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No Guts No Glory with Amber Vilhauer
There are all kinds of great business podcasts out there, all kinds of great information that you can gather. The thing that makes this podcast a little unique is what I’m doing is I’m teaching you from my experience and from the experience of my guests, how to build a business that can work for you. Not just have a glorified job, but really build a business that works, even in your absence, even in your sleep. Something that can operate while you go off and chase other dreams, take care of other responsibilities or something that’s worthy, that can be sold someday.
It’s also a business that gives you the freedom to live life and do the things and make the impacts that you desire to make in the world. This show is going to be a great show. I met my guest now several years ago at an event. We were seated at the same table. Everything she said was smart. I was surprised because I feel like an old grandpa guy because I am a grandpa. This was a young woman, super cute, bouncy, like this cute young girl, but then she had this the wisdom of the ages coming out of her mouth. Her name is Amber Vilhauer. She’s the CEO of NGNG Enterprise, which stands for No Guts, No Glory. Welcome, Amber.
It was totally divine that we connected. It’s been such a great journey with you ever since. I’m thrilled to be here.
Thank you and thanks for being here. After meeting Amber at that event where we were both participants, normally we’d be speakers but here we are both participants. I think everybody there was a speaker. The point is that you were pregnant with your first child when I met you. Tell me about him.
Clay is now over two years old. I’m almost speechless about it. He’s such this bright, beautiful kid. He’s so smart. He’s funny. He’s incredible. I picked him up from daycare and his teacher said that he was the only one in the room that picked up all of the blocks and put them away. He’s very responsible, cool kid. It’s been the ride of my life here. It’s added so much love and joy to my life.
That doesn’t surprise me. I always love it when I see people who can balance the business side and have a blissful experience with other elements of your life that make you into an awesome whole person. One of the things that inspired me to start the podcast in the first place was all the business owners I knew who were not getting to have those experience. I know I texted with you during business hours and you said, “I’m wrestling Clay right now.” I thought, “She’s with her boy during the day.” It’s super cool that you’re doing that because it makes your life happier. Either you sacrifice success to do it or you build a business that can operate and allow you, as the owner, as the leader to still go off and pursue other things that matter to you. You’re a great example of the title of the show, which is the Unshackled Owner.
Everybody has their opinions and I heard a lot of negative ones like, “Your life is going to change forever. It’s going to be so hard.” I was like, “Thanks. It’s not very encouraging.” I already had this successful business. I was managing a team of probably ten to fifteen people back then. We had well-over 100 clients that were active clients. We’re building websites and doing marketing for them and now, I’m pregnant. Everybody is telling me how hard it’s going to be and how my business is going to plummet and we’re going to be screwed financially. It was basically the sign that I got from the universe. I thought, “That’s crazy. I will be the one to figure out how to get balanced with it all.”
If we fast forward, Aaron, I can tell you honestly that I’m working about 30 hours a week. Our sales have not declined. My reputation has continued to grow. My value has continued to grow. I am healthy. I work out regularly. I have self-care. My kid is about as perfect of a kid as it gets. He’s very well-rounded, behaved, and has fun too. I have a husband who is a firefighter, so he’s gone three days and nights a week, which is when I feel like I’m a single parent. I say all of that, Aaron, to give other moms hope or business owners hope that I do believe there is a way to do it all and do it all well and still be happy. I’m not here to say I don’t have challenges because I absolutely do. I think that by having a stronger mindset and by setting an intention and figuring out your priorities, for me, one of my biggest priorities is to feel energetic and strong every day. If I feel energetic and strong, the world around me responds to that in a positive way. I’ve been intentional. I’ve been focused on my energy levels and within the business creating systems so that I don’t have to work 80 hours a week. I can work 30 hours a week and still do very well for myself. It’s all possible. It really is.
Congratulations, first of all and that’s why you’re here. People that couldn’t make such a comment probably would never get invited to be interviewed. This is all based on my perception, not on any specific knowledge. You may be the youngest person that I’ve interviewed on the podcast. I don’t know how old you are, but I guess how old you are.
I’m almost 36.
You’re in your 30s. You’ve got a young child. Whereas me, I’m almost 55. I have four grandchildren. We’re at different places in life. Many of the people that I’ve interviewed have been deep into their 40s, 50s or 60s. It takes some people a long time to let me know about it, but to adopt the things you talked about, about staying energetic, about feeling well by taking care of themselves and about setting up systems. Most people prefer to do things on the fly, off the cuff or shoot from the hip, “I’m winging it. I’m doing it by my gut.” Those are the people that struggle, but a lot of them find a level of self-importance by being busy, being everybody’s answer to every question, but that doesn’t give them time to build something that frees up their life. You’re a tremendous example. I’m delighted to have you say all those things. I’m going to ask you a few personal questions, but I ask everybody these personal questions. Where were you a little kid? Where did you grow up? What was the circumstance in your family? Were mom and dad married? Were they split up? In the military, traveling around the world, what was going on?
