I am CEO

Author and Growth Expert Shares the Importance of Differentiation in Building a Brand

Full Episode from I AM CEO Podcast - IAM2041

In this episode, we have Chris Orzechowski, an e-commerce marketing specialist and founder of 100 Year Brand.

Chris shares his journey from being a teacher to operating successful remote businesses. He emphasizes the important role that mission, offers, acquisition, retention, and strategic capital allocation play in shaping enduring business brands.

Chris also introduces his book ‘The M.O.A.T' which stands for Mission, Offers, Acquisition, and Traction.

Website: 100yearbrand.co

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Full Interview:


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Chris Orzechowski Teaser 00:00

But so many people don't get over the hump of getting to a substantial business because they don't have two core systems that you need. If you don't get two core systems, you don't move to the next level of the game.

That's essentially like the way I think about it.

Intro 00:12

Are you ready to hear business stories and learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and level up your business from awesome CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresh values your time and is ready to share with you the valuable info you're in search of.

This is the I AM CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:47

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Chris Orzechowski.

Chris, excited to have you on the show.

Chris Orzechowski 00:55

I'm excited to be here. Thanks so much for having me.

Gresham Harkless 00:57

Yes, absolutely. Before we jumped into the interview, of course, I wanted to read a little bit more about Chris. So you can hear about all the awesome things that he's been working on.

Chris helps brands of today become a hundred-year-old brands of tomorrow. A highly sought after speaker in e-commerce marketing, Chris has generated over 120 million for his clients. With a decade of experience, Chris has collaborated with prominent brands like Carnivore, Snax and industry experts, such as Robert Kiyosaki, of Rich Dad Poor Dad. He's a staunch advocate for plain text emails and direct response marketing. He brings a fresh perspective to e-commerce marketing as the founder of a 100 Year Brand and author of the M.O.A.T. how to build a profitable durable e-commerce brand that can last forever.

Chris is dedicated to building enduring American brands and earning him features in both Forbes and Business Insiders and now the I Am CEO podcast. What I absolutely love about Chris is he's been an author of many best-selling books and he's sharing so much valuable content for people. So excited to have him on today, but when I was doing a little bit of homework, I think he got started with the strength and conditioning blog while he was having his part time at that was part time when you had your full-time job, if I read that correctly as a teacher and I love that he really takes that same approach.

So I think all the things that he does for his clients and people that he works with, it's not just about saying, do an X, Y, Z learn so much for him. So Chris, excited to have you on the show. Are you ready to speak to the I Am CEO community?

Chris Orzechowski 02:18

I'm ready. Let's do it.

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Gresham Harkless 02:19

Let's get it started then. So to kick everything off, I wanted to rewind the clock a little bit. I know I touched on a little bit, but I wanted to hear a little bit more about what I call your CEO story. We'll let you get started with all the awesome work you're doing.

Chris Orzechowski 02:30

Yeah. So, like you said, I was a teacher and I didn't want to be a teacher anymore. I didn't know what I wanted to do in college and I got out and I was like, I was a wrestler. So I'll just coach and teach. But I don't know, like it just wasn't fulfilling for me. Initially when I was in school, I thought like doing business meant like you'd have to wear a suit and drive to New York City every day. Like my dad did that, and he provided a good life for us, but he didn't love it. I was like, I don't want to do the same thing. But I didn't realize that business, especially in the age of the internet is so different. I've been fully running a remote business with remote teams and contractors and employees like all over the place for years now.

When you're in high school and you're learning about this stuff or college and you don't even realize what's possible. Maybe kids do nowadays, but I knew I wanted to like, learn how to make money on the internet. I was like, how do people do that? Like people are doing it. If they're doing it, I bet I could figure it out. Like I'm not crazy. So I just started, with some blogs and some websites and trying to monetize that way and was figuring things out for a while, but then I discovered like the one thing I liked the most was the writing that I learned that there was a thing called copywriting.

So I started doing that for a lot of different clients and just hundreds of clients over the years and just kept working, working and doing projects and, doing campaigns for all different types of brands and different spaces and got really good at it. That's what kind of led me here today.

Gresham Harkless 03:45

Nice. I absolutely love that. I mentioned that you had that decade of experience. I mentioned that you imagine that you were putting a lot of time and time once you found that Wayne of copyright and that really attracted you.

