Most entrepreneurs in 2020 are uber connected: telephone, text, email, Slack — you name it. But to Arri Bagah, the creator of Conversmart, an ecommerce bureau, always-on connections means non-stop interruptions.
“It is a matter of taking control of my time — trying to be less reactive and more energetic,” he informed me. “Receiving all those notifications prompts one to respond. So turning off all of my notifications got me to become less responsive. Adopting this mindset has become a means of life, not just personally, but with my company, too.”
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Being less responsive and more active has worked for Bagah. Conversmart has grown dramatically since he founded it in 2018. He and I recently spoke about the introduction of the organization, SMS marketing, and, yes, turning off his cell phone.
What follows is our whole audio conversation in addition to a transcript, that has been edited for length and clarity.
Eric Bandholz: What is Happening at Conversmart?
Arri Bagah: This is the ideal time to be alive. A lot of things are happening at Conversmart. Our team is growing. We are a marketing agency, helping plenty of direct-to-consumer brands prepare for Black Friday, Cyber Monday. That is what we’re up to.
Bandholz: I concur. There has never been a better time to be alive than right now, despite all of the challenges which confront us globally. All of the things we could do on a smartphone, computer, and traveling. It’s pretty wonderful. When did you start Conversmart?
Bagah: In ancient 2018. We are now close to 20 team members.
I understood early on that, to grow, I had to employ people. Working alone in the bureau means you are wearing all the hats. You are the salesperson, the implementer — you are doing everything. I realized I could not grow the company with employees.
So I started hiring people fulltime. I immediately realized,”Hiring people is pretty cool. I do not have to do all this stuff that I really don’t like.” So I just kept hiring more individuals to take on more duties and help our customers. I focused on growing the organization. So that change enabled our growth.
And we are completely bootstrapped, incidentally. I had my very own Shopify shop when I was 17 or 18. That is when I got into ecommerce.
Bandholz: Many manufacturers are getting into SMS advertising. Thoughts?
Bagah: There are two different types of entrepreneurs at the SMS area : those who love it and the ones that hate it, claiming it is invasive. My opinion is that it is logical for brands to achieve their customers via text. After all, everybody has a smartphone. All the features in email marketing can be implemented on text, from campaigns to automatic flows.
Step one is to get people to opt-in with their contact number and confirm that opt-in, including,”Response yes to confirm your subscription.” After that, it is about engaging them in a meaningful manner so that they’ll go to your website.
We have vetted many SMS platforms. My top 3 recommendations are Attentive, Postscript, and Yotpo. Postscript has a excellent integration with Shopify. With Yotpo, you can do conversational flows, like asking users questions and then having them respond with products they’re interested in. Our service is platform agnostic. We do not have one favorite. However, you can not go wrong with any of these three.
Bandholz: Speaking of text, you told me earlier this interview that you occasionally put your phone on”don’t disturb” mode. How can that operate from a productivity perspective and staying connected?
Bagah: it is a matter of taking control of my time — trying to become less responsive and more active. Receiving all those notifications prompts one to respond. So turning off all of my notifications got me to become less responsive. Now, even when I turn my notifications on, I don’t have the desire to check at my phone when it vibrates.
I began doing this in the end of 2018. I don’t think my mother knows, incidentally. I typically do not talk about it much.
Also, my computer is always on”don’t disturb.” No Slack notifications. It’s tough to work if you’ve Slack popping up every second.
I love to control what I have in my own thoughts. I don’t need to do things solely because they pop up in my mind. That is what happens when you become responsive. You are doing so, something pops up, after which your focus goes there. Adopting this mindset has become a means of life, not just personally but also with my organization.
To take it a step farther, I try to not post my phone number openly because people begin calling. I truly don’t like to talk on the telephone. If a person would like to reach me, simply use text or email. I do not even have my VoIP setup. I have not listened to a voicemail for probably five decades.
Bandholz: Where can people follow you and find out more about Conversmart?