"No matter what business you're in, you're in the relationship business." - Jim Cockrum, Business coach, author
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ABOUT JIM COCKRUM:
Since the 90s, Jim Cockrum has helped entrepreneurs get their business off the ground and on the way to being successful. Jim talks about his method, tips and tricks to start a business the right way, and one of his biggest success stories, Mike Brown of Death Wish Coffee. Plus, learn why this is the best time to start a business and pick up Jim's book, Silent Sales Machine, now in its tenth edition.
Jeff: I kind of want to start off by talking about what you do and how you got into it because as an internet marketer and someone who is not only an internet marketer but someone who talks about that constantly, it seems like it's an incredibly volatile field. By volatile, I mean, it's constantly changing. It's constantly evolving and growing. It's a living, breathing organism, and you've been doing this for quite some time. You've been actually doing this since the '90s, correct?
Jim Cockrum: Yeah. In like dog ears, man, like I'm an old dude in this game, for sure.
Jeff: Bring me all the way back. What brought you to internet marketing? Again, if we go back to the 90s, I mean, it was a very relatively new thing. Sure, the internet [crosstalk 00:00:49]-
Jim Cockrum: Absolutely.
Jeff: Had been around for a couple of decades, but even when the internet came out in like the '80s and was starting to gain ground, people were still like, "I'm not going to advertise on that. I'm not going to do that kind of crap."
Jim Cockrum: No, it was... yeah. The kind of objections we received back then was like, "No one's ever going to actually give a credit card out on the internet."
Jim Cockrum: "That's insane." I remember hearing a professor talking about email and I'm like, I don't need any more mail. What is email? I don't want to do that." Right? Like-
Jim Cockrum: Guys your age, it's like, "Email's always been here", right?
Jim Cockrum: "No, it started about 1992, '93, dude. There was no such thing before then." Been playing the game for awhile, man. The rules of business are not any different online. I think if, if I could break it all down into one simple lesson that I've learned in 20 years of doing this, man, is in 17 years, this is the only way I've fed my family. You know, my wife is home. She homeschools our kids and family of seven us with five dogs, man. This is it. This is how we pay the bills and pay the house payment.
Jim Cockrum: The only thing that I could break down very simply is the rules of business aren't any different online. They just aren't. You can speed things up, which means you can be stupid fast or you can be smart fast, but the rules are just it's just faster online, meaning I can connect now, like this podcast right now is a great episode. The millions of fans that you guys have around the world, I never would have met them-
Jeff: Right, right.
Jim Cockrum: Without this, so here I am having a conversation with a cool dude and hanging out, and now I've just connected with a bunch of people. To do that in the '70s, I would have had to be a guest on some popular famous radio show or appeared [crosstalk 00:02:33]-
Jeff: Or Johnny Carson [crosstalk 00:02:34] or something [crosstalk 00:02:34]-
Jim Cockrum: Or something, and now I was like, "Hey, jump on Death Wish Podcast, man, and there we go and you're meeting all of these new people." There's a lot more noise out there that you have to fight through, obviously, but your ability to connect with so many more people so much more quickly and to build a reputation quickly if you truly serve, man. That's what I feel like we do. My definition of a good transaction, and this serves you well online, offline, doesn't matter what business you're in, my definition of a good transaction is the customer's happy and the seller's happy, obviously, but even a week or a month or five years later, they look back and they think, "Man, that was a good deal. I'm glad I spent that money. I'm glad I engaged in that activity, that service."
Jim Cockrum: That's a good transaction because it's the foundation of a lifelong relationship. If you pursue that in business, then you're set. Mike, your CEO, is brilliant at that, by the way.
Jeff: He definitely was forward-thinking about that from the beginning, and we'll get into it a little bit, that's a little bit because of you as well. Back in the '90s when this was becoming a thing, like you said and it's a no-brainer now, business online is no different than brick-and-mortar business, me, you. You're doing the same things, but it wasn't a no-brainer back then. Was there a defining moment, an aha moment for you where you were like, "This is where I want to like kind of throw my cards into"?
Jim Cockrum: You know, I love that you asked for that aha moment. I think along your business journey, you should document. Everybody, if you're trying to grow a business, which may not be everybody today, but hopefully I'll talk you into taking a stab at it because, and I'll answer your question, there's never been a better time in human history than right now to put on an entrepreneurial hat and say, "I'm going to build something. I'm going to serve some customers as evidenced by their willingness to pay me for it. I'm going to build something special and hire people."
Jim Cockrum: Okay, but what was aha moment? For me, it goes back to that first point I made, kind of the speed. If you go back to business before the internet, it was really hard to give your customers an incentive to refer you more business unless you were just really good and people talked about you. Referral marketing has been around forever, but now that we have the internet, your referral marketing can be put on steroids because you can actually financially incent or give people some kind of, "Hey, you know, if you refer a friend, we're going to send you a free bag of coffee kind of stuff." You can actually incent them and track and automate your referral programs. I think that was the fuel.
