In today’s episode, Mike talks to Igor Kheifets, the world’s highest-paid email marketer. Igor specializes in helping average people break the link between their time and their income.
Igor Kheifets’ Biography
He’s the Amazon best-selling author of List Building Lifestyle: Confessions of an Email Millionaire, a book where he tells the story of how he went from scrubbing ketchup off plastic trays as a Burger King bus boy to becoming a cash millionaire before his 25th birthday using nothing but email. Igor specializes in helping average people create multiple streams of income using nothing but their laptop and an internet connection without previous experience or lots of free time. Get Igor’s book at https://igorsbook.com today.
Questions in This Episode
- What is the List-Building Lifestyle and what is list building?
- What led Igor to create a team that is 100% remote?
- What are some key factors in the success of managing a remote team?
- How does Igor make known the goals and deadlines to his team?
- How does Igor differentiate the types of people he uses on his remote team?
- What are some insights that Igor has learned in managing teams?
- How can people reach out to Igor and learn more about the List-Building Lifestyle and his podcast?
Links & Resources Mentioned…
- Website – https://igorsbook.com
- LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/igor-kheifets-891411163
Mike O'Neill: Welcome back to the Get Unstuck and On Target podcast. I'm Mike O'Neill with Bench Builders, and we help companies solve the people problems that are slowing their growth and hurting their profits. Joining me today is Igor Kheifets. Igor specializes in helping the average person create multiple strains of income using nothing but their laptop and internet connection without previous experience or lots of free time.
His book "List-Building Lifestyle Confessions of an Email Millionaire", is a bestseller where he tells the story of how he went from scrubbing ketchup off plastic trays as a Burger King bus boy to becoming a cash millionaire before his 25th birthday using nothing but email. Welcome, Igor.
Igor Kheifets: Great to be here.
Thanks for hosting me. I'm really excited about this.
Mike O'Neill: There are two things that I was really interested in spending time with you. I'm glad you're part of us. One, I would love to be able to touch kind of how do you did what you did and to what extent are you continuing to do that type of thing. But one of the things that we talked about in the conversation we had before booking this podcast is the fact that you have a team that is 100% remote, and not only is that team 100% remote, they are spread across the world, and I would like that to be the primary theme of this conversation.
But in the meantime, I'd like to go on, if you don't mind, share with our listeners, List-Building Lifestyle. Can we just start at the, at a fundamental, what is it we're talking about when it comes to list building?
Igor Kheifets: Yeah. List building is the process of generating email subscribers on your database and being able to follow up or email these email subscribers with offers and value.
And therefore, I ended up coining the term list building lifestyle. I can track virtually every single dollar I've ever made online back to my email list. It's been probably the backbone of my success. It's something I can always lean on. It's something I can always count on. And anytime I'm in a cash crunch or launching a new project, I always go back to my list.
Now there is another level to it. And that is, there's a whole world out there of companies and people who own email lists, where all we do is rely on each other to promote each other, to our email databases. So for example, this past year, and as we're doing this, I'm kind of looking at, you know, at our numbers for the year, this past year about, 40% of our revenue actually came from email drops or mailings that other people did for us.
So in other words, I didn't have to fly out to seminars to speak. I didn't have to go and get cold media. I didn't have go and try to come up with social media content or anything like that. All I have is one offer and I've got partners who are willing to email their lists or their list with this offer and on a commission split basis to promote it as a result, helping me build up my customer base.
So I live in this world of email or lists and it's all, by the way, it's all, legal and white hat. This is not like, you know, we generate or buy or scrape lists. No, we generate them in an opt-in fashion, opt-in form, meaning we get, we obtain permission from people to send them offers and we just build these database and profit from having them and being able to constantly send promotions and offers to these databases. If you notice, by the way, it's been somewhat of a trend since covid more and more companies and more and more businesses actually shifted towards email. Your inbox probably is a little bit more, I'd say stuffed, you know, than it used to be. There's more and more people and companies mailing you with different things, and the reason is because they're finally starting to catch up on the fact that in the entire online media world, and even considering the offline media, still in the entire media world, email is the media, the channel that produces the highest return on investment.
According to some recent stats, we're talking up to 40 times. Every dollar invested in the, in email actually produces over 40 times the ROI compared to social media, Facebook ads, or anything else. Truly a standout in a really crowded media world right now.
