Marketing is crucial for any business if you want to make it big, and with technology, marketing your own business has never been easier – that is, if you know what you’re doing. Founder and CEO of Small Business Big Marketing, Tim Reid, joins Paul Higgins to share his story on escaping the corporate world. Tim gives some productivity tips that will help you in marketing your business correctly while also enjoying what you’re doing. He also touches on what your greatest focus should be when starting a business, and the challenges you’ll likely be facing along the road.
Our guest is someone who had a successful career in the advertising industry. However, he felt that he was never given the opportunity to show his true creative talent. Realizing this, he left in the mid-2000s to run his own business being in control. What he’s done is gone through a wonderful journey of helping many people create brilliant marketing for their own business. He’s also the number one marketing podcast in Australia and among one of the best in the world. There is absolute marketing gold dripping for business owners. He talks about the importance of killer content and why it is never too late to have your own content platform. With all of his experience, it would be remiss of me not to dig deep into podcasting. This is a must-read interview with plenty of humor. I’ll hand you over to Timbo Reid from Small Business Big Marketing.
Welcome, Tim/Timbo Reid. I’ve been a huge fan of your show. You got me into podcasting so I’m excited about this.
I’m absolutely honored.
It wouldn’t be 115 episodes if it wasn’t for you, so I appreciate it. Let’s kick off with something that your family or friends would know about you that we wouldn’t.
I’m an introvert. Given what I do, you’ll get it, Paul. You’re a podcaster. We seem to be a little bit extroverted. I do a lot of speaking at conferences. I emcee a lot of conferences so that requires a certain amount of extroversion. I’m an introvert and extrovert. I love my quiet time. I love my me-time as much as I love to put a smile on the dial of my audiences or whoever wants to listen. I like that quiet space and search it out.
Where do you do your best thinking? Where’s that quiet time for you?
I’m lucky enough to live on the Sunshine Coast in Australia and I love the beach. I’m not into astrology but someone said to me a few years ago, “What are your stars?” I said, “I’m on the cusp of Aries and Taurus so I identify as a Taurean.” They said, “That’s an Earth sign. Therefore, you’re diverse and need a lot of water.” I do. I need to know that there is water close by, preferably saltwater and preferably with surf. I tend to go down the beach a lot more, walk into the National Park and try to get to do my best thinking in those environments. Certainly, not at a desk and not sitting around a boardroom table because that sends me to sleep.
Why don’t we get to your corporate escapee story? I know you started back in Clemenger in 1988 and you worked through a lot of corporates into this great journey of yours. Give us a snapshot of what it was like to work in corporate and what made you make the transition.
I didn’t like it. It was good for me. I worked for ten years at a large advertising agency. I was the marketing manager at Flight Centre. I worked at Smorgon Steel. I’ve had those corporate types of jobs and two that were good to me are Loser Loss and Good Coin. It honed my skills to sharpen my sword but it was always something niggling at me, particularly in advertising, where I didn’t feel right. There are two things. One is that I felt bound by the nature of corporate culture. I couldn’t go out and do what I wanted to when I wanted to. There’s more micro part of that, which in advertising, there are generally three departments which are account service, creative and media. I’m always in account service, which is essentially management, strategy, writing, and all that stuff. I should have been creative because I am a creative soul and how we all are. I was never getting the chance to express my creativity. On reflection, I developed a bit of gray hair. I started to realize that was what was eating at me. I’m glad I went through the corporate thing and I probably wished I’d got out sooner. It was good to me but now, I’m proudly wearing the cubicle escapee badge on my left lapel.
I’m assuming back then, being in the water and on the beach and taking calls probably wasn’t kosher.
No, I couldn’t say to my boss, “I’m going to walk around Albert Park, which is a beautiful lake in Melbourne and I’ll be back in three hours.” It wasn’t going to count, which is dumb because you know as well as I do those great managers should say to their people, “Just get the job done.” Some people aren’t able to do that and some people don’t have the self-discipline. I always felt there was this need to be there from the terrible 8:00. The standard 9:00 to 5:00 and then it became 8:00 until 6:00, and then it became 7:30 or 7:00. I was young right back then, so I was happy to do it, but I’m more interested in getting the job done. Being there, there’s one thing I noticed, instead of my own business, is that as soon as it’s your own business, you should get the job done as quickly as you can get down to the beach.
