Dribble Founder Michael Sacca Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing Dribble Founder Michael Sacca
He is a man who certainly has had his ups and downs since entering into the startup world to where he is today.
And so my friends, that of course makes him a perfect guest for another inspiring, motivational and educational episode of Join Up Dots
After graduating with a degree in music, he of course was like so many people who follow an education based career.
He was convinced that an employment in the music industry was beckoning.
But little by little he realised that this wasn’t going to happen for him, so ended up waiting tables in LA to earn some cash.
At the same time one of his flat mates, was doing very well writing code for a company.
How The Dots Joined Up For Michael Sacca
In fact based on the fact that his mate could roll into work when he wanted.
Basically in the words of our guest “Never be fired from the company as he had written much of their programming” inspired our guest to start working on his computer skills.
He went from waiting tables in LA while pursuing a career in music, to building a development agency, to building several other products and companies, and to ultimately now becoming the CEO of Crew.
How he is approaching the opportunities and challenges of taking over the leadership role as CEO of Crew.
Which is 3 years old, has raised $11 million in funding, has a valuation of $30 million, and is at the forefront of the freelance economy (which is shaping the future of work).
So everything looks rosy in the garden for our guest.
He looks relaxed, is loving his work, and on his way up.
So how did he get himself back on his feet after the disappointment of realising a life in music was unlikely to be happening for him?
And when he realised that his development agency was going under, due to choosing the wrong business partners to work with did he think he didn’t have it in him to create his own success?
Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots, the one and only Michael Sacca
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Michael Sacca such as:
Why there is so little quality in the freelance hiring experience across the world, and what Crew are aiming to do about it for the positive.
Why we should all spend as much time as we can assisting our chosen freelancer, to help the image of our work transfer to a realised complete project. It just takes a little bit of planning.
Why he loved the idea of having a transportable business, bringing freedom into his life when he first started, and can see clearly how that ideal has lead him to where he is today
Why the ego is a killer in the creation process. You have to validate the idea which means being open to criticism right at the very beginning of planing your legacy.
How To Connect With Michael Sacca From Dribble
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Full Transcription Of Dribble Founder Michael Sacca Interview
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 [0:33]
Yes, it’s me, David Ralph. I’m feeling energised and feeling or ready to roll on this episode of Join Up Dots because today’s guest and we’re going to cut to the chase we’re going to get to him really quickly today is a man who’s been on a bit of a mission and he’s been he’s one of those kind of guys that when you look at him, he certainly had his ups and downs since entering into the startup world to where he is today. And so as I say, my friend, that of course makes him a perfect guest right now. Inspiring, motivational, and educational episode of Join Up Dots. After graduating with a degree in music, he of course, was like so many people who follow an education based career convinced that an employment in the music industry was beckoning. But little by little, he realised that this wasn’t going to happen for him. So he ended up waiting tables in LA to earn some cash. At the same time, one of these flatmates was doing very well writing code for a company and in fact, based on the fact that he’s made could roll into work when he wanted. And basically, in the words of our guests never be fired from the company as he’d written much of their programming inspired our guests to start working on his own computer skills. He went from waiting tables in LA while pursuing a career in music to building a development agency, building several other products and companies and ultimately now becoming the CEO of crew. Now, he’s approaching the opportunities and challenges of taking over the leadership role at crew, which is three years old, and he’s now raised 11 million in funding has a valuation of 30 million He’s at the forefront of the freelance economy, which is shaping the future of work. So everything looks rosy in the garden for our guests. He looks relaxed, he’s loving his work, and he’s on his way up. So how did he get himself back on his feet after the disappointment of realising how likely music was unlikely to be happening for him? And when he realised that each development agency was going under due to choosing the wrong business partners to work with? Did he think that he didn’t have it in him to create his own success? Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show, to start Join Up Dots with the one and only Michael Sacca. Good morning, Michael. How are you sir?
Michael Sacca From Dribble [2:36]
Good morning. Good morning. God the intro.
David Ralph [2:39]
I’ve been all inspired sir. As I was doing that, I was actually thinking Gee, you know, I sound like a professional podcaster it actually dawned on me but after 700 shows, I’m starting to get to grips with this.
Michael Sacca From Dribble [2:51]
I would say so. Yeah.
David Ralph [2:55]
I was rocking and rolling on that one. You have had a bit of a journey and so you are in Canada at the moment, is that where you are?
Michael Sacca From Dribble [3:02]
Yes. We just got to Montreal about a month ago.
David Ralph [3:05]
So you in Canada, you are a have to say a failed musician. Do you walk around the streets of Canada going die Michael Buble a die Michael.
Michael Sacca From Dribble [3:16]
It’s Justin Bieber hear me
always. Yeah, he’s the boy child. Um,
no, I don’t think I actually sold all my instruments. I don’t think I think about it too much anymore.
David Ralph [3:27]
No, not even a little bit not even a sort of a drunken karaoke bar. You see somebody get up and sing and stuff. Well, what was your music of choice?
Michael Sacca From Dribble [3:34]
So um, I did mostly weird, experimental and punk.
So it wasn’t anything that I guess most people would be drawn to. So in the end,
I don’t regret kind of the the path that it’s journey. I think music failed to create a void that I’ve been able to fill in other ways. So in that sense, I am I am very still very satisfied.
