic bullet: an amazing tactic that will solve all their problems. The truth is those don’t exist. I don’t care which guru is promising what outcome and who else in our incestuous internet marketing world says they’re amazing. I don’t have a magic bullet, but I do have the truth and a massive amount of experience, so here goes nothing. When I speak to entrepreneurs, this is what they ask me all the time: “How do I get more customers?” Of course, we all want more customers, but adding more customers to a bucket of customers turned on its side, spilling water out the top, isn’t a good idea. In addition to losing customers before they ever really become customers (that would be the water spilling out of the bucket), the bucket has four baseball-sized holes also spilling water all over the place. When this is your business, adding more customers is a horrible idea, but that is what everyone wants, which is why so many people sell marketing products to solve those issues.

I have a few questions for you , though.

Do you want to be able to take the whole summer off? Spend time with the kids? Work on your hobbies? Lie on the beach? What if your business actually grew while you took the summer off or a 15-day vacation in Mexico and the Caribbean (without kids, I might add)?

Isn’t this the dream? Didn’t you set out to buy back your freedom and be able to enjoy life?

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YEES Beyond friendship, the book dips into strategies for developing influence in three different forms: getting people to do what you want, convincing them to come over to your point of view, and changing their patterns of behavior. With Carnegie’s tactics in your back pocket, you’ll soon have your office operating like a well- oiled machine. Expand your efforts to include current and potential clients and watch your retention and referral rates go up, even as you convert more leads. Carnegie does have one word of caution for business owners looking to use his book to get ahead: His strategies don’t work unless you’re sincerely interested in the people you attempt to cozy up to. Ultimately, the line between friendly and slimy can seem fine in business — so be sure to walk on the right side.

Have You Heard the Good News?

Hebrews 10:24–25 — “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Acts 2:38 — “Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” Romans 5:3–4 — “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”




Let me ask you this: What’s the difference between a $1 million business and a $10 million business? MARKETING HOW-TO CONTINUED ...

the next, who trains the next, until it is a totally different system three employees later.

I get it. None of this is sexy, but it’s what it takes to win.

Systems, processes, and ultimately, delegation.

So, that leaves me with one more question for you:

These aren’t sexy, and it’s unlikely I’d get anyone to buy a product teaching how to set this stuff up, but that’s what wins the day for business owners. Systems and processes allow you to grow your business. The number of leads and sales is one small part of growing a business, but most entrepreneurs only work on that part.

Do you TRULY want to win?

If so, it’s time for a change.

P.S. Want our help creating an amazing experience for your customers and prospects? Want to lower customer churn and get more referrals? Want more prospects to buy your product and service? Schedule a call with a Pro, and let me and my team help. Visit schedule. –Shaun

No focus goes into keeping customers.

No focus goes into reducing friction, so the customers have a better experience.

We rarely look to make sure the employee experience is amazing.

Our system of training is all in our head, or maybe worse, taught by storytelling: One employee trains



ensuring your company never has to relearn how to ride a bike (or the general rules of GDPR).

In a world saturated with information, it can be hard to find the insights you need amid the irrelevant rubble. There are plenty of tools for this purpose, but until you purchase them, you don’t always know how useful they will be. But have no fear! Resource of the Month is here! Sharpr is an easy-to-use insights database, as well as an information organization and sharing tool. Employees are knowledge assets, so if they move to new ventures in their lives, all the information and data they contributed to your company could potentially be lost. This would result in the company having to relearn the information they once had on hand. Sharpr provides a means to store all relevant pieces of data and information,

Sharpr’s email tool, you can publish your content to clients through options like Salesforce. The primary goal of this feature is to make content easily accessible to your audience with the resources they already have. In addition to enabling you to find, compile, and manage information, Sharpr helps answer the question, “ Why is this data important? ” The platform’s analysis AI generates tags so you can see trends in your data, such as your open rates, click- through rates, and so much more. With Sharpr, you won’t get lost in the sea of information. Compartmentalizing and sharing your own internal data just got so much easier.

This Pinterest-like platform enables you to organize data, social media content, analytics, and general documents into a story format and share it with your company in just a few clicks. This way, it can be presented to the people that need it quickly and in a professional manner. While you can search and find information, you can also categorize and make your own primary research more manageable. Sharpr also enables you to share this information on a variety of other platforms like Slack, Sharepoint, Dropbox, and more.

Want to showcase your findings to your industry and add value to your clients? No problem. With




Around the World With Katie Hill TO GROW AND CHANGE IN THE SPOTLIGHT

to new places helps us understand other people better; it promotes a lot more empathy. When you travel, you have to get out of your skin. It forces you to grow and change. I’ve learned that I’m far more adaptable than I ever gave myself credit for.”

little beach places overseas where we can retire. Loreto is a beautiful, quiet place. It’s how I imagine Cabo was before it became Cabo .” Loreto is one of many amazing places Katie has visited in her life. Right out of high school, she took a trip to Spain with her friends and their Spanish teacher. She briefly got lost in Madrid, but fortunately, she met a kind stranger who gave her directions. Since then, Katie has explored the halls of Spain’s Alhambra palace, stayed in a magical, quiet village on Koh Chang island in Thailand, seen the haunting bones and skulls at the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng in Cambodia, and took a longboat to the now-closed Maya Bay on Ko Phi Phi Leh, just to name a few experiences. Katie has always been compelled to travel. She suspects she gets this trait from her dad, who hitchhiked across the country right out of high school.

