Keith Shannon is an inspirational entrepreneur who recently built a business that hit high six figures in only its second year!!! How did he do this so quickly? Simple – he expertly positioned himself from the get-go and he’ll explain exactly how he did that in this episode. One of the things I love about Keith is that he’s a super high energy guy so it’s always fun talking to him and I think you’re going to love this show. When he’s not making money as an entrepreneur Keith rocks it out as Nikki Sixx in the Mötley Crüe tribute band Mötley 2.0.
A $650,000 business after 2 years!
So what is this business – and how can you duplicate Keith’s success in your own business?
- Well, Keith runs and owns a successful carpet installation company in the Greater Toronto area.
- He’s also the carpet installer on the hit TV show “Love It or List It.”
- Oh, and did I mention that he’s a #1 bestselling author?!
- Or that he’s just launched a successful podcast for entrepreneurs that hit the charts in iTunes just a week after he launched it?
Not bad considering did it all in just two years!
Keith’s story of struggle
Keith’s first business was a hair salon. As Keith says, the line “If you build it they will come” is not necessarily true in business! To pay the bills Keith needed to bring people in the door and to do that he immersed himself in marketing (which he “fell in love with”).
Keith hired stylists who already had a clientele and in exchange for a $1,000 “signing” bonus and use of Keith’s salon they would pay Keith half what they took. At the end of the first year Keith had five people working for him, he’d bought a new Mustang and had $30,000 in the bank…
“This is freakin awesome” was his thought at the time! Figuring – not unreasonably – that if he did the same thing but with more people he’d make more money Keith moved to a bigger salon. His mistake was following advice he got from industry “gurus” without fully thinking through the consequences and demanding more and more from his stylists.
What he hadn’t bargained on was that they had brought their clients to his salon because he’d created a fun place to work. Once it was no longer fun they had no incentive to stay and they all ganged up on him and walked out.
Greatest lesson ever learned
Afterwards Keith realized that he had got into trouble because he had been pushing people away. That understanding was one of the greatest lessons he ever learned. Now Keith is very careful to bring people along with him.
Rebuilding and then losing it AGAIN!
The walk out happened in 2004. Afterwards Keith rebuilt the business and ran it all the way through until 2010 when he lost it to his ex-wife who got the business in the divorce settlement.
Suddenly Keith found himself at 40 years old, with no business and on the verge of declaring bankruptcy. His Eureka moment was the idea of starting a new carpet company and promote it using Google Adwords. Keith started Direct Carpet in 2012 with a $200 a week ad budget. Today that budget has grown to around $700 a week.
Keith’s first TV appearance
Through hustling and offering them something of value to their viewers, Keith was able to get a slot on a local morning TV show talking about carpets. The show has around one million viewers in the Greater Toronto area and Keith was able to take the footage from the show and put it on his website. So now, when someone Google’s carpets, the advert for Keith’s website shows up at the top of Google – they click on that and when they arrive they see a video clip of Keith as the expert on a well known TV show: instantly they see Keith as an expert authority on carpets!
In the eyes of his prospective customers, Keith now has massive credibility and great positioning. So right from the get-go Keith and his new wife Michelle (who is also awesome!) rocked it out grossing $308,000 in the first year and $650,000 in the second – all with just three staff including Keith and Michelle!
Great job Keith… very inspirational. Just goes to show that building a highly successful business doesn’t have to take a long time if you get the positioning right.
There’s also a great lesson there in not quitting. Even if you have to fold up one company you can still take forward all the skills, knowledge and contacts that you built up during the course of running that business.
Getting onto National and International TV
- (At 12’59” Keith explains how to get on TV)
Keith was able to leverage his appearance on local TV and turn that into a regular slot on the national show “Love It or List It” – which happens to be Hilary Clinton’s favorite show!
How to get onto TV
Keith’s advice for getting onto television is twofold:
- Ask them!
- Bug them!
Keith thinks you can get on any local TV simply by asking and “bugging” them! Be persistent until they bring you on the show.
Many people either simply don’t think to ask or they do, but don’t because they’re afraid to. However, if you don’t ask you don’t get so ask and be persistent. This is what all good sales people do and you can do it in a way that also builds the relationship and rapport with people – so you’re bugging them in a nice way!
Becoming a bestselling author
- (We get into how to become a bestselling author at 18’15”)
Keith may go down in history as having the shortest #1 bestselling book on Kindle!
It’s called “5 Ways to Save Money When Buying Carpet” and is based on question from clients. It’s “maybe” fifteen pages with pictures!
Having got it to bestseller status Keith called the TV producer of Breakfast Television – the show he mentioned earlier – and said “I’d love to come on your show and teach people five ways to save money when buying carpet.” The key here is that Keith chose a topic and headline that was of interest to the audience and as a result got ask to come on the show right away.
The result was a 5 minutes and 12 seconds segment on a major breakfast show with one million local viewers – perfect for Keith’s locally targeted company!
BTW, getting a Kindle book to bestseller status is not as hard as it sounds, but we didn’t have time to get into that in the show. If you want to know more about that then check out this interview on Keith’s show where he interviews me about how to “Crush It with Kindle.”
How long to write a bestselling book?
I asked Keith how long it took him to write a book that was a bestseller and which got him on TV?
His answer… one hour!!!
Now that was just to write the book (basically, Keith answering the 5 questions he gets from his clients all the time). It doesn’t include formatting but, as Keith and I discuss, that side of things can easily be outsourced and done very cheaply – in other words, that should never hold you back.
Now, when prospects visit Keith’s website, not only do they see the video segment from his Breakfast Television appearance, they see that he has a book that was a #1 bestseller and that he appears on the internationally televised show “Love It or List It”.
It makes Keith look like an authority and it creates instant trust – prospects think “Keith is obviously an expert and he must know what he’s doing, because he’s got a book and he’s on TV.”
An absolutely key takeaway here is that, contrary to popular perceptions, expert positioning does not need to take a long time. With the right approach it can be instant – the first impression someone gets when they are introduced to you or see your website for the first time.
Schedule everything – if you don’t schedule it you are not going to succeed at it.
- Traffic Geyser which is a system created by Mike Koenigs that allows you to distribute your videos and other content to multiple platforms automatically – both extending your reach and saving huge amounts of time. Click here for more information about Traffic Geyser and a free book from Mike on how to get your message out to the world.
- “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill (a real favorite on this show and a must read for every entrepreneur.)
Download a free audiobook:
- Keith is grateful for his wife Michelle and his dogs Stella and Kobo.
Keith’s favorite quote:
“What you practice in private you get rewarded for in public.”
Business top tip:
Remember that everyone has struggles in business, no matter how successful they are. If you’re having a bad day just “start again” tomorrow and keep going.
Something cool about Keith
Keith is an absolute animal lover and is passionate about fighting for their right to not be mistreated. So passionate in fact that he’s launching a second podcast about it – see link below.
How to connect with Keith
- Keith is – as you can imagine – an awesome podcast host! And he has some great guests 😉 (listen to episode 13 when he interviews me!) Check out Keith’s podcast here: InstantAuthorityExpert.com
- If you’re in the Toronto area and you need carpet or you just want to check out how Keith set up his highly successful website then click here: DirectCarpet.ca
- Keith’s animal loving podcast will be at TheLoveDogShow.com