Ep073: Greg Harrington

Welcome to the More Cheese, Less Whiskers podcast. Today we have a great conversation with Greg Harrington. Greg is an app developer who has unlimited opportunities and wonderful capabilities.

We started the conversation by talking about where his business developing custom apps for people that maybe take three or four months to complete, has come from, and the capacity he has for that type of project.

We then really got to the conversation about what the big opportunity is for Greg, and to think about the highest possible outcome for the skills, abilities and asset he has (his time and knowledge).

We talked about my freedom matrix for evaluating opportunities, and we spent the whole conversation really honing in on how to evaluate and figure out what are the best opportunities.

I think if you're in a situation like this where you have lots of capabilities and opportunities coming your way, then this will be valuable to help you put some sharp thinking around what would be the very best use of those capabilities going forward.

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Transcript - More Cheese Less Whiskers 073

Dean: Greg Harrington.

Greg: Good morning Dean Jackson.

Dean: How are you sir?

Greg: I'm so awesome. I've been looking forward to this all week. I'm so excited. Thank you so much.

Dean: Oh, I'm excited too. It's my favorite day because I get to do a couple More Cheese Less Whiskers episodes back to back and go to a movie. I love Fridays. It's awesome.

Greg: More cheese Friday?

Dean: Yeah, it's more cheese Friday. We're recording right now. We've got the whole hour to hatch some evil schemes here. Let's have you kind of set the stage, tell what's going on and where you think we might be able to focus, and we'll see what we can come up with.

Greg: All right, well my business, Actioneers Mobile, builds custom apps, mobile apps. Android and iPhone apps are what mostly that looks like, for businesses. I've been thinking for a while that there needs to be more, well everything that you talked about on this podcast, having an actual plan for generating what's your future business, and thinking about our conversation today, I've been reviewing some of the older podcasts and the book. It's clear to me that we've been serving, like anything, anybody who shows up, "Sure, we can help you with that app." That takes two forms. "We've got problems with our app, our developer flaked, our developer's no good," whatever, "Can you help us?" I'm really good at that. Then the majority of the business is very small companies, sometimes medium, but often very small, like they're just starting something, so that the building of, the creation of an app is their baby, it's kind of the beginning of an enterprise for them.

Dean: It's the startup. Yeah, they’re in startup mode.

Greg: It's a startup. It's a startup, yeah, and not the VC funded kind. I really love those conversations. They're passionate about something, and I'm really good at crafting, taking their vision and turning it into something technical that is efficient and good. A key part of a mobile app is that it'd be well designed, so obviously we start with an intense focus on the design. I have never focused on a specific industry, and so generating that next lead is a little ad hoc. I've got a lead generating service that I use, but I'm taking every lead that they can generate. They're not of great quality, so there's not a very good conversion, but I can't get more from them, and then it's like, "Well, what do I do next?" Profit activator one, I've been thinking a lot about, what's my target, and I'm just kind of getting in my own weeds, getting in my own way of, "what's the target, there's too many," I've got a hundred.

Dean: Okay. Let's start with you.

Greg: Okay.

Dean: Let's start with... That's always a nice place to start because first thing, the purpose in my mind, of a business, is to bring you joy and money. Let's start with that, is what'd be a dream come true for you? What is it that you want to do? Where do you see your dream scenario here? What is it that you really like about the business?

Greg: Wow. Okay. Great question. I come to this, I've started a lot of businesses, but I come to this particular one with I'm a technician.

Dean: Okay, yeah. That's what I want to understand, is are you an idea guy, are you a tech guy?

Greg: I can deliver, yeah, I can deliver what I deliver because I know the tech, the technology, the specifics of how to build a mobile app and it be great, how to design it so that it can be built to be successful.

Dean: Right.

Greg: I get into that side of it, too much, meaning I don't spend enough time at the big picture, which I really enjoy. I love those conversations where we're crafting something.

Dean: Yeah.

Greg: One thing I am thinking about as talking, one thing I've realized that I don't enjoy is that a fair amount of the time, the ideas that people come to me with, I'm not passionate about their idea.

Dean: Right.

Greg: I'm passionate about building the technical part in a high quality way, but it's not my baby. I never really get behind it. I've been just thinking about that a little bit. Not sure where...

Dean: Is there, I'm zero technical, so I've decided long ago that I'm more of a front of the screen guy than the back of the screen guy. A funny story, I went to a conference in Miami several years ago called The Future of Web Apps. I thought it was going to be like an idea conference, all these things. I went in to this breakout session with the guy who started Fresh Books. They were just kind of up and coming. I thought it was going to be kind of like the idea and the story and all that stuff. The first screen that they put up was all like code from the, and everybody's like, "Oh yeah." Everybody's reading it, and he might as well have been putting Chinese up there. I realized right then, I said to my designer Jessie, who I was with there. I said, "You know what, Jessie, this is just like absolutely clear thing that my lane is in front of the screen, not behind the screen at all." If you're the kind of, you've got that mixed talent of being able to speak and understand the front of the screen, and you also then have the ability to go behind the screen and actually make it, that's a really great combination to have.

