Mastering the Challenge of the Mind: A Conversation with Joshua Marsden

‘Master the challenge of the mind. Master how you lead and manage your brain because otherwise your brain will lead and manage you.’

Joshua Marsden is the owner of CVO Acceleration and ARM5 Formula Company. He helps clients break free from ‘one size fits all’ digital approaches.

‘Actions speak loudest.’

Joshua has had an interesting entrepreneurship journey. Listen for unique insights about serial entrepreneurship, business coaching for entrepreneurs, and e-commerce success.

Connect with Joshua on the following platforms:
CVO Acceleration:

Thank you for tuning in to Local SEO Today. Don’t forget to subscribe and share this episode. Joining me today is the owner of CVO Acceleration and ARM5 Formula Company, Josh Marsden. He helps clients break free from one size fits all digital approaches. Thanks for joining me, Josh.

Josh: Yeah, thanks for having me. I appreciate it, John.

John: Yeah, I’m excited to learn a little bit about your background, your history and how you are known as, today? What you are…And if you don’t mind sharing a little bit even way back, however far you want to share to the audience members like, what got you motivated to do what you do today?

Josh: Yeah. Well, I mean, what I do today versus how I started, which is really at 2013, your motivations probably have changed a little bit. But I first got started in early 2013. Because backstory was, I was working at a Fortune 500 company until early 2012 and I was fairly successful in that corporate realm. I was making about six figures a year, I was winning awards as a manager at this company and the company was going through some changes and some, I guess you could say threats to the business because of government regulations. And I saw less and less and less opportunities throughout 2011. And then 12, especially. And so that led me to making basically a big career move. I had some friends that I had worked with in the past that were working at a software company, in the digital space Infusionsoft, which, you know, a lot of people know. And I was basically lured over. I was lured over to the company and so I said goodbye to the company I was at for seven years, went to that company. And when I was at Infusionsoft, it was a unique experience, you know, for one, it really kind of opened up my eyes to entrepreneurship, and what people were doing to make money and build businesses and what they were selling. And, you know, just hearing the stories on the phone as I was connecting with business owners and hearing, you know, what they were selling, and what they were doing to make money was just like, it was mind blowing, you know, the entire time I just was like, “Wow, okay! I was hearing, getting all these different ideas, you know, left and right and part of my job was also building relationships, not just with business owners that we were trying to sell Infusionsoft to, but part of my job was also to build relationships with referral partners that were out there representing Infusionsoft and providing Infusionsoft services and selling Infusionsoft applications to companies and things like that. And so I was also hearing about those businesses, too. And so, towards the end of 2012, I was unfortunately, let go of Infusionsoft. I don’t think it had to do with performance because I was 108% to quota for the entire year. I wasn’t at the top but I wasn’t at the bottom. I think you just had to do with how I was aligning with my second manager at Infusionsoft because I had switch managers at one point and him and I actually knew each other for quite some time. He used to work at my previous…At the previous company that I used to work at and the way he was running the team, there was some things I just didn’t agree with. And it came out of my actions even though I wasn’t saying a whole lot. I wasn’t like, verbally being defiant. My actions were a little defiant. And then you know, he let me go. And so after that, I was like, “Okay. Well, I obviously need a job.” You know, that was my first, you know, thought and so I immediately went and reached out to my network, had some job opportunities right away within 24 hours. And I did say yes to the first one because it was okay. But I kept going and I kept getting other job opportunities. But while I was doing that, I also used this opportunity, this gap to go online and started getting freelance work as an Infusionsoft expert because when I was at the company, I learned Infusionsoft and I wasn’t even a tech guy. I wasn’t someone that was supposed to learn Infusionsoft. I was selling it but I just always have had a knack for tech, you know, I was building computers when I was 18, I did some programming in high school and also in college. I majored in business, you know, in my bachelor’s and master’s program, but you know…But I just had that knack, you know, for technology. And so I was able to skillfully learn Infusionsoft and skillfully use it and then skillfully deliver on those services. So, I started to get some work, started to get some clients, started making some money and kind of validating that I can make money on my own and not depend on a company. And then I did start another company, maybe a few months after that. This is like, early 2013. And as I started this company I had a few clients that was floating on the side but I was really, you know, focused on that new new job. And that new job, I told them early on that I had a son who was three at the time, and I’m a single dad. And I told them that I had to pick up my son from preschool and leave about 5pm, one to three days a week and after I told them that they kind of gave me a little bit of a hard time and then escalated even because they really wanted to have me there until like 7pm from 7am. They had a work hard, party hard basically culture because a lot of those guys really partied on the weekends quite a bit. And so after three weeks of stringing the opportunity along and working at the company and going back and forth about my schedule with my son, they finally gave me an ultimatum and so I went into the weekend after three weeks and that’s when I really really sat down and I really reflected on the different directions that I could go in, you know, I can stay at this company, I could change my schedule. There wasn’t really an issue, his mother was supportive the entire time but I didn’t want to do that, you know, I didn’t want to sacrifice time with my son, you know, that was the most important thing to me in my life. And so, you know, emotionally, I knew what my decision was but logically, I was still, you know, I still hadn’t been sold. And so I logically sold it to myself and I sat down, made a very simple spreadsheet on a piece of paper with two columns and three rows and the two companies and the strengths and the weaknesses of the different paths that I could take. And I just dumped my brain thoughts into, you know, those categories. And after doing that, that gave me the, you know, the sense of confidence that I can do this and it basically dissipated any fear that I had as well because I had fallbacks in case things didn’t work out in entrepreneurship. But I was all in and so that was how I started and then, you know, after that, I kind of evolved, you know, my initial agency. You know, how it is in business, you pivot quite a bit, you change direction until you start seeing that momentum and start figuring things out and, you know, you add layers to and things like that. And initially, you know, I started as Infusionsoft marketing services company and then we evolved into more of a marketing funnel services company. And then we evolved from there to an actual more full service marketing agency with digital advertising and content marketing as well. And then we started to see a repeatable pattern, especially over the last two years, and a strategy, a process, what companies need in order to get the best possible results from digital advertising. And so that’s how the ARM5 Formula, which is my methodology. That’s how that came to be. It was because of the work we were doing with clients and the consistency we were seeing and, you know, different characteristics in their marketing, different tactics, you know, different processes. And that’s how I was able to, you know, really pinpoint what a typical E-commerce business needs in order to be able to maximize their growth from digital advertising. That is what brought me to today, you know, because sorry, to cut you off, John, I’ll just…I’ll finish this really quickly. But now, you know, I have a mentorship side of the business where I mentor companies, and help them apply the ARM5 Formula. So, this way they can see similar results in their E-commerce businesses and then I just finished selling half of my agency, and we’re no longer taking agency clients. We’re actually moving more towards really focusing on our in-house E-con brands and also, possibly even buying some brands or partnering up with brands and becoming their marketing team and scaling these brands into sellable assets with the goal of selling them within 12 to 24 months. So, that’s what I’m doing now, today.

