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0:02 Hey, welcome to today's show. I'm your host Daniel Martinez. I have a special guest, Mr. Rick Elmore. What part of the country are you from? Where you? 0:11 Thanks for coming on Daniel. I'm actually in Tempe, Arizona, 0:15 Tempe, Arizona. I like air Phoenix is my favorite city. 0:19 That's great. I don't even live in my favorite city. Yeah, I actually grew up in California and never thought I would say it but I always thought I'd go back. I went to school out here, but definitely a desert right now. And I love I love living here. It's awesome. 0:33 Yeah, Arizona. Like my wife. I have family here in California. So when I leave if I leave, but man, Arizona is on my top my top my top list I love I love Phoenix. 0:45 Yeah, if you can handle the heat for like, you know that, you know, come, you know, overwhelming ridiculous 115 for about three months. Yeah, it's, I think it's the best place in the country to live. It's, it's kind of like a mini LA. It's like 4 million people live here. Doing Business proteins, you know, nice restaurants, schools. I mean, it's a pretty cool area. 1:09 So tell us a little about what you do. Man, I know you're in the direct mail space. only been doing that for and what was that? Like? It's just like your first business or how many businesses it take to get to that one? 1:21 Yeah, so my background is actually in athletics. I played college and professional sports play at the University of Arizona in Tucson was drafted into the NFL in 2011. To the Green Bay Packers got to live out my childhood dream played for three years, but then got into corporate medical device sales and marketing, pretty successful, had a pretty successful career there. You know, as a rookie of the year, my first year, and there was either top 1%, or top five sales rep in the company for my last five years there. Went back into my MBA in 2017, I have a couple of semesters left. But I left when I started this business, this business started off as an idea listening to a lecture and a marketing class. Always had like the feeling to be an entrepreneur. You know, I was having success in my medical device field, but I had an itch I could not scratch. So when I went back to school, I was kind of looking for something else. And I found this, my marketing professor was saying that, you know, all these other marketing trends were pretty nominal, not super exciting, had marginal success rates. And then he ended the lecture saying that, hey, guys, you know, it still works as a good old fashioned handwritten note, and has a 99% open rate. And I was like, man, being in sales, if I can get in front of my client 99% of the time, that's going to increase my success rates, you know, a lot. So got to work, you know, flew some technologies in from China, South America. Basically, we built the world's only purposely built writing robot. And we help companies automate sending real handwritten notes. So they can either automate it based off a trigger happening from within their software, or scale it off a spreadsheet. So I mean, that's a super fast, you know, high, high, high, high, massively high level overview of what we do. But yeah, that's a quick rundown about it. 3:21 How long ago did you start that doing it 3:24 was just 17. The idea happened, really started working on it in 2018, we got a pen plotter from China, which was very terrible technology. It's very old and outdated. It's not good at all. But I got it took me about a month to write out really, you know, almost 500 handwritten notes. That looks terrible. But I was so dedicated to proving this proof of concept that this product would work. But I would sit there and handload this machine, it would write a bad note, take it out, write another one. And I pulled a list of clients I was not working with. I sent out 500 handwritten notes and I got 20 doctors to call me back, which if you're in sales like that is like exciting. Like, it doesn't happen a client calls you right? Maybe your marketing is different, but on sales and from those 20 doctors who call me they're like first, Rick? First. Thanks for sending this handwritten. That's cool. Nobody does that anymore. This offer sounds good. Let's set up a lunch and talk about it got almost $300,000 in sales is just under $29,000. In commission. My monthly quota was $50,000 at a time, like my whole business, my whole company was going nuts. And from that moment on, I had like the entrepreneurial seizure and just got to work. 4:44 Has your like sports career correlated at all with your busy entrepreneur career at all? 4:51 I would say that's why I'm successful is my sports athletic background. Everything that I learned and developed for two decades was transferred into my professional career you know just all the hard work the perseverance, the passion to design well competition getting up every single day and, and working through the pain, the bumps, the bruises getting knocked down, getting back up, again, not quitting. Those are things you can master doesn't matter what you're doing, you're gonna be successful in anything, it's just most people, you know, they they give up, or they don't like to work hard. Or when things get get hard, they don't like to persevere, they look for the grass is greener thing. And that was never me. And that was because I developed all those skills in my my sports background. Yeah, I 5:38 always I always like talking about it, because I'm like, anybody that's been in sports, like it really, it really gives me like a like, like sports and military. Because like they really like round you. And like, trying to like entrepreneurship, it's it makes it a lot easier. Not saying that you don't have, you're not gonna fail, or you have the possibility of failing. It's just, I feel like it makes you like a stronger entrepreneur. 