Don’t be a service provider — be a SOLUTIONS provider
22 Motivational Minutes
March 9, 2021
“You have a limited amount of time available in life. Don’t waste it trying to get things to be perfect.” On this episode of 22 Motivational Minutes with Marla, Marla and I talk about how the tendency for entrepreneurs to chase shiny objects tends to come down to desperation. Anything that has a chance to bring in revenue is worth pursuing. They do everything, so they never become good at anything.
We also talk about how there is absolutely no reason not to be a premium solution provider. Life is much better at the high end of the price range. You end up working with better clients who want to invest in a solution to their problem, rather than haggling on price and splitting payments.
We also talk about:
- Why competing on price is always emotional and never logical.
- Why people are scared to fail.
- How to test whether or not your fears are logical.
About the Show: Marlo Higgins is the host of 22 Motivational Minutes.
Marlo Higgins: Welcome to 22 Motivational Minutes with Marlo, where I help passionate entrepreneurs condense an hour of business research into 22 minutes of powerful conversations filled with knowledge, stories and advice to help you achieve your one-year goal in 90 days. From national stages to your earbuds, I'm here to tell you that it's possible to have a profitable and sustainable business without the fear of overwhelm and uncertainty that comes with being an entrepreneur. It's all mojo and none of the fluff. It's time to get motivated in 22 minutes.
All right. Welcome back to this week's episode of 22 Motivational Minutes with Marlo. This is our brand performance podcast. Today, our performance conversation is with our special guest, Dylan Ogline. He's a digital marketing expert, entrepreneur and educator. His key focus is helping people start and grow their own hyper profitable digital agency. But I think most of you are going to be surprised at today's episode, because Dylan and I are going to take a fairly unique angle to this as we've gotten to know each other. Dylan has a back story where he has a messy middle situations. We know as entrepreneurs that that's really where you're going to get the most out of our conversation with Dylan. So, Dylan, thank you for joining our podcast today.
Dylan Ogline:Absolutely Marlo. Thank you so much for having me, I'm excited to talk about the messy middle as you said. I love that one.
Marlo Higgins: I mean, because right now, business, right? You’re a sage digital marketing expert, you're an entrepreneur, but there's a bit of a back story. So, can you just take a minute and tell us a little bit about your back story, Dylan? And you know where you're coming from and maybe lead us into this messy middle of where we're headed?
Dylan Ogline: I'll start in the beginning. So, for me, I like to start by telling people I dropped out of high school. I started my first business when I was 14, this is before I dropped out. Basically, I'm from a really small town in Pennsylvania where it's beat into you that you'll never amount to anything in your life. I did the really, really dumb thing of dropping out of high school, because I figured if I got into business early, it was like my one shot to kind of get out and kind of do something with my life. I don't recommend it to anybody I recommend finish school, go to go to college, get good grades, kids. But that's where it started for me.
Then I spent the next 12 or so years bouncing around, not really getting anything. Constantly chasing the shiniest object and not really getting anywhere. Eventually, I had over 10 business projects going at one time and was barely making ends meet, nearly a million dollars in debt and just reached a tipping point and scrapped everything and just focused on one single thing.
Marlo Higgins: Okay, so take us there. Ten years you were, shiny penny syndrome as most entrepreneurs, right? We think we can do it all and do it all at once. then it leads to absolutely doing nothing, which, that's paralyzing and it's overwhelming as well. How did you take this? Because you turned this this experience in a very short period of time. Four short years, you built an online digital agency, which is seven figures generating over a million in sales in three years running. Give us that start point, how did you go from that level of distraction, Dylan, of doing it all to saying, where am I going to get hyper focused and where am I going to make this work?
Dylan Ogline: I would actually jump out to one thing you mentioned that would you call it the shiny pennies syndrome? This is the same thing. I think, for a lot of people, it comes down to desperation. It's definitely a fallacy. But it's you have a financial goal, you have bills to pay, you're stressed about money. And kind of in the back of your mind, you might have this like, oh, there's this one thing I really want to do, but I need to pay the bills. So, you start chasing all these things that's like, "Oh, if I do this, I can make maybe a thousand dollars a month off of it. Or maybe two thousand dollars a month. Or maybe I'll take this one gig where I'm getting paid twenty bucks an hour and I can do that for twenty hours a week." I've been in all of those different situations and it's really just it comes down to desperation.
