fbpx

A fun discussion with FixedOps Marketing Co-Founder Russell Hill. We discussed the changes that have taken place in the automotive space, specifically how dealerships manage their service department and how customers can have a better experience. We also discuss a lot about personal growth and development with some extremely high-value points Russell makes. A few books we mentioned briefly:

How To Win Friends and Influence People (https://amzn.to/3g7tpHc)
Think and Grow Rich (https://amzn.to/2OFD10v)

Aaron  00:09
So I’m excited to welcome to the show Russell B. Hill. Russell comes to us from a variety of different things, but he’s spent a ton of time really working a lot in the marketing space, strategic consulting space, sales marketing, a whole bunch of other things. And we’re just really excited to have him here this morning. So, Russell, I just want to just want to welcome you. Thank you so much for being here this morning.

Russell  00:59
Thanks, Aaron. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. And hello to everybody out there.

Aaron  01:04
For sure, for sure. So yeah, the lead-off question I always love to serve up is are you a DFW native, and if not, where the heck you from?

Russell  01:11
Well, I’m not a DFW native. Actually, I was born in Hollywood, California. And 1966, we moved to Dallas. Just to give you some perspective, 635 wasn’t even completed that joined 35 and 75. It was still under construction, so that’s quite a while ago.

Aaron  01:34
Wow. So I can only imagine for you just having a front row seat to all the growth over the last several years. I mean, what that must be like?

Russell  01:44
It was incredible. Where we lived in far north Dallas, my father worked for – back then, it was just one El Centro Junior College is all it was. Now, look at them, they’re all over the place. But everywhere that we went, even in the Richardson and Plano area, nothing was hardly developed at all. And there were still posted no hunting signs out there.

Aaron  02:09
Oh, wow.

Russell  02:10
Now look at it.

Aaron  02:11
Yeah. That’s crazy. That’s crazy. Yeah. Now it takes a little bit of effort to get away.

Russell  02:17
Yeah, it does.

Aaron  02:18
Man, that is nuts. That’s nuts. Well, let’s start with – just love to get a sense of your career. And so, I mean, what I’m seeing on LinkedIn and what you discussed off air, it looks like you started back in the day, at least with the history that I have here, it looks like you’re starting off in the automotive business. Yeah. So share with me a little bit about that.

Russell  02:43
So shortly after moving to the Dallas–Fort Worth area in 1968 is when my career started with the first hot wheel that I got because that’s when they came out in 1968. And I love cars. To this day, still love cars. In 1985, I actually got into the car business selling cars, worked my way up to actually running dealerships until the beginning of January of 2000. And then I’ve been a part of two additional companies before FixedOps Marketing that I became either bought into or became a sweat equity partner in. And so I’ve learned a lot. I’ve been in the vendor space ever since, and my passion is marketing and technology.

Aaron  03:30
Wow. Okay. Okay. So, you’ve spent a career dealing with the automotive side of business, but then taking that a step further that you’ve worked – obviously, it’s sales, right? It’s a lot of sales work in the automotive business, but then helping with the marketing side of that. So how did all this kind of start for you? How did you get your start, I guess, in the automotive business?

Russell  03:58
Well, because of the passion I had for cars at the time, I really wasn’t going anywhere and I wasn’t very excited about what I was doing and it takes a lot to step out and work in a commission-only venue. It’s not for everybody. But I met this guy and I interviewed and he hired me and his name is Mike Biggers, and he’s still a friend of mine to this day after all these years. He mentored me and got me started the right way of selling cars and it just mushroomed from there. It’s been an extremely rewarding, successful time. There’s been a lot of times where money was good and other times where the money wasn’t good. And you learn a lot about your finances and how to save during the lean times and so you have money to pay your bills.

And then at the beginning of 2000, I had an opportunity to go to work for a CRM company, which just about all dealerships have today in their stores. And I actually use this company in my store that I was running at the time, and I decided I just wanted to do something different. Now, it’s really difficult if you’re an automotive on the retail side to get out and make a run for something different because the money’s so good. But I had some wonderful mentors in my life that taught me about how to make money work for me and manage it and manage it the right way and do the right things with it. And as a result, I got involved in some things that — I just always loved cars and always loved technology, and that’s where I reside today.

