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Sayan Sarkar: Feeling Invincible, Marketing Martha Stewart & Dropping 76 Pounds!

On this episode, we are talking to Sayan Sarkar. If you're getting to know him, you should know that he is a serial entrepreneur who hangs out and specializes in the nutrition/health space and has taken companies to over $100 million in sales through all the different work that he does through his client.

I thought he would be an interesting guest because he's got marketing experience. He came from Corporate America and made the transition and he's got an amazing weight loss story. There is some ground covered in this show. We talk about the importance of fast success in anything that you do. We talk about losing over 76 pounds in extra weight. We talk about supplement marketing in the online world and we cover entrepreneurship and the fear that sometimes takes place that holds us back.

We’ve got a lot of interesting topics for you. If you're looking for a mixed bag of variety, yet highly educational and highly valuable, then you're going to love the show. With that said, let's get to it.

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Dustin
Sayan, you’re 76 pounds overweight and desperate, yet one day you woke up and committed to turning things around. You drop those extra 76 pounds, which would eventually lead you into the health and wellness arena. Before we get into that, tell us what your weight loss secret was?
Sayan
The biggest thing for me was following a plan that gave me fast, early success and sticking to it. I read one of Tim Ferriss’s blog post. It was, “How to Lose 20 Pounds of Fat in 30 days… Without Doing Any Exercise.” Mind you, I tried to lose weight for several years. I tried everything on the planet and nothing worked, but I followed this plan that Tim wrote about on his blog. It was what he called the Slow-carb diet. I lost a good amount of weight for the first time in my life and I did it fast. What I’ve realized over time is that fast success can stick because it gives you the motivation to know that you can do it. The first couple of weeks I lost ten pounds. I forget the exact number, but I lost 27 pounds in that first month and then it spiraled from there because I finally believed that I could do this. That definitely was the catalyst in a sense. Finding a plan that works and sticking to it and then seeing that change in my body and my mind. That is then turning back into my mindset and reminded me that no matter how much you failed in the past, this is working. This could work long-term and you can do it. You see everyone else doing it. When you fail yourself, you second guess yourself and you think, “It's not going to work out.”
When that success and those results come fast, you finally internalized that, “I’ve got this.” From there, I stuck to it for many months after that. After a long time, I've been obese my entire life. I lost 76 pounds and I've kept it off and been healthy since then. I'm happy to say that beyond losing weight, I kept it off because there's always that sad story where someone loses 30 pounds to 50 pounds and they gain it all back in a few years. It was not the case for me, which is great and spiraled in a good way into my business. That mindset and the confidence I gained from losing that much weight after failing for so long has internalized that belief in myself that's gone to my business, my life, relationships and everything else.
Dustin
I'm glad you used that term catalyst because I think you're right in life. You want to get quick results. I remember when I first got into direct response, mailing that first letter and then getting people responding was like magic to me. I want to go back to the turning point. The catalyst for you was you started seeing results. Before the catalyst comes to that turning point, you read that Tim Ferriss thing, but there's one thing in reading an article and saying, “I should do that one day.” What was that turning point that made you take that next step to try it?
Sayan
I never thought about that before. That was the first year of my real-time job out of college. It was back in 2010. I started working a job on Wall Street downtown. I was unhappy with how I thought I was going to do these amazing things. I ended up working long hours and had a long commute. I was living on Long Island. I had an hour and a half commute each way and I was unhappy with my circumstances and then my weight. A lot of that work stress made me eat more. I was always going out for a happy hour, drinking more. I knew I needed to change. I've been trying for so long and this thing came upon me. At that time, I was getting heavy into self-development books and self-help stuff. I was trying to find a way to be happier with my circumstances in my life. That was one of the things that came into my life during that time. That core dissatisfaction with my life made me think, “I'm going to give this a shot. I'm going to try again. Maybe this will be it.”
Dustin
It's interesting that self-development was hitting and you were stressed out. That's the stew of creating change for many people. I want to talk about that unhappy job you had. You essentially got started in Wall Street, but you were analyzing derivatives for hedge funds and mutual funds. What was your day-to-day like? What does analyzing derivatives look like? What did you take away that you use now?