That's definitely where I was. Like I mentioned, I had about ten business projects going at one time and I reached the tipping point. What it was for me that kind of pushed me over the edge as I had a conversation with a long-term mentor of mine where he basically was like, "Dylan, you've got to--" I lied to him and I'd say, "Oh yeah, everything's great." Then eventually I'll break down and I'm like, "Dude, I'm getting nowhere. I'm broke. I'm up to my eyeballs in debt. I'm I don't know what sleep is. I dream of, like, someday going on a vacation." And he's like, "Dude, you just need to you need to get focused." That was that was it. That's not sexy sounding, it's not in depth, it's not complicated. It's almost like a metaphorical slap across the face where, "Dylan, you need to get focused."
Literally that that evening I had that conversation with him. I went downstairs into my freezing basement office. I think it was like November-ish of 2016, maybe October, give or take. But still it was cold, freezing. I just got on my computer and I just deleted everything that if it wasn't already making money, at least a couple hundred bucks a month, I deleted it. I would take the folder and just throw it in the trash and empty the trash. The projects that were making some money, I automated it. It was like I'm not going to put a second of my time into this and if it dies, it dies.
The other advice he gave me was focus on a high profit margin business where, and this is important, if you end up being just okay at it, you're not the best in the world at it, you still hit your financial goal. Which my financial goal at the time was six figures, that's what I wanted. I figured if I hit six figures, it would solve all my problems. So, I looked at the things I was doing and the business that stood out was Digital Marketing Management, which essentially what we do is we manage our clients, Facebook and Google and sometimes YouTube ads. It's got a high profit margin, it's highly scalable and that was just what I focused on.
Marlo Higgins: Yeah. Clarity clears the clutter, that's what we're talking about. Your uber focused, getting granular on what is it that's going to make a difference and remove all of that overwhelm that you were experiencing by trying to operate these ten businesses and said, "Okay, what's the one?" match it to a high profit margin and boom, that's how you got to where you were. Do you have any tips or pointers for us Dylan? As entrepreneurs are listening to this episode, how to get that hyper focus? You went down, you purge files, but can you give us, the feeling that you were in that made that decision a reality?
Dylan Ogline: For me, it was, like I said, that that tipping point. I had the tipping point, the breaking point. I was so fried, I was so tired, I was so mentally exhausted that it was it was easy for me to quit cold turkey. I entrepreneurs are, just by our very nature, we're Type A personalities, like we can do it all. the truth is there's a saying, "The man who chases two rabbits, catches none" something along those lines. I had reached that tipping point, it was all this advice he's given me.
It was the slap across the face where the solution is right in front of my face. I am going in all these different directions, no wonder I'm getting no progress. It wasn't something I didn't know. I had read the book Essentialism, which if you're out there and you have not read that book, go by it, read the book, Essentialism. I knew these things. I knew that I needed to focus on the critical few, let go of the trivial many, that was built into me. But I was so caught up in the day to day of like, I was desperate to make that couple hundred bucks extra months so I could figure out what that one business was that I was going to focus on, that I spent a decade of my life bouncing around, getting absolutely nowhere.
Marlo Higgins: Yeah, that messy middle is like going from like, yeah, I have this high desire and this is just, I'm just churn and burn. It's just messy in that space. Then you decided with that one conversation with your mentor and said focus and then you just took that to reality. I mean you took all the things that you were learning and doing, it sounds like, and you put it all into one and it's gotten you through it.
Dylan Ogline: I was just absolutely ruthless with it. As an example, I'm a perfectionist by nature. So, any time I had started all these ten projects or whatever, it was more than that, by the way. But when I would start something, I was like, "Oh, I need to go get a nice logo. I need to get the website set up and then I need to get the LinkedIn and the YouTube. I need to get a business card and do the letterhead. I need to get a phone system. I need to do all these things." Because I had wasted so much time on all that useless stuff, I just I bootstrapped everything. I didn't have a website for my agency until earlier this year. I think it would have been two years.
