Keith Eneix is co-owner and founder of the Seattle-based internet marketing company, Fannit. He graciously agreed to sit for an interview with us, discussing his years of work with Hometown Values and how he felt that this position gave him the skills and experience he needed to launch his dream business—internet and SEO marketing.
Learn about what it looks like to be a part of the Hometown Values team by reading through Keith’s insights and experience.
When did you start working with Hometown Values?
I began working with Hometown Values early 2009. Prior to this, I had been working at a fabrication company that specialized in wind towers. I was one of the crew members there. But I had always wanted to start my own business, always had dreamed of doing something in the marketing and tech industry. I think I got this entrepreneurial spirit from my dad, who started his own rockery business more than 40 years ago, and has been very successful.
What prompted you to get involved?
I learned about the opportunities that Hometown Values provided when a friend of mine asked me to look at a marketing opportunity with him. He was considering buying zones for print advertising and was meeting with Mark James, one of the Area Publishers. I accompanied him, learned about their business, and was hooked.
What blew me away was how cheap it was to get involved and how much money you could actually make right away. Walking into it totally inexperienced aside from the basic month of training, you can start making between $30-60,000.
What did those first few weeks look like?
We started with lots of training, which was great because that was exactly what I needed. They devoted the entire first month to training me. This is unique because, with most franchises, you have to buy into it and then pay for all of your training and the training of your employees, but with Hometown Values, they provide for almost all of your training costs.
In comparison, it could cost an individual $200,000 to buy into a normal franchise business opportunity. Once they have bought in, they then have to pay out of their own pocket for all training fees for themselves and their employees, which can add up to thousands and thousands including travel, food, and conference fees. You’re looking at a huge investment there.
With Hometown Values, the cost for prepared zones is less than $5,000. A ‘raw’ or unprepared zone, which is an area that hasn’t been prepped at all, only costs about $500 to get the rights to publish with Hometown Values. And again, the training is virtually cost-free.
Individuals that are willing to put in the time needed to train well and work hard for those first few months as they are learning the ropes will find that the return on their initial investment is incredible. A $500 investment to begin making $60K per year? That’s so worth it.
What did you like about working with HTV?
I really enjoyed the training. That was such a highlight for me because I learned so much that I still use today.
I hadn’t known how to do anything needed to set up a business, such as setting up merchant services, or finding and utilizing a bookkeeper. Most importantly, I learned how to go help businesses with their advertising, and what takes to build a business up. What does that mean? It’s more than just sales and paying the bills. It’s about building your business and helping other businesses build theirs.
It’s one thing to just try to sell stuff, it’s another to actually try to help people. Huge lesson learned.
Was there ongoing training besides the initial month of training?
Once a year Jim Lee, the owner and area publisher of Hometown Values, puts on a conference for area publishers down in Seattle. It is 3 solid days of hardcore training. He feels that properly training the team is what will equip them to be successful and enjoy their work.
The conferences were always very low on cost. Usually, when you want to get additional training for your job, you end up shelling out a huge chunk of cash, but Jim Lee would actually cover almost all the expenses of the conference because he was so focused on ensuring that his staff had the training needed to be successful.
Not only that, but Jim Lee and Mark James were always on call for you. There were a bunch of times that I was literally hitting the pavement, or with a possible client and had a question, so I’d just call one of them up. They’d take the time right then to train me and tell what moves to make next.
What kind of training did the conferences cover?
The conferences tried to encompass, really, every aspect of a business opportunity, not just print media marketing. A primary topic was business organization, because the success of a business depends on organization.
But they also addressed topics such as how to help businesses showcase their products, various selling tactics that improve closing ratios, how to effectively work with a graphic designer, how to collect from clients, how to do trade—I feel that they touched on all topics at some point.
It’s neat because you’re getting trained by people that have been in the marketing business for a long time. For example, Mark James led a lot of the training sessions. He and his wife have been in the business for over ten years. He has a degree in marketing and has been in print marketing since his graduation. There is so much wisdom there that training sessions were always super helpful and informative.
What did a normal workweek look like for you?
Well, the position functioned on cycles. I worked with two zones, so for me, a cycle was six weeks long.
The first week of your cycle was honestly to rest and recover from your prior cycle. Some time would be spent getting ready for your next cycle, maybe getting your final payments from clients, stuff like that.
The second week you start to hit the pavement, checking in on clients and getting everyone that is going to be in the next issue solidified.
The third and fourth week are consistently devoted to what Jim calls the 20/4/1 rule. You contact 20 merchants each day, sit down with 4, and walk away each day with one new client. The goal for every cycle is to get between 5-10 new clients in your book.
The fifth week you are wrapping everything up as you and your graphic designer are getting ready to go to press. You have got to collect all your payments, and you’ve got a few bills of your own to pay too, such as the print bill to the printing company and the postage bill.
Sixth week is the busiest. You can expect to be working 60-70 hours this week. You have to upload all the ads and designs and make sure that all of your clients sign off on their ad and design. Most clients respond pretty quickly, but there are always a few scragglers you have to see personally. Once they all sign off and the designer fixes any last minute changes, you’re good. You push go, it all goes out, and that’s it.
Then, the whole process starts over again.
How many hours a week were you required to invest each week?
It was set up that you could almost take a vacation that whole first week of the cycle. A good solid week for that.
Then, after that the hours were averaged out. The first couple weeks a bit less than full time, around 30 hours. Weeks 4 and 5 you would clock about 50 hour weeks. The last week is usually about 60-70 hours. It does average out.
The benefit is, however, that you are very free in setting up how you want to distribute those hours throughout your week. Flexibility was one of the best benefits of working with Hometown Values. You can fit anything into your schedule exactly where and when you need it.
Why would you encourage others to work with HTV?
For someone that has never taken advantage of a business opportunity, this is the perfect opportunity for them. Even if they only do it for a year or two, they are going to learn the basic business skills that they will need to run a company. They can build their foundation.
More than that, it is a good place for those who are uncertain about whether or not they want to really embark on a business opportunity to have a safe place to try it out and see if they will actually be a good fit. When you run a business, you are not only making sure that it runs well, you are also a salesman. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, sales is always a task that a business owner will face. If you aren’t willing to ‘hit the pavement’ and do the ‘dirty work’ of selling yourself, you’re not going to be able to build a business.
Sales is not just a process of trying to get people to do something either. It is a constant exercise of building your business, and with Hometown Values, as you grow, you not only build your own business, you help others to build their businesses.
I think that is one of the most impressive things about HTV is that they know how to do that. They invest in you. They give you the training that you need to become a successful business owner. That is, what I feel, what makes HTV so special, so unique.
If you are considering beginning your own venture, there isn’t a safer or better place to begin your own marketing business than with Hometown Values’ direct mail business opportunity. We are devoted to our publishers and to training and raising them up to be successful and independent business owners. Contact us and join our team today, and you can finally begin living out your dream of building your own future.