Feb. 21, 2023

How to Personalize Your Brand with Handwritten Notes with Rick Elmore

How to Personalize Your Brand with Handwritten Notes with Rick Elmore

One of the best ways to create an exceptional customer experience is through personalization. Listen as Rick Elmore shares a super cool way to do that using handwritten notes.

Rick Elmore
is the Founder and CEO of Simply Noted, a proprietary technology that puts real pen and ink to paper to scale handwritten communication, helping businesses of all industries scale this unique marketing platform to stand out from their competition and build meaningful relationships with clients, customers, and employees.


  • How Rick developed the proprietary technology that puts real pen and ink to paper to scale handwritten communication.
  • Why personalizing communication is a great way to stand out and create exceptional customer experiences.  
  • The real picture of what it takes to launch and scale a business. 

If this episode inspires you in some way, leave us a review on Apple Podcasts and let us know your biggest takeaway– whether it’s created those aha moments or given you food for thought on achieving greater success.

And while you’re here, make sure to follow us on Instagram @creativelyowned for more daily inspiration on how to effortlessly attract the most aligned clients without having to spend hours marketing your business or chasing clients. Also, make sure to tag me in your stories @creativelyowned.

Selling the Invisible
: Exactly how to articulate the value of your cosmic genius even if your message transcends the typical “10k months” & “Make 6-figures” types of promises.

Free on-demand training >>>

To find out how to own your unique edge
, amplify who you truly are (& get paid for it), take your business to cosmic proportions, and have fun doing it grab it here!!


To connect with Rick:


Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/rick-elmore


[00:00:00] Intro: After generating over a million dollars in sales and selling one of her businesses with a single email, your host Catherine Thompson, takes an unconventional approach to marketing and sales. So if you are ready to tap into a more powerful way to be seen her and a sought after entrepreneur in your industry without having to spend endless hours marketing your business and chasing clients, you are in the right place.

[00:00:26] Be The Sought After Entrepreneur podcast is here to help you ditch the cookie cutter one size fits all approach to marketing, and use your unique energy to effortlessly attract the most aligned clients when you do. You can spend less time marketing your business and more time doing your soul work and enjoying the richness of your life.

[00:00:46] Welcome to Be the Sought After Entrepreneur podcast, and here's your host, Katherine Thompson. 

[00:00:55] Kathryn Thompson: Welcome back. Super stoked that you're tuning into this week's episode, and I cannot wait to dive into today's topic. But [00:01:00] before we do, I just want to share my gratitude to each and every one of you that tunes in weekly that has been binging the show.

[00:01:08] I absolutely adore each and every one of you, and I would love to invite you to come say hi. Over at Creative Leon owned on Instagram. Or share in your stories, and I'll share back when you're listening to the podcast, what your biggest takeaway is from that episode, I just want to get to know who is in my world and who's listening, and I hear from lots of you in the dms, which I absolutely appreciate.

[00:01:32] But I'd love to hear from more of you. So now on to this week's episode. Like I said, I'm really excited about it cuz we have a guest on, and it's been a while since I've had a guest on, but our guest this week is Rick Elmore. He's an entrepreneur, sales and marketing expert. He is the founder and c e o of simply.

[00:01:49] Noted. Rick developed this proprietary technology that puts real pen and ink to paper to scale handwritten communication. Helping businesses of all industries scale [00:02:00] this unique marketing platform to stand out from their competition and build meaningful relationships with clients, customers, and employees.

[00:02:06] I absolutely love. novel ideas. Number one, anything that's innovative that's coming to market absolutely love. But I also really love when we make what we do personalized for our people, the people that are coming into our world so they know and feel special to be in our world. Whether that's remembering somebody's name.

[00:02:29] If you're a brick and mortar owner and they're walking into your store and you remember your customer's name and say, hello, John, you know, that really does go a long. Or you send beautifully handwritten letters with your products or your services as a thank you if somebody invests in a service that you have.

[00:02:47] I know that when I receive products from companies in the mail and anytime it comes with a handwritten note, I'm always like, Oh yes, this is phenomenal because again, it just shows that you [00:03:00] have you're special and that they care about you. So without further ado, please welcome Rick to the show.

[00:03:11] Hey, hey, I am super stoked to have Rick on the show. Without further ado, I'm just gonna turn it over to you, Rick, so you can share who you are, what you do, and who. 

[00:03:19] Rick Elmore: Awesome. Yeah. My name is, uh, Rick Elmore. Uh, my background's in college and professional sports. I played football at the University of Arizona, uh, for Mike Stoops, and then was drafted into the N F L in 2010.

[00:03:32] Got to live out my childhood dream. Um, played for a few different teams, but, uh, eventually had to hang up the cleats and then I got into corporate and medical device sales and marketing. A pretty good career, uh, in sales. First year was rookie of the year. The next five years I was either top 1% or top five sales rep in the company.

[00:03:52] But there's just, I had like an itch I couldn't scratch, you know, there was just something else. I wanted something more. I went back and did my MBA in [00:04:00] 2017. Uh, I still have a couple classes left, but left when I started this current business. But, um, I was in a marketing class about a year into my program.

[00:04:08] And I had a, a marketing professor who was going over the success rates in marketing and everything was so nominal, not exciting, um, super dull. Um, and then he ended the lecture, kind of halfheartedly, joking, saying, Hey guys, you know what? Still works better than ever. It's a good old fashioned handwritten note.

