Design Pickle, Russ Perry’s concept of a subscription creative services provider, has been an enormous success, according to lots of the national business press that has discovered Russ and his team. But Russ says they were successful from the start. How did he do it?
“I created a pricing and business model that had this crazy thing called ‘profit’ from the beginning,” he says. “I didn’t operate from a deficit. We were posting profits from day 1, so I piled all of those profits back into growth.” Russ says, “We can optimize later. The ability to grow now means we’re solving a problem and delivering on that. And that means we’re doing something right.”
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| Rise Grind Repeat 098 |
Creativity is about freeing up the cognitive bandwidth to do the problem solving to do the ideation to do the to do the big stuff that you know, maybe technology will do one day, but Design Pickles platform and then our creatives enabled through the platform can tackle the production work and tackle the initial concept, ignore the volume or the Hey, just give me something I can I’m stuck. I don’t even know just just go crazy.
On today’s episode of Rise, Grind, Repeat, we talked to Russ from Design Pickle talks about the future of fractional business models, and how his company can help you get out of well Design Pickles. Let’s dive right in.
Russ, thank you so much for joining another episode of Rise, Grind, Repeat. We’re pumped for this. It’s always fun whenever we can get someone on from a company that we’re actually using within our own agency. And so appreciate you taking the time. And before we dive into kind of who Design Pickle is what you guys do would love to kind of hear kind of your backstory. How did how did you, you know, realize what was the time whenever you realize that you’re an entrepreneur?
Oh, man, I mean, if we want to go well, first of all, thanks for having me. I’m like I love I love talking about Design Pickle, especially to those who are familiar with what we’re doing.
When did I realize that snore like to me, I didn’t actually officially know what that word meant until I was in my mid 20s. But I would say I had a history of that even from a child from not necessarily the best business ideas. I think my mom tells me a story that my first entrepreneurial adventure was wanting to read to people and get paid to read to people. But the the kind of the problem with that is that anyone who I would be marketing to could already read so it could afford to hire me. Young children who couldn’t read didn’t have any money. So there was a bit of a problem with my business plan there. But since then, you know, my I think a lot of my spirit was always about kind of pushing the envelope sometimes for good sometimes got me in trouble around what are what are the problems I can solve? What are different ways that can do things. And I did that in all of my jobs that I had until finally one day, I was really thrusted into a life changing event when I had my first daughter and when I was 22 years old. And I realized that wow, people who solve problems professionally, but their own problems, they decide what problems they want to solve. They create a business around that. That’s called an entrepreneur. And I was like, Oh my gosh, I love this. I’m going to try to do this thing. And I can I tinkered around for it for about almost 10 years until I landed on which what I now do today is run Design Pickle. Cool. No, I mean, that’s at the base. That’s any, you know, any good business business is built on solving problems. And, you know, kind of fast forwarding to Design Pickle, what what, I guess what happened? What problem did you face, I guess to where you said, you know, there needs to be a solution for this. So I’d love to hear kind of the backstory of how Design Pickle got started? And ultimately, what is it that you guys do? Yeah, so I’ll start with what we do. We’re a creative services platform. So we come into a company, using our software, you can find and work with a creative directly. And then our platform, manages your files and manages the requests manages all the workflows inside of that. And, and then you experience basically what it’s like to work with someone kind of like you hired him, you mean one of our plans, you work with one of our designers, nine to five, your business hours. But the big icing on the cake is we do it on a fractional model. So instead of paying three, four or $5,000, for creative, you’re paying $1,000 and sharing their time with other clients. So that’s Design Pickle in a nutshell. how I got there, though, was actually I was
retired agency owner, aka I closed my agency and was consulting and found myself in you no pun intended Design Pickle, where I had a steady book of consulting clients that needed consistency in the work. And the only creative resources I could afford to hire were like Freelancer or marketplace resources. And that was problematic, right? Because that wasn’t steady. I would work with someone and they wouldn’t be available or they would you know if it was a marketplace freelancer. often they’re international and there’s a lot of complication there. And I couldn’t afford to hire anyone full time and I definitely couldn’t have
afford outsources to an agency. So in a kind of a point of desperation, I said, Look, I’m going to try to find two people, a creative and a project manager. And I’m gonna actually hire them at the same time, and try to manage these requests myself, but do it with a bit more consistency. And so that was like the initial need was I just needed this consistent design for myself and my clients. Well, the funny thing happened with this is I started to run into this bottleneck, where say, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, I was consulting with client A and B, and Tuesday and Thursday, I was with clients C and D. Well, the alternate days, I couldn’t get to the other clients work. So I set up my creative, my project manager on a ticketing system, like an IT ticketing support tool, and I just said, Hey, if anything comes in, get started on it, and then kind of let me see it in the after hours. And if it’s close, we can send it off. And it started to create this production system. And it started working so well, where my designers were using it getting designs, and I was completely oblivious to what was happening. Like, they actually come to me like, hey, Ross, I love the trade show graphics. You did. And I totally lied. And I was like, Hello, Yeah, no problem. Hey, anytime he, you know, we got you.
