Welcome to the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast with Michael Koral
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Introducing Michael Koral
Michael Koral is todays guest joining us on the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast.
He is a man with many years of experience and several successful startups and exits through his history.
He joins us as the founder of Needls, the first ever RoboAgency.
What does this mean I hear you cry?
Well it’s the easiest and most effective way to advertise online. The Needls ad platform allows businesses to automatically create, target and optimize digital ads on both Facebook and Instagram.
Using its proprietary intent engine, Needls identifies buying signals within posts, tweets and status updates through Data Science and AI, ultimately determining the perfect target audience for these ads by monitoring social media conversations in real time.
Needls then delivers advertisements directly to these individuals, resulting in a high-quality traffic and impressive ROI for advertisers.
How The Dots Joined Up For Michael
But as you will hear on the show this is a guy who is joining up his dots everyday, as back in 2006 he started as an Internet Marketing Consultant for MenuPalace.com, where he managed all aspects of the sales cycle for online marketing campaigns.
This lead him to creating a brokerage company focused on selling high end, established, web-based businesses that have a history of generating significant cash flows.
Until he got to where he is today the dots have joined up
From starting his first business while still in university at the age of 18 it seems that he is exactly where he wants to be
As he says”Creating businesses that help people is what motivates me. Every company I’ve started and worked with has stemmed from a problem that needed a solution.
Now with Needls, I’m excited to bring that knowledge and passion to businesses looking to leverage social media as their problem”.
So if business is all about solving problems for others, why do so many people struggle to find a business idea that works for them?
And now he has created a solid history of online and offline success does he find it easier moving forward, or just as confusing?
Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr. Michael Koral
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Michael such as:
How so many people across the world have to wait for the realisation of what they love in life. But the dots will start making sense.
We discuss the power of a robo agency, which has given the power back to the individuals of the world, compared to the historic route of marketing.
Why so many people in corporate land have a huge problem to define the value that they can brig to the world holding them back from success
Michael shares just a few of the failures in his life, which have led him to where he is today. Would he be where he is without them???
How To Connect With Michael Koral
If you want our whole collection of shows then jump over to the podcast archives here
Audio Transcription For Michael Koral Interview
David Ralph [0:00]
Imagine how great it would be to say goodbye to your boss the alarm clock and earn more money than you ever thought possible. Well, I’m going to teach you exactly what you need to create that dream lifestyle business. In just 30 days, I will take you hand in hand through a series of modules that have been proven to work time and time again, giving you the dream lifestyle business you want head over to join up dots.com forward slash freedom and find out more.
When we’re young. We have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling join up dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK David Ralph
David Ralph [0:52]
Yes. Hello there. Good morning. And welcome to join up dots Yeah, we’re coming up to the fifth year anniversary of the show. So if you’ve never listened to us, well, how have you been? And if you have been listening to us time and time again, thank you so much. But you will have heard in one of the recent episodes, I was pondering Yes. pondering whether I should go down to two episodes a week, or stay with the three and it’s been overwhelming. You’re going to be stuck with me for free. I’ve had so many bits of feedback through Facebook and email that you can’t get enough of this, which is nice. It gives me something to do and keeps me out of my wife’s hair. Well, today’s guest I got a few young kids. He’s got a sprinkling of snow outside at the moment. So I imagine they’re going to be banging on the door saying dad get out get the sledgehammer so which one Mike as quick as possible. He is a man with many years of experience and several successful startups and exits throughout his history. He joins us as the founder of needles, the first ever Robo agency and what does this hit mean? I hear you cry? Well, it’s the easiest most effective way to advertise online. But needles ad platform allows businesses to automatically create target and optimize digital ads on both Facebook and Instagram. Using its intent engine needles identifies buying signals within posts, tweets and status update is through a data science and I ultimately determining the perfect target audience for these ads. By monitoring social media conversations in real time. needles, Ben delivers advertisements directly to these individuals resulting in a high quality traffic and impressive of advertisers. I have no idea how that’s done. But as you will hear on the show, this is a guy who is joining up these dots every day is back in 2006. He started as an internet marketing consultant for menu palace.com, where he managed all aspects of the sales cycle of online marketing campaigns, which led him to creating a brokerage company focused on setting high end established web based businesses that have a history of generating significant cash flows until he got to where he is today, but seems to have joined up from starting his first business was doing University at the age of 18. It seems that he is exactly where he wants to be. As he says, creating businesses that help people is what motivates me, every company I’ve started and work with has stemmed from a problem that needs a solution. Now with needles, I’m excited to bring that knowledge and passion to businesses looking to leverage social media as their problem. So if businesses are all about solving problems for others, why do so many people struggle to find a business idea that works for them? And now he’s created a solid history of online and offline success. Does he find it easier moving forward? Or just as confusing? Well, let’s find out as we bring on to the show, to start joining up with the one and only Mr. Michael Koral. Good morning, Michael. How are you sir?
Michael Koral [3:42]
Good morning. Great to be here. Thanks so much for having me on the show. Very exciting.
David Ralph [3:46]
It is exciting for me because this is the first one of the year 2019 I don’t normally dates them any of the episodes, but it’s a new year. Michael, I Have you broken your resolutions already. If you can’t GG membership, what’s happening in your life?
Michael Koral [4:04]
Now, that’s a good question. You know, I made some resolutions, but I haven’t broken them any I haven’t had time to break any of them yet. It’s been been a couple of days. So far, I’ve been very busy with work with family. So uh, no time to break any resolutions. But you know what, you know, today, it’s only 1030 in the morning right now. So I never you never know,
David Ralph [4:23]
I always start my resolutions in November. So I’m not forced by a date. This is this is my mentality. And I’ll be interested to see if you think it’s a good idea, I think but when you get up to the first of January, it’s almost like, I’ve got to think of something, I’ve got to think of something. So I want to Monday, November when a natural idea occurs to me. And then I just sort of carry on naturally into the new year and beyond. Is that genius, Michael? Or am I just a deluded fool?