David Ralph [4:03]
And I’ll be honest with you your choice of music, I’m kind of glad that you failed.
Michael Sacca From Dribble [4:08]
I’m pretty sure that choice caused the failure to
David Ralph [4:10]
yes, it does sound like the kind of thing that I’m going to play in my car on a Sunday morning as I’m driving along happily. So let’s talk about where you are at the moment. And then we’re obviously in Join Up Dots fashion, we will jump back and forth, back and forth. But you are the CEO of crew, which is like a freelancing company. Explain it for our listeners, if we’re unsure of what you do.
Michael Sacca From Dribble [4:34]
Yes, so we fill the void in this new emerging economy of freelancers where we help find vetted projects that are at a rate that’s livable for them, and match them with it. So we have a vetted community about 700 designers and developers. We work with Project owners to onboard set up their project and then find them the right person. And because it’s a vetted community, we guarantee He that the project will be completed on time and on budget.
David Ralph [5:03]
So you are kind of recruitment consultant for freelancing, is that right?
Michael Sacca From Dribble [5:08]
Yes. I mean, there’s a lot a lot of issues that happen in the freelance economy. And we, our goal is to solve some of them. And one of them is building trust between a project owner and a creative. So what
David Ralph [5:21]
is the difference between you or your company and somebody like or a company like Upwork, which most people might have heard of?
Michael Sacca From Dribble [5:30]
Yeah, and in fact, a lot of our customers come from trying Upwork Upwork is a bit different, where there’s a little less focus on the quality. So you go to Upwork, and you’ll get 50 people or 50 different agencies bidding on your project and, but there’s no one that is making sure that that project is done successfully and up to your standards or up to any standards. And so the difference is, when you come to us, we give you just a couple options, three highly qualified, vetted people. You can review them, talk to them, review their portfolio and when the work comes out, it’s up to the quality standard that you’re looking for.
David Ralph [6:04]
You didn’t see me because we’re not on webcam. But as you’re talking about up work and the lack of standards, I snorted and smile. Because I have been through up work, and it hasn’t been a good experience for me. It’s so where you basically put your job requirement up online, you say, this is what I want. I want a new five page website, and you get a small car delivered to your door or something totally inadequate for your needs.
Michael Sacca From Dribble [6:32]
Yes, yes. And oftentimes, you’re working with companies that don’t really care. because no one’s no one’s judging the quality so that that’s the that’s the big problem that we’re trying to solve. And we’ve matched over 30 million in projects so far in the last three years,
David Ralph [6:49]
but it seems logical and obviously we aren’t going to delve into your journey but it does seem logical to me as well. Vat if you are putting one person with another A person, there’s got to be a sort of a, you know, a middle ground, you go to dating agencies and you get a picture and you get a resume and you can test them out and go for a drink. It’s the same kind of thing that’s required in business. But for more often than not, these companies are springing up that just think that it can be automatic, somebody can sit behind taking their 5% cat with no hands on quality control. So the fact that you are focused in on that issue wasn’t because here’s a question for you. Was it because you guys had been burned before? Did the founders or crew come together? Like the owner of Netflix did when he got fed up with blockbusters and say, This isn’t gonna happen to us anymore? We’re gonna bring them down.
Michael Sacca From Dribble [7:45]
Yes, and and we also experienced it from the other side, right, so there was two so I ran a small agency out of San Diego. I hired people from work, at least I tried in the very early days, and I realised how poor that experience was. And then we also tried to get work from Upwork. And we realise how poor that experience was, too. So I think it was it was seeing both sides of the market, it was also seeing the stress of freelancing, and trying to be creative and make money by freelancing because 50% of your time goes to doing the work that you love, the other 50% goes to finding the next project, or doing the accounting and doing all these things and unnecessarily that good at and you don’t really have a passion for it. And so part of it was was being on that side of the table and wanting to bring these quality projects and match good project owners with good creative developers.
David Ralph [8:40]
And is it something that you can just see exploding around you or is it just about to go the growth of crew from the outside seems dramatic, but because you’re in the inside Do you think now this is this is just the beginning? You wait, do you wait?
Michael Sacca From Dribble [8:57]
Yes, of course we have. We have very big big Plans for where it can go. And where we see the industry going. I mean, the industry is still in its infancy of, of creative professionals. And you see, Canada just put out a study where they’re concerned about the growing number of contractors that are, are are, are now on the books instead of free have full time employees. We don’t see that as a bad thing. Because I don’t know if the government fully understands what that means. But we see this as a choice that people are making and people are just starting to see that it’s a viable option for them.
David Ralph [9:34]
I just did a blog post was it a blog post or a podcast? I can’t remember they all blow in. So while I’m a content producer, I whack it out to the world. And one of the things I was talking about was the fact that if you are looking to work for somebody as a freelancer, do your research, look at LinkedIn, look at profiles go onto Facebook, because it seems to be that people can literally walk out of an office. Say I’m going into business and slap x But over their name just because they’ve got a few hundred Instagram followers. And it just seems lunacy, but people aren’t doing their research behind the scenes. So is it as much as Mike or should we be doing the extra work? As in you should be looking at the quality and if the two of us meet together, it’s gonna be a match made in heaven, isn’t it?
