Primal Urges with Anthony Butler
LifeBlood: We talked about recognizing and channeling our primal urges into successful marketing, the common mistakes people make on their websites and how to fix them, the role habits in play success, and why you need to play the long game, with Anthony Butler, Founder of Can-Do Ideas, author and Veteran.
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george grombacher 0:02
Anthony Butler is a United States Army veteran. He is the founder of the digital marketing agency can do ideas. He is the Best Selling Author of primal storytelling. Welcome, Anthony.
Anthony Butler 0:14
Hey, thanks for having me. excited to have you on.
george grombacher 0:16
Tell us a little about your personal lives more about your work, why you do what you do.
Anthony Butler 0:23
So for going on in the last 10 years, I’ve just been focused on digital marketing and helping small businesses and solopreneurs. You know, get the word out, build a personal brand and grow their businesses. And I think of our agency as a growth engine for the economy. So
appreciate personal life. I’m a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt, and I run a jujitsu school. And actually, right before this, I was almost late because I was downstairs helping coach a couple of our fighters. We just had a student who placed third in the worlds. So pretty fun stuff. gratulations
george grombacher 1:04
to him or her?
Anthony Butler 1:06
Her Yeah, well, yeah, young lady.
george grombacher 1:09
Well, that’s awesome. All right. So is that an easy transition out of the army to, to doing what you’re doing today? A lot of water that probably went under that bridge?
Anthony Butler 1:20
Well, when I got out of the army, I did everything wrong. I changed careers. My wife and I had a baby, we bought a new house in a state we’d never lived in all in the same month. Okay. And thanks, settle down. And you know, I’m working, I’m working at a in a defense contractor for a few months. And I get my paycheck. And I look at this paycheck, and I’m like, Oh, my God, we’re not going to make it. And my wife is an electrical engineer. And when we decided to have kids, she’s like, Hey, listen, I’m gonna stay home, you better learn how to make more money. You know, and so it was kind of on me. And I, I realized I wasn’t making money. And I was a project manager at a manufacturing plant. And what I ended up doing is I, I’ve someone told me, I heard it, I think I read it in a book somewhere that a sales guys can make a lot of money. So have never even been in sales have never had, I knew nothing about it. I just saw all the sales guys in the company, I was like, all those guys are fat and old, I can beat them. And so I waited outside the company until the CEO came out and I was walked up to him say, hey, I want to go to the sales department heard those guys make money.
george grombacher 2:29
Anthony Butler 2:31
to his credit, he was really kind to me, and he gave me a chance. And 18 months later, I was the director of inside sales. About two years after that, I was the VP of sales, and I helped them scale. And about a year or so after that job, I ended up at a small startup in New York City. And even though I’m from Montana, it was like this titanic change, I had never even ridden the subway, and I got this interview for this company. You know, just the stars aligned, it was a really good fit. I got there was an early employee when I left there, you know, there’s hundreds and hundreds of employees and a nine figure exit. And that was like, an MBA for me. On how does growth actually start? Like, how does it work? You know, how do you create a sales process from scratch? You know, and how do you get the word out about something that people don’t know what it is, and they don’t really understand it. And that’s when I really started to focus on and learn like how important language is. And one of the worst things you can do is, if you’re selling something that’s really technical, you don’t talk, really, you don’t talk tech, with business owners and people that are buying because most time they don’t, they don’t care about how it works, they just want a solution. They want a benefit, they want something that helps them solve their problems. You know, and so now all these years later, and along the way, this is like my seventh company that I’ve started myself or been in charge of. And I spend most of my time talking business owners out of the language on their website, because it’s the it’s all me focused. They’re not focused on their audience and not focused on, hey, this is the problem that we solve. It’s at the top of your mind, you know, and how we can help you. You know, and it’s, I tell you, I’ve audited hundreds, if not 1000s of websites in the last 10 years. And the number one mistake I see is talking too much about yourself, your services, your products, and not focusing on the clients not focusing on the audience. So yeah, it’s a it’s good. I love I love what I’m doing and it’s been a lot of fun.
george grombacher 4:45
I appreciate. So, West Point graduate blackbelt I’m sensing discipline. Anthony.
