freak. Turns One

freak. Turns One

This last year has gone by so fast and been such a blur, someone else had to tell me that freak. was launched a year ago today. While this is just the beginning, I could not be more proud of what was accomplished in it’s first year and what we already have planned on the horizon. I am truthfully living my dream every day and it would not be possible without our amazing clients and the love and support of our friends and family.

Some highlights that stand out…

New York Trip On-Site:
3 days on-site with a client and their management team to revamp their organization

Montana Seminar:
Presented live on stage for two days to 190+ business owners in Big Sky, MT

84% Revenue Growth since Re-Brand:
New clients, more coaches, providing additional resources and always finding ways to provide more value.

Brought on our first additional full-time Coach in Matt Carle:
This gets me most excited about the future. I would only be able to accomplish a fraction of my Vision alone. Matt embodies all that we stand for and has only made us better.

Contracted with EMyth to deliver their Coach Certification Training:
Trained 8 new EMyth Coaches in a 12 week certification program.

Above and beyond everything else, our clients are creating the businesses they always dreamed of and hitting revenues goals some of them never thought possible.

Here’s to another year and working with more freaks. around the World!

freak. writes guest blog for EMyth Worldwide

freak. writes guest blog for EMyth Worldwide

I was given the opportunity this week to write a guest blog for our sister-company, EMyth Worldwide. The blog focuses on Marketing and where all businesses should start.

Here is the intro and a link for the remainder of the article. Enjoy!

“We need more sales.”

At some point during the life of your business you’ve probably uttered these words. For most business owners these words have become a part of their regular vocabulary. Without sales, there’s no business. The employees need to get paid, the lights need to stay on and most companies are looking for some level of growth. I get it.

I would even say that more times than not the statement is accurate and even a necessity. But with that being said, it’s the follow-up statement that really consumes us. read more.

 

March Sadness: Why focusing on just one area doesn’t work in Business or the NCAA Tournament

March Sadness: Why focusing on just one area doesn’t work in Business or the NCAA Tournament

I waited until the last minute to fill out my bracket last night and was convinced I stumbled onto a gold mine. By no means was it rocket science but it magically started to unfold in front of me. Below is a play-by-play of that experience and how my approach was ultimately in alignment with so many business owners and the issues that arise when you focus on just one area.

It’s 9:35pm on Wednesday the 16th and the 77th running of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is less than 12 hours away. I can honestly say I have not watched a single college basketball game in its entirety this season. Needless to say, I completely ignore these facts as I scramble to complete my bracket and place my bet before midnight. How hard can it be? I know the sport, will pick an educated strategy and roll the dice.

So what’s the strategy?

OFFENSE.

Bottom line you have to score to win. Sure they say defense wins championships, but players are getting bigger and the game is getting faster. The best players in the Nation play for the top schools and do for them what they do best; score. This makes filling out my bracket fairly easy. I simply need a snap shot of each matchup, which CBS Sports so generously provides, and one stat line, PPG (Points Per Game). Ignoring all tournament seeds and season rankings, I fill out my bracket in its entirety selecting the team who has averaged the most points per game during the regular season in every matchup.

I won’t bore you with the outcome of all 63 games, but will give you the Elite Eight down to the Championship. You will quickly see why I thought I had this figured out.

Elite Eight

#1 Kansas vs. #6 Arizona

#1 North Carolina vs. #2 Xavier

#4 Iowa State vs. #2 Michigan State

#4 Duke vs. #14 Green Bay

Final Four

#1 Kansas vs. #1 North Carolina

#4 Iowa State vs. #14 Green Bay

Championship

#4 North Carolina vs. #14 Green Bay

 

Drum roll please…Your 2016 NCAA March Madness Champion is…

GREEN BAY PHOENIX.

Woof!

I imagine you are asking yourself who the Green Bay Phoenix are. Yup, that’s the exact response I had as well. And just like that my house of cards came crumbling down. Time will only tell, and sure there is an outside chance that any team can win this tournament, but if we look back at history this just won’t happen.

The strategy I had chosen was simply that, just a strategy. Sure my thought process made sense and I was able to justify it, but at the end of the day scoring is just one part of a very complicated game. Some would argue it is the most important part, say like sales in a business, but if you focus on just sales, you won’t be successful.