[00:04:25] And I just thought that is a no-brainer. You know, like, You know, nobody receives a handwritten note nowadays. And, um, but I, I had 400 clients. I was like, it's impossible to send 400 handwritten note to just, it's impossible. So, long story short, um, got to work. Fast forward five years. Um, We are the only company in the world that has built its own purposely built writing robot.

[00:04:50] What that means is we use real robots that hold real pens, that write real handwritten notes on your behalf. Um, so we help any [00:05:00] business brand, e-commerce platform automate it or scale it, and we automate it through Zapier API integrations, webhooks deep integrations, or just off of spreadsheets. So yeah, it's been a pretty exciting wild.

[00:05:16] Kathryn Thompson: So cool. Um, and I absolutely love that because I think, like you said, you know, marketing can be so analytical, logical, psychological, and I started this podcast basically to kind of, we need the data and we need the numbers and all that to measure and whatnot. But I think, like you say, The personalization and marketing and that human element can get, I think, eliminated, especially when companies scale, right?

[00:05:40] Yeah. It's like how do you write 400 handwritten notes? How do you write a thousand or a million? Right? Yeah. So what is your company's name? 

[00:05:48] Rick Elmore: Yeah. It's simply noted. So yeah, simply noted. 

[00:05:51] Kathryn Thompson: Cool. And so what, so when you talk about the handwritten note, the personalization there, is that like a signature, is that like a note that goes [00:06:00] into a subscription box or, 

[00:06:02] Rick Elmore: yeah.

[00:06:02] Great question. So we're a writing platform. Um, everything that we do is genuine pen written. Um, everything on the envelope is pen written. Everything inside the note is pen written. It's, it's just like a variable data emerging. So as long as we can trigger the data, We can customize the handwritten note as much as you want.

[00:06:21] So think of like, hi first name. We plug in the first name. You know, thank you so much for the purchase of product. We plug in the product that they bought, you know, you know, our, like an anniversary card or birthday card. We can set up all those triggers and workflows to help you automate it and be completely hyper personalized.

[00:06:38] Or if, you know, just once or twice a year, so like we're in the holidays season right now, it's our busiest time of the year and. If you just wanna send a holiday card out to your whole entire customer list, all we need is a spreadsheet and we can make them all hyper personalized. We can even send them from the rep they work with, or you know the location they work with.

[00:06:57] As long as the data's in a spreadsheet, we can get as [00:07:00] super custom personalized as you'd like. 

[00:07:02] Kathryn Thompson: Brilliant. So people will send you the spreadsheet and then with the information, like name, address, mm-hmm. , whatever it is. So it could be a letter that's being sent. It could be a card that's going in the 

[00:07:13] box.

[00:07:13] Rick Elmore: It could be, yeah. We try to stay within like the greeting card space, but we've done custom projects from like, you know, three by three cards or we've, we've done even just envelopes on like six by nine envelopes for people from like custom mailings. So, but what we try to do is kind of stay in like that five by seven.

[00:07:30] Flat or five by seven fold over type of space because when you go open your mailbox, that five by seven card kind of sticks out a lot more. So it's a little, a lot more noticeable, um, than something say like a number 10 envelope, which is like bill mail, you know, or something smaller that can be kind of lost in the shuffle.

[00:07:48] Kathryn Thompson: Yeah. So, and I know you and I know this, that personalization. Creates that human factor, which, yeah, in business relationships and all that's so important. [00:08:00] But for the business that's like, eh, does this really matter? Does this make an impact? Like what's the impact that this service HA has had on customers?

[00:08:09] Rick Elmore: Yeah, so, you know, my background is in sales and marketing, so I'm always thinking about acquiring new clients. But um, you know, it's really hard to take off that acquisition hat because everybody's always trying to think about more and more and more stuff, more in stuff, more in. But what happens when you're doing that, it's like filling a leaky bucket, right?

[00:08:26] There's a lot of holes. You're missing a lot of things for your client and you're losing a lot of clients cuz you're not paying attention to your cer, you know, certain clients. So it's a lot of attrition rate. So we really try to like coach our clients to. Take that hat and turn it around and go from acquisition to retention.

[00:08:43] Yeah, because if you go to retention, right, you talk about client experience, you know, you talk about lifetime value, you talk about raving fans, you know, loyal due to gills, referring their friends, referring their family writing great reviews and. A happy client, you know, and a thank you note, [00:09:00] it's worth its weight in gold.

[00:09:01] Yeah. Um, you just, when you have raving fans about your business, that is going to 10 x your business, way more than any marketing campaign will ever have. And I run simply noted, I'm en engaged with our marketing campaigns, with our, with our, our marketing professionals. And like, we're always scratching our heads.

[00:09:18] Some things work, some things don't. But what works for us, what's worked for five years is retention, is keeping clients coming back. Obsessing about their experience. Make sure they're happy. If something was wrong, fix it and overdeliver the next time. And just obsessing about your client and what a handwritten note does.

[00:09:36] It shows that your care. , it shows that you appreciate them. You know, it makes 'em feel special, makes 'em feel like you were, they were remembered, and there's just nothing you can do digitally that will even come remotely close to that. You know, think of an email, right? Like, who wants another email? We're getting 200 emails a day.

[00:09:54] You know, another notification. Do you wanna push notification? Like, Hey, thank you for being a Craig Klein, here's [00:10:00] 10% off your next order. Like, We get hundreds of notifications through social every single day. So when you're thinking about your client, your business, how are you gonna grow it? You know, we always say, take that acquisition hat off for a little bit.