Well, turns out my team knew this brand well enough. And, and the project was straightforward enough that they received the request to deliver and my project manager was like, shoot, I’m just gonna send it back to the client, I don’t need us to get involved. So that was the aha moment, right. And I started running the numbers, we found some team members in the Philippines. So cost of living is much lower than United States. So their hourly rates are much lower. And I was just like, you know, I wonder if I can like build the system, get a couple more full time, you know, kind of fractionalized their day. So they’re each working on the client a little bit per day. And I wonder if I could just do this as like a subscription model, you know, just a flat monthly fee. My clients don’t have to worry about hourly billing or anything. And the creatives can get like, effectively a job, even though they’re technically a contractor, I can, I can guarantee them a monthly rate, which is hard to do when you’re freelancing as an international creative. So yeah, that was, you know, the end of 2014. We launched in January 2015. And now here we are into our seventh year, we just celebrated our six year birthday. And we’re a global company, you know, we’re 4000 clients, over 600, team members, 13 countries. I’m currently here in Sydney, Australia, launching our Australia offices here over the next months, things have moved quite a bit since those early days, you know, you guys have grown and grown quickly. I mean, notice that you guys are what number 748 or so on the Inc 5000 list. So obviously, not only do you have growth, but I mean, it’s it’s very fast growth. And I mean, it’s tough, everyone wants that type of growth. But whenever you have that a lot, you know, a lot of different sets of problems come up from staffing to scaling. And obviously, you guys help other companies scale. What are some of the biggest hurdles that you’ve kind of faced, you know, through this growth that you never thought you’d have to try and figure out? Oh, dude,
I don’t even know what your question was going to be. But immediately I was thinking of the answer.
Like you read my mind. So what’s funny is we So today, we consider ourselves a software company. And and the reason is pretty straightforward. You know, we have, you know, robust, you know, 15 person, software engineering team. I mean, we’re facilitating millions of interactions a month, we do close to 13,000 to 14,000 requests a week, there’s just incredible amounts of technology, ai logic, like all this stuff that that has allowed us to get to the scale that we got forgotten to. So to answer your question, my challenge is we never started off as a software company. You know, we started off as a subscription services company, we’ll give you services. And we will do it on a subscription billing model. So what really will really became our competitive moat, if you will. And why never stressed out when we see the latest knockoff of what we do is, it’s really easy to copy the subscription service this model, like tomorrow, if your agency just wants to be like, Hey, we’re just going to Bill everyone flat rate, you basically just can’t create a bell curve of cost. You know, some clients are gonna cost you more, you know, some clients are gonna cost you less, you pick a price in the middle, and law of averages should work out and you’ll make the same amount of money. So so we’ve got a ton of people copy us, but what they don’t realize is that, like, our technology platform allows us to indefinitely scale. So the biggest challenges we had first were tons of hacks like we begin if you didn’t like our subscription payments, service wasn’t synced with our request system. So there was no way
To know, if you had a paying account, like if you just knew the way to send in a request, you could totally just hack it. And one time I did a live demo, like recorded and the email got leaked, and a few people tested it. Thankfully, we were so small that my team caught it. So you know, we we’ve we’ve always had technology, up until I’d say two years ago is one of our biggest hurdles, like, how do we scale onboarding of our creators? How do we train them? How do we manage increased volume? What happens when,
you know, a system goes down and and engineers aren’t cheap, right? Like engineers are so expensive, and we’ve been self funded up until this point. So I can’t just go and hire 10 engineers to create all this, I’ve had to always grow incrementally. So that’s been a huge challenge. And sometimes I get a little like, jealous of my funded software friends who’ve had millions are beginning to do this, right. But it also gave us our biggest opportunity, because we’ve grown at a rate that makes sure what we’re building is what is in demand. Like, you know, what we know we’re creating, we should have created it a year ago. So there’s no question we’re not, we’re not like, Hey, you know, what would be a cool idea? Let’s do this. And let’s test it. And we go down this windy path, only to find out that that was the wrong thing. Like we’re today we’re working on launching motion