Rob Kosberg is a marketing and brand building expert and the founder of Best Selling Publishing. He’s a bestselling author and a syndicated radio show host that has also done over $250 million dollars in negotiated real estate transactions. Rob now specializes in helping his clients become the go-to experts in their respective fields.
Through his trademarked Publish. Promote. Profit. Program, Rob helps his clients to create their own professional bestselling book.
He then teaches them how to use their book to grow their income via speaking engagements, free publicity and lead generation strategies.
In today’s episode, we will be discussing Rob’s rise and fall in the real estate market and how he regained his confidence and totally rebuilt himself after riding the housing market all the way to the ground.
Rob also shares the simple, yet effective business model he used to promote his first book and build his initial client list. Finally, Rob discusses the bold guarantee and strategy that he uses to separate himself from publishers and helps his clients become bestselling authors as well.
Key Points From This Episode:
- Rob’s journey into entrepreneurship from a family of entrepreneurs.
- How Rob got his real estate license at 18 and started selling houses.
- Why it was all about the money when Rob first started in real estate.
- The business collapse Rob faced during the financial crash.
- Going from $100 million in yearly transactions to selling everything on Craigslist.
- How Rob took the fall from business owner to house hustler.
- Find out why Rob was encouraged to write his book.
- How Rob used his book to get his business back off the ground.
- Why Rob sold his business and got into Best Seller Publishing.
- Discover what makes Best Seller Publishing unique.
- Publish. Promote. Profit: The three phases of Best Seller Publishing.
- How Rob has landed authors on TV shows, elite magazines and radio.
- Knowing when to quit versus when to carry on.
- Why we need to be reminded that money comes from people.
- And much more!
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
Rob Kosberg — http://robkosberg.com/
Rob on Twitter — https://twitter.com/robkosberg
Rob on LinkedIn — https://www.linkedin.com/in/robkosberg/
Unbound Merino — https://unboundmerino.com/\
“RK: If you’re decent at marketing and you’ve tried X, Y and Z and you can’t make it work, then the market is telling you that you’re trying to do something that the market just is not interested in.”
[0:00:17.0] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to The Fail on Podcast, where we explore the hardships and obstacles today’s industry leaders face on their journey to the top of their fields, through careful insight and thoughtful conversation. By embracing failure, we’ll show you how to build momentum without being consumed by the result.
Now please welcome your host, Rob Nunnery.
[0:00:41.1] RN: Hey, there and welcome to the show that believes leveraging failure is not only the fastest way to learn, but it’s also the fastest way to grow your business and live a life of absolute freedom. In a world that only likes to share successes, we dissect the struggle by talking to honest and vulnerable entrepreneurs. This is a platform for their stories. Today’s story is of Rob Kosberg.
Rob is a marketing and brand building expert, a bestselling author and a syndicated radio show host that has also done over $250 million dollars in negotiated real estate transactions. Rob specializes now in helping his clients become the go-to experts in their respective fields. Through his trademarked Publish. Promote. Profit. Program, Rob helps his clients to create their own professional bestselling book, and then teaches them how to use that book to grow their income via speaking engagements, free publicity and lead gen strategies.
We’ll be discussing Rob’s rise and fall in the real estate market and how he regained his confidence and totally rebuilt himself after riding the housing market all the way to the ground. The simple, yet effective business model Rob used to promote his first book and build his initial client list. Finally, Rob discusses the bold guarantee strategy that he uses to separate himself from publishers and helps his clients become bestselling authors.
First, luckily all I travel with now is a backpack for one reason only. It’s clothing from innovative Toronto apparel company called Unbound Merino. They have clothes made out of merino wool that you can wear for months on end without ever needing to have it washed. This means I can literally just travel with less clothes as they stay clean themselves.
Channel the show notes page for exclusive Fail On discount that you won’t be able to get anywhere else. If you’d like to stay up to date on all the Fail On Podcast interviews and key takeaways from each guest, simply go to failon.com and sign up for a newsletter at the bottom of the page. That’s failon.com.
[0:02:34.8] RN: Take us back to the first time that somebody actually handed you money – not necessarily handed you, but sent you money, gave you money in exchange for a product or a service that you created.
[0:02:43.5] RK: Yeah. I can think of a couple things. I’ll go back a long way to the roots first.
[0:02:48.8] RN: Let’s go.
[0:02:50.2] RK: One of my first jobs – I mean, this is going way back, but delivering newspapers. You think, you work for somebody else, but the reality is I was the kid, the nine-year-old out in the snow knocking on someone’s door and saying, “Hey, I want my $2.” You know what I mean? I had an envelope and I had to send the money in to the newspaper.
[0:03:12.6] RN: Doing collections too.
[0:03:13.3] RK: I was doing collections, dude. That was the first time. My family, I kind of come from a family of entrepreneurs. I got my real estate license at 18. That was really my first experience of being self-employed and making some big checks, because of work that I did.
