There are lot of ways to make money and when you discover opportunities, you have to seize it. David Schloss of ConvertROI specializes in social advertising primarily on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. He focuses a lot with high-end influencers, celebrities, and personalities in their niche selling info or service. He spends close to $3 million a month now and is helping close to 50 clients a month. David says it wasn’t always like that though and there were times when it was hard to even convince himself about seeing the light no matter what.
His business fell apart twice. There were periods where he grew incredibly fast and then things tanked, and it was always because of his sales process and his ability to communicate with the clients. The communication was off and he didn’t understand client retention. He didn’t understand how to forecast results, how to create additional offerings with my clients and strategically plan things for the future. He was only thinking about the next day or the next month, not six to twelve months later. David talks about the most vulnerable period of his life and how he was able to see the light and pulled himself back up to move forward.
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Seeing The Light No Matter What – Even When You’re Facing Repossession with David Schloss
I’ve got a very special episode of a good friend of mine, David Schloss, who is actually a repeat guest on another one of my podcasts, Sold With Webinars. I invited him onto Experts Unleashed because I wanted to hear his journey. I want to hear his story of how he was able to seize opportunities. When I finished with this interview, we got really deep. I talked to David after the interview and he was mentioning to me how he had never gone this deep and been this vulnerable throughout his story.
As you know, Experts on Unleashed is all about discovering the opportunities and how we as experts and entrepreneurs can become opportunists and see those spots for opportunities. David’s back was completely up against the wall from when he started out and got his first taste of success when he was still in college at the University of Florida. This episode going to relate with a lot of you and understand what his thought process was as he’s going through his journey, through his success now owning a multimillion dollar advertising agency. Stay tuned until the very end and let us know what you think about the episode. Email me over at Joel@TheWebinarAgency.com.
David, welcome back to the show. I’m happy to have you here.
I appreciate it, Joel. I’m really happy to be here too.
As my audience knows, the whole goal of this podcast is to learn the a-ha moments of when my guests discover like, “There’s something here,” this thing of entrepreneurship, the a-ha moment of how we’re able to successfully monetize my expertise. That’s what we’re going to be diving into now. We just finished up our pre-interview work. Before we jump into that story, give my audience a quick background about who is David, what does he do now, and then we’ll hit the rewind button and I’ll jump into the interview and share your origin story.
I’m David Schloss. I own and operate an agency called ConvertROI and we specialize in social advertising primarily on Facebook, Instagram, and now introducing YouTube. We’ve been in business for the last nine years in terms of running ads for people on Facebook and Instagram. I focus a lot with high-end influencers, celebrities, just personalities in their niche where if they are selling info or service, we can help them with that especially if it’s a webinar or some form of let’s say a coaching or application-based funnel. We spend close to $3 million a month now and we are helping close to 50 clients a month manage their advertising and get them the results they’re looking for.
I know a lot of my friends are clients of yours, David, which is one of the reasons why I want to have your back on this show. For my audience, they can be much further early on in the stages of maybe not even getting to a webinar, not even getting to the paid marketing side. This is a show about experts and entrepreneurs and their origin stories. I want to hit the rewind button and I want to go all the way back when you got started in this world of entrepreneurship. Take us back to what was happening and how did you discover this whole passion for, “I can get paid for my services. I can get paid for doing things for other people.” What happened in 2007?
I was eighteen years old at the University of Florida as a freshman and it was the first time I was really having to do everything on my own, responsibilities, feeding myself, doing everything for myself. One of the things that really dawned on me while I was at the University of Florida was I have to start finding ways to support myself. I didn’t want to go the traditional route getting a really crappy job on campus or any of the restaurants nearby because that’s what most people would do. I didn’t want to settle for that. I decided to just go on Google and I was just doing some research around, “How do I make money online?” Which we all know now, if you do that, you will be just going in a circle of the same info over and over.
Back then, you would put that search term in and you’d get a lot of top ten lists, top twelve, top seven. These top lists of the things you can do to make money online. There was blogging and creating videos and doing paid posts back then, like writing $5 posts for people about reviews, things like that. What really got my attention was SEO and video marketing. At eighteen, I’m like, “I don’t really know if I can afford doing this. There must be a large startup cost.”
There really wasn’t. A lot of what I had to do to get started was really just learn how to use WordPress and learn how to build what was called Web 2.0 properties back then on these free sites and have everything linked together. Without getting too technical, I learned all that stuff on my own just going through some Google searches. The video component of things got my attention too, because all these SEOs were saying, “You need to learn YouTube if you want to rank fast and impress people.”
They went hand-in-hand and at that time I’m going, “No. I got a full work schedule in terms of the school. I’m at a crazy school that’s going through sports mania, party mania. How am I possibly going to be able to fulfill any of this stuff for myself at first?” Before I did anything for others, how do I learn this and apply it for myself? I would take two to three hours a day learning for the first six months just reading and reading and reading.
I treated it like a class. I figured, “If I’m going to learn this and do it the right way, I got to treat it just like I would anything else.” Since I’m in college, I put it in the same workflow as being a college class. Just two to three hours and it’s just read blog after blog after blog. I probably had 30 or 40 blogs in my RSS feed and I would open it every day and just start reading and creating my own notes of different ranking tactics and learning how to build a site.
