Unique Growth Methods: Newsletters And Referral Marketing with Shaun Buck [Podcast 236]

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GTF 236 | Direct Mailing


Do you struggle getting and keeping clients? 

If so, then you’re going to love this installment of the Growth to Freedom Show. 

In this installment, our guest expert is going to share with you a unique growth method to stimulate referrals, get more sales, and increase client retention for your business.

His name is Shaun Buck- a successful entrepreneur that for almost two decades has built up The Newsletter Pro, a company based out of Boise, Idaho, which has become one of the Inc 500 Fastest-Growing Companies by helping clients just like you get more referrals, sales, and higher retention rates. 

His story and insights are fascinating and when we’re done, you’re going to have a NEW appreciation and tool in your toolbox to grow your business with less stress. 

Listen to the podcast here:

Unique Growth Methods: Newsletters And Referral Marketing with Shaun Buck [Podcast 236]

Would you like to have a method where you could go out there and generate more new clients, a steady flow of new clients on autopilot? Would you like to have a way where you could stop losing many of the clients you have? Would you like to put yourself in a place where instead of being in the new order business, the new client business, you would be in the reorder business? How great would that be? Our friend, Robin Robbins, calls it creating cell phone stick rate.

How great would it be to have your business build its own version of cell phone stick rate? Whether you’re in a service business, HVAC, plumbing, brick and mortar, whether you’re a coach, consultant, mastermind, serial entrepreneur, whatever your background, this is for you. If you’re looking for a way to be able to go out and get more new clients, keep more of the clients you’ve got, generate more referrals, you’re going to love this segment. Our guest expert is going to share with you some strategies he’s learned over two decades. He’s a serial entrepreneur. He’s built up Newsletter Pro to become one of Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies for many years in a row. He’s a bestselling author. He’s based out of Boise, Idaho. He’s been running since 2011 which in business now, that’s like decades’ worth of strategy.

In addition, his company mails out millions and millions of newsletters each and every year. Why newsletters? Have you ever thought to yourself, is that mail thing, that direct mail thing, sending the newsletter, is that all dead? It’s quite the contrary and we’re going to prove it to you. He’s got a lot of case study research to be able to share with you. Not only has he had great success in his company, but he’s also a husband, he’s a dad. He’s also been named Man of the Year for the social work that he does in his community, which we’ll talk more about later in the show. His name is Shaun Buck. Shaun, welcome to the show. We got a chance to meet a few years ago at a mastermind event with Infusionsoft that they host. I’ve always been impressed with your work. You seem like a guy who’s organized. I met some of your team. Your team is so on it. They’re respectful. Your assistants have always been on point and make things happen for you. Why are you doing what you’re doing now?

It started out like everybody else. I started out because I wanted to have a business, make $1 million and live the entrepreneur lifestyle. That was the start. I’ve been very blessed and it’s morphed into so much more. I’m able to have an impact on the community, which is great. Before I got an impact on the community, I’m able to have an impact on our customers’ lives. I have stories after stories of customers who are like, “We did this thing, whether it was newsletters or something else that I taught them.” They’re like, “It worked. It was great.” It helped fix this problem or the sticking point or whatever it was. To be honest with you, I know a lot of people think this is BS. It’s absolutely not. I get to have an amazing impact on a lot of my employees’ lives as well too. I found out yesterday. It was bittersweet, but one of my ex-employees is leaving the area, which is a great person.

We run into every now and again, both locally, as a company. I’ve seen her. She’s got a job that was double what she was making at the company she’s at now. All that skill set, not all of it, but a lot of that and a lot of what she got to get there, we help develop those skills. She had core skills obviously. We helped build her up. Here she is, several months out of leaving us. She’s crushing it. How great is that? I get to have a lot of impacts now. The other reason I do what I do is mainly that I get to have some amazing experiences and that’s my value that more than stuff. I get to have some amazing experiences, meet some amazing people, some of the smartest people on the planet from an entrepreneur standpoint. For me, it’s fun that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing if we’re talking from a personal standpoint.

