Learn how serial entrepreneur Ed O’Keefe used Time Collapsing to build three 7-8 figure businesses in completely different markets while raising seven kids.
- To get a copy of Ed’s book free of charge: Time Collapsing
- To find out more about Ed: edokeefeshow.com
Transcription Episode 83: Don’t Listen To Conventional Business Advice… Here’s How To Be Successful FAST Using “Time Collapsing”
This is your host, Derek Gehl, and today we’re going to be exploring the concept of time collapsing.
Time collapsing is a really interesting concept that some of the fastest-growing, industry-shaking companies are using today to go from zero to really incredible success in record time.
I’m talking about companies like Uber, AirBNB, Spanx, Marquis Jet, and our guest today to time collapsing is a very successful entrepreneur that I’ve known for a very long time. He’s taken four different businesses in three completely different markets from zero to seven and eight figures, at rapid speeds.
What’s even more impressive, he’s done it while at the same time raising seven children, and I can’t figure that out.
His new book, “Time Collapsing: The New Art of Speed, Money, Power, and Meaning” is an accumulation of some of his best stories from personal experience of selling over $100 million online in supplements, seminars, info products. This guy’s got a vast range of experience, and I’m looking forward to digging into that today while we break down time collapsing.
Without further ado, I’m excited and honored to welcome Ed O’Keefe to the show.
Where I think I’ve been blessed is I’ve, as an athlete, come up in playing volleyball in college, coaching volleyball for 20 years. Before I even figured out how to make money, I was learning NLP, I was studying processes, and so time collapsing to me, if I was going to give the simplest version, is the art of speeding up success, and it’s the process above the process.
When I listen to people talk, or I see their behaviors, or what they do, I’ll go, “Wow, what they just did there is time collapsing.” Everybody listening does this. What the goal of the book is to do is to go like, “You have your own unique process that you probably don’t even realize for achieving success rapidly.”
But here’s what’s even cooler, is that we’ve been brainwashed to think that we can only move through life and have a certain amount, and to achieve things at a certain rate, and your brain adapts to that, and just lays out, unconsciously, what you’re going to accomplish.
Where time collapsing comes in is, “Wait a second: look at these models of people that have come before us. Look at how they’ve iterated or interrupted and done these amazing things,” and then it’s dissecting and modeling those things and putting it into your own system to expand your system so that people can go apply that to anything.
It’s a broad definition of time collapsing, but then when we talk about marketing, there’s so many micro components that are elements of time collapsing, as well. I don’t know if I just rambled on and confused everybody or made it …
I’ll give you a quick example. When I went to the dental field, when I was 25, 26, I licensed the rights to someone else’s course. That would be … The time collapsing pattern there is borrowing authority and knowledge and wisdom. Instead of me going and learning it, I just paid a fee.
Then, I went to a very competitive market, which at the time was dentistry, without any experience, without any knowledge of actually what the dentist goes through on a day to day basis.
I entered that market and very quickly grew a seven-figure business, I think literally within the first 12-14 months. It was over seven figures, and then ever since that point we were doing 3-4 million. Our best year was 7.5 million, and I was looked at as the leading authority around direct response marketing in dentistry, at the age of 28. Most of my customers were 10, 15, 20 years older than me.
The time collapsing mental construct of switching the mindset switch of: no longer do you take the stairs; you leap to the top.
Then, I went out and used time collapsing and did the same exact thing in nutritional supplement business, where I started from scratch, no experience. I followed models, I replicated the success others had, and our best year was just under $30 million.
Those are two time collapsing examples of not having any experience, having no authority, having no prior permission from anybody, and just going in and claiming it, and then figuring out how to do it in the process.
This is very specific. I know you already teach this, but for everybody listening, number one, you’ve got to have a model. When going into a new industry, or even in your existing industry, a couple questions you got to ask yourself is: who’s been successful before me, and who’s created a result that I want to replicate?
The modeling component is time collapsing baseline number one. When I was like, “Okay, I’m going to go into health supplements,” I had to do investigating and digging around, which meant go to live events, start asking questions, and follow that trail.
