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How To Find & Win Freelance Consulting Jobs With Justin Nassiri: Podcast #137

Among the many types of consulting jobs out there, freelance jobs are among the most coveted because they offer you a certain measure of freedom and independence in the way you go about things. However, these spots, coveted as they are, can also be difficult to come by because many enterprises prefer to keep consultants around. Justin Nassiri is an entrepreneur and consultant. Together with Michael Zipursky, Justin discusses the process of finding and winning freelance consulting jobs. For many people, this could be a great direction to pivot in, so don’t miss this conversation!

Listen to the podcast here:

How To Find & Win Freelance Consulting Jobs With Justin Nassiri

I’m here with Justin Nassiri. Justin, welcome.

Thank you for having me.

Justin, you’re the Founder and Host of Beyond the Uniform. It’s a top podcast on helping veterans find and obtain their ideal post-service careers. You’ve also written multiple books on helping veterans to find the industry that’s perfect for them including the consulting industry. You’ve worked as a consultant yourself and still do. You have clients like Microsoft and Verizon. Before we get into all of that, you run the podcast. You’re a principal consultant and you also are CEO of another company, so three different organizations. How do you manage all of these different roles?

It’s funny because my wife and I took this trip to India. We had a ton of time for reflection and she works as an executive coach. It’s one of the perks of being married to her as she was trying out this framework with me. We were going through visualization of what my ideal life would look like. I’m a little bit ADD. I like the variety. I had described to her that ideally, I’d be working between three different things and being able to split my time. Fast forward to now, that’s what I do. It is a challenge figuring out how to best deploy my time.

I’m meticulous with my consulting engagements in tracking my time and seeing which projects are the most lucrative, but the podcast is much more of a creative outlet. It’s starting to generate revenue but it’s much more about contributing back to the military community. As I’m sure you can relate to with your podcast, I enjoy meeting new people. I view that a little bit more as putting gas in the gas tank and the tech company that I run, fortunately, doesn’t require a lot of time. It is sometimes a struggle but I try to keep my focus where I generate revenue while I’m still having a couple of other pursuits that creatively give me energy and helped me meet new people.

It's always a challenge figuring out how to best deploy and balance your time. Click To Tweet

I was going to say this for later on, but let’s get right into it because there are probably lots of audiences going, “Michael, asks Justin more about this.” You said you’re meticulous with your time tracking, looking at projects, looking at client’s identifying, and analyzing the profitability of each product. How do you approach that? First of all, what tool are you using to track all that?

I have a tool I should use called Easy Hours, and I fall in and out of love with different tools. I have a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and I use my stopwatch on my phone. I update the spreadsheet with how many minutes and I’m constantly tracking my effective hourly rate. Most of the work I do is I try to do things project-based as much as possible because I find my effective hourly rate is much higher than if I charge an hourly rate. I’m updating the spreadsheet to get a sense of classifying a project and still diversifying what I do. I try to figure out, “When I do a financial model and business plan, what does that take if I do market research?”

I’ll also classify it by client, so when I have repeat engagements, I start to know how long a client will take. I’ll also add that given that ADD aspect of myself, part of my intention, and in turning on that stopwatch is it’s a very subtle way for me to not check email and not get caught up in another task. I’m very influenced by Cal Newport’s Deep Work. In that book, it’s this principle of, “I want to go deep on this client. I want to give them my full undivided attention.” It does help me avoid checking text messages, Facebook and all the little time sucks that don’t add value in my life.

When you have that calculation or you have everything written down, how does it influence your decision-making? Have you ever found that certain types of projects or clients are not as profitable for you and therefore, you don’t seek those or you say no to those opportunities going forward?

I’m sure we’ll talk about customer acquisition but let’s say someone comes and says, “I’d like your help with the business plan.” Most people will start at an hourly rate. What I’ll say is like, “Let’s do this as a project. I’d do that for X.” The way that I get to X is in the spreadsheet, it averages out, “Every business plan I’ve done, how long does it take? What is my aspirational effective hourly rate and therefore, what do I want to charge?” That’s what I’ll throw out and the reason why I like that is I’m very fast, efficient and I’m very good at the things that I’m good at. I don’t want to be penalized for doing quick work.