Jim Cockrum: Amazon was the first ones to come out and say, "Hey, we'll pay you to send us some buying customers." This is back when they just had books in their warehouse. They said, "Hey, if someone buys a $4 book, we'll send you a quarter", so affiliate marketing was born. Referral marketing was automated. That's what I think sped the whole game up, and I jumped in early because the thought I had was, "If I can make 20 people really, really happy and give them an incentive to spread the word, I can kind of sit back", and my marketing budget has been virtually zero from day one.
Jim Cockrum: I don't buy pay-per-click ads, billboard ads. I'm not paying to drive traffic here and there. I'm just saying, "Be good at what I do and then tell those happy customers, 'Hey, if you think we're good, how about you tell a few friends?'" Then, we automate the system of rewarding them for having told those friends when those friends come into the funnel. It's just beautiful, man.
Jim Cockrum: That was the aha moment for me was I could ignite my customers and turn them into... basically, they're commission-only salespeople. Think of all of your happy customers as commission-only salespeople and treat them as such. Give them a good reward when they refer you [inaudible 00:06:12]. That's the steps you can do now that you couldn't do before the internet.
Jeff: Yeah. That's incredible. When you're starting and you've got this moment, you realize that there is this potential to do this, again, the ethos of marketing, the ethos of business at this time was still a lot of pushback, a lot of like, "I don't really want to wade into this internet area." Since then, you have proven that you know what you're talking about. You've written books on this subject and you have a lot of success stories from it, but in the beginning of all of that, when you're telling people these things and you're kind of coming not only to your aha moments but bringing these moments to other people, was it an uphill battle in the beginning? Was it hard to push through that almost negativity from other businesses? You know, it was.
Jim Cockrum: I compare it frequently to moving to the Wild West and the settlement of America, except there's no risk of scurvy and all of the other things they had, but it was the Wild West. The rules weren't written yet. I remember selling... You mentioned the book, and we'll talk a little bit more about that, the book that Mike bought, your CEO, and kind of got him rocking in this direction. I remember the first few copies I sold, I actually sold my book on eBay. It was a PDF download-
Jim Cockrum: And people would buy it and send me payment and I would immediately start emailing them saying, "Hey, just wanted to let you know I'm here if you have any questions. Can we talk?" Some of them would jump on the phone with me. I was like just so thrilled. I had just made $20 for sending some digital bits through the internet and it [crosstalk 00:07:54] was just amazing to me. I couldn't wait to get on the phone with the person who had just spent that money. Sometimes their questions were, "Well, as the first transaction I ever did online, I'm a little nervous, to be honest with you." I'm like, "Hey, it'll be okay, man, eBay's legit. You can trust it. Hey, check out PayPal if you feel better."
Jim Cockrum: It was in the PayPal early days and it was dealing with a lot of nervous people who weren't real sure that this was anything legitimate. Bill Gates himself and a lot of people that said, "I don't know if this internet thing is going to really catch on. I think we've kind of hit our peak of what people are willing to put up with with computers." It was the birth of an explosion of opportunity. I didn't know it at the time. I'd have been thrilled to make an extra three or 500 bucks a week. Who wouldn't take that?
Jim Cockrum: Selling a product that's digital that you don't have to reproduce, this is gold, man. I'm set. That's my electric bill, that's my gas bill, that's my water bill and half of my car payment. I'm happy. What started happening is this book was spreading and that viral effect kicked in. People were telling people and I gave them an incentive to tell people.
Jim Cockrum: Affiliate marketing kicked in and that's when the audience started to expand and that whole community became like a thing. They wanted to talk to each other and get together. Suddenly, I'd see someone in the airport and they're walking with my book and it was like, "What happened, man?"
Jim Cockrum: It was crazy how fast it happened.
Jeff: That's so cool. We talked about when you started to get into internet marketing, but when did you decide, "I want to put it all down into a book"? Was that just an organic kind of, "I have all of this knowledge and I have to get it out"? Or was that a-
Jim Cockrum: Yeah.
Jeff: Calculated decision?
Jim Cockrum: It's funny. I would love to say I planned the whole thing out, but really I was having fun on the weekends making money and my friends knew it, and so they started asking me questions like, "Hey, how are you doing this? How are you finding stuff to sell? What's going on? Can you fill me in? Can you give me some pointers?" Instead of responding to their emails one at a time, I created like a little 10-page PDF document. It didn't even have a title to it, it was just like, "Here's the questions people keep asking me. Take it." Pretty soon, people were asking me permission to share it with friends and, "Could I pass this around? I feel bad. I should probably pay you, man, because I've passed this around to a lot of people."
