CREATING A SELF-RUNNING BUSINESS
Welcome to another episode of Builders Business Success Podcast.
The purpose of this podcast is to help you build a better building business, smash the destructive industry norms and help you get more time, more money and more meaning with your building business.
I'm super pumped for this particular episode, I've got a good buddy of mine that I'm gonna be talking to, his name's Carl Taylor. He's one of the most inspirational guys I know when it comes to letting go, giving up the need to be looking after everything, taking everything on, and that's what business owners tend to do.
The difference between a business owner and an entrepreneurial mindset is a business owner tends to do this, they tend to say I'll take responsibility for this, I'll do this, no one else cares as much as me, so therefore everything needs to go through me. You end up becoming that bottleneck and you become the person in the business that tends to slow everything down, even though your purpose and what you're trying to do is make things better.
So we're gonna be talking to Carl Taylor on how we can get rid of that mindset of taking everything on and become a bit more of an entrepreneurial mindset, where the entrepreneurial mindset, every day, we try and figure out what we can get off our list of things to do, particularly those things that appear every day.
We've also got another excerpt from discussions with Builders Business Blackbelt members, and it's called What'd I Say? And of course at the end of the show, I'm gonna be giving you what I think is a really cool tip to take away and to implement that's gonna really make a big change in your day. So let's get on with the show.
Let’s hear from the conversation with Carl Taylor!
Now it's time to talk to my buddy, Carl Taylor. As I said, he is the absolute master of letting go. So I can't wait to share what we spoke about in this interview. So let's go with Carl.
Mick - I just constantly feel guilty. Oh, why is that? 'Cause I get everything done on my list by 11 o'clock in the morning and I just feel guilty and it's like, how is that a problem? Like, why is that a problem? But it's ingrained in us with that sort of, we've got to work hard to be successful. And if we're not working long, it doesn't equal hard somehow. What are your thoughts on that?
Carl - There's a couple of things that I really love that you brought up there. First up, talking about effectiveness. Years ago, I was gonna write a book called the P-Myth, the Productivity Myth. I decided to bail on that a bit too close to "The E-Myth."
But it was the P Myth and it was all about productivity. People think they wanna be more productive and get more done, but it's got nothing to do with what you're doing and whether you're getting more done, it's are you getting the right things done? So effectiveness is super crucial, that's the first thing.
The second thing of coming back to that, feeling guilty. This is a real challenge and in particular, I remember when I got to the point where my business was, I mean, last year I took eight months out of my business. I'm not sure Mick, you're aware of it or not, but I stepped away from my business for eight months. I had some personal things go on and a longterm relationship come to an end and I just went, you know what? I'm outta here, I need some time to work on me.
Mick - It's interesting that you said that from the perspective of me being a customer. I knew because we're both in the same coaching group, so I knew a little bit about what was going on. Made zero difference to the level of quality of service to the business. So, that speaks volumes.
Carl - That was the thing, it was, I could have probably done that a lot sooner, I could've stepped away for that long amount of time. A lot of people hear that, they go, "Eight months, how could you go?"
I remember a few months back before the whole COVID thing happened, I was speaking at an event and I said, "How many of you could take a week out of your business?" And a few hands went up. "How many of you can take a month out of your business? "How many of you take three months?" And by the end of, I think I got to three months and there was only one hand that was semi-up.
He was like uh, maybe. I was like, "Well, what if I just told you "I just took the last," I think it was seven months at that point. I'm like, "the last seven months out of my business?" And the room's like, "What?" And the biggest thing that stops us is our mindset, the belief that we can, that we're allowed to, that it's, we're not doing something wrong by stepping away from the business.
And I was very lucky at an early stage in my business career, I think I was around 20 years old, that a mentor came into my life and gave me a definition of a business that really stuck with me and has never left me, the idea that a business is only truly a business if it works without you.
If your business requires you in any way, shape or form in the business in the day to day, then it's not truly a business, it's a job. It might be a part-time job, it might be a casual job, it might be a highly paid job, but it's still ultimately a job. And that mindset has stuck with me over the last basically 15 years now from then, and it's showing up in the way that I've made these decisions.