We did over seven figures, no website, no phone voiceover system, no logo, no nothing. I didn't have any of that stuff. I wouldn't necessarily 100% percent recommend that, it does make you look more professional if you have a website. But again, for me, I had reached that tipping point. I was so ruthless with it because I had spent so long suffering and finally saw the solution. It was like, I'm going to go as hard as I possibly can into this. And it was it was very quickly things turned around. Like I said, six figures was my goal. I think it was by March, so within, say, three or four months, I was on pace for six figures.
Marlo Higgins: So conscious avoidance. Right. Those are the things that you were putting in the way of being successful and you were consciously doing it. I need a website. I needed a logo. All these things were keeping you from being successful. Once you decided just to step out, it sounds like, and just bring yourself forward and say, "You know what, these are no longer going to be excuses. I'm going to use them just to kind of get to where I need to go." You did it. That's I mean, that's a powerful story for anybody who's listening to this. I mean, so you're also known as having lived the four-hour work week, Dylan. Can you give us some insight into the power of time and how you're making all this reality and doing it in four hours a week?
Dylan Ogline: I want to back up because you use the term "conscious avoidance" that is so powerful, I can't even begin to describe. Now that I have an education company where I'm teaching people to start their own agencies, wow, do I see that so much? A lot of what it comes down to is people are scared to fail. I like where you went into the time with that, because to me, again, I wasted 10, 12 years of my life. Don't make that mistake. If you're out there, you want to start your own business or you've started your business, but you're scared to make it grow.
You have a limited amount of time available in life, don't waste it trying to get things to be perfect. Don't waste it being scared to fail, because you will. But the only way you can reiterate and get better and better and better with your business or pivot and go in a different direction, the only way you can get to those points and make those decisions is by passing the hurdles and failing. So, I like to say fail as quickly as you possibly can. So, I know I jump back there. What was your question about the four-hour work week? I apologize.
Marlo Higgins: No, that's good. No, no, no, no Dylan these are all like powerful messages and I think it's very poignant. You are describing a true entrepreneur, right? You have to have this ability to adapt and to pivot into situations when you're not getting a return. You have to like, eat it because like you said, I mean, you've killed projects that you thought at some point were going to happen and they didn't. By killing the project, it allowed you more energy, more focus, all of these things to make what was working work even better. Go into that four-hour work week. Because we have a mission to help entrepreneurs reach a one-year goal and do it in 90 days. I love the power of time and I love the way different people look at it. So, give us your insight. Why did you choose the four-hour work week? And then, how long did you establish it and give us some insight there?
Dylan Ogline: The Four-Hour Work Week, for those of you don't know, is a book by Timothy Ferriss, I highly recommend that everybody reads that one. For me, it's not necessarily about working, which if you actually read the book, it's not about necessarily working four hours a week. It's really about being able to work when you want, where you want, on what you want. So instead of the whole idea of 40 hours a week, I have to work 40 hours a week. If I'm not working that amount from not working 60 hours a week, I'm a failure. It's really about constraining yourself, focusing on the 80/20, the 20% of your actions that get you 80%t of your results, a whole bunch of different things. But really constraining your time so that you're not wasting it on the trivial many. Does that answer your question?
Margo Higgins: Yeah, absolutely. Key ingredients here, discipline, focus 80/20 really kind of paring down, and that allows you the ability to do it when you want, where you want and what you want. I think that's just brilliant. And people are hearing this and some of them are thinking that's not a reality, Dylan. But here you're proving that it actually happened, it is a reality. And you love to teach other people, I mean, you have a passion for educating others in this space. Can you give us why that is, or what is it about that educational platform that you that you enjoy?