Never judge a book by its cover — or a woman by her office door. If you picture a billing specialist, you probably have a specific sort of person in mind. Go ahead and throw that idea out the window. Allow us to introduce Katie Hill.

As one of The Newsletter Pro’s billing specialists, Katie has stepped into an unrelenting, detail- oriented role. When Katie is at TNP headquarters, you’re almost guaranteed to find her hard at work in her office. But when she’s not on the job, Katie is a little harder to track down because she could be literally anywhere in the world. “Just yesterday, we bought tickets to visit Loreto, Mexico,” Katie revealed when we convinced her to sit down for this article. “We’ve been looking for KEEP UP With Our If you’re looking for more great content — like what you’re reading in this newsletter — to drive your business forward, take a look at these articles on our blog. 3 Signs You’ve Created Your Own Bad Luck Tim Templeton’s Essential Fact You Need For Every Referral Marketing on a Mission From Business Owner to CEO — Will You Make It? BEST POSTS

Being able to adapt is an incredible skill for anyone to possess. Katie brings this trait, along with her wisdom, wit, and inner peace, to the office every day. It’s wonderful to have someone on the team who is great at their job and who shares a vibrant spark with others wherever they happen to be in the world.

“I want to experience the world,” Katie says. “It’s a good place, and there’s so much to see. Traveling




208.297.5700 391 N Ancestor Pl, Boise, ID 83704 Keep up with our latest office news, blogs, and promos at!


How Two Brooklyn Entrepreneurs Are Using Backpacks to Change the World THE GIVE BACK PACK

It’s a bold move, proving that STATE is about much more than $100 backpacks, though bags in fun colors, metallic fabrics, and bold tropical prints are still the company’s breadwinners. “As the needs of those we served evolved, STATE needed to evolve along with them,” co-founder Scot Tatelman explains in a company video. His wife and co-founder, Jacq, adds, “For every STATE product now sold, we’ll support American families and children in need in the ways they need it most.” Recently, that has meant pivoting away from the buy one, give one backpack program and instead funneling cash into partnership projects and #WhatDoWeTellTheKids initiatives. But as always, a portion of the money raised from every backpack sold goes into STATE’s fund for giving back. This summer, the company used proceeds from its Summer 2019 Collection to support Seeds of Peace, a Maine-based leadership camp for teens from the U.S. and other countries around the world. Through team-building projects and leadership exercises, the camp promotes open-mindedness, critical thinking, creativity, and community service, and many of its graduates go on to found companies and nonprofits that make positive changes across the globe. In an interview with PBS, Leslie Lewin, executive director of New York’s Seeds of Peace branch, said, “I’m in constant awe of the courage that our participants show and their willingness to engage and step outside their comfort zones.” This year, that courage is supported by backpacks covered with dinosaurs, rainbows, flowers, lions, airplanes, and glitter.

The seeds for STATE were planted back in 2009 when Brooklyn-based husband-wife team Scot and Jacq Tatelman founded Camp Power, a weeklong summer camp for kids from underfunded neighborhoods. When they realized the children they were working so hard to lift from poverty were bringing their belongings to camp in ripped plastic trash bags, the Tatelmans started STATE to solve the problem. In the beginning, the company gave away a backpack full of school supplies for every bag sold. Those giveaways, made possible by buyers who were nicknamed “The Give Back Pack,” happened at empowering rallies called Bag Drops that happened wherever the need was greatest, filling places as varied as Flint, Michigan; Harlem, New York; and the White Sox Ballpark in Chicago. STATE grew quickly, partnering with public figures — fellow charitable companies like The Giving Keys, Shopbop, and Rockets of Awesome, and nonprofits like Bottomless Closet — to provide more than just school supplies and backpacks for kids. Together, these partnerships offered interview clothes to disadvantaged women; entertainment and support to victims of Hurricane Harvey; and resources, encouragement, and some much-needed pampering to women transitioning out of homelessness. In 2016, STATE launched #WhatDoWeTellTheKids, a program “aiming to tackle the most challenging issues of our time” with an eye toward future generations. Its initiatives change focus every year and give children, teenagers, and experts the opportunity to share a dialogue about the sensitive topics that often make headline news. As part of its latest #WhatDoWeTellTheKids project, STATE is donating funds to Operation Conversation: Cops and Kids, a program that “brings together inner-city youth and police officers through performance and conversation in developing positive, empathetic relationships.”

Once upon a time, business owners and private companies kept their political views just that — private. But according to Vox, the trend toward silence that has held for decades has seen a major reversal since 2016. Some companies, like the environmentalist clothing brand Patagonia, have always aired their views, but in the last three years, dozens of others have stepped into the limelight. On both sides of the aisle, they’ve taken strong stances on a range of controversial issues, making consumers think twice about their buying decisions. The Brooklyn-based company STATE Bags makes backpacks, lunchboxes, duffel bags, and more. Since its inception, STATE has always had a charitable focus: giving backpacks full of school supplies to kids and providing role models and resources to low-income families in need. But when 2016 hit, the company kicked its activism up a notch, launching a campaign called #WhatDoWeTellTheKids. Before we dive into that, though, here’s a little background on STATE.

To shop STATE’s products and learn more about its programs, visit




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