Mike O'Neill: You know, that's interesting because what we're really talking about is something that's been around for a while and what you are pointing out to us is that done right, it can offer 40 times return on investment.
Clarify, if you might, you have built a business around this whole notion of list building and all of its reconfigurations and the like you said, something about you have a compelling offer. You have one offer, what is that offer that you have?
Igor Kheifets: It's really simple. I really believe that you only need one good offer to make a million dollars, whether offline or online.
Because once you've got a compelling offer, then it all becomes a question of how can we get more targeted eyeballs to the offer? So this year our main focus is on our e farming offer, which is a 90 minute webinar, and a $997 coaching program. This has been the single focus for me this entire year.
And my whole job after creating this offer and optimizing it, my, my focus every day what I would wake up, there's only be one question in my mind. How can I get more email traffic channeled to this offer, which means can I go shake some hands and get some partnerships in place with companies that got big lists.
For example, in the coming couple of months I got lined up a few big lists. One of them is a real estate list or real estate. How to make money in real estate list. Over 200,000 people. Another list that I got lined up is also over 200,000 people. It's a list that focuses on helping businesses get funding.
So, another one that I got lined up real soon with over 40,000 people on it is a list of people interested in entrepreneurship and online career. So these are, we're talking really targeted email lists that are gonna be primed by their guru, if you will, because every list has a guru unless we're talking, you know, brands like Adidas and stuff where there's really no one face.
But most brands, most businesses, that own an email list usually have a spokesperson or a guru, or a face or a persona, if you will. So that persona will be mailing those lists and telling them to come and attend training, with me about e farming. And that training will be what I. A 60 30 training.
So 60 minutes will be pure value in teaching and 30 minutes will be a pitch to my $997 program. And, that will be it. That's the offer. Now, everything else, is kind of like bells and whistles around it. So the key is the offer, which is the 90 minute thing. However, once that offer is done and somebody attended the webinar and didn't buy, right, we've got a series of follow up campaigns with down sales reduced offers.
You know, same thing, but maybe at a lower price or a payment plan. So we do all kinds of stuff, but it's still all sort of, bowing down to the initial offer and seeing the whole journey that the customer takes through through that initial experience or initial exposure to the primary offer.
And this is where the email list comes in handy, because the way we get people who say, got exposed to the webinar who didn't buy. The way we get in front of them again for free by the way, is by emailing them, right? We basically go back and we say, Hey, you know, it seems like you've attended the webinar last week and you didn't buy, and we can appreciate that.
Maybe the price was too high. Maybe you just timing wasn't perfect. So, you know what we are releasing a reduced a stripped down version of this for just X, right? And you basically downsell to a slightly different modified version of the program. Maybe you strip the bonuses, maybe you reduce number of module.
But you still allow somebody who wants to get in but isn't willing to commit at $997 right now. You're still allowing them to come in. And again, it's done through the email list, right? In other words if I didn't have the ability to go back to these people through by the means of mailing them and saying, Hey, you know, this is what happened, and this is where, you know, we're willing to take you to the next step.
The only reason that's even possible is because they gave me their email address initially when they signed up to the training, as well as the permission for me to email them.
Mike O'Neill: Igor, people who subscribe to this podcast I can describe as being business leaders, but entrepreneurs in particular. And one reason I wanted you to kind of share that story is you're an entrepreneur, you have found something and an approach that has worked well for you. I will include links to what you just shared in the show notes. So if you're listening to Igor and you wanna find out more about that, be assured that will be included. I'm speaking to you from United States, you're in Canada and you have built a team that's 100% remote.
Tell us a little bit more about that. You have made a decision to stay 100% remote or maybe you always were 100% remote. Let's start with that. What led you to go remote? Is it what most people would expect?
Igor Kheifets: You know, it it's a good question because I never really thought about it consciously. Most things I do intuitively.
I kinda decide right now and do it right now. I'm very good at kinda implementing right away. Right. It's the one thing that I've always had. It's the ability to just jump in. However you know, sometimes you do need to be a bit more strategic. And it did hurt me every now and again in my development.
