Marketing Lessons From the CIA | Andrew Bustamante

Marketing Lessons From the CIA

with Andrew Bustamante


About this episode:

This is a show all about getting attention online. Whether it is for you personally or for your company, each week we delve into how to get attention, how to keep attention, and how to make money from attention.

On this episode I speak with 8 year CIA veteran Andrew Bustmanta about lessons he learned in the Central Intelligence Agency and how that can help you attract the right attention online. Things to keep an ear out for:

– using a filter rather than a funnel when attracting your ideal customer persona

– how filtering out most people allows you to better serve your core audience

– how to construct your business to attract the right attention, while not being noticed by the masses

‘May I Have Your Attention…’ is brought to you by, which turns your webinar or podcast into three months of social media content. Find out more at

Thanks for your attention, and let’s get started with today’s episode.

About today’s guest:

Andrew is the Founder of EverydaySpy, which trains individuals and teams to leverage influence, intelligence and intent. Techniques once reserved for elite spy agencies can now serve everyday people in their pursuit of personal and professional objectives. He served in both the U.S. Air Force and Central Intelligence Agency, in addition to being a Senior Advisor at CVS Health.

Selected resources:

Selected quotes

It’s all about hiding in plain sight until you choose to absolutely overwhelm somebody’s emotional center and take their attention.

Advertising is unintentional; it’s just trying to get your attention and put a name at the top of your head. Marketing has to be intentional.

Funnels work on non-digitally savvy people. The more digitally savvy your customer is, the less likely a funnel will work because they can see and feel themselves being funneled.

I put people through my filter because I am trying to find people that I can serve at scale. It doesn’t do me any good to pour a bunch of time into one person.

It’s so powerful for me to be able to serve my customer as a direct to consumer business owner, but then to also deliver to them a community of people who are like-minded.

The faster you adhere to your own principles, the faster your success will come. Every distraction just lengthens the period of time before you hit your objectives.

When you filter people out, you’re creating this nucleus of individuals and you’re giving them access to other individuals who are just like them.

I wanted something that was going to contribute massive value to a few people, not something that was going to give a little bit of value to tens of thousands of people.

Advertising is something I still shy away from. My time is better served organically, but when I do reach out, it’s targeted at someone who is going to be susceptible to my message.

The people that I hear from the most are the people who I serve the best.


Justin Nassiri  00:00

On this episode of May I have your attention, because it’s all about hiding in plain sight


Andrew Bustamante  00:07

until you choose to absolutely overwhelm somebody his emotional center and take their attention.


Justin Nassiri  00:15

This is a show all about getting attention online, whether it’s for you personally or for your company. Each week we delve into how to get attention, how to keep attention and how to make money from attention. On this episode, I speak with eight years CIA veteran Andrew Bustamante, about lessons he learned in the Central Intelligence Agency and how that can help you attract the right attention online. Things to keep an ear out for are first of all, using a filter rather than a funnel when attracting your ideal customer persona. Second of all, how filtering out most people allows you to better serve your core audience. And third of all, how to construct your business to attract the right attention will not be noticed by the masses. May I have your attention is brought to you by, which turns your webinar or podcast into three months of social media content? Find out [email protected] Thank you for your attention. And let’s get started with today’s episode. Well, my guest today joining me in Tampa, Florida is Andrew Bustamante. Andrew, welcome to May I have your attention?


Andrew Bustamante  01:19

Absolutely. Justin, I’m glad to be here. Thanks for having me.


Justin Nassiri  01:22

So I think this is so interesting, because normally I’m meeting with marketers, and it’s all about how do you capture attention. And when I think of you and much of your background, it almost feels like you’ve been trained in not getting attention. So I’m curious to see where the conversation goes. But let me give everyone a little bit of a glimpse of your background. So Andrew is the founder of everyday spy, which trains individuals and teams to leverage influence, intelligence and intent. Techniques, once reserved for elite spy agencies can now serve everyday people in their pursuit of personal and professional objectives. He served in both the US Air Force and the Central Intelligence Agency for almost eight years in the ladder. And in addition to being a senior advisor at CVS health, so let me let me start off pretty broad here, Andrew. And so when people think of the CIA, they likely think of people who avoid attention rather than seeking it. And I’m just kind of curious, what stands out to you from your nearly eight years in the CIA CIA, about how people might capture attention how they might connect with people in a way that’s that’s meaningful for themselves or their business?


Andrew Bustamante  02:47

Yeah, absolutely. So I would agree that that that initial instinct of what it means to be at CIA to be undercover and to avoid scrutiny to avoid attention, all of that is true. What I would also say, though, is that what we seek to do is, is target the attention that we get, because being able to say, I’m from CIA, that’s not something you want to say to everybody. But when you say those words to the right people, you instantly have raptured attention, you have credibility, you have all you have authority, you have power, you have influence. You don’t want to say it’s everybody, because that’s how you end up in jail, tell you end up shot. It’s how you end up mugged, right. But if you said at the right time to the right people, you absolutely have their attention. So I love the marketing world. I love the topic that you brought to me with this idea that CIA, and I started reinventing myself in business. I know that one of the first things that I kind of landed on was I have to get an MBA, I have to go to school, somebody has to teach me how to do this stuff. Know how to be a CIA officer. I don’t know how to be everything else. So I go to school. And I have no complaints about going back to school or about choosing education or formal education. But here’s the the raw truth is that when I started learning, academic marketing, it just, it wasn’t correct. It was designed for mass marketing spray and pray. I remember to this day this exercise that we had, it was a graded exercise. And it was like 80% of the score for that semester, his marketing class, we had to sell toothpaste. That was the goal was to sell toothpaste, and grow from a regional market to an international market. And it didn’t take long before I learned how to hack the simulation. And basically, you just promote, promote, promote, buy more promotion, buy more space, buy more ads, and then change your channel. That’s exactly what people are being taught about marketing. And that is like it’s blatantly false unless you are in In a mass marketing world, like McDonald’s or like Nike, where you’re just trying to have market share, you’re just trying to have top of mind for the average consumer, that is not ever going to work for you. That is actually advertising, which is completely different than marketing. Advertising is unintentional. It’s just trying to get your attention and, and put a name at the top of your head. But marketing has to be intentional. Who are you trying to hit? What message do you need them to hear? And how do you choose to communicate that message, it’s been crystal clear to me in my work with my business, which is not mass marketing. And I find that the more savvy the business person is, the more they start to land on that understanding that, that experience that I need to speak to somebody specific about something specific, in a specific way, if I ever intend to move them from the place where they’re listening to me to the place where they’re buying from.