Greg: It is, and I think that's been the key to my success is because I take all of... Building a mobile is an extremely complex process.

Dean: Yeah.

Greg: I never overwhelm my customers. I always translate everything. I either handle it, which is 90% of it, I just handle it and they don't even know how monumental the thing that I'm delivering to them is that it looks so to them. Then any part we talk about, I'm just very good at putting it into terms they understand if I need a decision from them.

Dean: Yeah. Okay, when you look at the kinds of projects that you do right now, what kind of a business are you running right now? Do you have a big team? Is it a lean...

Greg: It's me managing. I'm the only full time person, so I handle all the client interactions. All my technical resources are contract based.

Dean: Okay.

Greg: Some domestic, some off shore.

Dean: What's a typical project for you?

Greg: Size-wise?

Dean: Historically. Yeah.

Greg: A typical app is in the $25 to $40,000 range.

Dean: Okay. How long does it take you to do that?

Greg: Three to four months. Probably four months.

Dean: Okay. How many can you do in a year? Like what's your capacity for then?

Greg: With the current setup, just me being the only full time person and the things that I contract, I'm equivocating, I know I could do four a month, no problem.

Dean: Okay.

Greg: Right now it's more like one a month.

Dean: Okay. That would be kind of like full capacity for you, if you could do four a month of those...

Greg: That would take enough of my time that I would consider myself full. I do have some ideas in place about how I would leverage my time. Managing four would kind of be a full time effort for me, and I'd need to put some team in place to grow beyond that.

Dean: Okay.

Greg: That's what I desire to do.

Dean: I got you. That’s what you want. You want to actually be like fully busy, where you're constantly working on a variety of projects, three or four at a time, and moving them forward.

Greg: Yes, that's with me touching them much less.

Dean: Right.

Greg: Yeah.

Dean: Okay.

Greg: One change I'd made recently because of this unique skillset, I've been doing all of the interface design, what the user experience looks like, I've been doing all that design myself. Just in the past month, I've hired someone that's really good at that.

Dean: Yeah.

Greg: I'm excited to be able to still have those meetings with the client where we're actually creating this vision of it, the words, the concepts if you will, but then actually reducing that to an actual screen design, I'm excited to hand that off to somebody.

Dean: Yes.

Greg: Yeah.

Dean: Okay. Now, is there...

Greg: The technical side of the thing, I'm really excited about some of the systems I started to put in place and putting those in place so that I have more time to focus on finding more cheese for people.

Dean: Sure. Now the projects that you tend to work on, they can go for three or four months, and then you hand it over and you're on to the next project, is that pretty much, like making little movies. Right? Like that Hollywood model in a way, where you've got a team of pros that you work with, that you assemble your team for this project. They're not employees, you're working with them on the projects, and then you finish that movie and then you're on to the next movie.

Greg: I'm kind of chuckling because you're analogy makes it sound more glamorous than it is, but yes, it's like a Hollywood.

Dean: I'm trying to glamorous it for you.

Greg: I love it. I love it.

Dean: We got to make you feel good about it. You're like a producer, right, you're a director, producer, everything but the star of the movie. Right?

Greg: Yeah.

Dean: You're helping somebody's vision come to life, because typically people will come to you and say, "I've got this app idea that I want to create." That's typically... Okay.

Greg: At least 80% of our revenue is the daring units, like we build a 1.0 app, and then that's it. We're available to do future things, but this small startup isn't ready for that, usually, for a long time.

Dean: Give me the sense of the types of apps that you've created.

Greg: Sure. All over the board. An app that helps you find healthy businesses, whatever healthy means to you, food based, other wellness services. Like a Yelp, but really nichey.

Dean: Locator businesses, technically.

Greg: Locator, map based, tag based. I did an app for a niche placer in the mortgage industry. They have a CRM that's just dialed in on loan originators, mortgage brokers. I did the mobile component for that. I did an app for contract research organizations, CROs, which kind of run drug trials. Basically a lab sample management app. It does a collection process, barcode, et cetera. It's just all over the place. Any industry. Whoever shows up... and I like that part of it. I really enjoy learning a new industry and learning what they need. I think I'm really good at it, making that and translating that into technology, and I see it as a limiter of my business.

Dean: Well, you're doing original work. You're making custom drapes every time. Right?

Greg: Yeah.

Dean: That's kind of a... That was a really eye-opening concept that, as someone shared with me one time, that making custom drapes is a limiter. Every time you create a new situation, that's it. It's the only time.

Greg: Yeah.

