Home Automation Podcast Episode #169: An Industry Q&A With Josh Clark
In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Josh Clark, Owner at Rely Technology shares lessons learned through his experience with buying out his business partner and their recent move into a new quarter-million-dollar showroom.
This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Josh Clark. Recorded live on Wednesday, May 12th, 2021, at 12:30 p.m. EST.
About Josh Clark
Josh and his partner Jon founded Rely Technology out of Lexington, Kentucky, in 2008. His business launched by offering audio/video services, computer support, and IT. Within a few years of their start, they decided to drop computer and IT-related services in exchange for a focus on smart home automation.
Two years ago, two big events occurred. Josh bought out his partner and became 100% owner of the company and he opened their new quarter-million-dollar showroom in Lexington. Rely Technology has also recently expanded to a second location in Charleston, South Carolina.
Josh and his team place a radical focus on creating strong relationships with clients and referral partners, which has become their unique selling proposition.
- Josh's experience buying out his business partner
- Lessons learned from their move into their quarter-million-dollar showroom
- Josh's approach to hiring
- The importance of marketing and how Josh uses it to educate consumers
Ron: Hello. Ron Callis here, another episode of Automation Unplugged. We have Josh Clark. He's the Owner-Operator, Chief Bottle Washer over at Rely Technology. They are an integration firm out of Lexington, Kentucky. I've known Josh for several years now. Full disclosure, he is a One Firefly customer, and we do some various marketing. I think we built Josh's website maybe a few years ago. But let me go ahead and bring in Josh, and we'll get this party started. Josh, how are you, sir?
Josh: Great, how are you, Ron?
Ron: I am super. Thanks for joining us today. Why don't we get started? Maybe tell our audience where you're coming to us from.
Josh: I'm based in Lexington, Kentucky. I came to the UK for school back in 2003.
Ron: Where are you physically? Are you at home or your office or yet your showroom?
Josh: Yeah, I'm at our showroom and office in one. I'm sitting in the conference room.
Ron: I see for those listeners on the podcast, you won't see this maybe unless you go check out the video on our Facebook page. But it looks like there's some cool art, looks like some signage or tech start behind you. What does that say?
"I don't want just to sell systems to people, but I really want to get to know them and their needs and their family life and then suggest solutions that will actually benefit them in their everyday lives."
Josh: Yeah, it says in the middle, "Rely is about relationships." I've got a handful of client testimonials on the sides and stuff. It's actually one of my favorite features in the whole showroom. We have glass doors to the conference room to look out into the main showroom area so people can see it when they come in while we're doing demos and stuff. I use that as an example to talk about our focus on the relationship side of things. I don't want just to sell systems to people, but I really want to get to know them and their needs and their family life and then suggest solutions that will actually benefit them in their everyday lives.
Ron: That's cool. I'm curious. Now, the creative in me is saying, well, how did you think to do that? And was this a recommendation of a designer in your showroom? We'll talk at the show. We'll talk more about your showroom. Or was this just an idea that that was inside your head?
Josh: I don't remember seeing it anywhere else. I don't know how I got the idea. Honestly, it's part of the Rely is about relationships thing. It's kind of part of the sales process. I really try to bring that up when I'm talking to potential clients. One of the testimonials, you can't see it, but one of them is from our very first client that we ever did work for back in 2008 when we started 13 years ago. And it's just their positive testimony of working with us. I use that as an example. I'll be sitting here with a client, and they're looking at this wall of good testimonials behind me.
Ron: It's brilliant marketing. I love the idea.
Josh: They're reading that and seeing that and stuff. I like that one because I'll bring it up and just talk about how we still at this point. Thirteen years later, this customer was building their new home, and we did a bunch of stuff in their home when they were building it. Since then, obviously, technology has changed in 13 years. We've done quite a few updates and stuff over the years. New TVs now new remotes, new amps, and control system and all that stuff have changed. Now it's to the point where, you know, I go to the house, and they hug me. We're talking about family and stuff. We've got to know them pretty well and become friends. As an example of that's the attitude that I try to have with every new relationship because I really want all of our clients to be like that. I don't want just to sell somebody something, and that's it. I want to get to know them and build that relationship.
Ron: I think that's smart. Well, I guess let's start here. Tell the audience a little bit about your business. What does it look like? What type of work do you do? You've already described you've been in business for 13 years.
