Darren’s Experience After Attending One of the Business Conferences
Speaker 1: Jason, before working here at Elephant in the Room and now the Thrivetime Show, had you ever attended a business conference?
Jason: I never had.
Speaker 1: Really?
Jason: Nope. Never.
Speaker 1: Okay. Well, I encourage you to go and run through the minefield of business conferences.
Jason: I would like to do what is it, like the three day blasty blast that is the Tony Robbins conference.
Speaker 1: There we go.
Jason: Just to try it out.
Speaker 3: And now, back to the Business Coach Radio Show that Tony Robbins calls Daddy.
Eric Chupp: Wow.
Speaker 1: Today’s guest is a man by the name of Darren. And he found our business conferences through a recommendation of one of his marketing… through the recommendation of a marketing company. They referred us to him. He started listening to our podcast and he attended the conference. We wanted to see if we could get Darren’s take on what it’s like to attend the in-person Thrivetime Show business conferences. So now without any further ado…
Speaker 3: Grab the duct tape and mentally prepare yourself for yet another mind expanding knowledge bomb from America’s number one business coach, Clay Clark.
Eric Chupp: Darren, is this the amazing Darren?
Darren Ross: This is the one and only.
Eric Chupp: One and only Darren. Hey man this is Eric Chupp from over at the Thrivetime Show.
Darren Ross: Hey, you’re bothering me. I’m reading Jackassery while I’m getting a tire changed. Honest to God, I’ve got a highlighter. A green highlighter for quotes and a pink highlighter for content and I’m literally reading Jackassery as I’m waiting for my tire to get changed.
Eric Chupp: Okay, here we go. Question one here. So what is your name and where are you from?
Darren Ross: My name’s Darren Ross. I’m from Kearney, Missouri home of Jesse James.
Eric Chupp: Home of Jesse James. I did not know that. You educated me already. How did you originally hear about the Thrivetime Show business conference?
Darren Ross: I’ve been listening to all his podcasts like crazy. That dude’s pretty funny.
Darren Ross: I listen to the podcast on my iPhone and for some reason I guess on iTunes, I don’t know, it stops with season five. But I guess you can get them all online, is that correct?
Eric Chupp: Yeah. They take them off after a certain number and he records so much content that it only goes back that far. But they’re all posted on the website that you can get to for free as well.
Darren Ross: Okay. I did not know that iTunes took them off.
Eric Chupp: Yeah. It only loads up so many of them and then… So that’s why we make sure and host them on the website as well so that you got access to all of them.
Darren Ross: Okay. Yeah, I told him the other day… I spent some time with Clay Saturday morning I guess beforehand.
Eric Chupp: Oh, cool.
Darren Ross: I got there about 6:30 and I was just telling him, I said, “We sold our company.” I started a company in my dorm room selling apparel, custom apparel, and promotional products to the fraternity and sorority market, and we ran that business for like almost 31 years. I sold it the end of ’17, and I’ve been literally to… I can’t even tell you how many seminars, conferences, coaching programs, courses, masterminds. I’ve spent probably 100… I’ve probably spent $180,000 to $220,000 over the years. I told my wife and even my mom, I said, “This is the best conference I’ve ever been to that was only two days and driving distance and $37.” Right? So I bought every book he had except the one. I think there was one I didn’t buy.
Eric Chupp: That’s great.
Darren Ross: Yeah. It’s so practical. All of them want to sell you the next seminar and the next coaching program. I just didn’t feel like-
Eric Chupp: Clay, he built this program for business owners by business owners, kind of like FUBU, right? For us, by us.
Darren Ross: Yeah.
Eric Chupp: And he was exact same place you were, right? He went to all these conferences and experienced all the upsell, all this crap, and he’s like, “Why can’t somebody just not tell me what to do? I just want somebody to tell me what to do.” So I’m glad you hear that.
Darren Ross: I know, man. It’s funny because I have literally spent… I’ve known for the last several years I want to get in to some sort of mentoring and training or coaching entrepreneurs because I just knew that they’re missing something. I was having a gal build me a website, a WordPress website back in February, and she had sent me two or three different sites to look at just for ideas and content because I wanted to kind of have the core of it on how to grow your business while keeping faith and family first. That was kind of my niche, and she sent me three or four websites. And your all’s was one of them, and I’m like, “Who is this? I’ve never even heard of Clay Clark. I never even heard of Thrive.”
Eric Chupp: Wow.
“I’ve probably spent $180,000 to $220,000 over the years. I told my wife and even my mom, I said, ‘This is the best conference I’ve ever been to that was only two days.'”
