How to Work Smart Rather Than Hard – Tim Fitzpatrick

In this week’s episode, we have Tim Fitzpatrick. Tim is the president of Rialto Marketing. He is based in Colorado but grew up in the Bay Area in California. His story started from working in a wholesale distribution company to selling houses and then finally, digital marketing and business growth. He believes that most people make marketing complicated which, according to him, should not be the case. He believes in working smart rather than working hard.

Tim’s website:


Katie Brinkley 0:02

Hi friends. I’m Katie Brinkley and you’re listening to Rocky Mountain marketing. This podcast is all about helping Colorado based small business owners, entrepreneurs, realtors and professionals discover the strategies and systems that take their marketing to all new heights. Let’s dive into today’s episode. Welcome back to Rocky Mountain marketing. My guest today is Tim Fitzpatrick. Tim is an entrepreneur and a business owner with expertise in marketing and business growth. He has 20 plus years of entrepreneurial experience with a passion for developing and growing businesses. That passion served him well in operating and managing the wholesale distribution company he co owned for nine years, the company grew an average of 60% a year before being acquired in 2005. Since then, he’s had failures and successes that have been valuable learning experiences. He started realtor marketing in 2013, and has been helping service businesses simplify marketing, so that they can grow with less stress. Most people overcomplicate marketing, and it doesn’t need to be that way. Tim, thank you so much for coming on the show today.

Tim Fitzpatrick 1:09

Katie, happy to be here. Thanks for having me.

Katie Brinkley 1:12

Well, you know, you and I have had the opportunity to get to know each other very well. I’ve been on your podcast and your Facebook Live, we have a lot of similar connections, I feel like the older I get, the smaller the world is becoming. You’ve had some friends of mine on your show, too. So I just would love to introduce you a little bit more to our audience. You’re based right here in Colorado, just in Highlands Ranch just down the street from me. So let’s get to know you a little bit. Tell us a little bit about where you grew up and what life was like growing up for you.

Tim Fitzpatrick 1:43

Sure. So I grew up in the in the Bay Area in Northern California, it was a great place to grow up. I think it’s still a great place to be, but it’s gotten really busy. And so my wife and I ended up moving out to Colorado in 2008. But as a kid, I’m not going to tell you I was one of those entrepreneurial kids selling baseball cards and hockey and stuff at garage sales I really cared about was riding my bike and hanging out with friends. So but it was a great place to grow up. When I graduated from college, I got involved, as you mentioned and wholesale distribution company. And boy, that was I learned more doing that in six months than I did in four years of college. It was in on the job MBA, I learned so much. And it was a wonderful experience until we sold it. And I worked for that company for another three years after we sold it. And then I actually got laid off, which is kind of funny. It’s more common than you think Katie to get laid off by the company that bought you. But after that I decided to transition into virtual, which was in early 2010, which most people will say, Oh my god, Tim, what the hell were you thinking, but I’ve always felt like there was opportunity in any market. And in that market, it was door knocking and knocking on people’s doors to help them get out of foreclosure, you know, sell their houses, and we had to work with the banks to get them to approve selling the house for less than what it was worth, and put myself outside of my comfort zone every day when I was doing that. But I did not. And after three years, I said man, I gotta do something different. What’s the point? No, no, my own business. I’m not enjoying it. And so I I shifted gears at that night. And that’s when I got into into marketing, which is what I’m doing today. So that’s my, my winding entrepreneurial Road in two minutes.

Katie Brinkley 3:27

Yeah, you know, Tim, it is crazy been, you know, I love. I love the fact that you’re laid off. That sounds weird to say but I mean, I think that that really gives us I was also laid off I was laid off from you know, what I thought was my dream job. I was, you know, the Marketing Manager for the television station here for the Rockies. I have fantastic boss, I loved what I did. And when I was laid off, I felt like my world had been was crashing in. But it really opened up the door for me to do my own thing. And I think that sometimes it takes being laid off from something that will really allow you to grow as as a business owner and see where life can take you. So, you know, it’s maybe we’re not alone with our being laid hop to becoming successful entrepreneurs. You know, and you took us through your career journey a bit. What do you think? If you’re just bliss, if someone’s listening right now that’s just starting out to becoming a business owner? What is the single biggest piece of advice that you would want to give him or her as their journey starts?

