Brad Post, Create the Movement, host
James Bullis, Ventin, president
Brad Post, Create the Movement, host: Welcome back to Create the Movement podcast. I’m excited to today to be sitting with a friend of mine. His name is James Bullis. James is the president of ventin.co. You can find James on LinkedIn, or at jamesbullis.com. Right James?
James Bullis, ventin.co, president: That’s it.
BP: How are you doing today, sir?
JB: I’m doing great. Living the dream.
- Ventin’s Origins and ‘Venting In’
BP: Awesome man. Glad to have you back to the office. Tell us a little bit about Ventin. Where did you come up with Ventin?
JB: Ventin is actually named after Ventin Surf. He’s one of the founders of the internet. I learned about him in college, and I happened to find him on Google. I sent him an email to ask him a question for a paper, and he actually responded. He gave me a great quote, and needless to say, I got an ‘A’ on that paper. But I’ve always respected him because he took the time out to reply back to me. So, when I was coming up with a new company name that just stood out to me.
There’s a few other reasons, too. It’s spelled like you’re venting in, and I like to hang out with subject matter experts. I like to vent in their information at websites. So, that’s where that name came from.
BP: I like it. I like it a lot. Tell us a little bit about what are some exciting things that are happening in your business right now. JB: I’m actually about a year in on Ventin itself. I’ve been doing this for, oh man, I’ve been coding for almost 20 years, and marketing for 10. Actually, back out on my own again for about a year now. So, that’s been pretty exciting. It’s been quite the learning experience.
BP: Because you worked for somebody for a long time. Right?
JB: Yeah. I did have a job in the industry, and that company actually went bankrupt. I was able to live off of some of those customers for a while. Just supporting them with websites and stuff. And then, I started getting back into do some work for, as an employee. About a year ago I just really decided that I needed to get out there and do it myself.
BP: Cool. Tell me a little bit about, you said you’re a year in. What kind of things have you learned, and where are you looking at in the next few years? Or, next year?
JB: I got turned onto a book called ‘The E-Myth’ which is, actually the mic is sitting on top of it right now.
BP: It sure is! That’s right.
JB: I got turned on to that book really just a few months ago. Once I read it, I realized I had a multiple personality disorder, and really needed to get all three of those things in the check. And so, I’ve been a technician for 20 years. I’ve been a manager for 10. Even though I’ve done work on my own before; I’ve never really developed an entrepreneur-level as an owner. And so, I’ve really been understanding what that role is and building that up.
BP: Where do you see your company in the next year?
JB: I think we’re going to really scale. I had an opportunity a couple of years ago to scale with a couple of big companies in Australia, and I wasn’t in a place to really be able to do that. Hitting up a conference where that opportunity came up and I’m really, really kind of looking for that kind of opportunity to show up. So, I’ve preparing my company to be able to handle that scaling if we get an opportunity like that to be able to grow my team pretty quickly. I think we’re ready to do that.
BP: That’s exciting. What conference is that that you’re referring to?
JB: It’s the Traffic and Conversion and Summit. It’s going to be in San Diego. It’s by Ryan Dice and the team from Digital Marker who are just amazing at what they do.
- Buying Process
BP: Awesome. One thing that you were mentioning before we hit ‘record,’ was that people buy process. Tell me a little bit more about that.
JB: A lot of times, as a web developer, and even as digital marketer, sometimes when we’re selling to people we get caught in the weeds explaining what it is we’re going to do for them. And really, they don’t care. After reading Simon Sinek’s ‘Start With Why,’ I really started going with that. But what I’ve really found sells myself is the process itself. And I started identifying that when I go to other companies, the company that I really trust are the ones that are really evident that they have a process.
For instance, I have never been to a Jiffy Lube before. But I pulled into a Jiffy Lube and every step of the process was carried out exactly, as they probably have a manual somewhere. And it seems kind of cookie-cutter, but I felt like I could really trust them. So I started doing that in my sales meetings with clients and they really cling to that. So, I’ve really found that having that process helps sell the products.
BP: That’s great. I know from the past year we’ve really been working on our process. As you know, when a client asks, “Hey, build us a pretty website,” or something like that like. We’re like, “Give us some examples of stuff that you’ve sent.” And you can send them examples and they look great, but we’ve really tightened up our process. So, “Here’s what the process looks like.” Rather than saying we’re selling a beautiful website, we’re selling them that process. “Here’s what it looks like.” We have a strategy call, you know. And you give them a timeline and it really helps.
JB: Before I got into web development I actually have years of experience in manufacturing. The place where I met my wife, we were a contractor for Boeing and they had the Book of Processes to do one thing was about 10 feet long.
JB: So, I had a really good understanding of processes, and when I took over my first web development team it took them about a year to get a website done. By the time we implement a process, we were doing them in two weeks. We can actually get a website done in about six hours now from start to finish because of the processes that we have.
- Best Business Advice Ever Received
BP: That’s awesome. What is the best business advice, James, that you’ve received?
