Bacon Wrapped Business With Brad Costanzo
BWB Justin | Startup Customer Growth

Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth With Justin Mares


Justin Mares, the co-author of the new book, Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth, stopped by today to share some really genius growth hacking tips.

Justin is 25 years old but has already amassed an amazing amount of experience with some very successful companies and startups.

He discusses several strategies you can do today to ramp your revenue without paying for media.

Some Topics We Discussed Include:

  • The importance of getting in touch with your customers
  • How going the extra mile in customer support will help your clients see your value
  • How learning a simple technical skill like SQL can save you time and money
  • The power of personalized email marketing and paid media marketing
  • How podcasts can go a long way in reaching out
  • Justin’s new health food company
  • The pains and rewards of being a consultant

To grab a copy of Justin’s book, Traction, and learn how to grow your customer base, visit

About The Guest: Justin Mares

BWB Justin | Startup Customer GrowthI’m the founder + CEO of Kettle & Fire, the fastest-growing bone broth brand in the country. I also co-founded Perfect Keto, a food + supplement brand for people going keto.

Outside of those companies (which I spend my time on), I also buy small SaaS businesses (FomoCross-Sell, etc) with my partner Ryan Kulp, and do some investing on the side.


Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth With Justin Mares

I'm really looking forward to the conversation I'm about to have with my guest because from a lot of research that I’ve been doing, my brain should be overstimulated by him in this conversation. Let me introduce you to Justin Mares.

He is an amazing young entrepreneur who has blown me away with some of the credentials that he's already brought to the world of business and showing startups how to grow their business whether it's users or revenue, etc.

He is the co-author of a book called Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth and here on the show, that’s one of the things we're all looking for.

I could go on for hours probably about all the stuff he's done but he is the former Director of Revenue and Growth at Exceptional Cloud Services.

He was the Founder of RoommateFit. He was an expert. Justin, I could go on for days about some of your backgrounds but why don't you give me a little background intro about who you are to perk these people's ears up?

I started two companies, one was a total fail, one got acquired and then I was a director of revenue. I ran all of our growth marketing, everything sales at a company called Exceptional Cloud Services which was a bootstrap company that we sold to Rackspace in 2013 for $12 million.

You’re young and I don't think age is a big deal and especially because a lot of the stuff you've done at your age is exceptional.

One of the reasons I'm thinking about this is I'm going to direct my cousin, Michael to read this because he is 21 years old, he wants to do some entrepreneurial things and get in on this. I'm starting to coach him a little bit.

It's awesome that the opportunities out there for somebody whether I'm 41 whether it's my age or whether it's somebody your age etc., its an exciting time to be alive. You seem to work on a lot of cool projects and with a lot of cool people in your career.

I've been very fortunate in a lot of ways. I've been able to work with certainly some of the smartest people I've ever come across which is awesome and it's allowed me to learn a lot and make a ton of mistakes and do some stuff in a relatively short period of time.

How did you get started? You are the Director of Revenue and Growth at Exceptional Cloud Services. Was this your first real big gig or were you doing a lot of stuff before that?

My cofounder and I were living in San Francisco for a previous company Cloud Fab. I met the founder of Exceptional through that and we stayed in touch after Cloud Fab sold. I went and I finished my degree at the University of Pittsburgh.

After that happened, after we sold and RoommateFit had died, I wanted to work with the smartest person that I knew.

The founder of Exceptional is certainly or at least the top three smartest people I've ever met in my life. He’s an incredibly successful entrepreneur and a genuine guy. I jumped at the opportunity to work with him.

You said RoommateFit died. Was this a company you started and did it go out of business?

I shut it down because it wasn't working. It was the company that I'd started when I was nineteen in college. I made so many different mistakes.

You learned a lot of things not to do.

That ended up not working and then I was looking at, “What do I do next?” I clearly want to work on getting better at this whole entrepreneurship thing. I like it.

I think it's something I'm good at and so wanted to learn from some of the people that were good and that was Jonathan who was at Exceptional.

Your main focus is on the top-line growth whether its customers or users and revenue. Was that safe to say?

Yes, exactly. I owned pretty much everything in terms of, “Let's have this business grow and make more money.”

