Why you need to become an expert. EP #164 - Den Lennie


Resource Links:

Today, Den reveals how to get MORE clients by marketing to FEWER people. Plus, marketing and business tips aplenty. 

But first...

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

  • The REAL reason why about 20% of small businesses fail within the first year. - 2:10
  • Advice for new video business owners you'd be a darn fool not to take. - 2:45
  • Proof that new video equipment is like “crack cocaine” for freelance filmmakers. - 3:00
  • Why “patience” is the small business owner's superpower. - 3:40
  • An emasculating thing most men have to do when they want a holiday. - 4:00
  • Quite possibly the best advice you'll ever hear for entering a business partnership. This can help save you from a world of pain. - 6:00
  • The 5-letter word that strikes fear into the hearts of video business owners. Because this 5-letter word scares them, it keeps their business from ever reaching its potential. - 7:20
  • Den's awfully good "the MORE excuse you make, the LESS money you make" spiel. - 8:00
  • The single most important thing to focus on if your business is currently making less than 7-figures. (In fact, this should always be your #1 focus. - 8:30
  • A simple “litmus test” for identifying a moron. (It's very simple. Just listen to what someone says after they witness a successful person getting a good break or making a good business deal. If they say what's mentioned at 9:20... you'll know that person is a certified moron.)
  • A clever “12-word phrase” to use when asked: “How much are your services?” (Not only do prospective clients appreciate this answer, but it puts them in the right frame of mind. -12:45)
  • Clever ways to avoid looking like a bag of shit when your work schedule has you traveling more than a restless gypsy. (Not only will these ways keep you looking fresh, but they will also ratchet up your productivity, to boot!- 14:30)
  • The case for writing a book. - 17:00
  • A surprisingly simple way to boost your status in your industry. - 17:40
  • The "caveman simple" 6-step formula for writing a book in record time. (This delightfully simple 6-point game plan will work even if you have trouble writing a shopping list. - 18:00)
  • An unusual way to write a book using only your tongue. - 19:00

Connect with Den on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/denlennie/
Get more great resources over at https://www.denlennie.com/


Episode Transcription

Den Lennie (2s):
Good day, guys! Den here with another episode of The How to Scale a Video Business podcast, this is episode 164. And today I want to talk about why it's so important to become an expert in your field and your niche. If you are your niche, if your all over the pond and it's so critical because otherwise you are trying to appeal to everyone. When you've tried to appeal to everyone, you end up talking to no one that is super-important you develop expertise in your niche or niche and you become a master of that.

Den Lennie (47s):
You know, building a business is, is really, really hard. And I want to rant about this a bit this week, because I have been having a lot of conversations recently and, you know, we turn away or at least 50% of people who apply to be in our program's, and it's not to put you off it. It's actually because we're very, very picky about who we want to work with. And because we want to meet the people who are having great results, you know, it just, in this last week alone, one of my clients just announced he'd won a $35,000 project for one month. In fact, he said something in between 35 and 45. Now the client's just won a $130,000 project. And, you know, regularly people are winning 10, 20, $30,000 projects.

Den Lennie (1m 30s):
And that's not because they're like, you know, we've got some special secret, its just that they are following the process that we teach in the VBA, which is to become an expert in your niche or your niche and become known for that in your market. Because once you become known for that, you become an expert. Once you become an expert, everybody wants to work with you because or you, the guy who works in the kitchen equipment manufacturing are you are in medical devices where you work in the healthcare or you are in government. And so it's, it's like you can, you can sit and listen to this and fight as much as you want. But the clients that I am working with who are focusing on a style or a niche or niche are absolutely killing it and never have to worry about work.

Den Lennie (2m 17s):
That has not to say that they don't have to work harder because that's not what I'm saying. And building a business takes time and it is hard. In fact, it's likely to be the hardest thing you'll ever ever do. There is no job security and you risk everything at almost every decision you make, but it also takes time. You know, you've got to be prepared for it to take seven to 10 years until you really established. And oftentimes I speak to people who have been doing this for just a couple of years, two or three years. And they have usually spent a stupid amount of money on gear. I mean they had the record. I had a conversation with someone who had spent 120,000 pounds on equipment and we were just going out for 500 pounds a day.

Den Lennie (2m 58s):
It was just, it was just, and like, you know, you got to stop buying gear thinking that that is what clients give a shit about because they don't. And I am not saying you shouldn't have some good technology, but just like try and cut up the disease. I had another call with someone who was, we needed some help that couldn't afford come into the program, but I just spent a thousand dollars on some new atem or seeing an old dancing mixer when the basic version would have done saw like, you know, I am not here to get into the gear conversation, but let me just stop thinking that if you buy the equipment, it's going to somehow magically make the work. So I think go back to this idea of seven to 10 years to really build a business.

