Rich Feola Podcast Transcript
Rich Feola joins host Brian Thomas on The Digital Executive Podcast.
Welcome to Coruzant Technologies, home of The Digital Executive Podcast.
Brian Thomas: Welcome to The Digital Executive. Today’s guest is Rich Feola. Rich Feola, the nine-figure entrepreneur and founder of Ad-visory, Solar Exclusive, and the Clean Energy Network. Rich founded Solar Exclusive, a nine-figure solar marketing firm that brings in 4 million in revenue each month.
To date, they’ve delivered more than 2 million leads to 2, 500 clients across 286 markets. With this experience, Rich now teaches agencies and done for you businesses how to 10x their revenue with his patented REAP process as part of his latest project, Advisory. So far, he has helped 400 agency owners triple the revenue in 90 to 180 days and advisories graduates like Cole Gordon and Alex Hormozi also testify to his transformative power.
Well, good afternoon, Rich. Welcome to the show.
Rich Feola: Thank you. Thanks so much for having me. I appreciate you taking the time, Brian.
Brian Thomas: Absolutely love doing this stuff. This gets me jazzed every single day, do quite a bit of podcasting. I learn a lot every day, but I get to with your permission, rich, we’re going to.
Get your story out to our global audience, which is just awesome. I feel honored that I’m able to share your story. So Rich jumping into the questions here, you’ve been in the marketing business for 15 plus years and scaled your business to nine figures. Can you share with us the idea behind your latest success advisory?
Rich Feola: Yeah, yeah, for sure. So, 15 years ago, knocking on doors for a roofing company. And then my, after doing that for five years, pretty successfully, my dad convinced me, hey, you should really get a real job. I was like, yeah, you know what? I can’t really knock on doors for the rest of my life. And so, he convinced me to become a financial advisor.
And then I was a financial advisor for a while. And I realized that they use such old school marketing tactics. You know, we would invite people to. Fancy dinners at Ruth’s Chris steakhouse and try to convince them to invest their money with us for retirement. And I realized there’s gotta be a better way to get leads for my financial practice.
So, I started researching Facebook ads and Google ads and I started doing that successfully getting clients all over the country and then a bunch of my clients wanted me to run ads for their businesses, because some of them were business owners. So, I started running ads for dentists and for realtors, mortgage brokers.
I had one solar company, and that solar company tripled their business in a year from some of my Facebook ads. And so, I thought, Hey there’s something there. So, I did some research into the solar industry, really loved it. And I built a marketing agency around that called Solar Exclusive, which is now the largest independent marketing agency in the solar energy, clean energy sector for residential solar.
And it was an amazing ride. And I sold off my financial book of business and scaled my agency to nine figures. And so recently, I’ve, you know, over the last several years, I’ve just been focusing on my agency, just like building it and growing it. And so I decided that I was going to unveil some of my secrets on the marketing side with this new program called Advisory.
And advisory is basically two words, it’s Ad-Visory. So, it’s kind of a play on words there. So, it’s Ad-visory.com. And that’s where I teach other agency owners how to scale their business. To multiple nine figures like I did. And, you know, I think I have a lot of wealth of experience there because most of the agency coaches that exist in space, you know, what happened was, was they scaled their agency to like 30 grand, 40 grand, 50 grand, maybe a hundred grand a month.
I mean, they thought this is really hard. This is really hard to scale an agency. I’m going to shut down my agency and just teach people how to start an agency and get to 30, 40, 50 grand a month, maybe a hundred grand a month. And that’s what most people do when they reach that level of success. Now for me, even though some of my coaches had told me to do the same thing, I was like, no way.
I think this agency business model is a great business model. It’s recurring revenue. It’s high-ticket recurring revenue. And my clients have paid me for years and years. Many of my clients continue to pay me years after they started with us. And there’s no better business model. It’s recurring revenue.
Why would I become a coach and co and teach courses? When I can have my business basically run itself and be a cash cow, just bringing in recurring revenue ongoing. So, I never really wanted to coach. But I thought, you know, there’s a lot of agencies that are stuck at 50,000 a month, 100,000 a month, 150,000 a month, and they don’t want to do the same thing, coaching other agency owners or coaching people how to start an agency.
They really want to make their agency work. So, I decided that I was going to, you know, unveil some of my strategies on how I went from, you know, the 100, 000 months to multiple millions per month in my agency, and that’s what I unveil in my advisory program.
Brian Thomas: That’s awesome. And I love the stories. We generally start the podcast off with a story.
Everybody’s got their story and just love it. How, you know, you start really at nothing, right? You started at zero knocking on doors, which is so admirable. If you look back at the hard work and the work ethic, you have. But to grow it from there to where you are today is amazing. And I just love that story.