Sayan
The biggest thing of what my job was it was definitely more boring. Maybe it sounds cool but it wasn’t. We had these clients with multibillion-dollar portfolios of credit default swaps, interest rate swaps and other derivatives. My job was based on looking at the markets, seeing what's moving on that day, then reprice their swaps and make sure that the values that were reflected in their portfolio matched what was going on in the market. We were a third party data source for credit default swaps primarily. At the same time, we also had these clients who have large portfolios who wanted to use us to verify all the pricing they were doing internally was matched by another company so that they when they were going to regulators, they have that proof that, “It's not us saying this is the value. This is also what this third party source says is the value.” I was a third-party source essentially looking all their swaps, pricing it and getting it back to them and telling them, “This is right. This is wrong.” One thing which is in the past. We would get data of certain credit default swaps from all different sources and many of them were these banks who were trading themselves. It was BNP Paribas at the time. They had priced their swap incredibly lower than everyone else. Everyone else was at 360 or 370 basis points and they were at 120.
What I realized was they were trying to make it look like they are doing much better than they were. Everyone else agreed on a certain ten basis point range and they were pricing their own thing 200 points lower than everyone else was. I don't know what they were trying to do at the time, but it did not seem legit at all to me. One thing probably not relevant, but it's funny to me or scary also. It was 2010 and the years after that, not long after the market crashed because of these swaps. It was trading so much within a few years. It was back. That's crazy how the market can bounce back when something brings the market down.
Dustin
I was going to ask you what the mood was like, but it seems people reset and back by 2010 they were crafty and creative again. A lot of people that read this either can relate to being in an unhappy and crappy job or they are in that now and it takes a great deal of courage to leave that world. When did you realize you were going to leave?
Sayan
I've been doing my business part-time on the side for a long time. A few years into that we were starting to do well and I was making as much money as I was in my actual job, but there was fear. I have this part-time business on the side that is doing well, but what if I quit my job and it doesn't work out. That made me stay a lot longer than I should have. The reality was that entire time I was doing both things at once. I knew I wanted to do it full-time at some point. Especially due to those self-help books that I had read before and all that positive reinforcement, I definitely believed I could do it. There's also those years of fear and all that conditioning from when I was born that like, “You need a stable, steady job.” Even when I saw success in my business, I was scared to leave the job.
Dustin
Did you grow up in India?
Sayan
My family’s from India. I grew up here in New York.
Dustin
You still got the whole family expectation like a doctor, engineer or lawyer. Am I right?
Sayan
For me, it wasn't so much doctor or engineer. My mom was like, “You’ve got to get a job.” I was like, “What?” My business was doing well and she still has that belief that a job is what you need. You need security and safety. It makes no sense.
Dustin
My mom's the same way after all these years too. I can totally relate. When your income from your part-time business equaled the salary, was that the point that you left or did it take a little bit longer?
Sayan
It was longer. That's what's sad about it. I waited another couple of years after that while I was making income. I had so much in-built fear of, “If I leave, what happens? If I do this full-time, what happens?”
Dustin
What's your advice for somebody in that situation, whether they have that side hustle or producing the same amount of income? What would be your advice if you were coaching somebody?
Sayan
If you're making that same amount of income or even close to it, then quit. When I finally quit, my income from my business shot up ten times more per month. The whole time I was scared that wasn't happening. I thought it'd be the opposite. For some reason, I thought that without this safety net in place, if things go wrong, I'm screwed. The reality was including commute time, I had another 60 hours a week to spend on the business. It was much better. If you have that fear, don't do what I did. Take that step and go. In most cases, if you seriously are committed to it, you're going to use that new found time towards your business and you will succeed no matter what.
Dustin
That side hustle that you had going on, was that yet the supplement world? Was that what you were doing on the side?
Sayan
During the weight loss, a lot of it was diet and exercise, but at the same time, I used a lot of supplements. It started with Tim Ferriss's book. He recommended certain things. I tried those and that led me down this journey of trying all these different supplements, herbs and products. Over time, when I got into the business hardcore, I realized if there's one thing I know about and if it's one thing I've studied in and out, it's health and supplements. That's what I went down on essentially. That was the path I followed. My first product, it used many of the ingredients I used during my weight loss, turmeric, green tea, ginger extract and all those things.
Dustin
It's one thing to take supplements and get results, but then to sell it, what goes into having this idea now turning it into money? What are some of the steps that go along with that?