graphics, we just finished the proof of concept. We’re building it into the software. I could have had motion graphics four years ago and been and now we could have been $100 million company by now. Like, like, like, I’ve been getting people banging on the door for years for this. So, you know, because we’ve sort of added software and technology secondary. What we’re creating is we we know, for a fact, it’s what’s needed, maybe one day, we’ll catch up to the backlog, and then start doing the cool, what if stuff, but at least for now, you know, that original challenge, have a feeling like we’re behind the ball has actually become a big asset as we build technology and build our tech stack? No, no, I love that. And just, were you guys out? The motion graphics? were part of that beta? It was awesome. Is that going to be a whole separate part of the plan? Or is that gonna be in the pro plan? Are you able to disclose that? Yeah, yeah, yeah. So it’ll be an add on to the scope of Pro.
And, you know, at this point, we’re we just disclosure, we probably won’t have bundled pricing, because a lot of our clients, I mean, it’s another designer, so you know, but trust me, the sales team, they’re pretty flexible. If you want to get discounting, become friends with your sales, or your account manager, and they’ll figure out a way to get to get you hooked up. But yeah, that’ll be a separate, you know, the idea for Pro is that it’s fine. Your perfect creatives, you can have a motion graphic artists, working with your graphic designer, working with your illustrator, working with your video editor, which we’ll do after motion graphics, and they’ll not in that team and all that collaboration, you know, we’re improving our platform. So that’s much more collaborative between all of them, and things most move a lot more fluid between all of them, but good to hear the beta went well. That’s what I was told to so nice to hear that they’re not lying to me. Yep. And I mean, it’s just, it seems like you’re kind of creating a fractional creative department. And I think, you know, a lot of businesses are trying to move towards this to where, I mean, you got Uber, you got a fractional personal driver, it’s, there’s a lot of models that are being built around this. It’s I mean, we started leaning into it to where it’s, rather than, you know, our SEO service or paid media, it’s you need, you need a marketing department, but you don’t need everyone full time. And that’s how we’re trying to, you know, equate some of the value as a fractional marketing department. Do you think that this is the way that more and more business models are going to go? And is this good for the consumer? Absolutely. And I think what we’re looking to do is we’re looking to augment, not replace. So that is, that is our goal, and like, like, like, we’re speaking to a creative agency that that sells their services to clients, where where we want to fit into the fold is in addition to both parties. In a Design Pickle is not designed to be a replacement. For an agency. It’s not designed to be a replacement for a full time. Team member. It’s supposed to augment them. It’s kind of like, I love superheroes and action movies, you know, it’s like an exoskeleton, you’re able to, like, do more. But if you just have an exoskeleton sitting there without a driver, it’s not gonna it’s not gonna do anything. It’s just gonna sit there. So we think that what we’ll find is that we, you know, we’re calling it the subscription workforce where it’s a new kind of labor model where companies will when they need to grow or scale or augment their output of creativity. They’ll turn to Design Pickle as as a subscription workforce provider and
Just like, you know, increasing your internet bandwidth or increasing your, you know, your, your, your router speed, or I guess it’s kind of similar analogy, but like, it’s like, Hey, this is this is what we can do to scale up and allow our team to do more as well. And then the tools that will be building inside of the platform
is something to again, augment, create creative flows, not replace them, you know, we’re working on a revision, a revamped file management system, we’re not trying to replace Google Drive or not, we’re not trying to replace other file management systems. But with ours, if you do creative work inside our platform, the search the process, the files, the right files, the approved files, all of those will be flagged and documented correctly. So that we can augment into your Google Drive to be the, you know, official record of files that your your organization should use. So, you know, back to the subscription, no, I think that is what people want, you know, people want to be able to move up and down, in and out, you know, get what they need, and then grow it if they need it, or dial it back if they need it. And, and our service, and our model does design that way. But trust me, you’re gonna see it in legal accounting. I mean, it’s gonna, it’s in lower. The gig economy is really focused on low skilled, temporary engagements. Like I don’t need, I don’t need Chick-fil-a delivered to me every day.