Speaking of those relationships, you have partnered with some of the biggest name experts in the world. You have done business with them. They’re clients of yours. You’ve co-written books with people like Dan Kennedy who’s a legend in direct response marketing and a whole lot more. Your business is created at this lifestyle for you. What would you say to a business owner who is maybe stuck in the day-to-day or maybe they hit a plateau? They’re caught in the trap of getting things done themselves. They’re the chief cook, the bottle washer. Something you’ve discovered whether in the last few months or the last year that’s allowed you to get out of that trap of being involved so much in the day-to-day. Go out and plan on having the whole summer off with your family.

The thing that I used to mess as a young entrepreneur when I was starting out. A couple of things that you need to keep in mind. One, you need to make sure that you are trying to replace yourself as often as possible. The faster you can replace yourself in whatever position you’re stuck in or you’re in, the faster you can go to the next level. Every single time you replace yourself, you go to the next level. I have worked myself out of many jobs in this company. At one point my wife and I were the writer, the project manager. We did outsource the graphic design because we didn’t know how to do it. We were the editors, despite neither of us being amazing at editing. We did every single job in this company. We went and printed everything. We help people get their emails out, whatever it was. We did everything. I had to work myself out of that job. The idea that if you’re grinding and it’s not changing, that’s happened for two reasons. You are very happy with your grind.

That’s the only legitimate reason it should happen is you’re happy. The reason it mainly happens is you are unwilling to. Whether it’s give something up, you’re unwilling to do the extra work that needs to happen to get to the next level. Maybe you don’t know what that extra work is. I have a small mastermind that I host with this, a very select group of people. I’m talking to one of the members, who asked for our call. I’m looking over their numbers and everything. Their entire problem is that they need about 30 more clients. When that’s your entire issue, and I’m not saying they won’t have a new issue when that’s done, but that’s the issue now. You need to wake up every day and go get those 30 clients. Rise and grind in a sense. You need to focus on. If you’re stuck somewhere, you’re stuck because you want to be or you’re stuck because you haven’t either identified what the issue is or you’re not focused on solving that issue.

Speaking of that, what do you think are some of the biggest mistakes that you see a lot of people making as it relates to getting caught up and not focusing on what needs to be done?

Some of the biggest mistakes is no one can do it as well as I can. That mentality, which first of all, that’s not possible. I’ve had a couple of people tell me that in groups or whatever. I’m like, “Could I do it as well as you can?” They’re like, “You could totally do it.” I’m like, “It’s not that nobody can do it.” That’s a huge mistake that this even that thought process that no one can do it as well as you. Another mistake is they simply, they get so caught up in the feast or famine that they don’t do any marketing, almost no marketing happens. I said, “What are your top three campaigns that are working? What are bringing in the leads?” We went through the leads. “How many leads were closed, converted last month?” We went back to the whole quarter. They didn’t have a close problem. They legitimately have a leads problem.

These three things work. I’m like, “How many of those are you doing? We’ve done it once.” I was thinking maybe like once this week you had done all those things. They go in this feast or famine because what happens is that they go into marketing. They get new customers. They got to go do all the work and they can’t do any more marketing. They run out of work and now they’re like, “It’s famine again. All this marketing, go do it.” It’s a horrible way to run a business. If you’re running that business, that’s like Groundhog Day. It’s horrible. You should figure out strategies to move past that. Those would be a couple of areas that I see where people struggle mildly.

Let me give you one more. This is a little bit more in the startup realm, but there’s probably going to be startup people who are reading this. It’s very scary to take that next step in hiring. Your first employer, third employer, fifth employee, that’s scary to go do. A lot of times what you have to realize is it is a chicken and an egg problem. You don’t quite have the revenue that you need to justify it. What you have to do is you have to stop thinking about hiring as an annual expense and start thinking about it as a weekly expense. That can hopefully free up your mind to be okay with getting that next hire. Once you have the hire trains, you have to be crystal clear on what it is you need to go do to make sure you’ve got all the customers and revenue that you need to pay for that employee and some. If you lay out that process that helps you grow a little bit faster if you feel comfortable and confident doing it. If you don’t, you take a few months to make a hire and you go stagnant for a few months.

