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Joe RareJoe Rare is the Owner and CEO of Level 9 Virtual, a company providing businesses with certified, industry-experienced, and college-educated virtual assistants to assist with tasks so business owners can prioritize what matters most. Joe is a serial entrepreneur, investor, and outsourcing expert. Owning four digital companies, five wedding venues, and multiple real estate properties, he leverages resourcefulness and initiative to impact the growth and profitability of projects.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Why Joe Rare refers to himself as an underground serial entrepreneur
  • Joe’s experience in sales and why he values sales skills
  • How does Level 9 Virtual serve its clients?
  • The businesses Joe owns in different industries and how his mentality assisted in scaling each
  • Why failing is important and how to learn from costly mistakes
  • Joe shares how he manages his work and personal life
  • How Joe’s business model services multiple businesses utilizing one team

In this episode…

Many entrepreneurs discover their ability to innovate early in life. The desire to build and lead a company that produces a paycheck is desirable — compared to working for corporate entities where groveling for the next promotion is commonplace. Launching a business, however, requires heavy lifting in the beginning. How do you streamline business operations, especially when you run multiple companies?

Joe Rare, an underground serial entrepreneur, has found ample success in his career by constructing a streamlined business model. Although he owns multiple businesses in various industries, each company operates identically on the back end, eliminating the need for multiple teams. The functionality of Joe’s strategy minimizes expenses while simultaneously increasing productivity — and can be replicated to help you launch your next project.

On this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Chad Franzen welcomes Joe Rare, Owner and CEO of Level 9 Virtual, to discuss how Joe’s business model has contributed to his ability to scale multiple companies across varying industries. Joe shares why salesmanship is an asset in entrepreneurship, the role of mentality on business growth, and the benefits of failing from a business perspective.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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Episode Transcript

Intro 0:04

Welcome to the Top Business Leaders Show. Powered by Rise25 media, we featured top founders, executives, and business leaders from all over the world.

Chad Franzen 0:20

Chad Franzen here co-host of the Top Business Leaders Show where we feature CEOs, entrepreneurs, and top leaders in the business world. This episode is brought to you by Rise25. We help b2b businesses reach their dream relationships and connect with more clients referrals and strategic partnerships and get ROI through done-for-you podcast. If you have a b2b business and want to build great relationships, there’s no better way to do it than to profile the people and companies you admire most on your podcast. To learn more, go to, or email us at Joe Rare is an underground serial entrepreneur, investor, outsourcing expert, father, and husband. He currently owns four digital companies, five wedding venues, and real estate investment properties. Joe focuses on helping small to medium-sized businesses around the world. While working from the comfort of his home in Montana and enjoying Big Sky country with his family. He’s an investor and looks to find projects that he can use his marketing leverage to impact growth and profitability. All of his companies are being fully run by his virtual assistants. Joe, thanks so much for joining me today. How are you?

Joe Rare 1:28

Yeah, thanks so much for having me. I appreciate it.

Chad Franzen 1:31

Hey, so what do you mean by underground serial entrepreneur?

Joe Rare 1:37

So, yeah, I know somebody, somebody called me that a while back. And I was like, yeah, that’s pretty fitting. You know, a lot of people are building things. And they’re in, you know, involved in, in businesses, you know, they’re a little more outspoken, and so forth. And I don’t like social media; I only have my team run it, and they use it. And they put up content, mainly, it’s coming from podcasts and so forth. But social media and just kind of all that stuff isn’t like really where I want to spend my time, I could not remember to take a photo of something or make a video of something and post it if you paid me to do it. And so what I prefer to do is just build businesses in silence. And you know, I just want to focus on things that are interesting to me, that provide value for my clients, and my team and my family. And I don’t get involved in so much of the, you know, personal brand building, which could be to a detriment. I don’t know; it’s working fine for me now. But yeah, so I kind of do things under the radar. I’m not, you know, I’m not some loud voice that everybody knows. Which, you know, again, could be to my detriment, but we’ll keep playing it until the wheels fall off. But yeah, so I mean, that’s kind of the underground side is that I just do things under the radar, we’re always investing in things, we’re always starting something new. We’ve got kind of what I call secret projects that we’re working on, we just launched one of them now that has become super successful. So that for digital companies is now actually six, which is kind of crazy. And so some of that stuff. Nobody has a clue what’s even happening that we’re working on it, and then boom, we launch it, and we’re, you know, we’re off to the races.

