030 - How To Leverage Relationships Into Thriving Business Opportunities With Frank Agin




Marvel Enthusiast
Networking Franchize



Show Notes

Josh Tapp 0:00
What's up everybody? Josh Tapp here again, and welcome back to the lucky Titan podcast. So today we have Frank Hagen on the mic. Frank is the founder and CEO of am spirit calm. One of the world's first networking franchises. Frank is also a multiple Times best selling author. He is one of the best in the networking industry. So Frank is here today to talk with us about the best practices for leveraging relationships into thriving businesses. So Frank, let's just hop right in. All right, Frank. So tell us one thing about yourself that most people don't know.
Frank Agin 0:32
Oh, boy, I don't think anybody but my wife and kids know this. But I have a collection of Captain America comic books.
Josh Tapp 0:39
Frank Agin 0:41
They're I mean, they're, they're sitting in there. They're preserved. They're sitting in a box up off way up off the floor up near the ceiling in the basement. And I forgot about him until this whole Marvel movie, things come out. I'm like, I wonder what those things are worth. I was collecting for years years. So I have some I have some really old ones all the way back to 1968
Josh Tapp 1:04
Oh man. Frank I don't know if you've known this about me or not, but I'm pretty much the biggest fangirl of of Marvel. So our our office I have, I'm not going to show you cuz our listeners can't see it but I have a helmet of Star Lord, I've got a whole poster of all the Marvel characters about Thor's hammer.
Frank Agin 1:22
So we're instantly friends because my, my kids and I we go to those movies. Well, my son was a senior in college when endgame came out. He drove 90 minutes, I drove 90 minutes to meet up with each other so we could go see it. You know, none of us wanted to wait. So it was pretty awesome.
Josh Tapp 1:40
Yeah, I did. Yeah, I'm not gonna go down that rabbit hole. But
Unknown Speaker 1:43
that's another podcast.
Josh Tapp 1:44
Yeah. We should start working on that Frank.
Unknown Speaker 1:47
Yeah, there you go.
Josh Tapp 1:49
All right. So let's let's now switch over to your professional career a little bit. So let's talk about where you come from, and where you're at right now.
Frank Agin 1:57
Well, I live in Columbus, Ohio, and I moved here. The early 80s to mid 80s 84, go to law school, I went to Ohio State, I got a law degree, I got an MBA. And I from there, I went to a big public accounting firm to be a tax consultant. And I tell people, I hated every minute of it, which don't get me wrong, it was a good place to work. The money was great. The benefit was great benefits were great. The firsties was great. I just didn't want to be mired down the tax code for the rest of my life. And I was so entrepreneurial, so interested in other people building their businesses and how it worked. So I left after six and a half years, which will tell you I'm slow but not stupid. I, I went into private practice figured, okay, that's my next best step. And the funny thing happened when I went into private practice and the funny thing was that nothing happened. I had no idea how to get clients. Right I was that I was that bad actor at all the networking events, rolling out my cards, I had no idea what I was doing. But I had lunch one day with a friend of mine who was an attorney and she had started her firm several years earlier. And I asked her what I need to do to become successful. And she said you need to get into a tips club or elite group, and no idea what she was talking about. But she connected me with a group of people, an organization that brought together entrepreneurs, sales reps and professionals together weekly, to learn about each other and exchange referrals. I didn't think twice about it, I got involved and have any other options, and immediately started to make sense that I could lift up my whole career by helping these people. If I help them, they'll do it return. And I really bought into that it just it just made perfect sense. You know, Josh, it's so easy for me to promote other people. Yeah, it's so hard to promote myself. And I think we're all most people, not everybody. I, I know a few people, that's all they can do is promote themselves. Most of us, right and the most, the average person, it's hard to promote yourself, because you're, you're prone to rejection then but if I'm promoting you then hey, it's my job. opinion, you can disagree with my opinion, but I think Josh is great. So that was the, that was the gist of this whole organization. At any rate, I became very involved I became its first franchisee. And then in 2004, I bought it out, I actually stopped the practice of law. And, you know, I've been continuing to grow and spirit business connections, rebranded as am spirit, which is short for American spirit, back in 2004. And it just started to grow it, got it positioned it to start selling franchises around 2007 of course, then 2008 the big recession and that wasn't a good time to wasn't a good time to start a business. Yeah, no, I was okay. I mean, I, it just was kind of hard to sell franchises, especially when you don't have the hardest franchise. The hardest thing you'll do in business is get that first client, right. Same thing. So that first franchise, you know, now I've got 1415 of them, and it just be It's easier. But that's what I've been doing. That's my really my story. It's it's kind of led me on a journey of, you know, I've written many books I've written I've lost track a number of books on professional networking. Do a lot of speaking on networking, do a lot of consulting on networking, have have actually two podcasts. I have a regular podcast called networking Rx, very similar to yours. 20 minutes, 30 minutes tops. And then I have a as a result of that I have a second podcast which is everyday one minute, just a one minute it's called networking RX minute every day, there's a one little minute insight insight on networking or inspiration. So really changed the course of my life. Just kind of that one little luncheon.
