Search Interviews:

Jason Smith 3:20

Oh, man, I’ve heard it all. Hey, we can’t pay our employees. So we need to generate another $50,000 in revenue this month. And I’m like, uh,

Jeremy Weisz 3:28

no pressure,

Jason Smith 3:29

yet? Well, I’m like, Okay, why is the Facebook agency like even worrying about you can’t pay your employees? I don’t know. You know, like, we’ve we’ve heard it all, you know, or all the face Facebook ads just aren’t working? What What do you mean? Well, yeah, then we’re not making sales. Okay, your website is freakin horrible. Maybe that’s why, you know, so yeah, we’ve got we’ve got we’ve heard everything under the sun, or it’s like, Hey, guys, we need to do 150,000 in revenue this week. Like, okay, we don’t have the ability to like, look at your revenue numbers, do you want us give me access to your bank account? Maybe I can look at it, you know, like, so it’s things like that, that we get blamed for it. It’s a little frustrating sometimes, because it’s like, Facebook is kind of the stepchild of traffic. It’s like, everything gets blamed on Facebook, all the the dashboard isn’t working? Well. Your ads are actually working really well. It’s got to be something else. And you know, we don’t, we don’t we’re not conversion experts on websites. You know, like, we don’t do that we run high quality Facebook traffic, and you know, but if you have a good offer and a decent website, we could drive some great stuff. But there’s a certain threshold that you you get to and these clients love to blame us for not being able to break through that threshold when they don’t want to do their part, you know, so

Jeremy Weisz 4:48

I’d love to walk through and like I said in the beginning I don’t set questions that go or take me and this is where you’re taking me which I love, which is I want to go through the funnel a little bit and then mistakes people make so like starting with Yo the users looking at a Facebook ad, all the way to hitting the website because you have to probably since you’re getting blamed for then you have to dig deep into angle. Actually, here’s your problem. If you have to probably sleuth out a lot of problems that are happening that may not even, you’re not even responsible for. But right, let’s start with the Facebook ad itself. What are the mistakes people make with that? And then we can kind of carry through when someone clicks?

Jason Smith 5:23

Yeah, I mean, the biggest mistakes, I think is, you know, writing really crappy ad copy, and just having horrible creatives. You know, stock images do not work. People know what stock images are. They know that, you know, it shouldn’t look spammy. You should try to hit people at every stage of the funnel. And what I mean by that is, if I’ve never heard of Rise25, before, then you speak to me a certain way, if I’ve landed on your homepage, and I’ve checked a few things out, you speak to me a certain way, right? If I’ve added to cart, you’re going to speak to me a certain way, you know, and that’s one of the biggest mistakes I see. Like, I’ll do, I’ll do what we call growth plans all the time on clients that come to us and want to work with us. And, you know, one of the simplest things you can do is just tell people, Hey, I saw you added to cart, come back, we’ll give you 10% off your purchase right now. Right? Like, instead of writing this long, drawn out, ad copy, that’s the same in the top of the funnel. That’s one of the biggest mistakes, people like to be told what to do, hey, come back and buy today, you get a discount, right? I’m not going to talk to you the same I would, as somebody who doesn’t know, Spotlight Social, you know what I mean? So that’s probably one of the biggest mistakes again, creatives is another big mistake, people think like, Oh, I’m just gonna, like, go to I stock photos, and just rip all these, like, images, and put no branding in it put no logo, like, you know, stuff like that, videos are very important. But the average watch time for a video right now on Facebook is six seconds. So people are doing these 10 minute videos, and like, they’re not watching not even 30 seconds of the video, you know, um, you know, doing different ratios, because, you know, stories, right stories, messenger, all that are different ratio than the Facebook newsfeed. So you got to have different ratios in your ads as well, it can’t just be, oh, we’re gonna throw this one creative up, well, and then people wonder like, oh, man, we’re not going any purchases from Instagram, well, if your ratio is off, that’s not going to get shown on Instagram, or it’s not going to get shown on stories or reels or whatever. So, you know, you got to be cognizant of that kind of stuff, I would say those are probably the biggest mistakes. Um, you know, and then the other big mistake is a really crappy website, you know, like, Oh, you got to be on top of your conversion rates, you got to look at, like, as an agency, it’s not my job to look at your conversion rate, but I do because I care about conversions. You know, I care about people converting, and, you know, if the Facebook ad has a, a click through rate of 2%, and people are engaging, and you have an above average engagement rate on your Facebook ads, I will tell you right now, it’s not the Facebook ads are the problem, it’s probably something else. And we help dive into that. But we’re not Shopify conversion experts, by any means we’re not going to go in and revamp your site and make sure it converts. Because that’s another thing we’ll get blamed for, you know, um, but we do have some ideas, and we do have tons of partners that we work with, we have guys that will charge you $25,000 to redo your website, we have guys that will charge you 4000, you know, to redo your website. So, um, you know, and we’re really trying to get away from working with the, I’m only spending $2,000 Well, we don’t work with any of those anymore. But, and the other mistake two is not spending enough on Facebook ads, like people, Oh, I’m just going to spend five bucks a day, not gonna get you anywhere. You know, if you only spend $5 a day, because you have brands like Target, spending a million dollars a day, your ad will never even like make the auction, you know, doesn’t matter if you’re even if you’re in a different niche, like it does not matter. The people who are spending the most on Facebook will get shown first and then the people spending less will just get whatever’s left over. And that’s usually crappy traffic. You know? So

Jeremy Weisz 9:27

Where are the different places you sense? Let’s say it’s an e-commerce, you know, ad where the different places you tend to some people because I know you could send them to a lot different places, you send them directly to a product page landing page. I mean, what are some examples of places you send people once they click?