Michael Koral [4:50]
Know that you know that that’s, that’s genius, it gives you time to prepare for it. And then like build up to like the resolution to start January 1, if you pick January 1 is like, that’s what you’re going to do. That’s freaking decide, it may take you a couple of months to kind of get rolling with that resolution. So I like that idea. I may. I mentioned pick that up next year, can’t really do that this year. But next year, I can like I can focus on that.
David Ralph [5:12]
On certain podcast, we can go back in time, but we can’t go back in time and that much. But of course, later on the show, we will be doing that. So Michael, you are somebody that when I look at your history, it looks like the dots have went and truly joined up. It looks like to me that he wasn’t overly sure what you should be doing. And then a couple of jobs in it started to become clear to you would that be the outsiders point of view or one that you actually buy into as well?
Michael Koral [5:38]
No, you’re absolutely right. You know what, when I was like, you know, in high school university, I really had no idea what I want to do. I didn’t know if I want to be an entrepreneur, if I want to get a job in the corporate world, or what I was kind of like, you know, I’m going to go to I knew I want to do something in business, but I didn’t know if I want to be my own boss or, you know, work for like, you know, a large company. So, it was kind of it was interesting. I was in university and then like as soon as I finished university, I got an opportunity to work for Xerox, which is obviously it was a fantastic company at that at that at that time still is still is right now. had incredible, like sales, training programs and stuff. I said, You know what, let’s give that a shot. And, you know, I think you right after Xerox, you connect the dots from Xerox to menu palace and then to where we are today. And I realized, I think after menu palace when I was working for you know, you know, bosses and I had people above me that I knew I just something just clicked I hit a ceiling with my salary. I had a ceiling with like, everything I was doing there. And something clicked to me saying, you know what, like, I just don’t want to work for somebody else. Like ever again, I want to, you know, have freedom to do whatever I want to do when I want to do it. And so I literally, I think it was in 2008 2009, I quit quit my job. I went traveling to Europe for a couple of months, you know, came back, and I teamed up with my two co founders, Jeremy coven and Justin Hartman, who I’ve actually known since I was 14 years old, we went to summer camp together. They’re already doing some, you know, some entrepreneurial stuff via the web brokerage firm that you mentioned, and a web development company too. And they need some help. So I said, You know what? I’m thinking of something to do. So why don’t I come join you guys. And I did. And you know, the rest is history. We’ve been I’ve been an entrepreneur for the last, I guess, nine, nine years now. 10 years now going on, I guess. 10 years now, because this is the new year. And it’s been fantastic going to create a crazy crazy ride. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
David Ralph [7:42]
Hey, sounds like you’re not on your own. Now. At the moment. Michael, what’s what’s happening? Have you got intruders? Is it the kids?
Michael Koral [7:50]
I actually like, as you mentioned, is snowing outside and I have a good like, hour long commute to get to get to the office. So decided to work from home today. And my three kids are actually upstairs right now. So if you hear a racket, I do apologize there. There’s three kids under the age of five. So they may be throwing around some toys or something like that. And apologies for that. But this is the real life, right? This is what being an entrepreneur is all about. And the family man, yeah, you know, you, you work but you also have to deal with, you know, crying kids sometimes. And I think that’s okay,
David Ralph [8:29]
how do you deal with that, because I’m very fortunate I’ve got my recording studio is at the back of the garden. So in the intro, it says live from the back of the garden. And literally, I come up here and I can be here all day. The weeks really, no one ever bothers me is an unwritten rule you don’t bother dead. But actually working within the office, and the office is in the home. Do you find it difficult because the utopia that people say is Oh, I want to work in me, Jimmy James, I want to sit at home with my laptop. By it’s not as easy to get things done is it when you’re at homes more often than not, you do need a working environment to go to
Michael Koral [9:06]
Yeah, you do you know what, and I’ve, I’ve only recently been starting to work my home a little bit just because of like, you know, winter the snow. And we’re actually for needles, we’re moving offices, we were in a you know, downtown, or the west end of downtown Toronto and Canada. And we close down that office and moving to a new space in a couple of weeks. So our team has been working remotely for the last little while. But January 15, we’re moving to a new space. So everyone’s working remotely and decided to give it a shot to work from home for a little bit. And you know what it’s not, I can manage to focus my time and focus my energy to, you know, come down to you know, my home office and work, take breaks and see my family and my kids when I need to. But just all about balance, you have to just like, you know, put on your headphones, listen to music, do something to kind of get you in the zone and get you into work the working mindset. Otherwise, you know, you’re going to find yourself just kind of drifting off and say, Oh, I’m in my PJs, I’m just going to hang out. And then maybe I’ll look up what’s on YouTube, or maybe I’ll watch a show or something like that. You just got to like stay focused, and, you know, over the last like, 10 years, that’s like, I’ve regardless of where I’m working, right, there’s no one that’s telling me to do something, right, there’s no one saying, okay, you have this, you have you have to do this. And it’s due then, right? It’s, I had to decide for myself, Okay, I gotta set my own goal, set my own deadlines, and you know, be accountable to myself to say, Okay, this is what you have to do. And when, and, you know, part of my like, resolutions, and every year I have the same resolution, one of the same ones is and for an entrepreneur, I think, you know, all of everyone strives to do this is make more money this year than you did last year, right? Every single year. Right? And, you know, I’ve been doing that, which is good. You know, but I just keep going with that. And if you if you can do that every single year, then, you know, I think you’ll be happy.
