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Whether you’re a real estate investor, entrepreneur, or business owner, it’s essential to discover the underlying problems and issues that are negatively impacting your business.

Because, often, the “surface problem” is what we tend to focus on, without discovering that actual, deeper issue.

To learn more about this, I recently talked with my friend Brad Costanzo, an entrepreneur, advisor, speaker, and real estate investor currently based in San Diego. Brad has built several successful businesses throughout his career. As an investor, he’s covered the whole gamut – wholesaling, rehabs, you name it. He also started his own digital publishing company and worked as a strategic marketing advisor.

Now, he hosts “The Bacon Wrapped Business” podcast, heads up his consulting business (Costanzo Marketing), and serves as an advisor for entrepreneurs and business owners who want to overcome the stumbling blocks that are preventing them from reaching their true potential.

Brad has some awesome advice for becoming a better business owner/entrepreneur, and how you can identify and capitalize on your strengths. Overall, he’s a great guy who has a lot of insight to offer – whether you’re starting a brand-new business or running into some challenges with your current business.

Watch and Learn:

Listen and learn:

What’s inside:

  • How Brad got interested in consulting 
  • The value/takeaways that Brad provides his clients 
  • Brad’s explanation of “cognitive keys” and how these are essential for business growth
  • I share an email that you can send your friends/acquaintances to determine your gifts, talents, and unique abilities
  • Brad’s explanation of the power of thinking (why you need to spend time deeply thinking about your business)
  • Brad’s favorite books to help you expand your mindset and grow your business 

Mentioned in this episode:


Download episode transcript in PDF format here…

Joe: Welcome. This is the Real Estate Investing Mastery podcast.

Joe: Hey everybody. Welcome. This is the Real Estate Investing Mastery podcast. I've got a special treat for you on the show. His name is Brad Costanzo. I'm going to be introducing him to you in a minute, and you've probably heard of his podcast if you've been on iTunes. It's called the Bacon Wrapped Business podcast. I love me some bacon, and I love listening to Brad's podcast about business, about, you know, just a different way to think of things. Brad is one of those guys who just thinks different, and you listen to his podcast and you're like, holy smokes that's a good idea, where'd that come from? So I'm going to be interviewing him and we go back a ways. I want to just tell you a little bit about that in a second here. But first, I want to let you all know this podcast is brought to you by my new book. It's called ‘REI Secrets–Daily Nuggets of Real Estate Investing Wisdom' to get more leads and close more deals. You can get this book for free at REISecrets.com that's REISecrets.com. Now, as we're recording this now, the website will be up by the end of the week, but you can join the waiting list. It's a really good book. Each chapter is only a couple of pages long. It's about a hundred chapters. And I just dive deep into little secrets and tricks and magic awesomeness on how you can get more leads, close more deals, right? So go to REISecrets.com. So guys, this is Brad. Super cool dude from San Diego. You're living in San Diego, right?

Brad: I live in San Diego now. Grew up in St. Louis and I was like, I looked at the difference in weather and I was like, I'm out of there.

Joe: I was born in LA, was raised in San Diego. I moved to Iowa my junior year in high school. So I still come out to San Diego, still got family there, love it there. And if we didn't have so many friends and an awesome church that we, you know, my wife and I, we got a bunch of family here now and friends, so we'll be in St. Louis for the rest of our lives probably. But if I had to go anywhere, I would go back home to San Diego.

Brad: Right, right on.

Joe: And so yeah, we made our first a hundred thousand dollars together, that was going back away. So I was working with Kent Clothier. Kent Clothier is from Real Estate Worldwide, find cash buyers now, find sellers now and all of that. And he wanted to do the Podio thing and I wanted to get some help from Kent on some things that I was doing.

Joe: And so I flew out to La Jolla for a couple of days and spent some time with Brad and Kent Clothier, that's where I got to meet Brad. And one of the first things I remember being really intrigued or impressed with Brad was his smarts. Like he really thinks outside the box. I know that sounds cliché, but Brad used to be really heavily involved in real estate. He still does a little bit of real estate today, but he's, he's really a high level consultant and he works with a lot of big names all across the industry in the marketing world. And I was listening to one of your podcasts recently with Justin Goff. Oh yeah, that's a good one. A really good, I mean that's another real smart guy. I encourage anybody right now listening to this too, guys. If you're into real estate, it's good to branch out and read general business books to listen to general business podcasts and just get a feel for what other people are talking about and doing outside of the real estate bubble that we're in. Right? And so Brad's podcast is really good. I highly recommend you guys go out right now and subscribe to it. Listen to it. Leave them a review. It's called the Bacon Wrapped Business podcast. I think if you just type bacon, it's probably the only podcast that comes up, right?

Brad: There may be a couple of other ones, but yeah, bacon wrapped business, if you search there, BaconWrappedBusiness.com is a great jumping off point as well.

Joe: So I'm telling you guys, Brad works with some really cool people. But when I was working with Brad there in La Jolla at Ken's office we kept on sharing like, oh did you see this, this tool, this thing can do this, this can do that. And we weren't like getting any work done because we were just showing each other all these cool-

Brad: We're nerding out on tech and stuff.

Brad: Nerding out on tech. Cause there's very few people that I can do that with. Right? When you meet a cool guy like Brad, you can do that. So tools, yes, we love tools. And so you know, I've kept in touch with Brad over the years and I wanted to get him on the show to talk about kind of bigger picture things. You know, Brad, you were saying, you know, like people are asking me what do you do and how do you, you had a real good perspective on that. Can you tell us as to the podcast, what you just told me earlier?