What I figured out was, there’s this one consultant who helped this company, that I wanted to model. I went and hired her, flat-out. I went and hired her, paid her her fee.
She then orchestrated the doctor, the clinician, the researcher, the formulator. Where I see the mistake is most people try and figure out things on their own, because it’s cheaper. I think time wasting is the cheap route, where if I could exchange money for acceleration, or some kind of effort … In this case, I exchange money.
We got a doctor, so we borrowed authority … Those are all little ingredients of a time collapsing strategy that allowed me to, in a matter of three to six months, have results that most people take years, and years, and years to get.
Let me say one more thing on the modeling components here: because a lot of people talk about modeling, but they do it wrong. What I mean by that is, when you’re fishing around for, “Okay, who’s currently the dominant player in a certain market space, or whatever it might be, I go: “This is model A, this is model B, this is model C.” You’re trying to figure out which model’s going to work best for your personality, your life mission, your life vision.
What I always say is, you have to pick one model for a short period of time in order to fully experience the results you’re getting with the model. If you start accumulating A, B, and C and put it into this mix, and then you’re not getting the results you didn’t like, now you don’t even know what the problem is, because you went off the path.
I always tell people, “If you’re looking into Derek’s way of doing an online business, then listen to Derek’s way of growing an online business. Don’t go looking at 42 other people on YouTube today, because the only thing that’s going to happen is you’re going to be so confused and frustrated.
Of course, it’s going to be my product, and there’s going to be some subtle changes, but language is so ridiculously powerful that by changing a sentence here and there, and using NLP. What I learned in NLP, people try and paraphrase things. When you paraphrase, you completely change the meaning and understanding of the language.
Even to this day, as much as we’ve done, I’m looking at Ryan Deiss’s book funnel, Frank Kern’s, Russell Brunson. I’m a pro, I consider myself a pro, but guess what? There’s guys who have already been doing book funnels. Why should I reinvent the wheel?
In answer to your question, you model it as verbatim as ethically you feel with it. What I mean by that is, sell your own products, do your own good stuff, and put your own personality into it.
Early on, what a lot of good marketers will do is they’ll compare their product to another product, to the same list, so that they can get the data points, so earnings per clicks, conversion rates, opt-in rates, upsell take rates, and compare it to their own benchmark stats, so they understand where they’re at in relationship to what’s already working.
Here’s a thing that I think, a conversation I’ve had many times is: marketing’s marketing. The concepts behind direct response marketing, the concepts behind pricing guarantees, language and patterns, stuff like that, nobody’s inventing that anymore.
We’re applying new technology to it, but it’s effectively, relatively unchanged for a very long time. I think your message there is going to help people really accelerate their success, if they do it properly.
I want to shift gears, and I want to talk about a point that I saw in your book, Time Collapsing, and that is in terms of positive thinking, and goals. You kind of poo-pooed that, and it sort of flies in the face of what so many people are taught, traditionally, in business and in personal development. Elaborate on that.
Specifically, what I was saying was, I was reading all the audiotapes, I was going through the positive books, I was visualizing, I was meditating, I was saying affirmations, yet four and a half years into my entrepreneurial career, I was broke.
It wasn’t until I discovered the magic of online direct response marketing, offline direct response marketing, and then I discovered that the superhuman skillset that I personally needed to master, when I heard it, was … to give credit, it was Jeff Paul, an audiotape that I bought, that I barely had the money to buy, and he said, “Your income is directly correlated to your ability to write sales copy.”
Derek, I took that … Talk about modelling… I took that so literal that every morning I got up and then I would take … Gary Halbert, Dan Kennedy, every … John Carlton sales letters and go hand-write them, verbatim, because they said that’s what you’re supposed to do.
Here’s the thing: I was just in a meeting with someone you would know, a mutual friend of ours, that we are talking about a potential joint venture on a form of time collapsing, on borrowing assets from each other and bringing them together to get a rocket fuel-type result. We spent most of the time talking about what could go wrong, and understanding what was the most important skill required.