So you know, like Doordash, or whatever they are, although my kids will love it. So like those things are low skilled, temporary engagement. When we look at high skilled, ongoing engagement, that’s where subscription workforce comes in. And we’re pioneering it right now. But I know it’ll be kind of everywhere. Yeah, no, I agree. And I think he’s in the word augmented, I think that’s the perfect word for because I mean, that’s essentially how we viewed it is we’re big on testing. And so we kind of, you know, people internally lead kind of the creative direction and what is it they want to say and do and then pass it off to Design Pickle to kind of get it 90 95% of the way there any tweaks, obviously, we can do, but allows, you know, each of our team members to kind of work with more clients, do more creative thought processes and whatnot. And it’s it’s a very good relationship. Well, I you know, I recently watched the Netflix series, the Queen’s gambit, a chess series, which I thought was a was a true story the whole time. Turns out it’s not so spoiler, if anyone watches it, and and I love chess, I’m terrible at it. But what’s funny is the best, the best chess players in the world are not man computers beat them long ago. But the best chess players aren’t computers, actually, there are these these teams called there, they’re called mentor teams, they’re hybrid man computer. So a human uses a computer to consult with, and and that team can beat
a pure computer any day of the week. And that’s, that’s what I think creativity is creativity is about freeing up the cognitive bandwidth, to do the problem solving to do the ideation to do the, to do the big stuff that, you know, maybe technology will do one day, but Design Pickles platform and then are creatives enabled through the platform can tackle the production work and tackle the initial concept in or the volume or the, hey, just give me something I can I’m stuck, I don’t even know just just go crazy. And and that then frees up the cognitive bandwidth of our clients. And our tools, our software actually helps free up the cognitive bandwidth of our creatives, like our creatives don’t have to worry about managing their workflows, or what are they going to do? Or which clients are they gonna work on the day, our tech and our automation does that. So we actually try to make that work both ways. Like if our creatives are buried in accounting and billing, how are they going to be the most creative for you? And and we try to take as much friction as we can out of the process. So the clients can be their best and our creators can be their best. No, I think you said it best. It’s that working together and I mean, you hear AI all the time, is it going to replace jobs. I mean, I truly think that it’s going to, it’s gonna be a good relationship between humans and AI. I mean, there’s a lot of doom and gloom stories but I think that’s where it all the power comes from is it allows you to free up the the manual, redundant tasks and free up more of your creative mind to then solve bigger problems that’s gonna push business further and quicker which ultimately everyone everyone wins at that point. And you know, what’s great is whenever technology helps take off the the cognitive load or the labor load
of us as workers, as employees as as entrepreneurs, it allows us to solve bigger problems, too. And so I mean, that has happened throughout history as we looked at manufacturing services, technology. And now it’s happening in creativity. And so it makes me excited. It’s like, what would agencies and creative departments and marketers and you know, teams be able to do? If they never had to worry about creative ideation, again, like, like, literally, like, you show up, and you log into your Design Pickle platform, and it’s recommending, like Netflix, 10 to 20 things that it that it recommends that you should be creating right now, based on data from your business, from your industry, from where you’re at, like, you could solve much bigger problems at that point. And that’s, that’s where we’re headed. That’s what we’re building that Design Pickle. Do you guys I mean, gonna get into AV testing here in a second. But you guys have plans on integrating into like CRMs, or Google Analytics to really take a look at what creative is being pushed on what platforms and what’s working. And from that, you guys can come up with some of those recommendations that and a lot, lot more.