Now that’s, again, more of a service than it is an actual product, but same, I think kind of idea. Because I did that through college, paying my way through college, selling real estate, owning a Corvette, I owned three houses at the time. At 19 years old that was pretty cool. It seem like it anyway.
[0:03:55.8] RN: Hustling out of the game. Were you raised in that kind of environment where your parents taught you to be an entrepreneur, or taught you to look for opportunity?
[0:04:03.8] RK: It was by osmosis, right? I don’t know that we ever had a time where I was taught that stuff. But my grandparents owned gas stations in Washington DC. So I mean, they got pictures of me as an infant on the hood of the car, with the hood open, with my feet dangling in the engine while they’re working on the car. I also grew up a gear-head and got my first car at 14. I had two cars before I had a driver’s license. I grew up in Central Florida at that time, so in the redneck places. You could drive around without a driver’s license.
Anyway, yeah, I mean I think it was by osmosis. I watched them out there hustling with their gas station and bringing people in and growing that business. Then my dad opened up a real estate company when we moved to Florida and the real estate company was a whole other avenue of doing the exact same thing, but now it was more about the service of real estate, rather than the service of pumping gas.
[0:05:05.9] RN: Right. Just a different industry.
[0:05:08.5] RK: Yeah.
[0:05:08.9] RN: Got it. Take us to that journey. 19-years-old, successful already, cars. Where did you go from there?
[0:05:15.9] RK: Yeah. I mean, my goal at that time was I wanted to go to law school and be a lawyer. Not because I wanted to be a lawyer, who really wants to be a lawyer? Although maybe there’s someone listening that does.
[0:05:28.1] RN: Yeah. Reconsider if you’re listening. Reconsider.
[0:05:31.7] RK: I thought this is a great way. I loved aspect of it. I thought this would be a great way to have my own business. It was all about having my own business and making money. I started making so much money in real estate and the mortgages that I was like, “Why am I thinking about doing – going to law school?” At that point, I got my bachelors in a worthless field, a Political Science degree.
[0:05:55.0] RN: You’re not using that today?
[0:05:56.3] RK: I’m not using it very much. I tried to stay away from politics as much as I can. Then when I decided not to pursue a law degree, I was actually accepted to law school when I had taken the LSAT a couple of times. When I decided not to, I kind of went all in on mortgage and real estate. Look, that was super lucrative and had a great run in that and really enjoyed it. Remember, getting your license at 18 it was all about the money for me at that point, you know what I mean?
Just prior to that, I was a bellhop, bellman at a hotel, a nice hotel in South Florida. It was a intercontinental hotel and we had a lot of celebrities come and go. So I made really big tips, but I had never seen a check, like when I sold my first house. I was like, “This is as much money as I would’ve made all summer,” and I made pretty good money as a bellman. In my second month, I sold five homes and I was like, “What? This is great. This is easy.” Yeah, so it was all about the money.
As you get a little bit older it’s like, “Okay, I think I can make money in different ways.” It becomes, at least for me maybe I’m a slow learner, but it became more about the meaning also, you know what I mean? Which we were talking about that before.
[0:07:17.2] RN: Right, right. So on this real estate journey, did you have that realization while you were running this company, or did this company come to – I mean, where was this company at when you started having the realization that maybe there is more to it than this?
[0:07:32.1] RK: We were crushing it. Yeah, we were doing fantastic. It was like golden handcuffs, you know what I mean? I was making too much money –
[0:07:40.9] RN: To walk away from.
[0:07:41.6] RK: Yeah and of course, I was also living the lifestyle that –
[0:07:45.5] RN: So expenses were high.
[0:07:46.6] RK: Oh yeah. Expenses were high. I was enjoying the money, I owned real estate all over the place. Had nice cars and a big home and kids in private school and all that, but I was like, “You know, I mean, this is not — I’m pushing through.” It was a grind. I was looking for an exit. Not quite the exit I had, but I was looking for an exit.
[0:08:10.6] RN: Sure. We’re only laughing because we talked about this beforehand. But walk us through what that exit look like and what happened?
[0:08:18.6] RK: Yeah, I mean it looked like the financial crisis. I was in South Florida and –
[0:08:22.6] RN: 2007 and 2008.
[0:08:23.7] RK: Yup. Yup. The companies all in the 2000s were crushing it. We did a lot of advertising, but in those days everybody was making money in real estate, which is always a bad sign. If you find something that everyone is making money and run, because eventually it’s going to collapse.
Everyone was making money in real estate at that time and our companies were doing over a $100 million a year in transactions. I had three primary businesses: real estate sales, mortgage lending and then the actual title escrow. But of course, they were all wrapped up in a house having to sell.
When the financial crisis hit, the kind of real estate that we were doing, which was primarily luxury property, lending mortgages has shut down completely. Home values in Palm Beach County, which is where I lived and worked, that market got hit 50% to 60% drops in values, which who would’ve thought? I mean, that had never happened before in my lifetime and it may never happen again. Certainly not like that. Just totally blindsided by it. We saw maybe a dip coming, but not something to that effect.
