Clarke Duncan: I watched a video two nights ago that was two hours long. I posted it up for my friends to see. I thought, "This amazing advice in here."
Clarke Duncan: They're like, "But it's two hours."
Clarke Duncan: You're like, "Yeah, but, unfortunately, that's where the gold is, in here."
Clarke Duncan: It could be summarised but you would miss the point of what the person's saying.
John Lamerton: Hey, everybody. It's John Lamerton here, alongside my good friend and business partner, Mr Jason Brockman. We are here for another episode of Ambitious Lifestyle Business podcast where, as always, it is our job to help you get more customers and make more money without just working harder.
John Lamerton: So, without further ado, let's dive straight into this month's episode.
John Lamerton: Hey, everybody. Welcome to another episode of the ALB podcast. We are honoured today.
Jason Brockman: Very honoured.
John Lamerton: To have with us a very special guest. One of the stars of my first book, Big Ideas for Small Businesses.
Clarke Duncan: Yep, me.
John Lamerton: He was name-checked in a couple of places in there and he's been dining off it ever since. We are joined by Mr. Clarke Duncan. How are you, mate?
Clarke Duncan: Yeah, I'm doing good, thank you.
John Lamerton: Okay, good. For those who haven't read Big Ideas for Small Businesses, you should obviously, and for those that have, Clarke was my very first mentor. When I decided back in the summer of 2000 that I wanted to become one of these internet millionaires, these dotcom millionaires like Brent Hoberman and Larry Page and Sergey Brin, well there were three slight problems with this. I was going to launch this internet marketing business and the three problems I had was A, I'd never run a business before, B, I knew nothing about marketing, and C, I didn't have access to the internet. I would not be here now without this man.
Jason Brockman: Which one did you give him?
Clarke Duncan: I was going to say.
John Lamerton: For some reason, going back in the year 2000, when I jumped online, got online for the first time, decided that I wanted to launch this business, I needed so much help because I knew nothing. For some reason, this man helped me out. So I am keen to delve into why the hell you did that mate, and well, to once again thank you for doing that. Obviously I did thank you in the book, but I wanted to do the same again, I was going to say face-to-face, but for those listening to the audio podcast, that's going to sound completely wrong.
John Lamerton: Thinking back to that, what's your recollection of the summer of 2000, 2001, when we first started talking to each other?
Clarke Duncan: Well all I can remember from back in that time was we were hanging out with a group of like-minded people. We were all, kind of, on a forum, we were all chatting at nighttime, some of us working stupid o'clock, and just trying to make something happen. And, for me, even though we had similar websites and could technically be seen as competition, I didn't look at it that way.
Clarke Duncan: It's like Jason Dale's another person who somebody I really like, really thought his content was really good, and he was technically competition as well. But the thing about me and Jason had spoke with each other before the forum stuff happened, and we used to help each other out because we got approached by the same people. And I wouldn't call it price fixing, but it was just making sure we got decent value for what we were doing. And we didn't play off each other, we just kind of like, "What did you get? What you get? Okay, great."
Clarke Duncan: Yeah, for me, it was basically good chance to hang out with people who were doing similar stuff. I was learning things all the time, I was hoping you guys were learning the stuff from me, and actually helped inspire me to then go on and launch my affiliate network because we all had kind of similar grapes and kind of industry issues, and stuff like that.
Clarke Duncan: And it gave me a good opportunity to say, "Well, actually yeah, I think I can do this, definitely." And it did, it's just that the mass market didn't want to go the correct way. They wanted to just do their own thing, so that's fair enough. And still doing okay, still a good business that's been going 18 years, I think it is. No, 17 years. Yeah.
John Lamerton: I feel really old now, having been there the day it launched. That's really interesting, because outside, myself, you and Jason, we used to actually sort of sit in these stingy little bars in London and just swap notes. And you couldn't imagine the CEOs of McDonald's and Burger King just sitting down and saying, "Show me your books," and, "How much did you get for this little deal," and, "Oh, how does that work out for you?" But yeah the three of us-
Jason Brockman: "How much do you pay for your baps."
Clarke Duncan: Well, I mean, I think also, as well, there was an element of, "We'll work online and at home," and you don't really get to speak to anyone. And when you do speak to people, you start to tell them what you do and they'll just zone out, and, especially back then, it's like, "What, what's going on, that doesn't make any sense to me." So it was good speaking to you guys, especially when we had similar issues as well, similar things came up with affiliate programmes, and also just with the user base and stuff like that.
Clarke Duncan: And it was also interesting, I mean, I didn't... The reality of it was if I seen someone else do something similar to me, right? Then it was fine for me to do something similar to them, as long as we're all cool about it. And that was basically the way it was, it was like there was plenty of people on the... Even back then, you know, when there was less people on the internet then there is now, there was still plenty of people around. There was still opportunities for us all to make money and if I remember it right and definitely once we were like one, two, and three basically. If it wasn't me, it was you or Jason, or vice verse. It was always kind of rotating round us, who had what keywords and yeah, I just...
Clarke Duncan: I don't know, I've never ever looked at things on the basis of, "Oh, I better not tell them my secret sauce," because I don't really think anything I'm really doing is super, secret tht you couldn't learn. Like, I don't know if you just tried and worked on it, and sometimes it's better if someone's already done it before you and given you the kind of, short cut to the path to, "Oh yeah, try this."
Clarke Duncan: And you's were the type of people that if something didn't work, then I'd be like, "Well, I'm just not going to bother trying because if it's not working for them, than it's not going to work for me." Unlike when you hear quite a lot of people, "Oh yeah, it doesn't work," and you're like, "Yeah but you probably didn't try it." And you can tell, kind of like when you hear people say something doesn't work it's like it didn't work for them on that specific one thing that tried one time, and that's the end of it. You guys weren't like that, you're like, "Okay, that didn't work, we'll try this, oh that didn't work," and then you find something that did work. And you shared with me, so I always thought, "Well, it's not causing me any harm, at all." I couldn't see any harm.