And I think once you start to go, okay, I'm truly building a real business, so it has to be out of work without me, because if I ever wanna sell this business, and I've sold a few businesses in my time, if you want the business to actually be valuable, you want it to not rely on you.
If the business relies on you, the money you'll get for that business is so much lower, or if you still negotiate a decent price, you end up being locked in with a handover period.
I had an IT company for eight years, when I sold that, I was locked into the new owners as an employee for a year. Now, thankfully that we had a decent, it wasn't like full time hours, but it was, I can tell you my mental state, I was not loving the fact that I was still tied to this business for a year.
Yes, I was earning a salary, but it was like, I checked out, I was ready to go. And that's not cool. And I made that distinct decision when I started Automation Agency, I was like I'm gonna build this business so that if I ever choose to sell it in the future, that I would never have that same scenario of someone going get 12 months, you're locked into this business.
And so by doing that, having that mentality, it makes you build a different type of business, it makes you think differently around how you're gonna build it and know that your decision, your value, I believe as the CEO, founder, business owner, whatever you wanna call yourself, the true value that we present to the business is in the decisions we make. And if you think about that, if you think about the decisions that we make, how much time does it take to make a decision?
Usually seconds. Maybe you need some data, you need people to present information to you, or even you need to do a bit of fact finding. Okay, so there might be a little bit of time, but if you've got a good team around you, they can present all the options and then all you need to do is make a decision, which again comes down to seconds.
And in that one second or two seconds that it takes for you to make that decision, that could be effectively you earning your entire year's salary, or however you choose to pay yourself out of the business, just that one decision.
And if you can start to grasp to that, that that's the true value that you bring to the business, not the rest of it, not the picking up the phone and calling a client, not the deciding on the next marketing strategy, not the who we're gonna hire next 'cause ultimately, other people can do those things over time, you can train and build up that. The value is in those decisions.
When someone comes to you and they're going, Carl, what do we do? Or pay, we're facing this problem, the market landscape's changing, coronavirus is hitting.
What are we gonna do? That's when you earn your salary, your profits, however it is you choose to compensate yourself. And that's where you start to go, I don't feel guilty because I know the value that I bring in those few seconds, that I bring there.
And it takes time to get there. And the other thing that I found was the guilty approach, especially if you're one of those people that you get to 11:00 a.m. and you're like, I've done everything, I'm gonna take the rest of the day off. But I feel guilty 'cause my team are working. You've got a few options.
One, you don't tell the team that you'd stopped working, it depends on your company culture, that's an option. I mean, I still find it funny, like to this day, my team will often message me and go, "Hey, Carl, I know you're busy." And often at the time, I'm like, "Oh, not really." I mean, the last few weeks I have been getting my hands a bit more dirty, but like... They'll be like, "Hey, I'm sorry to bother you. "I know you're really busy."
And in my head I'm like, "Mm, not so much." And that changes, and that's cool that they feel like that and I guess I am busy with life and other areas, but ultimately I know the value that brings in the decisions. But your other option is you find other ways to create meaning in your life, that's the biggest challenge.
Like there's these different, I talk about these different layers of business. Most of us, we start, I'm sure this is very true for builders. You start off self employed, right? You got your ABN, you're a self employed person, it's a business of one. And then eventually along the lines, maybe bring on an apprentice, maybe you bring in some other people to help you in the office, and then you become a business of two, three, four, and you're no longer a self-employed person, you're now a manager.
And when you were self employed, the problem you had is it was just constant, like chase the work, do the work, chase the work, do the work. But then you got to the manager level and you started going around in circles because your team started making fires and problems that you need to fix.
And the manager stage often, usually you're straddling the self-employed manager level for a bit, you're still in a bit of that, but eventually if you get to a point where you've got a bit of a team to manage, it becomes exhausting because all you ever seem to be doing is problem solving.
This client's not happy because this quality of work or there's a quality thing we need to fix here, we need to do some more training and you go around and around in circles. And that's sadly where I see too many businesses get stuck. Too many business owners just never crack out of the manager stage.
The next stage up is when I truly, I think that at this point, if you've mentioned like a pyramid, these are the first two rungs of the pyramid, and this is where you're an owner, you're an operator of your business, you're not an owner. It's the next two rungs of the pyramid that you become an actual owner of your business. And making that leap from a manager to a leader is challenging, but also not that challenging.