Den Lennie (3m 42s):
I mean, you know, if you're willing to, to be patient, you can have everything you ever wanted, but you know, it was going to take seven to 10 years one way or the other, the alternative is that you can work for someone else, but you will never, ever, ever have a true autonomy. So we have to do as rationalized the rough with the smooth. And you know, for me it was 2008 when I got to a point where I just couldn't bear having to ask another grown man, as a permission, if I could take a holiday or a day off, it was just the last straw for me. It didn't, I didn't want to have to kind of try and plan my family's vacations around whether or not some of the other guys in the office where we were off on a holiday or not.

Den Lennie (4m 24s):
And so I made the decision that, that I wanted to take control of the, my destiny and you know, so, you know, at the time I was working for someone who is a bit of a control freak as well, and it was difficult to kind of really, you know, pat paint my own kind of brush and, and it was this company. So I guess fair enough. You know, so, so I, I knew I couldn't stomach the situation in any longer and, and you know, don't get me wrong financially. I was doing really well, but, but I know that money doesn't make you happy alone. And despite earning an excessive six figures and that there are job and a company car and all sorts of cool benefits and bonuses, I was pretty unhappy.

Den Lennie (5m 7s):
And so the only option for me was to go along and, and after all I thought I could do my job better outside of the organization and the way I got to the point, but I kept soft, you know, with the locking horns, with a business owner. And, and that was never a goal that was only ever going to go one way, you know, and, and I've read that, you know, if you have a kind of entrepreneurial tendency that you have to kind of embrace a certain naivity, because that's the only way to take the leap of faith off the cliff edge and be a couple that with just enough optimism and determination to truly believe that you can't fail. And that is what I believe summarizes that the entrepreneurial journey and, and at the time I'd been responsible in part for running a very successful web TV channel, uhm, at the time I can see a, to Video as a powerful means of communication and corporate scenario so that it went off in the set up as a cop Academy and out with a business partner at the time.

Den Lennie (6m 6s):
And, and just as a side note, I wanted to ask you to exercise some caution about going into business partnerships, never, ever go into a partnership unless you have a cast iron. What if scenario documented and the same? I learned the hard way. There, there were lots of things that I just didn't know about this person at the time that I went into business with them. And it became a bit of a nightmare once you were actually there, but I do. And it cost me a lot of money to get out of it. Okay. But you know, that, that situation, it quickly disintegrated as they hear so often with the business partnerships where two party's get very enthusiastic, I think about, you know, what, what is possible.

Den Lennie (6m 46s):
And then, and then one day part, he just has their own agenda. And so I was kind of left holding the baby somewhere and you know, and then in retrospect it was the best thing that ever happened to me because I was suddenly at I'd given them my six figure job had remortgaged my house to start this business. And then I was held there going, well, what have I gotten now? So the best thing that happened to me Because because looking back, I was forced to dig deep and become really resourceful. And it took off caught me more importantly, I had to get out of that cell because without sales, your business is just an expensive hobby. We see that again without sales and a focus on sales, your business is just an expensive hobby.

Den Lennie (7m 30s):
Cash is the oxygen that allows your business to breathe. So you have poor cash flow or low sales and get off your ours and sell it because that is what it is separating you from having all this success you want. And sales does not have to be sleazy. Sales is serving when it's done, right? And we've got an incredible as a sales process in a, in our VBA for our members that, and it scripted. They basically took a script to, they use it every time and they're always adding extra money for it to the courts because of the way we asked the questions and it really is a phenomenal to so the, the, the other thing is, is when you started a business, you, you assumed a 100% ownership have success and failure and everything in between.

Den Lennie (8m 16s):
So it was very important that you accept that, that that is the way that is the job that you take on it. You have to own everything. If you don't own everything, then you're gonna be in trouble. You cannot make excuses. You can bullshit yourself in running a business. And, and it's so easy to get kind of way with the process and buying gear. The ones that dust is settled, that's when the cold hard light of day be missed out, you know, in year one. And really, I mean, we are at it from being brutally honest, you're focused needs to be solely on sales. If you were making less than a million dollars a year, U S okay, whatever the equivalent to that is in Europe and your money, then they are in your number. One priority is sales and marketing.

Den Lennie (8m 58s):
Landon people know you exist, letting people know how you can help them and selling them a solution that they pay you for that actually delivers the result. You know, you just can't turn up and the hope that people hire you. And it was funny. So if someone said to me a little while ago, Oh, well, it's all right for you. Den because you're, Den, Lennie when you do all the Sony work. And, and I, and I said, so, you know, it actually means nothing in the commercial environment and every single Sony project I've produced has been fought for strategically. And I delivered huge value, which meant in turn.