Jason Smith 9:43

Yeah, so that that’s that really, that’s kind of like a big controversy, controversy, I guess. Because, like, you know, and it really depends on the product. Like if it’s, if it’s an expensive product, I need to send them somewhere that’s going to exist Explain to them in detail what this product is right? Um, you know, we had a client that recently took their ads in house that had a spray to get poop and pee out of carpet. Right? I don’t need to. It’s not rocket science dude. It’s like, you know, this can help get poop and pee out of your carpet and you’re on, you know what I mean? It’s awesome stuff. It’s, it’s all natural. It’s like, whatever it’s, there’s, you could actually drink it and it, like, won’t hurt you. Like, it’s 20 bucks, you know, I can probably send them to impulse purchase. Yeah, right. It’s an impulse buy, I could probably send them to a product page and be done. Like, dude, I don’t need a ton of research on that, you know, it’s like a bunch of old ladies who are dog lovers who keep their dogs in their house all day. That’s who we’re buying the products. You know, and I don’t need to explain but like, if you have a $2,000 product that you’re trying to sell, or even, like, we have a, you know, I’m a big motocross guy, as you know, right? Uh, you know, side by sides, all that kind of stuff trucks and everything. Well, we have a client that sells really expensive truck bumpers, front and rear. And they’re awesome, dude, they’re like, super beefy looking like really cool, right? Well, their bumper start at $700. So I probably can’t just send them to the product page and hope that they’re gonna be like, Oh, dude, that’s a cool bumper, I’m gonna buy it right, there’s a lot more that goes into it, you know, you got to send them to a page that’s going to explain like, hey, it’s you know, 516 steel, it’s not wimpy, right? Like, you got to explain to a welder why this welder this DIY guy wants to buy this bumper for $700. Um, but I will tell you, we at we are, on average, we get them a five to 10x return on their ads, you know, and that’s because their sites done really well. They’ve taken our direction on where to go, they’ve used one of our partners to, to, you know, assess how they can better convert on their site, you know, all that stuff, they take in all the right steps to be able to get there and listen to us and not blamed us for everything under the sun. And and so, you know, it really depends. I mean, like I said, and copies a big difference to like on the ads, like, I’m going to write a longer form copy for a more expensive product than I am for the poop one, right? Like, Hey, you, you want to get your carpets clean, this stuff’s all natural. Like, really, that’s all you have to say. And people buy it, you know, it’s 20 bucks, you know what I mean? But the $700 bumper is gonna take a lot more explanation, even in the ad itself, to like, convince you to click over. Um, you know, there’s tons of bumper companies out there right now, right, but we want to stand out great creative, showcasing really cool trucks that have the bumpers on it, actually, my trucks in that gallery as well. So, which more motivation for me to really, you know, pump it up, but But yeah, I mean, they’re, it’s a variety of things. And that’s what makes Facebook ads so complicated, right is because, you know, you can’t just go online, got all these guys telling you all spend $1,000, I’ll teach you how to run Facebook ads. Man, I hate those courses, because they don’t really teach you anything. It’s not tailored to your business. It’s just like, hey, build a bunch of look alikes. And you should get a 10x return? Well, not really, you know, and Facebook’s so much more complicated, especially now with the iOS updates and everything going on with that, you know, but we’re still going strong. And we’ve developed a bunch of solutions to overcome the iOS update and all that. So

Jeremy Weisz 13:34

how did the iOS update affect people?

Jason Smith 13:37

Well, so the iOS update, basically, you know, Apple, restricted the data that it could send to Facebook, or the data that you can track, right. So now, when you’re on Facebook, on your phone, a little window will pop up and say, Hey, do you want Facebook to track your, you know what you’re doing now? Who’s gonna say yes, well, yeah, right people. But here’s the other side of the coin too, though, is, and this is what gets me sometimes is, you know, Facebook, tracks you for a reason. Right? It’s not just because they want to find all this information about you. It’s really because so they can tailor your newsfeed experience to Jeremy. Right, you’re not gonna see the same thing in mine as I do as you do on yours. You know what I mean? So if you want to see all kinds of motorcross, wakeboarding, truck bumpers, like all this stuff in your news feed, then allow them not to track you, you know, so a lot of people don’t think about it that way, too. Now, on the other side, too. Apple is still tracking your every move. They’re, they’re not the good guys here. They’re not doing this. They’re not blocking the trackability of a user because they want to, they want to protect your privacy. You know what I mean? They’re not doing it for that. So when people click like, don’t allow, they’re like, yeah, man, they’re not going to get me, you know, well, Apple already has you, dude, you know, like, like, and it’s funny because you get in your car to go somewhere and maps pops up on your phone and says, Hey, it’s 20 minutes to home, but they’re not tracking you, right? You know, so that, that you got to look at it that way too. And, and I would rather have a more tailored experience on Facebook, I want to see ads that I want to see, I want to see things in my newsfeed that that pertain to me and not to Jeremy not saying there’s anything wrong with what you’re looking at. But like, you and I have two different, we lead to different lives, you know, and without the truck

Jeremy Weisz 15:41

bumpers don’t excite me, I’d be like, Why is this show my man, you know?