The faster you can replace yourself in whatever position you're currently in, the faster you can go to the next level. – Shaun Buck Click To Tweet

There’s so much wisdom. You get a tip of the iceberg of Shaun. His depth and knowledge, his wisdom, what he’s been able to do to build an Inc. 500 Fastest-Growing to work with some amazing experts. You want to stay out of Groundhog Day. You want to stay out of the feast or famine. You want to stay out of the mindset of scarcity. You want to stay out of the rise and grind mentality of leaning your ladder on the wrong wall. We’ve scratched the surface of what Shaun is going to share with you. If you never want to miss an episode, you can do that at GrowthToFreedom.com/subscribe.

You shared some amazing insight into the rise and grind mentality. Staying out of Groundhog Day letting the tail wag the dog and decision making relating to hiring. What can you do getting started? You’ve had this huge rise in your business, your credibility and has become now super credibility in the marketplace with what you do. Can you think back on your business journey? What has been the biggest mistake or biggest failure that you’ve personally had? To put context so people go, “He’s at least a normal human being.” It hasn’t always been the Midas touch. Your biggest failure, what did you learn from it that ideally our audience can learn from it too?

I’m going to be an entrepreneur and I’m going to give you two. There’s a lot of hype or a lot of fluff in the marketplace. We were talking about how we met at Elite Forum and the idea of focusing on the culture of your business. I didn’t do that at first. In fact, I even had a bad mentality, more employees or cogs, not quite that bad, but more of that line. I realized that that’d not hit at all. The power in business comes when you realize that if you have happy employees, they create happy customers, which makes happy shareholders or you the owner. That culture thing that we all hear about, that’s like, “Culture, we want to do some of that.” That is important. It’s critical to seeing real growth.

I can’t say enough about how instrumental that has been to allow us to grow and have a good work environment. This happens to be sitting here. I’m not going to read or anything. This wasn’t planned or anything. This is a Thank You card left on my desk by an employee. I hadn’t done anything. He was appreciative. He’s been with me for a few years. He was appreciative of some of the things that we do around here and how much we take care of them and all that stuff. This is another greeting card also left on my desk by an employee. It’s in a pile of stuff my assistant needs to file. I show that not to brag on the same thing but to say, “When you have people who are that invested, for whatever reason, they wanted to reach out and they felt this connection enough with me to feel comfortable doing it.”

It changes how they care and how they treat the customers. That changes your business. You don’t have to be Netflix and give unlimited vacation time to have a good culture. There’s more to culture than perks. There are a lot of cheap perks that you can also give and do. We won’t go into that. That’s a call for another day. The second thing is you need to realize that wherever you, the entrepreneur, are the strongest. If your business grows, it will ultimately become the area where your company is the weakest. You will hold onto that so tight, you won’t let it go and you won’t let other people interfere. In turn, you’ll be the bottleneck.

For me and my company, that was sales. Before this, I worked for AT&T Wireless. I was one of their top sales guys in the entire country. I was nineteen, twenty years old, making six figures with them. That wasn’t because of the salary that was commission. I made a lot of money with those guys. I held on to sales and my company far too long. Up until maybe a few years ago, I took every single sales phone call into this company. I took them. I followed up on them and I sold them, all of them. Maybe about a few years ago, I started giving a little bit of that up and maybe a few years ago, I gave up 80% of it. Finally, maybe a few years ago, somewhere in this range, it’s like once in a blue moon. The guy who wants to go spend $500,000 or something. I will jump on that phone call. Those would be the two big lessons that if I could have done those things differently, we would be bigger and better. I am more profitable.

GTF 236 | Direct Mailing

The power in business comes when you realize that if you have happy employees, they create happy customers.


Thinking of those two lessons, to put perspective, was there something that happened related to your culture where you realized it was important? Similarly with you being the bottleneck around sales that you finally got yourself to a place. Was there a crisis? Was it a mind shift? What were those things that help you break out of that pattern?

