Today I am joined by somebody who’s not only a massive hero of mine, he’s one of my mentors, and somebody I’m privileged enough to be able to call when I need help. I’m telling you now that this man single-handedly changed my entire view of business and did so every time I see him, the one and only Perry Belcher! Today we’re going to discuss Next-Level Marketing.
How did Perry Belcher get into marketing?
Adam: How did you get your start in this crazy world of business? And why is it that you are one of the most cutting edge, amazing business marketers, and yet you are the one that has the least bad reputation…
Perry: I don’t know. I kind of got a theory, if we get time I’ll talk to you about that. But I started out growing up with my mom who was a single mom and she had literally the shittiest job in the world. She changed beds in a nursing home and we were very poor.
I grew up in a housing project and there was just something about me that was different. I was wired differently than the rest of my family, and the rest of my friends, and I think I know why now like I said. I didn’t really ever have a lot of goals and I still don’t.
I just knew I didn’t want to be poor because I watched my mom suffer brutally from poverty and I was sure by the time I was probably eight years old, I didn’t care what I did or what I had to do. I wasn’t going to be poor.
I’m watching this new video series now, Billy the Kid, and it’s amazing because his dad died early and his mom was very poor and he robbed banks because he wasn’t going to be poor. He didn’t want to rob banks.
But anyway, I just started hustling and doing stuff. I got kicked out of school when I was 13 years old for selling stuff to the other kids in junior high school. Jewelry, if you can believe that, I couldn’t even buy a beer yet.
I quit school two weeks before graduation when they weren’t going to let me walk with my class because I’d missed so many days out selling stuff. I got into a debate with the principal of the high school and it turned out I made three times more money than she did that year.
So, I didn’t feel like I was missing a lot there. College was a little bit weird and wasn’t for me. So I just went out and started hustling like crazy, and I think if anything else, I’m just too stupid to know when to quit. You know, I’ve fallen off the horse a lot.
I mean, I’ve had some big falls off the horse, and whatever, the next day I get up, get back on and do my voodoo that I do.
What does Perry Belcher do now?
Adam: What are you doing now? I know for a while you did this weird event, and then you’re on a mission to acquire a number of specific strategic companies. I know you’ve recently been talking a lot about the service industry, well, not the service industry, but yeah.
Perry: I’ve got four primary companies that I own and I really wish I had zero. I’m on a mission to give more, and I’m doing the opposite of what everybody else is doing. I think I’m not a great business operator, to be Frank.
I have to have a good operational partner to be successful, so I got partners in everything. I own a company called Scale Wind that’s growing like a weed. It’s a managed outsource company, so we manage outsourced teams for other people. We recruit and manage those teams and that business is doing great since nobody will go to work. I’ve got the media companies that I think I’m going to sell I think I’m going to sell the media companies and move away from that lower ticket business.
I’m back into teaching, I’m doing those events, I’m doing some higher dollar workshops, I’m doing some higher ticket stuff for really qualified people that already have great cash flow. My sweet spot’s a $2 million to $3 million company and driving that company to $10 to $20 million in 24 months, that’s what I like doing.
I’ve got six of those deals now, I want eight. I only ever want eight and I’ve got six and two of them have already doubled, one of them tripled since I got involved with them. That’s the stuff that turns me on.
I’ve got a manufacturing company that I like. I’ve got a startup in the software space. It’s a little different, but we’re buying old pieces of software and rebuilding them in new technology, making something that people already like and need to work better.
I got about a 25-minute attention span if I try real hard, so I have to be doing something else 10 minutes later, and that’s kind of what I do. I got a small group of people that I mentor and I only work with people for the most. I made a policy where I wasn’t going to do any more advisory unless I was a partner and I’ve kind of gotten away from that.
I’m doing more advisory now because there are some people that I don’t want to be in business with, but they can use the help and I can do a different kind of deal, some sort of reverse share deal or something. And those are since I started, I probably turned down $2 million worth of fees last year.
What is Perry Belcher’s superpower?
Adam: All right. So what’s your superpower, Perry? Because you got a 25-minute attention span, that’s not it.
Perry: Yeah, I think that’s not it at all. I got a 25-minute attention span but I’m insanely curious. I’m never satisfied, which is a blessing and a curse. I’ve learned a lot about myself last year based on that one big “aha”, I’m just never satisfied with anything, and you have to learn how to live with that or it’ll drive you crazy.
I know a lot of stuff. I’m a generalist and I’ve been studying and selling online since the year after Jeff Bezo started Amazon. Actually before then because I sold on something called BBSs, Bulletin Board Systems.
