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Grow Your Agency With HighLevel: The Most Disruptive Marketing Software
4th February 2024 • The Google Ads Podcast • Solutions 8
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Learn more about the most disruptive marketing software Kasim has ever seen and how you can scale your agency with it!

Kasim sits down with Robin Alex, co-founder of HighLevel, and they discuss the company's unique business model, its vision for the future, and how it extends far beyond its innovative approach to empower businesses to thrive and grow.

If you haven't heard of HighLevel, you're missing out! It's the first-ever all-in-one platform that will give you the tools, support, and resources you need to succeed with your agency. Listen to this episode now.

0:00 Grow Your Agency With HighLevel: The Most Disruptive Marketing Software

4:01 Managing the risk of customers scaling beyond their worth

6:07 How HighLevel prioritizes solutions

9:07 Robin's vision for HighLevel

11:47 Will HighLevel be irrelevant soon?

18:24 It's unreal how HighLevel is authentic and client-centric

19:07 Get a free trial and start growing your agency with HighLevel

Robin Alex on LinkedIn:  

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Transcripts

Kasim:

It's Costume with the Daily Google News, and I'm here with Rob and

2

:

Alex, who think probably has one of

the hardest jobs in the digital world.

3

:

you're the co founder of High Level,

which is the fastest growing, most

4

:

disruptive marketing software that

I've ever seen in my entire life.

5

:

do you guys consider yourself a martech?

6

:

is that a pejorative to you?

7

:

Are you okay, me?

8

:

yeah.

9

:

We're definitely in the Martech space.

10

:

That's us.

11

:

we're not a Martech.

12

:

We're automation.

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:

We're systems.

14

:

We're process.

15

:

So I don't want to improperly

slap a label on it.

16

:

I'm a huge fan of GHL, if you're

watching or listening to this and you

17

:

haven't used high level, you don't even

have to click on my affiliate link.

18

:

You should, but you don't have to.

19

:

This thing is the amount of features.

20

:

Available for the money is insane

already right out of the gate.

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:

But what's Impossible to fathom is y'all

don't charge per instance And that's what

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:

I think really disrupted the entire game.

23

:

Like most software companies kept

the monetization on their end.

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:

Y'all moved the fulcrum of monetization.

25

:

So an agency can buy high level once, for

the grand total, like 500 bucks a month,

26

:

if you want the nicest, fanciest version,

and then they can resell it to as many

27

:

people as they want hundreds, thousands

of customers and keep all the money.

28

:

Like it's you equip people to

be SAS companies themselves.

29

:

It's an unbelievable vision.

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:

how did that happen?

31

:

Did you set out to do that

or was that by accident?

32

:

It was something you fell into.

33

:

definitely it was something we fell into

just overall through the whole thing.

34

:

So prior to high level, I was

running an agency and when I met Sean

35

:

Averroon, the other two co founders.

36

:

were trying to figure out how to take

the software and really get it out to

37

:

the masses that's the vision, right?

38

:

The more users you have, the more

adoption you'll get, the more money,

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:

the more revenue to doing more things.

40

:

And I always looked at it

from the agency perspective.

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:

What would I want in that perspective?

42

:

And I always hated the more that

I bring The more I'm getting taxed,

43

:

is how I always looked at it.

44

:

And then once you hit a certain point,

you get this like weird decision

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:

point of now I'm spending 3, 000 a

month, 5, 000 a month, and now they're

46

:

wanting me to sign a longer agreement.

47

:

Do I really want to

spend a long agreement?

48

:

Or at that point, you now start

playing the field again, right?

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:

before I commit to it, let me

see what else is out there.

50

:

And at the end of the day, it's

all about adoption and usage.

51

:

So we've always just

started out from that point.

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:

And It was just us three doing

onboardings and stuff like that.

53

:

So we were just happy people were

just coming onto the platform

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:

and we were just heads down.

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:

Just keep doing that.

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:

Just keep getting more

and more at the top.

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:

and we never really thought

about expansion on the back end.

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:

or how to expand.

59

:

And instead we just got public

fanfare of This is awesome.

60

:

And we're like, okay, so why stop?

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:

Just keep going.