Tim Fitzpatrick 4:25

Oh, man, there’s, you know, there’s no shortage of great advice out there. I don’t think there’s any one silver bullet. But one of the things that I have always embraced, which I think has really helped me is change. You can fight change all you want. But as an entrepreneur, if you fight, things changing, you’re going to have a really hard time being successful. I think you’re going to create a lot of headaches for yourself. We have to embrace change, they things are changing all the time. Young guys the pandemic is a great example right you there plenty The people that were cranking and the pandemic hit, and the brakes just went on. So, you know, I think we have to be open to change. And we have to have the ability to look for the silver lining, how can I take advantage of this change to continue to move my business forward?

Katie Brinkley 5:17

And that is, that’s great advice. I think that we all had to do. I feel like the word of 2020 List pivot, and we all had to a lot of pivoting with our businesses last year. But I think that it gave a wake up call to a lot of businesses that had been kind of putting their marketing plan and their marketing strategy on the backburner. I’ll get to it, I’ll get to how to get to it. And then all of a sudden, when everything was shut down, their digital marketing plan had to be front and center. And they had to figure things out quickly if they wanted to try and succeed and grow. So for a lot of businesses, you help them figure out how to find their marketing plan and how to not overcomplicate it. I, you know, I said that in production, you’re all about simplifying it and making it so that you can have a clear message. So what is one of the tips that you give to businesses when they’re trying to figure things out with their marketing strategy and help it that helping them create that clear message?

Tim Fitzpatrick 6:11

Yeah. So we always come back to the fundamentals and start with the fundamentals. First, the fundamentals lay the foundation for you to build the rest of your marketing house from and there’s just so many people that skip the fundamentals, they don’t understand or have a real firm grasp on their target market, you know, who they’re going to serve and how they’re going to serve those people. They don’t have clear engaging messaging to attract and engage that target market. And they don’t have a plan of how they’re actually going to get that message in front of those people. So many people want to get tactical immediately, you know, I mean, I’ve got to be on clubhouse, or I have to be on tick tock, or I’ve got to get my website up, or I have to have a YouTube channel. Well, if you start to all those things can be great. But if you do those things prior to knowing those fundamentals for your business, you’re never going to have long term success, your marketing just becomes a crapshoot. You’re throwing spaghetti up against the wall, hoping something sticks. And that’s just not a good long term plan. And you know, what we find? I mean, Katie, even businesses that have been in business for three 510 years, sometimes they’re struggling with these fundamentals, you know, they’ve still found ways to succeed in spite of that. But when they get those fundamentals in place, the level of everything that they do just rises.

Katie Brinkley 7:32

Absolutely. And for what I do, I you know, I do social media 90% of what I do every day is in social media. And it makes my life so much easier. If somebody that’s coming to me does have those fundamentals in place, they have their messaging in place, like they have, they know what their brand colors are, what their, but the voice of their business is. And I think that that really kind of like you said, Oh, we got to the website, we have to be on this social media platform, we have to do all the things. And when you’re when you’re doing all the things, you’re really just becoming white noise and putting out a message to no one instead of your exact target audience. So how does someone do that? How do they narrow down their target market?

Tim Fitzpatrick 8:16

Yeah, I think the easiest place to start for any existing business, somebody that’s they’ve got current clients, they have past clients, the easiest place to start is to ask yourself three questions. First one, who do you enjoy working with? Why work with people that make your life difficult every day? Okay, two products, if we’re going to stay in business, we need to work with profitable clients, frankly, we’re doing ourselves and our clients a disservice if we’re not working with clients that are profitable. And three, who do you do your best work for? If we can work day in day out with those clients that we get our best results for what’s going to happen, they’re going to be happy, they’re going to want to continue to work with us, they’re going to refer us if we’ve got more services they can take advantage of they’re going to want to do that. So if you ask yourself, those three questions, you have a subgroup of your current and past clients that you answered positively to all three of those questions. That is the group that you start to dig a little bit deeper on. And you start to look at the psychographics and the demographics of the people in that group. So the demographics, those are the numbers, right, you know, and depending on whether you’re b2b in the business to business or business to consumer space, those demographics may be different, you know, but it could be age range. It could be where people live, how much money they make, it could be their job title, the industries that they’re in, those are all examples of sort of demographics, okay, but we can look at the demographics, then we want to look at the psychographics. And the psychographics. Really is we’re getting into the into the thought process into their head. What are their thoughts as it relates to what we do? What are their motivations, the roadblocks, that they have the results that they’re Looking for the common problems. When we look at the demographics and the psychographics of the customers that are in that group. Inevitably what happens is 123 subgroups come from that. And those are your ideal client types.

