Top 3 Lessons from this unusual year. EP #146 - Den Lennie


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Today, Den delivers unto thee 3 top lessons of 2020. In other words, you're gonna hear 3 proven and battle-tested ways to grow your video business.

Here's a peek at what you'll hear:

  • Want to know how Navy Seals make swift, calculated, and intelligent decisions when the shit hits the fan, ceiling, and walls? (Then read the book Den mentions at 1:20 - Perfect book for business owners who get a bad case of the "hems and haws" when faced with big decisions.)

  • The "EO" secret to winning when times are tough, painful, and miserable, like, for example, ALL of 2020! - 1:55
  • It's no secret biz owners in the "live events" industry got smashed in 2020. (Well, that's what makes some of Den's coaching client's success stories so amazing. You see, some of Den's most successful coaching clients had businesses that relied on doing live events. Yet, despite COVID 19, they are prospering wildly thanks to some brilliant advice, strategies, and ideas they received from Den's Video Business Accelerator Program.)

  • An ugly and disturbing truth most business owners are too afraid to accept or acknowledge. - 4:10
  • Why many filmmakers who obsess over technology and always have the latest and greatest video equipment often have struggling businesses. - 4:48

  • Two “laughably simple” ways to goose your focus, boost your sales, and grow your business. (One way is to delete every app from your phone except for two apps Den mentions at 5:30, and the second way is even easier, and far more impactful.)

  • A secret way to market your business that cuts through all the noise and gets your perfect prospective clients to chase YOU down. (Surprisingly, whenever Den mentions this viciously effective marketing secret to one of his clients, they resist it. That is until they try it and see the results! - 6:30)

  • Boston man explodes his filmmaking business thanks to Den's wily ways. - 7:00
  • Shockingly good Accelerator Business case studies. - 8:00

  • Where the REAL money is in the video business. Den gives the nitty-gritty details at 10:20
  • The strange (but true) way creativity can send a video business owner to the poor house. - 10:45

  • A pitiful mindset (or expectation) many video business owners have when approaching new jobs that ultimately stunts their business's growth. - 11:10
  • Eye-opening email marketing insights nobody told you about. - 14:00

  • The clumsy thing most filmmakers do with their marketing that undermines ALL their marketing efforts. - 14:50
  • How to land a client in 30 days - 15:20

  • The skid-mark on the underwear of filmmaking marketing. - 15:30
  • The one-hour habit that can potentially skyrocket your business's profits. - 16:30

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Episode Transcription

Den Lennie (4s):
Good day, guys! Den Lennie here host of the How to scale a Video Business Podcast coming to you today with episode 146. That's the last day of the year. I think a lot of people have to be quite active to get the shit out of the way, but of course, you know, just a change in day. It doesn't really change very much other than that, it kind of the lane in the sand. And so today I wanted to share my three top lessons of 2020, and I hope that you find them useful and helpful, and I can take them into 2021 with that more Gusto.

Den Lennie (47s):
So when we get quite short stay, I know you probably got things planned. There is probably things you wanna be doing. And I like to reflect at the end of the year and as we did actually every week and every month and save the video business accelerator. But I think at the end of the year is a time when a lot of people who have got this on their mind. So I wanted to just share with you three lessons that I think have helped my clients push through pretty significantly in 2020. So let's kick off on a number one. The first lesson is extreme ownership. Now, if you'd been listening to me for awhile, you know, I'm a big fan of joker. Willink his book, extreme ownership, how Navy seals lead and win is one of the best boots I think ever written on leadership and context around making the decisions.

Den Lennie (1m 40s):
So I think with everything that's happened this year, we must do you know, that, like I said, is that the people that I've seen succeed against all adversity and the one's who embrace extreme ownership in it, if there's anything we learn this year is that you can not allow external forces to dictate the outcomes of your business. And, and that is something that we are absolutely led by from day one of the Corona virus. You know, if it was like, we are not going to let this disrupt us and derail us, this is something that we can not control. This is something we have no influence over. How are we going to respond? And the first thing we did was just turn it off the news from D one.

Den Lennie (2m 22s):
And then we held multiple emergency coaching sessions where we helped all of our members regroup and, and grow. No. Some people left and went by the wayside and, and I hope they are doing okay today. But the ones that stayed, I can tell, you know, that, you know, eight, nine months on, they are all thriving and doing better than they were a pre COVID. And that is because of the absolute focus on removing all stimuli and distraction that takes away from executing your plan. So when we see and watch the news, we no news media, the only news would we be consumed was the government official presentations.

