I write about how Local Service Business owners can build an engaging Utopian World for their customers to inhabit using Endless-Value-Journeys, a strategy that emphasizes delighting dream customers, fostering deep connections and cultivating lifelong relationships. This paradigm shift moves us from reacting to one-off transactional customers to inviting them into our world where our focus is on Lifetime Customer Value. Welcome to the art of building a Purpose Driven Expert business.


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Hello there!

I'm Mark Earle, a local business owner like you and I'd love to share a bit about my journey with you.

I wasn't always a self-employed business owner.

My career began in the engineering field, where among some places, I worked on the Piper Bravo oil rig. This was the replacement platform after the tragic Piper Alpha disaster.

It was a challenging environment, but it taught me resilience and the importance of safety in all aspects of work.

In a twist of fate, I found myself as an aircraft engineer during the 9/11 disaster. Although nothing can compare to people who lost loved ones, yet it was a tumultuous time for the industry, and our company was hit hard.

We faced weekly redundancies, and our team dwindled from 1300 employees to a mere 250. It was a heartbreaking period, but it also opened the door to new opportunities.

With no light at the end of the tunnel in sight, I took VR in June 2002 and started a local cleaning business.

This was scary because up until this point, I'd always worked my way up working for someone else's company, I always got promotions but had the security blanket of a job.

This was the first time going out on my own to build something, all the risk was on me, and it wasn't just my family's livelihood on the line, it was any employees I recruited also that I'd be responsible for...

Coming from an engineering background, I attempted to implement systems into this business, but it was hard, it was a huge learning curve...

Have you tried to implement systems into your business but they never quite seem to get you the results you're looking for?

I did too...

Like most people when they get into a new business or industry, you have a look around to see what your competitors are doing to get new business, and you pretty much do the same...

For us, it was old school marketing, it was door to door canvassing, I also ran local radio ads, I even got stung with the ad that goes in all the local dentists and doctors surgeries (cringe).

The Old Landscape
I wanted to grow rapidly, so I hired canvassers who would knock on 300 - 400 houses a night, with a conversion rate of about 3%.

Still about 10 new customers a day were getting added, not bad I thought...

Their commissions were basically the first 2 cleans, which meant it would be month 2 after someone signed up with us that I'd break even and start seeing some profit...

I started running the numbers, 10 new customers a day, 22 work days a month, 12 months a year, you get the picture...

All I needed to do was cashflow their commissions for the first month and then the compound effect would kick in... or so I thought...

A few months went by and I couldn't understand why the extra money wasn't flowing in...

I was so busy focusing on the customers coming in the front door, I'd taken my eye off the back door...

As a small business, with your service and all your staff being mobile, keeping an eye on everyone is difficult, I didn't really have any systems in place and trusted my staff highly... (too highly)

After about 5-6 months I'd had enough, the customer numbers were about the same as when we started, there had to be another answer...

It was only when went through the old work sheets, I could customers who we'd successfully serviced you years had cancelled, something seemed off...

I decided to take a weekend to knock on the cancelled customers doors, I had to get to the bottom of what was going on...

I was shocked to find out that none of them had cancelled, our staff had simply stopped servicing them. 

I was gobsmacked... several firings took place and it was back to the drawing board...

During these early years, it was constantly one step forward, two steps back, does that sound familiar to you?

Because of this, I didn't think at that time that this business could fulfil my dreams, and I started looking online for side hustles to supplement our income.

The New Landscape
This is how I first learned about how to build a website in 2004, how people search for stuff using the internet and how I could get my website to show up in the results.

If you have any understanding of the search engines, you'll know that this is called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), and it was a real eye opener for me.

This was when the internet was in it's infancy, I'm sad to announce that I go back to when you had to use a dial up modem to access the internet, yes that's right, the days of unplugging your phone line to plug the modem in and hearing the dialling tone as you accessed the internet.

Needless to say, I was a like a sponge for this new information, there wasn't a ton of competition like there is now for keywords (the phrase you type into the search engine) and it was quite easy with a bit of work to get ranked on the first page of the popular search engines.

Google hadn't yet monopolised the landscape. Search engines like Yahoo, MSN, Overture and even one called Ask Jeeves were popular.

I was amazed and hungry to learn, and I learned a lot, not all of it good, it was the wild west for anyone who was looking to make a fast buck at anyone's expense, and I was generally the sucker!

Too many times I'd get duped into spending $17, $47, $97 or $497 for courses (yes they all ended with a 7) that promised me the earth and left me going around in circles.

I bought course after course, from the guru's promising fortunes with their system, none of them really designed for my type of business, but I learned little bits from each that I could apply to keep me moving forward.

The Turning Point
In 2010, it was like all the pieces of the jigsaw finally started coming together, the small successes were starting to stack on top of each other, there was one piece of advice I received in a course that has been the foundation on which every pillar I've built has been laid on.

It was 'websites don't rank, web pages do'...

From that moment on, everything changed.

Like I said, I built my own first website in 2004, which is several centuries ago in internet years, in the property niche.

Each of my earlier side projects for extra income crashed and burned, however, over the next 10 years from my first site, I would continue honing my skills, slowly applying any of the knowledge gained into our cleaning business and website...

I discovered what worked and what didn't, and eventually would have everything dialled in...

And once I did, we've never looked back...

We've not had to knock on a single door for new business or to collect payment since 2014, everything is online, and automated...