Let’s just say I’m hiring engineers, they don’t even understand what their titles are. But they are like data scientists more than they are computer programmers. But yeah, that’s what we want to do. We We are on a mountain of treasure treader, we are on a treasure trove of data. And what we want to do is responsibly analyze that data and be able to make creative recommendations at the software level, again, both for our designers and for our clients. So we want to recommend, like what should you be creating what would be ideal based on the time of year based off of what you’ve already done. And then on our creatives, we can take a look at the clients what their brands are, analyze that and make recommendations creatively on where they should go so that it helps them improve based off of data and not just about intuition. Yeah, get to that point. Good luck knocking that off. That’s,
I mean, that’s the next frontier. I mean, that’s also what everyone wants is what creates working better what placements and all that type of stuff. So I think the there’s a growing need for those data scientists that can take what’s working, what’s not to help fuel the the creative decision making for sure, you know, more on that you guys have grown quite a bit, obviously, you know, the last several years in the Inc 5000. List. You also mentioned that you haven’t taken on any funding. Maybe recently, you have some been bootstrapping and growing that quickly, it’s it’s typically not not set in the same sentence. So how did you guys grow so quickly? Without the funding? How are you guys able to decide where to spend your money? Because the end of the day, if you have the funding, it’s easier just to kind of wasted on those that would be cool to have, but isn’t in demand now. So how did you guys navigate be able to grow by by bootstrapping? Yeah, I mean, I think it happened by accident. Initially, I created a pricing in a business model that had this crazy thing called profits from the beginning. So I tend to operate in a negative deficit. And it seems to me that that’s not necessarily common sense. Nowadays, a lot of business. It’s like, let’s get all this money. And let’s start this business. And we’re not going to make any money for years. So we need to borrow the money. But look like I knocked that but I have very successful friends who sometimes when you’re building a business, and there is an upfront cost that is, you know, you just can’t get around. But But yeah, we we were we were posting profits from day one. So I pal piled all of those profits back into growth, you know, paid advertising, event marketing, trying and testing sales, people hiring and firing marketing people like I’ve always been laser focused on that is the lifeblood of where we’re at. We can optimize for gross margin, we can optimize for profit later. But for us, the ability to grow means we’re solving a problem we’re delivering on that. We’re, we’re doing something right. So you know, I just into this day, which we still have yet to procure any outside funding. I investment funding, like I push on growth, because I know we’re in the five to 10 to 15 year game here. We can once we get to certain macro scale, we can start tinkering and analyzing or slowing the growth down to optimize that profit. Then for now, it’s all Push, push push on that. What are the things that you’ve reinvested into? I mean, you mentioned paid channels, sales people, I mean, is there a certain thing that I mean, obviously, as you’re testing, it’s throwing money there. Let’s see what happens. It doesn’t work. Let’s reallocate, but it’s always reallocating and testing and that’s usually what we see is the quickest to define growth. But what are some of those things that you reinvested into what are just like Alright, we need to put more fuel on the fire here. This is just
accelerating growth like crazy when we were a lot smaller. And I wouldn’t say we’re going to we’re going to stop doing this, it just becomes harder to ROI because the investments have to get bigger and bigger, bigger. But when we were a lot smaller event and tradeshow marketing was so great for us, because look, if we picked up 10 or 15 accounts, that was enormous, like, that was a huge, huge thing. Now, you know, I want to I want at least 10 or 15 accounts, or more per day. Yeah. So, you know, so like, but what I learned, and this is what people are unwilling to do to get go is like when you’re forced to talk face to face, and pitch yourself and be on on turned on that mode. For 234 days in a row, you’ll learn a lot about your product, you’ll learn a lot about where you’re hitting the mark, where you’re missing the mark, you do some fee, fancy tradeshow booth thing like we did, and people don’t understand what you’re doing well, clearly, you’re messaging off. So it allows you to just like real time AV tests. And then you can take that and put that online. The problem with online first is you’re just letting the algorithms you’re letting the math you’re letting these things decide for you. And what could happen is it could start to lead you down a brand or a message that is performing but inauthentic to your company in the long run. And and you might have a much or an equal or better performing metric, or add or message.