The biggest challenge truly is in the way you think. It's in allowing yourself to let go and to think about business in a different way, and I think if there was nothing else from this entire episode that you could take away, is if you can start thinking about your business as it's not a real business, until it can work without you, that thought process alone, if you truly buy into that, can be all that's required to jump to that next level.
Mick - That's so just a wonderful way of explaining it. It's kind of, I tried to get that across to our Blackbelt members, particularly when they first come on board, that if you don't design a place for yourself to arrive, they go to a builder business coach to go, well, I'm not making any profit and I've got no time for myself.
So can you help me? And so getting time, freedom and financial freedom in the scheme of things isn't all that difficult. But where the problem occurs, you've just mentioned, is when you get there and you haven't already designed a place for yourself to arrive, like what is your purpose, what is your cause, what do you wanna do with your freedom, your financial and time freedom?
What I've found is more often than not. The business owner becomes, and this all happens, subconsciously becomes the pyromaniac firefighter, and they go back into their own business and they cause problems subconsciously.
So they can fix them, it's like I was needed, I was the fixer not long ago and now no one asks me anything. So it's super important to design that sort of place to arrive, what are your thoughts on that?
Carl - Oh, that is 100% true. That's the problem of the leader. We talked about the manager, you're going around in circles, the problem of the leader is at this point, the business doesn't need, if you're doing it well, doesn't need too much of your time.
The biggest problem here is you start to break stuff, you start to create, come up with new ideas, 'cause you've got more time on your hands, you're thinking about your business, which is amazing, but there are a number of initiatives in automation, and it's in particular, I can think of that if I had my time over, like it was not worth the time, the money was actually more of a pain in the ass that we rolled that idea out.
But where did it come from?
I was just like, how do I add more value? How do I do more things? But it ended up turning into this huge project that consumed a lot of my time and then ended up consuming and requiring more resources, more things that we'd probably have a more profitable business, had We never done it.
And so, the challenge there is you need to have install distractions. Like in the self employed level, you need to install automation, you need to start bringing in tech and team to get yourself up to a manager.
But once you're a manager, then it's about installing operations and simplifying your operations really to ultimately get up to the leadership. Once you're in the leader level, it's about distractions. How do you distract yourself? How do you find those other things to do so you're not gonna consume all of your time and attention back into the business? And break things that you don't need to do.
And there's a fine line, and I haven't yet mastered a way of measuring where that line is 'cause obviously you don't wanna step away from your business and stop thinking about it.
Unless there's someone in the CEO role, if you haven't replaced yourself in the CEO role, which I personally haven't, I have operations people, but I don't have a CEO thinking strategically, you still need to be that strategic direction, you need to be the decision maker, and until you step out of that completely, you can't stop thinking about the business at all. Otherwise it will start to go downhill.
But there is a line of knowing where you do that and where you then go, business is taking along. I don't need to come up with a great, shiny, new marketing strategy just because I'm bored. The one we've got is working. We just need to up some ad spend, or we just need to do that campaign again.
And sometimes the only way you're gonna do that is finding a cause bigger and better outside of yourself. And so that's where some people, they choose to become coaches, that's where people like me, I've written books that have got nothing to do with business, they're like personal mindset things, I started other businesses, I've got a software company that's taking along in the background, being built with the hopes. Why do I do that? Distractions, new ideas, bigger visions.
What’d I Say?
So we are constantly having conversations with our Builders Business Blackbelt members, at the moment we're doing daily momentum calls.
Every day, we get together and we share wins, share lessons, super important to share those wins, to understand that you you're moving forward, that your efforts are making a difference rather than just doing stuff and then forget that we've done it and not give ourselves appreciation for it.
So wins are really important to share, lessons are really important to share because every time we share a lesson and five or 10 other people are listening, they can benefit from that. And by doing that, we speed up each other's progress, so that's really cool. Then the other thing is answering questions.
Sometimes I get to answer them and sometimes I actually say something that was worthwhile listening to. On those rare occasions, we capture those answers to questions. We record them and we put them in this next segment, What'd I Say?