Jason Smith 15:45

But, um, but yeah, so, you know, and it’s just, it’s funny that people think, oh, yeah, I’m not being tracked. Dude, Google. Come on, man. Like, if you have a Gmail account, or you search on Google, I mean, you’ve heard the stories. I mean, Google’s can predict when you’re going to get pregnant, even like a year before you’re going to get pregnant. You know, that’s how much data they’re tracking on you, you know, so but it’s, it’s a, it’s a complicated issue, and also, what it’s done, because of this restrictive tracking process that Apple has basically told me and this is this is across tick tock, Snapchat, Pinterest, like all of them, right? It’s not just Facebook. Um, what’s happening is, like, you’re not tracking the full customer journey anymore. You know what I mean? Like, if you see an ad today, a Facebook ad about Spotlight Social, and you’re like, Man, I need to hire a new Facebook agency, and you see an ad for us. And you say, oh, man, those guys look pretty good. But then someone came to your front door, and you close your phone and you you forget about it. But then you’re like, Oh, dude, what was that? Agency spotlight something, you go to Google, and you Google spotlight? Well, now because of the changes, like if you go in and buy something from me, like, let’s say you buy a course for $1,000, right? Well, technically, Facebook should get some credit for that, right? Like, Facebook introduced you to my brand. So but now on the Facebook dashboard, it’s only doing pretty much like last touch, which is the last activity you had is what Facebook’s going to track. Which is not accurate, because there’s a whole customer journey behind what you do. You could you could transfer to your your tablet and search me there. And then you could leave again and go to your phone again, search me there? Well, that’s the customer journey, right? Jeremy isn’t just sitting in one place at all times, you’re, you’re you’re you’re dividing your what you’re looking at, across multiple devices, we all do that every day, we don’t even think about it, you know, or you could grab your wife’s iPads sit in the kitchen counter and go yes, spotlight, I want to see that case study, you know. And what it’s doing is it’s really limiting the way that businesses function on Facebook. Um, the numbers are way off now on the Facebook dashboard, and a lot of people are getting frustrated. But luckily, we’ve known about this, because we’re one of the highest levels of paid Facebook partner ship that we’ve known about this about a year and a half, almost two years that it was coming down the pipeline. So we we were trying to partner up with another company that would help us report on all these last, you know, on this last attribution, I guess you can say, with Facebook, and we’ve successfully done that, and it sucks for clients because I got to pay an extra fee. But it’s either that or not know what’s going on with your business on Facebook and Instagram and all the platforms really. Um, so we successfully done that, which is pretty cool.

Jeremy Weisz 18:45

So Jason, you know, you mentioned there’s there’s so much to know, with Facebook and Instagram. And obviously that’s why you specialize in one thing you don’t navigate outside of that, but I’m curious of the different. You have different preferred partners for like you said, you don’t do anything Google ads or anything else who are some of the relationships or partners that are are key to help your clients.

Jason Smith 19:11

Yeah, for sure. So we have a we have a Google agency they go they do Google YouTube and Amazon. And it’s OMG Commerce Chris Brewer over there is phenomenal. His team is is awesome. One of the highest level Google agencies that you could get. They only specialize in e-commerce. So if you’re not an e-commerce Store, they won’t talk to you but but we do have another Google agency that we work with that are is anything outside of e-commerce, which is solutions at those guys are awesome as well. And actually, we are we are now doing Snapchat TikTok and Pinterest ads now so and the reason for that was a couple things. A lot of the platforms are very similar in how they function. And Facebook is kind of the Pioneer behind Getting all these other platforms up as well. I mean, just look at what Facebook has accomplished in the ads world. And these other, you know, these other platforms are now copying kind of Facebook and how they do things. And so I just thought it would be, you know, a little more sticky for our clients plus more of a one stop shop. However, we’re not going to do Google, we’re not going to do YouTube, and we’re not going to do Amazon. We’re going to do everything else except for that. But Facebook still is our our number one platform, our bread and butter. And I still think it’s the best platform to advertise on me about

Jeremy Weisz 20:33

Pinterest, because I remember I had someone on, and I was astounded by the traffic that Pinterest generates. And I was shocked that it was that high? I would, I mean, again, maybe I’m not their demographic. But talk to me about what you’re finding interesting. And what type of businesses should be advertising on Pinterest?