So I had the opportunity about 15 months ago, a partner in another company I had, we decided that we wanted to do something different. Just to keep it short. There’s a lot reasons that we decided to sell our shares of stock back and walk away from a company, especially at my age. Like, what are you thinking, Russell? Are you crazy? You know, 60 years old, starting a new company. And I guess you could say, I had a big dream. And so we put together a very detailed business plan and we approached – my partner flew down from Oregon and I set up three meetings in one day in Houston, Texas. And people who knew me, obviously, or knew us and what we were capable of doing, but we just had a vision and a dream and an idea and mock-ups. That’s all we had. And a very thought-out business plan. So we laid it out. And by the time we got to the third potential investor in the afternoon, the first one called and said, “I’m in for all the money.”

And so we started, we rolled out our product January 7th of last year, and it really just kind of exploded cause it’s a very niched product that hopefully we had a chance to talk a little bit about. And then COVID hit. It’s like, oh, my God. I mean, this isn’t something that just happened in my state or the US, worldwide, right? Everybody’s panicking, freaking out. We flatlined in February and then we just started taking off in March. And the reason that we did is because service, which is the area that I’m in right now, service parts and accessories with dealerships, it was essential and people had to get their car service and we exploded.

Aaron  07:30
Wow. Yeah. Well, that’s fun. And we’ll certainly unpack this whole thing. So talk me through then what the company actually does, feel free to dive a little bit more in detail.

Russell  07:44
So really, when COVID hit, it just really helped arm our niche market. We deal with parts, service and accessories on the dealership’s website, strictly automotive. At this point in time, we’re in Canada and United States and growing rapidly. Just expanding right now. Some people we just hired to keep up with what’s going on, but less is more and websites are really phenomenal. But I think that over the years, people thought there’s a lot of website vendors out there and none of them actually do what we do, but everything is video-based now. And they’re saying that by next year, 2022, that 80% of all consumption will be video-based consumption. Well, you have the variable side of things, which is where sales at, and then you have this fixed side of things, which is where part, service and accessories is at.

Aaron  08:42
Gotcha.

Russell  08:43
And what we’ve done is we created a very unique product that at this point in time, we don’t have any competition. All of our coupons are video-based. We created videos for each and every one of the coupons that explain overall feature, advantage and benefit of what each and every one of these particular services are. I don’t care if it’s conventional, semi-synthetic or full synthetic oil change to break flushes, you name it, all of our coupons are video coupons. And in most websites that you go to today, if you can even find what you see in service, parts or accessories on the website is either a static image you can’t do anything with, or you may be able to schedule service you might be able to print. Well, everybody’s on these things today. And so you need to be able to keep up with what people are doing and how they want to interact with coupons.

Now, everybody wants coupons, or they want deals or specials or whatever the case may be, but to be able to just print or to maybe schedule service without any more information, we have seven different ways the customer can interact with the coupon while they’re inside of the coupon, watching the video, whether it be scheduled service or texting or printing or emailing or calling or getting directions, all that’s inside of our coupon. And what makes it really robust other than those things I just mentioned is the fact that they can do it with three clicks or less. Now that may be a little foreign language to people, but for those of you out there listening, everybody’s online today. So if you’re looking for something specific to consider yourself, Aaron, if you’re looking for something specific and you have to click more than three times to find what you’re looking for –  we’ve done a lot of research in this area – exponentially, the exit rates go up astoundingly high on the fourth click and above. So you better deliver the goods by the third click or they’re out of there, they exited and maybe they’re off to another website.

Aaron  10:49
Yeah. I mean, there’s bounce rate statistics, right? We want to try and keep – so, I mean, we could go even a little – if we wanted to, without putting everybody to sleep, going a little bit more on the marketing side of things and just analyzing website traffic. Because, I mean, you hit it right on the head. There’s so much information that needs to be presented, but one, how people find that information, their entry point onto a website and then how quickly can they find what they’re looking for before they make their eventual exit. And so you’re trying to help make that as frictionless as possible and straight to the point. And so, no, that’s really cool, the research that you did to help kind of back all those things up. So you got started at the tail end of ‘19. So what happened as you guys were kind of getting things ramped up and then seeing that COVID hit kind of brought you to stand still? So what was going through your head, what was going through your other partners, just during that time? And then talk with me a little bit about then that bounce back that seemed to happen almost immediately.