For a lot of your listeners, if you’re struggling with breaking through the next level, and if you’re walking around telling everybody life is rosy, but you’re struggling, and you’re not asking for advice from the right people, you probably need to kick yourself in the face and say, “Look: what’s the number one most important skill or goal that if I accomplish this one thing, and poured every cellular piece of energy that I have into this one thing, everything else would get a lot easier?”
A lot of entrepreneurs go, “I’m going to grow this business, scale it to 30 million, and if I get to that then I’m going to grow to 100 million.” Like, “Dude, what are you talking about?” Two minute later, you were talking about working four to five hours a day, spending more time with your kids, going on six weeks off …” That’s okay, feel good about that. In fact, feel amazing about that, just be accurate, man. You’re not going to go do this other thing …
In your time collapsing book, you talk about the number one thing, and we may have covered this, but I’m going to throw it out there anyway: from losing money to, at one point, seven million dollars a month, one thing that you did. Can you elaborate?
When you sell these information products, you don’t have to worry about inventory, supplements, and this whole payment term … I had to learn all that stuff grassroots, in the trenches, and thankfully it’s been a great experience.
We were growing, I was doing 300,000 a month. It fluctuated a little bit, but it was right around there, but I was running out of cash.
The reason is because you order your inventory, say 60 or 90 days ahead … If sales fluctuate a little bit, your formulators, the people who have the product, are like, “Dude, you’ve got to pay us,” and you’re naïve enough to say, “Cool, I’ll pay you,” instead of just renegotiating terms, which is what I ended up doing.
We were testing some stuff with my funnel, and what we did was, we were selling our product for one bottle … It was $39, two bottles was something like $29, and as people bought four to six bottles, it was $19. That was direct mail pricing, because it … This was huge.
I was right at break-even, Derek. I was making a little money, I was negative, I was positive, it was all fluctuating. I saw somebody in the golf market selling one bottle for $69, two bottles for $119, and four bottles for $199. I thought to myself, “My goodness: how in the world are they selling it for that?”
I thought there was no way someone would buy at this price point, but then, furthermore, the next up-sell these guys were doing was selling six bottles of the same exact product that people just bought.
I was like, “That is the craziest offer I’ve ever seen in my life. Why would someone buy six more bottles if they just bought four, two, or one?” It just doesn’t make sense.
I didn’t judge it, I just did it, and I’m telling you, we were testing it, but I couldn’t get the info because of tech issues, so I told my staff, “Print out a sell sheet, give me all the sales in the last week.”
I manually went through the orders, and I manually, on a piece of paper … We had a calculator app … Figured out the average ticket of the new funnel versus the average ticket of the old funnel. It was 100-something dollars different.
I was like, “This has to be wrong,” but my accountant literally said to me, “You’re going to go broke if you don’t fix something.” I’m sitting there by myself, and I literally said to the marketing guy that I was working with at the time, I go: “Take all the traffic and pour it onto the new funnel.”
The next day, bro, our return on ad spend was all over 250%, and it was like, you should have seen me for the first week, the next week. I literally thought something was broken, and that we were stealing money from people. I was like, “Check the merchant accounts, check the authorize at-net, check our software … Are we double-billing people?”
No, no, refunds did not go up, but our average ticket went up by $120 bucks per sale, which, to give everyone perspective, it was like we were selling people $130 of their average ticket, and bumped that to $250. It was out of control.
Here’s the second big lesson that came out of it: I had no clue … My roadmap to $10 million was 10 front-end products. We surpassed that and went to $28 million off one front-end product, doing 90-something percent of our revenue. If I knew … I had no idea that that was even possible.
I think everybody listening is going to realize, you literally are one sales message, one conversion rate improvement, one average transaction improvement away from transforming your life even to the next level.
They gave me the problem, and I said, “Cool, let’s meet, and let’s solve that problem.” Instantly, we both now can be in a multi million-dollar-a-year business, of possibly even a month, like a million-a-month business, simply by looking around, by myself, and going, “Wow, this is a guy I’ve known for 20 years. I know he’s successful,” and we synergized.