Jason Smith 20:56

Well, you know, and that’s the funny thing, because we’ve got e-commerce businesses, everything from medical devices to pet, you know, pet industry to truck bumpers, to, we even have a client that that does non lethal, um, you know, protection devices where they, you can like, you can shoot a pepper bullets at an intruder and it’ll like, you know, it’s almost like pepper spray, but you can shoot it at somebody, right? And it’s non lethal, totally safe. And, you know, so we have tons of things we do there. And, and then we’ve got digital products, where we have a company that sells a high level course on how to become successful doing running an Amazon business, you know, run ads for them. So we’ve got tons of fitness industry, all kinds of interests. Awesome. Yeah. So Well, that’s what I was alluding to. And a lot of people think, Oh, well, the truck bumper space won’t do good on Pinterest, because all those dudes are on Facebook and Instagram. Well not true. Like, if you go and search trump up truck, bumpers on Pinterest, 1000s of stuff will pop up. Because my initial thought was like, Well, let me pick and choose the clients that I think are going to be good on each platform. Right? I learned very quickly that they’re all still there. They’re all good. There’s somebody on every single platform that like that niche, right. Um, I mean, you can search stuff from, you know, tattoo cream, you know, I’m covered in tattoos, like how to buy tattoo cream that that you can put on so it doesn’t hurt when you get tattooed, you know, from truck bumpers to non lethal weapons to like recipes, like, so that’s what

Jeremy Weisz 22:34

I picture right? I’m picturing female recipes and then not anymore. There’s some guy with truck bunk. Totally, yeah. And I’ve always stereotyped the platform, but I just don’t go on it that much. So yeah, well,

Jason Smith 22:46

and it’s funny because I didn’t either until a few months ago when I’m and I got hit up by Snapchat, because they saw the Facebook traffic that we run and they’re like, Hey, I think you’d be good on on Pinterest. And I’m like, Yeah, whatever. But then I looked into it. You cert, go to Pinterest when go create an account on Pinterest, go search tattoos, right? 1000s of tattoos will pop up there, you know, truck bumpers, 1000s of, you know, non lethal weapons, like recipes of courses on there, quilting, like all that stuff, right? You know, but that that’s what I’m getting away from is I’m no longer saying, Oh, they’re not going to work on Pinterest, because what I think doesn’t work always works. It’s kind of kind of funny. So what I’m doing is just we’re testing different clients on Pinterest, Snapchat, tick tock, and we’re seeing which platform works the best forum. And honestly, Jeremy, like, I’m very surprised, because they’re all working well, all of them. And all these different niches and e-commerce and digital products, and you name it, there’s somebody on each platform that wants that product. You know, and as long as your ad is good, it’s appealing. You know, like I said, and you know, like with TikTok, TikTok Pinterest and Snapchat, there’s, there’s hardly any ad copy. It’s like, it’s like a headline that you write, you know, like, best trunk bump truck bumper ever, you know, in the headline, um, Facebook ads, that’s why Facebook ads is a lot more complicated these other platforms, because you have to write ad copy that pertains with what you’re doing, and stuff like that. So, um, I guess to answer your question, don’t rule yourself out of any of the platforms, test it out, see if it works for you. And I guarantee you’ll probably have some pretty good results, even if you think your audience isn’t on there. So I

Jeremy Weisz 24:36

want to dig a little bit deeper, so I can understand people can understand what you do and maybe talk there was a medical device company and talk a little bit about that.

Jason Smith 24:46

Yes, so they came to us. They were referred to us they had a pretty solid Amazon business when they came to us. They were doing about 300k a month in revenue on Amazon. and came to us and said, Hey, we’ve never run Facebook ads before we’d like. And we normally don’t take on the new, like funnels and the new, hey, we want to try Facebook, well go hire a smaller agency that can get you some results. And then when you really want to scale come to us, you know, but they came to us and I kind of liked what I saw, they had a really big Amazon business. And normally, I would say 75 80% of the time, they have a good solid Amazon business, we can make it work on Facebook and Instagram. And you know, the devices about 45 50 bucks, it basically helps you strengthen your lungs. It’s actually pretty cool.

Jeremy Weisz 25:37

And that comes in handy with COVID, I’m sure Oh, totally.

Jason Smith 25:40

Yeah, they like blew up on COVID. I mean, they were doing great before COVID. But COVID enhanced their the profitability a little bit, but they came to us. I’m even working with them now for about two years. But when they initially came to us, they had never spent a dime on Facebook, we helped them get everything set up, went through the process created a bunch of ads, tested tons and tons of different variations of copy, videos, images, all that stuff. And in about eight months, they were spending about 350k a month at a 3x return on Facebook. So imagine what that would do for your life. If you came to us and said, Hey, we want this as a cool product. Great doing great on Amazon. And then all of a sudden you go from spending, you know, and again, your Amazon business is generating about 300k a month in business. Now we’ve, we’ve exceeded their Amazon, they were spending

Jeremy Weisz 26:41

the amount per month in Facebook as of what they were generating a month on Amazon. So imagine