Russell  12:11
Yeah. Anxiety, panic, frustration. I mean, not knowing, which obviously creates anxiety, but starting a company and we got a lot of money behind us for this gentleman that actually believed in what we’re doing and where we were going, we really thought it was the future and it was. And automotive is really a small world, and I know people all over the country, actually all over the world that are involved in that, and everybody’s freaking out, everybody’s crying the blues, nobody knows what to do. Companies are going out of business. They’re getting shut off left and right. Rightly so, dealers are trying to salvage their business as well. And it affected so much more than just the sales, but it also obviously affected service. But during that course of the month in February and the first part of March, when people are trying to scramble and figure out what was going on and how are they going to pay their employees, we were doing the same thing.

We got a lot of money to build this business. And we’re right in the middle of building in and out, and just rolled out the first of many products that we now have, and we were wondering, are we going to be able to even stay in business? And then we just honed in our strategy a little bit and service was always open. And then you learn a lot about antimicrobial and wipe downs and pickup and delivery, and everybody was adapting the best they could. So we catered to that with video coupons that talk about pickup and delivery and antimicrobial sprays and wipe downs and things of that nature and make it easy for the customers to pay, incorporate it right into our video coupons. And next thing we know, people just started word of mouth because of how long I’ve been in the industry and people know us and we need to get this out there.

So in all of that, we also developed stuff regarding search engine optimization – won’t get into great detail on that – as well as Google My Business. And a lot of people know about Google My Business. It’s the big buzz word today from ratings or the dealership or any business, period. But everybody has it. And so we got off into that space too to make it easy for consumers to find what it is they’re looking for and to feel comfortable when they’re coming to a dealership or call in or scheduling a pickup and drop off. And it word spread very fast. So about the end of the first week of March, things started to turn around, and not only are we out of the red, but we’re well into the black and hiring people. And as we slowly coming out of this COVID situation with all the shots, et cetera, we’re poised for explosive growth. And I’m very blessed, I’m very excited.

Aaron  15:02
Yeah. Wow. That’s terrific to hear. I’m glad that one, you’re able to weather that storm and thankfully, it wasn’t very long, right? And I mean, you were definitely one of the fortunate verticals out there that – I mean, basically, it’s an essential service. I mean, people need work on their vehicles. So even though a lot of people weren’t driving, you still have that need, right? There still are going to be these random, random things, even if we’re all locked down and really basic, but still, I mean, that’s quite a substantial impact on the business and great to hear, great to see how it’s progressed.

And back to your point real quick, and we’ll move on before people start tuning out, all the geek speak here, but the search engine optimization stuff in Google My Business, I mean, that’s all – specifically Google My Business that when people are looking at ways to help attract customers, I mean, what’s the first thing people do? I mean, you want social proof. When you’re purchasing something on Amazon, I mean, at least for me, I’m looking at the reviews, right? And you’re going to discard a couple of the outliers. You’re going to try to see what’s garbage in terms of the quality of the review itself.

Russell  16:27
Absolutely.

Aaron  16:28
But by and large, though, if you’ve got a product that’s got 1,536 and it’s got a 4.8 rating, I mean, that’s a pretty good social proof, right? And so same thing with Google My Business. That’s just one thing I’ve consulted with companies quite a bit on is depending on obviously their business, it doesn’t apply to everybody, but for a lot of businesses that are convenience-driven, that are very much foot traffic heavy that require somebody looking for them actively so they can go actually to their physical business, Google My Business is something that needs to be leveraged very, very, very hard and done well. Man, it can make a huge difference. So let me make sure – because I know if I have this question, other people have this question, so let me make sure I understand your core product. So you formed or you’ve created video coupons?

Russell  17:27
Yeah. Yes. So when dealerships want more information, what we do is we actually put our stuff inside of their existing website. If it’s Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, Toyota, Honda, all of them, we work with all website vendors and it’s actually becomes a part of the website. And what we’ve essentially done – just to keep it simple – is we’ve created a full-blown service website that resides inside of the dealer’s existing website. And one of the biggest things that when you see it’s like, oh, my God, it’s so different than anything else out there, but it’s automated. So people don’t have to remember usernames and logins. I mean, think of all the people out there or even how many different usernames and passwords do you have for different products that you access?

Aaron  18:10
Tons, tons.