Den Lennie (3m 6s):
And so by doing that, you focus on what you can control and not on what you can't. And if you have someone who, who knows people who turn around and say, well, you know, my business was really badly affected. I couldn't do this because of this. And the next thing I have clients in my mastermind who run events, businesses that are work, it got absolutely decimated, but within four to six weeks, they have completely repositioned their offer, completely connected with all of their client's and said, Hey, how can we support you? We're working way. So we can still keep it moving, working in ways that we can still keep delivering to you. And, and those are the businesses that are no at the top of their game, in the digital space when it comes to online and virtual events.

Den Lennie (3m 48s):
So when it comes to anything in your life, in business, you cannot blame anyone or anything else for your lack of success. And that, that, that could be a very confronting statement to have to deal with. But the fact is, and me, you or anyone, you know, where either are successful or not successful because of something we have our haven't done. And if we are not at the revenue, if you'd like to be out, or if we're not, em, we don't have the cache in the bank that you'd like to have in the bank. If we are not able to go and invest in the equipment we want, it's because of something we haven't done. And I've spoken to many, many people this year, and we've had conversations about whether or not they want to come and join the program.

Den Lennie (4m 29s):
And, and we, we, we knocked back and say more than 50% of applicants. And that is because they're just not ready or they don't have the right mindset. And, and we have an extreme ownership mindset inside the VBA and success or failures down to you. I have had conversations with people who have spent 30 or 40,000 pounds or dollars on camera equipment, that question a few thousand to invest in themselves. And that is okay because it's not for everyone. But if you want all the things that you say you want, you have to be willing to do the work. And that can be uncomfortable. That can sometimes be challenging. That can be confronting because it's too uncomfortable.

Den Lennie (5m 13s):
You know, we talked recently about, you know, the things that you do to, to create clarity and your life. I recently stripped up all the apps on my phone. So I'll look on my phone. No is my Stripe account, my bank account and the foreign exchange. So every day, my only focus is revenue and sales and cash. And then I'm gonna sit at my desk. I've got a zero inbox policy for my emails, so I have nothing to distract me. So my focus is always on serving my clients, absolutely serving my clients and, and keeping an eye on the finances. And that, that is what will help your business grow and, and all the wonderful people I get to work with every day inside the Video business accelerator coaching program.

Den Lennie (5m 56s):
I know the video, we sell it as a business course and inspire me every day to want to just help them become more successful. So those, those take the commitment to join me, get my full attention. So be very clear on that FAQ, be very clear in the fact that if you are not more successful is because of something that you are not doing or something that you are doing that is not the right direction for you. The second big lesson of 2020 is just having an absolute clarity on your target market. And Good deep into your target market. You know, you want it to become sort of ensconced in your target market, where anyone in that market doesn't think twice about coming to you because you're the only logical choice because you're such an expert in that space.

Den Lennie (6m 48s):
I think of my client, Pat, whose been on the Podcast Pat Henderson, who in a year ago, he was very resistant too, to niching down. And, and now, you know, 80% of his business comes from the medical health and, and, and the, the medical device and, and, and healthcare industries. And he was in Boston and he becomes a go-to guide because client's just go, yup. Will talk to path in it because they're the guys that specialized in the healthcare. I think about my client in Sydney, Andrew, who he is, is absolutely smashing high-end corporate for schools and for corporate. And he has a red, Epic, and he delivers exceptionally high quality.

Den Lennie (7m 32s):
And, and his wife just stands out above anyone else's excuse me. And so he is someone who has become number one in Sydney, Sydney, video producer. He is like the number one company that Anne is growing at an exponential rate. Well, I think about Kaleb who's down and Bendigo, who it started with about eight months ago and is now reaching, you know, triple and quadruple the revenue. He was eight months ago, just so much. So they have just hired a lot of team member, and he is someone who is just been completely committed, but these people all have a very clear idea of the target market who are, they're talking to what they do, who do they do it for?