When lending shut down, then the only houses that we’re selling were cash. That meant that there was a lot of inventory and supply and demand, so the whole thing kind of collapsed on itself. That ended up being my exit. I had 25 employees and 6,000 square foot of office space and desks and phones and computers. There I am sitting in my office by myself, with people coming because I put an ad on Craigslist to come take my stuff away. They’re buying it for 5, 10 cents on the dollar.
[0:10:00.4] RN: What was your mindset at this point?
[0:10:03.5] RK: Depressed.
[0:10:04.3] RN: This is your first real setback, right? Like in terms of your business journey?
[0:10:08.3] RK: Absolutely. No doubt.
[0:10:11.2] RN: I mean, how low is that low? I mean, were you financially on the personal side fine? Even though –
[0:10:16.4] RK: No, I was not because I had held on way too long. I took money, hundreds of thousands of dollars out of my savings to keep the business going thinking that, “This can’t keep going this way.”
[0:10:31.1] RN: Right. “It will turn around sometime.”
[0:10:31.9] RK: This has to turn around. We rode it all the way to the bottom. Whereas, I had millions of dollars in equity sitting in these houses, by the time we rode it down there was nothing. I was selling and just getting out of it, because they weren’t cash flowing. I’ve kept some of it that was, but most of it was gone at that time. My mentality was desperation. I was desperate to take care of my family and –
[0:11:02.4] RN: Expenses were still high, like you’re telling me you have kids in private school.
[0:11:06.9] RK: Yeah. I mean, it’s amazing how much you can pare down when you need to, you know what I mean? I pared down massively. But yes, ultimately expenses were still high because I still had kids in private school, I still had cars to pay for and my mortgage and those kinds of things. We were able to pare down quite a bit, but still had a lot to take care of. We weren’t one like we were completely flat broke. We had some means, but I mean no safety net. No safety net at all.
[0:11:42.0] RN: From there, what was your process, or I guess how long did you – were you in that space where, like you said desperation? I’m just trying to figure out how you reacted. Were you deflated like, “Oh, business is brutal. I don’t want to do this anymore.” Or was it like, “Okay, I got to figure out how to get my way back.”?
[0:12:02.7] RK: I guess a little of both. When you experience something like that, your confidence really gets rocked. I don’t lack confidence, but I did then. It was a punch in the gut. Hard on the family. I’d been married a long time. Generally, I’ve got pretty big shoulders, like I can take a lot, but it was hard on us. Really hard.
We took art off the wall to sell, to have Christmas presents, you know what I mean? Stuff that we spent $50, a $100,000 for that we’re getting $5 or $10,000. Which by the way it’s much, much better to buy low than it is to sell low, okay? Just so I say that.
[0:12:44.7] RN: Just so it’s clear.
[0:12:45.8] RK: I often think about the people that bought my stuff. I think –
[0:12:48.7] RN: “Getting a hell of a deal.”
[0:12:50.8] RK: “That should be me. I should me. You know, I should be the guy that is helping bail somebody else out and getting a hell of a deal, instead of the guy that’s getting bailed out.” Well look, at the end of the day I’m thankful that I have that art take off the wall. But really, painful. Really, really painful. My confidence, it was a couple of years of going through this.
[0:13:11.9] RN: What were you doing in the meantime? Because obviously you didn’t have an income coming in at that point, or did you have some properties cash flow, you said a little bit?
[0:13:17.9] RK: A little bit. But no, I didn’t –
[0:13:19.4] RN: Not substantial income.
[0:13:20.2] RK: No. I went through a year, maybe a year and a half period where I went from owning these companies to now just hustling real estate. I didn’t sell real estate, but I did mortgages. The mortgage market that shut down was the higher end luxury market. All that was left were people buying investments, which a lot of that was cash, or people buying like first time home buyers and that kind of thing.
I mean, it’s something. But the reality is there is a big disparity between someone buying a million dollar luxury home, which that’s a luxury home in Florida. It’s not a starter home where I live in Southern California, and I know you’re familiar with that in San Diego. I mean, people are buying $200,000 houses that I’m financing. Again, I’m grateful for every bit, but I was out there having to hustle mortgages.
[0:14:18.3] RN: Different ball game than what you were used to.
[0:14:19.4] RK: Totally different. It was survival. It was totally survival. Because I had been out of that business for a long, long time and been in the ownership space. So it’s one like I had tons of relationships and people were just sending me business – I was like starting over. I was starting over in something that I didn’t want to be in the first place. I had about a year and a half period where I was doing something every single day that I –
[0:14:42.2] RN: Just did not want to do.
[0:14:43.2] RK: I hated. Yeah. Yeah, I hated. But I needed to make the money. I was desperately looking. Had a plan, didn’t know if it would come to fruition, but had a plan for the next iteration.
[0:14:55.6] RN: From there, where did it go? You hustled, you got back up on your feet a little bit.
[0:15:00.8] RK: Yeah. Well, I mean I hustled and I didn’t drown; kept my head above water for a couple of years. I transitioned out of that into financial services. This was 2009, end of 2009, so maybe a year and a half, not quite two years after I closed my real estate company.
