Recently I spoke with Jimbo Balaam, a tradesman who is earning 6-figures with his auto detailing business in Orange County, California.
It didn’t take long for me to see that the approach that he is taking in his business, can be applied to almost any service based business.
If I had to boil it all down to the biggest takeaway it would be simple… Become a leader within your industry.
Sounds easy, right? It actually can be. All it takes is a little effort and some foresight.
So many of us in business are just trying to get through our current projects, so that we can take on more projects. It’s a constant roller coaster. Many of us are chained to the seats and unable to have the luxury to think that far into the future.
By breaking free of the ups and the downs and deciding that you are ready to position yourself as an industry leader, you will find yourself in a whole new level of business.
Here are 3 ways that you can position yourself as an industry leader:
- Invest in yourself– By staying up to date with new innovations and techniques within your industry, you are upping your value and staying ahead of the competition.
- Teach– By educating yourself in new ways of doing things, you are already bound for success due to that shift in mindset.
Add in the knowledge you are gaining in your industry, and you are facing wide open opportunities.
The truth is that in many trade based service industries, we are not in the mindset of investing in ourselves.
If you take what you have learned and teach your customers more about what it is that you do, as well as help train the next generation about your trade, you will be looked at as an industry leader.
- Pay for it– Let’s face it… The internet is here to stay. Having an online presence is becoming more and more important by the day.
If you think in terms of how are people finding local services and business, then one word comes to mind. GOOGLE. Google is the where we all turn to when we are thinking of finding a repairman or even where we should eat dinner.
In case you may not already know this, the search results in Google are not random what so ever. There are countless algorithms happening in the split second that you hit search.
The top search results are typically viewed as being legit in our eyes. The closer you are to the top, the better your chances are that someone might click on your business’s link.
With Google Ad-words, you can pay to play. Become an authority in the eyes of google by paying to rank for certain keywords. In result, you will be viewed as an industry leader in the eyes of those searching for the service that you offer.
I had an awesome conversation with Jimbo, so if you would like to hear everything that we talked about in iTunes instead of from this site then CLICK HERE.
Links and Resources Mentioned:
Welcome to Smart Tradesmen, the show dedicated to bringing entrepreneurship into small business. Whether you are a seasoned business owner or just starting out, it is our mission to help you design a business that works for you—and not the other way around. Now, here’s your host: Daniel Eric Bowling.
[Daniel Eric Bowling] Hi welcome to another episode of the Smart Tradesmen, I am your host Daniel Eric Bowling so excited to be here today. So many amazing things had been happening, probably way too many things to list. But as of recently I popped the question so I am proud to say that she said yes. I know I don’t have a girl friend. I have a fiance so that makes her my ex- girlfriend? I’m not sure how she feels about that but we won’t tell her. Also I have had so many amazing reviews left on iTunes and I thoroughly enjoy reading each and every one of them. So if you like what you hear go on over to iTunes and please leave me a rating and review. It help me sky rocket into new no worthy which is getting me a lot of downloads. Well I don’t know how many actually what a lot is but I am very proud with what’s been going on and the level of support that I have seen. Those of you who have reached out to me so far, I really appreciate it because you are why I keep moving forward the days when it gets hard and I think about giving up. You push me on through and I am happy that you have been doing it. You have been there for me and listening because things are starting to go a little smoother and I am really enjoying it. Got to save my favorite part is hearing from a few of you listeners, it not only lets me know that there is somebody out there actually listening. But it just makes me proud to know that what I am doing is really making a difference. Thank you to each and every one of you and please go to smarttradesman.com/mastermind and watch the 3 minute video that tells about the private facebook group that we got going on. That’s where I am going to start focusing a lot my attention on as far as being able to interact with multiple listeners at once. And I am hoping the community aspects kicks in and together you guys can help support each other because my time’s somewhat limited while I am trying to help more than one person at a time. So what I really love seeing happen so far is the community chipping in and kind of helping each other grow. For today’s episode I have another amazing, conversation and I know you are really going to enjoy this one. He is an auto detailer. He is a trades man like us, service base business owner. He is doing some amazing things that I know that we can all apply directly to our businesses. Without further ado I am going to jump on directly into the interview.
Here with me today is a very special guest, very good friend of mine. He is the host of The Auto Detailing podcast and a 6 figure auto detailing business. Here to talk us about how he is taking his knowledge of a trade and building a community around educating others as well as making his way to the online income side of things. I am proud to introduce my guest, very good friend, Jimbo Balaam.
[Jimbo Balaam] Hey thanks for having me on, proud to be back on your other podcast.