My bracket was playing out in a way that had me believing in something that was not sustainable. It looked good, felt good and in the end had some of the best teams where they should be. But nobody remembers second place in the NCAA Tournament and certainly not the top 8. My strategy got the ball rolling, helped me to complete my bracket, but in the end I was only fooling myself.

And this is where it connects back to the business. Focusing on only one aspect of the business is something I see too often. People tend to be really good in one area and have trouble looking outside of it. Without a doubt we want to maximize our strengths, but to be good at one thing is just too dangerous. This is both relevant internally and also for those who depend on revenues from one major client.

There are no shortcuts to mastering this tournament and there are certainly no shortcuts in the game of business. While we can only focus on one area of a company at a time, it is imperative to look at every aspect and turn over all stones.

Being great in one are area of your business is no different then having one of the Nation’s top PPG averages in College Basketball. It looks great on paper but you’ll never take home the hardware.

Prepare for Takeoff: How Southwest flight No. 324 catapulted my blog

Prepare for Takeoff: How Southwest flight No. 324 catapulted my blog

For months now I have been telling myself, “This is the week I will start blogging!” My intentions are sincere on Sunday evening and the week ahead looks like I should have no problem spending an hour lost in my own thoughts. Then life shows up on Monday morning. Getting lost in my own thoughts during the week is by no means a problem, but typically it’s between client calls and chasing by twin boys around. And if I am being honest, those moments are more about taking a breath than an actual Zen moment. Finally I found my opening…

 

DING!

 

“Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the crew I ask that you please direct your attention to the monitors above as we review the emergency procedures. There are six emergency exits on this…

 

Sitting two rows back and next to the window on my flight home, I prepare myself for the usual safety speech. While I have to imagine most of the plane is not hearing this for the first time, it is still mandatory and therefore the staff goes through their due-diligence.

 

We all know where it goes from here.

 

“If you are traveling with children, make sure that your own mask is on first before helping your children.”

 

This has entirely new meaning to me. Contrary to what you may be thinking, it is less about my children and more about the importance of taking care of yourself first. I’ll save that rant for a different post and if we are going to do it any justice it will probably have to be a series.  

 

Typically at this point I am already lost in a playlist but something about today grabs my attention. It is not that I am scared for this flight and think today is the day I finally need these instructions. It is not the delivery or script this particular flight attendant has chosen. Instead it is the simple beauty that without a doubt we will forever hear this presentation when boarding a plane. Why? Because it’s just that important. Our lives are on the line and it makes perfect sense to rehearse any possible scenarios before we take-off. At the end of the day, they would rather take the extra five minutes to repeat themselves and refresh our memories. Ultimately it is for our own good.

 

And then I start to think about my own business and the work I do weekly with my clients. This is very typical for me to take a normal life moment and relate it to business and the work I do. (Ask any of my clients about sleep training my boys and how that single moment taught more about management and employees than any book ever could.) I personally believe that the root to all successful business is structure and communication. In fact, if you really think about a business, it is nothing more than a spider web of communications.  Spider web? Why would he choose to use that word? That sounds negative. I could not disagree more! I hate spider webs just as much or more than the next guy, but they are incredibly beautiful and unbelievably efficient when used for their purpose.  

 

Think about it. A business is nothing more than communication at all levels. Our financial reports and Key Financial Indicators are simply our finances communicating to us. Our Marketing is us communicating to the customers. Our position agreements and systems are an internal communication between management and employees.  I’ll stop there.

 

The point is, our goal is to get as crystal clear on this communication as possible and most importantly NEVER STOP HAVING IT! It amazes me how often we implement meetings at different levels into a company and ownership will ask me, “How long do you think we should do this?” FOREVER!

 

So next time you feel it is unnecessary or redundant to repeat a task or a meeting most of the staff has heard more than once, think of your last flight. While you’re not 35,000 feet in the air on the daily basis, your business has a higher probability of determining your life’s fate than any flight you will ever board. We should really start to treat them like our lives are on the line.