Let's focus in on that a little bit because I love this stuff and I have a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to learning a couple of things myself from you here. In your experience, you primarily work with tech companies.

Let's talk about some of the things that gave you the biggest leverage for growing whether it's customer user growth. I know your book is coming out Traction which is probably going to list a lot of these.

Looking at the contents and the description, I got all excited like, “That looks awesome.” Let's talk about some of the things that you think had the biggest effect for companies that you did.

In terms of big impact, one of the biggest things that I didn't appreciate until working at Exceptional was how powerful it is to pick up the phone and talk to a customer. Every article that I read online these days about how to make more money from a customer or marketing or gross sales whatever.

There are so many of them that are like, “Here's how to automate and grow your business using whatever tactic.” I think automation is all well and good.

We saw an incredibly large portion of revenue growth from picking up the phone, talking to our existing customers or people that had signed up for trials and saying “What questions do you have about the product? What challenges or what problems are you trying to solve with this product?”

It's not a sales call. It's literally “I want to get to know you” call. I agree with you. I'm even pulled in that direction with the companies that I've had and work with as a consultant and the owner want to get as far out of it as possible but it's like, “You're missing the whole point.”

Business up to this point has always been a person-based thing like, “Talk to these people, they'll tell you.” People are so starved for human contact, I believe these days.

When you do pick up the phone, you legitimately want to know how you can help them. Talk to your customers because they'll tell you what they want.

BWB Justin | Startup Customer Growth

Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth

Talk to your customers and they'll tell you what they want. If you're in business, there are certain actions you want your customers and your users to take.

For me, we found it was much easier if we could say rather than send them an automated drip email that's like, “Here's another to do for you,” along with fifty thousand others that are in your overcrowded email inbox.

If we could get them on the phone and say, “Here is why you signed up, you wanted us to solve this problem. We want them to fix this for you, but in order for us to help you, you need to do this one thing, set up this widget properly, let me walk you through how to do that.”

Things like that, we're so powerful. We went on one run where we called a bunch of our customers that were paying us $79 a month. We called through them and said, “We're working on our product roadmap over the next couple of months.

What would it take for us? What would we have to build? What value do we have to deliver for you to pay us $500 a month and do it in a way that you are happy to write that check every month?”

The conversations that came out of that were ones that are hard to gather from surveys, email marketing and other automated channels.

Let me revisit that, rephrase that one more time because that's awesome.

We would call these guys who were already paying us $79 a month. They weren't paying us a ton, but it wasn't nothing either and we said, “We're working on some new features. We're figuring out our product roadmap.

We know we're solving this problem for you, what else could we solve for you or what value could we deliver that would make you happy to pass $500 a month?”

That's what I love. You could have very easily said this was worth the whole conversation for me right there.

One of the things that I've done and I've suggested my clients do is whenever their support team or customer service is talking to customers and clients to always add this on, “By the way, what do you wish we did better and what do you wish we did more of?”

The fact that you put a dollar value on that and said, “We're working with this. What would make you happy to pay $500?” They will then tell you more often than not what would make them pay $500.

Otherwise, they might tell you something that’s, “I’d pay an extra $10 for this.” Unless you quantify that, so that do that right there, I'm so happy that we talked.

It was crazy. The phrasing on that too where you're coming at it from a point of, “Yes, we're acknowledging we're a business and we want you to pay us more money,” but the whole conversation is framed in what can we do that makes you want to pay us this amount of money?

At a certain point especially as a business, I don't think that you're price sensitive if you can solve a problem.

If Google called me tomorrow and was like, “Our AdWords guys found that if you write us at $20,000 check click, we can get you $30,000 worth of revenue.” It’s a no-brainer. It's a huge check but it doesn't matter to me.

With my consulting, depending on the company I work with, they charge a good amount of money but I've always said I'm not worth that money.

If I've got a $20,000 engagement, they're not paying me because I'm worth $20,000. They're paying me because I can solve a problem that's easily worth $20,000 for them.

I've got the solution to a $20,000 plus problem and the reason I bring this up is there are a lot of people who are consultants and experts, who read my show and they are dealing with self-worth issues can be a big thing depending on how many qualifications you feel you have or you don't have.

