Marketing Consultant Jay Ehret

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.

Please Share This Article If You Enjoyed It:

  • I have been involved in public speaking and seminar presentation for over 20 years but I am a new consultant. I only recently decided to organize my efforts by starting a business officially. I am learning alot along the way and doing much of my own development to be more cost effective. I appreciate the tips I receive through this site and specifically this article. There were occasions I felt that the time I spent just reading or thinking about the layout of presentation was time wasted. I see it is the ground work for my work as a consultant and can be as productive as moving about meeting and networking . Thanks for this article.

  • Peter Ho

    Awesome interview, thanks.

  • John – glad you're enjoying the information here and this interview with Jay, he really shared a lot and we definitely appreciate it.

    Peter, thanks for your comment!

  • Jay Ehret

    Hey Michael, thanks for the opportunity to be your guest. You asked some great questions and it was good to take a pause from my schedule to remember why I love what I do.
    – Jay

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  • James Dysa

    Jay it is really nice to see how you balance working many hours from home with spending time with your family and still making it all successful. Great interview guys!

  • Debora Richardson

    That was excellent reading.., Kodus to you!

  • szipursky

    Jay, great interview and thanks for taking the time to do it for us and the blog readers…I really like how you got the idea to start your business and it's a great lesson. See a weakness that you know you can improve on or fill a gap and then go from there!

    You say you meet several clients on Skype. Does that work well for you and do you find most clients are open to that these days?

    Thanks again, very motivating interview!

  • Thank you. I find interviews and articles such as these very beneficial because they show that other consultants have or had similar challenges to mine, and i'ts nice to see that I am not alone. Furthermore they serve to reinforce the positive things I do, and bring attention to other things that I need to focus on to improve or correct. I just wish that we could keep 'god' out of business, because as a rational individual I rely on networking, friends, family, introspection, and feedback from other professionals for motivation. Like everything else in business and self improvement, motivation is a process to which a system is applied for it to work.

  • That really was an awesome interview! It's always great to see that everyone starts out in a very similar place. I have a home office too and I always worry about overstepping that line where work ends and life begins..I actually think that the office is too close to the bedroom, which inspires me to think about relocating it at the moment. I liked that Jay advised that new consultants charge more than they think they should (without being ridiculous that is). I've been in this for a few years now and I'm starting to think that I still don't charge enough – that will def change soon though for me and my Financially Digital.

  • Michael Albert

    Although I found the interview to be valuable, my emotions were filled with envy. I wish I had what Jay has. This week I picked up my first client in a long time. But my partner and I are not on the same page. He wants business in his hand and is willing to jump through lots of hoops to get it. On the other hand, I want to relay our value and not 'do' things for free in hopes of enticing the prospect. My partner feels I am unrealistic and consequently we argue. Regardless, many thanks to Jay and Michael.

  • Michael Abrahams

    The interview has a striking resemblance of myself toiling for seventeen years as a bank official who recently quits the job and could not immediately decides on what to do. I attempted trading (distributive) but could not raise enough capital until I decided to go into the practice of Accountancy/Consultancy being a professional Accountant. So your interview is indeed inspiring to read because it was as if you read my mind. I am now further encourage to pursue vigorously my vision.
    Thank you.

  • I agree with Jay that reading a lot is really helpful for us consultants! Since I'm a professional organizer, I have been trying to get a "system" for deciding which types of books to read. My goals: Read inspiring stories about entreprenuers (every day they are sent to my email), read 2 books per year about customer service, 2 per year about growing and expanding a business, 2/year on marketing, etc. I am always reading information about kitchens (that's my specialty). I think that the more we read, the more we know, and the more confident we are in our day to day interactions. Since we are consultants, people are paying for our expertise and our knowledge, so I think it's super important to be well-read and to always be informed of the latest in greatest (in our field and in other fields).