[00:10:12] Turn it around. Let's think about retention and talk about how we can grow your business by just keeping your your clients happy. 

[00:10:18] Kathryn Thompson: Yeah. I love that. Cuz when we owned our brick and mortar, I think that's the thing that we doubled down on, was like one acquiring clients. Mm-hmm. , we mm-hmm. . You need that to actually make money in your business.

[00:10:29] But then we turned all of our focus to that customer experience. Mm-hmm. and how to personalize it. I, we owned a wine business and so we did custom labels for the wine so they could pick whatever they wanted. They could write their name on it and they absolutely loved it. And then they'd go to their friends and show them.

[00:10:43] Right. Yeah. So it was like this personalized touch. And like you mentioned, you just get that recurring, they start to talk about it. They bring the wine to someone else's house. Yeah. 

[00:10:51] Rick Elmore: They become fans, right? Yeah. It it's like a showpiece, right? Like totally. No. Some of the e-commerce brands we work with, you know, they'll send handwritten notes automatically after a purchase and [00:11:00] like their clients will take pictures of it and post it on social.

[00:11:03] So it, it becomes like a viral aspect, right? So like, What marketing or PPC campaign can you do where someone's gonna screenshot it and share it? Right? Or when's the last time, you know, when's the last time somebody took that automated crap text message and screenshot it and put it up on their fridge?

[00:11:19] Right? Like a handwritten note or like your bottle of wine? It, yeah, it gets counter space, right? It gets totally like a longtime shelf life, right? Yeah. So it's those, it's those little things like that that make the biggest difference in every business. 

[00:11:33] Kathryn Thompson: Totally. And I know when I get like packages or whatnot and I get those like handwritten, anything that's personalized, I'm always like, this brand is amazing.

[00:11:41] Like they're nailing it, right? Mm-hmm. , because you're right, our inboxes are inundated with emails. Those text messages that you get are just, I mean, I got one right before jumping on this for 10% off, I don't know, a clothing company or something like that, and it's like, you know, it's like, don't. I know I need to unsubscribe to 

[00:11:58] Rick Elmore: you.

[00:11:58] Well, think about it like you, now you're [00:12:00] gonna remember that as being annoying. Yes. Like you literally just, that brand is interrupting you in your busy day. Like Yeah. Yeah. When you get, uh, something, uh, I know I'm overselling a handwritten note, but when you get it in your mailbox, like it's almost like a gift, right?

[00:12:13] Like, who sent me something? Right. It's like, I don't know. Uh, I mean, we obviously drink, I say we drink our own champagne over here cuz I'm just, I, I'm so in love with the product that we produce. Um, but yeah, there's just, how are you gonna engage them in a genuine, authentic, memorable, impactful way.

[00:12:29] Totally. And uh, That, that automated text message you just got. Yeah. If anything, it's gonna drive you away from them, you know, . Totally. 

[00:12:36] Kathryn Thompson: And I honestly, I, yeah, I, you're absolutely right. It's like you don't want to be annoying. Yeah. Um, and again, anything personalized I, I totally agree is, is super beneficial for just retaining clients, but also making them feel special.

[00:12:50] Right. And that's ultimately, Any customer just wants to be seen and understood and you know, feel like they're the only ones that come into your business. I know for me it was like [00:13:00] remembering all my customers' names too, right? When they walked in the store, I'd be like, Hey, Rick, or Hey Bob, or Hey Jamie, and they're like, how do you remember my name?

[00:13:07] And they just, Felt so special. Yeah. Which kept them coming back and, and loyal, right. Yeah. Yeah. So what are some examples? Cause I know we're talking about, like, we talked about the holiday, like getting a card, but what are some other cool ways that people can use this, that, you know, besides just maybe a card in the mail or something like that?

[00:13:25] Rick Elmore: You know what, um, uh, and this is now going from my, my acquisition hat I'm taking off and now I'm putting on my, my or my retention hat. Now I'm putting on my acquisition hat. It, it is a phenomenal sales tool as well. Yeah. Um, if you think about, you know, my backgrounds in sales, if you think about growing a business, right?

[00:13:43] How is. How are all your competitors engaging your clients? Right? You're all doing it the same way. You're trying to get in front of them on a, you know, a pixel and retarget them on social, right? You're trying to hit 'em on ppc, you know, cold email campaign. Right? Um, but a handwritten note [00:14:00] has a 99% open rate.

[00:14:01] You know, it's 300% higher than a, a printed piece. Um, the engagement rate is unreal. Um, you know, we have, you know, medical brands we. Um, insurance brands, you know, they'll send out handwritten notes to try to book meetings. Wow. Um, we have this marketing agency that, I mean, once a month they'll send us a list of a li uh, of a target audience.

[00:14:24] And what they do is they'll print, um, a hundred dollars bill on the top. So like on the, on the fold? On the front of the card. On the, on the top. Yeah. They'll print a hundred dollars bill and just say, Hey, you know, here's a hundred dollars to take a meeting with us. And they say, wow, it works so well. It's the only thing that they.

[00:14:40] Wow. They're so confident in their service that, you know, they'll get their money back and it's so good. Like, they'll give their clients a hundred bucks, you know, just to take a meeting. Yeah. So high open rate, 99% plus a really good call to action, right? Yeah. Um, and what's there to lose? You're gonna get a hundred bucks for your time, right?