Depending on the channel where I acquire a client, it’s difficult for most people to justify spending over $100 an hour. I talked to a good friend of mine from business school. He does a lot of writing. He hired an editor and he said, “This person is exceptional and they charge a lot more than I would ever pay.” I was like, “How much is that by the way?” This guy is very well-off. He goes, “He’s $100 an hour.” I’m like, “I want to be earning way more than that.” I want it back into something that works out to a good hourly rate for me and is palatable for my client and that’s where that project-based fee comes in for me.

It’s a good idea for people who are using hourly fees or even if you’re not using them. I went through this exercise with several clients in our coaching program where they didn’t know which projects and which clients are most profitable. By starting to analyze and look at how you’re spending your time, it can help you to make better decisions and also to ensure that you’re maximizing your fees in all instances. I want to go back in time a little bit because you started at McKinsey back in 2008 or so as an associate. What lessons did you learn working in an environment like that and you’re still using to this day?

For context for the audience, I was in the Navy, then I got out. I went to business school at Stanford. While I was there, I interned with McKinsey. The full story is better told over a beer but I accepted an offer with them to return to their New York office. This is in 2009. When the economy tanks so I had about nine months between graduating Stanford and starting at McKinsey. In those nine months to kill time, I started a company just for fun. That grew into something that I fell in love with and I ended up going to the startup instead of going to McKinsey. Most of my experience there was in that internship. I point this out for the audience, especially if any of them are considering going to a larger company or a smaller one, I’m very happy with where I’ve ended up, which we’ll talk about as a blend of entrepreneurship and consulting. There’s part of me that always wonder, “What would it have been had I gone to McKinsey for 2 or 3 years?” The wisdom that age brings, I realized I was very much in a rush to do something rather than viewing it as building blocks.

What I learned in my internship, and I know I would have learned more of, was first of all the learning that comes from working with unbelievably exceptional people. One of the consultants I worked with on one of the projects I remember, this is way before Tim Ferriss and all of that stuff. He was telling me he shut down his email because he’s like, “I realized that when I check my email, I lose not only the time of checking the email, but it takes me a minute and 30 seconds to get back into my workflow.” I’m like, “This person is high-achieving.” It’s little tiny tidbits like that I picked up. There’s the work itself of learning to interview clients, present polished material to them and instill confidence. A lot of financial spreadsheet type of work. Even though it was an abbreviated time, one of the things that I appreciated about that as a career path is because the work is so intense, you’re drinking from a fire hose and you’re learning a lot very quickly. In my path, most of what I’ve learned, I’ve learned by doing and by making mistakes. I do have some longing you’ve had a longer stint with McKinsey to learn those best practices and brush shoulders with great people from whom I would have learned a lot from.CSP 137 | Freelance Consulting Jobs

 

You escaped the corporate walls and you’re doing your own thing. What’s one thing that stands out like, “This is way better than it would be if I was working in that type of environment?”

It’s 100% autonomy. In some values work, I did with my wife, I realized one of my biggest values is autonomy. I love being able to do things when I want, how I want, and where I want. I’m fortunate to have built a life around this. You’re going to Mexico and you’re doing the same thing. Right before this, I was spending time with my son and I had twenty minutes to play with him and I work from home because I want that. We live here in Denver. We love Steamboat Springs. My wife’s family has a house there, so we’ll go and I’ll work remotely there.

Oftentimes on a Wednesday afternoon, we’ll go to Costco and there’s no one there. There’s no traffic and I’ll work a little bit more on Saturday. All of this is to say I love efficiency and autonomy. It would have bothered me, especially at this point in my life if I was flying somewhere all the time if I was away from my family and needed to work 8:00 until 11:00 PM. I would much rather have control and I’m willing to sacrifice perks, benefits, salary, and notoriety in order to have a life that’s more aligned with my personality.

