IntegratePro Show: Clint Maher

Here are this episode’s highlights:

00:33 Getting connected through Strava and biking
02:57 The byproduct of being healthy
06:43 A quick recall of the past 7 years for Clint
07:56 Want to be just the guy behind the computer screen?
11:38 On the transition from owning an agency
13:09 What’s the secret to a profitable work from home?
14:04 The kind of office that worked for Clint
15:43 It helps to be separated
17:58 About Online Profit Authority

 

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Transcript:

Dave: Hey, it’s Dave Wooding here for Integrate Pro. I’ve got an expert with me today, one of my friends from Australia, Clint Maher – it kind of rhymes with car. Clint, say hello.

Clint: Hi Dave! How are you doing?

I’m good. So, this is the first episode. Congratulations, you’ve been breaking new ground here.

Clint: Thank you for having me.

You bet.

Clint: I’ve been looking forward to this for awhile.

I know. Like I said, I was looking around… for whatever reason, I dropped into your site and noticed you do interviews. I’m like, what the h***, I know you. Let’s get the chance to get caught up on what’s going on in your life. And actually, the first thing I want to talk about is biking.

Dave: You and I seem to have a connection through Strava, which to me is kind of my Facebook of the online world. I much prefer to be on Strava than Facebook. And my observation is you have no hills where you ride. Is that true?

Clint: Yes. It’s kind of flat…I’ve got to ride about 20 kilometers. Or, what’s that in your language? About 12 miles? 20 miles?

Dave: Maybe, 12 miles.

Clint: Yes…to find the nearest hill and that’s certainly 200 meters high and that’s like the biggest hill for the next 3,000 kilometers.

Dave: Alright.

Clint: Yeah.

Dave: So, are you out riding everyday now, Clint?

Clint: I ride about 4 days a week. As you remind me when I’m not riding… You ask me why I’m not riding.

Dave: Where are your priorities?

Clint: On the back.

Dave: Yes, I know. For me, this time I’m actually training for a race so I make a point to get out first thing in the morning. It’s just that the routine forces me to get out there, get it done. And I know, for me, it just… it helps for the focus. It does make you feel energetic the rest of the day even though I’ve spent a good amount of energy right of the bat of the day. So…

Clint: And it’s the hardest thing you probably do all day, physically.

Dave: Yes, physically, that’s true.

Clint: Physically…

Dave: But I tell you what…at the end of the day, like 3 or 4 o’clock here, the sun is hitting at the window where I’m at and it gets kind of hot… And even though I got air conditioning, I feel like I am kind of nodding off sometimes so that gets a little tiring but you’re right. The bike ride is definitely the big one.

Clint: Yeah. When it comes to heat, I don’t think you can really say much about heat that I don’t know about. You think…what, 32 degrees? What’s that in your language? About 85?

Dave: Yes, but you know… here, we get up to like, I think we’ve gotten up to like 45 degrees Celsius. That’s like 114 Fahrenheit.

Clint: Yeah. That’s right.

Dave: But it’s what we call a dry heat so it’s not so bad but it does wear on you. That’s for sure. So how much riding do you do, Clint?

Clint: I try to do 250 kilometers per week although this year, that hasn’t been happening. It’s about 180 kilometers a week.

Dave: So what is it… are you having more family? more work? What’s going on, there?

Clint: More. More family and more work. I’m taking my work a little bit more seriously this year. Last year was a big transition for me when I sold one of my businesses off, my main business. And I spent the rest of last year getting healthy and being a bit selfish and looking after my health, getting it back because I looked overweight. Yes, considerably overweight. So, yes, I spent a good 8 months really losing, losing a lot of fat and being healthy and getting back to health again which has been a long time. It’s been 10 years since I’ve been healthy so it’s been a great transition last year.

Dave: Yes. So, have you found yourself able to stay healthy even though you’re back…

Clint: Yes.

Dave: Have you?

Clint: Yes. I’m losing more weight now even from doing less exercise because my eating habits have changed as well.

Dave: Right.

Clint: And I’m getting a lot more work done. A lot more focused work which is a by-product of being healthy I’m finding.

Dave: Yes.

Clint: How about you? Because you’ve really wrapped up the exercise lately instead of doing less work hours.