Katie Brinkley 10:13

I love that. And it resonates exactly with the social media too, because I think that a lot of people, businesses, brands get so wrapped up in the vanity metrics, like, oh, we only have 100 likes, we only have 200 followers or whatever. Yeah. But if you have 200, people that are actively engaging with your page and your content, it is way better to have those 200 people than it is to have bought, purchased, yes, you know, to 20,000 people from Brazil or something that never ever engage or like or comment it with your posts. And it’s very obvious it’s go that it’s true, the riches are in the niches and when you target down and make your your content and your your messaging and your marketing for that small group, it really will help your business grow. Because again, word of mouth, it is still a very large part of advertising. And if you are talking directly to your target market every day, they are going to tell their friends and family about you. So I love that tip, Tim, and I think it’s something that a lot of people or businesses might sometimes overlook. Now, if someone’s just trying to start at square one, they say Tam, okay, I need to have a simple marketing plan. How do I do this? What would you say to them?

Tim Fitzpatrick 11:29

We so the way I look at marketing plans is a 90 day sprints. So and that’s for a few reasons. One, a year long two year long, anything longer than that marketing plan becomes too complicated. And I believe complexity is just the enemy of seeing results. So well.

Katie Brinkley 11:49

Think about it. Tim, if someone were to have a year long marketing plan back in January 2020. Yeah, it would look very, very different come April 1, it did back on January 1. So I think that is a great tip that 90 Day sprint,

Tim Fitzpatrick 12:03

yep, you have to have flexibility built into your plan. And when it’s done on 90 day sprints, you have that flexibility, but 90 days is still long enough to start seeing whether the actions you’re taking are having results. So that’s why I love 90 day marking plan. I just try and keep it as simple as possible. So the 90 day plan we use is six steps. Okay? The first step is who’s your target market? Okay, I want you at a minimum to have a paragraph for each ideal client type you have. All we want to do here is make sure that we are keeping top of mind who we intend to attract. The second step is What’s my goal, it should be specific, it should be measurable, it’s going to be time bound, because it’s a 90 day plan, you know, so this might be you know, I intend to bring on five new clients in the next 90 days, we have to have an idea of where we’re headed. The third is what’s our budget and our resources. So when I look at this, I break it down into your budget, obviously, how much money do you have to spend that $500 A month is a $5,000 a month, your resources have to do with your time people on your staff, their time, but it also has to do with capabilities. So just because Jenny in your office has time to manage your social media. If she doesn’t have the capability, she doesn’t understand it. Well, that ain’t gonna work. Right? So all this step does is that gives us an idea of what we have to work with within our plan. Before step is what’s our current marketing plan. And when I say this, Katie, I realize most people don’t have a plan. That’s okay. All we’re doing here is identifying a reference point or a baseline of where we’re starting from it. My GPS cannot tell me how to get to Denver International Airport until I tell it I’m starting from Highlands Ranch, right? This concept is no different. You can’t lay out what you should be doing moving forward to reach your goals until you first understand where you’re starting from. So when I look at current marketing plans, and the net what we’re going to focus on the next 90 days, we look at eight main marketing channels, every tactic will fall into one of these channels, you’ve got your strategy or your fundamentals. So the target your target market and your messaging, you’ve got your website, you have content, which is your blogs, or podcasts or videos, whatever that may be search engine optimization, social media, email marketing, paid advertising, so Google ads or Facebook ads, and then offline marketing. Am I doing speaking, am I doing direct mail, my networking, those types of things will fall into offline. All I want you to do in this four step. Just write down what you’ve done, and what you have in place or what you continue to do on a consistent basis in each of those channels. Do not feel like you’re missing out. If you are not in every one of those channels. You do not have to be in every one of those channels. Yeah, they’re so super important to keep in mind.