Dean: I kind of wonder, the real kind of rocket ship for the business that I was talking about that was doing the custom drapes, the real rocket ship for them was switching their model to do standardized drapes. They would do standard window sizes so they were ready to hang drapes. They weren't custom for every, so you could focus on creating the drape model, and then letting somebody just take them and hang them themselves. That was a big breakthrough. Where I always look for that is in businesses that are doing custom work, every time, my line of thinking goes down a path of, "Is there a way that you could create standardized apps?" Could you create something that is 80% there, even, and that you have a platform then that other businesses could do that? Now that would be kind of a model for local businesses, say, or for retail stores or for a restaurant, or for any type of business that would love to have an app but is only going to use it in a confined geographic area.

Greg: Yeah. Absolutely. I have started the process of building those blocks such that, as a technician, I absolutely can see exactly how to implement this. I just don't have it complete yet, but at least 80% of an app could be reusable components for the types of apps that I generally do. When you have a mobile app that's generating some sort, the users generating some sort of content and it needs to be shared to Facebook, that's the same for all the apps. You take the concept, it's kind of like a widget or a module kind of model there in the way we build it. There's all kinds of, a dozen examples like that that end up being, I think, a solid 80% of an app. So yes. Then it's like, "What's the target? What do I focus on?" I'm overwhelmed with the riches of possibilities. It's hard for me to constrain my brain to just pick one.

Dean: Oh, I know. Absolutely. That's part of the problem, right?

Greg: Yeah, that is.

Dean: There's so much opportunity. When you look back at the apps that you've done, how many apps have you built, would you say, in your career?

Greg: 40.

Dean: 40, so when you look at that, when you look at that handful, which ones kind of jump out at you as like, "That was a really great idea," that was a really great experience.

Greg: The one that resonates with my personal getting excited, I guess, about it, is the one that sounds pretty boring, which was the CRM for the loan origination business.

Dean: Sure.

Greg: It's actually a really simple, from a technology standpoint, but it's been so powerful for them in their business. They built a very nice, very handsome, quiet little business with that app.

Dean: Yeah. Very nice. You look at that, they're essentially having an app that is customizable for the user, right. They've got a platform that you're filling this up with your data so it's sort of they're syndicating it in a way. Right? They've got lots of different people are downloading and customizing their version of that app.

Greg: Yeah.

Dean: I think it's that level of thinking that you have an opportunity to go like one level up from that and start to think that same way. The way that app is thinking is that they're, all of their clients are going to have an individual experience with that app. Right? Every mortgage, every loan officer that they have downloaded it is experiencing the app as if it's just for them. Right?

Greg: Yeah.

Dean: That's where I think if you think kind of that same way, like for boutique retail stores, or for hair salons, or for any type of business, massage therapists, or anybody who has a local need for something like that might be a cool opportunity, like if you were to take that same sort of approach. To think about maybe while you're doing... What's going to happen is if you push the accelerator on your model right now, if you get that to full capacity, right, you get to where you're doing three or four apps a month and you're fully tapped out. You reach that ceiling of complexity that there's only so much Greg to go around, right, and each of those projects is going to end in three to four months, and you're continually faced with having to find three or four new clients every month to rotate through the process there. You're not building any equity in that. It's like you're renting. You're renting yourself out in a way.

Greg: Yeah.

Dean: As opposed to when you take that model, taking what you know and maybe having it, not even your skillset, but you have an ownership in the asset of an app for yourself, like you're essentially building these apps for other people, you get the money, and they get the money machine.

Greg: Okay.

Dean: Do you understand what I mean?

Greg: I think so. Like more of a monthly, monthly recurring model.

Dean: You're building, yeah. You're building for the mortgage guys, you built a CRM, you built an app and engine for them. I'm assuming they have an online, this is a supplement to their online.

Greg: Yes. They started online. Yeah, they started online, and a mobile app.

Dean: Yeah, and you built an app, an integration app, that goes with it. Right. They now have that tool. They're creating monthly recurring revenue from that that grows and grows and grows and grows.

Greg: Yeah.

Dean: I think knowing what you know, having... I'll say this to people who are largely service providers, that you're providing the service for a fee, and you're getting, hopefully, higher and higher opportunities. But there reaches a point where you can only go so high, right, that you end up pricing yourself out of the market for most of the businesses who want to build an app. Right? Even as you're experience grows, you sort of start... It's almost like you don't want to go backwards, even though you could build less robust or exciting apps better than anybody, it would be a step backwards for you, right, because you want to continue challenging yourself and continue to grow and expand your capabilities. Right? I'm saying that for anybody, any type of consultant, any type of one-to-one service provider, that one of the greatest assets that you have access to is you at cost.

Greg: Right.

Dean: For free.

Greg: Right.

Dean: There's the thing, you're putting yourself in a situation where you are... Are you familiar with Robert Kiyosaki's book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad?

Greg: Yes.

