Episode 53: Chris Baden

Entrepreneur Conundrum Podcast

Episode Summary

Chris Baden helps businesses grow through a unique way of acquiring new customers.

EC 01   |    4min

About The Guest

Chris is the CEO / Co-Founder of FlowChat; a saas company that has a unique way of acquiring new customers.

Their organic tool & strategies have led to boosting their company and others’ to over $100k/mo in revenue.

While Chris isn’t building businesses, he’s building a life-long marriage, world-impacting family, and has even competed on American Ninja Warrior.

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/flowchat
https://www.facebook.com/chris.baden.55/
@chrisbaden_

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] VIRGINIA: Welcome to entrepreneur conundrum with Virginia Purnell where growing entrepreneurs share how they get visible online. 

[00:00:09] Hi everyone. Today, I’m talking with Chris Baden about how he helps companies grow in scale. Chris is a CEO and co-founder of flow chat, a SAS company that has a unique way of acquiring new customers. their organic tool and strategies have led to boosting their company and others. for over $100,000 per month in revenue, when Chris isn’t building businesses, he’s building a lifelong marriage world impacting family and has competed on American ninja warrior. Welcome Chris 

[00:00:38] CHRIS: Hey Virginia. Thanks for having me. 

[00:00:40] VIRGINIA: Thanks for being Here with us today. Can you kind of tell us what your entrepreneurial journey has been like? Like has this, has this always been what you have done? 

[00:00:47] CHRIS: It’s been a sneaky one? That’s what it’s been and what I mean by sneaky is I didn’t identify as an entrepreneur until maybe like two or three years ago is when it kind of hit me and I’ve always viewed myself [00:01:00] more as somebody that just finds a way I solve problems. I have found myself in, in leadership in one way or another through, through most of my life. So for example, I was five years old and I started doing martial arts. And by the time I was six I was already helping out with certain classes and teaching, you know, other ranks. And so I always like found myself going that direction. I eventually got my first degree black belt when I was seven second degree when I was eight and continued on with that for a little bit and then got into sports. Played at a division one college for, for golf. And so this element of competition, this element of leadership, I was the team captain for, I started as the worst on every team and it was really freaking frustrating. And then, but by the end of. You know, my, my time, you know, I’d have like the lowest scoring average, uh, on the team. So there’s this competitive side of me, although I’m, I’m more of like a, my personality is more of like a soft spoken person, more, more introverted, but I’ll [00:02:00] just like kind of lock on, on a goal and an outcome. And then just kind of, I just won’t stop until I freaking get it. So there that’s in me. And as I graduate and I go into the marketplace, The business world. And I ended up starting my own stuff and it’s fun and exciting. It’s also crazy exhausting and nerve wracking. And am I good enough? And is this actually going to work? Is this a good idea? Is this the right? All this different stuff that I’ve had to, you know, process personally, and then, you know, getting married, starting a family, I’m not just doing. You know, I’m not just betting on myself. I’m also leading a marriage and a family, you know, how is this affecting everyone too? And so outside of the team and partners and all the other layers, so that’s kind of the highlight version of it. You know, Chris, how’d, you get into entrepreneurship, how’d you get into business, you know, a few years ago I heard someone define entrepreneurship and I was like, oh crap. I think that’s me. So I dunno, that’s roughly how it went down.

[00:02:58] VIRGINIA: Well, it sounds like it’s been an interesting journey [00:03:00] anyway. 

[00:03:00] CHRIS: Yeah. I mean, there’s, there’s never a dull moment. I’m constantly uncomfortable and you know, you’re, again, you’re just in that spot of servanthood. So if I’m not actually coming to market with a viable product or service, And I’m actually not getting other people results, then nobody cares.

[00:03:19] And there’s that some people, everyone responds to responsibility and rejection in different ways. And so I don’t even think it’s fair to say naturally respond to it this way. I think I’ve just, I’m constantly in this feedback loop of, did I accomplish the goal of. If yes. Cool. Why, if no, cool. Why I’m always learning and always asking and then figuring out how to replicate and then accelerate that result, not just for myself, but for others.

