Lieder Digital’s founder and Chief Marketer, Ron Stauffer, was recently interviewed on the Yuma Chamber of Commerce’s radio show “Chamber Chatter.” Here is the audio file, and the audio transcription of the interview between John Courtis and Ron Stauffer.
John Courtis: Good morning, Yuma! You’re listening to “Chamber Chatter” 560AM KBLU in studio. We have Ron Stauffer, who is the owner, director… he is “the guy,” at Lieder Digital. Good morning, Ron!
Ron (on Radio): Good morning, John.
John Courtis: Fairly new to the chamber and fairly new to Yuma. Um, so when we discovered you were a chamber member, thank you very much for that, but I hear you moved to Yuma from Colorado, is that correct?
Ron (on Radio): Yeah, brand new. We came, um, my wife and I, and our five kids moved here on June 2nd.
John Courtis: Welcome! And we turned the blast furnace on for you, and we made sure it was 115 degrees real quick.
Ron (on Radio): Um, I hear, I came at the worst possible time.
John Courtis: We tell people, look, in Yuma, our people are warm. You have to spin that correctly. Okay. You can’t say hot, just our, our people are warm. Um, what’s your, what’s your take so far? You’ve been here, uh, about a month or two. What’s your take so far?
Ron (on Radio): Well, my first thought is. Um, I was amazed at how friendly the people on our street in our neighborhood were. Um, I think we’re probably the only family that’s not in the military. That’s a big difference. Um, most of our neighbors are Marines, but very friendly and very welcoming. Um, our kids have had a great time to getting to know the other kids, so the people are warm. I would agree with you there. Definitely the weather is warm. This is definitely the hottest place I’ve ever lived in. Probably not the hottest place I’ve ever been, but, um, you know, I’m just thinking… I grew up in California and so, in Stockton, there were some summers where I think we’d be at about 110 degrees, but, boy, 114Â°, 116Â°, that’s new for me.
John Courtis: However, for Stockton, the humidity in Stockton… I spent a couple of summers in Sacramento… that humidity is just awful.
Ron (on Radio): That’s my favorite part about Yuma, and that’s part of why I picked Yuma. When we were looking to relocate my wife and I… were thinking, “Okay, I want to go somewhere where there’s no more snow.” So we moved here from Colorado. We were up in Boulder County, a town called Longmont. And, uh, we loved it there, but I just, I’m tired of the snow. I turned into a snowbird a little bit early and, uh, anyway, no humidity was a really important factor. We wanted to go somewhere warm, but where it wasn’t humid. So that’s definitely one of my favorite parts of living in Yuma.
John Courtis: Well, welcome to Yuma. We’re glad that you’re here, and of course we’re glad that you joined the Yuma County Chamber of Commerce. Um, and the great thing is, you know, you don’t have to shovel sunshine. That’s that’s one of the things we talk about here in Yuma, you are going to absolutely love November, December, January… it’s paradise. It really is something special.
Ron (on Radio): I keep hearing that, and I keep telling my kids: “Wait, it’ll get better.” But it’s funny, you mention that because as we were packing up to leave the house, we said, uh, you know, what are the things that, uh, we need to bring with us? And I looked at the snowblower and said, I don’t think I’m going need that for the rest of my life. So let’s sell that.
John Courtis: Uh, toboggans, and those things left behind. However, if you want snow, it’s just a couple of hours away. If you really are, you just have to have some snow. It’s not that far away, we’ll help you with that too. Um, so, welcome again. Uh, five kids?
Ron (on Radio): Five kids.
John Courtis: Age range?
Ron (on Radio): Yeah, I know. I people tell me, I still look like a kid myself.
John Courtis: You are.
Ron (on Radio): Um, my kids are 14 down to seven, so my wife and I had five kids in six years.
John Courtis: Wow.
Ron (on Radio): Yeah. Yeah. It’s kept us busy ever since
John Courtis: Yet he still smiles! I love it. I love it. I miss Saturday morning breakfast. You’ll make it breakfast order for each of the kids. Even if I was to the kitchen for four hours, didn’t matter. It didn’t matter what they wanted. I was there. I miss it. I really, really miss that. The Saturday morning, hijinx, the cartoons, little league baseball, I got to do this… and I miss the chaos.