Jason Smith 26:47

spending 300k Getting a 3x return on your investment when you’re spending ads on Facebook. Like, I mean, imagine that, you know, and He will never leave us because we’ve made him a multimillionaire all on Facebook. So that that’s what we do, like, you know, and it doesn’t always work for everybody. Like I’m not here to say, guess what your company can spend 300k Hear me at a 3x return like it doesn’t work like that for everybody. But if you have a good agency, you know, they can take you there. And it’s hard. It’s not easy. Like, there were months where we were negative, right, on, on, on on return. But he was like, nope, let’s keep going. I really believe in this, I think this can work. When you have good months, you have bad months. And then we were already spending 300k when COVID hit, right then COVID hit and unrealistic numbers were coming in, like numbers that, that you can’t rely on as your norm is what I mean, you know, so we knew that was going to be short lived. So you know, with there was a couple months where we spent almost 600k a month, and he was just killing it. You know? So that those kind of success stories we have. We also have a couple Facebook published case studies that were really cool. Like Facebook came to us and said, Hey, you’re doing some really cool stuff. Like we want to highlight your agency and your client. And, you know, it’s kind of hard to get those because Facebook’s very picky and who they’re gonna pick to like to highlight, you know, and, and we were lucky enough to have two of them now. So it’s pretty, pretty cool.

Jeremy Weisz 28:34

One thing you know, about, you know, running a company is it takes a team and we were chatting before we hit record on it’s critical to bring on good team members. And so what are your thought process and how you bring on and keep good team members?

Jason Smith 28:52

Yes, so I you know, I think I when you and I were in Durango I shared a little bit of our, our process and how we bring on solid people and kind of one thing for us anyways in our industry and what we do kind of made the difference for us. And I think it can be used all over the place. But I mean, you know, solid team members are crucial, especially in my world because they’ve got to deal with clients, they’ve got to deal with a lot of stress. We get blamed for a lot of stuff like we said before, it’s stressful. It’s not easy. Facebook ad world is always changing. So there’s always changes we have to keep up with and and how we, I think got to the point where we were bringing on really good people was one simple thing and that was having them record a video and giving them a certain task and telling them hey, you have six minutes to record this video. Show me what you’re doing inside of Facebook business manager, and I can tell within three seconds, they know what they’re doing or not You know, now on a resume and on a zoom call, like you and I are on right now, I could bullshit you all day. Oh yeah, I’ve done this, I’ve done that. But until I’m actually in the platform, navigating my way around, that’s when I know if you’re going to be good or not, you know, and how they explain things, how they articulate. And that’s what we’ve used for the last few months now. And it’s been a game changer. Like, you know, I, um, I gotten a pretty bad motorcycle accident recently, and I broke my wrist in six places and did not have to worry about my team. Like, that was the one of the biggest releases of business owner is if you if something happens to you, and you have to go away for a while, like, what is your team going to do when you’re gone? Well, I can tell you six months ago, I’d be worried, really worried. You know, but in the last four months, three months, like literally right before I broke my wrist where I just couldn’t be there because I, you know, I had to have surgery, I was laid up, I broke two ribs. And, you know, I couldn’t be sitting at my desk. Um, I don’t have to worry, man. It was it was frickin awesome. Like one of the best feelings in the world is not having to worry about your team.

Jeremy Weisz 31:09

You know, I mentioned thanks for sharing that Jason that is powerful just to observe someone doing whatever it is they’re doing. Not just saying it is the key and that could apply to anyone. You know, I mentioned LAPD, right. I mean, I could talk for two hours and hear your stories on the LAPD but I wanted to hear you know, some business stuff. First, enter. Um, you know, how did you even get started doing this in the first place? Right. I mean, you’re LAPD you’re, you know, neck deep in this stuff. How did that even start? Yeah,

Jason Smith 31:47

so Well, you know, when I was a policeman, and you know, I chronicle some of this on my podcast as well, if you want to go take a you know, another listen a little bit more into you. And actually, your partner to I, I went pretty depth with another and another episode on Rise25, about my career as a policeman. And but, you know, it was funny, because when I got introduced to this, I had actually gotten in trouble. Well, I wouldn’t consider trouble. I thought I was doing my job, right? And I get benched. We call it bench. So you can’t go out in the field. And you got to like handout equipment. And one of my buddies and I actually got relieved, relieved of duty, which means that I had to stay home for a little bit, until they figured out if I did what I did in this incident was correct. Right. Which is still boggles my mind that, like, you’re wearing a badge, you’re an honest policeman, and they can just relieve you of duty. You know, it’s crazy. So I was, you know, in some trouble at the time I was benched. And one of my buddies came to me and said, Hey, dude, I know you got some time on your hands. I heard about this Facebook ad stuff, no clue what I’m doing. Do you want to like help me out? And I’m like, Dude, if you don’t know what you’re doing, I have no clue what I’m doing. He had a supplement company at the time. So like proteins and stuff like that. So I’m like, Yeah, sure. Let’s let’s, you know what, I got time on my hands, I’m home doing nothing. I might as well you know, see what’s up. So I, and this is when I discovered that I’m a little bit creative, because I helped them write some ad copy, and we put up some images. And then all of a sudden, he started getting sales, like from these ads. And I was just like, oh, my gosh, this is pretty cool. I can’t believe you made like, 30 grand last month. I’m like, holy crap. Like, there’s more to this than then what meets the eye, I guess. And so then I started Googling and just researching Facebook ad agencies, how to become this and how to have your own agency and I stumbled across this really high level course. Um, and I ended up investing like $15,000 in this course. And I went to this training changed my life forever. So that’s