Dean: So the cash flow quadrants of the employee on one side and self-employed is in the lower quadrant.

Greg: Yeah, I'm an owner of the board game. Absolutely.

Dean: Oh, okay. Then the upper right is business owner, and the lower right is investor. For most of the entrepreneurs that I talk to, or most of the people in this situation, including myself, have some hybrid of self-employed and business owner. You would best be described as a self-employed business owner. Right? But the reality is that right now, you would be more on the self-employed side than the business owner in that the business, without you, is not in business.

Greg: That is a very accurate assessment. It's 99% self-employed, is what it feels like, but I have 100% business owner brain, just not bandwidth to spend the time there, usually.

Dean: Right. So now where you need to shift this where, and I have to be careful in saying need, you don't have to do anything. I'm just sharing a new thought with you that the idea could potentially be to start thinking like an investor with the assets that you do have, which is your unfilled capacity right now, right, and your skills and abilities to put those to work to build something for yourself alongside of it that has the potential to be a standalone business. Does that make sense?

Greg: Absolutely.

Dean: Okay.

Greg: Like build a system.

Dean: Like what?

Greg: Build a software platform that provides a monthly recurring, and ongoing.

Dean: Yeah. It's interesting, do you have ideas for apps right now? Knowing what you know and seeing what you see and what you're capabilities are and what's available in the market...

Greg: I have ideas all the time that I don't execute because there's somebody paying for me to execute somewhere else.

Dean: Right. Mm-hmm (affirmative), but are there any that would pay for you to... That's the kind of thinking.

Greg: I get really so... Sorry, when you asked me an example of how many apps, and I listed a few, even though it's not very sexy, something about making sales people better at what they do excites me, even though it's just administrative. There's just so much inefficiency, but you're also so close to actually moving their needle, and improving their revenue, so it seems like an opportunity for me.

Dean: Right.

Greg: If I can offer a tool that actually increases a sales force productivity by 20%, or whatever, that's hugely valuable to them because that's their underutilized resource, so they're getting all that labor for free, all that increased revenue for free, except for the cost of my software.

Dean: Yeah. Interesting, when you look at that, one of the things, I talk to a lot of copywriters and consultants and stuff that are doing work for hire that will write up a sales letter or write a package or a funnel, or whatever they'll do, and the... What I often suggest to them is taking the approach of one for them and one for you kind of thing, or two for them and one for you that you kind of look at if you find somebody who will write you a check to create an app for them, that then before you take another check from somebody else to write another app, that you also work on, or build out, an app for you.

Greg: Yeah. Yeah.

Dean: It's interesting. Maybe it's a two to one ratio or something like that, but there's this idea of if we push the accelerator pedal on what you were describing as the Promised Land, three or four apps a months, that that doesn't leave much opportunity then for you to ever escape that. That doesn't end well. It's a hamster wheel.

Greg: Right.

Dean: unless, yeah... But it was a bigger wheel that now requires, you've got all these other people that now require you to keep peddling that wheel, keep spinning that wheel at that big pace, and you feel like you've got to continually run harder now or you're going backwards. Right? You're, I'm saying these words to you, but it could be for any business that's in that model of a one-to-one relationship, their time and effort for the money. It's project based thing where there's a defined amount of money that you're making. You're not doing it per hour, per se, but it's essentially the same type of thing. The more efficient, you end up making more per hour, but it's definitely definable down to a, and I'm sure internally, that's one of the measure that you have is how much, what you're actual return on that time was. I'm sure you use that as an estimate to determine how much to charge for something, even if you don't line item the time as a part of the seed.

It's like taking that asset that you have and thinking like an investor with that and starting to think, "Okay, can I invest this in my own ideas, or can I take an investment in an app that you see," maybe you have different parameters that if you take an investment piece in it, that you are partnering with somebody to build an app that they're going to run the business of and get an ongoing share of the revenue, that would be a different model. You know?

Greg: Yeah, and something I see about this direction is that if I'm my own client, meaning I'm designing the app for my own vision, I could probably reduce the time to market to six to eight weeks.

Dean: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Greg: There might be an opportunity here to sell out of an empty cart, meaning find some future monthly recurring clients, and work with them to give them exactly what they need for a 1.0.

Dean: Yes.

Greg: Or an MVP, minimally valuable product, targeted directly at a couple, a handful of these people.

Dean: Yes, and I think...

Greg: I think of project Cyrus that you mentioned in some of the earlier podcasts, like that type of communication.

Dean: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Greg: You're a small group, we're working just with you, and... yeah.

Dean: Yeah, you could have... Yeah, you could definitely do that. That's a cool situation. You're crowd sourcing the app idea, that people have these ideas for the apps, but if you're got the parameters, like I think if you were to... Do you have a quadrant or a map or a grid or a way of evaluating and comparing app ideas, like what are the elements to make a sweet spot app? Like a scoring system?