David Ralph [11:08]
Well, I struggle, and I’ll be totally transparent on this is yes, I have the desire to make more money. But I also have the desire for more free time. Because I’m not one of these entrepreneurs that goes, yes, I’ve made a billion pound and all I’ve done is sit in an office on my own not talking to anyone you know, that that for me doesn’t fit my lifestyle. Now with yourself with the young kids, and I know many of the listeners out there will have young kids, and they almost say, I have to do it when the kids grow up. Is that something that you are aware of that it’s not about the money, it’s about the quality of life, but then also, it’s about the quality of life that only comes because of the money getting that balance?
Michael Koral [11:51]
Yeah, you know, what there is I struggle with that all the time. And there really is that balance, and you have to kind of give something up at some point to get something in the future, right. So I made a decision, you know, for myself to say, you know what I’m going to, I’m going to I want a family, but I also want to be an entrepreneur. So I’m going to dedicate, you know, a good 1015 years of my life, to you know, work as hard as I can not take as many vacations not have as much freedom to, you know, to do that for that period of time. So that when that’s done, then I’ll have the freedom to do whatever I want, when I want and work, you know, 20 30% of the time and spend time with my family, you know, 70 80% of the time, right? And that’s not that’s not maybe not for everybody, right? Some people just want to have a lifestyle business and say, Okay, I want to work 50% of the time and have freedom the rest of the time. And that’s that’s totally cool. And that’s that that’s that that’s great for them. For myself, though, I know that, you know, I’m the type of guy that can can work, you know, work his butt off, spend time with his family, sleep, you know, three or four hours in a night, instead of you know, seven or eight hours and build up, you know, a nest egg, so that I can really enjoy myself when my kids are, you know, 910 11 years old when they get to remember the experiences, right? Like, I don’t need to take my kids to Disney World now. And they’re like five and under there. They’re gonna forget it. All right, they’re not gonna remember all
David Ralph [13:25]
You should have told me these 15 years ago, Michael, I spent thousands taking my kids on holidays. But I don’t remember a single part of going
Michael Koral [13:34]
exactly that that’s the thing. And like my oldest, he’s he’s four and a half right now. And he you know, we’ve gone to, you know, South a couple of times have gone into cruise here and there. And he remembers going on those things now. But if you know, fast forward 10 years from now, if I asked him, Hey, remember that cruise when you were, you know, four and a half years old, and you went to Alaska, remember how cool like the, you know, the ice was and stuff like that he’d have no idea, right? So I’m okay to just like kind of delay gratification until I can do it and do it comfortably.
David Ralph [14:06]
I took my son to Disney World, and we had some business flights. And so him and me went about four days earlier. And then my daughters and my wife came later. And we had a lovely four days out there. And after four days, I taken him to this place in Orlando in this place. It was all great. And I said to me, and what was the best part? What was the best part then? And he went the bus at Heathrow Airport. And I thought, well, that tells me what the bloody point in doing it. There’s no point at all. But um, so so does Robo agency, does that give you the kind of lifestyle you want? How does it work? And what is a robo agency?
Michael Koral [14:46]
Sure. So I know we coined the term, you know, back in 2015, we started the company. Essentially what it is, is what every agents like all the stuff that like a traditional digital advertising agency can do, but done automatically, right. So we started the company out of a need for our own businesses, but really, for small business owners that want to advertise on Facebook and Instagram, but just didn’t know how, you know, there was three options for people who want to advertise, they can try do it themselves. But for a typical, like dog, Walker, insurance agent, real estate agent, they really have no idea how to do a proper advertising campaign on Facebook. I mean, one of the first questions that people ask that that Facebook asks, Is what type of campaign Do you want to run? Again, the very first question, and there’s 15 different options, right. And at the end of the day, the dog walker just wants to walk more dogs, the real estate just wants to sell more houses, they don’t know what campaign they want to run, they just want to get more clients more leads and do do more grow their businesses. So they couldn’t do it themselves. Going to a traditional agency, I was way too expensive. For them, it was 2000 bucks a month just to get started with them. And it’s just like they couldn’t go, they don’t have that they don’t have that budget. And the third option was using another platform that’s out there. And there’s lots of them out there. But the issue with the vast majority of the platforms is they’re really meant to automate your own knowledge, right. So if you know how to set proper benchmarks for for ads, if you know what CTR means or CPM means or CPC means and what relevancy score is and frequency, and you can kind of set the right rules and automation rules for those things. There’s great platforms there. But back to again, that dog walker, they don’t have that knowledge, those platforms were, you know, fundamentally useless for them. So we want to build basically what a traditional agency can do, but for a fraction of the price and automate it. So by answering six simple questions, a business owner can, we can create ads for them, target them using data science, artificial intelligence, and optimizing 24. Seven, to give them the best chance to have the most incredible ads in front of the right people at the right time. You know, and me saying that’s all well and good. But you know, it’s actually true, we’ve had, you know, we compare our statistics with, you know, Facebook directly, and we’re typically three or four times better as far as like conversions go from our you know, from, from our system to Facebook, right. So the robo agency is based, basically just that everything an agency can normally do, but all all automated and making it simple for a small business owner, to advertise on Facebook and Instagram with no knowledge required.
David Ralph [17:40]
Now, the interesting thing for me on this is maybe if you go back four years ago, I did quite a lot of Facebook ads, and I did a course and I learned it, and I was quite successful. But then Facebook kind of changed everything. And I remember going, Oh, I’ll do another one. About three years later, when I went, there was a totally different platform and everything you change, how do you keep the relevance of your product up to date when things like Facebook and Instagram and the algorithms can change dramatically?