Katie Brinkley 14:59

You know, I love That, Tim and I think that it really, it causes me to kind of wonder what works for you these days? What type of marketing Have you found that helps you move the needle to help find and engage and work with your ideal clients and customers these days?

Tim Fitzpatrick 15:16

Yeah, it’s a great question, Katie. And for our business, the driver has always been speaking in some way, shape or form. Prior to the pandemic that was in person in the pandemic, that obviously has shifted online. So we’re doing a lot more workshops online, but then speaking comes in all kinds of formats, right? I mean, could be webinars, workshops, that kind of stuff, it could be content in some way, shape, or form. So I still look at podcasting, doing guest podcast spots like this, as speaking in just a different form. So speaking works really well for us with along with content, you know, so creating content and driving people inbound content, I think, also melds into your social strategy as well, you know, because you can, there’s all kinds of ways you can use social to promote the content that you’re creating. So all of our stuff is really very content driven. And that’s how we get in front of in, stay in front of our ideal clients and generate leads.

Katie Brinkley 16:20

And that can be hard as trying to find ways to get in front of your ideal clients. So I love that. Let’s move along to tip number five.

Tim Fitzpatrick 16:27

Yes, so tip number five, right, and four, we talked about what you’re currently doing from marketing plan perspective, step five, is what are you going to focus on in the next 90 days, and it can be in any of those channels that we talked about before. And depending on where your what your budget is, and what your resources are, that’s going to kind of determine how much you can choose to bite off in the next 90 days, you know, if it’s just my time, you know, and I’ve got four hours a week, and I don’t really have a budget, well, I’m not going to focus on every channel, right? I just can’t possibly it’s not, it’s not going to happen. If I don’t have the fundamentals in place. If I don’t know who my target market is, and I don’t have great messaging. Well, for the next 90 days, I might just be focusing on that strategy and fundamental channel before I start expanding out into others. But all we’re doing in this next 90 days, is just putting what we’re gonna focus on what are our priorities. And when we have our priorities down, it helps eliminate distraction, it gives us clarity, right on what’s important for us. And when we have clarity, it leads to reduce stress, there’s less stress when we know exactly what we need to do. And that’s what we’re trying to do in this fifth step. In the sixth step, we look at the metrics that we’re going to track, what metrics are we going to track that are going to help us determine whether the actions we’re taking in this 90 day plan are actually making an impact. I like to keep this high level, there are so many different metrics within marketing. And as you know, Katie’s there’s so many vanity metrics, you know, how many followers do I have on Facebook? How many? How many people are on my email list? How many visitors are to my website? Who cares? are you generating leads? And are those converting to customers? So if you don’t know how many leads you’re generating, and how many of those are converting the customers start there. Because that’s a really powerful number to understand. From there. If you want to get more advanced, more sophisticated with the metrics you track, you certainly can. But I like to keep it simple. And just make sure that I have at least some metrics that are going to help me determine whether what we’re doing are moving the needle or not. And then once we know that, at the end of the 90 days, we can look at what worked, what didn’t we can make updates, create a new 90 day plan. And we just wash, rinse and repeat. That’s it.

Katie Brinkley 18:48

I love that. And I think that to the underlying theme of all those tips, Tim is to work smarter, not harder. You know, really, it is I mean, find that the social media channel that works for you find the type of content that your audience likes, focus just in on that audience, and the rest of your business will be a lot more enjoyable. Right?

Tim Fitzpatrick 19:13

Absolutely. And you know, a lot of the when we put a plan together for clients, one of the first things that we focus on is what’s working now. Right? What are you doing now to generate leads and out of those ways that you’re using to generate leads, which ones are working? And let’s first that’s the best place to look first for your marketing plan. Because if we’re if you have a, let’s say, speaking is working well for you? We’re certainly not going to abandon that. But are you maximizing that opportunity? If you’re not? That’s one of the things that you should put in your plan. First is how else can we maximize this opportunity? And once once we’ve taken that opportunity to its fullest extent, then we can start to expand and look into other channels and other channels. tactics, but why not double down on what’s working?