Josh: We do anything involving audio, video. I'm probably like many viewers, audio-video, smart home solutions, security surveillance, and everything that goes with it. And it's primarily residential. We do commercial work, but it's not something I necessarily pursue right now. It falls in our lap from certain referral partners. Or we might be doing work for somebody in their home, and they own a business, and they want to do something for their new restaurant. But it's primarily residential. In our team, we just have that preference that we like working with the homeowners who will be living with the system and using it and enjoying it. It's not just a button that somebody in a restaurant is pushing. That's just a utility. It's enjoyment.
They get the fun out of it, and we get to make their life a little bit better in their home. We really like doing residential projects. I would say we focus more heavily on the smart home side of things. Everybody seems to have their own niche. In this industry, some people are big into two-channel audio. Some people are really good at theaters, and we can do all that. And we have. But we really like looking at the whole home and figuring out what will make their life better and simpler and easier throughout that process and then obviously integrating AV into it.
Ron: Are you generally finding most of your work is in the Lexington market? Are you staying geographically right near your home base?
Josh: Yeah, primarily. We're central Kentucky. Louisville is an hour from here. Cincinnati is an hour and a half from here. But we've also done projects all over the place. We've had clients who really love working because it's about relationships. They get to know us. We've done people's vacation homes down on the beach in Florida and all over the place.
Ron: That's cool. Well, let's go back in time. How did you end up here as the owner-operator of Rely Technologies? What your origin story?
Josh: I started the company back in 2008 with my friend Jon. I had just finished college, and we were roommates at the time. Neither of us was married. We don't have kids and mortgages and all the responsibility that comes along with all that stuff. We both liked technology, and he at the time was a cable technician, and he was just installing stuff for the local cable company. And I was graduating and trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I actually went to school to get a degree in creative writing, which obviously has no relation to our industry at all. But I love writing, and I hope to write some books someday. I've always kind of been the tech support person for the friends and family and building computers, and messing around with gear when I was younger. We had talked and just fell into it, honestly. I don't know why we decided to. It just sort of seemed interesting. At the time, we did any basic AV stuff. Mounting TVs, hooking up receivers, and computer support.
We did a lot of clearing viruses off people's computers and stuff like that—just anything we could do to make fifty bucks. We'd run a cable wire in somebody's attic if we needed to. In the beginning, anyway, we got rid of computer support not too long after that because we didn't want to do that anymore. We just fell into it and learn as we went. We would start with looking at people's AV stuff. They'd be like, "Hey, can you hook up one of those whole-home audio systems ?" We'd be like, "Sure we can." Then we'd figure it out on the job and kind of self-taught over time. I always say the first two years don't really count because we didn't know what we were doing. We didn't know about this industry. We didn't know how to run a business. But thankfully, over time, we met the right people who kind of mentored us, whether it was about business growth and systems development things specifically or this industry. We found CEDIA and got to know other people through that. We figured out what we wanted the company to look like over time and went from there.
Ron: How did you know or how it happened that you decided to move right out of college was starting a business? I think about my own life experience. All I could think about graduating from school was going and getting a job. How did you know not to do that? But rather, "Hey, John, let's go start a business and fix people's computers."
Josh: Yeah, I don't know. As I said, we fell into it. I don't know why it happened exactly. I think we were a little naive. We didn't really know what we were getting ourselves into at the time. What did it mean to actually on a business and grow a business? I've always been entrepreneurial. When I was in high school, reading in magazines about other people, kids slightly older than me who had started businesses and things and just kind of always intrigued me. I think part of business ownership is part of the reason I like it because I don't like doing just one thing.
Even in my own business now, if I have to do one specific task or part of a role for too long, I get bored with it. I like that one day I'm doing sales stuff. The next day I'm looking at financial budgets. The next day I'm working on some new marketing plan. The next day I'm working on an employee incentive program or something. I like being able to do a little bit of something different each day. I think John is the same way. I think that's how we decided. With a creative writing degree, I wasn't going to be a barista. Starbucks. What else do you know?
Ron: Well, what did you plan to do with a creative writing degree?
Josh: I did not have a plan at all. Thank God for my parents, who put me through school and listen. When I said I wanted to get a writing degree, they went along with it and supported me. I'm really thankful for that.
Ron: I think it's worked out, though. You're running a technology business.
Josh: Yeah, it all worked out. That's interesting. Now, you mentioned that you started your business with this fellow, John. I know that only because you and I were just talking before we went live. There's been a recent change to the nature of that relationship.
