Search Interviews:

Tom Foster 4:16

the Marines. Yeah. Oh, my gosh, well, I was in 85 to 91 I was in right before Desert Shield. You know, I think that, you know, I’m very proud of my Marine Corps experience. And I think that the biggest takeaway from all of that is just being honorable. And doing what you say you’re gonna do and you got to take chances. And that’s the world that we’re in. You know, the world that we’re in today is much different world. You know, I’m marketing guy, I’m salesman. Cutting guy after I got out of the Marine Corps, I went right into sales and marketing right after. Right after I got out of the Marine Corps, Jeremy, I got wind into software sales. I did sold translation software, cold calling people doing that horrible kind of sales, and then ended up doing some facts, outs, facts, blasts, selling translation software, ended up hitting it. And was very successful, early on, and gotten in the software business and in the software business went away. Remember CompUSA and computer city and everyone used to go to software stores, you get in your car and go to a software store. And you go in there and you buy your box of software. And then you would go home and you would take the floppy disks out of the box and install them in your computer. Because your computer was not hooked up to the internet or anything, there was no internet then there was no internet. I remember those days, no internet, no phones.

Jeremy Weisz 6:12

You were early. You were early. And that was early in the tech. Yeah, I mean, one of the main topics time I want to talk to you about which we’ll get to which is firing yourself from all of your jobs at your company. You know, because any at all, I mean, many of the business owners, that’s kind of what they strive to do. Even they don’t realize it, you know, just to oversee everything. And they have a business that has the pieces in place and the people helping with those pieces. So we’ll dig into that. But just tell people about Foster Web Marketing and what you do, I give you a little intro, but just go a little bit deeper on what you do there.

Tom Foster 6:57

So Foster Web Marketing is a digital marketing agency. We have our own custom software. It’s not WordPress, it’s called DSS. It’s built on the cold fusion platform. We build websites, for any business really, for anybody really. But most of our clients are lawyers and doctors. That’s where we, you know, had our most of our success. But we’ve got gym owners that are very successful using the platform. Other kinds of chiropractors, your chiropractor got chiropractors using the platform. And very successfully. It’s a CMS, which is a content management system, CRM, a client relationship management system, lead management system, SEO tools, review tools, social media tools, everything that you need to do digital marketing is in DSS. And we’re WordPress, you got to plug in all this stuff to make it work, right? Causing bloated code might look good, but it’s very slow. With DSS. It’s very fast, very efficient, very effective. And in the world of search, that’s a very important game changer is that it works very well speeds. Yes, speed is critical. And so our websites are very fast. Our clients websites are very fast. And everything is custom. So we’re kind of like a custom shop, where people come when they have not had good experiences and other places. And I’m not saying look, WordPress is fine for for many, many plays, you know, for lots of occasions, Click Funnels great, you know, works great for a lot of people for sure. But our solution works great for our kinds of clients. And for in many circumstances you might choose to use us for your digital marketing efforts, as everything Click Funnels and, and, and. And WordPress does so

Jeremy Weisz 9:05

so so Tom, let me know if I understand this correctly. So some people come on, you’ll build them the site, all the tools that kind of this is all in one solution built in. And some people will go That’s amazing. Thank you, and they’ll run with it. And then and we try it and then some people is

Tom Foster 9:25

and then some people will be like, I don’t want to do this, please do it for me. And we have that. You know, I got 50 people working for me. And 25 of them are content writers. So we write the content for the website. 10 of them are our digital agency people SEO people. Service, we call them services. And that’s how to do search engine optimization, optimize the website, optimize the Google My Business, the LSAS you know, do the pay proclaim, purchase, you know, those are the people that are doing the actual marketing, the online marketing piece. And so, for those clients that don’t want to do it, we can handle it for them. So that’s what we found is, you know, we started out as a, here’s the software, go do it yourself. And many have that many do. You know, they like doing it themselves using DSS. But then we have about a third that are like, forget it. I’d rather you do it for me. And one of my biggest clients, great up in Abraham, this was talking about we were talking about earlier, Jason Abraham, very successful personal injury firm in three states. Up and Abraham, they’ve been with me for 15 years now. Longtime, very loyal. They’ve just been hugely successful. We’ve made them hugely successful, organically, through paid through the LSAS through local, and that’s really the business is making sure that and this that’s a very competitive field, personal injury, personal injury, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, all of this terrible, you know, terrible events that happen. And you need it. You know, these people need good lawyers. And you’ve been Abraham, you know, Jason Abraham and his team is some of the best Wisconsin, Illinois and