Den Lennie (8m 12s):
And that clarity has an enormous impact on their business. And, and, and I couldn't be more thrilled with, with all of my clients. There are all making incredible progress, but it does take time and it is challenging and it can be confronting. But you know, if you trust the process, you will get the results. It's just that as creatives, we often spend a lot of time. I'm second guessing questioning, cause that's what we do. And we're being creative. We, we, we think about lots of different things, but in business you have to separate the two, you have to separate the business. The business needs to consistency. The business needs routine and routine can be boring for a creator, which is why so many creative businesses fail.

Den Lennie (8m 58s):
I know, and I've worked with some of the most incredibly creative, beautiful people who, whose work is exquisite, but there are poor because the current discipline to follow the process and then the make excuses for why they're not doing things. And Ben Simkin, he was on this Podcast this year. And one of my mentors, he was like, then you can make excuses or you can make money, but you can't make both. And so, unfortunately I observe very creative people, just not being disciplined enough to follow the process. That always try to look for a, a, a kind of, have an easier route.

Den Lennie (9m 38s):
And, and its such a shame because from a creative standpoint, the work can be absolutely exquisite, beautiful, but it doesn't make money. And that is because to make money with the video, you don't have to be a perfectionist. You just have to give the client consistency, consistency. And as, as Decklin would say to me, who am, I must go out on the podcast and some point, you know, he was proud of the fact that his company would be, that really looks after a boring corporate But boring corporate in a sense that he knows his market. His market are mid to high level corporate companies who just don't want anything too risky. They are the Pfizers of the world. They are the big brands who just need consistent content Shotwell delivered on time on budget.

Den Lennie (10m 25s):
And you can make an enormous amount of money looking out for those kinds of clients. I've always maintained that the real money in video production is not in the sexy stuff. It's in the nuts and bolts glue. It's in the internal comms and the training. I've got Staci who's over in Birmingham, Alabama. There's an enormous amount of weight with bottling plants for a major drinks manufacturers. Ah, Jethro is just one, a big deal. And his company quantized a pixels over in Washington, D C and they are making high-end training videos for high-end kitchen equipment. Like this is very, very lucrative work. And if you're able to separate your creative Igor from the amount of the work that needs to be done to build a business, you can have everything you ever wanted because when there's money ruling in, you can hire people to do the work for you and you can go and create as much fun stuff as you want.

Den Lennie (11m 18s):
But a big mistake I see a lot of filmmakers make is that the wants that they are unrealistic. There are unrealistic about the fact that they want every job we do to be creatively stimulating and, and you know, some of the computer in a short while ago and what I've done, I can tell you my clients do it in my clients. Don't think that like that my clients are let's do the work, get paid and there will be projects that will come a long from time to time that we really find that very stimulating creatively. But, but what also happens is an and Pat mentioned this to me recently. He said, you know, I used to think like that, Dan, but no, I actually finding the business building part creative. He's at least hired a production manager part time.

Den Lennie (11m 59s):
And he's looking to scale his business. He's got a young family Caleb's just hired another, another team member because his business has grown so much this year. So it's really exciting for me as the, kind of the, the leader of this community too, to watch people grow. I think about Tim, who's just, you know, I had another multiple five figure month in December and he sent a lovely note saying, you know, I just would never have been here without you. And then, and that's because we, we keep everyone accountable. We keep everyone on track and we focus on extreme ownership, absolute clarity on your target market, your message and your offer. So you become the only choice in that market.

Den Lennie (12m 40s):
And then my third big lesson, an observation of, of 2020 is discipline to focus on what our every day on marketing and sales. You know, any business is doing less than a million dollars a year is a sales and marketing business. If you are not committed to consistently executing marketing and sales every day, you are never ever going to remove the feast and famine. You just can't keep chasing the shiny objects. You can keep chasing new opportunities. You have to be focused on one target market, one avatar and talk to them about their problems over and over and over and over again.

Den Lennie (13m 24s):
And I think where we Creators find those challenging is that it feels like we're repeating ourselves. It feels like we're saying the same thing over and over again, but what you have to remember, and we actually tested, this is in an email marketing. Most people only really, truly acknowledge and really digest one in every five to seven emails to receive from you. So if you send an email every single day of the week, which we did for a while, that means that it at least one email or a week is going to be read and consumed, which means that is 52 emails a year. That's 52 touch points with a potential client. And if you have an email once a month, then as a channel that only, you know, once or twice a year, your message will be getting through.