Ron: But when you started, did you guys say, well, you're going to do this, and I'm going to do that? Or did you have clearly defined roles, or did you guys play different roles or parts in the business over the years of your business?
Josh: Yeah, the roles changed over time. At first, it was just the two of us for the first several years before we grew and hired people and things like that. We both did everything. We would both go to every sales consultation. We would both go to every store. Over time, as we grew and had gotten a better feel for what I am good at, what is he good at, and hiring people to do certain roles in the business, we narrowed our roles down. He stepped into the sales role as the main salesperson and was for the first ten years of the business. I focused more on the management and the business development side of the systems and the financials and the marketing and the internal heated customer-facing stuff. It just sort of naturally happened.
Ron: Now, you are now the sole owner-operator of related technologies. What was that transition like?
Josh: It was interesting. John and I had talked a few years back. I wanted to continue to grow the company, and he was starting to lose interest in it and wanting to do something different outside of this industry completely. Over the course of six to nine months, we had many conversations trying to figure out what that might look like. Eventually, he exited. I bought him out at the beginning of 2019. Still good friends today. Now he does small business coaching basically. Back when we first got started, it was just the two of us who didn't know what we were doing for several years. We connected with this guy who's a friend now named James, a small business coach. He was the one who really helped us take it from just the two of us to a team of people running a business, an actual legitimate business. He really helped us to have that growth. I think John really wanted to help and wants to help other people do the same thing, help people to grow their businesses, take where we were and get them to the next level of whatever that looks like. That's what happened.
Ron: I imagine going out on your own in that way. That had to be a bit scary. What were the challenges that you faced right after that transition?
"I definitely made my fair share of mistakes with the transition process, mainly because Jon had always been the primary salesperson. When he left, I knew most of our clients. But I didn't know all of them face to face. I knew their names and stuff, but they didn't have the relationship with me that they had with him in some ways or with builders we worked with and things like that."
Josh: Yeah, I think it's worked out is worked out fine for both of us. But it was quite a challenge. Obviously, it was a challenge for him to start something new after doing one thing for ten years. But for me, it was a challenge differently. I definitely made my fair share of mistakes with the transition process, mainly because Jon had always been the primary salesperson. When he left, then it's like I knew most of our clients, but not all of them face to face. I knew their names and stuff, but they didn't have the relationship with me that they had with him in some ways or with builders we worked with and things like that. I hired a new guy who had sales experience to be the salesperson thinking, 'OK, I'm going to keep doing what I've always done, and I'm going to hire somebody to do what John was doing, and we'll just kind of keep going.' The sky's the limit.
It ended up not working out with the other sales guy. He's a good guy, but we just weren't the best fit for each other. I definitely made my share of mistakes with structuring it properly to set him up for success. Sales can be a difficult hire. I mean, I would call that one of the more difficult hires, or at least I'm going to say only from my own experience and from the many businesses I've worked with over the years that that can be tricky.
"We are so relationship-oriented in this industry and you're not selling the simplest widgets. All this technology is really complex."
Ron: Yeah. Wee are so relationship-oriented in this industry and you're not selling the simplest widgets. All this technology is really complex. It's not just one thing. You're selling security systems and home theaters, which are very different things. It's challenging, I think, to get into if you don't have real interest and knowledge already with those solutions. But, yeah, it was challenging. I went into it thinking, well, I'll just get somebody else to do what John was doing. I'll keep doing what I'm doing. John asked me at one point before he exited, "Do you want just to try it? Are you really going to hire somebody, or do you just want to try and make sales?" And I was like, "Oh, no, no, no, I don't want to make sales. I'm more of an introverted person."
Ron: Sales. Those are evil people. I don't want to be one of those people.
Josh: Not that so much as more of, I'm totally happy, like sitting on my desk, working all day on the business systems and processes, the deep work. Just thinking and working on those types of things and spreadsheets and stuff like that. I just thought I'm not an outgoing person. I'm not salesy. I can't be that extroverted, pushy person. That's my mentality of what it was for a salesperson who could be successful at it. Now I recognize that's wrong. Anybody can be a salesperson. They have to do it their own way. How I do sales look different from how John did them because we're different types of people. He was more of that extroverted people person. I focus more on relationships. I still don't really look at myself as a salesperson. I want to meet with a client. I just view myself as I'm just here to, like, help them talk to you about what you're interested in. I'm going to make some recommendations. If you go with them, great. And if not, that's OK, too. I'm just friendly and myself.