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:

And, luckily for the three of us,

greed has never taken over a sense

63

:

of our mindset We've always, been

believers on if we can make the world

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:

successful, it will come back to us.

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:

in some form or fashion from

a positivity perspective,

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:

monetization and things like that.

67

:

And so we've never looked at

trying to disrupt it from a

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:

per user model or contact.

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:

And I think where people go wrong is

you look at companies that's out there

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:

that's been doing it for a long time.

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:

And either you follow the textbook

method, which is what they're doing.

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:

And that's the only way to succeed.

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:

And people are scared to

go the alternative route.

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:

And so we basically said we looked into

it or, we fell into it from the get go.

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:

Why change if it's working and

Oh, we figured out how to be,

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:

cashflow positive or profitable.

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:

We're making money along the way.

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:

why stop.

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:

so that was honestly how we started

and we just kept it going into this

80

:

date that's us and we're owning that

lane that no one else wants to touch.

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:

Dude, I love that.

82

:

How do you manage the downside risk of

a customer scaling beyond their worth?

83

:

I know you have customers

manage their own, email, like

84

:

Mailgun or Twilio or whatever.

85

:

So those would be variable costs

that you've been able to push back

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:

on the agencies, which is brilliant.

87

:

But just storage space.

88

:

if I go take down high level,

maybe at 100 clients, that's not

89

:

so many snapshots but at 100, 000?

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:

and I know you have to have

agencies that get there.

91

:

is there a point of Hey, I got to knock

on your door and charge you for your

92

:

own AWS instance or something like that?

93

:

over the years, uneducated doesn't

realize that data is such a high

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:

variable commodity that cost is.

95

:

Relatively inexpensive, really, an

average account could be, a couple of

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:

megs or a couple of gigs at most, on

the high end and, when you have a great

97

:

development team and things like that,

we're always looking at improving and

98

:

optimizing and stuff like that, but just

not the gate data is a lot cheaper than

99

:

you expect and, we have the advantage of.

100

:

We're trying not to predict

the future and what we build.

101

:

It's looking at great products

that's out there and rebuilding it,

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:

retooling it in the lens of an agency.

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We don't come in with a lot of bloatware.

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We're building efficiencies out

the gate because agencies are

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telling us exactly what they want.

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So out the gate, it's a

stripped down version.

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:

There's not a lot of bloatware, a

lot of sizing behind it that's going

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to create a lot of tension for us.

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:

And so from that perspective, it's

been easy for us to scale and keep the

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overall infrastructure relatively small.

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:

I love that you just said, we

don't try to predict the future.

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:

not just compelling, but

what a brave thing to say.

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:

and I see that in high level.

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:

You're absolutely right.

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It's we're not trying to

tell you what's coming.

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We're just helping solve the problems

that are happening right now.

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:

Yeah, we're in the trenches with you,

old analogy was, we're just gonna wait

118

:

until someone punches us on the chins,

and, we need this now, What's nuts

119

:

is how quickly you roll that shit out.

120

:

I've seen you guys in weeks, hey, I need

the thing, and then all of a sudden,

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:

two weeks later, okay, it's shipped.

122

:

took me, I tell the story all the time,

it took me 18 months to get HubSpot to let

123

:

Appointment booking resolve in a separate

thank you page so I could track them in

124

:

Google Ads 18 months a year and a half

when somebody schedules an appointment,

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:

instead of a confirmation message, I

need a new, and I had to go through the

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remediation, and the impact team, and

the analysis, and the cost to benefit

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:

ratio, they put me on calls with people.

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:

I was an agency partner at the

time, was like, all right, they're

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doing me a favor, and I need this.

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:

Took a year and a half.

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:

Y'all would have had that in 48 hours.

132

:

how do you ship so quickly?

133

:

How do you even manage

a process like that?

134

:

two different school of thoughts.

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:

When I work on something, it has to be 100

percent perfect, 100 percent thought out.

136

:

And I'm thinking through every

single use case before I ship it.

137

:

And then there's the side of, if

you just roll it out too early,

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:

people will complain, people

are going to be frustrated.

139

:

You're impacting support

and things like that.

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:

And the perfectionist looks at

our model and they're basically

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saying you're half assing it.

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:

And for us, we're basically

saying, reality is.

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80 percent of usage comes from

20 percent of the features.