Clarke Duncan: I mean, I did see other people coming up who wouldn't share a thing and were quite happy to take everything from you, but what they got form me, what they done back and that it was nothing. I'm just not interested, you know. It's like, where as, you could say... I don't know what it was back then, as well. I think there was a different vibe, as well, even with the affiliate circles. Everybody who I knew started from basically zilch, and grew a business. And that made it different, you know, there was no money coming in, there was no people with daddy's money to set them up, or anything like that. It was just everybody was just scared of the crappy situation and make a better situation for ourselves.
Jason Brockman: It wasnt corporate either was it, it was kind of a very, very relaxed, and as you say, dingy purpose. I mean, my first... I joined John on April Fool's Day, 2003, and I think my first excursion into what affiliate marketing was, was a limo around London. Which, of course, you were apart of-
John Lamerton: The limo club.
Jason Brockman: The limo club, that's it, yeah.
Jason Brockman: So it was a fantastic day. That was pretty much how it was summed up. And that was my first excursion into this wonderful world affiliate marketing.
John Lamerton: It was good, to explain what limo club was. You had like 12 affiliates, people who you work on a commission only basis, hired a limo and so they'd drive around all the affiliate networks, which were all based in London. And in this limo were 12 businesses, who pretty much all competed with each other. And yet we all just sat in that same limo and we rocked up to the affiliate networks, who of course, can't stand each other. We got on a united front. And it was like, "what are you guys doing about," I think it was spyware was the big issue of the day.
Clarke Duncan: That's right, yeah. Spyware allegedly didn't get a grip in the U.K. because of that particular thing. In America, it's rife. In America they act like... Unfortunately the Americans, they generalising, but basically spyware makes a lot of money. So therefore, they're all good guys because they make lots of money. And I believe one of the things that I said back in the day was, "Could you just imagine if Marks and Spencer's paid for that billboard and along came another company, and just put it right over the top, didn't pay a penny, and directed all the traffic to them. Do you think they'd be outraged? Of course they would. So that's what's happening to us affiliates, so lets make sure that doesn't happen."
Clarke Duncan: And everybody was really responsive, I have to say. It's like there were, obviously some of them are set and looking at they were going to loose quite a bit of money. And so they want you to hold off as long as possible. But the majority were like, "Yeah, okay, I can see it's price coming, so yeah, okay." But if it wasn't for that group, because I like them, seeing as they is all competitors and they're going, "Wow," all together to stop this. Well, you know-
Jason Brockman: It's really strange, and with the kind of receptions, you kind of go with the different networks, is why it was like champagne and canapes in one. And then there was jam jars with coffee in another, and it was really quite interesting the reception that we received.
Clarke Duncan: And I have to say, I do, I was quite... I'd also started my network at that time, I think it was like a year ago or so, and it was kind of like, one of them said, "Oh, is it not very duplicative of you, you run a network." I said, "Well, not really, because it ends that if you don't want me to be an affiliate of your network," "Oh, no, no, no, we're not saying that." Because this was back in the time when I was making quite a lot of money for quite a lot of networks, the days before encrypted sites and cashback.
Jason Brockman: Yeah, we didn't get spyware, we got cashback and coupon codes instead.
Clarke Duncan: Yeah, well, I mean, at least they're a legitimate business form. At the end of the day, they innovated and moved along and done their thing. And spyware was just complete scum, it was just stealing. It was like infecting peoples computers to steal money off of others, and it had to be stopped. And it worked, in on Fraser Edwards was, like I said, he was the guy who put it all together and made it happen. And, obviously, on the forum and together, and we all decided, "Yep, let's do it."
Clarke Duncan: It was one of those moments you going to remember in business, you think, "Yeah, it doesn't happen in any old industry, literally no other industry would have done anything like that." It just wouldn't have played at all.
Jason Brockman: I don't think it would happen anymore, either. I don't think. I think it was just that one time, one group of people, one different set of circumstances. I can't imagine it to ever happen again.
Clarke Duncan: I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that fledgling industry, everybody was new at it. I mean, even the networks were new at it, you know it was just the affiliates new at it, everyone were literally, "Hey, this internet thing and selling things online, you know, this is quite cool." But everybody was growing their businesses, networks, the same.
Clarke Duncan: Some of them, like say were more corporate, they had money behind them. Others started quite similar to ours in the sense that, "No, they didn't have lots of money to begin with but they built up a business." And you can see that with the different approaches and also with the different attitudes of staff, as well.
Clarke Duncan: And you seen that over the years, you know like... Nothing against freshly graduated marketing students but I just love it when someone who's just graduated say a couple years ago, comes on and tells you how you should be doing your website for affiliate market. And you're going, "Okay, that's not the approach helping me out growing, but telling me I'm doing it wrong when you've never done it in your life and got no clue. Wait a little while before you start saying, and when you wait a little while you should realise yeah, that's not the approach you take with anyone." Be their support and help them but don't outright tell them that they're doing something wrong, when they're clearly making more money than you are.
John Lamerton: There's no better way, I think, to get... Certainly to get me to shut down, then to tell me I'm doing something wrong. "Oh am I now? Oh, okay, yep, fine. Yes, thank you for your input. Yep, lovely."
Jason Brockman: That's right, John, you're doing it all wrong.
Jason Brockman: One thing I like about you, Clarke, is obviously we have known you for a long while but actually I think you're... You've run many businesses, that's fair to say, but I think your role in the business or your role in the company, or however, is as opportunity hunter because... For example, just you knew to do paid on results it was born out of the opportunity that some networks weren't doing things in a way that was right and proper, missing out on different areas. And you built the network up from the ground up, with the affiliates in mind, and actually servicing those needs, which the other networks weren't doing. That was born out of opportunity, not born out of need or requirement, or anything like that. It was born because you spotted the opportunity and, all the way through. And I know even when you joined the 1% club, that's because you found another opportunity which you kind of wanted to do, so. Yeah. How do you find these opportunities, what is it you're...
Clarke Duncan: I don't know if I go about finding opportunities, I think basically, I start seeing certain circumstances and try to work out, "Well, is there any money in this and is there something I can do that can get it that other people aren't doing?" And people say this all the time, but if you're solving problems for people, you tend to make money quite easily, compared to making up something that you have to convince people they need. So, that's most of where things happen, some business have got missions very different from everything I do.