I’ve worked at Coca-Cola at Macquarie Street in Sydney and had that beautiful aspect. If I did a performance review or had a meeting with someone, we would do a walking meeting. We would walk around the Opera House and the creativity and what came out of that versus wanting to bring in a desk in an office, it was totally different shifts. I completely understand that. When you did the step, was it harder or easier than you thought?
It was definitely easier. From a financial point of view, I was lucky enough. My last corporate job was with Smorgon Steel. I was working on a project for them and it was a contract. It came to an end and they said, “We know you want to start your own business. Go and start, and we’ll be your first client.” I had a little bit of insurance if I liked to do that. I suppose I’ve never been one to sit and worry about where the next dollar is coming from. As a small business owner, we all do but I also tend to operate fairly from the heart. In everything, you’re not cool. That’s terrible. I’m sure you have a beautiful heart. I’m one of those gut feel guys and I’ve run along. Here I am several years later. I continue to roll along and do what feels right.
I constantly have failures myself. I did marketing and accounting at Uni and that’s the pendulum.
Irrational and emotional.
There’s my mother and father. My father is incredibly creative and had a great sense of humor, etc. My mom is more of a dual planner. I swap. On the journey, who helped you along the way? Any mentors or anything that you’ve been part of to develop as a business owner?There's too many of anything. Just focus on being the best; therein lies the challenge. Click To Tweet
Deeming a small business journey or just want to create?
Your small business journey.
I’ve never had a formal mentor. I’ve never had a business coach. There are a couple of people in my life who have been there for me and I can defer to any time I want to. They generally are regular half make catch-ups and half business catch-ups. They’re people whose opinions I respected and they have a bit of wisdom about them. I look at them and if I have a particular issue around or a particular area of my business, then I’ll go and find someone who I know has nailed that area and tap them on the shoulder.
We’ll go into the next section, which is the Build section. Most of my audience would have heard of you. Your podcast is prolific and you set the way with the Small Business Big Marketing podcast. When people ask you, “What do you do, Timbo?” what do you say?
My marketing response is I show small business owners how to be irresistible. It is a bit of a wonky answer. My purpose in that response is to get them to say, “That’s interesting. How do you do that?” I do that by shining a bright light on the dark art of marketing because most small business owners look at marketing and are completely bamboozled by it and for good reason, it’s a landscape that’s changed significantly year on year, month by month. There has never been a better time to market your small business because of the nature of the technology and what’s available to us, business owners, that have minimal budgets. We can punch way above our marketing weight and we can look much bigger than we are.
However, in order to do that, you need to know what’s going on. I used to be the guy who likes to be a marketing coach/consultant. I’ve stepped back a fair bit from that and I like to see myself as more of the conduit between the business owner and marketing magic, which sounds completely wonky. What I mean by that is the podcast allows me to do that. I can bring so much information to small business owners by the Small Business Big Marketing show. Because it’s on Virgin Airlines, it’s got great coverage on iTunes, Spotify, and various other places. As a result of that, I’ve also been asked to speak at a lot of conferences. I like to see myself as the guy who knows a little bit more than my audience. I can be the person who brings them that information because I certainly don’t know all but I like to bring it to them. I almost could answer your question, Paul. I’m a journalist, but I don’t want to be a journalist. I just want to be the conduit.
What was going through my head is the image of a conductor. The business owner is up there on the stage performing and the support is the orchestra and you’re conducting. You know so much about this space. Most people reading want more leads. Most people want more leads and revenue, and they do get bamboozled by marketing and to be honest, I’ve been burnt more times than I should. I’m an ex-marketing director of Coke, but the small business is different. What are the things that are working best for what you’re seeing through your podcast?