During that period of time, I was in the process writing my first book, which again that was because of having some great advice and people around me that could help to –
[0:15:34.2] RN: That wanted you to share your story, because it was –
[0:15:36.5] RK: Share my story and that also saw this as a way for me to really transition into a new thing and create some authority. When I was advised that, because I had asked a couple of – I was in a couple of business mastermind groups with some really successful people, and asked them if they were in my position explaining everything, being honest, what would they do?
Both of them had said completely separate of each other that they would write a book. I had never thought of that before, but that said to ring true, when I started thinking about people that were real authorities in the space. I made a lot of mistakes, but that book became the foundation for my next business, which really took for thankfully to the book.
[0:16:28.4] RN: What did that transition look like? You wrote the book. Did it do well?
[0:16:33.3] RK: It did. It did well. It became a bestseller.
[0:16:36.2] RN: How are you able to promote it like that? I mean, first time writing a book, what was that process like to actually make it successful? Because a lot of people write books as you know that don’t sell.
[0:16:45.9] RK: The book got me PR. I didn’t know a lot of things to do. There weren’t a lot of the tools and certainly social media etc., at that time that there is available to us today. What I figured is the message is timely, because it’s a financial message. If I can get this in front of people, then people will be interested both in me and in the message.
I did that primarily via radio. I felt like in this golden handcuff period of crisis prior to losing the companies, I was thinking “What are the things that I enjoyed? What are my gifts?” One of those things, I always felt like was speaking, presenting, I love people, being in front of people in some way.
My book gave me the ability to do that with radio. It worked. I mean, it maybe didn’t work the first time or the second. Maybe it did. I can remember the first couple of shows that I got on. I didn’t pay for radio airtime or anything. I didn’t have the money. It was all about just, “Hey, I’m the author of this book. This is timely. Hey, let’s get me on for two or three minutes and I’ll really answer some questions and share some things.”
[0:18:09.3] RN: Were you hustling that? Was that you reaching out to the –
[0:18:11.5] RK: Heck yeah. There was no one else to read it.
[0:18:12.8] RN: You didn’t have a publicist?
[0:18:14.3] RK: No. I was everything. I was the assistant, the publicist. I was everything. It was me. It was me hustling. It was me sending the book out. It was me getting in front of the program manager. It was me making the follow-up telephone calls and it was me getting on the radio and doing my thing.
I share about this. There’s tons of free plus shipping “book funnels.” At that time, I don’t know if there were – I don’t remember they’re ever saying it, but that’s what I did. I offered my book for free for anybody listening and I would ship it to them for free. Because I just felt like if someone is interested in this book, then I can help them. At least a percentage of them, if I can get them on the telephone, I can make them a client.
[0:19:05.1] RN: What were you selling them?
[0:19:06.1] RK: We did a number of different things that all revolved around financial services. It might’ve been that they needed some mortgage help. It might’ve been that they needed some help with an annuity or an IR or an insurance policy. Or it might’ve been that they had debt help, or debt issues that they needed some help with. If they want this book, there’s answers in it and there is answers with me.
[0:19:30.7] RN: Sure. The book was based around your experience in the financial services.
[0:19:35.3] RK: Yeah. A 100%.
[0:19:37.0] RN: Got it. Got it. Then people interested in that were obviously – Now, today it’s common place. But back then, to give your book for free probably like, “What?” Free book and it was a free shipping?
[0:19:47.8] RK: Yeah. I shipped it to them for free. What did I know? I just wanted their name, their telephone number, their address. I just wanted that. Actually for years, that was our model. We ship hundreds a week to people for free. It still sold via various other sources, but we shipped hundreds a week and eventually I had a whole sales team.
Our whole process, I mean it wasn’t like rocket science. Literally, our sales guy, or one of our sales people would get on the telephone and say, “Hi, Rob. I see that you requested Rob’s bestselling book Life After Debt.” Listen, do you have a moment? I just want to confirm your address.”
Confirm the address and then say, “Hey, look. While we’re on the telephone, why don’t you tell me what’s going on? Is there something going on that maybe I can help you with? I’m one our account managers here.” That was it.
Then it was a consultative sales process. We closed about one out of 16, every 16 books we gave away. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. But at the end of the day, it was $5 to $10,000 sale to my company.
[0:20:56.5] RN: So worth it. Right.
[0:20:57.3] RK: Well, heck yeah. In 16 books to give away is 80 bucks including shipping. Yeah, we were paying for ads by then, because we were further down the road. 80 bucks to make a $5 or $6,000 sale. No brainer, all day.
[0:21:13.5] RN: All day. That’s good math.
[0:21:14.2] RK: We did it all day. Yeah. I mean, we do.
[0:21:18.2] RN: As you should have. Going from that, so you wrote that book, turn it into basically it sounds like a consulting type business.
[0:21:27.1] RK: Yeah. Yeah.
[0:21:28.0] RN: Where did you go from there? How long did you do that? It sounds like it did well.