John: That’s amazing. A couple questions there. Regarding your ideal type of client, like, you know, you do E-commerce and your type of agency focus on buying under, I guess, performing E-commerce brands that you can actually grow and scale and get to a certain threshold to then sell again, right? But prior to acknowledging that, what kind of clients were you working with and what are you looking forward to today?

Josh: Sure. Yeah, you know, for the mentorship side of the business, I think our…Or, you know, it’s kind of new because we started at late like, August last year and we’re still pinpointing who the best fit really, truly is. I mean, because we can provide value to someone that’s just getting started, to someone that’s already making money in E-commerce but we’re, you know, but we want to really get specific and who, you know, the program is truly for. And at this point, we’re finding that the program is really, really best for someone that has a brand, it’s up and running, they’re making money in their direct to consumer brand, you know, they may have Amazon, they may have Walmart even, that might be doing well but their direct to consumer brand is underperforming there. But they’re already making some money there. They’re ideally making, you know, 10 to 50,000 per month and of course, they want to scale and they want to scale up to 100,000 plus per month. That’s really the ideal company that we wanna work with in the ARM Formula Accelerator, and they also want to learn this stuff themselves or get their team to learn this stuff themselves, you know? And they also are, you know, super coachable, you know, driven, they show up to the calls, they’re willing to put the work in and you know, that, you know, because we want to make sure that we work with like, the right companies and the right staff. Whether it’s the owner, whether it’s the team. That they are going to really meet us halfway because we give people three calls a week, there are group coaching calls on copy ads, strategy, you name it. We give them access to templates, we can give them access to training materials. We give them access to a lot to help them have that impact. So this way, they can really scale their business and we wanna see a lot of successes coming out of that. And so part of it is companies like, really, you know, meeting us, you know, halfway. So, you know, those types of companies are not looking for done for you, you know, they want help, and they want us basically over their shoulders, helping them figure this out and apply the ARM5 Formula into their business so they can scale and get better results from their marketing and their advertising. On the brand scaling side, where we’re essentially running the marketing for brands that is done for you. There’s a number of things that we’re kind of looking for there. For one, you know, similar type of business, you know, they’re validated, they’re making money, they’re not necessarily scaled up just yet but they’re making, ideally at least 33,000 per month because we’ve worked on a revenue share model, with these types of businesses and I’ve done the math that we need to have a company that has at least that in revenue per month to be a good fit for us. And they also don’t have a marketing team. They want a marketing team, they want to partner up, they are okay with giving autonomy to a marketing team to help them scale and to really collaborate with us as a partner, not as a boss but a partner more so. And they also have the same goal, they wanna sell their business and all in 24 months, you know, on average. So, they align with our vision on that side of the business. So, that’s what we’re looking for, on the partnership side of the business.

