We all suffer from insecurities, at times. But when you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, a crisis of confidence may stop you from building a successful business. What if you had a coach with a great capacity for compassion who would provide encouragement when you needed it? A coach who would inspire you to “do it anyway” when you were feeling unsure? Who would hold you accountable?
Shawn Quintero teaches faith-based entrepreneurs how to create online wealth through blogging, social media, and digital marketing. Through his coaching practice, Shawn seeks to help Christian entrepreneurs create deep, meaningful impact on the world and live a lifestyle of complete freedom. He understands how to overcome self-doubt because he’s lived it. Enduring a childhood filled with abuse and bullying, he struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts. But he was inspired by a history teacher who saw his potential, and Shawn began to overcome his insecurities by growing an online network and surrounding himself with positive influences through the church.
Shawn was ready to start his coaching business, but he was self-aware enough to know that he lacked business skills. In order to gain access to the information he needed – without paying the $2,000 application fee – Shawn volunteered to help out with the Lean Startup Conference in San Francisco, and soon he was honing his business acumen and making connections with big names in entrepreneurship. Now Shawn himself is a sought-after speaker and author of the book Online Wealth for the Christian Entrepreneur. Prepare to be motivated as Shawn walks you through his approach to acquiring new clients by providing insane amounts of value up front. Listen and learn strategies to hold yourself accountable and inspire action!
Shawn’s strategies for growing your client base
- Build your community and demonstrate value up front
- Hone your skills
- Create extraordinary content that displays your expertise
Shawn’s approach to securing testimonials
- Do your best work, even if it’s for free
- Ask clients to post their greatest insight and next steps
Why entrepreneurs often live an ‘unbalanced life’
- Must be willing to sacrifice to reach goals
- You can’t build a thriving business in an hour per day
Shawn’s best advice for new online business owners
- Get offline and talk to real people
- Find out what your target audience is missing and how you can be the solution
- Surround yourself with people who will help keep you accountable
Connect with Shawn Quintero
Shawn Quintero teaches faith-based entrepreneurs how to create online wealth through blogging, social media & digital marketing. He is an author, international speaker & coach. You can find him & resources for your online business at ShawnQuintero.com
Laura Pennington (Host): Welcome back to the Better Biz Academy Podcast, everybody. I’ve got another inspirational story for you today from an online entrepreneur who definitely has a unique tale to tell you. My guest is Shawn Quintero. He teaches faith based entrepreneurs how to create online wealth through blogging, social media, digital marketing. He’s an author, international speaker and coach and you can find him and resources for your online business at shawnquintero.com. So, welcome to the show, Shawn.
Shawn Quintero (Guest): Hi. Thank you so much Laura, for having me. I’m so excited to be here and speaking to your community. Great job what you’re doing. Keep up the great work.
Laura: Thank you. So, I would love to kick off the show with a little bit of your back story. I’ve read your bio but I want to hear it in your own words. So, who is Shawn and kind of how did you get to where you’re at today?
Shawn: Well, I’m Shawn and I got started when I was 14 years old and I was incredibly depressed. I was suicidal. My childhood was incredibly tragic. My parents got a divorce; I thought I was the reason that they had separated. I was bullied in middle school and I decided that I could either live the life that society was defining for me with the words that they were saying, the actions they were taking against me and pushing me against the walls, and calling me horrible names. I decided whether or not I was going to choose who I was going to become or allow society, allow those bullies, allow people to tell me who I was going to become. Somebody asked me, “do you like who you are right now and what are you doing to change it?” And it was my middle school/high school teacher who taught U.S. History and he kind of pulled me aside and said, “you have such capacity, you’re so smart. Who are you going to become and what difference are you going to make in this world?” And so, it was at that moment I decided, well let me start a business. I had no idea what business was about. I was a 14-year-old spunky kid who had really bad hair. And so, I got into kind of the online world because my friend did some online stuff. He took an online class and back then – I mean, this was like 10, 11, 12 years ago – Zynga and Myspace were barely coming on the scene and I had hit the Myspace and I recognized on Myspace, you can really build a network, you can become popular. And so, because I wasn’t popular in real life, in my middle school, I decided I kind of want to be popular online. This is where it’s at, there were forums, there was Myspace and so I began to understand how to grow my network as a 15-year-old on Myspace based off of having some cool templates on your profile, having some music, who is on your top 4, all the cool stuff. As I went through high school, I really began to overcome some of my own insecurities. Some of the syndromes that I had as far as my depression, as far as who I was growing up to be and I began to make decisions that really were vital to my success. And I recognized I didn’t know everything. Most teenagers you talk to, they’re going to say, “I know