My first WordPress site was built eleven years ago. I learned how to do enough CSS to manipulate how a page looks. I wasn’t going to design a site, I just wanted to be able to put something up there, learn how to screw with a server to make sure that the site was working. All these little things that SEOs we’re saying was common was super uncommon to me. I had to figure it out.
Thankfully, six months in, I felt comfortable enough to launch an affiliate site where I signed up for ClickBank and I would take products in the business category, people learning how to make my online. This was a suggestion that I read from a blog was the thing that you want to be successful in, write reviews around the products are going through and then just put them up on the site. I started doing that and I made my first sale within 90 days of starting to do that.
[bctt tweet=”Learning how to manipulate and give Google what it wants is the art of SEO.” via=”no”]
I’ve got a couple of questions. You searched on Google, “What’s the best way that I can make money online?” At this point, you’re going to school, you’re paying for your education at the University of Florida, what was the goal in mind? Like, “If I could just make X number of dollars a week or per month.” What did you think was realistic at that time? What would have been a great goal for you?
The goal was actually $3,000 a month. I didn’t even need $3,000. I just wanted to make $3,000 because I’d have something left over. I didn’t have that many bills in college. Most of my school related expenses were either already covered from massive amounts of savings or some form of scholarship, but I still had some I had to pay myself. That extra $3,000 would cover my rent because I live in an apartment, my car, gas, insurance, and food obviously. That’s really all I had to worry about.
For me, that $3,000 meant I can be comfortable, which at the time I didn’t understand what comfortable even looked like because I was always scrambling for something. $3,000 was the goal and that’s all I really needed, which in hindsight is really funny to even think about. $3,000 was the goal and it took quite a bit to get there. The great thing is I had something to work towards and I never even knew that people were making $3,000, $5,000, $50,000 a month doing this thing. I didn’t even know what it was prior to that. I just wanted to start small and work my way up.
You’ve got your goal, $3,000 a month during college and you start searching for ways to make money online. You come across all these articles, all these lists saying these are the top ways to make money online, which is ironic because SEO, if you don’t know what SEO is, Search Engine Optimization. It’s when you go into Google, the whole algorithm of what you type in, the backend of what it shows you is what SEO is. Learning how to manipulate that and give Google what it wants is the art of SEO. You come across all these lists.
Obviously, you chose SEO. That was a common thread, SEO and video marketing. You said you started to practice it and learn it. That’s the art of driving traffic. It’s not necessarily how to make money. Did you start out with the idea that, “I’m going to learn SEO and I’m going to sell affiliate products to get to $3,000 a month?” What was the first stage in your mind? Did you know you wanted to sell affiliate products or did you not even know how to sell a product at that point?
I didn’t really know how to sell a product. Through a lot of these articles, I was curating a lot of this content, just creating my own notes of what people were saying. I’d referenced a famous SEO at the time and what they were doing and their key ways of making money where let’s say affiliate income and client services. I would look at that and I would see what the common denominators are across these ten, fifteen, twenty SEOs that I’m following and if a lot of them said they had affiliate income in client services, I’d look at that and go, “They’re all doing a similar form of income generating activity. I need to follow that same path.” I first started out with the affiliate marketing side of things. I then didn’t have to worry about other people’s property. I wanted to test things out for myself, make sure that the principles learned weren’t going to get anything banned and shut down. I tested it on my stuff.
The suggestions at the time were signup for popular marketplace, ClickBank, or any other marketplace and find products in a category that are something that you’re actually passionate about. If you’re going to review products, buy those products and review them. Go through them and review them. At that time, I was doing that already. I was going through products and learning at an exponential rate. I figured, “I’m going to take these products and I’m going to just start writing reviews about each one of them that I’ve been through.” This was when Warrior Forum was at its peak. They were selling $7 things all day long and I was just scooping them up one after another, learning strategy after strategy.
Here’s the thing, there are people still scooping up products these days and never apply them. I was buying a product every other day, taking that info, doing it, getting a result going, “Next.” Then I would just keep stacking. We’re talking 40, 50 products over the course of six to nine months that I was going through and then eventually reviewing. That’s where it led to me going the affiliate route in my first year, at least learning how to do it for myself, building the site, hosting it, putting up the reviews on WordPress. How to hotlink everything, how to make sure your affiliate link can be tracked. We’re talking all sorts of stuff that I still talk about to this day. I was doing that eleven years ago just to make $40 commissions or $20 commissions and hopefully ranked the site enough to make it to $3,000.
There’s something really important about what you just said. I preach it from the mountain tops. There are lots of ways to make money and one of the ways to make money, especially for you and me both. We’re constant course junkies or info product. We’re always learning. That’s a great thing, but there’s a market for people who buy and don’t implement. If you buy and you implement and you learn what works and what doesn’t work, you can now go market to the people who bought and didn’t implement and you can be like, “You’re clearly interested in what you just bought. Why didn’t you implement it? Would you like me to implement it for you?”