Jim Cockrum: I thought, "Okay, I'll just put a price tag on it and see what happens." That was the first version. For those that can see the video, and I know that most people are just listening, it's in its 10th edition now. Silent Sales Machine is the title of the book. That's the title I kind of pulled out of the air in about two minutes of thought, and here we are a couple of million copies later, the 10th edition [crosstalk 00:10:35] and recently having won the award for The Best Beginner Internet Sales Book of All Time-
Jeff: Congratulations [crosstalk 00:10:42]-
Jim Cockrum: Who'd have thought. A Saturday afternoon 10-page PDF document turns into the story of a community of people who are building incredible businesses using the internet. I just kind of keep updating it and going through, but initially, no, it was just me saying, "I don't want to write the same email over and over again. I'm going to put it all into a PDF."
Jeff: That's smart. I mean, a lot of times best laid plans are no plans at all. It's just like you said, you did it out of necessity and, exactly, why write the same thing down every single time? It's just like, "Here you go. Here's exactly what I've been talking about." I love it. I love it. That brings you kind of into our story and our connection to you because you published this book and you said 10th edition now, but in that first edition, Mike Brown, who was an accountant with a semi-failing coffee shop, that happened-
Jim Cockrum: That's right. I love him, man.
Jeff: To pick this book up and realized that you knew what the heck you were talking about and there was some really good stuff in there. I know it's on the website and I'm actually going to link it a little bit in this site as well, but do you remember that first interaction with Mike?
Jim Cockrum: Oh, of course I do.
Jeff: Can you talk a little [crosstalk 00:11:56]-
Jim Cockrum: Of course I do.
Jeff: Bit about that?
Jim Cockrum: How often do you get an email from someone saying, "Hey", and I've got the email. I saved it, I printed it out. "Hey, I know you're probably a busy guy. Don't know if you'll even see this, but I've been on Good Morning America, Fox News", he started listing off all of these big morning shows, "And I just want to say thanks because I took some advice out of your book and applied it to my business and things have really taken off." You notice those emails. I don't care how big you think you are, man, when someone sends you an email like that, like, "Hey, without you, I wouldn't taking off to a new universe here", yeah, that stuff.
Jim Cockrum: I remember the smallest success stories. I love the success stories where it's a single mom with a couple of kids who had to leave an abusive husband and she thought she was going to have to rely on government checks the rest of her life. She sends me an email and says, "Hey, I'm putting an extra 1200 bucks a month in the bank and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel." I remember every one of those testimonials. We get a lot of them. I live for that, but you go to the other side of the bell curve and you get this guy here who is like, "Hey, I think I might be on top of the biggest coffee brand in the universe here pretty soon thanks to you." Yeah, I noticed. I remember it was a big deal, it was a big day.
Jeff: Yeah, yeah, and since then, you and Mike have become friends. You've actually had him out to some conventions of yours, like speaking arrangements and stuff.
Jim Cockrum: That's right.
Jeff: That's so exciting because, again, for people who don't know our story, Mike really just believed that he had a good idea but didn't really know what he was going to do with it. Without some of the advice that you had in that book, I don't think we'd be where we are today. I wouldn't be employed by Mike Brown if it wasn't for that advice [crosstalk 00:13:36]-
Jim Cockrum: I get goosebumps and sometimes I'll take a picture. I'll be behind someone's car and they got a Death Wish bumper sticker [inaudible 00:13:43] the shape I had. I'll tear up a little bit even, man, and I'll take a picture. I remember, man, Mike was living behind his Mom's house in the garage struggling with a little coffee shop. We connected and now we've got this brand. Any given day, you go on Amazon and type in the word "coffee", you get a hundred thousand results, I don't know, and there's Mike, Death Wish, boom. Right there, number one, two, or three any given day. To be a part of that story, it's truly an honor to me and it's a testament to Mike.
Jim Cockrum: You know, I love that I was positioned in the right place at the right time and gave him some good, solid advice, but he's one of the most brilliant... Entrepreneur of the Year in the State of New York and almost one it for the nation, I mean, come on. Who's riding whose coattails here, man, if we're honest? Mike's the man and it's been an honor to be a small part of this story, like I said, but he's a brilliant marketer. Right place, right time had something to do with it, but he's a go-getter. I said, "Hey, go do this. You're going to have pound through this, man. It's not going to be comfortable." He goes and he did it. He pounded through. They sent out a bunch of free products to influencers back before influencer marketing was even a word.
Jim Cockrum: That was the advice I basically gave him in the book was find those gatekeepers, those influencers who have the audience that you wish you had and kill them with kindness and product and ask their opinion, ask their advice. People love to be asked their advice. He did that and that's what launched Death Wish Coffee back in the early days was this pounding through, finding those influencers, putting together the gift baskets. It was tedious, it was hard, it was spending a bunch of money he didn't have out the door hoping, but he did it and it worked, man.