Greg: No, the service I provide kind of stops at the technical aspect. I deliver it into the App Store, or Google Play, or Android App, and then it's up to them to make it a market success.

Dean: Yeah. I have...

Greg: So no...

Dean: I kind of looked at the... I created what I call an opportunity freedom matrix. It was basically something different parameters with a progression of them. Like what are the elements of the things that would create that freedom. So if I look at, the type of work is one of the elements, and the progression from worst to best, one to four is original work is the lowest value freedom of that, then the next level up might be customized work where some portion of it is already done, but I'm customizing a base chasse, or a platform, for something. The next level up would be personalized, where it's 80% the same, but I'm personalizing the last 20% for somebody. Then the level four work freedom is as is. Right? If I take this, you look at something and you say, "I'm creating an app," like the way you're describing it, "is original work," and it ends right there, right, if you're doing a completely custom pic for these folks, for somebody. If you've got some of the elements, like what you were saying, some of the platform things that are there that this project may be a level two because you're customizing and building off the asset that you've already created, right, that you've got some element of this. You've got the location map plugin kind of framework already built.

If you look at the level three, what the CRM guys are doing, that could potentially be personalized for their clients. It's 80% there, they're personalizing it with their own, all of their own information there, but then as is would be something like where it's not changing. Like a book would be an idea of an as is product. That's the kind of level there. I would go through, and I had seven different elements of this that I would look at. It would be the type of work, it would be the location, and it would start on level one with in person on site. If you have to be in person somewhere else, that's the lowest level of location freedom that you can have. The next level up might be in person on my site, where they come to me. That would be one more level of freedom, but the next level up would be on the phone where you don't have to go anywhere, and that way you can be anywhere. Then the next level would be on the beach where it doesn't matter where you are because you're not required at all geographically.

I would go down and look at that whole thing the way that you get paid, and that could be at level one, an hourly rate. Right? Level two would be a flat fee where you're getting a fee, but it's not tied to an hourly rate. If you do it faster, and more efficiently, you can make more money. Level three might be a percentage of the revenue, right, like a share, a revenue share. Level four is profits, where it's all yours. You can see as just going down these elements here, what that freedom scale might look like. If you look at all the elements that go into the types of projects that you would work on, to have that sort of like scoring system to evaluate which would be the best apps to spend your time on.

Greg: Okay.

Dean: If you're going to invest in an app, it would be great if you... Let's just take the retail store or local service provider type of app. Let's say a massage therapist or even a retail store would be a simple one that they could easily put up a gallery of their products or their offerings. They could push notifications to people, people can order online or set up an appointment online. Some simple things, like a dream come true type of app for a local service provider. I'm sure that's a pretty simple thing for you to create.

Greg: Yes.

Dean: Right. What you then end up with is you get something that's at least a level three where it's a personalizable thing for a massage therapist, or for a local service provider of some kind that people can download this app, they can have their client. You could build in a simple CRM component.

Greg: I totally see that. It's at least a level three all the way down the list, that type of approach.

Dean: Right. Exactly.

Greg: What it makes me think of and get excited about is the example from one of the early More Cheese Less Whiskers episodes on I love marketing where you're talking about the simple email for the restaurant and the birthday card.

Dean: Yeah. Right.

Greg: Do you handle birthday parties?

Dean: Yes, right.

Greg: That's been bouncing around in my head for a week and I just can't quite figure out what is the equivalent for my kind of service? I'm providing custom software, or software that feels custom to them, customized to their business, but they don't have it yet, is there a way to think about that kind of approach to this so that they're starting the conversation with me?

Dean: Yeah. That's part of the thing is getting... the discussion that we're having is really getting the idea. This is the kind of thing here is that either deciding what the app, what the model's going to be determines then who the target audience is. Right?

Greg: Okay.

Dean: We're starting with because you're such a clean slate, and you're not in any particular business, aside from the biggest context we have is app developer, right.

Greg: And I own a factory that could be tooled to anything.

Dean: That's what I'm saying, right. You're saying that. That's the way you described it to me. What I'm trying to be is there's an ultimate freedom to that. There's a freedom to it, but it's, I think, contextually thinking through, "What are we going to create with this factory because we could create anything?" It's like, "Are we going to create level one things that are original work, that are paid by the project and we're done with them and we got to retool and go find more people every month, or are we going to build something that," like what if you put out that sort of app that would be really useful for local businesses or a certain type of business where there's going to be multiple users of something that are getting value, not a... You know what I'm saying.

Greg: Yeah. I'm seeing in myself that I have this preconceived notion that these local businesses are going to be a really tough sell for a software offering, even if it's a monthly recurring.

Dean: Right.

Greg: What I see, and seeing that self-limitation, is that I'm focusing in shoveling some software over there to them. I'm not focused on what am I doing that's actually is going to grow their business.