These people who are course junkies, there’s a market within that market of just selling the services. All these people out there, like Survey Funnels with Ryan Levesque. If you went in and he bought his course and you implemented it and you learned the art of the Survey Funnel, I guarantee you 90% of the people inside there never implement one. If you said, “I’ve gone through everything. I’ve tested it. I’ve built it. Let me do it for you,” that is your hottest market right there. It’s the low-hanging fruit.
Lots of people buy my webinar course and don’t ever build a webinar. That’s why we have such a high upgrade rates. Like, “We’d love to have your agency build it because I went through it. Your course is great, but I just don’t have time.” There is a huge market for it, but you got to do the work and you have to learn it and then implement it for yourself and then go market as a service.
You start out Google search, you get all the free materials that you can, learning SEO to drive traffic for people, learning SEO and video marketing, which is really interesting because video marketing is exploding. You’ve got a leg up on probably 99% of the people out there teaching video marketing as it is. 90 days in, you’re building your own websites, you make your first affiliate sale, what happens after that? You made your first sale, like, “I made money online. I’ve officially done something right.” Where does it go from there?
I felt like I made it. It was one of those things where I’m like, “I broke the threshold. I’m officially a business guy now.” It was one of those feelings and a $20 commission by the way. When I made that commission sale, it was the beginning of this newfound addiction. It’s an addiction to not just the commission payments. Hearing that sound of a PayPal payment, that’s cool. Trust me, it can be addicting, but I was more interested in the feeling of it, the feeling of I did something for myself.
I looked at it as, “I just made a sale. We’re 90 days in, I figured out what generated this sale, how do I do this 10X? How do I make it so that I’m getting ten sales a week or ten sales a month?” I would start to learn about how do I find people who are searching with the intent of buying. Now, I’m learning the intricacies of SEO, finding the right terms versus trying to target to everybody and trying to rank for everything. I became more of a sniper. This is a large part of my philosophy now, is go after the audience and go after the type of people who are looking for exactly what it is you’re willing to talk about and be about and be all in it.
It’s very similar to what I do in my own business. I’m focusing on Facebook and Instagram. I live it all day. I don’t talk about anything else. People are willing to constantly talk about it with me because they know I’m in love with this stuff. It’s a novelty to me. This is what I enjoy and love every day. With SEO, I looked at it from that sense of, “What do I have to find with the people who are in love with this subject and are looking for more info or products to purchase, anything to purchase?”
I started to build a gigantic network of websites. I would build a site a week and I would build in the same framework as what I had before. It was a ten-page site, majority of it was review content of these courses or these products that people were buying and are interested in, then there would be a couple pages of resources that would link out to other products.
The ten-page site would be linked to 20 to 30 different things and then once that’s done, you would go through the ranking process and then rinse and repeat. You would just do this over and over and over. This was during a time where people were creating their blog networks. They’d have 50, 100, 300 sites interlinked everything that’s relevant and they would just boost their own stuff.
They would manufacture their own authority. I was creating that similar thing. It’s slipping my mind as to who the big dogs were back then doing it, but it was a lot of fun. You put five sites together, they were relevant, you’d link them. All of a sudden, one site’s number nine, the other one’s number twelve. You’re like, “Momentum, here we go.” You would get this feeling of like, “I’m feeling successful.” I feel like I could do it. I know that if I’m just persistent enough, I’m going to create the result I’m looking for.
The $20 commission then turned into a $100. All of the sudden, I’m getting a $100 check from ClickBank. Then several weeks later it’s like, “$200, what’s going on here?” Then I’d be able to see where they’re coming from. Now, it became a game for me. It’s an addiction. All of a sudden, I’m obsessed with, “I got to produce more like this. I got to keep doing this.” I did that for an additional six months of just creating site after site after site and it became nuts to have 50 domains.
I’m nineteen by then. 50 domains all in this massive dedicated server. I’m interlinking everything. I’m learning the software. I felt like I was becoming like an engineer because I was having to constantly coordinate stuff and figure out where it came from, but it was fun. That’s when I noticed like, “I’m really passionate about this stuff.” I’m getting results for me, which is great. I really enjoy the intricacies that goes into building a business at the time and I didn’t really knew that meant yet.
Six months, what are you making now? After that $20 commission, approximately per month, in the affiliate income of doing SEO for yourself, did you hit the $3,000 a month goal?
That close. I got to about $2,200 a month. I had 50 sites. There were obviously some expenses I had to take out, but $2,200 a month. I had a couple tools, a couple of hosting things I had to take care of and I’d probably be left over with like $1,700, $1,800 a month, but it was like on autopilot. I was always finding new ways to integrate new sources and that’s when I would incorporate paid posts and all these other things.
I’d find opportunity to make an extra $300, $400 or $500. It wouldn’t be stable, but every couple of months, you’d have a month where it’s like, “I hit $3,400,” and then it’d go back to $1,800. It was constantly bouncing around, but it was enjoyable. I really wanted to find ways to create something that was more stable. Then, I would feel like I actually had a business and it wasn’t a hobby anymore.
Six months down the road, you’re making about $2,000 a month doing this stuff for yourself. Where was the transition point to where you saw the opportunity to like, “If I can do this for myself, there’s probably other people who would pay me to do something similar for them.” When did that happen?