5:59 I mean, being an entrepreneur is failing, it's trying new things every single day and failing. It's just people don't like failing, they're afraid that I was there. But once you start, you know, turning it from failure to learning, right? And you can really understand that that in order to get better, you got to try new things, you got to put yourself outside your comfort zone, right and fail, and then observe why you failed and learn from why you failed and build upon it. That's when things start taking off for 6:26 you. Yeah, yeah. 100% 100%. I like I like direct mail, because I'm in the real estate business. So direct mail is like one of those things, really, a lot of people still use it. And I haven't actually have a texting platform. So I text a lot of people and like our, our open rate, like people see it within two minutes. It's like 80%, or something like that. For text message analytics. So 80% of people will see your message, but 99% direct mail still works. It's kind of a kind of, it's one of the things that's always worked. It's just people start doing doing other things. And it's always like, if it's in the budget, but I think when you always, when you're doing like a good part of the handwritten notes, it goes, it cuts through quicker, so you get a better like 7:09 conversion. Yeah, it just stands out, right. If you think of your mailbox, it's empty. Nowadays, everybody's competing digitally. You know, it's social, it's email, it's phone calls, it's text messages, it's push notifications, it's slack, Twitter, whatever it is, you're just getting bombarded. I think the average person gets 4000 notifications on their phone a month. That's the average person, that's not a business person. You know, so you're just being literally inundated with digital noise. So in the mailbox, it's either bills or or, you know, Flash, right, or marketing materials. So when you, for us, you know, we do work with a ton of real estate investors, I see that order come through every day, or at least every other day, like, we're interested in buying your house, are you interested in selling your house, I see that all the time. Because especially with those high ticket price items, right? You want to connect with somebody personally, right, because it's an emotional purchase, or it's an emotional sell, right, that's probably the biggest asset somebody will ever have is their house. So to stand out amongst all those other people that are competing in that mailbox in a more personal way, write a handwritten note to sticks out. When you have that pen real pen, not a digital printed font, because it does look different. Like our machines, our machines have two and a half pounds of downward pressure. So it actually digs into the paper. So depending on what cardstock we use, like you can actually see the pen indentations, like the ink actually flows differently. So it's not consistent, like it would be on a laser printer, and it actually smears. So yeah, I think you know, handwritten notes, they're gonna make a comeback with vengeance, you know, especially how everybody's swung digital, you know, we've kind of zig when everybody else is AGD. And, you know, they're just a, they're a valuable business tool. You know, they're a great retention tool for relationships, but they're also an awesome acquisition tool, because it's different, and it gets open and read. Yeah, I feel 9:08 like there's a lot more business coming your way, especially with like Facebook and Google, with Apple shutting down the next marking tool that went away. With texting, we're getting hit with ATP to regulation for texting. So we're putting we're pivoting into something else too. So so it's like, once you once you cut off all the marketing channels, you're going back to direct mail, and you're going back to cold calling, and you're going back to our VMs. And it's just one of those things where like, when all those things get tapped and cut off and they're not as effective anymore, you start to, like marketing still has to be done. And I think that's one of the big things about this. If you're a business owner, the marketing still has to be done. Bottom line. Yeah. 9:48 Well, I think what a good marketer will do nowadays is have a tool belt that they can attack their business from every angle. You know, you're not going to be like Oh, One can kind of, or one kind of guy, I'm only gonna be digital, right? I'm only gonna be social or willing to do outbound email, I'm only going