Michael Sacca From Dribble [10:21]
That’s what we hope. I mean, 90% of our projects do not have any issues. And I think that is because of that vetting process because we check out the the project owner, we work with the project builder to set expectations, which is another thing that you have to do when you’re freelancing if you’re a consultant, but not everyone is that is good at especially We specialise in design and development, very creative fields. Some of these skills aren’t always natural. And so we help to set the expectations and then we help to vet the project and we have an escrow system to that helps to collect the money so nowhere Are you exposed in the process. The designer developer knows that the money is in the bank. And the the project owner knows that if something goes wrong, their money is protected. And that trust is something that doesn’t typically exist in in the consulting world.
David Ralph [11:10]
So just before we move on for the listeners out there, I imagine one of the hardest thing for any, particularly web developers is when somebody comes along and says, I want a website to be designed and you save, like, give us your ideas, and they go, Well, I want to a little bit like this and a little bit like that. And I want an image of somebody standing there looking motivational in the background, it must be very hard to express it to you guys how it needs to be done, when they get it back. And it’s just not they’re not happy with it. How do they overcome that? What What can I give you guys so that you produce the work that is in their head? And it’s not just some kind of fantasy website, but they weren’t created that’s never gonna be realised.
Michael Sacca From Dribble [11:52]
So here’s the thing. It’s always a process, right? So that scenario happens with with almost Every project and the goal is to get that image out of their head. We accrue, we do our best to draw it out through inspiration through through looking at other sites online finding similar ideas to what’s in their head. And then it’s a creative process. So we never expect the designer to just take your paragraph about what you want, and then create the perfect site or app from it. It’s an absolute editor of process and we have to build that into the budget.
David Ralph [12:30]
Well, okay, so let’s leave what you’re doing at the moment behind because I am fascinated and I was I was doing some stalking on you during the week sir. And I found out I found the SoundCloud podcast I can’t even remember what I was listening but it it was you and I recognise your voice so you can’t get away from it. And one of the things he was talking about was your, your flatmate being unable to be sacked by a company and literally strolling in when he wanted and leaving when he wanted and having the company Bye bye. By the short and curlies as they say. Now, when you look back on that, is that an inspiring image of how life should be? Or did he do you a favour? Or did he set you on the wrong path of actually, if I create my own environment, I can become well dominating of pub lunches that run from 10 o’clock in the morning to four in the afternoon, and just just be unspeakable?
Michael Sacca From Dribble [13:23]
No, I mean, I don’t I don’t know if it was that. I mean, the work he was doing was certainly it was in the credit repair industry. So it wasn’t, wasn’t necessarily the savoury list of industries, but there was I was waiting tables barely being able to pay read. And there was something really attractive about simply living your life a bit and having a bit of freedom to come and go and work where he wanted to, because it is his office was his computer. And so he would go in, he’d come in, he’d go, he’d leave when he wanted to. He’d get his work done. So and I don’t think anyone was getting rich at that time doing what he was doing at least the path that he was on at that point. Now he’s doing very well for himself. But, but I think it was really about just owning your life a little bit. And that’s what I was attracted to was, I could I could have a bit more control over my finances in my day.
David Ralph [14:20]
And so at that stage, you were literally getting to a company or a restaurant or whatever, when they tell told you, you had to be where you left when they told you, you were getting the payments. He was working for tips, it was very much as you say that your life was in control by somebody else.
Michael Sacca From Dribble [14:36]
Yes. And then like I couldn’t, I could only work four days a week. That was the rule of my shift started at 6:15am took me an hour to get to work. So I was out the door at 515 every morning. So those are the things that I was just looking for a little bit more normalcy at that point, I think, rather than than any kind of big, bigger dream. I never would have imagined to Today at that point, I was really just trying to get out of a hole.
David Ralph [15:03]
And did you ever do anything nasty to someone’s food? Who didn’t leave a bit? Oh, some pleasant to you does actually go on behind the scenes. No, I’ve heard
Michael Sacca From Dribble [15:13]
such stories, but I have not actually participated.
David Ralph [15:18]
You’d never stuck a poke chop down your trousers before you handed it out. Though it was
Michael Sacca From Dribble [15:23]
this was a it was a nice little cafe we had a we had some really famous clientele coming because it was LA. So there was there’s a little bit of excitement there.
David Ralph [15:32]
So when you look back on that, obviously in Join Up Dots Join Up Dots is all about looking at the good times and the bad times and knowing that even when you’re in a crappy situation, that’s not what you want it to be. You are gaining gifts. It’s helping you transfer to where you want to be, but you just got to be aware of it at that time instead of moping and groaning and saying to your friends, my life is crap. My life is crap. My life is crap. You just have to get your head down and go right okay, this isn’t good. buy these gifts, this gifts here, I just need to find it. Can you look back on that and go? Yes, there was gifts or was it just crap crap crap?
Michael Sacca From Dribble [16:08]
Oh no, absolutely. I mean, I’ve gone from being a designer to a developer, and now to the president of crew and being able to participate in all aspects of the companies. There’s absolutely gifts all along the way. I can’t say I didn’t moan and groan. But after looking back, either it’s a it’s quite an amazing journey that you would never you would never expect obviously the dots to be connected in the way that they were.