Ron (on Radio): Yeah, well, our house is full of chaos.
John Courtis: I don’t want to borrow any, but I just miss it. I just miss it. So liederdigital, um, I checked out your website. And it’s, it’s fascinating, you have a kind of a different take on website development. What’s the wrinkle you bring to website development that others might not?
Ron (on Radio): Well, there’s several different ways to look at that. I think the thing that I’ve been able to bring to the clients I’ve had over the past few years, um [I technically started my company in 2008, so I believe I’m going on almost 13 years now] is… a lot of people, especially when they’re starting a business, they don’t know what they don’t know. And they don’t know what they need. So they’lI look at something like a website or the internet in general and say: “This is confusing, where do I start? Should I get a website? Should I build it myself? How do search engines work? What about social media?” And it’s kind of this vast, you know, um… it’s like looking up in the universe and you see stars everywhere. It’s pretty overwhelming. So what I really try to focus on for people, is, I tell them, you know, maybe not so many words, but I’ll say like: “Look, I’ll help you with everything. I’ll help you understand how it works, and relax. I’ve seen it before, I’ve done it before, you don’t have to understand.” Cause sometimes they’ll get into the weeds and say things like: “Well, I was talking to this other guy and he said, we should build a website in PHP. And then this, this other friend said, no, no, it’s all about ASP.” And I just laugh and say: “You are getting way too far ahead of yourself. Let’s figure out what your needs are first, and then work backwards from there to figure out what technology that we’re going to use.” And especially with the clients that I work with, um, I do enough handholding and building the system, I think right in the beginning so that they never even have to worry about that. To where if somebody asks them: “What’s your website built in?” they wouldn’t even know. Cause it doesn’t really matter.
John Courtis: Right. See, I believe in fairy dust, that’s how the internet works and websites: it’s fairy dust, I firmly believe in that and that works for me cause I know what I want it to do. I don’t want to know how it happens. I really don’t. Um, cause I overthink things and I don’t want to get caught in those weeds. I really don’t. Um, we have great local internet provider and the, the site works. It does what it’s supposed to do, and that’s all I need. I, it doesn’t have to make coffee, that kind of stuff. Just getting information out there and be open 24 seven. I think that’s one of the things that small businesses don’t realize: your website… you’re opening 24 seven, 365. I think it’s probably one of the things that you mention as well when you talk, especially to small businesses.
Ron (on Radio): Well, somebody, that’s a really good point… Somebody put it into perspective to me one time. And this was before I was even in the business. Um, I don’t remember who it was and I wish I could, but somebody said if I were to come to you as a business and say, I have a salesman or saleswoman, but in this case, you know, he was, he was painting a picture. I have a salesman who wants to come work for you? Uh, he worked 365 days a year, 24/7. He doesn’t get sick. He doesn’t ask for vacation. And he can talk to 800,000 people at the same time. How much money would you be willing to pay that salesman?
John Courtis: Back up the Brinks truck!
Ron (on Radio): 50,000? 100,00? 200,000? It depends on what your total budget and your revenue, uh, is as your, you know, for your company. But the point is you can’t buy something that great. So a website serves as a 24/7 salesman. It’s the most important, I think investment you could possibly make. Think of it as an employee and in that sense, yeah, my goodness. I mean, you can’t, you can have an entire sales, this. Still can’t compete with that.
John Courtis: So how many red bulls you have to buy this employee?
Ron (on Radio): Well, you have to buy red bull for the web developer to make it happen. Oh man, I haven’t done that in a long time. I used to do all nighters, especially when I was starting my business. Wow. So many, all nighters are, uh, you know, up until two in the morning or three in the morning, just trying to launch things and learning on the job and figuring out how does this whole website thing work. And, you know, uh, I don’t do that anymore. I have a schedule now and I go to bed at night.