But I imagine all the other aspects that you probably did a little bit more experimentation with and decided not to go in with probably helped you out with the copyright. Would I be accurate?

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Chris Orzechowski 04:05

Yeah, yeah. What I always realized, especially once I started working with clients, it was like, a lot of times if you start your business, if you bootstrap business if it grows to a certain size where you can't eventually hire a copywriter, that means you probably naturally like my product at the work, you've gotten pretty good at selling your stuff. So I live with my own blogs before I even knew it was a real thing. My websites and everything, like I was writing everything, and I couldn't hire anyone.

I wasn't making any money. So I was writing and writing and writing. Really helped me cut my teeth. But, and that's why I would say even for founders of big, or operators of big companies yeah, you can hire agencies absolutely for specialized things and hire consult, but at the end of the day you still have to know how to sell your stuff. A lot of times, I've found that people, once they just have it in them, you don't get to that level unless you're at least halfway decent at selling stuff.

Gresham Harkless 04:51

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I think that a lot of times, we can get in this mode of delegating literally everything.

So I wanted to drill down a little bit more, hear a little bit more how you're working with your clients on how you're making that impact for them. Can you take us through what that looks like? And of course, I want to hear more about your book and what we can find there.

Chris Orzechowski 05:08

Yes, I have a few different things I'm doing.

One is I run like a small, like I call it an incubator works where it's essentially like coaching and mentorship. We help brands who are a little bit smaller, a little bit earlier who like a cheap product market fit. We help them install the system, the need for scaling. So all the acquisition systems, all the average order value-boosting systems, like one-click up cells and, packaging their offers properly and then also the email systems and SMS and back and stuff that they need for retention.

Then I also have a new service I've just begun rolling out where we're doing Twitter ads for clients, and that's actually pretty exciting because people don't realize that you could advertise on Twitter and it works. Everyone's like what? I'm like, yes, it works pretty well.

Gresham Harkless 05:48

Yeah, I love that. Why do you think people don't do? They just see it as I guess nonstop conversation. They don't see the opportunity as much.

Chris Orzechowski 05:56

People just been so based focused on Google, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. That people don't even realize, like I see brands all the time. There's brands that are running ads. They have 50 million impressions, 36 million impressions, 10 million impressions.

I'm like, you're not advertising. You're not getting that many, even though it's super cheap, don't get me wrong. But even as cheap as it is, you're not scaling on to that level of impressions unless you're making money on it, or unless you have the biggest bankroll in the world, you just keep burning money up, but most brands wouldn't do that, right?

So it's crazy. Like the engagement, like. We're getting CPM is like a dollar 50 on some campaigns and on Facebook, you're paying depending, it's gonna be a little bit different for everyone, obviously, but like I have clients where we're getting, 30 to 35 CPMs. It's not the most important metric in the world, but it's at least, okay, there's something here.

Gresham Harkless 06:38

Yeah, that, that makes so much. Do you feel like that might be part of what I like to call your secret sauce can be for yourself, the business or a combination of both, but is it your ability to understand, but also be able to execute on those and see those opportunities that are out there?

Chris Orzechowski 06:50

Yeah. I'm like a nine quick start. So I just like to go, go, go, go. So I got I don't do a lot of different things, I just go hard at the things that I know are going to work because again, like within business, like people try a million different strategies and they go a mile wide and steep. You don't get traction that way. You have one acquisition channel and you have one retention channel. So if you have ads and you have emails, you're good to go. It's not the only thing that you should be doing, obviously, but so many people don't get over the hump of getting to a substantial business because they don't have two core systems that you need. If you don't get two core systems, you don't move to the next level of the game. That's essentially like the way I think about it.

So like we help with execution a lot of times, like so many brands have so many assets already. A lot of the execution is repurposing stuff that's worked before. We'll run ad campaigns. I'll look at the client and be like, Hey, you have these amazing reels on Instagram, what we're going to do is we're going to take one of these videos and then we're gonna do this little bit of copy that was really good and then we're gonna put them together and we're gonna make an ad and we're gonna run that ad. They're like, Oh my gosh, sales are coming in. Yes, because it's good content, but people don't think to do these things. So part of it is just hard though. It's hard when, what is the saying that people use to say? It's hard to read the label when you're in subplotting, right? When you're in your business every day, work and work, you can't always see the opportunities that are there. So that's why what I do is I just come in and say, okay, here's where you're doing good. Why don't we do these things over here? Let's double down on this thing or let's do this other thing that maybe we're doing before.