to do direct mail, right, you have to be efficient in all facets and figure out a way to have them all work together. So when we do work with our marketers, we do work with ways that they can track it, you know, through QR codes, call rail, call trackers, landing pages, right, so they can kind of have that one universe of everything working together. Like a holistic approach, when you come to your sales and marketing approach in your business. And I just always tell people, like we're just a tool or a powerful tool, or a tool that you should have to build relationships, you know, and, you know, acquisition farm, right, whatever reach out, you know, fill that that pipeline, but you have to have a holistic approach and this can use 10:53 Yeah, I agree. It's one of my when I first contracts ever got was I, my wife had cardstock paper, and I wrote, I literally wrote a handwritten letter, I put everything. And he responded from it was pretty interesting. He's like, he's like, How'd you get my address? And I'm like, oh, it's 11:13 love seeing that come across, because we use it for prospecting, too. Like sometimes people call me just ask me like, where do you get my data? Erase it. That's funny. Yeah. Oh, 11:24 are you doing like postcards? Are you doing? I'm sure you're doing all the above postcards, and letters you're doing? 11:30 Yeah, I mean, really, what we're trying to do is we start at the handwritten note, we will do postcards we try not to because the way that mail is done nowadays, it's all handled through machines, you know, from if you're doing a postcard that's printed, I mean, the cards getting printed in the machine, there's a postmark and put on by a machine, it's getting sorted by a machine, you know, so that postcards getting beat up. So we really believe that that costs a little bit more, it really protects the card, it makes it look a lot nicer. So the majority of our business is handwritten notes. But no will offer just handwriting services for handwritten envelopes, if you want to include like a printed flyer, right to keep costs down. So you can increase your volume, or even postcards. But we really do believe like, the handwritten note, you know, will outperform and there's data out there to talk about, you know, the open rates, you know, with a handwritten note what we've done in the past, and we've attached QR codes, and dollar check, so just scan this QR code, and this $10 Check is yours. You know, we're just we're tracking open rate case studies. And, you know, that's ways that we've tested the open rate. We've also done the same thing with postcards. And it was a fully printed postcard with just a handwritten address. And we did the same thing that hey, scan a QR code, again, a $10 free Starbucks card, and those in performance, while because it looks a little bit more like impersonal, if that makes sense. You know? So yeah, I mean, we try to say the handwritten note and handwritten envelopes, kind of like Trojan horse, right? It's gonna get you past all the junk, it's gonna get it open and in the user's hands. 13:12 Are you guys just incorporating like, like color letters and or cutter like, letters, but envelopes? Sort of 13:20 mature? Yeah, I mean, we're writing service. So it's, it's anywhere between a three by three all the way up to a nine by 12. So that's a three inch by three inch piece of paper all the way up to a nine by 12 inch piece of paper, we can write on it. So that's why we built our own robot recently. And we're really trying to like get out there and spread the word, you know, we're no loans, no investors, no debt business. And now that we have like, the funds to get out and share the story, that's why we're trying to like educate people on this product and platform. Yeah, we spent about two years building our own handwriting robot. We're the only company in the world that's actually investing in building their own handwriting robot. And it's really important to the end user, because it gives you the best possible product, those machines that we're using, that's what companies try to use nowadays. And there's just obvious, obvious. What do you call it patterns, like you can kind of tell if you were looking at it, you know, like, this was written by a machine. And there was no way around it. So that's why we had to build it. But yeah, if you have a special campaign, we can absolutely help you with that. 14:25 I've seen I've seen other people do like, here's like a credit Cricut or a 3d printer to do handwritten notes. And I've seen that. I've seen other people 14:35 try it. We've tried it. I mean, I spent the first two and a half years trying everything we flew technology and from France, I mean, South America, China, we worked with an auto pen company, a machine that was built like the ABS I mean, it's running off of Microsoft Word. can't scale it. I mean, the low capacity is tiny can only hold a hold a half an inch of paper. That means you have to have somebody sit there non stop. Loading it. So in order to scale something like this, I mean, I was a football player at athletic background, I've started off robotics, electrical engineering industrial automation company. So it's been a, it's been a wild ride, to say the least. 