Jeff: Yeah, and you know, that's really good advice, I think, for any kind of business that's trying to sell a product. Even in today where influencer marketing has went from, like you said, something that wasn't even talked about to now it's almost a taboo and it's went the full 180. Still, to get your product into the hands of people that are going to talk about it, regardless of celebrity, regardless of fame, regardless of whatever, you want to get your products into the hands of people that are going to turn around and tell 10 friends.
Jeff: Now, with social media, like I said, regardless of celebrity, you don't have to be on television or a movie star to be an influencer, you just have to have a good presence and people listening to you. One of the greatest pieces of advice that you gave Mike was that, and we as a business have revolved that and evolved that piece of advice multiple times.
Jeff: Again, to delve into our story, one of the things, like you said, when he contacted you for the first time he was like, "I used some of your tenements", because we were on Good Morning America and we've done all these types of things. When we got on Good Morning America, we got kicked off the internet after that because we couldn't fulfill orders. That was at the time that Mike still... It was like three or four people working for the company. They were packing coffee by hand in manilla envelopes and putting a stamp on it.
Jeff: After you're on a big stage like Good Morning America, eBay banned us, Amazon banned us, and it almost looked like it was the end of the road already, but to be able to use the incredible advice in your book and, again, this mentality that Mike has to just go out there and get it done, we were able to kind of pull ourselves back up and do that.
Jim Cockrum: Well, Mike jumped into our Mastermind. I've only done a Mastermind group one time. There was 12 people in it and Mike signed up for it. Great group. It's been like seven years ago that we did this and the big challenge that Mike brought to the group was, "I'm thinking about getting my own roaster. It's a lot of money. It's going to ramp up our capacity." We helped hammer through those numbers because just as scary as slow growth is rapid growth. That can bury you, like you mentioned. Some people are like, "Oh, growth is never a problem." Well, yeah, you got to be able to fulfill the customer orders that are pouring in. You've got to have the capacity.
Jim Cockrum: We wrestled through some of those bigger challenges and he took the risks and rolled the dice, but it's paid off in some big ways. It's amazing to walk through Walmart, man, and just see, "Oh, there he is. There's Mike sitting on the shelf." Man, that's what I see. I don't see a bag of delicious coffee, I see Mike, I guy that I got to mentor a little bit. I love entrepreneurs, man, and Mike's at the top of my list. He sponsored a NASCAR one time and they sent him a couple of die-cast models and he sent me one of them, dude, and that's a prized possession. We had a total loss house fire here at the house-
Jeff: Oh, no.
Jim Cockrum: And after I got all of my kids and the dogs and everything, we got the photo albums out, the firemen were like, "Hey, you can get back in there. This place is going to be totaled. If there's anything you want to get, we'll go in with you right now." That was in the load that came out.
Jim Cockrum: Like, "I got to get that Mike Brown Death Wish Coffee car because that's a very meaningful"... There's a handful of other things in my office that kind of have that level of like, "I got to get my hands on that thing." I did and saved it. It's a memento I'll never forget.
Jeff: That's awesome.
Jim Cockrum: Because of the significance of the story, that's a lot of lives impacted. The Super Bowl commercial you guys you had. Are you kidding me? There's so many great elements to this story.
Jeff: Yeah, yeah, and that's one of the things that I've loved about the story coming in a little bit later, but being a part of the Death Wish family now. Taking an idea like this and, again, this speaks to a lot of what you speak to from an internet marketing standpoint. Internet marketing isn't just, "I have a product, buy my product." That's not just what it is. It's about making these connections with people and getting that out there, and that's what Mike has really wanted to do. That's why, as Death Wish Coffee, we always say, obviously, we want to provide you with the best cup of coffee that you've ever had, but we also want to fuel your passion. We want to be with you the entire day, and that's always been Mike's tenement.
Jeff: It stems from a lot of what's in your book and what you've talked about is this idea that to be part of everyone's story, not just the product that they're buying. You want to be part of everything, and that has opened up so many opportunities for us, like you mentioned, NASCAR, and we've been on Good Morning America and the Super Bowl commercial. We've been to space twice and all of these different things just because we're not just looking to sell that cup of coffee that, you know-
Jim Cockrum: That's right. No matter what business you're in, you're in the relationship business.
Jeff: Right. It's important [crosstalk 00:20:11]-
Jim Cockrum: Agree that you understand and embrace that and very intentionally build systems that recognize that and then synth that into your systems, into your sales, you're in the relationship business.
Jim Cockrum: I spoke to a group of Millennials who are budding internet entrepreneurs recently and I had my presentation prepared, but I just, "I'm going to take a different direction here at the very beginning and just see what kind of response I get." It was a room full of let's say about 150 people and I said, "How many of you guys interacted face to face or on the phone or on a Zoom with customers or partners more than five times in the last two weeks? I just want to see your hands. Just like hand up if you interacted face to face like a lunch or got on the phone and had a conversation or a Zoom call like more than five times in the last couple of weeks. Just raise your hand."
