A Little Bit About The Host
Richard Shaull is a husband, father, and a visionary. Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs, he got bit by the "entrepreneurial bug" at a young age and has been involved in starting and running multiple businesses since.
After two of his businesses nearly killed him, Richard made it his mission to ensure other entrepreneurs didn’t go through the same struggles alone. To do this, he co-founded Unleashed, which helps match Founder CEOs with a 2nd-In-Command who can execute their vision, fast, risk-free and with a clear ROI.
Richard is passionate about helping other business owners go from playing "Chief Everything Officer" to an Unleashed CEO and lead a tribe of 10,000 CEOs and 2nd-In-Commands who build a wealthier future and the world’s best workplaces.
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Richard Shaull: Scaling a business is all about leverage. Utilizing technology correctly is one of the highest forms of leverage in modern times. However, when misapplied, you can waste tons of time and money. In today's episode, we interview Jordan Mederich, founder and CEO of DropFunnels, where they examine and discuss some of the best strategies for using technology to scale your company.
Jordan has garnered attention from top entrepreneurs and marketers online and DropFunnels is really the world's first only tech-free platform to build websites, blogs, sales funnels and SEO-powered logs, courses and more, built on the world's most powerful and fast infrastructure, WordPress.
Jordan's just an amazing, passionate entrepreneur and father. He's disrupted the marketing industry. He's an award winning filmmaker and he's just an outstanding person as well.
So Jordo, welcome to the show.
Jordan Mederich: Glad to be here, man. I appreciate you having me on.
Richard Shaull: Just so our listeners can get to know you a little bit, do you have a family?
Jordan Mederich: Yeah. Three boys, ages six, three and one. If it were up to my wife, she'd have 18 more of them. I'm not so convinced. So I'm happy at the moment. But yeah, a small or young family and we have a lot of fun. They're my favorite distraction from work that exists.
Richard Shaull: So good. Just occasionally, on one of our recent calls and conversations, I learned that butt punching is the thing in the Mederich household, so.
Jordan Mederich: Butt-punching, yes. It's more of a threat than anything, but if they're acting up, we just say, "Man, you're headed for a butt punch." What a weird thing.
Richard Shaull: Love it. I'm so excited about the topic we're going to tackle today. I know that you're a genius in this realm. Honestly, I partly want to do this episode as an excuse to pick your brain on this topic because it's been heavy on my mind recently, really revolving around how to use technology to scale your company. As founders CEOs, I think there's a delicate dance here, right? Where for some CEOs they are tech averse, right? They're used to kind of doing things manually, working through people, manual processes and paper, right?
Then you have CEOs like me and like our company was for many years who bought every SaaS platform on the planet. I'm sure we helped boost the growth of that industry. But at the end of the day, we were duct taping together all of these tech solutions to try to accelerate our vision. Then I think there's this last category that I'm really in right now, where you have CEOs trying to navigate what proprietary technology they need to build for their unique business. How do they budget for it and not go bankrupt in the software development process?
So I'm so excited to dig into this because Jordan, I know you have not only successfully developed technology for multiple of your companies that you own, but it's something that you provide, right, as one of your companies being a SaaS platform to entrepreneurs, helping them think about an integrative solution to many of the challenges they face in their business using technology. So to start this conversation, I'd love, Jordan, if you could kind of frame up maybe most of all for the people who are in camp one and camp three, the tech averse, the person who's trying to build the future, what do you believe the opportunity is for entrepreneurs when it comes to using technology to scale their company?
Jordan Mederich: Yeah, I guess I would say from my perspective, I would really lump the first two into one category of being a consumer and the final one being a producer. You are crafting and innovating on your own to solve a specific problem that you're facing. So I think that there's way too much software out there. It's a very competitive space, especially for us where we're trying to innovate in what many would call kind of a red ocean market. It means key differentiations are absolutely critical. I think that parlays into whether you're developing or purchasing software. It's like the small hinges that swing the big doors, because so many platforms can do virtually the same thing, right?
We built DropFunnels on a WordPress infrastructure, but we do all the hosting, all the tech, the plugins, update security, all of that. For other people, yeah, they can go to old school WordPress, install their own stuff and tinker and build and build some custom code for themselves and all those things. So really, often I find that the biggest differentiator between a platform that gets adopted versus one that doesn't or one that you can build that can help to solve a problem for you, the most critical thing is about speed.