Jeremy Weisz 33:57

what I’m here to make that leap. Because, I mean, that’s, for some people, that’s a large chunk of their annual take home. You know,

Jason Smith 34:09

so you know, it’s a large chunk, but you have to remember what I’m making now, compared to what I made as a full time policeman. Making $4,000 A month is not a lot. Right? That’s about how much I was making four to $5,000 a month. Like and, and the reason why I was looking, and I’m glad you brought this up, because I don’t like I don’t like to, you know, bag on police departments or policemen in general. They’re there. Most of them are great guys. Departments aren’t great. It’s very political. And, you know, as you can see, by all the stuff going on the news right now, like, dudes are getting fired before they can even find out what’s going on in these incidents, you know, but I, I had been in three shootings. I had been sued in federal court, three or four times. I was never home. I was He’s at work, I’d spend days at work because I was an aggressive policeman. So I’d get these crazy incidents and shootings and all this stuff. And um, you know, after being in a couple shootings, and then being sued in federal court and having LAPD say, Hey, you may have to pay for punitive damages. I don’t know if you know what punitive damages are in federal court. But basically, punitive damages means that I’m the victim, the so called victim of gang members who shot at me first, or their family suing the department, and they’re suing you personally, for $850,000 in punitive damages, we may not be able to cover that. And I’m sitting here going, Wait a second, I’m a policeman doing good police work. Very aggressive, right? doing my job, I’m sorry, if I’m chasing after game members, they shoot at me first. So in order for me not to die, I have to, you know, use lethal force, so I don’t die. Um, and there’s something wrong with that. You know, and, and, and at the time, Facebook was going through, its as when the market was really crappy. And Facebook wasn’t even paying officers for overtime. And they were just broke. And they said, we may not be able to cover these punitive damages if they win. Right? Um, and I’m sitting back going. And this is like, two months in federal court of testimony and trial. And then, like, you’ll Why did you run this way? And not this way? You know, I’m like, when someone’s shooting at you, are you gonna think about all these little tiny things? No, you’re not like, you’re you’re gonna react, you know, based on your training. So, um, I was just looking for a way out, not many officers do. And a lot of guys get stuck in that job thinking there’s, they can’t do anything else. But I’m a perfect example of I work there for almost 14 years, right, like, a few more years, and I would have, I would have had 20 years in the job, you know, and if I would have stayed, I would have had, I think 20 25 years on the job now, if I would have stayed, you know, and I saw a door open. And I just was like, Man, I’m so tired of the politics here. I’m tired of getting in trouble for doing my job. If the public only knew that, they really don’t want you out there chasing gang members and cleaning up the streets. Like there’d be mass pandemonium because they don’t, you know, cuz it causes lawsuits and paperwork and all this stuff. And so I was looking for a way out, I’m like, Man, I gotta get out of here. Like, and not only that, I, you know, I’ve got a lot of stories, but, um, one story that really made me after my shootings, and then what happened was a gang put a green light on me, so they want to be dead. And, um, and after that, I’m like, man, and then after this happens, I had a little run in with another game. And I almost got killed coming through a door and a little bar where they slang dope and have prostitution and stuff in East LA. And believe it or not a crackhead saved my life. Because I gave her a break one time. And she had some dope honor. And I said, Listen, as long as you give me some info every once in a while, keep your dope, I don’t care. Like I care about gang members and guns, you know, and some gang members stiffed in a call on a pretty bad neighborhood in East LA and this gang that I’ve been dealing with for years. And I was working by myself that night call comes out. They knew I was working. They called the station. See if I was working to make sure I was working. And of course dumb policeman at the desperate I call Yes. Miss working tonight. You know, it’s like, Come on, dude. Why would somebody asked for an officer, you know? Anyways, so then I, I hear this call go out. My Mo was a policeman was I parked four or five blocks away. So they couldn’t see that I was coming walk up on this location. And and and she stopped me about 40 feet from the door. And she said, Hey, if you walk in that door right now they’re gonna kill you going through the door. And I’m like, Nah, dude. You know, your pride kicks in and you’re like, Nah, dude, I’m, I know the streets like I know what’s up. And she’s like, No, and I could see the look on her face was like pale white. She’s like, I couldn’t live with myself knowing that you got killed going through the door. And I knew about it because she had just scored some dope from that bar. So she knew she saw the gang members in there. And they were talking about it. And they didn’t know she knew me. You know, just because I gave her one break. You know, and sure enough, I surrounded the place leader recovering about 15 rifles from the location 20 gang members, were there 15 handguns, all kinds of dope. And just because that lady and she was old to she was in her in her 50s You know, rundown like crackhead you know. She didn’t have to do that for me, but and then after that, I was like, okay, and even my wife is Like, okay, you’re gonna get killed out there, like you need to, like, you need to, we need to try to formulate some sort of exit strategy, because I firmly believe if I would have stayed, I’m just I was an aggressive policeman and I had that green light on me. And then this happened. And you know, I’ve been shot out several times, I would have died out there for sure. Like, they, no matter what I think, as a policeman, they would have got the best of me at some point, you know, and I would have died for sure. So, I’m glad I, I got out when I did, and not everybody story’s gonna be this extreme, and you know, all this stuff, but just the fact that you’re a policeman, and you’re just going going through the motions, no way to live and you don’t. I mean, you know, my first couple months as an agency owner, making $10,000 a month, like, that changed my life, you know, changed my life. And I never would have made that kind of money as a policeman. I don’t care if I would have been there, you know, all day, every day working overtime, you still can’t make that kind of money. You know, and then me chasing game members getting shot at getting a green light making $80,000 a year for what you know, for, for the police department who doesn’t even like support you. You know, um, so. So yeah, anyways,