Dylan Ogline: Back in the beginning when I was 13, 14 years old, I had incredible coaches. I'm a hockey player, I had incredible coaches that had a massive impact on my life. Incredible teachers that had a huge impact on my life. Mentors that have had a massive impact. When I was 13, 14, I had this kind of thought of, what do I want to do with my life? And one of the things that kept popping up was being a coach of some sort. I thought I would probably go down the hockey route, but I definitely wasn't skilled enough to be like a professional coach and amateur coaches make next to nothing or they do make nothing. I didn't want to be broke, so I knew, okay, well, I can't go down that route. That was kind of like an early desire that I had. Once I finally got my agency growing, I finally started to have some success in business. I finally hit seven figures, I kind of took a look around and was, more doesn't seem to be more satisfying to me.
If I aim for eight figures with my business, like, I'll just have more money, I won't be more fulfilled. So, I said, okay, I would like to kind of shift and go in the direction of doing some kind of coaching. What does that look like? And that's where I ended up doing the education company where I teach people how to start and grow their own business. Over the years, I have had people that I would just meet at industry events, conferences, things like that. Then I would kind of for free, privately, give them advice and teach them and guide them along. I found that to be way more enjoyable than the other things I was doing with my business. I kept coming back to that, even though I wasn't making anything from it and was doing it, volunteering basically. Once I reached a certain level with the agency, it was I really want to focus on that and took a course by Sam Evans, sort of like a consulting business and a couple of years later, here I am.
Marlo Higgins: Brilliant. I also want to look at Dylan as a as a person. Right. You're fascinated by stoicism and you have an insatiable hunger for knowledge and growth and that I think you've kind of just described and defined for us. And how you've taken that hunger for knowledge and how you're extending that to other people. But talk about stoicism, because I think right there's a huge conversation in itself.
Dylan Ogline: For me stoicism can go in many different directions. It's kind of in my opinion, it's one of those things where you pick what you want to get from it. For me, it's about recognizing emotions. Let's talk business fear. Fear of failure, fear of making investments. I think fear in general is a very powerful, probably the most powerful emotion. Recognizing that those emotions are there and kind of trying to force yourself--this is what I do--I force myself to put logic behind it. Is this a logical fear to have? I know this isn't the perfect answer. Or if I'm getting upset about something, I'm angry about a team member making a mistake. Am I being emotional or am I being logical? For me that's just how I have kind of used stoicism, especially with business is just always trying to force myself to recognize emotions that are there. These aren't necessarily failures of mine because I have fear or whatever. And just question, is this logical or is this emotional? Does that make sense?
Marlo Higgins: Absolutely. Yeah. You're right, because we're naturally emotional--we're just emotionally invested as entrepreneurs on our success and the people that we're aligned to. And I think that makes a powerful statement to be focused on a logic. And we always like to say, state the facts, remove the emotion. Let's just stay of the facts here, what's going on truly? And then, we are emotional beings, but are we giving it too much emotion? Are we feeding the monster and we don't really need to be? I think that's really important for others to hear. So very, very powerful. Can I pivot a little bit?
Dylan Ogline: Anywhere you want to go.
Marlo Higgins: One of the things and I'm a firm believer in this as well, but stop hiding behind low prices, show your value. Can you speak to that Dylan? Give us an example or a story around that.
Dylan Ogline: This was a lesson that I learned specifically when it came to--so I've been doing like kind of digital agency work for years, I built Logo's websites, things like that for people. And the lesson I learned was in regard to website prices, so I'll lead with a story here. And it's basically, what happens is a lot of people when it comes to, they're doing web design work, they are competing in the nature of price instead of providing a solution. So, they're reaching out to clients and the truth is you're never going to be the cheapest option on the market. Anybody can go to Wix, anybody could go to Squarespace and get a website for $15 to $20 a month. So, it's not logical, you're being emotional if you're trying to compete on price.
It is much better to be a solutions provider. So, somebody who is willing to spend several thousand dollars on a website as an example, they're not looking for necessarily a website. They're looking to invest in their online presence. That sounds a little bit different. And they're looking to grow their business. They're looking to set up the ability for people to buy their products online or to book services online, what have you. Shifting your focus from being a service provider to a solutions provider allows you to increase your prices and allows you to get away from competing to get to the lowest bottom price in the market, which again, you never will. So, what I did whenever I was selling websites and I used to build them, again, I used to be the guy that charged you $500 for a website, $1,000 for a website, changed my pricing model to where I was providing solutions, I was helping my clients grow their online presence was doing the exact same thing, I was building them a website. But that allowed me to speak the client's language and charge much higher prices.