Justin Nassiri  06:00

I love that because I realize the busyness that really excites me sometimes is fed by that sense of like, let me just blast this out indiscriminately, let me just do a lot of activity. And somehow that will lead to acquiring more customers. And it’s funny, because the flip side of that is I hate the noise I hate all of like, I hate what that leads to when everyone is doing this. It’s just feels like there’s so much noise. And everyone’s trying to do their song and dance to get attention from everyone. And what I like with your use of that word intentional is it does seem like it is a slowing down. And it’s being much more strategic. And my wife is always telling me it takes time to save time. I hate that phrase. But it’s so true. Like what you’re describing of, I’m guessing, getting really clear about who you’re going after how they want to be communicated to and what the message is that will lead to connection. That takes a lot of time. And I love you know, I don’t know if it would make sense to go through with your own business everyday spy or with people you’ve worked with. But I’d love I’d love to learn more about that. Like how did you get clarity around who you are going after? How did you get clarity around how they wanted to be interacted with? And how did you get clarity on how to even explain this, this completely new thing that you’re bringing to the world?


Andrew Bustamante  07:25

Yeah, so let me if you don’t mind, what I’d like to do is kind of start so I can start with with everyday spy. And then I want to tell you a spy story. Yeah, and use that spy story to show you how it weaves into everyday spies. So you’ll be patient with me interrupt me anytime, just. So when I went out when I sought to launch everyday spy I wanted I wanted a spy training platform. That is what everyday spy is we teach spy skills, you can put a period after that statement if you want to. That’s what we teach. Nobody else out there is teaching it. Hundreds of 1000s of people want to learn these skills. I know firsthand how useful these skills are. Right? They give you an unfair advantage, period dot end of story. That is what I’m delivering. That’s my product. When I sought to launch the product, I knew from the beginning, I wanted to be true to CIA be true to my own spy training, and weave the values into the business itself. So here’s, here’s a little bit of kind of an example of how that works. So in the spy world, if if you want to target a human penetration target an asset that has access to secrets, North Korean nuclear general or you know, or Iranian nuclear scientists, counterproliferation counter weapons, a drug dealer, anything you can think of, if you want to find a bad guy, you have to know who that bad guy is. Certainly by by virtue of just their name, if you know their name, that’s great. If you know their name, their face, their passport number, you’re in good shape. But more more likely what you know is you know where they operate. So you as a CIA operative, you have to go to where that person is. If they’re in a slum in, in Bangalore, then you’re going to the slum in Bangalore, if they’re in the Ritz Carlton in Singapore, you’re going to the Ritz Carlton in Singapore, you don’t expect the bad guy to come to you. You were the bad guy is and then you already know the mind of a bad guy. The bad guy is not sitting around thinking to himself, I wonder how CIA officers think the bad guys busy doing bad guy thing. CIA’s job is to sit around thinking, if I was a drug dealer, what would I do? Where would I go? How would I operate? Is that save time is that take time to save time concept that you were thinking of? We do a lot of planning a lot of thinking where we sit there and ask ourselves who Are we going after we call that person, an avatar, who is our avatar, sometimes we call them a target, who is our target. And we come to a very clear idea of who the target is, where the target goes, how much the target spends, how they spend their money, where they travel, how they travel, who they talk to. So we go to Bangalore, we go to Singapore, wherever that bad guy is. But we don’t, we don’t stop there, we don’t just go to their place. We know that in order to attract them to get their attention without getting all sorts of other attention that we don’t want. We have to be extremely intentional in how we approach and how we talk to that person. So we don’t wear a big sign that says, I’m CIA, come talk to me, we go and we find that location. And we try to come up to with a cover story, a legend, a cover legend, that will appeal to our target, but not appeal to everybody. So as an example, if we know that our target is an avid soccer fan, and he follows or she follows Real Madrid, in, in Spain, then we might go undercover as a PR person for Real Madrid. And then we know who our target is, we get into their circle, we drop a real quick statement like oh, yeah, I’m here scouting out locations for Real Madrid. Right away, you have that person’s attention. The person next to him who follows some other soccer team who doesn’t know anything about soccer, they don’t care who you are. But that fun target that you’re going for, you know, they like me Real Madrid soccer, they know that you’re the PR person. For Real Madrid, you have their complete and total attention. And now you can run an operation. Now you can start building a relationship, you can start finding out vulnerabilities, you can start getting new information. And the end goal being to make that person institutionally loyal to CIA to win their loyalty when their business their continued business, right, and have a long term relationship. That’s how we operate at CIA. So when I launched everyday spy, I just followed the same process. How do I find the person who wants to learn spy skills? How do I have a conversation with just that person? Even more important? How do I talk about everyday spy in a way, so that if people aren’t interested in everyday spy, they don’t even notice I’m there. Because I don’t want that person. If they hear about me, and they’re interested in conspiracy theories, but not spy skills, I need to get that person as far away from me as possible, because they’re wasting my time they’re wasting my resources, they’re compromising my off with my real target. Mm hmm. Just follow that same kind of process that same, that same pattern, and I’m happy to tell you how I do it. But I want to take a break.