That resonates with a lot of people and many aspects of that with myself as well. I want to get into your background and your story from the Navy and the connection to the work that you’re doing now. Before we do that, I want to set the stage in terms of some of the consulting work that you do because you’re a Principal Consultant at Transparent Technologies, where you’ve worked with clients like Microsoft, Verizon, Comcast and a whole bunch more. Tell us, how did you go about getting those clients? What did the path look like from Navy, McKinsey, and then entrepreneurship? How do you go about acquiring clients like Verizon, Microsoft, and Comcast?

The ironic part here is that in my company, StoryBox, we grew this marketing technology company from zero to over $100,000 monthly recurring revenue. All of that was built on the backbone of sales outreach. I have so much knowledge around scalable ways to go from cold email outreach to meetings to closing, and I love that. I have not done any of that with consulting. I will be very vulnerable to the audience and give them the behind the scenes look. I started consulting because I wanted to make some money on the side and at that time, I still use a lot of Upwork to hire people. I’ve hired over 50 different people for different tasks on Upwork. I don’t even know what led to the realization, but this was the slippery slope for me where I decided, “Why don’t I work on Upwork? It seems like a credible marketplace.” My thesis was there’s a lot of low-skill labor there, which is great. There’s not a lot of Stanford MBAs or McKinsey consultants that are on that platform, maybe I can differentiate that. That started me on a platform of going to many marketplaces like that, I got Microsoft. I found that relationship through Upwork. It’s mind-boggling for me.

Just to clarify, someone from Microsoft was looking for help in what area?

The very first one they posted was in the market research genre. “We are considering a product in this space. We want to know the competitor’s best practices, white space. We want to know how we would go to the market there.” At that time, I’ve gotten more sophisticated and I came from ten years of entrepreneurship which is like, “You’ve got to figure stuff out.” I had this mindset at the time of like, “Whatever it is, I can figure it out.” That happened to be in my sweet spot, which is you’ve brought new products to market. I’m very good at figuring out what’s going on with the competitive landscape is. That’s a critical component of founding a tech company. That has become one of the staples that I enjoy is that market research, competitive analysis, or new product entry into a market. Things like that where it’s very exciting to learn something new and work quickly on bringing a solution to them.

One of your biggest values in life is autonomy. Click To Tweet

Microsoft posted this job. They said, “We’re looking for help in this area.” You amongst other people then responded to it and said, “I can help you.” Is that how it went down?

It was. We can go as far down the rabbit hole as you’d like, but I would be spending time every day looking for new job posts and you can filter them. You start to get a little bit sophisticated in knowing where your sweet spot is. I read an article about how Upwork has something called Upwork Plus and Upwork Enterprise. It was in the back of my mind, this thought of it’s a more rigorous evaluation to work for an enterprise client, but once you’ve done one project with an enterprise, you get fast-tracked for every job they ever post which has very much been true. I was in this mindset of like, “Whatever I need to do to get an enterprise client, I’m going to do that.” I saw one of the postings and I didn’t know it was Microsoft. It just said, enterprise client. I applied and I was fortunate to get that first job. Once I started the conversation I realized, “This is Microsoft.”

What was the process like when they initially said, “We’re interested?” Was it just you and they hired you or did you go through the “interview process?”

Almost always on Upwork and Catalant and all the platforms that I use, it’s very similar. The first step is you submit a written application. What I have found is that there is a significant advantage of being close to the front.

Meaning what?

The first to apply. Most platforms will tell you how many applications. Specifically with Upwork, if a job post has more than ten applications, I won’t submit. Because I have a high hit rate, if I apply, I have a higher probability that I get accepted at this point because I have good ratings but I’ve also found when I hire, if I get 10 or 11 applications, I’m not scrutinizing them that much. I’m looking at the rate. I’m dismissing people. The second part of that is I try to spend 5 or 10 minutes, which is a lot of time in my perspective on the application and it’s detailed. I’ll look at the job posting and if I can add value, I’ll try to give them almost ten minutes of consulting of like, “Here’s your project. This is exactly how I would approach it.” I’ve also gotten many applications on these platforms. Most of them are cut and paste. That’s one way to differentiate.CSP 137 | Freelance Consulting Jobs

 

Once you submit that, and for anyone going down this route, I would say one thing here. I’ve posted many jobs on Upwork to hire someone. One out of five jobs I post on Upwork, I hire. I get excited, I post the job and then I lose interest then move on. You have to have that mindset that 4 out of 5 of the jobs you apply to, it has nothing to do with you. It’s easy to post a job, so don’t take it personally like everything else is a numbers game. I’ll submit the thing and more and more now I use Calendly for scheduling and in it I’ll say like, “Let’s talk for 30 minutes, schedule a time here.” That way we don’t even have to have any back and forth. They can schedule the time and I would say almost without exception, I’ll get on the call with someone.

There have been 1 or 2 examples where someone hired me without talking. We have some back and forth messaging, but part of my intention and talking to them is selling myself, but I want to make sure that I’ve priced the proposal right. If it’s hourly, it’s now the process of convincing them to do a project-based and if it’s a project-based, I’m getting a sense for them of how needy are they as a client. I’m very deliberate like 30 minutes, no more. Some of these people go on and on like, “Not only do I need to include my time estimate for the work, I’ve got to do some client management here. I’m going to be hopping on calls with this person,” and things like that. One of the things I like about using these marketplaces, it’s you know that they have a need.

Justin, let me ask you this. This is great information because it’s a different perspective than what is typically out there. A lot of people look at platforms like Upwork or whatever it is and go, “That’s for low-value labor and going onto a platform like that is going to diminish my authority and expertise.” You’ve essentially proven that wrong. You’ve made it work. You’ve landed with well-known clients, which now allows you to use the logos on your website. You have some testimonials from them that build and create all kinds of opportunities. Give us an insider look into the actual value of these projects. Are we talking about $1,000 and $5,000 projects or some of these projects turning into larger projects? Give us a sense of what this looks like.

My best guess, on Upwork in particular, is that most buyers will not spend over $100 an hour and most projects will not exceed $3,000 to $4,000. Bear in mind, there have been many multiple clients so you need to shift your thinking into chunking projects. The guy I talked to, the application was simple. I said, “I have done twelve projects with your team. All of them are five stars. Here’s the name of individuals.” He went to one of the guys and checked me out. He’s like, “I worked with this guy.” He said great things and now we’re working together. That’s one option. Another option is I use business plans because they’re so simple like, “Let’s start with the business plan. You need a financial model. I can help you with that. You need your marketing strategy. I can help you with that.”

You start to expand in a couple of thousand dollars chunks. That’s Upwork but I do want to highlight for the audience, Catalant is another platform and there, the price point can be significantly more. There are $20,000 contracts, there are $100,000 contracts. My sense is that whereas Upwork is a lot of individuals and some enterprises, Catalant is a private equity-backed company or larger. The advantage is a very sophisticated buyer with large budgets. The downside is I’ll see a new relevant job opportunity on Catalant every 3 to 5 days. I could spend all day on Upwork checking every 2 or 3 hours and there’s so much volume.

How does it work in terms of the fee? If you land, let’s say a $3,000 project through Upwork or whatever platform it is, how much of that are you keeping yourself?

For the projects, if it’s over $1,000, they take 10%. If it’s lower than that, they take 20%. Catalant varies. It can be as high as 25% and I landed a large contract and negotiated the client to drop that to 20% which was this weird three-way conversation with Catalant. For me from doing so many sales, a 20% referral fee is table stakes, especially on this larger project. It irked me, but I have to remind myself of like, “If someone brought me a client for 20%, great.” I don’t enjoy sales. I don’t enjoy that outreach. The time that I can spend working and doing something I enjoy is great. Twenty percent is a drop in the bucket.

