Starting Your Own Business
There have been more searches on Google for “start a business” than “find a job.”
If starting a business is in your thoughts, then you need to listen in and hear from 2 people who have done it, made the mistakes, and can provide advice to how to start, where to invest and how to grow.
Longtime friend and agency owner Sue Grabowski joins Matt for this frank, and sometimes personal exploration of what it takes to run your own business. They also spend a good deal of time providing marketing advice for start-ups. What do you need to be successful? How can you optimize your budget for growth, and also keep an eye on your long-term needs?
Sit back, relax, and have a few cups of coffee in this extended length episode.
[00:00:00] Sue Grabowski: And ultimately, I’d lose my shirt because I would not have built that site to a specification. And that specification needs to include, it needs to, needs to address your objectives and all of the, the whole of the website, from the functionality to the look, to the SEO opportunities, to the, you know, all of the things that you think you want it to do, needs to be specified before you start building it.
[00:00:40] Matt Bailey: Right. Absolutely.
[00:00:41] Sue Grabowski: And most of the time people starting a new business really don’t have an objective for their website other than, “I need to be out there.”
[00:00:55] Bumper Intro-Outro: Welcome to Endless Coffee Cup, a regular discussion of marketing news, culture, and media for our complex digital lifestyle. Join Matt Bailey as he engages in conversation to find insights beyond the latest headlines and deeper understanding for those involved in marketing. Grab a cup of coffee, have a seat, and thanks for joining.
[00:01:22] Matt Bailey: Well, hello everyone and welcome to another edition of the Endless Coffee Cup. And just as a throwback here, one of our most popular shows was one we did on entrepreneurship. And this was back in the days when, when Sue Grabowski was visiting quite often before she got busy and lo and behold, Sue is back with us.
[00:01:45] Sue Grabowski: I’m glad to be here.
[00:01:46] Matt Bailey: I am so glad you are back as well, Sue, it’s so good to see you.
[00:01:50] Sue Grabowski: Nice to see you too.
[00:01:52] Matt Bailey: I didn’t mean to put…
[00:01:53] Sue Grabowski: Nice to be seen.
[00:01:54] Matt Bailey: …any pressure on you with that introduction.
[00:01:56] Sue Grabowski: No, it’s all good. It’s the truth. It’s the, it’s the experience of the entrepreneur to have seasons of craziness and I’ve had some seasons of that, but I, I think we’re whipping it back into shape.
[00:02:08] Matt Bailey: Absolutely. I realized as I texted you and, and so, dear listener, this is the setup. Sue and I talked on December 26th, which was a Sunday and, you know, with the Christmas holiday and everything, and of course we’re talking work and I summed up the conversation by saying, “Okay, that’s the definition of entrepreneurship. The Sunday, December 26, you’re working.”
[00:02:32] Sue Grabowski: Exactly. There is, someone asks, well, people ask all the time, “Does it ever shut off?” And the answer is no.
[00:02:40] Matt Bailey: No.
[00:02:40] Sue Grabowski: It doesn’t, that’s not a negative that it never shuts off, but it doesn’t. And so, I couldn’t help but get up the day after Christmas and go, “I have things I’ve got to get done.”
[00:02:51] Matt Bailey: Right.
[00:02:51] Sue Grabowski: And I originally texted…
[00:02:52] Matt Bailey: That’s enough time off.
[00:02:53] Sue Grabowski: …texted you about some work, and then you’re like texting me back, “Wait a minute. I’m just going to call you,” because we’re both sitting at our desks.
[00:03:00] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Yeah. Well, and I always realized that was the danger. So, you and I have both entrepreneurs, both had agencies and working through that, and I remember one of the first things I did was we have a family computer in the living room. And as soon as, you know, you’ve got broadband, I would come home from work, and I couldn’t walk past that computer without checking my email.
[00:03:24] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[00:03:25] Matt Bailey: It was just a constant, because it is like a 24-hour clock that you’ve got to watch.
[00:03:33] Sue Grabowski: It is. I, it’s strange this past two years because when I first started the business 25 years ago this coming March, which is amazing, I worked out of my home and a tiny, tiny house at that point, as far as we were just getting started, but I found that I was, you know, never shutting off. And so, I would, I would have, I would keep things in the office, that point we were landlined, you know, so I was on AOL at that time, which is crazy to think that that was 25 years ago. It feels like centuries ago, but that was, I had a telephone line hookup.
So, I didn’t have the ease of moving the computer around at that point, but I did, I did keep going back there and I put in my, in my head, “I’m going to turn off the light at the end of the day. That’s the end of my day.” Because I had little kids and it’s like, I had to shut it off. Now, I mean, it’s, I didn’t have a cell phone then that had any kind of email checking ability or anything like that. I think it’s gotten worse, but I worked at home for six years and then started moving out to an office as I added employees and moved to spaces.
And over the last three years, I would say, because we started this process even before COVID, I’m back in my office again, where it is always sitting there, and on my phone. And, and I’ve found that I have to put the technology in a space, put the devices in a space with that virtual “turn the light off” to step away from it and be present with my family, be present for certain things, because it’s just, it’s way more there, “there,” air quotes, than it even was when I first started.
[00:05:16] Matt Bailey: Absolutely. Absolutely. I, when mobile phones, when, I guess when it started becoming a real thing I had, you know, on and off, but then when it was finally for work, I was so happy to realize that, oh, one of the houses where we lived when I was working for someone else, it was out of signal. And so, in order to get a signal, I had to go about 500 feet outside the front door, up in the hill.
[00:05:43] Sue Grabowski: Require some effort.
[00:05:44] Matt Bailey: Yeah. And like, “This is awesome. No one can reach me at night.” But, you know, at that point it still wasn’t that prevalent. But now I understand exactly what you say. It’s, it’s gotta be that space and you have to be able to walk away from it.
[00:05:56] Sue Grabowski: You have to consciously do it, but it never goes out of your head.
[00:05:59] Matt Bailey: Oh, I keep my, keep my iPhone in my back pocket.
[00:06:02] Sue Grabowski: Yeah. Uh, same thing here. And it’s, so it never is, it never goes out. You have to consciously separate from it, but there’s also a love for it, meaning that it never goes out of your head. It’s, it’s not something that’s nagging all the time. It’s just there.
[00:06:19] Matt Bailey: Well, and what I’ve been experiencing, especially, I would say the past couple of months, is this is the first time I’ve been able to work on my stuff. My website, my marketing, my, you know, you, you know, I’m putting more into the podcast…
[00:06:37] Sue Grabowski: I’m not there yet.
[00:06:38] Matt Bailey: …and it’s just, you know, and I’m telling my kids, I hardcoded, you know, I’m going to go geek out. I hard-coded some forms into my website and now spam bots are getting it. And so, I’ve got to go back through 15 years of blog posts and find all these forms and oh, while I’m there, “Oh, the sidebar needs updated. Oh, the, oh, the design. Oh, what did I think?” You know, and, and even running into some blog posts that, “Oh, that didn’t age well.” You know, it’s, it’s about an event and something that happened in the past and the relevance just isn’t there. So, it’s, it’s a lot of housekeeping. That’s what my holidays have been is taking care of that kind of stuff.
[00:07:21] Sue Grabowski: I should have spent more time over the holidays doing that. I guess I still have this week, but yeah, I’m still the shoemaker’s child.
[00:07:28] Matt Bailey: Right?
[00:07:29] Sue Grabowski: I, I, our, we don’t get to our stuff. We are busy on client work and it’s funny, I get, I’ll get asked things about my own website or my own social media or my own whatever, and, like, I’m busy with client work, so.
[00:07:44] Matt Bailey: Right. I could do it for a client in no time flat.
[00:07:46] Sue Grabowski: That’s correct.
[00:07:47] Matt Bailey: But now I sit out there and I’m building automations and drip campaigns and, and I’m banging my head against the wall.
[00:07:55] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[00:07:55] Matt Bailey: You know, it’s so easy to, and I think that’s that outside perspective of, “I’ve got the experience, I’ve seen this before, let me tell you what works,” and, but yet, for your own, “I’m a marketing consultant, I am a trainer,” I’ve never worked on any kind of client like that. You know?
[00:08:15] Sue Grabowski: Right. I think that we are really self-critical. I find that I get very critical about even the smallest social media posts. I, I do what I tell my clients not to do, which is…
[00:08:28] Matt Bailey: I understand that, yeah.
[00:08:29] Sue Grabowski: …you know, getting the news out or getting the information out is more important, good enough, good enough is more important than not at all. And I find myself being incredibly self-critiquing and nitpicking. Even if I have some of my team members, you know, copyrights and things or whatever, I am extremely particular when it comes to my own stuff, and then it doesn’t get done because we go right back to client work.
[00:08:59] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:09:00] Sue Grabowski: And as entrepreneurs, I mean, the fact is you have to go where the money is. There’s…
[00:09:05] Matt Bailey: Absolutely.
[00:09:06] Sue Grabowski: …no, I don’t, and I don’t really realize that the money is in me, and I really need to go where the money is, which is putting that, investing in, in my, in my own stuff, but you, you go where the money is, and…
[00:09:19] Matt Bailey: Right. Well, and that’s, you know, I’m working on my stuff, I got an email and a phone call, my stuff went on the burn, back burner, you know, immediately there’s that priority list. And it just so happened I had the time to work on it, but then something came up and things moved, bit swing switch, and now I’m like, “Well, how do I sub this out?”
[00:09:41] Sue Grabowski: Yeah. And the acceleration, once you drop that ball, to pick that back up, it requires three times the energy, I think.
[00:09:49] Matt Bailey: Yes.
[00:09:50] Sue Grabowski: To go back to that than it is to go to the next to-do list item for your client. And that’s where there needs to be balance, accountability, you know, there are some things that only the business owner can do.
[00:10:00] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:10:04] Sue Grabowski: There’s other things you can sub out, right? But you, I just find that if I have to dive back into my own stuff, for some reason that requires a lot more effort…
[00:10:13] Matt Bailey: Right.
[00:10:14] Sue Grabowski: …than some of the other things that I have to work on, so.
[00:10:17] Matt Bailey: That is so true. That is, so listener, just to cue you in, one of the reasons Sue is here is, and I mentioned it earlier, one of our best performing podcasts was on entrepreneurship. And I saw a news article just the other day about there have been more searches on Google for how to start a business, than how to find a job. That was really interesting.
And they, and they showed a couple, there was a couple variations of that, but the reality of it was, as more people are looking to start a business out of this pandemic and, and, and it was interesting, and I think you know this as well, some of the most successful businesses ever started were in an economic downturn.
[00:10:59] Sue Grabowski: Right.
[00:11:00] Matt Bailey: And so, it’s no surprise more people, there’s more opportunities now.
[00:11:04] Sue Grabowski: Absolutely.
[00:11:04] Matt Bailey: There’s more business opportunities. Why go back to work for somebody else when you’ve got the skills and knowledge, or the passion to go do something? And so, we’re rehashing our entrepreneurship episode with a new updated post-COVID.