Justin Nassiri  12:56

I mean, I love so I love. I love the empathy that that that involves, I think that so often I’m caught up in my own my own story of what’s going on in my life, what’s going on in my company, rather than dropping all that and saying, like, this is the person or company or group of people I want to serve. And I love how you’re seeing that, where where do they go? What do they care about What channels do they prefer, like making it all about them, rather than like, I want to talk about myself, I want to talk about my company. Like that’s usually the bias that I have. So I love this extreme focus on who you’re adding value to. But I love that other piece of craft crafting the message in a way that you deflect the people that aren’t the right fit. Because I know I go through ebbs and flows with my own schedule where I get bombarded and overwhelmed with meetings. And I’m just going back to back meetings. And I’m wasting my time because I can’t help the person I’m meeting with and they’re not the right fit for my company. So I love this art of not only telling a story that’s compelling to your target, or avatar, or I would call them ideal customer persona. But do it in a way where you start to filter out the people where you know, I’m not going to be able to help you and it’s going to take up my time in a way that detracts from my operation and my mission, and so I’d love to learn more about how you do that.


Andrew Bustamante  14:22

So you use a really important word right there that I’ll use to kind of kick off. You use the word filter. You in marketing, we hear a lot about the word funnel. And funnels are something that there are people who have made hundreds of millions of dollars selling people on funnels and how funnels work and to some, in some spaces. funnels do work fairly effectively. But what I would say is that funnels work for people who are not digitally savvy, the more digitally savvy your customer is, the less likely a funnel is to work on them. Because they see the funnel. They know what it feels like. To be funneled, and a funnel is basically just taking a huge audience of people and forcing them in a certain direction, just like you do with a funnel, right? What CIA does is it filters, it takes a huge group of people, and then it filters out big chunks of those people. All that’s left are high quality individuals, the individuals that you’re trying to reach those, those target few, right, in a funnel, you’re trying to force people to buy a $2 something in a filter, you’re trying to find those people who are going to spend 1000s of dollars on what you have to offer. Maybe they start by buying a $2 something. But in the end, those are the lifetime customers that are going to spend a fortune on you, in the world of 8020 80% of your audience isn’t going to spend money 20% Will 20% of your customers make up 80% of your total revenue. All that filtering process does is it gets you to that 20% faster. So that’s that’s how my entire business is structured. I’m I structure my business to filter out the noise filter out conspiracy theorists filter out people who hate CIA filter out 12 year olds who want to be CIA spies, I have to filter all those people out so that I can find the 20% that I can really serve with a unique product that brings tremendous value just to them.


Justin Nassiri  16:21

I love that I haven’t heard that before. But I love that distinction between funnel and filter. And I’ve I have been in many funnels, and it’s not I agree if you kind of understand how they work, it’s like I get, I get that what you’re doing makes your life easier and better. But it doesn’t help me to fill out this survey or whatever you’re trying to get me to do. Like I don’t I don’t want to do that. So I love this emphasis on filtering. Two of the questions that come up for me is that one, I’m guessing that when you first started everyday spy, you didn’t you didn’t necessarily know those those groups that were going to suck up your time, like you said conspiracy theorists or 12 year old girls who want to become a spy like, so one question is kind of like how you started to realize like, okay, these are the groups I need to filter out. And then second of all, like the tactics of how, how do you filter them out? And I might be overly sensitive on this. Sometimes I’m like, I don’t want to be a jerk. That’s just like, nope, get out of my face. But I also know that if they’re not a right fit, I’m wasting both of our time. It’s not it’s not serving anyone to do that. So I’m kind of curious the tactics of how you gracefully or ungracefully you know, give them the Heisman.


Andrew Bustamante  17:34

So I can’t claim to know How graceful or not graceful it is. Because for all I know, I’m hurting a lot of feelings. But the people that I hear from the most are the people who I serve the best. So it’s those things where, you know, if, if a tree falls, no one’s around to hear it, you know, doesn’t make a noise kind of questions. But here’s, here’s how I do it. So right out of the gates, I knew that everyday spy was going to focus on spy skills. I also knew that I was looking for a specific type of Avatar, I want somebody who embraces a challenge. I want somebody who is eager to learn something outside of the box, I want someone who is looking for an unfair advantage. If if somebody comes to me, and they have a mindset where everything is equal, everybody needs to be fair, you need to play nice and get along with the person standing next to you. That’s not a good fit for me. So right out of the gates, I need to make sure that all those kumbaya types, I need them to see me and walk the other way. But I need and I need all those bloodthirsty competitive, hard chargers, I need them to see me and hear me right away. So that’s so the way that I set that up is I set that up with a free game. Now there’s all sorts of stuff out there, especially in the world of funnels, give somebody a free ebook, give somebody a free report, right? You see this stuff all the time, a free download. I didn’t want any of that, because it doesn’t do me any good to try to start a filter by creating a funnel. So instead, I created a filter to be what it is. It’s a filter. Anybody can start my game at any time. If you go to everyday It’s a big banner right there on my homepage, start your mission. Now here’s a free game. Right away. That game has five stages. Each stage of the game is more difficult than the previous stage. What I’m doing is I am filtering people out. Some 12 year old boy could get excited about being a spy, he signs up for my game, he takes the first challenge and he can’t complete the first challenge. Perfect. I’m glad I gave him a game. I’m glad I now know he can’t complete the first level. So there’s no reason for me to put much time and effort into him because I’m looking for the guy who’s on level three or four. I’m looking out who makes it through the whole game. Maybe that person is also 12. That doesn’t matter. Their age is not one of the criteria that I’m looking for. The criteria I’m looking for is hard charging, challenging, like intelligent people. If they can make it through all five stages of the game. That’s good. When I advertise my Again, when I make my game an offer to people, I let them know it’s got a 5% pass rate 95% of the people who start my game fail. If that number scares, you don’t start the freaking game. For you, you’re not for me, right. So that’s how I start a filter right out of the gates.