JB: The best advice I ever got, I was an 18-year old kid. Thought I knew everything. Fresh out of school. And this guy looked at one day and he said, “You know, kid, you’ve got book smarts but you ain’t got a lick of common sense.” And that’s always stuck with me. Because, of course, the first thing I thought was, “How do I get common sense?” You know?
BP: Right. What book can I read to learn common sense?
JB: Exactly. So, it’s been over 20 years and I still haven’t figured that one out. What’s great about it is it’s really taught me that it’s not just about theory, but actually the experience of being able to execute. Once you actually live life, that’s how you actually get common sense.
Another important business advice that I got was the importance of having a mentor. I actually did a few years with a company called Mentorship Mastery. Where I learned about mentors and when I struck out on my own again I forgot that’s probably a good thing to have. I recently asked someone to be my mentor and he’s already really helping me in my business because he’s sees things from a different perspective. He’s a few steps further down the road than I am, so it really helps out quite a bit.
When I was deciding on whether to leave my, I had a pretty good job with a really good pay, and I was really distraught deciding whether I was going to leave and follow my dreams. But someone told me that, “Every moment that I don’t follow my dreams I’m robbing it from myself.” And so, that really pushed me over the edge to really pursue that.
- Recommended Books and Podcasts
BP: That’s good. What are some of the books that you can recommend to our listeners?
JB: Like I already recommended ‘Start With Why’ by Simon Sinek. It really helps you hone down that positioning. I actually tell all my customers there’s a Ted Talk with Simon Sinek, and every time we start getting into content or any type of positioning, I tell them you’ve got to go watch this video because it’s really going to help you out.
I like ‘Lean Startup.’ I was working with this startup one time, and they we’re telling me that they were ‘lean,’ and I didn’t actually know what that meant. So, I went and read the book and I realized that they’re actually not lean at all. But it gave me some great advice on really bootstrapping and trying to run as lean as possible. And really get to a minimum viable product with people. And so, when I build out stuff for my clients I use terminology like that. Tell them we’re really trying to get to that minimum viable product on how you can succeed online.
It’s been awhile since I read this book, but ‘Good to Great’ was really good. It really gave me these ideas on ascension planning – on how to just really take it to that next level.
And, of course, I already mentioned ‘The E-Myth.’ He just came out with a new one, ‘Beyond the E-Myth’ that I’m reading right now. If you haven’t read that one I absolutely recommend you read it.
I’m kind of an underdog junkie, so I reading underdog stories where people basically came from nothing. And a couple of great books, do you know how Ryan Blair is?
BP: Name looks familiar. It sounds familiar.
JB: There’s a company called ViSalus. They’re a multi-level marketing company. They were actually one the fastest growing MLMs because they implemented some social networking features for their agents. It was purchased by Ryan Blair and the first book that he wrote was ‘Nothing To Lose, Everything to Gain.’ It basically talks about he was this kid that was getting into trouble, getting into gangs and stuff like that. Basically, because of a mentor he was able to turn his life around and became really successful in a really short period of time.
And then, there’s a book called ‘The Secret of Success’ by Eric Thomas. A lot of your listeners will probably have heard some of his stuff on YouTube. He’s the hip-hop preacher. It’s a really great story about he lived in a really impoverished neighborhood and was able to succeed. It’s a good book.
BP: Is there any, besides Create the Movement’s podcast, is there any podcasts that you would recommend to our listeners?
JB: Yeah. I highly recommend Internet Business Mastery. It’s been around for, I think they’ve been around for over 10 years. I started to listen to them. I lived about an hour away and I would listen to an episode on my way into work, an episode on the way home. Basically, it’s a couple of guys, I don’t think they ever met initially, and they started doing this podcast. There’s a lot of podcasts out there that were spun off because of their podcast. It can teach you the foundations of everything there is to know about starting your own agency. They call them ‘Escape Stories’ and ‘Escaping the 9-to-5’ and stuff like that. It’s a really great podcast.
If you’re into digital marketing, I recommend Perpetual Traffic by Digital Marketer. It gives you the latest stuff on anything that digital marketers are doing.
And then, if you’re a startup junkie like I am, I like listening to Mixergy with Andrew Warner. That guy, I think he tries to interview somebody like every other day.
BP: Wow, really?
JB: He’s got 1500 episodes on there right now. You kind of lose track of where you’re at, but there’s great stuff. He has interviewed some amazing people.
BP: Wow. That’s awesome. Anything else James that you want to share with our listeners?
JB: I think that’s about it. I really appreciate the opportunity to come in here and just shoot the stuff.
BP: Yeah! Absolutely, James. Again, you can find Jame on ventin.co. That’s V-E-N-T-I-N-C-O. You can find him on LinkedIn, and then also at jamesbullis.com B-U-L-L-I-S. You said you’re launching a new websites here pretty soon?
JB: Yeah. We’re going to launch a new Ventin site, a new James Bullis site. And we’re actually going to be rolling out a new branding called MVP Brands. So, we’ll have onlinemvp.com. And we’re going to have a number of different MVP sites.
BP: That’s cool. I like it.
JB: We’re all about creating more viable prospects for our clients. That’s where MVP comes from.
BP: Awesome. Thanks for joining us, James.
JB: Thank you.