I love content. I love being helpful. I’ve written a book called The Boomerang Effect and the whole premise of that, the underlying boomerang effect is the fact that the more helpful you are in your marketing, it will return multiples. I’ll give you an example in my business. I started a podcast, the Small Business Big Marketing Show and if you listen to it and implement it, your marketing will improve. That’s me being helpful. Me being helpful, the boomerang effect takes effect. I get calls from potential sponsors who want to sponsor my show in CamStream. I get calls from people who want to be coached in CamStream. I get calls from the media who say, “Would you come and do a radio show on CamStream?” I get calls from people who want me to speak at their conference or emcee their conference. This is a classic example of creating helpful content.
Not only will you position yourself as an opinion leader in your industry, but you will get warm leads. People will remain. What happens to me is about 2 or 3 years into my podcast, I would get phone calls or emails from people saying, “You don’t mind if I call you Timbo, do you?” Or, “Tim, I feel like I know you,” but it’s great. That’s incredible. People reading could be going, “Even though you podcast for many years, that’s a defeatist attitude.” I hear that over time when you started early. This is not a podcast discussion. This is a content discussion.
The other answer to your question could have been, “I’ll go and run some ads in the local paper. I’ll get someone to do some outbound calling, do some Facebook ads, optimize your SEO, all that stuff,” which is all good stuff. We can talk about that but in terms of what I like, I love the fact that one of the major changes that we see in the marketing world is the ability to dumb it down to create your own show. This is incredible. You’ve got your own show. I’ve got my own show and the podcasts. You can have a YouTube channel because you’ve got an iPhone. You go and shoot some video and put some helpful stuff up on you. That’s another show.
You can self-publish a book easily these days. You can become a blogger or social media influencer. All these things are easy to reel off your time, the technology behind producing any of that stuff is easy. The magic and where you will either fail or succeed is creating the best content. The creative challenge is to create an awesome podcast or an awesome YouTube channel or write an awesome book. I’m big on this and people start and drop off. I was talking to a bloke over lunch and he said, “I’ve started a podcast. You inspired me to do it.” I think aside and I said, “You are absolutely at the point where you’re either going to keep going or you’re going to give up.” I see it all the time.
You put a smile on the faces that you said 2 to 3 years in. Do you reckon the phone might start calling soon?
It should. On the premise that you’re creating great content and the fact that you’ve done 115 episodes is not that interesting. What’s interesting is that your content and media quality is good. I don’t try to be a radio program but there are things you can learn from the mass media that us, independent media, can do better. You’re spending a great time on production quality, sonic sound or sonic nature of your podcast or on the creativity of your video, whatever you choose to do. The phone should start ringing and there are things too. You’ve got to get back at marketing, as I always say, which is all well to have 115 episodes. In my case, I’ve got 459. I had to play one up and it’s cheap but let’s play that. That’s terrible.
I’m going to catch you in ten.
You never know. It’s about taking that in marketing. Keep breathing all life back into old episodes and boost them on Facebook, sending individual episodes on a topic to end to one person who will benefit from it. Reach out to chambers of commerce, get in front of them. Whatever it may be, develop partnerships that are of strategic value to what you’re doing. We live in such incredible times. To wrap all that up, Paul, from a technology point of view, don’t start asking, “I don’t know what camera to buy. I don’t know what microphone to get. I don’t know who’s going to edit it.” We have got the most incredible marketing machine in our pockets and our smartphones, and that’s where it all begins.
In all honesty, we do a lot of work with LinkedIn as a key platform for B2B. I changed the message so when anyone sends me a request, I say, “I don’t accept anyone unless you get personal or customize things.” We send it back and we say, “How did you come across me? I’d love to know how you come across me. Did you read one of my posts or listen to my podcast?” It’s amazing. I didn’t know. I never got direct feedback from people and now, people are saying, “I love your podcast and I’m listening to it.” I was completely oblivious to that. I knew the analytic numbers, but I hadn’t thought that connection.Meditation is the number one productivity tip. If you clear your mind, you think clearly and the ideas flows. Click To Tweet
I still get that. I still lock them in and I get shocked. Sometimes, like you and I having a chat, you wonder whether anyone’s going to read. I’m pleasantly surprised each time I go to a conference or around the place and someone says, “I read your blog. You inspired me to do my own,” or whatever it is. That’s incredible.