John Courtis: I did that one time with my business in Huntington Beach,1984. Um, they showed up at my office labor day, um, with my, my ex wife and one of my coworkers and we had to rebuild the entire newspaper from when we started October of 1983 to that day. Every invoice, every transaction. Cause our financials were a mess. We did an all-nighter. Yeah, it was nuts, but we had to do it. And I said, okay, I can say I’ll do that once and once only, but that’s what small business does. You do what you gotta do. I want to talk about more about small business, especially here in Yuma, if that’s okay. After the break. You are listening to chamber chatter, 560 am KBLU.
We are back on chamber chatter, 560 am KBLU in studio, Ron Stauffer, who is the owner and director of everything of Lieder Digital. Good morning, Ron.
Ron (on Radio): Good morning. You know, my, uh, my business card, the first ones I ever had printed my job title, I decided I was going to be “The Godfather.” What’s an owner or a founder who cares? I’m the godfather. But I don’t do that anymore
John Courtis: But you’re going to make me an offer I can’t refuse, please. Let’s not go down that road. We’re also on Facebook live sponsored by the Yuma Crossing National Heritage area. We are live in fact on Facebook live and that audience as well. So a small business, you decided at some point in time, there was a fork in the road Ron, where you said I’m going to do it on my own. Was there an event, was there a happening, just this lightning bolt? What happened?
Ron (on Radio): There was an event. Yeah. And, um, I’m not ashamed to say it. I got laid off. I was working for a home builder in 2009. And those of you who may remember, something terrible happened in the construction industry in 2009. It started down sliding downhill in 2008. Um, but I hung on it until 2009 and then everybody in the industry. It was just laying people off left and right. And I was in marketing. I was a marketing director for a home builder and. Uh, Thanksgiving, it was either Thanksgiving Day or the day before Thanksgiving, 2009. I got laid off and so backing up a second. So I started my company in 2008, um, and I thought, you know, I’m going to do this on the side. This’ll be nice. I’ll I’ll, you know, make some side income, I’ll start building websites. I’ll learn how to incorporate that into the way that I help market my current employer. Well, that came in really handy when I got laid off the very next year, because all of a sudden I woke up and I thought, not only can I, um, you know, don’t I have a job anymore, but the skills that I have in the industry that I’m working for, I can’t go get a job anywhere in town because everybody’s laying everybody off. So it wasn’t like I could say I got laid off here. I’ll just go next door and, you know, pound the pavement and pass, pass out a bunch of resumes cause nobody was hiring.
Okay. Well, how about this? How about looking for a job? I’ll take my part time business, full time. And give that a couple of weeks, maybe six or eight or something like that. If it doesn’t work, then maybe I’ll go on unemployment and, you know, try to get a job or something like I’ll, I’ll. Swallow my pride and say: “I tried, but it didn’t work.” Well, I tried and it did work. Um, so I’m a big fan of learning site hustles, and I’m also a firsthand proof that sometimes that side hustle comes in really handy because it turns into your main hustle. So I say, I’m an actor. Uh, an accidental entrepreneur. You know, I meet people who say things like, Oh, I always knew I wanted to be my own boss. Or I started my company when I was 12 years old, you know, selling things door to door with my wagon. For me. I never cared about that. You know, like you hear about Mark Cuban. He talks about he sold trash bags. Funny enough door to door with his wagon. Well later he becomes this billionaire, right. But for me, I never cared about that.
I never wanted to be self employed. I never woke up in the morning and you know what I think I should do? I should start a company, but you know, on Thanksgiving day or the day after I woke up and said, you know what I think I have to do, I have to start a company. So that’s, that’s how I got it. Okay.
John Courtis: But you did! Looking at your face, there’s joy in what you’re doing. There’s joy in how you’re doing it and there’s joy and being your own boss.
Ron (on Radio): Oh, yeah, well, it’s a double edged sword.
John Courtis: You’re probably tough on you as a boss.
Ron (on Radio): Well, and like you said, like you were saying before, sometimes you pull those all nighters or, you know, what, whatever you need to do to get the job done.
John Courtis: Right.