Michael Koral [18:10]
Oh, that’s a good question. So we have, you know, we’re lucky to have like a direct relationship with Facebook, they know what we’re doing, they like us, and they want us to do more with them. So we have, you know, like account managers that kind of give us tools and sometimes a heads up of what’s going to happen before it actually does. So we can, you know, iterate on our platform? Well, before you know, the well before the public would we would have a role at of that. So we’re we’re never really concerned if you know, Facebook changes something, unless it’s like something completely out of the blue, we’ve been pretty successful at you know, not not messing things up for for our customers, and being kind of ahead of the curve that way. You know, so I think there’s no real concern there, I talked with, you know, a Facebook rep, you know, basically every single week, and it’s, it’s very hard to get them, a typical business owner just can’t like talk to a, an account manager, they may be able to go on like live chat, but they’re, they’re kind of like the lower tier, we have kind of like the, I guess, upper tier people that we can speak with there who can kind of guide us in the right direction, and give us a heads up saying, Hey, we’re going to be adding this new feature soon, you may want to build this into your platform. So you can offer this to your clients as well, because they the issue with Facebook is they don’t you know, they’re not focused on, you know, trying to bring in our type of clients like the dog walker, the real estate agent, they’re focused on kind of like the more experienced marketers, so they want to work with us and other other like traditional agencies to make sure that we’re kind of set and we can provide all the Facebook tools directly to our customers as well.
David Ralph [19:53]
And then when you speak to the top guys in Facebook, do you have to speak Russian? Because very interested in that market?
Michael Koral [20:02]
Ya know, we treat you know, it’s we, you know, sometimes we do it in code. We Morse code, sometimes it really it really depends on on the day. So every every day before the call, I get the new code at the learn at the night before
David Ralph [20:16]
news, fake news. That’s what it is.
Unknown Speaker [20:19]
Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
David Ralph [20:23]
Let’s play some words. Now. Then we’re going to delve back into your journey to needles with a few wise words from Jim
Jim Carrey [20:30]
my father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [20:56]
Now, people often ask me, Why do I keep on playing backlit? Why play all the clips. And with that one, it comes to me in different ways dependent on the conversation that leads up to it. Now you’re somebody that went through university and came out the other end, not really with a clear idea where you wanted to go. And then you sort of moved into places. When did the love come to you? Obviously you love it now and I can hear that in your voice. But when did it because what Jim is saying you might as well go for the love is great. But more often than not, you don’t know what you love until he smacks you in the face.
Michael Koral [21:32]
Yes, you know, what I think the love came to me is when I started working with Jeremy and Justin on our, our website brokerage. And it was one of the first websites that we sold or that I sold personally, it was selling, it was actually funny was selling like bathroom products, not like it just like you know, like towels and like bars, things like that. And I sold that business, you know, all on my own and made some great commission from that. And once I like that, like those funds, like hit my account, and it was more funds, and like I would ever get on a bi weekly salary. I’m like, you know what, like, this is a lot of fun, I want to do this, like on my own, no one had to tell me what to do, I just like, did it, that was really cool. And that just kind of motivated me to just like say I’m doing this for the rest of my life. Like, I just gotta keep on going with that, like I get it, I get a high from going out and just like trying to make something out of nothing, right? So we would sell online businesses, and then we would sell, you know, digital marketing. And then we would build up needles and sell advertising to you know, or a system a robo agency to SMEs. It’s super excited to build something from nothing, and then look back and say, Hey, like I did that I didn’t have to, like look to somebody else, above me Give me direction, like I was able to direct that hire people, fire people deal with whatever I had to do to you know, run that run the business? And that just like, you know, it gives me a high, it’s great.
David Ralph [23:11]
But But did you need your partners? Could you have done this on your own, because this is one of the things, this is sort of the myth of the solo printer, I think there’s too many drawbacks to being a solo printer and not a team worker.
Michael Koral [23:26]
Yeah, you know what, I definitely couldn’t have done it without my partners, we, we are all very, very different people, and we bring different things to the table. You know, if I, I probably wouldn’t have done it, if I didn’t partner up with them. It just kind of made sense to do it. You know, I’m more of the marketing operations guy sales, sales as well. Jeremy is more of the like the product development guy, the you know, the technical person. And Justin is more like the CEO high level, you know, ruthless sales, and Investor Relations, Person person. So bringing all three of us together, we make an incredible team to, you know, do anything we want, which is which is which is fantastic. So, I mean, like, there’s something to be said, there’s lots of solar printers. And I think if you want to have a lifestyle business, you can do that. But if you want to build up like, you know, a significant wealth, and it’s a lot easier to do it with partners, and it helps fill in fill in the gaps of skill sets, like I don’t know absolutely everything. I don’t know how to code myself, right? I know nothing about Java or anything like that. I just know how to hire the right people and know what I don’t know, to make sure that
all the different things are put in the right places.
David Ralph [24:46]
So with your business as it stands, is it something that is a stepping stone to something else? Or do you think that needles is the thing that you’ve been building towards? That?