Russell  18:11
I mean, yeah. Right. So we solve a fundamental thing, which is time and automation because they don’t have to manage it. We manage it for them.

Aaron  18:19
That’s cool. That’s cool. So, I mean, I like anything that can make that experience easier for people. So does that include the – so it’s like soup to nuts in terms of like, hey, I need an oil change, I need service XYZ, utilizing the elements of the plugin or the functionality or the embedded portion of what you guys do that helps then kickoff the scheduling, the selection of service, right?

Russell  18:53
It does. So even customers, sometimes or a lot of them actually, well, the biggest converting part of our product is texting. So when a customer texts a video coupon to their phone, it’s not just a picture of a coupon. It’s the full-blown video inside the coupon that they can click to call. We have an interactive Google Map built into it when they open it up on their phone that’s got the dealership’s address preloaded into it. They see the hours of operation and they have the opportunity to schedule service as well. All inside the text when they opened it up. Just amazing technology.

Aaron  19:29
That’s cool.

Russell  19:29
Yeah. Thank you.

Aaron  19:31
Absolutely. So let’s roll back and I’d love to understand then kind of where the entrepreneurial part of you is kind of birthed. Because there had to have been a time when you’re working at the dealership, but then you talked about working with a CRM platform and that kinda kind of peaked your interest, so to speak. And so what was it about some of these other things that were going on that were just grabbing your attention? Was it your realization that, hey, we’ve got to adapt at the times in terms of dealerships and so you’re kind of keeping your eye kind of open to other things that are going to affect the automotive industry? I’m trying to understand kind of a little bit about what makes you tick.

Russell  20:23
So I think where it really all came together for me was not that I’m Apple by any stretch, I’m not. Steve Jobs. Okay. Back in 2006, we all had these flip phones. As a matter of fact, over the years leading up to the introduction of the iPhone, smaller was better. And you couldn’t really do anything online with your phone. I don’t know if you remember texting, I’m sure you do, but you’d have to hit multiple to even send a text. So what Steve Jobs did is he created a product that nobody knew that they wanted or needed until he actually rolled it out in 2007. And that really inspired me to think outside the box of what are some of the next big things that are coming and here’s essentially what it boils down to. An opportunity is not an opportunity when everybody thinks it’s an opportunity, they’ve already missed the opportunity. So I’m always looking and stretching and thinking outside the box ways to automate with technology to bring things to market that are revolutionary. I’m just inspired by that kind of stuff.

Aaron  21:40
Yeah. Well, I mean, there’s a quote I’m trying to desperately remember where this came from, but the essence of it was that if your idea isn’t this big old, hairy, weird, and I’m using air quotes here, but if it’s not this kind of nuanced, if you have a hard time describing it, that probably means that it’s actually a decent idea at least to start with. Because that means it doesn’t exactly exist right now and you’re trying to figure out how to put it in the English and how to visualize how it’s going to come together. You don’t quite have it figured out just yet. But that’s exactly what you’re talking about. Because what the opposite of that, and it’s a great point, is when everybody else sees an opportunity and you’re going to the same spot, then is that really an opportunity? You know what I mean?

Russell  22:36
No, I’m a big dreamer. I’ve had some wonderful mentors in my life. I think it’s important. Everybody should have those. And it all started with really a book that a mentor suggested I read and that it would probably change my life in the course of a year, and that How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. And that started insatiable appetite for books like that, you know, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and I could go on and on and on. It’s always about the why, not the what  and the how. It’s about the why that gets you excited and motivated to get you into action that produces results. But if you don’t focus and keep focused on why you’re doing what you’re doing, the level of enthusiasm wanes and drops, and passion, the action isn’t what it once was, and the results aren’t what they were in the beginning. So you just kind of spiral until the next thing comes along.

And that’s not what it’s about. It’s about stepping outside of your comfort zone and taking risks and it’s, you know, we all do it. We all do it. And people thought, Russell, are you insane? You’re walking away from a company and starting a company from scratch. And you’re 60 years old. Well, that’s my passion. That’s where it’s at. And equally so, a Zig Ziglar philosophy which is part of my life, if you help enough other people get what they want, you’ll get what you want. So it’s really important for us as a company and me as an individual to pull people up as I continue to move, that want that kind of stuff, inspire and motivate them.