[0:21:31.2] RK: Yeah, the business was I actually sold it. The business is still in existence. I maintain all the book rights and all that, but I sold it about four years ago because I was doing Best Seller Publishing and my financial services business at the same time. But that point, I was only the face of the business.
In fact, I was I living in Southern California, the business was based in Florida. I didn’t see clients. I didn’t talke to clients. Everything was done in the office. But I was still doing radio, I was doing it remotely and I was still doing all the marketing for the business. I fell in love with what I was doing with Best Seller Publishing and decided, “Well, how about if I just sell the business and I focus all my attention on the publishing?”
[0:22:13.0] RN: What made you get into the Best Seller Publishing side? Because obviously you had that experience from publishing the book. What made you say, “Hey, I can turn this into a business as well.”
[0:22:23.6] RK: Ultimately, it was demand. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that this was becoming a business. I never had an idea about that. I still remember talking to various people six, seven, years ago, because I wanted to get into coaching, because I like to deal with people.
Talking to them about “Hey, I got this publishing thing,” where people were just coming to me asking for my help, because they saw how well my book did, they saw me go from failed business to – in a terrible economy to something that was really taking off and they were wondering, “Can you help me to do that?” I started helping people.
[0:23:06.6] RN: What kind of people are they, are these people?
[0:23:08.7] RK: Primarily business owners. You get a lot of business owners that were coming for various financial help. It was easy to either transition them into doing some coaching for their business, or them asking about, “Tell me about how you did it and is it something that maybe I could also do?”
I didn’t know if we could, but we started to. This was back in 2010. Experiencing some success, similar success. Obviously, a lot changed in the last seven years since we first started playing around with it, but in some ways because I don’t come from traditional publishing, I was able to come with like a fresh set of eyes, you know what I mean? Like how should the book be written and how should the book be marketed and then what is the goal?
I always tell our clients, the difference between us in traditional publishing is with a traditional publisher, the book is the end of the story, pun intended. The book’s done, the book’s out, they’re done. Now you go, because you have a contract to go sell the book for them.
With us, the book is the beginning of the story. The book is just the tool that you’re going to use to grow your celebrity, grow your platform, grow your thought leadership and grow your following. Even if it’s a fiction book, you can’t write one fiction book and retire. It doesn’t matter if it’s super popular or not. You have to grow your audience.
Best Seller Publishing, even when we were doing that we’re still like, “Do you think this is really a business? Do you think that the population, like if we marketed this, that it would be interesting to more than just the people that are finding us.” I didn’t know, and so we tested it and did some marketing and it just was like, “Holy cow.” People want help. People need help in this space.
[0:25:00.0] RN: What’s the business model? How do you guys make money?
[0:25:02.0] RK: We’re a pay for play, if you will. I mean, we’re a service business. I took a little of my real estate experience, if you will, and added it to traditional publishing in this way. I paid tens of thousands of dollars in my journey with my book for various things, with publishers and marketers and after I started making money. Almost in every situation was disappointed.
I thought I have no recourse. I mean, they said they would do this. They said they did it and it amounted to absolutely nothing for me. I’m like, “If we could create a program where we actually guarantee a result for people, and if we don’t get that result we give them their money back.”
Like real estate, when you get paid in real estate, when someone gets keys. I mean, you don’t get paid for showing houses. You don’t get paid for filling out papers. You get paid for exchanging keys. I thought if we could do that, then I said, “This could be a game changer.” So we did. We’ve added to it, but we created a process where we guarantee that our clients will now guarantees international bestseller, because we launched in six different countries.
We even guarantee PR placement. We guarantee that our clients – we’ll get clients on TV, on radio, on media. I mean, no one does that. It’s like, it feels good.
[0:26:32.8] RN: How are you guys able to guarantee it?
[0:26:35.0] RK: We just trust our process.
[0:26:37.6] RN: Because you’ve done it so many times that you know you have [inaudible 0:26:39.2]?
[0:26:41.0] RK: Hundreds. Yes. When we started the – We didn’t start with the PR thing. Our program, which is publish, promote, profit; three phases. The profit phase was more like a coaching phase, where we would coach people on how to go out and get their own PR.
I used to have all these publicists calling me and telling me, “Look, refer your clients to me and we’ll get them on radio, TV and all that stuff.” I was tempted, but until I heard the price. Generally speaking it was 5,000 bucks a month; typical PR, contract, three-month guarantee, so 15 grand. No guarantee at all of placements. Zero.
I’m like, “So you want me after I just guaranteed that they would become a bestselling author to send them over to you for as much or more than they just paid me and you’re not going to guarantee anything?” I said, “You know what? I know I can do this better myself.”
I literally hired my first publicist here and I said, “I’m going to set aside like 15 grand as an experiment,” which was out of my comfort zone. I’m going to set aside 15 grand. I’m going to be honest with this publicist. That’s going to work in right in my office. I said, “Look, we’re going to try to figure this out and here is what we’re going to do. We’re going to guarantee we get our clients on radio, TV, etc.”