15:16 So it's all done in the US. Yeah. Like, how big is the machine? Because I'm always curious about that. Because y'all do this at scale. And it's something that works efficiently and effectively. 15:25 Yeah. The footprint of it right now. So it's 17 inches deep, and then 32 inches long as it's the first iteration of it. So I mean, it's a pretty small footprint, it can sit on it. No, it's, it can sit on basically anybody's desk, we do have, we do own the auto pen.com We do have, I don't want to, there's any of my competitors. I love I'm gonna give them some insider information here, right now, we do plan on selling these, which is just going to completely disrupt the market. But um, that was another reason why we built it, you know, there's just a business and selling these machines to, you know, realtors or mortgage professionals, we get asked it all the time. So, yeah, it's a pretty small footprint, it can fit on basically any at home. desk, and that was, you know, thought up purposely because we had the intention to sell these down the line. 16:23 So you have patents and stuff like that, to protect yourself on that on that user ability. 16:29 Yeah, so I love this quote by I think it was Elon Musk, like patents are just like, lawsuit coupons. You know, they're just gonna lead to, you know, basically lawsuits down the line. But um, yeah, we're gonna have six patents on it we're working on right now. There's this constant revisions, clearing things up. You're working with your patent attorney to make sure everything is explained in so much detail that is protected as much as possible that will have three design and three utility and six whole patents. 16:56 Congratulations, man. That's awesome. 16:59 I appreciate it. Yeah, it's been four and a half years of just pure like roller coaster white knuckling ride. 17:08 For anybody that goes on the patent route. Like I know, it's very expensive and 17:12 expensive. Yeah, it's expensive and expensive. Yeah, exactly. Expensive and expensive. 17:22 So I will, I will, I'll get I'll give you some flowers for that one. Because I I've heard nothing. I've done it. But I've heard the process is very painstaking. 17:33 I guess. I mean, everything about this has been painstaking. To get people to use robots. But yeah, I mean, I just think there's a genuine need for it, you know, especially if you're already a witch hunting tool, but I think it's something I forget who the guy is, but some guide preaches sending like 500 notes a day, you know, to help grow like your real estate business, real estate referral business? Where does his name drawing a blank on it? You're talking about? He's like a real estate. But I know, he's in San Diego. Yeah, he's in San Diego, I forget his name. 18:08 So what's the what's the, what's like, the power that you're missing your seat and machine that you're working on? can do like, like, letters per minute, whatever, like, what's the rate of that? 18:19 Well, for us, you know, if you're building a business, like simply not that we're sending 10s of 1000s of these a day, it needs to be vertically integrated. So it needs to be super efficient. And you have to think about that, from how orders come in to how orders get out. And designing a platform that allows you to efficiently you know, take those orders and produce them at a level where you, you know, you want the robots doing a lot more work than the humans, right, like so. There's, you know, just from, you know, having systems built to track the amount of ink that's left in a pen, you know, having higher load capacities, you know, alerting people, you know, so these machines are intelligent alerting, you know, admin or whatever, warehouse staff, like none of us are available before. So, you know, our machines can do anywhere from like, 300 to 500 handwritten notes a day. There real you know, power, though, is controlling all technology so it's a lot more efficient, you know, from start to finish, not just you know, writing speed. 19:25 Yeah, three over five minutes. I still I still significant. 19:31 Ups, it's more, you know, if it's just cards, it's more but that's like a full unit like a handwritten note and a handwritten envelope. Yeah. 19:39 You said you're, you're taking this to Margaret. Soon, right. It's not up yet. 19:43 Well, we right now, we're, you know, we're like, we want to do all the reorders. You know, our plan is we built simply not to sell it. So we're about four and a half years into this journey. We just got done with these machines. A few months ago, so now we're in the production phase, we're going to scale this business a little bit more, I have a, you know, we can probably double before, it really takes a massive investment to go to like a mid eight figure 50 plus million dollar your business. And then we'll sell to some other company with deeper pockets who can take it there with, you know, executives, and systems and processes and in the power to do that, you know, we've done this with no debt so but yeah, after we sell simply know that we'll take this to market that that's why we built the machine to get the patents. So when we do sell it, there's going to be somebody out there who's going to try to rip off the design, I know it like it's so bad. That's why we built that built the machine to make our business better to sell it. And then once we sell this, we can move into, you know, a distribution model. 