Michael Koral [24:58]
That’s a good question. I mean, whenever we’re building businesses, we always have one thing in mind, and it’s the building. Sorry, it’s the build more wealth, right? So when we started our web brokerage and our web development company, those are all very like transactional, right, it was like being like a real estate agent would sell, sell something and move on, move on to the next thing, there wasn’t like assets that we were able to, you know, like, as the brokerage, we weren’t able to, like sell that it’s still writing to this day, we have brokers working for us, and that, that that’s all good, but it’s not like, we can sell that for you know, $10 million, and have a great exit and do something like that. with needles, I think that’s, that’s very much the case, we always had an idea to, you know, to build up the business from ground zero and within, you know, five to eight years, sell it and, and move on. And I think that it’s, it’s very well on its way to to be doing that. So I believe that it is I believe that it is, will not be the be all end all, we wanted to start something else after that most likely, yes. Right. Because we, you know, we’re entrepreneurs at hearts, and we just want to keep going. And I know I said at the outset of this, you know, of this interview that, you know, I want to just work my butt off for, you know, 10 to 15 years, and then take some time off. But, you know, at this at the same time, you know, if I sell, who knows if I sell needles for whatever money that we can sell it for, and you know, make some make some good makes make something good for that. Maybe I’ll get bored just spending time with my family all the time, and they want to do some do some listening and get and get back into it. So
David Ralph [26:40]
maybe they get bored with you, Michael, you
Michael Koral [26:43]
never know. Yeah, you never know. I mean, like the entrepreneurs journey is just such that that like you have a certain plan, right? And then things can change, right. And that happens all the time. Like, we didn’t know, we want to build needles in 2009, we had no idea, right? Facebook didn’t have an ad platform in 2009. Right? This, this business would not exist, right. And we just kind of we were in the right place at the right time. And we found the niche that we knew that there was a huge gap in that market. There’s a desperate need for this. And we knew we had to get in there. And at that time, it’s funny, we didn’t really know much about Facebook ads. And now we’re Facebook ad experts and run a robo agency about Facebook ads. And we educate people about it, we have webinars for it, we have a whole like needles University, where you can learn more about Facebook ads, even if you don’t do it yourself, we give you the tools to do that. You know, so we do all of that spawning from, you know, not knowing anything about it, literally five years ago.
David Ralph [27:44]
But this is the key thing. And this is what I say to everyone. I teach people how to build online businesses. It wasn’t something that was going to be part of my business. But then it turned out I was very good. So I’ve started teaching people. And my my steps to building an online business are pretty much. Number one, be prepared to do the work. Number two, is something that plays to your strengths and your talents. Number three, define your customer. Number four, find your customers problems, and then go out and get loads of those customers. And it’s kind of pretty much VAT. Why do you think then that people struggle so much when there’s opportunities everywhere? Literally, business opportunities are being smashed into your face every single day? But if you speak to people, they go, Oh, yeah, I started my online venture back in 2002. And I’ve made $4 66 since then, why why what you’ve been a struggle so much.
Michael Koral [28:39]
I don’t think they have like, the motivation and passion to really see see something through. I think they like the idea of being an entrepreneur, but they may just not have it in them to do it. Right. They think sometimes, oh, yeah, I can start the business. And you know, I can work you know, as, as I want to work and have the freedom to what I want do. But they’re not gonna they’re not putting the work in, they’re not motivated, they’re not dedicated to really see things moving forward. And perhaps they need that kind of like kick in the butt, right, just and have someone over their head to say, this is what you have to do, right. And a lot of entrepreneurs may may just be thinking that a lot of people that are failing at entrepreneurship are maybe have that mindset that they’re coming from the corporate world. And typically, they have someone telling them what to do. Now they have nobody telling them what to do. And they’re kind of like, okay, now now, what do I do, you know, they’re kind of just, like, stuck stuck there. So I think they fail, because they just don’t have that, like, motivation and guidance to kind of get them to that next step. So, you know, a word of advice is just even if you don’t have like, you know, partners to work with, right? Maybe part, maybe talk to, like a mentor, just have a business coach, somebody that can just like you can talk to, and that can motivate you to do to do something, right. And if you don’t have that, then like source, source them out, there’s tons of them all over the place, right? Go on LinkedIn, look up business coaching, there’s like, there’s a slew of my 10 different events to just like, you know, speaking network with different people, right? Start talking to people, and if you’re just going to be trying to, you know, sit in your basement or sit in your office, and you know, think you can start your own business and not talk to anybody, then you know, you’re living in a fallacy you have to go in and, you know, really, you know, speak to people network, get a business coach and like, have goals and motivate yourself to like, wake up every morning and like, nail down tasks and do things so you can actually, like, get to that light at the end of the tunnel.
David Ralph [30:38]
Did you do one of the things I think is the problem with this, Michael and I did a show about this recently. And one of the brilliant things about being a podcaster is, when you talk you almost bring solutions out that you hadn’t thought about it just like thoughts out of your mouth opens and words come out. And as you’re talking, you think, yeah, that’s probably true, actually. And I think one of the problems that people have is in entrepreneur land is up to you to divine value, and worth. And so you’ve got to find the value that other people want. And if you can scale it, then that’s where your income is value time scale equals income. But in corporate land, pretty pretty much people are told what the value is bed told how much they’re going to be paid for working an hour. They’re told how much that job is. And I think that is the bridge that people have to cross actually being out the shake the mindset up to say, No, the first time in my life, if I say this is going to be $2,000 I’ve got to find the value in this price. But people will want to pay $2,000 it’s down to me What’s up?
Michael Koral [31:44]
Yeah, exactly. I mean, I think about it, I just like solving problems, right? You’re an entrepreneur, you’re solving problems for people, right? And then you got to figure out, Okay, how much is that problem worth? Right? So I think you hit the nail on the head. When we’re doing, we’re running our businesses, or we’re always just trying to solve problems for people, whether it was the brokerage firm, whether it was building websites, or people or doing you know, needles, we’re solving people’s problems. And then we wanted to say, Okay, how much is someone willing to pay to solve their problem? Right, some problems are bigger than other things, right? Someone who wants to sell their, like web business, you know, that’s the big problem to solve. It’s hard, it’s hard to do. So they pay you, you know, 10% of the, you know, the listing price. And sometimes the listing price is, you know, a million dollars. So they they’re willing to pay $100,000 to solve that problem. Facebook ads, as an example, for needles, it’s not, it’s a problem. It’s not as big as a website brokerage, like selling a business. So Bill, they’re willing to pay, you know, maybe $100, or $200, to solve that problem. So you gotta kind of just think about, okay, how much is someone willing to pay to solve a problem, right, and you have a test that right? It’s not like, Okay, if you’re thinking of a business, or you’re selling a product or something like that, you have to kind of like, test test that out, it’s not the first, the first value is not going to be perhaps the right one, you’re gonna have to play play with that. But if you can think of the right price to solve the problem, then you’ll you know, you’ll do well as an entrepreneur.