Chad Franzen 3:23

So obviously, entrepreneurship is in your blood. Can you remember the first time in your life when you launch something?

Joe Rare 3:31

Oh, I mean, we, we try to sell stuff all the time, whether it be, you know, I want to know somebody’s lawn, and, you know, we would find, you know, random things in junky properties and try to sell them to antique people, you know, collectors and so forth. We did that when we were kids. I know my sisters had me setting up a lot of lemonade stands a little bit as well. So all the way back then for sure. But I really, really recognized it in high school when I couldn’t quite figure out why anybody would go to work for somebody else. And you know, like, kind of a quick story I always tell is like, there was a father of a friend of mine, who he was kind of known in town, he was like you know, and I grew up in a small farm town. And so he was known as one of the wealthiest guys in town. And it’s, but you don’t really recognize, like, why. But what was interesting was that he was always able to take us to like a baseball game in the middle of the week, you know, when parents are working? And I’m like, How is this guy able to do that? And then, you know, as I got older, and I get into high school, and I’m really starting to recognize more of these traits, I realized, like, well, cuz he owns the biggest business in town. And he’s the owner, and he doesn’t have to abide by the rules of workers. And I realized I’m like, I want that, you know, and that was kind of like, where I think it really for me started and then you know, at the end of high school, I kind of I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and I said, okay, no matter what happens in my life, entrepreneurship is how I’m going to

Chad Franzen 4:59

Go. So have you ever had a job?

Joe Rare 5:04

Yes. So I’ve dabbled in some jobs. During college, I serve tables; I think, you know, working in customer service and the service industry is, is really, really valuable. I also took a sales job to learn sales, you know, and so that kind of sucked. It didn’t last very long before I jumped ship. But other than that, I’ve always been building my own thing. And even when I had a sales job, I was still running my own stuff.

Chad Franzen 5:32

But you see, so you said you didn’t like the sales route that you took, but I know you enjoy sales. In fact, I’ve read that it’s

Joe Rare 5:37

your passion. Yeah. So you know, the sales job. Again, you’re locked by, by parameters. And the hard part is, is when you’re an entrepreneur, you always look at it, and you go, you didn’t know I could do this for myself and make way more money, right. And so I wanted the skills, and I wanted to learn, but it was like, it was really, really difficult to continue. And so, to be honest, I don’t even think I lasted three months. And it was always like, why am I selling for somebody else? You know, yes, I want this experience, I need to understand how this company works and all this, but it was like, this is just devastating to me. And so that was it.

Chad Franzen 6:12

What do you enjoy most about sales?

Joe Rare 6:16

Oh, man, I think it’s uncovering the truth. Within, you know, we’re in the sales process, there’s so much hidden truth in the dialogue, in the ability to uncover what it is that is the challenge with getting them to move forward. I also like the idea of kind of the creation of it. So in a conversation, you can be free flowing, and so forth. You’ve got tactics and strategies, but they’re always going to throw something at you that you don’t know is coming, and you have to be able to react to it. And so, how can you create an outcome when it’s very improv? And for some reason, I really, really liked that. I don’t know if it’s the challenge side of it. I don’t know. But I really liked the idea of creating something out of the improv of okay, well, what’s coming, and I catch myself, you know, and I mean, I don’t do much sales anymore. My team does. But I would rehearse every potential scenario of an objection of a comment out, or her sit in it as I’m driving. It’s like, okay, if I say this, they say that if they say this, I say that. And I would do that 1000 times over. So I felt like, even before I knew everything, everybody would say I probably touched on it somewhere and had it in my bag. And so I don’t know, I just really liked that kind of stuff.

Chad Franzen 7:38

Wow. That’s amazing. So do you. Like as your closing, given the fact that you’re so well versed on overcoming objections and rejections and things like that? Is your closing rate? Pretty high? Or do you still? Is it still like, you know, you’re here? Like, if you can sell one out of every 20? You’re good?