Den Lennie (9m 41s):
They asked me back, you know, I did a whole period of, of when I first came to Australia, we did the Fs five launch film back in 2015. And then I spent a P probably the best part for two and a half years, going all around Asia for Sony speaking at YouTube events. And, and your, they asked me, we back in to be sort of March of 2017, if I do it. And even though they said they had these like eight or 10 events all over Asia, they do. They only can from me like one gig at a time. And, and, and, and each, even though they said, if we got these, these 10 different events across Asia over the next two years and at each presentation, and they would send someone from Sony and they would write a report on me and send it back to Japan.

Den Lennie (10m 29s):
So despite producing five launch films at the time, I think it was the up to eighth now. And I was still under continual scrutiny. And that is because they want to make sure that the messages right, and that there are still getting a value. And obviously I charge a premium for my services. So they, you know, they, they might want to make sure that we're getting good value and so on. So the point is that I have to deliver my, a game on every single talk and engagement. And, and every time I do an engagement, I provide a new court and It scrutinized So. So don't ever believe that I somehow have an easier cause I don't, I, I still have to jump through all the hoops.

Den Lennie (11m 10s):
I'm probably just a little bit more polished at it now a days. And I knew what to say and how to talk to, to argue my case for rates and, and travel. You know, I always travel business class and they always ask, why is the flight price so high? And I'm saying, well, because it's business class and they're like, Oh, we don't only pay business class. And I'm like, well, if you want me to fly to India for a day and get on stage and deliver an absolute value to your audience at YouTube than that, that is my terms. Or otherwise I'm going to fly from Sydney to, you know, Hydrobot and be exhausted and get up on the stage and looked like a bag of shit and, and, and not be able to string at work together. So, you know, I always explain why, and it was maybe not only the guy whose suggested that I had asked them how to have it easier, get confused reputation based on hard graft.

Den Lennie (12m 3s):
And over-delivering every single time to every single person and every single department I've ever dealt with it, Sonja, Australia, soon in Japan and Europe, the UK, you know, for someone who's just being lucky, you know, everything was hard-earned. And so let me be clear. I've always had to work for it, but I am very smart about it. And I always ensure I charge accordingly for my time. And I'm certainly not cheap compared to other names on the internet who are a very popular in these circles, but I'm not expensive. You know, one phrase the late eighties, when people ask him Much and say, you know, in know, not as much as you think, but more than worth it.

Den Lennie (12m 45s):
And like I said, you know, I always make it a part of my arrangement that I get business class travel and five-star hotels, but let me explain why. Okay. So the 0.1 positioning at elevates my expert status. If I stand out and by the way, I'm always willing to walk away. If they're not happy to oblige me with ads, with which just adds power to the frame. Number two is I value my time. So how are we going to fly to Seoul or Bangkok or India for three days, I'm actually spending six days disrupted. So let's see, I fly choose the evening, which means I leave the office at 2:00 PM and it had turned to Sydney on a Sunday morning.

Den Lennie (13m 27s):
My engagements were actually only to days. So I charge it for two days, Plus travel. I attend to absorb the day's in the middle is a Goodwill gesture. And so performance, you know, like a, he said, well, I actually used this phrase when I negotiate business class travel. And so in order to arrive fresh and performed at the highest level, given yearlings the very best they can for 90 minutes, I need to be able to rest. And, and as a side-note, you know, that means going easy on the champagne. When you got on board, you know, you have to be respectful and stay truth, your word. I, I take my travels very seriously when the day's we could travel, you know, I'd always be very hydrated. I wouldn't drink on the plane that would always use it to get rest and productivity.

Den Lennie (14m 7s):
I just get more shit done because they have low. And Jack said, yes, and in seat power. So that means that any type of way from the office, I can still operate like, you know, writing articles or coming up with the training's. And it means that when I do take those external engagements, it doesn't impact my core business and, and preference. Number five, I liked to travel on business and, and, and actually in first class, when I, when I got points, I'll upgrade to first class, you know, it's a great hack. If you've got someone willing to pay you for business class flight, and you get all these tier points, which are status miles, that puts you way ahead of the queue for upgrades.

Den Lennie (14m 50s):
And so you more often than not back in the days when we could travel, which wouldn't be like, and that Australia is talking about opening up travel and October again, and getting upgraded at the business at first, when you got a lot of the points is, is generally happens a lot more than you are now. I imagine, you know, I've actually been upgraded for times from business to first, and I've got to tell you, first class was incredible having a shower and the shower spar on the Airbus <inaudible> on an Emirates flight is, is, is something else, you know? And the, and I'm, I'm saying that it is, it's incredible. It's everything you could imagine. It would be. So why not enjoy that? And I love that kind of, I think, why not? And so here is how I'm able to do it. It's all about expert status.