Sayan
It's much easier now that I know what to do. Back then I found a manufacturer, I had to take out extra money because they wanted me to buy over 1,000 bottles on the first manufacturing run. That comes up a lot of money and at the same time, you don't know for sure if it's going to sell. That's a mistake I made. I bought all this product and at the time I didn't know direct response marketing, copywriting and all these things. For the first year, we barely sold any product. First of all, you don't have to buy 1,000 bottles. There are many companies out there that will do a drop shipping model where they have products in stock and you'll let them know, “I want to use this product.” Some companies will do a custom product for you and they'll let you get started with 50 or 100 bottles on a low amount. You might be spending no more than $1,000 or $2,000 to make a unique custom product and then start selling it. You learn to sell, but the moral here is people I work with, they think they had to go out and spend $10,000 or $20,000 on products. At least now, it's not true. Maybe it was several years ago, but not anymore.
Dustin
I came to the internet marketing and direct response world and a lot of the advice, especially when I got started or at least that sticks in my head are you should probably start selling someone else's product that you believe in and do the affiliate thing. Is that the same advice that you have here? Do you think people should do drop shipping? Do you think they should develop their own product because they truly believe in it?
Sayan
I don't recommend the affiliate route, but I do like the idea of making your own thing no matter what. Whether that means making a custom product for yourself or taking some other manufacturer's product and rebrand it for yourself. As long as it's your own company and you're building your own assets, I believe in that much more than selling an affiliate product.
Dustin
I hear you saying develop something that's going to last. Don't go necessarily for the quick buck. Build some equity.
Sayan
Everyone has different models. The other model works too because being an affiliate you learn a ton about advertising and marketing. It's not a bad model, but if you’re asking for my model, it’s definitely the build your own brand in a sense and scale based off that because it has more inherent value than the affiliate only model.
Dustin
I want you to take us back because it sounded like back in your day when you got started, you had to order a bunch of bottles of the stuff. Is that true?
Sayan
I bought 1,000 on my first run.
Dustin
You've got 1,000 and they weren't selling. Is the pressure now building and you're like, “What did I get myself into?” Take us back to that point and how you went from those 1,000 bottles to selling them and figuring out how to market it online.
Sayan
It was painful because in the first year I also did what everyone else does. You puff yourself up and you think you’re this superstar because it’s like, “I’ve got a business. I have products.” I went out and I hired a PR guy, a copywriter and designer. The problem was I didn't know how to evaluate any of them. I didn't know if the work they were doing was any good because I had no real experience in business and marketing. What happened on that first year, we sold little and it’s sad, but it's true. We sold one bottle of our product the entire year. The years after that we made a ton more money, but that first year we made nothing. What happened was I spent all this money. I had loaned out all this money going into the business with nothing coming out. I realized that I had to learn how to sell this myself. I can't go out there, expect to hire somebody and have no idea if the work they're doing was any good or not. To succeed, I have to know what it means to market a product, what it means to reach a target market, how to effectively persuade them, how to write a sales copy. Year two started that for me.
I know you wrote a book with Dan Kennedy and Dan Kennedy's Magnetic Marketing was my first ever direct marketing info products. I bought his huge $500 binder on marketing stuff and that led me down that path and I realized, “If I learn direct marketing the way Dan Kennedy and all these other guys who've done it, I can know how to sell my product and therefore succeed.” That year, I went down the rabbit hole of direct marketing and the year since then I became a great copywriter, an amazing marketer and that all translated into business. I wrote my long form sales letter for my supplement product myself after learning how to do the copy. I learned how to meet affiliate partners who can promote my product for me. All these things spiraled after realizing that, “I have to figure this out myself first. I have to learn how to sell and market and only then will I succeed.” That's my story. It’s probably different for some others, but that's by far what I found to be the most effective way to grow and scale a business.
Dustin
I'm right there with you and I want to talk magnetic marketing and direct response. I do want to let our audience know that copywriting was the thing that changed my life in terms of entrepreneurship. Learning how to sell, whether you do it face-to-face or you do it in the written word is powerful. We have a resource on that here at WealthFit, a copywriting course, definitely check that out. I want to go back through to that first year. 1,000 bottles, hiring, there's a lot of investment here. In that first year you sold a bottle, how did you not pack it in and cut it off? What drove you in that year?