Joe Rare 7:57

Oh, no, if we’re not closing over 50%, or me personally, if I’m not closing 50 60% of everybody I’m on I’m on a call with, I’ve done something wrong in the due diligence side of things, qualifying and making sure that they’re the right fit, you know, the question at that point should come down to, can I make this a no brainer for them? Right? It’s my can I create enough intrinsic value for them that this feels like a no-brainer. And I love the no-brainer comment and use it all the time. And it’s like, if this doesn’t feel like a no-brainer to you, we should not move forward. And I’m okay, pulling it, pulling it off the table. And the funny thing is, when you reverse that, and you’re willing to take it away, people want it a little bit more. But no, I mean, I’m not a one-in-20 type of guy, I don’t want to have 20 conversations to close one deal. When we get to that point if I’m going to be on a sales call, it needs to be okay; I’ll have to when we got a new client; it has to be somewhere around that ratio. Otherwise, we’re doing something wrong in the vetting process.

Chad Franzen 8:59

Let’s get into some of the things you have going on. I know you are the owner and CEO of Level 9 Virtual. Tell me about what you guys do there.

Joe Rare 9:07

So that’s a virtual assistant services company. And so, you know, essentially, I got into it originally because I started hiring virtual assistants as cost leverage. I didn’t have any money, and we were building. I was trying to build a business. And so having somebody overseas do the work for less was a great option. And at one point down the line, one of my base came and said, hey, you know, you keep telling people how to get a VA, but you should just provide the service because you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. And I was like, Huh, okay, so we kind of discussed it. And I said, Look, I don’t want to run the company, though. So my VA ran the company, and it kind of made sense because they had the relationships in the Philippines they could work with, you know, that team over there, and they could. So we started offering the service to existing clients, you know, in one of my businesses, and that kind of just grew a little bit. It wasn’t until I had had a business fail and agent, I had a marketing agency. And when we closed down that business, I relaunched kind of using a more niche-focused strategy. And we grew that business really, really fast. And then I realized, like, hold on a second here, I can do the same thing that we just did there. I could do it in the virtual assistant company. And then that company exploded. And then I said, Hold on, we could do this with any business, if I just put this in place. And so now we have six.

Chad Franzen 10:26

So you kind of launched that as part of providing services to the client that already existed through another business that you had,

Joe Rare 10:33

Yeah, yeah. And I said, Oh, look like here. This is how we can support you better, you know, we’re running this for you. But you need help over here, just hire a virtual assistant here, we’ll help you. And that’s how it kind of started. So what did growth look like, then? Oh, back then it was stagnant. It was like if I didn’t have the client first, there was no new client. We didn’t know marketing, we didn’t know advertising. We didn’t tell people we did it. Other than our existing clients. And here and there, you’d get a referral. But other than that, I mean, we never even talked about it, it was kind of like on the back end over here. And we had somebody kind of managing it. And then I realized that that will you can’t grow that if you don’t actually put effort towards it. And so when I relaunched my agency, I decided to go one niche, one service, you know, for that niche, and we went from zero to $109,000 a month in four months, and then we doubled it in the next four months. I said, Hold on a second here, why are we not doing that with a virtual assistant company like? This makes perfect sense. And so we were able to scale that one unbelievably fast.

Chad Franzen 11:34

And then another business you have is called a wedding booking system. Tell me about that.

Joe Rare 11:39

That’s the marketing agency in the wedding space. And so we do marketing services and sales services for wedding venues, specifically. And that was what we relaunched. So I had an agency that was local, we had employees all over a building, a big office, glass walls and doors, and all that stuff. It came crashing down, when we had about 40% of all of the revenue, the company tied up in two clients, both of those clients canceled, like in the same 10-day, 14-day window, the whole company was like, wait a second here, and now we’re losing money, and we’re in the red. And that continued and you know, of course, is the optimistic, you know, business owner, I’m like, all we got to do is just replace that revenue, right? We’ll get it, we’ll get it. But you get into those ebbs and flows, where it’s you gain a client, you lose a client, you gain two clients, you lose one, and you could never get over that hump. So I took on a ton of debt, to just maintain the business and keep salaries paid, and so forth. And then finally, it’s just like, Okay, we got to this doesn’t work, we have to close it down. So a mentor gave me a great piece of advice and said, hey, you know, if you were to think about your clients, out of all of them, if they were to call you on a Sunday afternoon when you’re hanging with your kids, who would you pick up the phone for? And I was like. There’s like one. And it happened to be a wedding venue owner, who was a friend of mine. So that kind of helped. But it was like, because I know that he wouldn’t be calling with a fire, he would be calling for something positive. And so he said, that’s who you should serve us. And I was like, the wedding industry. Like that sucks. Like, it’s not my big, but we I said, Alright, let’s go all in on the wedding industry. So that was our one niche, you know, one service, we created one, one service package. And that was that and, you know, we launched that we’re able to scale really, really quick. And that’s what created my business model that we’ve used over and over.