Justin Nassiri  20:20

I mean, I love that I love I love the clarity to on like these are I forget the specifics. But these are the three attributes that we want and being fully willing to embrace that personality and fully willing to be off putting to the others. And it’s funny because I associate myself more as the Kumbaya, Kumbaya, Kumbaya type. And so when you’re saying that, I’m really realizing like, Oh, I really want to make everyone happy, and I don’t want to offend anyone. But But what I hear that you’re saying that so powerful is, the sooner you can get rid of the noise, the sooner that you can identify someone where you can add value, you can spend all your time helping them, which puts you in your zone of genius, which adds the most value to them. And if you’re off putting to other people, that’s, that’s something you can live with in service of the people that you really want to work with and add value. And so I love the I love the game approach. It’s so clever. And I love that you’re teasing out these attributes. 5% of the people make it through this. And it sounds like challenge is something that’s really important in someone you’re working with. So you’re in their face, showing them there is a challenge here, and you’re making it successfully difficult. I love that. That’s such a great mechanism to see if someone is worth you’re engaging with. And does it work that like if they make it to a certain level? They then you know, are you are you the the bad boss on the final level? And you get on a call with them? Or how does, how does that lead to meeting with you.


Andrew Bustamante  21:49

So the, for me, the reason that I put people through this filter is because I am trying to find people that I can serve at scale, it doesn’t do me any good to pour a bunch of time into one person, I’m not a client driven like an individual client type of company, I don’t want to get on a call with somebody and coach them for an hour, once a week. That’s just not how I’m structured. Because that’s not how CIA is structured. CIA finds people who have talent and potential, it puts them through a standard structured intelligence training process. And then it sends them out to operate on their own. Right, it’s there to help kind of tune and make you, you know, 10% better than you already were, we’re not here to help people find meaning in life, want a one hour phone call with people, I will. But in order for me to make that step, it has to be at a premium price. So I’m all about serving at scale. So the reason I like having the filtering approach is because somebody who makes it through three levels, I know exactly where they hit their wall. And I can deliver a certain kind of product to that person at a certain kind of price. I can watch to see if they make it past that wall to the next level. I can see somebody who makes it through all five levels, I can go back and I can test them to see if they would be better served with one type of direction, like would you like to learn more about, like technical operations and technical skills? Would you like to learn more about social operations and social skills, because I know they have the core principles down. I have a podcast out there called the everyday espionage podcast. And I’ve been blessed to have a very successful podcast right now. But that’s another it’s a powerful avenue for me to share a message with people who want to hear that message. If they don’t want to hear the message, they unsubscribe, every time I see my downloads, I know these are people who want to hear my message. So I have a way of gauging whether my message is landing or not landing, I have a way to measure my performance of my message over time. Does it grow? Does it shrink? Was this episode a hit was this episode? You know, a lot? I don’t know. But that’s, I think I’m a little off target from your original question. The reason that I do that is because I’m trying to serve at scale, because I’m trying to stay true to the intent of the business.


Justin Nassiri  24:06

So I love one of the things I appreciate about what you’re saying is the incredible structure of your build, you have a very specific blueprint, not just for who you are serving, but how you’re going to serve them. And it seems like part of that is at scale for a large number of clients, and then potentially one on one with a very select higher price point number of clients. And I noticed for myself, when I get into this exercise for a client or for my own business, there’s a lot of fear insane, no, like there’s a lot of fear and saying, We are not going to work with this type of person because especially at the outset of a marketing campaign or of a business. There’s always the ambiguity of like, well, I don’t really know yet, you know, and so I’m wondering Was this structure something that evolved over time? Or did you kind of start with this hypothesis and say, I’m willing to lose Conversations, I’m willing to lose revenue. But this is what I want to build for myself. This is what I believe would benefit society like, I mean, was that at the outset, or did it evolve over time?