John: That’s amazing. And I’m sure you’re fully on digital ads, to cultivate some of these leads right now. How is that coming along? And are you…Is it more organic in nature? Or are you actually aggressively looking right now?

Josh: Yeah, you know, on the partnership side, we’re not aggressively looking yet. You know, we have our own in-house brands, and we have legacy agency clients currently. So, our bandwidth is focused on that stuff at the moment. I already have kind of planned out quarter to quarter, how many partner brands we wanna take on. And right now we’re looking for one. That’s it. So, we don’t have like, we’re not trying to get a bunch, cause we can only handle so much. And so we’re not driving leads, we’re not driving traffic into that. But on the accelerator side, we have been, you know, getting leads, getting booked, calls, basically daily. At least one every single day for the past month. So, we’ve been getting, you know, companies that wanna work with us on that side of the business pretty consistently at this point.

John: Okay. And then where do you want to go with it…All this…Because it seems like you have the coaching, you have your brands that you want to keep selling and growing and liquidating. But, you know, what’s your vision like? Because I know you have a younger son as well. And, you know, where do you see yourself in the next couple years? Like what’s your kind of goals looking like?

Josh: Big goals. So, for one, I wanna retire by the time I’m 45.

John: How old are you right now, Josh?

Josh: It’s already 40 later this year? So yeah, I’m turning 40 later this year but I want to… Basically, I’m not gonna stop working. I know that, but I just want to be in a position where I don’t have to work. I work because I want to. And I’ve got assets, and I’ve got, you know, passive revenue and passive income, I should say, and things like that, you know, and properties and things like that. So, I’ve got a big vision, you know, I wanna sell brands and make 100 million in the next three years, econ brands, I wanna scale the accelerator, the coaching side of the business. I can’t remember the exact revenue number but I have it in a Google Doc, where I essentially wrote out the entire vision but we have plans to really scale that thing over the next three years and impact a lot of E-commerce businesses and also expand our coaching team. We’re kind of following the Tony Robbins model a little bit in his coaching business and how he had lots of coaches underneath him and things like that. We definitely want to adopt some of that in that business. And you know, I want to own properties in different places around the world. So, this way I can bounce between say, snowboarding and surfing. And you know, I wanna have a family you know, I wanna be able to settle down and, you know, have maybe one more kid at some point in my life. So, you know, that’s what my vision is over the next three years actually.

John: That’s amazing. I mean, at least you’re crystal clear on what you want and you already have a plan in place. So now, let’s make it happen, right? So you have a team…It’s like you’re very focused and you got things in order, especially now that you have experienced and you had success over the last couple of years realizing what you want, right? Were there people inspirational to you during this time of growth? The last maybe last couple years or prior to it, to really get you really focused on how to position yourself, to strategically think and get you more clarity into intent for where you wanna be.