One of our biggest selling points is site or page load speed, where all of our pages load super, super quickly. So that helps with a lot of conversions. But I think in the general sense, that focusing on both speed to market, but also speed of implementation is what separates a lot of platforms. There are tools out there that can take you 10 minutes to get set up and it's their big differentiator, is that you can get up and running today, right?
Other platforms, and I'd say that we lump into this camp, is that there's a lot of things that you can do so you're kind of figuring out where things are and how you can implement those various systems. So every day I'm thinking about how we get people to adopt the platform as soon as possible. The best platform on the planet, Facebook, is literally using us as a bunch of guinea pigs, like a bunch of mice in a kind of a maze and testing things on us all the time to see how we get people to adopt and stay and be on the platform and give us their attention. So I think the speed aspect as both a consumer but also a producer is of high importance.
Richard Shaull: That's so interesting that you use the word speed because speed has been something I've been emphasizing with our team over and over and over recently, both the market's perception of how fast we can deliver our product, right, as well as from a fulfillment standpoint, how fast and efficiently can we deliver the product and reduce labor costs in the process. That's where a lot of our questions around technology are coming into play right now. When I think about the opportunity as you just said with technology, the reality is that I think a big opportunity is speed, right? You can speed things up. AI can do things at all hours of the day that just humans just can't do, right?
Technology can follow processes religiously that might break down via human error. Peter Thiel has this amazing book called Zero to One that I'd recommend to anybody listening, and in it, he talks about the future of humans and computers working together. I think that's such a good example, but one of the great opportunities as you just put it so well is speed. I also think about Amazon and some of the greatest companies on the planet, with their business models, they focus on speed and ease, making it fast and easy to do what they do and technology absolutely can make it, if used correctly, faster and easier to deliver what you do and satisfy the people you serve.
Jordan Mederich: Yeah. Boy, it's loaded. It's a loaded topic. But it's critical. I think it truly is the key differentiator in many cases.
Richard Shaull: I love that you just said it's a loaded topic though. Because I hear the hesitation and that brings me to my next question beautifully, which is what would you say though, Jordan, is a commonly held belief about technology in business that you passionately disagree with?
Jordan Mederich: There's a total underbelly to technology that is riddled with unethical, anti-integrity, both motivations and people that is just right below the surface. So for us, we found that there are a lot of technology platforms because here's the concept, is that software, a lot of people don't want to pay for software, right? They're happy to pay for a human being to do a thing. But in many cases, software tends to be kind of like a low ticket recurring type of model and people don't want to pay for that because it ends up being just a subscription that they have to pay for, even though it's doing a lot of the heavy lifting for them.
So what that means is that in many cases, it's a pricing race to the bottom. So the companies that are hosting these, they have to find some way to drive additional revenue than just being price competitive, right? So you have to be price competitive in some way or have some complete blue ocean feature that no one else has and its proprietary and people can only go to you for that one thing, which is a unicorn situation. So if you have to be price competitive and you're looking to grow revenue, the only way to make more money is to increase the revenue you get from your current customers or go get more customers. That's the only two options that you have.
So unfortunately what that means, and we've seen this happen, is that especially in the marketing space, there are platforms that will actually go into your account and take your customers, even pixel your customer's data and sell to your customers when you are marketing to them, and for me, is so unethical and is probably illegal and probably isn't enforced or policed very far because it's hard to confirm, but I've just seen this happen. I've seen people who'd been affected by this kind of stuff. I completely oppose that.
So for me, our only source of revenue, period, is when people buy from us or invest in us to buy a subscription. We never sell their data. We never promote other offers necessarily to our list or sell our customer information at all. We've just taken that firm stance. Even though that means less revenue for us, it means that I can sleep better at night knowing that I've treated people well and I've respected those boundaries, right? But I think that that's the underbelly right underneath the surface is what happens not only to your data, but your customer's data as they're coming through a particular platform. Where does that go?
Frankly, some of these platforms charge like $100, $300 or whatever, and people are sending millions and millions of hits in traffic to their own marketing infrastructures, there's no way that the company's profitable for that. They just aren't. They're definitely losing money on bandwidth and resources and support and tech and all of that. So they have to find some way to make that happen. So there's two ways to do that. There's the law of averages is that some people on those plans won't use that amount of resources or, and unfortunately some brands will do this, they'll find some way to kind of leach value off of your customer's data which is what I would say is the number one red herring. It's the number one thing in the space that I'd stand against.