Brad: Yeah, you bet. So in a little bit of more context to that. So I've, yeah, yeah, I, I've done real estate, primarily wholesaling, but I've done rehabbing and flipping and I've done a lot of this. And then I got into online marketing and digital publishing and software and just building businesses primarily on the web. At the same time I was kind of on the side investing in real estate and having built some businesses and then sold them both. I was faced with a couple of decisions, which is do I, do I just go build another business or do I maybe utilize my skills to help others and leverage my skills to help them get more out of what they got? So I turned to consulting and I really liked it. But one of the issues I had is that I was not being brought in for a hyper specific set of deliverables or a very super specific result. Oftentimes the people would come in and ask me like, “I'm just, I'm doing a lot. I just don't know if I'm doing the right things. There are a lot of things, which ones are right, which one should I do now later, never, et cetera. And how does this kind of fit into the entire ecosystem of what I'm trying to accomplish?” So I realized early on that two of the biggest areas were helping entrepreneurs and business owners really get clear on what to do, why to do it, how to do it, when not to do it, et cetera. But then the other side of that became, let me find out what assets you've got that you're kind of not utilizing to their best capabilities. Somebody may have a great email list or a database of people, or maybe they've got a certain set of products or services they offer, but there's other things they're not offering and how can we really capitalize on that? Create new profit centers. So those are kind of the two branches of what they are. But at the same time, I was having a hard time defining why should somebody hire me, right? Because it's a little bit holistic. And I went back to a bunch of my current and former clients, this is about a year ago, and I said, what's the real value you get from working with me? And to kind of sidestep that, I know a lot of the people on here are real estate investors on this. And not necessarily service providers, but for anybody who is providing a service of any type, and this probably does go true for investors, but people are never buying my deliverables. They're never buying, you know what I do. They're never buying what you do or what I know they're really always buying the result that they get from working with you. And you know, you kind of go from doing that to sharing your knowledge to kind of who you are, but more importantly, who my clients are when they're with me. And I realize that because when I asked them, what's the real value you get from working with me, the answers were, you know, like clarity and confidence in what we're doing. But more than anything, it's the way you think, and you seem to have a different approach to solving problems or achieving outcomes than I could ever come up with them on my own. And Joe, that created, that was cool, but it also created, a challenge for me. I was like, okay, if they really pay me for how I think, how do I think? Like I didn't know. So I sat down to kind of really codify or, or create some kind of a framework for how do I get the results that I get so that I can repeat these cause otherwise I'm just pulling rabbits out of my head or, so it looks and I realized that a lot of times, you know, process, process always drives success. Sometimes, though, a process is underneath the surface. We don't know exactly what that is. So I sat down one day earlier this year and I just started to say, okay, if the way I think is what clients find valuable, how do I think? And I started to list out principles, rules of thumb, quotes, tactics, perceptions, different ways of thinking and even mental models that I've used time and again to help solve certain problems. And these are little one liners and every single one of us actually can do this and I suggest they do it. But like, what are these things that have attributed to my success? And the very first thing I wrote down that I remember was this concept that won't be that foreign to a lot of people, but it's: I don't need to know everything if I can access the people who do. And that's a little bit different than saying I don't need to know everything if I know the people who do. Because if I can access the people who do, there's one of the critical elements because every one of us, whether you're an agent, an investor, an entrepreneur, a software provider, a chiropractor or whatever, there's a lot of things we need to know in business and life in general. And if we go off chasing, saying, okay, I can't do this until I get the knowledge, then we're going to spend a lot of time learning and not enough time applying that knowledge. Well, if somebody else has that knowledge, how can I access it? And I started to go down as I wrote that, I wrote maybe like 2,000 words on this concept of how do you access knowledge if you don't own it. And there's a lot of different ways to do that. And by doing this, and by really exploding out this concept in more detail, I know it made me go, I'll be damn like I actually have more resources available than I thought I did. So I started to take an inventory. Well what do I know? What do I need to know? And then who has that and then how do I access it? And what I found after going through about 70 of these and really extrapolating them out, is it created this list of, you know what I've been calling keys or cognitive keys for lack of a better term because there are different ways of thinking that either unlock a door that's stuck in your way that is like, man, this, how come I can't get through this? Or it unlocks the door of opportunity to go. If I just rely on this little principle, it can lead to something else. And this has been really exciting for me because it now allows me to methodically go in when I'm working with a client and say, what are we trying to accomplish? What's in our way? And like a janitor would flip through a ring of keys on their key chain, looking for that one key that unlocks the door or a skeleton key that unlocks a bunch of doors it allows me to go through and really quickly scan and go, what are we not doing? What are we not doing? Or boom, I wonder how does this apply to this situation and it's starting to get me and my clients results like five, 10 times quicker because now I'm not just relying on my memory to do this. And it's been a really rewarding thing. But I think to sum it up, Brad, what do you do? I really do help business owners, executives, entrepreneurs create clarity and confidence in what to do, how to do it, when to do it, when to delay it and who to do it with and I've found that that's some of the most valuable things that any of us can do because if we're really working on our business and not down in the weeds, this is the kind of thinking that I think we don't think time to do.

Joe: Do you know Cris Chico?

Brad: I know Cris Chico well. Cris Chico, “show me to bacon.”

Joel: He's a big dork.

Brad: Love me some Chico.

Joe: He reminds me of Richard Simmons.

Brad: Slightly different hairstyle.

Joe: Not the black Richard Simmons.

Brad: Yeah, exactly.

Joe: Not the cool-

Brad That's great. So anyway, hopefully that makes sense. That's a concept you don't hear talked about a lot and it can be academic and esoteric until you start to apply it.

Joe: Here's the cool thing about what you were just saying and it reminded me of something called the genius zone. You've heard of that. And one of the exercises that a friend brought, took me through, his name is Jack Bosch. I'm not sure if you know Jack.