[00:03:47] VIRGINIA: So who is your ideal client 

[00:03:50] CHRIS: to put us in a bucket? Very simply flow chat is the, the software I built and sold my first software company about, oh, actually two years ago. This. [00:04:00] So, and I’ve been working on my next software project. We started early this year. So April was our first full month of sales. We did 35,000 that month in sales. And then, you know, continue to scale. Money is all relative is some friends. Oh, that’s great, Chris. I w I do what you do in an hour. I’m like, okay, well, you’re cool. You know, and for some like, whoa, that’s, you know, that would be, it’s a life-changing month for me. I was the guy that barely made $26,000 a year, like on my tax return. And I’m trying to get married. And when I’m going to my now wife, you know, then girlfriend saying, Hey, What do you think we could move in with my parents and get your ring maybe later? And that pitch didn’t sell very well. I didn’t, I don’t come from money. I’ve always had to create something from nothing. It’s the way that I say it. I have to, I have to be valuable to the way I get results as I get other people results. If I. Then they tell me to go home and nothing happens. And so I’ve [00:05:00] lived in that performer die type of mentality and, and how it didn’t do it the right way. No shortcuts because it doesn’t last. So if I eat today and I starve tomorrow, that doesn’t work for me. I can’t feed my kids hopes and dreams. I’ve got three kids under the age of six. They need re real results cause they need real food. So that’s my world. That’s how I think. Agency owners is, is very common. So you can put me in a lead gen bucket, w I’m re flow chat is really good at building targeted lead lists. And then, and then talking to that list via direct messaging on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, or a CRM for all direct messaging and open rates are fantastic. Click-through rates are fantastic. We’re not a bot. We don’t spam people I’ve yet. Like when’s the last time anyone’s bought from a bot I’ve taken over 600 call. Well, as of the beginning of September, this year, I already taken over 600 calls personally on communicating, just, just [00:06:00] different business owners, different agency owners on, Hey, how’s this? How is lead gen working for you? And no, none of, none of them, zero. I have bought from a bot and I’m like, okay, well, I like the idea, but if people, if that’s not where the buying pattern is taking place, then it’s probably not a good sales strategy. As of now could change. Right? All this being said or a helpful tool that we can import members from Facebook groups, we can people that like your content, so yours, or maybe there’s even competitor content or referral partner. Partners that are dream 100 in your same industry that are liking those posts. We can import all those people that are liking that content. A fun marketable way of saying it is we convert content into conversation. I’m the sales guy I’ve been commission only the last 10 plus years of my life, basically. So, you know, I w the world I know, and why I’m useful to other people is I help. I help drive more sales. People talk to more of the right people and drive more [00:07:00] revenue, create more commerce and transaction. So I love marketing love branding. I’ve learned a bunch about both specifically in the last five years, but they’re very powerful tools and skill sets, but my, my con, my trade is sales,

[00:07:13] VIRGINIA: So how do you get in front of agency owners.

[00:07:16] CHRIS: Yeah. So for example, there’s multiple different agency based Facebook groups. In fact, even, even like there’s founder groups as well. So I’d go on Facebook and I would just, even if you went on Facebook and type. Agency owner. And then you select the search filter groups. It’s going to show you a list of different Facebook groups that have attracted and were built for agency owners. I’d simply join those groups. And then I can import those member lists and then I can put them into a CRM chat sequence and begin reaching out to them and building my relationship with them. 

[00:07:52] VIRGINIA: That’s cool. 

[00:07:54] CHRIS: Helpful. Right. So here’s the thing. When you have sales to constantly drive, [00:08:00] not only for you, but you have a development department to fund and you have a marketing department to fund and you have a marriage and a family, and like all that, you know, a thousand bucks, 2010, you know, it’s like that crap takes a little bit of coin to fund. So, you know, fortunately I’ve been blessed to have a really powerful business partners. My superpower might just be, I’m really good at always being the dumbest person in the room. So, you know, my business partner, he sold over a hundred million dollars, uh, Sean Malone and his 20 plus year career. Now at this point and my CTO, Bruno the dude is so he’s crazy smart. He’s crazy smart. He just, the way he solves problems and can work, work, navigate them and develop code and engineer and the infrastructure of how all that works. He’s a really talented guy. He’s worked on some really big projects and then there’s Chris. So, you know, I’ve been able to support and obviously helped to some capacity and, and [00:09:00] continue to earn my right, you know, to be in the room. But all that being said, we help usually the longer somebody listens to me and the closer they get to me, the more money they start making. And I liken that to, it’s not because I’m special or different, it’s just because I’ve thought about that thing for the last 10 years of my life, every single day, how do I drive revenue? What does cashflow look like? What’s the projection? What are we doing? You know, quarter over quarter. And you know, my brain has been ch I’ve been in environments where like, I have to solve this, or I don’t survive. So, you know, fortunately I’ve been able to survive and continue to earn this right to play business, the game of business.