David Ralph [33:22]
Now, one of the things they always talk about, and I think it’s absolutely true, is the minimal minimum viable product creating something that somebody will actually pay. Now, we’ve needles, obviously, that is a computer program that’s sort of that needs work, did you sell the concept? Or did you actually have to go look, I think this is going to be the way to go, we have to put six months in and build this thing, before we start selling it, you know,
Michael Koral [33:47]
what we we did, we did build a minimum viable product, it took us I’d say, two or three months, and like one developer to, to build out like that minimum viable product, which has very, very bare bones. But when we did that, it was very, it was quick for us to just bring on some, you know, some of our first our first clients, they were kind of like our test subjects, we use the for ourselves to obviously and tested it. And we knew we had something there. Because right off the bat, we were performing better than our campaigns directly on Facebook. So in our in our situation, we had to, you know, build build something we didn’t know if it was going to work or not until we until we built it. Right. You know, and I think it was easy, small business owners, they’re easy, there’s enough for them out there. To do that versus let’s say, you know, if you’re building something for enterprise, you may want to try to sell it first. Because there’s only so many people that you can go out to for enterprise versus a small, small business focused venture. So we did do an MVP, and then raised some capital based on the MVP. But you don’t have to do that for for every business, right? If you’re, let’s say, manufacturing, like a very interesting new bicycle or something like that, that’s all smart and things. And you know, you want to pre sell them. So you can generate the capital to make them. That’s something different. So I mean, like, Kickstarter does it all the time, right? Where they’re just raising funds to build the first prototype of it, right? So that you can go different, you can go both ways. 100% It really depends on what type of business that you’re that you’re in.
David Ralph [35:34]
So what type of business are you actually in? Because what what interests me and I’ve been doing a lot of this recently is realizing that nobody sale was what they’re actually thinking they they’re selling people by based on, for example, my show, and my coaching is about information. It’s about hope. It’s about a future. It’s about a dream. Life is about a lifestyle. It’s all to kind of almost tangible things, but actually people buy nobody buys a running machine because they want to running machine they buy running machine, because it makes them feel better. What business are you actually in with needles? Where would you say your core market is?
Michael Koral [36:15]
Yeah, so with needles, we’re really helping small businesses find new customers, right? We’re not in we’re not in the business of running Facebook ads for people and Instagram ads, right? That’s just like the means to the end. But at the end of the day, people come to us because they want to find more customers the easiest way possible. So we’re just helping them do that. Right? It just so happens that we’re doing it by Facebook ads. But at the end of the day, people write reviews about us saying, okay, they, you know, the dog walker example, we had a dog walker and like Middle America who, you know, just want to walk some more dogs, right? So she started with us, we did some African housing for her. And two months in, she calls us up or called me up personally. And she’s like, Michael, I need to cancel the service. I’m like, Okay, what, why is that she’s like, I don’t have enough people to walk all the dogs that want walking, right? So I have to stop the ads. Because working too well, for me, I may come back later when I have enough people to walk dogs, but you’ve done too good of a job for me. Right. And I turned her into a case study, obviously. And she was fantastic. But that’s what we’re trying to do is trying to help small businesses, find new customers sell more product, sell more services, generate more leads. That’s really what we’re in the business of doing not not Facebook and Instagram ads as a as a robo agency.
David Ralph [37:45]
I love that. So the strap line is basically we help you find the customers you want.
Michael Koral [37:50]
Exactly. That’s that’s about that. That’s it. That’s it?
David Ralph [37:54]
That’s quite a sexy little strapline, isn’t it? Because it is, it clearly defines exactly what you know.
Michael Koral [38:01]
It’s funny, you know, I should change that on our website. It’s like, you know, we have a different tagline. It’s like social media, advertising is hard. Like, you know, let us do it for you. Right, and we change it up every set every now and then. And that focuses on what I said, we’re not that’s that’s a funny thing. And, you know, and we say, a lot of businesses want to say, you know, they help small business owners find new customers. So, when we’re advertising ourselves, we have to kind of gear it. Okay, how are we going to do it, but at the end of the day, the people why people stay is because we are helping them find more customers and a better way and an easier way in a cheaper way that you can do it. You can do it yourself. Yeah,
David Ralph [38:39]
doesn’t matter what you’re doing. Does it matters what the customers getting? And if the customer comes along that goes, Yeah, new customers bring it on? Bang, it’s done.
Michael Koral [38:48]
Right. Exactly. Exactly.
David Ralph [38:50]
I’m gonna charge you 10,000 pounds for that bit of consultancy. Michael now,
Michael Koral [38:55]
please, I’ll send you out. I’ll send you a bill after the call. Okay.
David Ralph [38:58]
Now you don’t send me a bill, either send me an email, I send you a bill. And that is how it works. I’ve just given you consultancy fees.
Michael Koral [39:05]
Oh, sure. Sure. Fair.