exactly how the world should run, I know exactly what to do, I’m the smartest person in the room” and I think, as you grow older you realize I have no idea what I’m doing. So, I decided to surround myself with people who knew what they were doing or at least looked like they knew what they were doing. And I found that in my church through my pastors, through some of the mentors. I went to and I still attend one of the largest churches in the U.S. I mean, there were such healthy people here with healthy marriages, things that I never experienced because of my childhood and I began to overcome my own depression, my suicidal thoughts. And as I began to work on me, I recognized that I had a really great capacity to work with other people and to love on other people and to give compassion and encouragement to other people. And so, what I did was I began to really hone my skill to encourage someone. And so, as I began to work with my mentors, work with my pastors, I would find people that I could encourage. I would find people that I could affirm and become the person that I never had when I was a kid. Somebody who said, “hey you’re doing a great job”; someone who said, “hey I’m proud of you, I recognize you’re trying really really really hard and you’re not getting the results you want but that’s okay because I’m here with you and we’re going to stick together.” And as I received that from my mentors and my leaders, I became that. I recognized though that you can actually be paid to encourage and to affirm and to love on people and to help them recognize how creative and original and audacious and tenacious they are for their dreams. And you could allow and be the propellant to help people kind of skyrocket their dreams. So, I became a coach. I was an 18-year-old life coach, if you will. And I didn’t have the title, I didn’t know what a coach was at that time, I didn’t know – I had no title. I just acted out the process of being a coach. It wasn’t until I met someone who was a life coach who was changing people’s lives, who was being paid big bucks to do it that he began to kind of train me in how to ask provocative fierce questions. How to really harness the ability to be intuitive and to know what is really being said behind your client’s words and to recognize behavioral patterns and how to take someone from one place to another, from darkness to life, from hopeless to encourage, from unmotivated to driven and taking action. And it was during that whole process that I recognized that I was holding back; that I had settled in; that I was accepting the world that was given to me instead of actively changing the world, my world. I was working with other people but I wasn’t doing anything for me. And so, it was one moment I decided, well let me go to a conference, let me just kind of – I lacked the business strategy side. I was a really great coach but I lacked the business side so I said, let me go to a conference. And at that time, this was maybe 5 years ago. 4-5 years ago, I just did a Google search on business conference around me – and I’m in Southern California – and something came up in san Francisco that was the Lean Startup Conference and I said, okay let me go. Except tickets were like $2000 and at that time I had nothing. I was a broke 19-20-year-old kid who is interning and didn’t have a “real job”. I was definitely a struggling 19-20 millennial and I said, “well how can I go here for free?” Most people will stop at that and say, “I don’t have the money to go.” But instead I decided to ask how can I get there? What can I do to get there and instead of trying to raise $2000, which I’m sure I could have at that point, I emailed – I went around the website, looked for an email and emailed them and said, “hey, can I volunteer?” And they said, “heck yeah, we need people to move tables and move chairs and work registration and do all that process.” And so, I went and as I volunteered, I was the A-star volunteer. I wasn’t going to go to a conference that was worth $2000 and then just kind of sit back. I went, I worked my butt off, they gave me access to a ton of the workshops for free and a ton of the keynotes, and eventually, they said you’re so good at this, you’re so good at just helping out and being a part of the team, we want to hire you. And so, the very next year they hired me, I worked for the Lean Startup Conference, I worked directly with Eric Reese, Maz, I worked with a ton of amazing people who are in San Francisco and just changing the world through their products, their services, their apps, their programs. And from that, it really – they began to reference me out to – now I work with a digital marketer, now I work with social media examiner – and I’ve been able to work with amazing people and hang out with amazing people like Gary Van and Damon John [indiscernible 00:08:37] and just a ton of really amazing people and learn directly from them. And that all stemmed from me deciding when I was a young 14-year-old kid, who do I want to become and eventually just working at it, working at it, working at it, deciding how can I make this happen instead of will this happen? And just really kind of riding that wave and letting things happen and following the bread crumbs as I went forward. So now what I do is I take all of my information that I’ve learned from these amazing hard hitters, and I empower the people who empowered me when I first started the church. Christians, faith based people who want to change the world, who want to go and spread hope and love and unity, and power and passion, and very practically put their faith to action. And I do that through teaching people how to create extraordinary content. Teaching people how to use Facebook and social media, to build their online presence and their influence and be able to show them how to network and build community within the Christian culture.