[00:14:57] So it can be a really powerful sales tool [00:15:00] as well. Um, I, I always tell our clients, if your client's worth more than 500 bucks, you know, and you have a really good call to action, it's gonna be a really cool tool for you to use a. Impactful tool. Yeah. But it's not for everybody. Yeah. But yeah. Um, yeah, handwritten notes.

[00:15:13] You know, you can go from, you know, retention to acquisition, you know, we try to help people automate it, you know, using like zap here greatly, API integration, a web hook. Um, but yeah, I mean, there's a bunch of ways to use this. It's really just kind of drawing up a workflow that works for you and we help you set it.

[00:15:30] Kathryn Thompson: So cool. So you mentioned it's not for everybody, so who is it really well designed for and who maybe wouldn't it be designed for? 

[00:15:40] Rick Elmore: So I shouldn't say that cuz anybody can use our platform. Yeah. Um, I try to tell like, You can go to our website and send just one. Yeah. You know, if you wanted to send one, great.

[00:15:49] Yeah. You know, but we try to help companies scale it or automate it. Um, but yeah, you, there may be a time when you don't have a stamp, right? Yeah. And you just want to send off a quick note. [00:16:00] And our website's good for that. Um, you know, a ton of realtors and mortgage professionals use us just for one-offs.

[00:16:05] Um, you can go on, drop your logo on a card, you know, so it's really hyper personalized to your brand. Type in your message. We'll write it out with a real pen, put a real stamp on it and send it for you. Um, it's just, you know, we try to help businesses do it cuz they usually have, um, you know, the systems in place, the tools in place, you know, to make it super efficient to where, you know, they're gonna see long-term benefits.

[00:16:27] Kathryn Thompson: Yeah. So what data do people need then it to actually send this out? Like name, email, that's it. 

[00:16:33] Rick Elmore: Address? No, just first name, last name, address. That's it. I mean, it's the most basic thing that you need to send, uh, a handwritten note. Yeah. It's just the more data that you can give us, you know, the more hyper personalized we can make every message to that recipient.

[00:16:46] Kathryn Thompson: Yeah. So what, like how did this idea come into fruition? 

[00:16:51] Rick Elmore: Yeah, so when I was in that marketing class, um, you know, I, I thought it would be a really cool business tool. There was a, a company that was [00:17:00] doing it who was funded. They ended up closing their doors after two years, but, They were focusing on weddings, which I thought was an absolutely atrocious like industry.

[00:17:11] Cuz if anybody who's been married, number one, you only get married once. Yeah, right. Even though, you know a lot of people get married, but Bridezillas, right? Yeah. They change everything. Like they can't make up their mind. Everything's last second super stressful. Like went all in on the wedding industry. I was just like, there's.

[00:17:28] 200 million businesses, you know, out there. Yeah. And you wanna focus on weddings where you know, you can get 15 or Yeah, it was interesting. And then there was one more company out there that was doing it b2c. So more of like a greeting card space. Watch. I, that's nothing but transactional orders, right?

[00:17:44] Yeah. Like you think about it, one card orders all the time. Yeah. So I thought it'd be a really cool business tool. Um, I. I need to, I need to bring in the technology we used, but we used basically a pen plotter in the early days. Yeah. We wrote out some really, really bad, I mean really bad handwritten notes cuz these machines aren't that high [00:18:00] quality.

[00:18:00] But I sent them out to, um, some of my doctors, so I was using it as a, a sales acquisition tool. Yeah. And, um, out of the, it was just under 500 that we sent, we got over 30 doctors to call me back. And if you're in sales and you have your client calling you back, That's amazing. Every cell, every salesman's gonna love that.

[00:18:19] Yeah. But these doctors are so impressed. They were like, even though these notes were terrible, cuz the machines were terrible, um, they're like, Hey Rick. Thanks for sending me the handwritten note. Like I was in a space that was so competitive, but there was like 400 different companies selling the same crap.

[00:18:34] So like, it was like refreshing. Yeah. Like they got this handwritten note, you know, they're like, Hey, this is cool. Like no one sends a handwritten note anymore like this, this offer sounds good. Let's book a lunch and talk about it. And out of those 500, I got over 30 to call me back. My quota in the month was like $50,000.

[00:18:51] Amazing. And, um, $280,000 in sales in like six weeks. My whole like whole company is going nuts. Like $20,000 in [00:19:00] commission. I was just like, this is it. Yeah. Entrepreneurial seizure moments going off, light bulbs exploding, nuclear excitement, you know, and and then you start a business and you just get smacked in the pace every day with new problems.

[00:19:12] Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, It was, it's been a wild ride, but I, I basically tested it. Yeah. Saw, worked and knew that we had something. Talked to a lot of people I respected who were entrepreneurs, like in their fifties and sixties in their career, and they, they thought this was a great idea. They didn't know how it was gonna do it.

[00:19:31] They didn't know how to do it. They just said, Hey, this is valuable. If you can figure out a business use case for it, find like mark market or product market fit. and Yeah. You know, , we've been self-funded. No loans, no investors. Amazing. Completely profit, profitable, reinvested every penny back into the business.

[00:19:48] Um, we do have a couple competitors in our space, but we're not worried about 'em. 

[00:19:52] Kathryn Thompson: Amazing. So you talk about getting smacked in the face. Is there anything that you can share with entrepreneurs? There's lots of entrepreneurs obviously, that 

[00:19:59] Rick Elmore: [00:20:00] listen to this. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I've always thought about starting like a blog or a podcast, just talking about like the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur.