Anthony Butler 4:56
Yeah, maybe you know, the academy. is, how do we put it nicely? It’s unforgiving for lack of discipline. You know, I think the big thing is, the one lesson you get from that kind of environment is that discipline is a habit. And, yes, you can have personal discipline, but personal discipline will only take you so far. But habits, they will take you all the way. Because when you’re tired, when you’re hungry, when you’re when you’re really burned out, having the discipline to start your work the same day, have good triggers, have little reward systems all through the day, you know, I, in the last in a given year, I’ll work on, you know, three or 400 publications of some sort, for clients or for else and the only way I can be that kind of productive is to be creative. When it’s time to be creative. You know, it’s not something you turn on and off. It’s something that you it’s like exercise, you know, you go to the gym, because that’s when it’s time to go to the gym. You You’re creative when it’s time to be creative, you know? But yeah, discipline is a habit. That’s the, that’s the big lesson for me.
george grombacher 6:16
And how does that? How does that that apply to the solopreneur? Business Owner? Who is trying to get their message out? If at all?
Anthony Butler 6:29
Yeah, you know, I think one of the big problems you see, with startups and people are just getting, you know, just getting a little bit of traction, is they get discouraged because they published one or two blocks, and no one looked at them. They published 10 posts on LinkedIn, and, oh, they only got 500 impressions. Like, like, no, like, What the fuck, you better publish 1000 times like, then you can tell me that you’re discouraged if you’re not getting any traction, like, you have to put real effort out there to grow. And just one or two small efforts, it’s not enough. Like you got to start thinking in months in years. You know, I happen to have had a lot of experience when I started this company. So yeah, we made 100k In our first few months profit, right? But I didn’t start there. I have years of just gritting it out and learning and gaining experience. And then when I released primal storytelling, you know, it wasn’t a an international bestseller, day one. It wasn’t an international bestseller three months in four months said, but you know, what? Once and we started selling hundreds of copies, and we sold 1000s of copies. And, you know, now I’ve got a flood of people coming to the website and asking me questions, and it, it starts really, really small. But the flywheel the pump, it’s always hard at first, and you just got to grit it out. You just have to create habits of the right things. And then keep pushing like like this podcast, like how many podcast episodes have you done? Like hundreds, like not one or two? Not 10? Like hundreds? And I bet if we went back and looked at your was that 1000s? How many 1000s? Okay, yeah, yeah. Okay. I bet if we went back, and we looked at your first 500 episodes, I bet you’re way better now. And your audience is exponential to the first 100 that you did the first 200 that you did, it takes that long to even get to be competent to get good. You know, it’s like in jujitsu, you know, it takes the average person 10 or 12 years years to become a jujitsu, blackbelt. As because it just takes that much time to get on the mat. Come there every week, trained three or four times a week get smashed, get beat up, you know, get a black guy every week, week after week. And there’s like times, like I have students come up to me, Tony, I’m not getting any better. Like you’re getting better. You just don’t realize it, you don’t notice it. You can’t track like those little tiny micro improvements. You know, it’s my one piece of advice is just keep going. Don’t stop. Like, if you don’t stop, you don’t fail. Well said. So
george grombacher 9:19
we need to have the right message. Because if I have the wrong message, and I’m talking about me or my product, and I’m doing so in a way that’s not effective, I can do that over and over again, and probably get better success if I’m just instead of giving up that it’s probably marrying both of those things, tenacity grit stick to itiveness with a properly designed message.