Clarke Duncan: I've got a roads and construction training business, which I've run for my father-in-law, and that was an opportunity born out of the fact that he had a business, and that, unfortunately, failed to... Basically, he and the other trainers were great trainers, they were really, really good at it, they just weren't really good at running a business. And everybody got paid first, but them. And eventually, people couldn't get paid and that caused that to collapse. But I could see how it could be run a different way.
Clarke Duncan: Trying to convince my father-in-law to run it a different way to start with was really hard because he was like, "Oh, we need an office," I'm like, "Why do we need an office?" "Oh but we need one," I said, "Why can't we just train on site, why couldn't we just go to the councils?" I said, "In fact, well that will make us even more attractive to the highland councils, who have to spend an absolute fortune to send all their staff down. Where as if we send one person up, it's cheaper for them then sending 10 people down." And he's like, "Oh, but to sell it, you've got to have an office." I says, "Well I've got an office, we'll just tell everybody that the office in, but we train on site. And that's what we do."
Clarke Duncan: So that's what we done and that saved a fortune, which then allowed us to, when we do the training, more of the money got stay with my father-in-law, the trainer. And then we got to hire another trainer and then we ended up hiring in his wife to help them with the admin stuff. Because, "Oh, I need a secretary," and I'm like, "well you don't need a secretary, what you need is somebody to organise your paperwork and stuff, so." I'm like, "What about my mother-in-law, so what about her? She's in the same house as you, she knows what's going on, she'll organise you a bit better."
Clarke Duncan: And then it will be an ear in the ground for me to know what's going on, as well, because, unfortunately, my father-in-law kind of forgets to tell me really important things. Like, "Oh yeah, I'm going to be doing training here," not only invoice that person, I don't find out about it until like couple of weeks after. Where he goes, "Oh, the invoice, so-and-so," and I'm like, "Didn't tell me."
Clarke Duncan: So that is definitely a different business. Running a family business, it's good that you get to keep the money in the family, it's also stressful because you can't fire anyone. You know, I can't fire my father-in-law, my wife wouldn't be too happy with that. But equally, it's interesting because the dynamic changes as well, in the family business. Like because I'm the son-in-law but I'm also the boss, and I also make the decisions on what you get paid and what money that is, and so on.
Clarke Duncan: And I run business usually a lot different from he does, like how you've got six months worth of money in the bank for paying everyone and should always aim to keep that. And I was like, "Well, fluctuate, we'll go down to three months or sometimes we'll be a bit more," but the idea is to sustain having the same pay every single month. As apposed to feast, famine, which is what he's used to, where it's like, "Yay, lots of working, woo, money. Oh no and there's no working," then famine starts.
Clarke Duncan: So there is, can be, but... I have to say this, he kind of lets me just do it the way I want to do it, because this works, you know. Never know how to pay any... Everybody's been paid on time and in fact.... Because he used to say to me stuff like, "Oh, I know a really good factor, he'll give us the money up front, blah, blah, blah." And then I'll go, "Okay, let's have a look at that, never had a factor in before," have a look at it and go, "Right, so they want 10% of all of our money, to give us money that we're gonna get in advance."
Clarke Duncan: "Yeah, yeah, but that means we've got the money for the cash flow," and I says, "Yeah, but it's council's, councils don't run away and don't pay you, councils pay you. It's just sometimes it can take 90 days to pay you." And Scotland has changed, I don't know what if England's changed, but in Scotland there's a new law for small businesses. Basically council's can't be seen to not pay a small business within 30 days because there no harm effect to know the rest of it, it can because a business to go out of business.
Clarke Duncan: So, now it is, it's very, very easy but when we first started, there was councils literally, you know, "You do a job for me and you get the money three months later." And that cash flow situation then was, "Well, I just put all my money in," I say all my money, I put a set amount aside, right, 10 grand's what I'm putting into this business. That's it, not a penny more, if I loose it all, tough luck me. If I get it back and make profit, great.
Clarke Duncan: Obviously, I'm not just sticking money willy nilly into businesses and hoping for the best. I kind of looked at it and went, 'Very good tight chance here I can make quite a bit of money, but I'll have to risk some." But what is they say risk away... Not risk away... What's the word where you basically, you don't want to put too much money in and keep sticking it in-
Clarke Duncan: Yeah, that's the one. So I kind of look at it and go, "Right, well here's extra money that I've got, that I can stick in something, and if it works, great. And if it doesn't then just walk away." And like I said, I'm in a situation where I've got other businesses, so I can't afford to. It's like, to me, you just kind of do stuff...
Clarke Duncan: I haven't always been on the basis of just because somethings working great, doesn't mean sit back and do nothing. That means keep working at it, but do other stuff, because the great thing, especially in technology and online, can change with the struggle of pain from some bureaucrat somewhere decides, "Right, this new law about cookies that's going to destroy everything." And then of course they realise internet won't work with them, so they kind of back pedal on it, and then you're okay again. And then the next thing you know you got a new thing coming in, you know and it's like, "Oh!" And that could be the present score and its not.
Clarke Duncan: So I like to have a little bit more stability by going , "Well here's a couple of businesses that don't rely on that sector and they may be online but they do a different thing, a more whatever." And that's the way I've kind of done it. It does mean I end up working a lot more, I see lots of posts all the time, where people say, "Oh, my want to find my blah, blah, blah and regret it when when the world over is working all the time."
Clarke Duncan: Well I do work a lot right? But I do have a lot of time for my family and my kids, and doing stuff as well. But I also fill up my time with doing more work because I enjoy it. Its not like I actually think, "Oh, I'm doing work, oh it's back breaking, painful stuff." I'm sitting at a desk, looking at videos and looking at ideas and things. And coming up with things and trying things out. It is not hard, it's just that it can be quite time consuming sometimes.