So let's have a listen to What'd I Say?
“Struggle with this because I say to everyone, when you gotta get shit done, think who not how, who do I know to get it, because my philosophy that was taught to me by my coaches, if you ask how, it's gonna cost you money, and it's gonna cost you time.
If you ask who, it just costs you money. You don't have to learn how to do this. The only thing I will say to everybody, if you're looking at something like this, is you've got to learn how to effectively communicate to them, to get the result you want. It's a little bit like computers, garbage in garbage out.
So you've gotta be very, very specific with what you want. After a little while, you tend to build relationships with people, the similar people will be doing jobs for you over and over, and they'll start to get how you work or what you want or find it effortless now.
But it was quite frustrating in the beginning, so just gotta be aware of that. It just takes you awhile to figure out how to communicate effectively, also what else they can do.
There's so much that they can do for you that you probably aren't aware of in the beginning. So you can actually set up recurring tasks and things like that. And so you can use them somewhat as a virtual assistant to do certain things, but you've just gotta work with them to build the systems, to make that happen.
So it can be a really good department of your business if you like to get some stuff”.
It's time for the book review portion of the Builders Business Success Podcast and I thought, well, what better book to review in this particular episode than Carl's book! And it's called "Becoming Bulletproof."
And it's an excellent book, I think straight out of the gate, one of the things that really got my attention, it's a classic old story and it's the story of a mother teaching the daughter how to cook a turkey. And the daughter is watching the mother cook the turkey and she's putting it in the pan and she grabs the legs and snaps the legs and folds them in a strange way and slides it in the oven.
And the daughter ends up asking, "What's the whole deal with breaking the legs? "It doesn't seem like it does anything, "why do you do it?" And the mother said, "Well, my mom taught me that. "That's how she did it "and I never really asked the question. "It's an interesting question, let's get her on the phone "and find out why."
Long story short, they get grandma on the phone, "Why'd you break the legs?"
And they're expecting some whizzbang explanation as to how it changes the flavor and does this, that and the other, and simple explanation was, "Well back in the day, we only had a really small oven "and a small tray, and it was the only way "I could get the turkey to fit." And a lot of these motherhood statements, a lot of these wives' tales that we live our lives by are quite misleading sometimes.
We have these beliefs because we've been told them from other people that we respect, but when we trace them back, sometimes they really don't make a whole lot of sense.
And there was a lot of, I guess, truths that we have that we live our lives by, that could be improved by going back and figuring out where they came from and deciding whether they are really serving us well or not.
Another part of the book that I find is super, super useful is just understanding yourself, which ties into what I was just talking about, but it goes to another level of understanding what we believe and why we believe it and what type of person I am. So I can play to my strengths and negate my weaknesses.
So how that works in a building business is you, the owner of the building business, you're not necessarily the best person at everything. And most successful leaders understand that they are only good at certain things.
That is the area that you should be spending the majority of your time in, and then finding other people or processes that can take care or hide your weaknesses, get rid of them. I don't believe it's a good use of time trying to improve your weaknesses.
I think it's better to put yourself in a position where you play to your strengths and you can really amplify what you do well, and then figure out other ways that you can cover up if you like, not ignore and not cover over, but use other people, systems, processes to do those parts of the business that are really important, that you're not all that good at.
That's the best way of doing it. I'm gonna talk about that in the takeaway at the end of this podcast, but definitely go out, grab yourself a copy of Carl's book, it's called "Becoming Bulletproof."
It's a great book, it'll really help you understand yourself and a whole lot of great ideas that's gonna help you manage your business in a whole nother level. So grab yourself a copy of "Becoming Bulletproof" by Carl Taylor.
More to hear with Carl!
Now let's get back to the interview with Carl and see what else Carl has. I'm sure he has a whole bunch of value bombs he's gonna drop on us, so let's hear what Carl's saying, the author of the book "Becoming Bulletproof."
Mick - In your mind, is there a practical exercise for instance, that somebody could perhaps list activities that they do or whatever, to figure out what they might be able to either dump or delegate, outsource to Automation Agency, for instance, something like that?