Jim Cockrum: It was only like eight of them, so my whole presentation shifted and I call it the superpower now. It's like this secret that those of us who have been doing businesses for a while understand that it's kind of been robbed from the cell phone generation, the smartphone generation. There's a superpower there. If you're willing to just talk to people, man, that's a lost art. If you can build relationships with people by talking, engaging, having conversations, finding out their hobbies, having shows like this, engaging with the community, a Facebook Group, get in there with them. Learn about their life and where your product intersects their everyday life and their concerns.
Jim Cockrum: You're going to build a community. You're going to have people that love you. You're going to have people that are getting tattoos with your brand. I call you guys all of the time. I say you guys are the Harley-Davidson of the coffee world and people instantly go, "Okay, that makes sense." Why? Well, because you engage with your community. You say, "Hey, do you guys want some cool mugs?" They say, "Yeah", so you go get some cool mugs, right?
Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jim Cockrum: You don't guess, you engage. You don't push product, you ask questions. You hang out with them. You hop in your truck with a bunch of Vikings and you drive around. You're out there in the mix with your community and that takes work, man. It's not sitting behind a keyboard and hitting the right buttons and throwing up the right ads. It's conversations, it's communication, it's engagement. Those things work and the internet allows you to speed that up-
Jim Cockrum: And that's what you guys have tapped into, so I love watching the story unfold, man.
Jeff: I think that you hit the nail on the head. I think a lot of new businesses, even old businesses, have lost the art of customer relationship. There's a difference between customer service and customer relationship and it's something that from day one at Death Wish when Death Wish started and day one when I started at Death Wish, it's always been instilled that we have worked very hard to build a community around the brand and the idea and the coffee that we have created. We want to continue to make them feel like they're a part of it. There are many times like we have ideas for new merchandise or new marketing ideas or something like that, and the first people we ask are our customers.
Jeff: Before we're ever even like putting up a PowerPoint proposal and bringing it to Mike's office or something like that, before that ever even happens, we're getting the litmus and the temperature of our customers. "Do you think you'd like this?" Bouncing ideas off of them and creating that relationship and that conversation. I think it makes our brand stronger. I think it makes our product stronger and, at the end of the day, more often than not we are hopefully producing something that people want.
Jim Cockrum: Yeah. When you give the community an opportunity to take ownership of the process, that's what I call my community. It's not my community. I make that point all of the time. It's an us thing. What do we want to do next? We're a group. There's power in groups. There's safety in numbers. There's camaraderie, there's, "I belong here." You let those good ideas float to the top. One of the things that was great for me to discover was as my group grew and basically I call them business-building warriors who use the internet creatively to launch and grow multiple streams of income... silentjim.com, that's my website, right? Those people that gather around that brand, I don't have to do all of the thinking anymore.
Jim Cockrum: There's people so much smarter and more creative, more willing to step up and fill different roles, including coming up with those next great ideas. Once you have a community, as a leader, as long as you don't have a big ego... I shake my head at the big ego guys, and you and I both know, Mike isn't the big ego guy.
Jim Cockrum: If he can stay in the back of the room and nobody knows who he is, he's just fine. That's the kind of leader you need to make this work because then the community feels like there's some room in the room for them to step up and contribute. That's one of the big secrets. I look at these guys, they have their big success and people might have some names that pop into their head, but their ego's so big it's their show. Every time that they're in the room, it's all about them. It's what they have to say next.
Jim Cockrum: You can't do that with a community. You've got to step back and let those creative pop to the top, and Mike has done a brilliant job of that. I don't know who these people are, but I would guess that many of the great ideas that you guys have had have really been introduced or greatly shaped by some of these very influential leaders because there was room at the table for this group to come in and contribute. To Mike's credit, I don't know that we ever necessarily talked about it. I think it's kind of reflective of his personality.
Jim Cockrum: Again, he's not a spotlight kind of guy. He looks decent in a tux, but other than that, man, he doesn't want that gig necessarily. He'd be much happier just to kind of sit back and that's one of the positives of that personality type is I like that analogy. There's room at the table, man. It's like, "Come on in and share your ideas", and he's done that brilliantly and you guys have benefited.
Jeff: Definitely, definitely, and you hit the nail on the head with Mike. I've been in the room with him, I've been in various events and stuff like that where someone will find out eventually that he's the head of it, he's the leader of the whole shebang. Then, they'll gravitate their questions or the spotlight to him. His knee-jerk reaction, and he's done it to me personally, is always like push someone else kind of up there and be like, "This person is better equipped. They have more to say to you." Or, "There's a better idea in front of me because I can sit back and kind of let everything around me dictate what I'm really trying to put out there, not just me, me, me, me kind of thing."
Jim Cockrum: You know what? That's great leaders produce leaders.