Clarke Duncan: Especially when... I watched a video two nights ago that was two hours long and then I posted it up for my friends to see, and I thought, "This is amazing advice in here." And they're like, "Ah, but it's two hours," and you're like, "Yeah, but unfortunately that's where the gold is in here." You know, it's like, it could be summarised but you would miss the point of what the person's saying. So that should take that forward for you, but-
John Lamerton: Do you watch videos on normal speed, or do you speed them up?
Clarke Duncan: No, I watch them in normal speed.
John Lamerton: I can't watch on normal speed, no because I've listened to podcasts and audiobooks on 1.5, 1.7 speed. I can't watch a video, it's like "Ah, it's a two hour video, hang on, I can make that one hour forty. One second."
Clarke Duncan: Well, one of... Might be a bad trait, actually, is one of the things I am multitasking, doing stuff while I'm listening to the things, as well. But then I'll pause and go, "Hang on a minute, that's quite interesting, I didn't know about this." And then I'll rewind it back and I'll listen to it again, and then, you know...
Clarke Duncan: It's just because, unfortunately, a lot of the stuff is repetitive for me because I know it. Its the bits that are new to me, or I didn't think about it that way. That's-
John Lamerton: How do you avoid shutting down? If you're listening to something, you say, "Yeah, I know this, I know this, I've heard all this before." How do you avoid shutting down and not taking in the new idea and actually haven't heard before, in amongst all the other stuff that you do know?
Clarke Duncan: If it seems... If within the first 10 minutes, if it seems like it's just basically going over the same ground I've done, I just wouldn't even continue with it. Depending on the person who's speaking and what level they are, as well, and you can tell really, really quickly. When they start talking about really, really advance stuff, right off the bat, you're like going, "Right. This is not a beginners thing at all and this person knows what the hell they're talking about."
Clarke Duncan: Because I see a lot of stuff online where it's like, it's all geared towards, "Start your first business." And that's fine, it's just that it's not for me. And very little comes out of start your first business talks for me. Whereas, if someones like, "Oh I've been doing this for 10 years, I spend 15 million on Facebook advertisement, and here's what I do." They are selling another product, as well.
Clarke Duncan: Like there's one I listened to just now, it's Sam Evans, I did not like him at all, to start with. I didn't like the way he done his adverts, even though he's from New Zealand, it was very American. It was really cringy, and it was just like... And it was all the, "Hey, look at me, I've got the big fancy office with millions of stuff, and blah, blah, blah." And I thought, "God, this guys a dick," right?
Clarke Duncan: But he was selling towards people who are interested in that because you can make a lot of money from it. But when you actually watch his more boring stuff, where it's just web... It's not even a webcams thing and on his face, it's just on screen the whole time. And it is literally dry as can be for the average person, then you know you're really listening to, this is the stuff you should be listening to. Not the stuff where he's standing in front of hey look at me.
Clarke Duncan: But there's quite a few like that. I also listen to a guy called the Alex Becker, I don't know if you've come across him.
John Lamerton: Yeah, I have.
Clarke Duncan: And, he's really changed his tune. And he does the same kind of things a lot of them do, you'll see the big flashy Lamborghini. In fact he was slagging himself off in his last video, about the fact that sitting there with a Lamborghini trying to tell people to start a business. And he was just basically, "These people are idiots," and he goes, "Yeah I know I'm talking about myself, too. That is what I used to be like, but it's not like that now."
Clarke Duncan: He's now in the vein of, "Look, the best thing for business to grow, get eight hours sleep, have proper sleep. Get a sleep in, don't sit up," don't do what he used to do. You know, like, don't get me wrong, some of the things he does is a bit mental, like you'll get up at four or five in the morning. You'll go to bed early, you know nine, ten. But still four, four in the morning, I'm like, "That's an alien hour."
Clarke Duncan: I've only seen that when I was a really young guy and I was at a club, that was it.
Jason Brockman: That was bed time wasn't it?
Clarke Duncan: It's bedtime now, it's well bed time now.
John Lamerton: I think that's some, it's an intersting point, but if you listen to anybody that's been running a business, say 10 years or more, and they've had some success. And you say to them, "What should I do, I'm just starting my new business, what should I do?" Nine times out of ten, they'll tell you, "Whatever you do, don't do what I did." Don't pull the all nighters, don't be hustling and grinding, don't be doing this.
John Lamerton: And it's about, doing what you did, got you to where you are now, and I want to be where you are now. I'm reading some Charlie Munger at the moment, and he was asked at this talk, "How can I achieve the kind of wealth you've got, and accelerate that?" And he said, "So basically, you're looking at some rich old guy and saying how can I get what you've got, only quicker. It's a real simple, just do what I did and cut out all of the mistakes. All the stuff I did," he said, "Most of my wealth came down to 10 decisions I've made of the last 70 years. Just make those 10 decisions, easy. Oh, and you need six decades of experience."
Clarke Duncan: Yeah. I mean, don't get me wrong. When I started, same, doing stuff like, I was pulling all nighters and stuff like that. But I was desperate to make it because I wanted not to work for someone. You know, it's like, "Yeah, I really don't want to do nine to five, let's do nine to fucking 12 at night." Something really nuts, but when you're doing something you actually enjoy, it does make it better. And that's another thing as well, kind of stop to...
Clarke Duncan: Everybody enjoys having money but it's better if you enjoy having money by doing something you actually enjoy or like, or get on with. You know like one of those things that's really big for me is, like, just now I've hired quite a lot of staff and broads to work on new projects.
Clarke Duncan: But there's two rules that I really, really go by. One, be truthful to me, because I'm not sitting there with you. So tell me the truth, if you have to go off today because you're going to go and, I don't know, to grandma's birthday or whatever. Just say it. Don't kid on. So that's one thing, the other thing is... Actually what is the other thing, I just totally forgot it.
Clarke Duncan: Trust worthiness is really important but people who I work with, right, and they have to be nice. I'm not interested in cutthroat people, who are all like backstabbing their way up the company, right. I'm not interested in that. You have to be nice to each other and you have to get on with each other. Especially if you're on a job where someone else in job, too, and could be seen as a natural competitor, in the normal running of things. But I don't look at it that way.