Dave: Yes. This time of year…this would be a third year in a row I’m doing a hundred mile, a 160 kilometer mountain bike race in July and I follow a 12-week schedule. 3 weeks on. Kind of, 1 week off. And it just builds in intensity. But that definitely gets me in shape. But, I’ll be honest towards at the end of the year, I kind of slack off, get a little casual, gained some weight…and just not, on top of things as I am this time of year. Having that routine that I follow works for me. I kind of have to have someone pointing the gun at me to do something. But, I’ll tell you what… I’m willing to work hard to be lazy. You know, there’s a lot of things I’ll do to make my life easy but it’s amazing how much I will put into that kind of effort. And so, with friends riding, I enjoy it. I love it. But I also need a little more motivation, something written down to tell me what to do. So, that definitely helps.

Clint: Yes. Sure. You guys have this thing that we don’t have over here, called snow. I’m seeing some of your photos over the years. I had probably seen snow once in my life and that’s kind of hard for people like you to believe.

Dave: Right.

Clint: But that’s true. And I had to travel a lot to see that snow. We won’t get that over here. And you do and it’s really, really cold and I won’t be getting it at the, but you do. You do. That’s amazing.

Dave: I ride with a bunch of guys on Wednesday night. We show up and we never know where we’re going. What this group has found us is that no one knows where we’re going. We just started arguing where we go so nothing gets done. We got one guy. He’s kind of the dictator and doesn’t tell us where we’re going. You just follow him. If you go ahead, you might get lost. Same thing in the winter time. We go out for rides. We got the lights. All the clothing you can have. You’ll totally freeze your ass off. Of course. Don’t ride nearly as far but it’s fun. Right now, it’s like 8 o’clock at night where I’m at. Sun is going to stay up almost 10 PM around here. In the winter time it will be 5 o’clock. It will be dark around then. We’ll start riding 5:30, maybe go for a couple of hours. It will be below freezing. There might be snow and ice and it’s definitely a hoot. It’s just getting out there like that.

Clint: Yeah. I would still be busy getting out of bed.

Dave: Yeah. But it’s all good fun. it’s pretty cool. Hey, Clint, tell me about what you’re doing for work. It sounds like there’s a transition last year. You went from owning that business and agency with somebody else. Is that true?

Clint: Yes, that’s true. So, for the last 7 years, nearly 7 years…I had a digital marketing agency similar to what you do, quite similar. We’re doing a lot of WordPress websites which you do a lot of now with one of your new businesses. A lot of SEO. A lot of conversion, optimization. A lot of Google adwords, Bing adwords, Facebook ads. It’s all that sort of stuff for local business clients. So, yes, I did that for quite a few years. And then, last year, I was in a company and that partnership ended quite badly.

Dave: Oh, okay.

Clint: But, anyway…

Dave: Is there a lesson learned from what you went through that you can share?

Clint: Yes, loads and loads of lessons.. It was a good relationship for 6 years and it really got bad in the last several months of the relationship.

Dave: So, what did…I don’t really care to know the details. I’m just wondering…Is there something you could have done in hindsight that would have helped this relationship both, I’m guessing, professionally and personally continue on? Is there something in hindsight that you could say, “Oh yes, I wish I could have done this.”

Clint: The one thing that I wish I had done from the start was to do it alone and not form a partnership. That’s nothing against the good, the 6 good years we had together. The reason why I didn’t go out on my own at the very start was because I lack a lot of confidence and I didn’t want to speak to anybody. I wanted to be the guy behind the computer screen who just got on the technical work. This may sound familiar to you.

Dave: Yes, definitely.

Clint: Yes, I just liked to be that guy. I was scared to get out there and talk to people. However, now, that’s completely changed. And I am out here speaking to some people and I don’t know why I was so scared all these years because you’re helping people when you’re talking to them. And if you can offer somebody some advice that is based from your past experience that has worked for other clients, that has worked to you, then truly that is helping somebody, and why shouldn’t you speak up if you are helping somebody? If the ask you for help…that is.