David Ralph [16:33]
And do you say that to your friends now when they’re moaning and groaning Do you go well, in my day, I was waiting tables. Did you hear me? Yes, yes. So So did you do wax lyrical about the hardship now? No.
Michael Sacca From Dribble [16:49]
Only I’m podcast now.
It no but I have to tell myself that almost weekly Still, right? You still get into this thing where, you know, things are going better than they were before. But you still get stuck in a rut from time to time. And you have to remind yourself, it’s okay. Right? Like you’ve come a long way I things might not be moving as fast as you want at this point. But you’ll get there.
David Ralph [17:20]
As is fascinating, because I have a lot of people from my past. Listen to the show, and they know me for corporate gigs. And now I’m doing basic. And they say to me, David, it’s amazing. You’re doing such exciting stuff. And I kind of start to go. Yeah, yeah, I suppose it is. Because at the beginning, it was exciting. And now I’ve been doing it for three years. It’s a chop, and doing these conversations. Yeah, I love them and the time just whizzes past but the bits behind the scenes, you do have to stop and pinch yourself but every decision that you make, whether you’re in a routine or what is your decision, and you can’t blame anybody else, and so we Should all pay ourselves on the back and go, well done. We’ve done that crappy position. That day was rubbish. And we did that to ourselves. We should accept that, but we don’t do we
Michael Sacca From Dribble [18:11]
now know we like to wallow but yeah, yeah, I mean it’s true we need to give ourselves a little bit more credit and and give ourselves a little bit more leeway often. You know I still want things to just happen happen happen and they don’t and when they don’t then then you know i it bothers me and there’s no reason for it to because in the big scheme of things things keep moving forward.
David Ralph [18:34]
Absolutely they do. Well, let’s play some words. Now then we’re gonna delve more into your story is Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey [18:40]
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 [19:05]
So looking back on your music career Now, did you fail at something that ultimately you didn’t want? Would? Would it be applicable to what Jim Carrey is saying there?
Michael Sacca From Dribble [19:16]
Um, I would say so. I mean, I think part of me always knew that being a musician being or even just working in the music industry probably wasn’t going to be the right choice for me. Just the lifestyle in general, I was always very aware of being on the road or long days in the studio low pay and and how that would negatively affect something like a family. And so I think I was always slightly aware that it wasn’t the right choice, but I still pursued it because I didn’t have any other passion at the time to pursue
David Ralph [19:48]
and is what you’re doing now is oppression, or is it just a stepping stone to something else?
Michael Sacca From Dribble [19:53]
I have no idea. Um, you. I like what I’m doing now. But I know it’ll be Like when I’m 50, right? 20 years from now, who knows what will happen, right? I might be a screenwriter, I might be a politician, I, you know, it could be anything. And so it’s absolutely a stepping stone, but it’s absolutely a dream. Like what got me here was the passion to create. And I think that was the backbone of being a musician was creation. And that’s, that’s why I went into design. And eventually you end up in, in management where you’re, you’re still creating, it’s just a little bit different, right. You’re creating, you know, negotiations and deals. And then I still have to do the podcast because I need something creative in my life to balance the two
David Ralph [20:43]
and cannot be open with you, Michael, I would not imagine that any of your members of staff listen to this podcast in any shape or form or maybe they will. This is too risky. risky, you’ve got to go with Are you open to this? Sure. Why not? I put it to you sir. As I see it. crew that 95% you’re making up as you go along. I would say that you are making decisions that have never been made before. I would put it to you that the company is going in directions that you’ve never been before. And every decision at your core, you’re thinking, is this the right one? Because it’s a new business. It’s growing. It’s not rocket science to believe that is that what goes on in your body because literally every CEO of a startup have said to me, literally, I’ve gone into the company every day with confidence, but underneath, I’m like a duck. My legs, legs are going like the clappers under the water. Even though I look at calm on the top. What’s it like for yourself? Are you a duck, sir? I think everyone is
Michael Sacca From Dribble [21:43]
Yeah, absolutely. I don’t think anyone I have had the same experience everyone. It actually gives me calm and peace, knowing you know, on rocketship. We’ve interviewed over 250 entrepreneurs and none of them really know everything. thing or even know exactly why that what made them successful. It’s always a mix of luck and circumstance. So I fall very much into the same category. But it gives me peace knowing that I’m not the only one.
David Ralph [22:12]
I used to in the early days, people would come up to me and say, David, I’d like your business advice. And I used to think I don’t know anything about business. I’m talking about it. But don’t ask me about business. I don’t know anything about it. And they it took me a long while to realise Oh, actually, I’ve grown a business. Oh, yeah, I do know about business. And now, you can’t stop me. You know, if people come through to me all the time, and they say, Can I just Can I just ask I’m starting a business. What would your advice be? And it’s like, it’s unlike a bath, ready to overflow. And I just need a fat person to jump into it. And it’s splash time. It’s it’s all over you. And it is amazing when you build up that experience, but you need somebody else to drag it out of you because you don’t almost trust yourself. Do you?
