While trying new things can be outside your “comfort zone” there is danger in being comfortable when it comes to making money. We all live under a biological clock, and every day that passes is one less day you have to hit your goals. In this Billboard Mastery podcast, we’re going to review the dangers of “timing out” and how to guard against that happening.
Episode 65: The Dangers of Timing Out Transcript
There's an old adage that you only live once. And as far as we know, that's pretty much true. And we also know that the average human on Earth has a life span of roughly around 80 years, based on a lot of issues, your genetics and whether you smoke, whether you drink, your weight, all kinds of things like that. And if we all say, "Well, let's see. I've got about 80 years on Earth to get what I want out of it," what that tells you is we're all under some kind of timer, some kind of biological clock. And the problem you have in life is you're always racing up against that limitation, and if you don't get what you want in life, well, you pretty much ultimately, you time out. You run out of time.
You see this sometimes on shows like American Ninja Warrior or even the old Wipe Out show on TV. There are some parts of the contest which are not timed, and there are others that are timed. The pressure's off when they're not timed. You run the obstacle course at whatever speed you want. You wanna rest for a moment? No problem. You wanna kinda go slow and tedious to make sure you don't lose your grip? Well, that's fine too. But on the ones where it's timed, it's very stressful because you don't have that flexibility. If you don't get there by a certain point in time, you lose. So the whole time you're racing and racing and racing because, gosh darn it, I wanna be a winner. So what does it mean when you talk about timing out? It simply means you're running of that precious resource of time.
So how can all of us do a better job with the time we have to accomplish the task of, in this case, buying or building a billboard? Well, the first thing you have to do is set the parameters of what you're trying to achieve. What are the parameters of the billboard you're trying to do? Where is it going to be geographically? How much are you willing to spend? How much capital do you have? How much time do you wanna devote? What's the goal of the whole thing anyway? Side hustle, build a career, build an empire, really it's up to you to decide what are we trying to achieve with the time that we have And next, you gotta understand that volume is the key to getting things done. So how do you come to grips with volume? Well, there's a book I read a while back by a guy named Joe Girard. He was the number-one car salesman in America back in the '70s. He wrote a book called "You Can Sell Anything to Anybody."
But if you read the book, it really wasn't so much about sales. He was the first guy to ever really scientifically approach volume, regarding cars. He sold more used cars than anyone in American history. I think in a given year, he sold 2000 or 3000 cars or more by himself. Now, how did the guy do that? Well, he was an early pioneer of such items as direct mail. He was the guy sending out postcards when nobody else was, saying, "Interested in a car? Call Joe Girard. Here's my number." He also loved to cold call people. He would sometimes pick up a phone book and start cold calling people just saying, "Hey, are you in the market for a new car?" Or he'd call up, and he'd say, "Hey, we've got a special down here at the dealership. We've got this beautiful new Ford Mustang, and it's on a special for only $9000 bucks."
So he realized that volume was key. He said at one time really what it was like was loading up a ferris wheel, and he realized that he never knew who was gonna walk out of which car. It didn't really matter. As long as you get people in every car and you get the thing going, they would all ultimately get out. So your trust was in the volume itself. He knew if he sent enough direct mail postcards out or made enough cold calls, he'd find someone to buy a car. He didn't know which one, but he just knew that's what would get him there. The second component when you're trying to not time out is volume, embracing it. It's realizing you can achieve almost anything in life if you do it enough. Case in point, take a trash can. Take that trash can and put it in the opposite end of whatever room you're in, get a bunch of paper, wad it up into balls, and see if you can throw that ball into that trash can. I bet on the third or fourth attempt you can.
Now, let's make it harder. You say, "Well, okay, but this time it has to bank off two walls to go in the trash can." And maybe that takes you seven or eight attempts, but you know what? Bingo. Once again, you got it done. You can add on any permutation or difficulty and with enough volume you're gonna still get that paper wad in that trash can if you have enough tries. So volume is very, very key. But you can't get anywhere with volume unless you know what you're doing. If you wanna get in the billboard business, you've gotta understand that thing that most Americans don't know, and that's the fact that billboards are federally regulated both by the Highway Department under the good old original Highway Beautification Act and then by every state in America adopting its own state sign law. Billboards can only be in certain zonings and with certain spacings, and pretty much every state is different on that.
So you have to know in your state what the rules and regulations are, and then the city itself also has its own sign regulations. You gotta learn what those are, too. You gotta not only know where the sign can go, but you also have to know how big it can be, how tall it can be. Then you have to know all the loopholes and all those kinds of things that can really allow you to adjust and change and get away by pushing those ordinances that's fully legal but that most people outside the industry have no idea about. Now, the fourth item, if you don't wanna time out, is that you've got to, at all times, remember that you've gotta get things to happen. It's called creative deal-making. Anyone can be a deal-killer. Anyone can look over any option and say, "Hey, you know what? I don't like this deal because of this item or that item." But you're gonna time out if you're a deal-killer. You'll never get any deals done.
Instead, you gotta be a deal-maker. You have to realize that despite all your efforts, your goals, understanding what you're doing and using volume as a weapon, you still gotta make things happen. If you're trying something within the billboard industry and it's not working for you, either fix it or come up with a different plan of how you're gonna do it. I looked at a city once, great location, east of Dallas. But the billboard ordinance there only allowed for tiny little signs, 5 x 10 feet in size, eight sheets. I couldn't build big signs even though that was my forte, so I could have said, "No, I'm not gonna build any signs in this market because heck, I only do the big signs." But you know what? I would never have any signs 'cause the city wouldn't allow you to do it.
So instead I said, "You know what? I'll build small signs." And it worked out really well because I was being a deal-maker. I was creatively saying to myself, "Okay, how do I make this happen?" Not, "How can I put it down? How can I kill it off? How can I decide to escape all the work by just saying, ah, it's not possible?" You gotta get out there and you gotta be a deal-maker, and billboards are absolutely no different. The bottom line to it is, don't time out. We're in a new year, the year of 2023. We're still in January. We have the whole year to go, so get in motion. Remember that when you die, typically on your death bed, you're gonna look back, you're only gonna regret the things you didn't do more than the things that you did do. You're gonna look back at potential opportunities and say, "Why didn't I do that? What was I waiting for exactly? Now I realize that the clock was ticking the entire time." This is Frank Rolfe with Billboard Mastery Podcast. Hope you enjoyed this. Talk to you again soon.