[00:09:37] VIRGINIA: So you guys, it sounds like you had a really successful launch what’s some of your big goals that you have now for the next year or two. 

[00:09:45] CHRIS: This by far is the biggest project I’ve ever worked on a flow chat flow chat.com. The, the goal is to, by the end of 2023, make sure that we have a 50 plus million dollar valuation, meaning that other people will look at our company investors, big money, [00:10:00] bigger money will look at our company and say, oh, you know, based on your retention, based on EBITDA and all these other acronyms and things that I’m learning about, but I would happily pay 50 million plus dollars for this to acquire this company. I don’t know that I’ll exit fully or partial exit, or I don’t know, but between the time that we started, which is, you know, early 20, 21 and the end of 2023. So it’s a three-year goal and project is to build a company where I find at least three people that are willing to write me a check for 50 plus million dollars. And that sounds crazy to even say I like, I have to practice saying it because it feels uncomfortable to me, but, but here’s the thing I’ll share a story here. Money is just an idea. It’s just an idea. When I was 24, I was like, Hmm, how much money should I make? I was like, well, a hundred thousand dollars a year. Sounds good. That’s a lot. That’s a lot of them. And I mean, and that’s, that’s us dollar. [00:11:00] So Virginia, like Canadian dollars, I don’t know. Right. I mean, that’s like, it was a small fortune, but, but that’s the thought that went through me. And so I ended up finding 10 different ways to make a hundred thousand and. And I picked one of them. And my first year, like I mentioned earlier, may 26 on my tax return. I always go to that. What did I take home? What is in my account? But I can do something with after taxes. It was 26,000 and change. So I always round down. My second year was $44,000 and change. And the third year in, in, in that I call it a project on at all, you know, a commission only sales position. I was walking to my car. I just got out of my Camry and walking to my condo. And right before I got into the door, I stopped and I looked at my tax return and it said $107,000 in change. I was 27 and it was the first, it was the first 12 month period year that I, I, I did it. I hit the goal and my [00:12:00] first feeling was like, I still feel broke. Like I just, I did it. Like I was exhausted. It didn’t feel very exciting, you know, but I’m like I did, I did. It says here that I did, and I’m not a big spender. So like I was, I was saving and, and PR for multiple projects and things I wanted to do, but the immediate and that lasted about five seconds. The immediate next thought that I had was why the hell did I pick a hundred grand? . Why didn’t I pick a quarter million? Why didn’t I pick a half? So I did. I was like, oh, well, I’m gonna hit on it. I’m going to do a quarter million now. And so, but what my brain started do, like a wealthy mind says I can’t and a wealthy mind says how. Can’t pour mine says I can’t and a wealthy mind says, how can I and Bo both minds are going to be presented with the same problem, but how people show up and flow through that is very different. And so I, but I don’t just [00:13:00] ask it once I ask it twice, actually five, actually I don’t stop asking it until I figure it out. My brain keeps coming up. Different ideas. And, you know, I meet new people and I asked other people like, how would you solve this problem? And then they’ll tell me how they did or how they would. And I definitely try to listen to more of the people that did and doing that. I share this story now because they come and hopefully this is inspiring and encouraging to people. I I’m, I’m just somebody that dared to ask the question, not once or twice, but not stop asking it until I figured it out. And I’m like, huh, well, I can’t stay on this job if I’m going to do a quarter million I have to do something else. Well, what else would I do? And then I started finding ways and then I started executing on ways and then it was like really freaking hard. Cause I had to learn all these new skills and now I’ve come to a place where I’m like, how do Virginia, how do I do something where someone just sends me $50 million. Right. And what pisses me off Virginia is why did I [00:14:00] pick a hundred grand? Why didn’t I just ask myself when I was 20 frigging 4 now I’m 34. You know, what, how do I get somebody to give me $50 million? I, you know what, you know what I can tell ya? I wouldn’t be thinking that now I’d probably already have it. Not that it’s just, I think it, and then it just comes to me. I think there’s, you know, you go into the, the manifestation thing. I think there’s merit there and there’s something there. I’m not like the best guy to talk to about all that stuff. I have a different Walk or different experience, but you know what I will say? Is I just ask a question, it’s a focus exercise, and it’s different thinking. And the question is, it’s not always money. You listening to this or watching this. What is your goal? Take all limitations off you for a second. And then like, what is it that’s in you that you feel you want to go create? It’s my belief that was first given to you. Like I start my day off, like, oh, Thanks God. Like [00:15:00] I was given life today and I can see touch, smell, and taste and use my body and my brain works and like, whoa, like these are all crazy, awesome gifts. Like this is literally a miracle. That’s how I feel. That’s how I started. And so as I flow through that and like, sit in that, I dunno more, more ideas come to me. And I’m like, I don’t feel like I was given all that just for my own consumption and pleasure. I feel like I was, I was given that to go serve other people. And in that. I’ll be fulfilled and it’ll be like a whole life. I don’t know. I’m getting a little down the rabbit trail, but yeah, I dunno. You’re asking, Hey, this is, this is honest, Chris, and this is what served me really well. I don’t know, processing life through some of these filters. They’ve continued to stick and hold up and bring me places. I never thought I’d go meet people. I never thought I’d meet and do things that I never thought I would do. I don’t come from. I’m just some guy that asked how a lot, and I hate losing there’s that whole piece and [00:16:00] listen, like it’s, it’s not been easy three months before my first son was born. I had to take on over 30,000 plus dollars in debt and I had saved my whole life and I was, I was really pissed about it because I’m like, I’m, I didn’t make a poor choice. I didn’t do something. And the truth is sometimes you don’t make like a mistake or do the wrong thing, but life still kicks you in the balls metaphorically. But anyway, like that was really scary for me. I had a two year lease agreement on, so I was for the insurance agency that I had at the time. It was like 2015, 2016. Before I came online,started building, you know, software companies essentially. And I had to tell my five employees it during the holiday. Sorry. I don’t know why the contract was cut, but we all like don’t have a job anymore, 