She was like, “Guarantee? How do you do that?” I’m like, “Because you’re going to hustle and we’re going to make this happen.” Sure enough, it worked. If you hustle – I mean, think about how many radio stations and TV stations and programs – there are tens of thousands of opportunities. They need people. All you have to do is hustle and you can get these placements.
[0:28:18.8] RN: Because they’re looking for stories, right?
[0:28:20.2] RK: Of course. They’re looking for credible people. The fact that we’re sending a copy of our client’s bestselling book, because this is the end of our process, they check the credibility mark. They’re like, “Well, these people are legit.”
They have a fulltime publicist that’s working on their behalf, who has created a media pitch, a segment proposal and done our whole job for us. All we have to do is say “Okay.” I mean, we’ve had clients on The Howard Stern Show, we’ve had clients in US News and will report the magazine, as well as entrepreneur magazine – I’m not talking about the little digital where everybody can get a digital article now on entrepreneur.com, but I mean in the magazine. We have clients on TV every week, because if you just had a little elbow grease to a few steps, you can make it happen.
[0:29:08.4] RN: Are those needle movers, the getting in those publications –
[0:29:10.7] RK: They are.
[0:29:10.9] RN: Well obviously Howard Stern’s got a huge audience. Because you see a lot of the Business Insider, the Forbes, The Entrepreneur. But like you said, it’s all somewhere online, not actually the magazine. Do the smaller ones like that actually moved the needle, because you see a lot – many of our mutual friends are in a lot of the times those on the websites. How beneficial is that for people?
[0:29:36.9] RK: I’ll answer it two ways. It is a needle mover for a couple of different reasons. I tell all my clients, “Look, you really want to be on TV.” Because a lot of my clients say, “I don’t want to travel. I don’t need to be on TV. I’m in the space.” The people that are watching the television show are not my ideal client. If it’s Good Morning San Francisco, or Good Morning San Diego or whatever, probably I’m not going to get a single client that calls me because they saw me on TV.
Here is what I explain to them; when I use my media placements, my television etc., and I post it on my social media, I will get clients almost every single time from my own social media following because they saw I was on television. More than that, it is a forever credibility and authority source.
One is even if you’re in a space where your ideal client is not watching that show, you should have some TV and some media. However, there are certain spaces like financial services. I was on mass market radio. I mean, a publishing company on mass market radio doesn’t do anything. But a finance person, everybody is interested in making more money or saving money or whatever. There is certain things like fitness, or health, or finances where it will move the needle for sales of your book, as well as for real income.
[0:31:00.9] RN: You talked a little bit about the low times, 2008, awful. How do you actually –
[0:31:06.7] RK: Do we have to keep talking about that?
[0:31:09.7] RN: Let’s twist that even more. How do you actually define failure?
[0:31:13.9] RK: You know, looking back I define it differently now as I’m older than I did when I was a kid. I’ll give a comparison. I think in the past I would’ve defined it as, that business failed. That was a business failure. But I think looking back now, I think failure is defined by giving up or quitting. Look, in some cases you need to give up or quit because maybe that’s not going in the direction. So it’s more not quitting, but more adjusting.
[0:31:40.9] RN: How do you know whether not to quit? Because a lot of people go down that road. Because this is something I talk to a few people about is, because you always hear the stories about three feet from gold, but you turned away. How do you know if everything you want is on the other side of a few more steps, or if you – like you said, you kept going and going and going and putting your own personal money into the business, just going deeper down the road.
[0:32:07.5] RK: I wish I had quit earlier.
[0:32:10.0] RN: Right. But how do you know when?
[0:32:12.4] RK: Well, I mean I wasn’t a kid then. I was in my early 40s and I was in real estate a long time and I still made every mistake in the book. I don’t know if you ever know for sure until you’re on the other side of it. That’s a crappy answer, right?
[0:32:28.5] RN: You got to do – make the best decision with the information you have.
[0:32:32.0] RK: I think you do, and I think there are two things that I try to think of now when it comes to that. Number one, is I want to have great advisers around me. I think what I had around me at that time were smart people, but they were smart people with similar experiences to mine. I didn’t have contrarians around me.
Now I am a contrarian. I mean, now I have people around me that something this and something that. When you get a diversity of smart opinions, it brings clarity. It really does. When everyone is a yes man and everybody is thinking the same way you are, I mean what good is that? It was no good to me there.
Number one, I like to have a diversity of opinions. Number two, I mean the market I feel like if we’re talking business, the market always answers. If you’re decent at marketing and you’ve tried X, Y and Z and you can’t make it work, then the market is telling you that you’re trying to do something that the market just is not interested in. Maybe you’re not the first person that thought of it, but maybe all the other people that thought of it failed at it too, because the market just doesn’t care.
[0:33:53.3] RN: Just for a little context. I’m just looking at your head right in front of you, but then I see the shark in the back and I’m like, “What?” I’m trying to listen and I’m looking like, “Is that a shark?”
[0:34:02.3] RK: That is a shark.
[0:34:03.6] RN: What’s the shark for?