Darren Ross: And I looked at it, and I’m like, “This is the coolest freaking thing I’ve ever seen.” So I signed up for the conference within of just a matter of a few days, and then of course I started listening to his websites, started listening to all his business podcasts in March. But I’m like, “This is spot on.” It’s no fluff and no crap. It’s just straight to the point.
Eric Chupp: That is awesome.
Darren Ross: And I jumped on the podcast probably back in March of 2019, and I probably listened to 75 of them since then and listened to about two a day.
Eric Chupp: That’s awesome. That’s where all the meat is, right? On the bone right there, right? That podcast has so much information.
Darren Ross: True.
Eric Chupp: Well, what kind of business do you guys have? What were you looking to learn at the business conference?
Darren Ross: Well, actually I sold our company. I started a company in my dorm room in 1987. We grew it and built it over almost 31 years. We did custom apparel and promotional items. We manufactured those items for different organizations and associations, college fraternities and sororities. So I sold that business at the end of ’17. So actually I’m kind of in limbo right now trying to figure out my next move.
Eric Chupp: But you are probably a kindred spirit with Clay on the college entrepreneurship.
Darren Ross: Very much so. I started my… Had a phone booth literally right next to my dorm. That’s where I conducted all of my business on the pay phone for the first several months.
Eric Chupp: That’s amazing. How would you describe the atmosphere of Clay’s office and team?
Darren Ross: You know what, my wife… I’m going to tell you this. My wife’s not a conference goer. She came with me, and I literally had to beg her. It was our anniversary. June 7th was our anniversary. I literally had to-
Eric Chupp: You brought her to a business conference on your anniversary.
Darren Ross: On my 22nd wedding anniversary I said, “You got to come. We were at the Holiday Inn Express like five minutes away. You got to come.” She’s like, “I’m not coming.” I’m like, “You got to come.” I was texting her. So I finally got her to come. I said, “Just come over lunch.” I said, “You can even sit here.” So she came, and literally she had tears in here eyes because she was crying so hard at some of the stuff Clay was doing. But I’ve always been a person that I love cool company Christian culture. That’s my deal. I love listening to that cool company Christian… So I have a phone full of fixtures and videos of just the office atmosphere alone because that was one of the coolest things about the whole deal is just the office atmosphere.
Eric Chupp: It’s very intentional, right? You can tell some thought went into everything, and there’s stuff everywhere, right?
Darren Ross: Stuff everywhere. Quotes all over the place. Frames all over the place, in the bathrooms. I’ve never seen anything, and I’ve been to a lot of cool companies. I had the insight, private tour of Dave Ramsey’s organization several years ago. I’ve been to a lot of places over my lifetime and businesses. It’s probably the coolest one I’ve been to.
Eric Chupp: Well, that is great to hear. It wasn’t on accident. So we really try to build that inviting and kind of high energy, high pace, really cool eclectic environment because we know we got to keep everybody on their toes to learn, and we want to laugh and learn. So I love hearing that from you. How was-
Darren Ross: I was laughing.
Eric Chupp: That’s good. How would you describe Clay’s delivery and presentation style?
Darren Ross: It’s off the charts. I mean, just kind of basically leaving you wanting more and more all the time. I mean, I had just pages and pages of notes. There was never a dull or boring moment, and just it was all just nuts and bolts, man. There was no fluff. There was no… It was all just straight to the point that any business owner can listen, learn, and apply.
Eric Chupp: What is one of the most valuable things that you did learn while you were at this workshop this past weekend?
Darren Ross: Just the importance of the search engine and website optimization.
Eric Chupp: Yes.
Darren Ross: Yeah. I didn’t really… I mean, we’ve fiddled around with websites over the past, but never really got much if any business from them. It was just one of those deals where we felt like it was a necessary evil, and we always looked at it as a necessary evil. But now that I have dug into your all’s site and look how well it’s put together. I even checked out some of the sites of people that you had at the conference or that I met at the conference, and it is true. They all are on the definitely first page of Google and usually within the first one or two people after the paid ads.
Eric Chupp: Oh yes. That’s what I’m talking about.
Darren Ross: Yeah. I never heard about… I’d obviously heard of Google reviews and video reviews, but I’d never known the importance of them. And I never had heard the term canonical compliance and all that.
“It’s off the charts. I mean, just kind of basically leaving you wanting more and more all the time. I mean, I had just pages and pages of notes. There was never a dull or boring moment”
Eric Chupp: Very good. Canonical compliance. That’s getting into the technicalities right there.
Darren Ross: I spent some time with your SEO guy Ben and a couple of other folks, and they just kind of broke a few things down. I’m like, “This is… It really is important.”
Eric Chupp: And the cool thing is it’s every other SEO company I’ve ever talked to or I’ve heard from or of, they all put this cloud around it, and it’s this mystic type of thing. Clay is making it now to, “No, no, no. You do this, this, and this, and you can control these things. And you’ll be top in Google before you know it.”