Clarke Duncan: Like the dev team side of things and they all have to get on with each other, because what I said to them was, basically, "As this company grows, if mistakes happen or things go down, everyone will lose their job, because of you, right? If you's on, actually on board with each other..." So if something was to happen, of others, one of them has to be ready step in. But they have to know each other's cord and they also have to know, cover each other's back when it comes to work. Because, like, you want to go on holiday, you want to have a week off? Well that's fine just now when the company's going but when the company's really big and you're having a week off, you better make sure the other person is doing your job, as well, right? Has you covered that whole entire week because if you go away a week and something that you caused to crash down results in half the customers leaving, you ain't got a job when you come back.
Clarke Duncan: The nicest possible way, but that's what it boils down to, is like you've got to have reliable people and they got to get on with each other. And they've got to see everybody else as... Don't have to be friends but they don't have to see each other as competition. It's not a, "Oh. If I do a better job than so-and-so, then I'm okay, and blah, blah, blah." Yeah I want you to do a good job but I want you's to realise that if so-and-so needs a little bit of help with something, or can't do something, show them. Help them. And then you've progressed, you've learnt new skills, things have moved on. So yeah, and trust worthiness and getting on with people, really helps because I like people to enjoy what they're doing, as well. Don't get me wrong, you have to do work, you have to earn money, etcetera, etcetera. But if their work environments crap then I'm not interested, its not... Bye. See you.
Clarke Duncan: It has to be good because that what I feed off, and get and enjoy it. Gives the energy to do more stuff and want to think of more stuff. Like, today, for instance, they were joking about how, "And how's it you come up with ideas from something that seems like a problem? Are trying not to make any money?" And I'm like, "Well no, it just seems that way when you focus on one or two things." Like the Brexit thing, for example, just now. Nobody get political but-
John Lamerton: By the time this airs, mate, it's all sorted. It's fine.
Clarke Duncan: Yeah that's true, could be.
Clarke Duncan: No, but like-
Jason Brockman: 2023 this episodes coming out.
Clarke Duncan: That there, right, was, I looked at it as an opportunity. It's a pain, now up in Spain. Okay, and it's a pain that some of this is going on for us because it's a bit easier, but equally, if people back in the U.K. voted, that's the way it is. So, you just have to make do what you can in the situation and I just happen to realise that I could make money from it, by exchanging driving licences for British people in Spain. So that's what one of the businesses does, it's a translating business, we do all the translations as well. Help them and eventually, once whatever happens, happens, we'll be making people help them get legal. And become proper residents of Spain, etcetera, if they're not already. And that's more money and more opportunity.
Clarke Duncan: But the focus just now is everybody does not want to do their Spanish driving test in Spanish. You know you can do the ... theory in English and Spanish, but the practica; can... only done in Spanish. So you don't want some Spanish guy shouting at you, don't understand what he's saying. So everybody's like, "Oh, let's get our licences changed just now on the EU rules." Everybody in all 28 member states can... Is it 28, 27? Can change their licence for the local one without having to do a test.
Clarke Duncan: So, up until the 29th, everybody who doesn't want to do a test in Spanish, can contact me and we can do it. Because even the British Consulate turned around and said that most areas you can't get your driving licence changed, because there is no appoinments until June. Whereas my company, me, and I don't even speak Spanish enough, but the two translators do. We're official and affiliates of the DGT, which is basically... It's called traffical, which is basically the DVLA and that allows us to in bulk, ring up 30, 40 exchanges at a time, instead of one or two, which everyone else has to do. And that was just working out what's the issue, how can we solve it, how can we make it easy for people, and then how can we take money off them to get it done. And that's it. It's-
Jason Brockman: And that's the way. Everyone else is seeing the problem and you said, 'What if, if there's a problem, people are having a problem, then if I can provide the solution to their problem, there's money to be made."
Clarke Duncan: Yep, definitely.
Clarke Duncan: And it's long term as well, I mean, just now we're thinking short term, where the driving licence had to be done by the 29th. But we've done hundreds of them, I think we're at like 200 plus drivings licences now, at 70 euros each time. But every single one of those people are now clients of ours, they're now in the database, and now able to market to when they need any translating help at all. Whether they're going to the doctors, the police, any one at all, they can call on us. We can do that as well. Also, all these people in the database will...
Clarke Duncan: We all have to change to the new system, whatever that may be, so it will either be this year, or it will be next year, but it will happen at some point. And they'll have to get new cards to be residents of Spain, well that's two appointments, that's quite a lot of money. And all these people have used us for driving licences, hopefully they're happy with the service they got. The feedbacks been great, but, you just have to wait and see how the driving licences come back to everyone because not everyone's had them back yet. Quite a few have, but not everyone yet.
Clarke Duncan: But basically, if they're happy with the service, then they'll go on to do the other things with us and that could generate quite a lot of money. And we've already employed extra member of staff, so that's two main translators full time employed. We've got one who's kind of part time, helps us out. But yeah, that was never meant to be the business I was going to do this year, that was never meant to be... I had something else planned. I even was going to be the podcasting, everything around podcasting, YouTube videos. That all had to get shelved, it was, like, I'd like to have a plan but fortunately, and unfortunately, another thing came up with a great opportunity that I could see. That I could maximise and had a time limit on it.
Clarke Duncan: So just went with that. I can get back to the other stuff, it will still be there for me. Just, you know-
John Lamerton: I had a conversation with Jason, you asked a question just now, about how Clarke spots these opportunities. I think, it's not so much spotting the opportunities because opportunities are everywhere. It's identifying which opportunities to actually go for, which to ignore, and then actually doing it. Because if there's one thing I've heard, more than anything else in my career, it's, "Yeah, I thought of that and I was going to do that." You must have heard it as well, Clarke, so much.
Clarke Duncan: Of course, yeah. I say to people all the time, you know, "Oh, what's the secret to running a business?" And it's just fucking doing it, just go do it. If you make mistakes and you learn from them, then great, you're not going to do that again. If you make mistakes and keep making mistakes and never do a thing about them, then you're clearly not cut out for in the business, so just stop. But yeah, it's really just doing, everything's just doing it and learning as you go.