[00:11:21] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[00:11:21] Matt Bailey: Are we still, we’re not post-COVID.
[00:11:23] Sue Grabowski: No, I think we’re still mid-COVID.
[00:11:24] Matt Bailey: We’re mid-COVID.
[00:11:25] Sue Grabowski: I don’t think we’re, we’re not out of it.
[00:11:27] Matt Bailey: It’ll be a while.
[00:11:28] Sue Grabowski: It’ll be, yeah.
[00:11:29] Matt Bailey: Yeah. So yeah, let’s talk, we’ve already talked about the, the, you know, the, good introduction on entrepreneurship. “Here’s what you have to look forward to.”
[00:11:37] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[00:11:38] Matt Bailey: But there, there are obviously ups and downs of what you have to deal with, and one of the things that I saw in this article, it was talking about people starting a business, number one, website. What are you going to do about the website? How are you going to handle that? And, oh my goodness. We, talking to Sue, and it was our conversation, was how do you handle this when clients come to you and, you know, “I think I can build it myself,” I think is one we hear a lot.
[00:12:07] Sue Grabowski: Yes.
[00:12:07] Matt Bailey: “I’ve got a friend.”
[00:12:09] Sue Grabowski: And the answer to that is “You can.”
[00:12:11] Matt Bailey: Yeah, “You absolutely can.”
[00:12:12] Sue Grabowski: “You absolutely can.”
[00:12:14] Matt Bailey: Yes. Well, and, and I’ve dealt with this for a couple of years ever since WordPress came out. People are saying, “Well, WordPress is free.” Well, absolutely it is.
[00:12:23] Sue Grabowski: Sure.
[00:12:24] Matt Bailey: Do you know how to install it? Optimize it? Do you know what plugins are essential? And then, and then yeah, I can go buy a template. Yes, you can. However, just because these templates are available, some are popular, doesn’t mean they fit what you’re trying to do.
[00:12:47] Sue Grabowski: Right.
[00:12:47] Matt Bailey: And it doesn’t always mean that the designer of those templates understood conversion, understood, uh, contrast, color. They may look pretty, and they might be nice colors, but is it designed to sell? Is it designed to connect to people?
[00:13:06] Sue Grabowski: No, nobody even knows what they want their website to do for them in terms of a, an objective. Overall, what do I want my site to do for me? I just had a, a meeting last week with a potential new client and smaller business, starting their own, kind of two entities kind of coming together and they called me and said, they, I love this. “I need a website.” That’s the first one.
And my second answer, my, my first question then was, “Why?” Because based on the audience that you’re going for, what, what is it, why do you need a website? “Well, we,” I said, “What do you want it to do for you?” And this person said, “I want it to make the phone ring.” And I said, “Well, a website’s not going to do that for you.”
[00:13:47] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Well, and it’s funny because I’m sitting here like, “What are you talking about?”
[00:13:51] Sue Grabowski: Yeah. And…
[00:13:52] Matt Bailey: ‘Cause yeah, to me a website’s foundation, I…
[00:13:54] Sue Grabowski: You need to have it.
[00:13:55] Matt Bailey: Absolutely.
[00:13:56] Sue Grabowski: But if your expectation is, “If we build it, they will come…”
[00:13:59] Matt Bailey: Right.
[00:14:01] Sue Grabowski: You’re way wrong and we’ve got to drive them there, right? This is not Field of Dreams, but, but in the course of the conversation, I mean, back to what you were saying, they’re like, “Well, you know, I could do this myself. But I’m calling you.” And I’m like, “Well, why are you calling me? What, what can’t you do? What, what do you think that I’m going to do that you can’t?” And we dive, and start diving into more questions, and I’ll tell you as I’ve, there’s this learning from, as an entrepreneur over the years, in the past I would have said, “Okay.”
[00:14:32] Matt Bailey: Yes.
[00:14:33] Sue Grabowski: “No problem.”
[00:14:34] Matt Bailey: Yes.
[00:14:34] Sue Grabowski: “I’ll do that for you.” And ultimately, I’d lose my shirt because I would not have built that site to a specification.
[00:14:44] Matt Bailey: Right.
[00:14:45] Sue Grabowski: And that specification needs to include, needs to, needs to address your objectives and all of the, the whole of the website from the functionality, to the look, to the SEO opportunities, to the, you know, all of the things that you think you wanted to do needs to be specified before you start building it.
[00:15:10] Matt Bailey: Right. Absolutely.
[00:15:12] Sue Grabowski: And most of the time people starting a new business really don’t have an objective for their website other than, “I need to be out there.”
[00:15:21] Matt Bailey: “I want to sell stuff. I want to,” yeah, exactly. “
[00:15:24] Sue Grabowski: “People need to find me on the web. I need to look legitimate.” And that’s just something that it’s, it’s been fascinating me because when they come to me, I’m like, “You could build your own.” It’s two ways, right? “You could build your own.” Or I constantly get from small business, new business startups. “I could do it myself, you know.” Then why are you calling me?
[00:15:45] Matt Bailey: Right. Absolutely. And that, I think, so, that spec is so critically important and the expectations of what this is going to do for you.
[00:15:56] Sue Grabowski: Yes.
[00:15:56] Matt Bailey: That is so, so important. I remember being in a meeting with someone and it’s an established business, they had a website, but now they, “Here’s what we want to do with it. We’re going to expand it. We’re going to grow.” And we’re developing the marketing of, “Okay, how is this going to happen? Where do we invest? What do we do?” All of a sudden, they come out with a statement, we’re probably three hours into this workshop of how we’re going to do that. And they come up with a statement that, “Well, I mean, our hope is that we get bought out in two years.”
[00:16:27] Sue Grabowski: Oh.
[00:16:28] Matt Bailey: What? I, it stopped everything because you know, we’re, we’re looking at search engine optimization, however, that’s like a two year, for a new website…
[00:16:38] Sue Grabowski: Right.
[00:16:39] Matt Bailey: …it’s a minimum two year before you start seeing any kind of return. And so, now you’ve changed everything. Why would we invest in SEO if your plan is to sell this company and you see it happening in two years. Whoa. Now we’re, well, now we’re going into paid search. We’re going into, you know, digital advertising. We’re using other channels that have a more immediate impact.
[00:17:06] Sue Grabowski: Right.
[00:17:06] Matt Bailey: Maybe, you know, and we can build it with some SEO, but it’s not going to be high on the list. It completely transformed how we’re going to handle this now, and where we put the emphasis. And so, I, to your point, asking those questions, “What do you want to do out, what’s your expectation? What do you want to accomplish with it?”
[00:17:26] Sue Grabowski: I won’t build a website now without a spec.
[00:17:28] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:17:29] Sue Grabowski: I mean, that’s step one in the website development process, and then if they bless the spec, oh, we do, it’s what we call a “value requirement specification.” What has to be there to deliver value to you? We, we specify that all. That moves them to a functional spec. How does that work in a wireframe, in a functional, you know, when it’s actually played out? But you’re going to bless this first, and we aren’t writing a lick of code.
[00:17:58] Matt Bailey: Yep.
[00:17:58] Sue Grabowski: And I probably sound like a bit rigid and harsh, but in the end we both lose without that.
[00:18:08] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:18:08] Sue Grabowski: I lose money because I keep saying, “Sure, we can add that. Yeah, we can add that.” After, ’cause what would happen was we would just build the site and it would take forever and then they’d take a look at it and they’d go, “Oh, that’s awesome. Can I add a button over here?” And I say, “Yeah, for six grand.” ‘Cause it wasn’t in the wireframe or whatever, and, “What? We don’t, it’s not even live yet.”
So, to make the client happy, I would keep giving. And in the end, they’re not happy, and in the end, I’m not happy. So, why don’t we both start out being happy, but that’s lessons along the road, that is business partnership at this point with a software engineer who has helped me see the value of specifications and, you know, process and all the things that I think agencies fail at.
But I just, I think that, I guess I would say, and you can contradict me. This would be a good conversation, here. If you’re starting a new business and you want to get a website out there, throw a page up there. Go, go do it, get something out there so that people can find you…
[00:19:19] Matt Bailey: Yes.
[00:19:19] Sue Grabowski: …and contact you and then really map it out and think long-term. What I’m stuck on, and what nobody gets is SEO takes two years, at least.
[00:19:31] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:19:31] Sue Grabowski: At a minimum. And nobody says that. There are places promising that faster, and so, when you’re, when you’re starting a business, the balance of the immediate need for revenue and building, balancing that with an eye on the long haul is really difficult for entrepreneurs.
[00:19:53] Matt Bailey: Oh, well, it’s, it’s difficult for agencies because, and this is something I see all the time is once the website is built, the agency is ready to wipe their hands, “We’re done. Website’s done. Here, here you are. It’s delivered.”
[00:20:00] Sue Grabowski: It’s deliverable. Yeah.
[00:20:09] Matt Bailey: And you know this, a website is never done.
[00:20:12] Sue Grabowski: It’s never done.
[00:20:13] Matt Bailey: You’re testing things, you’re growing things, you’re realizing, you know what? People don’t like this, they’re not responding to it. I need to change that. I need, that button needs to be bigger and more appealing and higher contrast. There are always things you’re learning about the site. There are always things that need to change. And so, that is one of the problems, I think, with an agency relationship or a…
[00:20:37] Sue Grabowski: Website vendor relationship. Yeah.
[00:20:39] Matt Bailey: Yeah, vendor relationship is, “Who’s going to maintain this?”
[00:20:42] Sue Grabowski: Yeah. And that’s not discussed often.
[00:20:45] Matt Bailey: No, no, not at all.
[00:20:46] Sue Grabowski: Because what I hear from clients, so, I inherit, as an agency owner, I inherit a lot of websites for my clients.
[00:20:54] Matt Bailey: Oh, yeah.
[00:20:55] Sue Grabowski: And what they’ll say to me, they’ll come to me, I have one that recently came and, and they’re, they’ve got some investors in the company and they, the investors want SEO. “We want SEO. We want SEO.” We look at the website. The way that it was built does, it’s not conducive to that.
[00:21:13] Matt Bailey: Right.
[00:21:13] Sue Grabowski: Right? But the, the client, and I feel for them, I really do. Like, you can’t see this, my hand’s on my heart. Right?
[00:21:19] Matt Bailey: It is. You are in pain.
[00:21:21] Sue Grabowski: I feel for them because they say, “I just spent $60,000 on that. I just spent all this money on that and you’re telling me it’s not right.” But I have to go back and say, “Was it built to a spec? Did it have SEO in mind when it was built?” The answer is, “No, we needed a website fast. We got it built. I knew a friend. I had a relative. I knew someone who did this, and that’s what we did.”
And then they’re looking to me to be the savior, and I’m trying to say to them, “One, your site’s not built right to do that. Two, if you want to invest in SEO, that means you’ve got to look at a lot of content things. Someone’s got to feed the beast. You have a beast. You actually bought a beast of a thing. And now that beast needs fed.” And no one talks to their clients about, this is not a once and done thing, but both the client who wants to invest in it, and in most cases, the agency that’s going to deliver that, thinks it’s a single transaction.