Ron (on Radio): You know, as self employed people, I have some fellow entrepreneurs who I like to joke around with sometimes. And we joke about like, someday, if this doesn’t work well, we’ll all just go get a real job. Or, you know, like, remember when we had yeah. Paydays, that was a thing and benefits. Boy. That was a long time ago when I had benefits. Boy, those were the good old days . so it’s, it’s, uh, I, I do like it. Um, I, and I love it these days. I’ve learned to really embrace it. There are highs, but they’re definitely lowest, but my wife is funny enough. My wife. She, she has said and would tell you, Oh yeah, you’re totally cut out for this, but I never saw that in myself. I never said like, you know, I think that I’m built for being a business owner. I never thought that, but once I did it. She said. Yeah. Oh yeah. So your personality is real Metro for that. And it’s like, Oh, okay. I guess so,
John Courtis: So was there a fine line? It’s courage and stupidity, isn’t it? It’s not like a fork in the road. You go down because for me, that was me. Um, I left the Los Angeles Times the most secure a job on the planet, uh, benefits up the yin yang, who was, he was a cocoon. And then I went on my own and my own ad agency. I mean, I went off the deep end, but I think that might have been more definitive than courage. I made it work, but you more courage.
Ron (on Radio): That’s a tough question. It’s funny because I ask myself, would I do things the same now? And I don’t know that I would. I think it takes a young person in my case, a young man’s perspective of I’m invincible, and I can figure this stuff out and I can do anything. Yeah. If I got laid off today, let’s say, would I start a business? I don’t know that I can say that I would. I think I would be a lot more entrenched in my ways of wanting that security and benefits and that sort of thing. So there’s a level of, you know, sometimes you might say idiocy or just arrogance, certainly
John Courtis: Stubborn?
Ron (on Radio): Stubbornness, oh yeah.
John Courtis: I think he’s, I think you have to have them. Yeah. You have to have all of those elements to go on your own and really be a solopreneur entrepreneur. You have to have all of those components. I believe in myself, I’m a grind. I’m a grinder. Let me get this done. And even when there’s days of say despair, but not so fun days. Oh, I need to wait to just barrel through it.
Ron (on Radio): You just have to, I was talking to my sister, funny enough. She just became a massage therapist and in massage therapy, most massage therapists are their own boss. They don’t really work for someone else as an employee, even if they do work for someone else, it’s very part time or contract basis. And. I was just amazed at some of her questions and I thought, wow. Yeah, this is really a bizarre life that I leave. She was saying things like, you know, so if you wake up on Monday morning and you’ve got rent due on Friday and you have no money coming in, what do you do? And I thought that’s a great question. And I don’t know the answer because you just. You wake up and you figure it out every day, you just barrel through it and you just don’t take no for an answer. So there are many times I wake up on a Monday morning and I think I got a big bill coming up or, you know, some huge financial commitment either the end of the week or at the end of the month. I have no idea how I’m going to pay that, but I’m still going to go to bed and go to sleep because I’ve been here. I’ve done that. And it’s always worked.
John Courtis: Cause bank robbery’s not an option.
Ron (on Radio): I can’t do that.
John Courtis: There are times though, when you have, see, I need revenue. Do people buy your services or do you sell your services?
Ron (on Radio): It’s an interesting, I can’t tell if you’re taking that like a full philosophical,
John Courtis: because at the chamber of commerce, we have not sold memberships in years. We’ve had people want to join. So they buy into what we’re doing. They love what we’re doing. See, I want to be part of that. So for us, there’s no sales operation to Jeff, the chamber of commerce.
Ron (on Radio): That’s a good perspective.
John Courtis: So people are purchasing it if she weren’t really buying it. So for you, what digital does, what are you doing? How are you doing? Are people buying your services or are you selling your services?