Andrew Bustamante  25:20

It’s a bit, I think it’s a bit of both, I held true to the intent from the beginning. And I knew intent like I didn’t, I wanted something that was going to contribute massive value to a few people, not something that was going to give a little bit of value to 10s of 1000s of people, right, I’m not in the toothpaste business, I’m not gonna compete for 10 cents, here and there and then have to sell 3 million units to survive. That’s not what I’m out to do. Instead, what I’d rather do is find that 20% Audience serve optionally, well, because guess what, that 20% Audience, they’re connected to other people who are part of the same 20% audience, I’m looking for my avatars surround themselves with other avatars who fit my mold. So the faster like you said, the faster I can get to them, the better off I’m going to be. I know the structure works. I’ve seen it work in international espionage. I know it’s a secret that not everybody gets to learn. And the people who do hear it, oftentimes doubt it, because, again, I know how their cognitive mind works, they feel like they know better. So they trust their gut instead of trusting hard numbers. So I understand because of my time with the agency, this structure works, this structure will yield results. This is how you make a spy. So I just have to show I have to use a little bit of discipline to stick to the structure. But then I also have to let the structure evolve. Because I’m not dealing with spies anymore. I’m dealing with customers, I’m dealing with clients. I’m not dealing with traders, I’m dealing with people who are trying to use the unfair advantage to build something better than themselves. Right? So it’s a little bit of an evolution for me, because I’m realizing, Oh, I do need to make a shift. So as an example, I told you about my spy game and all the people who don’t make it past the first level. Well, guess what, there are multiple reasons why somebody wouldn’t make it past the first level of my entry game, they may not be smart enough, they may not be sharp enough to make it through that first challenge. Or they may not have time to go through the first challenge. I’ve had people who are CFOs for major companies come into my game funnel and stop at the first step. The only reason I knew that they were a CFO is because then they sent me an email directly. And they were like, Hey, I love your game. I don’t have time to play it. I’m the number two guy at this company. What can I do next? Well, that was a big hint to me. I’ve got smart people who don’t make it past the first level, because they don’t have time. Now how can I? How can I give them something of value that saves their time and results in revenue for me while still testing them? Right. So that gave me an opportunity to create a product that serves that type of customer. And that’s exactly how the evolution process works. You find a problem, you find a, you find a challenge for some point where your system or your process irritates the system, the the end goal, and then you solve that problem with a product, you put a price tag on the product. And then the people who are feeling that pain, choose they opt into buying the product, or they don’t the ones that up into buying the product, you know, our customer that fits your 20%.


Justin Nassiri  28:27

In that in that example, what was the product you created for like a maybe time starved, high power motivated individual?


Andrew Bustamante  28:35

So I created an answer sheet. So I gave I created an answer sheet that explained each of the five challenges. What the right answer was for each of the five challenges and what the challenge specifically what skill it was teaching and testing. And then I and then I put like a $2 price tag on it. That’s it. Why $2? Because $2 is more than any third country like any third world, African person with a mobile phone can get to my website, they can sign up for my stuff. But they don’t have $2 to spend on an answer sheet. Right? Some 12 year old without a credit card can get to my website, but they can’t spend money on a digital purchase. If I see somebody who gets there and spends $2 on this answer sheet now I know they’re trying to find a faster way. And they have access to us to a source of funds that they want to spend online. So right away that moves them through my filter and keeps out the wrong type of customer.


Justin Nassiri  29:34

I think what’s so brilliant about that is when I was thinking about filters, I’m thinking of a 10 foot barbed wire fence. And what I hear that you’re doing is you’re creating a filter which is just high enough to get rid of people that are not a good fit for you, but low enough that it’s a very easy it’s a very easy purchase for a CFO would accompany to spend $2. And so I love that it’s like it’s not $200, it’s not $2,000, it’s just just high enough to get rid of that 80%. So it’s easy for the 20% to come through.


Andrew Bustamante  30:13

When I went through survival school with the agency, we were taught how to make a water filter out of natural resources in our environment, in case we ever got stranded behind enemy lines, or in case we ever had to set up shop for a short period of time while we wait for extract or we wait and be ready for rescue. And when you make that, that natural filter, that survival filter, you are literally just taking pieces of cloth, the same piece of cloth, and you’re putting it into three or five different layers. And you’re putting different natural resources in each level. The first level is just rocks, big rocks, the second level might be leaves, the third level might be sand. And then the final level is ash. The whole reason is because you want dirty water to come in the top of the filter, filthy, dirty, gangrenous water that you can’t drink. And then you want the rocks just to take out the big stuff, the twigs, the leaves, the big things that shouldn’t be in your water. Right? When you create a filter, you make the first level of the filter something like like a pile of rocks, to dollars, it’s simple to get through that if you’re not a twig, or you’re not a leaf, right? It’s not until you get to the bottom layer of the filter when you’re trying to get through ash. That’s where we’re filtering out bacteria. Right that for me, that’s the level of filter, I’m putting a $5,000 price tag on something, because I’m really focused on making sure that the purest client comes out the bottom, the person who I can count on to be a client for the rest of my businesses lifespan.


Justin Nassiri  31:44

So I’m assuming then as you think of constructing everyday spy, you know, you’ve got the game, which is a very simple entry point, you’ve got the $2 shortcut for those who are time starved. And then you’re you’re literally building that filtration system, successive successively, more strenuous activities, or successively more difficult asks to see where they come out. And I’m wondering like, are you then having different offerings as off ramps for those points? Or is it really about getting to the ash getting to that, that one final level and saying, Okay, this is someone I want to engage with,