So with my team I think over time I came to realize that I'm just a terrible, terrible, terrible manager. I think I'm like the worst person you can have in the office trying to manage a team on-site, and I learned it a few years into few years into my development as an entrepreneur because I, having started online, having built my first business online, I kind of was forced to hire people online as well, because I grew up in a small town in Israel where most people didn't even speak English.
And we are operating in an English marketplace, let alone the technical aspect of it. You know, webinars, email list and things like it. So in my hometown there was maybe 35,000 people big. It was a hick town down south in Israel nearby the Dead Sea. So if you ever travel to the Dead Sea, you probably are, you're probably passing my town.
It's called Arad. A lot of people stopped there for gas and a burger. It has actually has a really cool place called the Muza that has a really good burger, which I would highly recommend. You, you visit as well as if you're a soccer fan, that place is basically covered with all sorts of soccer memorabilia and scarfs and jerseys and stuff.
So like the entire place, I'm talking like, there's no s there's no space on a wall or in a ceiling where there isn't like some sort of soccer related thing. And I contributed two scarfs actually to that place myself. One from from a Barcelona Game and another one from a Manchester United game.
So, that I, I kind of, sorry.
Mike O'Neill: That was, but that's, no, I've never gotten a restaurant plug in Israel. So now we know the, one of the best burger places you can go. Yeah. In Israel, you may be on your way to the Dead Sea, so no problem at all.
Igor Kheifets: Yeah. On the way there or on the way back. It's called the Muza, one of the best burgers.
It's actually voted top 10 in Israel for burgers, which is saying a lot. And it also has a really good Belgian beer. So if you're a beer lover you'll be able to to drink some Belgian beer there. So anyway in my town there was no, there were no qualified people. And so my initial set of team members were freelancers from distant locations.
I actually ended up hiring two people from Lithuania. Which was a bit unexpected to me. But these were guys that were young entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial minded guys kinda like myself, who became interns with me, and then, you know, kind of became, you know, a part of my team for a few years.
But later on as my industry developed I've had more and more people hit me up in my hometown because they saw my development. They saw me go from a, basically a loser to becoming extremely wealthy, at least compared to what they're used to seeing in my hometown. Again, like I went from making nothing and working like these dead end jobs, and I call 'em starter jobs because you know, they really teach you some things about life that you ought to know.
But I went to making at least $250,000 a year very quickly. And in my hometown, that meant I was practically, you know, celebrity level you know, success. Because no one makes that kind of money there. I think there only were maybe two other people who were making sort of the same money.
But one of them was a criminal who later went to jail. He was a racketeering kind of fella, and the other was a real estate mogule who, like a tycoon of sorts, you know, like the guy who won the Monopoly game because he owns all real estate in the Dead Sea and its surroundings. So, a lot of the real estate for the shopping mall and some of the hotels that are, you know, right there on the coast, he actually owns it.
He ended up moving to Malibu and, you know, so his son ended up running the Empire. So, but we're talking a guy in his fifties who really succeeded. And here I am in my early twenties making a boat load of money. So what ended up happening is a lot of the people who knew me from before, they started hitting me up and they started asking me to teach them what I do.
And some of them I end up taking on as coaching clients, but some of them I end up taking on as employees. And I end up building this team a small team of maybe three to five people from all sorts of backgrounds of all sorts of technical skillsets and we start working in a coffee shop together.
So you have to understand just how unprofessional I am, where, you know, at a business that was producing at that point, between two 50 and half a mill a year, US dollars, it was run by myself and four other people who would meet up in a coffee shop. Put two tables together, kind of slide them in together so we could all fit.
And we were just sitting in the coffee shop all day with our laptops doing this thing. Now obviously people all around us would see us all day long, every day, and they would approach us and ask us what we do, et cetera. So that was a bit distracting. But Being, being what it is. At some point I said, you know what, we gotta get an office.
So I go and I rent an apartment not an office space because I figured I'd save some money by not having to pay like commercial lease and not have to take on a commitment for like five years. So I went on and I got an apartment where we could all fit, we would all go there. And we were trying to keep it a secret as well, what we were doing there.
And this was my first office like experience that made me truly feel like I had a job. I would wake up, I would go there, I would finish at five, go back home. And I hated it. I hated it for two reasons. First, it truly did feel like a job. Very much so, very boring in spite of what I was doing was really exciting.