[00:22:22] Matt Bailey: Right. Right.
[00:22:23] Sue Grabowski: And once that goes “live,” I step back as the agency, and the client thinks it’s running, but it’s, I mean, totally off the entrepreneurship thing…
[00:22:32] Matt Bailey: Well, no…
[00:22:33] Sue Grabowski: …but it is…
[00:22:34] Matt Bailey: This is critical stuff to know.
[00:22:35] Sue Grabowski: Yeah. You need to think, again, think both short-term and long-term when you’re starting a business.
[00:22:43] Matt Bailey: I, so I’m sure you’ve seen this as well, and I love your, your, your, your allusion of feed the beast.
[00:22:49] Sue Grabowski: Feed the beast.
[00:22:49] Matt Bailey: Because that’s what it is.
[00:22:50] Sue Grabowski: It is.
[00:22:50] Matt Bailey: When you get a friend, when you get that person who, “Oh, I build websites,” because what you’re doing is you’re locking yourself in long-term to one person who built it to their spec.
[00:23:03] Sue Grabowski: Yes.
[00:23:03] Matt Bailey: Their idea of what this happens. And I have run into so many businesses and not just small businesses, corporates, fortune 500, where one person was doing it their own without any guidance, supervision, they were, it was all in their head. They built the database according to their vision of their spec. They didn’t have to report to anyone. And now they’re gone. Who understands this database? How are we going to use it? How are we going to?
And I’ve seen this in websites where they go with one programmer and they’re using an e-commerce software package that’s no longer being used. And rather than switch and update, they keep rebuilding and patching this together with duct tape and chicken wire and bubblegum. And as a, as a result, what I’ve seen is people change their entire business model to accommodate a programmer or a friend or a software package, and it harms their business.
[00:24:10] Sue Grabowski: Yes.
[00:24:11] Matt Bailey: And so, there’s a danger of having just all, all my eggs in one basket. One person can do all this and…
[00:24:18] Sue Grabowski: You’re held hostage.
[00:24:19] Matt Bailey: You are, because this is going to be a relationship that you have as long as your website is up.
[00:24:25] Sue Grabowski: That’s right. You are, you are held hostage. And I have seen it far too, too often. And I think the biggest problem is again, startup, startup businesses, you are running on a, on a shoestring budget. So, you’re trying to get things done as cheaply as possible, but you are not thinking about transportability. You’re not thinking about process. You’re not thinking about, “What if that person isn’t here?”
And that has to be one of your considerations in your spec, in that this cannot be tied to a single person, entity, software platform, I need to be able to move this when I need to move it. And it’s something that entrepreneurs, I would say myself…
[00:25:09] Matt Bailey: Right.
[00:25:09] Sue Grabowski: …you become incredibly short-sighted because you’re just trying to get things done at the lowest cost and to meet the lowest short-term expectations.
[00:25:18] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:25:19] Sue Grabowski: And you’re totally right that it’s the other, if you, if you have your friend or your brother do it, right, it’s their vision. And then it can cause, you don’t want to add on some personal, emotional baggage…
[00:25:34] Matt Bailey: Oh, yeah.
[00:25:35] Sue Grabowski: …in the midst of trying to start up a business because when you want to move that, you face offense…
[00:25:41] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Absolutely.
[00:25:42] Sue Grabowski: …on the other person’s part. So, if you go into it more clinically, I mean, I guess one of my learnings from the road as someone who is a creative type and a, sorry, typical female in many ways, but atypical in others, but I have derived a lot of success out of emotion. I vibe with people, they get me, I sell things. That’s, that’s sales, there’s a vibe there. Right?
I have learned along the way that my need to be more of a critical thinker, be more logical and be more clinical regarding my decision-making as a business owner, it’s really important to drop some of the emotional stuff. And when we’re starting a business, we’re highly emotional because we’re energized by the anticipation and the excitement of it. And there’s emotion tied to that. And you really need to stop, step back as, as an entrepreneur and be logical. And one of those things is, okay. For example, when I’m building a website, when I’m choosing an accountant, when I’m choosing a lawyer, ’cause I always say…
[00:26:53] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:26:54] Sue Grabowski: …have a good accountant and a good lawyer. No matter what size your business, because you need those two things.
[00:27:00] Matt Bailey: Right.
[00:27:01] Sue Grabowski: But again, hiring an accountant that’s your friend or your brother or your whatever at first, because it sounds easy, can cause you problems. Be logical, be clinical.
[00:27:13] Matt Bailey: Oh, yes.
[00:27:14] Sue Grabowski: And think of, “If I really want this business to grow and scale, I have to strip away the emotion of it and look strictly at the objective and the specification.” There should be a specification for everything you’re doing.
[00:27:30] Matt Bailey: I couldn’t agree more. I, well, the accountant side, I could go down stories and, and yeah, absolutely. You’ve got to look at it clinically. I’m not going to hire an accountant through which I have some sort of an emotional, relational, yes. Your cousin might be a good accountant. This, that is one area where you absolutely get what you pay for. I…
[00:27:53] Sue Grabowski: 100%.
[00:27:53] Matt Bailey: A great accountant, and it, and it was part of our conversation. A great accountant does certain things. They understand what you’re doing. They, they coach you, they prepare you. It’s not just doing books. It’s, it’s a business advisor.
[00:28:08] Sue Grabowski: Yes.
[00:28:09] Matt Bailey: To help you spend more efficiently, and a great accountant, I mean, I, I love my accountant. She has saved our bacon so many times, I, you know, they…
[00:28:21] Sue Grabowski: She’s proactive.
[00:28:23] Matt Bailey: Proactive, and they also, if you do make a mistake, they help you through it.
[00:28:27] Sue Grabowski: That’s right.
[00:28:27] Matt Bailey: Because they see it all the time.
[00:28:28] Sue Grabowski: And you can be friendly with your accountant, but again, I mean, this is a strange thing because I surrounded myself sometimes with, with friends, family, people, resources, and that’s what most entrepreneurs do as, as I, as I look at, so, I’m, I am a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, which is a global organization, there are local chapters, and I joined like two years ago. I wish, I so wish I would have known about this decades ago.
[00:29:01] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:29:01] Sue Grabowski: Decades ago. I’m going to tout it on here because I found so much value in it. But what I see is these commonalities among my peers in this group, and we, we build our businesses based on our own skillsets, and we add people to, whether that’s employees or contractors or resources, as we go along, they bring their, their skill sets to yours.
And it is lovely. It’s a lovely way to grow a business. Until it’s not, because when you have single sources of all knowledge in particular areas, accounting, legal, operations, just any, anything where only one person knows that aspect, you are, you put yourself and your business at risk because that person can either one, leave and you lose all that knowledge…
[00:29:56] Matt Bailey: Right.
[00:30:00] Sue Grabowski: …or two, they build fiefdoms, they camp, and those are really hard to break down. And I also found as my business grew, because I surrounded myself with those people who knew me, you get a little bit of resentment. Let’s say you have the cousin doing your accounting and they start to see your business grow. Now, while they can say they are unbiased, not moved, are they?
[00:30:27] Matt Bailey: Do you want that known in the family?
[00:30:28] Sue Grabowski: Do you want that known in the family?
[00:30:31] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:30:31] Sue Grabowski: And I strongly recommend being very careful about familial relationships in your small business.
[00:30:40] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:30:40] Sue Grabowski: But it’s a natural tendency to do that.
[00:30:42] Matt Bailey: Oh, absolutely.
[00:30:43] Sue Grabowski: And I’m in, so one of EO’s benefits is forum. They have, I meet with a small group of noncompeting business owners once a month. Cone of silence, we are, we have structured ways of sharing, ’cause we’d all just tell each other what to do because we’re all type A’s, right? But what I have found are consistent tales of woe of family relationships gone bad…
[00:31:07] Matt Bailey: Friends, family. Yeah.
[00:31:07] Sue Grabowski: …of friend relationships gone bad, of having to separate from people that you love, but who no longer fit because the business owner may be going in a different direction or something goes awry, and you, it’s hard when you’re starting a business to look that far out.
[00:31:27] Matt Bailey: It, it, well, so, so one of the best pieces of advice I got very early, someone told me, “The people that get you to a million in sales are not going to be the people that get you to 5 million.”
[00:31:38] Sue Grabowski: That is, that is a big sigh.
[00:31:39] Matt Bailey: And I am, well, you know, at first I was like, “Really? Wow.” You know, and then as I’m on my journey, I’m like, “Oh, that’s why,” is, and I always thought it was interesting, so the first people you hire are people close to you. Friends, family, they’re immediate, they need a job. Someone needs a job.
[00:32:00] Sue Grabowski: Yes.
[00:32:00] Matt Bailey: You know? So, you’re kind of getting there.
[00:32:02] Sue Grabowski: Right?
[00:32:02] Matt Bailey: Maybe you’re bringing in people from the outside, but what it is, is you’ve got this vision and you’re motivating them. You’re, you’re getting people that are willing to work for less because I’m signing onto you. You and your vision.
[00:32:15] Sue Grabowski: Yes.
[00:32:16] Matt Bailey: That’s why I’m here. It’s exciting. It’s second-generation of hires.
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[00:34:17] Matt Bailey: They get that, as well. They’re, they’re, they’re split between, “Yeah, I get your vision and yeah, I’m here for a job.” And they get…
[00:34:27] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[00:34:27] Matt Bailey: …they get the excitement and, and they’re, they’re good leaders. The third generation of hires, they don’t care about your vision. “I’m here for a paycheck.”
[00:34:36] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[00:34:36] Matt Bailey: Because you’re not communicating to them one-on-one.
[00:34:39] Sue Grabowski: Correct.
[00:34:40] Matt Bailey: You are communicating to that…
[00:34:42] Sue Grabowski: Through…
[00:34:42] Matt Bailey: …first and second level…
[00:34:43] Sue Grabowski: right.
[00:34:43] Matt Bailey: …the third level, so they’re not going to catch the vision. They might, you know, respect you, you know, be motivated by you, I’m, but end of the day, “I’m here for a paycheck.” And so, there’s that nuance that goes along with it. But it’s also some of those third-level people are the ones that know because they’re here for a paycheck, they’re the ones that you can, they’re the ones that will probably get you further.
[00:35:08] Sue Grabowski: Yes.
[00:35:09] Matt Bailey: Because they want to see things grow. They want to see their paycheck grow, and they’ve got some skills.
[00:35:16] Sue Grabowski: And levels one and two can really resent you as you, as your vision changes. Because after you hit a million dollars in sales, your vision does change. And if you have any hope of sustainability, succession, your vision has to change.
[00:35:36] Matt Bailey: Absolutely.
[00:35:37] Sue Grabowski: It has to change. And my company went through that a few years ago and it was incredibly painful for all involved, not just me, but there was also the sense of, there, there was a resistance to the vision change and some entitlement related to, “Well, we got you to this point.”