But like the incremental data testing process does not bode itself well to big creative leaps or jumps. It’s just like, you know, change this now we do this now we do this, now you do this. And so in the in real life, I could you know, one guy can be like, Hey, we’re Design Pickle, we design cool shit. And then in another one, I could be like, Hey, we’re design, pick a word, creative enablement platform. And the next and I’m just getting this live feedback. And I can see what’s working what’s what’s allowing me to, to explain myself less or get to that prospect excited. And so that’s, that’s what I love about it, and we’ll get back to it. But like I said, you know, the performance is a huge issue, because often there’s so much upfront cash, you have to spend, and you don’t ROI that until the event. So if I have an event six months from now, I’m usually enough to pay for that now. But I can’t I can’t extract any value of that until like a couple of weeks at the earliest. So that makes it when you start to get to larger and larger net numbers that you need to ROI it, you know, 100,000 200,000 $300,000 for an event. And so you know, thankfully, COVID has just eliminated that from our playbook right now. But we’ll we’ll probably get back to it just on a different different scale with it, but but I love it. And it’s you know, and if you’re a young entrepreneur, or you’re trying something new, like have the guts to get out there and pitch it for two or three days, you know, don’t hide behind a computer, like put yourself out there. And if you’re unwilling to do that, why would someone want to buy from you online? Like that’s my thought, make sense? How have you guys done, you know, with COVID? It sounds like he’s doing a lot of events, obviously, that that kind of shut down. But the space that you guys are in? I mean, the the need for digital content creation, I mean, exploded after COVID. And people realize how to sit at home. I mean, how have you guys kind of weathered the storm the last 1213 months? Yeah, I mean, it’s been great. We’ve had huge growth from a headcount from a client count. And I think the world is ready for new solutions like ours, I would, I wouldn’t say it’s been easy, especially for some of our clients, we lost a fair amount of clients last year that were impacted by COVID. And that’s heartbreaking because we’re not a company that’s looking for millions of clients, you know, my wildest dreams, we have 10 20,000 clients. I can’t even imagine anything bigger than that. So if we lose a bunch, you know, 20 3040 we know it, we see it, we’re counting them make everyone matters. So that was challenging. But at the end of the day, it made me very relieved that we had built our business the way we built it. You know, we’ve always been kind of an online business even though we have an office in Arizona. We have team members around the world we we’ve we found ourselves in the right place in the right time from decisions I made in 2015 about how I wanted to build the business that really aside from the initial dip in February and March that the whole world experience. We really didn’t we you know, we didn’t have any much impact beyond that.
Gotcha. Yeah, no, it’s been it’s been a wild ride the last 1213 months. I mean, it’s crazy but glad to see that you know, we’re opening back up and you guys are here in Phoenix, right? Yeah, yeah, we’re our offices are up by Westworld like the one on one and Bell Road. Gotcha. Yeah.
We’re down in Tempe, next ASU and it’s it’s things are opening back up, which is great. And hopefully, see you guys doing some, some more events, but kind of transitioning into more of on a personal level, you know, stumbled on on your book, sober entrepreneur. And one thing that really stuck out there, was
he calling out change your family tree? I’m big on that. Because I mean, we kind of say here in the offices, what can we do to help businesses get out there so that the people working in the business can change their family tree and maybe introduce them to consumers that their product or service changes their family tree? So really resonated? Where is where did that come from? Where did the book come from? I’d love to kind of hear more about that. Yeah. So you know, my journey has been very storied. The core of the book is around my journey with drinking and alcohol and deciding to quit and my background and what kind of drove me to that. I don’t want to spoil too much for the audiences, but it’s a compelling one. And, and, and, and the genesis of the book. It’s not, you know, what’s funny is I released a book the same week, Russell Brand released a book on drinking, and I was like, damn it, this guy’s thunder. And, you know, his book is like this crazy rock star party lifestyle. And his He’s so funny. And he’s a comedian, he’s an actor, he’s all this thing. You know, my life is pretty bland compared to that. But what I realized is that what we write in the stories we leave behind are our legacy. You know, and it’s the purest form of documenting that when you write it yourself, if you write