Honestly, we were definitely seeing a lot of turnover of employees, higher than I would have liked. We were doing little things like an exit interview or something. I had to stop reading them because like they weren’t nice. I had someone convinced me like I’m trying to do with you. This is worthwhile. This is a great idea. You need to invest time and treasure into it. That was what got me on the culture kick. When I started having to tell people, it’s stupid. I should’ve known this way ahead of time. I started having to tell the prospects we were so busy. I was like, “Dan, I need you to understand something. I am not going to call you again after this call. At the end of this call, I need you to either decide to buy or if you’re not going to buy, I will shoot you a couple of emails that are automated and let me know if you got more questions.”

I want you to understand there will be no additional reach out from me via telephone because I simply don’t have the time. I wasn’t quite that bad. I wasn’t quite that direct. That was the message that I had to start getting out there. I’m like, “This is insanity.” I know how much money I’m losing by not following up. I sell this as a product. How stupid can I be? I knew it all along. I had what I said earlier. I don’t know. I’m a good salesperson. I don’t think people can do it better than I can do it. I was stuck. I didn’t say those words, but that’s where I was mentally.

Your business is newsletters and it’s about other things. It’s the strategic byproducts that support the main thing being the main thing, what you do and propping out. To also give context for our audience, how big is your team right now?

We’re 68 people or something like that. I always hate when everyone’s like this is what we’re doing in revenue. We’ll do it in the $10 million to $12 million in revenue range to give a context of where we’re at.

It’s been amazing to watch your progress, grow and get to know you a little bit. Your story is inspirational in so many different ways. Let’s go to newsletters. This idea of getting new clients, keeping your clients, generating more business from your clients, also getting out of the new order business and being more of a reorder business. Why newsletters?

You’re stuck either because you want to be or because you're not focused on solving an issue. – Shaun Buck Click To Tweet

I was forced to do them a long time ago. I bought a franchise. Part of the requirement was to do a newsletter. I did them totally wrong for a couple of years. It’s some of the worst newsletters probably ever published. I figured out like, “Maybe if I stop talking about boring crap and I start talking about some people care about, they’ll read it. They’ll respond and I’ll get some results out of it. Since I got to do this anyway, I might as well do a good job.” That was a mindset shift at the time because I was a little pissed for the first few years having to do it. I tried this mindset shift and I started doing a good job. All of a sudden, we started getting referrals out of it. We started getting customers who are ordering more.

We had customers who hadn’t used this in a while, start using us again. I started seeing all these shifts. Our cancellations went down. When they did call in to cancel, they weren’t like yelling at us on the phone because we messed up or something. I’d start talking to people on the phone and we’d do a customer service call. They’d asked me about my trip to Disneyworld with my kids or they’d be like, “I saw this thing about your son, is he doing okay? Congratulations, your wife just had another kid,” whatever it was because I got 9,000,342 kids. All these things, I was like, “This is great.”

What happens for a lot of us in businesses, no matter how good the idea is, our ability to execute on it sometimes is poor because we’re busy. There’s a new fire that comes up. There’s this emergency door we didn’t plan well enough, whatever happens, family emergency, whatever. I was like a little sporadic getting them out, but it worked. Every time I do this, I’m like, “This is so stupid. Why am I not sending one of this every month?” Finally, I did that. When I sold the couple of companies I was running at the time there, I was like, “What should I do?” I want to go back into owning a marketing advertising agency, which was I had done previously as well. I was like, “This newsletter thing that’s hard for me to do. It works well. I bet it’s hard for everybody else. I’ll do that.” That was the rough start of it.

I’ll do that, $12 million later, 68 team members, Inc. 500 a couple of years in a row. Your story is powerful. In creating a newsletter, there are all kinds of views of newsletters. You didn’t sit there and write like a mini-magazine. You’ve got all the way down to a postcard magazine. To you, what is a newsletter and where should someone get started?

