In order to get that customer and make them sticky for a long period of time, you’ve gotta followup and followup and followup.
Chase Harmer is the CEO of PayCertify,
the Bay Area financial technology company that has continually been covered in the media because of their ability to innovate and deploy technology solutions to combat digital payments fraud and help merchants increase revenue. Harmer originally started PayCertify in 2013 as a concierge merchant processing and fraud prevention service for the travel industry, but quickly discovered that the fraud issues plaguing hotels and airlines were also affecting E-commerce and other merchants as well. PayCertify has become a major player in the fintech world with 25 full time employees and more than 500 independent agents generating more than 5 billion dollars per year in processing revenue.
Chase is also the host of the well received Beta2Boss Podcast, a business and entrepreneurship themed online radio broadcast that has earned a reputation as a platform that is as motivational as it is educational. Chase Harmer uses Beta2Boss as an outlet to be able to motivate, inspire and give back to entrepreneurs, offering bi-monthly mentorship to his audience by interviewing his rolodex of self made millionaires and billionaires. Beta2Boss’s guests are always self made and come on the show to break down their approach and mindset to being successful, and empower listers by delivering actionable tasks that anybody motivated can use to start or grow a business of their own.
Chase Harmer now runs his company and podcast from his office in Los Gatos, California, loves being a father to his ten year old son, and bets on the San Francisco 49’s to win the Superbowl every year.
Where did the idea for Pay Certify come from?
Well, when we started Pay Certify, we were very large in the hotel space and had managed a large hotel association that I landed when I was 26 years old. I was traveling all over the country and we had thousands of hotels on our platform, and I was trying to figure out a way to tie consumers to transactions, to eliminate the no-show charges that hotels get when consumers try to get out of staying at a hotel they booked by claiming to their credit card company that they did not book it. So, when we built out that platform to solve that particular problem, we realized there was a much bigger opportunity inside of the eCommerce space with the same product. And we started building out the solution to encompass more than just first party fraud, but the entire payments’ ecosystem online front to back.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Well, I typically wake up at about 5:30 in the morning. I think about going to the gym but then, I realize that I gotta go drink coffee first. And then once I start drinking coffee, I’ve gotta get on my laptop and then, once I start looking at emails, it gets out of control.
I think the solution really is, balance. You have to balance. It’s really easy to get stuck on emails and make it a full-time job. But emails is only part of the day, you actually have to be producing income and that means that you gotta go out and actually get sales and leads in the funnel. You have to divide your time equally on different divisions of the business so that you’re able to be productive and not just an email monster.
But to answer the question, my day starts early with a plan, the plan typically deviates but I will have set calls with my team, merchants, partners and value added resellers and concentrate the majority of my time on building the vision that I have for the company and bringing that to life.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I have a lot of ideas. So, as a CEO and a guy that’s into technology, everything is a great idea. There’s a lot of shiny objects and I have super ADD. So every single time that I see a new shiny object, I want to go after that. So I have to get people on my team to put me in check, and reel me back in when I get to loose. But, I think it’s in the way you build out ideas, they say team work makes the dream work, so every single time that I have these ideas, I’ve gotta run it by our team. Then, ultimately make sure that it’s a fit for our system. And as long as it’s a priority that’s going to make us a lot of revenue, we’ll go after that and build the technology to make it work.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Artificial intelligence. So, being in the payments industry, there’s a lot of different things that are moving parts that make technology sexy and make fintech a very attractive business to be in. But artificial intelligence is the new wave of how we’re going to control and guide consumers to make more educated buying decisions and real time choices and ultimately, machines are going to know everything about you and your trends and behavior patterns. When you book an airline ticket, it will know that you want to sit in first class and it will know that you want to have a chicken instead of steak and if you want an aisle or window seat. The way that we run our lives on a daily basis, artificial intelligence helps us navigate those things and help us make better decisions, quicker decisions. And this is the future, not just a trend that’s happening now, so get excited!