But because I had to go to the same place and come back every time, and it was like a closed environment and it sounds like a coffee shop that was open and spacious and different people coming in and out, and I could people watch sometimes and. It was totally different. It was just very boring and predictable, mundane, kind of like matrix-like experience for me.
And the other thing which I hated even more, I was constantly micromanaging everybody. I was looking at what people were doing and I was always looking up to them, looking at their laptop, seeing what they were doing, and they were talking to each other. I would find it annoying and I would basically, I was miserable.
I was absolutely miserable. And very quickly, within maybe six to eight months or so, we got rid of that apartment. We you know, we paid the lease, you know, and just got out and went back to the coffee shop. What really ended up happening from that point to make a long story short, is a lot of the people couldn't really continue working from a coffee shop.
They actually preferred to work from home. So I said, okay, go work from home. And you know, I continued to go to the coffee shop every now and again. One of them would join me if they got bored at home, but I stayed working at a coffee shop. I never worked from my home office until I moved to Canada.
And they continued to work from home. We of built a remote management system where I don't have to micromanage anybody. However, the secret to making it work, in my opinion, is deadlines and project goals. In other words, whoever's working on anything, right? They know what they're working on.
They know what the deadline is to finish it, and they know what the criteria is for success. And that's probably like the biggest thing early on, but eventually, they all developed. I mean, I guess not all of them. Some of them got fired, but many of them developed to completely self-sufficient people goal-driven that don't need me to micromanage them.
So it sort of evolved on its own at that point. And I think I got really lucky with quite a few great key people on my team. I really can't give them enough justice or stress this well enough. Good people will thrive, whether it's remote management or in-person management. So I got lucky with a few key people who ended up hiring people on their own.
And so the team ended up growing with me, without me having to be involved in every level of that team. So these days, the team has grown to a point of like, I believe it's about like, I don't even know how many, but if you take all the teams. I would say it's at least 20 people. So, but I don't know most of them, I don't talk to most of them.
I actually communicate with about six or seven of them on any given day because that's really how many you can communicate to before you wanna blow your brains out.
Mike O'Neill: Igor, you've given us a really interesting backstory as to why you went to remote. Most people listening probably went to remote out in necessity in response to covid.
This work from home was kind of forced on them. We're recording this in December of 22 is this will go live in the first quarter of 23 and Covid is still alive and well here now what? Two and a half? Three. Three and plus years. But you chose to do this because you found that working in that type of confined setting did not work.
And you found that as you grew that there were some people who were more naturally inclined to a 100% virtual environment. But you just said something that's kind of interesting. You've got a team of approximately 20, but in daily interaction, you're gonna only be speaking with a small number of those six or seven.
And you said that the key to success for virtual work is deadlines. If I heard that correctly. What have you found? Deadlines shared understanding of what the goals are. Can you elaborate a little about that? You're managing a remote team. You're working primarily with six to seven of the 20. How do you make known these deadlines?
How do you make known the goals that you're working towards the and what they are working towards?
Igor Kheifets: Again, I think I got lucky in a way because when I launched my business and I was running it on my own I was forced into this mindset of having to deal with deadlines where everything I was doing usually was a bit like a mini project on its own, like when you've got an email list and you run promotions to the list, every promotion is a bit of a mini project where you've got a particular time when it's supposed to start, a particular time when it's supposed to end, and a particular set of things that need to happen in between.
So you wanna think of it an event, almost like, a little seminar. Right. That's how I think about webinars. I think of them as web seminars, which is what they really are, which means you've got the time when you gotta get people in the room the time when people are in the room, and the time when they left the room and you're following up with them.
So, coming, having, you know, been exposed to that part of the business for so often, a lot of the you know, many of the initial positions that I ended up hiring for actually included that, that was built in. So I had to structure my systems in my operations around different deadlines. So for example, if my team consisted of a copywriter who would write my email copy and myself, who would craft the offer, and one more person was a tech person who would be loading the emails or building the pages or doing that sort of stuff that I really hate to do, then, you know, it was very clear that we had to get all the assets in place before Monday January 15th or something, like if the promo was about to start there.
So there, there's a clear deadline right there that these things that we need to have in place need to happen way before January 15th. So if my first email for the promotion is supposed to go out on at 8:00 AM on Monday, then the email has to be created before 8:00 AM on Monday.
