When I first talked to Casey Graham on the phone I was being interviewed to pay him $10,000.
You read that right. HE was interviewing ME so I could pay HIM $10,000. I had never paid $10,000 for anything besides my car and house and my two degrees.
And yet here I was hoping he’d pick me.
If you don’t know Casey, just imagine the Tasmanian devil with a Southern drawl. He only drinks decaf coffee. I’m convinced it’s because a caffeinated Casey is similar to a black hole … no one really knows what’s on the other side.
Casey’s company is multimillion dollar organization. They’ve been on the INC 5000 list two (maybe three?) times. He knows what he’s doing.
Well I got picked. In fact, I later learned I was the first one. (There is tremendous value in being first out the gate. It’s a life lesson. Unavoidable. Like death and taxes and gravity and losing at Monopoly.)
The $10,000 was for a two-day business-building session. And it was worth every penny.
I don’t think Casey even does these sessions anymore. And he shouldn’t. He gave me too much. He should have charged me more. I would have gladly paid it knowing what I know now.
He taught me his business model. He taught me how to sell. He taught me how to charge for my services and products. I learned it all.
Since then we’ve stayed in touch. I’ve continued to learn from him. Mostly by watching and observing and asking questions. Here are 11 lessons I learned by watching Casey build his business.
1. DO NOT OVERCOMPLICATE THINGS. Casey told me I was making my business to complicated. “I don’t understand that,” was his exact phrase. He was right. I was pleased as punch with my idea. Casey wasn’t impressed. All he cares about is, WILL IT SELL? The more simple something is, the better it will sell. 99% of the time. Do not complicate what can be (should be) simple.
2. DO NOT DO WHAT YOU CAN DELEGATE. I am constantly looking for ways to give away my daily tasks. I don’t want tasks. I want to create … jobs, content, relationships. I learned this by watching Casey. He is a master at delegating. He will routinely have Renee, his right-hand woman, lock him out of his email. This is so he will not step on the toes of the people he has trusted to take certain responsibilities.
3. DO NOT SPEAK POORLY OF OTHERS. I was genuinely shocked at how well Casey speaks of others. Doesn’t matter who. He will not talk bad about people. This is such a good lesson. So important for anyone who wants long-term success. Out of everything on the list, this stuck with me the most.
4. DO NOT WORRY ABOUT COMPLAINERS. Customers will complain. People will talk bad about you. They will call you names. As long as complaints are the exception and not the norm, you can ignore it. Customer feedback is one thing. Unhappy people seeking to make your life miserable is another. Casey doesn’t worry about those folks (and he doesn’t talk bad about them either). You shouldn’t either.
5. DO NOT WAIT FOR IT TO BE PERFECT. Perfection. What a merciless master! Perfection will never admit it, but Perfect doesn’t exist. It’s a treadmill that NEVER stops. Casey ships. He creates something of value and sends it out into the world. He does not wait. He moves. Movement is more important than perfection to Casey.
6. DO SEND LOTS OF THANK YOU NOTES. When I got to my room the night before my session with Casey, there was a big “THANK YOU” basket waiting for me. Pen, paper, candy, company swag. It was great. He sent a note to my wife as well, thanking her for letting me come. Every time I get a thank you note from someone it makes my day better. Casey knows this. Now you know it.
7. DO PAY YOUR TEAM FARILY. This is how you keep good people. Pay more than you are comfortable paying. Then pay some more.
8. DO HAVE A PHYSICAL LOCATION. Rocket Company didn’t have a physical building to call home until recently. They had always used co-working spots and coffee shops. I know Casey has said publicly he would have picked a permanent location much sooner. For some companies, having a physical location is necessary for building culture.
9. DO USE PERCENTAGES FOR EVERYTHING. I build all of our prices based on the profit margin I want to have. This is because of Casey. It’s one of the most important, practical lessons I learned from him.
10. DO TRY LOTS OF DIFFERENT THINGS. In the short time I have known him, Casey has tried selling through email, Facebook ads, live events, online events, webinars, livestreaming, Twitter, his blog, and podcasting. I’m sure there are others but I forget them. Point is he’s always trying something new.
11. DO NOT GIVE UP. This doesn’t fit into the rhythm of the list but whatever. When I left my session with Casey he looked me square in the eye and said, “do not let me down.” I felt like I was in trouble. The main reason Casey’s been so successful is because he flat out refused to quit. Knowing his story, there are moments where I would’ve quit. But he didn’t.
I’ve grown and gained so much traction from just watching Casey and working with him on a few occasions. I can’t imagine where I’d be without this relationship. Coaches are crucial. Success is a team sport!