Josh Tapp 5:46
Yeah. Well, and it helps you realize what your passion was. Yeah. And that's pretty incredible. Especially those those defining moments, right?
Frank Agin 5:54
Yeah. Yeah. Well, the thing is, is I wonder where I'd be without that, right? Right. You know
Josh Tapp 6:02
what, I've even started a business where I still be an accounting firm or
Unknown Speaker 6:05
Josh Tapp 6:06
yeah. That's good stuff, though. Well, so let's let's dive into kind of your theory around networking. You know, I've mentioned this to you. That's why we brought you on is I'm a huge advocate of networking. It's kind of the whole purpose of our podcast. So for you, what's what's a good kosher networking method?
Frank Agin 6:24
Well, I think it's, for me, it's really simple.
It's, it's simple, but it's not easy. Right? And the simplicity of it is find ways to help other people. It's really that simple. And, you know, I run people all the time, people. I guess one of the occupational hazards of doing what I do is everybody's coming to me when they're between jobs. Hey, I lost my job. Can you help me? Everyone says you can help me. You know, I tell people it's like, I don't have a Greyhound bus driving around the city with people looking to hire. But I'll teach them how to network right. And I'll just say Go volunteer, you know, you need to, you know, here's some things you could do get your resume updated, blah, blah, blah, but go volunteer, because you're going to run into people who will help you cast the net. So, you know, find ways to help other people. And, and that's really, again, it's really that simple. But sometimes it's hard because we're really, you know, we're hardwired to try and get business and I in early on, I was kind of in that mode where it was like, it's all about me, it's all about me, I need to get a check, I need to get a check. And once you surrender to the notion that you can help other people, or that you should be helping other people, it's going to come back to you. It really works. In fact, a quick story early on, I tell people, one of the worst referrals I've ever gotten in the organization was somebody said, Hey, Frank, I've got a referral for you. I was all excited. They came up to me and they said, Yeah, I want you to come speak to my organization. And I was so dejected on the outside. I'm like, Oh, thank you very much. But inside I was just I was I was almost angry like, I don't, I don't need to write another speech I need I need. I need somebody got to check with my name on it. Yeah. As it turned out, the organization you wanted me to speak to was the Ohio Business Brokers Association. And he wanted me to talk about the legal aspects of buying and selling a business. And that's a lot of the law that I ended up practicing. And it was the perfect place to be for 30 minutes in my time that sent me on a, you know, a 10 year 10 year adventure with these group of people sending me business because they had gotten to know me like me, and trust me, again, just kind of giving and then trusting that it'll come back.
Josh Tapp 8:42
Yeah. Well, we talked about this beforehand, but I mean, there's the vacuum principle. I mean, you learn about that instance, science. I'm not a big science buff, but this one really stuck with me because it applies to networking so well into value but when you so for example, if you're like digging a hole in the sand underneath River is going to fill with water, the space always has to fill this the vacuum principle solely to fill air water. And it happens the same way. When we network when we give value to people, you know a story I was telling you about myself, you know, we've we've provided free services to tons of different people in order to kind of create that name for ourselves. But it also, we were able to say, okay, we're here are good quality, you know, we're good quality business. And from that we got so many referrals and so many different things that have come from that by just providing the free value. So I do have a question along those lines for you, though, for you. What do you find is one of the quicker ways to provide value to people because a lot of people say, Oh, I don't have time to like, go speak all the time or whatever.