Andrew Bustamante  32:19

it’s a little bit of both. So the, I’m creating offerings at each level, that have different levels of complexity, and different levels of personal versus self service, right. So just like just like that filter example, with water, if somebody can get through the rocks, then I know that they can log on to a back end internet site, I know they have a bit of tech savvy, I know what their capabilities are, because I can track their progress. So then I offer them the next level of training, maybe the next level of training, in my case, the next level of training is a simple course, where they just receive information, they watch videos, and they read, they read content, and then they they that’s it, that’s all they have to do, they have to be able to log in, and they have to be able to consume. If they can do that they’ve made it through the next level of filter, I know what they’re capable of. So then if they move forward down the filter, now they show me that they’re capable of being tested. And actually given assignments where they have to go out into the real world and execute a spy skill. Here, you have to go get a free cup of coffee, here, you have to go have a deliberate dialogue and convince this person to do something here, you have to go measure your influence in this specific interaction, right? That takes a different kind of person. There are lots of people out there who will consume them all day long. But as soon as you ask them to apply what they’ve learned, they freak out. Right? So if they’re gonna freak out, when I challenge them online, they’re definitely not going to make it to the point where I’m out on the street with them. And I tell them that they have to do a dead drop, right? And I happen, I need that person out, I need to serve that person at their level. So that I can either grow them and move them down the filter, or I need to filter them out and service them the best that I can serve them and let them go on with their life. Right. So that’s I build each offering to meet them where they are. And if they are where I want them to be, and they are ready to move forward, then they will continue through the filter. They’ll do that themselves.


Justin Nassiri  34:18

In one thing I’m curious about so you talked about avatar, some people watching me know him his ideal customer personas, is this. Is this something just kind of like in the back of your mind? Like how far down the rabbit hole? Do you go on that? And do you have multiple avatars of people you’re going after? Is this something you revisit? Or is this this kind of like having done this for a while you kind of have this internalized sense of who is a good fit and who isn’t.


Andrew Bustamante  34:44

So for me it started by using my agency skills, my agency training at the agency you create it’s almost comical, but you create a target profile of who you’re going after. And you get very specific very personal with it. So my first Avatar and ever In a spy, was named Paul, I named my avatar. Paul was 35 years old Paul had two children. His two children were seven and five, Paul was straight. Paul was a was a veteran, Paul was a college graduate, like this is this was my avatar. Paul’s not real. But Paul was the person I wanted to serve. Right? Paul made $111,000, a year after his annual bonus if he got an annual bonus, right, this is the person I want to serve by understanding him so clearly. Then I could wrap all of my marketing message to speak to Paul, I’m not going to talk to Paul about about a menstruation period, I’m not going to talk to Paul about what it’s like to gain weight, because you’ve been working for 30 years. Those are things that are going to resonate with Paul. But I am going to talk to Paul about the challenge of being a dad and raising young kids. I am going to talk to Paul about how difficult it is to transition from being a veteran to being a civilian. I’m going to talk to Paul about the challenges that come from being a 40 year old male in the year 2019. Right, like, that’s the kind of stuff I create in my message to talk to my avatar. And then when when that message lands on the right year. They listen, if it lands on somebody other than my avatar, they don’t even know I’m there. I want Paul’s attention. I don’t really need Sam’s attention.


Justin Nassiri  36:21

I love that. And and it and I can see how that would feed into the podcast that you do. I’m curious to learn about like how you’ve approached the podcast, and anything else that you do like that, I’m guessing again, I’m guessing that you know that your avatar has certain questions. And so you’re seeking to answer those questions on the podcast. And again, it’s it’s information that will be extremely appealing to your avatar, and no one else is going to listen to it or no one else is going to tune in. So could you speak a little bit more to the podcast and anything you do like that?


Andrew Bustamante  36:57

Absolutely. So I’m not a huge fan of social media, I find social media to be something that takes a great deal of time. And like you were saying, it becomes this, it’s like becomes this creature where you put all this time into just pushing stuff out. And you don’t really have an intent for what the reason is for pushing all that out. So no matter where you go in my universe, I have a YouTube channel that’s popular. I have a podcast that’s popular. My website has a newsletter that’s popular. I of course exist on social media, like Instagram, and Facebook, those are less popular. My whole everywhere you go in my universe, everything shows you that starting point that game. Right? The podcast, every episode tells you if you’re looking for more, go to everyday forward slash operations, write every episode, go to everyday forward slash operations and you will start this real time challenge. If you go to my YouTube channel, which which video has the most hits the video that shows people the game? If you go website, what’s the very first banner you see the game? Right? That game is the centerpiece for my entire world. Somebody who’s coming to me for the first time I need them to go to that game. If they’re coming to me, because they’ve been to me 10,000 times, they’re blind to the game. They already love the game. They’ve already been through it. It doesn’t irritate them or annoy them or put them off at all right? They’re, they’re the right avatar. And if somebody does get annoyed by the game, they never visit my website again. And I’m good to go. Right, but so it’s very consistent. Whatever you do for your filter, whatever I do for my filter, I do it in every channel. Because people consume information in different ways. Some people are auditory learners, some people are visual learners, some people want to have a word of mouth. So I understand that people want to consume their own way. But what I need to do is serve them the same food, they can consume it with a fork or spoon or chopsticks, it’s up to them. But I am I am a restaurant that serves one kind of food. And here, here’s the appetizer, take it or leave it.


Justin Nassiri  38:59

I love I love that analogy as well. Like it’s the same food consumed in different ways. And that’s so true. Like I imagine that one one avatar listens to the podcast, and another one doesn’t listen to the podcast, but we’ll watch a YouTube video. So I love how you’re consistent in what you’re presenting. How are you, you’re presenting yourself and your business. And I love the consistency of the next action step is the game that is the next part of filtering these people out, but then allowing people to choose the venue in which they consume what you’re serving up. I love that illustration.