Jeremy Weisz 11:34

Iowa. Do you get people Tom, I could see people like, great, what made you at first decide to create this proprietary software? I mean, that’s a big undertaking, you know, you could have kind of been like everyone else goes, Hey, nothing

Tom Foster 11:49

else is WordPress didn’t exist back then when I first started making it and and there was nothing else out there, you were basically building websites statically. And so I built that. At the same time somebody else was building WordPress, whoever did that. I don’t know. I’m just I should know, I should know,

Jeremy Weisz 12:11

Matt Mullenweg or something, something like,

Tom Foster 12:13

there you go. We need to get him off the puck

Jeremy Weisz 12:17

view of do other agencies and people I could see other agencies using your platform for their clients.

Tom Foster 12:49

And you know, I just keep pushing this off of me and getting others that are better at the better doing things than I am like I have a vision of of how I want things to be Toby Crandall he’s my IT guy. He’s been with me since the beginning. He’s getting the app built. So we’re DSS is coming up with an app. We’re about a third of the way through building this little app, which is not going to be a full you’re not going to be able to update your website with a But you’re going to get, you’re going to be able to check your leads, you’re going to be able to respond to your leads through it, you’re going to be able to check your, you know, analytics, your dashboard, what’s going on with your website, what’s going on with your leads, you’re gonna get email scores, all that kind of stuff. That’s another thing in in in DSS, there’s something that nobody else has, which is an email score. So in DSS, we score your email, stay you, you know, you don’t get in trouble. And, you know, because, you know, emailing people, you don’t want to get stuck in their spam filter.

Jeremy Weisz 15:37

And I’m curious, you know, you know, I love what you’re talking about, find yourself in your jobs. And it seemed like, a common trend. And Buster Tate you had come in as CEO, but it seemed like some of the other people kind of moved up the ranks. Yeah. So you? What’s the training process? Like, when someone does come on board? And it seems like there’s usually a lot of growth opportunity for them to move up in the avenue? Well, I’ve

Tom Foster 16:06

had people that come. Okay, so my, Gretchen started as a project manager, and now she’s the COO. I’ve had Joanna started customer service. Now she’s a project manager. She lives in San Diego. So that’s another thing. So the pandemic was a terrible thing, in many ways, but also good in many ways. We went virtual overnight. You know, I had a place in Fairfax, where I had 30 People in Fairfax, and an office in Fairfax, 5000 square foot office 30 people in it, when the pandemic when everybody went home, I paid rent on that place for two years. Nobody, nobody there. And but we went virtual, we got more efficient, more effective. And now I’m able to hire people from all over the all over the country. And we’re operating more, much more efficiently. Virtually, it’s incredible. I mean, we’re a virtual company anyway, you know, we’re connected digitally. Anyway, and so we’ve just been able to do it, and we’ve been able to get talent, so we don’t have to, you know, it doesn’t have to be in you know, DC area. And so, the reason why I bring that up is that Joanna, who is a customer service, who worked in the office, she’s moving to San Diego, we’re going to lose her. But instead of losing her, we were able to keep her and, and we elevated her to project management give her a big raise, and keep kept her honest and elevated her. And, you know, we’re gonna end up losing her at some point because she’s getting our, she’s going to be a doctor like you and become a therapist, psychologist. So that’s what she’s going to school for ultimately, so we’ll lose her eventually. But, you know, we have our for now. And, you know, that’s, that’s kind of a that’s the way of the world you lose, people get good people lose good people. I’ve lost a lot of great people over the years, a lot of great people that helped me build this company, great people. Great Marco,

Jeremy Weisz 18:32

you know, retaining what things do you do to help retain staff? Because I think with any company, there’s good people, and maybe it’s just that it runs the course. Right? Maybe they’re destined to something else, but

Tom Foster 18:46

your company culture is so important. Yeah. And, and it’s really hard to do it nowadays, you know, over zoom. And, yeah, we just talked about this, you know, at the Titans thing, you know, like, how do you maintain your company culture. You know, when you’re doing your onboarding with your clients, you know, you’re also doing onboarding with your staff. And, you know, trying to keep them on, you know, having content besides just giving them a raise every year. Obviously, that’s stuff you got to do. You got to give them good benefits and all that kind of stuff. Treat them right, protect them. You know, that’s one thing is treating them right. With respect. Protect protecting them from the clients. A lot of times, clients can get out of hand and you want to protect them and show that that’s important. We have game nights every other week, where we do like a game night and a lot of the staff show up. It’s a virtual game night. We have meetings every morning. Like a virtual huddle. We do it over zoom every Morning at 930, the whole company gets online. And we just do the the leaders, the managers go over the three things that happened yesterday, the top three things to happen yesterday, and the three things are gonna happen today. That’s kind of the premise of it. They usually go over the whole list what they did. But that kind of keeps everybody in the loop of what’s going on. That’s been a great thing. I recommend that to anybody. Do that kind of huddle every morning? That’s kind of my that’s something. You know, you asked me what some a lesson from the Marines, that’s something I took away from, you know, an early, early huddle, early morning. So firing,