It can sometimes be like, “I'm not as credentialed as Justin Mares or I'm not as credentialed to somebody else.” I was like, “No, but if you have the answer to a problem that is worth that to somebody else, price is no object.”

You also talked about on your website on your blog about being a technical marketer. Can you explain that?

My partner and I run this thing called programming for marketers, it is It started out as a free email course to help marketers and growth product people learn some cool things that they can do with programming without necessarily having to be technical.

There's this language called SQL. If you learn the very basics of it stuff that I can teach you in an hour or two, you can look up any bit of information you want about any of your customers in your customer or user database.

However, what's happening is in almost every company, in almost every situation I've seen, marketers will say, “IT or engineers, I want to figure out how many customers have bought from us within the last 30 days or 60 days. Can you give me back that report?”

That's an engineer literally stopping whatever he's doing, spending fifteen minutes to write this query running it and sending back an Excel CSV to the marketer after two to three days.

The only reason that has to happen is that the marketer doesn't understand that SQL is a very simple thing to learn, that they can learn it in a couple of hours and then never have to do this again.

Do you have resources that you teach people how to do that then?

It's a free email course, we teach them how to do all of this stuff. The main reason I wanted to create this is that there's this idea that in order to be technical, you have to learn how to program and I don't think that's true.

If you want to become a technical marketer, if you go through Codecademy or any of the many online learn the code resources out there, they're going to try and teach you how to be an engineer. That's the wrong approach.

Instead we try and teach you a couple of principles that'll be useful and then here are seven or eight different ways that you can apply these small programming abilities and skills to make more money and do a better job marketing.

BWB Justin | Startup Customer Growth

Startup Customer Growth: You can learn some cool things that you can do with programming without necessarily having to be technical.


By the way, this is me offering some completely unsolicited advice from somebody. This is awesome and I'm on your page, the SQL Resources for Marketers. I'm a marketer. I'm not a programmer although I totally value what you said.

My first reaction is, “That sounds highly technical and I'd want to hire somebody else for that,” but I love the idea of mining your databases like database mining or gold mining your database for marketers using SQL or something like that.

To me, as I said totally unsolicited advice, I know that my first reaction is, “That looks like code, that looks hard.”

It's a good point and it's something that I should probably revisit, but it's also one of those things where it's not a full-time job that I should focus. I haven’t A/B tested it. I haven't interviewed customers. I haven't done any of that stuff.

One of the reasons this is also appropriate, I was sitting in one of my client’s offices and he was talking to his assistant and he literally did this. He runs a SaaS but then there's always also coaching for real estate investors etc.

He said, “Here's what I want you to do, get with one of our tech people or whatever and said I want to find out all of our coaching clients, what was the initial lead source and also what steps did they do? What products did they buy prior to becoming this?”

It is 100% legitimate and relevant to what you said and it may take several days, but what you're saying is they based upon some basic knowledge of SQL and all this probably could have had it done that afternoon.

He could have sat down and run that immediately.

We're talking about that's one thing is being a technical marketer, etc. Let's talk about some more bacon-wrapped strategies to grow your business.

I know on the book cover you talked about things such as from your bullet points using offline ads and other channels that your competitors probably aren't using, getting targeted media coverage and boosting the effectiveness of your email marketing with the staggered text of prompts and updates.

I'm a big fan of email marketing. I'd love to hear a little bit more on that. Tell me about some of the email strategies that you've used that have been effective?

The biggest ones that we implemented at Exceptional was an easy one. Basically, we said, “Everyone who hasn't completed this key action within a week of signing up, they would get an email, a personal outreach from the founder.”

Saying, “I saw that you signed up for a product to solve this problem. It seems like you haven't set up. What has been confusing that I can help with?”

We got a good response rate from that. For us being a SaaS business, the biggest problems in SaaS is someone signs up for your product and then never uses it, never becomes a user, never becomes a customer and never pays you anything. That email helped us solve that problem.

Another email marketing hack that we use it worked well for programming for marketers was when you sign up, we send you a little short email that says, “Thanks for signing up. We’re excited to teach you X topic.”

We have this bonus that we've pulled together, “If you click here to forward this email to a friend, we'll kick you this bonus right away and get you started.”

When you clicked on the link that we highlighted, it opened up an email that was already pre-populated with the message that we wanted to send or half the person send to their friend.