Aaron  24:21
Well, one thing I don’t think it gets spoken about near enough is just really, and I don’t know, maybe it gets spoken about too much, I have no idea, but the value, and just what I call the pricelessness of mentors and just how invaluable mentors are in more ways than just the obvious, right? There’s the obvious, like helping you not accidentally walk off the side of a cliff because they’ve been there, done that, right? That’s a tremendous blessing. But then there’s also just the general counsel and advice and just kinda helping nurture and guide things along. And what I have found, for me, that’s worked is mentors that are looking for anything from you, right? It’s some of the best mentors. It almost bothers me to a point because it’s like, you sure you don’t want something from me? And they’re like no, as long as you’re showing up and you’re being receptive and you’re being a good student per se and asking good questions and not wasting everybody’s time, it’s a tremendous thing for people to do and a lot of people enjoy doing that too.

Russell  25:42
Yeah, these mentors that I’ve had in a lot of different areas, if I’m not actually taking – and none of them have wanted anything from me at all except to see me grab hold of something that sparkling that might help me find my passion about what I wanted to do. It’s really important that I followed their suggestions. And a lot of that means getting outside of our ours or my comfort zone and stretching and doing things that most people won’t do because they’re surrounded by people that say, “You can’t do that. I tried that, that won’t work,” but those people got interrupted by someone who just did.

Aaron  26:23
That’s right. That’s right. Well, there’s a thought that you’d mentioned just a few minutes ago as it related to the knowing your why. And I pulled the books up that you mentioned, so I’ll make sure those are linked up in the show notes. So for those that are watching, listening, you can go check those out. But talk with me about what you’ve seen in terms of how to correct this cycle that I think that you’re articulating where people are either they’re drifting from one thing to the next, or they don’t have a compelling why. Would you mind expanding a little bit more on that?

Russell  27:05
Sure. So we’re surrounded all of our lives by, let’s say family in front of us, we’re in these circles, we’ve got friends, we got our work associates on another side. We got either our church or other types. So we’re surrounded by all these people. And I found that when someone wants to stretch their comfort zones are for me, and I really think for most people, but everybody can make their own – they’re a dangerous place to be. Because there’s no passion or excitement in your comfort zone. So you meet somebody like a mentor because you want something more and you got this guy that believes in you and loves you, cares for you and wants to see you stretch. And so he introduces some strange ideas, like How To Win Friends and Influence People. What significant role does that play?

Well, it changed my life. It’s what it actually did. And I wanted some things I didn’t know how to get. And you can never know. If you want something really big out there or anything out there, you just got to start. You can’t wait for the right education at the right moment with this thing that needs to happen and align, if you wait for all that, you’re going to be looking back over your life saying, what the heck? Where did the time go? So it’s important now when this mentor had me stretch and get outside of my comfort zone, all of these people that surrounded me were saying, “Hold on. We tried that, that doesn’t work.” You know, those things I just mentioned a minute ago, and it’s scary.

There’s two kinds of fear. There’s the fear that you know and the fear of the unknown, and life begins at the edge of your comfort zone. That’s what I believe. Because on the other side, if you’re willing to walk outside of your comfort zone and stretch, there’s people out there that will have their hand outstretched knowing exactly what you’re doing and they’ll introduce you to people, they’ll help you crystallize your why, all of these types of things, and all these people that have surrounded me up until that time in my life, they were all saying, “Oh, wait a minute. Are you sure you really – ? They were creating doubt. And it had nothing to do with me. It has nothing to do with you. It has to do with them. You’ve disrupted their comfort zone because you’re here in their circle and they’re used to seeing a particular thing happened and you respond in a particular way and now you’re stretching way beyond. And it has nothing to do with their concern for you, maybe with your family, but really, it’s all about them and their own insecurities and the fact that you’re stretching and doing something that they wished they could have done. Sometimes they don’t even know that’s what it is, but that’s what it is.