I love your point around, “Don’t expect it to be an overnight success. Don’t sweat on the download numbers. Keep at it, improve this skill and then the audience will come.” That’s what I love talking about that content piece. If you get the content right, you’ll always get the audience. Don’t worry if it’s too saturated. Everyone goes on the markets too saturated at a terrible time. If you’ve got brilliant content, people will always be attracted to it.
There are many limiting beliefs out there around this stuff. “It’s too expensive. It takes too much time. It’s complicated. The market is flooded. It’s too late. The boats left the shore.” It’s all crap because the reality is that if you took that attitude in life, you’d never do anything. Show me an uncrowded marketplace. I went to the supermarket and saw there were twenty washing powder brands on this thing. There will be 21 next time.
Tell that there are too many taxis in the world.
I tell everyone that there’s too much of anything. Focus on being the best and therein lies the challenge. If that freaks you out, then I’m sorry. That’s the exciting part of what we do.
I don’t know if you still provide the service or not, but I know that to Expedia if you need expertise, go and find some article, the Plus One Model. If I was starting my journey again, I did a bit of it, but I would have invested and got it right. I reached out to you, but at the time you’re too famous and my bank was empty. If I had my time, I would have found the money to get it right the first time. If you’re reading, I don’t feel like you’ve got to roll out for yourself. There are some great services out there. You can talk if you’ve still got your service available, but there are some great services to take that heavy lifting off of your shoulders.
I always have 2 or 3 coaching clients going along at any time. Not that many because I just want to back off on that part of my business. You can find out more over at SmallBusinessBigMarketing.com but there is a problem. I talked to someone about this as a cubicle escapee or someone in the early stages of starting your own business. Marketing is tough and it’s even tougher to find someone to help you because you probably don’t have the knowledge. That’s where podcasts come in. I go and read. I go and join Chambers of Commerce, network things and ask others. You don’t have the budget to employ a marketing agency necessarily. You’re stuck in that middle ground, which can be tough. There’s no easy solution except to do 1 or 2 things well. As small business owners, particularly in the early stages, I see many trying to do everything. Get the best website, SEO, social media portfolio and event. For my business, I have focused on podcasting and chose to do that as well as I can versus becoming a social media influencer on Instagram or whatever else it is. Do one thing well and you’ll have great success.
I always talk about one killer marketing asset. What’s that one killer marketing asset that is going to attract people to you rather than you always reaching out? A podcast is brilliant. A book is great. If you love to blog or do YouTube or whatever you’re passionate about, pick what you’re going to be best at and do that. I love to talk so I do podcasting. I love to listen and then I love to talk back. Podcasting was mine. That’s all I’ve done. I’m about to launch a book but podcasting is the key. You talked about how difficult it is to get that. Other than your show, which is brilliant, are there any other shows that you listen to and you know your audience listens to, to get that marketing knowledge?
I don’t consume a lot of business content. There’s a podcast called How I Built This, which comes out of the States and hosted by a guy called Guy Raz. He gets in front of the founders and I don’t know how he does it. He gets in front of the founders of billion-dollar brands and asks the questions, “How did you do it? How did you build it?” I enjoy that because there’s a documentary style of nature to the show. It’s one of those podcasts that would take tens of hours to put together and it’s got beautiful production, qualities, and all that stuff. I enjoy that and then I spend the rest of my time listening to comedy and a bit of true crime. I get the absolute giggles at Tony Martin’s podcast called SIZZLETOWN. I love the art of the interview, so I listened to Alec Baldwin’s Here’s the Thing. I listen to Conversations with Richard Fidler. I share it around. What an incredible world we live in to be able to go to a device.