It was bcc'd so that we could see how many people were taking advantage of this loop and then we would auto to fulfill the bonus that we promised them.

Those viral refer a friend and sharing things can be powerful.

This one worked incredibly well. It was responsible for 27% of the people that signed up for Programming For Marketers. We have over 10,000 subscribers.

That's a good number of people and it means for every individual person that you have signed up for the course, they're bringing in fourth of a person every single, with every person that comes in which is useful.

A lot of the tactics that you're talking about in the past few years have become the hot term, growth hacking. Growth hacking is somewhat different in direct response marketing.

Is most of the stuff that you did is at the growth-hacking tactics or is it like paid media as well everything from Google and Facebook ads?

We did it all. You want to cover your bases and that your bases oftentimes include some number of paid media. For us it was like, “We have AdWords that's cranking good. We're doing Facebook. We’ve got a perfect audience, check.”

You start playing with new tactics that could move the needle in a more impactful way than scaling ad spend.

I want to profitably scale ad spend as much as possible but in an ideal world, we need to be acquiring customers through other channels. I would love if we could cut her ad spend altogether because we were the only company in the space that everyone knew about.

I don't think that's realistic but that paid acquisition, I generally scaled that to a point where it was working. It was profitable and then started focusing on other channels.

It was also about that too and especially with all of the abilities to growth hack, with the internet marketing past, it's been either paid media or SEO and people thought of SEO, “It's free traffic.”

SEO organic is not free. You have to work to get that but in the middle one, it's the growth hacking, the tactics and strategies from going viral to talking to your customers and encouraging them to share.

Giving them a great customer experience so they do talk about your stuff when people are asking them, “What is a great software for X, Y, Z?”

BWB Justin | Startup Customer Growth

Startup Customer Growth: Start playing with new tactics that could move the needle in a more impactful way than scaling ad spend.


They're talking about it because they've had such an amazing experience and these days, you can't afford to put out a turd as a product. The best marketing in the world may get you your first customers but it will fail, or it will go away.

Unfortunately, in the past you put lipstick on a pig and great marketing and great copywriting will do all the heavy lifting but no longer. What else is on the horizon?

Is there anything that you have started toying with that you’re excited about, any new opportunities for revenue growth out there that you think is right but underutilized?

One of the reasons that we're doing a ton of podcasts for the relaunch of Traction is that they're a huge platform with tons and tons of visitors but it's severely underpriced as like the medium to reach people.

If you were to go to a big media company and say, “What would it cost to reach 50,000 people who are interested in business on the radio?”

They would have a certain number and that number would be far higher than what it would cost to get on a podcast and reach those same people through platforms like yours.

It seems like tons of people, tons of attention assets in the podcasting world and the price hasn't risen to mash the value that's locked up in these podcast audiences.

You're absolutely right and the cool part is the vast majority of podcasters are not making big money off of them. They are clamoring for great content and great people, and as a podcaster who is also thinking if am I going to do a topic by myself now or am I going to bring on a guest.

I'm always looking for ideas for a great topic so when you were referred to me like, “This is great, looks like somebody I want to talk to.” Immediately giving you an audience for free versus having to go to somebody else and pay for the opportunity to be put in front of them.

This is one of those things that I have not directly done but I've been toying with this idea in my mind. This the first time I've shared it publicly instead of a couple of close friends or colleagues.

It is a potential opportunity here that I'm trying to flesh out so remember that majority of the podcasters are not necessarily getting enough traffic to have all these paid ads and pre-roll, mid-roll, etc., advertising but the one thing that all podcasters want is exposure, myself included, everybody.

It is one of the things that companies can do who have great products whether it's a physical product, a SaaS or something like this. If that company has whether it's a blog, a social media presence, an email list etc.

I believe it would be very easy for them to reach out and contact other podcasters, influential podcasters who are right in that, they're not total nobodies but they're not getting paid $10,000 for an ad.

I would love not only being interviewed by you but let's do barter for some ad space. If you talk about my show every episode for the next month, I will do a social media tweet or Facebook share about you.

I'll email my list about your podcast with my episode and say, “You guys should go subscribe to this. I'll put a link to you on my blog.” Basically, I will trade your exposure for an ad.