Den Lennie (15m 32s):
So despite all of my years, we can content for Sony when they message me to ask me if I'd consider speaking at those events around Asia, the truth is that you could have asked five or six different filmmakers. And, and they probably would've been cheaper if I'm honest, but the bat swung in my favor. And that's when I presented that idea, you know, that they know. And w when they, when they present that they have to YouTube, like, you know, I S I suspect, and that actually, I asked a question. I said, why did you ask me to do these? When there are many, many filmmakers who will be cheaper, or who have probably more and more content online?

Den Lennie (16m 15s):
And they said, well, what, what, what swung it in my favor? When they presented the idea to YouTube was the fact that I'd had the same expert status, I'd written a book. And so the fact that I had written a book, man, I was, The the only option for YouTube. So even though it's only were paying for me to be there, YouTube had a veto on who is going to stand up and speak. And because I had a book and that's what separated me, cause none of the other filmmakers that they were there thinking of, or, or that I'm thinking of, have a book. Now I do, I actually don't know if sone had approached other people and I couldn't really care less either one, but it's not really important, but they did see that the booth was a big factor in YouTube agreeing for me to be the one.

Den Lennie (17m 3s):
And so, you know, it's, it's really important, like, right, right, right. In the book, it, it, it really elevates your authority. In fact, a couple of clients of mine that I'm still in touch with them. They say, you know, they, they brought a couple of weeks. Simon banks wrote how to get Video right. And Lou wrote the play button and it was, I'm really proud of the fact that I help them coach them through that process. And, and it really helps them to elevate their, a position of authority. And they both doing really well. No, it is, you know, nothing will elevate your expertise faster than becoming an author, but here's, here's the really cool hack. Okay. While I wrote my first book, Business filmmakers 232 pages and 2014, and you don't have to, it, it doesn't have to be a big full on masterpiece that you could write a 50 to 70 page book.

Den Lennie (17m 51s):
In fact, my latest ebook has 18 pages. So if you want to go to my website at Den Lennie dot com, download the ebook, it's 18 pages long. And so you know who he is, here's a quick hack in two, how to kind of map a book. And when I, when I wrote Business for filmmakers, here's what it did. Okay. I simply followed a structure. I, so I created a spreadsheet with 12 chapter ideas. I brainstormed all of the topics that I had knowledge around. And I split each of those chapters into seven sub-headings. And then he wrote seven questions that they could answer about each subheading.

Den Lennie (18m 32s):
And then with each subheading is just, you know, write three to 500 words. It needs a subheading or record it in auto or <inaudible> or something like that. So with 96 subheadings, you end up with between 30 and 50,000 words, and it will take you 24 days or six weeks writing 300 words per day, four days per week. And you could have a full on 200 page book. How hard does it seem to write a book? Now, you know, now it gives you some context. I spent around 90 minutes writing 1500 words, which meant, you know, you could easily write 300 water's in 30 minutes, maybe an hours worth of thinking time in some procrastination, but either way, I'm talking about it to a hundred page book, it, it stopped telling yourself you can't, it's actually a way easier than you think, and it typing has done for you because I'm a terrible typist.

Den Lennie (19m 25s):
You can, you can dictate your book. And so, you know, especially with apps like auto.ai, you can, you can basically speak it and it transcribes it straight away. And, and when I first wrote my first book in 2014, I mean, I, I saw I'd take the half of it. And it was pretty bad with two finger typing. But another option, as you could get someone to ask you the questions, and then you record your responses and I didn't get them transcribed, but the simple solution is that you, no, you don't need to, right. A 200 page book to be in authority. You could actually write a book that is 18 pages or 10 pages long, and why I'm going to do next week.

Den Lennie (20m 6s):
And so I'm going to give you a strategy for how to do that. I'm actually going to teach you how to write an ebook. And this is something that I've used in my online classes and it, in my training and in my live classes, why are we actually set a challenge? And when people go away and right in the book in about three hours, so I'm going to do next week as they actually run you through exactly the steps you need to take to write any boot. Because if you, if you take all the effort, I've just explained about writing a full on book. It may be overkill. It may, it has been not being heard, what you need to do in your market. But I guarantee if you do do it, if you write a book that is like a a hundred pages, Plus long, that's a physical, you will elevate your authority beyond everyone else in your space.

Den Lennie (20m 53s):
And it will absolutely create a buzz around you being an expert in your field. So guys, I will see you on the Shorty the next week and our next week, I'm going to teach you how to write an ebook in three hours. Alright, guys, see you soon. You've been listening to the how to scale a video business podcast with me, your host, Den Lennie. If you are a video business owner, it's hit a ceiling we've benefit from a mentorship support and coaching and check out how you can work with me over at denlennie.com. Don't forget to subscribe and rate the shore over on iTunes. I mean, I 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, if you think it will 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.

Den Lennie (21m 42s):
So thanks for listening. See you in the next episode.


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