Jeremy Weisz 20:55

so firing yourself. It seems like a daunting task, right? When you first decide made that decision. Okay, I need to get myself out of these. What was the first thing that you got off your plate or hired for?

Tom Foster 21:12

coding, coding? Coding?

Jeremy Weisz 21:16

Like I got to start over? So you got developed?

Tom Foster 21:21

Yeah, yeah, that’s, that’s where Toby and Yong Yong came into play when when, because I first wrote DSS and I quickly found, like, like, it was great, but it was a lot of power. And I break it really easily. And the more I did, the more the more important it became. And the more I knew I needed to have somebody else working on this because I couldn’t do it myself. And, and, and I could see how far it needed to go. And so although I might have started the very beginning of the CMS attitude with with DSS Yun and his team, Yun and Chris, are my team that work on it, are the ones that have taken it. So so far beyond it’s such an amazing CMS.

Jeremy Weisz 22:25

So coding was first and was zero. How did you prioritize it? Was it something that I just don’t like doing it? Or I have a bigger vision for it? What was the premise behind must

Tom Foster 22:37

out of necessity? And it’s not like I sat down and said urine let me guide never do that, like everything with me is is a reactive reactive state. Now we need to get somebody for this, we need to get somebody for this. And you know I think part of it is out of necessity part of it is out of pain in the Asness you know what you does to hate doing? What you’re not good at? You know, I just, I got rid of all the stuff that I wasn’t very, that other people were, it was kind of easy to get rid of. And there was like a list of people, you know, that eager to do it. The coding the designing the project management, the writing, you know, I had people, no problem, no problem getting content writer, you know, getting that whole thing going. And we’ve always been very proud of our content writing, you know, we do great content. And that is, you know, that people take that for granted. But you know, I’ve got a content shop. Yeah, I got 25 people that write content and edit content. For we do, you know, probably 1000 pieces of content a month, that’s not insignificant. The lawyers put out there on the web, to get found organically to get cases to help people. And that’s what it is, you know, to help people you either it’s an injury or an estate plan or DUI or whatever. And it’s the content that gets them gets them the help they need. So I’m very proud of that. That we’ve been able to establish that. That was kind of an early Yeah, no, no brainer. Like we need good writers to do that stuff. What was a

Jeremy Weisz 24:41

hard thing, Tom, so you’re like I was doing this up? Yeah. The hardest thing to give up.

Tom Foster 24:48

Sales and marketing, sales and marketing that because that’s me, that’s kind of my and that’s still the because I that’s the one that I do. tend to jump right back in and be like, Okay, this, I need to get back in there.

Jeremy Weisz 25:07

Because that’s the interesting part, right? It’s the stuff. Yeah, I love that. And we should all think about what do we hate doing? What what are we not as good at as bring someone else? And what’s the necessity? Like there’s a pain point there. But then we get into the we bleed a little bit into the, well, I really liked doing the sales or I liked doing this. But in order for you to oversee the whole company, yeah, you found you needed to get yourself out of that. So what were some of the steps of how you stepped into taking the sales and the marketing off of your plate? Well, I’m

Tom Foster 25:45

still in the middle of doing that. I think I’m not quite done. I’m still trying to do it. I’ve not yet completed that. And it’s not something that I am. Like, it’s not like I’m like, I want to do the sales and marketing. I and I, and no, I don’t I’m I’m trying to get it. Other people to do it. Better than me. And so and I’m not even saying that I was so great at it, you know, I was I was I’ll give myself a B plus. But you know, I want somebody I want my team to be a plus people. And so my job now is to create the a plus team. They’re not quite there yet. I just had a meeting yesterday with them about, you know, we got to be an A plus team. And, you know, that takes we have a different mind. It’s a different world today, the internet is different. And the mindset is different for why do you need a website? You know, when we first got into this, the websites were new, the web was new. And so people were running to the web and say, I need a website. Can I get one from you? Nowadays, everybody has a website. So that’s not what the ask is anymore. The ask is, I need new clients, Oh, do you have a better web site than what I have now? And you’ve got to get somebody to think about that. And that’s not as easy as I need that new thing that you have, you know what I’m saying?