you know, if someone writes about you, there’s always going to be some cognitive bias or things embarrassed or an agenda. But, you know, if you’re truthful and true to yourself, and you write something, I think that that’s something that’s going to be the most honest representation. So I wanted to, I wanted to capture that, for my family, for my legacy for my future kids, you know, kids, it’s like, I wanted that to be something that, that I could give them one day and say, Hey, I’m not perfect, here’s a bunch of mistakes I’ve made, you’re gonna make a bunch of two, but maybe don’t have to make these mistakes. Like this. Um, it’s Yeah, so that’s why I did it. I mean, it was a monster project. It took me so much longer than I thought and like, almost two years to do. It’s not even a long book. It’s like 200 pages. So it’s not like this is some some Magna Carta here, but I did want there to be that posterity piece. Because, like, are like, I don’t know about you. But like, my mom or dad, there’s not some, they didn’t never handed me anything like, Hey, I know, I’ve been your parent. But now you’re old enough. Like, here’s something I did, here’s, like my words of wisdom for you, or this or that, you know, like, they didn’t do that. So, you know, the changing my family tree was literally about that, like I can, I can redirect, like, I’m going to be the first branch on this new family tree. So whatever that story becomes, I’m dictating it as I live right now. So I might as well take control of that narrative. And, and redirect it because my, my past my father, his father, they were more recipients of whatever was just happening in their life. And that’s just kind of how it was, you just kind of rolled with it, and didn’t complain, you didn’t like, you need to do what you’re told. And, and and, and so I was like, Nah, screw that I’m gonna, I’m gonna create my own story. Like, here’s, here’s where we’re going. So, post publishing it, we’ve sold 1000s and 1000s of copies, it has I get emails once a week from people still, you know, it was published at the end of 2017. And I get emails once a week about people who read it, and it’s impacted them. So I’m really proud about that book. Because it’s, it’s written for a general audience, too. Even if alcohol is not your thing. I argue we’re all addicted to something. And so this allows you to really explore that. Now, that’s, that’s awesome. That’s really, really cool. Something you can can pass down to the kids and, you know, wrote the book, growing a business bootstrapping it, have a family. I mean, how do you how do you balance work life balance, you know, balance. I know, like, I mean, I’m in Sydney for probably six weeks, I probably probably will talk to my kids four or five times if time zones match up, and maybe my wife the same or less, like, like, there’s no balance, like I just gotta go, you just got to go and ebbs and flows. And, you know, I’ll have an awesome summer spending a ton of time with them at home, and then a couple trips we’re going to do so like my theory is you just swing the pendulum and it’s gonna swing one way for a bit, and then you just got to make sure you swing it back and then and that’s, I think our greatness is built, you know, it’s not about just like walking the line of, you know, I’m going to, I’m going to work for two hours and then I’m going to meditate and do this and then I’m going to you know,
have three hour work session and be at home at this time. I mean, go Good luck. But I think that’s just kind of mediocrity. Like you’re never reading about these great leaders and these people who’ve gone all in and change their lives and change the world, by like, a really balanced time blocking calendar that it’s like, so perfect, it’s usually bloggers and people who aren’t really doing much that create this
balance. And I’m like, scary, you know, I’m going to I’m going to go one direction, I might burn some bridges, and I’m going to go another direction, I might, I might burn some bridges at work, I might not get enough done that I should be getting done. Now I’m going to go here, and I’m going to do this. But the aggregate of all of this moves, big, big amounts of effort. And that’s what that’s how you build great things. So I just make sure that I’m keeping a baseline of health, you know, I’m in a hotel room for two weeks, then I had a couple of gym things delivered. And like, I’m going to keep a baseline of health baseline of mental health, baseline of awareness of you know, what’s going on in my business and in my family, then beyond that, then it’s all in on on whatever my my main projects are at that point in time. Now, I love it. I couldn’t agree more, I think too many people focus on on the micro rather than the macro. And it’s sure I mean, if you’re 100%, all business, you know, your family’s going to suffer, health is going to suffer. But I think it’s more on the week to week, month to month, stuff like that, rather than two hours here, we’re gonna do an hour there. And it’s almost going back to the mental capacity thing. It’s almost like you’re you’re counter intuitive of making things happen, because it’s always Well, what’s the next, what’s the next hour dedicated to your hour and a half, I think the macro is where it’s at. And to be honest, if I have two hours blocked out for something, I’m probably wasting an hour and a half a bit anyway. So like, like, Why get around, you know, like, like, I’d rather just like have like for today I have like two two things on my agenda, I have, you know, my hotel training. And then I have that’s one and then I’m going to work on reaching out to sales contacts here in Australia, that’s it, it’ll probably take me a total of three hours to accomplish that. But I’m not going to stress about it, I’m not going to try to do all these other