Michael Sacca From Dribble [22:57]
I bet Yeah. I think Businesses advices is very circumstantial as well. So sometimes it’s hard we there’s a lot of lofty business advice. But when you when you talk about getting into the weeds, oftentimes it is that one on one conversation that produces the best results. We talked to Heaton Shah. And you know, one of the things that he hated doing was broad advice. He wanted us to give a specific circumstance about what happened in our business right now. And that was something he comment on. And I think that’s where some of the best business advice actually comes from.
David Ralph [23:30]
Yeah, but isn’t business advice, simply find what your customer wants, then build it and then send it back to them? Isn’t Isn’t that it? Really. But But
Michael Sacca From Dribble [23:39]
Right, right. But there’s a million ways to do that. Right. And and I think based on who you are, and your personality, there’s different methods that you can take to get there.
David Ralph [23:49]
So if there are a million ways of doing what you have accepted is right. And so you didn’t say you didn’t say David, you’re an expert in business, but I could sense it. You did. And Why? Why do people then lay in the bar stroking their beards, hopefully only stroking their beards and coming up with these bold ideas, but then go down the pub and they say it to a couple of drunk people, and they think it’s great. And then they spend the next six months, putting thousands into it, building it, and nobody wants it. Why do they do that? When it’s better to go out, do a little bit of market research, get a Facebook group, ask some questions, and then find out if it’s a dead duck.
Michael Sacca From Dribble [24:27]
I think I think the question is probably two answers. One is the ego, right? So you sit out on a path, and it’s your idea, and you think it’s really good. It’s hard to then go out and validate it, because validation means that you might be wrong. And oftentimes, when people are entrepreneurs, when they’re ambitious, that that that phase of being wrong and not having all the right answers is scary. And I think people avoid that. And I think people would rather spend six months and try to hustle it out. Rather than doing the system Work of validating the idea and realising that, you know, part of it might be right and part of it is is completely wrong. And I think that’s what happens to a lot of people. It’s a simple fear of not getting it right the first time.
David Ralph [25:17]
All right, was speaking to somebody and they’re creating a podcast, whether they’ve done this or not, I can’t remember and I can’t even I I’ve had nearly 100 conversations, I can’t remember more. But this guy, he’s gonna have a podcast and a business and it’s called Bad idea is shit. And basically, it’s going to be them proving why things are going to be rubbish before somebody brings it to market. But that’s so easy. That’s it. It’s easy, incredible. You see
Unknown Speaker [25:41]
a percent of ideas that rub.
David Ralph [25:43]
Absolutely So he’s got, he’s got steadies got
Unknown Speaker [25:46]
David Ralph [25:47]
He’s got a market that’s gonna come to him. He’s gonna take 10% and say you’re rubbish. And he’s gonna be a multimillionaire by the end of the week.
Michael Sacca From Dribble [25:57]
That’s great. But my most ideas We’ll fail. And I think poking holes in idea is also one of the easiest things to do. We used to do that a lot when I was when I was starting out was was to make fun of everyone’s idea, but then you see Dropbox, and you see WhatsApp and you see even Facebook and and all of those were rather like mundane ideas at some point.
David Ralph [26:21]
My mate is going to create something which is half porn and the half Facebook he says that basically people spend half their time looking at porn and half this time looking at Facebook, and he’s gonna bring it together as a portal. Now I don’t know if it’s out there, but to me, Michael, that’s a great idea. I think that’s brilliant.
Unknown Speaker [26:39]
David Ralph [26:42]
And I won’t I was gonna tell you what he’s gonna call it but I won’t do because it’s a but you can guess it’s got the word face in it. So yeah, if you’re an adult, you know where I’m gonna go with that one. But no, but I think that is brilliant. It bring your passions to the fore. Now we’ve you Sir, also the thing that I like is the ability for you to hustle. You are a hustler, aren’t you? You could see that from the moment when you decided that actually a good way of breaking your routine, your circle was creating code. You had to get out there and you had to start teaching it yourself. You’ve then had to take those skills and transfer it to somewhere else. Is hustle 50% of business success, or is it more than that? Do you think?
Michael Sacca From Dribble [27:27]
It’s probably 10%. And then the other 90% is probably luck and circumstance. But as harsh
David Ralph [27:35]
that said, I’m gonna stop you there. That’s 10% hassle and 90% luck. That’s gonna put everyone off, isn’t it?
Michael Sacca From Dribble [27:43]
That word? I’m sorry. That’s terrible advice. Oh, no, okay. I didn’t have to hustle. You have to work. You have to be there. But you can’t always create the right circumstances. Some of the best partnerships that I’ve put together with crew. I like I was prepared, I was in the right place I knew I knew the model and everything that we could do to work together. But I, there had to be circumstances where that partner needed me as much as I needed them at that moment in time in their business. And I think we we downgrade that part because we can’t control it. But it’s very true. I mean, proper preparation and then circumstance is what creates our success. I think so maybe it’s not 10% maybe it is 50%. But I have hustled really hard on certain things that have never come to fruition simply because I wasn’t hustling or I wasn’t working in the right way.
David Ralph [28:38]
Because you ultimately didn’t want it to succeed because I think mentally ill. Your body kind of holds you back on certain things. I’ve had things that should have worked, but I just didn’t really push it over the hill and I look back on it and I think maybe it was like the universe say no, David, don’t put your effort into bear just hold back. Even though I would have sworn blind I was doing everything I could to make it work. He just didn’t sort of come to fruition somehow.