Jeremy Weisz 41:19

I get PTSD, hearing your some of your stories that you shared, you know, yeah. Yeah, y’all have a book? Right. Come out with some story.

Jason Smith 41:31

Yeah, I think so. I think we definitely need to talk about that, for sure. But yeah, and I still have dreams, you know, I’m chasing after a gang member and my, my gun doesn’t go off, I get killed. And, you know, so and that’s part of just being out there. And being you know, being in these violent situations ever. Like, literally every night, you know, I was chasing somebody and I’d walk into roll call and guys are like, Dude, you’re here, it’s gonna be an awesome night, you know, cuz SMIS you’re going to get into something, you know. So but I mean, it was fun. It was a fun job. But it’s not worth

Jeremy Weisz 42:04

  1. I don’t know if I would call it fun. But that’s, that’s your, your cup of tea.

Jason Smith 42:08

I mean, you know, I was just I was, you know, it’s funny, you you go, I look for trouble every night, you look for the worst of the worst in Los Angeles every night, you know, and that’s what I like to do. Um, and it but it just wears on you mentally. You know, my wife and I got divorced. And then and then like, after I left, and you know, all that stuff, it it, it’s very hard on your personal life as well. You got to keep things inside that you don’t necessarily want to keep inside. Like, you know, I’m not going to go tell my wife that, you know, I almost got killed going through a door right from a bar. I told her way after the fact. But like, like, I’m not gonna go home and tell my wife that, you know, am I and at the time, my wife didn’t know what type of policeman she got. I was out there writing tickets. You know, like, I didn’t tell her that I was chasing gang members all night long and getting into shootings and being shot at and getting into some really crazy fights with gang members and almost not coming home. You know, but that’s what I did. And and there’s certain consequences for, for me being that way as a policeman. So

Jeremy Weisz 43:13

you have this, your dad was in the FBI? Yeah. So I want to hear maybe a lesson or two that you learn from him?

Jason Smith 43:23

Well, the first lesson was don’t become a policeman. And I didn’t listen. That’s what he told you. Yeah. Yeah. He was like, Well, why don’t you try like DEA, FBI? And I’m like, Nah, dude, you guys are wimps, man, like, all you do is sit around at a desk all frickin day, you know, I want to like fight dudes, you know? And he’s like, okay, you know, good luck. And then he’s like, Well, why don’t you get a job at a smaller department? You know, that, like, is not as busy. But of course, here I am. 22 years old, what do I want to do? I want to like, work in LA, you know, the busiest police department in the world. And I want to work there. And to give you an idea, you know, like my first area that I that I was a probationary officer in 275 homicides in a six square mile radius. That’s not violent. You know, and it’s all gang violence. You know? So, um, but But yeah, anyways, it’s, it’s crazy because, um, you just like, you don’t realize what’s going to happen then my dad, I didn’t listen to my dad. He’s like, Dude, you’re gonna be confronted with stuff that you’re never going to be able to take back. Right? And yes, as an FBI agent, you know, my dad will even say it to like, very few times are your Are you put in these situations like I was in, and it’s more of this like upper echelon law enforcement agency, but my dad’s like, you do a lot of standing around. My dad actually worked on a lot of really cool cases. And a couple really famous ones actually, but, but uh, You know, you don’t listen to a 22 year old kid, like, I want to be in the action and stuff. And then, you know, 10 years later, I’m like, You know what, you’re right Dad, I should have maybe explored another option or or whatever. And but it is what it is. I mean, everything works out for a reason. Um, and, and my dad told me to he’s like, You need to finish school before you do this. And I didn’t. didn’t finish college. And I should have, I should have finished college, probably went FBI DEA Secret Service, something like that. But I wanted to be a hard charging gunslinger policeman in LA. And it comes with certain consequences when you do that. So. But my dad’s very knowledgeable guy. Have you ever heard of Falcon and the snowman? Hmm. Well, Google it or there’s a movie on Falcon and the Snowman. There were two famous bank robbers, and my dad’s the one that arrested them. And he’s in the book in the movie and all that stuff. So it’s pretty pretty calculated

Jeremy Weisz 45:56

in the snowman. Yep. Yep. Yeah.