Den Lennie (14m 10s):
And if you are, Inbox, it's an absolute, you know, cluster-fuck of, of emails and 10 or 20,000 emails, even less. So, so it's critically important that you focus your time and effort on marketing across multiple channels, you know, consistently. And when I talk about marketing, it doesn't need to be, you know, creating content for LinkedIn. For example, it can be just targeting the right people and beginning a conversation. And then in the mastermind and in, in the coaching program, we have, we have scripts for that, you know, so we, we, we lay our exactly what to do and how to do it. But the biggest obstacle I see filmmakers not achieve their results.

Den Lennie (14m 53s):
They want with their marketing is a lack of consistency in execution. It's the, it gets to be boring. It gets put in the too hard pile. It gets them to kind of like, Oh, I didn't manage to do that. So we won't bother pile. And, but if you focus one hour every day on marketing and sales and advancing a marketing campaign are advancing a sale. And that could just be simply following up with a client. You know, we've got training. We, we, we offer an first week of the Program and it's called how to land a client in 30 days. And it's a process with a script for how to follow up with every client you've ever worked with and touch base. Even if you're not being in touch with them for six months, eight, it tells you what to see, how to see it.

Den Lennie (15m 34s):
And that can more often than not generate business immediately. But the biggest obstacle that we all have to overcome and continually work on is that habit of consistency. And it's the number one challenge I see filmmakers face. And I, I recognize in myself, it's something that I have to be very disciplined about, but we have tools for that. And, and, and, and in simple terms, I just diarize that. I literally put it in my calendar, right? Marketing and sales from nine till 10, every day, if you spend one hour every day focused on marketing and sales, you will never have a business that's going to cause you problems.

Den Lennie (16m 15s):
Because if you're always selling, you're always bringing new business into the group. If you are, if you're looking at it, existing clients in getting into the, buy it again, you're going to find yourself in a great position. So, you know, the, the only way to grow a business is, is the three ways, okay, it's, it's get more clients charge more money for the clients that you have. And cell more often to the clients that you have, that was the only three ways to grow a business and all of that needs to focus. And so as we kind of wrap up in 2020, I wanted to keep this quite simple and quite short and sweet to the point because you know, the problems of last year, aren't going to just go away because it flicks over to the 4th of January.

Den Lennie (16m 56s):
Tomorrow, there might be a, a, an elation in a sense of like a renewed enthusiasm. And because 2021 is on the way, but who knows, what's turning the corner. One thing this year has taught us is be prepared for the unexpected. And I'm thrilled to see that, you know, the members that have stuck with us throughout this entire process, the ones that have dug in remain committed to the process are no seeing the benefits of that. They are having enormous use. I mean, the number of clients in December who were hitting 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, $80,000 in business in revenue in December, it was staggering, but not, but not at all surprising because the eight growth accelerator's in practice when executed, consistently work.

Den Lennie (17m 48s):
So guys, I'm going to wrap this up now and say, thank you for being a subscriber, thank you for listening. And it's been amazing to get to what are we, you know, a, a 144 episodes of this podcast. And we pushed two episodes a week out consistently. The only time we took a break was an August when I went to a holiday and that we really noticed how quickly the number of slid off. So we are, we accept and understand that for us to continue to provide value to you. We need to be consistent in. So we have systems for this podcast and, and our intention is to continue with it. We, we absolutely love doing it. We love the feedback we get and, you know, let's get into 2021.

Den Lennie (18m 32s):
And, and just think of these are the lessons, you know, take extreme ownership to heart, really get into that. If you want to read a book over and over the holiday period, and then go and download the audible book, because it's mindblowing have absolute clarity on your target market. And Good deep into that target market and focus on one market at a time, because when you try and market to everyone, you end up talking to know one and spend a one hour every day focused on the sales and marketing and what should a business blow up. Guys. I will see you next year. You've been listening to the how to scale a video of Business Podcast with me, your host Den Lennie. If you're a Video business owner, it's hit a ceiling, we benefit from a mentorship support and coaching and check out how you can work with me over at

Den Lennie (19m 18s):
Don't forget to subscribe and rate the short over on iTunes. We really appreciate you taking a few minutes to leave a review, and don't forget to share. If you feel you've gotten value from this episode, you think it would be useful for other filmmakers, you know, and please do me a massive favor and share it on social media and in groups that you might be in. So thanks for listening. See you in the next episode.




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