[00:20:07] Yeah. The thing is, when you're starting a business, you're just so ignorant to what you don't know, that you're just gonna make mistakes every single day with not knowing If I can go back, so like, you know, I have kids and my kids ever start a business, like I would tell them to talk to some consultants or talk to some people who started businesses at least remotely in the similar space so they can help you not make some of like the, you know, dumb mistakes.

[00:20:29] You know, I've, I've our starting our website on certain platforms, you know, not really thinking about the end goal. It's. You know, made us have to rebuild our, our website a few times. Um, making investments in, in marketing, you know, untested marketing, you know, areas. Um, Yeah. I would say the biggest thing for me has just been software development.

[00:20:50] It's just, it's, mm-hmm. You know, I, I'm a sales and marketing guy and an athlete like, but I started a robotics software, industrial automation company. So I've been off like [00:21:00] way more than I can chew. But that's my personality. I'm just like, let's go. Yeah. Like, who cares? I, I'll do it. You know? And, but I would definitely tell anybody starting a business, um, Find a consultant on any level.

[00:21:11] You know, pay someone a hundred bucks for lunch, take 'em to lunch. And, and a lot of entrepreneurs who've been successful will do it for free. You know, they just wanna give back because they know how, how bad it hurts to those first five years. Um, just make sure you don't, you, you respect their time. Don't ask them dumb questions, like, oh, tell me your story.

[00:21:28] Like, you should know their story before you go to lunch. Right, totally. And then, um, one thing that we've been really good. And it's the reason why we are here today. It's been, we've been really good at testing. So there's a good analogy called bullets and bowling balls. Yeah. So you do before you, you know, fire off your big wad, you know, and take that big risk.

[00:21:46] Test, test, test, bullet, bullet, bullet, right? Yes. And make sure you line up that shot really well. So if you're gonna make that big risk, like you've tested it and you know it's gonna hit it because you only got one bowling ball or one cannon ball left. Yeah. So if you're gonna, you. [00:22:00] Go big before you go home.

[00:22:01] Make sure that that cannon's perfectly lined up before you send off that one last cannon ball. Right? Yeah. So that's what we've done really well here. We've managed our money well. We, we, amazing mitigated big, big failures like. We've made failures like every Yeah, , every person does, but we just haven't been catastrophic because we tested, tested on small levels before we got in over our head and we're like, oh crap.

[00:22:26] Like this is the end of us. You know, like Yeah. A lot of people, totally. Cuz people get obsessed with like what their friends think or social media thinks, or they're paying to get, paying attention to like an influencer who's just lying. 99% of people on YouTube are just lying. They're just trying to grow an audience, you know?

[00:22:41] Totally. It's like, like I'm, I'm a big. Like consumer, like I'm always consuming content like how to, best of, you know, like I've been highly self-educated. But yeah, success leaves clues and then, you know, BS stinks. You know, if you watch enough, you, you watch enough of these people, you can tell they're just creating [00:23:00] content to try to get the most clicks.

[00:23:01] So yeah, I would be very weary about where, you know, who's, make sure if you're gonna idolize somebody or, or want to follow somebody in their footsteps, right? Make sure you know who they are, not some. Personality influencers. Yeah. Yeah, because 

[00:23:14] Kathryn Thompson: Totally, totally. 

[00:23:16] Rick Elmore: Yeah. So, and I think, I mean, I can talk for hours on, you know, on, you know, entrepreneurship advice,

[00:23:22] Yeah. Lot of it. Yeah. A lot of probably knucklehead decisions, but hey, it's a learning, learning. Uh, Opportunity. Well, and I 

[00:23:32] Kathryn Thompson: think the honesty helps too, right? Because I, I think there are a lot of people online that blow smoke. It's like, look, I've done this. I've created this much money and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

[00:23:39] And it's been so easy, and I'll show you the way. Yeah, and it's like every, every entrepreneur you talk to is like, no. I'm like, when you talked about the websites, I started our website, rebuilt it, started it, rebuilt it. Cause I was wanting to buy a platform we could sell online with, right? Mm-hmm. And I went with a beta tester who was like, you can pay me this much.

[00:23:58] It was like a really cheap investment. [00:24:00] I was like, yeah, I'll do it. But you know what tech. Beta, there's a lot of glitches. So our site was down for like six months and then I'm like, well, we can't be down. We need to be making sales. And so, so again, it's one Yeah. Trusting the people that you're looking up to and, and have, they 

[00:24:16] Rick Elmore: walk to that path.

[00:24:17] It's, and it's hard, like anybody who's dealing with developers, like, I'm sure you know this, like Yeah. Developers get really excited about the beginning of a project well over promise. Yeah, no problem. I'll get that done. They quote you and then they get three months into it and they're like, Oh, this other guys wants me to do a project.

[00:24:34] So your project goes on the back burner and then Yeah, it's, yeah. So it's just, yeah. You know. Yeah. And if you can too, like there's another thing I've learned is like if you're gonna start a business, you know, have co-founders, you know, one who's more like a marketing sales, you know, You know, growth type of founder and then a very technical founder.

[00:24:54] You need tech like in the 20, in 2022, 2023, right? Yeah. The [00:25:00] world's gone online. You gotta figure out how to be a really, really good online, right? Yeah. So, I mean, that's something, yeah, I, I'm, yeah. Yeah. You don't have a tech founder. I pay a lot of consultants to do this stuff. Yeah. So, Totally. 

[00:25:14] Kathryn Thompson: And I think again, yeah, like nav, you know, navigating, I know when we opened our wine business, same thing.