David Ralph [39:08]
You if you have nothing, Michael, I know what you Canadians are like. So when you move on now, you’re putting down the call, I’m interested in your day, is it very flexible music very structured,
Michael Koral [39:21]
extremely flexible. I do different things every single day. You know, I have a team, right. So we have meetings that are scheduled on a weekly basis or on a monthly basis. But as far as the day is concerned, the night before the day, I kind of like plan it out, I said, Okay, this is what I want to tackle for the day, right. And sometimes it’s you know, figuring out a different operational thing about the company. Sometimes it’s you know, doing, you know, podcasts like this other times, it’s, you know, trying to find like the next best, like, you know, sales or business development representative. So like some more hot hiring, hiring tactics. Other times it just doing some, you know, professional development, right, and, you know, talking to business coaches, or strategizing with my, with my partners, I don’t think since I’ve started becoming an entrepreneur, I’ve had the same structure of a day, once, like every day has has been different, I may have done some of the similar things, but not the same time, it’s always been very different. But the night before, I always think about, okay, this is what I want to do this day. And it just, I just, I just do them and any way any way I possibly can.
David Ralph [40:37]
I’m going to do the same thing that I do almost every single day now. And I’m going to play the words of Steve Jobs, who created the format of the show back in 2005. He probably didn’t realize he did it. But he’s words are still here is Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [40:48]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards. 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [41:23]
Now your path clearly lined up as far as I could see it there was that moment when I thought oh, here, this is where it started. Did you feel that or you know, it’s a big.in your life when you look back? And you go Yeah, that that’s really I think that’s when it became clear to me?
Michael Koral [41:39]
That’s a good question. I think, you know, when we started, like I mentioned before, we started our website brokerage firm. And it’s sold at first like bathroom, you know, website for bathroom products website back kind of like, you know, triggered something in me to say, okay, like, I think this is, you know, this is what I want to do the rest of my life. And they were just more and more those moments over, you know, the course of like a, you know, two or three year period that just said reinforce that, right? It was, you know, selling more of those businesses, it was, you know, attending different conferences and stuff like that, and just being like my own boss, it just kind of like, clicked from that, like, one initial bathroom product sale that that we had. And then, um, I look, when I look back, I’m like, you know, what, like, I don’t know how in the world I got here, you know, from, you know, from from high school to university, where I, you know, never even thought of signing like a website before, to then, you know, after university working for Xerox and selling photocopiers to then doing digital advertising for, you know, restaurants and catering company, that menu palace, I still had no idea that I want to like, you know, be an entrepreneur and you know, perhaps sell websites to people, right? So that moment that triggered saying, okay, I love it. I’m going to keep on doing this, and maybe not sell web businesses for the rest of my life, but be my own boss the rest of my life. And that’s I think that was that moment. And I still look back to that to say, Okay, yeah, that was that that was that day, it was in 2010. I think in the summer of 2010. I forget the exact day, but it was around summer 2010.
David Ralph [43:18]
I can remember the moment that I built a little website, and I had AdSense on it from Google. And I got 45 cents. And I remember it was the first time ever that money came to me and effectively. I hadn’t done anything for it. Yes, I had I built this little website. But um, that was my defining moment. And I look back on that now. And I think God without that 45 cents, which I’ve been sat there for the next four hours pressing f5, f5 f5 on the computer, see if it changed, and it didn’t. But it doesn’t, it doesn’t need a lot does it to really spark you into a totally new life.
Michael Koral [43:53]
No, it really doesn’t. I mean, you know, if I didn’t, you know, make that sale, like would I have doing what I was doing? I don’t know, maybe maybe I would have another sale that later on. But there’s always those defining moments. And I think you just got to find that. And if you haven’t had one yet, you know, don’t don’t fret. I mean, most the vast majority of entrepreneurs, like the vast majority of successful entrepreneurs fail. Right. And they and that’s that that’s that’s the truth, right? I’ve I failed myself as well. We didn’t we didn’t really talk talk about, you know, failures and things. But I definitely have, I mean, back when I was in university, I ran a business I window cleaning franchise, right. And I ran it for a couple of years. And the first year I did it, I did well, I mean, I started you know, it was myself and like, you know, three or four employees that I had, and we were cleaning windows and in Toronto, second year I did it, I want to expand on it. Okay, I did it with one crew This time, let’s try to do two or three crews, right, let’s try to really expand it and do something a lot, a lot bigger. So I started doing that. And you know, in, I built up a bunch of, you know, a prospects, we had, like, you know, you know, a bunch of crews lined up and a bunch of like businesses or houses that we were going to clean. And then you know, it just it didn’t work. We didn’t have enough work for two additional crews. I had one crew just like, you know, quit on me. I had another crew, I had to I had to fire, I didn’t have enough work. And I actually ended up making less than that in that year. They did the first year when I want to expand, right. And after that I just like I stopped doing the window cleaning business on it, you know what, maybe this just isn’t isn’t for me. Right? So, but that was a failure. I don’t really talk about it that much. But in the back of my mind, I think about that and say, you know what I learned from that don’t expand too quickly. Right. And that’s, you know, you have to just kind of get your get your, your feet wet get like the you know, the groundwork ready to go. So you really solid and then you know, built build up from there. Right. So it’s just one lesson that I learned that it’s I really don’t talk about, but we’re just discussing it here. So I figured I’d bring it up.
David Ralph [46:10]
I found it every day. And I know it’s a cliche that everybody says, but I do. And I can list so many things which just thought we’re going to fly out the gate, but they didn’t. And you look back on it and you go, I can see why they didn’t. But at the time you you put your heart and soul into something and you think it’s going to be the big moneymaker. But little by little you chip away and you find money elsewhere, I always say it’s like a big block of stone, where you can see the money in there. And you’re chipping away, chipping away chipping away. And sometimes you can get a quarter of $1. And then other times it comes out a little bit more. But it’s not until you keep on banging away for you know, a couple of years, whatever, then you get the gold, you’ve got to have all the splinters hitting you you haven’t you that the few successes here and bear a little bit of cash that you can put back into the business develop. I don’t think anyone’s going to do it straight away.