So it can be then given to the tech person who can load that email into the system before 8:00 AM on a Monday, preferably on a Friday proceeding that Monday. So the whole education that I've got life education that I've got through deadlines is is just something that happened out of necessity and I think without deadlines, nothing gets done.
I tried working in an environment where I would kind of give some of my team members creative freedom and I expected for them to make things happen, but that never happened. What I've learned is if you want to get the most out of your team, you want to outline a clear outcome that you're looking to create you, you then want to tell them what are the assets that they need to have in place before that project needs to start?
And then you wanna set a clear deadline. A super specific deadline down to the hour, not just the day or the week, down to the hour. And you must tell them that this is the deadline and this is when it needs to be done. Even if that deadline, by the way, is completely artificial, even if that deadline is totally made up.
And even if they know it and you know it, they'll still work towards that. There's a law that's called the Parkinson's law, and it states that the task or work will take as much time as it is allowed to take. In other words, if you assign a, a three hour block of time to writing an email, it's gonna take you about three hours to write an important email.
But if the, if you assign a 30 minute block to the same email, you will find yourself writing an email in 30 minutes. That is true. You can go and test it. You can, you know, tomorrow, now that you've listened to this podcast episode, you can go and, you know, try it out. You know, whatever task you've got and however much time you've assigned for yourself.
Cut that time in half. and try to do it in half the time, like create a deadline. That's half the time and you'll see that you'll be able to get it done. And so it works with employees and team members as well. Freelancers, or whether you hire them on a full-time basis it's always gonna be the same.
You're gonna set a deadline, you're gonna set an outcome and they're gonna go and figure it out. Now, the difference between, in my opinion, a superstar employee and an employee that isn't really a superstar, or at least doesn't really, isn't really trying to be one, is that a superstar employee doesn't really need you to sort of chew it for them, if that makes sense.
They don't need you to explain to them exactly every tiny little step what you know, how they need to go. You know, creating the task or making it happen while a non superstar needs you to create like a proper checklist. And if you ever read the book checklist if you didn't read the book checklist, you should the checklist manifesto.
You should read it. But if you didn't, let me give you the gist of it. Basically, every single big organization, be it a hospital, be it a tech company, be it a restaurant, whatever that is always works according to a checklist because when you've got a complicated set of steps and processes that need to happen before an outcome can be created, like for example, you know, taking an order from a customer at a restaurant and moving it all the way to the kitchen and seeing that order, order through and then delivering that order back to the customer, making sure the customer is happy, then, you know, getting that plate when the customer finished taking the plate, taking it back to the kitchen, making sure to upsell the customer with some dessert and whatever else involves, you know, involved in that process. When the process is long and complicated and you've got more than one person involved, what you wanna do is, you wanna break it down into microsteps and list it all in a checklist.
And every person who's responsible for any one particular part of that entire process needs to know to execute by the checklist. When I served in the Israeli military and they would send us to go do some fixing on the planes, whether it was like a huge, you know, cargo plane or like an F 16 fighter jet.
We would never be allowed to step in into the hangar without a book that was this thick where they had all the checklist for all the planes and you were forced. No matter how many times you've done this before, you were forced to flip open the book on the right page and go and follow the checklist even if you did it a million times before.
And actually, my older brother felt this kind of learned this lesson firsthand when he also used to serve in the Israeli mil military in the Air Force. He's about nine and a half years older than me, so he was in way before and he actually did not follow a checklist. He was responsible for some part of the pilot's cabin that has to do with the oxygen supply, and he missed one or two steps in the checklist.
As a result, they put him in jail for two months. Because he, you know, someone was reviewing his work and saw the mistake and they basically said, look, if we if this mistake wouldn't be found before the pilot would take off, that pilot would be dead or something. Or either he would crash or he would die or there would be a disaster.
So he got punished. He was put in jail for two months for this because he didn't follow the checklist. Now, this is a, an absolute mundane and normal occurrence in a place of business. If you think about it, somebody who's in works in a restaurant makes just as many mistakes, right? They forget to take your order in time.
They don't greet you correctly. They don't upsell you with dessert. They forget about your dietary preference and puts some avocado in your toast when you're not supposed to have avocado because you're allergic. You know, they make mistakes all the time. And I think the reason is because they don't, they aren't being taught to operate down to a checklist.