Aaron  30:04
Yeah. Okay. I see exactly what you’re saying now. You have a very big difference in these two types of people. And I think every one of us know people in both camps, right? Yeah, exactly what you said. There’s people that are going to tell you no, but really, it’s coming from insecurity on their part where it’s like, man, I wish I could do that. Or I wish I had the courage to go do that myself. And to your point, some people, I don’t think – they don’t realize that that’s what they’re doing, but that’s what exactly what they’re doing. They’re trying to hold you back from going and doing it either a) because maybe they tried and it didn’t work, right? Or b) maybe you’re shedding light on an idea or a different angle that they had never considered. Like, oh, my gosh. And so rather than encourage, they’re going to try to play a little bit of fear

And then you got the other folks that more like, okay, you can do this. And so it raises a very natural question here, which is how do you – and there may not even be a good answer for this and that is okay and we can move right on. But how do you sift through then competing or conflicting bits of advice? And I know there’s probably a lot of different factors, I mean, consider the source obviously. But how do you handle that when maybe you’ve got a bunch of different ideas, you’ve got several different advisors or people telling you things that maybe even amongst themselves are maybe not quite lining up?

Russell  31:44
Well, with the people that truly care for me to be inspired enough to chase my dream, I think that the message just like the books, the two that I mentioned and many more like it, they all really talk about the same thing in different ways with different circumstances, but it’s all about the why, it’s all about the dream. And dreams are a progressive realization of a worthwhile goal. And I think that as we grow up and start – think about our time in junior high and high school, et cetera, or even college, being inspired, we’re going to conquer the world is what we’re going to go out there and do. And then you look at people 20 years later, what are they’re doing? What do they do? They’re in their comfort zone. They’re not stretching anymore. The fires – I have to be surrounded by people that are not in that fire within and saying, “Go, go, go. You can do it.”

Now to get to where I’m at now, 21 years later after getting in the vendor space, I’ve learned a lot about business and partnership and contracts and stock options and things that I didn’t know. I’ve had some extremely valuable lessons that I learned and I don’t hold grudges or any resentments. I learned what I needed to learn to prepare me for them at right now. And sometimes you’re in the valley for a while growing and learning your God, your higher power, whatever it is, there’s forces out there that are working for you or you’re working against it. Anything that you want out there, you just have to go after it and you surround – so the definition of insanity, we’ve all heard it, keep doing the same thing, expecting different results.

So people say, Russell, what are some of the things you do? So if I look at what somebody has done for the last 30 days, and I’m talking to them today, learning about who they are, I know what the next 30 days are going to look like with this particular person, except for a few things. And what does that? Well, Russell Hill is the sum total of everything up to this very moment, Aaron, of everything I’ve seen, heard, read, and done. So if I want something different tomorrow, I can’t wait until tomorrow, I have to do something different today. Well, what could that be? What you read, what you listen to and who you associate with are going to determine your tomorrows. If you’re not inputting new information today, you’re going to keep getting the same regurgitated crap tomorrow and the next day and the next day until you pull yourself up by the bootstraps or meet somebody that has tremendous fruit on the tree. Because if the branches are bare, you don’t need to listen to them.

Aaron  34:44
Yeah. That’s some sage advice right there. Rewind this a minute and hit play and listen to that again. Because that was awesome, man.

Russell  34:55
Thank you.

Aaron  34:55
That’s what I like to call the hard-fought and the hard-earned wisdom and experience right there. And so you’re bringing a lot of thoughts up to the surface. I’m just trying to figure out how to best prioritize where I want to go with this, because this is really impactful. And there’s a lot of people that are listening to this that are either they’re early in their entrepreneurial journey or they’re working in corporate America and maybe they’re kicking around different ideas about business or they’re thinking of what their next move is. And so going back to getting out of your comfort zone, and I love the way that you articulated how you can see where someone’s going to be 30 days from now based on just their last 30 days, because what’s going to change? And one of the things that you said, again, going back to the why. And I think it’s fascinating and I’m kind of curious about this. When you set this goal, whatever this goal is, I’m being purposely vague because I want to see, I’d like to understand kind of where your head is at on this, when we are talking about a goal, are you talking about the goal or the impact of a product or service in the market? Are you talking about the goal of personal enrichment and the value that brings to you personally? What does that mean to you? I guess I’m just trying to understand that.