Passion: Not Just a Buzz Word

Passion: Not Just a Buzz Word

Have you heard many stories like this one: Woman quits her job to pursue her passion of teaching yoga, goes broke? Sadly these type of stories are far too common, and the reason why is a combination of two factors that are prevalent in our culture today. These two factors combine to create some toxic advice and bad road maps for many people:

 

  1. Follow Your Passion
  2. Just Jump!

 

Follow Your Passion

This advice has been prevalent throughout the last 30+ years of the self-help industry. Countless books and articles have been written extolling the virtues of only pursuing work which you are exceptionally passionate about. Well, as our friend Michael Bolton points out, that isn’t always your best option: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wu2HhlTEHMc

 

The seemingly virtuous path of pursuing your passion has led to scores of failed businesses where the owner just can’t figure out what went wrong. They have started a business they’re passionate about, they’ve invested their savings, time, and energy into making it great, they scratch and claw to help their business survive, but they just can’t seem to make it work. Quickly, they’re becoming another example of why 75% of small businesses fail. What these “passion” owners don’t realize is they got bunk advice from the start – PASSION IS NOT ENOUGH.

 

Just Jump!

If you’ve spent any time reading about the life of an entrepreneur, you’ve surely heard some version of an anecdote that goes like this: “I walked into work on Tuesday, I walked straight into my boss’ office and quit on the spot. Wednesday we started XYZ Partners and we’ve been going like gangbusters ever since.”

 

While these people and these situations do happen from time to time, it is far from the norm, and anyone who thinks otherwise is doing themselves a disservice. The truth of the matter is most entrepreneurs don’t have the luxury of quitting whatever job they’re in now; most small businesses start as a side job or “side hustle”. Walking away from your 9-5 job and leaving behind the steady paycheck, benefits, or health insurance isn’t always your best choice (not to mention the access to vital office supplies). In today’s economy it is fully possible to maintain your full-time job while you build your business on the side; so that when you’re ready to make the leap you’ve already got a system up and running that is generating income for you and your business – you’ve got a safety net built in.

 

So what do I do?

Having a business you’re passionate about IS important – and at some point you will have to make the leap and invest yourself fully in making your new business work – but you’ve got to work smarter if you want to build something that is truly going to last. From day one you have to understand that the structure and the systems you build within your business are your safety net, they are how you ensure the business will be there for you for years and decades to come. You’ve got to start with that – not just passion – if you want to build a business that will last.

 

Your passion should be focused on building and sustaining your business – the product or service you provide doesn’t have to be the actual embodiment of your “passion”; but you need to find passion in the work that you’re doing. It is much more important to find something that works, that earns money, and that you can sustain for the long term.

 

Once you’ve got the frameworks in place – you’ve got to hustle, work hard, and dedicate your time and energy to making this thing work; even it is isn’t full-time at first. Getting your side business up and running is a crucial step for most entrepreneurs in today’s economy. Once you get to a point that the side business is generating sufficient income for you and your family, you can look at making the jump into that business full-time. This isn’t to say you need to get your business up to $80k/year before you make the switch – you just need to be at a point where you have measurable returns for your time invested and know that the additional time you put in will generate the income you need to move forward.

 

While it isn’t easy, ignoring the ubiquitous “Follow your passion & just jump” advice merchants will pay major dividends if you can manage it. While we’d all kill to build a business around an idea we love (a brewery on a beach somewhere sounds nice) we have to understand the realities we’re faced with today, and focus our entrepreneurial efforts where we can make the greatest return.

 

We want to hear from you – leave a comment below and claim your freak status today.

The Cool Business Paradox

How much time does your business spend designing logos, t-shirts, stickers and S.W.A.G.? If the answer is “more than a few minutes” you’re probably doing something wrong.

 

We’ve all seen these guys, right? They’ve got 1000 t-shirts with the company logo, trucker hats, stickers, beer coozies and stress balls. They’ve got branded merchandise from head-to-toe and if you ask them about their business they immediately launch into a diatribe about how they’re a “lifestyle brand with focus on social interactions and connecting with awesome celebrities via social media and giving them free stuff” but if you ask about their profit and loss statement you quickly learn they’re bleeding money and don’t really have a plan to change it.