So, thanks again for sharing and rich jumping into the next question. Advisory at dash advisory is praised by industry experts, such as Russell Brunson, Cole Gordon, Alex Ramazi. Can you share a bit more about how you help them and what are the biggest results that you’ve done for your clients?
Rich Feola: Yeah, so Russell is a friend. I was in his top level mastermind for the last several years and so, you know, in those masterminds we share about our business, he shares about his business, Click Funnels that he founded and runs, and I kind of unveiled a bunch of things that are in my advisory program just to provide value and get feedback from some of these other you know, nine figure entrepreneurs that were in that group.
And the feedback that I got from Russell was just tremendous. He endorsed the program because he knows a lot of the things that I teach are not really like hacks or, you know, tactics. It’s really more just basic business fundamentals. You know, it’s more about. You know, how do you take the agency business model and scale it?
Because a lot of the people in the agency business model aren’t really businesspeople. They’re not really business minded. They’re not strategists. They’re more kind of like, they came from like the freelance world. So, they started as freelancers. And they had a couple of clients and then they built their agency and they don’t really know how to grow a team or grow a really big organization.
So that’s where I, my expertise comes in and Russell, I think one of his big takeaways was my hiring strategies. I unveil a whole module on hiring in the advisory program and we use a proprietary behavioral assessment to make sure that we’re hiring the right people. That are going to stay retained.
And I can honestly say, like, I’ve never lost an employee. I’ve had to fire some, but I’ve never lost one in seven years. Like all my employees are still with me. And I think that’s probably a testament to itself that like, if you hire the right people, you can build a great organization. Cause it’s not all about the founder.
It’s not all about one person. It’s about the team that you build underneath you. So, I think that was one of the things that Russell took away the most from my training. Then Cole Gordon helped us source some salespeople for our agency and he was at 150 grand a month. He knew we were doing millions per month, and he was like, Rich, like, how are you doing that type of volume?
And I, he joined my program in advisory. And we trained him on our residual exponential agency process. The short acronym is the REAP process. And he went from 150 grand a month to like 3. 5 million a month, just by implementing that process, which I’m sure we’ll cover in a little bit. So that was an amazing success story.
And, you know, he says like, I’m one of the smartest entrepreneurs he knows. And then Alex Hormozi joined one of the earlier versions of advisory. And he was a student of mine, booked a call with me. And he was just blown away by some of the things that I was talking about. And he’s actually mentioned me on his podcast a number of times.
And everyone was like, who’s this guy? Like, who’s this guy? Rich. And I, no one really knew me. Because I was so busy running my agency and it’s only now recently that people are like, oh yeah, I remember. I talked to a guy, he was like, oh yeah, I remember Alex mentioning you on his podcast and you had these like amazing insights.
And now finally, like now you’ve launched this advisory program. We can learn from you. So, you know, that’s how I got in contact with those three big players and how we help change their businesses.
Brian Thomas: That’s awesome. And again, you’ve really built something that people can look to and build their business based off of your blueprints, essentially.
And I just love that story. So Rich, this is the big one here. Like I said, we’re going to talk about it. Your patented REAP process, R E A P process has been a game changer for many agency owners. Could you elaborate on the core principles of this process and how it helps businesses exponentially increase their revenue?
Rich Feola: Yeah, so the REAP process stands for Residual Exponential Agency Process, and the key word in that acronym is the residual word. So, most agencies are structured in the following way. There’s the founder and the owner, who’s kind of the brains behind everything. At some point, they were probably a one man show where they did everything for the agency.
They did the sales, they did the customer service, they ran the ads for the clients. You know, they did everything. And then at some point, the agency usually hires some sales people to handle the sales. And then they’ll have some digital marketers on staff to like to run the ads for them. Cause like when they start scaling, it’s difficult to do that all yourself.
And then they’ll have customer service people who are managing the accounts called account managers, where they’re the ones like, you know, managing the accounts on an ongoing basis. And so, when we did this, we built our agency to like 300 grand on that same model, 300 grand a month. And we just couldn’t get past that.
And so, I decided after my like we had a big disruption in our agency where we lost a bunch of our clients in one day because Facebook shut us down. So, we lost like 120 clients in one day and we had to start over from scratch. And I thought, I can’t do this anymore. I can’t work 16, 18-hour days anymore.
I’m going to restructure my business a different way so that I can only have to work 10 to 15 hours a week. And that was my goal. Like I wanted to scale back up, but I wanted to work less. So, I took a page from the old financial advisor playbook that I told you about before when I was financial advisor.
And the way financial advisors are paid is that they get a residual commission for every investment client that they have. So, when they have an investment client, that financial advisor gets paid a residual commission for every client that is on their book of business. And so, I decided that I was going to lay off.