little things. In addition, it’s like if I can just do those things that I’m solid for the day and anything else is gravy, but I’m not going to over engineer it. Yeah, it’s great. Definitely a different perspective. I mean, it sounds like you’re always working on something, whether it’s it’s the business, it’s the personal, it’s, you’re always working on something, what are the biggest things and I think everyone gets really stuck on long term goals. But you know, what are the big things you’re working on from personal level and a business level that you’re trying to accomplish in the next, say, three to six months, um, you know, it is it is launching our international local markets. So we are hiring and building teams in Australia, we’re going to do it hopefully, by the end of the year in the United Kingdom. So that’s what I’m focusing on, just doing a lot of the heavy lifting. You know, these are projects, they’re kind of like the tradeshow investments, there’s, there’s not a lot of ROI until much later. So I don’t necessarily want my teams focused on them, I want my teams focused on the near term. So I take on these special projects. And then and then it’s it’s supporting the the future of our of our platform, you know, we are working, I work directly with our VP of product. And he’s an incredible guy, Kyle, and we have some huge vision, we have some new big ideas over the last six months that are going to require some radical shifts and how we operate how we change. So supporting him, actually a third aid is also just in supporting the rest of my executive team, I have a executive team,
about seven people that across the departments, they they cover a lot of angles. And so I’m meeting with them one on one, I’m on problem solving, you know, like, this is really sad news. But we we had a team member pass away. One of our designers in Mexico recently passed away this week. So you know, dealing dealing with that. And that’s not something I’m dealing with. I’m grateful and I’m honored to support it. But those are, you know, I gotta support my team members got to make sure they’re okay, make sure we’ve handled this situation correctly. It’s not a common thing that has happened for us. So there’s just like tons of navigating the unknown. So that’s why I don’t try to put too much on my plate of like projects or things I’m working on, to be able to have room for that. Yeah. So just a few things going international dealing with internal stuff. Yeah, just a few things. Well, I had, you know, coming back full circle to the beginning of the interview. I you know, I’m just gonna throw it out there. I mean, it’s no, it’s just like my game coming back like concept of cognitive bandwidth. Like, I need to be focused on being able to thinking thinking big, working on big challenges, emotionally being able to support people when I need and if I’m caught up in the busy work of the day to day, then I’m not
Going to have the ability to do that I’m going to be exhausted. So. So I try to take, you know, the solutions we’re providing for our clients, I try to adopt that same philosophy for myself. Absolutely, you’re making all the right moves, love, love the growth that you’ve had over the last few years. Like I said, our team loves the having the extra bandwidth that you guys provide. You know, a lot of the audience here small business owners, entrepreneurs, and I think there’s a lot a lot of them out there that that could benefit from your help, whether it’s creating Facebook ads, or landing page designs, whatever that may be. If you’re sharing and Design Pickle, I guess where Can someone find you guys? And look you guys up? Yes. So two places I recommend everyone go. If you’re just interested about design, pickle, go to Design Pickle comm spin up a chat, you’ll talk to our bot initially, but it’s easy to find a person because it just sorts you where you need to go. And then our services are guaranteed. That’s kind of the quick and dirty sales pitch is like you can try us out our plans start at 500 bucks a month. And there’s no risk. So it’s like either we help you a lot. And you continue on, or we don’t help you and you get your money back though. Like I kind of like kind of tease the sales team when they are like yeah, an hour long sales calls like what did you talk about for an hour, I’m like, just get them just try it. But also, if you want to follow what I’m up to later this year of launching a newsletter. I don’t know when it’s going to launch. I’m not going to send it out a lot. But it’s it’s called under the lid. So if you go to Design Pickle.com slash under. That is my personal list. You won’t get marketing emails, you won’t get anything but I like to tell stories. I like to document my journey until later this year. I’ll be getting back on top of that. This has been great. It’s I look forward to this for a while and awesome to kind of hear your journey and how Design Pickle is grown and excited to see you guys continue to explode. Awesome. Well, hey, thanks for having me. Good luck to your team. And hopefully we’ll see you guys on the motion graphics plan later on. And we’re chomping at the bit so well we’ll keep an eye out. We’ll definitely take you up on that. Awesome Take care. Thank you. Appreciate it.
Where To Find Russ Perry
LinkedIn: Russ Perry
On the previous episode of RGR, Dustin talked to Andrew Steel who says a lot of digital marketing relies on trust. And he knows how to build it.