I went to a meeting on campus. I was joining the Investment Club. Just so everyone understands, I was a finance guy when I joined college. I was in the stock trading, options trading. I was always a money guy. I was finding ways that the markets would be able to manipulate themselves to make more money. I went to an investment club meeting and one of the guys asked me like what I do, what is it that I enjoyed to do. I just briefly mentioned, “I rank websites.”
It was the first time ever said it verbally. I’m like, “I rank websites and I just make money on autopilot.” It sounded so scammy when I said it, but I just did it and the guy goes, “That’s really interesting. My dad owns a bike shop in town and he’s always looking for ways to show up in Google because he doesn’t show up in Google at all. Do you know how to do that?” This was in two minutes of a conversation with this guy and I was like, “Of course. I know how to do that. What are you thinking?” He goes, “Maybe we can have a meeting and maybe you can help him out and maybe he’ll pay you for it.”
Of course, “You’re going to pay me for it.” It was the whole thing of, “I just started the trend of doing client services.” All I had to do is put it out there. One thing led to another. I had met up with the guy. We got along really well. I told him what my vision was for jumping into the client services game and that he would be my first client, but I’d be willing to work with him on the basis of you work with me, I work with you. I’ll get you the results, you become my first case study. He was totally down for that. He wasn’t getting anything from search anyway.
His whole thing was let this nineteen-year-old kid do his thing and if everything works out the way he says it’s going to work out, I’m about to have a really prosperous business locally. Which by the way, bikes, mopeds, and things like that in Gainesville are a big business. You’re competing against three, four of the locations that sell hundreds of these things at a time, weekly, monthly. He was the fourth option. He was looking for ways to jump up and I just put it out there and it started that whole trend of, “I think I’m gonna start doing this for clients now because I made my first $750 a month recurring doing client services.”
Did he pay you?
It wasn’t even a free case study. Did you position it as, “Normally people are charging X number of dollars per month, but you’re my first client?” You’re just being honest and transparent with them and what I loved about this story is you went to your closest network possible to even find the opportunity. You weren’t looking for those clients. You were just talking to somebody. It’s like, “My dad’s got a local business. He needs SEO traffic.” You saw the opportunity and you seized it. It’s the best way to just get your foot in the door is you offer severely discounted services for clients or a free service for a client to get that first case study and then it just starts to spiral from there. What type of results did you get for him? How well did that go?
The first thing we did was I had him record a video of a walkthrough of the store. We did a walk through the store because I said, “I want you to really connect with your audience or the audience you’re about to connect with. I want you to talk about your business and why you sell.” That’s it. It’s really simple. Nothing crazy. I said, “You give me that video and you just let me do my thing.” I’m not going to tell you what I’m going to do, let me do my thing.
He created the video and I took it and I ranked it locally in the City of Gainesville within about five days. It was the second slot in Google. It overtook a website. It was just sitting there in a second slot and it said, “The top bike shop in all of Gainesville, Florida.” He goes, “I don’t know how you did that, but it’s been incredible.” All we did was put that headline, a small little description of the business and his phone number with the video.” He said, “I never really get calls into my shop. I’m starting to get calls now. I’m getting a couple of calls a day for people asking for requests.”
Naturally, it was to eventually work on his website to come up right behind the video or overtake the video, but the video was the starting point. I impressed him first with a quick result that would then get him eager for more and that would allow us to work a longer term. That little quick video we put together, which took him five minutes and took me about five days to figure out how to make it rank, was the tipping point and really just a starting point of me doing that exact same process for nearly a dozen other people over the course of a year. I took the exact same thing I did for him because I then used him as a case study. I would show a realtor or a lawyer, we could do this same exact thing in this city and do this within a certain period of time.
How long was that guy a client for after you got him results within five days?
He was a client for four months and he was a client for four months because at the time, I was not aware of how to do proper client retention. I would get people results so quickly that when there was a month where things would slow down, they would feel uneasy and they would start to panic. At the time if your site gets bumped down one slot, you could see the change. It’s a 200 to 300-visit change. If you get bumped for slots, you think something’s wrong. You get bumped to the second page, you practically think you’re dead. That’s just how people were reacting.
Unfortunately, in that fourth month he went from like a second slot to like a ninth slot and he noticed a drastic drop in his calls. That’s when I told him, “This is a competitive game. You’re obviously doing something that people see and they’re doing it too. Now is the time that we have to ramp things up.” I didn’t know how to upsell. I didn’t know how to cross-sell. I just knew how to sell one thing, the initial result. When we got past that initial result, I was having issues with keeping clients for a longer term. I figured it out actually by the third client, but it was one of those things where four months in, you learn from your mistakes. You got someone a result, you got the case study, and now you can move on to the next person.
True or false, this began your deep dive into the world of generating traffic? You saw there’s a huge value add in the marketplace. If you’re getting phone calls for local clients or any clients that you’re working with now, but if you’re getting them leads, it’s a huge value add and they’re easily going to pay you $750 a month to generate more leads, more customers, more sales. Let’s speed this up a little bit. Fast forward to now, you’re doing paid traffic for digital companies, online entrepreneurs. In those ten years, what were some of the major pivot points to now you’re running a 50-client service based agency. You’re crushing it. What happened in between, the major milestones?