Jason Smith 45:59

And Mike, because my dad worked bank robberies for a long time. He actually worked counterintelligence for a long time, too. And, you know, it was it was funny getting off track here for a second, but when I was think I was 15, or 16. This is way before 911. Obviously, um, my dad, on Christmas Eve, had to rush out and form like this task force because heat and you know, I can tell this now because he’s retired because before it was all classified, but Osama bin Laden came to town unannounced to Los Angeles, and they had to go follow him. Yeah. And, um, you know, this was way before, you know, but they that Osama bin Laden had been on their radar for many, many years. And he just like, showed up unannounced in the US. So they had to form a taskforce and go follow him. So, you know, stuff like that. I think back on on like, geez, you know, that’s crazy. And then when 911 hit, you know, off off air, I could tell you a couple things that my dad told me about 911 and stuff that pretty shocking, but because I can’t I can’t really say that right now, because he’s entrusted me it’s a classified information. But yeah, it’s crazy, man. My dad’s a great guy. One of my role models, definitely one of my heroes. And he’s a he’s a good man. Yeah. So yeah.

Jeremy Weisz 47:17

Thanks for sharing that crazy. And, you know, last I have one last question. Yeah. Jason, it’s sort of a, maybe a couple questions bunched into one. But before I ask it, I want to point people towards check out your website. And there is a podcast tab too. You could check out their podcasts. Are there any other places online? We should point people towards?

Jason Smith 47:45

No, that’s it. I mean, go to our homepage, you can if you if you want to reach out to us, we got a contact section there. Just click on that. And one of us will, we’ll get back to you. But yeah, that’s that’s the main our main hub there.

Jeremy Weisz 47:58

Last question, Jason. I always, you know, I find this super interesting, because there’s always a story behind this, which is, you mentioned earlier tattoos. I love for you to kind of explain a couple of your tattoos and, and there’s always a story behind why.

Jason Smith 48:19

Yeah, yeah, for sure. Well, I think so my knuckles are tattooed. Right, as you can see, right there. And my, my knuckles, it’s funny, people will stare at them. And like not asked me, you know, it’s so funny. It’s just like this taboo thing, I guess, I don’t know. And it’s fine. I’ll go into my, my daughter’s class or something. And people stare at my hands, you know, and very few people will say, hey, what does that mean? And, and, you know, it’s and I’m actually a pretty cool guy may look like a dick, you know, but I’m actually pretty, you know, um, but I wouldn’t

Jeremy Weisz 48:53

say that. I would say, you know, when you when someone meets you you are you can look a bit intimidating. Just by you have a long beer. You have some tattoo, I mean, just not saying you are but it’s no

Jason Smith 49:07

yeah, I you know, I’m about you and I are but I wouldn’t want to I wouldn’t want

Jeremy Weisz 49:11

to mess with you are me you in a dark alley. Let’s say that, you know, yeah, yeah, I really, I gotta I gotta go. Yeah, right.

Jason Smith 49:18

Um, well, and that kind of brings me to this point is so my knuckle stay true pain. And I got that very early on, um, you know, on the police department, because, and, you know, I’ve always been kind of like, a little bit of a jerk. Like, I like fighting. You know, I like those stressful situations. And where, like, when you inflict pain on somebody, where does it come from comes from your hands. Right? Even when you shoot a gun. It’s not the gun. It’s the person pulling the trigger. Right? People blame guns like oh, we need gun. You know, it’s not the gun. It’s the actual person behind that firearm that’s pulling the trigger. And, you know, I used to be not so much of a nice person, I used to get into a lot of fights, like, you know, just wherever. And so that, to me, when I got those tattoos, it reminds me of, you know, someplace that I kind of not a dark place, but like, I like fighting, you know, like, you know, you wanted to pick a fight with me, I’ll you know, tune your ass up, you know, like, that’s just the way it was. And it reminds me that I’ve come so far from that, too. You know, every time I look at my hands, I think geez, man, like, you know, own a successful agency. Yes, I may not look like the normal, you know, Facebook, business person over here, you know, long beard, uh, you know, tattoos and stuff, but, but, um, you know,

Jeremy Weisz 50:53

I’ll outward wants to be normal anyway.

Jason Smith 50:56

Yeah, exactly. Right. I’ll outwork anybody, I can run with the best of them. And you know, I’m a pretty intelligent guy, just because I have tattoos and a long beard doesn’t mean I’m a dumbass, you know? So, and I also like proving that as well. Like, I look a certain way. And that just goes to show. And I know this more than anybody, you cannot judge a book by its cover. Right? Like, even when I went into that Facebook training I showed that I told you about that opened the door to this whole Facebook agency world for me. Like I was like, walked in with my flannel. My beard was like, way longer at the time. I had super long hair. And I’m like, walk into this room with all these dudes and like collared shirts and clean shaven and you know, but I proved a point at the end. And that was like, if you know, I’m an action taker, and tell me what to do. I’ll put it into action and I’ll and I’ll do it better than anybody else in the room. You know, so yeah. True pain. True pain, man. Cool. Yeah.

Jeremy Weisz 51:59

Jason, I’ll be the first one to thank you. Everyone check out check out more episodes of inspired insider checkout Rise25. And thank you.

Jason Smith 52:11

Yeah, thank you so much. Appreciate it, man.