Laura: Wow. That is so amazing and I especially love the story about how you used volunteering and giving your time to convince others that you were a valuable asset to them and to others in that community. So, as your business stands today, what has been most successful for you in terms of getting clients? This is something that a lot of people are challenged by when they launch an online business. What have you found has worked well for you to get clients and keep growing your business in that way?
Shawn: There are three things; one, I encourage every single one of my clients is build your community before you build your product. So many people build this product and they go and they say, “hey I can help you build this website, I can help you with your branding photos, I can help you as a nutritionist” and they haven’t built up this community. And so, one thing that I encourage every single one of my clients is go out, build the community either through a free Facebook group, either through a free forum. Even if it’s offline, build a group of people who love what you do and is absolutely free and what you are able to do as you build that community is you are able to demonstrate immediate value upfront. You’ll be able to get people free content and you’re able to connect with people one on one. And one of the most amazing reasons for my own success is I started a free Facebook group simply called up my market in the name of the group, so it’s called Christian Entrepreneurs Coaches and Business Leaders – the people I wanted to work with. All of these people joined and I was able not just to say, “okay now you’ve joined, here’s my product, here’s my service”, but able to say, “hey, how are you? Let me hear about you.” When I first got started, I offered people free two hour sessions where I would demonstrate immense immediate value without asking for a sale and at the very end, all I asked them for was if this helped you, go ahead and post in my group and say this was amazing and encourage others to sign up. And now, I offer a product, a course, a program and everybody wants it because I demonstrated intense, epic, immediate value upfront. I did what wasn’t scalable so that I could scale it later on and I can build that community. The second thing I would say is hone your skill. So many people say, well, I’m good at graphic design or I’m good at photography or I’m good at some type of skill. It’s my passion. They go out and they try to make money without actually honing their skill, without taking online courses that are going to show them exactly how to create masterful pieces through their work. And so, hone your skill, I mean, go to Udemy, go to – pay for an online course with someone who is doing what you want to do and is just mastering it. Connect yourself with people who are going to show you how they do something with excellence. Most people out there, if you look for web designers on Facebook – I can go into a Facebook group right now and say, I need a web designer and 20 people will say, oh me me me me, and nobody will demonstrate immediate value, nobody will actually ask questions and nobody will have proof that they can do what they’re doing, and then I go to their website and it’s like a mess – and so, being able to demonstrate immediate value by building a community, building your relationships and then honing your skills so you are amazing. You’re good at wat you do and taking time to do that is so so vital. Last year, I coached over 200 people – lot of them for free – and I was able to 1) coach 200 people 2) hone my skill and gain 200 referrals, testimonials and it really skyrocketed, one, my confidence in being able to say I charge this much, I charge $1200 a month, and be able to double it and double it because I’ve honed my skill and I don’t feel sleazy. I have a confidence not because I’m just trying to make money but because I know the value of my work because I’ve done it and because I’ve honed the skill. And then three, really create extraordinary content. I mean extraordinary, epic content. Become the expert by demonstrating that you know what you’re talking about through whether that’s blogging, whether that’s video, whether that’s podcast – demonstrate that you are the expert by talking about what you do. Interviewing experts, creating rants about the industry and talking about what is wrong with the industry and what you would fix about the industry. Write about what’s different about you and why someone should invest $1000, $2000 into your program or into your service or whatever. If you can demonstrate insane amounts of value upfront, whether that’s by working for free for a little bit so you can get those referrals and hone your skills, whether that’s by creating content that shows people how to do something. I mean, so many people will hear like create extraordinary content, what do I blog about? Teach people what to do, show them how to do what you do. Most people won’t spend the time to actually do it and they’ll just see that you know what you’re doing and they’ll want to hire you to do it instead. But if all your website consisted of was how-to articles – if you’re a web designer, how to create a really great hero shot or hero image for the top of your website, how to put A Webber in a horizontal line instead of one on top of the other, you’re going to be able to demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about and that you are the expert so you can command the high price.