Jim Cockrum: Maybe he was the right guy to answer that question, maybe not, but to put someone else in the spotlight, to let them enjoy the benefit, the fruit of their labor, to enjoy some of the moment in the sun, that is leadership. It frustrates me to see these other big name guys, like every video of them, it's them. Like, "I want to see the content from the people who are succeeding under your leadership."
Jim Cockrum: Here's another way to say it. When you're worm food, what's your operation look like? You know? When you're gone, what have you built? What outlives you? How have you poured into the lives of others so we don't have to go back and look at year-old videos to learn the lessons of what you were all about? We can look at the people that you poured your life into.
Jim Cockrum: The whole mentoring thing seems lost on some of these internet leaders and we're all about that. I say our best event, we'll know we're really doing it right if I don't even have to show up and no one misses me. That's a great event. No one's like, "Oh, where's Jim here? This wasn't as good an event as it would have been because I don't see Jim anywhere." If I don't have to step on stage, we've created so many great leaders in our community that have such great things to say that I'm not even missed, people are like, "Oh, it would have been nice to see Jim, but man, that dude was awesome that just presented that content." That's what we want, not, "What creative, new, exciting thing does Jim have in his head today?" If we're relying on just me, man, it's going to be a pretty boring show after a while.
Jeff: Yeah, yeah, and you know, that actually is a perfect segue into the theme of this very podcast. You've mentioned worm food. We are all fueled by death. I hate to break it to you, but we are going to die some day, and-
Jim Cockrum: I heard.
Jeff: Yeah, but we as human beings are all fueled by this idea, this desire to leave this world a little different than we found it when we were born into it. I have to ask, what fuels you to keep going? What fuels you to keep shaping new entrepreneurs? Helping new leaders and getting out there? What fuels you to do this?
Jim Cockrum: Yeah. Well, I'm a Christian. Mike and I have had conversations and my worldview. I'm comfortable with anybody. Some of my best friends are atheists and I'll hang out with anybody, but as a Christian I [inaudible 00:29:12], we get this almost... and it sounds like kind of craziness, but to me, this is what gets me up every day. I call it my audience of one concept. What that means to me is one of my favorite basketball coaches said, John Wooden, something like this. I may not nail it, but John Wooden was awesome. If you don't know who that guy is, look him up, read his stuff. He was incredible. He said, "Your reputation is what other people think of you. Your character is who you really are, so focus on that."
Jim Cockrum: Who are you really? What people think may drift around and people will misunderstand and you could have a great reputation and be a horrible person, or have a horrible reputation and be a great person, but there's only one party that truly knows. As a Christian, an audience of one, God knows what's really going on inside of here. He's the only One I have to answer to. If I do that right, the rest works out. I think the reason we're fascinating with death, to cut to that topic, and the reason it's such a constant, some people, they have a hard time functioning in life because of the fear. You look at all of the greatest fears we face, what's going to be at the top of the list? For some people, it's public speaking, right?
Jeff: That's true.
Jim Cockrum: Somewhere in the top two or three is death, and as a Christian I don't fear death. Now, I don't want to die. If someone said, "Hey, do you want to die right now?" I'd be like, "I don't know if I want to sign up for that because dying doesn't sound like a lot of fun." What's on the other side of death, it's kind of like going to the dentist. It's like, "I'd love to have a beautiful smile, but I don't think I want to have someone pounding me in the face with a little pick thing the next two hours." Death doesn't scare me, dying, depending on how I go, but death doesn't. There's only one thing I fear.
Jim Cockrum: In the Hebrew language, you may have heard that the fear of God, well, that word means more like awe, so I'm in awe of God. I look around the creation, how He's blessed me, my wife, my kids. It's like, "What am I? Who am I that I deserve any of this?" I'm in awe, so that word "awe" and "fear" kind of combine for me, which may be kind of deep, but that's how I process it. There's only one thing I fear, there's only one thing I'm in awe of. I have an audience of one and that's how I measure an effective life. Am I doing what He made me to do? Those gifts that he put inside of me, how am I pouring that into others? There's nothing more fulfilling.
Jim Cockrum: I mentioned earlier when you're getting emails from single moms who are escaping an abusive husband and, man, now they're able to provide for their family, I can check in with God in those moments and go, "I'm doing a good job, right?" I just know, that's it. Putting another five figures in the bank, yeah, that's fun. Buying that car you wanted, yeah, that's kind of cool." That's all going to be dust and worm food some day. I'm going to be gone, but what have you poured into the lives of others? That can fuel you because it lives beyond you.
Jim Cockrum: What are people going to say when you've been gone a year or two? Is anyone going to say anything? What have you left behind? That fuels me and in my pursuit of pleasing God, man, it pours into serving others.
Jeff: That's awesome.
Jim Cockrum: That's a business secret. To the degree that you're good at serving others, you're going to make a lot of bank.