So, In my experience, there's two types of team members you can have. One is a superstar team member and the other one is not quite a superstar, but they also have a purpose to serve. So if you got a non superstar team member, put them in place in your system where you can have them just run the checklist and that would be their job.
Whatever the job is, it can always be boiled down to a checklist of steps. I got checklists for my customer support. I've got checklists for my webinar setup. I've got checklist for my email writing. I've got checklists for pretty much anything. Even my video editor has a checklist that he follows whenever he's taking a piece of content that I shot and turns it into a YouTube short or a TikTok video.
As the more checklists you can incorporate in your business, the happier you will be as a business owner because you'll be able to plug in people who aren't necessarily special in any way, who aren't brilliant, who aren't necessarily the most hardworking people who aren't, by the way, the most expensive people you can hire either because.
You know, some people, you know, they work from remotely, from Pakistan or Nigeria, where, you know, they get paid $5 an hour and that's good money for them. But for you, if you're based in North America or Europe, that's peanuts, right? So you actually get to bring in cheap workforce, have them follow a checklist
and get the job done in the exact same way as somebody who would be getting paid $31 an hour just because you hired them from North America or from a high quality European country, would've been getting paid for the exact same work. That's where you see more and more businesses these days go to websites like Upwork because they see how they can save a lot of money by simply structuring their checklist correctly and bring in people who don't, you know, don't seem like they can't even speak English correctly most of the time, but they can still execute the checklist just fine if the checklist is clear enough. So that's one type of o of people you can hire. The other type is key employees or key team members that take on positions where you need to do decision making, which we can talk about if you want, which I think is another really underrated skill when it comes to team building.
Mike O'Neill: I know that we have a limited amount of time left, and there are several things that you've mentioned I would love to kind of follow up on very briefly, and at the risk of missing something, if I was to recap your guidance to us is that the nature of your business lends itself to remote work, however, What you have done is you've paid attention, your team has paid attention to what are those standards, what needs to happen, and you've reduced every one of the functionalities to a series of checklists.
And what I'm understanding you to say is that if you do that right and you pay real careful attention and have the discipline, and you reinforce the discipline of adherence to the checklist, what that does is it gives you the business owner assurance that it's being done the way you intended it to be done.
and you've described that people who are good at checklists may not necessarily be good in other roles, such as decision making. So you have kind of differentiated the types of people that you use on your remote team. I suspect it's your decision makers who are the ones who are amongst your direct reports.
Is that a fair assumption?
Igor Kheifets: I'd say it's half and half. So with decision makers, I don't even see it as them reporting to me, it's more, more like a collaboration environment. Because what I learned is a superstar team member doesn't like you to confine them in a box, if that makes sense.
So in other words, there's some positions that require some creativity and you, if you micromanage them or checklist them too much you're smothering them. So they need to have a checklist that's a bit more loose, if you know what I mean. So in other words, there could there's, there has to be a set of standards that they know they need to sort of fit in.
However, there has to be enough creative freedom for them to roam within those standards so they feel like they're actually letting their creative juices flow. That's what I find with, you know, most positions that are key. And with people who are decision makers. And another thing that I've learned over the years is something I've been really bad at early on, is I would not allow any team member make a decision on their own without consulting me first, because I was just a control freak.
I built this business from ground up myself, and I was afraid to let go of pretty much every component. And I really felt that I can do the job better than each and every one of my team members. I still believe that to be true 80% of the time these days. But now I learned that there are some people on my team that can do certain parts of the job way better than me.
I'm talking like a whole other level. You know, I'm talking difference between Michael Jordan and the regular basketball player level. So I know they're like the Michael Jordan of that particular field or type of task. So I don't interfere with them. I don't try to smother and I don't really get micromanaging them.
What I do is I say, Hey, this is what we should have. This is the outcome we should create. Can you work on it? And they just go and they figure out like how to make it happen. But that's a really high level team member that I think if you've got a team member like that, if you're seeing that any one of your team members can't be that for you, this is the one to cherish.
This is the one to, you know, this is the one to really protect and embrace and make them happy. Other team members will be your loyalty members in a way where they will learn all your checklists, they will understand your vision, they will understand your thinking process, and they'll kind of become a version of you so you can step away and they can just replace you.