Katie Brinkley 20:03

Exactly. I love that. And I think that a lot of, especially for what I do with social media, a lot of businesses are always trying to be on every single social media platform known to mankind. And when when that happens, it can be very, very overwhelming. And you can lose sight of focusing in on this, the parts of your business that are working and getting caught up in the vanity metrics of oh, well, we have 10,000 followers here, but only 10 Over there, we need to work on it. It’s no, take a step back, focus in on what’s working and go all in on it go all in on it with a plan. Yeah,

Tim Fitzpatrick 20:37

rather than going a mile wide and an inch deep, yet, right? You go an extra mile deep. So it’s, yeah, with social media, we see that all the time, especially, there’s just so many different social media channels, and people feel like they need to be everywhere. And when you do that, and you know, unless you have a huge budget, you’re just not going to do a good job. Yeah. So you might as well find that one platform to start at least where it resonates with you. I mean, at this point, almost any type of ideal client is on any social media for the most part, right? So let’s just figure out which one do you like that you can use? And just start doing that one really well, before you start to expand out?

Katie Brinkley 21:21

Well, Tim, I think that, you know, you’ve had the opportunity to be an entrepreneur a couple times, and what is the biggest piece of advice that you’d want to send someone off with after listening to today’s show? As they enter the world of entrepreneurship? What is the best piece of business advice that you’d like him or her to go forward with?

Tim Fitzpatrick 21:42

Katie, there’s no shortage of great business advice out there. One of the things that always stuck with me that a mentor told me was focused on the next measurable step. So, you know, as entrepreneurs, business owners, it can be overwhelming at times, and we have all these ideas floating around in our head, there’s all these things we want to do we want to accomplish. And when we think about all those things at once, without really drilling down on what our next measurable step is, it’s, it’s totally overwhelming, you can’t do anything. So break it down into the next measurable step, not the next step. But the next measurable step you can take. And it becomes so much easier. And after you take that step, you’re one step closer, then you can focus on the next measurable step. After that, it’s just so much easier when we can break things down into small steps and start taking those steps. So that’s one thing that always stuck with me that has really helped me on my journey. It’s true.

Katie Brinkley 22:41

It’s true. Rome wasn’t built in a day. And it can be really hard to see where someone that you look up to, or a business like yours and not do the comparison to be like, Oh, well, I need to do this, this and this. And you don’t know how long they’ve been in business for you don’t know how long they’ve been working to get to where they are, and focus on your own journey. Take those baby steps. I absolutely love it. Tim, I was gonna say this has been such a great conversation. Where can we learn more about you and do business with you online? Yeah,

Tim Fitzpatrick 23:11

the best place to go is our website, Katie, which is realtime That’s our IA LTO We did put together some free resources for your listeners that to help get started but those fundamentals. So if they go to router, forward slash rocky dash mountain dash marketing, they don’t even have to opt in, there’s tons of free resources there. If they get stuck as they’re looking at this stuff, just hit the get a free consultation button. It’s all over our website, be happy to chat for a few minutes and help them push through those roadblocks.

Katie Brinkley 23:44

I love that. Thank you so much for putting that together for the listeners. And you know, if nobody has followed you over on LinkedIn, I know that you are a wealth of knowledge over there on LinkedIn too. So be sure to connect with him on LinkedIn because like I said, he’s always publishing great blogs and great tips for marketing. Always has great guests on his show as well. What is what’s the name of your podcast so that people can tune into that, Tim?

Tim Fitzpatrick 24:07

Yeah, it’s It’s simple. It’s really the reality of marketing podcasts. So not too hard to find. And if they go to our website, they can find all that stuff there too. So happy to connect anywhere that it’s convenient for them.

Katie Brinkley 24:20

Well, thank you again, so much for coming on the show today. It has been a pleasure.

Tim Fitzpatrick 24:24

Thank you, Katie. Take care.

Katie Brinkley 24:29

Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Rocky Mountain marketing. As always, I’d love to hear from you. You can visit my website at Connect with me on LinkedIn or check me out on Instagram. Let’s keep taking your marketing to new heights.