I grew up in Tucson, Arizona. I have two of the most incredible parents. I always felt loved. I always felt honored and respected. My parents divorced when I was five. They divorced as friends, co-parenting. I never thought anything of it. It felt very natural to me.
You were fine. It was your normal?
Yes. I have an older sister, she’s about two and a half years older. My sister was the star child. She was straight A student, Miss Teen Arizona and always had the clean room. She would light up a room every time that she would walk into it. She’s still that way. I’m much more of an observer. By nature, I took that backseat role and watching how that then shaped my teenage years. I had a hard time speaking up for myself. It led into this phase of teenage years where there was deep suffering, depression, anger, and frustration.
Of not knowing my place in the world. Who was I going to be? I’m feeling not good enough.
Because you’re not her?
Yeah. She was getting all the glory, the grades, and friends. I didn’t have that sparkle.
It’s hard to believe because you shine. It wasn’t the case when you were a kid?
It’s not even close.
Were you like the one that made everything okay for everybody else?
No. I was the person in the background. I didn’t have very many friends at all. The kind of friends that I had were only people that I felt like I was good enough to be around. They were pretty much like the scum of the Earth. I hung out with very horrible influences. I don’t know what to tell you. I suffered a lot. I didn’t feel I was capable of much. My grades suffered. It was a long, dark road that I went down. It scared my parents. I was grounded a lot. I’m always lying or whatever, making bad decisions probably because that was my way of trying to get attention.
Everybody gets strokes. In psychology, they call them strokes. People need to be acknowledged. They need to be seen in a positive stroke, “You’ve got great grades. Your song was so awesome. You’re so beautiful or what is wrong with you? Why can’t you be like your sister? Why is your room a mess?” Those strokes that you get from the authority figures in your life equally feed you. If you don’t get any strokes, you’ll die. That’s psychology. You’ll wither up. If you can’t get the positive ones, you’ll get the negative ones because it’s vital for us as humans to be acknowledged. We have to be acknowledged for something and that’s why some people act out because somebody please, even be mad at me but at least talk to me.
I have to be fair here because my mom made so many efforts to keep encouraging me, loving me and recognizing the good stuff. My mom was fantastic, but it wasn’t enough to outweigh how horrible I felt in my heart about who I was and how other people were responding. I was bullied in school. I was not well-liked. The boys were mean to me. Looking back, I don’t know how it happened the way it did. It doesn’t matter because what I learned and how strong I got in my soul as a result of it. It was this defining moment when I was sixteen and that was the rock bottom of my whole life. It was this moment where I had to face myself for the first time and say, “Is this my life? Is this the way it’s going to be?” It was this very scary moment. I decided to pull myself out of it. Fast forward, about two years later, I graduated with honors. I had friends. I regained the trust and respect of my parents. I started to repair these relationships around me. I went into college and then one thing just kept building upon another. Now, I’ve created this life for myself that every day I don’t take it for granted because I can’t even believe that I am blessed enough to have this life. I am nothing if not full of gratitude.
It was your sixteen-year-old self. It’s been twenty years and you still are reflecting back on that. It’s so interesting because it’s been years since I left the federal prison, twelve and a half years. I was only there for fourteen months. The point is, it’s a demarcation point in my life. What troubles me is how close that is to your teenage years. My twelve years and your twenty don’t seem that far apart. You were in high school and I was a 40-year-old in prison. The point is it is a demarcation. We have these moments, something happens and it’s usually a moment of truth in our life. That becomes a demarcation line in our life and we reflect back before that and after that. That’s interesting that you reflect on that on a regular basis. Let’s go back to high school though. Did you start to see whether it was under your freshman, sophomore year, middle school years, whatever or it was those other two years, junior where you’re shining, you’re getting good grades and you’re stepping up your game quite a lot? Was there anything that happened to you during that time that gave a hint to this entrepreneurial life that you’re living now?
No, I was bussing tables or I was a hostess or a lot of restaurant work until I was seventeen, but it was when I was eighteen that the entrepreneurial nerve was hit. I was starting college at the University of Arizona and I needed a job. I looked in the newspaper. I found this ad for Vector Marketing where it was some sales job and I got paid whether or not I made sales. I called in for an interview. I went and it was a big group interview. I was thinking, “What is going on? What am I even doing here?” They pull out knives and they’re showing me Cutco cutlery.
I’m so happy you’re going to tell this story. People with this background ended up killing it.