Brad: I know Jack.

Joe: Jack was sending out an email to your close friends and business associates and I'm going to read this email real quick because if you guys are listening to this, pause this podcast and write this down as I'm going through it and you should send this email to 10, 20 different people that you work with, that you're close to and find out what your strengths are, what are your unique abilities? And this isn't an email where are you're asking for criticism where you're asking for people to tell you what your, what you suck at. It's more of a, like find out what your strengths are because you may think you know what your strengths are but you may not and other people see it so much better and it's similar to what Brad was just talking about. Is it okay if I read this email real quick?

Brad: Absolutely.

Joe: All right. It says, “I have what might seem like an odd favor to ask you. I'm trying to make some decisions about what I really want to work towards this year and I could really use your help. I've been exposed to a concept called my Unique Genius Zone. It's based on the idea that everyone has a unique set of talents, interests and capabilities that they're passionate about and that can be used to create a lot of value in the world. Everyone has a zone like this and the challenges is it's usually pretty tough to figure it out on your own, so I'm going to try to hone in on mine. God knows I have plenty of faults also, but I'm trying to figure out my areas of gifting right now so because I value your opinion immensely I was wondering if you could think about this question and send me back an answer. What do you see as my Unique Genius Zone? My Unique Genius Zone includes any of the following that you might see below or anything else you might think of that might help me identify my areas of gifting. Talents and abilities, characteristics that describe me, what I'm good at, how I do things, what do you count on me for and other distinguishing features that you see about who I am. It would really help me out if you could get back to me in the next three days with any thoughts. So-

Brad: That's basically what I did with, with fewer words and I mainly did it on a phone call, but that's exactly what I did. I actually got the idea too from Dan Sullivan has a book titled ‘Unique Ability,' it's a booklet and it follows that exact same concept. And I was like, I was so blown away, I didn't think, I thought they were going to talk about the more tangible results, and it ended up being something completely different.

Joe: I was blown away by mine. I, everybody I sent to has sent a reply back and, you know, we think we know ourselves well, but sometimes we don't. But seeing what you're good at, and it forced me to realize, you know what, I've been trying to do this other stuff that I'm not good at. I either need to get somebody else to do that for me or just get rid of it. Get it out of my life, get it out of my business because I'm not good at that. If it's that 80, 20 thing, if I'm focusing now 80% of my results or my efforts on the 20% that gives me the most results, whatever I'm seeing there, that's where you're going to start seeing more growth in your business. And so I love how you did that for you and then you catalog the things, those keys to unlock the. The magic for you. Does that make sense?

Brad: Yeah, no, it absolutely does. And I think it's critical. I think also it's so hard for us to see the value that we bring ourselves, especially because we are super hard on ourselves and what we see and what other people see and value is a totally different, you know, for instance, one of my clients even you know, we've done a lot, we've done a lot of, of traffic strategies and helping with conversion sales and all of this really tactical business oriented stuff. And he said all that, it's been great and it's, it's made us a lot of money, but nothing kind of compares to some of the relationships that you've introduced like that you've spotted and seen that as an opportunity and then made an introduction, which has probably gotten three times more results for them than the actual deliverables and work I did. And I just did them because it was natural and I kind of undervalued the effects. And he's like, no, you, you don't understand. That's, that's one of the most easiest things you do, but it's brought the most value even in comparison to the other stuff you've done. So, you know, and I think as this, some of this stuff relates to investors, cause I want to kind of help tie it back to your audience. That is, you know, a lot of times investors think that or it's easy to fall in that trap. Like I'm just out there to buy somebody's house. I'm here to get a good deal, here to buy this house. And we don't think that really what we're doing is we're creating solutions for people on the other side of the table and it doesn't matter if we buy their house, list their house, let them go and just tell them that, you know, listen, you, maybe you don't need me, don't need me right now or, but you lend him, maybe you refer them to a credit repair company or you just do something else, but really you're in the business of providing solutions to people who need it. And by viewing your business through that lens of what do the people on the other end get from what you do, it can help you reframe the way you're talking to sellers or motivated sellers or whomever. The reason it's so effective is because so few people do it. They are so focused on what they do and what they get from what they do, they don't stop and think, put themselves on the other side of the table with an empathetic viewpoint and just if you're one out of a hundred people doing this, you're going to come out way ahead because it's so rare. Even though it's so simple.

Joe: That's really good.

Brad: Simplicity is rare. Everybody likes to make things super complex, but complex is bad. Simple is good.

Joe: I think it was one of the podcasts you were talking about recently. You just spend a little bit, you may not even remember, but you were talking about the power of thinking and the importance of thinking, setting aside time to just think. And you did that when you were writing down their keys that you unlocked. So how did you come to that realization? What did, what made you figure out like, you know what, I need to spend more time thinking about-

Brad: You know, I think it's all, I've always had a natural tendency to do that. I love going for long walks and now I live over here on the beach in San Diego and I can see the beach right outside my window and it's, it's more expensive than anywhere else I've ever lived. But it saves a hell of a lot of money on coaches or psychologists because if I need a good mental reset, I just walk outside and go for a long walk in the heat.

Joe: I hope it's raining right now and it's really cold.