Typically, for most businesses, a simple four-page, which would be like two sheets of paper together. You got the two newsletters together. It’s 11×17 sheet, which is two 8.5×11 and you fold it over. That’s what probably 85% of all businesses should use. The exception could be like if you’re in a B2B, business to business selling environment but only if you’re a little larger. When you’re starting out, I assure you the four pages is plenty. When you send that out, now the key to it has nothing to do with the product, the paper and the ink. The key to making this whole thing work is stories. What you have to do is you need to tell your story, your personal story. It could be even similar to that business story I told. That’s a personal business story. You need to tell your customers, patients, clients’ stories and you need to tell your brand’s story. That could include your employees. It could include branding stuff, whatever it happens to be.

If you’ll tell those stories and there are a few other nuance things that you need to do, it changes everything. Now, if you don’t want to do it, I employed ten, eleven storytellers. That’s their job to call and interview people, tell their story and write the newsletter for them. There are other ways of getting it done. You’ve got to find someone to tell your story. You’ve got to tell it in a way that is entertaining, that people want to read and also draws to whatever your outcome is that you want because maybe this edition you’re looking to drive more referrals. Maybe the story should help drive those referrals. You got to tie it into that outcome as well. If you do that, you’ll find that these things crush it. It’s all about the story. It’s not that much about the business. You’ve got to keep that in mind.

GTF 236 | Direct Mailing

68% of customers leave a business because the business didn’t care about them.


It sounds like you want to become a storyteller in writing with a theme behind it to drive an outcome. Who do we send these things to? I’m trying to think of someone getting started who might be going, “The idea sounds fascinating. I want more new clients. I want more repeat business. I want more referrals. I’m in.” Who do I send it to? I ran a cold mailing list and sent it out. Do I focus on people I have done business? What do you recommend?

I’ll give it to you in order of how well it works. The number one is all your current and recent past clients. Recent past is different for every business. Typically, no more than 24 months for recent past, maybe as little as twelve. It depends on your niche. All the current clients for sure, that is where you can have such a huge impact on your company by communicating with the people, who are literally paying you money and keeping your doors open by having some communication that’s personal. It’s not completely about you. I say that with all due respect. Think about this like what’s most business communication, “Buy my crap and pay your bill.” It’s a very self-centered relationship. If you were thinking about dating your business, you wouldn’t date your business. You’d be like, “No, swipe left. This person would make the cut.” You’ve got to think about your relationship with your customers in the same way, that you are a little bit dating them.

Unfortunately, you’re unlikely ever get married to them because customers can change businesses at any time. When you’re dating them and you’re courting them, you have to constantly date and courting them or someone else is going to swoop in. You got to get a handsome dude like this to swing on over and snag them up from you. You got to be dating them on a regular basis or they’ll take them. After a while, they may be willing to try that bubble bath because what’s happened is you’ve gotten into this relationship. Now you’re a little out of shape and it’s been a little while. You don’t care as much. Now they’re off doing bubble baths with other people. That’s what it boils down to. The Rockefeller Foundation found that 68% of customers leave a business. The reason the customer sites is the business didn’t care about them.

They’re indifferent. If you don’t communicate with your customers and you don’t talk to them, you don’t open up and you don’t get personal, you are indifferent to them regardless of what your words say because actions speak a lot louder than words. If you think that you don’t need to communicate with them, you could do a simple test. It doesn’t even cost you any money initially to do this test. If you’re married, I want you to test. Don’t talk to your spouse for many days. Send them some bills and maybe slip them a note every now and giving you what some nookie. It needs to be completely around you. No other communication with them. If they talk to you, ignore them, send them to voicemail or let the front desk answer the phone and handle them, whatever it is.

Do you see what I’m saying? It’s not going to work. We treat our customers, our patients, our clients like we don’t care. We wonder why they leave. I would start with those people because that’s where you’re going to get the referrals. That’s where you’ll lower the cancellation. Those are people who have already said, “I am willing to give you money,” which means they’re the easiest people to get to give you more money, to buy a second time. I don’t mean more money in a negative way, to buy other things from you. I go after referral sources. Anybody who has my customers right now preferably already knows them, but they have them and I want to get them from them. Again, not in a negative way, I want them to refer those people over to me. We’re not competitors. We complement each other. They’d be good referral sources.