[Daniel Eric Bowling] Yeah man in case nobody knows this at this point. I have another podcast called Middle Class Entrepreneur in which I may still maybe putting out some episodes here in the future. But he was one of my early guests and we are very like minded and I am happy to have him back. So for these listeners can you tell us a little about your business?
[Jimbo Balaam] Sure, so I run a mobile auto detailing business in Southern California. I have been doing it since May of 2008 and basically I run around from either people’s homes or some office buildings and I either wash or detail people’s cars. Right there, I run around in a van that has all my equipment and I just go from location to location detailing people’s cars.
[Daniel Eric Bowling] And did you teach yourself this or you were apprentice under somebody?
[Jimbo Balaam] So, I am pretty much all self taught, I did take a detailing class at a local community college. It was a semester long course on how to detail cars properly but I had started my business before I even took that course. So I got into it, I started detailing my own car. Me, and a buddy kind of got into it together and then I had always known that I always wanted to my own business and as my passion grew I guess for detailing cars, I kind of had the epiphany that I maybe could detail other people’s car and run my own business and make money doing it. So I kind of just did it as we were talking before you started recording. My weakness and strength is speed of implementation and so that goes back to all the way then when I just kind of started. Started asking a boss or the manager at the restaurant I was working at, I had previously too started my detailing business. If they wanted their cars detailed I would literally have no idea what detailing really even was, other than just washing and waxing a car then putting out some tire shine. That’s how I lined up that manager and then I was like “oh I got one client, I can do this”. I’m just kind of dove head first into it and then back pedal my way out. Took a couple of training courses, do a lot of youtube videos. A lot of reading, and a lot of just on the ground work and mistakes.
[Daniel Eric Bowling] Where you juggling this with another full time job?
[Jimbo Balaam] I was working at a restaurant. I was working Thursday through Sunday nights. So I would work all week and nights. I was going to school Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday days. But then once I realized that I wanted to start this detailing business I dropped out of college to do this detailing thing. Then I tried to do the detailing thing and work at the restaurant at nights, I did that for a few months but the money was so good detailing cars comparing to what I was making at the restaurant. I didn’t have to work at night or weekends, or holidays in my detail business I just decided to stop working at the restaurant as well.
[Daniel Eric Bowling] How many years before you decided to try to help others and start a podcast?
[Jimbo Balaam] I started the podcast and started helping others by going year thus August 1 2014 that was my day I launched out and started my internet presence known more that’s just my detailing business website. That internet presence for my detailing business and website was really strong in my local area. But other than that outside of my local radius out where I am at, no one knew who I was. So I decided to change that and really my motivation was to give back to this community that I knew was out there through forms and stuff like that. I knew that was out there but I really never participated much, I decided to started combating kind of on a bad information that was put out there on the internet. That was one thing that’s really prevalent and really bad within the detailing industry that there is a lot of bad information out there. As I was growing my detailing business in comparing to that the information that I was reading on the internet I realized how true that was, so I tried to combat that with the podcast.
[Daniel Eric Bowling] I think why I love your business motto so much is because you are doing amazing things that could be applied to all these other trades as well. So can you bring us up-to-date on what you are actually doing today with the online side of things?
[Jimbo Balaam] Yeah so, it is in a lot of things that I do are completely transferrable just scratched out the auto detailing and add in plumber, electrician, carpenter, furniture repair, swop that out and that’s what’s kind of cool about the service industry. As you can kind of cherry pick from a lot of industries and fit it to meet your own specific. I guess it could be a micro niche of the service industry and so that is pretty cool. Well as I, as you said started the podcast which is why I couldn’t talk so much I guess. But what I started to learn more information through interviewing these other people; so I would put out an interview episode once a week interviewing other detailers throughout the world. I started to pick up on all this really great information because I had to train these people out before I have them on the show. So I know I am not getting a complete act but they would be giving really valuable tips and tricks in things that they did in their own business. Then I started in and about my way them into my own business and seeing great results. So in turn I started to develop and push back out other products that would help listeners of the show even more. So one of those things being google adwords, so I interviewed someone on my show who, was having tremendous success with google adwords. He was running I think 7 mobile vans and how to fix location detail shop. In an area whose climate wasn’t good as mine was out in California where it is sunny 11 1/2 months out of the year. And some did this guy…. I forgot where he was. New Hampshire or something like that where it is getting all the seasons can kill in detailing using google adwords, why couldn’t I? So I decided to take $100 one month and set my own google ads and self taught myself