[00:16:48] VIRGINIA: Merry Christmas. 

[00:16:49] CHRIS: Merry Christmas and then I went home to my six month pregnant wife and she’s like, well, what are we going to do? We haven’t paid ourself in 10 months and now, and now we just took on more debt and. Uh, like, I’m sorry, [00:17:00] like I don’t even have, like, we had all our sales goals, like we were doing well as making sure everyone got paid. I’m like, I don’t, I don’t know. I don’t know what we’re going to do. And like, that moment sucked a lot. Now it worked out, you know, like I started selling my, my office furniture and I just, I wake up, thank you for life today. How do we do it? And how, how, how, how, how about now? And I just, I don’t know, I just worked until the job was done. And so sometimes that feels good and it’s fun. And sometimes it’s not so fun. I totally get why people are not entrepreneurs or build your own business. And it’s very humbling when it goes well, it’s humbling. And when it, when it sucks and you fail and you have to, and sometimes you don’t even know why and you live with that. That sucks too. Like, I it’s uncomfortable. It’s very painful. I totally recommend them. Knowing that upfront, maybe not get into it. If you, if you make look, listen, if you make 60 150,000 a year and you have one skill and you’re doing your [00:18:00] thing, I’m not saying that’s the right path for everyone. But I’m also saying it’s not necessarily a horrible gig. If I knew everything about entrpreneurship that I knew now, I don’t know that I would have walked the path, but it’s too late. I already did. And then my personality, you know, I just, I’m always, like, I love to build, like, I’ve believed like our creator created us to create. And so it’s like my is always going, always building and and that’s you know, here we are. 

[00:18:23] VIRGINIA: So is there any, what’s the best advice that someone’s ever given you? Like, was there something specific that definitely helped you through those rough times? Or just in general?