[00:25:18] People were like a wine business. Like I'd never produced or sold wine ever. Um, and or didn't have a brick, like didn't know how to run a brick and mortar, right? I came from corporate, uh, I had marketing communications background, but people were like, well, how did you get into the wine space? I'm like, I just really liked wine.

[00:25:34] Saw, uh, a need. For having a custom winery, like mi, it's like a micro brewery is what it was. So, yeah, not, not beer, but for wine and done at a mm-hmm. , relatively cheap price for people that wanted that cheap wine kind of thing. So it was, I saw a need in the market, but yeah, I'd never produced wine before.

[00:25:52] Um, and so just. Yeah. Leaning into the people that can, can shrink 

[00:25:56] Rick Elmore: away. Well, and it sounds like you liked wine, right? I loved wine. [00:26:00] You have to be, you have to be, I love wine, completely passionate about your product because once the, the honeymoon stage roll, you know, fades away and you're in, you know, neck deep into problems that you're trying to solve and don't know how to solve, like you have to be just so infatuated and obsessed and just love.

[00:26:17] The product that you're, you're selling and believe in it totally. That that faith is gonna carry you through everything. And I think a lot of entrepreneurs, they think about get rich quick because like, oh, I made, you know, seven figures in my business in six months. Like, you can too. Let me teach you how to do it.

[00:26:34] Yeah. Right. And it's like, 

[00:26:38] Kathryn Thompson: Doesn't happen. No. No it doesn't. Like, no. Yeah. And that's the, that's the whole essence I think, of this podcast and the, and the message that I'm there to like, share with the world is like the real stories of entrepreneurship. Like yeah. What's the behind the scenes of it and, and what does it actually look like?

[00:26:55] And I think you nailed that, that that analogy was gold, right? Of like [00:27:00] test. Test and do it in small 

[00:27:02] Rick Elmore: bits. Keep testing. Yeah. Don't, don't pay attention. You gotta, you gotta put on the blinders. Don't pay attention to, you know what people are saying? There's gonna be a lot of naysayers, doubters. People are gonna think you're stupid for what you're doing because you know really.

[00:27:16] They, you know, the people that are judging you, the ones that never took the chance, you know, totally. To chase their dreams. And, um, there's that Michael O'Leary, or I think that's his name, Michael O'Leary quote, saying basically, you know, working for a company, you know, getting that W2 is basically, you know, the drug they give you to forget your dreams.

[00:27:34] Right? Yeah. And, um, You know, as an entrepreneur, you're a dream chaser. You're, you're a doer. You're, you're a dreamer. Yeah. You know, you're somebody who sees something that's not there and can have a vision and create a plan and build something. Right. And that takes a very special type of person. Um, and.

[00:27:55] Yeah, like to be an entrepreneur, it just has to be in your blood and um, but you have to be really [00:28:00] good on those bad days when you're , you're down in the dumps because you're having a lot of problems at work and you're like, man, it would be so much easier if I just had to do one thing right and just focus on that and Ivory problem wasn't my problem.

[00:28:13] Someone else would figure it out and I could just make a normal living. Right. Because totally has that thought every once in a while, right? Like, oh, for sure I'm doing this. Like, yeah. , you know, like when I was in sales, like I, I mean, I was good at sales. Like I just, I had very comfortable salary and made good commission and you know, I was a top rep and I was like, man, I can be so good at this and I'll go do it for myself, but when you start a business which you're good at, you don't do anymore.

[00:28:38] You're running a business, right? Yeah. Like you're, you're managing, you're, you're creating, you know, you're producing and you're doing everything but what you're good at, but you're trying to train people to do what you're good at. So I would advise people who wanna be an entrepreneur. Don't be an entrepreneur because you think like if you're great at marketing, you open a marketing agency, you're not gonna do marketing.

[00:28:59] [00:29:00] You're gonna totally teach people to do that for you, and you're gonna grow your agency, so you're gonna get into sales, right? Like Yeah. Yeah. And if you're gonna be an and if you're gonna be an entrepreneur, you better be great at sales. Like if you like, yeah. Yeah. Like if you're not good at sales, it doesn't matter.

[00:29:14] Like you get, be the best at what you do. But if you're an introvert, don't like talking to people. Think you're the smartest person in the room, you know, you. Go to the, there's a, a great sales school that I, I took in my first year in sales at Dale Carnegie, um, sales school where they teach you like how Yeah.

[00:29:30] Like how to win friends, influence people. Yeah. Just teaches you how to be personable, likable, yeah. Um, be engaging. Remember people's names. Yes. Right. Like, it's a stuff that people like, right. How to make someone feel important, you know? Yeah. Even though, Those are good tools to have. Like, those are great life skills, right?

[00:29:46] Like you're gonna have deeper, better relationships with people, right? You're gonna have, you know, more fulfilling relationships. Like sales, you're, you're selling all the time. Like, I sell my wife like every night, like, who's gonna do the dishes versus who's gonna do bath type, right? Like, yeah, I don't [00:30:00] wanna do that.

[00:30:00] Like, you know what, you're way better at this. And the kids love it when you do that. Like, I'm technically selling, selling . So if you're not good at sales, don't become an entre. Regardless, unless like if you get fu uh, even getting funded is a terrible idea because you're just gonna start with way too much overhead.

[00:30:17] Totally. In the red. Like, yeah, we can talk for hours about stuff, about being an entrepreneur. Yeah. It's just you're, you, you've basically learned a lifetime of skills in five years. You know, that it takes you 40 years of being a, you know, an employee to learn. Yeah, 

[00:30:31] Kathryn Thompson: and it's, it's so interesting you saying that.