20:56 That's, that's cool, man. People People steal everything. 21:02 Thing is original idea anymore, especially with the dangers of the internet, you know? 21:06 Yeah, yeah, it's pretty crazy. It's definitely pretty crazy out there. So build the cell. Was that the plan from the beginning? 21:16 Um, yeah. So first, I wanted to get out of the corporate world that kind of saw, I'm sure, like most people, you kind of chase your tail or chase that constant care that you can never get? Yeah. And they always break you down, you know, how do you build the territory than they say to somebody else make you do it again. Or you can work the corporate ladder and never see your family get divorced. I never wanted that lifestyle. So when I started this, the end goal was definitely to sell, simply notice. So when you're building a business, it's a lifestyle business, building a business that's built to sell, it's completely different. You know, my mindset was five years, you know, just go hard for five years, and then sell it. So. So I have about a year left to do that. So I think we could still hit that. But yeah, we just been growing. Our website has over 300,000 users a month. You know, we've built our own technology. Now, this last year is about dumping money into marketing and sales and scale it as much as we can and prepare it, you know, develop some better systems and processes basically build this business in a box and hand it off to somebody. 22:22 Yeah, that's, that's awesome, man. Congratulations, man. I think I'm really i It's commending to see you hit such high numbers, because in five, four years, that's pretty, pretty outstanding. 22:34 So yeah, the only way I've done that is just, I, I've reinvested every dollar back into the failures are an option, you know, so when I do feel like I've tried to fix it as soon as possible, and overcome it and move on. And I think a lot of people you know, if you don't, if you want a peaceful life, don't become an entrepreneur, right? Because it's not peaceful. If you want, you know, a hectic life, do it like this. You know, only give yourself a certain timeframe to do it, because you just got to work harder and harder and harder and harder and harder, you know, but, yeah, it's definitely been a lot of work. Especially doing without money. You know, it's, it's, there's a couple people who've tried to do what we've done. But instead of investing in the platform, or the technology, I'll put it in marketing, just like it's the worst thing to do. I don't know if this you have any entrepreneurs out there starting businesses don't don't get money or raise money to invest in marketing until you have a solid platform, a solid product market fit, you know, consistent cash flow. You have an idea on you know, how to lower your your CPA like. That's the problem. These entrepreneurs are just so irresponsible and undisciplined, they'll just, they'll just throw money at marketing and try to bring in in dollars and they'll be in the red nonstop. You know, it's just, it's, yeah, it's interesting. 24:02 Oh, man, what is a quote that is somebody yours or somebody else's that you resonate with? 24:08 I have a few of my locker room. In college, there was a quote that said, what'd you do speak so loudly? I can't hear what you're saying. So I always thought that was actions speak louder than words. I'd rather be known for somebody who, you know, saw the results not was somebody I had to tell them about my results. So I think that was always you know, an impactful quote. And yeah, I would say that that's probably the one that sticks out the most. 24:37 That's a good one. I've never heard that before. I always like asking this one because you always get like different perspectives and now that I'm, I feel like, I have to cut that video short for him because that's better one I've heard. I've heard bad ones. It's just that one's top tier. I was top tier. So simply noted, he talks about where can where can people find you on on and what's what type of people you're trying to help as far as and 25:04 yeah, so you My name is Rick Elmore, you can just go on to LinkedIn, I'm on LinkedIn basically all day. I know we can go to usually respond to things in a couple of minutes there. But yeah, we're going to simply noted.com That's SS and Sam, I M as in Mary P L, y noted.com. Just go to the business page and request a sample kit, we do a really good job, it's been a nine by 12 pocket folio with a ton of information and samples and case studies. And that's free, we spend about $15 to get that in your hands. And usually what happens when people see that all the light bulbs go off, they get really excited, and they call us with their ideas, and we help them accomplish it. But I say, you know, simply know that as a retention based business, you know, we help you build deeper relationships with your clients, increase lifetime value, get more referrals, get better reviews, but there's definitely an acquisition side of this. So if you guys have some outbound project campaigns that you guys want to discuss, we're happy to consult with talk about list cleaning list, how to track it set up QR codes, you know, call trackers, landing pages, all that stuff as well. But yeah, I would just say go to simply noted.com. If you're even remotely interested in seeing this and just requesting a sample. 