Sayan
There are a few things. One of them was the whole self-development positive reinforcement and that confidence that came from losing weight and believing in myself. Another one is I felt bad letting people down. My family knew, my friends knew I had this company selling supplements and I was like, “I can't quit now. I'll look like a fool.” That was another reason where I was like, “I cannot quit. I can't give up. Everyone knows about it.” In a sense, that's the accountability. Knowing you had to be accountable to somebody else and having people around you who you don't want to let down, so those two things combined. Lastly, that desire to have my own thing. Honestly, from day seven of my job, I was like, “I cannot be here for another 30 to 40 years. No way.”
Dustin
I can totally relate and a lot of people reading can as well. I want to bring up something because this is my impression and maybe you can help clear up or give some clarity around it. My understanding is that the supplement world can be a tricky business. What I mean by that is you’ve got to be careful because of the FDA, you can't make crazy claims. The other side of it is this quality of ingredients, the dark side or underbelly of this world. Is that accurate? If so, why do you like the supplement world?
Sayan
First of all, definitely compliance, that's super accurate. The one thing I've had to do over the years is read FTC, FDA documentation. Look at what happened in the past and understand the proper way to make claims on my product without being too aggressive. Sooner or later if you make these claims, you will get caught and no one wants that. It's smarter to make a great product, which has real benefits. On that token, you want to look for FDA-inspected and GMP-certified manufacturers in the US. Some companies will make it in some foreign country and that's not good. Maybe it's legit, but how do you know?
We always look for companies in the US who have the FDA-inspected, they have certifications and we'd like to go with companies that we know other companies are already using and we've heard of them. I'm not going to work with some random company. For example, our business is doing well, we have manufacturers reach out to us occasionally. Some of them I know already, some of them I've never heard of and my friends and peers in the industry don't know either. You could be great, but I'm probably not going to use you because I cannot trust that what you put out there is going to be a good product and won't get me in trouble. Part of it is common sense. Don't go to any random company, but part of it definitely is knowing what the certifications that the FTC or FDA wants in any good manufacturer and make sure to go with ones that can be trusted.
Dustin
The climate maybe was a little bit different when you first got started in the supplement business and selling online. If you had to do it all over again in nowaday’s climate with the tools and resources that are available, knowing what you know, what would you do differently?
Sayan
What I would do differently is all the mistakes that I made in year one, I would avoid every one of those. What I mean is step one, knock myself down to ground level and remind myself that I can't go out and hire people left and right and expect them to run the business for me. I can do that now, but I could not have done that a few years ago. I had to learn how to sell and market for myself. We have many people reach out to us and they're like, “You have a great product. I want you to run ads for me.” I look at their pages and I'm like, “We cannot run ads for you because your page is not going to convert. There's nothing here that makes me or any customer believe who you are and want to buy from you because they put no real effort into learning how to market and sell a product.” People always think and I thought the same thing when starting out that there's some shortcut, but the reality is you need to find the best marketer on the planet, somebody you can trust and hire them or figure it out yourself. There are many frauds out there. There are all these groups on Facebook where you have people who say, “I can write copy, I can do marketing.” A lot of them think they can, but they can't. As a newbie, you get fooled way too easily.
Dustin
How does one get good at marketing?
Sayan
Reading old school direct marketing and copywriting books. On our part of that is handwriting sales copy from greats like Gary Halbert, Dan Kennedy, Ben Suarez, all these guys writing out their sales letters by hand to internalize what it means to write powerful, persuasive copy. I have notebooks full of this stuff, and without doing that, I would not ever have been able to be as good as I am. It's hard to convince someone to do that. It's hard to tell somebody, “I want you to spend the next three weeks of your life writing out these sales letters word-by-word.” That is by far one of the fastest ways to get good at this. If not, let's say there’s someone who doesn't want to do it, that's okay, but definitely working on copywriting, mentors, books and programs that you can trust, and that you know it can help you out. That goes back to the direct marketing greats or people who know what they're doing at scale.
Dustin
Every entrepreneur, someone that wants to start a business, wants to invent a product or sell that product, it's mission critical that they do that. I remember getting an hour earlier every day before heading in and I would rewrite Dan Kennedy’s sales letter and it takes infinitely longer, but you learn so much versus passively reading something. When you handwrite it, you realize the brilliance. I almost felt connected to Dan or I had an additional insight by doing that. I want to talk about media buys and advertising in general. Media buy maybe second here. When it comes to advertising. You've got a great copy, you've got a great product. Now it comes to advertising that product. How do you determine which way? There's Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and let's add seventeen more after that list. How do you look at the media of which you're going to take your message?