Dean: What I was going to say is then you go is what's the biggest opportunity that you can create. What's the best thing that you can do with an app that's going to be a dream come true for a massage therapist, or for a retail store, or for any type of business?

Greg: Yeah.

Dean: How is this going to...

Greg: That’s the short answer.

Dean: Right. So how could, if you think about that, how could a local business create revenue using an app? And where are the opportunities that nobody's serving there?

Greg: Yeah. An obvious one, just to give one example that comes to mind, is like a boutique. They have almost zero connection with their customers. They probably know some regulars by name or whatever, but when a new exciting product comes in, if they had a way to push that out, I would think that... I don't know it would be measured, but that would certainly generate more traffic, more foot traffic.

Dean: Absolutely. Yes. Absolutely. That's exactly it. When you start thinking about that, that if you're allowing them the opportunity to, yeah, organize and tag everybody and it's like that these people are adding in some CRM elements to it where they can have some knowledge about their particular clients, that would go a long way. Right?

Greg: Yeah. Yeah. I'm thinking about all those businesses, large and small, retail businesses large and small that collect either a phone number or an email address in some way and then do nothing with it.

Dean: Right.

Greg: I think consumers are ready to serve up that information at the end of the transaction.

Dean: Yeah, imagine, right, if you could integrate some Twilio integration that allows them to do texting and all this. That could be a pretty cool thing.

Greg: Yeah. Okay. I'm very excited about this. My head is full. What I know about myself is I'm limited. Am I just supposed to pick one? There's a thousand.

Dean: You pick one at a time. Right. There's the thing...

Greg: That's the problem here is me picking one.

Dean: I get it. You got so many opportunities, so many options, and it is hard to pick one. You might as well pick one that's got the most legs, that has the opportunity to expand, to continue to grow. When you look at it that you start to think about what would it be like if you could have an app that there were 5000 users of it, 5000 opportunities for it, or 1000.

Greg: Yeah. I haven't looked at the particular benefits features of your offering around real estate agents, but that type of idea is very exciting for me, but in some other industry, I'm not a realtor. Helping a collection of sales people be more efficient is not going to be that hard to build. The software is trivial. It's not going to take much to make them more efficient because most people are really not even managing the basics very well, in my experience.

Dean: Right. Like you look at the thing, so what I'm modeling there with our gogoclients.com, we have a SAS tool that has landing pages, pre-recorded messages, texting, autoresponders, email broadcasts, and a CRM all wrapped into one tool set. That on its own is valuable to businesses in that they got the ability to build landing pages and do all those things, but what I'm modeling with gogoagent.com is taking all of those tools and now adding, layering on top of that, all of my uses for those tools. I look at, with the real estate agents, the big things that I can help them do, the bankable results that they can get using this. I have a program that helps them get listings. I've got a program that helps them get referrals. I've got a program that helps them multiply the listings that they have, programs that help convert their leads that they're generating, and programs that help them find buyers.

Those five big results that they're looking for, I've got the, I'll call it the software, or the intelligence to couple or create the results. Whereas if they just had gogoclients, just the tools, they would have to bring their own intelligence to it. I think that intelligence powered tools are where the big opportunity is. That's what I'm modeling with gogoagent is so that other niche providers can see what I'm doing with gogoagent and partner with us to take gogoclients and wrap their intelligence into it to not only say, "Here's a tool that does landing pages and auto responders and postcards and texting," but to say, "Here's the postcard. Here's the landing page. Here's the recorded message script. Here's the text. Here's the email templates." All of that stuff to now create the results through the tool, not the naked tool.

Greg: Yes.

Dean: That's where I think what you were saying is that your results, enabled with the intelligence that you have, plus the tool, the capabilities of the actual tool that you can create, that's the win. That's where the big opportunity is. That's perhaps what nobody, you're uniquely qualified to do something like that.

Greg: Thinking, thinking, thinking.

Dean: Yeah.

Greg: I love that story so much, that I mentioned about the birthday parties email, and what I'm seeing for myself in terms of my inability or unwillingness to pick an idea is that it might be easier to pick an idea if, like you said, while I'm doing one of these a quarter. Like this is the one for right now, and before I even build it, I can...

Dean: Yeah. Yeah. That's the thing is that you can't... Yeah.

Greg: Before I can build it I can send out a set of those emails. Do all the planning about what I think that industry needs, who exactly is that target person, that boutique owner, back to that example, right, and to send them the, "Do you do birthday parties," equivalent type email. If I get responses, then A, some of those might actually turn into custom work, which funds the development of the whole thing, or B, it says no, there's not really an interest in what I thought there was.

Dean: Right.

Greg: Is that a useful way to think about this?

Dean: Absolutely. You start... Now I think what you've got to have, I would really encourage you to think about creating your own freedom matrix, your scoring system, to know what idea meets those requirements. That would be a...