It was unlike anything I’d ever done and by the way, at this point, I’m still shy. I’m still insecure. I’m still healing. This was so out of character. This was like divine intervention, truly. I got the job. I started training two days later. I went through this training. It’s three full days. It’s a fantastic training. I did what they told me to do. I went out. I ended up doing well in sales my first weekend. That whole program gets your head straight. It gets you such a fantastic foundation for business. Both of my parents are entrepreneurial. It was probably in my blood somewhere anyway, but that company, I feel like I owe them my life in so many ways because they woke me up to me. I finished number two in my office that summer out of all the sales reps. I got promoted quickly into management, quickly into being a sales manager and quickly invited out to Denver, which is where I live now, to be the pilot sales manager and help run the division of thirteen offices and I’m 21 years old.
I didn’t graduate from college. I had one year left. I left to go all in on this opportunity with Cutco. I was managing 30 some receptionist. I was running conferences in front of 300 other sales reps. I was teaching new district managers how to go out and open up their own office. I came alive. It was so remarkable. I’m lucky because now Cutco is a client of mine. I help them run virtual online events. A lot of the people that I met back then, the Jon Bromans and Jon Berghoff’s of the world. There’s a whole little group of Cutco people. They are my clients and I serve them. These are my people. It’s my tribe. That’s where it started.
You learned that and like so many of us, you didn’t graduate from college.
I was going to be the first in my family too.
The star child didn’t graduate from college?
No. She left after her first semester and then went to LA to try the actor-singer path.
When did you leave Cutco and why did you leave Cutco?
I felt like I had excelled in my position. I had gotten as great as I could possibly get in that particular position. I wasn’t as excited about my options after that. I didn’t want to open up my own district office. I was feeling like I got what I came here to get. I put in about a year’s notice because I was heavily involved in the operations. I got this ten-hour a week assistant job where I was like picking up mail and walking these people’s dog. I was trying to think of letting me do something simple and reflect on what I’m going to do at this point in my life. I was 24, maybe 25.
I’m already peaked out in this big company. I’ve done all I can do there. I’m 24, 25, so I’ll go be an assistant and go walk the dog.
This also felt divine. It was this power couple in Denver. My first day they said, “We’re running this event called The Capital Factor, teaching entrepreneurs how to get money in their business and then how to market it online. Take a look at our brochure. You did some design work in college. Let us know if you have any feedback.” I looked at it and there was a lot to improve on. That weekend I spent many hours redesigning their brochure. I typed up this report on why I thought my brochure would get them better results. After that, I thought I was going to get fired but instead, they offered me a full-time position helping them run these events and fill the house. Work with the speakers who at that time were the top internet marketers online. I got to know the speakers and became friends with them. They taught me what they knew about everything from Google ads to SEO to blogging to social media. I’m like a sponge. I took it all in and I thought, “Maybe I’ll start a blog.” I started this blog. I taught myself how to build websites. I created this company that would then build websites for authors, speakers, and coaches and helps them get their message out to the world. That’s so random.
That’s the whole journey. Thanks so much for being here.
It’s interesting how opportunities present themselves. I am a yes person. I say yes. I put myself in situations that make me uncomfortable as can be because I know that’s where I’m going to grow and experience that at an accelerated pace and that interests me big time.
Where during this process did you get married?
I married Jason, my current husband. I was married once before for a short period of time. We were the best of friends. It was a friendly, amicable divorce, but it wasn’t what I wanted to show my future children that that’s what love is. We ended up separating. I met Jason when I was about 26, 27. What’s interesting is I didn’t believe in soulmates until I met Jason. This was like the firework love. I thought this is what I want to show kids that this is what love is. Now, we have Clay.
You’ve been with him for eight or ten years based on what you said. Where were you in this? You’ve started your own business when you met him?
I started in NGNG about eleven years ago now. I was a few three, four years into NGNG when I met Jason. He was fascinated by it. He’s a firefighter. He was like, “You launched books for authors and build websites?” He knew nothing about the online world. I knew nothing about firefighting.
He’s got to be a great guy because you had the firework love. First of all, everybody loves firefighters. Everybody thinks firemen are cute. We’re a little bit afraid of the police, but we love the firemen. It’s almost the antithesis of being entrepreneurial. It’s a lifetime career. You’re going to go do it. You’re going to move through the ranks. You’re going to have your schedule that’s three on, three off, or whatever it is. How did you guys have to learn to work with these different schedules? He’s off for several days in a row and you’re busy taking calls, deal with issues, putting out fires and managing employees. For those people that are reading that have soulmates or partners coming from a different place. They’re coming from a whole different perspective. How did you guys figure that out early on so it’s been good for all these years?