Anthony Butler 9:46
So part of that journey is testing messages. Testing off finding out what really rings with your audience. You know, and it’s like, I’ve been doing this a really long time, I have worked on 1000s of campaigns. And I never assumed on any platform, that I can predict the result. Because anyone who thinks they can predict the results on a campaign or in some channel is just fooling themselves. And you know, very often, I’ll be really confident like, Oh, this is some of the best creative we’ve ever done. Like, these headlines are awesome. I wrote it myself, you know, and the campaign just crashes and burns, and no one looks at it, no one clicks, you know, and why does that happen? It happens, because I’m not the audience. You’re not the audience, okay, the audience is out there, they, and they have their own hopes, their own dreams, the things that they care about. And as a marketer, as a business owner, what I tell you is, you have to separate what you think, you know, from what you can prove. And so I use, like a testing process, where I test ideas in front of people. And then once I start to find those ideas, that ring, do more of that, and then build on it, and then be as helpful as you can and give, give things away that are valuable. You know, like, when I design a lead magnet for someone, I want that lead magnet, maybe it maybe it’s free, maybe it’s like really low cost, I want it to be better than my competitors pay for this, I want to be that valuable, because then what happens is people come back to me like, Oh, my God, like what would happen if we hired him, he gave you money. And that’s how you can build a beautiful business, is just do incredible work for people, and really learn their language. You know, it’s interesting that I just little start out yesterday, literally, I did a concert with a software company that’s just got to market and they’re kind of in the they create this auditing software for DOD companies and kind of law enforcement and government agencies, that kind of thing. And, you know, they had sent me a link to their website, and, you know, kind of asked me for an opinion and some thoughts. And I pulled up their website, and my team and I, we had a good laugh. You know, and not because the website didn’t look good, or wasn’t professional, or, you know, any of those things. It was professional, and all the language on there was English. But it was written by a PhD level, you know, software developer, and it was all about the tech, it was all about the whiz bang, and it had nothing to do with the problems they solve for the clients. And so they’re like, they’re upset because their website wasn’t producing anything. They’re getting no leads, they’re, you know, no, no real traffic, their bounce rate was close to 100%. And I got their CEO on the phone, I was like, Listen, tell me what you do. Like, tell me the problems you solve. And it’s he told me everything that he needed, and I recorded it. And I said to him, like, that’s what needs to be on your website. Like, no one cares about the security at the desktop, and how you’re preventing, you know, these kinds of cyber attacks, you know, and like, he’s describing how the cyber attacks work in great detail and how they’re defending, like, wow, like, the buyer doesn’t really care about all that. Like, they’re glad that you know that they’re happy, like, people are happy that I published a book, and it’s a success. But when they hire me, then I hire me for the book. They hire me for their reason, because I need to help them grow their business. You know, and I think, is steps. A lot of times, we’re so far in our head operationally, then when we go out to think of the language that we need to be talking marketing side, it’s really tough to translate it. And it’s why a lot of times, it’s better to have an outside entity. Write your website for you. You know, it’s really tough to do that yourself.
george grombacher 14:05
Yeah, you’re so close to it. And you’re such an expert. And it’s so emotional and tech. It’s all of it. So exactly makes sense.
Anthony Butler 14:14
Yeah, you hit one part on your, you’re so close to it, and you know so much about it. And so you have all these assumptions, oh, this is easy. Everyone knows this. Everyone knows that. And you know, I have a, I have the primal storytelling Academy, and I teach marketing in there. And it’s interesting when I first released it, and our first class went through it. The number of questions I got back, I was like, you guys even use the internet. Like, if you ever turned on a computer, you know, because some of the questions were, to me so obvious. And when I looked at myself as like, Man, I am the cobbler with no shoes like I, I did in my own course, what I’ve told hundreds of business owners not to do. And so I had to take all that feedback from those first Students and then go back to the drawing board and we record and answer all their questions and get into the details and make it really non technical about SEO and how it works and ads and how that works, you know, and how story structures work in a really easy to consume whey, you know, and it’s, I don’t want to say we dummied it down. But we made it clear to an audience that wasn’t a marketing professional, that that’s not what they do all the time, if that makes sense. But yeah, it’s a big issue.
george grombacher 15:36
Fascinating. As you look at our army, our, our armed forces, and you hear about that our recruitment numbers are down. I’ve never looked at the advertisements, I see some of them a guy in a jetpack, flying over an aircraft carrier, how do you feel about about the armed services marketing programs? And do you think they could do a better job? too big of a question probably?