[00:18:33] CHRIS: I hear you asking like, Hey, how did, how did you get through the rough times? And I, for me, I just don’t, it’s always the goal. It’s always the goal. It’s like, well, here’s where, like, I’ll be honest with where I’m at and how I feel about it. And then it. You know, how do we make it? Well, be Chris, this doesn’t work and that’s broken dah, dah, dah. It’s like, okay, okay. Yeah, that’s all just noise to me. What, like, where do we [00:19:00] need to get to today? And sometimes into those harder moments, it’s like, I just need to make it to the end of the day. And that’s the goal. And so I th I think focus maybe is another simple way of saying the same thing is they’ll just get hyper-focused and, and I just there’s that. Look, I have this thing over here, so it’s like, don’t quit. It’s this like marble looking thing. And I can, I can, I got to jump here and just a bit, but I can read it to everyone here. Like quits, not in my blood. I don’t understand it. It doesn’t make any sense to me. And here’s something sometimes I’ll read when things are just not as fun. It says when things go wrong and they sometimes, will when the road you’re trudging seems all uphill when you’re feeling low and the stress is high and you want to smile, but you have to sigh when worries are getting you down a bit by all means pray. And don’t you quit. Success is failure turned inside out.God sends gifts in the clouds of doubt. You never [00:20:00] can tell how close you are. It may be near when it seems so far. So trust in the Lord when you’re hardest hit it’s when things go wrong that you must not quit. 

[00:20:11] VIRGINIA: So true. 

[00:20:12] CHRIS: Yeah, that one hits me hard as you can see in here, probably. And so there there’s, if it was martial arts, when I was, you know, five and younger in life, or if it was, you know, I had such a dream to actually more so like be a pro athlete, but being a division one athlete was like the next goal. And I, I spent, I spent like six years all day, every day, like summers, winters, whatever, pursuing that. And I never, I never got the scholarships. I never got, I always lost, I mean, golf there’s one winner. And if you take second year, the first loser, and so there’s a lot of built-in failure in that sport. And there’s no one else to blame, but you, and when you beat yourself up, you start doing worse and then you’re even more pissed that you’re pissed at yourself. It’s like this weird freaking tornado cycle. And it built a lot of character [00:21:00] in me and taught me a lot about myself. It exposed a lot of like weakness and insecurity in me and, and that has translated and helped quite a bit in life. That alone business, like in marriage and relationship. There’s no shortcuts, there’s no shortcuts. And so I, in those darker moments, you know, there’s, there’s this, that, that choice at the end of the day, like, are you in, are you going to keep going or not? And for me, it’s like, like I’m in, let’s go, you know so That’s the best way I know how to articulate it. 

[00:21:32] VIRGINIA: Awesome. Well, I really appreciate you being here with us today and for sharing and for being real and raw. I really appreciate that 

[00:21:40] CHRIS: Yeah it got intense today. 

[00:21:44] VIRGINIA: Where can people go to find out more, learn more about you and what you do?

[00:21:48] CHRIS: The best place where I’m most active as our Facebook group, just our free Facebook group, a flow chat, official command. There’s just, entrepreneurship is lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. And so it’s a great community to do. [00:22:00] Connect with other entrepreneurs that are dealing with all the problems and challenges that you’re facing. Not you. I mean, maybe you Virginia, but you listening. Yeah. Yeah. Like I, I would not be here if it wasn’t for being in, uh, other masterminds and surrounding myself with other like-minded entrepreneurs. If I walked this road alone, I would’ve crumbled a long time ago. 

[00:22:20] VIRGINIA: Awesome Well, thank you again. 

[00:22:23] CHRIS: Cool. Thank you, virginia. 

[00:22:24] VIRGINIA: You’re welcome. Have a great day. 

[00:22:26] Thank you so much for joining us today. Be sure to subscribe and leave some love through a review and I’ll catch you on the next episode.

 

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Distinct Digital Marketing

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Virginia Purnell

Virginia Purnell

Virginia lives in Northern Alberta on a small farm with her husband and three children.  

Virginia is a master funnel builder having been certified as an FG Society Master Marketer, Funnelytics, and ClickFunnels Certified Partner.

She also helps businesses with their visibility through online searches.

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