Andrew Bustamante  39:39

Awesome. Yeah. And I mean, for me, it’s it’s sticking true to CIA principles. It’s sticking true to marketing principles. Once I graduated my MBA and I realized they didn’t teach me anything about marketing. When I started self researching marketing, anybody who’s listening right now who’s a marketing expert is going to realize I’m just using different terminology to say other marketing standards. And that’s it’s been very powerful for me. And then the other thing is when you filter people out, you’re creating this, this nucleus of individuals, and you’re giving them access to other individuals who are just like them, filtering the world for them, because they don’t know how to filter it for themselves, or they haven’t been successful doing it yet, right. And that’s just so powerful for me to be able to serve my customer as a direct to consumer business owner, but then to also deliver to them a community of people who are like them. And then it takes me and it makes me less of a salesperson, it makes me more of a peer. And that’s the real value. That’s, that’s what I want to do with business. What everybody who serves wants to do, is be part of a community of those people whom they serve.


Justin Nassiri  40:51

I don’t think I put that together until you said that, but I often hear companies talk about their community. And, you know, some brands are better at establishing that that than than that than others. But I’m hearing what you’re saying the value of filtering, the value of being really brutal. And the way in which you filter people out of your community is that then you end up with this concentrated dose of people who operate in the same way who have the same needs. And I can see how that connection could be worth all the money, like just the connection to other people, and being able to have the insights of others grappling with the same problem or seeking the same thing. And that that, I mean, in many ways, that’s what people pay for in a university or a grad school is, can the admissions department filter in a way where I’m surrounded by not necessarily people who are the same, but that there’s a, there’s a commonality here that will, will enhance us and challenge us and support us. And I can see why people do masterminds for that. And I can see why people approach this in different ways. But I never put together that if you are filtering your community effectively, that is one of the benefits, not only are you benefiting from working with them, but they’re benefiting from that connection with each other. That’s, that’s powerful.


Andrew Bustamante  42:18

That’s all CIA, I would love to take credit for it. But that’s all the agency that the agency puts us through a giant filter so that when we head out to the field to operate, we know that the people operating beside us have been through all the same filtering we have, they are a tight knit community, you don’t know their name, you’ve never seen their face, everybody’s operating under alias. But you have perfect faith that that person can execute at the highest standards in the most challenging situations. That’s such a such a wonderful feeling to be on the leading edge of a covert operation, like a covert operating unit. I had to find a way to replicate that in the commercial world. And, and it CIA just showed me how.


Justin Nassiri  42:57

Yep, and in similar, I’m guessing to the CIA, you’re giving people similar tools, similar skills, similar languages, so they have a similar foundation to connect.


Andrew Bustamante  43:08

Was that a similar community? Yes, similar


Justin Nassiri  43:11

community. I’m wondering, so I’m admiring the the structure, I’m admiring the filter. I’m guessing that along your journey with everyday spy, there’s probably really tempting targets to go after that deviate from that structure. And, you know, having started companies myself, I can see the appeal of like, if there’s a big price, price check there, or, you know, dollar amount there. Maybe it’s worth relaxing the structure. Maybe it’s worth relaxing your vision on these things. I’m just curious if you’ve seen that if you’ve been tempted, if there’s times when it made sense to expand what you were doing, or was it more an exercise in saying, This is great, but it’s not where I’m headed, and therefore I have to turn down this money, this client, this opportunity in service of what I’m building,


Andrew Bustamante  44:04

yeah, that those points absolutely do happen. They happen especially because though, the more people do find you, you’ll end up finding someone who fits inside your world, you’ll find an avatar who’s connected to a different world, and that avatar wants to help. They want to be part of the community. So they tell you, hey, I want to connect you with this university who needs you to be a speaker. And even though I know while I’m not here to be a keynote speaker for university, that’s not what I set out to do. That avatar will be your your avenue to potentially expand. So I’ve been fortunate because I I was early on I did take a deviation. I took a deviation to go to a private intelligence contract overseas that had a high ticket dollar amount, but it was not scalable. It was literally me teaching a private clients network of security professionals. So early on, I was tempted early on I deviated even though that was fiscally successful, the overall structure of the business took a hit. So then I was able to come back from that, learn my lesson, lick my wounds and realize, you know, making $100 over here in one day isn’t the same as making $1,000, a day over here two years from now. But every time I let myself make $100, I’m pushing off my end goal. So I can’t do that. Because I want to get to my end goal, you were saying it yourself earlier, the faster you adhere to your own principles, the faster your success will come. Every distraction just lengthens the period of time before you hit your objectives. So I was able to learn that from a distraction early on. And now when distractions present themselves, this university needs a keynote, this fortune 10 company needs private security. This, this intelligence contractor is looking for someone to serve with NSA or CIA or dia, I know that those distractions come and I need to just let them come say thank you very much. Keep me in you know, keep me in mind if you really need me reach out if you’re like in desperate need. But otherwise, I’m I’m sticking to what I’m sticking to now I’m not going to dedicate my time to creating this one off course just for you. That doesn’t serve everyday people.


Justin Nassiri  46:16

That’s great. One, one last question I have is it? Have you really built everyday spy? Where is it 100% grown by marketing and referral like the world in which you’re describing? I don’t see you sending cold emails, I don’t see you connecting with random people on LinkedIn. And I’m that’s kind of like the goal for many companies, myself included. But I’m curious, like, what does your world look like when it comes to customer acquisition? Is it 100% marketing? Is it a little bit of advertising a little bit of sales, what have you found has led you to grow in the way in which you’ve grown?