Marlo Higgins: So, it's just positioning, I mean, really. It's just it's just a flip of the switch that, it's how we're thinking about it. But when you're watering down your brand, when you're hiding behind a low price, then you're watering down everything and then you don't even want to buy from you at that point.
Dylan Ogline: Yeah, that's where I was going to go next. Is it also when you're the top solution, when you're charging say, $5,000 for a website, or another example I like to use as cars. If you're Mercedes is a $150,000 sedan, you know that people were expecting short just short of perfection like they want the best of the best. When you're selling a $500 website or your Chevy selling a $12,0-00 Cruze, you naturally, as the business owner are almost like, well, what did you expect? You were buying the cheap solution? Like, did you expect quality? So, then you end up providing to your clients a low-quality solution, which then nobody's happy about. But by being the premium provider, you're building a better relationship with the client and then it forces you to stand beside your high prices instead of hiding behind those low prices and being like, well, what did you expect.
Marlo Higgins: Yeah. And don't you find that those scarcity clients, the ones that are about the price, oh my God, they're more demanding, right?
Dylan Ogline: Absolutely, yeah.
Marlo Higgins: You spend more time on them and there's really no difference.
Dylan Ogline: Yeah. The people that are, that are spending $500 on a website or you know can't afford marketing or whatnot. Not that they're bad people, it's just they're not at that place in the market and they're trying to step up to this higher level. But they don't they don't have the resources for it and they're not ready for it and they're they end up being more demanding. I've never had clients with $80,000 amonth bills, invoices being sent out, they never have issues with payments.
Marlo Higgins: They don't.
Dylan Ogline: People that are $200 for a website, $500 on a website, they always got to do split pay or they got to break it into a few payments or whatnot.
Marlo Higgins: Isn't that interesting? Yeah, and it's expectation, right? I mean, they level up their level of expectation when you're working with a high-level VIP red carpet provider. Those are the level of clients and those people think differently. They have different expectations and there's more synergy built into it.
Dylan Ogline: Absolutely. As a service provider, I have yet to see any business model, whether it's web design or digital marketing or consulting or photography or anything. It is much better to be the premium solutions provider as the business owner yourself, it is much better to be at that high end. The people are better to deal with, you make more money. You end up delivering a better, higher quality product or service. Everybody ends up happier. Your life is easier. There's absolutely no reason not to be the premium solutions provider.
Marlo Higgins: Absolutely. Okay, so we're kind of coming into the close of this. I mean, we've hit on some beautiful topics here. And I know that there's been a lot of value, Dylan, that you have shared with us. What are the best ways for people to connect with you online?
Dylan Ogline: My website is dylanogline.com. Then you can find me on the Instagrams and the Facebooks and LinkedIns of the world @Dylanogline.
Marlo Higgins: Oh, Dylan, this has just been so fun, so thank you so much. You can also learn more about Dylan on our website at Marlohiggins.com, where you can connect to Dylan's circle of influence, add him to your circle of influence and connect with his different resources. Dylan, thank you so much for today.
Dylan Ogline: Thanks Marlo.
Marlo Higgins: We invite you to share this podcast with others and thank you in advance for your partnership. If you enjoyed this episode and it left you feeling inspired, share your biggest takeaway on our performing get paid community Facebook page. This is where we will engage and respond to your questions. This is Marlo Higgins, your host and Chief Inspiration Officer. Have an awesome rest of your day.
Did you enjoy this podcast? If so, subscribe, leave a review and tell your friends. As your Chief Inspiration Officer, I coach passionate entrepreneurs like you to achieve complete confidence and clarity to reach your one-year goal in 90 days. Learn how you can get more done in less time with my number one proven formula for consistency and clarity. Simply go to go.marlohiggins.com to download. Thank you so much for listening and I'll catch you next week on 22 Motivational Minutes with Marlo.