Years ago, you’d be hopping in your car pushing a radio station and hoping it was either Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart playing so you can smash it out in the car. Although, we’re talking about something on talkback radio that was the heart of his heart, which is interesting. Now, you can hop in the car and there will be someone creating a piece of content somewhere in the world. That’s the beauty of a podcast-centric conversation, but I love the fact that that’s where we’re at.
I know you’re great at speaking but try to get 1,000 plus every week into a room, that’s a nightmare. Whereas a podcast, it takes me half an hour to do that thing. I do a half an hour after my team does all the rest and that’s it. I couldn’t agree more. There are about 560 million podcasts if you go to listen and I’m sure it’s going to go. If you do great content, know your audience and be helpful first, you’ll get it right. Before we go into the next section, I mentioned my daily posting of actionable content on LinkedIn. For corporate escapees, search for Build, Live, Give and shout-out how you heard us, I’d love to get some feedback and how we can make this more valuable to you. I’d love to connect with you. The next one is around what are some of the other things that help you be successful.
I love a bit of my time. I’d start my day with an ocean swim every second day and in between, I do a spin class at the gym. That helps me clear my mind. I meditate and that’s an absolute game-changer. Anyone who doesn’t, you probably have a good look at it. They helped me. There are probably some interesting business strategies before I do. Like anyone else, the podcasts have been fundamental to my success because it’s created the boomerang effect of all these other things that are happening in my life from speaking to media to publishing a book and all that stuff. Enjoy what you do at the end of the day because life is short. People see it and hear it when they meet you like, “He’s a bloke. He’s someone who’s enjoying what they do and they want to be around there.” If you go back to corporate, there are a lot of miserable people but there are also a lot of miserable people in small businesses. You’ve got to enjoy what you do and that will attract others.
For the right reasons, there are a lot of miserable people in the hospital but I was able to spend a bit of time in there and it’s amazing there were all these people complaining, chasing no biscuits. I’m like, “I’m a creative guy so I put my clothes on and go down to ALDI to buy European cheese and bring it back.” I’m sitting there eating cheese and biscuits while looking at everyone else that’s complaining. How do you get above that? The next section is the Give section. I know you work for reach but what do you do to give back other than the brilliant podcasts you put out for your community?
A major one is a podcast and it was an income earner for me because I have sponsors. From a business point of view, it is an absolute give. It’s free, as yours is, and all podcasts to download and listen to. That’s one way of giving back. I take on a number of free speaking engagements pro bono each year. If a charity will call and they do, I always give them free advice. I have 2 or 3 charities that I support on an ongoing basis. That’s it.
The last section is the Action section. I’ll ask you a couple of questions and get some rapid-fire responses. The first one is, what are your top three productivity tips?
Meditation is number one. If you think clearly, you’re open to ideas and the ideas flow. That’s been absolutely awesome. I don’t mean sitting cross-legged with incense and Jesus sandals on. It’s not bad. It’s as simple as not in public. I’ll go home shortly, put on the loincloth and I’ll be away. What I meant with meditation is 20 or 30 minutes with a guided meditation, but I also set my watch to be on the hour, which I call JAM, Just A Minute. It’s taking a minute, pausing and going back to the breath and resetting. It’s like what we used to do with the complete defrag for computers. I did it like that. Productivity number one, meditation. Productivity number two is exercise and the third, more business-focused. It’s surrounding yourself with people who are good at what you’re not. For example, I’m not good at editing and just thought of it sends a shiver down my spine so I would never edit. I don’t even know how to edit. I don’t know what programs do editing.Surround yourself with people who are good at what you're not. Click To Tweet
Having said that, I don’t think I’ve been asked about what’s holding myself back in terms of growth by not surrounding myself with more people. I’ve never built a team. I’ve got about three on my team. I’ve got a virtual assistant, an editor, and a producer but I’ve never built it out. I couldn’t have had a greater level of success that I had but I’m happy. I’m okay where I am. As long as I don’t want to build an empire, which I don’t, then it will be crazy but surrounding yourself with good people is a great productivity hack.