I have to tell you, Aaron, it’s still a challenge. What’s interesting about Jason’s schedule is that he works for 48 hours, then he’s home for four days. That’s a six-day schedule. Society lives in a seven-day schedule. What that means is that he’s coming up on a weekend rotation, which means he’s gone Friday, Saturday, then the next week it’s Thursday, Friday and then the next week it’s Wednesday, Thursday. It’s constantly changing. For me, who is so routine, I work my 9:00 to 3:30. It’s hard for me to then wrap my head around when he’s going to be gone and what I have to do because of that. You even think about little things. Who’s going to go to the grocery store or the laundry or this or that? It’s very challenging but I know my schedule. Jason suffers more than anybody because it’s frustrating for him. He’ll come home and finally get progress on a project like he’s doing metal work in his shop or he’s doing the landscaping or whatever he wants to do with his time. He’s very entrepreneurial as well.
He feels like no sooner does he start making progress, then he has to leave again. He gets out of the flow and then he comes home. He’s trying to readjust to this other schedule. No sooner does he get used to that, he has to leave again. It’s very challenging. To circle back to your question and to sum up, I think that having open and honest communication is number one. Because if I ever feel like I need more help in this area or if he’s struggling in this area, as long as we’re very open and honest about it, we’ll fix it. We’ll resolve it. Number two, I think knowing our personalities, having a little bit of away time has been a good thing for us. It gives us time to miss each other. That adds a whole other element of excitement into the relationship. It’s a little different once you have a kid because the kid is like, “Where is dada,” all the time? He’s home for four days. It’s still a struggle. We’re doing the best we can.
I bet you’re doing great. Your weekend keeps moving, so to speak, because you’re off on the weekend but you don’t know where he’s going to be. Things like date nights and that thing may be a little bit more challenging.
You take advantage of the moments that you do have when you get them. When he sat around on the weekends, then that means that we need to take advantage of the little bit of time we get on weeknights after Clay has gone to bed or whatever. You find the time and you make the time and you make it count. That’s probably what gives us a leg up on other marriages is that there isn’t all the time in the world. When we’re together, better make it count.
How much of that truth about this critically important relationship because you’ve said fireworks, you said a leg up on other couples. You have a high level of pride in the relationship that you have. It’s not just that we love each other. We’re like killing it. We’re kicking ass like a couple. That’s how you feel.
Every marriage is going to have ebbs and flows. There are always challenges. I have to tell you, especially compared to past relationships or what I hear out there, we’re awesome.
Knowing that there were these scheduling issues and so on, do you think that inspired you to get tightly organized or do you think you are already tightly organized because of your life up to that point?
I have discovered about myself that I have this passion for trying to figure out the fastest way to do something without sacrificing quality. It doesn’t matter if I am folding laundry, if I am renaming files, if I’m doing a client project, I’m thinking there’s got to be a better way. What’s a faster way? What’s the better way? I always thought that way. Creating systems came more naturally to me. By creating systems, that helps you become unshackled in your business. It allows you to delegate more easily. As soon as I figured out the fastest way to do something, “Carrie, you go do that now.” As soon as I figured out the next thing, “Okay, Jill.” It’s probably why I can get away with only working 30 hours a week and they’re pretty stress-free. Mostly it’s just a bunch of calls or interviews or whatever it is. I’m not in the weeds doing the work in my business the way that most other people are. The 30 hours that I spend is probably equivalent to 50 hours somebody else’s spending.
You use a lot of video in your training. When I say more likely, it’s almost like I’m only likely to go watch something on video versus have to read a lot. I never was interested in reading blogs, but I’ll watch someone’s video or vlog or whatever, their YouTube show or whatever. I use this with my farm a lot. I’ll look up something about how to get rid of moles or how to butcher a turkey or how to build a fence. I go to YouTube and that’s where I go. If you go over to AaronScottYoung.com, Amber’s company built that website.
One of the things that I learned as I became a client was she started peppering me with these videos. It’s not like, “Here’s a list of things to do.” It’s like, “Watch these three videos.” This will let you know what we need to do. When you guys completed the job, there was a list but there was also training, a couple of videos, “Here watch the website, here is how to go and change things. Here is what your web people need to know, here’s what your marketing people,” whatever it all was now. It’s been a couple of years. I remember because I prefer video, people write to me and they want my opinion on something. I don’t want to respond in writing, let’s get on the phone because I would rather talk it than write it. Tell me about that. I see a lot of people deliver a digital course on video, but you do a lot on video. Tell us about that.
It came from me thinking what’s the faster way to do this? There has to be a better way. This was years ago before video became what it is nowadays. I would get on the phone with clients after launching their website and say, “Aaron, do you see where it says edit?” “No, you don’t see that. It’s to the left of this tab. You still don’t see it?” “No.” “See where it says,” these painful phone calls trying to teach our client how to do it and then they forget it. I thought there has to be a better way, video. I bought this software called Camtasia and recorded a video training series to teach the client how to manage their website after a launch. Here’s what’s interesting. I thought that a client might find that to be less valuable because it’s like it’s not Amber’s time. They loved it because they could watch it again and again. They could watch it when they wanted to. They felt like it was a huge value add. The light bulb went off.