Russell  36:21
Well, it has to be balance. First of all, success, you know, a lot of times when people hear the term or the word success, they might think it has to do with financial and that’s not it. I wanted to learn how to become a better son, a better father, a better mentor, a better business partner, a better vendor. And for me, it’s a win-win situation. I want to under commit and over deliver as much of my life as possible. I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons over time that I can share or you could share with the folks that you’ve interviewed with before, but most of it just has to be experience. And you got to watch something that’s so big that you gotta look for somebody that has that. And I know a lot of wealthy people that I don’t want any information from and advice from at all because they’re so focused on protecting what they have because that’s what they learn and that money or those things actually own them. And then I equally know other millionaires and entrepreneurs that all are about balance and giving back. And that’s what it’s truly about. So I know that most of this stuff I just regurgitate or learn over the years, but Albert Einstein said it best that the significant problems and challenges that we face today can’t be solved at the same level of thinking used to create them.

Aaron  38:02
Yeah, that’s good. That’s good. You’re bringing it, Russel, man. I appreciate it. So kind of going back then. So again, there’s been a lot of different experiences that you’ve gone through. And so what I’d love to understand what you would estimate to be some of the most significant moments through your career that you feel – and it could be either a massive success in some of your previous ventures or previous jobs or massive hardship and challenge. And what have been for you, like if you had to point to a couple of different examples in your past, what are a couple of impact moments for you that either really just galvanized something inside of you or really was a fundamental lesson that you’re like, man, I would have learned this in no other way possible. I had to have experienced this the way that this happened.

Russell  39:04
Well, it would be a spiritual side more than anything. A couple of times in my life, I’ve lost everything from taking risk or selfish, self-seeking, self-centered behavior. And in those moments, I’ve learned some very valuable things. You know, the true essence of a man, at least in my opinion, or a woman, is when he or she realizes, and we all have these crossroads that we come to, that it’s nobody else’s fault anymore. Stand up and be accountable. That I am exactly where I’m at today because of the decisions I’ve made and there was consequences for those decisions. And that’s because I wasn’t thinking right. You think thinking causes feelings, which aren’t right or wrong, people judge them sometimes and I don’t think they should be, we all feel different things throughout the day. But when you act on those, when you put something out there and you speak it, you can’t take it back. It’s over. And there’s consequences. Sometimes they’re dire and sometimes they’re not as dire. But those are opportunities to learn and to become the better person that you want to be.

So I guess it’s not when things are good. You don’t learn a lot of valuable lessons when things are good. The infrastructure or the foundation is set when you’re having to go through trials and tribulations of life, which we all go through. It’s what point do you decide to do something with it and stand up, and it’s not society’s fault anymore. It’s not my dad’s fault. It’s not my mom’s fault. It’s not my business partner’s fault. It’s nobody’s fault. Somebody screwed me or did this or did that. That’s all stuff that keeps you chained like a ball and chained to your ankle with resentments and anger and blame and frustration that absolutely robbed you of life. And I found that mostly through understanding some basic principles that I learned inspired through the church or would you call it the force? God, Jesus Christ, your higher power, whatever. To me, it’s all the same. I don’t judge anybody for that, but that I’m not alone. There’s something more inside of me that yearns and beckons for more and that more can be anything. But if that more doesn’t involve other people benefiting around you, it’s destructive.

Aaron  41:50
Yeah. I’ve heard people talk about how it’s important that the goals that we establish for ourselves that they also benefit other people. And when we do that, then we’re able to build something that lasts. And then to your point about the challenges, I couldn’t agree more. I think there’s so much more – and it’s just tough balance, right? We want to learn the hard lessons, but it’s tough to learn the hard lessons because you know what that means. It means you’re going to have to go through some really tough times. And so then you try to replace that or substitute that, and somehow like, well, maybe I can learn that through somebody else’s experience and maybe the challenge that they went through. And I think there is some merit to that. I think maybe we’re able to shave off some significant pain and problems in our lives by following the model of other people. And that can be like, hey, this guy or gal tried to do this and it did not work. I’m probably not going to do exactly what they just did. But then there’s other things. And again, it’s so it’s really hard to articulate, but there’s so many other things too that you cannot get your head around until you’re the one in it or doing it yourself.

Russell  43:10
Yeah. I think, Aaron, one of that I still grapple and deal with on a daily basis, one of the most valuable things I’ve learned is that I can’t control people, places or things. It’s an illusion. It really is. And I try to take the wheel every day at some point in time, but I have these tools in my toolbox, an arsenal of them, that helped me get back on the beam or back on track or whatever the case may be. Here’s the extent of what I really control: how I act and react to people, places, things. That’s it. Because it’s an illusion if you think you can really control people or change people. People are people wherever you go. You cannot.