You talked about the phone and how powerful it is. What do you use on the phone on your regular day that you couldn’t live without?
I took it back from a poor kid. I dropped my phone in the water for about five days on holiday, so I was phoneless. I had a MacBook with me. It stopped charging, so it died. I was off the grid and it was bloody beautiful. It was good. I’m one of those guys, which is a bit weird given the space that I work in podcasting, but I try to avoid bright shiny objects. I don’t go looking for the next great app or the next great gadget. I did buy myself a Galaxy watch, which is interesting. I’m excited about some of that, even though I’m an Apple guy, but I digress. With my phone, I have my podcast app. I’ve got my social media apps. I’ve got my Genius Scan, which allows me to scan documents and send them off. I like Expensify. I’m not big on that. In fact, I’m working hard to not look into screens.
I was in Singapore and coming home from Phuket one time. The entire population of Singapore was walking along the street looking down. It’s bad in Australia. You got an Asian country and it is off the charts. It was an awesome time. My dad was a chiropractor. He brought it to me. I got three teenagers. I got three kids, 20 and 22. I was growing up, my dad is a chiropractor. He said, “Look at the posture on people.” We sat in a cafe and we pointed out people. We almost become horizontal whilst standing up. It’s sad, so I’m working hard to not have too much screen time because the world has gone mad.
The last question is what impact do you want to leave on this great planet of ours?
I feel like I want to be a great dad and I’m proud of what my kids have done. If that’s the only impact I’ll leave, then happy days. I’m proud of what the Small Business Big Marketing show has done. The letters I get from listeners, I look at them and go, “I did that? My show did that?” That’s awesome. I’m not going to shoot for anything further than that.
I took a screenshot when looking to launch my podcast. I had you up against some of what I’d recognize as the most famous podcasters and there’s an Aussie guy sitting right amongst the pack. I’m like, “This is cool.” I put it up and I was like, “There you go. If you have great content, you can get there.”
That’s interesting in itself to finish up. You were talking about, “It’s too late. The boats left the shore. It’s a crowded marketplace.” If you would talk about any of this content stuff, the majority of the content out there is either American or the UK, but it’s mainly American. You’re right. You go to the top ten on iTunes and I’m the only Aussie for marketing and business. There’s plenty of room. If you’re an Aussie business owner, startup or someone trapped in a cubicle wanting to escape and create a personal brand, then the opportunity is huge.
Having your own team, you’ve also inspired lots of people around the world to be better, whether it’s for them or better parents to spend more time down the beach or whatever. Having the lifestyle and the freedom to be in control, you’ve inspired a lot of people to do that. You can find out more about Tim at SmallBusinessBigMarketing.com or TimReid.com.au. It’s great having you on.
How difficult it is coming up with three key things out of that brilliant interview by Timbo. The first one is to create killer content that is helpful. It hit the nail. Second is double down on one modality. For Timbo, it’s podcasting. For me, it’s the same. Whatever it is for you, do one well. The third thing is to grow a business that would suit your lifestyle and stay humble. Tim is living that. He’s an absolute superstar, but he’s such a lovely guy, and he’s living in the environment he loves. He doesn’t want to grow a multimillion-dollar business and he’s happy with that. That’s such a great message. If you’re a corporate escapee and you’d love to share your amazing and inspiring story like Timbo’s, email Support@BuildLiveGive.com. Please take action to live your dream life.
Tim Reid is now the founder and host of Australia’s #1 and longest running (11-years) business marketing podcast – The Small Business Big Marketing Show, which can be found on the Apple iTunes store, Spotify and inflight on Virgin Australia domestic and international flights. Each week, Tim Reid shares marketing insights and tips to help business owners build that beautiful business of theirs into the empire it deserves to be.
With over 500 episodes, three million downloads and listeners in over 100 countries, Tim Reid’s highly informative weekly show was awarded Australia’s Best Business & Marketing Podcast at the 2018 Australian Podcast Awards.