I could break a business down into three major systems and I have operations, marketing, and sales. In terms of what I would do operations, my fulfillment video training to clients, but even things like I have this video library internally so it teaches my team how to do certain tasks within my organization. When I onboard a new person, I don’t have to personally train them. I say, “Go watch these videos that will teach you what you need to know.” It created better consistency in their delivery of different tasks and projects and it created a more consistent brand experience. They would then go out to fulfill on projects for clients.
I would even use video in hiring. I would have a page that says we’re hiring a designer. I would do a video that says here’s exactly what I’m looking for. Therefore, only people that I wanted to have applied did. It’s all kinds of ways operationally I used video. What would happen in the sales department is I would have these hour-long sales calls with prospects. We would be closing maybe 25% of the time. I’d get a mixed bag of people on the phone. About a few years ago is when this landed. I was talking to a client named Larry. It starts like every other sales call and I’m getting to know him. I’m trying to build this relationship. He tells me what he’s looking for in a project. Ten minutes into the 60-minute call, it hits me that Larry is not the type of client that I ultimately want to work with. He distributes paper products for restaurants. He is not an author, speaker, coach. I still try to do my best job and even though I’m not lit up by the project, I know I can still help him. I’d give him my process and my pricing. He would hesitate and say he’d get back to me. It was like there’s got to be a better way. I turned to video. I created a video that explained the entire website process.
Therefore, I wouldn’t have to repeat myself every single time on the call. I gave them pricing ahead of time so that if you got to a call with me, you already knew the process and pricing. I knew there was a good chance you were ready to hire me. We went from a 25% sales closed to an 85% sales closed. I went from an hour-long sales call to a 30-minute sales call and all of this happened while I doubled my rates. In the sales department, the video has been fantastic. The last is on the marketing side of things where I would spend two hours painfully writing a blog post. Two hours painfully writing an email newsletter and then trying to think of something smart to say on social media. It felt dysfunctional. I thought there’s got to be a better way.
A few years ago, I created a batch of tip videos, like four minutes on the seven things to do on your website to get better results. I created this batch of tip videos. I sent them to my team. I said, “I want you to watch one of the videos, craft the blog post and embed the video, inviting people to watch it. Repurpose that blog post to send an email to my email list each week. I want you to use the content and the video amongst some other things to then do all of my social media for me. Basically, I don’t want to do any of it, so I’m going to make these videos and then, team, you’re going to do the rest of it.” They did. We published a weekly video and blog posts, all the social media, all this stuff every week for a year. At the end of that year, we had so much interest in the agency that I had to stop for a couple of years because there’s too much interest.
Also I’m up to say that video in general, I think why it’s so effective is number one, it saves me time as the business owner. Number two, it’s the best way to create a human connection in a digital world. Nothing else can be nearly as effective as video because I can transfer my enthusiasm, my passion. You’re getting a sense of my personality. You are picking up on your intuition about if you want to work with me or not. You would make emotional decisions anyway. There are all of these benefits. Plus, when you’re watching a video, it gives you the control back as the prospect because you can make the judgment before you have to commit to a sales call. There are so many benefits to it that how could you not use it in every area of your business?
I’ll tell you another thing that I’m sure you know, but you didn’t say. The guy who’s had a lot of employees built some several good companies. I know what I want. What I want at the end of the day is to push a button and have something happen. I don’t want to be involved in all the nitty-gritty. I want to push a button and have it work. When I met you, you were bright, interesting, fun and all those things. When we started to talk about you doing a website for me and I started getting all of this stuff, it was evident immediately that here’s somebody who’s gone way above and beyond to be organized, to be concise and to be entertaining. Your presentation to me, it almost didn’t even matter what the content was. It was like, “If somebody does this, they’ll be great at doing this thing for me. The fact that this is how they present, they’ll be great.” It made it a super easy decision.
It’s meaningful. I don’t take that lightly. That’s important. The competition has never been greater for all of us as more and more people come online, opening up businesses. Web developers are a dime a dozen, you could get one anywhere. Truly what makes me stand apart is being myself, creating these systems and the use of video. I have to say that it’s probably those three things.
People, as you’re reading the story with Amber here, I can’t say strongly enough how building something, a four or five-minute tip video consistently, building up an inventory of this. This podcast, the more podcasts I do, the more you start to see it monetize. People start going, “I know you well enough. I’ve listened to your voice enough. I get an idea of what you stand for or how you behave. I want to learn more about how do I do something else, how do I engage?” The more consistently you put things out, even imperfect things. Amber, I think you can attest to the fact that we had zero prep on this interview.