[0:34:04.3] RK: You know, my wife buys me cool things at various places, like she bought that big A, which stands for Authors. What is that? It’s a big metal A. I mean, what is that? Then she found the shark and one of my business partners is Kevin Harrington of Shark Tank.
[0:34:20.2] RN: You helped with his book?
[0:34:20.9] RK: I helped him with his book. In fact, where is it? Here it is.
[0:34:24.4] RN: Got a picture of the shark and the A.
[0:34:26.0] RK: That’s right.
[0:34:26.9] RN: There we go.
[0:34:29.3] RK: I don’t know. Maybe when Kevin and I were negotiating, she found – I don’t remember the timing on it, but it was a little along those lines of the Shark Tank thing.
[0:34:38.7] RN: Very cool.
[0:34:39.4] RK: Yeah, it was fun.
[0:34:41.0] RN: How is he by the way? Nice guy?
[0:34:42.8] RK: Fantastic. Yeah. He is a genuine dude. I’ve met a lot – not a lot, but I’ve met –
[0:34:49.2] RN: He’s a Florida guy too, right?
[0:34:50.7] RK: He is. He lives in the Tampa, St. Pete area. Been around the block. Super, super successful and shared in a lot of people’s successes. Like he is the guy that started the George Forman Grill. He was the guy behind it. That did 400 to 500 million. He’s behind the Ginsu Knife. That’s going way back when it comes to the original infomercials and that kind of thing. I mean, the dude has seen a lot. He’s really, really smart, but not full of himself at all. Great guy. Yeah.
[0:35:20.9] RN: Cool. I was just curious.
[0:35:21.8] RK: Yeah, yeah. No, he’s awesome.
[0:35:24.6] RN: If you have to think, what’s the last thing you’ve done to get outside your comfort zone?
[0:35:30.2] RK: Yeah. I like being comfortable. We’re talking, yeah you have your Thursday golf, you have your Monday night scotch and cigars.
[0:35:40.0] RN: Cigars. No.
[0:35:41.3] RK: You got your buddies over.
[0:35:42.5] RN: I know. I know, I know. I work very hard to be comfortable. Ain’t that funny?
[0:35:50.4] RK: Yeah. I mean, relationships and all that’s really important to me. I would have to say that it’s always – not always, but it’s mainly centered around my business. I’m always looking for ways to push the envelope a little bit more. Just hired someone new today that I don’t really need, but that I think can really help us to grow the company in a new direction and it means a large capital outlay which I could use for scotch, cigars and golf, right? That is a little uncomfortable.
I think also along the business lines, working with people that you really, really like can be uncomfortable, which is weird to say that. I would only want to work with people I really, really like. But I have a staff that we’re – even more like family. That creates some nuance and difference that makes me uncomfortable sometimes.
[0:36:48.9] RN: Lucky I’m away.
[0:36:49.9] RK: Well, how easy would it be to nameless and faceless and just selling info products and not being the guy. I feel like I don’t just support my family. I feel like I support a dozen plus other families.
I’m a spiritual person. I care about these people. I know they have hopes and dreams like I do. They have hopes and dreams for their kids like I do. There is that added uncomfortability in my life where I think, “Wow, it would be easier without a lot of employees,” but I couldn’t do what I do of course and I wouldn’t have as rich a life.
[0:37:38.4] RN: Have you had to let go of anybody that you really care about?
[0:37:40.4] RK: Yeah. A 100%. It was awful. It was awful. I had an experience with somebody that needed to be fired, because of some terrible things that went on. They just wept, begging for another chance. I mean, I really thought about it, prayed about it, got advice about it and felt like the best thing for this person is they need to hit bottom. If this is part of hitting bottom, then this needs to be it. But I couldn’t extend another opportunity. That was terrible, because everything in me wanted to, if you know what I mean by that.
[0:38:21.3] RN: Yeah The personal and emotional side, you want to take care of them, you want them to stop crying, you want them to be okay. But at the same time, it’s not –
[0:38:31.2] RK: I’m a terrible people pleaser, man. You know what I mean? I just want people to be happy around me. When you’re the source of their own happiness, that just sucks.
[0:38:42.7] RN: But you let them stay on, and then it starts affecting everything else, right?
[0:38:47.0] RK: Yeah. I mean, at that point I let them stay on to the point where it was already affecting the culture and everything within the company. I had already done damage by allowing that. I mean, you could say that it was a justification or I was trying to rationalize that this is better for them. But the truth of the matter was that it was better for both them and for us. Doesn’t make it any less painful.
[0:39:16.5] RN: If you had to lay out a challenge for us, something that would help us get outside our comfort zone, because the whole idea here is if you’re not failing, you’re not really growing. It’s putting yourself in uncomfortable situations and just pushing yourself a little bit to grow. What would be a challenge that you’d lay out for us?
[0:39:36.8] RK: Here’s what I would say. Money, because I guess we’ll talk about this in a business respect, right? Money always comes from people. Forget the product that you’re selling. It’s always about people. I think so many, especially maybe even in this generation, people want a way to extract money without the people.