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:

Yeah, we're going to come up with that

and immediately get feedback on where

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:

it's not working and what it can improve

versus you spent the next two years

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:

trying to build this amazing product.

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:

And at that point, by the time you get

it out, either it's no longer relevant,

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:

no longer important or where's the

magical customers that's going to

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:

come use it now doesn't exist right.

150

:

They already found another solution

because they needed it two years ago

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:

when that was the hot trend or whatever,

for example, threads, that came out a

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:

couple of months ago, we were the first.

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social planning tool that had access

to that, that was building to that.

154

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Oh, how cool.

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:

I didn't know that.

156

:

So what for like social scheduling

social posting and stuff like that.

157

:

And there's going to be other

platforms that's trying to make

158

:

sure they go through all the edge

cases and stuff like that, but.

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:

When that came out, it was a rush from

all the agencies of I need to be there.

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:

I need to have a tool

that can help me there.

161

:

So are you willing to wait

two years to have your perfect

162

:

integration or, in the meantime,

we know it's not fully thought out.

163

:

We don't know all the edge

cases, nor does anyone.

164

:

So we're just like, bring it

on and we'll figure it out.

165

:

But in the two years, We've already

got mass adoption along the way.

166

:

definitely a different model and

we call it the skateboard method,

167

:

there's a lot of articles from that

methodology, but for us, it's, the

168

:

80, 20 rule, 80 percent of usage

comes from 20 percent of the features.

169

:

And then from there, the people that

maximize that 20% Usage will continue

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:

to add for more and they'll tell us and

they'll give us that direct feedback.

171

:

And now it's bite sized updates

for the next iteration of it.

172

:

Where do you see high level?

173

:

I know you said, I don't

try to predict the future.

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:

So I understand that from a feature

perspective, but as the leader of

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organization, you guys are big, no

matter how you slay you when you have

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600 employees, did I get that right?

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750 750 employees, 3 million end users.

178

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Yeah, MUAs, right?

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:

So that's active users

that's on our platform.

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:

So what's your vision for

high level moving forward?

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Like you flash forward three, five,

10 years, do you want to see happen?

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I want to see us continue building

a bigger ecosystem to where we

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own, anyone attached or associated

to high level is basically a 10

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billion ecosystem, if not greater.

185

:

And, the number that we like to

put out there is 9 billion going

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into other people's pockets.

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:

I love that that's development

partners, service providers, value

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:

added whatever, resellers, those types,

anybody that's touching high level,

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because you're a part of our bubble,

you're making money and think about it.

190

:

even our model, we use the

agencies for distribution model.

191

:

They get to the small businesses.

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:

And as long as the agency is

using our tool, they're going

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:

to help that small business.

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Make money and provide

impact in their communities.

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:

And then you have the secondary partners

and the marketplace partners who are

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:

building integrations and tools not

only compounding that effect of helping

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downstream to the small businesses.

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:

cascade all of that together.

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:

There's a lot of opportunity here.

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And, 1 of the things I'm excited about is.

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Down to at an employee level, we're

creating a certification program.

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And so I want people.

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To go out in the world saying

I am now high level certified,

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please hire me because I'm

officially certified or vice versa.

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Think about LinkedIn or indeed.

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:

com.

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People are like, I need a

high level administrator.

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So now I see that all

the time my mastermind.

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That's one of the biggest asks if

from a resource perspective used to

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be everybody wanted a media buyer.

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and I would get those calls, obviously,

but now everybody wants a high

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:

level person and it's not even a

quite, it's like a ubiquitous truth.

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They're all using it.

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Everybody's using high level.

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Like you guys have just penetrated

the highest levels, anybody who's

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really doing marketing well as using

high level one way or the other.

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:

Yeah.

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:

And, one of the ideas early on was how do

we make it feel like it is truly yours?

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:

Yeah.

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:

This is where we came in with

the white labeling and, all those

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features out the gate because.

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The more that you feel like it's yours,

the more attached you are, and the

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more conviction you have in delivering

the solution to your customers.

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I'm gonna lob a grenade at you that

I've heard lobbed at me, and this

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isn't something I believe by the way,

but let's just play devil's advocate.