Michael Sacca From Dribble [29:04]
They could be I mean, I I think there’s there’s definitely an element of that there. It’s always hard to say because the things that I’ve I’ve had to kind of walk away from maybe if I spent another week it would have blown out. But I know that the word the effort I put up into that time just wasn’t going anywhere.
David Ralph [29:21]
So is that another lesson these days or nuggets of gold? Michael, this is what you’re providing on this show? is it’s basically First of all, you have to hustle 10% and then you have 90% luck, which I don’t like that one.
Unknown Speaker [29:35]
It’s a terrible one. It’s not
David Ralph [29:36]
a it’s a terrible one. But I’ll be saying but one of the biggest business advice that we can give anyone out there is to let it go. If the idea isn’t good, doesn’t matter if you’ve got a website doesn’t matter if you’ve got a URL doesn’t matter if you’ve got five customers, just let it go. Because a dead ducks always going to be a dead duck. Yeah,
Michael Sacca From Dribble [29:56]
so I think yes, I mean, sometimes you do need to let it go. I think letting it all go is is really important to even when you’re working towards a goal. So you want to validate an idea, right? You have to let that idea go and marinate and evolve, you can’t hold on to that initial idea that you had, you have to let it become something right grow up like a child or a bonsai plant, right, that tonnes of analogies for it, but you need you need to let the environment affect it. So if you’re going to go out and validate and talk to customers, you have to let their input affect the way that you design that product, especially if you want to build something that people like. So a lot of it is is kind of doing the work and then letting the work letting the process define itself I think and and and letting go of a lot of our ego and our initial our own personal ideas and allowing the world to to shape and bring this idea to life.
David Ralph [30:54]
So you were sort of quite open in a very secretive way about some of the things that you’ve done in your past. haven’t quite flown for you and give you some some examples of things that you really thought was gonna be the next, the next Snapchat or Facebook or whatever, and it hasn’t taken off.
Michael Sacca From Dribble [31:11]
So we, when I was at the agency I had we were working on agency in San Diego, we didn’t want to do consulting, we wanted to do a startup that was you know, this was like five years ago is the hot thing. Everyone had a startup. So we wanted to join that, you know, we wanted to get up and work on the same thing every day. So we built this product brand dusty. And it was it was a brand asset distribution. So you put your logo up there, and we can put it into any size for you on the fly. There’s an API. It was kind of a fancy brand book, and we thought it would be huge because everyone has a brand. And so we did our customer development. Everyone’s like, yes, yes, yes. We’d love to buy this. And so we built it. We spent about six months bringing it to life. We spent another year marketing it and at the end, we made $1,000 a month, which doesn’t pay anyone salary. And I and we spent about $150,000 trying to get this thing going, and it just wouldn’t take off. And what we realised was we were marketing to people who didn’t want to pay us $25 a month. And the the other end of the market started around $500 a month. But there’s a lot of features we needed to build to get there. And so we we totally missed the mark on it. And we spent a year and a half in a lot of our own capital trying to get there. And in the end, it didn’t do what we really needed it to do.
David Ralph [32:40]
So kind of product be too cheap thing.
Michael Sacca From Dribble [32:42]
Absolutely. Especially if you’re trying to bootstrap I think it depends on your model. So if you’re going to raise venture capital doesn’t matter as much, right? Because then what your goal is, is to get to the next venture capital milestone. So and that’s not always based on revenue that could be based on signups. It could just be based on You know on on hype and interest in the product, if you’re going to bootstrap, and you’re going to fund your own project price absolutely matters. And in the market, we probably could have gotten more and more people to spend $25. And we probably could have spent $25 to get them to spend $25 with us. But when we had our own capital, we needed to hit a certain milestone in order just to stay alive. And so Had we been charging 500 $1,000 a month and had we actually built the features that are needed for that we probably could have turned the corner and been making 10 $20,000 a month pay to staff and actually grown.
David Ralph [33:36]
Now a lot of the listeners of Join Up Dots are entrepreneurs solopreneurs and they’re people that are currently creating their own futures under their own control so they don’t have to go to a desk as such, they can work where they want. One of the things that I have huge problem with is actually price pointing and getting a product and deciding what price it should go out on and they all Try this early bird technique to see how many people will get in and then sort of expand it. Now, there is, there’s two bits of logic to this. Number one, it’s not up to any of us to decide how much somebody is going to pay for something. We don’t know how much somebody has got in their bank account. It’s we’re basing that on how much we work. So that’s a different ballgame. But how do they do that? How do they create a product? Did they look around at other similar products and go similar? Because you You do have to get some skin in the game. And I sold some products really cheap. And they people haven’t even logged on. They’ve just given me the money. And that’s it. It’s bizarre, and I look at anything he gave me. $50 and that’s it. He just Well, thank you very much, but you know, yeah. How can I do that? What’s your advice, Michael?