[bctt tweet=”You learn from your mistakes. You got someone a result, you got the case study, and now you can move on to the next person.” via=”no”]
I can tell you, within those first couple of years, I had two people who told me to get away from SEO. That was the first pivot point by the way. This was before the major updates that I got word from two people, Justin Brooke, when he was still doing SEO and Syed Balkhi, who owns WPBeginner, OptinMonster, and a variety of other things. He and I went to school together. He was the first one that told me to get out of that space. We went to a dinner and he goes, “David, trust me. An inside source tells me Google’s about to go through some major changes. In the business you’re in, things are going to fall apart. You just are not established enough to get to the point of having 20, 30, 40 clients paying you $1,000 to 2,000 a month. Go into some other direction and start to establish yourself there.” That’s all he had to say. I was like, “Okay. It’s cool.”
Then Justin, also doing SEO at the time, started moving into paid ads more. I followed a lot of his stuff back in the day. He had a book called SEO Lies, all sorts of things. Justin was like, “I’m moving into paid ads too.” This was when he went through some training with Russell Brunson. This was when he was doing all sorts of paid traffic training and only hinting at it every once in a while. When he said, “I’m going more into AdWords, I’m going to be buying more traffic.” I was like, “The guy who I’m learning SEO from is also moving.” That must be a sign. Just hearing it in person and seeing it and really just having all this unfold, that was the first pivot point. We’re talking 2009 and 2010, that was a transitionary year, going all in with paid. This is also around the same time where Facebook said they we’re opening up an ad platform.
I got in super early. We’re talking wild, wild west penny click type of stuff. That was the first pivot point, but that was the beginning of a bunch of other transition. My business fell apart twice. I had parts where I grew incredibly fast and then things tanked and it was always because of my sales process and my ability to communicate with the clients. I didn’t have great communication yet.
I didn’t understand that being able to communicate a result, how long it’s going take to achieve it? Why it needs to be done a certain way? How we can keep this sustainable? All those things I was not delivering to them. I was holding that back to myself. The communication was off and I didn’t understand client retention. I didn’t understand how to forecast results, how to create additional offerings with my clients and strategically planned things for the future. I was only thinking about the next day or the next month, not six to twelve months later.
I constantly would have these spikes and ebbs and flows, $5,000 a month, $10,000 a month, zero. It would just be bouncing all around and it drove me nuts. I went through that during my first couple years of doing Facebook ads because there were only five or six big dogs in the space and they were scooping up everybody. A lot of those guys are actually still doing it to this day. I looked at that and I’m going, “I’m in another space where it seems like I have potential to really position myself, and yet I’m getting killed. I’m just getting demolished.”
I had to get a job as a side hustle. I looked at this job as a side hustle, not a business. I looked at the job that way. I had to work 30 hours a week for about two years during a time where I was scared to tell people I even had a job. I graduated from school, I got my degree, which hangs on my wall and I don’t use it, but it was a great experience. For two years after school, I had to get a job. I couldn’t afford doing my business because of all these spikes.
I couldn’t get my own place, I couldn’t really support myself. At the time, my girlfriend, I couldn’t really live with her because I couldn’t afford it. I had these things I had to figure out for myself. While rebuilding my business the second time around before it went down again, I was really just trying to see whether or not this Facebook thing was going to work for me. We’re talking year four or five into it. 2014 is really when things started took a downhill, but it also went right back and it stayed.
I quit the job. I’m going all in. I’m like, “This has to work. I have no choice anymore. I’m not going to work for somebody. I just got to go.” I didn’t prepare for that by the way. I didn’t have savings, nothing. I just had whatever was left and I knew I had six months to figure it out. I just kept going. I kept trying to get clients. I went into my network, but I couldn’t really convey what I was doing for people still. This was when Facebook still was a wild west to people of being able to understand what I’m doing.
“I’m putting an ad on the right hand side or in the newsfeed and we’re going to generate traffic for you and we’re going to send them to this funnel,” which it wasn’t called a funnel at the time. It was just landing pages. I’m sending them to this landing page where I’m going to collect their info and this stuff. A lot of the stuff people are calling funnel hacking and all that. You’re just building landing pages and sending traffic.
That’s what it was and it was hard for me. I still couldn’t get that across. What really started to turn things around, I had to go through that second downfall because it actually made me go completely broke, near bankruptcy. I was close to filing. I’m broke as hell, zero dollars in the bank. My girlfriend moved to town with me because I said, “We got to move forward with this. We have to take it to that next step.” When we finally made the decision, everything just went down. Just completely down. Zero in the bank. No clients. I still don’t know what I’m doing wrong.
I’m four to four and a half years in the game and people are starting to know that I’m doing Facebook ads, but they still don’t know what I do so to speak and I just felt completely out of it. I didn’t understand what was wrong with me. On Halloween of 2014, I just remember sitting on the floor crying my eyes out thinking, “I can’t even afford buying candy for kids because I have nothing.” Every kid that comes through this door and says trick or treat, I can’t give them a piece of candy because I can’t afford it.