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there's too many people using high

level, there's too many agencies that

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know, the cat's out of the bag, the

market's saturated, a bunch of people

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are letting, free snapshots, they're

just giving away the farm, gig is up.

229

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How do you respond to that?

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it's a great question.

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So I think what I see in the market

is a couple of different angles.

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new businesses, so the U S chamber of

commerce put out a stat, that they look at

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sick codes and EIN generations every year.

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There's roughly about two to three,

maybe 4 million new EINs generated.

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So new business entities.

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Since COVID, that's accelerated

to almost 6 million, and I think

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they're predicting 7 million new

EINs being generated this year.

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Now, sure, some of them are shell

companies and blah, blah, blah,

239

:

blah, but what they are seeing

is new businesses starting up.

240

:

I think from a generational perspective,

a lot of people pre COVID were

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working for large corporations, or

think about just your local service

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:

business, some guys, a plumber

working for a large plumbing company.

243

:

starting to make a little money,

maybe through COVID and stuff.

244

:

We're seeing this transition where

people are now saying, you know what,

245

:

I'm going to go out and get my own

truck and be a one person show to

246

:

grow my own plumbing business now.

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:

So there's a lot of opportunity

for the new generation.

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:

So I think there's opportunity there.

249

:

I think the other opportunity

that I'm also seeing is.

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:

years ago, the first generations

of CRM people that were, coming

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:

into the working world and their

careers and they're implementing act

252

:

Salesforce, HubSpots and, infusion

softs and all these great platforms.

253

:

And they've been building on it, but those

individuals who are doing the work, right?

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:

A decade ago, 15 years ago today,

they've either left the company,

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they moved up the organization.

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:

And so that knowledge

transfer is not gone.

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:

And so now the new generation coming out

of college or young career individuals

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:

are coming in, looking at it saying,

oh, the system is so antiquated.

259

:

It's built on the trends back then, right?

260

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Where you had different solid newsletters

or old school websites and stuff.

261

:

And they're looking at it saying,

either we have to hire an outside

262

:

consultant to rebuild this whole

thing, or let's start from scratch.

263

:

And guess what, the easy tool is

us and you can put your own brand,

264

:

so that's where our USP comes in.

265

:

So I think there's a ton of opportunity

on that lane or really those 2 lanes just.

266

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By easy nature.

267

:

So the opportunity is just never ending.

268

:

What pisses me off about the people

that make that claim, because I hear

269

:

it all the time, as a reseller, I hear

people like, Ah, I can't go resell

270

:

high level, everybody else is doing it.

271

:

no, temp, it's a canvas

that you get to paint on.

272

:

what are you putting in your, like have

an agency for Montessori schools, so

273

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I created a high level instance that's

built specifically for Montessori.

274

:

Montessori funnels, automation, follow up.

275

:

Sequences, Like it's all just Montessori.

276

:

You could never in a million years

just hand a Montessorian, a high

277

:

level app and say here, same thing.

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:

It's not.

279

:

So where people are being short sighted

is you guys have done such a good job of

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:

saying here, customize this for any niche.

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:

And until every niche in the world

has at least 10 instances, because

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:

everybody wants variety, nobody's

ever going to be able to convince

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:

me that high level is saturated.

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:

Yeah.

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:

And love that angle

because reality, right?

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People need features, or they

think they need features, and I

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:

think they're lying to themselves.

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What they're really

looking for is an outcome.

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:

And I'm seeing a lot of people get out

of the traditional agency space, and

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:

they're just walking into a business

saying, How can I augment you needing

291

:

to hire a new person or augmenting your

staff by just building some automations?

292

:

Because a lot of the day to day

operational work, a lot of it is

293

:

centered around sales and marketing.

294

:

And a lot of it is just

administrative love that comes from

295

:

the sales and marketing, right?

296

:

I gotta send out a PDF to somebody

or send an email internally about

297

:

this payment that needs to be made

with an invoice and stuff like that.

298

:

if you just go in with that mindset.

299

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Every business owner needs to

optimize, and they want the ability

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:

to not have to hire for more.

301

:

They want to automate it, simplify

their process so they can get

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:

back to doing what they enjoy.

303

:

The dentist wants to get back to being

a dentist, not sitting in front of

304

:

their computer trying to figure out how

do I process this invoice or run this

305

:

credit card payment, or teach my front

desk staff how to make the phone call.