I didn’t even know what you’re going to ask me and that’s comfortable for me.
I prefer it that way. There are folks out there that do very well, but they’re formulaic. At some point, the formula gets boring to me. The point is folks, part of building something significant and getting more customers and shortening your sales cycle, and all the things that Amber has talked are consistently being findable and then relevant to the people out there because everybody is searching. I don’t know about you but if they even still have yellow pages, I don’t know where to get one. As far as doing a Google search, Google searches that will give me a list of web designers or marketing companies. There are so many of them and they are so different that it’s hard to get a feel without a lot of due diligence to figure out who somebody is. If you go to Google or you go to YouTube and you type it in and all of a sudden somebody pops up and they resonate, whatever it is. I don’t care if it’s somebody that’s doing horses, designing websites, making popcorn and showing how to put a roof on a house. I don’t care what it is.
You’d be surprised I’m a subscriber to a whole thing about hammock camping. How do you go camping ultralight with a hammock? Because I carry everything on a horse when I go. Who would have known that was a thing? Even amongst the hammock camping gurus, there’s a whole bunch of them that have a completely different way. You find the people that you like. I’ve never had a conversation and then finally I go, “I’m ready to buy that thing or do their thing or take their class.” I engage. Other than creating the video and tagging it or whatever, once it gets out there, it might be a five-year-old video, but I’m still finding it. The people already know, like and trust you. You don’t probably notice, but people who have been listening to the podcast should note that while they may be listening to it in audio format as this podcast is everywhere. It’s pretty much any platform that’s out there we’re on it. If you want, you can also jump over to YouTube and start watching these on video then you can see Amber’s face instead of a little card at the front with her headshot on it.
It totally makes the difference. You feel the energy. It affects you in such a more transformative way and on a deeper level.
I’ve been so inspired by you and others, but most of the others are not people who have also hired as a vendor, not somebody that I’ve had other private conversations with about other things. It’s easier to feel inspired by you because I know you. We’re utterly changing the way we’re going to engage with the world in 2019 because of Amber. Here’s the deal, when you’re shackled to your job inside of your business, when you are the most critical employee in the business when there’s a line of people or a line of people on either outside or on the phone who all need two minutes, you don’t have the time to go out and be out someplace where you meet a new person that’s going to influence you. You don’t have the time to pick up new ideas and mastermind new ideas because you’re so busy doing your work. The whole purpose of the show is to show you there is another way and to give you a number of examples of those ways. One of the ways is there’s got to be a better way. First of all, your stuff looks good, but it’s shot very simply. It’s one camera, one backdrop, you, your enthusiasm and knowledge for four or five minutes.
That’s very purposeful. It has been proven and documented that videos that are shot more informally like this, outweigh, they beat videos that are more professionally shot or edited in cool angles and all the stuff. People are watching them longer, engaged with them, and they convert to a next action simply by being informal. People instead of looking at you like you’re on some pedestal and you’re so perfect, they feel more like, “She’s my equal.” That’s exactly what I want people to feel because that’s my belief. We got to shoot it based on your belief system. The simple thing works great for most people.
First of all, it’s accessible to you. If I watch a Gary Vaynerchuk video, Gary is a big name out there right now and doing lots of cool stuff. It’s all shot from angles. You know he has a camera and walking around the streets of New York with them or maybe more than one camera in. It all feels very created. It feels very produced. Even if you love his videos and a lot of them are lovable, if you don’t mind the swearing and the jumpy angles, but it’s very street. It’s very cool. He’s very popular. I don’t find any fault with Gary. I’m saying it’s a feeling that’s very Hollywood produced or Indie-film produced. You and I both are connected to a lot of in their own industries celebrities.
When you see somebody produce like that, it automatically makes you feel, “I probably can’t call that person on the phone. There’s a wall. I can’t talk to them. I can watch. I can admire. I can be an Acolyte but I can’t be connected.” Whereas if you’re watching something like your videos, it does feel like, “I’m Amber. I’m here at my desk. I’m going to tell you something super cool. By the way, give me a call.” Because you’re presenting at all, it puts you ahead of most everybody. Because you’re presenting well, it gives people immediate confidence and because you’re giving good information, then they’re like, “I need that person.”
As much as I like to think I have all the team around me and I have all these things that I need, I bought your program. By the way, we’re not selling anything on this podcast. I’m saying, “I realized that our ad hoc way of doing things with content marketing, putting things out in many of the different platforms was inefficient. It wasn’t organized. It was very questionable if any of the stuff that we’re doing and putting into social media was valuable at all. It was very hard to track it. I went to you and I said, “I know you’re smart. I know you could do this. Do you have a do-it-for-me program?” I was ready to hire your company to take it over. You came back, instead of feeding me a fish, you taught me how to fish or you’re teaching my team to fish.