Michael Sacca From Dribble [34:47]
Yeah, there’s a lot of circumstance there. I think you know, when you are going into market knowing what people are willing to pay and what they need, right. So where we missed it with Brandis D was people needed a lot more than we were offering And they were willing to pay a lot more. So we actually had to build more. And we could have gotten that 500 to $1,000 a month, they looked at our $25 and thought it was a joke, because they’re a serious business there, why would I don’t spend $25 on anything, all of my services cost $500 or more, because that was the market that we were in. And and I think being going out and talking to people is the best way to do that. Now, we did have people buy at an early stage. But in the end, it just wasn’t enough. We didn’t get the volume in. I think the market research is really important. I think testing your pricing with with your early people that you’re talking to, is really important. Try to make a sale on a call. So if you’re if you’re doing that customer research, try to try to end the call not in Are you interested in would you pay $100 but actually try to collect that that money. You know, can can you get them to give you a credit card. That’s the real tell. Right? Most people will say they’re going to spend $100 There’s really one intent actually well, and so, but it’s one of the biggest challenges I think we face as a business and no businesses ever gets it right the first time. And and I think it’s okay to go up and it’s okay to go down. I’ve done both and I’ve never had I’ve never had any pushback on it. So I it’s okay to to also kind of experiment in the market.
David Ralph [36:23]
And it’s certainly okay to experiment with the automated and the personal. But one of the things that annoys me so much as well is people just want to be making money with a click on a website and I go, No, you’re not going to be part of that process at all. You’re not going to be part of the sales funnel so that you can, you know, close a deal because it’s very difficult to close a 5000 pounds product if you as the owner is not involved in it in any shape or form. People want some kind of trust and loyalty, but there is that kind of mentality that is growing up now where people think ah, all I got to do is have a website and have a link and a lead magnet and a little bit of a webinar and Catching, catching, catching. Without that that sort of personal approach and I must admit, I fell through those cracks. My early stuff was very much about that route. But now I’m very much about coming back out and being part of that funnel. Is that a good way of doing it as well? I’m using you as a believer of the small man out there Michael they are gonna be praying to your temple that is just playing my a Bieber music all the time round your feet. Is this the way to go?
Michael Sacca From Dribble [37:30]
Yeah, I yeah. So I think this price points that make a difference, right. So under $100, you can sell with a click right? People will spend under $100. Generally, if the value prop is there, but over 100 especially if it’s a recurring, probably gonna want to talk to someone. And in depending on what the product is, there’s nothing wrong with holding hands. I wouldn’t even when we were selling a $25 product. I still got out there and sold it. Eventually we tried to automate that but there’s nothing like learning how to sell your product, even if you plan on doing it automatically. like doing it in person, you will learn so much about what the person’s fears are, what their hesitations are, and what they get really excited about. And those are the things that you take and you make those are your value props for your product. So I don’t think there’s any replacement to going out and doing face to face sales with people no matter your price point.
David Ralph [38:23]
And I bet you’ve got a lot of your training about how to close the sale waiting tables in those restaurants.
Unknown Speaker [38:28]
Sure. Yeah. Yeah.
David Ralph [38:30]
Yeah. I mean, if you went back, the the ability to create a bigger tip is based on that human interaction might have a beginning, isn’t it?
Michael Sacca From Dribble [38:39]
Yeah, yeah. I mean, the end and any sale is really creating a human connection. People are buying you so that person who came to your site and gave you $50 and never opened up the product, they probably came and spent money because they saw your content. They read your podcasts, maybe they did a webinar with you, they liked you and and they gave you that $50 because of who you were, and it’s the same thing when you’re waiting tables, right? Because you’re looking for a bigger tip, if you can make a connection with the table, that probably tipped me a couple percentage more. And it’s the same in a sale because really what they’re buying is the solution. And they’re they’re choosing you over your over your competitor because of who you are, eventually, because of who your brand is.
David Ralph [39:21]
I was once in a restaurant, and I’m trying to think where it was somewhere in America, a lot of the middle America blurs into one. And it was the first time I’ve been to America and I got confused with the exchange rate. And I I gave $120 tip to this waitress, and she came back and she went, Oh, no, I think you’d made a mistake. And I went, No, don’t worry, you’ve been really good. You’ve been really good. And off she went. And then I suddenly thought, oh my god, I’ll give you $120 and I didn’t have the heart to go back up and go, Oh, actually, can I take 100 of that back? I’m not that generous. So when that happens, yeah. So I ended up sleeping in a Super eight motel for the rest of the holiday or some skanky place. Yeah, it wasn’t good. Anyway, let’s play the words of the late Steve Jobs. He was an entrepreneur, he was a legend. And he left these words, Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [40:13]
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 leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [40:48]
I like the kind of words that you listen to and you not all the way through Michael.
Michael Sacca From Dribble [40:53]
Yeah, yeah. It’s hard to not listen to Steve and not all the way through most of the time.
David Ralph [41:00]
When you listen to those words, do you reflect on your own life and think Yeah, actually sitting here on Join Up Dots. in a state of reflection, I can actually join my dots up.
Unknown Speaker [41:11]
Yes, yeah, absolutely.
David Ralph [41:14]
I was expecting a little bit more than that. Michael, this is a podcast after all.
