In this episode of Burning the Boats, Oscar interviews entrepreneur Chris L. Davis about his journey from artistic kid to corporate engineer to highly successful entrepreneurial risk-taker. They swap stories about what it takes to launch a successful venture (sometimes it involves getting fired) and lessons learned along the way. Chris, who is a master of digital marketing, reflects on the importance of having straight-talking mentors and loved ones who surround you with a feeling of support and faith. Since founding Automation Bridge, Chris has brought his many strengths together in a powerful mentorship platform that positions small businesses for rapid growth.
Show Value Bombs:
- Knowing how to leverage systems is a powerful tool – whether in an artistic, entrepreneurial or corporate context.
- Striking out on an entrepreneurial path is a long-term, day-by-day proposition that requires support and faith.
- The two core systems for any scalable business are highly functional marketing and sales operations embedded with the right technology.
Today on The OMG! Show: Burning the Boats with Special Guest Chris Davis of Automation Bridge.
:55 – Oscar welcomes Chris and they jump into his early life and talents.
- All through childhood and college, Chris always made money “outside the norm.”
- Chris’s first love was art but engineering became a way to make a living and have a life.
- He secured a great engineering job but found that it wasn’t the right path or temperamental fit.
5:45 – Oscar asks Chris about what it meant to become an engineer even though his heart was that of a creative.
- Chris used his art to make the engineering and college track less tedious – and it got him through those early years at Lockheed Martin.
- It was his escape.
- “Art held me through some of the toughest times.”
8:25 – Oscar asks Chris about how he managed his high-octane engineering job at Lockheed Martin.
- Chris fell back on systems to figure out how to “crack the code” and keep up with the rock stars at his tier-one job.
- He found a differentiator and a value-add in his ability to connect with others.
- Chris was suddenly the go-to presenter, thriving in but not enjoying the corporate vibe.
10:53 – Oscar asks Chris about how he figured out his identity and where to put his energy and focus – outside the corporate sphere.
- Once Chris discovered it, Tim Ferriss’s “Four-Hour Work Week” proved a turning point.
- The next step was embracing the transformational power of technology.
- He was hooked on the prospect of harnessing the internet for profit and freedom.
15:00 – Oscar asks how Chris arrived at the decision to leave his prestigious job at Lockheed Martin and strike out in a new direction.
- When his wife was laid off, Chris saw it as an opportunity to restructure their lives.
- He started taking courses to figure out how to make the leap out of corporate life.
- The time was right to make a move and Chris felt guided to pursue his entrepreneurial dream. But he wasn’t expecting to be fired – right after his third child was born.
- That was a moment when pain burned the boat and nothing would be the same.
18:34 – Oscar asks Chris about his support system during transition.
- His faith community and spiritual mentor were critical to keeping Chris on track.
- Chris relied on a wife who truly supported him even when she was going on faith.
21:40 – Oscar asks Chris to share one of the key pieces of advice he received from a spiritual mentor.
- Although he was working hard as a freelancer, Chris wasn’t yet making money – which his mentor pointed out made his business more akin to a hobby.
- It was a bombshell that changed everything: Reality had slapped Chris in the face.
- Chris woke up to the hard truth: He was a great engineer but terrible with marketing and business development.
24:42 – Oscar asks about how it was that Chris got real about his entrepreneurial venture and where it was going.
- Chris was now determined to find other routes to living his entrepreneurial dream.
- By taking on a “fake it ‘til you make it” attitude, Chris lucked into consulting gigs.
- Just when he and his family were getting back on track financially, Chris lost a consulting gig but that opened the door to a tech meetup that changed everything.
- Even though she wasn’t smiling much, Chris’s wife remained loyal and supportive.
- Once again, pitching himself with confidence, Chris connected with LeadPages and it changed everything!
32:58 – Oscar asks Chris to delve deeper into his decision to risk a safe bet consulting with Wells Fargo for a bigger vision.
- You have to know the “why” – why you’re in a place to step out of a safe situation.
- Just because an opportunity seems right doesn’t mean it’s right for you.
- Being able to say no to the safe bet requires faith and vision.
- When Chris moved to Lead Pages he had a hunger and readiness like never before.
- For the first time Chris was leveraging his technical skills to master a software that became his super power.
- Chris finally found the sweet spot between his technical prowess and his ability to connect and communicate in the realm of marketing.
37:28 – Oscar asks about the period of time required for Chris to make his transition from Lockheed Market to Lead Pages and his new trajectory.
- Chris approached LeadPages as an employee and not an entrepreneur.
- He was fully immersed into automation and an entirely new area of expertise.
- It took a little while for Chris to recognize the role he was playing in making LeadPages the success that it was.
- Chris started to take note of what was and wasn’t working for small businesses, which lit a fire under him because he finally “got” the customer journey both front and back ends.
- He figured out that strong automation was the key to marketing success.
44:00 – Oscar asks Chris about the evolution of Automation Bridge.
- Chris’s blog has been key to shaping his entire entrepreneurial venture, including connecting with key early stake-holders.
- ActiveCampaign opened the door for Chris to speak to C-level executives, develop his expertise and expand his base.
49:40 – Oscar asks Chris to share an update on Automation Bridge today.
- Chris developed his automated system while working full-time at ActiveCampaign.
- He kept putting bricks in place and ultimately built a six-figure income as a side hustle.
- This time, when he lost his job, he had independent income and was ready to go all in!
- Chris recognized the disjointedness between digital marketing and marketing automation – they were too synonymous – and figured out how to distinguish.
- Coining the term “automation service provider” was a gamechanger and enabled Chris to replicate his skills and mentorship.
55:30 – Oscar asks about how Chris is building out Automation Bridge as a trusted partner with applicable standards.
- Brands might sound nice but they don’t guarantee quality or standards.
- Chris is implementing a methodology that will map to quality and consistency within the digital marketing space.
- There’s a synergy and excitement that comes from marrying all Chris’s skills, talents and entrepreneurial vision.
- Chris is all about the operational systems whose cornerstone is marketing and sales.
About Chris L. Davis:
As the #1 educator in marketing automation, Chris is passionate about business growth. With over 12 years of experience in automation, he brings a meticulous and unique approach to building out marketing and sales systems for businesses and organizations to leverage for rapid growth.
For a five-point automation checklist: www.automationbridge.com/burnit
You can find Chris’s All Systems Go podcast here
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