Greg: This is pretty good.

Dean: Right. Exactly. I put a lot of thought and time into it. Every opportunity that I would have, I would put it through that, and get a score for it. Right? It could be there were seven items, the highest that anything could get would be 28. Right, level four seven times would be a really cool... That would be great.

Greg: Oh, I think, earlier, there's seven. Is that something you published, this opportunity freedom matrix?

Dean: I did not publish it. I talked about with Tony Robins when we did his Money Master’s program. I did a DVD with him about it. I think if you do a YouTube search on Dean Jackson/Tony Robins, you'll see that. Somebody's got that interview up there. I went through the elements. Basically, let's see if I can remember them just off the top of my head. It was the type of work, which was original, custom, personalized, as is. It was the location, which was in person, on site, in person my site, on the telephone, or on the beach where it didn't matter where I was, or the moon, or whatever. The payment is hourly fee or flat fee or percentage of revenue share. The last one was profits where you own 100% of it and you're getting the profits.

Another one was the size of it, where it's one-on-one, or small group, or large group, or unlimited where it doesn't matter how many people. If you look at all of these, writing a book is pretty high on that freedom scale, but then you look at the revenue is another one, so it's small, medium, large, extra-large, how much money, and you set whatever that scale is for yourself. Is this a small fee or is it potentially a big fee? What would be another one of them, delivery of it, timing was synchronous and scheduled, meaning you've got to, if you're doing coaching or you're a chiropractor, or whatever, you're synchronous and scheduled, meaning you're delivering the service in person on site at this particular time with one person. You see how low on the freedom scale that is?

Greg: Yeah.

Dean: That was one thing, that synchronous and scheduled. Then the other would be asynchronous and scheduled, meaning you're available, but you're delivering the work sort of randomly, like if on call. If they need you, then you're delivering the consulting or the coaching or the whatever it is on that thing. Then there's an asynchronous with a deadline, meaning you've got to get the work. You can do it whenever you want, but you've got to deliver it by this particular date, that gives you some freedom within that. The ultimate freedom is asynchronous at my discretion. That's probably five or six of them. Maybe I've missed one, but...

Greg: That is seven. Yeah.

Dean: Okay.

Greg: That's great. Thank you.

Dean: Yeah, so that level, you can see, when I went through it, I wrote a book in 1998 with a marriage counselor called Stop Your Divorce. That book had sold $5 million since then, but it's all level four. It's completely level four on the freedom scale. I don't even think about it.

Greg: Yeah.

Dean: I think that's where you're at right now. The thing is really determinant because you can do anything, it's just a matter of deciding what that is.

Greg: Okay. My brain is thinking of an action plan, because I'm a little bit of an analyst, right, so I develop my own matrix. Come up with a bunch of idea. No problem for me. Run them all through there. Get a high scoring one that I'm excited about.

Dean: Yeah.

Greg: Then start testing the market with the birthday party email concept.

Dean: Yep.

Greg: That last step, when you're... Is there a good resource to do that well, or think about it in a certain way, or just listen to more of your podcasts?

Dean: Yeah. You're at that level now, of the breakthrough blueprint, starting with what's the level where you're at. You're wrapping your head around that. The next level for you is deciding that you've got to be able to deliver the result for the end user. Right. You've got to then create the case study. You've got to test your hypothesis. You've got to build out a prototype that if your thing is that, "My end user, I'm going to create an app that helps massage therapists get more business," or helps whatever local business, or whatever you decide, how its going to create a result for them, then you've got the chance to do your, what I call, your end of one study, the term I have learned from Craig Venter, that scientific term of doing the one study that tests your hypothesis and proves it. You've got your hypothesis that I can help this local business or this type of business get this result with this app paired with this intelligence that you're going to work now on your hypothesis. You're taking the chance. You've got to... You're taking that true investor mentality because you're investing assets, time, resources, in something that may or may not pay off. Right? Whereas, doing client work, you know you're getting paid to create the mechanical outcome that they want without any of the risk of, "This was a bad idea."

Have you ever done an app for somebody that is just a bad idea, but you built the app flawlessly and it didn't take off because it wasn't a good idea in the first place.

Greg: Yes. Yes.

Dean: You made more money than they made because you didn't have anything at risk. Right? They paid you to risk that.

Greg: I was a hired gun to actually keep their vision.

Dean: Yeah, and they just had a bad vision. Right?

Greg: Yeah.

Dean: That's part of the thing. So now you get to be an investor in your own vision, or in somebody else's vision if you see that this fits my matrix completely, and I want to be involved in this. But you've got that opportunity to do a hybrid of it, where they're going to pay some amount, and you're investing some amount, as like a venture capitalist with your capital, which is your intellectual capital, and your resources and the tool that you deliver. That could be a thing where you now start creating... It's almost like, did you see that show on Apple TV with the Planet of the Apps?