306

:

If that can be automated, it

makes your life so much easier.

307

:

If you look at it being more of a

solutions provider or technology

308

:

automations provider versus

the traditional agency, I think

309

:

there's a lot of opportunity there.

310

:

And now you can always back into the

traditional stuff when the time is

311

:

appropriate, but it is a wide ocean

of opportunity on the automations

312

:

and, just bringing the tool, being

that artist for these businesses.

313

:

You mind if I get a

little personal with you?

314

:

Yeah.

315

:

So you're a young guy, you're

a co founder of a SaaS company.

316

:

On a meteoric rise.

317

:

I'm pretty sure that's the literal dream,

like in the eighties, everybody wanted

318

:

to be a movie star in the nineties,

everybody wanted to be a rock star in the

319

:

2000, everybody wanted to be a pop star.

320

:

Like we're now in the era

where everybody wants to be an

321

:

entrepreneur, but SAS is the pinnacle.

322

:

It has the highest valuation.

323

:

It's what everybody wants to go to.

324

:

you're at the top of the mountain

that sits atop all other mountains.

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I guess that's my question.

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It's like, how does that feel?

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you just wake up every

day This is awesome.

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what does that even resonate or land?

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Or it's not something you think about?

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I try to think about it, but

it just doesn't register.

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one of those from the outside looking

in, it looks great, but from the inside

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looking out, it's like, Nope, I got

a customer messaging me right now.

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Let me go help them.

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Yeah, I'm just answering support

tickets and doing my job.

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think that's what makes us a

little different because we're

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in the trenches and we enjoy it.

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We're not trying to chase

that vision of being the top.

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I think we just got there only because

of the organic and echo chamber that we

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created of the value that we're bringing.

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It's not like we're aggressively like,

you know what, in three years we're

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going to be at the top of the mountain

and then looking at the ivory tower

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down below in our executive suites,

we just never had that as the vision.

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It was just, if we do a lot of great

work, a lot of people will like it and by

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chance we'll do well behind the scenes.

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Dude, you guys are, not to pander,

it's unreal just how authentic y'all

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are and the decisions you make.

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there's authenticity is great, but

if it stops it action, it's like, all

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right, you're just being authentically

a prick now, but you guys are.

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authentic, and then also making decisions

that really are, in the best interest of

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your end customer, which is so unusual.

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It's a ubiquitous lip service.

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Every company says it.

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Y'all are the one of the very few I've

ever seen really do it all the way.

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So for whatever that's worth,

I super appreciate you.

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somebody's watching or listening

to this last words to you,

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:

what is it you want them to do?

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:

What's the call to action?

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talk to Kossum and, get onto highlevel.

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:

com and get a trial and see if the

product will help your business or

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:

talk to an agency that leverages it.

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:

And I think there's a ton of

value that you can improve your

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:

small business in the world.

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Yeah, I've got.

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:

and a half businesses

built on top of high level.

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:

I say half because it's

not solely dependent, but

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that's, what's cool about it.

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You can say Oh, okay.

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I need a little bit of this

and not so much of that.

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:

And it's a fun little building block.

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:

super appreciate being here with me, man.

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I'm a big fan.

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If you're watching, listening, go check

out high level, my affiliate links

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:

in the description, Robin's badass.

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You have to make sure you go

to the high level of event.

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:

Actually, it's probably sold out.

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:

Isn't it?

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we actually sold out two days ago,

a month early, which is really wild.

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:

That's great.

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:

you missed out on the high

level event, but I'm sure

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there'll be awesome recordings.

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have some cool recordings and

stuff that we'll put out there.

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If you can't make it, we'll

make sure that you see it.

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:

Yeah.

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My business partner, Perry

Belcher, he's speaking there.

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:

I think Steve Sims is

speaking there too, right?

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:

spoke last year.

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but we have a lot of cool speakers.

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I think 38 speakers

that's going to be there.

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Oh, that's awesome, dude.

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Wow.

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That's great.

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I can't wait watch the live stream

and I appreciate you, Robin.

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And if you're watching this, comment,

subscribe, and I'll see you tomorrow.

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All right.

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Thank you

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