Then you stopped for this new thing. That's super easy for us to set up, and then we could scale that.

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Gresham Harkless 08:13

Yeah, and it's being able to see those forests for the trees.

So I wanted to hear a little bit more on what you have in your book. Is it touching on some of those things? Some of those consistent things that you've seen for these really strong brands and how they've been able to stand the test of time, like the Hershey's of the world?

Chris Orzechowski 08:27

Yeah, it comes down to a few things. It comes down to M.O.A.T. is an acronym that I made up. It's Mission, Offers, Acquisition, and Traction right? And your mission is essentially like, why you exist, who you exist for, the problems that you help people solve, right? And the solutions that you bring. Because even like your products, like your products are going tooffer themselves, they'll change over time, of course, just like everything else. But it's like, why does your brand exist? What makes it different? Cause there's so many brands. Anyone can whip up, they can get a Shopify site up in an afternoon and have the exact same product that you sell, maybe literally the exact same product, but it's like a brand is something different.

A brand is something that's tough to replace. Most people don't have that, right? Because they haven't planted their flag in the ground and said, this is who we are and who we stand for and what we believe in, who we're for and what we help people with. So once you start differentiating them, that's the first letter. Then the next letter, Oh, it's for offers. It's understanding how to essentially, like when, like when you look at your P and L, you get to create your P& L. That's what people don't realize. You get to create what are the revenue things what are you selling? What's the front end offers? What are the back end offers? What are the things you're going to use to attract customers? Once you have the customers, what's the stuff you're going to sell them on the back end? And most people don't do, they just say, we have a Shopify site. And people come to our store and hopefully make money.

It's okay like the best business in the world, folks on the front end, back end. So like, why aren't you doing that? So then after that, once you had that figured out, then you moved to acquisitions, developing ad campaigns around the front end things to attract people and then traction essentially just, how do you monetize the audience? Because the best brands, the most successful brands of all time, they're the ones that have been built on repeat customers, right? Every single brand that's successful. It's because of repeat business, right? It's very hard. It's not impossible. It's very hard to be a brand. It's very hard to find a business where like you're only surviving based off first time purchases.

So I think that like retention is a big topic in the commerce in the online space. If you want to be successful it's not like a million different things, but it just a handful of basket of strategies and then just going super deep with them.

Gresham Harkless 10:23

Yeah. That makes sense, I appreciate you so much and breaking that down and especially what mode stands for. I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book or even a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

Chris Orzechowski 10:36

Oh, I have this little scheduling system that I use, or at least I try to stick to as closely as possible. I call it the magic box. What I do is I put my calendar and I just draw like a little box somewhere in the calendar and I say, this is the box where all the calls go because I've been working fully remote full time since 2017, before everyone went remote during COVID and everything, right? I was doing it before, it was cool. So, I had to organize myself, because there'd be days okay, you got to call at 9 a. m., you got to call at 11. 30, and you got to call at 2. 30, and you got no time to get anything done. Maybe you work a little bit in between, but then you got meals and you got breaks and you gotta go to the bathroom.

So I'm like, how do we like compress this to where I know what I'm on calls? The only thing I have to worry about is just showing up and doing my thing. When I'm not on calls, that's where I can get deep work in and do big projects and build things actually ship work right or work on the business great infrastructure and those kind of things. So the magic box like an example would be let's say It's Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday from 1pm to 4pm, right? That gives you 12 hours worth of zoom time or call time or meeting time or however you want to break it out. You might not need all 12 hours and that's fine, but you just know okay, inside the magic box, that's where all the calls go and then nothing gets scheduled in the mornings. If that's what you prefer, or like Thursday and Friday, I would keep open.

So I'd have two completely open days and then I'd have open mornings. When I was able to stick to now my box is shifted by Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. So I have Mondays open and Fridays completely open, and then everything happens within those afternoon blocks on those corresponding days. So again, you might have to reshape the box a little bit. You might have to resize it depending on what you do. But it's do you need more than 12 hours of zoom time? What are you doing? What are you doing on you don't need that much. Like you tell yourself you need that much, but you don't need that much. Could your hour meetings become half hour meetings? Could your half hours become 28 minutes or 15 minutes? Like I bet that they could. Can some of these meetings become loom videos that you film or someone films back to you? Could those looms even become emails? There's always a way to downshift.