But I think through that process, if they were to do that, they'd probably find a bunch of stuff that they did, if they never did it ever again, it would make no difference anyway. So that'd be a good start. Have you gone through an exercise like that, or have you got anything you can suggest to get someone started down that track?
Carl - Yeah, definitely. It sounds like you've already summarized effectively a really great starting place, which is to do a big list of all the things that you do on a weekly, daily basis, and what I would actually do when I'm creating that list.
So if you got like a sheet of paper, break it up into columns of different days and just write down what are the things that you do day in day out. And if you don't really know, or once you've done what you think it is, actually leave your week for a couple of weeks and then add to it as you start to discover things that you're doing, that you maybe hadn't thought about.
And what I would do when you're looking at that list, is highlight the things that you actually really love doing. The stuff that you find fun, the stuff you find it easy, do that, 'cause you don't wanna necessarily delegate and give away the things that are joyful for you and leave yourself with all the stuff you hate. I always like to think of how do I get rid of the stuff that doesn't bring joy into my life first.
That's the stuff that exhausts me, the tires me out, that makes me feel stressed. Can I find someone who that's something they love and bring that in? Or can I use technology to make it not need to be done by a human anymore?
These are the things that I would think about. So it's doing that list and then go, what can I delegate? What can I delete completely? What can I redesign? Sometimes it's just redesigning the way it's being done, can make a lot of changes and you optimize it. But that's a really great place to start, that kind of audit. If you're doing things on the computer, a really useful tool is Time Doctor, oh, actually RescueTime.
RescueTime is actually one I'm thinking of, you get to rescuetime.com, you install that on your computer and it basically tracks everything you're doing on the computer, and you'll start to get a quick audit of where you're spending time, how much you spend on social media, how much in emails, that's another way if you spend a lot of time on a computer in your current role, that's an area you could discover to people and resources you need.
That's a really good starting place. And then after you've done that, as I would say, do that role description, write out a role description and then when you're deciding how you're gonna fill it, don't just think about people or don't just think about tech.
Go, this is my role, now, what is the best way that I can fill this role? Maybe a service like Automation Agency is a piece of that plus someone else, plus some other technology or who knows? But once you've got clear on the role, you can start to look for the best solution for that.
Mick - My being absolutely wonderful having this chat. Before we get out of here, I need for you to let us know what's the best way to go look at what Automation Agency does, is it the right fit for a builder?
As I said, a couple of our Builders Business Blackbelt members are recent new clients of Automation Agency and to me, it's just wonderful stuff and there is so much, and I've gotta give myself a good talking too, I think there's so much more than I can use the different departments in Automation Agency to help with.
If we can just get over that mindset of being the bottleneck and holding onto everything, there are bunch of things that can be outsourced and automated, and you can get Automation Agency to help you create that information between people downloading stuff off your website and going into your CRM and sending them emails automatically and all that sort of, there's just a ton of stuff that can help. So where do we find Automation Agency? Where do we go looking?
You can find Automation Agency at automationagency.com
Carl - I would recommend if you're going well, this is gonna work for me, a really good starting point is we have a demo on our website, you can watch that demo. I think if I remember, it's around 24 minutes.
So you can always speed it up, but you watch the demo and gives you a really good idea of who we're good for, who we don't work so great for, how it all works, how you send in tasks, just really great demonstration.
And if that's from that, you're looking at it going, this looks like what I'm looking for, then you can reach out and talk to the team and we can see if it's a good fit for your individual circumstances. But that's what I'd recommend you do.
And if people wanna connect more with me personally, outside of the Automation Agency space, you can find me at carltaylor.com, that's where you can see my books and various things as well.
Summary & Takeaway
So I hope you enjoyed all of those value bombs that Carl dropped on us. So what can be a takeaway that you can take away from this particular episode is something that we really like to do, is give you something to focus on, something to implement.
So listening to this just doesn't become knowledge and you go, that was nice, let's figure out what we can do to implement.
So the first thing I would suggest to you is, whenever there is an issue, whenever there is something that needs to be implemented into your business, whether it be new software or a system or a process or building, this or that within the business, is the first question I've been taught by my coach, is to ask who, not how.