At a certain point, especially as a business, you're not going to be price sensitive if you can solve a problem. Share on X

I don't hear about many people doing that but that would be powerful because I know a lot of podcasters out there and the one thing they're always talking about.

Especially the ones who are trying to make it a big part of their business which this is an outlet for my business but they're clamoring for exposure.

I'm willing to bet that people could get a lot of pre and mid-roll ads for free because they want to love. It’s like, “You're going to tweet about me and Facebook about me and email your list about me, I will sell my soul to you.”

I even said this to a friend of mine who's got a power Greens drink and I told him, “Reach out to all the health podcasters out there.

You can listen to one show for 30 seconds, if they don't have an ad on there, send them the product, get interviewed by them and propose something. I'd like to sponsor your show in return for social love.”

Any other big opportunities out there you see that you're excited about whether that's working, whether you're doing it in other people are? I have a feeling that you probably pay attention to a lot of the different tactics and strategies?

There are a lot of things that are working well. I'm seeing email courses work incredibly well, like doing a free email course as lead gen has been doing nuts, like spending incredible over the last couple of months.

Let's hunt that rabbit. That's one of my sayings when I used to live in Texas because in the past I've toyed with this.

I didn't have any data to back it up but so email courses, you're talking about the ones that are dripped out like a fourteen-day or seven-day email course, where they learn a little bit every day.

Are you saying that they're working well in terms of the initial conversion rate of getting people to opt in on your list or getting people to take action once they're on there or both?

Both. To give you an idea, my partner and I launched Programming For Marketers as a free email course because we both thought it was cool. It was solving a problem for us. It was something we wanted to educate people about and become known for and whatever.

We launched it. It was like, “Let's see how this does because I have no idea where this could go.” It seems like a fun side project and we basically wrote a hundred pages worth of content for it. It's not a huge investment but it’s not nothing.

We tested it. We have nearly 10,000 but we got 6,000 people or so to sign up and from that, 6,000-person list and an eight-email sequence that we sent them. We're like, “We should test selling them a video course.”

In the span of in a very short period of time, we tested selling this video of course and we made $50,000 from that. For me, I look at that and that's crazy that we can spend a week or two writing this content.

Get a couple of thousand people to sign up for an email course and then sell $50,000 worth of a product launch.

BWB Justin | Startup Customer Growth

Startup Customer Growth: Focus on one or two channels to start that will move the needle.


You read bloggers who have been at it for three to five years churning out two to four blog posts a week and then they do their first product launch and in ten they like to end up making $25,000 or $50,000 or whatever. It seems like such a way to hack the process and make it go a lot faster.

What do you think makes the format of the free email course worked so well versus just giving it? You could have easily packaged that up in a 100-page PDF and send it to them. Is it the ability to constantly stay in touch with them little by little over there?

That's a big piece of it. The other big piece is that there's something about blog posts and even a lot of PDFs that feel less actionable.

I have tons of contact telling me what I should do, telling me what I should think about all of this but it’s hard to predict or decide what to focus on. By helping people say like, “We're going to drip out these useful incredible tactics to you once every two days.

The idea is you can open it, implement something in 15, 30 minutes, archive that email, go on with your day and you’ve made a meaningful business improvement.” At least that's what's attractive to me about it.

Does every email that you send out have a call to action on it or a click here to find out more?

Some of them do but again, this is part of it not being a real business for either of us. It's horribly under optimize. There's a lot more we could do that we're not going to do because we're working on different things.

Let's talk about some of the things you're working on, like these strategies and tactics are awesome. Tell me about some of the other stuff you're working on? Are you working with your partner? You've got your own business. Are you consulting?

I did one consulting thing so I finished my earned out at Rackspace and then I have one consulting engagement which I'm happy to chat more about it if your readers are interested in that.

I'm starting a health food product company along with my brother. We're starting a health food product company called Bone Broth. We are the first and only company selling a beef bone broth that is not frozen when you order it.

We just launched and it's been off to a good start. This is taking up almost all my time outside of the book for this company.

What are some of the things that you're doing following your own advice to grow this?

One focusing only on a couple of channels to start with. We're focusing on Instagram. We're focusing on social media to try and grow and drive traffic to the Bone Broth business as well as to do customer education. That's a big one.