Lastly, I would go out cold, but if I’m going out cold, I’m in most instances only willing to go to what’s called Dream 100 list. I know you’re familiar with that, Dan, but these would be your top 100. Maybe if budget allows, your top 200 people who you would like to be doing business with. That’s how I’m going to go out cold. There’s one change you have to make to the cold. Typically, you’re not going to be super aggressive on the offers inside the newsletter. There is a way to do that. I can teach you that, but you’re not super aggressive. On the cold stuff, you need to be more aggressive. You need to remember your cold is to get them to take one small baby step, one positive action. It’s not necessarily getting them to buy, it’s getting them to know who you are and take a positive step. Maybe get on your regular list so they’re not cold anymore because they opted-in for something. Whatever it is, it’s small baby stuff. If you do that, you’ll be very happy with the results based off of the list that you choose.

'The power of your questions determine your destiny.' – Tony Robbins Click To Tweet

You gave us a mountain of info here. If people want to go deeper with you, Shaun, tap into your wisdom, you’ve got all kinds of resources. Where’s the best place for people to go if they want to go deeper with this, to put it in place and implemented take action?

What they should do is head over to my website, go to NewsletterPro.com/freebook. It’s a complimentary book. We will send it to you. As long as you have a real business, we’ll send to you at no charge. I say real because every now and then we can get like a grandma asking for the book on how to do newsletters so she can do the family newsletter or something. If you have a real business, we’ll send it over to you. What I want you to do when you get it, it’s important, definitely obviously open it. That’s given. I want you to both looks at it from the standpoint that, “I might be interested. This could be good for my business. Does this make sense?”

The next thing I want you to do is if you are a student of marketing and entrepreneurship, what you will do is also pay attention to all the marketing that is happening. Open the emails, read the pieces in there, preferably read the whole book, but if not skim through the book and see what we’ve done. That piece has been responsible for millions of dollars in revenue into my business. It’s not rocket science. There’s some work that goes into making that work and this is the sixth change. We’re making another change right now to it. Potentially you might be getting the brand new one. There is a lot there to learn from that. Go check that out because even if you’re not sure whether newsletters make sense for you, you can definitely learn something from the marketing, which would help your business.

Only if you feel like you could learn from a company that’s doing high seven figures and has 68 team members growing from, he found a gap, “Why don’t we do this?” and grew it to 68. If you think you could learn something from that, and especially Shaun being a direct marketing savant, I encourage you to go get this resource, pay attention to it, study it, and ideally put what he’s sharing with you in place. You can do that at NewsletterPro.com/freebook. If you’re reading right now, don’t go off this interview, but click over, go to that website to get access to his blueprint that has meant $10 million, $20 plus in growth, revenue and momentum. Shaun, as we pivot here and wind this down, a couple of quick questions and we’ll get a little personal too. It’s like a mini rapid-fire type thing. What’s the one thing in the last several months that’s had the biggest impact for you?

We do some outbound calling, customer service type of calls and things like that. We had some good training, but I brought in a professional to train my team, to coach my team every week. That has been lights out amazing for us. I always tell people email is a secondary form of communication. I specifically tell my employees that. The phone, text messaging that’s primary forms of communication, but we brought someone in. I thought we were doing a pretty good job. Now he’s crushed it, knocked out of the park for us. One of our phone people, her goal was 40 appointments a month. Since September is averaging 80, the same number of leads, just better conversions.

As you’re reading right now, if you’re not using the phone, it’s a way for you to get a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Here’s what I found. Most people doing the online market are too lazy to grow their business. They let a real business opportunity get in the way of making money and phone is an easy way to quadruple or more your business with one single activity, with one or two people helping you do it. It’s a total game-changer. In any business, brick and mortar, follow up, coaching, consulting, service providers, doctors, dentists. We see this time and time again and how it creates an exponential lift in the business with the same leads, the same amount of prospects coming in. You get this amazing list. What would you say, as you think back on your journey, and it’s two parts? First part is who’s the single biggest person that’s had the biggest influence on you to help you get your biggest breakthrough in history? Who in the last several months?