That car that’s outside has seven days left before it gets repossessed and this apartment that I’m in, I got seven days before I get evicted.” It hit home hard and that was during that second downfall. I didn’t have a backup plan anymore. I couldn’t just go back to my parents’ house. There was nothing left. The thing that really caused the massive pivot that led to now, that really turned things around to the trajectory we get to where you and I are having this conversation now is I decided on November first of that year I got on Facebook, I had like 750 friends at that time.
I sent the message to every single one of them. This was when Facebook would allow you to message a lot of people and you wouldn’t get the, “You’ve messaged too many people.” I messaged everybody and I sent them a message that said, “I’m going through tough times. I don’t really know what I’m doing, but I’m reaching out to you because I just want to ask you for one piece of advice. What is the thing that you would do that would allow you to get out of the situation similar to what I’m in? What would you do in this case?”
I was just looking for one piece of advice. How do I get out of this BS that I’m in? For every person that gave me a response, I offered to audit any advertising they were running or teach them how to run ads in exchange for that information. I had tons of people who sent me info and didn’t want audit. They just wanted to help. I also had about 77 people. I remember the exact number. 77 seven people wanted an audit. I did 77 audits in three days. I will never do that again, but I did it and seven of those people turned into clients paying $1,500 a month.
They were so impressed by how the audits were conveyed, how they were put on paper, why things are being done in a certain way. I incorporated video to go with it, to show them how it came to that conclusion, and I delivered it to them for free in exchange for that one piece of advice. It was that entire situation for about three, four days that I went through, with the repossession and all this stuff that could happen, I knew I had seven days to figure it out.
It only took me four days to really get it and when I realized that all I had to do is really just deliver value to the marketplace, my own marketplace. I don’t have to worry about the internet marketing space, the webinar space, real estate space. It was just to my group, my people. It would eventually get out there and 77 individuals gave me a chance and seven of them gave me another chance.
It also made me aware of whom my real friends were. It was the starting point of me believing in myself because then I was like, “I’ve figured it out. I know exactly what I need to say.” Not from a sales pitch point of view, but just giving people that idea of like, “This is why I believe I’m actually the best at this stuff and why I can get you the results and this isn’t BS. This is how I feel.” Now, my sales pitch isn’t salesy at all. It’s like, “We’re either going to do this or we’re not, but I’m going to align with you and your vision. You’re going to align with me on mine and we’re going to make some magic together.” That’s it. It’s not trying to get you to up sell and upgrade to a new package. It’s, “Do we feel good together?” “We do.” “Let’s work together.” That simple.
There’s something that I heard inside of the two stories you told. Number one, how you landed your first client and how you got out of a really big hole. It’s something that I want to point out that is extremely powerful. You and me were born in the internet marketing world. There are people who are listening who are part of the internet marketing world. We’re part of the internet marketing world, paid traffic, SEO.
Those are the ways to go get clients. We don’t realize how much opportunity is in our direct circle, like family and friends. The first time that you said you landed your first paying client, you were at a networking event of somebody. You were in finance, completely unrelated to your marketing niche. He said, “That’s what you do? I’ve got somebody who might be interested in your services.” That’s how you landed your first $750 per month client.
Then fast forward to 2014, you had success and failure, success and then you’re on your second failure and you hit rock bottom and you had a list of 750 people on Facebook, which is a list. That’s your audience. It’s one form of list, one form of network, and you reached out to every single one and you converted 1% of those.
You convert 1% of the people on your social profile. It was a lot of hard work, 77 audits, that’s freaking nuts. You turned that into $10,500 in recurring monthly revenue within four days. It’s because you reached out to your family and friends in your network and you knew that they needed ads. Most of them were probably doing ads, 10% of them said they would take you up on an audit.
That’s a crazy conversion rate number. That just means that you’re clearly aligned with what your audience was. I want people to understand the opportunity, paid traffic, and all that stuff is excellent. That’s great when you’re ready to scale, but there’s so much opportunity sitting literally in your immediate circle, but if you just ask, you’d be surprised at what the results you’d get.
I didn’t know that about you and it’s really powerful. We’ve all gone through some story of that and that’s the journey of the entrepreneur. Derek Halpern has this awesome graphic that’s been copied and pasted. The life of an entrepreneur is this massive rollercoaster. It’s just spike after spike and downfall after downfall. Thank you so much for sharing that.
I just want to make people aware of that we all experience these massive spikes and massive downfalls. It’s how you rebound from it is a part of your story. The thing is you don’t have to be defined by your story. You can change it. You’re writing the movie as you go. You’re the actor in your own play, you’re the director. You’re the whole thing.
You determine whether or not you are just the guy in the background that’s doing everything or you could be the star player on the team or you could be the main actress or actor in your own movie. At least for me, going through that whole phase of the audits and just busting my butt for twenty hours a day trying to figure things out because bankruptcy and repossession and all this stuff, you don’t have to get there to realize things can be changed.
You can do it way before that, but I had to experience the rock bottom to realize, “I really need to dig more into me. There’s something with me that was blocking my potential and for a lot of people, you need to discover that now so you can create what it is you want later. Take some time, evaluate who you are. What are your values? What do you like to work on? Who do you want to work with?