Clarke Duncan: One of the good things about being part of the 1% club, is that I'm not an idiot, in the sense that I don't sit there and go, "Ah, I know everything, I've got a successful business." That's idiot talk. You're never going to know everything. So, one great thing about 1% club is, you can ask some really random questions. I bet some people look at the questions asked, say and go, "This guys got a successful business, why's he asking this?" And that's how you learn, that's how... I've always, always believed that I would rather look stupid one time and know how to do it, then not ask the question and be forever stupid. That's just the way I look at things because you get a lot from listening to a lot of people. And you get even more by asking the questions.
John Lamerton: So if you asked the right questions, then I think, identifying what the right question to ask and who the right person to ask that question to, is a skill in itself.
Clarke Duncan: Yeah, it makes it easier. I'm not here to sell the 1% club, but everybody's....
John Lamerton: Oh, please do. I don't mind.
Jason Brockman: Imagine that, too, if you do, then we do.
Clarke Duncan: Everybody in there is running a business and they're all at different levels. You've got, obviously I am not going to name anyone, but you've got all sorts of levels of businesses there. And sometimes some of the feedback can come from the people who've got, not saying the least successful business, but there's on the route to building something, and sometimes they can actually be the ones like, "Oh yeah, actually, that makes sense."
Clarke Duncan: But the reason I'm more interested of asking questions in there and listening to the people in there, is that no one really got an agenda and are not out to sell you anything, really. It's just kind of like, "How'd you do this?" And majority of times, people be like, "Do this, this, this, this," and you're like, "Okay." It's not like an A to Z of, "Oh you do this," following steps. When you go it's kind of like, highlights of, "Well you get this and you get that," then it's up to you to take the information and find a bit more and actually action it. In which, most post people in that group do. Whereas, in general Facebook, for example, most people will ask questions and you know they're not going to do anything with it. You know, because they're just going to ask you questions.
Clarke Duncan: But it's just one of those things that's like, you know... It's just-
John Lamerton: I think, it's almost gone back to like me and Jason sat in that dingy bar in London, it's the community of the like minded people, who actually don't have an agenda, other than the rising tide that lifts your boats. If I can help you out and I can help Elaine or Alison or whoever, or Tony out, than we all benefit. And then if Tony spots something that you could benefit from he'd share that with you and all of a sudden, someone spots that there's an awards that somebody could enter. There's a PR opportunity for somebody else, and people would just help other people... It's that community of, as I said earlier, like minded people who actually have an agenda, this isn't me and I, we're not looking at you got to refer so many people in or you got to close so much business. It's just...
John Lamerton: Again, we created the 1% club to scratch our own itch. We wanted, we'd exited the main business by that point and we wanted to help small business owners. We thought, "Well, I'm going to do this", literally to entertain ourselves and to keep ourselves amused. And to do something that we enjoyed doing. That's why we launched the podcast, and now it's grown to the point whereby, we can help lots of people. And, also, I think other people are getting the same... Other one-percenters are getting the same benefits we are, because they're helping other people and they're growing and nurturing themselves as a result.
Clarke Duncan: Definitely. Yeah. I take it this podcast is the normal one that goes out to everybody who wants to listen?
John Lamerton: Yeah, yep.
Clarke Duncan: If you are thinking about it... What, they're got 10 more days, something like that. And to sign up but I definitely would give that a go. Like, I have to be honest, I was a bit sceptical at the start. It was just basically, I thought, "Right, well, you know, for what it costs, I'll be able to pick the brains of Jason and John. And I'll get some value that way." But it turns out there's actually loads more value to get and even ,like, the calls, the coaching calls are great. I do feel sometimes I... There's me and a certain other person, I'm not naming names, but we kind of do-
John Lamerton: She was on the last podcast.
Clarke Duncan: We kind of do takeover-
Jason Brockman: We thought that maybe you were on the show and maybe... Everybody else on the coaching call can have a chance.
Clarke Duncan: No, I know, but the thing is, the good thing about it is that I've talked about the one before but basically, having the issue of being too popular and too much stuff happening, is still an issue. Regardless of... Most people's issues are like, "Oh, how do I grow a business?" And then you get stuck in the situation, "Okay, so past that part, just went a little bit mental, don't know how to really service all these people." And getting feedback and ideas from people. I mean, I implemented loads of things following that night and the following day, it really, really helped. But it was just basically, getting all the ducks in the right row. Unfortunately, the plan was for that business was to get it right and, basically, it takes off. Not for it to take off then, have to sort it out afterwards.
Clarke Duncan: But, again, a lot of the feedback from that, I do believe that... I know for a fact, that really helps and you get to the solution of what I wanted quicker. I think I would get there, but it's so much faster if you can get a lot of people to just say, "Yeah, this is a good idea," "Oh, okay, I'll go try that and see." Like, if ever the idea... Not everybody's idea's going to be stale or amazing, but there worth a try, quite a lot of them is like, "Oh well, I tried that, okay, that worked great," or "It wasn't the best but it wasn't a waste of time finding out if it was any good or not." It just means like, "Well I know about that, probably wouldn't do that in the future, but I tried it."
Clarke Duncan: But from that case it was quite lucky, it was bunch of things that really, really helped and yeah. So, it comes up from-
Jason Brockman: I mean, you're still very good, you get the ducks in the order kind of thing and the systems and process that you kind of put in place enabled you to do lots of things in your time, in terms of in your various businesses that you kind of have. And one of those kind of things you had to do was get those systems and processes in place so you can move out of Scotland, and off to Spain.
John Lamerton: Clarke's from Scotland, is he? All this time confusing accent, I thought it was southern Spain accent.
Clarke Duncan: Behave.
Jason Brockman: Which was one of the things you were able to do because that was making sure that everything was in place in the main business could continue to operate without you being in the day to day office and things. And that's the same for all of the businesses.