[00:36:00] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:36:00] Sue Grabowski: “We need to be heard.” And yet I had to, I had to execute in terms of, “I hear you. I still am saying I’m going this direction.” And I agree with you. I think that the third generation of employees, while they are there for the check, because they are self-motivated, there’s a different level of value. A different type of value.
[00:36:27] Matt Bailey: They’re not as emotionally attached.
[00:36:28] Sue Grabowski: No, they’re not.
[00:36:29] Matt Bailey: “So, you want to change direction? Cool.”
[00:36:31] Sue Grabowski: “Let’s go.”
[00:36:31] Matt Bailey: “My check stay the same?”
[00:36:32] Sue Grabowski: Yeah. “Is it gonna go up if you change direction? I’m in.”
[00:36:35] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Right.
[00:36:36] Sue Grabowski: There’s not a lot of that, that’s, that, the…
[00:36:38] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:36:38] Sue Grabowski: …emotional entanglement starts at, at one and two, and I agree with you. And it’s something that is not talked about to new business owners.
[00:36:48] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:36:48] Sue Grabowski: Because again, my sight is so short when I’m starting that business, “I need to get some clients or some customers, I need to make some sales, I need to see that this is a viable…”
[00:36:58] Matt Bailey: You’re the engine. That’s the thing. You, the entrepreneur, are the engine. And for that first, you know, million’s a, kind of a random indicator.
[00:37:08] Sue Grabowski: It’s a good one.
[00:37:08] Matt Bailey: But it’s a, yeah.
[00:37:08] Sue Grabowski: I mean, that’s, that’s what EO, that’s what EO defines…
[00:37:11] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:37:11] Sue Grabowski: …as a, as a marker.
[00:37:13] Matt Bailey: Okay. So, you, but you’re the engine. You are the engine. You are all the parts because you are sales.
[00:37:19] Sue Grabowski: Yes.
[00:37:19] Matt Bailey: You are operations. You are making the decisions of how everything should run, and to then get past that, you can’t be the engine. It is physically, emotionally, everything impossible for you to be the engine that gets past that, to that next stage. You need people who can become parts of the engine as you pull back, and now you’re driving.
[00:37:44] Sue Grabowski: Yeah, you’re driving and pushing the gas, but the rest of the things need to work.
[00:37:48] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:37:48] Sue Grabowski: And that’s where process comes into play. Again, we are now highly process focused as an, as an organization, and again, due full credit to Rob Kemmer, who is my business partner, and he, the balance of my people skills and his process skills are producing something altogether new for our agency, and have been for the last few years. But that’s, it’s the process that’s going to make the engine work.
[00:38:15] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:38:16] Sue Grabowski: It’s the, it’s the predictability of those pinions. Pinions? Is that the right word? Those pistons.
[00:38:23] Matt Bailey: There you go.
[00:38:23] Sue Grabowski: Pinions?
[00:38:23] Matt Bailey: Yeah, I’m like, there is a…
[00:38:25] Sue Grabowski: Pistons.
[00:38:25] Matt Bailey: …pinion, I think that’s like old cars have that. Yeah, I don’t know. I’m not a car guy.
[00:38:29] Sue Grabowski: I’m just picturing pistons going up and down an engine.
[00:38:32] Matt Bailey: Yes.
[00:38:32] Sue Grabowski: The predictability that is created through process and your third generation, at least in my experience, my third-generation employees are really globbing on to process. They love it because they can point to something and go, “Oh, I do, I do that.”
[00:38:48] Matt Bailey: Yep.
[00:38:48] Sue Grabowski: So, there’s less question, and when there’s less questions, there’s less emotion, there’s less drama, and we can make things run.
[00:38:57] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:38:57] Sue Grabowski: But, but I don’t know, you know, now that we’re talking about them, it’s really kind of regulatory for me right now in this moment, that levels one and two had to happen, as painful, and I mean worst part of my life, as painful as that is, I don’t, I don’t know that we could get to where we are now and where I think we’re going without going through that.
[00:39:25] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:39:25] Sue Grabowski: And that doesn’t mean that they’re sacrifices. That doesn’t mean that, but I’m just saying now that you’re describing that, I think, I think you’re right. That if you want to move to that next level, you really, that, that’s just part of the process.
[00:39:39] Matt Bailey: What you’re, you’re building the car, to, to keep the metaphor going.
[00:39:44] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[00:39:44] Matt Bailey: With people immediately around you, and again, you tap friends and family, good or bad.
[00:39:51] Sue Grabowski: Right.
[00:39:52] Matt Bailey: That’s what people do, and, and, and we’re saying it. I think what we’re saying is you can, be, but be aware.
[00:39:58] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[00:39:58] Matt Bailey: This could happen.
[00:40:00] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[00:40:01] Matt Bailey: There could be some resentment. There could be an emotional tie to things. What happens, though, in that, in that first and second circle is you have people filling positions that they may not be qualified to do as the business gets bigger.
[00:40:14] Sue Grabowski: Absolutely.
[00:40:16] Matt Bailey: And…
[00:40:16] Sue Grabowski: That’s not their fault. It just is…
[00:40:18] Matt Bailey: Right. Right. Now, I’ve been fortunate. I had a couple of early hires that, oh, wonderful. You know, you know, and I look at one and, you know, she’s like VP of marketing now. I would have loved to have hire her. I can’t afford her now.
[00:40:30] Sue Grabowski: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:40:31] Matt Bailey: You know? I could afford her, you know, 15 years ago, not now. But they’re, they’re, but when you get that close family and friend or something that, that there can be just kind of that resistance along the way. And so, just, as long as you’re aware going into it, you know this could happen. That potential is there. Otherwise yeah, it’s, it’s, it can be like Velcro pulling things apart.
[00:40:58] Sue Grabowski: I, I do a, I, I attended the Global Speakers Academy for, for Entrepreneurs Organization, for EO, and I’m a certified global speaker for EO, which is crazy ’cause it was amazing training, but what my kind of keynote speech is on, is on growing your business from the inside out with, with process and identifying the problems that occur there.
And again, I, it’s, I got a lot of nods from the entrepreneurs that I delivered this to because it’s either, so the two issues I see is one, you’ve got single sources of knowledge and what problems that can create, and there’s a lot of them. And then the second one is mystery mistakes. So, you know you’ve got this problem when there’s errors happening, but nobody knows really how it happened. Can’t point to anyone because you don’t have process to be able to identify that it’s step six things went off the rails, right?
So, it’s like I would walk into, this is when the big transformation started to happen at my place, I would walk back from being on a business trip where, you know, some of my tier one and tier two employees thought that I was just out “gallivanting,” as I was quoted.
[00:42:13] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:42:13] Sue Grabowski: I was out gallivanting, not ever seeing that I was really focused on growing some different aspects of the business that I thought would help us. But I would come back to problems that I thought were pretty easy to diagnose and address, and it was like, “Where did this?” When I would try to assess the problem, “Where did this go off the rails?” “Well, I don’t know.”
[00:42:38] Matt Bailey: “I don’t know.”
[00:42:38] Sue Grabowski: Lots of, “I don’t knows,” and that tells me we didn’t have process, right? And it, that’s where I started to see things go south. Uh, again, hindsight 2020, right? But I would encourage younger entrepreneurs, newer I would say, entrepreneurs who are starting their business, you have to keep, you have to think scale from day one. And I didn’t.
[00:43:03] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:43:03] Sue Grabowski: I just thought, “I’m going to start a business.”
[00:43:05] Matt Bailey: Right. That’s what you do.
[00:43:07] Sue Grabowski: And, “I’m going to do this thing,” and I did not think scale from the start and it, it’s, even if you’ve got 80% short-term focus, 20% long-term scale, just keeping some of that in your view could prevent you from, from making some larger mistakes.
[00:43:26] Matt Bailey: Oh, absolutely. So, here in our house, we’ve invented a person that when, you know, you find something in the kitchen, “Who left this out?” “Not me.” “Not me.” “Not me.” “Not me.” “Well, someone broke into the house, got this out of the refrigerator, and left it here.” And so, we’ve invented a person that we blame that on because yes, the mystery mistakes.
[00:43:47] Sue Grabowski: Mystery mistakes.
[00:43:48] Matt Bailey: Alright.
[00:43:48] Sue Grabowski: Because no one…
[00:43:48] Matt Bailey: There’s no process. Yeah.
[00:43:49] Sue Grabowski: …no one can claim responsibility, there isn’t clear job descriptions because to your earlier point, people that you bring inside start accepting roles that they may or may not be qualified for and are doing more than what their job requires, but there’s no definition to that.
[00:44:08] Matt Bailey: Right. Right.
[00:44:09] Sue Grabowski: So, it’s, you know, right now we have processes in place that nearly anyone could follow, even if they aren’t in that role, which sounds crazy, but it works. And, you know, you and I are talking about a new project and what did I say out the gate? We’re going to define objectives. We’re going to define what the deliverables are. We’re going to define what the measurable quality assurance markers are, so that we can build process around it, so that we can scale things immediately. And it depersonalizes things, and to tier one, tier two employees…
[00:44:48] Matt Bailey: That’s hard.
[00:44:48] Sue Grabowski: It’s very hard.
[00:44:50] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:44:50] Sue Grabowski: And that, that was another big, big thing that we had to work through. But this was, you know, 17, 18, 2018, so that’s how many years ago? I mean, it’s, it’s, not that, I was in business a long time before I reached that conclusion.
[00:45:06] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:45:06] Sue Grabowski: And so, I encourage newer entrepreneurs to think scale, to depersonalize, think roles not people.
[00:45:15] Matt Bailey: Yes. Yes. Oh my goodness. That, and that’s the thing. Like you, there, it was too long before I discovered process, and, and even then, you know, we lost someone that was almost like a sole source of knowledge. There was no process to replace. And so, yeah, you’ve got to think about that. People will come and go. What’s going to make that transition easier is a defined role and process of, “Here’s what you do. Here’s how it’s done.” Even if you bring in a specialist, have them document, “How are you doing this?”
[00:45:47] Sue Grabowski: Yes. And that again, yes.
[00:45:48] Matt Bailey: Because if you’re not here, we need to know. Not, you know, not that, you know, if you’re fired, but what if you’re out for a couple weeks with COVID? How, how can we do this if you’re not here?
[00:45:59] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[00:45:59] Matt Bailey: Those types of things, those are legitimate, I think as entrepreneurs, maybe we’re afraid to ask people to document. You went through this, you were telling me about that. “We need you to document what you’re doing, because we don’t know.”
[00:46:12] Sue Grabowski: Right. And incredibly threatening…
[00:46:15] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:46:15] Sue Grabowski: …to the people that we asked, again, it removed their specialness. What, what they didn’t see was it didn’t remove their specialness. In fact, it made them more valuable. And if they had just really thought through what we were trying to do, which was, “If you are sick, if you’re out for three weeks with COVID, we’ve got to be able to do your work. Because if we can’t, there is no work and there’s no paycheck for anybody, much less you.”
[00:46:44] Matt Bailey: Right.