Sayan
The first thing is, “Who is my customer and where are they?” especially when it comes to supplements or any product. For supplements, people don't realize but a lot of the customers, they're 60, 70 years or more, they're older. They have ten different conditions, heart problems, diabetes, weight problems, etc. When I know that's my customer, I also know they're not on Snapchat or Pinterest. Some of them are on Facebook, but for the most part, they're on these big email lists online, which is why we work with affiliates a lot. They're reading newspapers, listening to the radio and reading their mail, which is old school. People believe it doesn't work, but that's where your customer is. The customer for a supplement, they grew up 30 to 50 years ago or more. Some of them are online but the majority they're set in their ways and they're not going to change.
I believe as a marketer and an entrepreneur, it's your job to go to where your customer is and not try to force them to change to your ways. That's a mistake a lot of people do because to your point, people are trying to advertise on all these different networks. They can work, I’m not saying they can’t work. I'm saying if you deeply know your customer, especially if it's a blood sugar product or joint pain, I'm sure you and I both have joint pain here and there, but not as bad as someone who's 75 years old. If I think of him, he's not hanging out on Instagram. He's reading his newspaper. That's where I go, newspapers or big email list because email has been around for a long time. You have a lot of them who read their email regularly but not as much as offline media.
Dustin
I want to get into media buy. I think that was a good primer to get people, media by being on a bigger scale. You've negotiated your share of media buys. I'm curious as to what your advice is in general about negotiating and also when it comes to media buy. What leverage do you have that will get you a better deal, discount or placements with the advertiser?
Sayan
There are a few things you can do, but the biggest thing comes down to understanding that most publishers and networks where there are media available, they tend to have available space that they have to sell. This is especially true in offline media when it comes to newspapers and radio for example. Everyone has ad space and not everyone can sell ad space. When you're going in to buy advertising, you want to ask them for the remnant rates, which is left over media, which you can get at a huge discount. It’s because of that, your ads are that much more profitable. A great example is USA Today, the newspaper. Let's say anybody randomly goes to USA Today and they asked them for their half-page rate, it's $40,000 for one day.
We bought USA Today for $6,000. That's because we know a certain agency who can go into USA Today and because of the volume that they buy at and the volume that we will buy at, we can get that rate as a remnant rate. It essentially means USA Today, they'll have more flexibility because we're paying a lower rate so they can put us in any time in a two-week time slot. We can't pick and we can't tell them, “Put it on page X, Y, Z on the right side.” We know that rate is for us because we bought it at the remnant and give them the flexibility to choose. If you have that flexibility, which every advertiser should have in my opinion, you can get huge deals that you would not get otherwise.
Dustin
You’ve put together some incredible partnerships with a number of companies, what's your advice about getting your foot in the door with either partners or affiliates? Once your foot is in the door, how do you structure a deal that's beneficial to you and to them?
Sayan
The biggest thing is, “How can I help you first,” especially when it comes to affiliates. They have many offers to choose from and so many products and people coming to them and asking them for their promotion. It comes down to how can I give you value first, whether that means promoting you on Facebook or maybe I had an email list that I can promote your offer to my list first five times and then tell you, “Your offer did great for my list. I have this other offer which might do well for your list. Here it is. You want to check it out.” This is a huge problem in the industry, especially with people who are brand new because they'll hear that like, “I recommended affiliates or that I'm using affiliates for my marketing.” They think they can go to somebody, throw a product in front of them and get them to promote.
That's not how it is in anything, whether it's affiliates, partnerships or life. It's never take. It's always give and get some later on. That's how we approach everything with affiliates. How can I help you first, promote you first and later on find a way to work together. On top of that, to your question about how we do deals, it differs across the board. For supplements online, what we like to do is we prefer to pay people more out of their sale and make them happier because we know what a customer is worth to our long-term and we know the value of having them in our ecosystem.