Jeremy Weisz 27:30

Yeah, totally. You know, you have decades of knowledge. Even before, like you had the, you know, foster web marketing, you were doing sales with the software. And so, when you think of transferring that knowledge of your knowledge and expertise into someone else, and maybe they come with their own, but you know, your specific nuances a little bit to how you like things done, or you found them to be done, how do you train and transfer that to the next team, your new sales and marketing team?

Tom Foster 28:09

Lots of yapping, lots of talking lots of discussions. But you said it, I want them to bring in their own experience. So for instance, I just hired a guy that is an experienced different kind of sales person than me. And my brother who’s who’s who’s Chad, my brother, who’s been with me for 1015 years, I don’t even know long time as the sales guy. He’s a different kind of sales guy. He’s a he’s more of a trapper, you know, leads come in, he he closes the leads, but he needs leads to come in. Tom W. Tom Williams is another guy named Tom. So we call them TW. He’s more of a hunter. He’s more out there networking and looking for opportunities. He’s out there cold calling. He’s out there. So he’s a different mentality. That’s something that I’ve done before as well. But I’m interested in seeing, I want to see how you do this. I don’t want you to do what I’ve done. Because what I’ve done goddess here and isn’t necessarily getting us to the next level. I’m looking to you to get us to the next level. And so at this point, it’s a great question because at This point really, it’s not about me teaching people because I’ve taught Molly, Molly McCormick, who’s my marketing director, who’s in the Titans group. I and who actually started out she’s been with me for what, nine years now. She started out as customer service, and then came to marketing. Left me for a little bit different then came back, because she was like, it’s so horrible out there and so wonderful with you.

Jeremy Weisz 30:35

That’s a big compliment. Yeah, and the biggest compliment you can get,

Tom Foster 30:40

probably I agree, and she’s fantastic. And I’ve trained her in, in how to do marketing. And so she does it my way, or our way or and what’s his direct response? And that we’ve got, I feel, you can always tweak copy, you can always, you know, blah, blah, blah. And we do. But I’m interested in because it’s a whole new world these days, as I said, it’s a whole new world. And I do think that we have to change our messaging, right now. We have to change it also. Oh, well, because it’s we have to come up with something new, we have to come up with something exciting, we have to come up with something to get people’s attention. Because right now, there isn’t anything new that the internet has. There’s nothing new on the internet. You know what I’m saying? It’s not like, we have any, we don’t have a new social media platform to go to say now this is instant new Instagram, you know what I’m saying? This is a new tech talk. There’s nothing new right now. So you have to invent something to get them excited. So what is their pain? What are they going through? Because everybody’s going through the same thing, they will all want. We all want it? What do we all want, we all want more leads, and sales. Everybody constantly, that’s constantly our pain. So that’s the message is, oh, by the way, if WM and my platform is the way to get you more leads and sales, but we have to reformulate that message. And that’s the same message that you give over and over again, in different different candy, different pies, different packages.

And that’s part of it.

Jeremy Weisz 32:34

Yeah, Tom, I think I love what you’re saying. Because you’ve kind of started it and did everything. And then you, you basically took things off of your plate, and took things off of your plate that you did not like doing, maybe someone was better at you doing. But then it comes to a point where you’re really good at something, but you still want to take it to the next level. So bring on more people and I like how you kind of segment the sales piece, which is, there’s a different personality probably of a hunter and a trapper, right? Someone’s out there gonna get them and you have to hit because you probably did both of those things, right? You go out there, you generate the interest in leads, and then you’d, you know, close those leads. And now you kind of have two separate personalities doing that

Tom Foster 33:22

try and both. Whereas before I existed in one world, which is kind of the trapper, you know, that’s what direct response is, is that it’s a kind of a trapper kind of world. Now I’m doing this new thing. Another thing that I want to mention, that we haven’t talked about is the fact that I got involved in EOS. And that has been huge, huge. And I’ve been I think we’re on eight months now. Eight months, eight or nine months, EOS. And I absolutely love this just the entrepreneur operating system. In the book traction. Yeah,

Jeremy Weisz 34:01

I’ve had Gino Wickman on the podcast, you can check out you have because

Tom Foster 34:04

you’re the man. Wow. That is amazing. That is so cool. Jeremy, you’re you’re in the met Dr. Jeremy. Dr. Jeremy, you’re the man you got everybody on your podcast, Tony Horton to you and I am in all of you. So I’m reading off being on your podcast.