Josh: Totally. Totally, you know, I’ve been super blessed, super fortunate to be around some awesome people over my entrepreneur journey. I mean, I can give so many different shoutouts. So, right now…But, you know, I would say that people that have really inspired me have been like mentors, you know, Ryan Deiss, and Roland Frasier and the digital marketer team, you know, the leadership team. Those are probably my first real mentors that I had. And, you know, I was fortunate enough to have that connection pretty early on in late 2014, off of a very calculated risk that I took. Investing 10 grand that I did not have, at the time, to really become one of their first 12 certified partners and then after that, you know, I’d say that mentors have been like Ryan Levesque, being in his highest level mastermind and learning from him, learning from others in the group, because he had a very just top notch group with some incredible successful entrepreneurs where I was, like, I don’t wanna say the dumbest because I wasn’t. But I was the dumbest person in the room, in a way. Meaning that, you know, I just had a lot to learn. That doesn’t mean I’m dumb, it just means that I’m not as experienced in business and success as a lot of people in the room. And it was just a great room to be in, you know? In the year that I was in, you know, that group and then you know, since then, you know, I’ve also been privileged to call guys like Patch Baker, who is a very successful former veteran entrepreneur that made 162 million last year, which is very inspirational, as you can imagine and Oli Billson, who is, right now, you know, my mentor. Over the last few years now that I’ve been in his scale mastermind, as well. So anyway, I’m giving a few shout outs but those are the people…Those are probably like, the key, you know, mentors, leaders that have really kind of influenced me and opened up my eyes, you know, and have helped me and supported me over the years. But I’ve had so many other people too, that those are just the people…The people I mentioned are really the people that I’ve invested in for the most part, except for Patch. Patch has been awesome. Just being, you know, a fellow veteran, and supporting me and mentoring a, you know, ever since I met him about a year and a half ago or so. But, you know, I’ve been really, blessed honestly, to have so many connections to so many great people that are also awesome, successful entrepreneurs as well.

John: That’s amazing. Is there any traits that you can think of that really make you like, when you talk to entrepreneurs that have kind of been in your shoes, or people that you look up to, is there a one or two skill set or traits that you always think of, or do they always say that you need to be successful?

Josh: Yeah, I hear you. Well, I think that, you know, for one, here’s a few things. You know, this is kind of fresh in my head because I wrote some copy last night and I sent this out to my audience. But, for one, you just have to be 100% all in, you know, all in. And, you know, it’s funny because I recently was on the roof and I live in a nice apartment complex. And on the roof, we have a spa, and a barbecue, and fire pits and things like that. And I was on the roof, I was literally on there just laying down reading a book. And then a neighbor came up to me that I’ve seen several times but I have never had a conversation with and all of a sudden, we talked for like an hour. And I find out that he is like this really, really successful entrepreneur. He has like 106 million to his name and he just invested 100 million into something. And he’s hoping to turn it into like 1.2 billion and I’m just like, blown away the entire time. Just listening, asking questions, being a sponge, you know, and just using my ears, not my mouth. And he said, you have to be all in like, no matter what you do, what you choose to do, you have to be all in. And so I think that’s a key trait to be successful. You have to be 100%, like, all in. Besides that, you know, you just have to, you know, master the, you know, the challenge of the mind. You know, I’ve really learned this over the last few years. I didn’t really realize up until maybe two years ago now but you really have to master how you lead and manage your brain because otherwise your brain will lead and manage you. Meaning that, you know, the brain goes into that fear or flight mode all the time by itself and entrepreneurship is full of fear, you know, even after you hit success, there’s still fear. There’s just…There’s so much stress that can come out of that if you can’t manage your brain properly and, you know, I’ve been a big practitioner now of meditation and reading and journaling and things like that, over the last two years. And I feel like that’s been, like something that’s really pushed me over the last two years and helped me really stay sane.  And, you know, also just be happy, you know, as I experienced all the stresses that we experienced as business owners. So, that’s one thing and then another thing is just discipline, you know, there’s, you know, there’s times where I work where I maybe would rather do other things, you know, but I have discipline and, you know, I exude it and I exhibited, you know, whenever I need to. To be able to get what needs to be done. Whether it’s the weekend, whether it’s the evening, you know, you name it and there are sacrifices you have to make with that. But that’s what it takes, you have to be all in. And if you want to be successful, if you want to create, you know, the vision that you have for yourself, you know, there’s no other choice. You just have to do it because actions speak loudest.