[0:40:03.9] RN: Especially nowadays, like we were talking click funnels –
[0:40:07.3] RK: Totally.
[0:40:08.3] RN: Everything can be done online, but you lose the connection.
[0:40:11.9] RK: You do. I guess, if I were to share anything I would say, “Get on the phone and sell stuff to people,” you know what I mean?
[0:40:19.8] RN: Yeah. That’s good.
[0:40:20.2] RK: Get on the phone and don’t be afraid. Find the need and meet the need and sell it. You’ll never get greater feedback on your thing, than when you’re actually on the phone. I mean, I can give a hundred reasons as to why you should do it, but if I were to say anything about getting outside your comfort zone is get on the dang telephone or see somebody face-to-face and sell them.
[0:40:44.7] RN: What if they don’t have anything to sell necessarily at this moment?
[0:40:47.8] RK: Then I’d say what they could do is they could get face-to-face with somebody and just have the conversation of, “Okay, what would you buy?” You know what I mean? Let’s figure out if “Here is what I do, here is what I have, here is my wealth of information. What of this is of interest to you?” That’s an uncomfortable conversation. I mean, you might be surprised at what you learn from that.
[0:41:15.1] RN: Because everybody is skilled at something, right?
[0:41:16.4] RK: Yeah, of course.
[0:41:17.4] RN: They might discount it, but everybody has a skill that somebody else looks at them and it’s like, “Wow, they’re good at that.”
[0:41:23.0] RK: Absolutely.
[0:41:23.9] RN: But second nature to you, so you don’t always see that. I think it’s great.
[0:41:29.9] RK: I don’t think you ever see it. I think that’s the problem. When you’re really good at something, you become unconscious to it.
[0:41:34.9] RN: Yeah, you just do it.
[0:41:37.3] RK: That’s when you’re really good at it. But that’s also dangerous, because people see it but you don’t. Because of that you totally discount the real impact that you could make.
[0:41:48.5] RN: I think that’s a great one. Like if you don’t have a business idea or you don’t have anything to sell at this point, go over that conversation with somebody and see what they see in you that maybe it’s blinded you, because you just do it second nature.
[0:42:02.3] RK: Love it. Love it.
[0:42:03.3] RN: Cool. Cool. What are you most excited about moving forward?
[0:42:06.4] RK: I have always something with business. We have a bunch of new projects I mentioned to you. We just hired somebody that we’re looking to help scale things business-wise. I love what I do. I really enjoy it. I think the sky is the limit with that.
[0:42:25.0] RN: Do you have a grand vision for Best Seller Publishing?
[0:42:27.8] RK: Yeah. Well, you know, I should right?
[0:42:31.3] RN: I don’t know. I told you, like you asked me what I’m doing in this podcast. I said, “I don’t know.” Alright. Fair enough.
[0:42:37.1] RK: We’ll see. I’d like to say that I do. I mean, certainly I have a vision where I’d like to see it go, but I don’t have a grand vision. I really like what I’m doing. I really see the need in the marketplace. The market has responded and the need clearly is there. I think what I’d like to continue doing is working and really helping people to transform their businesses by creating this centerpiece, this book and this persona, this authority person. I just want to do that more. That just sounds like Rob’s comfortable.
[0:43:16.4] RN: Where is the scotch?
[0:43:18.7] RK: Exactly. Exactly. In my cabinet at home.
[0:43:23.4] RN: Not for me. Thanks, man. I don’t want to take too much of your time, so I appreciate you sitting down with me today.
[0:43:27.0] RK: Thanks, brother. Great being with you, man. Thanks for coming out to Pasadena.
[0:43:30.7] RN: Thanks for the lunch.
[0:43:31.6] RK: Alright. My pleasure.
[0:43:32.5] RN: Alright. Talk to you next time bro.
[0:43:33.7] RK: Okay, buddy.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[0:43:37.6] RN: Alright. You can find Rob at Rob Kosberg on Twitter. That’s @robkosberg. Of course, for that spelling and all the links and resources Rob and I discussed, including more information on this website and coaching programs, it could all be found in the page we created especially for this episode. That will be failon.com/036.
Next week we are sitting down with my friend, John Romaniello. John is one of the most highly regarded experts in the fitness industry. He has written for a myriad of publications, ranging from Men’s Health to Fast Company. He’s the author of hundreds of articles, dozens of e-products and one New York Times bestselling book.
Roman is an angel investor and he also serves as an adviser to nearly a dozen fitness and tech companies. This episode, he’ll be sharing how he actually develops strong relationships with his audience through storytelling not only in his articles, but also in social media. We’ll discuss what he has coming up, along with a really $250,000 selfie story. Don’t miss it. It’s coming up next.
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[0:45:28.1] ANNOUNCER: That’s all for this episode of The Fail On Podcast. For more resources, show notes and action items to help you find success in your failures, sign up for our mailing list at failon.com. For more actionable inspiration, we’ll catch you next time right here on The Fail On Podcast.