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The perfection comes from the imperfection for all of us.


Probably my biggest breakthrough in history from a business standpoint, I would probably say it was probably Clate Mask, the CEO of Infusionsoft, who’s a great guy and that’s a good company. He got me to see some stuff about some of the ways I think and got me to make changes about it. He helped me get rid of some bad programming in a sense, something that I maybe didn’t believe, but it’s still acted on. He helped me through a lot of the cultural stuff. He helps with my business through a period of time. When we were growing so fast, he was the person that I called when I got stuck. I was like, “What do I do? It’s broke or whatever.” Clate is great. He’s written a book or two and a good friend. I’d probably say he’s the one that would be the most on this business definitely in the history of the company.

I’d say on the last few months, interestingly enough, it’s not going to be anyone you guys know. The biggest impact I would say has been my wife mainly because she’s done somewhat place on. She’s asked some good questions that got me thinking in different directions and got me looking at things a little bit differently in the last few months that I feel like so far doing well. I feel like are going to give me that ability to maybe go even to the next level. I’m not interested in stopping at $10 million or $12 million in revenue. She’s got me going down. It got me thinking, which started me down a direction that it’s going to have a big impact.

Speaking of quiet, Tony Robbins has said for years, “The power of your questions determine your destiny.” You have this process with your wife that you mentioned or something else, but what would you say is the one question that you’ve asked last several months or so that’s had a significant impact and breakthrough for you?

I’ve got a business one, but I’m going to do personal because it will have a bigger impact on the audience. Maybe it’s the stage I’m in, but I’m definitely aware of the fact that my kids are getting older. Maybe it’s my stage of life a little bit, but this question I’ve been asking it for years, but I do it twice a year. I ask this question to my kids and to my wife twice a year. I don’t always like the answer, but here’s the question. “What one thing could I do to be a better dad? What one thing could I do to be a better husband?” Here’s the key. Do your best to go do that one thing. Sometimes one of my boys was like, “I want you to be home more, not play with me, not even do anything. I would like you around more.” My wife told me one time, this is a long time ago when I first started asking this question. She said, “When we fight, it’s like in business you’d like to win. When we fight and it’s personal, the difference is you know every single button to push, you know every single weak spot. If we get into a fight, you take me out at the knees.”

It would be horrible if you’re doing that to your wife on a regular basis or any time, physically. I was like, “No, I don’t.” I didn’t believe her. I said, “The next time I do it, the next time we’re arguing after I say whatever thing that’s mean that upsets you, that you feel dirty play in a sense trying to win the fight, I want you to say blue banana.” Because who knows what we’re going to use that in normal language? She did it and I was devastated afterward. I was like, “I’m such an ass. I am so horrible.” I worked hard not to do that. Not in that relationship, but in my personal relationships and I’m sure I’m not perfect at it. I assure you, I know for a fact I’m infinitely better at it than I was several years ago or a few years ago. Not quite the exact question you want me to answer, but the best answer to the question in my humble opinion.

You’ve given us a glimpse of the whole person. As a husband, dad, one and one in business and everything else now, I had it off for years. I love this approach. Speaking of your wife, it’s obvious there’s a lot of depth there. If your wife were in the room with you right now, are going to turn to her and you are going to say thank you. What would you thank her for, Shaun, and the way that she showed up to support you, to allow you to be this crazy, innovative, visionary, creator, doing what you do every day?

You can ask probing questions to others, but their perception is their reality. – Shaun Buck Click To Tweet

I would thank her for believing in me and sticking by me because you talked about it wasn’t always amazing or whatnot. I’m super blessed. I do have a good life right now, but it wasn’t always that way. There was a point not too long ago, probably about a decade or several years ago, we were entrepreneurs still. We had gotten down to such a low spot financially that despite having two kids at home, I had to come to her. For an entire month, I told her she was not allowed to spend any money without my approval first because we didn’t have any. That meant bread and that meant milk. She specifically asked me about bread, milk and eggs.