You provided another way to unshackle me because I create all this content and I need to get it out. I felt utterly incompetent to do it. You may think I’m complimenting Amber. I’m trying to teach a point. The point is because of the way that I feel that Amber Vilhauer presents things from NGNG, that make it feel very accessible and very fun. She’s going to understand me. I’m going to enjoy talking to her, but also she’s a consummate professional. She knows exactly what she’s talking about. It makes me want to come back and do more stuff. Folks, it’s so much better to hold onto a customer than having to go find new every day.
I’m going to go one step further. I’m going to share this. Again, there’s no order form here. I’m telling you what my experience has been with NGNG. She said, “We have this program. It’s not exactly we do it for you, but it is a do-it-for-you program. We use all these videos and all this training to get somebody on your team including a foreign $5 an hour virtual assistant. They can follow this format. In a few weeks or a few hours per week, you will have 40 pieces of content out in social media. I’m like, “What?” Here’s the point. I had you talked to my VP of marketing to make sure that I wasn’t so caught up in Amber’s fabulous delivering and a winning smile that I was going to do something that maybe we’re already doing. My VP of marketing who’s a bright woman and does all kinds of awesome stuff, she came back and said, “Aaron, this is cool. This is great.” The fact that you guys are in the same city is even better because now she would like to meet you” The point is to buy what is effectively a video training class. There are other elements to it, but it’s basically a bunch of training to show you exactly what to do and it’s comprehensive. It’s awesome.
My point is it was $5,000. Because of everything I’d seen up to this point, even though I would have to get somebody to still do the work. I have to still be clever and come up with something to say, but I had no problem at all putting $5,000 into that training because I knew it was going to exceed my expectations. Because everything else that I’d received from her up to this point had exceeded my expectations. If you want to stand out in the market and you want to be successful, you’ve got to figure out a way to do something a little bit more than meet the obligation of the contract. If here’s a can of soup, it’s $1. The $1 seems like the right price for a can of tomato soup, you buy it. You don’t necessarily have any relationship or devotion to that company that made the soup. You had a fair transaction. That’s it. We did it. It’s over. If there’s a little saying on the label of the soup, “We give 2% of our earnings to some cause or after five cans of soup, you get a free one,” or anything else we do to exceed the measure of the contract, it makes us become committed to that provider, any little thing we do.
I’m going to go a step further, Amber, and say if the backdrop there with the poppies or whatever those are behind you. It’s inviting but it’s tight, clean and not fuzzy. As soon as somebody sees it and you’re still shot before the video starts, they’re going to go, “This person is a professional.” If it’s their very first video, it’s going to come across as somebody who knows what they’re doing. People, if you want to be successful, I’ll tell you this, “The world is desperate for somebody to lead out in whatever it is the thing is you’re looking for. People want leaders.” It exhibits the attributes of a leader like Amber did. Amber, against everything that she felt inside, went and started selling Cutco knives, door-to-door. From two years before being stressed out and doubting yourself and hanging around with the wrong crowd, now she was going to completely put it all on the line and say, “I can demonstrate these knives.” She got better and better at it and pretty soon is teaching everybody else. Then it converts that into another job, and then another business.
In every case, excelling, blowing everybody else out of the way because doing a little bit better than everybody else. That’s the big message from this for me is you can take something that’s fairly much a commodity. Lots of places to buy it. Lots of vendors in your industry. How can you present a little bit more, make it a little bit easier, make it a little more fun, and make it a little more consistent? Because if you do five videos and you stop, you’re not an oracle in your industry? You had five random videos. Who cares? I bet you have hundreds of videos.
I do. Consistency is a huge part of it. Relationships are a huge part of it. Creativity is a huge part of it. For me, if I look at what is my life’s purpose and I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this. For me, I want to make people feel heard, loved, seen and valued. If I can do that in every interaction, make people feel heard, loved, seen and valued. Somebody asked me once, “Why do you care about that so much?” It’s because that makes me feel heard, love, seen and valued. Why wouldn’t I want to feel that way all the time? I focus on being present with people and giving them as much love and empowerment as I can because that feeds me. When I watched somebody that feels empowered and I translate that into what I do as a career, I’m helping people like you get your message out to the world. If I’m giving you love and empowerment, and you feel like, “I can go out and I can do this.” I can support you through building a website or helping you get your videos out there.
Creating systems and doing my little thing, that feeds me so much. Being a leader is absolutely so important. I’m leading in every moment of my life. I am leading for my son. I am leading for my husband. I am leading for my team. I am leading for the readers of this blog. It all feeds back into that purpose and what makes me feel like I showed up as my best self. It requires discipline. My mom always said, “Leave the campground better than when you found it.” I love that because if in every interaction I can make that person feel loved, what would the result be as they go out and interact with other people? It’s exciting. The possibility of the impact we all have.