Jeff: Yeah, yeah, and that's something that you find throughout a lot of what you talk about in your books and in your speaking and stuff like that. We talked about it earlier, the art of relationship. The art of serving others is going to fuel everything you do, whether it's business or life or anything else.
Jim Cockrum: That's right.
Jeff: You know?
Jim Cockrum: The greatest one-word sermon that there is [inaudible 00:32:45] a pastor to tell it one time. A guy was challenged, a famous pastor, I remember his name, he was challenged to write a one-word sermon and they were going to publish it in the newspaper. The one word he came up with, others. Like if you make life about you, getting what you want when you want it, man, that's a pretty tiny box, even if you end up getting it all.
Jim Cockrum: I had the privilege of working for one of the wealthiest men in the United States. My Dad worked for him as a groundskeeper and we took care of his boat and mowed his lawn and took care of his pool. He'd let me swim sometimes, but for the most part I was working. I've never met a more miserable person in my life literally than his wife.
Jim Cockrum: Never saw her happy, never saw her smile, never heard her laugh. Heard her complain relentlessly to anybody who was doing any kind of work whatsoever, myself included. I was raking their sand garden and I had raked it the wrong way. She wanted horizontal, not vertical. I'm like, "Okay, I'm sorry. It'll never happen again." She had more money than they knew what to do with at the time. I don't know what they were worth, but it was-
Jeff: A lot.
Jim Cockrum: Hundreds of millions if I recall. It was a lot of money and numbers that I couldn't fathom as a 12-year-old, but I learned a great lesson. Money doesn't necessarily make you a good person, a happy person, someone that's pleasant to be around, someone who feels satisfied with their life. It just doesn't. You've got to have other things going on inside of you that you got to figure out money is not going to fix it, you know?
Jim Cockrum: If you make your life about others, you know that lesson we heard as kids, "Hey, it's better to give than to receive", and as parents, you start to understand that. Giving a gift, the perfect gift to one of your kids, man, I don't remember feeling that good as a kid getting a good gift. Man, it's fun giving that perfect gift. That's the key to business success, too, is success in life. Others, others, others.
Jeff: That's so, so inspiring.
Jim Cockrum: Thanks, man.
Jeff: At the end here, I kind of just want to pick your brain real quick. Because you've been in this business for so long, because you've seen, as I mentioned at the beginning, it's this living, breathing organism, the internet, the marketing. It's constantly evolving. What is the biggest change you've seen from when you started to right as we're talking right now?
Jim Cockrum: The biggest change? Are you asking me specifically... I want to make sure I get this question because I think it's potentially a really, really good question. Are you talking about the biggest change in business in general? Or with internet specifically?
Jeff: I was talking internet specifically, but [crosstalk 00:35:21]-
Jim Cockrum: Internet specific [crosstalk 00:35:21]-
Jeff: If you got them both, I would take answers to both of those.
Jim Cockrum: Yeah. Well, I'm more excited to answer the internet specifically question-
Jim Cockrum: Because what's happened is, to use my Wild West analogy again, I'm going to defend my premise that right now is the best time in human history to launch or grow a business because of the internet and here's why. The groundwork has now been laid. The pioneers who jumped in the wagon train and got shot out and attacked by coyotes and died of dysentery, that's all already happened. That was the '80s, '90s, that's already happened. Now, the highway's there, but the territory is still expanding so rapidly and the opportunity is still, I would argue, in its infancy.
Jim Cockrum: Let me ask you a question to illustrate my next point. Let's see how you do on this one, Jeff. I think I asked Mike this recently and he's in tune with this. Let's see if you can get this one, and the listeners, I'd encourage them to see what number pops in their head. What percentage of retail in the United States is online versus traditional brick and mortar marketing? What percentage is online versus people getting in their car, going to the store, traditional brick and mortar? How would you break that done?
Jeff: So [crosstalk 00:36:41]-
Jim Cockrum: Just take a guess.
Jeff: Just so I get this right, it's not something that exists in both worlds, right? You're talking about retail that is only online and [crosstalk 00:36:49]-
Jim Cockrum: Yeah. I'm just saying if we put all of retail in the U.S. on a pie chart. What piece of that pie would be online?
Jeff: Oh, man. I would say that it would be... In this day and age, I would say it'd be more than brick and mortar. I would say 70-30.
Jim Cockrum: Yeah, and you'd be in line. That's one of the higher guesses I've heard, but you'd be in line with most people that I ask that question to, and I would encourage the guests or people listening to this right now, pause it and take a guess at it. Maybe ask a few people, see who gets closest to the real answer. I've got the actual U.S. Census government data as of last month. I'm going to hit you with a hard fact here in a second that's going to blow most people's socks off, and that's a little hint where we're going here. Maybe a hint in the wrong direction, I don't know, but would it surprise you to know, Jeff, that if you put all of the U.S. retail in a pie chart, only 10% is online.
Jeff: That's incredible. How is that [crosstalk 00:37:45] even possible?