Clarke Duncan: Yeah. That and... First off right, I've got an office for that business and paying results, which is in Glasgow. And I used to go in to the office but I was more work at home, coming in once a week to, basically, disrupt and put everybody's productivity off because I would talk to them all and they'd all be asking questions all the time. That was fine, but working from home I got more solid work done, I always got things done quicker.
Clarke Duncan: And the telephone system we've got, we still got this telephone system to this day, if someone rings the Glasgow office, it rings here in Spain, England, it rings in lots of different places. And you don't know who you're talking to, right, there's only a handful of people in the office. Whereas, a lot of people in different... You've got another member of staff actually, who's actually in Spain as well. And you don't know, you've got no clue who you're speaking to, where you're speaking to them, you just... As far as you're concerned they're all in the office. So, we made that work by getting a really good telephone system, telephones not my thing, I would rather email people and then respond to them when I want to, as opposed to be interrupted nonstop. But we have to have a telephone system because people have to speak to someone occasionally. Whether, they realise they need to or not, they still want to.
Clarke Duncan: But, yeah, so getting that in place was really good, and that works internationally, work anywhere I can just pack up the phone and take it with me and go work, it's great. The other things I had to sort out was, we needed a smaller office because I had this stupid big office and the office, I never even used anyway but once a week. And then I'm moving away and going, "So we're paying 26 grand a year to rent an office?" Went to get that, you know it was half that, half that bill so me moving away actually saved us money. But yeah, getting the systems in place was really important, we did have a lot of systems anyways for that particular business.
Clarke Duncan: But some of the other businesses, we had to work out systems, even like the business with my father-in-law, it had systems but it had system that worked on the basis of he would be dropping off and delivering stuff to me. And that would get sorted and he's pick things up. That all had to stop and had to be a way to do it, so we bought things like really powerful scanners that can scan like a hundred pages in less than 30 seconds, and all this carry on. Just to speed up processes and make things... We looked at a lot of things and went, "Right, this is the way we used to do it or this is the way we could do it? We can't do that anymore." Once in awhile you can do it and just sort of work out working those systems.
Clarke Duncan: Only one thing that's not really sorted out, is I run all the IT of the companies, and more specifically paying results, and that's got quite a network and stuff inside the office. And I can remotely deal with a lot of the stuff, however if there is a complete hardware failure, then me and one other person could probably change it. Well I know I can change it, but the other person probably could if I explained it to them, but it probably be quicker for me to jump on a plane, go over and just fucking do it, and then come back.
Clarke Duncan: So there is wee things like that, where you have to sit and say, "Right, yeah you can order me and get everything in systems as much as possible." But some things, unfortunately, do have a, "Ah, right, okay, we've not really got a solution for that." We could pay a company a fortune to watch the system but they'd be doing nothing, I mean literally nothing, and all they'd be doing is go in and change it, and charge us 10 grand a year to do that, no. That's not happening, it'd be cheaper just get on a flight and just going and doing it.
Clarke Duncan: And where I'm at in Spain, near the Alicante region, there's constant flights to the U.K. I mean, it's like game, because you've got Benidorm up the north end of things, which is super popular. So, there's just flights everywhere. And it's actually easier for me to get the business meetings in the U.K. from here, than it was from Glasgow. Which is mental. And cheaper, sometimes as well. Not during the summer, but it's cheaper than during the off season times. It's really cheap, actually.
John Lamerton: Would do you tend to do in the summer? Do you stay in Spain or do you leave for the summer period? Because I know a lot of the Spanish, they find it too hot there and it's touristy and full of holidat makers.
Clarke Duncan: August is really bad, mostly really bad. If you've came for heat then it's great, but it's like really, really hot. It can go up to 40 and stuff like that. But yeah, we mostly bunker inside with the air conditioning on and yeah we're fine. But we've got a lot of family coming over, like I thought that would stop by now, this is four, nearly five years, but we've constantly got family want to come over. Always, because its a cheap holiday for them, you can stay in the guest room and they've got nothing to pay for, other than their flights. So, we've got that revolving door, which is good for the wife and the kids and stuff like that because it keeps them in touch. I said to my wife, because it's like, "When we moved out here, you know we see more of your family now than we did when we were in Scotland.
John Lamerton: You know, funny that.
Clarke Duncan: But, too, we're seeing them for two weeks at a time, 24/7. And then they go away-
John Lamerton: That must be quite hard because when they're there, they're in holiday mode. So, "Hey, let's go out and do karaoke till two in the morning, and sunbathe all day." "Hey come on, let's party, you know it's..." "No I'm working."
Clarke Duncan: Yeah, that is a bit of a problem, I have to say I do fall by the wayside sometimes during the summer. Because it's like, I would be like, "Oh, I'll have my weekend," or, "I'll have my drink at the weekend, blah, blah, blah." But when people are in holiday mode, every night it's the weekend for them and so. But you have to just pick and choose, but I just say to them, like Leona and the kids, and all the rest of that.
Clarke Duncan: They'll join in and what not, but sometimes you say like, "I'm sorry, I'm working and I don't mind taking you somewhere and doing some things with you, but it has to be scheduled." You can tell some people are like. "Oh, that's a bit boring," but I'm like, "Well, you know the only reason I'm able to afford to live here and do all these things and blah, blah, blah, is because I actually have to work, you know." Or want to anyway.
John Lamerton: Things don't get magically paid by themselves do they.
Clarke Duncan: No, exactly, exactly. But-
John Lamerton: We are almost coming up on time, Clarke. It's just one more topic I wanted to tackle because, obviously, you were a fantastic mentor to me, nearly 20 years ago now. I would not, absolutely would not be sat here now, without you having helped me and showed me the way because you were that two years, three years ahead of me on the journey. And you're doing the same now with your children, aren't you?
Clarke Duncan: Yeah, a lot of people you'll hear, over in Spain especially, "Ah, there's no jobs for the kids when they're older," "Ah, there's no jobs, they can only work in a bar or waitress," or whatever, some nonsense like that. And they'll say that on the internet, or more specifically Facebook. There's no opportunities, and you go, "Right, you're on the world wide web, you do realise it works in every country in the world. So there's opportunities to be had on it."