Ron: What would your mother think of you if she knew you were outselling audio systems?
Josh: Right? Yeah, so I have been making the sales for about a year, not quite two years, but it's actually worked out pretty well.
Ron: Have you been able to reach the same levels of sales volume that you had pre your partner leaving?
Josh: Yeah, we have. Despite the pandemic, last year ended up being a really good year for us. 2019 was rough. There was a lot of change that had to happen in the business. I think that I didn't anticipate removing him from the company. Obviously, he was like a vital part of it before. Taking out somebody who is a salesperson and an owner and the shift that needed to happen and the shifts in relationships we had that had to happen and things like that. It was a challenging year. But I think that I've definitely grown, and the company has grown as a result of it in a lot of ways, too.
Ron: Michael, an integrator out of the Northeast, just wrote the word "Scale." I think he's listening to this conversation and kind of pondering your ideas and practices around scaling the business. I'm curious if you are offering advice to someone out there listening, that is maybe thinking about or going through a partnership change. Any advice, anything you would have done differently? Give us one or two takeaways. What's something you would have done differently?
Josh: Everybody's situation is going to be unique. What if I had been the one to leave, and he was the one who stayed being the primary salesperson? The changes that would have had to happen would have been very different because like on the one hand, when he left, the salesperson was leaving. But if I left, then I think John would admit this, but I'm not sure if he knew how to even log into the bank account when he left because I was just always the person who did it. We trust each other completely. We've known each other for so long that we have that trust. He's doing his thing. I'm doing my thing. We just worked really well together in that way. It's going to look different for everybody, depending on the person's roles that are leaving. Regardless of what those roles are, take your time. Unless the person is a silent partner or something like that, then if they have a day-to-day role in the business, they're probably going to change that will have to happen that you don't anticipate. I think we could have taken more time, made the transition easier for me. At least if we had taken more time to talk through, what is it going to look like, actually? What are the things that he does day to day that maybe I don't even think about? How do we set up a new person in his role to be successful?
I think that in some ways, we got to the point where we didn't rush it. We still took the better part of a year to talk through things. But I think he was excited about the new venture that he was starting, and he was starting to work on that. I was excited about the idea of going to it on my own and what that would look like. I think we let that excitement maybe push us to make it happen faster than it needed to. As I said, it ended up working out for him pretty well for both of us in the long run.
Ron: Switching gears, I don't know the time. Maybe you can share that with us. You guys built a new showroom, and you're in that showroom. You spent a handsome sum on that showroom, buying it and fitting it out. What were those logistics? When did you do that, and why did you do that?
Josh: Actually, it didn't happen because John was leaving. It just happened simultaneously, but we had started construction at the end of 2018, like in the Fall, right as we were starting his exit process. He was completely out of business by the time we moved in in April of 2019. We've been here for two years now. Again being in business since 2008, we basically went for a decade without a showroom, and we just had office space and stuff and made it work. It's been really helpful to have a place to go to show people.
Ron: What's the impact? What has been the benefit to your business of having space? In fact, describe what is in the space. What type of venues or technologies are you able to show off?
Josh: At the front, we have our offices, so we have several offices at the front and back. It's warehouse space, which basically was like a warehouse before, and we fit it up. We left the back third of it or so to be warehouse space with a dock door and then offices around the front. But this whole space in the middle, I'm in the conference room, but looking out, there's like a there's a couple of bathrooms. There's a fully functional living room, kitchen, sitting area, a theater room. We have this whole area. I feel like everybody has to do their own thing. But for us, I don't like the showrooms that feel more like Best Buy, where there's like here's the wall of speakers that you can pick, ABC and things like that.
We try to achieve the same thing while just putting the solutions into space. I still have multiple different TVs and sets of speakers and things like that to use. But they also serve the purpose of their some speakers in the conference room. There are so many different areas out there. I wanted the space in our showroom to feel more like a home, which it does very much in the center there so that people could just get a feel for what this stuff is like, especially the smart home stuff. There's a difference between pushing a button and having a lamp on a table turn on and off or something or on one wall of smart home solutions. But I can put my palm on the deadbolt lock, and the whole space shuts down like their house would if they were leaving. It really makes a big impact on people when I'm narrating and talking about how like imagine you're leaving for the day and you do this and the music, the lights, the TV is everything just shuts off the system, the alarm arms That's always a big thing.
Ron: Do their jaws drop?