I’ll tell you another story: I’ve got another friend who’s a billionaire, who is investing in a company that I went ahead and did what I would do if I was broke. He told me the company he was investing in, so guess what I did?
I took my superpower, which is the market research to conversion rate … I believe those are the things I am best at … Spent probably 16-20 hours without him even asking, finding every comparable model that they should be modeling, so that when my window of opportunity to him … This is a billion-dollar category … I will just put my superpower into his world, and then I have resources that would apply, then, to …
I think what everybody’s got to realize is, if you take that construct … Those are different things … Now, you apply the social capability of social media, and the fact that we are now in the global market … If you have something amazing, man, your customers can find you, and they can just explode so much more rapidly. That’s where time collapsing really starts to apply.
The last thing I would say right there, because the meaning part of time collapsing … The reason I put that in there is because I … I’ve gone through the phase of just doing stuff to make money because I needed it.
You’ve now got the book, you’ve done all of these things, and where I want to drill down is to what your superpowers are, and I think they’re your superpowers because you’ve spent so much time educating yourself and focusing.
It comes back to, I think, the one thing that … People ask me all the time, “What’s the most important skills; what’s the most important thing I need to focus on if I want to be successful as an entrepreneur, particularly in the digital age?” So many people are focused on social, or this, or that, or whatever, but this skills sets …
Your superpowers … You’ve said them a few times … Say them again.
I would say the limiting gap that I see with most people who are either on one side of the coin or the other, meaning, “I’m a conversion guy, I’m a copywriter, I’m this guy …” Why is that guy still struggling? Because he doesn’t understand what the media buyers need to go through.
Then, why are the media buyers struggling? Because they don’t really understand all the heavy lifting is done at the conversion level. Why are they all struggling with the CEO? Because the CEO understands that he’s got to manage cash flow.
I just gave a bigger chunk than I wanted to, but your superpower is the most important aspect of it. That’s how I feel raising my kids: if I can help them find their superpowers, a lot of other things will take care of itself.
For everybody that’s listening right now, going, “Should I invest in the new SEO course, or the new PHP course so I can build an app,” or whatever: if you love to do that, great; I’ve done it, you’ve done it … We’ve both invested in education, and the skills that pay the biggest dividends for me have been copywriting, marketing, market research … That stuff.
That’s what I’m trying to drive home, because I think, when I peel back the layers of Ed O’Keefe, that’s what’s driven all of these companies, is that skill set.
The reality is that the way I could help you the most, any business owner, is to show them how to properly target the right consumer, and then craft the most compelling offer, that they would feel like the biggest moron for not saying yes to.
Then, if you can do that for somebody that’s in business, you’ve just transformed their life, right? But, if the person is not even aware that they need to move in that direction, then you’ve got a totally different person.
I’m still learning this, and knocking myself on the forehead when I see this, but the one thing that I would say to everybody is: these things take time, and I know I just … It sounded like how to compress time.
“The busy trap”, which I talk about in the time collapsing book, is the greatest cancer to you from being world-class at these most important things, because we think success equals busy. Like I said before our call: we’re doing a lot, but it’s very efficient and managed very, very appropriately.
I love my family: they deserve all of Ed O’Keefe. They deserve me on the weekends, and they deserve my mental clarity, and so if people are too … If they feel overwhelmed, confused, and bogged down, they might need to slow down a little bit to go faster.
We have one key person, and I could re-evaluate that, as well. We build funnels, and we do stuff, all my programmers, everything we use is sub-contracted, and I think the power nowadays is flexibility and speed.
If you’re bogged down with overhead commitment, what I found was that the more staff I had, the more my thinking went to, “How do I make sure everyone’s productive,” rather than, “What’s the most profitable thing right now for the company.” For a lot of us, the most profitable thing is simply not having all that overhead.