[00:46:44] Sue Grabowski: But yeah, it was, it felt very threatening to people to have them define what they do. And every, you know, my dad always said to me that, you know, everybody’s replaceable. You know, you try to make yourself indispensable wherever you go.
[00:47:02] Matt Bailey: Right. Yeah.
[00:47:02] Sue Grabowski: That was one of his pieces, pieces of advice was make yourself indispensable. But everybody, including me, is replaceable. People can go to other sources for, I, there’s nothing really, truly unique about me. And if, if people can step out of that personal, you know, particularly in agencies, I can only speak for agencies, we got a lot of creative types. I’m a brilliant writer. I’m not saying that about me. I’m saying people in my, “Yes, you are. But I have to understand how you managed to please that client. What do you do differently? How do you, how do you, what’s your process for thinking about that? Or what marks are you trying to hit?”
My process might be different, but I got to hit those marks every time. And it was really threatening to a lot of my team members to say, “I need you to write down everything that you’re going to do.” And we had other people who are not in those roles observe and they documented what other people did.
[00:48:05] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:48:06] Sue Grabowski: And would ask questions along the way. “Why are you doing it that way?” Once people got into the groove of that, it became more comfortable.
[00:48:13] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:48:13] Sue Grabowski: But it is uncomfortable when somebody’s questioning why you’re doing what you’re doing.
[00:48:17] Matt Bailey: Well, but the thing is, this is only going to become more important because as family leave, I mean, you’re in the US.
[00:48:25] Sue Grabowski: Right.
[00:48:25] Matt Bailey: That’s going to expand. Like it or not, it’s going to happen.
[00:48:27] Sue Grabowski: Yes.
[00:48:28] Matt Bailey: And so, be prepared for it. You’re going to have men and women leaving for family leave.
[00:48:33] Sue Grabowski: For months at a time.
[00:48:34] Matt Bailey: Right. And I mean, if you’ve gone through this, you know how painful that could be.
[00:48:39] Sue Grabowski: Yes.
[00:48:40] Matt Bailey: Uh, that someone is gone for three months, at least.
[00:48:44] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[00:48:44] Matt Bailey: Maybe more, and we’ve got to, we’ve got to be able to fill that role. That is painful.
[00:48:50] Sue Grabowski: Absolutely.
[00:48:50] Matt Bailey: And if that’s not documented, understood how that happens, so yeah, you could have people out with sickness, you could have people out on vacation, people out on leave, if the business is going to survive that person being gone, you’ve got to have that contingency. You’ve got to have that plan for how this gets done so someone else can step in.
[00:49:10] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[00:49:10] Matt Bailey: It’s just going to increase the, the need for that to happen.
[00:49:13] Sue Grabowski: I can’t stress enough to newer entrepreneurs to document process and identify the roles in your business. And again, not people, the roles. You know, there’s an accounting role. That role, you should be able to move from person to person pretty easily, right? But having all of those roles defined, even as you, as you build your business plan, I’m not always sure that if I go out and look at business plan templates, ’cause there’s lots of them out there, right? There’s lots of, “Here,” ’cause if you’re saying that there’s a lot of Google searches, right, for how to start a business.
[00:49:50] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:49:50] Sue Grabowski: They direct you to a bunch of paid ads on our business plan approach.
[00:49:54] Matt Bailey: Business plan, oh.
[00:49:56] Sue Grabowski: But do, are roles part of those business plans? And I don’t see them often. It’s like, “Here’s, here are, here’s my product or my service and defining that, and here’s my target audience and I’m going to go to, and here’s my goal,” which is by the way a wish…
[00:50:00] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:50:13] Sue Grabowski: …that you’re going to hit X amount of dollars in sales in X amount of time, right? But can you, do you think through the roles, including who’s going to update my website content? Who’s going to update my social media content? Who’s going to manage, while you’re out trying to build relationships, who’s going to do all those things? But role definition is a critical function and not really stressed, I don’t think…
[00:50:38] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:50:38] Sue Grabowski: …enough to newer entrepreneurs.
[00:50:39] Matt Bailey: Well, and I think that’s, you go into it thinking, “I can make money doing this.”
[00:50:43] Sue Grabowski: Yes.
[00:50:43] Matt Bailey: “I can make money and I can build a business.” Okay. Yes. How? Let’s define this because you may find there’s a ceiling, and the only way you’re going to double your income is by doubling people.
[00:50:57] Sue Grabowski: Right.
[00:50:57] Matt Bailey: You know, there, there, there may be a human component to this. And so, it’s a matter of thinking through how are you going to scale this? What, what’s necessary? Are you driving the whole thing? Is this you and your personality?
[00:51:10] Sue Grabowski: Right.
[00:51:10] Matt Bailey: It, you know, what, and I don’t think business plans do a great, well.
[00:51:15] Sue Grabowski: I never had one.
[00:51:16] Matt Bailey: I, me neither.
[00:51:18] Sue Grabowski: I’ve never had one. I never had one.
[00:51:19] Matt Bailey: I think I started it, and then reality set in. You know, I think it’s one of those things that maybe forces you to look at a couple things, but reality is so different.
[00:51:29] Sue Grabowski: I never had one and I’ve, I got asked often by business coaches who I’ve never hired, but they, but they…
[00:51:39] Matt Bailey: But what else are they going to have you do…
[00:51:40] Sue Grabowski: They make you…
[00:51:41] Matt Bailey: …to justify what they do?
[00:51:42] Sue Grabowski: Yeah, that’s right. They make you feel like you’re at a deficit if you don’t have one, but I didn’t. I, I really went into it, and I think a lot of entrepreneurs do this. I went into it going, “I think that,” I worked at a small agency and I was young. I mean, I was 22 when I joined that agency and it was the agency owner, the office manager, and me. And I got to see all aspects of the business. How we got it, how we did the work, how we build it, how we manage mistakes, how we worked with vendors, I saw the entire spectrum, right?
And I thought, “I could do this. I can do this. And I think I would do it a little differently than she does it.” And, but I knew I needed big company experience, so I went to Progressive Insurance and worked inside a big company, which was invaluable.
[00:52:32] Matt Bailey: Right. Yeah.
[00:52:33] Sue Grabowski: Because I wanted to serve large clients and I needed to understand what it was like to be on the inside, and that really gave me that opportunity. But I knew I just wanted to try it. And I, and I viewed this, and to this day, I think I probably said this on the other podcast, but I don’t care. I’ll say it again. To this day, I went into it saying, “I believe that I’m employable. If this thing blows up and fails, I think I can go get a job, and I would really like to work at a Hallmark store,” which probably is now no longer exists, but…
[00:53:04] Matt Bailey: I love these stories.
[00:53:05] Sue Grabowski: You know, Hallmark store, because I think selling greeting cards and fudge would be a fine job. I think I could guide people to the right cards for their moment and I could make them happy by sharing with them some, you know, peppermint fudge. And I just always thought, “I could do, I could go get a job somewhere.” And I still feel that way because our business has had ups and downs. I mean, no lie. The last three years have been challenging. 2019 was great. Actually 2019 was a stellar year. After, after I went through the pain of 2018, but 2020, 2021 challenging, right?
I’m still employable, but I wish that I, like I, so I think I just started it and went, “I’m just going to try this.” I started the business with a fax machine, a landline hookup, a computer, and a telephone, with really no foresight.
[00:54:04] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Right? Yeah.
[00:54:04] Sue Grabowski: Like I wasn’t thinking I’m like, “I’m gonna try this thing before I have kids.” And thankfully, when I went to Progressive and said, “Hey, I’m leaving, but I’m not going anywhere. I’m just, I’m just going to go try this thing. I’ll give you a month’s notice because I’m not going to another job. I will leave everything in great shape.” And two weeks into my, like my, my notice, my boss came to me and said, “Would you take half your job home with you?”
[00:54:33] Matt Bailey: Nice. Yeah.
[00:54:34] Sue Grabowski: So Progressive became my first client.
[00:54:38] Matt Bailey: Great.
[00:54:38] Sue Grabowski: Amazing.
[00:54:39] Matt Bailey: Wow.
[00:54:39] Sue Grabowski: Just amazing. But I also was like, at that point, “Business plan? Business plan is get set up so I can do this work. That’s it.”
[00:54:48] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:54:48] Sue Grabowski: And off we went.
[00:54:49] Matt Bailey: Right. Right. Absolutely. And that’s the thing, I think that first year is just mainly, “I can make money doing this.” Yeah.
[00:54:56] Sue Grabowski: Because that’s the other thing that nobody tells an entrepreneur. I didn’t make money, make money…
[00:55:01] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:55:01] Sue Grabowski: …’til 10 years in. And year one, I made $9,000.
[00:55:07] Matt Bailey: Ooh, ouch.
[00:55:07] Sue Grabowski: Year one. Now I don’t, I don’t know. I mean, thank God how we got our bills paid.
[00:55:13] Matt Bailey: Well, what you’re saying is $9,000 on the tax return.
[00:55:17] Sue Grabowski: No.
[00:55:18] Matt Bailey: You’re doing a $9,000…
[00:55:20] Sue Grabowski: That was year one.
[00:55:21] Matt Bailey: Revenue?
[00:55:21] Sue Grabowski: Revenue.
[00:55:22] Matt Bailey: Oh, ouch.
[00:55:24] Sue Grabowski: Yes.
[00:55:25] Matt Bailey: Wow.
[00:55:25] Sue Grabowski: I remember the first check I got that had a comma in it. That was a big deal.
[00:55:31] Matt Bailey: Wow.
[00:55:31] Sue Grabowski: And I left a really well, a really high paying job, but I really wanted to go for it.
[00:55:37] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:55:38] Sue Grabowski: But I don’t think, again, new entrepreneurs they expect to be making, especially if they’re leaving a corporate position or a position that they’ve made decent money in, that they’re going to make at least that amount right out the gate. No.
[00:55:55] Matt Bailey: That takes a while. Yeah.
[00:55:55] Sue Grabowski: Every entrepreneur I’ve talked to in EO never had that experience. Now they might experience tremendous growth year two, or they might take off and, and they get there faster than I did.
[00:56:07] Matt Bailey: Right. Right.
[00:56:08] Sue Grabowski: But you don’t expect a loss, and there is loss and there is amazing sacrifice for that loss. That is, it’s on 24/7, you are pounding the pavement. You’re trying to build some structures. You’re trying to have, you know, there’s a lot going on in year one.
[00:56:27] Matt Bailey: Oh, well, I mean, cashed out 401k.
[00:56:30] Sue Grabowski: Yes.
[00:56:31] Matt Bailey: I mean that, that’s, where else are you going to get money? It’s…
[00:56:34] Sue Grabowski: Right. Rob did that for, you know, he, he started a mobile media company, and with mobile technology, and that’s what he did.
[00:56:41] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:56:41] Sue Grabowski: He cashed out 401k, and we, when we merged, I mean, he had, he’d been doing it a couple years, whatever, but we, we, you know, joined our efforts together, but I had been in business at that point 17 years, something like that. It’s, but it’s just not an expectation because you get a lot of rah rah around you. Yes. Go for it. That’s really cool. The balance of that is it’s a whole lot of work. It’s all on you. And there is power in that decision and there is loss of power in that decision.