Brad: Yeah, exactly. Well I'm coming to St. Louis and it's going to be nice and cold, so. But going for those long walks and just thinking and asking questions and asking, just taking that time when you realize that man that can be super, that can be the most productive time you could ever take. In fact, one of my favorite business books is by a guy named Keith Cunningham called ‘The Road Less Stupid' and it's an amazing book. But in it he really, really drills down on the, the importance of stopping, taking time to think and think in terms of questions, cause the best thinking always comes from the right questions. That's why like I mentioned a psychologist, I've actually never been to just a traditional psychologist, but I know a lot of people who have, and they're notorious for just asking questions. They don't solve your problems. They elicit, well we've all, we all know the answers, but they elicit the right responses with the right questions. And I don't think we ask ourselves enough questions and it's hard to, cause it's actually, it takes a lot of effort to ask the questions in our mind and then come up with the answer, which by the way is one of the reasons we hire coaches and consultants. I know that that's the value I bring. I can tell my clients to look, ask all these questions of yourself, but it's really hard to take an impartial view of that. So they bring me in to ask the hard questions. Sometimes the obvious questions point out non-obvious solutions and really help facilitate the gears working. Because Joe, what happens to all business owners or just busy executives or everybody's busy these days is we're so busy spinning plates, it's really hard to take two or three steps back and look at the ones and go, should I even be spinning these plates or should I be spending them in the opposite direction? Because we get so busy down in this level of thinking we aren't taking a couple steps outside and getting a bird's eye view of the lay of the land. Like, you know, right now, for instance, I bought a business about two years ago and it's going okay, but it's not going as well as, I'd like it to, I mean, I don't know if business ever does, but I've had to take a handful of steps back and go, you know, what's the opportunity cost of me doing this versus doing that? And sometimes you don't like the answer. Sometimes the answer gives you a great solution. You know? For instance, one of the questions I got from one of my mentors, a guy named Roland Frazier, who you probably know of,

Joe: I was going to ask you about Roland. How, how is he doing?

Brad: Roland's doing great. But I had an e-commerce business a few years back and it was doing okay, but not great at all, especially by comparison to everything else I've done. But I was, you know, it was my baby and I was running with it. And he sat down with me at lunch one day and he just said, if your company was a client, would you accept them as a client? And for many reasons such as A) you know, first of all, I wasn't actually profitable. I wasn't paying myself from this, I was putting all the money back in and I didn't have a whole lot of money to dump into the advertising and the things I wanted to do. And I said, well, no I wouldn't because this client wouldn't be able to implement half the things that I think they should. And obviously they're not paying me and I'm spending like 80% of my time on it. So he just sat back and smiled. By asking me, would you take this if it was a client? I said, no. That made the answer to what I needed to do pretty darn clear. And immediately after dumping that business, I was rewarded with multiple clients. In fact, if Chico is listening to this, Cris Chico, Cris was a part of this synchronistic? Yeah, Cris. I don't think I ever told him this, but it was the day before I shut down this e-commerce business and I said, okay, I'm going to get back to doing what I'm good at. Cris emailed me and he said, I was listening to your podcast, It sounds like you're still doing some consulting. I'd like to talk to you. And then he introduced me to one of my current clients that I've had for a long time named Gary, and it was literally the next day that was kind of like the universe rewarded me for releasing something that wasn't serving me anymore. And that all stemmed from one question, the right question that I probably wouldn't have asked myself, which is yeah, would you, would you accept this as a client if it, if it wasn't your own business, would you take them on as a client? And I said no.

Joe: I love that. Roland is really good at that, isn't he? Just coming up with those, asking the right questions. You know, Brad, you were, you were doing a lot of real estate, you were working a little bit with Kent Clothier. What got you into wanting to do consulting? And I know a lot of people are listening to this right now thinking, yeah, I like helping people, right? I, I'm good at thinking outside the box or looking at things differently and I'd love to start maybe helping doing some consulting myself, maybe in the real estate space, maybe in the general business space. How did you make that transition?

Brad: Well, my transition was, it was fairly simple and I kind of fell into it, which was after I'd sold, well actually prior to selling my other business, I, it was kind of operating itself and it was a digital publishing business, but I was bored of it. I was just doing other stuff and I had other colleagues and friends of mine who are also entrepreneurs. And I remember the very, my very first consulting client was a friend of mine named Drew Cannoli. And Drew is the founder of FitLife.TV and Organifi supplements, which is, I don't know how much they're doing, but tens of millions of dollars a year now. But he was just getting started with his fitness business and consulting or his fitness coaching business and products. So I was talking to him one day and I was just like, man, what's going on? What's, and I once more with questions, what's not working so well, you know, what's been kind of giving you a headache? And just by asking that question you can uncover stuff. So I know he said at one point he's like, well you know, I launched a book on Amazon and it's, it's not doing anything. I had like 45 sales and he should've had a lot more based on what he was doing. But it was, it was kind of an unutilized asset. He kind of floated it out there, it wasn't doing much. And I said, you know, I think I know a few things about how to run with this. Why don't you let me handle that, let me see if I can kind of relaunch it and reinvigorate it. And I just asked for a percentage of the upside. So it was a very performance based deal and we knocked it out of the park and had a lot of success with that. And then he started to say, Hey, Brad's really good at some of these things cause I didn't just help him with that, that was kind of my tip of the spear. And then he introduced me actually to Kent Clothier I actually did the exact same thing with him and then Kent brought me on as a strategic marketing advisor for his business. And then I had other people who I was just, in talking to, I would just always ask that question, which has morphed into one of my, the, the one question that I ask every guest on my show is, what's a nut you're trying to crack? And then I lead them to, by that I mean it could be a challenge you're trying to solve, an obstacle you're trying to get over, a person you're trying to hire, a skill you're trying to learn, money you're trying to raise, but typically a nut you're trying to crack is different than a goal you're trying to achieve. It's an, you know, you're trying to crack it and because you're trying to crack it means you're not able to crack it yourself. And this-

Joe: Cool thing. Let me interrupt you there because It's so important. Just by asking that question you like, if you were to ask me that question, I can give you something and I'm so deep in the weeds, I can't see it. And you may think, well this is a really simple answer and you may even be hesitant to give me the first thing that comes to your mind. But that could be the most profound thing that somebody could hear because, oh, why didn't I think of that? Right? I love that question.