We would share and sell downloadable software on these little things where you’d have a modem going and it would take you an hour to download the dumbest little piece of software in the world. And if you sneeze, the whole thing breaks.
I was doing that forever. I bought a computer when the PC Jr. came out which was 1982! So I’ve been on a computer for longer than your audience, almost collectively has been alive. I started coding and I started designing and can do a little bit of everything. I’m a good copywriter, I’m a pretty good designer, I can build funnel flows out of logic, and I’m really good at branding.
I’m really good at finding a hole in the market and I’m really good at figuring out an unserved market. I think those are probably the skills that I have. I’m great at driving top-line growth. But I’ll absolutely put you into bankruptcy if you don’t control it because I go growth nuts, but I can grow stuff beyond many people’s wildest imagination.
I can really grow. Ryan and I bought a company from a guy that was doing $30,000 a month. In a year I had it doing $360,000 a month, and the following year we were doing $3 million a month In a market that I hated.
What is the key to growth?
Adam: What would you say is the key to that growth? This is the thing that many companies struggle with, that growth.
Perry: I always get this question and I think it’s the dumbest question. Does anybody ever ask, “So what are you most excited about right now?” I’m most excited about doing a lot more of the stuff that’s already working. I think people should experiment a lot.
This lady, Shirley Tan, a great friend of mine said while we were flying on a plane to China. One day she said, “I think I just figured you out. You’re an oil weld, you’re like a wildcatter. You just go around drilling a lot of holes in the ground until you see a little bit of oil on the end of the tip.”
I’m willing to take a lot of at-bats. When I go into a company I’m calling these founders every week going, “Hey dude, let’s try this, let’s try this, let’s try this, let’s try this.” And it drives them crazy, but the ones that are okay with it, and I tell them upfront what I do, we’ll piddle around. We might hit three or four dry holes, then we hit one that just knocks it outta the park. And then we go deep.
I think that most people are good at protecting their downside, but they’re not good at optimizing their upside. So if you get an offer in this market to work that’s a rarity. People don’t understand, so many people in this business have stumbled across an offer. It’s worked for them. My theory is to starve the ponies and feed the stallions.
It’s a zero-sum game. Either the thing works or it doesn’t, and if it doesn’t work, cut it early, risk very little. I try not to risk more than $1000 on a test but I may do 200 tests a year where somebody else does three.
You’re not going to find if you want to Wildcat for oil, these wildcatters in Texas go on instinct. These old wildcatters said,” man, I think there’s oil in that hole over there based on my experience.” Then they just drill down, they may drill a hundred Wells a year, where Exxon comes in and spends a billion dollars with 9,000 geologists. Exxon’s long haul probably comes out better, because they’re more capitalistic.
But the old wildcatter knows that if he only drills two Wells a year, his odds of winning are very low. He’s gotta drill a lot of holes, and then when he gets one drill, deep pump hard, that’s what I did.
How to deal with constantly shifting focus
Adam: I had a friend of mine who worked closely with Elon Musk and he said that one of the most frustrating things about Elon Musk, is exactly the trait that I have. I start doing something and the minute I start getting results, if they’re not what I want, I shift instantly. And they’re like, we want to finish what you’ve outlined, but you’ve moved on already.
For many years, I didn’t like that quality about myself because I kept hearing from people: don’t do it. But when I do it, I make lots of money. And so I’m like, no, I’ll keep doing this.
Perry: You know, it’s just silly and people do it all the time. It’s your parents going, you better finish what you start, but you have to remember your parents were broke. We were so freaking broke and they’re giving you financial advice. It just doesn’t work that way in the real world.
Adam: The most successful people I know, that’s what they do. They’re constantly bouncing and doing new things. My question is, do you have a framework or a structure once you’ve done it, or is it always just try, try, try?
Perry: Oh God no, never. I mean, everybody has a playbook, right? I know I tell partners a lot of times that you’re not partnering with me for what I know, you’re paying me because I can tell you all the things that aren’t gonna work. I’ve screwed up, so many things and I’ve tried so many things. It’s like the old Edison theory, I know 10,000 ways to not make a light bulb.
That’s the difference between experience, wisdom, and intelligence. I’m not that intelligent a guy compared to a lot of other people. There are a lot of people wicked smarter than me, but I’m willing to go in the ring and get my nose bloody a thousand times to figure out how that swing works.
Eventually, I’ll learn to beat that swing, then I’ll move on, and that’s now one less thing. When I work with new folks, I can look at their stuff nine times out of 10 and can tell what I’m gonna be able to do in the first 90 days. And the great thing about the way I do business is I take very small equity pieces. I take very small equity pieces and I buy them. I pay for them and I don’t try to get them for free. I don’t want to get them for free.