So they won't necessarily be as creative, but they will be way more reliable than you will be. So I'm talking people who even if they don't feel like working, even if they've got ridiculous health issues, even if they just went through a terrible thing like a divorce or something, you know, they will never allow themselves to not execute or to miss a deadline.
There's people like that, so they perhaps aren't as creative, but they make up for the lack of creativity, which I don't think is important for every single position in a company. I feel it is important, but not everywhere. These people will be so reliable that even if you get hit by a bus, you know your business won't fall apart, which I still place way more value on that than I do on creativity.
Although in recent years I've been kind of trying to balance it out at 50 50, I used to, I kinda look for that. I used to only look for that. I used to try and replicate myself, which I learned that it almost never happens. Maybe one out of 100 people you'll ever work with will be able to totally replicate you in your business.
But the problem with finding a person like that, and it did happen to me several times unfortunately, is they quickly realized they don't need me. So I've had it now at least three times. When I got someone, they showed potential, I started teaching them everything from the inside out, and I was really thinking that they can take over my business so I can step away only to realize that three to six months down the road, they quickly realized they don't need to meet, they don't need me for this, and they go and they start an identical business just like it.
Just like, you know, my own without letting you know, and sometimes they even take your clients with you. So it did happen to me. There was a nice fellow his name is Justin and he basically was becoming like a mini-me. He was doing a great job selling, he was doing a great job marketing. He could write emails, he could host webinars, he could do anything.
And I was like, wow, this is amazing. So I got Justin in on a revenue share and I said, you know what? Let me just give you a cut and take over and I thought, you know, I'm so smart, right? Because I've built this presence, this brand, and Justin would be coming in and really cashing in. And so thought Justin until a moment when he realized, Hey, wait a second, I'm doing all the work and Igor gets paid lion, you know, the lion's share of the money.
So he basically called up all my clients, which at the time were about 80 or 90 clients who were paying us $500 a month. And he said, Hey, I'm leaving Igor and I can give you the same service at half the price. So about half of them left abruptly within just a couple of weeks, he was able to poach about 40 of them.
My income went down and Justin disappeared. And I only found out what he did later when some of my clients came back saying, Igor, I owe you an apology. I shouldn't have listened to Justin. I shouldn't have gone with him. It was a terrible experience, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So, kind of hit me like a ton of bricks, know.
So, it does happen. So, but for this not to happen to you, don't look for the one person can replace you in every way. Instead, start building these micro micro projects, if you will. Like, if there's something you're doing that takes, that you are doing on your own, that you can really pull it off on your own, but it actually involves five different jobs, bring five different people.
Be okay with building a team that consists of five people and pay five salaries, or five projects, or five freelancers because nobody, and I repeat, nobody will bring the kind of effort, work ethic, and empathy to your business as you will. Nobody will sleep overnight over it again, maybe with the exception of one out of every hundred, but they're so rare.
They're unicorn. So you shouldn't hope to like run into one of them, but if you do, of course keep them. But for the most part I'll give you one last example. My podcast. So I got a podcast over at listbuildingliveshow.com. And I used to run this podcast myself with one producer. I would record all the content planet, plan it out.
I would have the talking points. I would source the guest. I would do everything besides audio editing. And that was just me for a couple of years until I finally realized what a mistake that was. And now there is a team of five people running that podcast, and I'm only involved in coming in recording the content and leaving.
I brought in a a content manager who handles the talking points, the content schedule. I brought in somebody who sources the guest for the podcast. I got somebody who produces the video and audio files, somebody who's in charge of the tech and somebody who's in charge of all the content on our website.
So there's five people doing a job that I used to do myself in a way.
Mike O'Neill: So for those people who have listened to this podcast, this is episode 112. I'll go ahead and tell you I don't have a team of five, but I do have some folks who helped me on the back end, you know, Igor, if you were to kind of characterize what just transpired, you just kind of gave us a masterclass on management.
I opted to not even interrupt you with questions because you anticipated what my next question was going to be. We started this conversation saying, how do you build and effectively manage a 100% remote team? And you did give us some insights there, but what you really shared with us is what you have learned in managing teams.
Now your team has been in place or virtual, but this master class you just did, you've given us some great insights and here's what else you've did, Igor, and that is you shared that there were things that you failed at, and it's that openness that I think it makes makes you someone people probably want to learn more about.