26:21 One thing I really want to ask too is how big is your operationally how many people do you have employed, 26:25 so we have 11, full time employees, but then I have a whole stable of like contractors and bas. It's the only way to scale a business like this as contractors and vas, because you need the help, but you can't, you know, overwhelming yourself with a heavy heavy payroll, you know, every couple of weeks. But, yeah, I mean, we have a 3000 square foot facility here in Tempe. We're kind of bursting out of the gills here. We're starting to go up on racks. But our facilities be a building that we buy. And right now all that all the available funds are going to building a fleet or an army of our new riding robots. So maybe in 2024, you know, we'll be buying a builder building. 27:09 That's awesome. Well, congratulations, I had so much to your success. I wish you good fortune, and thanks for providing good value to the community because I know handwritten letters work. 27:22 They do. Work. Thanks for having me on. I appreciate. 27:27 All right. Thank you. Have a great day. Thanks for coming out. Appreciate you
Founder & CEO
Media Kit: https://www.matchmaker.fm/podcast-guest/rick-elmore-0d7b27
Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/rick-elmore/
Entrepreneur - https://www.entrepreneur.com/author/rick-elmore
Rick Elmore is an entrepreneur, sales and marketing expert. As the Founder and CEO of Simply Noted, Rick developed a proprietary technology that puts real pen and ink to paper to scale handwritten communication, helping businesses of all industries scale this unique marketing platform to stand out from their competition and build meaningful relationships with clients, customers, and employees.
Founded in 2018 and based in Tempe, Arizona, Simply Noted has grown into a thriving company with clients of various sizes across the country including in hospitality, real estate, insurance, nonprofit, franchise, B2B, and others. Rick has served as the company’s CEO since its founding, for more than three years, and has over a decade of sales and marketing industry experience.
“I help businesses of all industries to stand out from their competition & build meaningful relationships by using unique marketing platform”
Interesting facts / background
2X All PAC10 College & 3 Year NFL Athlete
Top 1% Corporate Medical Sales
Fastest growing handwriting platform in the world
$800,000+ invested developing the worlds best handwriting robot
6 patents pending (3 design, 3 utility)
Our platform has 280,000+ users per month
50,000+ opt in email subs
Why Simply Noted / Handwritten Notes
We live in a digital world / mail boxes are empty / people are craving a more personal experience
300% higher open rate vs print mail
7X ROI vs print mail
CPA is 5X more expensive vs maintaining current clients
5% improvement in client retention increases profits by 25% - 95% YOY
Up selling happy clients is 75% more successful vs selling new clients
Customers who feel appreciated:
- 5x more likely to make repeat purchases
- 5x more likely to forgive a mistake
- 4x more likely to make a referral
- 7x more likely to try a new offering
33% of clients who don’t feel appreciated will try your competitors and do not feel a need to be loyal.
Host/ Ceo/ Speaker
I have been an entrepreneur since 2018. I come from a regular home just like most people. My dad worked on the roads in the Chicago area for over 30 years. He always taught me to work with my brain, instead of my body. Your body can only take so much abuse. I learned so much from my father. He always pushed me to work smarter and not harder.
I have owned and operated a trucking business for 2 years. I started learning real estate in 2019. Fell into the Data & Skiptracing business in 2020. My partner Anthony & I started Hivemind in 2021.
I have done a ton of different jobs coming up from painting, to door-to-door sales, telemarketing, truck driving, and loading trailers. What I learned most is that I want to stay in the digital business space. The leverage you can have delivering digital products to the marketplace can yield limitless possibilites.
I started The List Guys in 2020. It is a data and skiptracing service. We provide seller and buyers list nationwide. My clients have been getting great results and I am proud to help people killing it.
I started the Hive in 2021 with my partner Anthony Gaona. It is a real estate and business mastermind. It also comes with a all in one CRM, that can host unlimited websites and users.
Starting the Hivemind has been an amazing journey so far. Seeing one of our users make his 6 figure month in June 2021 leveraging our software, I know there will be plenty more to come!