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Followup. So, I’m a sales beast. So, without followup, there is no sale. There’s a lot of different businesses where it’s a one time sale, and we’re in the recurring and residual value business, so follow up really is the key to long term success. In order to get that customer and make them sticky for a long period of time, you’ve gotta followup and followup and followup. It takes about five or six times in most cases, to actually get a client to come to the table and do business with us in my particular business. So, in order to be successful long-term and have a scalable strategy, followup is the key to my success.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I started in payments when I was 19 years old and once I started making residual income, I started doing a million different things because I had all this money coming in and I didn’t have to work for it. So, I was doing real estate, I was trying to sell cars. I was doing all this other stuff that I thought was going to make me all this other money in addition to the residual income. But what happens is, when you concentrate on all these other businesses, that residual income goes away and you’re not really stacking those chips. So, when I was sitting with my dad one day and he told me, “Listen, why the hell are you not concentrating all your time on building this business that you are essentially, creating all this wealth with?” I had no answer to that and once I had my son, who is now a 10 year old, I put all my focus on building my business into a real corporation and on its way to be worth hundreds of millions.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Most people don’t have the entrepreneurial mindset, and to be an entrepreneur takes a special kind of person that’s willing to stick through the f***g s**t and get his ass kicked and get up again, a million times. Most people, it’s pretty natural to go back to the state where it’s comfortable, and I have to stay in the uncomfortable state. Most people don’t agree that, that’s the state that you have to live in and breathe in, but I have to be breathing in that state otherwise, it doesn’t feel right. Like, I have to have that pressure and that backwards feeling every single day and that stress beating out of my chest. And most people can’t handle that, and I think that’s why most people can’t take being entrepreneurs and they puss out at the end. But ultimately, that’s the reason why I am who I am. But most people wouldn’t agree that’s the way to live your life.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Build a system where you can deliver high quality content every day of the year 365/24-7. When you have sales that come through your funnel and you need to actually talk to them on a daily basis, walk them through the system you have the problem of time and scaling is totally possible, but requires a ton of more effort and time and takes a lot of work, but if you’re a sales guy or sales girl and you can build a webinar or a system where you can sell all day and all night, with the perfect pitch, scaling becomes much easier.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Personal branding. So, I think you know, one of the things that I’ve seen that’s really been catapulting our business is, just building the personal brand. People are so concerned about just getting a sale and not really taking the time to actually build up your own identity. But the first thing that people do if they don’t know who the hell you are, is go check out who you are online. And if you don’t have a good PR strategy or a way to build your own brand, then somebody else can take you out without even knowing who you are.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I’ve had a lot of failures in my businesses. I answered an ad when I was 19 years old about a credit card processing position, I had no idea what I was getting into and I ended up running a guy’s sales office in the industry at that time. I was able to catch a glimpse at how much money he was making a month back then, and he was a total jackass. I realized if he can make $50,000 – $100,000.00 a month, then I could turn it into a multi-million dollar business and could do it way better. So I stepped out, and I tried to do it on my own. I got $3,000.00 from my mom ,and I started a company with three people. Now, if you start company with partners, partners are really difficult. And basically I was doing all the work. I was the guy that was doing all the sales and what I realized was that having partners in business, if you don’t really know who these people are and they are not really willing to commit yourself to the grand scheme of like, marriage. Because you are essentially, married to these people. Then you’re ultimately setting yourself up for failure.
And I think that probably was the biggest learning lesson because I took my my mom’s $3,000.00 and I essentially lost it because I had to separate the company and I essentially had to go scrape up my cents and go build it out myself. But I did do that. But the failure itself taught me the lesson that I have to rely on myself to build this business. And as long as I’m in control and I can build my own empire with the way that I see fit, that’s the way that I made that work. The main lesson is just shake it off and keep moving forward, failures happen. NO BIG DEAL.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
One business that I think you should get into, or anybody should get into if they’re looking to build a company that’s worth a big pile of money at the end, is to build a business with residual value. I would suggest starting some kind of payments company, or even a customer management software that you can charge for each month. As long as you service those clients, you’re going to be able to continue to make that money for years to come and compound the numbers every month. If you have a residual business where you’re able to put a lot of teeth into the client to make it harder to leave also as most business over time become commodities, someone else can build the same exact model and undercut you. They can cut off your legs and essentially lower their prices. And then, your residual value is gone. So the more teeth that you have into a merchant, the more value that you’re bringing to them. And the harder it is to leave.
So, I think if you’re going to build a residual business, build one that has long scalability. When I told my Dad I was getting into credit card business he advised me that it was a good choice because one thing about the credit card business is, people are not going to stop spending on credit. The business always changes, but it’s never going to go away. It might go to mobile, it might go to Internet, but credit cards isn’t going anywhere. So if you want to build a business that has long-term stability, you also want to build a business that you can have a lot of teeth into the merchants so it makes it harder for them to leave at the end of the day, so you can have that long-term residual value for years to come.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
So the best $100.00 that I spent was taking a merchant out to sushi that does $400 million a year in credit card processing. That was probably the best $100.00 that I spent, because that meal allowed me to close the deal and get the merchant services business.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
So, CRMs are totally clutch to the business that I operate in. When you have multiple facets and multiple lines of revenue coming in, it’s hard to manage that. Especially when you have a lot of agents that want to get paid, as well. So you have to have a CRM that manages all that money on the backend, but ultimately, manages all those leads in the funnels coming into the business.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
One book that I do recommend is, “The Art of War”. “The Art of War” , business and sales is a battle and you have to be strategic about the way that you approach merchants and the way that you close sales. So, it’s a really helpful book even though it’s not directly related to sales in general, “The Art of War” and strategic thinking is a way to help you modify your business plans and growth strategy to scale and It’s a great book to read.
What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is, “You can’t climb up the ladder to success with your hands in your pockets” because, most people think that success just happens overnight, it’s BS, takes a lot of work and it will challenge every aspect of your character and fortitude. There is no straight line to success, but you need to take the first step and remove yourself from the sidelines and jump in with both feet or don’t get in at all!!!
- Artificial Intelligence is the future of payments.
- The ability and motivation to follow up is the most important part to growing your business.
- All efforts should be dedicated to building a long term business with residual income streams.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.