A bunch of members of my team, like the customer service people, for instance, have the salespeople do the customer service and get paid a residual commission for managing those accounts. And what that did was kind of created like a franchise model where I had all these like little agency owners underneath me managing their own book of business.
And what this did was the salespeople stopped over promising because that’s generally what salespeople do. They overpromise the world. And then when the client actually experiences the agency. It’s not as good as what the salesperson sold them. So now the salespeople are not incentivized to just say anything to make a sale.
They want to get paid on long term retention. So, we were more honest and forthright with our clients up front, which gave them better expectations, realistic expectations, and the salespeople basically managed the accounts. And then we had our ad team on the backend doing everything. So basically, all the salespeople had to focus on was sales, getting referrals, getting their clients to increase their spend and getting clients to extend and continue to pay the agency.
So, by restructuring the whole business model, taking out the customer service team, taking out the ad team, outsourcing that having the salespeople to be account managers, it exponentially grew our business where we went from zero. To 2 million per month in one year and then from 2 million a month to 4 million a month a year after that.
And it was all because I just kept hiring more and more account managers. I just kept hiring more and more salespeople to manage different books of business within the agency at large. And that’s where I think most agencies are failing. Most agencies only have one salesperson. And two salespeople have made it the most and they structured it this way and they have clients cancel all the time.
And this structure really helps you build a massive business. And the salespeople will never leave because their residual income is tied to the book of business. So, like, it’s very hard. Like some of my salespeople make 10, grand a month. And it’s very hard for them to leave because they can’t just go start another sales job and have the same income potential.
So that’s part of the reason why our retention is so good for our team, and it gets greater results for the clients. They’re more focused on retention and it just grows a much larger organization.
Brian Thomas: Really like that model. And there, of course it incentivizes everybody, all parties involved. That’s just awesome.
And the customer service obviously is going to be second to none. Love that and gosh, need to dive into that in another podcast sometime for sure. And then Rich last question of the day for entrepreneurs aspiring to enter the clean energy sector or start their marketing agency, what advice would you give them based on your wealth of experience?
Rich Feola: Yeah. So, for someone who wants to like start their marketing agency, I would suggest, you know, starting as a generalist when I mean by generalist is you just run ads for any type of business owner that you can get as a client, you know, start to really learn how to market digitally and how to generate leads and appointments for businesses.
And a variety of different businesses and see what businesses you like to work with. See what businesses are the most profitable and the most you know, revenue driven and that you can actually go after and build a business around and really niche down. Because I think a lot of the agencies that are just generalists forever really have a tough time scaling, but the ones that choose a niche and can really focus on that particular industry, become an expert in that industry and become a major dominant player in that industry.
Are going to be the most successful so, but you can’t start just like by picking an industry. I mean, some coaches will just say like, all right, we’re going to pick a niche for you. And then we’re going to show you how to build that niche. Like it’s not that easy to just pick a niche and go for it.
Like you have to have some experience in that niche first. So, I really recommend it if you do have a niche or an industry that you want to particularly target. Like get a few clients there first and make sure you like the industry. Make sure you like the clients. Make sure you like the work that you’re doing before you just kind of go all in on building an agency around that industry So that would be my recommendation as far as the clean energy sector is concerned there’s so many opportunities in the clean energy sector, you know, we focus on the residential solar market with our agency So there’s a wealth of opportunities there And you can find like a really good solar company in your locality and find a way to get involved with them, whether on the marketing side or on the sales side or the operation side.
But there’s also so many other opportunities in the clean energy sector, like utility scale is massive, commercial solar is massive, like we only focus on residential, but there’s actually larger. Clean energy companies that are doing some of these big, big projects like the solar farms and, you know, the utility scale stuff that are just doing amazing stuff.
And that’s totally not my wheelhouse, so I wouldn’t know where to point them there, but the marketing agency stuff, like that’s my bread and butter. Highly recommend they check out add advisory. com, it can help you. Even if you’re just starting out, even if you’re at an early stage in your agency, we can definitely help you get to your first seven figure year.
And then hopefully get you on track to get into nine figures like us.
Brian Thomas: Love it. Thank you for sharing that, breaking that down. And obviously we know your bread and butter is the marketing business and we appreciate that. And you were so kind and generous tonight to share some of your, really that, as I call them, the, the insider secrets on what you’re doing with your business, obviously there’s a lot more to it, but I’m hopeful that many of our folks in the audience will check you out and maybe hopefully hire you here in the near future.
So, I appreciate that. Rich, it was such a pleasure having you on today and I look forward to speaking with you real soon.
Rich Feola: All right. Thank you, Brian. Thanks for having me.
Brian Thomas: Bye for now.
Rich Feola Podcast Transcript. Listen to the audio on the guest’s podcast page.