Clarke Duncan: Two of my kids do YouTube, one of them is quite successful at it, and he's been getting quite a lot of opportunities because of that. And he earns a ridiculous amount of pocket money, and for someone his age, but good on him, it's like he's got all the best computer gear, the best iPhones, the best everything. But he's paid for the majority of it himself and he deserves his rewards for what he done. So, with them, I'm kind of like, I'll say stuff to them but also listen to their feedback, too, because they know things about YouTube and stuff like that, that I'm not tuned in on. You know, like what the trends are and what the kids are all doing, and blah, blah, blah.
Clarke Duncan: So I will take little league on these things. So, basically, I'm helping. My son has got a channel called Fraser2TheMax and he's on 43,000 subscribers that I'm getting just now. Which isn't a huge amount, it is high but its not like some of these children that are millions and stuff like that. But you can actually make quite a decent amount of money from that.
John Lamerton: And how old is Fraser again?
Clarke Duncan: Fraser's 11 and he started when he was nine.
John Lamerton: 11. 43,000 subscribers at aged 11.
Clarke Duncan: And he gets quite a lot of opportunities from it, we've been to the BBC, went two days training with them, that was quite interesting, seeing how that all worked. He's now on their books for talent, as it were. Unfortunately, the thing that he was getting commissioned for, him and the group of them, it didn't go ahead. It's one of those things, it's like everything in life, it's like, you had a business idea that didn't get past the highers up, after so many months it didn't go head.
Clarke Duncan: So that's just one of those things, but equally, he's had a lot of opportunities, he's in a magazine, just now. He's got a full page, every single month in 110% Gaming, which is a U.K. based magazine, you'll find it in all the super markets, like Tesco's and Sainsbury's, and so on. So he's got a page on that and that's opening up extra opportunities for him because ROBLOX is what he enjoys doing and all developers want to push their game. And they're seeing how, even though he's a small YouTuber, going, "He's got a page in a magazine. That page in the magazine costs three and a half grand if I was to take an advert in that. And he'll talk about my game, exclusively." So they're giving him perks and giving him stuff.
Clarke Duncan: And then he's got some other opportunities that come from having a YouTube channel. There's a company, occasionally pay him $500 just to talk about what he's interested in. It's like 10 hours work on one $500, and all he has to say is, "Oh what did you see online, what adverts did have you seen, what did you think about them, what are you into, what are your current games you're playing?" Things he talks about anyway, and they're paying him what is really seems silly, too. Effectively it's like a survey but it's geared towards kids internationally. But they only found out about him because of his YouTube channel and a lot of stuff. I mean, he's got one today in from a company in London that looks quite genuine, looks quite good. And I'll have to read the whole thing through, though, but, basically, they're interested in giving him opportunities.
Clarke Duncan: So, yeah, it can be good, too, helping kids out with that. And I enjoy it, as well. I enjoy doing the YouTube things, I used to be his editor, but I've given that away to a much better editor than me. He actually has his own editor, which is quite funny because the guy that is his editor, is 22 and he's like, "I can't believe that I'm employed full time by an 11 year old." And you're like, "Yep, such is life." He loves doing his job, but he actually says to me, said, "I can't believe that I was so lucky to get a job like this," this is the best job in the world ever for him because he's doing what he loves doing. Which is editing videos. He's doing it for YouTube and he's getting to be relevant to the current climate, so.
Clarke Duncan: But yeah, so it's different, you know. And one thing I will say about it is, I don't make my kids do anything, so if they don't want to do it, they're not doing it. Right? I'll, obviously, show them the pluses and benefits of doing certain things, but Fraser's into a routine, where he will basically every weekend, he'll do his videos for the week ahead. And that's what he does and he's just used to doing it. And he enjoys doing it, he loves the feedback, he loves all the attention he gets. Especially if he goes back to Scotland, he gets mobbed by people in Glasgow. It's like, "Oh," all the little kids know who he is. And I'm like, "This is-"
Jason Brockman: You know, like a welcome home when gets to his own class kind of thing is it?
Clarke Duncan: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
John Lamerton: Signing autographs. Can have a selfie if you want.
Clarke Duncan: He visits his old school because his cousins still go to the school, and stuff like that. So his cousins have all got the street cred of, "Oh, you're the cousin to Fraser2TheMax," and stuff like that. And you got all these little girls that are like, "Oh, wow, Fraser you're great," and you're like, "Oh my god, he's a lad."
John Lamerton: Why wasn't there a YouTube when I was at school? Where's the door, I need it to open.
Clarke Duncan: But it's an interesting environment, it's one of those ones where, if you've got the... Let's say that if you've got the time do it and your kids are interested in doing it, it's definitely something that I would encourage people to do with them. Just keep in mind, that it's not all, you're not guaranteed to be successful, and also, there is horrible people on the internet. That's just the way it is, you know.
John Lamerton: I just love the skill that he's picking up now, already. What's he going to be like when he's 16, 17 and let loose on the big, bad world of online business. You know, he's going to be taking over his dad's empire and showing you how to do it properly.
Clarke Duncan: Well, I did say to him, "You do realise that when I get older and me and your mom get older, you's need to look after us because we've been doing it for you's all these years.
Jason Brockman: And of course, if you don't get this out,sourcing YouTube channels towards him, he might be running it before you.
John Lamerton: Really.
Clarke Duncan: Well, yeah, you never know. It's like that could be a excellent interesting idea, start outsourcing boss and actually outsource doing everything and not even be in it myself.
Jason Brockman: Fabulous. Well thank you ever so much for your time today, Clarke.
Clarke Duncan: No problem.
Jason Brockman: To this episode of Ambitious Lifestyle Business podcast. Truly great to see you and great to hear from you.
John Lamerton: Great to catch up again, mate. And we'll speak to you later.
Clarke Duncan: Okay, great. Thanks. See you. Bye.
Jason Brockman: So there we are, another episode in the can. How was it for you? Please let us know. How do you listen to these podcasts. Please leave a review on that platform, let us know what we can do better, what you like, what you don't like, and how we can approve to make this show even better for you. See you next time.