Michael Sacca From Dribble [41:19]
Yeah, I mean, I I started off obviously waiting tables, which gave me a little bit of entrepreneurial hustle and, and sales skills. I went for being a designer, I really, you know, that was my I thought I would do that forever. Once I once I got into the web, I thought I would design and make websites for the foreseeable future, and I would just hone in on that. And then I as I evolved, I learned how to, you know, I pulled in some of those sales because I learned how to sell that design and development service. And that’s what I built an agency. So now, I’m not only doing the creative work, I’m also doing all the sales. And then when I finally kind of burnt out on agency branding, it didn’t kind of pick up the way that we wanted to. And mckell had reached out mckell was the founding CEO of crew and said, Hey, we have this partnership and sales opportunity for you. I jumped on it. And all of a sudden, they didn’t let me touch Photoshop at all. I wasn’t allowed to touch any code. And I had to write scope docs, and then go make sales. And and that is evolved into now taking over as the President’s role. So I influence our sales or marketing our product in our community. And in all of those when I started out, I would never imagine running a company like this. I would, I thought I would be on the design team and and that’s definitely not what’s happened. And it’s, it’s something that Yeah, only when you look back and you see that all of these pursuits random or not, do bring you somewhere and we haven’t even stopped yet.
David Ralph [42:54]
And is it better to not have a plan of such but you learn more from the experiences that perhaps didn’t go by more than knowing every single dot leading forwards like a stepping stone, what do you what do you think?
Michael Sacca From Dribble [43:08]
Yeah, so it’s like, my, my brother in law, he has an analogy, right? When you go to a sushi restaurant, you can order right off the menu, and you’ll get exactly what’s off the menu. And which is good. It’s It’s tasty. But you can also just say to the chef, give me what you want, right? Just give me whatever you feel like making and all of a sudden, you have, you’ve relinquished your control of the choice, but you open yourself up to things that you would never imagine. And things that aren’t even available to everyone else in the restaurant who’s simply just ordering off the menu.
David Ralph [43:42]
That scares me that thought he might look up that there’s a puffer fish that I’ve read about, but if you don’t cook it perfectly, you die. And there’s only about three, three people in the world and why anybody wants to even try something that ultimately could kill you. Just go to Burger King or something. It’s not gonna be good, but it If I didn’t know it, and I would worry that he’s thinking, Oh, this is good. I’ve got somebody in adventurous and creative. I will try the puffer fish for the first time. That’s I’m not going to give him the chance to do that to me, Michael in a
Michael Sacca From Dribble [44:12]
sushi restaurant. But But isn’t that what entrepreneurship is about? I mean, jumping off the cliff, and taking that risk. I mean, that that’s why we all do it so that we can experience something that had we just climbed the corporate ladder, we would never get to the destination of Where, where, where this journey will take us. We will not get that when we climb the corporate ladder and end up in middle management.
David Ralph [44:36]
It’s a poisonous fish, Michael, that can kill you. You can’t segue into any entrepreneurial analogy and make it work. It could kill you.
Michael Sacca From Dribble [44:47]
That’s fair, that’s fair. But you know, it’s a risk and it might be delicious. You don’t just don’t know.
David Ralph [44:54]
Don’t want to know I don’t want to know but what I do want to know is what you would like to say to your younger self Because this is the part of the show that we call the Sermon on the mic when we send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. 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? Well, we’re going to find out because we’re going to play the theme tune, and when it fades, you’re up. This is the Sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [45:24]
We go with the best bit of the show.
Michael Sacca From Dribble [45:43]
So what I would tell myself is to just relax, calm down and worry a little bit less that worry doesn’t add any value to your day, your week or your month. And that when you step off of that ledge, it’s It’s okay. And and things happen and you don’t have to have everything planned. Too often I tried to plan everything. And when those plans didn’t come to fruition in the way that I wanted, that there was disappointment and frustration, none of which was necessary, looking back, because in the end, everything did come together. And it comes together in strange and unusual ways and in ways that are oftentimes out of my control. And that’s okay. It’s okay to not always be in control. And I think that’s probably the best advice I could give my younger self.
David Ralph [46:42]
Michael was the number one best way that our audience can connect with you, sir.
Michael Sacca From Dribble [46:46]
Yeah, so I’m on Twitter at Michael Sacca. You can follow me there and you can learn about crew crew co rocket ship FM rocket ship.fm or just shoot me an email Michael at crew cup.
David Ralph [46:57]
Brilliant. We will have all the links on the show. Michael, thank you so much for spending time with us today joining up those dots. And please come back again, when you have more dots to join up because I do believe by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Michael soccer. Thank you so much. Thank you so much, David. I appreciate it. Michael Sacca. Now crew sounds good. I think that is a company. From my experience of dealing with freelancers. You spend a lot of time sifting, it’s like being a gold panhandler, you’re out there and you’re sifting through all the nuggets, trying to find the good stuff. And it takes a lot of time, you can come up with some good stuff on up work, you can come up with some good stuff on all the freelance sites, but it’s a bit hit and miss. I have somebody in the middle actually trying to match you up with the tasks and back and forth for the quality control. I wasn’t aware of crew before Michael came on, but I’m certainly going to be using them in the future because I think it’s so important and so Costa spective ultimately to find somebody who does what you want, and so that you can sit back and do what you want to do, which is the right stuff. Thank you so much for listening to Join Up Dots. And I’m yakko and gone. I’ll see you again. Cheers. See,
demon doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you or wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to Join Up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots.