Jay Ehret is a marketing consultant, speaker and owner of The Marketing Spot and blogger at The Marketing Spot Blog. He works with his clients to build their brands, create memorable customer experiences and develop effective advertising. A love of wine and poker player, when Jay is not speaking around the USA, you can find him just outside of Waco, Texas where he calls home.
1. What is the best part of your job?
The best part is that I love what I do. I love working together with clients to build a marketing plan. They let me inside their business and I get to positively influence the future of their company.
2. Tell us a bit about The Marketing Spot and how you started the company?
I worked in radio advertising for 17 years but knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. However, I really didn’t know what type of business I wanted to own. Believe it or not, I thought I was going to open up a coin-laundry facility and even did a business plan for one. But I thought the return on investment was too low, and coin laundry owners have to know something about maintenance, and that’s not me.
So in the spring of 2001 I went to an Entrepreneur Magazine conference/showcase in Fort Lauderdale to get some inspiration, and I did. The event was not well run, some of the speakers didn’t show, the ones that did weren’t very good. My inspiration was that I could teach this stuff more effectively than Entrepreneur magazine. I was already a sales trainer at Clear Channel Communications and my m.o. with clients was to educate them as I helped them. So that’s when I decided I would start my own marketing company with an emphasis on education.
That was May and for the next four months I laid the groundwork for The Marketing Spot (the name was chosen because that web domain was available). I decided my start date would be October 1, 2001 and I would give my employer two weeks’ notice on Monday, September 17th. Then came the tragedy of 9-11 and I had to make a decision whether or not to move forward. After talking about it with my wife, and worrying about it all weekend, that Monday morning, the 17th, I decided to turn my notice and move forward
3. Give us a glimpse into what your typical day looks like and what you do to keep a solid work-life balance (if you feel you have one)?
I mostly office from my home office, so I’m usually at my computer by 6:30 in the morning. My early mornings are spent reading and creating content such as blog posts, podcasts, articles, learning courses. By mid-morning I may be meeting with a client or working on client projects.
Two days per week I play basketball at a lunchtime businessman’s game. Then back to the office for more client projects or out in the field meeting with clients. I also meet with several clients by Skype. By mid to late afternoon my mind is a little fried, so I will pack up my laptop and either head to my satellite office or to a Starbucks to do some thinking, reading, working. In the early evenings I may work out or go to a local civic function. At night, I will usually sneak in to my office to do a little work. But mostly nights are spent with my wife.
I work a lot of hours because I mostly work from home, but I have a pretty good work-life balance. I spend a lot of time with my wife, we usually watch the grandkids some on the weekends. And every Friday or Saturday night we go out on a date. My wife and I will also travel 3-4 times per year. We are very active in our church and that keeps us busy too.
4. If you could offer one tip on pricing to consultants on their way up, what would it be?
Charge more than you think you should. Of course, you need to provide the value, but mostly new consultants charge too little. I know I did. It’s much more difficult to raise your prices than lower them.
5. What’s the biggest mistake you see other consultants making and how can they fix it?
Too much hype about who they are and not enough realism. Unfortunately the internet and social media has brought us the age of the self-hyping guru. Be real, don’t be some cartoon “Million Dollar Coach” holding money in your hands in your profile pic. You’ll look like an idiot.
6. Many consultants find it challenging to stay motivated and productive, can you share a couple of tips of what works best for you?
A couple of things. First, I pray. I acknowledge that God has given me this business to run for him and I have a responsibility to do that. Praying keeps me in touch with God and keeps me motivated because I know I have a purpose. Second, I read a lot. Reading stimulates my thinking and gives me ideas. Reading helps me frame my own principles. I read at least one business book per month and I read to learn.
7. Do you automate any parts of your business? If so, which parts and how does this help you?
Much of my bill paying is automated. Not much other than that. Probably something I could get better at.
8. I understand you’re a wine lover, any favourites you can share?
I love pinot noirs. It’s difficult to find a good pinot noir because it’s a finicky grape. But when you find a delicate, velvety pinot noir, it’s heaven. Some of my favourites are La Crema Russian River Valley and Carneros Pinot Noir and recently just had the excellent WillaKenzie Estate Emery Pinot Noir.