Anthony Butler 16:04
Well, the answer is yes, I think they can do a better job. But I think they have to go back to the key of why do people serve. And we have lost sight that some of these young people, they’re surfing, because they want a challenge. They want to do something hard. You know, I went to Ranger School three times. And on my third time, I was the commander of troops to graduation, okay. You don’t go through that kind of suffering, unless you really, really want to accomplish something hard. You know, and so one of the things that they can do is I can go back to like, what are the primal urges that makes someone want to serve their country and do something hard? Like, like, why do people join the Marine Corps, the Marine Corps doesn’t have a recruiting, recruiting crisis right now. Because they tell you upfront, you’re gonna become a Marine. And this is going to be the hardest thing you ever did. And your modern day night, protecting America, okay. And that story rings, and you know what, the Marines don’t have a recruiting problem. Now, you flip it around to the army, and I joined the Army, and you can be happy. And you know, you can do this. And you can do that. And I, that’s not why people joining like this not, and they want it to be a social experiment, and they want to be inclusive, but by trying to be what they’re not, they’re actually repelling who they want to attract, and who we need to serve. You know, and I don’t at all, think that they shouldn’t have inclusive programs and things like that. But that can’t be the focus. The focus is on war fighting for reason. And I spent two and a half years in combat zones in danger areas around the world. And I can tell you, in the moment, when you have people charging at you with machine guns, and they’re trying to, they’re trying to kill you personally, you’re really happy that the guy on your left and the guy on your right, is the actual fighter, and they know how to fight, and they can kill people. And they’re not going to feel super bad about it by defending themselves. You know, and, you know, we need a generation of war fighters. That’s what we actually need. You know, that’s just the that’s the truth of it. So
george grombacher 18:33
well said. Well, Anthony, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? How can they engage with you with Kendu ideas? And where can they get their copy of primal storytelling,
Anthony Butler 18:46
where you can find a copy of primal storytelling, everywhere books are sold, you can come to my website, primal storytelling.com/podcast can download the book for free, I got seven bonuses on there for your listeners. And the reason I give that book away is because I want to build a generation of primal storytellers. You know, we’re helping the entire country by training entrepreneurs, because guess what small businesses are what raise up the whole economy. They’re the biggest employer, small businesses, you know, and so the one service that I can do is to help the country grow by training entrepreneurs to grow faster, you know, so please come there, download the free book, those bonuses, I’ve got rave reviews on how much they’ve helped people just troubleshoot their own marketing. You know, I’m on LinkedIn every single day. I don’t have a VA that’s managing my messages or anything like that. If you’re on LinkedIn, you know, reach out to me message me connect. I will message you back. I’m a real person. It’s marketing for humans. It’s there’s no automation on my on my stuff. So I publish a weekly newsletter that’s for entrepreneurs. It’s got I had really good traction. And we just revamped it a few months ago. And I think that the focus on small business growth has really rang because there’s just so much noise on the internet and it’s so hard to get noticed. It’s so hard to get your message out and make your ads work and make your social media productive that, you know, there’s a need for personal storytelling. There’s a need for a structure, a structured marketing system. So that’s really what it is. Excellent.
george grombacher 20:31
Well, if you enjoyed as much as I did show Anthony, your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas, go to primal storytelling.com/podcast and download your copy of primal storytelling. Take advantage of those bonuses as well. Get in touch with Anthony find him on LinkedIn. Anthony Butler, spelled the way that you would think and I’ll certainly link everything in the notes of the show. Thanks again, Anthony.
Anthony Butler 20:58
Hey, thanks, George. Till next time,
george grombacher 21:00
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George Grombacher November 21, 2023