 

Many wantrepreneurs devote too much of their time to designing the coolest t-shirts imaginable; they painstakingly design new logos, pick the finest quality goods, and ensure everything looks just right before they order 1000 new units and start to hand them out to employees, family, and friends. In their eyes having these t-shirts makes their business real – but they spend so much time designing their merchandise, they lose sight of what they’re really supposed to be doing – RUNNING A BUSINESS! They’re more concerned with how their business LOOKS than how their business RUNS. They’d rather impress the people they know with costly merch than impress their customers by delivering great value.

 

Some people are more worried about running a “cool” business than a successful one; and they forget they have to actually run the business for any of this to work.

 

If you spend more time on your “brand” than you do on your day-to-day business, you’re doing something wrong. Too often people get hung up on the idea of having a “cool business” that they forget that the coolest businesses are the ones that make lots of money for their owners and continue to operate for years to come. Spending huge chunks of time and money on cool t-shirts or branded merchandise is a waste of time if your business isn’t running properly, and too often business owners get the whole thing backwards.

 

Focus on building a great business first; set the course, put the systems in place for management and growth, empower your people to help your business grow. Once you’ve got things running the way they’re supposed to – then you can afford to dedicate some time to finding the right color t-shirt to feature your company logo. Once you have a quality business to back it up, you can devote some time to utilizing your brand and creating meaningful merchandise.

Remember, cool t-shirts don’t make a business – products and services, revenues, profits, these are things that make a business; where will you invest your time?

 

We want to hear from you – leave a comment below and claim your freak status today.

Built to Sell

Built to Sell

Do you feel overwhelmed? Are your daily tasks piling up with no time to do them? Are you wondering if work-life balance is some kind of a cruel joke?

 

Too often small business owners are forced to juggle every aspect of their business by themselves. They can’t or don’t entrust their employees to manage certain aspects of the business, so they’re forced to do everything solo, opening the doors in the morning, sweeping the floors each night, and taxes and accounting during late nights and early mornings just to keep up.

 

This can, and does, lead to burnout – the dream job you built for yourself becomes a nightmare; piles of work you have no interest in doing, long task lists filled with jobs you dislike, and more hours required than you have in a day – it is almost enough to make you want to pick up the classifieds.

 

This is no way to run a business! You think to yourself “If I had known things would be like this I might have never taken this leap in the first place.” But, you know, deep down, that this is the place you want to be – you just need a little help getting things organized and sorted out in a way that helps you get back to enjoying your business.

 

BUILT TO SELL (OR: The Franchise Solution)

Whether or not you intend to sell your business, next year, five years from now, or you plan to work until the day you close the doors, your business will benefit from the idea of “Built to Sell”.

This concept helps you to build yourself out of the business – so it will continue to operate and earn money even when you’re not there. It helps you to hire and train employees who will carry your vision and values for the company forward in their work. You will identify your best customers and focus on how to bring more of them into your business. You will commit to doing everything in the business the best way, and you’ll trust your employees And it will allow you to get back to doing the things that you enjoy in your business.

 

Some of you may recoil at the idea of selling your business “I started this business with my blood, sweat, and tears! I would never let a stranger take it from me.” But “Building to Sell” doesn’t mean that you have to walk away, now or ever. It is simply the idea of building the systems you need to sustain your business for the long-term. That way if in the future you decide it is time to walk away you have a turn-key business ready to hand to the next owner (as soon as your generous buy-out lands in your bank account). Or if you want to take a long leisurely vacation, the business will continue to generate the profits you need while you’re away, and things will be running smoothly when you return.

 

Building to Sell allows you as a business owner to tame the chaos of your small business, focusing on individual aspects of the business and molding how they will operate moving forward. The process will cover everything from sales conversations to how the office gets cleaned and where the files are kept; every single thing that affects how your business runs day-to-day gets tested, honed, and recorded so you and your employees benefit, forever.

 

How is this possible? The EMyth Principles have been proven by more than 70,000 small business over the last two decades. The processes and programs available to you today can provide instant feedback on your business and help you build the company you always dreamed it could be.

 

We want to hear from you – leave a comment below and claim your freak status today.