Josh: Yeah. Unless they've had something like this before, it's fun to do.
Ron: Have you been able to track or measure return on investment? Is it a number you're comfortable sharing? How much did you end up investing in the space?
Josh: I haven't directly tracked the return on investment we spent. Suppose you include the construction, the fit-up of the space, obviously the furniture and decor, and all the gear. There's so much that goes into it. It was about a quarter-million dollars that we put into the whole thing. Some of that was rolled into a mortgage. And some of it was just we had to pay for. After not having a showroom for ten years and then having one for the past couple of years, I definitely would say it has been super impactful because there are relationships. One builder can think of now who we tried to get a relationship with them before having a showroom. He said, "Talk to me when you have somewhere I can send my clients." There have been relationships like that. We've got just that one relationship this year will be a half-million-dollar relationship. We wouldn't have gotten that if we didn't have, and we didn't get that before we had the showroom. Having the showroom has opened the opportunity for more opportunities with relationships of potential referral sources and clients. Our average ticket has gone up because people spend more when they can see it instead of before. We would just like to look over some floor plans and put a quote together and say you're going to be able to do all this crazy, amazing stuff, and they would just have to trust us. It's different now. I can actually push that button and make stuff happen, and I want that. People spend more money on average too when they can see it.
Ron: Would you do anything differently if you were to do it again now that you've got two years under your belt? Is there any corner? I don't want to say corners cutting because that sounds bad, but are there any places may be where you'd spend more and places where you'd spend less? How would you adjust the strategy?
Josh: Some of this is timing. As I said, we have a fully functional kitchen with a full set of appliances that are nice high-end appliances that I would not have bought except for the fridge because nobody even knows the dishwasher is there. It's in the cabinets, and we've never used it. We thought with the pandemic last year that we weren't able to as much in the past year and a half, but we thought we would have more events. I still will be able to as things open up, obviously. But I envisioned having a caterer come in or a chef and cooking things and having an event for builders or something like that. I still want to use it that way. I would have spent less money on the things that we don't sell and more money on more products and solutions that we can sell. We put in a lot of solutions here. But I think that we have, I think, four thousand square feet here. I know that dealers have six to eight hundred square feet in one room that they put a lot of this stuff in that they spend fifty thousand dollars on, and it still gets the job done.
We can talk about it more, but we expanded into a second branch of the business in Charleston, South Carolina, with my brother, who worked here for many years. We're talking now about getting a showroom down there. I will not spend nearly as much because I've seen how just to get something where you can show people the solutions you have, you don't have to go and buy a bunch of money and make it some crazy, amazing space. You can make it a really impressive space in a small space and still show off what you do. That's the main thing I would do differently.
Ron: Shawn Sturmer, he's tuning in, and he says, "Wine and cheese go a long way." I can say pre covid. This was more this concept of events. Event marketing was really a go-to strategy for integrators. It sounds like you were thinking the same. When do you see that gearing back up? What's the local situation in Lexington, and when do you think events will happen in your space in 2021? Or is this beyond type thing?
Josh: I think so. Things here in terms of government mandates and stuff. The local mandate is that you should still wear a mask if you're inside and obviously try to stay six feet part and all that kind of stuff. I've been to plenty of events where there are many people indoors not 6 feet apart, not wearing masks and things, and those people are more relaxed about it. Attendance would probably still be less today if I tried to have an event this Fall or something. I still hope to hope to do that this year sometime.
Ron: To stay on the theme of events, shows. I'm asking everyone that comes on the show. Hopefully, no pressure. Are you going to go to any shows or events this year, CEDIA Infocom or ISE or any of those?
Josh: Yeah, I'll definitely go to CEDIA. Yeah, for sure.
Ron: OK, and so do you don't have any reservations? By the way, One Firefly is going to be there in full force. But I know some vendors are all in, and some vendors are pulling out, and it's kind of a mixed bag right now. Do you think that your peers or people you know will be going?
Josh: It seems like we all have to kind of put on this like, "Hey, we're wearing the mask, we're safe." We're doing that kind of thing, like make people feel comfortable if that's how they feel. But then many people just shake your hand, and they don't care. There are no reservations. And I think a lot of people now have either had covid or they've had the vaccine that it's like, OK, I've got the antibodies already. Hopefully, I don't get it again. Hopefully, they'll protect me or something. Most people are more relaxed about it.