Andrew Bustamante  46:59

I am, I’m probably about 85%, organic growth, people through word of mouth, they find me through their own Google search. What’s nice about being in a niche like mine, I am the only person in the spy training niche. There’s like, people out there, but they’re not teaching everyday life. They’re teaching how you know, everyday carry, or they’re teaching like how to defend yourself from, you know, some would be attacker who’s going to break into your home. I’m the only person who’s teaching everyday life relationships and work and negotiation and persuasion. So when people look me up organically because I’ve been doing it consistently for so long, about two years now. I own Google traffic organically. If you look up Andrew Bustamante, if you look up everyday spy, if you look up everyday espionage, if you look up operation real time any of those, my game is called Operation real time, you’re just going to get pages upon pages of me on Google, Yahoo, or wherever else that was not intentional. That’s just the internet doing what the internet was designed to do. I had no idea until somebody sent me a message that said, Hey, have you Googled yourself in a while. So about 85% of my work is all just word of mouth, I have tried to explore advertising. And what I find is that it’s not worth the money for me yet, you spend a few $1,000, you get a few dozen leads. And if those dozen leads, half of them aren’t even real email addresses, like those people who are not the right avatar, so they’re not going to commit the way that the correct avatar will commit, they’re going to give you a throwaway email address instead of a real email address, they’re going to watch two seconds of a video instead of seven minutes of a video. So that’s not the right avatar. So for me advertising is something I still shy away from, because my time is better served organically. When I do reach out, I do make cold calls. I do send cold emails, but they’re targeted. I look for somebody, a YouTube influencer a podcaster. Business, a market that is going to be susceptible to my message, who is going to want to hear from a former CIA officer who talks about how to use spy skills in everyday life. When I find that person, I will send them a cold email. And I will personalize it won’t be some templated garbage that we’re all trained to send 1000 templated cold emails, it is tailored, it’s not some message bot, I say something specific, I say something relevant, I say something to show that I’m not a bot. And then I let I let them decide if I’m offering a value statement that is compelling to them. And then when I send a cold email I get about a 30% response rate. So when I send something cold, I might send only 10 or so a month. I’m going to get three or four of them back and that person is going to want to move forward with me either doing a podcast or YouTube interview, flying me out to LA to do a TV show whatever it might be. They come at very quickly because they are the right avatar.


Justin Nassiri  49:52

And I’m guessing that because in that case, you’ve done a significant amount of the filtering you know they’re a good fit They, they, they’re not going to the game, they’re not going to do that, like that’s leading directly to you because you’ve done that filtration in advance.


Andrew Bustamante  50:08

And then what I find is that the whole site, the cycle still holds true, when I reach out to someone cold, that I think would be a good that I think would connect with my message, I can almost guarantee you that after I hang up the call, or after I get the response email from them, I’ll go back to my new lead list, and I will see their email address pop up as a member of the game, right? As soon as I tell them, hey, I teach spy skills. If you haven’t, if you want to see an example, sign up for my free game, boom, of course, they want to see an example. Because I’ve already done the filtration to know that they’re going to be susceptible to a spy approach. So that game, if they’re a busy professional, guess what, they don’t make it past the first level. So then I just send a follow up email, and I’m like, Hey, let me give you my answer sheet. They don’t know the answer sheets $2. But instead, they get this product for $2 that they didn’t pay for. And they get a chance to see how cool my stuff is like, my graphic design is awesome. My spy skills are really interesting, like the application is something they’ve never seen before. You just pouring on value, the more value you can pour onto that one person. Man, the game changes.


Justin Nassiri  51:16

I love it. Well, I know we’re at time here. I want to make space for two things. One, just it’s funny. If you choose to how can people get you know, follow you get a hold of you, things like that. And then just anything else we haven’t talked about that you want to leave our audience with before you wrap up?


Andrew Bustamante  51:34

Yeah, if you’re looking for me, you will find me on all social media platforms as at everyday spy, you can go to my website everyday spy calm, that’s where you’ll find your invitation to play the spy game Operation real time. You can find me on on everyday espionage podcast on any of your favorite podcast channels or podcast carriers at the everyday espionage podcast. And then if you’re on YouTube, of course, you’ll find my channel at everyday spy on YouTube, which will also help direct you to my spy game. And if you don’t want to play the spy game, that’s totally cool. You don’t. But yeah, if you do choose to play it, you already know that it’s only about a 5% pass rate. And then as far as anything else goes that we can talk about, I just the first thing I want to say is it being a part of CIA was awesome. But being out of CIA, and getting to serve, everyday people, knowing what I know about the agency has been so much better because I get to step out of the shadows to serve and to see how powerful those lessons really are in everyday life. But I also get to hopefully put a positive light on all the men and women who are still serving. And I’m former military. Justin, I know your former military to most military and most government national security types, they are just Silent Sentinels. They’re not looking for anyone’s thanks, they’re not looking for approval. They’re not looking for awards, and they work so hard. And that is exactly what is happening behind the walls at Langley. People are working hard to do their best to keep us safe. And I’m I am just humbled and honored that the people who meet me give me a chance to have a positive impression on them and represent CIA in the best possible way.


Justin Nassiri  53:21

Wonderful. Well, thank you for sharing your your advice. today. It’s given me a lot to think about, about filtering about these avatars about adding value for that 20% Really focusing there and and just going against this thought of just blasting the world with noise and instead being very intentional about who you go after and how you go after them. So thank you so much, Andrew.


Andrew Bustamante  53:45

I plug in Justin, I hope to talk again soon soon, man.


Justin Nassiri  53:49

Thank you for listening to me, I have your attention. Each episode we meet with top marketers thought leaders and experts to find out how individuals and brands can get keep and make money with attention. You can subscribe to me I have your attention on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts show notes are provided for each episode at May I have your attention is brought to you by which turns your webinar or podcast into three months of social media content. Find out [email protected] Thanks and see you next week.

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