Chad Franzen 13:36

What about the engaged app?

Joe Rare 13:39

So that’s a SaaS. Yeah, so that’s a SaaS product that we actually use for the wedding industry. So it took, hey, this is the product we’re using on the back end to run the system. And they said, why don’t we just sell this to the industry? And so then we put that forward and sold it to the industry. So venues, photographers, DJs, everybody uses it.

Chad Franzen 13:57

And there’s one more campground digital. Tell me about that one.

Joe Rare 14:02

Yeah. So that’s, that’s the smallest of them all, and that has been still run off of like, some ghetto landing page. But we, you know, during COVID, we were traveling a lot and, you know, in our campaign, you know, a toner trailer and, and cruising around, and that was when we were actually looking at where we wanted to live next before we moved to Montana. We were driving around and you know, we’d be looking for places to camp, and where are we going to go unless you went to like a big KLA or, you know, 1000 trails or one of the big companies. If you looked at all the independent campgrounds and RV parks, their marketing was awful. The ability unless you call them and you were able to get them on the phone, but if they were out like fixing something, they didn’t answer the call. And so I’m like, there’s an opportunity here. This is kind of interesting. And so it was just as simple as, hey, how about we help you with your website right or integrating, you know, these third party tools or offering text messaging to your or, you know, to from your website, so that somebody could send a text, you guys could text them back in real-time using a marketing tool. And so that’s how it kind of started. And so I’m like, let’s just call a bunch of these, hey, I was trying to stay the night, you know, you guys, but like your website, I couldn’t figure out if it was okay for my dogs, or my kids or anything else. Like, you know, Hey, would you mind having a conversation about, you know, us helping you with your marketing? And we I literally had somebody build a landing page, create a logo, and let’s just test it out. And we got to over, I think it was four or five months, we just got to $70,000 a month in revenue, just by doing that, and just make. It was more like, Hey, okay, let’s just pick this region, everybody’s got a crappy website, everything else is going to be probably pretty bad, too. And so we would just bang, bang, bang, and call all of them and build that business.

Chad Franzen 15:50

What kind of a mentality do you have to have? You know, I’m sure a lot of people have ideas, but they just get out. I don’t know, I can’t figure out how to do this. So I just forget about it. You seem to have a you know, like an idea about, you can’t find a campsite. So you start your own thing, what kind of mentality? Do you have to be willing and able to start these kinds of different things?

Joe Rare 16:09

Well, the mentality is just curiosity to start, and then it’s okay, I actually think that I have a solution that could work. And then and then from that, if I feel like I have a solution that could be valuable to somebody, then I go ask them if they’ll give me money for that. Right? If I could do this for you, would you pay me for it? Yes. Okay, great. Give me money. And I will do it now. And if we can do that enough times, that’s how you end up creating you know, that’s how you create the business. So I believe in putting out and trying, I mean, in the worst case scenario, you go, okay, look, like, I talked to 30 people, zero of them want this, we’ve maybe I’m either not communicating effectively, it’s not the right offer, or nobody frickin wants it. Right. And maybe there’s just not the need that I believe that there is, or they don’t care enough, and they’ve got enough business, and they’re good, then that’s fine. I mean, it’s, you know, unless somebody is experiencing some pain, it’s pretty tough to convince them that this non-pain issue needs to be solved. And so so you know, I’m looking for pain points. And I don’t know, I just believe, if it fits in my wheelhouse, and I have a team that can execute it, we might as well ask them, and then try it.

Chad Franzen 17:23

Have you ever, I guess, like this, like the campground digital business that kind of started. As you already had other businesses going and engagement app that started as a result of your wedding booking system? Have you ever like been in a position where you’re planning a business, and you’re, and you’re putting pressure on that business? Like this is now my job? Like, I need this to support me? Or have they all just kind of developed one thing out of another thing?

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