Brad: Thank you. Yeah, and it's, I put in a lot of time and effort because you know, one of the questions that you hear, especially in good, you know, entrepreneurial circles and whatnot is “how can I support you?” And I hate that question. It's lazy because it makes me do all the work. I have to start thinking, well, there's a lot of ways you can support me. Like that's so general, but by, by putting this visual, visceral image of what's a nut stubborn nut, you're just trying to crack? And then I get, and then I give them little mental hooks like I just gave to you. I give them examples. All of a sudden, you know, these epiphanies like, oh well, now that you mention it, I'm looking for a good CPA. Or now that you mention it, I'm trying to get my offer to work on cold traffic or I'm trying to improve my sales skills. And, well maybe I can either personally help you or I can refer you to somebody else. But that question right there uncovers a gold mine of opportunities. You know, in fact, my podcast is, I don't sell ads on there, I don't sell products, but I've made well over a half million dollars on my podcast from, probably majority of that from my guests because I've asked them that and they told me what it was and it led to a very valuable consulting or business partnership. And you know, other people can ask that of, you know, if you're an investor, ask that for your, for your homeowners, like, yeah, you want to sell your house, but what are you really trying to solve here? What's a nut you're really trying to crack? And maybe it's, hey, I'm in debt, I've got these other things, I've got these other bills. I just, you know, I'm just tired of it. But everybody is trying to crack some kind of a nut. Nobody's got it all figured out. And-

Joe: Would you mind, would you mind if I created a new podcast called the cracking nuts podcast?

Brad: Cracking nuts. I like that.

Joe: Or you should do it. That'd be a great little podcast series of like, you know, like Dean Jackson does this where he turns his consulting calls into live podcast, into podcasts, right? Of course with permission. And you could do something like that, Brad, you could call it the cracking nuts podcast or like and make it a segment in your Bacon Wrapped Business podcast.

Brad: Well it kind of is. And so at the end of every podcast I always ask the guests, “what's a nut you're trying to crack?” So it is kind of a segment in each one. Yeah. And I listen closely cause if I can't solve it I say, “hey listeners, if you can solve this, reach out to the guest.”

Joe: Cause when you, if you could turn those into episodes, what's going to happen is you're going to find people that are going to come to you, maybe not wanting to be on the podcast, but wanting to hire you as a consultant to help them crack their nuts.

Brad: I love it. Yeah, that is, it is a fun enough podcast people might turn in just for the craziness of the name alone. But you know, you're, you're absolutely right. And I mean, imagine how great life would be if everybody just walked around looking for problems that they can solve of other people. And the only way you find that is by asking them and it's, you know, it's really hard to ask somebody.

Joe: Yeah. Good. Alright so you mentioned two really good books. I'm not sure if we did this book on the podcast, but it's ‘Principles' by Ray Dalio. ‘The Road Less Stupid' by Keith Cunningham. What are some other books that you've been digging?

Brad: Oh man. So this, this podcast will now go three hours because I am known for my, for my book recommendations. You know, it really all depends upon what you're trying to accomplish. Like I read books that are everything from super tactical, and as we're talking, I'm pulling up my Kindle so I can kind of pull-

Joe: Yeah I'm pulling up mine too.

Brad: Yep. But I'll read things that are super duper tactical to a big time mindset, things like, so in, in the world of marketing, I, one of the books I read recently, which was just amazing with Seth Godin, and anything by Seth Godin I love, but Seth Godin, ‘This is Marketing' is an amazing book. I just read Oren Klaff's new book, ‘Flip the Script,' getting people to think your idea is their idea. He's also the author of a great book called ‘Pitch Anything.' He was one of my first clients as well back in the day. And as I flip through my little, my little book here, some of the things that I've read that are also, you know, just really…

Joe: I just picked up, ‘American Kingpin.' Have you heard of this book yet?

Brad: I have heard of it. I do not, I have not read it.

Joe: These people are freaking out about how awesome it is. I'm only in the first chapter, but it's really fascinating. It's about the silk road.

Brad: Oh yeah. Oh yeah, that's exactly like what's his name who set up that up? You know, one of the other books I'm reading right now and I'm loving has got a super boring title, but it's really, really profoundly good. And it's called ‘Organizational Physics: the Science of Growing a Business.'.

Joe: Are you serious? I bet you nobody buys that book.

Brad: No, I know, right. And my, my buddy Chris Arnold, who told me about this said, you gotta read this book, like ignore the name. I'm like, good, because I, this is like one of those books it sounds like I'm going to read before I go to bed because it's gonna put me to sleep. But no, it's, it's got some really interesting concepts in there. But then the next one on my Kindle is a book with a, with a kick ass name called, it was by a guy named Rory Sutherland who is one of the heads of Ogilvy advertising and it's called ‘Alchemy, the Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life.' That's from an ad guy, right? The other one definitely wasn't.

Joe: Let me read that again. ‘Alchemy, the Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life.' There you go. Buy that book.

Brad: I love that book. It's super duper entertaining. But everything. Yeah, I, the book that made the biggest impact on me was ‘4-Hour Workweek’ by Tim Ferriss. That kinda got me into this world of digital marketing. And another book that I recommend to everybody has a, has a ridiculously, not boring title, but a clichéd title that absolutely does not serve the quality of this book is by Roger Hamilton and it's called ‘The Millionaire Master Plan.' And I think that title is just phoned in, but it is one of the most highlighted books I have. And one of the best things I've ever read, and I refer back to it often because of how deep it goes into what it really takes to succeed based upon kind of your areas of genius. And I just can't say enough good things about ‘The Millionaire Master Plan.'