For example, if I have a sale of my supplement and the average order is $220 or $215, I'll pay an affiliate $100 for that sale, which is almost half of that sale. That's scary to some people. The reality is affiliates would be happy he's going to promote me a ton more in that month, in that year. Meanwhile, I'm building up a huge customer base who then buys all my other stuff and the reality is maybe I'm not making a ton on day one, but the yearly and lifetime value of that customer far exceeds me paying 10% of that affiliate and getting one-tenth of the customers.
Dustin
What's the story of you working with Martha Stewart's company?
Sayan
It was a few years in. I realized I was good at offline marketing. Part of my supplement success came down to affiliates first and then learning how to make newspaper ads work. I had this idea that I was good at marketing offline. I realized that there are other companies who want my advice because there are many people who are caught up in online marketing. They have great products and they don't realize there are many customers offline who will never buy online. They’ll always buy with media that they are used to. There is a huge older demographic with money. They're Baby Boomers that have money from over the years and they're not reading online. They're reading offline. I realized Martha Stewart, and this is her meal kit brand. It’s healthy fresh ingredients delivered to your door and there are many customers who are older who cannot cook or don't want to cook. They want great food. They trust Martha Stewart because she's someone who is obviously known and maybe they're closer to their age. I realized a huge opportunity. I reached out to the company directly and it was definitely part of luck, but I gave them a bold guarantee. I told them, “I guarantee that we can make you an extra seven figures per year with offline marketing using my strategies.”
That wasn’t the exact wording, but it was a simple one or two-liner and it wasn't to Martha. It was the person who runs the company. They got back to me, we started talking and we agreed to do a retainer agreement. From that, it turned into a huge thing because that made me realize, “I can do this. If I can do it for Martha Stewart, I can do it for other companies.” That spearheaded my consulting, which it's not been a couple of years of doing consulting alongside my own stuff. That was the catalyst, reaching out to them. Being bold about what I can do because I know I can do it, and then proving them those results because that turned into a long-term agreement and lastly, doing it for other clients with similar products.
Dustin
I'm glad you shared that. I myself have had this problem of trying to create elaborateness and studying direct response. Sometimes you get access to some outrageous advertising and it's cool to test and try, but at the end of the day, people are looking for that. There's so much power in picking up the phone, calling and getting through. People forget about that and two, you just emailed. People are looking for an elaborate thing. I loved that you shared that you emailed, you made a great promise and they got back to you. It was as simple as that. I wish people did more of that. You on the other side of this business, which is a little tricky, is the idea of scaling. When an offer hits and you're placing an ad, it's resonating with people and getting people to respond. Scaling is a problem. I myself used to think that if you're scaling, there's no problem in that because you've got money coming through the door. You can pay to make problems go away. Can you talk about the problem with that thinking and scaling can cause some issues in business?
Sayan
One of the best examples of this is one of Martha's campaigns were scaling into radio. We were doing well enough in radio in the last quarter of the year, October, November. It went down for December because the holidays are bad for that product. We started up again in January. We made this like, “We'll spend $60,000 a week and it will be fine because it worked well in October and November.” To be fair, it should have worked fine. It was more of a screw up on my part because what I did was we went out and we planned the similar media, but we didn't plan the exact same media that ran in October and November. That means that we had a certain station that we knew worked the first times. We had certain time slots that we knew worked, primetime versus the early drive. We changed that up a little bit in the second plan. Whether it was me being lazy or whatever the case was, I didn't go back and double check that it was the exact same placements. That plan failed in huge fashion because we felt invincible. It worked so well before, we assumed we could scale up and not pay as close attention and that’s not the case.
One thing people don't get about scaling is you have to be super analytical on all the data. All these little things like time slots, what day of the time are people responding, what exact channels and what exact prices, what exact CPMs. All of these things are important and I learned that the hard way. You can't keep scaling up with no real database backing on that call. It's hard to do that because you’ve got to be particular, but at the same time, we found that if you have something working in certain channels, which means like in newspapers or radio. You can then build on those concepts and scale into other channels. What that means is, for example, we have a newspaper ad and we'll test three variations with all three different headlines and three different hooks. One of those hooks will work well. By that day, we know that hook is probably also going to work on radio, direct mail and TV, so we can build upon each other. That helps us not waste as much money on an ad because you can fine-tune your messaging on that new medium and not have to test from scratch again.
Dustin
I want to know, what you are most excited about these days? What are you working on? What's got your interest now?