Frank Agin 9:45
Well, no, sure. And speaking is not for everybody. That's, that's for sure. One volunteering, find something you're passionate about and volunteer. And I tell people when you get up and you go volunteer for people, you thrust your out of your little corner of the world, into, into and amongst people who have come out of their little corner of the world. And it's, you know, it's there's something really rewarding about it too, but it's really, it's really kind of a great networking experience. Plus you're being able to show people that you're willing to contribute to the world. But another great way of helping people is what I call creating triads. We all know people, I know people, you know, people, I know people you don't know, Josh, you know, for me to connect you with somebody you don't know, is huge in your world, or potentially huge. Yeah, certainly, you know, if it's the right connections, and so often people are they're kind of guarded about their contacts. Well, I don't want people to know my contacts are, well, why not? Because, you know, I, you know, I'm not is, you know, we're not, I'm not creating marriages out there. I'm just introducing people and see and seeing where it goes, you know, people who are, you know, hey, I'm looking to write a book. Hey, I know somebody can help you. You know, I'm looking to do this. I know somebody can help you and just kind of make those connections. One of my daughter's teammates, my daughter plays college soccer, one of her teammates came up to she'd graduated looking for a job. I'm like, you know, hey, Sam, here's some people that you should meet. You know? Yeah, that's a benefit for both sides. It's just it's rewarding. But that's it. That's an easy way to kind of give back to other people.
Josh Tapp 11:22
Yeah, but the Tran Eric, I love that. You mentioned that because it takes no time whatsoever to just refer them to somebody else who's better. Right? That's, I spend a majority of my time on social media doing that. Because it's like, well, I mean, they then know me as the guy that connects them with the right person. And then the other person says the same thing. Yeah,
Frank Agin 11:41
well, I love the vacuum principle. I'm gonna I'm gonna quote you on that one.
Josh Tapp 11:46
I think it was like Aristotle who came up with that. That's okay. I have to quote him on that
Frank Agin 11:51
one. No, but you're the one who kind of has kind of applied it to networking. I think that's, you know, that helps people Understand it, right? I mean, it's just, you know, Okay, that makes sense.
Josh Tapp 12:03
Yeah. And I go ahead and use it. You don't even have to call me on if you want. So, I mean, that's you've opened a lot of doors there. So I don't want to go down too many rabbit holes. But I mean, when it comes to, to your method, or you provide the value and everything, at what point is the value start coming back to you, and how do you handle the value that's coming back to you?
Frank Agin 12:24
Well, I guess that's an important. That's an important point to make is that you you don't know. And when I tell people, this is kind of a closing line to when I go out and give speeches, I tell people networking works. It doesn't always work, how you want it to work. So you go to that networking function open, you get a client, and you come away with that tip on that great vacation. Networking worked. It didn't work exactly how you wanted it to. It doesn't always work when you want it to work. You go to the networking event, nothing happens on the way home, you stopped to get a gallon of milk and you run into somebody and something happens and it doesn't work. All right, that would be the where, though, it doesn't always happen when you want it to work. And sometimes we connect with people and I hear stories all the time of somebody who just got a great client. Last time I saw him was 15 years ago at a wedding, you know, and it's created that relationship and but they've remembered them. So you can't, you, you have to be patient with it. You just have to, you know, you're just kind of, you're kind of firing things out into the universe, and they'll come back to you, you know, with your vacuum principle. It just doesn't, it doesn't always feel how you want it to, when you want it to. Yeah, but it does. And, and so it's really kind of hard to say, Well, you know, you do this, and this will happen. It's it's not that simple. But, but if you do enough of it, and you kind of it's kind of like a pipeline in sales, right? You make enough calls, you're gonna end up with enough appointments and then end up with enough sales. Well, if you do enough things, eventually things are going to come back to you and they'll just your it just takes time.
Josh Tapp 14:00
Yeah, I completely agree. Well, so you've actually created an entire franchise around networking. And that intrigued me like crazy. So, so delve into that a little bit for Ico. What's this franchise opportunity?
Frank Agin 14:14
Yeah, with with amp spirit business connections, let me just say I'll describe the business real quick. We have a weekly meeting where entrepreneurs, sales reps and professionals come into so it's a membership based organization, people pay dues to belong. And they come together and they learn about each other. And from that exchange referrals actually, the bigger piece of it that people don't realize is it's really they're creating relationships. When you're sitting next to somebody week in and week out, and you're, you know, they're giving you things and they're helping you you you want to go to bat for them. And they've created that relationship. So essentially, that's what these are these weekly groups that meet and people people join in, they go to the same group every week. And so through the franchise opportunity, what we do is we actually teach people how to put together these groups, you know, not just one but multiple groups in a particular area and kind of build a networking, networking Kingdom in their, their locale and their city.
Josh Tapp 15:18
Yeah. That's super awesome. So kind of like a B and I like business networking international
Frank Agin 15:24
type together. Yep, they're a competitor. I wasn't gonna say it, but you did. So it's okay.