Focus on one or two channels to start that’ll move the needle. Social is good for educating people and we've seen it works well to drive traffic as well. These are the channels that we're focusing on well.

Using customer education to get them to come through and then purchase. What's the name of the company so people can go check it out?

In an ideal world, we need to be acquiring customers through other channels. Share on X

It is Bone Broth,

Is it starting to get traction?

We launched and we've done more than six figures and everything already. It's off to a good start and there's a ton of room to grow, a ton of customer education we have to do.

It is a hot and trending product. It's incredibly healthy. A lot of our customers benefit from it. I'm excited to like be a part of it and see where this goes.

Are you doing paid advertising for that or is it all growth hacking?

We are doing some Facebook, some AdWords but most of it we're trying to focus on like organic traffic, some partnership marketing and testing out a couple of channels.

I definitely got some people that I can introduce you to who is big in the health space and organic food and marketers, etc., who I know for a fact love Bone Broth and this might be some good partnerships and education capabilities or stuff. I'm happy to make that introduction there.

I wanted to circle back to one other thing, which as you said the consulting and you said that we can explore that. Tell me a little bit more about the consulting.

I have one consulting deal that was quite lucrative to be honest and so what I've started doing with my consulting is structuring it. What I was doing before I decided to focus on structuring it in a way where it puts you on the same page as your customer and removes a lot of doubt.

One thing that I saw work well in terms of getting people excited to work with me was saying, “What do you think of doing an agreement with a very basic retainer to pull $2,000 a month or whatever but really high upside if we crush the goals that we set up as a contract.

What is a high upside range?

My partner and I've worked with this one company and we said, “Here's where you guys are right now. If we could get you to a certain place a couple of months from now, what would that place be and like that would make you incredibly excited?”

They told us. I'm like, “Let's do this. You pass $1,800 a month as our base fee which is very cheap. You tell us like we can see that you're acquiring leads through AdWords, through paid, through whatever at this dollar amount.

For every lead that we drive that is above the trailing two-month threshold of leads that you’re driving, we will get paid a certain amount that is less than what you're paying on a per lead basis.”

We said that the first month because their growth is flat-lined. We did a bunch around organic traffic and around conversion rate optimization and we got our $1,800 base fee. They wrote us a check for $42,000 for the number of leads that we drove up that month.

BWB Justin | Startup Customer Growth

Startup Customer Growth: A lot of people who talk about trying to get their hourly rate up. That is the wrong game to play because with that, you’re doing a lot of negotiation pain.


As a company, it's a big company and the numbers back out for them where if they can acquire a customer for less than $100, they'll do that all day. For them, they are ecstatic and for us, we're very happy as well.

Tactically when you did this, did you set up your own lead capture funnels etc. in order to do this work so that you could totally segregate out what you were doing or did you intermingle it and add on to what they were doing?

We intermingled it. We added on a lot of stuff. They were okay with that because they wanted to grow. For us, it was pretty clear that if we looked at the previous months, anything that we changed going forward you could roughly attribute to us.

Mine is some percentage which is why we weren't getting paid exactly what they were paying for other leads. We could say, “We started this date,” 30 days later your lead volume has increased by 60%. That's not from something you guys did, that’s us and so they were happy to pay for the performance of we drove.

You put a dollar amount of bait per lead as opposed to a percentage of sales that keeps it a little bit cleaner as well.

The thing that I liked is it makes them think of me not as a consultant where they're constantly evaluating, “How well are you doing? Do I think I'm getting the value of the retainer or the money I'm paying you?”

It was much more like, “We're going to spend X dollars on Facebook, we're going to spend X dollars on AdWords, and we're going to spend X dollars on Justin.”

If we have a bad month, we don't get paid. We can pay $1,800 a month which is a drop in the bucket for any company doing serious revenue.

That's true because they know most of it is on performance. I operate mine very similar too. It's a little bit of skin in the game and depending on what we're doing but in general, I want to be paid based on the performance of the tactics and strategies.

I see a lot of people who like to talk about trying to get their hourly rate up and everything. To me that seems like the wrong game to play because with that, you’re doing a lot of negotiation pain, there's a lot of animosity.