Thank you so much. While I’m in awe of you find

Jeremy Weisz 34:27

yourself more positions and never know should be awesome. But EOS is I mean everyone raves about EOS and in running their company us and so well that’s you wanted the reason

Tom Foster 34:38

why I fired myself is like EOS has kind of driven me to do that as the visionary and you know, I as we work on it, it is just logical. Yeah.

Jeremy Weisz 34:55

So I encourage people to check out the book traction, Gino Wickman. And also, maybe we’ll link up I did an episode with Mark winters of Rocket Fuel. And he co wrote rocket fuel with Gino Wickman. So I check out. Yeah, cuz you were talking about the visionary. And there’s a visionary integrator and kind of the premise behind rocket fuel is actually that you need both of them together to go to the moon, right busters, my

Tom Foster 35:21

integrator. So, we love it. And EOS has changed and changed our lives Ross focus or coach, he’s just done a great job. And that’s really what is propelled and what and kind of how I got into that is that, you know, I was I was approached last summer to sell the company. And that was great for my ego. And I loved it. And, but what happened was, it wasn’t enough money wasn’t enough, wasn’t one as much as I wanted, it would have been great for me, but it wasn’t going to be enough for everybody else. So and it and it also kind of exposed What a mess. The company was, was just kind of the way it was. And that’s what I was like, I gotta get my shit together here.

Jeremy Weisz 36:21

I mean, a mass is masses. I mean, you’re modest guy. A mass is a little bit strong, but, but really, you know, things that you were doing, you know, because when you sell the company,

Tom Foster 36:32

you’re not going to be there forever. So they want other people there to carry it on. So you need to remove yourself from certain things. Well, that’s kind of what I was involved in too many things. And I was kind of in there too much. And that’s what I mean by a mess. Yes, we needed to get it organized. That’s why we got EOS. And we wanted to create an organized company that was more valuable. And we wanted to drive it from the 6 million that it is to 20 million by 2027. So that is the goal is to drive it to 20 million. And we’re working towards that

Jeremy Weisz 37:12

goal. So amazing. I have one last question. Tom, before I ask it. I want to point people to your website. Right? Yeah. You know, you can go to to learn more. And it’s funny, you know, full circle. So I had Gino Wickman on I had Mark Winters on then I had the Firefly group, David Mann and Derek Smith who bought bought us. So it was interesting to hear what they looked for and how that went in the purchase when they were chatting with Gino to to buy it. So it was really interesting episode. My last question is about, you know, just people get a sense a little bit more. I mean, I think we have what you do, but there was one particular case with Peter wished me. I think it was

Tom Foster 38:09

Peter wish me. Well, Peter westney is one of my doctors. Well, I call him the godfather. He’s a good friend of mine. He’s a podiatrist up in New Jersey, Piscataway, but he’s not just any podiatrist. He just sold his firm his practice for millions and millions, which is what every podiatrist dream. And he started out. Just a smart doctor, businessman. He’s written his own book. I am sorry, Peter. I don’t remember the name of the book. But he’s written his own book to use to get him on on this podcast too. By the way, good. Doctor, to doctors. But yeah, Peter wish nee he is in the process of selling his practice. Brad Shaffer is also a client and works with Peter or did work with Peter before they sold Brad Shavers. The guy on the is the famous, but I trust on the learning. TLC does the super hot nitrous all the girls like?

Jeremy Weisz 39:21

I think this is the book I think the podiatry practice, business solution but practices crossed out. Yeah, yeah, exactly. So what did you do with Peter?

Tom Foster 39:35

Well, we did his website, we do his website. And before he became so big, you know, he was just a fledgling doctor, but interesting story. So he came to us years ago, and we helped with his digital marketing. He had a marketing person there named Jessica. And she did all the work, the content, all the all that we taught her how to do it. She became an expert. When he’s when he sold the pie when he sold his practice. Jessica came to work for us. So now Jessica is a coach at FW M, which is great. And he’s, you know, he’s in the middle of selling the practice to this bigger, you know, whatever this firm, that’s gobbling this bigger practice is gobbling up. We’re hoping to get websites from them. So we’ll see what happens. But he’s been one of our very, and that’s what’s happened in the podiatry world is that you know, these practices are getting gobbled up. So we’ll try to help him.

Jeremy Weisz 40:56

This is amazing. I just want to be the first one to thank you for sharing your journey sharing some of the things that have worked really well throughout your career and your company. And I want to just point everyone to check out Thanks everyone and check out more episodes and Thanks Tom.

Tom Foster 41:16

Thanks, buddy. Thanks, Dr. Jeremy.