Greg: I haven't seen it yet.

Dean: Okay. I'm not sure it really took off, but Gary Vaynerchuk was in the show with Will I Am and Jessica Alba and Gwyneth Paltrow. They were...

Greg: Yeah.

Dean: Yeah, people would get to pitch their app idea, and these guys would choose to coach them, work with them to develop the app idea. You could almost create an environment like that and you would have people flocking to you, where you would have a neat parameter to put app ideas through, and maybe invest in them.

Greg: Yes. Yes.

Dean: There's so much possibility with that.

Greg: I know.

Dean: It's just a matter of picking one and building a platform. It's such an easier conversation to have when you come from a place where your basic needs, your lifestyle needs are covered by recurring revenue that doesn't require your time. That would be like base camp one as a really great goal for you.

Greg: Yeah. You said the word hybrid in there. I'm seeing this that if I pick one, I will pick one, think it all the way through to what is that cheese dangling, one liner email look like, and then the conversations that come out of that, either there won't be any, and it would just prove the market, or there'll be conversations coming out of that. Some of those will be good for that long term plan of recurring, but some of those might actually be a hybrid where they pay for it, like it's custom, but I know I'm building it for the longer term.

Dean: Right.

Greg: I structure it that way, building it to serve hundreds and thousands, not just this one business.

Dean: Exactly.

Greg: Okay.

Dean: What's your...

Greg: It's so simple, but it's so powerful.

Dean: What's your recap here? We talked about so much.

Greg: I know. I've got some notes here, but the recap for me is that I have this action plan that I stated a minute ago. Develop my own opportunity freedom matrix, which is so far completely aligned with yours, but I'm specifically going to run ideas through it that are these different industries, like a bunch of them. Probably another one for me would be how well I know the industry already, meaning it's a lower risk of entry if I'm more knowledgeable about it. Then just pick one. There's really very little time of my scare resource, my time, or investment that's even needed of my contracting resources because there's nothing to build the way I'm seeing this right now.

Dean: Right.

Greg: I'm going to test the idea. This is exactly the stuff I tell my own clients. It's just cobbler's children and no shoes situation here.

Dean: I know you, you mentioned a couple of times the minimum viable product, and that's the thinking. When you're doing that, you become more prudent in the way you think about spending money that often you don't need to. What's the simplest way to get 80% of the result?

Greg: Yeah. I would say this conversation has provided... The concept of MVP is abstract, but I preach it all the time to my clients. This conversation has given me a concrete action plan so that I can get my brain to stop generating a thousand ideas a minute. I'm still going to do that, but you've helped me focus so that I can just slow down to pick one.

Dean: That's awesome. That's a great summary.

Greg: Yeah. Thank you so much.

Dean: That's so great. That would make a nice review on the More Cheese Less Whiskers podcast on iTunes.

Greg: Okay.

Dean: That would be perfect actually.

Greg: You got it. You got it.

Dean: Yeah, that would be great. I love it. Greg, I really love it.

Greg: Making a note to myself.

Dean: I love it. I really enjoyed our conversation. I think this is going to be helpful to a lot of people on a lot of levels. You're not the only one in this situation, highly skilled, great execution abilities and unlimited opportunity, but this I think is a good place to, good way to rein in those thoughts and at least put a shape to them to hone them to a laser point.

Greg: Yeah. Thank you so much for helping with the honing here. Appreciate it.

Dean: I love it. Keep me posted. I don't think this is the last we'll hear from each other.

Greg: I will do.

Dean: I love it.

Greg: I didn't say at the beginning, I've gotten so much out of all the content you put out in the world. Thank you so much. It's spurred my thinking in so many ways. I do look forward to our paths crossing again in the future, many times, I'm sure.

Dean: Awesome, thanks. Thanks Greg.

Greg: Thanks Dean. Bye.

Dean: Bye. There we have it. Another great episode. I really enjoyed that conversation. I loved that when people leave a conversation with a greater sense of clarity, a greater sense of enthusiasm and big opportunity, I think we're going to hear some wonderful things from Greg, so I'll keep you posted with the updates there. Now if you'd like to continue the conversation, you can download a copy of the More Cheese Less Whiskers book at Morecheeselesswhiskers.com. You can be a guest on the show by clicking the be a guest link at morecheeselesswhiskers.com, and we can have this kind of conversation for you. I love the idea of matrix and score cards and things like that, and I have a score card for our profit activators called the profit activators score card. You can see how your business stacks up, where you are in the eight profit activators, at profitactivatorscore.com.

Two things that you'll learn from that, going through it, you'll see how the eight profit activators are either growing or slowing your business right now, but you also get to experience the experience of going through a score card and see how maybe that model might be applicable for you. Check that out at profitactivatorscore.com. That's it for this week. I will be back next time, and I'll talk to you then.