[00:57:16] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Oh, absolutely.
[00:57:18] Sue Grabowski: There is no paycheck.
[00:57:19] Matt Bailey: And especially if you have a family dependent upon you…
[00:57:22] Sue Grabowski: Yes.
[00:57:22] Matt Bailey: …that’s a whole, I, I, wow. That’s why I think young people are, it’s, if you could be an entrepreneur as a young person, great. Do it. If you have a family, wow.
[00:57:33] Sue Grabowski: Yes. You have to have a…
[00:57:35] Matt Bailey: You have to have that support, but you also need, how are you going to support them if you have some dry months?
[00:57:41] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[00:57:41] Matt Bailey: That’s tough. That is, that…
[00:57:44] Sue Grabowski: You have to know what you’re getting into. I mean, what do they say? Most, most, I don’t have a stat in front of me, but most new businesses fail within three years…
[00:57:53] Matt Bailey: Before three years. Yeah.
[00:57:54] Sue Grabowski: And if you make it over the five-year mark, that’s pretty significant. Over seven, that’s crazy. And, and I will say there’s, so the entrepreneur organization, these are, I do have a few stats. Um, so to be an EO proper, you have to make over a million dollars a year in revenue. And there is an EO accelerator program for those businesses that want to get to a million dollars. Okay?
When I joined the Cleveland chapter, there’s about 120 of us in Cleveland. There are 12 women. And I was shocked. I was like, that is crazy. Do, do not a lot of women know about this? Well, I started doing my homework. Globally in EO to be an EO proper, the percentage of women is 13%.
[00:58:47] Matt Bailey: Wow.
[00:58:48] Sue Grabowski: And now in EO accelerator, it’s 50/50.
[00:58:52] Matt Bailey: Wow. Oh, that’s great. Wow.
[00:58:54] Sue Grabowski: And so, I’ve been doing a little bit of homework on that because I’m challenged by that. And a lot of times it comes down to the family decision. When, I mean, generally, and this is, this is not me, you know, speaking stereotypically, it’s what I’ve found in, in the research that I’ve done. It’s that when women’s businesses reach a certain point where it’s going to affect the family, they will back off.
[00:59:22] Matt Bailey: Wow.
[00:59:23] Sue Grabowski: Because there’s serious decisions to be made. And, and I can say that, I mean, we reached that point. There were decisions to be made, and my husband came home and worked from home, and, and I don’t, I mean, he, he was, we switched roles.
[00:59:35] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Wow.
[00:59:36] Sue Grabowski: And I can’t say enough how much that, that changed our mode, and I couldn’t have done that without him. But it’s, if you want to move to, if you want to get your business to a certain size, the sacrifices are real, and you have to determine what it is that you want to do with that.
[00:59:55] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[00:59:56] Sue Grabowski: And, and only American Express did put this stat out. Only, is 1% of female business owners will reach million dollars in sales.
[01:00:00] Matt Bailey: Wow. Wow.
[01:00:11] Sue Grabowski: So, there are considerations, and I can say that there, you know, there have been a lot, there’s been a lot that I’ve missed in growing a business. And I’m fortunate that I had the, the structure at home to provide that. But yeah, I worked a lot. I still work a lot. My kids know that. I have three kids.
[01:00:32] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:00:33] Sue Grabowski: And I just think that when you start, it’s, it’s really exciting to start a business, but again, think scale at the beginning and think about, take into consideration, “If this grows to where I’m wishing it will in my business plan, in my make-believe business plan, can I handle it personally? Can I, will I be able to weather, and will my family be able to weather things?” And there, there is a lot, there’s a lot of kind of shrapnel…
[01:01:00] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:01:01] Sue Grabowski: …along the way.
[01:01:02] Matt Bailey: Oh, absolutely.
[01:01:03] Sue Grabowski: For men and women…
[01:01:04] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:01:05] Sue Grabowski: …being business owners.
[01:01:06] Matt Bailey: Well, and that’s one thing, and, and this is why I would never trade it is, I, I realized I’ve gone through, I’m trying to think. Two, I think third, I’m, I’m not, I’ve said this before. I’ve gone through three downsizings.
[01:01:23] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:01:23] Matt Bailey: You know?
[01:01:24] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:01:25] Matt Bailey: I, I’ve lost my job three times due to downsize and I, I, I told myself, “I’m not going to do this anymore. I’m, I’m tired of being,” because then you go to a new job, you’re the, like I got downsized, I went somewhere else, and then within six months they had to downsize, but because I was the new employee…
[01:01:45] Sue Grabowski: You’re out.
[01:01:46] Matt Bailey: …I, I was gone.
[01:01:46] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:01:47] Matt Bailey: And I remember it was a couple of employees of mine, went and got a bank loan for a house like that. No problem. I go to get a bank loan, and they’re telling me, “Well, your business could go out,” and all that.
[01:02:02] Sue Grabowski: Uh huh.
[01:02:02] Matt Bailey: I’m like, “How can two of my employees get a bank loan faster and easier than me?” Because let me tell you what? Things get rough, guess who doesn’t have a job. They don’t. I, it was, and, and that was just such a realization to me that I love what I’m doing, am responsible for this, and, and I have six employees. I have six people I can get fired before I do. You know?
[01:02:30] Sue Grabowski: Right.
[01:02:30] Matt Bailey: And that may be a cold, calculating way to feel it, but no, I…
[01:02:34] Sue Grabowski: You’re absorbing all the risk.
[01:02:35] Matt Bailey: …I have more, I feel as though, as an entrepreneur, I have more safety and stability in my future and in my job than if I were working anywhere else on the planet.
[01:02:50] Sue Grabowski: I agree. And, ’cause as I’m, as I’m talking about the sacrifice here, I wouldn’t change a thing.
[01:02:56] Matt Bailey: No.
[01:02:56] Sue Grabowski: Because I am in the driver’s seat of my future, but I will say, you’re absorbing all of the risk for those six employees that you referenced.
[01:03:07] Matt Bailey: Oh, that’s…
[01:03:08] Sue Grabowski: So, again…
[01:03:09] Matt Bailey: …that’s a mental thing right there. Absolutely.
[01:03:11] Sue Grabowski: Yeah. I have, I have never lost sight of the fact that I have this payroll that I, that I cover, and that these people are depending on me. It’s what gets me up in the morning. It’s part of what gets me up in the morning. I mean, part of it is just I’m motivated, I still really love my job every day. I like going to my job every day, which even that includes walking across my bedroom to my desk. I really love my job, but I also feel the weight of the responsibility for the people that are in my stead.
[01:03:40] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:03:40] Sue Grabowski: Right? But that’s when I get a little annoyed when I get resistance, because I’m absorbing all of the risk to have you employed by me. It’s that, it’s that “a few good men” line, right?
[01:03:54] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:03:54] Sue Grabowski: You’re going to, I’m going to give you the blanket of protection and you’re questioning the way in which I provide it.
[01:04:01] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:04:02] Sue Grabowski: Right.
[01:04:02] Matt Bailey: Wow.
[01:04:03] Sue Grabowski: And that is, when you absorb the risk, you, you also get the benefits, but you are absorbing, you are taking on the risk, and that’s why, I mean, we could kind of go back, keep going back to the start, but you having your cousin do your accounting and then seeing your in, your income grow, but not them recognizing that you are responsible for a payroll that is more than the money that you make…
[01:04:28] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:04:29] Sue Grabowski: …and that you actually could make that money by not having those employees.
[01:04:33] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:04:34] Sue Grabowski: You could, you could redistribute, you could take on that, that, and do it ’cause for most of us entrepreneurs, we’ve done the jobs for the people that we hire.
[01:04:42] Matt Bailey: Absolutely. Yep.
[01:04:43] Sue Grabowski: That they’re, they have a weird, skewed view of your new car or your new whatever, when every day you have the weight of people’s livelihoods on your back, and they’re counting on you to show up and do for them. I mean, that is, that is the rub as you gain employees and as you gain, you know, people like that, and again, you start out the business, you don’t really see that.
[01:05:07] Matt Bailey: Yep. No.
[01:05:08] Sue Grabowski: People come alongside, but then you’re like, “Okay, every month I got to hit this number because that’s payroll number.” For me, that’s where we are right now, ’cause everybody’s working from home.
[01:05:17] Matt Bailey: Right.
[01:05:17] Sue Grabowski: We’re 100% remote now. We are not going back to the office. But that, so my biggest overhead is that payroll number. And yes, Matt, they’re all expendable…
[01:05:29] Matt Bailey: It will always be…
[01:05:29] Sue Grabowski: …before me.
[01:05:30] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:05:31] Sue Grabowski: And I don’t want to do that, but I will. So, so don’t make me.
[01:05:37] Matt Bailey: That’s what a downsize is. That’s what a downsize is.
[01:05:40] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:05:40] Matt Bailey: A downsize is we have to eliminate positions to maintain payroll. And, and as, if you’re going to grow a business, let me tell you payroll is, oh, so I got to tell you this.
[01:05:50] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:05:51] Matt Bailey: I, I’ve done a lot of training for Microsoft, IBM, some of these larger companies…
[01:05:57] Sue Grabowski: Yes.
[01:05:57] Matt Bailey: …and I’ll work with their SMB group, their marketers. And when I start asking them, “Okay, what, what is your SMB target? What’s, what’s their need? What do they think about?” And I, and I love it. I call it the brand hammer because, “Well, they need a singular solution that condenses all of their word processing and database and CRM.” And, and I’m looking at them like, “That’s what they need? Is that what they need?”
“Well, what they need,” and then again, they launch into the brand, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” I’m like, “Let me tell you what an SMB owner needs. They need a day off. They need to make,” I said, “Let me tell you what, in what is most, what is in the mind of any SMB owner. Payroll.”
[01:06:44] Sue Grabowski: Absolutely.
[01:06:45] Matt Bailey: “I need to make payroll and you’re coming in selling a solution that if I buy this, I can’t make payroll.”
[01:06:52] Sue Grabowski: Right.
[01:06:53] Matt Bailey: I said, “So how are you going to justify this?” I, I said, “You are bringing the brand hammer and you’re giving them all these benefits and, and words and all this,” I’m like, “But you do not understand the pressure, the decisions that an SMB has to make, and payroll is their number one consideration above all things.” And it was interesting because you have people in the brand part, they’ve never owned a business. They don’t understand that pressure.
[01:07:27] Sue Grabowski: Right.
[01:07:27] Matt Bailey: They don’t understand it.
[01:07:28] Sue Grabowski: Right.
[01:07:28] Matt Bailey: They just think all they need to do is use the right words, you’ll buy our stuff.
[01:07:31] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:07:31] Matt Bailey: And so, that’s the corporate mentality, but I’ll never forget business owner, there was another business and the owner and the staff there, I, I so respected them. They were a vendor, and I was buying their software and we just built a friendship, and I remember one night over dinner, he’s telling me about how they’re on a phone call and with a big client, and it’s like, “We’ve got to land this deal. We’ve got to land this deal.”