Before I ever ink the paper I’m like a lawyer, a doctor, or an actor. I don’t want to take on parts that are going to suck. I don’t want to take on bad scripts or take on cases I’m gonna lose. I’ll look at a hundred deals to do, ask for 10, and maybe get five. That’s the reason I still do the events and I still do the teaching. I don’t do it for the money, compared to what I make from other stuff. But it creates a nice deal flow for me and it keeps me constantly studying.
I don’t want to get up in front of a bunch of people and go, “yeah, everybody knew that three years ago!” I don’t want to be that poser guy or somebody that’s teaching out of a book, something they haven’t done. Everything that I teach people, I use my whole business as a big Petri dish experimentation, all my business, so when I teach them something I’ve done, I’ve got a result from like the AI stuff that we did. It was fun.
How to become the master at anything
Adam: Two phrases popped into my head while you were talking. One of them I love is, “The master is the master because they have failed more times than the apprentice has ever attempted to succeed.”
Perry: 100% II was watching something the other day and this kid came home to his dad and he said, “Dad, I’m sorry that I failed.” And the dad says, “Don’t you compliment yourself. You didn’t fail. If you failed, I’d be proud of you. Didn’t try, son.” That was like, holy to me because you should be proud of your failures, and wear them as a badge of honor. I don’t care if I win or lose as long as I learn.
When we try something in the business and I don’t get data, that’s the only time I get mad. If we try something or anybody in the group wants to try a thing, let’s try it. We don’t have a lot of money. Let’s try it and lose a thousand who gives a crap, did we learn something? When we do things and we lose money, most of the time when we lose money by doing the experiments, it’s because we didn’t have good controls and we didn’t learn anything either. Then I’m off, I’m really off.
Are you in marketing? Are you sure?
If you lost 10 grand or 20 grand of my money and you can’t tell me why? You can’t give any data points? I write that stuff in journals and keep logs of every email we’ve sent in the last nine years. I know every email’s response to every list. I know open rates, click rates, things like that, what the audience liked, what they didn’t like. So many people call themselves marketers and aren’t marketers at all. Marketers have controls. They know they’re mathematics.
When I have people come into my office and pay me 20 grand a day for me to fix their ills, if I don’t hammer on them, 90% of them would show up not having any idea what their break-even numbers are, what their conversion rates are, what their average revenue per client is.
They don’t know any of that and they’re calling themselves marketers. A lot of them are teaching marketing to people. Marketing is about two things. It’s about emotions and mathematics. Those are the only two things that matter in the marketing world and if you don’t have the math, you’re going to lose.
Adam: Have you ever heard of, “Jack of all trades master of none?”
Perry: Yeah. I was on a Clubhouse thing last year when Clubhouse was a big deal, and somebody said, “Hey Perry, I’ve always heard, the riches are in the niches. What do you think of that?” And I said I think it rhymes! That doesn’t mean it’s right. If it rhymes, you can almost be sure it’s not true. It’s just some idiot made it up so enough people could remember to repeat it.
This world is so rich, there’s so much money flowing in the world. Even as we’re coming into what probably will be a recession and slowing down. We’re still living like the richest generation 40 years ago, couldn’t have fathomed. The riches and rich lifestyles that we lead on relatively modest incomes. You have so many things now without a whole lot of money, even just millionaires had.
Is the recession happening or not?
Adam: It’s so funny you mentioned the recession mostly because I want this on record. I don’t believe this is happening. I’ve got a lot of evidence and I’m pretty sure that what we think is a recession, isn’t going to happen. It’s my personal opinion, you call me out if I’m wrong on this in a few months. But, we still have a housing shortage, we still have mass amounts of jobs available and we still don’t have people to grab them.
In a recession, people are looking for jobs, that’s the problem. These two factors alone I believe completely offset what I think we are seeing. And I’ve got a lot of data on this, again, like you said, numbers, I looked into it. I actually hired an economist to do these calculations.
Perry: Right. When everything’s been overpriced and under shorted, like Biden with those Trump tariffs, that’ll bring inflation down a little. They’ll make adjustments for it and frankly, as you said, the population is growing.
They’re gonna have to have a place to live. They’re gonna have to have a car drive. There is now a longer-term and I think there’s a whole different argument because robotics and artificial intelligence are gonna eliminate the bottom half of all jobs.
There’s going to be an amazing opportunity to reeducate people. There’s going to be an amazing opportunity in robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and things like that. There won’t be so much opportunity in flipping burgers, because the robots are going to flip the burgers.
All those jobs that nobody wants, but that’s also gonna drive inflation down because things will cost us. If you can process your chickens at Tyson with a series of chicken processing robots and they already got it.