Laura: I love that advice especially because a lot of what you hear today, and it’s not advice that I agree with, but a lot of what’s out there is this idea of oh you should never work for free, you should never give away any value for free. But the truth is that all of the points you mentioned make it really really valuable to do that sometimes particularly when you’re first starting out. I think a lot of people get excited by this idea of oh I’m going to start my business, I’m going to be a coach, I’m going to be a service provider or whatever and I’m going to go out there and charge premium prices right away. Now no doubt you deserve those premium prices when you’re experienced and when you have a lot of talent and all of that but you’ve got to get your foot in the door. You wouldn’t walk into a company and interview for the CEO position right away out of college either so you have to do a little bit of doing your dues and that seems like a strategy that you’ve used as you’ve interacted with these top influencers and learned things from them. So, I love the idea of coaching all of these people, giving them something amazing value, and then using that to turn into testimonials. So, I want to talk about that a little bit. How do you bring up the concept of giving – you’re giving away so much value which in and of itself amazing – but how do you broach the subject of asking somebody like that for a testimonial? Do you do it when you first start working together? Do you make it clear that that’s your intention is that you’re hoping to grow your skills and practice and earn some feedback? Or do you ask for it after the fact?
Shawn: So, last year I coached people for two hours. I went in and I dived deeper than they’ve ever dug, I asked them questions that nobody has ever asked them, I was brutally honest and powerfully encouraging and I coached. Most people will offer something for free and go really really shallow because they think they should get paid to actually do the work. Do the work, coach, do the website and do it so massively and then at the very end, ask them, hey, I’d love for you to create a very simple post. Go right now, go to my Facebook group right now. If this was powerful, if this was insane for you, if this was so valuable for you, I’d love for you to simply post two things; 1) your greatest insight from this conversation and 2) what you’re going to do now because you had this coaching session. If you want to encourage others, that’s fine, go ahead and do that but the reason why I want you to do this is less about me and more for you. You are more inclined to take action and to do what you’re saying you’re going to do because of these two hours that I just spent with you. Not only if you say that but if you tell someone about it and you can tell them publicly. So, go in my group, post your greatest insight, what you are going to do because of that insight so that I can keep you accountable. So, in no way am I making it about me when I’m talking about it, I’m making it all about them. This is for you. I want you to post in the group. Sure, it’s a great testimonial – tell them upfront, it’s a great testimonial – but more so, I want you to be able to come back a month later and look at this post and see, did you do what you said you were going to do? And if not, then I know I need to private message you and I need to coach you again and I need to get on a call with you and say, hey let me kick your butt and let me tell you to get to work. Because you said you were going to do this, we spent two hours together, and I want to see you succeed. So, let’s go forward, let me be incredibly encouraging because you can do this and go take action. So, I use it primarily as a source for accountability for them and a reference for them so they can come back a month later. And it’s an amazing testimonial. So the testimonial aspect, the review aspect is more kind of back end and the front end what I’m really pushing is let me help keep you accountable and let’s help the 2,000+ people in my group also keep you accountable because you want to do this but you know, after we end this call, you’re going to go to Netflix, you’re going to go [indiscernible 00:19:19] and forget about it, you’re going to talk to your husband or wife and they’re going to talk you out of it and you know you want to do this. So, let’s keep you accountable and let’s build this system where I can do that.
Laura: That’s incredible advice and you’re giving so much value to these people that are coaching with you but it doesn’t end there and this is a great lesson for anybody who is in the online business space or really any business space. You’ve got to keep that relationship continuing so that this person works with you again, so they refer someone else to you, so they give you a testimonial, so you can continue to practice and build relationships with people. Don’t allow things to drop off after that initial conversation where you’ve given so much value. You may need to continue to support them in order to hold them accountable and to be really effective. So, the next thing I want to ask you is, it sounds like you’ve got a pretty full schedule, you’ve had the opportunity to coach so many different people. What are your favorite time management tips for staying sane?
Shawn: That’s a great question. I have no idea. One of the biggest things that I think is – people land on both sides of this. For me, I live a very unbalanced life. I am incredibly driven, I just got married and so things might change but sometimes you have to live that unbalanced life, sometimes you have to wake up at 3 in the morning and go to bed at 12 at night because you believe in the drain that’s in front of you so passionately that you are willing to sacrifice your own comfort and put that at risk so you can achieve that goal. So, time management is fantastic. Now let’s say you have a family and you have things. Have a conversation with your family and let them know, I’m going to have to spend some time away from you – I love you and I believe in you and I care about you so much – but I’m going to have to spend an hour or two in my room or in the office or whatever away so that I can build this business because I want to be able to – ten years from now – to be able to easily write $10,000 checks. On my fridge, right now I’m looking at it, I have a sticky note that I put up about two years ago and I’ve taped it now because it’s fallen so many different times. On it, it simply says, “$10,000 checks easy” and that’s right now my dream, to be able to write a $10,000 check without even blinking an eye. Now I’m not there yet but I’m very very close and eventually I’m going to add a zero to that because that’s going to be my next challenge. But that is not possible by living a very balanced life. Now you can build your business an hour a day. Find an hour and build your business an hour a day. When you’re just getting started, figure it out, but at some point you might have to say, have a conversation with your husband or wife, have a conversation with your family, have a conversation with the routine and with yourself and say, I’m going to do what I have to do for these next three months, these next six months to get this result because I know the effects of that result because I’m going to be able to pay for my kids’ college, I’m going to be able to get us out of this apartment into a house, I’m going to be able to go and get a new car and do what I want to do and be able to write checks that feed single moms during Christmas time and buy Thanksgiving turkeys for families in low income apartments. I’m doing this, I’m living a very unbalanced, hard working life so that I can not live a very unbalanced life and be able to manage my time to do that. So, I hope that answers your question but I see so many people think like there’s this mindset, I can build my business in 30 minutes a day and I’m going to get a million dollars in ten years. That just doesn’t happen. You can’t do something; you can’t put in 30 minutes a day and expect 20-40 hour weeks of results to come in. 20-40 hour weeks of you putting in hard work with only 30 minutes’ hard work. So, I hope that answers your question.