Joel and I met because of a couple of introductions and one face-to-face ClickFunnels event and that was it. It hasn’t been anything else after that, but it was a lot of intros and a lot of tags and Facebook threads, tons of them. That’s all it really takes this. These days, it’s so much easier to connect with people if you get tagged every now and again. Just take the time to analyze where you are, where you want to be, and hold yourself to it, but also realize this it’s a journey.
This adventure is supposed to be fun. Don’t try to beat yourself up because you didn’t make that extra $10, $1,000, $100,000. This is a journey. It took me eleven years to have a seven-figure revenue year. I say revenue year because there are a lot of people are saying seven-figure year and they’re not talking about the profit. We’re talking a seven-figure revenue year. There are people doing that now in a year, on their first year. Realize, they just had some shortcuts. They had a lot of knowledge prior.
People were giving them the lessons they need to learn to get there faster and that’s okay. I went through that eleven-year journey to finally go, “I got there, and I’m glad I did.” I wouldn’t change anything about my journey because I’ve enjoyed every moment along the way. If you’re struggling, it’s okay. It’s part of the process. Trust the process and keep doing what you need to do because eventually you’ll break through and you’ll get exactly what you want.
[bctt tweet=”You determine whether or not you are just the guy in the background that’s doing everything or you could be the star player on the team” via=”no”]
After you landed those seven clients, $10,500 in immediate revenue and recurring, you learned the art of client retention. Hopefully, at that point you kept them for longer. Was that the start of where you are now? Was that the start of your core agency and what you’re doing now?
Yes. That was the beginning of the agency I have now. We rebranded the agency, rebranded myself. I positioned it more as I’m an advertising specialist. I’m not an expert, I’m an advertising specialist that focuses on Facebook and Instagram. That’s it. I started to write case studies. I decided every month, and I got this as an idea from a buddy of mine, Juan Morales. We were sitting at lunch and my good friend Brad Spencer was there too and he said, “You have so much information. You should be doing a case study a month. You should be putting something out there, letting people know how great you are. “Client A did this, this is what happened.”
That turned into two and a half years of me writing a case study a month. Sometimes, I did two a month, but I did it every month. For those of you who know me now for quite a bit, I wrote one in November of 2017 that was historic in my business because it led to hundreds of people contacting me from a case study. I just got a client from it who just read it recently. We’re talking months later.
I started doing these case studies because I realized I just have to show people that I know what I’m doing and explain it in a way that makes it easy for them. Repositioning of me, putting out case studies, getting clear on the service offering, how to retain the client, how to communicate better with them. All these things came to fruition from that experience of the audits.
By the way, one of those people that signed on with me during those audits stayed and is still with me for three and a half years. It’s really starting to understand what the client wants, but having them also understand that you’re in this with them. This isn’t a battle, this isn’t that I’m your employee either, we’re working together, we’re partners now. Having that understanding and that relationship really helped develop my agency over time.
I didn’t go from seven clients the twenty overnight. I went from seven to twelve, stayed for a bit, twelve to fifteen, stayed for a bit. I would incrementally increase because as we grew, I then had to learn things like how to outsource, how to do better project management, how to have better time management. I would increase, stop, analyze, and go, “My time is really starting to get a little messed up here. I need to learn a little bit of time management.” I would just incrementally grow and learn as I go. To get to the point where you have 50 clients, we have a team of seven now that’s actively working on campaigns. Do we still have clients that leave? Absolutely, every agency does. Do also have clients that come in all the time? Yes, because we’ve built that reputation.
I’ve really put in a lot of work to just let people know this is what we do. We believe we’re the best at it. I don’t care what any list says, I don’t care what any threads says in any group. I believe I’m the best and I’m going to put that out there. Having that belief and that power, when you go out there, you just project it and you say, “This is who I am. I believe it and you can’t say anything about it.”
People align with that. There’s no actual list of who the best in the world are. You either believe it or you don’t. That alone has allowed me to really be connected with more and more people. I go to tons of events now because I enjoy being around people. Before, I was scared being in rooms of even 100 people. I could speak on stage in front of 1,000 and everything’s fine, but when I’m in the group, I had problems. I learned how to be more connected with people, not being afraid to ask questions.
It was very much like on a podcast level, but just in person. Asking those questions and the more I became okay with being uncomfortable, the more the business grew. I put myself in these massively uncomfortable situations. Speak in front of 600 people, speak in front of 1,000 and a group you don’t know, and a group you do know, but talk about something you’ve never talked about before. Get on twenty podcasts in a year and see what that’s like. Just doing random things like that and they all benefited greatly. I always find ways to challenge myself and learn from those experiences because they’ve allowed the business to grow too. It gets to the point now where I have this belief in myself. Do I fail? Absolutely.
I’m not 100%. I got bashed in a Facebook thread recently for no reason. That’s okay. I was able to take the heat. Ten years ago, I probably would have broke down, start crying trying to figure stuff out. It happens, but this is business. I’ve learned that the more that I continue to be persistent, I practice my craft and it’s not about perfection, it’s just continuing to get better and better and better along the way, the more people are going to appreciate what it is you’re doing for them. The business is where it’s at now because we have that constant grind, but also appreciation for those that have allowed me to grow to this point.