And the door opens, and the bookkeeper just announces as the door opens, “We’re not going to make payroll!” While they’re on the conference call with this client. And then, “Oh, she’s such a kidder,” you know, they had to kind of roll through that, but he’s telling me this and I don’t care about that situation. I’m looking at him, and the first thing in my mind is, “You’re concerned about making payroll too?”
[01:08:24] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:08:24] Matt Bailey: And it was such a liberating, “Wait, like, wait, I look up to you.”
[01:08:27] Sue Grabowski: Yes.
[01:08:28] Matt Bailey: “You, you know, you guys are,” it was such a liberating thing to realize that I’m not the only one…
[01:08:35] Sue Grabowski: Right.
[01:08:35] Matt Bailey: …who, you know, stresses about this. It was such a, “Oh.”
[01:08:41] Sue Grabowski: Yes. That’s…
[01:08:42] Matt Bailey: “You deal with this, too.”
[01:08:43] Sue Grabowski: …that’s why, that’s why I love EO, because I found that the, whether they were the stories in my head, or my realities were not my own. And I’m sitting in a group of people that have businesses that are larger than mine, some a little smaller than mine, all sharing the same pains. And so, we don’t get in a group and commiserate about the pain, we try to solve the problem. But any time one person in that group shares about an issue like meeting payroll, we all learn because we all have the same problems. And it’s, it’s something that I would say if you’re, if you’re starting a business, surround yourself with other business owners.
[01:09:28] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:09:28] Sue Grabowski: So that you have the ability in a safe place, right, to say, “I’m struggling with this thing,” and have somebody who can go, “Oh, I get you.”
[01:09:38] Matt Bailey: Right.
[01:09:39] Sue Grabowski: And not, “I feel badly for you,” but to really understand at that, at that empathetic level of an experience-based level, “I’ve had the same experience as you.”
[01:09:50] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:09:50] Sue Grabowski: That you can talk through things and know you’re not alone. It’s, it’s a very lonely walk.
[01:09:57] Matt Bailey: It can be.
[01:09:57] Sue Grabowski: Entrepreneurship’s lonely, and, and part of the reason in EO they challenge us to share at a 5% level. So, he said, they say, most people we share, and that’s good or bad, we share, we’ll share good and we’ll share bad with people, but there’s 5% of bad we won’t share with anybody, and there’s 5% of good we won’t share with anybody, because you can’t.
[01:10:00] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:10:20] Sue Grabowski: You can’t go to a family friend or a friend and say, “I just landed a big deal.” You know, “I just, I just landed a million-dollar deal.” They, you can’t do that.
[01:10:31] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:10:31] Sue Grabowski: You also can’t tell them, “I lost a million-dollar deal.” Right?
[01:10:35] Matt Bailey: Well, and, and this is one thing, like, you learn about taxes. Like a million-dollar deal does not mean I get a million dollars.
[01:10:43] Sue Grabowski: That’s correct. No. No.
[01:10:44] Matt Bailey: It means as the owner, I might see a hundred.
[01:10:48] Sue Grabowski: And the, and the, and then you factor in payroll. You factor in all those things, but you can’t go there.
[01:10:54] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:10:54] Sue Grabowski: So, having trusted advisors, people use that term in every industry, but truly as you start a business, surrounding yourself with other business owners who you trust, who can have shared experiences, who will keep things confidential, I just say, find that group. There are industry groups like that, there are, you know, groups like, like EO, there’s, but, but do that because a business coach is not going to be that person.
[01:11:24] Matt Bailey: No.
[01:11:25] Sue Grabowski: They’re there to sell you their services. They are a vendor. You want people that have no financial connection to…
[01:11:32] Matt Bailey: Absolutely.
[01:11:33] Sue Grabowski: …to weigh-in on some of your decision-making, and you need that. That goes back to that logical…
[01:11:38] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:11:38] Sue Grabowski: …non-emotional, clinical perspective. You’re going to need that.
[01:11:41] Matt Bailey: Yep. And, and I think it’s, it’s absolutely necessary that you just realize other people deal with this.
[01:11:47] Sue Grabowski: Yes.
[01:11:48] Matt Bailey: It’s not you, it’s not.
[01:11:49] Sue Grabowski: No.
[01:11:50] Matt Bailey: You having trouble making payroll? So does, you know…
[01:11:53] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:11:54] Matt Bailey: …half of, more than half of organizations under, you know, 20 to 30 people, hey, even big corporations have trouble making payroll too.
[01:12:03] Sue Grabowski: Right.
[01:12:03] Matt Bailey: It’s, it is a common thing. And just to, that, that, it doesn’t solve things, but it lifts some of the weight. And, and that, I think, as an entrepreneur, so, so important is like you said, you’re carrying weight that, “I have this many people dependent upon this money coming in…”
[01:12:20] Sue Grabowski: Right.
[01:12:20] Matt Bailey: “…and this business succeeding.” One of the things, so, I took advantage of the, in the U.S. we have SCORE, Service Corps of Retired Entrepreneurs.
[01:12:29] Sue Grabowski: Oh, that’s an excellent resource.
[01:12:31] Matt Bailey: So valuable to talk with someone else who’s been in the trenches. And I went out of pure frustration because I went through salespeople like tissue. I, I had people come in and promise, “I can do this. I can do,” you know, and I’m like, “Fine.” I got to the point where I’m like, “You want to work for me? Come work for me, commission only, you reach a certain amount of commission, I will guarantee your paycheck.” Because I just got so tired of people overestimating their sales ability.
But part of it is, and you know, I was more on the digital marketing side, so what I’m selling has a digital technical component. You need to be able to see, analyze, and go from there in order to sell it properly. And I went and talked to SCORE and talked to some of the representatives, and I’ll never forget the one guy looked at me and he says, “Matt, you’re the salesperson.”
[01:13:27] Sue Grabowski: Yes.
[01:13:27] Matt Bailey: “Don’t waste time hiring people to do what you do best.” And that’s when I realized, “I need back office.”
[01:13:35] Sue Grabowski: You need the engine running.
[01:13:37] Matt Bailey: “I need back office.”
[01:13:38] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:13:38] Matt Bailey: “I can’t do that.” And, and, and part of it too, was embracing this, “But I like that part. I like being out there.”
[01:13:49] Sue Grabowski: Right.
[01:13:49] Matt Bailey: I like making the sale. I like doing the, you know, sort of on-the-spot analysis, “Well, here’s your problem,” you know?
[01:13:56] Sue Grabowski: Me too.
[01:13:56] Matt Bailey: I love that.
[01:13:57] Sue Grabowski: That’s it. Yeah.
[01:13:58] Matt Bailey: But I need to be able to hand it off…
[01:14:00] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:14:00] Matt Bailey: …and let it go.
[01:14:01] Sue Grabowski: And that transition wasn’t happening.
[01:14:03] Matt Bailey: Yeah. It, I went through, yes. Then after that, developing more back-office processes, things like that.
[01:14:12] Sue Grabowski: Yeah. But you’re right, the sales, that, I, I reached the same conclusion. Now I can say that in EO I’ve met some, some business owners who are not the salesperson, and, because I thought that was kind of the only way it was. Right?
[01:14:25] Matt Bailey: Right.
[01:14:26] Sue Grabowski: Again, you’re in your, you’re in your own head and your own experience. So, I have found organizations where they’re not the salesperson, and that’s interesting, but they do fill a unique role. They fill, not a unique role. They fill a specific role in the organization. They started out as salesperson, but ultimately moved back. I, I agree with you, and I had to come to terms with that too, that I, I am the driver of those things and I really like it too, and I almost didn’t want to embrace that I liked that.
[01:14:59] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Same here.
[01:15:00] Sue Grabowski: I don’t, why, I don’t know why that I felt guilty about that. I felt like I should be able to do the other things well, or, or just not…
[01:15:10] Matt Bailey: It’s hard work.
[01:15:10] Sue Grabowski: But it…
[01:15:11] Matt Bailey: Sales is hard.
[01:15:13] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:15:13] Matt Bailey: Especially telling creative.
[01:15:16] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:15:16] Matt Bailey: It’s hard. And it’s one of those things where I don’t want to do it every day. I think that’s part of it…
[01:15:22] Sue Grabowski: Maybe.
[01:15:22] Matt Bailey: …is I need to unplug, and for me to unplug is, “I’ll go optimize that site. I,” you know, “I’ll do that,” because now I can unplug. I don’t have to interface with people. I, I can just sharpen my skills.
[01:15:37] Sue Grabowski: I think mine was a little different. I think that mine was that I somehow devalued that. That the…
[01:15:43] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:15:44] Sue Grabowski: …the, because I’m good with people and it’s easy for me. It’s, it’s an easy, it’s natural for me to, to do those things, that somehow it wasn’t hard enough. Like I would say mine’s the opposite.
[01:15:56] Matt Bailey: Oh, yeah.
[01:15:57] Sue Grabowski: That I, I thought that the harder work was back at the office, and I should be doing that stuff. When I let myself go and go, “No, I need to be out mining some new opportunities,” that’s when I got criticism from my team. That’s when I was “gallivanting,” ’cause I wasn’t sitting at my desk doing things.
[01:16:14] Matt Bailey: Right. Right.
[01:16:15] Sue Grabowski: But what they didn’t see was that they didn’t have the ability to broker those relationships that I do. I, I…
[01:16:22] Matt Bailey: Right.
[01:16:23] Sue Grabowski: …I’m a relationship broker, and I have, I would also say, I mean, I’m definitely a strategist. I do the same thing you do as I go in and assess almost immediately what people need. So, there’s that part too, but I guess I think because it came natural to me and easy to me, that somehow it wasn’t as valued.
[01:16:41] Matt Bailey: Oh, I get that.
[01:16:42] Sue Grabowski: And…
[01:16:42] Matt Bailey: I completely understand that.
[01:16:44] Sue Grabowski: …and now I, I do.
[01:16:45] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:16:45] Sue Grabowski: I recognize the value of it, and, and I now have a team and a business partner who were like, “No, she needs to be powered and untethered.”
[01:16:53] Matt Bailey: Yes.
[01:16:53] Sue Grabowski: “Untethered to go do those things, and we back here need to be able to take care of anything she brings to us.”
[01:17:00] Matt Bailey: That’s it. Yeah.
[01:17:00] Sue Grabowski: So, that’s a good balance.
[01:17:02] Matt Bailey: Well, and I think salespeople in general tend to be devalued because of that.
[01:17:05] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:17:05] Matt Bailey: That, “They’re never here. They’re never doing the hard work.”
[01:17:08] Sue Grabowski: “They’re out golfing.”
[01:17:09] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:17:10] Sue Grabowski: I got news for you. Business is done on the golf course. I can say that.
[01:17:15] Matt Bailey: Oh, it’s…
[01:17:15] Sue Grabowski: It’s…
[01:17:16] Matt Bailey: Business is done 24/7 if you’re in sales.