I said, “You can’t spend any money. We don’t have any. I don’t know how we’re going to make it.” For a lot of people, they would have left at that point. Several years ago, I had done some good things. I’d had some success in business, but I had some downtimes as well too, as I obviously shared with you. She didn’t necessarily have some hope that I was going to create this successful business that’s profitable, that gives us a great lifestyle. She didn’t know whether that was getting to come to fruition. She didn’t even get down on me. Do you know what she did? She asked me, “What can I do to help? How can I help us get more money?”

She went out and helped do some of the marketing to get us out of that hole. The whole idea was to stick by this guy. I met her a month after she graduated high school. It was when we started dating, who had this crazy vision and this crazy dream that was completely different than everyone else, who had at that point moved his family to Idaho from California and now said, “I’m sorry, we can’t afford to buy anything. We no longer have money because we had sold our companies in the move. Paying off the debt and paying the stuff, the issues we had over there from accumulating debt and stuff, put a down payment on a house.” The new business didn’t take off quite as fast as I wanted it to and we were running out of money. That would have been a very easy time to run home to California.

Thank you for sharing that. Ideally, as you’re reading this, you’re inspiring. It takes a village to build success. It does and it starts at home. If you’re not grateful at home, I don’t know where else you’re going to be grateful for. Ideally, you learn from Shaun, his lessons, his wisdom. Shaun, with the time that we spent, what are one to three action steps you hope our audience take from our time now?

I hope that they spend some time thinking about their employees and how they can do right by them slowly. It doesn’t have to happen all in one spot and does right by them. How they can empower them to help their business grow. The second thing they do is they go home. I sincerely hope you go and ask your family, your loved ones, whoever that happens to be for you, what’s the one thing you could do differently? Listen, don’t argue about it. You can ask probing questions, but their perception is their reality. You need to understand that what you’re doing that is causing issues for them. I’ll do the third one self-survey, go get the book, NewsletterPro.com/freebook. Go grab that, check out the marketing. If we can help, great. If not, I promise you we give massive amounts of free stuff in the way of information. We’ll cheerfully help you grow your business in other ways if the newsletter is not right for you.

I encourage you, take action with what Shaun has shared with you. Go get the book, NewsletterPro.com/freebook. Take action, number one, treat your team right. Help them grow. At the end of the day, you’ll grow to the extent that they grow. Number two, go ask that question, “What’s the one thing?” Get the book to learn from his marketing. Shaun, it’s been a pleasure to have you here. I wish we could spend like hours. I love what you share and ideally, you get a tip of the iceberg of what Shaun is all about as a human being first. He’s doing some pretty amazing things in business too. It’s a pleasure to have you with us. Thank you.

Thanks for having me.

Take action with what Shaun shared, go put it into place. Imagine what would happen to you. A) Putting a newsletter in place, B) Becoming this 180-degree or 360-degree human being, not focus on doing stuff, but the being part. Shaun’s figured out a way to bring the two of them together and he said he’s not perfect. At the end of the day, none of us are. The perfection comes from the imperfection for all of us. Take action, seize the day. If you never want to miss an episode, go to GrowthToFreedom.com/subscribe. If it has inspired you, make sure to share this with another business owner, an entrepreneur that could get help from this because it can help them. We look forward to serving you and working with you. Make it a great day. Seize the day. We’ll see you next time on GrowthToFreedom.com.

Resources mentioned in this episode:


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About Shaun Buck

GTF 236 | Direct MailingShaun Buck has been a successful serial entrepreneur for almost two decades. He currently owns and operates The Newsletter Pro, based out of Boise, Idaho. The Newsletter Pro has only been operating since 2011, but it has rapidly grown into the nation’s largest custom newsletter company, mailing millions of newsletters annually.

The Newsletter Pro has been recognized for their tremendous growth by Inc. Magazine, making the Inc. 500 list twice and the Inc. 5000 list once. The Newsletter Pro has also been named one of the best places to work in Idaho for the past three years. Shaun was named “Man of the Year” by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and is a successful business coach to owners of million-dollar businesses.

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