It's all up front and then you start the relationship and neither of you are probably super happy with how the negotiations went. You have to perform and you're under a lot of pressure.

In this instance this is personal curiosity, did the things that you did involve them doing a lot or is that a lot of stuff that you could do?

I know that that's one of the headaches as a consultant is sometimes, you're telling the company the bigger they are sometimes, the worse it is.

They can take longer to execute something but was a lot like, you guys had the reins and the ability to make changes to whatever you needed to do or did you have to cover?

We need something done and we expected them in this amount of time. If that doesn't happen, then that's a breach and we're going to have to discuss that. We brought in our own developers to make changes.

Social is good for educating people. We've seen it work well to drive traffic. Share on X

We did a lot of stuff where I was like, “Guys, give me some leeway here.” I'll check with you before we do things but give me some leeway. It will allow us to move faster and we'll be able to make better things happen in a much faster way.

I've noticed in doing that, it learned the hard way of getting paid. I have some clients who pay me to get on the phone, consult with them, and tell them what to do.

I have found unfortunately that a lot of times they end up things come up and they don't necessarily do what I tell them to do.

It can sometimes be a very simple thing but if they don't do it, they don't see the results and then I look like an expense. It's not my fault. If you did, it would have worked.

I toy personally with the idea like, “How dirty do I want to get my hands or my team's hands?” Saying, “Move over, let me do this.”

I played with that but the way you said, that’s the fastest way to getting results and proving your mettle. Staying on board as a trusted advisor who gets paid handsomely is to say, “I've got the team members. You guys give me enough room, let me run.”

If you perform like we can afford to hire people, to bring in good people, to run experiments, all the numbers back out.

One of the things I tell my clients as well is, “I've got two goals when we start this relationship, an immediate return on investment and then a forever return of investment.”

If you're paying me $1,800 a month, $5,000 or $10,000 whatever a month, my first goal is to make sure that you get that monthly amount back as quick as possible.

I'm going to look for the low-hanging fruit and I'm going to look for the things that are going to get that back. I never want to be seen as an expense and when you can do that you can write your ticket.

This has been great and I cannot wait to read Traction. I’m looking forward to it. Anything else you want to share with the folks, how they can either learn more about you or they can find your book on Amazon, etc.?

If anything that I've mentioned sounds interesting, they can go to and checkout. They can download the first three chapters of the book for free. We don't hard sell our list or anything like that.

If you want to check out the first three chapters, it might be useful and hopefully helpful. We definitely recommend that they do that. Otherwise, I'm @JWMares on Twitter and we'll respond to anyone who reads this. I would love to answer questions or whatever I can.

Are you still taking consulting clients or if people want to work with you or probably situation-dependent?

I am not. I'm trying to focus on the Bone Broth thing.

I'm going to remind myself here to make some introductions there that may be able to help you out and that’s cool.

I haven't heard of anybody tackling that market. I’m big into health and health food, etc. as well so anybody who is, probably understands how great Bone Broth is but I always see it as this little side product. I love the fact that you are not going directly towards that.

Justin, thank you very much for being on the show. For anybody out there reading, if you have any questions for him or you want to read the book, he's giving you the information, go get it and follow him on twitter @JWMares.

If you have any questions for me, if you have any show ideas or suggested topics, questions about your own strategies, or you want to see if any of my expertise will help you in your business, you can always reach out to me at or visit

I suggest that you subscribe to the show if you're not already and go over to and subscribe to the newsletter. I share a lot of cool strategies, events and things, invites, that I don't share with the rest, just here for free.

The newsletter is absolutely free. It doesn't cost you a penny. I look forward to hearing from you and Justin, I look forward to chatting with you more in the future. I wish you tons of luck on both the book launch as well as the Bone Broth.

Thank you so much for having me on. This has been fantastic.

It’s my pleasure. Talk to you soon and see you next time.

Important Links:

About The Guest: Justin Mares

BWB Justin | Startup Customer GrowthI’m the founder + CEO of Kettle & Fire, the fastest-growing bone broth brand in the country. I also co-founded Perfect Keto, a food + supplement brand for people going keto.

Outside of those companies (which I spend my time on), I also buy small SaaS businesses (FomoCross-Sell, etc) with my partner Ryan Kulp, and do some investing on the side.


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