I love this story, this conversation that we ended up talking about now. This was quite honestly the path of many entrepreneurs, many experts and a ten or eleven-year career in the world of marketing and advertising. It takes a long time to find yourself, find your specialty. What I love about this is you can become an expert in just about anything. You just need to be one step ahead of who your client is, if you’re in the service space. You need to be great at what you do, but it also has to align with your vision. You could probably sell services on lots of different things, but you have to enjoy doing it.
You could have 50 clients and if you had 50 clients that you hated serving them, your life would be awful. I can speak from experience of different ventures that I’ve done. I had a lot of people pay me for certain services and I’m like, “This is terrible.” It takes time to discover yourself, find what you really want to do, find your passion, find your vision, but at the same time, knowing how to provide value to other people so that exchange of goods and services happens. Thank you for sharing that story. That was incredibly powerful.
David, we talked about your story from when you went from 2007, a simple Google search of how to make money online that kicked you into this rabbit hole of marketing. You enjoyed the thrill. You said you enjoyed the passion and the feeling and the excitement of when you made your first $20 commission. It started to snowball from there. Then you landed your first client in the service space making $750 a month. You built that up and then you got out of it when you heard about the Google slap.
You started to learn more about paid traffic, you got a couple of clients that came crashing down seven days away from bankruptcy or ten days away from bankruptcy. You discovered that your immediate network, there are a lot of money and there are a lot of value that you can provide to them and that’s where you are now. You’re running a seven-figure business, serving 50 clients, seven employees, and it’s only up from here. I appreciate you sharing that story. There was a lot to learn from here, lots to learn about personal development entirely.
When you get to a certain point of learning how to make money or sustain yourself as an entrepreneur, almost always, the next thing that you really need to learn is mindset and personal development. You’re going to go through some crazy shit. You’re going to go through some nasty stuff and I always used to throw the mindset stuff out the window.
I’m not into that whole space, but when you get kicked in the nuts a couple of times and you get kicked hard and reality starts crashing down, you realize that mindset is what is going to pull you through it. It’s just a lesson that I learned from that. I’m just sharing knowing what I’ve gone through and what you’ve gone through. We’ve gone through some similar experiences and I know that personal development is what pulled you through. David, where can people check you out? How do they connect with you?
They can connect with me on Facebook. They just search David Schloss or you could type in Facebook.com/Schlossy. That connects with me directly onto go to a fan page. Hit me up directly if you want to talk to me. I check my inbox. I even check the other inbox. You can message me direct and we can chat. You can also email me directly at David@ConvertROI.com. I respond to that too. That’s all me. Lastly one, if you follow me on Instagram, Instagram.com/DSchloss925. Those are the places that I’m at all the time. It’s what I check all the time. If you want to reach out, whether it’s just to become friends, work together, whatever it may be, don’t be afraid. Hit me up and you’ll talk to me directly. Let’s make it happen.
It’s always a pleasure connecting with you. Thanks for sharing your story. Please connect with David. I know exactly what he’s referencing. He did an amazing evergreen webinar case study. If you’re interested in webinars, you’re interested in paid traffic, you’re interested in real numbers, that happened with running paid ads for an evergreen webinar. It’s an incredible case study. Go check it out. Go searching and stalk him on Facebook because you’ll find that posts. David, thanks, and for everyone, we’ll talk soon and we’ll see you on the next episode. Thanks.
Thanks so much. We hope you enjoyed our episode and we look forward to giving you the next one. If you want additional trainings and content outside of the podcast, I released exclusive video trainings on my Experts Unleashed Youtube Channel. If you’d like to come hang out with thousands of other fellow experts, join our Facebook Group Community where we do Hangouts and webinars to help support you in your journey. If you’d like my personal help to develop, launch or scale your business, contact me directly for private consulting opportunities to see if any spots are available. You can find all of the information at ExpertsUnleashed.com.
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About David Schloss
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Consultant, speaker, and considered one of the top Social Advertising trainers, David Schloss has created training and consulted some of today’s top entrepreneurs in Facebook advertising, Instagram advertising, authority marketing, social PR (social public relations), video marketing and professional branding strategies.
He began marketing in 2007 from his college apartment, and over the years has now helped hundreds of businesses improve their website traffic, customer acquisition, and revenue using social advertising.
His business, Convert ROI, enables businesses to succeed by taking complicated social ad plans and seamlessly turning them into easy-to-follow revenue producing campaigns. He manages over $1mil per month in paid advertising via Facebook and Instagram.
He was been rated as one of the top “Experts to Watch” by Forbes Magazine, has been featured on Entrepreneur.com, Business Insider, The Huffington Post, and been interviewed on various podcasts and web shows around the topic of social advertising.
✔ Contact me for a FREE consultation: 954-554-1753
Specialties: Facebook Advertising, Instagram Advertising, Twitter Advertising, Snapchat Advertising, Pinterest Advertising, YouTube Advertising, Authority Marketing, Authority Positioning, Social PR, Expert Positioning, Brand Positioning, Celebrity Positioning, Authority Branding, Celebrity Branding, Social Branding, Video Marketing, and Social Media Marketing