[00:30:33] I mean, anybody that says they don't contemplate like the normal, going back to like the nine to five salary is lying because I, everyone I've talked to is like, when I left corporate, I remember getting into the wine business and within like, I think, I don't know, the first six months, I, six months, I was like, what have I done?

[00:30:50] Yeah. Yeah, because I loved marketing and I was not doing marketing. I was operating a business. I was making wine. I was hiring employees, dealing with 

[00:30:58] Rick Elmore: vendors. 

[00:30:59] Kathryn Thompson: Right. [00:31:00] Aspiring transportation. That never came on time. All of it. Yeah, totally. Totally. Doing 

[00:31:06] Rick Elmore: creative, doing ads. Yeah. Dealing with clients, dealing with complaints.

[00:31:10] You know, like we had somebody the other days who like sent me an email. I was like, oh, your website is missing a comma, and I'm just like,

[00:31:19] That's the tiniest thing, you know, but it's like, thank you for pointing that out. I appreciate it. Yeah. But it's just like one tidy thing, you know? You're just like, oh, it's so funny. I know. Yeah. 

[00:31:30] Kathryn Thompson: And, and the thing is, is like the typo doesn't even matter. You know what? They 

[00:31:34] Rick Elmore: on the ground, but somebody cared.

[00:31:35] Somebody cared, took their time. But I mean, yeah, this is so. Yeah. 

[00:31:41] Kathryn Thompson: Totally. Totally. Well, you have such a novel idea, right? Like when it, when I got pitched this, I hadn't heard anybody that was doing this. Mm-hmm. , which intrigued me to wanna have a conversation with you. So where can people find you if they want to?

[00:31:56] Uh, buy your 

[00:31:56] Rick Elmore: services. Yeah. Yeah. So, um, anybody can, [00:32:00] I'm on LinkedIn basically all day. Yeah. So if you go to LinkedIn and look me up, I'm pretty responsive. Um, usually dicking through messages all day, but you can just look me up. And just Rick Elmore, e l m o r e. Um, Connect with me there. Um, we, we share stuff all the time, so you can kind of stay, um, up to date or just go to simply not it, just how it's spelled.

[00:32:20] So that's s as in Sam, i, m as in Mary, p l y noted.com and when any, everyone should do, if you're just. If you have the, the least, you know, a minimum amount of interest, just go to our business page. And I dunno if this is video or not, but if you go to our business page, we send a really nice sample kit, um, to, I mean, amazing.

[00:32:40] This kit, this kit costs us with, with postage almost $20 to put together. Um, and we'll send that to you for free. It's writing samples, handwriting styles, brochures, flyers, case studies, um, and it gives you just a really good feel of this technology. Yeah. Um, and usually, When people get this in their hand, [00:33:00] it's like that's when the light bulb goes off.

[00:33:01] They're like, oh. I can do this, you know? Yeah. And then we always get, you know, you know, Hey, can you do that? And then we help them figure out a way to get it done. So our business is to help automate it or scale it. But even if you just wanna send a one off or you know, one or two cards at a time, you can always go to our website and, and do that as well.

[00:33:19] Kathryn Thompson: Brilliant. So amazing. And we will link all of that up around the show so people can just access your LinkedIn, um, link as well as your website. It's been such a pleasure chatting with you. Is there anything else you'd like to share before we jump? 

[00:33:33] Rick Elmore: I think as an entrepreneur, number one, um, I always say like, if, if you're gonna do it, like don't wait.

[00:33:39] Um, the best way to build something is to get started. You know, a lot of people, and I was one of them. It, it took my wife, you know, pushing me into this cuz I was so wow. Conservative. Um, because, you know, I, I had kids, yeah, I had a good career. Um, but she saw how excited I was and how passionate I was. Like, this, this, I mean, I, and we grew up in a.

[00:33:59] Where [00:34:00] people wrote handwritten notes. Yeah. You know, so like, and I think my age, you know, 30 and older people get the value. Totally. Maybe not the younger generation, but there's still, you know, 30 years of people that will use this service. Yeah. Um, but um, Just get started, you know? Um, you have to, don't, don't do the analysis paralysis, take baby steps.

[00:34:20] Um, if you wait, there's never a perfect moment. Um, and I'm telling you, like I'm five years into this. I've started a robotics software and industrial automation company with zero experience. But the love it, the reason we've gotten to where we are, we have 11 full-time employees, you know. You know, we've done tons in revenue and millions in revenue.

[00:34:40] Yeah. Um, and the only reason we've done this is because we just got to work. Yeah. And, um, but if you don't wanna work, don't become an entrepreneur love, because that 40 hour Yeah. If, if that 40 hour a week that you're complaining about at your normal job, it's gonna be a hundred hour a week. Um, yeah. It's, it's eyes open to eyes shut.

[00:34:59] And then you have [00:35:00] vivid dreams about your job. You have vivid dreams about the problems you're trying to solve. Yes. And that usually comes like year two or three. I didn't, I don't remember that ever being a thing, but like Yeah, , like, I, I dream like literally about, like, things that I need to get done.

[00:35:15] It's just so funny. 

[00:35:17] Kathryn Thompson: It's so funny. Yeah. I, I used to dream, I think I had, it was a, a real fear cuz we would have like hundreds and hundreds of batches. Uh, barrels full of wine. Mm-hmm. And I'd have this like real fear that I'd walk in and it would all have gone sour or bad. Yeah. Yeah. And then I would dream about it.