Darren Ross: Well, I’m just going to tell you this. When I was in business several years ago we had hired a company back in the early 2000s, right when the internet was coming on strong, and we hired a company to do a really killer website for us. Of course, I had a consultant on staff, and a consultant, I was paying them. They said, “You need to have this cool website built.” So we spent like $85,000 and it never worked. And at the same time, the consultant company said, “Oh, by the way, you need to have this really cool ERP system, which takes care of everything, accounting, order entry.” So we had an ERP system being built, a website being built. Neither one of them worked worth a darn. So we walked away with about $175,000 left in our pocket, and to be honest with you, straight up front, I’ve always had a really bad taste in my mouth about technical and web people.
Eric Chupp: Yeah.
Darren Ross: So we built our business the first 10 or 15 years on catalog direct mail. So I was like, “I don’t need web. I don’t need to get there. I’m going to keep going direct mail.” I just got to put that behind me and learn from the lessons and move on.
Eric Chupp: There you go. You’ve checked the fruit on the tree first, right? That’s the-
Darren Ross: That’s right.
Eric Chupp: Well, I wanted to ask you too, how many conferences have you been to and how much did those cost you? How did they-
Darren Ross: You know what, I’ve got a spreadsheet… I’m not at my office right now. I’ve got it right on the front page of my Mac, on the desktop of my Mac. I have courses I’ve purchased. Courses and/or conferences. Do you want just conferences only?
Eric Chupp: Oh, everything.
Darren Ross: Oh my gosh. Probably if you were to add up courses, conferences, coaching, and masterminds, I would say excluding travel, probably $200,000. Probably 75 of them.
Eric Chupp: That’s a pretty penny right there, huh?
Darren Ross: That’s a lot. Yeah. And I wish I had that back in… I just heard about Clay about 25 years ago, but then he would have only been like 13, you know?
Eric Chupp: Yeah or maybe eight. I don’t even know. Yeah. Well, that’s awesome, man. I appreciate you saying that. My last question for you here is why in your mind does everybody need to attend at least one Thrivetime Show Business Conferences?
Darren Ross: Because what they’re currently exposed to or what they’ve been learning is probably not the right information and the right content or the right way to go about it. And if they were to attend a Thrivetime Business Conferences, I think they would just be blown away at the simplicity and the how easy it is to break it all down and implement it. And then the big thing is to have someone like your all’s team, for what you all charge per month is a bargain. And I even asked people, I said, “Does it really include this, this, this, and this?” They’re like, “Oh yeah. They do everything for us. Yeah. Yeah.”
Eric Chupp: So [crosstalk 00:13:16] videography, photography, you name it.
Darren Ross: Yeah. What you all are charging a month for some of this stuff, I mean, that email you could spend that on a five or six minute video.
Eric Chupp: Easily. Easily.
Darren Ross: If you hired a videographer. So I don’t know. I told my wife the other day or my mom too, I said, “I’m going back.” I’m trying to figure out when I’m going to come back down there. I told my wife also, I said, “I just want to start a business so I can have these guys help me implement everything.”
Eric Chupp: I’ve never had anybody-
Darren Ross: Huh?
Eric Chupp: I was going to say that’s the best endorsement we could get right there I think. That’s a-
Darren Ross: Yeah. It was so cool. The wow factor was there that I was like, “I just want to get a new business started.” And Clay talked to me when we talked before that conference on Saturday. He said, “Hey, have you ever thought about franchising?” He said, “It might be a good option.” I’m like, “I never really gave it a thought because I always ran my own show.”
Eric Chupp: Right.
Darren Ross: But the systems are all built and right there in place for you. So I don’t know. I’m kind of kicking that around too.
Eric Chupp: Well, that might be a good move for you, my friend.
Darren Ross: Could be.
Eric Chupp: All right. I’m going to cut the Jackassery out now. We’ll let you get back to doing your diligent reading that you’re doing there. But, Darren, I just wanted to say thank you first and foremost for coming to the conference and being a diligent doer and really, really appreciate the time that you took to talk to me about this and kind of give us an overview of what you thought about the workshop.
Darren Ross: Oh, I plan on being back to another one. It’ll probably be August or October.
Eric Chupp: Oh, that’s great, man. Well, hey, since Clay’s going to turn this into a show, I’m going to count backwards from three. We’re going to do a three, two, one, boom. Okay?
Darren Ross: Perfect. Thank you.
Eric Chupp: All right. Here we go. Three, two, one, boom.
Darren Ross: Wow.
Eric Chupp: See, you’re now a podcast celebrity.
Darren Ross: I was just listening this morning. Does he really do nine a week?