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Your responsibility for camera time, because listen, it's great. I like, we're doing this, obviously through, through, the magic of the internet. It's awesome. And it's enabled our businesses to do amazing things. But at the same time, like you get tired and if all you're doing is just on calls all the time, you're not doing the other stuff in your business. So for me there's some statistics that like the average CEO, like actually only gets two, three hours of real work done every week, but it's obviously super impactful. But it's like, what if you could double or triple that just by Compressing everything into the magic box. Yeah,

Gresham Harkless 13:05

I love that. So, what would you consider to be what I call a little bit more of a CEO nugget? This could be like a word of wisdom or a piece of advice.

It might be something you mentioned in your book or you would tell your favorite business client, or if you have to do a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

Chris Orzechowski 13:19

So I think that thinking about capital allocation mindset, right? For me, there's been three investments that have always paid off like more than anything else. It's assets, audience, and allies, right? If you invest into all three of those things or, any combination of those like anytime you're thinking about should I hire this person? Should I do this initiative? Should I do this project? Does it fall? Is it an asset for the business that's going to produce cash? Is it a relationship that you're investing in, or maybe if it's a mastermind or a professional organization where you make an investment of 25 K you join, but then you have every person you ever needed to connect with in one room and you meet with them three times a year, right? That's a smart investment.

Or audience like, which is just, leads followers, whatever, like not paying for followers, but like just doing things that will lead to a greater number of people who are. Learning from you or buying from you, right? If you make any of those three investments, they'll pay off, right? It's a lot of times, cause you think every single day you have decisions. You're like should I do this or that? Should I do this or this? Is it. Investment in allies, investment in assets or investments in audience. Oftentimes, if it's not one of those three things, you don't have to do it. . If it's one of those three things, you're probably not gonna get burned if you make that investment.

Gresham Harkless 14:29

Yeah, that, that makes sense. So, what I want to ask you now is my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. Our goal is to have different quote and quote CEOs on this show.

So Chris, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Chris Orzechowski 14:39

It means that you are an effective capital allocator so that you can execute a mission for a certain group of people. I feel like that's the best way to describe it because that's your job, right? You're the head of a brand, of a company who exists for a certain reason to help certain people with certain things, and your job is to just steer that ship, and you might not be steering the ship forever, but that's what you do, right?

Your job is just to multiply capital, because if you're doing that, if you're multiplying capital effectively, then your customer is taken care of, your people are taken care of, and you live to fight another day.

Gresham Harkless 15:09

Yeah, absolutely. Chris, truly appreciate that definition. Of course, I appreciate your time even more. So what I want to do now is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional that you can let our readers and listeners know.

And of course, how best they can get ahold of you, get a copy of your book, find about all the awesome things that you're working on.

Chris Orzechowski 15:25

Yeah. I would just say if you're a CEO and you're just thinking through like how to grow your business and how to make the best decisions, like just try to look at it, Just read Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger stuff, honestly. Cause that's been the biggest help for me. Like even other investors, all their advice is applicable to what we do because they're investing in businesses who are doing the right things. So they're telling you what the right things are, what they're looking for. So just do that.

There's one thing. It just had such a big impact. There's a lot of great business minds, a lot of great people you can learn from, but those are the two for me who have just helped me see operating a business through a different lens. Even though they're not operators themselves, technically and then, yeah, if you want to reach me you can go to 100yearbrand.co. That's my website. You can join my email list or you can go to Amazon and get a copy of my book, the M.O.A.T. And here's a little picture of the cover. There it is. So find that. And yeah, hopefully my stuff helps you.

Gresham Harkless 16:17

Absolutely. And of course, we'll have the links and information to show notes as well to o. We always are reminded that success leaves clues.

So I appreciate you for sharing that with us and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Chris Orzechowski 16:27

Thank you so much. Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.

Outro 16:29

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast powered by CB Nation and Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co. I AM CEO is not just a phrase. It's a community. Don't forget to schedule your complimentary digital marketing consultation at blue16media.com. This has been the I Am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless Jr.

Thank you for listening.


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