how to do it and set it up. And I started a daily budget maybe it was more than $100. It was like $5 a day. Before the second day my ads having run were over. I have denied a $400 gig; $400 job and was like wow this directly from google ads because I asked person how they find me. They said like google and I am like great, alright. I started to reinvest at $400 back into more google ads and it just exploded the first month I made well over $1000 I think it was close to like $1300 directly related to my google ad campaign. It was phenomenomal, so after doing this for about 6 months I decided wow maybe I can create a digital course explaining google adwords for auto detailers. And then sell this google ad course to yes generate some passive income for me in something that I can create once and sell over and over again. But also really help other detailers out because at the end of the day for all to bring us into just to service tradesman industry as a whole. Our biggest issue is that we need more work, or we need more clients or we have those down times and those lolls. What I found is that google adwords and paid advertising or paid traffic is kind of like everyone loves to talk about word of mouth marketing and how powerful word of mouth marketing is. And so I started to think about that, and interrupt me anytime Daniel but I will just go on. Word of mouth is the best form of marketing, right. When one neighbor tells another neighbor about the best auto detail in town. Jimbo, right? That’s the best referral you can get but what I started to realize is that google and google searching offers that same kind of feeling that people without them having to talk to a neighbor. So they want to search the best auto detailer in Orange County or they want to search and bring it outside of detailing. They want to search who is the best plumber, or what happened to my leg, or whatever. But google offers this authority to any business that is willing to pay to play. Right, because google at the end of the day is a business. So what you kind of do is hack google to make new not only more visible but also give your business this incredible authority. Within whatever niche you are but for me it was detailing. So what I realized was I can pay to become an authority figure in google eyes which in turn gives people in searching assurance that singe you are cominng up number one you are the best beacuse google’s the best ad if google is saying you are the best. Then you are the best so you must be the best. A lot of people don’t even know that’s really an ad, they just think you are number one. So I took all this kind of information that I was retrieving from the people who were seeing my ads, clicking on my ads and then created a course for detailers. But really for any service based industry really on how to not only set up ads but how to not spend heavier ads spend grow out of control. How to really track your ads, track your clicks, set up additional phone numbers that are showing in the ads so you can track your phone calls. How to use google to create more affective ads. Which people forget that google, now you are paying google so now you are a client to google. And how to kind of manipulate that to really optimize your ads even better and kind of using google more. Say I created a course like that and of course I created a course a while back called The Mobile Auto Detail and Academy on how to start your own detailing. Your own mobile detailing business, so that’s a long way to answer your question but hope that answered it.
[Daniel Eric Bowling] That answered a lot of things and brought up a few more questions. I think the problem that people have when it comes to, what you are saying is their going to think that this is another cost to them. But I would like to change the word into, this is an investment.
[Jimbo Balaam] Absolutely, and you have to look at it like that because everything we are doing is an investment. You know the alternately to running ads for a detail or a lot of tradesman is walking neighborhoods and throwing down flyers or doing a every door direct mail flyer that is super expensive. Those are going to a parking lot and putting flyers on cars. And that is so small scale you can only reach a certain amount of houses., when I get a flyer on my door it pretty much goes in the trash, you’re not really establishing any authority behind your brand by doing that kind of stuff and the cool thing about Google is you can literally take, and this would depend on your niche but you could spend as little as $100 per month in paid ads and see a nice return on that investment but it is an investment it’s not in vain.
[Daniel Eric Bowling] You’re ahead of the game and you’re seeing it in a way that I don’t even think if most of my listeners are ready to see it, so let’s flip it to the other side. Somebody is just getting started, I think that what they need to realize is, let’s keep it in the auto detailing business if they’re that person in the auto detailing business that’s hearing what you’re saying and realizing that it could affect their business they need to realize that it’s worth it to buy your course that’s going to save them time and hassle and actually probably pay for itself by the wasted money they might have in Google Ad Words so I think investing in ourselves not just investing in a marketing strategy but saving us the time of figuring out for ourselves is definitely worth it.
[Jimbo Balaam] Well yeah that’s totally right and to give you one example, I had one guy buy the course and then on top of that he invested $40 into Google Ads, so again not a big number most people probably spent more than 40 dollars last week on lunch alone, or breakfast that’s not even one dinner really, and in two days his return was 775 dollars
[Daniel Eric Bowling] And how much was your course at this point?
[Jimbo Balaam] At this point the course was $50 probably by the time this comes out I’ve implemented some additional things and it may be more, but he had $90 total invested and his return was almost 800 dollars in two days.