Richard Shaull: Wow. That's huge. I've always wondered, to be honest, what the business economics of some of these SaaS platforms are, because it seems like the numbers don't add up sometimes when I just do back of the envelope math.
Jordan Mederich: They don't.
Richard Shaull: That's actually very insightful.
Jordan Mederich: Yeah. They don't. That's right.
Richard Shaull: That's very, very, very insightful and alarming, which is why data privacy, I think, is becoming such a big issue, probably mostly because of the discovery of that. So that said, that's the scary side of tech. What would you say for a founder or CEO who's listening to this and going, "I know that technology is a form of leverage for my business. I know that I want to develop technology in the future"? What are some of the common mistakes that you would counsel them to avoid proactively when trying to use or develop technology to scale their company?
Jordan Mederich: Yeah, I would, again, put these into two camps. One is the consumption side and the other is the producer side. I think your investment is radically different in both categories. Your perspective and intent is radically different. So as a consumer, specifically, even though I have very much an incentive to not say this, I think it's important to get a complete view of what's available in the market, right, and to understand the key features, company cultures, levels of support. It's deeper than just the price point of a particular software.
In many cases, the least expensive, that is, the least pricey option is not always the best, right? You're going to be sacrificing in another area. Also, the most expensive might not be the best option for you either. So some platforms, and I guess I don't need to name names, but anyone can probably guess based through experience that if you're... There are some platforms that 'll get into the tens of thousands of dollars a month based on your usage, and I guess that makes sense for those economies of scale, but you have to be aware of not only the initial but also the ongoing price of operating within that ecosystem.
So all SaaS founders are looking for a way to create an irresistible offer to get somebody into their ecosystem and to help them to adopt it, right? That's the number one goal. So for that, I think a consumer just needs to know, it's not just even about the feature set, it's not just about the current pricing model or any of that. It's what's going to be down the line in three, six or 12 months from now. Are they innovating? Have they been releasing new features really often? Do they have great support? Let me put in a ticket before I even sign up to find out how quickly they respond.
Those are some considerations, and to look back at the change log and say like, "Have they iterated? Have they continued to build?" Because it's kind of like a marriage when it comes to software. So I think it's important to just be aware of the options out there. When it comes to producing software, I think it's, boy, it's a completely different thing. It's a way bigger infrastructure. But just like for me, I was using WordPress and ClickFunnels and Kajabi and LearnDash and this and that and duct taping all these things together. I was like, "There has to be a way to just bring these all into one," and get the technology benefits and the psychology benefits of sales funnels, et cetera, and to build it into an area where a no code person like myself can go in and build anything that I want.
I was effectively solving my own problem. So I think for producers, the biggest thing to consider is that whether you're just developing an internal software to solve your own problem, or not, if you are solving your own problem, you're very likely solving thousands of other peoples' problems. I think any software is wise to develop with an end customer in mind, instead of retroactively trying to go back, clean it up to make it possible for public sale.
Richard Shaull: That's huge because that ties in so well to something I've been chewing on recently, which is, first of all, having a clear vision for where we are now, where our company needs to go, what the actual gap is, and then what obstacle technology is actually going to remove to help me get from here to there. That will, as a consumer, help you choose better software platforms. We just went through this exact process where we streamlined down from having tons of duct tape software to having one or two key core integrated systems that everybody's operating off of. The single source of truth, as I like to call it, has changed our business, where we have very clear data and dashboards in one cohesive place that we can measure and track as a business. That's kind of more on the consumer side.
On the producer side, as we look at developing proprietary technology, I love what you just said, which is starting with an end customer in mind, because some of the things that I want to develop to help founder CEOs kind of match with their second in command and execute their vision more effectively, have the support they need in scaling harmoniously as a unit, as I look at that technology, I have a clear vision for how enterprise level customers in the future will need I believe that exact same function that we're building for our business, right? It's actually really, really interesting that you brought up that point.
In some ways, if you're going to invest, invest with a clear vision and somewhat of a clear plan of how to profit in the future, because developing technology is expensive. You should go into it understanding that if you're going to develop it. So go into it not because it's cool or sexy or it's a cool buzzword or whatever, go into it knowing what problems is it going to solve for you in the short term and then is there long term enterprise value and marketability of what you're going to build? Because, hopefully the entrepreneurs in the back would say amen to, why not kill two birds with one stone? Why not sell it twice?
Jordan Mederich: I think it definitely depends on goals, but I think even if you look at it through the lens of solving a problem for somebody else, you're going to actually improve the product for yourself at the same time.