Joe: ‘The Millionaire Master Plan: Your Personalized Path to Financial Success,' Roger James Hamilton. This looks like it was written in 2014. You know, reading books is so important, isn't it? Because even if you're doing just real estate, it helps you think bigger outside the box, ask better questions. So important.

Brad: Yeah, it really does. You know there's a, there's a famous speaker who's passed away named Charlie “Tremendous” Jones and he was a motivational speaker and a huge proponent of reading and books and one of his famous, or at least to me, quotes was, “You'll be the same person you are today in five years as you are today, except for two things: the people you meet and the books you read.”

Joe: You're the guy who told me that. I wrote that down a long time ago and I thought a lot about that. Yeah, you'll be the same person you are in five years from today based on one of two things.

Brad: Or, or both? Well, really both. I mean the, except for two things, like the people you meet and the books you read. And the books you read could really be, you know, morphed into the knowledge that you, you know, that you receive or build. So it can be listening to podcasts, it can be audio books, it can be, it can be information products, it can be mentors and coaches. So it doesn't matter how you get the information, but the information and education you get in your head and the people you meet. Because if you sat around with the exact same people with the exact same knowledge, chances are you're going to be talking about, thinking about and doing the exact same stuff in five years. So if you're not learning and if you're not connecting and building relationships with new people, you are going to be in the exact same spot. And if you only do those two things, which is connect with new people, ideally kind of up the scale of, you know, more successful or more wise or more, you know, and just whatever you value and you put new knowledge. Maybe it's just from them. Maybe it's just you just meet new people and you get knowledge from them and that's it. You're not going to be the same person. You're going to be a much better person unless you hang around, you know, a lot worse people and get worse information in your head.

Joe: What, what would be, I think one of the big keys to your success, Brad, is your, your networking ability, right? You're out there and you're networking, you're meeting good people. You've already talked about it. What would, what advice, what advice would you give to somebody kind of young in the business in business that wants to become better connected with better people? What, what are some tips you give to them?

Brad: Yeah, so I've got a lot of, I've a lot of, I've given this a lot of thought. In fact, I somewhere and I can even provide it to you and your listeners if you want, I created a mind map of really how to get access to influential people and kind of up level your game. I'll give it away for free. But really the key is there's a lot of cliché in here, but it's like lead with value and not what can I get, but you know, what can I contribute? Because successful people, if anytime you're trying to up level your game with networking, they've got a lot of people trying to get something from them, right? And very few people are trying to give without expecting something in return. Sometimes that can simply be offering a friendly ear that needs absolutely nothing. Not asking somebody, you know, advice for something, not trying to get something out of them, but just talking to them being cool, not being a fanboy, not being, you know, needy, et cetera. So that's, keeping that in mind. Like give with value first and understand what value people like that want. I mean, they want, they want friendship, they want insights, they want information, they want connections. And it, simply by asking the right questions from them can make them really like, man, this guy's really interested in a good way and he's not asking for anything else from me. I kinda like this person, right? And I liked the way they make me feel around them. So there's that just building rapport one-on-one. But the other thing is to ask those questions and pay attention and then go out and proactively solve problems or make introductions that they didn't know that they necessarily needed and not necessarily ask for anything in return. Giving unsolicited testimonials and feedback to people publicly is an amazing way. That's kind of one little hack by the way, which is going out and like, let's say you've got a course or a software. I've, many times I'll buy somebody's product, A) that's another good way to get in the doors. If there's a channel for access, a paid channel and you want access, pay for it. But then I'll do a video or a text testimonial and it's always authentic. I'm not going to give a testimonial for something I don't believe in, but flattery will get you a lot of places and I can't tell you how many times and unsolicited testimonial has made somebody, you know, become a close friend. They're like, wow, thank you. By the way, I love it when people do that for reviews on iTunes and my show just like I'm sure you do. Send me a test, like write me a review, send me a screenshot of it and I guarantee you're going to be in my, “I like this person” club immediately, but I will say, I know there's a lot of ways that network and a lot of ways to get access. As I said, I'll provide a link to something that people can have for free, but the single best hack that I've ever seen in my life is what we're doing today: a podcast, a show. And, in fact, I have utilized this with multiple clients in order, who are typically doing business to business prospecting to use this as a foot in the door. Because if, if I have a show, if you have a show and you ask somebody to be interviewed, you know, you reached out to me and you're like, Brad, I'd love to have you on my show. That is flattering to me. I mean, we're friends, but I'm still flattered that, okay, cool. I get you're going to share me and my message with your audience. So that automatically gets you to spend however long, we're here together, an hour, with me. I don't take an hour of my time just to just talk to somebody about stuff randomly. I usually get paid very well for that. But this is a platform, you're giving me value in return, which is I get to talk to your, to your audience and maybe they hear something they like and share this with others. But in doing this with other clients, so I've got a client who's in the hospitality business, he's a hospitality consultant for, you know, high end restaurant groups, etc. And starting a hospitality based podcast that really shines the light on the people who are doing it right and kind of the heroes of hospitality, if you would and he's going to be featuring restaurant tours and hoteliers and other people who are really focused on guest experience and say, yeah, you're doing something right, I would love to showcase your best practices. Now, so number one, these people rarely get asked for interviews, so it's flattering. They get on a call and he gets to ask them about all the things they're doing right and then he immediately gets to turn it over to what's a nut you're trying to crack? What are some of the challenges you've had, whether is it employee turnover, is it this, that or the other? And in essence he's doing discovery for a sales call, but he's doing it in the format, kind of a stealth discovery call because at the end he usually gets to say, look, that was a great episode and you know, we're no longer recording, but you said something that gave me a couple of ideas. I'd love to follow up with you at a at a good time cause I got some ideas that may be able to help you out. Right. And things like that as a very soft, easy way to get a potential client. I mean, I've personally done this with my own show and you know, just by having this podcast that I've got, it landed me a client with Jesse Itzler, who's a billionaire, who is, you know, he's the founder of Marquis Jets, they sold that to Warren Buffet. He sold Zico coconut water to Coca-Cola. He's the owner of the Atlanta Hawks, married to the founder of Spanx, and he started out as a guest on my podcast. And I'm not Larry King. I've got a good show, but I'm not, yeah, I don't have millions and millions of people tuning into every word I say. But it landed me a guest with a billionaire who then went on to pay me a significant amount of money as a client. So you want to up level your game? Quite honestly, the single best thing you can ever do is start a podcast.