Ron: It's funny. I'm assuming this is your partner, your former partner, Jon. Jon just posted a comment. It's pretty good. He says, "I exited the business right before the showroom opened, like Moses dying before entering the promised land."
Josh: Yeah, that's Jon. It was around December. I think right before he left, maybe a little earlier. We were over here one day, and it was just the metal studs, you know, in a commercial space, like it was just the warehouse with a bunch of metal studs. He said that. We were leaving, and I was like, "What do you think?" He said, "Now I know how Moses felt."
Ron: Okay, so that's cool. I'm looking forward. 2021, is this going to be a good year for your business?
Josh: Yeah. It definitely is. We're already pretty busy. We're trying to find people to hire to get all the work we're planning on doing.
"Around the country, as I'm talking to folks, most integrators are super busy, maybe at peak levels of business, which puts pressure on people in hiring."
Ron: Let's touch some of the hot buttons because I know around the country, as I'm talking to folks, most integrators are super busy, maybe at peak levels of business, which puts pressure on people in hiring. How's that going for you? Are you under some of the same pain that your brethren, your sisters, and brothers around the country are fighting, trying to find talent? How's that going for you?
Josh: Yeah, definitely. I know other business owners, friends of mine, who are not from this industry who have problems hiring. I think that obviously, unemployment is pretty good from what I hear right now. I think a lot of people are kind of like, "Well, I don't know if I really want to work and get paid just marginally more." I get that it's difficult, but I don't know. I've thought about that a lot. I guess my view on it is I'm looking to hire more technicians right now. I've had no shows. I've had people who will schedule the interview and then not come, and then you never get a reply from them. Things like that happen. I think everybody's had some of that. But those are probably the people that you didn't want working for you anyway. The people who are content to stay at home and pull a check, at least, I don't know, that's I might be wrong. I don't know. But they're usually probably not the ones you really want to come into work anyway.
Ron: I completely agree. Any special methods or techniques you've discovered that have particularly worked, or is it the land of the unknown in terms of getting the people thing figured out?
Josh: There's no silver bullet that I found that's like, "Oh, well, if you put it on Indeed and put this word in your posting, it'll get.." Nothing like that. I've tried the same thing as everybody else. I'm posting job ads in different places and just trying to make it as appealing as I can. But I think that I look after doing it for 13 years. I used to look for like, OK, if I want a technician, I want somebody who was a technician at someplace else who had the exact experience that I'm looking for that would be ideal. I have hired people like that. And it's worked out. You find those people sometimes, but if you aren't coming across those types of people, then the next best thing, really I mean, the best thing, in the long run, is regardless of experience, finding people who have a passion for this type of work where they would go home and spend their free time tinkering with stuff at their own house anyway and not getting paid for it just because they love it. Those are the people who like if they have if you can find something like that. I had a guy who just started with me at the beginning of the year, and he's been working out great because he just really enjoys the stuff. He's learning quicker than previous employees that I've had who just looked at it as a job but could do it.
I'm looking more now for, OK, if they kind of had some sort of related experience, but they may not have been from this industry. Maybe they were a cable tech, or maybe they worked for ADT or something and had security experience if they had some kind of related experience. But they love what they do. They're going to learn and grow a lot quicker and probably end up going a lot farther than somebody who just knows how to do it and has the ability to.
Ron: Ellie here at One Firefly says, "Hey, Josh, excited to see you on the show." Thank you, Ellie, for tuning in. I want to jump over real quick here, and I'm going to try the technology, see if it behaves here. I want to jump over to your company's Facebook page, which you manage yourself. This is not a One Firefly plug. I have been known for the shameless occasional plug. This is not that. You have started producing videos where the video looks great, by the way, and you've started putting explainer videos out. Can you think about your marketing strategy here and what you're planning to accomplish? I think Facebook is the beginning of what might be a more diverse utilization strategy around that video. What's your game plan?
Josh: Yeah, I have a guy I work with named Travis who's really good at video stuff, and he comes in every week, every other week, and we shoot one or two videos. What I'll do is I'll either sometimes I'll just talk about a product. I'll show off something, and I'll explain what it does and why it's great. But most of the time, I'm just answering a question, and usually, I'll think about questions. Especially if you are really familiar with this stuff, you've been around it for a while. Then it's like we kind of tend to forget that other people don't know what we know. For me, what somebody's asking, what surround sound is? It's elementary to me because I'm thinking more advanced. Oh, this smart home automation stuff you can do is incredible. But I've got clients who are like, "We want to have the speakers where we can listen to music." They need me to explain things like that to them. And what's that called? What does it cost? I try to answer questions that I get from people, and I'll do a pick a topic and do a video about that question and answer it as best as I can to try to so that we have regular content that's helpful to people who are, especially when they're exploring. They need some services we offer, and they're looking at different companies in the area to try and figure out who they want to work with. Then they can come and see me talking about the things that they're already interested in.