Richard Shaull: So true.
Jordan Mederich: Because I'm guilty of having built features that only I cared about. I thought it'd be this big hoopla rejoicing. I release this feature and everyone's like, "Oh, this is crazy cool. I love this. I'm making so much more money now. This makes my life easier. I'm happier. I'm sexier now." Right? Just didn't happen in that case because I found out that it was very much just either egoism or just solving a specific problem for me, but it wasn't for the market. So you have to be kind of aware of those things.
Other ones, even someone might suggest to us kind of a feature that I'm like, "Well, that's not really a problem I'm facing right now, but hey, let's build it in anyway. We launch it and people go crazy." So I think it's a double edged sword for sure to develop not to be held to the demands of the market, but if your goal is to sell it to them, then it's as critical to listen to them as it is your own individual business goals.
Richard Shaull: So good. That ties back to what we were talking about earlier as far as talking to your customers and the importance of that. Maybe we'll do another episode on that topic another time. As we start to come to a close here, Jordan, I would just say, could you give the people listening somewhat from your own experience, working with other founders, working with your clients at DropFunnels and your own experience at DropFunnels, what are some of the simplest ways you found that founder CEOs can leverage technology to grow their company, to increase speed and ease? What would you say are a couple of the strategies or use cases for technology that come to mind for you?
Jordan Mederich: Boy, I think, yeah, again, it's kind of loaded and so individual based on where somebody's at. As much as we want someone to stay with us for a long time and adopt it and use it for a long term partnership, it actually behooves the consumer of someone who's buying or adopting new technology to ensure that you have an intent going into it. Like do I need this right now, or do I need this long term? A great example is AI copywriting software. There's a bunch of them who jumped out. There's probably 300 different AI copywriting software that came out and it was all based on OpenAI. It was based on Elon Musk's algorithm, right, based on that project.
It was able to spit out realistic copywriting verbiage that can help you to get something generated in terms of written form for blog posts or whatever. The problem when a new thing comes into the market like that, it's like, how often are you... If you're writing copy all the time and you need help with that all the time, great. Get in there and make that happen. Would it be better to actually just hire on a copywriter who can get done probably more efficiently, more quickly, and without the headaches of having to edit robot text into something that has intent and human voice? You just have to decide that ultimately for yourself.
But I think technology's our friend. Technology's here to make our life easier and better. Moore's law is going to tell us that it's going to double in innovation every two years or so. So we'll probably have flying cars in the next 10 years. We'll probably all be able to just click a button and a meal pops up in the microwave. I mean, who knows? But I can say, especially for us, if I don't take the view of starting to plan out now for what technology's going to look like in the next five years, which I think a lot of it is going to be built on blockchain, I think a lot of technology is going to be Web3 and built on decentralized platforms and whatnot. So we already enabled crypto payments, for example. So you can launch a sales funnel and collect crypto throughout it. The user adoption of that isn't here yet, but we're building for the future. So I think being future paced is a critical view either as a consumer to say something like, "Hey, I'm voting with my dollars for this company to guide us in the right direction of being innovative."
But if you're producing as well, I'd say, yeah, be aware and cognizant, but cautious about only solving a problem for right now and to kind of have that forward looking mindset.
Richard Shaull: Yeah. Super interesting. Thank you for that. I think one of the things that comes to mind as I was thinking about how you can use technology as a founder and CEO to accelerate your company or, as people love to use the term “scale”. But essentially it's just continuing to either drive revenue, reduce cost and not have them correlate with each other or correspond with each other, where a decrease in expenses doesn't decrease revenue or an increase in revenue doesn't increase expenses, right?
I think there's a couple things that come to mind. One of them is what you do so well at DropFunnels, which is marketing automation, and if you're not on that train as a CEO, I just want to say wake up because the future is here. The ability to be able to provide a highly responsive experience to leads is so critical, right? Speed to lead, the ability to easily present content to them that is fast and responsive online, the ability to get them to take action, the ability to be able to capture information and turn that into email sequences and nurturing and adaptive sales team follow-up and capturing that data, so there's more seamless handoff between sales and operations. These are things that you need to be thinking about to improve your overall customer journey and get more out of your marketing and sales efforts.