Sayan
There are a few things. In my supplement businesses, we have some partnerships going on, which I'm excited about in terms of the ability to scale our launches. We have some offers launching into some trickier markets like CBD for example. There are more legalities and compliance they have to be aware of, but at the same time, it's exciting because I know how big this trend is. I see a lot of potential for CBD in future years. By getting in right now, we're getting in a very good time. On the consultant side, we're doing some big things with larger clients in the direct response space. We're also doing a lot of Facebook ads online for consulting.
We have many guys coming in. I love how we have many guys who are excited about growing the business and they're reaching out for help. I talk a lot about learning copy and marketing and so on, but I won't lie. Part of the biggest reason I became successful after year one was I went into many different masterminds and coaches, and it was hard in the beginning. I had not enough money for it, but I paid these coaches who knew so much more than me, who had all the connections I needed, who knew how to market and sell certain things, and I learned because of that. When I see guys who are coming in, asking for my help and asking to work with me, it’s yes. You cannot sit alone in your room and figure it out yourself. You need help from guys who have been where you want to go. Seeing them come in is great because it gives me that motivation to keep doing what I'm doing, helping them to get where they want to go.
Dustin
This leads us into WealthFit round, which is my fancy way of saying rapid-fire questions. What's your most worthwhile investment?
Sayan
In myself.
Dustin
What's the investment you would rather not talk about, your misstep?
Sayan
The time that I've invested in projects that were shiny objects and had no relevance to my main businesses.
Dustin
Can you give me an example of one shiny object?
Sayan
In the beginning, it was a watch company. I was trying to import Tissot watches and sell them in the US, but I didn't know enough about the markups and the quality. I found out far into the process that they were counterfeit watches from China, so I had to abandon that. At the same time, if I had to spend that time on my own supplement company, it would've gotten much further than trying to do this brand new thing.
Dustin
What is your guilty spending splurge? When life is good and you want to treat yourself, what is that?
Sayan
I sometimes buy things I don't need. I bought a Mac and I already have two Macs. It’s a little ridiculous, but I wanted the best version so I bought it. That's unnecessary, to be honest.
Dustin
What have you become better at saying no to?
Sayan
New opportunities and partnerships. I get a lot more now that I’ve had been a lot more successful in my companies. It's still hard, but I'm learning to say no because I have a lot already. I have my own companies, I have my own consulting. There's already too much going on, so I've learned to say no to opportunities that sounds amazing, but that I know I don't have time for.
Dustin
Any advice on saying no to those that may struggle with that same issue?
Sayan
One thing I've learned is to be kind and direct about it. It’s like, “I appreciate it. It sounds great, but right now I have too many partnerships on the table. I don't have time for anymore.” Be at that because it's like, “I know what my time is worth and I know that it's a disservice to both of us to be in that partnership if I can spend one hour a week on it or less.” Being direct at the time, “I have too much on the table. We simply can't do it.”
Dustin
What advice do you have around fear and self-doubt? When you feel fearful in a situation or self-doubtful, what advice do you have for others?
Sayan
It's reminding myself that it will be okay at the end no matter what. I'll give you a prime example of this, which is incredibly time-relevant. Before any podcast, I'm always like, “I'm getting on a live podcast.” For example, I have an event coming up in June where I'll be speaking at the New York Public Library and I'm like, “There are going to be people in front of me. What if I screw it up?” The reality is I've done many of these already. I've spoken to people. I spoke with high-level clients, it was all fine, nothing happened. It's that natural fear that you have for being in front of people or speaking about yourself. It's always going to be there. I know for me it is, but I've realized that if I can remind myself that I've done this a thousand times and it will be fine. All have to do is push forward, then I'm okay. A lot of it comes down to remind yourself that you've probably been in the worst situation before and it turned out fine. Don't worry about it and push through.
Dustin
Sayan, I appreciate you coming on and sharing your advice and sharing your story to inspire people. For people that are interested, to keep tabs with what you're up to and all the different things. The supplement business, the coaching, consulting and following you on social media, where's the best way for people to get in touch with you?
Sayan
I'm on Facebook at Sayan Sarkar. Our page is Sark Media Direct. You can also follow us online at SarkMediaDirect.com.
Dustin
Thank you big time for being on the show and doing what you do. Keep getting after it and I appreciate you sharing.
Sayan
You too, Dustin. Thank you.
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