Michael Koral [47:03]
Ya know, exactly. I mean, everyone’s going to have failures, you know, I talked about that one, I’ve always had a lot more small ones over over the years, whether it be like not being able to hire the right person that I want to hire or putting out a feature for needles that didn’t work so well or not being able to sell certain businesses like on on the web brokers that we had, there’s been countless failures that, you know, we we’ve had, right. And that kind of kind of builds up your thick skin to know it’s okay to fail, it really is okay to fail. And if you haven’t failed yet, then try to fail, like just literally try to do whatever you can to fail, it means you’re trying to reach for something that is very hard to get to, it’s hard hard to do. And if you can get there, and if you can’t get through your learned your lesson. And if you can get there, you know, kudos to you, you just did something that is very, very difficult to do. And that that’s awesome. Go on and try the next thing go up, go above the wrong above the next round, and try to reach that and try to fail for that thing to
David Ralph [48:04]
brilliant, brilliant bit of advice. So Michael, this is the end of the show. And this is the part that we’ve been building up to when we’re going to send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self and join up those dots. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young Michael, what age would you choose? And what advice would you give him? Well, we’re gonna find out because I’m going to play the music. And when it fades you up, this is the Sermon on the mic. Show. You know,
Michael Koral [48:50]
I think I speak to my 18 year old self. If I had $1,000 when I was 18 years old, I remember when I I was 18 years old and I had $1,000 I would say hey, you know what, I want to go on a vacation and travel and do something with $1,000 and spend that money and, you know, post it online and say, Hey, you know, this is what I did this is how much fun that I had. But, you know, looking back, you know, if I had that same thousand dollars, I wouldn’t go on that vacation, I’d invest that money, I would try something with $1,000 I put that something into either starting a business or putting into stocks or doing something that will build more wealth. And no, I couldn’t post that on Instagram to see how much fun I had doing that. There’s no like success, you know, it’s there’s nothing, nothing there for that. But I know that, you know, fast forward to where I am now that that thousand dollars, would have taught me to just keep on investing more and more and more into into myself and to build more and more wealth, versus just having like, quick successes and quick enjoyment of going on. I know I know, vacation for a week to you know, an all inclusive or to Florida or on a cruise or something like that, right. It’s one thing to say, you know, enjoy yourself when you’re young. But you know, when you’re in your like late 20s, early 30s, you’re still quite young, and you can enjoy your life a heck of a lot more. And that thousand dollars now turns into 20,000 30,000 $100,000, and you could have a lot more fun now than you could with that thousand dollars back when you’re 18 years old.
David Ralph [50:32]
Oh, last up very, very quickly. I was I was listening intently by Michael Koral. So for the people that have also been listening intently, what’s the best way that they can connect with you?
Michael Koral [50:42]
Sure. So if you want to reach me directly, you can email me at Michael at needles calm, that’s my ch Ae email@example.com. That’s n e di o s.com. And if you want to contact you know, join up and sign up for needle, we actually have a special for you. If you go to needles.com slash join up dots you can go there and use the coupon code join up dots to get 35% off your monthly platform fee for us for a full year. Right, which is a huge value. And you know, I want to offer this to you know, to all the listeners here. Again, it’s needles.com slash join up dots we using a coupon code join up dots they get to 35% off the platform fee for an entire year. And again, if you want to reach me personally, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
David Ralph [51:38]
we will have all the links in the show notes to make it as easy as possible. Michael, thank you so much for spending time with us today and joining up those dots. Please come back again when you got more dots to join up. Because I do believe that by joining up those dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Michael Koral, thank you so much.
Michael Koral [51:55]
You’re very welcome. It was a pleasure chatting with you.
David Ralph [52:00]
Michael Koral of needles that.com forward slash join up dots Yeah, so it’s interesting that isn’t it that so many people want a life but they’re not willing to put the work in Michael saying, but he was willing to work or he’s willing to work for 15 years, you know, have you got that in you to do that? I don’t think a lot of people have. And that’s why the rewards for the people that do go for it are so much better. Certainly in join up dots we are rocking and rolling now. First Year, nothing second year, not much more bird year, a bit more fourth year, really going somewhere in the fifth year, you know, it takes its time. But whoever you end up working with, if you want to start your own business, you find somebody that has had the failures, as well as the successes, please do that. Look around, find somebody that’s had the ups and downs. If it looks like it’s been plain sailing, then I’ll be absolutely honest, they’re lying. They’re lying. Find somebody that’s had the up downs and they will be able to push you through is so important to do that. But believe me, once you get something going, you’ll just want to do it again. And again. Again, it is intoxicating. Until next time, thank you so much for listening to this episode of join up dots thank you for so many people dropping me a line saying three times a week we want it three times a week, especially to Francis and patina my mates across the world who dropped me lines. Thank you very much, ladies for telling me you want to make me work more. But until next time, I will be here waiting for you Look after yourselves and go out and conquer. Say bye bye. So you’ve listened to the episode of join up dots and you’ve got some ideas going through your head but you don’t know where to turn. And more often than not people try to do it on their own. And they go round and round in circles for many years until they give up where you don’t need to. Because at join up dots we have got a business coaching platform where we will teach you in a very short period of time, how to get your own business up and running, how to do the right market research and basically how to win the game before you even start. If that is of interest to you just come across the join up dots and you can check out our coaching platforms connect with us. And we will drop you a line and tell you a little bit more about the kind of things that we operate and how he can help you. I look forward to seeing you online. And if you get a podcast or come on your show, I’ll be a guest