[Daniel Eric Bowling] Let’s go to real numbers if anybody is in the trade they should be at least considering what their hourly cost is, which most of us don’t actually know a number, but let’s say anybody can say their time is worth $25 an hour, that’s a good small number I think, so if they’re going to spend four hours walking around putting flyers out, not even the cost of the flyers, but four hours that’s more money than he had to learn how to do it and put some ads out there in Google.
[Jimbo Balaam] Yeah and here’s another crazy thing to think about that when I was creating the course I didn’t even think about it, but in the detailing industry some guys don’t even have a website okay, which is an issue and that something that I also talk about in the course is your internet presence and I also give the number one mistake auto detailers are making on their website kind of as a bonus so it’s a few things in addition to the Google Ad words training but a lot of guys don’t even have a website so if you’re just starting your detailing business and then you’re just, say you just started a website you’re not going to rank you are not even going to come up in Google for anything, your organic SEO is virtually at zero and Google hasn’t indexed your website basically you can’t be found even if someone wanted to find you and so if you do Google ad words and your kind of paying to play so you’re paying to be ranked higher, and what that’s going to do is in turn Google is going to index your site faster and is going to rank your site higher because you’re getting more traffic to your site and in turn your SEO is going to be better so yeah you’re kind of paying to play but you’re paying to get traffic to your website too.
[Daniel Eric Bowling] Now you said auto detailers and specifically to them, some of them don’t have websites, I’m going to scratch that and I’m going to say insert whatever trade here because we are all the same way most of us don’t even have a website yet.
[Jimbo Balaam] Yeah right. Which is kind of the first issue, because if you want to do Google ads you need a website.
[Daniel Eric Bowling] I think what they have backwards and I’m not saying they as in I’m not included in this but it was hard to realize, why would I need a website for local business but that is kind of the expected thing you have to have a website that doesn’t look like it was made in the 1980s
[Jimbo Balaam] Well yeah, and if you think about it, I always revert back to thinking about my own personal search patterns for stuff outside of the detailing industry, so say, Daniel you have a girlfriend so you and your girlfriend want to go for dinner in this new city that you just moved to right, you don’t know anyone, maybe do know people but you’re looking for the best barbecue restaurant there is out there what are you going to do? Are you going to go ask your neighbor? Probably not because you don’t really know your neighbor yet, so you are going to go to Google right and you’re going to google best barbecue in, I forget the town that you’re in whatever, South Carolina right so the best barbecue ribs in South Carolina, we’ll just make it general that’s what you’re going to do first. So why would it be any different for someone looking for an auto detailer or someone looking for a furniture repair person, people are going to go to Google, they’re not going to the Yellow Pages anymore, people don’t really talk to their neighbors anymore, at least where I am, they go to Google first before sometimes they’re even going to talk to their significant other, so being able to be found on Google and using a website to do that obviously, because you’re not going be found any other way is just imperative to any industry of any nature or any service.
[Daniel Eric Bowling] I couldn’t agree more, the only correction, I just got dumped and it was a terrible, terrible, breakup.
[Jimbo Balaam] Sorry about that, so you don’t have a girlfriend anymore?
[Daniel Eric Bowling] Oh no I’m just kidding with you.
[Jimbo Balaam] I was going to say so maybe you might just be telling yourself Daniel where do we want to go get a barbecue tonight
[Daniel Eric Bowling] Yeah because I don’t want to be here alone any more.
[Jimbo Balaam] That could have been bad.
[Daniel Eric Bowling] Yeah, so any advice for somebody that doesn’t have a website how do they go about getting just a halfway decent one do they have to do it themselves or is there a cheap way?
[Jimbo Balaam] So it depends on what your budget is right, for detailers the glamorous side of detailing is to be a high end detailer, everyone wants to be detailing exotic cars and make hundreds and thousands of dollars per detail and all this stuff, but they have a website like you said, that looks like they built it in 1980, but if you want to attract a higher end clientele, then you have to look high-end with your internet presence. Now with that said before, that would require a ton of money, I remember even back in 2008, I think it was, people wanted over $1500, $2000 to create a simple quote on quote basic website for my detailing business and so for the first couple years of my business I didn’t even have a website because I didn’t want to spend the money to do it I didn’t think I really needed it etcetera but nowadays you can have a very , very, nice professional looking website for literally a hundred dollars a year and you can do that through squarespace.com and if you pay for the year upfront I think it’s $96 a year, that includes all the hosting, they’ll give you a free domain and you have a really nice looking website. So that would be if you’re on an extreme budget that’s something that I would recommend, just looking at square space. I know there’s Wix.com and Shopify.com if you want to create an ecommerce store. A year ago I did not know how to build a website at all, and I started with a Squarespace page on a personal blog and that was great, it looks very nice it’s kind of the minimalist modern approach to websites, I also taught myself how to do a WordPress site and themes, I don’t know if I would recommend that. I kind of took it as a challenge because I knew I wanted to be building multiple websites and there are some limitations to like a Squarespace website, there are some modifications that you just can’t do so I taught myself how to do WordPress, that’s a little bit more difficult a little bit more advanced but it’s definitely doable by yourself, or you can hire it out which is not a bad option.