That one hour became making sure any promotional pieces to our health supplement business became priority number one. That number one hour is planning my priority number one, so I have priority one, and then I work out from 9:00-10:00 AM. I give myself total permission to not do anything productive until 11:00 AM. If that means I’m hanging out with the guys at the gym, if that means I’m at Starbucks, if that means whatever, I don’t stress it.
My productivity time starts at 11:00 AM to between 4:00 and 5:00. I have full right to end early, and I have full rights to work later. I don’t beat myself up on these things, and with the kids and their games, I will look at the calendar, and then I’ll increase my intensity based on how soon I got to be out of there. It’s pretty focused.
One thing I’d say, too, is the other thing is you’ve got to remember: if a webinar becomes your main … This is what nobody gets. This is what even guys who are super successful entrepreneurs, guys who are gurus, they’re like, “How do you do this, man? How do you spend time with your family?” I go home between 4:00 and 6:00, and it’s all family time until 11:00 PM, and then it’s over.
I’m like, “Dude, if your business model is around your funnel and your webinar, or whatever your thing might be, then for four to five hours, that is your only focus.”
It goes back to what you said earlier, about people thinking “busy” is good, or “busy” is a sign, and it’s not, necessarily. That is a huge lesson for everybody listening here, because you’ve got a guy that’s running multiple businesses; you’re doing multiple millions of dollars a year; you’ve now kicked everybody out of your office, you don’t really need your office; everything is outsourced.
You’ve built an incredible lifestyle business using time collapsing. I wanted to drill down into that, because …
Even though I was totally happy, loved my family, loved my life, felt good, there was times where my physical health needed to improve, so I changed that, that was positive, but I felt like I wasn’t there yet.” I had this feeling … I don’t think it just happens one day, or maybe it does.
Maybe it does by listening to this, me giving everyone permission, is: “Dude, I got it. I don’t need $30 million in my bank account to feel wealthy and happy, and that I’m living an abundant life,” and I was like, “Cool. If the next 40 years are exactly the way … I’m doing what I want to do. Could I make more money? Yeah. Would I have to sacrifice stuff? Yeah. Am I willing to do that? No.”
It could be like, “Maybe this is the new wealth.” Maybe being whatever age, whoever the listener is, because I don’t want to label when this happens … I have a brother-in-law right now that I see struggling so much, who’s retired, and used to have significance and value, and now he doesn’t have that.
Maybe if the process is all about creating meaning and value, and if you have these superpower skill sets, guess what? They don’t go away. You apply them to things that have meaning and value.
That’s what I’m … That’s why I have this, I’m really excited about the time collapsing book, building my life, my family, and the challenges that we … I know there’s going to be challenges in the future, but we’re going to … We’ll just keep it, take care of it with a positive outlook.
I’ve been down that road, where I had 100 staff, and all the crap that came along … I had no life, I … You’re chasing something, and I probably went through a very similar transition, probably about three years ago, and went … I don’t need … Same thing.
I don’t need $30 million or $40 million a year coming in to be happy, and to enjoy life. Once I made that shift, all of a sudden business got more fun; I chose things that I wanted to do, and that’s such a huge revelation.
To be honest, I don’t know if you had that, if you knew that when you were 20, would you have created the success that you’ve created? I don’t know.
I’ve been doing a lot of micro-blogging, video blogging as my podcasts. Mike Rowe does it, from Dirtiest Job, so I’m going to try it, too, for a little while.
Ed, thank you so much for sharing your time collapsing knowledge, sharing your experience, sharing your years of wisdom with our listeners today. It was great to catch up with you.
Don’t forget, if you haven’t done so already, you can have all of these automatically delivered to you. You’ve just got to subscribe, so head on over to iTunes, click on “subscribe”, and get all future episodes sent to you directly.
Now, it’s time to take all the time collapsing strategies that Ed shared with us and start applying the final essential agreement to making those work, and that ingredient is action. Go forth: take action, apply what you’ve learned, and stay tuned for more info-packed episodes of The Project Ignite Podcast.
This is your host, Derek Gehl, signing off.