We wake up to new customers every morning, they've searched online, found us, gone through our sales system and deposited money in our bank account before I get to know about it.

Quite cool really, and a million miles from where we started...

The New Role
As my skill set was growing, I'd have friends and relatives who had different businesses who would approach me asking could I show them how they could implement it into their business what I did for mine.

So for years, I'd sit them down, show them how it worked and give them the step by step instructions of what I did.

Months would go by and I'd ask them how it was working for them, only to hear that they'd found it too difficult and they'd given up.

It was so frustrating for me because I knew this stuff worked, I couldn't understand why it wasn't working for them, I guess they just didn't have the 10 years experience stubborn persistence that I had prior to my breakthrough.

I thought back to the times I'd spent thousands on courses and would feel overwhelmed with the amount of information that was in there, they'd obviously felt the same way and didn't want to contact me due to some sort of feeling of failure.

So that's when I came up with the idea of just giving people the next step from my systems that actually work. Something they could do today, that would take 15-30 minutes to implement and they'd get a result or outcome today.

I tried it with a few people and it worked, and not only that...

I also noticed that they'd have a sense of accomplishment, a feeling of making progress, and more importantly, wanting to take the next small step

They didn't need the A-Z, they only needed the A-B, and would be hungry to come back for the B-C...

The Outcome
That's how this website was born, a resource for local service business owners to start automating their business so that it 'Worked For Them' rather than them 'Working For It'.

One step at a time, getting more and more of their life back with each step.

Simple really...

They say a journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step, and then one more and one more...

You see, as local business owners we know what we're good at, we know the value that we provide to our customers, and we tend to look to others to build the systems for us.

We hire so-called experts, a website designer, a graphic designer, marketing and advertising agencies, and they aren't cheap.

But here's the real problem, they don't know our customers, they don't know their pains, their frustrations, their needs, and we give away our power.

Which is why we become susceptible to the £2,000 - £10,000 website designs that are just a glorified digital brochure from graphic designers who know nothing about marketing and conversions, only that it looks good.

A couple of years ago now, a local business owner told me he was charged £35,000 for an ecommerce website that when I checked it out he could have bought for £30 a month subscription and a £199 theme. 

I was stunned...

So I am going to give you the Real Talk...

For all the changes in tactics, techniques, fads, social this, network that, FB, IG, YT, Twitter (X), TikTok and all the others that have come and gone like MySpace, SnapChat, Friendster, Vine and Periscope.

And Google isn't immune either with it's Google+ and Google Buzz platforms that lit up and fizzled out like a November sparkler.

The bottom line is this... REAL Business hasn't changed.

  • Identify a customer who has a problem, who
  • Is in need of a service / product you offer, 
  • Put a few systems in place so they find you, and then 
  • Serve them really well.

That's it!

When you serve them really well and are able to communicate with them on a consistent basis, offering help and advice for free, they will be receptive to your other offers and services in the future.

Learn and implement the systems to do that into your business and you're all set...

Is there a little work involved to get you to that place, YES, let's not be naive here, but everything can be achieved in a step by step format.

Just like learning to drive a manual car. You didn't think you'd be able to handle:-

  • 3 peddles with just 2 feet,
  • a steering wheel, changing gears, indicators and windscreen wipers with just 2 hands,
  • listen to the tone of the engine so you know when to change gear and coordinate all of that while avoiding oncoming traffic.

But now you can, and now you even have your music blaring and are able to have a conversation with your passengers at the same time.

So don't get overwhelmed, you can do this, one step at a time, if you can keep your eye on the goal...

A true lifestyle business that 'works for you' both now, and during retirement...

Yes that's right, I believe that you don't have to look outside of your business for retirement vehicles, you just don't know how yet...

If you can copy and paste, follow simple instructions, and are prepared to do a little work each day to keep moving forward without the 'microwave mentality' of expecting fortunes and results overnight, I can promise you that you can start building a lifestyle business for yourself that you will not only enjoy...

But you will be building an asset that will be growing in value and people will be queueing around the street to buy, should you ever feel like selling it.

You'll have customers regularly coming to you, you'll get to concentrate on what you're good at, you'll have multiple income streams, providing the quality service to your customers, and have them coming back for more.

And you can get rid of those over inflated directory sites like Home Advisor, Angi's List and Yelp that have you paying high lead costs, only to send the leads out to several business owners and you have to get into a bidding war, where the lowest cut priced offer usually wins and your quality ranks lower in the scheme of a bidding war.

I believe that business should not be a 'race to the bottom', it's about ROI (Return on Investment) and LTV (Life Time Value).

I have a simple philosophy on business, and I wish it was mine, it actually comes from the late sales and business trainer and speaker Zig Ziglar, it goes like this...

"Help enough people get what they want, and you can have Everything You Want!"

I really want to help you get what you want and I invite you to think about and start living this philosophy in your business and life and see how far it can take you.

What you'll find is, when you really care about how you can serve your customers, helping them achieve their goals and dreams, there is no limit to what you can achieve.

You really can have a true lifestyle and business of your dreams.

That's what I want for you, are you up for the challenge?

My goal is to get you into action, taking the right steps to achieve the lifestyle freedom and the business you thought you were building when you started out.

If you feel like you've been off track for a minute, and don't know how to get back on track, then let's start getting the clarity and focus taking each small step along the way.

Let's continue this journey together, one step at a time...

Make it happen,

Mark

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