So, robotics is gonna change the world. I might be dead by then, but I don’t know what to tell my kids to do. Somebody’s going to be selling the robots, so maybe learn to sell something, maybe that’s the secret. There will always be something that needs to be sold and somebody’s going to sell them robots.
Why are you successful?
Adam: You mentioned earlier that you think you know why you are successful?
Perry: Yeah, it’s interesting. I know why I’m successful and I know why I’ve failed in a lot of areas in my life that aren’t necessarily business. I’ve been reading a lot of studies about this gene and I’ve just created a small group for this. There’s a gene in about 10% of people. It’s not really a gene, it’s a mutation in about 10% of the population, and we are wired differently.
We use the back of our brain for most of our thinking rather than the front and it comes from us not evolving during the agricultural revolution. Hunters became farmers and our brains developed to be better farmers, which means you stay put, you stay in one place, you get used to a routine, and you get satisfaction from very small wins.
The hunter or the predecessor to the farmer was nomadic. They didn’t like farmers and didn’t trust people who didn’t hunt. They only hung out with other hunters, like people who go to masterminds and stuff. We feel very comfortable in a group of other hunters.
I’m definitely a hunter who never evolved to be a farmer.Perry Belcher
I’m definitely a hunter who never evolved to be a farmer. But the problem with it is it leaves you, out of that 10% of people, about half of them end up with very addictive personalities.
They get diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, and other things to be treated for. They have lots of shame and feel weird when they don’t fit in because they can’t communicate with everyone. We are hunters living in a farmer’s world.
It is a farmer’s world and 90 percent of people are farmers. So we’re often outcasts. If you go all the way to the other spectrum of the hunter, you’ve got serial killers, narcissistic, psychotic, criminal masterminds, and all this stuff.
So kind of the sweet spot that I’m finding is that I’m what’s called a D2 in the world of study. There’s a D4, which is more like a Musk. Like he just can’t have social order in his life. Or Steve Jobs had no friends, nobody liked him, and was in great solitude.
I don’t want to be there and fortunately, I’m not, I can kind of still speak farmer. But I found that if I hire farmers, high-functioning farmers do very well. Hunters shouldn’t run companies, we get distracted very easily.
We’re incredible, insanely curious and we’re always worried that we’re being left behind due to a change or to some evolution of somebody evolving faster. It really has helped me to wrap my head around who I am and realize I’m not that awful a person.
I mean, almost anybody who excels has a challenge with relationships, with fatherhood or motherhood. They don’t do the social norm. When people realize that they’re hunters and not farmers, then they can start doing things to help themselves.
How to Contact Perry Belcher
Adam: If somebody wanted to, you know, learn from you or, or find out more about you or, or, you know, hang out with you
Perry: It ain’t really easy, but I’ll give you my cell phone number, it’s the one I keep in my pocket. I give it to everybody. So if you’re an asshole I just won’t answer your call. It’s +15129715049. Just text me.
If there’s something I can do to help you. If you think there’s a good opportunity that I might be interested in. I don’t have anything to sell you right now and if I did, I wouldn’t, but if I can help somebody. Or a conversation to me, I always love talking to somebody, especially if they’re a weird business.
Adam: So Perry, you’re amazing. I want to finish off with one thing. What should S.M.A.R.T or what do S.M.A.R.T Businesses do?
Perry: I don’t know…no, I think the smarter guys like me, if you’re an entrepreneur, you think you’re a hunter and you do this. Don’t try to run your own company. There’s a difference between a farmer and a rancher. I’m looking for a guy who can run a commercial farm. I want a farmer but I want a great farmer.
I want somebody to run a 10,000-acre ranch run in one of my companies. If I’m gonna hire the farmer then I’m going to hire the farmer mentality.
I just think we do a terrible job running companies, as a rule, we drive people crazy and we confuse the hell out of everybody. I’ve got six companies and I have three really good CEOs, and I’ve got three that are empty seats right now. The ones that are there are great, they are farmers who respect what a hunter does, and I think that that’s hard.
In return, if you’re ever going to do well in business, you better well learn how to respect what a great farmer does because we think we’re so smart and we’re so brilliant. And maybe we are, but maybe we’re not, it doesn’t matter.
You can’t just constantly stomp on somebody and treat them like they’re stupid and expect them to perform for you in the long haul. You have to respect their skillset and they have to respect your skillset, and when you can make that magic happen, which is not always, you’ll do well.
You can read Wikipedia about that. There’s a whole theory on the hunter and the farmer brain theory on Wikipedia. It might send you down a rabbit hole, but it’s been the one thing this year that’s turned me on more than anything else.
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