Dave: Yes. Excellent. I know you’re talking about…I’m also not a fan of being out there but I do understand and I do get out there because it does make a difference. And it’s surprising… I think, you know what I found is I do know stuff. And I do know valuable things that other people don’t and they’re willing to pay for it. Ask for it. I might think something’s trivial but it can have a big benefit on somebody else’s business or their life that I can share. So, I make an effort to get out there to get on the phone either via Skype or actually a phone call, or even, you know, meeting people in person is great because you can really find out what it is that they need, want, what makes them tick. So, I work at home. We have a bedroom upstairs I use for my office. I almost always have the door shut because my wife insists that I talk so loud. But, she can tell me when I’m really excited and totally into it because the volume goes up and I hear about later in the day, you know… I was, “Oh yeah, I was talking about this subject and I’m very passionate about whatever it is…”

Clint: Yes.

Dave: So yes, that’s great. It definitely makes a difference getting out, ideally talking to people one on one. Is that what you’re doing now? Do you actually meet people in person or is it, over the phone or combination of that?

Clint: I talk combination. So last year, when I exited the business, I was left without any income for my young family so I had to get out there, get straight to talk to people one on one just to get some projects in the door and some money coming in. And that was a fantastic experience. I would have been limited than when you’re out there talking to people one on one…

Dave: Right.

Clint: So, what I’ve been trying to achieve since last year and I’m now in a further transition is to go from that one to one to one to many concepts which is quite popular. You know, people call that leverage. And doing a podcast like this, talking to you today, that’s another example of how, I can talk to many people. Try and help many people instead of going for a coffee down to the coffee shop with just one person and helping one person if I can.

Dave: Yes. So, what is it that you’re doing now? So you left the agency business, you’re caught stranded for a little bit. So, where are you now? What are you offering?

Clint: So, what I’m doing now…I’m doing a lot of teaching and coaching people, particularly in the area of what I know I was good at which is the agency. So, helping others who do have their own agency or who are out there selling websites to… you know, like yourself but you didn’t need my help. And yes, just teaching people that. Teaching them how to get more leads, more sales, how to grow their business, how to get more offshore resources, to build a profitable business. To me, one thing I learned over the years was while we generated very good figures, around a million dollar a year mark in the agency. The profit, which you know, to some people, it’s a lot. To some people, it’s nothing. To me, as we started the business with zero dollars, it was not a bad achievement. What I would have to tell you about is the profitability of the business was very low and I was in a situation where I was unable to change that. And now that I have exited that business and started my own microagency last year, it became a lot more profitable very quickly.

Dave: Is that because you know, you knew all the things to skip, all the potholes to skip over why have you gone from kind of a low margin, high volume if you will, dollar amount anyways to something that’s much more profitable in such a short time? What’s the secret, Clint? Come on.

Clint: The secret was that we weren’t prepared and we were overspending on staff, both locally and offshore, we have hired overheads than we needed to. And, when there is too many business partners together, there is a lot of ego. And I put my hand up and I’m just much to blame here with this ego that you want to spend money on areas wherever money should be spent.

Dave: Right. Right. So…

Clint: And once you can strip away all of that, you can make yourself a lot more profitable, a lot of that was working going back to home to work again. What I was doing this morning before we jumped on the call, I was writing an article about how it is to be working from home: the things that nobody tells you about and the things that you probably want to know before you make that transition to work from home. So, I used to work from home. Then, I went back into the office environment where our agency got to a certain size and then my work started to get unhappy at that point.

Dave: So now, you made a change back to being at home or…

Clint: Yes, there’s one big difference this time. I’ve got a detached office from the house.

Dave: Yes, I think I’ve seen that on Facebook, haven’t I?

Clint: Yes, look. It’s an old office. It would be over 19 years old. It’s like 10 or 15 yard from the house and the office, I’ve been here 5 years now… And the office is full of junk, full of absolute every bit of crap, spiderweb, rat You know, it was completely one of those things that you might see on the movie. So, I had to strip it out, I had it carpeted, painted from the ceiling, including lights, air conditioning and all around down here. It’s just the most amazing workspace and I can see the kids from the house but I can’t hear them.

Dave: While you might love them, it definitely helps to be separated. Is that true? I mean, I find having the door shut and sometimes the windows shut, and sometimes the earphones on, just to kind of not do all the other stuff makes the big, big difference if I want to focus on something.