Eric Chupp: Uh huh (affirmative).
Eric Chupp: Yeah. When we first started, I probably did… Let’s see. I was going over there six days a week with him. He was recording from his basement. I had a studio set up over there. We would record Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights, Fridays at like two or something, and then Saturday and Sunday morning’s at five or six o’clock. And, man, me and him did that for 10 months, nine months.
Darren Ross: No kidding.
“I told my wife the other day or my mom too, I said, ‘I’m going back. I’m trying to figure out when I’m going to come back down there.’ I told my wife also, I said, ‘I just want to start a business so I can have these guys help me implement everything.'”
Eric Chupp: Yeah. It was wild. I mean, we were putting out an insane amount of content. He’s kind of scaled back a little bit, but he records five days a week and anywhere from eight to 12 episodes every single week.
Darren Ross: Every single week or every single day?
Eric Chupp: Every single week.
Darren Ross: Oh. That’s just… I was listening to one this morning. He said he was recording at the office because his home studio got flooded out.
Eric Chupp: Yup. Four feet of water in his basement. Flooded our entire radio studio down there.
Speaker 6: Oh, Billy.
Darren Ross: That’s horrible.
Eric Chupp: It was awful, and then the very next day the river was coming up so high here from the Teton Dam overflow that we had to-
Darren Ross: Yeah.
Eric Chupp: … the entire building like two days after that because they thought our building was going to flood to. So he was like we literally pulled everything that was in this office, we pulled it out because we were like, “We can’t have the house and the office flooding at the same time. We can’t have that.”
Darren Ross: This is going to be a question I was going to write on the board when I come to the next conference. But how come he doesn’t do like most online marketers where when you go to your website, an opt-in box pops up, and then he keeps dripping you content and information every week. How come he doesn’t do something like that?
Eric Chupp: He has at this point… Well, (a) number one is to remember that he and Z built this as not the way to feed their family. This is like their passion project. So, therefore, we are extremely selective about who we take on as a client and to be honest with you who we allow coming to the conference. We turn down a lot of people to come to the business conferences every few months, and we turn down-
Darren Ross: Do you really?
Eric Chupp: Yeah. Because, yeah, we’re a business and we have to operate with margins and profit and all that stuff. But we like to keep 160 client roster. So Clay’s very guarded about who he lets inside what he calls his circle or the dojo of mojo, the garden of zen up here. And so we don’t necessarily want to be out in everybody’s face with popups and drip campaigns and all that stuff. We’re very selective about who we work with because he has decided to design it that way. But we’re not trying to mass produce and get 4000 clients, right? We’re trying to stick with in our 160 client roster. But he doesn’t want to get any bigger than that. So we don’t really do all these other marketing methods that we would teach clients. But that is the same stuff that he did with the vetting photography company or the DJ company or the wedding show and all the other things he’s… The elephant in the room and all the other businesses.
Darren Ross: So he uses more drip campaigns on those kind of things than this.
Eric Chupp: Yeah. We’re not too huge on the automated stuff. It’s just kind of like pick your three or four marketing legs that are working, and then typically that’s enough. The main problem is that team members aren’t following up with the kind of like the assertive attitude that they need to be following up, like the urgency of actual business. So that’s typically what we find is that a lot of companies are getting leads, they’re just not getting a hold of those leads. And it’s all about calling them fast and calling them often.
Darren Ross: Yeah. I mean, your people, I’ve had just two or three questions over the last four or five months on just whether it’s conference questions or whatever, and heck, man, I always had either a phone call or an email. It was like most people have a contact us form or something. Half the time you never even hear from anybody.
Eric Chupp: Never heard from you guys in seven years. Is anybody there? Hello? Is this thing on?
Darren Ross: Yeah. The conference wasn’t real formal. I mean, it wasn’t like you had to stand in line. They had to do a cavity search to make sure you’re in the right person that signed up. I walk in, and what’s her name? Not Amanda.
Eric Chupp: Abbey.
Darren Ross: Abby. She’s like, “Oh, let me find your seat.” I’m like, “This is a different experience than most.”
Eric Chupp: That’s awesome. That’s what we were trying to create. So I appreciate you saying that.
Darren Ross: Yeah, it is. No, but I plan on coming back either… It’ll probably be October.
Eric Chupp: Okay.
Darren Ross: Hopefully by then I’ll have something lined up.
Eric Chupp: Sounds awesome. Man, that’s good. Hey, I’ll let you get back to reading your book. You need anything else, you reach out to us. But enjoy those podcasts, and we can’t wait to see you again, my friend.
Eric Chupp: Now the question is will you book your tickets to attend the next in-person Thrivetime Show Workshop, or will you invest your weekends watching reruns of The A Team?