[00:35:34] Like I'd be going into the store and there'd be like mold and fungi growing on it and I'd be like, what did I do? Cuz everything had to be so sterile and so clean and I, it was like my worst nightmare. So mine were, weren't really dreams, they were more nightmares of. What could terribly go 

[00:35:48] Rick Elmore: wrong?

[00:35:49] Nightmares. Yeah. Night terrors, probably. Night terrors. Yeah. I was 

[00:35:52] Kathryn Thompson: like, oh no, what would we do? It'd be so much wine down the drain and Yeah. Yeah. So you definitely do dream and it's, and it's a running [00:36:00] to-do list, right? Like Yeah. As much as people say like work less and live more is like, Yeah, that's cool.

[00:36:05] But, but you still wake up in the middle of the night or you're dreaming about all the things that need to 

[00:36:09] Rick Elmore: get done. So, yeah. And also what's important, you just made me think of something, is like surround yourself with people going through what you're going through so you don't feel like you're on an island.

[00:36:17] Um, because somebody in a W2 job doesn't get your stress. It, they don't, um, You need to talk to other business owners and, uh, I mean, I don't, I mean real business owners, people that have employees, you know, people that are paying W two s, not somebody who's like an influencer and they. Post a video and they make affiliate revenue.

[00:36:37] Know somebody who's a real business maker owner, you gotta find a, a networking group or meet up with coffee once a week with a couple people and just vent, share each other's problems. Talk through it with them. Yeah. Um, because you never know, like, Like by just sharing, you may figure problems out, plus you'll have that support system and you, you know, you're usually the average of the five people that you [00:37:00] surround yourself with.

[00:37:00] So you wanna be around people that are lifting you up, influencing you to be a better person, a better business owner talking you off a ledge. Because yeah, there should be a lot of those days, you know, but you're fine. I was just thinking having a bad week or a bad month. Yeah, maybe a couple, maybe two or three bad months, but it's gonna go away, you know, just, yeah, you gotta, you gotta have that good support.

[00:37:20] Kathryn Thompson: Totally. I was just thinking that too, right. As like the knee-jerk reactions that we can make Yeah. In business when we don't surround ourselves with people or have people to talk to. I know when I was running the brick and mortar, most, my partners all still had nine to five jobs. Yeah. So I would come out like vent at like, oh my gosh, it's so much work.

[00:37:38] Yeah. And they just didn't understand it or really fully grasp it. Yeah. Um, and I don't think they ever did. We eventually sold the business, but I don't think they ever got 

[00:37:45] Rick Elmore: it . They don't. Yes. They don't. Until. Until you're all in. Yeah, totally. Until that is paying your mortgage Yeah. And paying for the food that's on your family's table, you don't get it.

[00:37:56] Kathryn Thompson: Totally, totally. Yeah. And the, and the responsibility [00:38:00] that comes with that as a, as a business owner. Mm-hmm. . So that's amazing that your wife was like, go do this. Because I know a lot of people will say that sometimes their spouses are like, oh gosh, . Yeah. This is huge. Yeah. 

[00:38:10] Rick Elmore: So, yeah. I think, yeah, my wife kind of, she saw my, my history, you know, I had like, A track record for overcoming things.

[00:38:18] Yeah. And that's if, if you don't have, if you don't have that, make sure you have people around you that can help you. Um, yeah. You know, don't, don't be that person that just goes guns blazing with no, you know, no experience because, This will knock you out . Totally. This will. Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:38:36] Kathryn Thompson: Totally. And that overcoming right, is, is having the resiliency to overcome mm-hmm.

[00:38:40] and, and to have the resiliency to withstand Yeah. The challenges that you're gonna face. Right. And the failures and, and all of that. So Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. Well, it's been a pleasure having you on. I cannot wait for this to drop, and if you guys are listening, you wanna head over and check out. Simply noted, because [00:39:00] personalization is super amazing and I think this is such a cool, novel idea and just such a amazing way to sort of cut through the noise of what's already out there, but also build that retention, which is so, so important in business.

[00:39:11] So it's been a pleasure. 

[00:39:13] Rick Elmore: Thank you so much, Katherine. It's great to be here. 

[00:39:16] Kathryn Thompson: I just love novel ideas and anytime we can personalize what we do, I just think it's really brilliant and does go a long way to show our customers and our employees and our clients that we do care about the relationships with them.

[00:39:29] And I also really think the conversation really did build off of the back of last week's episode where I was talking about the expectation that we put on our business that. Usually stifles really great ideas and how the journey of entrepreneurship is not easy. Yes, we love to over overcomplicate it, but it's not easy and it does take us staying the course a lot of times and not making knee-jerk reactions or.

[00:39:55] Not putting this expectation that's maybe not realistic on our business [00:40:00] so that we can give it the opportunity to gain momentum. Now onto next week's episode, I am going back to a solo show, uh, because I wanna share with you some really cool ways and practical ways that you can sell the invisible that you can actually take.

[00:40:17] Ethereal and esoteric work that you do, maybe very nuanced work that you do, and put it into very tangible communication and marketing so that it really does land like a lightning bolt in the hearts of your people. So don't. Miss that episode. Be sure to subscribe to the show so that you don't. Cheers.

[00:40:37] Outro: Thanks for listening. We'll see you right back here next time. You can also find us on social media at creatively owned and online@creativelyowned.com. Until next time, keep showing up as your authentic self.[00:41:00]