Clint: Well, I’ll tell you what Dave, when our daughter was born just 3 years ago, I last… When she got home from the hospital, I lasted 2 weeks before I had to go out and seek commercial office. It was that much of a… It had that much of an impact on my work life. And nothing prepared me…there was nothing that anybody could have told me that could have prepared me for what how that was going to affect me.

Dave: Yes. I am kind of on the opposite spectrum from you, Clint. Older than you. The kids are out of the house for the most part. They don’t even care where I’m at. So, I don’t see them. I don’t hear them. The only thing I get interrupted by is one of our 2 dogs will come to the door and stick his nose and keep nudging, nudging until I open it up and he’ll just come in and lay down to sleep. He just wants to know where I’m at but he doesn’t talk to me. He just sits there and occasionally gets pet. So, yeah, the office is definitely kind of an important one. I actually ended up, I bought a nice, new chair for myself recently and it makes all the difference. I didn’t, I never got into a standup desk thing… I think I told you we moved to different state, lived for somewhere for a couple of months this winter.

Clint: Yes. You went to New Mexico, wasn’t it?

Dave: You got it. That’s right.

Clint: Yes. Okay. I’ll keep listening…

Dave: We’re up in Taos, New Mexico, northern Mexico, near Colorado and the house we were renting didn’t really have a desk to use and I had to stand up the whole time. Man, that was tough. You know, your back has to get used to it. The floors are hard. For me, the productivity just wasn’t there so having a desk with a comfortable chair definitely makes a difference for me with that kind of environment. So…

Clint: I’m with you all the way there. I rarely speak out because so many people are such advocates of the standup desk that I just so I just shut them out.

Dave: Hey, at least there’s another one of us out there. So, Clint, tell me what’s the name of your site and what is it that people can find on your site if they go visit it?

Clint: My site is onlineprofitauthority.com. It’s a relatively new site. It’s a super micro agency. I still sell a lot of websites. So, I guess, in some cases, you and I do some similar things there. However, what I try to do is teach people how to go out and sell more websites which is good for people like you who have the wholesale website agency which I never thought of.

Dave: Yes.

Clint: So, people who were looking to make more sales per month and who want to have a higher cost per sale. I know that doesn’t make sense. Scrap that one. People who want to charge higher fees for their websites so then they could come to somebody like you but they could make a lot more margin if they knew what to say, how to say it, and present the right things to their client, to their potential clients over somebody who they might be competing against. So, I hope to take people away from the bottom end of the market, find the better clients, with higher priced fees attached for them so they make more margin, more sales per month.

Dave: Alright, thanks. So, onlineprofitauthority.com is your site and that’s where you’re providing that information. I’m assuming people can opt in for something or you have to have a paid information product that tells people how to do this. Is that true?

Clint: Yes. Look, I got a Black Box pack, I believe it’s called at the moment. It’s someone who wants to start their own microagency, micro WordPress agency whereas they can get some sales, some contracts, some things like that, some coaching forums that are profit calculated. I cannot even get that for free. That will actually help them on their way to go out and sell some WordPress websites. If they want further help with that, then there is a byproduct there, a full-time key business solution. I guess, if they want help, although it’s if they want it. Otherwise, just come by, check out the content. There’s lots of good content, constantly putting good, great content up there so people can go out and get more sales, more leads and a more profitable working from home. And hopefully, people can have the fortuitousness, well that’s not the right word. I’m looking for the…

Dave: The good fortune?

Clint: …to be as fortunate as I am to have to work from home and have a great lifestyle and make a good dollar doing it as well.

Dave: Alright, cool. Well, Clint, thank you very much. I hope to see you on Strava soon again with a new ride and I’ll give you…

Clint: You’re putting me to shame at the moment. I do a one ride and you go ahead and do, like, 2 miles longer.

Dave: Yes, I checked to see how far you’ve gone, how much elevation. I just want to make sure that the next ride has that much or more.

Clint: Your elevation is 10 times or more. You did 2000 feet elevation the other day and I have to ride to the local hill 48 times to do that.

Dave: Yes, that was a big training ride. That’s for sure.

Clint: It looked like a lot of fun though.

Dave: Yes, it is. Cool. So, I’m just going to stop the record here.

Dave: OK, mate.

 

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