Once you do one project with an enterprise, you get fast-tracked for every job they post. Click To Tweet

Once you establish that relationship with a client through Upwork or whatever platform, can you move that off of that platform or are you legally bound to keep that within the platform?

I often have people on both platforms. I take it as a favorable gesture when they’re like, “You seem a good guy,” especially with the Navy background. I’m happy to do this off Upwork or off Catalant or whatever else it is. I’m a little bit vain about reviews and that’s smart for both of these platforms that they show how much you’ve earned, how many hours, all of these things. I may be over imagining. I do think it matters. On Upwork now, it shows 60 projects over 200 hours worked. I’m wanting to get that higher and higher. There have been a few exceptions. Most of the time I’ll keep it on the platform certainly for the first project. Sometimes for the follow on project, they’ll come to me directly. Most of us have more to gain by playing the long game of building up a solid resume and referenceable profile. That means keep the stuff on the platform and eat the cost.

I appreciate you sharing this because we haven’t touched on this topic on the show. I think there are some opportunities. Before we move on, regarding platforms like this, what’s the downside? What have you found that isn’t as good or you don’t enjoy in comparison to working with a client directly and doing the direct sales to the client, line them as a client and so forth? What stands out to you?

Let me highlight two of the things I like apart from the deal flow. I like the security of, not that I ever have concerns about people paying, it does add that because autonomy is so important and I do a lot of other stuff, I like that if I’m going to a workshop for a week, I won’t apply to a new job. I’ll start to taper things down. I like that aspect. The flip side of that is sometimes I feel like a mercenary. It does get tiring where it’s like when I’m in the zone, I’m applying to jobs every day. Because these are a couple of thousand-dollar projects, they’re short in nature. I’ll be doing multiple ones of these for one week. It’s like you always have to feed the hopper.

The one that I landed on Catalant is the first one where it’s a year-long. There are smaller chunks but the intention is to go for a year. I’m realizing I need to change my portfolio to have a few of those foundational clients. The one platform we didn’t talk about, the one I’ve had the least success on is one called Toptal. The advantage here is that they’re specifically designed for longer-term ongoing projects. I’ve shied away from that because my hackle starts to go up and I think like, “I don’t want to be on a product management call every morning at 9:00 AM. That’s not why I’m doing this. I want my freedom.” I’ve avoided longer-term things like that, but I do think there are ways to find clients who are longer-term who are still in alignment with what I’m looking for.CSP 137 | Freelance Consulting Jobs

 

One of your specialties, one of the things that you focus on is helping veterans as a transitioning out of the service right into civilian careers and lives is to get those jobs. Part of that is also people getting into consulting. What advice do you have for someone who’s new or he’s just come out of the service and they’re weighing their options considering? If they want to get into consulting, what would you say to them? Would you suggest that they should start by thinking about jumping on some of the platforms that you’ve mentioned here or would you tell them to do something else first?

The nice thing is what I say doesn’t matter because it truly is a marketplace and the market will tell you if they value your skillset. When I look back on after five years with submarines, there’s nothing marketable there that I could position on Upwork. After I got my MBA, I still don’t have a lot of skills. I can apply to help someone with their resume and things like that. It’s not lucrative but at least I’ve got some defined skillset. With rare exception, most of the veterans I know, they don’t leave the military with a marketable skill relevant to a platform like Upwork. It is much more civilian workforce focused. I’ve done 330 interviews on a podcast with people about their career and in my own experiences too, when you leave the military, there is so little insight into what’s out there. I would imagine if you do have veterans listening to this or people in the military, the consulting slice of the world that they know is the Booz Allen Hamilton’s of the world who focus on government contract consulting, which is such a tiny slice of the pie there.