[Daniel Eric Bowling] You know I think we are talking to multiple demographics where I think that the older generations in the trade probably best route is to hire out and get a cheaper website made for themselves? They can get a decent one for a fairly good price. Anybody younger than us probably has the technical capability to easily build a WordPress site because personally I figured it out myself as well and I think that I can see that even a few years younger than me or the 21-year-olds now. Can just walk through a WordPress site like no problem.
[Jimbo Balaam] Yeah it’s not that difficult especially with a lot of the resources that we have available to us, but then again you also need to look at what’s your hourly wage, what is your time worth and if it’s not worth your time to figure out how to do a WordPress site then hire it out, but with WordPress and themes it’s just not that difficult to do it yourself.
[Daniel Eric Bowling] Totally agree and in fact I’m hoping that by the time I list this I can find a good resource to link to of somebody that can build a quick cheap WordPress site. I do know of one guy I think his company is called Theme Valet, he will set up your WordPress site for like 100 dollars, to the exact theme, like the example that you get. He will set up all the plug-ins and everything so all you really need to know is how how to run a WordPress site
[Jimbo Balaam] The challenge would be, and I know from personal experience that, the only problem is if your site gets hacked and you don’t know how to fix that, if you have a WordPress site and it gets hacked you have to have someone fix it for you which I did. I found out it got hacked because I wasn’t updating the plug-ins and the widgets and stuff like that so it hadn’t been updated in like five years so it got hacked. You won’t have to deal with stuff like that if you build on like a Squarespace platform you won’t have to worry about your site getting hacked they take care of all of that, but with WordPress you are a little bit more susceptible to people hacking, which I’m like why would someone want to hack a detailers website but whatever.
[Daniel Eric Bowling] First thing I’m going to do when we get off the air is go update all my plug-ins.
Jimbo Balaam: You know, I think there is a WordPress support company, that I think you pay like 50 dollars a month and you have unlimited access to them and help for your WordPress site I forget what it’s called, WordPress Help maybe but there is a WordPress support company out there somewhere for 50 dollars a month or 30 dollars a month you can get unlimited WordPress help.
[Daniel Eric Bowling] I know what you’re talking about I heard them as a guest on Smart Passive Income
[Jimbo Balaam] Okay do you remember what it is?
[Daniel Eric Bowling] No, I’ll see if I can find it and link to it in the show notes though.
[Jimbo Balaam] Okay, perfect
[Daniel Eric Bowling] But, that’s all I have for you today Jimbo, I know that, or at least I hope that you’ll agree to this, that I’m going to have you back on in the future to get updates on how your courses and everything are going.
[Jimbo Balaam] Yeah, sorry I felt like I just talked the whole time
[Daniel Eric Bowling] Well you are the guest and I’m getting over a terrible breakup right now.
[Jimbo Balaam] Yeah, that’s funny
[Daniel Eric Bowling] But until next time Jimbo thank you so much for joining us!
[Jimbo Balaam] Cool Man thanks for having me on.
[Daniel Eric Bowling] And that’s a wrap, give it up for Jimbo Balaam everybody. I have to admit I still have not found that resource for the WordPress support that we were talking about but I will let you know as soon as I do find it, I think it’s safe to say that we need to be approaching the problems within our businesses in each one of our industries at a base level we all have to service-base businesses and we are struggling in the same ways so I really appreciate the way that Jimbo approaches his problems and I know that we can learn from him and apply directly to our businesses. If we have you thinking about a website and you’re curious to see if your domain is available then go to my resource page at smarttradesmen.com/resources or just go to smarttradesmen.com and find the resources tab at the top and you can search the domain availability of your business name or whatever domain you want to possibly think of, you can do that right on the resource page and see what they have available. If you have any questions at all about finding a domain that’s available for you then please reach out to me at Daniel@smarttradesmen.com I’d love to help. The episode may be over but your journey has just begun, so if you want to continue this conversation go on over to smarttradesmen.com/mastermind and watch that video to learn all about the private Facebook group that we have going on we are there and we are ready to help I hope to see you inside the community and I will catch you in the next episode of Smart Tradesmen good luck in everything that you do, I’m out of here, see you.