Aaron  43:54
Yeah. So what can you control? You can control yourself.

Russell  43:59
Exactly.

Aaron  43:59
You can control the way that you respond or control the way that you process your feelings. And so what are we gonna do with that? Are we gonna go do something crazy or are we going to come to our senses? There’s any number of ways that we could go with that. But no, I appreciate you, I appreciate you sharing all that. So we’d love to get kind of – before we kind of start to wind this down, I would like to understand what’s the current state then of FixedOps Marketing and where do you see the company going over the next six months, 12 months? I mean, God willing, there’s not another COVID-like impact on our economy, but where do you see things headed for you, guys?

Russell  44:46
So we have a little over 150 clients, most of which have happened during COVID and we’ll probably double that before the end of the year. Service is still extremely big. People are starting to get out and travel again, which means they’re going to show up more in service, et cetera. But there’s a flip side of that. On the sales side, which still drives service, there’s a chip a problem that you may or may not know about. So production is down, I think, in the United States of getting – you can’t get Ford Chevy, and you just can’t get certain products because you can’t get chips for them. There’s a chip shortage and it’s created havoc in the production end of things.

Aaron  45:39
I did not know that.

Russell  45:39
Yeah, it’s huge. So people are keeping their cars longer. As we speak, since we’re in spring, heading into summer, people are getting their shots and are wanting to start traveling and feel a little bit more comfortable doing so, which means that service business is more essential now than it was when COVID first hit. So it’s nothing but explosive growth for us right now. Very, very excited about doing that and all the other things that we’re involved with in doing in the industry. It’s exciting.

Aaron  46:09
Wow. Wow. I mean, like I would imagine – business is probably always growing, but I mean, I would imagine just as the weather warms up and people are getting a little bit more antsy and wanting to go get out, then I imagine that’s going to help drive some additional conversations with some potential clients and continue to grow the business.

Russell  46:35
Yeah. I’m really excited. I’m very blessed. We have some wonderful employees. As a matter of fact, we employ more women than we do men. That’s another big thing that I’m really excited to let people know about. I don’t really know exactly when things are going to happen, but you really have to understand our industry and what’s going on with true technology companies like ours. Usually when you get about 750 to 1,000 clients, then the big boys start looking because it would cost them too many millions of dollars to try to duplicate or replicate what you’re doing. And so they’d just rather pay you the money and buy you. And that’s typically what happens with company, and that’s okay too. If they want to do that, that’s fine. If they don’t, not a big deal. We’ll continue to our upward track.

Aaron  47:33
Yeah. Well, then let’s pencil on a part two post-acquisition.

Russell  47:39
Okay. I’d like to do that.

Aaron  47:42
That’s awesome. Well, Russell, what’s the best way that people can get in touch with you? What’s the best way that they can learn more what you and your team are up to?

Russell  47:51
Well, you can email me at russell@fixedopsmarketing.com and that’s with two S’s, two L’s, fixed, FIXEDOPS marketing, russell@fixedopsmarketing. You can go to our website, fixedopsmarketing.com. You can call me myself if you’d like, and that’s area code (903) 819-5253. And I’m in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. So Zoom is a big thing. Or if you live in the area, I’d be more than happy to come and see you one-on-one personally.

Aaron  48:24
That’s awesome. Well, just threw the email up on the screen, but for those that are listening, just simply rewind it real quick. I mean, he even gave you a cell phone number. That’s crazy, man.

Russell  48:37
Oh, my gosh. There it is. It’s already going off. No, just kidding.

Aaron  48:42
Amazing. Well, Hey, Russell, I really do appreciate you. Thank you for sharing, one, thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for sharing some of the hard-earned lessons and the things that you’ve gone through and I’m so, so, so incredibly excited for you as you’re continuing to go down this path. And I’m going to be watching closely. I’m really excited to see where you end up and it’s definitely headed in a really awesome direction. So thank you so much for spending time with me this morning.

Russell  49:15
Thank you, Aaron, and keep doing what you’re doing because it’s wonderful sharing the things with the people and what they’re doing out there in the industry in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, et cetera. So you keep doing what you’re doing.

Aaron  49:28
Yes, sir. Thank you.

Russell  49:29
Okay.