Anything that they can do to raise awareness to all of the different types of consulting, industries, functions and letting them know that there’s a lot of options and that both LinkedIn and Glassdoor are their friends in terms of finding out people with their backgrounds and the types of companies they worked at and then also setting expectations for what do people make there. Another trend I’ve seen is that veterans don’t take to overestimate their expectations. The one last thing that I would say is going to a consulting company for anyone veteran or not is such a good way to get exposure to what size company do I like? What industry do I like? What functional roles do I like? It’s a way to get a lot more data quickly to better inform what do I want to do next?

You mentioned that sales and marketing is an area that gets you going in something that you’ve done a lot on the technology side. Give us a couple of tips or a few things that you found the work exceptionally well for someone that wants to set meetings, to have appointments, or to get in front of ideal clients. What are a few things that you have found to work well?

I’ll preface this by saying if people google Katie Horgan Medium, a friend of mine wrote an article on how she got more clients than she can handle through email outreach. That is on my to-do list. I’ve had so much good deal flow through the platforms. I haven’t gone to direct outreach yet, but I hope to do that soon.

You mentioned on the tech side that you did a fair bit to get your company there.

What I did at StoryBox was I had a team of five dedicated salespeople. I found them all jobs elsewhere and I replaced them with automated systems with Upwork and a couple of platforms. What I like to do is start on LinkedIn. I live and breathe by the LinkedIn search criteria. If I don’t know who I’m going after and I generate discreet lists, then I will then hire someone on Upwork to get me their email addresses. What I’m always keen on here is what is the company size? I’d target 11 to 50 employees or 51 to 200. I have some thesis there. I would target specific industries, titles, and specific geographies. I do this as consulting projects for people, but I’ll create spreadsheets where the way that I pitched this to them is, “Yes, meetings are one outcome of this but data is an equal outcome.” Not only are you getting meetings, but I set up the spreadsheet to show them like, “This is limited data. This is more art than science.” It seems like VP level people are taking meetings. Did you know that most people are responding, your highest meeting rate is coming from Cincinnati?

Any time you can spend working and doing something you enjoy is great. Click To Tweet

What that allows us to do is be like that heat-seeking missile to then say, “The next batch of leads that I’m going to send over to Upwork is going to be Cincinnati based. We’re going to test out that hypothesis.” There are platforms you can use that most cost-effective one is called Reply.io. The poor man’s version is you track all this in a Google Spreadsheet. One step up is using a system like Reply.io where you spend some time crafting good and specific email templates. You’ll come up with 5 or 6 touchpoints at StoryBox. I surprisingly found that most people responded after 4 or 5 emails spread out over the course of months. Persistence does pay off. The nice thing is you can do the effort once and then it will handle the automated follow-up. One last thing that I’ll add there and this is where that Katie Horgan article does a good job. The degree to which you can templatize 80% and customized 20% and you can do that with a spreadsheet field where the field is two sentences, “I saw you’re in San Francisco, did you check out this restaurant? I love that you worked at this company.” Anything to show them it’s not spam even though it is spam. That’s a scalable way to automate this.

One thing that you’ve mentioned, Justin, a couple of times is the thesis. When you’re starting this process, you don’t have all the answers. A lot of consultants when they’re considering marketing and doing more outreach, one thing that holds them back is the feeling that they don’t have all the answers. They’re not sure exactly who they should be targeting or what to say. They want everything to be perfect but the reality is that “perfection” or the greater levels of clarity come from doing the outreach. As you said, you start to see who’s responding and what kind of response they have, which can then tell you what they care about how to adjust your messaging going forward. That’s important that you shared and I want a second that is for anyone who’s feeling like, “I don’t know exactly who to target.” You don’t need to know. As Justin’s shared, it’s about building your hypothesis, having that thesis, and then starting to test against it. The sooner and the more that you do that, the better you’ll be able to tighten everything up.

I’ll add a quick anecdote here. One of the best things I did when I was at business school at Stanford was I took a course at the Stanford Design School. The very first day of that course, our first assignment was to do a five-minute prototype re-inventing ramen cup of noodles. The reason why they hammered this home about these five-minute prototypes was they wanted a bias towards action. They knew if you have two weeks, you’re going to delay. First of all, you’re going to spend too much time and second of all, you’re going to fall in love with your thesis and you’re going to start to exclude valuable information. What we would do is we do that five-minute prototype. We’d go and have people use it. It’s a cardboard thing, but a pretending type of thing. You’d learn a lot and you realize like, “People don’t want a new cup of noodles, they want a new spoon.”