John: That’s awesome. I love it and it sounds like you’re so focus and it’s intentful, right.? And when you are able to, like, have that mind clarity, right? Understanding, like even reflection, being able to meditate and have perspective on all aspects of life being able to have that will to, you know, rest. But then listen to people because absorbing connections is huge, right? Understanding that there’s so many smarter people that can give you wisdom. It’s you seeking it out and being okay to be vulnerable. Let people in on your situation as well and absorb because the more connections you have…That’s the only way you can build a better life for yourself, right? To aspire for more, to look at what you don’t have and maybe want to have a little bit more of, right? But eventually, it sounds like, you know, if you are, what does success mean to you? Because it seems like, having all these homes in different countries, making, earning all this. H aving passive income…Is that going to be successful for you? Or what is it that triggers that?

Josh: Yeah, you know, it’s such a great question, John, I really, really love that question. Because, you know, at the end of the day, what’s most important in life isn’t all those things. It’s love and connection, you know, in my opinion. And, you know, those things are things, you know, you don’t need those things, you know, you can live a great life without all those things. So, I mean, happiness to me isn’t having those things. To me, it’s, you know, taking care of my son, you know, raising him and, you know, making sure that he’s prepared for life and making sure that, you know, he attacks life when he has the opportunity to go after his own goals. Also, it’s in, you know, maintaining great relationships with people in my life that I care about that I love. Friends, family, you know, it’s also about, you know, maybe creating your own family. You know, being able to, you know, be the leader of your clan, you know, your tribe, you know, being the lion, so to speak. You know, those things to me, is what I envisioned as real happiness and then also make an impact on others. Like, I have some nonprofits that I really wanna put some time and energy into and some money into, once some of this stuff starts to really like, blossom. So, you know, it’s because that’s really what it’s about. It’s about, you know, leaving an impact on the people around you and your relationships. That’s what life and happiness truly is all about, in my opinion.

John: Yeah, it sounds like you’re on the right footing because that foundation piece…Once you have clarity on what’s gonna make you happy and stuff. But it’s more about like, yes, relationships and family experiences. People that you want to impact that you look up to, you respect and you want to help out. The more you give and I’ve been very fortunate myself, like, inspired by just being here in the Western culture, right? Like, having the ability to now embrace third world countries that understand how other people live, like, having access to having information, knowledge, insight and then understanding perspective wise how other people are living and if you can just make a small difference in their lives. It’s gonna make a huge impact in what they can potentially do. Especially if it’s knowledge and insight. Like, education has always been at the top of my, you know, realm of success, right? Like learning, absorbing information from books or conferences or people or mentors, coaches, communities, you name it. Just getting out there and reaching out, asking for advice because if you’re waiting for things to happen, good luck. You’re never gonna get anything, right? But if you’re seeking it out. And people do feel that you have energy and you have excitement and you wanna learn because you’re a sponge, right? You’re just passionate. They will want to help you achieve it. It’s how life works. We all operate, right?

Josh: Totally. Yeah. I love that. Absolutely.

John: So, that’s all amazing. So, final thoughts, Josh, how can some of the people get a hold of you, reach out to you? You know, what would you like to leave with at the end?

Josh: Sure, you know, I would, you know, feel free to get in touch with me directly. You can shoot me an email at, that’s what we’re transforming to right now and we’re gonna be having a brand launch very soon with that new brand. And, you know, kind of leaving the old CVO Acceleration Agency brand behind or you can just, you know, give the office a call 480-569-3131, you know, here in the United States. That’s a very good one, or if you just wanna, you know, follow me on Instagram, I’m somewhat active on Instagram. It’s Joshua A. Marsden. So, you know, I’ll give you the link, you can put it, you know, in the comments wherever the case may be. But yeah, I mean, I love to help, you know, connect. I love to inspire, you know, and I love to, you know, give valuable content on Instagram and also on other channels that I manage, as well.

John: Amazing. Well, really appreciate your time, Josh, you know, I respect people that give me opportunity to share like, you gave some great nuggets there. So, thanks a lot and I’m gonna have all your details in the show notes. So, don’t worry, listeners and again, thanks a lot for being on our show today, Josh.

Josh: Awesome. Hey, John, thanks man. You know, I love the questions, you know, you’re a great guy. I feel the energy, you know, every time we connect and, you know, it’s great to connect with you. And thank you so much for having me on the show. I appreciate it, man.

John: No problem. Thanks a lot, Josh.