Josh Tapp 15:28
Sorry. Oh,
Frank Agin 15:31
you know that So, I mean, that's fine. A bi is a great organization. And, you know, they, the person who actually started our organization was had no notion of Ivan Meisner, they were they knew of each other. So there were very similar. I think there are some nuances that make us different. But it's very similar to be an I say, when you're seems to have more of a kind of a specific purpose. I love being I grew up so I've been to a few of them, but they're
Josh Tapp 16:01
In my I don't really I don't really love them because of the type of people they usually attract, you know, but that I don't want to bash on those now I have to like back real on that. Okay,
Frank Agin 16:12
it's all good. So with you it's not for you it's not for you. That's all
Josh Tapp 16:16
Yeah, I mean for certain people i think it's it's genius. For us it just has never really been a fruitful endeavor but right and so I really like the direction you're going with that. So you're providing an opportunity for people to be able to open up an area and and create a network on their own and then do you kind of help facilitate those as well? And
Frank Agin 16:35
yeah, there's a lot of there's much of my day is spent talking with franchisees kind of coaching them through, you know, I've seen a lot and they and they coach amongst amongst each other as well. But what I tell people who are sort of looking at this, I asked them I said, Would you rather rent an apartment or own the apartment building Right, like, Well, I'd rather open the apartment building. And why would you just want to be a networking group when you could basically own the networking group, or I work in groups. And and the people who get that are the people who end up becoming franchisees, because they see, they see the value in creating this network, one getting paid to be at the top end of that network that they're building, but also be to be able to benefit from that network, one of my franchisees, Tom Anderson, he's a web designer. He tells me all the time, he says, Frank, you wouldn't believe the amount of business I get from the groups that I'm not in, you know, when he goes to every week he gets business from but the group's he works within is built, they send him a lot of business as well. So it's, it's it's very productive.
Josh Tapp 17:50
Yeah. And it's a good side gig for you one way or now, because it's producing business for you, but you're getting paid to do the business. That's genius.
Unknown Speaker 17:57
Do all my Oh yeah. I don't know about that. asked my kids,
Frank Agin 18:03
all my franchisees do something else, you know, so for a couple hours in the morning a few days a week there am spirit business connections franchisees the rest of their time there. You know, web designers, financial advisors, realtors, coaches, consultants of various kinds. Yeah,
Josh Tapp 18:18
yeah. Which is super cool to see that you're building out such an awesome network. Well, before we sign off, though, I know we've already kind of tackled everything we want to tackle today. So give us one last parting piece of guidance and then let us know how we can connect with you.
Frank Agin 18:32
One last piece of guidance. Oh my gosh, I'm by my captain america comics, no.
Josh Tapp 18:40
eBay, baby. Yeah.
Frank Agin 18:42
No, you know, with respect to networking, you know, you just really it's a leap of faith. You've got it, you've got to try and do it. You know, it's, it's kind of like the gym. I mean, people go to the gym and three days later, they're not they don't have a six pack. They don't have six pack abs. And so they're gonna give up on it. It's just, it's something you just it's Gotta be a lifestyle, it's just got to be something that you do. And once you kind of get going in it, it becomes very rewarding. Well, you know that it just becomes very rewarding. And once it becomes rewarding, it's just kind of it. It's easy to stick with, right? As far as contacting me a couple ways to getting a hold of me I am on LinkedIn. Frank Hagen last name spelled a gi n. I think I'm the only Frank Gagan out there but I also have a website Frank Hagen calm those are those are probably the two easiest ways to connect with me. Frank Hagen calm my email is there and you can certainly find my LinkedIn through there and pretty much everything will bounce on LinkedIn or on that Frank Kagan Comm. website. So one of those two ways
Josh Tapp 19:46
perk will send people that direction and if anybody's looking to potentially franchise with you, or you even open to new franchisees right now.
Frank Agin 19:53
Oh, absolutely, yeah. Reach out to me. You know, I look at I look Could my board of you know there's probably 1215 names on the board of different prospects around the country that at different stages with so it's Yeah, absolutely love to talk to anybody, even if they just want some information, maybe it's further friend or not necessarily for them. love to talk to them.
Josh Tapp 20:18
That's awesome. Well, thanks again Frank for coming on the show. Thank you. The number one needle mover in my business is joint venture partnerships. Growing a following can be time consuming and frustrating. For that reason we created the tribe of Titans the world's first joint venture matching platform. Using this free platform you can find guests for a podcast YouTube channel or Facebook group, where you can promote your brand product or service in one simple place. You can create your free accounts as tribe dot the lucky titan.com once again, that's tribe dot the lucky titan.com
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