I want to make another point. I make this point a lot working with entrepreneurs. You illustrated something beautifully. That is a big belief in my experience. Many people come to me passion-driven, “I’m so passionate about this thing.” They go be passionate about their thing and they beat their head against a wall and go broke, max out all their credit cards. They end up going back with their tail between their legs back to some job they hate. I see this all the time. My advice to them is figuring out how to do something the market needs and wants and then look for the results of the work you’ve done in whatever it is.
I formed corporations. We do corporate minutes and resolutions. That doesn’t sound very exciting or sexy or things to be passionate about. When we look at the fruit of the work we do, how did it make a difference? How many lives did it touch? In my case, who did we protect? What circumstance was made better because we had done a good job? In your case, you could look at me and say, “When Aaron is more successful, he’s hiring more people. He’s employing more people. If I can help him get his message out better and he has more money that takes people off of the unemployment list,” as well as the more detailed issues that related to our message.
You got so passionate about the things that I hear lots of coaches say, lots of wannabe entrepreneurs say, “I want people to be heard. I want them to be loved, I want them to feel better.” You said all that stuff, which I hear all the time, but you’re saying it in the context of a business that people want to buy. You can be mega passionate. You can be all in tune with the source. You can be connected to all these things that we hear in the woo-woo world and doing it in a very practical way and love that you get to do it. Some people might say it’s so boring building websites. Instead, you’re saying, “Look what I get to do and look at the way we get to make a difference to who knows?” With the clients that you have, I’m talking hundreds of thousands or millions of eyeballs are looking at the work you produce.
It’s knowing your why and being more intentional makes all the difference in the world.
Amber, any parting words of advice or anything you want to pass on to anybody else? Let us know how we reach you? What do want to share with us?
You can connect with me on my primary website, which is NGNGEnterprises.com. The system that Aaron was referring to is called LeverageToScale.com. That is a content marketing training system that trains your VA how to do all of your content marketing for you on a weekly basis. Those are the easiest ways to connect with me. The words of wisdom that I want to share is I have to tie it back to the company name, NGNG, which stands for No Guts, No Glory. It’s a phrase that my mom used to say to me all the time growing up. It stuck with me. I remember when it came time to sit down and come up with a company name. I thought, what better reminder every single day as I go out there and I have to do things that scare me to death every day. I was having these conversations about partnerships and people wanting to hire me that scared me to death, scares me and I said, “Yes, let’s do it.” That’s what I stand for, no guts, no glory. What better message to impart to my clients and my following because owning a business and running a business, it is hard. It is challenging.
If you don’t have something like that phrase to remind you every day to be your bravest self. I got this fortune cookie once that said, “Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.” If fear is like taxes, it’s never going to go away. It’s always going to be there. How can we change our relationship with fear or our process when we feel fear to overcome it as quickly as possible? For me, I take immediate action. If something scares me, like getting up in front of the public to give a speech, I say, “Yes and I want to be the first one out on stage,” to rip out through that fear and get through it because I will be a stronger leader. I will believe in myself more. I look back on my life feeling like I lived my potential. My impact will be bigger. My last parting words of wisdom is no guts, no glory. That’s what I have.
Thank you for sharing that with us. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Thanks for talking about some issues. Although we’ve had a number of powerful women on the show, I need to make sure that I’m keeping it balanced because I have loved a lot of your perspective on here, including how to deal with things. I don’t care what anybody says. Most moms get the disproportionate care of the children. That’s how it works out. I’ve loved listening to you how you’ve balanced things, balanced love, balanced responsibility, and balanced leadership. You have a following, you do all these things and you’ve done it all beautifully. You’ve done it fast in your career. You are a tremendous example to everybody.
Go check out NGNG Enterprises. Talk to Amber. See how she can take what you’ve got now. I hate the expression to another level because we hear it all the time, but there are always ways that we can tighten up. We want to make sure that we’re laser focused. I believe that Amber has a gift and her team to bring your message into very sharp relief and help you get your story, your message, build your business, whatever it is, make it bigger, stronger and more powerful. With that help, you’re going to become an unshackled owner. We look forward to seeing you in the next episode.
About Amber Vilhauer
Amber Vilhauer is an online digital marketing expert who supports authors, speakers, and coaches to establish a powerful, integrated online presence that gets results and empowers them to make a difference in their industry. Since starting her company NGNG Enterprises Inc. (standing for No Guts No Glory) in 2007, she has spent her career impacting her community and building strong strategic alliances with industry leaders and game-changers across the web. Amber has supported thousands of entrepreneurs on six continents to get results. She is the launch manager behind several #1 bestselling books including those for Mark Victor Hansen, Brendon Burchard, Lisa Nichols, and Les Brown.
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