Ron: I'm noticing these videos even have, as we saw, cool animation on the screen. I'm assuming your video guy's doing some of those animations and all that post-production for you?
Josh: Yeah, right.
Ron: That's cool. How are you thinking about ensuring that more people see this content? Do you have some thoughts about that?
Josh: Hire One Firefly, of course. I mean, seriously, but I just started doing those videos consistently at the beginning of the year, so just several months and now. But right now, we're just putting on Facebook, and we started with them on YouTube. But I want to start diversifying to include them in other places as well. I think even going and looking into social media advertising and utilizing the content that I'm already making to put it in other places and find new customers and not just put it out to people we already have following our page. That's definitely something we're talking about.
Ron: Yeah. I can tell you that you've done the hard part here. You've done the hard work, Josh, which is you've decided you're willing to go on camera and educate and do it professionally with a professional videographer. It's very rare to see that across our industry. In fact, I could count on maybe two hands, all the clients, all the integrators I'm aware of around the world doing it. You're in a very limited company. And I think that you've got the hard part addressed. And I think now the opportunity is yours to really look at how to maximize this exposure across Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, and all of those different platforms. Josh, thank you for coming to the show. It's been a lot of fun having you on. What is the best way for those listening or watching to get in touch with you directly? They want to learn more about you or your business. What do you recommend?
Ron: I have pulled up on the website as well, and the website is relytechnology.com. Josh, I want to thank you for coming on the show and sharing your story and your lessons learned along the way. Congrats on your continued success.
Josh: Thank you. Thanks for having me on.
Ron: My pleasure. Alright, folks, there you have it. Had a little technology snafu. That was my fault. He was smart and quick enough to click and rejoin us. I hope you enjoyed that. I know that I talked to many integrators that are either in partnerships or exiting partnerships. I always believe many of the best lessons in life happen from listening to each other and learning from each other. When I talked to Josh about his relationship, he and John have continued to have a great relationship. It's just changed. The relationship is different now. They're not business partners, but his willingness to talk about that and how to really exit in the best way and maybe lessons or what he would do differently, his willingness to share that, I thought that was pretty awesome. I hope you guys enjoyed that. I'm going to give you two quick homework assignments. This is a really quick one. Go to our Instagram page, and please follow us. If you haven't done so, we're putting out content five days a week, and even on occasion, we'll do stories. And sometimes, I'll go live on that page and share special bits with you guys. Definitely do that. Also, go to your favorite podcast environment. I was just on with Josh before we went life, and he went on his Spotify account, and he subscribed to Automation Unplugged. It might be so that he could hear himself next week on the show when the audio will drop for Show #169. But please do that. And if you're so inclined, leave a review. If you like the show, leave it, say it. If you don't like the show, you can say that as well.
Maybe don't say that you might hurt my feelings. Just kidding. Post whatever the real star rating is. It ultimately helps more people get exposed to the show. We pleasantly see our show downloads. The audio downloads increase every month. We just hit an all-time high just last month. I know Stephanie, she's listening in, and my team, they're always watching the numbers to try to get these interviews in this message out to more people that would benefit from it, because at the end of the day, we do this for you guys. On that note, again, thank you for listening. I'm going to sign off, and I will see you next week. Thanks, everyone.
Josh is the Founder and Owner of Rely Technology. He started the Lexington, Kentucky-based business back in 2008 with his partner Jon. Originally, Rely Technology offered audio/video services, computer support, and IT. Their current focus now is on smart home automation. Josh bought out his partner Jon two years ago and became 100% owner of Rely Technology. Rely Technology has recently opened a new quarter-million-dollar showroom in Lexington and is expanding to a second location in Charleston, South Carolina.
Ron Callis is the CEO of One Firefly, LLC, a digital marketing agency based out of South Florida and creator of Automation Unplugged. Founded in 2007, One Firefly has quickly become the leading marketing firm specializing in integrated technology and security space. The One Firefly team works hard to create innovative solutions to help Integrators boost their online presence, such as the elite website solution Mercury Pro.
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