I think another thing that is just hugely under leveraged in a lot of entrepreneurial companies is automation, like process automation. There's a lot of really manual processes that if you were to evaluate, how could we automate this process, you would almost for sure find a solution. I would say in most cases, an easily adaptable and implementable automation. That doesn't mean that you have to replace all your people. It just means you're going to make their life and job easier and allow them to focus on the things that computers don't do well, which is thinking and problem solving in an abstract way versus a concrete and linear way.
Jordan Mederich: Yeah. As a footnote to that, I kind of have this general rule of thumb, and maybe it'll help anyone here, is that anything that you do more than three times a week that is not revenue producing needs to be automated, delegated or eliminated, period. It needs to be off of your plate. So collecting payments needs to be automated. Marketing automation for notifications or particular fulfillment processes can be automated as well. So if you can focus more of your energy on the human connection and sales and focusing on solving problems for the customer and let systems do what you're going to be doing consistently.
Onboarding is another huge thing. People are manually onboarding to all these things where you can, as simple as putting it into Zapier and you put in, you push a button and suddenly this person's onboarded and has everything that they need throughout a process, it's pretty impactful stuff.
Richard Shaull: Very, very impactful.
Jordan Mederich: Yeah. I think it's that rule of three. If you do it more than three times a week, if you're going grocery shopping more than three times a week, even in your personal life, you need to get meal delivery just done for you, set up your grocery checklist, have it shipped to you or have it for Walmart pickup or whatever it is, right? But to get away from just repetitive manual tasks frees up every CEO.
Richard Shaull: So true. So true. Well, as a resource from our conversation today, I would invite any CEO listening to, again, get Peter Thiel's book, Zero to One, love him, hate him, love or hate the book, it will challenge your thinking on the entrepreneurial landscape of the future and how to think about using technology and humans and computers working together to actually build a better world. So Jordan, how can listeners find out more about you online? We're about to do our lightning round in just a second, but before we do, if they wanted to find out more about you or DropFunnels and what you guys could do to help them automate and scale certain aspects of their marketing and sales, how would they find you?
Jordan Mederich: Yeah. So www.dropfunnels.com is a great place to kick off and find out if it's going to be the right tool for you. If anyone's got to this point, it's a pretty heavily filtered and high intent conversation. So anyone who wants to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, J-O-R-D-A-N. Email me with any questions. If I can encourage you or point you in the right direction with resources, whether you use DropFunnels or not, I kind of believe in the Miracle on 34th Street type of ethos. So let me know how I can help you there And would be happy to point you in the right direction.
Richard Shaull: Love that. All right. Now we're going to do our lightning round.
Jordan Mederich: Let's go.
Richard Shaull: Hope you're ready. Here we go. What's the best dessert on the planet?
Jordan Mederich: Triple chocolate mousse cake.
Richard Shaull: Oh, wow. Good answer. On a day off from work, what are you doing?
Jordan Mederich: Fishing.
Richard Shaull: Where?
Jordan Mederich: There's a honey hole that not many people know. It's called Mud Lake out by my house and there are some whoppers in there because no one really knows that it exists. So it's my little secret spot.
Richard Shaull: This is one of my favorite questions. What's something you do as an entrepreneur that drives your team crazy?
Jordan Mederich: I change things all the time. They hate it. I'm just changing. I'm sure people can relate. If you're having to fulfill a CEO's vision all the time and they're constantly changing new things or aspects or whatever, it'll drive them nuts. So I'm working on pulling back from changing things super often.
Richard Shaull: Jordan, thanks so much for being here. My last question to you, what are you most excited about in the years to come?
Jordan Mederich: You know what, I think in the next coming years, because COVID kind of threw me back into a very non-connected state, not going to events, none of that stuff was happening, no connections to other people, and it's become very remote. I'm excited to intentionally build more in-person connections with people, live events, maybe even moving to another area with more entrepreneurial minded people. So over the next couple years. I'm excited about technology innovation and how we can be part of that conversation. But ultimately, personally, I would say interpersonal connectivity with other people is going to be huge for me.
Richard Shaull: Fantastic. Well, Jordan, again thank you so much for being here on the show and sharing your incredible wisdom with our community.
Jordan Mederich: My pleasure.
Richard Shaull: There it is. I am so glad we got to dive into this incredible topic around using technology to scale your company today. Thank you for being a part of this community. We want to do everything we can to continue to bring you great business building content. This is my gift to you as a fellow entrepreneur. In return, I'd ask that you broadcast this message further to future listeners by rating the show wherever you consume it, and of course, sharing it on social media so others can benefit from the content that's impacting you as well.
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