Jim Cockrum: Exactly. Our perception is that... Now, Amazon is half of that, so congratulations being the top-selling coffee brand, you know, small business coffee. You're up there with Folgers and Dunkin Donuts. You guys are killing it, and that's half of all internet transactions is Amazon, so half of that 10% is Amazon, half of all internet transactions. Basically, Amazon is 5% of retail if you're following me, and numbers are hard to do over audio sometimes, but to make it super straightforward, if we put all of the retail dollars that everyone in the United States is spending on a pie chart, tiny slice of that is online.
Jim Cockrum: Let's talk about our wagon trails west. Let's talk about the greatest time in human history to be alive. Let's talk about the opportunity that's right under your nose if you're paying attention. Are you kidding me? Only 10% of retail is online right now? Why are you not in the game? Especially when you consider if you wanted to launch a business at any time in human history up until the last 15 years, it meant you got to go to school, get an MBA.
Jim Cockrum: You better get good grades because you'll never attract good investors if you don't. You're going to ask for a bunch of investors to help you get a lease on a big building, a big property, get all of your ducks in a row legally. Make your product, make a bunch of it because if it sells, you got to have it ready to go. Hire a marketing team. You're hundreds of thousands of dollars and years into the process before you launch a Death Wish Coffee, for example.
Jim Cockrum: Thanks to the way the world works now, you make a few units or you borrow a few and relabel a few units with an idea you have. You flip it out there and you see if it works. If it does, you buy a few more. You go inch deep, mile wide, meaning you try a few different ideas. You don't real deep on any of them. You don't spend a bunch of money. You just kind of test, test, test small. Suddenly, you land on this gold mine and you can start to dig deep into it, and then you go a mile deep. I missed the inch-wide concept like the world's strongest coffee and now you've got something. No one has had to write a big check and hope it all works out someday.
Jim Cockrum: That's the advantage of the tie we live in. That's the biggest change in business and in internet history and I'll restate it for anyone that missed it because it's a powerful question you just asked. For the first time in human history, we have the opportunity to test really small ideas in very low-risk ways, and with persistence and time, and I would argue not very much time at all, land on a household brand-
Jim Cockrum: And have Folgers. I love this visual, Jeff. This is a good way to end by just imagine the guys at Folgers or Dunkin' Donuts or these other coffee brands that you guys compete with. They've got the 52nd floor of some Downtown New York building and they're paying these guys 400 and $800,000 a year and there's 15 of them sitting around this table. These are the marketing executives at Folgers. Here comes Mike Brown with Death Wish Coffee, kicking their butt with a group of guys that just started selling coffee a couple of years ago and they put about $8,000 into it. Kicking their butt.
Jim Cockrum: That world has changed. Who wants to be next, man? The opportunity's there. I see it all day every day and I get the front row seat to some of these incredible stories like Mike's and others. That's the biggest change, great question, I love it, is anybody can do this at a low-risk way.
Jim Cockrum: You don't need an MBA, you don't need to go to college, you don't need investors. You don't need to fill your garage with product. Test small. If you see a little win, hey, go a little deeper. Win again, go a little deeper. Then, you're making money through the whole process. You're not taking a big risk. It's a great time to be alive, man.
Jeff: That's so inspiring and so incredible and eyeopening because, like I said, it seems Amazon has broken our brain because it seems like they rule everything and everybody buys everything off of Amazon. Obviously, my knee-jerk reaction is, "Oh, yeah, 70% of retail's got to be online because I literally have an Amazon purchase waiting behind my doorstep right now, but that's incredible, 10%. You're right. Everybody get out there and start a business, god damn it.
Jim Cockrum: That's exactly right, and on your way, jump over to silentjim.com, my free podcast or my Silent Sales Machine. It's a good way if you like the kind of stuff we talked about today, man. That book's five bucks, man. If you want a free copy, email our support team. We'll fire it over to you as a PDF. We still do that for people that want one. I'm not trying to sell books, man, I just love igniting entrepreneurs because they become great partners. They start great podcasts like this one, Jeff, and I get to be on their show. I love that process, the relational aspect of this. That's what fuels me, man.
Jeff: That's so awesome. One more time for everybody listening, silentjim.com. That's where you want to go, especially if you have that business idea you've been kicking around all of the time and you didn't know if you wanted to start it. You're probably some of the best resources out there to just get that kick in the butt and just go for it.
Jim Cockrum: Yeah, we'll destroy your excuses, too, man. You listen to our episodes of our podcast, we will destroy it. Formerly homeless, people who can't get out of bed running incredible businesses online. I'm telling you, man, we'll kick your butt if you've got an excuse list.
Jeff: That's so awesome. Jim, I can't thank you enough for coming on the show. It was really inspiring talking with you and I hope everybody listening feels the same way.
Jim Cockrum: The pleasure was mine. Give Mike a fist bump when you see him from Jim, all right?