Joe: Oh, it is. Really is. I've found-

Brad: It's almost an unfair hack.

Joe: Well, it's just like just now talking to Brad. I couldn't have called Brad and said, “hey, can we talk for an hour? And give me some advice on stuff, right?”

Brad: Maybe you could have.

Joe: Like, okay, I'm a nice guy, but maybe I could have because I think when I was coming down to your office in La Jolla with you and Kent, I was there to give. I spent, I came down there on my own dime and I was there to give and help you guys kind of grow the real estate side of the business and your CRM and stuff. But yeah, lesson, really good lesson to learn. I hope you all are paying attention to what we're talking about here because these are really, really good big picture, general business strategies and ideas that are going to help you succeed in your business. So, Brad, you got the Bacon Wrapped Business podcast, fantastic podcast. Recommend everybody, even if you don't like bacon, you should go get, listen to the podcast, subscribe to it. There's a lot of good episodes. You've been doing it for how many years?

Brad: Five. Five and a half.

Joe: Good for you. And what, how else can people get ahold of you, Brad, if they want some more information about you?

Brad: Well I mean I've got a few websites out there, but BradCostanzo.com is one. They get to learn a little bit more about me in general as well. They can always send me an email to Ask Brad at BaconWrappedBusiness.com. Follow me on social media. You know, and I, and I love, I love meeting new people. I love solving, you know, new interesting problems and you know, getting a second opinion on something, especially if you send me an email with, “hey man, this is a nut I'm trying to crack. Is there something that it might be able to help me out with?” Sometimes I'll just give you some friendly advice. Sometimes I'll offer you a professional opinion and it just kinda depends on what they're looking to do. But yeah, I love meeting new problem solving, meeting new people, solving new problems.

Joe: What's your take on YouTube versus podcast?

Brad: Okay. Depends on what you're trying to accomplish, number one. Podcasting has two distinct advantages over YouTube. I think if you can do both, do both. Number one: podcasting is easier to consume than YouTube because you can go out running or driving or whatever. You just plug it in and you can listen to somebody talk. In fact, a lot of people listen to podcasts during drive time. So there'll be, you know, driving 20, 30 minutes to and from work, they'll flip through their podcast and just turn it on and listen, because if they're watching a YouTube video, they may crash. So there's more opportunities to listen to podcasts than there is to say, okay, I'm going to sit and watch and listen on YouTube, right? So there's that aspect. I just, I just think that the consumption, you know, the ability to get people to consume your podcasts is just more convenient than on YouTube. Though, the experience may be richer on YouTube, but you really kind of want to tie into their ability to consume. Number two: this is one of those secrets you don't really realize until you have a podcast, but podcast statistics are completely private. I don't know nor can I find out how many downloads Joe has. Joe cannot find out how many I've got. Like if you're one of the absolute top, you might be found in the rankings on iTunes, but that's, you know, that's like the top hundred and then you have to have millions and millions of people. The fact that it's private means that people cannot prejudge you for how big your following is. And in five years I've, I've had a lot of big high profile guests, not one has ever even asked me, how many listeners do you have before they decide to go on my show? They may be thinking that, but it's kind of rude to ask. It's almost like asking, “hey Joe, how much money you got in your checking account?”

Joe: If they're asking anything, it's like how long has this guy been in the podcasting world? Right? And how many episodes do they have? Because they want to make sure you're just not somebody who's just getting started.

Brad: Yeah, and there's an entire process that I call putting lipstick on a podcast, which is when you're starting off, especially by the way for these clients who are doing business to business, using this as like a stealth discovery call, record, 10 or 20 episodes that you can be recording by yourself or just have your friend interview you or you interview some clients, get 20 episodes up there, get your 10 best friends to give you ten five-star reviews and just you're putting lipstick on here. And now, by the way, you can backdate podcast episodes. So you can say that it was released on certain times. Like I could put a podcast up now and probably say, “hey, this was, you know, a month ago.” I haven't tried that, but I know I can do it. But you can make it look as if you're super legit and that's okay. You know, you're dressing for the job you want kind of a thing, but people cannot see how big or small you are. If you have a YouTube channel or a big social media following or a social media following or you're just doing it on YouTube, I can go to your YouTube show and I can see you got 50 views and that's it. Or 10 views on these episodes. Why do I want to come on that? But if you did say, well majority of my listeners on, on my podcast, and this is true for me, like I send a lot of my podcasts and YouTube as well, but 20 times more people listen to the podcast audio than they do the video. And but if you're, yeah, if you're only saying here's my YouTube show, once more, if this is an interview-based thing, people are going to judge you immediately by the stats that YouTube shows them. I wrote an article on this on DigitalMarketer.com I wrote a guest blog post and it's kind of like the secret leverage thing that iTunes gives you that gives you an instant return on investment for a podcast. And if you view the return on investment as access to influence, which I kind of do, then the immediate ROI is that as long as you've got lipstick on your podcast, you have a great ability to open doors. And, but once more, I think YouTube is amazing. People can actually really bond with you on YouTube because they get to see you, et cetera. So do both if you can. But if you're just trying to get to open doors and get out there and nothing, nothing, nothing beats a podcast.