Laura: Yeah it absolutely does and you touched on one of my pet peeves in the industry which is all of this marketing that is talking about how you can have these amazing results and you’re working very little and you’re living on a beach with a laptop and things like this. Often, it just doesn’t play out that way and I think it’s really great that you’re being so honest about that and not just talking about the fact that you’re going to have to make some sacrifices but about the value of keeping your family members and your other loved ones aware of what you’re working towards. Because from the outside, people think you’re kind of crazy, you know, there’s a mental mindset shift that happens when you become an entrepreneur where frequently we work more hours than we would in a traditional 9-5. There’s this old joke about how entrepreneurs will work 80 hours a week in order to avoid working someone else’s 40. But that’s because of the passion behind it and the desire for that end vision and that end goal so you have to keep the people around you aware of that end vision and end goal. Well, to wrap up, I’d love to hear perhaps your number one tip for being an online business owner. I mean, it can relate to anything whether it’s getting clients, keeping clients, anything related to entrepreneurship. What would be your top tip for somebody who is a new entrepreneur to take away from this podcast?
Shawn: Two things: 1) get offline. Get off your computer, get off Facebook and go talk to real people. Talk to them about what their real challenges are. Go into a business and talk to the owner and ask him, what do you need to succeed this month? What are your challenges right now that are holding you back from being able to open another store? Go out and talk to, you know, if your market is moms, go talk to moms in real life – not just posting on Facebook groups, “I’m looking for moms for market research”; go talk to real people, get offline and you’re going to get so much insight into what they’re missing and how you can be the solution. And then 2) surround yourself with people who are going to keep you accountable. I just launched – I’m not sure when this is going to be airing – but I just launched something called Growth Buddies and it’s so vital that you surround yourself with people who are excited and passionate and just as driven as you who are also growing their business, where you can communicate and you say, “hey, this is my win today and it’s super epic” and you’re able to celebrate together. And then you’re able to say the very next day, “I have no idea what I’m doing. I feel like an impostor. I’m so insecure with this color scheme or this website or this launch sequence”, and being able to hear someone say, “me too, let’s get through this together. We’re going to overcome this together, we’re going to find our victory, we’re going to put a line in the sentencing, no more of what has happened in the past, we’re going to move forward despite the challenges and despite the obstacles.” So, 1) get offline and talk to real people and 2) surround yourself with people that you can be brutally honest with who are going to be powerfully encouraging for you.
Laura: I love that and we will put all of the links to your resources and website and everything in the show notes but I just want to thank you for coming on as a guest today and remind all of our listeners that you can subscribe to the podcast that comes out every single week on iTunes or Stitcher Radio. So, thank you again, Shawn. You’ve been an excellent guest; you’ve provided a whole lot of actionable steps for people to take as it relates to following your passion and growing your online business and really being of service to people.
Shawn: Thank you. Let me just say this: if you’re listening to this and you feel like you can’t do it, stop lying to yourself, stop believing yourself you can’t. Go out, take action, even if you feel like there’s no clarity, action cerates clarity. Even if you feel like you’re going to fail, go fail and learn from that fail. Even if you feel like you can’t do it, you’re so insecure, you’re depressed, because I was there, and if you get anything from this, go do it anyways and say so what? I’m going to fail but I’m going to do it anyways. Everyone is saying I can’t do it, so what? I’m going to do it anyways.
Laura: Amazing advice. And I strongly encourage you to take it.
[End of transcript]