If I had spent weeks and weeks spending money and time perfecting this cup of noodle, I might not follow that critical insight. It’s this whole concept of rapid iteration, moving quickly, learning, and tweaking. That’s been the bedrock of my experience on everything is to move quickly, learn, make educated decisions, realizing it’s not permanent, realizing it’s art, not science and moves and iterate as quickly as possible. I like to do that with my clients too. That’s one of the things I filter for is like, “I can wait a month and give you McKinsey level slides. I’d much rather meet in 48 hours, give you drawings and sketches, but get your feedback, tweak and optimize.” That’s going to lead to a lot better outcome than that month-long in isolation.CSP 137 | Freelance Consulting Jobs

 

Let’s talk about the transition a little bit from the Navy. You worked on a nuclear submarine. As you moved us through the different stages but you have a podcast, it’s a top-rated podcast. It’s number one in its category. It’s called Beyond the Uniform. One thing that stands out about that is it seems like you’ve fostered, cultivated, and created a very strong sense of community amongst veterans and even for someone who’s not a veteran or has never been in the military. The idea of community is very powerful with our clients, with our greater community and relationships. Talk to us a little bit about what you’ve done specifically to foster and cultivate that level of community and involvement where people want to help each other out.

One of the disadvantages of doing all of this work in a niche space like military veterans is its very tiny audience size. Two hundred thousand people every year transition out of the military. If I get 100% market share, it still not compelling numbers for a podcast. The advantage is the military community is so exceptional at paying things forward. When I get guests on the show, I had Jocko Willink and Leif Babin who wrote Extreme Ownership. They’re so gracious and generous with their time. It’s that thought of like, “You’re helping veterans, I’m there.” That’s also true of the audience. The downside is they’re not going to spend money. I can never monetize my audience directly.

The upside is when you do ask to leave a review on iTunes, “Tell your friends, spread the word on the base or help us with this,” they’re responsive and they’re willing to take action. I haven’t spent nearly as much time fostering the community as I’d like. Because this is a passion project, I’m always purposely limiting my amount of time on it. If I had 100 hours, it would be a vacation for me to do things like putting together a private Facebook Group. There are so many things we could do to strengthen that community especially now having a small kid, I have to come back and think it’s still a level of charity and I don’t want my charity to come at the expense of providing for him. As much as I’d love to deepen that community until I find a sustainable business model, I’m trying to limit it to a couple of hours a week.

I want to make sure that people can learn more about all of your work, Justin. You’ve written several books. You have the podcast. You got a lot of good stuff going on. Take a moment and let us know where’s the best place for people to go to learn all about the world of Justin Nassiri?

One of the disadvantages of working in a niche space like veterans is the tiny audience size. Click To Tweet

I’m now realizing I should have a better way of capturing this. The main website that I use is TransparentTech.io. That’s the foundation of my consulting work outside of the platforms that I mentioned. LinkedIn is good as well. That has links to the podcast and it has links to all the books that I’ve written. If the books aren’t on Transparent Tech, I’ll do that. If you google or search on Amazon, they’re very fun projects. I love nerding out on data. For example, I wanted to understand what Gary Vaynerchuk did on Twitter to make him so successful. I did a statistical analysis of twelve months of his tweets to figure out when he tweets, how he tweets, what he tweets. It was a lot of fun and they put it together in a book. I’ve done similar approaches like that but TransparentTech.io or it’s [email protected]. You can find me on LinkedIn and if you send me a message, I’ll respond there too.

Justin, thank you for coming on the show and for sharing all those lessons with us here.

Thank you. It was fun to be on the other side of the microphone. I appreciate your generosity of having me on the show.

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