Joe: One of the biggest things I like about podcasts as well is that you can, the average view time on a video on YouTube is like maybe 10% of the video, 40% of you're doing really, really good, right? But the app, and I'm just pulling those numbers out of my butt, but they're really low. But the, I do know this for a fact: the average listen time to a percent of the podcast is over 90%. Most people will listen to the podcast all the way through and they can't get distracted on YouTube, you know, a bunch of other videos that are popping up. You see related videos, you get distracted. With podcasts, it's just you and –

Brad: Yeah. People actually distract themselves with podcasts, whether they're working, whether like they're driving, that's the main thing they're doing, but they're like, I want a distraction, I'm gonna stick Joe in my ear or Brad in my ear. And if we can be their distraction, that's great, right? With YouTube, like you just said, they've got a whole lot of other distractions. You know, this goes for, let's tie this into real estate investors, right? So if you want to build authority as well, you've got to show out there. If somebody Googles your name, if they Google my name, one of the very first things that come up is my podcast. So let's just say as an investor, you start a podcast. By the way, this is not that expensive to start. The technology required is fairly inexpensive, but let's just say you're interviewing all different types of professionals. It doesn't even have to be about real estate. Interview professionals in San Diego. If I'm investing in San Diego, I'm going to interview CPAs and attorneys and home service providers and all of these other people helping to showcase who they are and what they do and what they bring to the community. Because if I'm flattering them, like Joe, let's just say you're a, you're a divorce attorney, right? And you're here in town and I'm interviewing you and this is called you know, whatever the name of the show is, right? It could be the Joe McCall show, it could be the a San Diego or St. Louis, living in, you know, living well in St. Louis, and I'm interviewing all these people. These are great things that affect people in everyday life, but most importantly, what I'm doing is maybe I could care less about the listeners and I just care about interviewing you and showcasing you and then giving you a blog post and a recording to share with your clients and which makes you well, like I'm helping you create content for your people. Now I've got a relationship and maybe the next time you've got a divorce client who needs somebody to take care of their house, you're going to call me as opposed to somebody else because that's a way to build relationships with ideal referral partners all around town, right? So this is, this is a good example of that nonlinear thinking that clients will hire me to do. They're like, well, how do I build referral relationships? I was like, I just gave you one that 99% of you are not going to find on your own and I feel as though this is one of the unique abilities I have that I try to bring to my people.

Joe: Excellent. Good. So guys, find your unique ability, right? What is it that, what are your gifts? What are your genius zones? And started exploiting that. This has been really good. The podcast is called Bacon Wrapped Business podcast. You've been doing it since 2013. I'm just looking at your list of episodes here and you've got a ton of really, really cool people on here. It all kinds of different industries. You did a, you did a podcast recently with Mark Evans. He's in the real estate space, right?

Brad: Yeah.

Joe: You did a podcast talking about the 14 principles to grow your business, like Amazon. I don't think you interviewed Jeff Bezos for that.

Brad: No I ran into Jeff Bezos at a hotel and at a nightclub, however, a couple years ago and that was pretty cool. And we passed each other when he was going into the bathroom and I was coming out. So that's my claim to fame with Jeff. And it happened to be on the same day he got named the world's richest man, so.

Joe: Wow. Yeah. You got really good podcasts here. ‘How Two Brilliant Women Freedom Hacked Their Way to Five-Star Travel.' Nice.

Brad: I've got, yeah, I've got some really good fun ones. One of the things that I end up talking about more than anything, however, is the concept of acquisitions. So I love acquisitions and I'm, you know, I bought a couple of businesses in the past, sold a couple. I'm constantly looking for other businesses to buy. I love businesses who are anywhere from like half a million dollars to maybe 10 million in revenue, who you know, where the owner is, sometimes they might just be looking for help like they might be a good consulting client, but sometimes they just want to get out and sometimes they're looking for a potential exit plan. So yeah, I'm always looking for good quality businesses, whether it's service based software, you got a cool product. I'm always on the market for things to acquire so I end up talking to a lot of people on my podcast who bought a lot of businesses, sold a lot of businesses and I use, I utilize that as a way to get some really amazing insights and information on that. So there's some of my better shows because it's some of the ones that I'm super interested in, but if anybody out there is listening who may, maybe they also have a business and they'd like to explore what it looks like to either exited or grow it before they exit. That's one of my fun topics.

Joe: Reach out to Brad. Cool. Besides the podcast, tell us again one more time, how can people reach you, Brad?

Brad: Send me an email. I mean, go to BradCostanzo.com Or just send an email to Brad at BradCostanzo.com. I've got a million emails, but those work.

Joe: BradCostanzo.com. You're on Facebook? Instagram?

Brad: Yep. @BradCostanzo everywhere. I think I'm the only, I'm only the second Brad Costanzo in the world that I know of that Google tells me.

Joe: Alright, cool man. Thanks for being on the show, Brad. Really appreciate it. You're a, you're a good friend. I hope the weather, you know, I like to say people, when I go to San Diego, “the weather is here, I wish you were beautiful.” Yeah. So I don't feel sorry for you at all being in San Diego. Right now it's overcast and 39 degrees in St. Louis.

Brad: Don't tell me that. I got, I'm starting to pack for it for tomorrow, so.

Joe: It's supposed, it's supposed to snow tomorrow on Halloween.

Brad: Fun. Thanks for having me, Joe.

Joe: Alright. Appreciate ya. Good talking to you. We'll see you guys later.

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