Ron (on Radio): I would have to agree with you. I have the same perspective. Like for me, I always, um, I would say that I only work with people that I know and like, and trust and that people who know and like, and trust me. And I’ve literally told people sales meetings, if you don’t like me, that’s okay. I’m not here to push them. No, I’m not here to push myself on you. I’m not going to do that. No offense to car sales people, but the stereotype of like, you know, what can I get you? You know, what do I have just say, sign on the line today. I don’t work that way. I never have. I never will, I look at people and I say, you know, if you want something immediately and you’re looking think for the lowest cost service, I’m not your guy. If you want a relationship, um, and you would buy into me and, and who I am, and we feel like. We can do well together. That’s how I like to work. And I have one client who has, um, she has been a client for over 10 years and every single month she sends me a check every single month for 10 years. And I look at that and I think, yeah, that those are the people that I want to work with. It must be doing something right
John Courtis: when I get to, because of accounting principles, I opened it. The milk is cheaper. I opened the meal, hand it off to Cheryl who does the financials. I get these checks from members who have not sure I’ve ever personally met, but they’re buying into our mission of buying you forward for the community they’re buying into our process and how we represent. You might have to let the legislature at the C capital and with other members as well. And that’s the rewarding thing like that. Check your every month for 10 years, they it’s amazing. Cause you’re right. You, you have to choose to, you want fast, cheap, or good choose two or three. Exactly. But people want all free and it’s just not realistic.
Ron (on Radio): Yeah. And you know, what’s funny though, something I learned that was giving a presentation in Boulder a couple of months ago to a room full of entrepreneurs. And I was talking about how there are some clients who give you red flags. Before you remember before you do business with them, and you think like this was a backlight.
I should not have worked with this with this person. For whatever reason, personality, conflict might be an ethical issue. I almost never work with those thankfully, but there are some clients who have a yellow flag and that’s where they’ll basically say, they’ll, they’ll start saying things like, well, I need it done fast and cheap and quickly.
And you know, all these things and I found. It’s just cause they don’t know what they’re talking about or they don’t know how your business works. So if you can get them over that hurdle and say, Hey, that, that seems reasonable from your perspective. Let me show you why it’s going to be a little bit more complicated than that.
Though I look at those and I call them yellow flag clients, and I can turn them into great clients. And some of my best clients honestly are ones who came to me with ridiculous expectations. But I was able to say, let me take you through this process. And here’s why I don’t recommend that you take that approach where here’s, why, what you’re asking for can really be done.
And they, I think they appreciate. That level of candor. And they say, I like this guy. I can trust them. You want
John Courtis: have that level of confidence with my Weber quieter because he knows, I don’t know, Jack met Jack. So sometimes I’ll call and say, I’m having a picnic. Okay. And you would’ve picked pick your side in your, in your business.
Picnic is problem in chair, not in computer. Oh, so have what’s the picnics and he’ll give me off the line. Here’s what it’s supposed to do. Here’s what, I can’t do a relationship because he can, I just don’t know. Sure. But I know what I wanted to do and what it does. I get frustrated and have us picnics.
It’s always, always. It’s always me and you, sir gracious and he’s kind and being considerate. And those kinds of relationships are really, really cherished and need to be nursed. So congratulations to you. What’s the phone number, sir?
Ron (on Radio): You know, I use the phone so little, I don’t even know.
John Courtis: Okay. What’s the website then?
Ron (on Radio): www.liederdigital.com, L I E D E R D I G I T A L liederdigital.com. And part of why I say, I don’t know is because first of all, I don’t call myself, but I also just got an Arizona number and I. No, I’ve got the same cell phone number for 16 years, but I have an Arizona number too…
John Courtis: Well, lieder digital will get it done. Again, thank you for joining the chamber, welcome to Yuma, liederdigital.com, L I E D E R digital dot com.
Ron. It’s been a joy, thank you very much. And again, we’ll be right back after this. You’re listening to Chamber Chatter, 560 am, KBLU.
Ron Stauffer is a web guy and digital marketer with a passion for helping small businesses grow. He has spent over 13 years working in the digital marketing field, building websites, creating marketing strategies, and growing traffic and revenue for small businesses across the USA. His motto is “data wins arguments,” and he uses data visualization tools and charts and graphs to track everything and prove the value of his marketing efforts for clients. Connect with Ron on LinkedIn, follow him on Twitter, or visit Lieder Digital online.