Because if you ask how, it costs you time to learn how and inevitably costs you money as well, and there's pay me money aspect to the time that you're putting into it as well.
Whereas if you ask who, it generally just costs you money, no matter what, it's gonna cost you money, but why waste the time and pay the money when you can just pay the money and get a better job done faster more than likely?
So here's what I suggest you do. That's a philosophical tip, ask who, not how, but I suggest you write a list down of everything that you do, let's say on a weekly basis, that is repetitive.
Things that show up on your daily action list everyday or perhaps once a week, list all of those things. Then get a highlighter and go through and highlight all of the things that you dislike doing, that you just hate doing, abhor doing, don't like doing, it's frustrating, highlight all of those.
And also, the ones that you're not good at as well, highlight the ones that you don't think you're good at, that you tend to struggle with. Then ask this question for each of those things, first one, does it even have to be done? Do I need to do this? That's a great question to ask.
We are fantastic at adding things onto our to-do list, we're really, really bad at getting things off it. We will listen to a show like this, we'll read a book, we'll watch a video, we'll attend a seminar and we go, yep, let's take that on, let's take that on, let's take that on, and everything is always this addition exercise in addition. And what we need to do is every so often, do an exercise of subtraction and deletion.
And sometimes the things that we've done that often, and for so long, we hypnotize ourselves into thinking, well, we don't think at all, we're hypnotized. We just go along and we do these things and we've been doing them for so long that we just don't think about it.
This is a great exercise to identify those things that we've been doing for a while, but are perhaps no longer necessary. So instead of figuring out who else can do it, or how else it can be done, you can just get rid of it completely. I'll guarantee you, if you go through this exercise, you'll find things that just do not need to be done anymore. So that's the first one, is delete.
The second one is automate and I'm giving you these in order of which cost the least and you get the most gain from, obviously it costs nothing just to stop doing things. The next thing is finding a bit of software or computer program that will do certain functions, and it could be communication within the organization and communication to your prospects and to your clients, and it could be as simple as a CRM.
The one that we're using, CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management software.
There's a heap of them around, the one that we use personally is one called ActiveCampaign because it's very inexpensive and it does a lot of things very, very well. And you can use that to communicate to your clients automatically, to your past clients, to keep contact with them for prospects and even to communicate within the business, when things need to happen, it can trigger off alarms and alerts and reminders to get things done.
So that is automate. The third thing that you can do is outsource. And Carl who we were just talking to then, has a fantastic business, it's called Automation Agency.
I personally am a customer of Automation Agency, and there's so many things, I just duck-shove off to them, we write them a note, hey, can you create a new web page or website or design a thing, a brochure or whatever, create an automation, I just come up with these crazy ideas, sketch it out, say can you guys build that?
They build it, and it just happens, and they also look after the security, the websites and all that sort of stuff. So that is outsourcing and it just takes a whole load of pressure and time off my personal prioritized daily action list. And then the final one is delegate.
And I leave that as the final one simply because it is the most expensive one.
Paying somebody on your team to do something is the most expensive because there's all of the on costs. There's the management of that person, all of that sort of stuff. So think first, delete, automate, outsource, delegate, but first, you've gotta build that list.
So I hope that's helpful, that is your takeaway from this episode of Builders Business Success Podcast. So what stood out for you in this episode of Builders Business Success Podcast? Was it the takeaway? Was it some of the value bombs that Carl dropped on us? Would it have been something that I said in the What'd I Say? Pay particular attention to that one, it's a rare bird.
So if that was helpful, I want you to reach out. If there's anything at all that you need help with, if anything that we put out on this particular show created more questions than I answered, please reach out.
And under this particular video, there's a button, you can press that if you're watching it on our website, if you're listening to it on iTunes or Spotify or somewhere like that, all you need to do is navigate to buildersbusinessblackbelt.com.au, there's a big orange button in the middle of the website to schedule a call. Fill out a little form or jump on a call, see how we can help you implement the ideas that we're sharing with you in this podcast.
So I hope you really enjoyed the podcast, please keep your eye out for the next episode, we'll be back in the blink of an eye with another episode of Builders Business Success Podcast.
I hope you enjoyed it, I'm Mick Hawes, that's it for this podcast, bye for now.
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