I know you host a podcast. So if folks have been listening to this and they wanna learn more about anything we've talked about the list building lifestyle, or to subscribe to your podcast, let's go ahead and get this on the audio. What's the best way for people to reach out to you?
Igor Kheifets: The best way to engage with me and to become a part of my universe is to check out our podcast at listbuildinglifestyleshow.com.
You can also find it on all the podcast platforms, Amazon Music, Audible, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and you name it. And that podcast really covers all the different topics about my business as well as businesses of my peers from that online marketing world, I also host best selling authors like Robert Kiosaki, Mark Manson, Les Brown came on the show actually a couple of weeks ago.
So we cover a wide range of topics, but it's all subjective or it's all geared towards, one thing is to give you more freedom, is to allow you to have more time without having to sacrifice your income or your lifestyle. So it's all about the lifestyle for me. I live here in a fairly modest house in the suburbs of Toronto. I mean, it's modest, but it's still expensive because it's Toronto and it's really expensive to live here. I work out of my basement as you can see. If I, you walk upstairs, there's gonna be my wife you know, doing something on her laptop or something like that.
So it's a pretty boring life, but, It's the life that I chose. I wake up, I go downstairs, I do my work. I work about six hours a day. And then, you know, my systems and my teams do the rest. Thankfully technology allows us to do it today, but I still find that most people don't know how to do it the other day.
You know, this is gonna be last story I'll share I promise. The other day I was at a friend's house. It was his wife's birthday, and he's a very accomplished dancer, not like a pole dancer or anything. He's actually like, he dances in competitions all across the United States and Canada. And he teaches people as well.
He's got a dance studio, so he prides himself on being like a dance champion and just a champion of life as well. Like he lives in this really large house up north, like huge territory. His wife is also very accomplished. They got two beautiful kids and it's like you look at their life and it seems so perfect and you know, but his main concern is outsourcing or team building to this.
he and his wife, him and his wife are the only people working that business. He constantly tries to find people to partner up with but can't because it's really hard to partner up with people because of personality differences and vision differences. And he is terrible. Absolutely terrible. He knows it.
I told him he's absolutely terrible at hiring people, and he always complains that people want to pay to get paid too much and that they do a bad job. So anytime he hires anyone for anything, you know, he, that's his number one complaint. And he ends up doing everything himself, all the way down to laying the bricks on the driveway because he doesn't want to pay some guy, you know, 15 grand to do it because it's too much and because he won't do a great job.
So he takes a whole 60 days to lay the bricks down, maybe two at a time. After. And coming after, you know, like a full day of dance practices when he was on his feet and dancing with people all day. And you know, I told him many times, look, you just need to figure out your checklists. You figure out your checklists, you'll be able to outsource at least half the things that you now find annoying or things that you can't do.
He can't even outsource his email bookings or his schedule bookings. Like everyone still has to go through him to book a dance class with. I mean, this is just a matter of something as simple as Calendly or a similar app that allows people to book themselves into your schedule, which I've been using for years.
But you see, I think that way and he doesn't, I refuse to think in any different way because if I didn't then I'd be overwhelmed to, to a point of just complete burnout like him. The only difference is I'm an introvert and I burn out really quickly. In fact, I ended up developing some back issues as a result of burnout.
When I was in my late twenties before I realized that I needed team members and how to leverage that. But he's an extrovert, so he really He's always like so jazzed up, you know, he's kind of like one of these guys who can eat a pack of donuts and then still go running after that. So that's definitely not me.
So, my point being is that checklists will improve the quality of your life while maintaining or increasing your income, which I find to be fascinating because anyone can make more money by hustling harder, but try doing that, working half the time.
Mike O'Neill: That was a wonderful way of kind of summarizing what you've just shared with us, Igor, you are a great storyteller. You made a great guest. I can see why you would be a great podcast host. Thank you for sharing your insights with us today. My pleasure. I also wanna thank our listeners for joining us today. If you want to access all the podcasts, just go to bench-builders.com.
And while you're there, you can also subscribe to our weekly blog called The Bottom Line. So if you're trying to grow your business, but people problems have slowed you down. Let's talk head over to bench-builders.com and schedule a quick call. So I wanna thank you for joining us, and I hope you have picked up on some tips from Igor that'll help you get unstuck and on target.
Until next time.