[01:17:19] Sue Grabowski: She’s, yes, I am.
[01:17:20] Matt Bailey: Yes. Making sales.
[01:17:21] Sue Grabowski: Probably selling something.
[01:17:22] Matt Bailey: Yeah. And so, so there’s a couple things I want to, we’re, we’re, I don’t even know where we are in time.
[01:17:27] Sue Grabowski: I don’t either. This is a really good conversation though.
[01:17:29] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:17:29] Sue Grabowski: Really, I, I, myself, I mean, there are moments here that we’ve talked and like, light bulb, light bulb, and that’s, that’s another, I think aspect of the entrepreneur is we like to learn. We, we are changing people. I don’t know many entrepreneurs that are completely set in their ways.
[01:17:47] Matt Bailey: No, yeah.
[01:17:48] Sue Grabowski: Everyone that I’ve met in EO, and I’m talking global now, are these morphing, changing people who adapt.
[01:17:55] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:17:56] Sue Grabowski: Very adaptable and we like the new, we’re always pursuing the new. So, I, I’m learning through this conversation.
[01:18:04] Matt Bailey: I went back to school and got my master’s degree.
[01:18:07] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:18:08] Matt Bailey: And, and, you know, thank goodness I didn’t.
[01:18:10] Sue Grabowski: Which when, I went, “What?”
[01:18:11] Matt Bailey: I know.
[01:18:12] Sue Grabowski: But now, now it makes a lot of sense.
[01:18:13] Matt Bailey: I know, which was funny because, dear listener, I didn’t finish my degree. I, I didn’t finish my degree, and for years I never went back and finished, and when I did finally get it, I went and got a master’s degree.
[01:18:27] Sue Grabowski: ‘Cause I kind of, when you told me that I was like, “What?” Because, and, but now it makes complete sense to what you’re doing and it’s…
[01:18:35] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:18:35] Sue Grabowski: …really adding value to what you’re doing. But at the time I was like, “You’re doing what?” But I do, that, that love for learning, I mean…
[01:18:43] Matt Bailey: Well, and it was a complete shift or pivot as you like to use, I went from agency, from, from service agency to training agency.
[01:18:53] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:18:53] Matt Bailey: And I needed that structure, to learn the structure of training and to learn how do you create good training?
[01:19:02] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:19:03] Matt Bailey: And how do you measure learning? That was an absolute essential. I had to have that, and, and it’s transformed how I teach. It’s transformed everything. It’s been such a wonderful thing. And so, it’s another thing, I think, as an entrepreneur is wait for the pivot. It’ll happen.
[01:19:19] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:19:19] Matt Bailey: You, you’ve done it.
[01:19:20] Sue Grabowski: Yeah, I have. And, but I, I do think that that’s one common trait.
[01:19:25] Matt Bailey: Yes.
[01:19:26] Sue Grabowski: If you don’t, if you think you’re going to go into something and you’re going to do something and it’s going to be consistent and it’s not going to change, don’t start a business. Because we’re doing things, whatever year, there was something new that came along, and I went,” Oh, now we’re doing that. Oh, we’re doing this now?”
[01:19:43] Matt Bailey: Well, it depends on your clients.
[01:19:44] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:19:44] Matt Bailey: If you have clients, they’re going to drive your focus.
[01:19:48] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:19:49] Matt Bailey: Yeah, uh, continually. Now, the only thing I, I haven’t, we haven’t kind of covered, we’ve covered more agency and, which I think covers a good deal, but you know, one of the things, especially ’cause of COVID, which is increasing, is the service economy.
[01:20:00] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:20:06] Matt Bailey: That’s where a lot of people are starting businesses, delivery, delivery-based businesses, service-based businesses of, you know, I ran into someone, they’re making meals and delivering them.
[01:20:18] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:20:18] Matt Bailey: Wow. You know? Okay. And, and, and so immediately my brain’s like, “How’s that going to scale?”
[01:20:23] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:20:23] Matt Bailey: “How are you going to scale that? What’s, what’s your plan? What are you going to…” you know, and, and you, I hate to put people on the spot because yes, I want to be excited for you. You’re doing great. How are you going to ex-, and, and again, same thing though. How are you going to extract yourself from being the engine to being the…
[01:20:43] Sue Grabowski: Right.
[01:20:43] Matt Bailey: I, I realize this. This is what, I, I’ve been promoted out of every job I enjoy. And there’s a difference between loving the job you do and managing the job you do. I absolutely loved, when I was in the army, I was a medic. And then I got promoted. And I got promoted into a Sergeant role, which means now I had to supervise medics. And let me tell you, there are a bunch of undisciplined, unfocused people.
[01:21:16] Sue Grabowski: They were you.
[01:21:16] Matt Bailey: It was me.
[01:21:18] Sue Grabowski: I don’t want to manage me.
[01:21:19] Matt Bailey: I, I, exactly. That’s what it was, and that was my first experience is, I loved being a medic. I loved the freedom. I loved learning…
[01:21:26] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:21:26] Matt Bailey: …and going and seeing, and now I got to manage me? No. And now, and then it happened again. I went to another company, loving what I’m doing, “Okay. Now we want you to manage this group of-“. I don’t want to manage me. I, I, I think that, that was just this realization is, there’s, I love what I do, but I don’t want to manage people who do what I love.
[01:21:48] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:21:48] Matt Bailey: It’s, big difference, and so, when you start this business, yeah, it’s exciting. You’re making money. Things are happening. Sooner or later, if you want it to grow…
[01:21:57] Sue Grabowski: Yes.
[01:21:58] Matt Bailey: …you’re going to have to manage what you love instead of do it.
[01:22:02] Sue Grabowski: That’s a really, really big shift. That’s an excellent consideration. And if entrepreneurs can, again, look far, look far enough ahead to the time where they would be managing what they love. It is, it’s a whole different deal. I, I don’t mind the management as much, we’ve had this discussion.
[01:22:25] Matt Bailey: Oh, yeah. Yeah.
[01:22:26] Sue Grabowski: But, but there always is, even to this day, so again, 25 years in, I will see something done from one of my team members and go, “I would never have done it that way. Why did you do it that way?” To this day. And there’s times I have to just let it go and go, “It’s GE, it’s good enough. It’s good enough. Let that roll.” But it is, it is a different mindset, and it does not give you the same enthusiasm, the same energy that you have when you’re the one executing all the time. I, that, that is something nobody talks to entrepreneurs about.
[01:23:06] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:23:07] Sue Grabowski: And I, I think that that’s a, a really, you should get that trademark, the distinction of doing the thing you love versus managing the thing you love.
[01:23:14] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:23:14] Sue Grabowski: And that is a shift and something that I think that’s maybe, maybe that’s why. Maybe that’s the three-year mark.
[01:23:23] Matt Bailey: Oh, yeah. I, I can see that. Yeah, if you can’t shift into that…
[01:23:26] Sue Grabowski: When you, when you first bring a couple employees on those early employee days where you’re handing off something that you would normally have been doing to someone else, and you have to manage what you love instead of do what you love…
[01:23:42] Matt Bailey: And they’re not going to do it the same…
[01:23:43] Sue Grabowski: …and they don’t do it the same, and you get hung up on that, that could be a, a very big reason why…
[01:23:50] Matt Bailey: Yes. Yeah.
[01:23:50] Sue Grabowski: …’cause I would say it was around then, well, I didn’t start hiring until six years in, but most businesses I would think would start sooner than I did. So, that’s fascinating.
[01:24:03] Matt Bailey: Yeah. That was a, that was a early observation of, you know, I, I, I hate being successful ’cause I don’t want to manage.
[01:24:13] Sue Grabowski: Right?
[01:24:14] Matt Bailey: I want to goof around and be the irresponsible one.
[01:24:18] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:24:18] Matt Bailey: I don’t want to be the manager. Yeah.
[01:24:20] Sue Grabowski: I also think that there’s a, there’s a perspective there, too, as you move into a management role, again, you’ve got more eyes on you, on what you’re doing and what your time is spent, and what those eyes never see is the sleepless nights that you have wondering about payroll. They don’t see, they don’t see a lot of, they just see what you want them to see because you’re managing, and you’re trying to create culture, and you’re trying to create a good work environment, and you don’t want to put your burdens on them. That’s, if they, if they want those burdens, they could go try this themselves, right?
[01:24:50] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Right.
[01:24:51] Sue Grabowski: But what they don’t, they don’t see, you got more scrutiny now as a manager than what you had just, just you or just, you know, or outsourcing to somebody that’s not in your employ.
[01:25:02] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:25:03] Sue Grabowski: But that’s, I, I’m going to be mewling on that for the difference between loving what you do and managing what you do.
[01:25:09] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:25:09] Sue Grabowski: That’s, that’s a really good distinction.
[01:25:10] Matt Bailey: Well, it, it’s, so, we’ll, we’ll finish with this. This is, I absolutely hate the term, and I want to bounce it off to you ’cause it makes my skin crawl. Side hustle or the hustle culture. It makes my skin crawl. I hate it.
[01:25:25] Sue Grabowski: Side, side hustle.
[01:25:26] Matt Bailey: Like everyone’s saying you got to have a side hustle, and, and, and it’s the hustle culture, and, and I, I reacted to this on LinkedIn, and it’s actually caused some, I, I cannot stand this emphasis on side hustle and, no, put it this, I can’t stand the phrase because it’s, especially with the digital economy. There’s so many ways you can make money. You are no longer limited to a single income stream. Even as an employee, you’ve got skills, you’ve got hobbies, you’ve got talents that you can develop and create an additional income stream. I think calling it a side hustle cheapens that.
[01:26:08] Sue Grabowski: That’s what I was, my first thought was it’s a cheap term.
[01:26:11] Matt Bailey: Yes.
[01:26:12] Sue Grabowski: So, I didn’t articulate that…
[01:26:14] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:26:14] Sue Grabowski: …but that’s, yeah.
[01:26:15] Matt Bailey: It cheapens…
[01:26:16] Sue Grabowski: It…
[01:26:17] Matt Bailey: …what you do.
[01:26:17] Sue Grabowski: …yeah.
[01:26:19] Matt Bailey: Because no, this is just the, the reality of a new digital-based economy.
[01:26:23] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:26:23] Matt Bailey: For example, I, my daughter’s a photographer. She logged in the other day and realized, “Oh, I made money on stock photo sites by uploading some photos a year ago. I’m like, “So, you’re not continuing to upload photos?”
[01:26:38] Sue Grabowski: Right.
[01:26:38] Matt Bailey: “Do you realize if you maintained a library, a catalog, that couple hundred could turn into a couple thousand?”
[01:26:45] Sue Grabowski: Could turn into, yeah.
[01:26:46] Matt Bailey: I’m like, “And why are you on one site?” You know, and it’s, it’s, and I hate dealing with these creative types.
[01:26:52] Sue Grabowski: I’m not feel…
[01:26:53] Matt Bailey: They never think about money.
[01:26:54] Sue Grabowski: I’m not feeling it. Yeah. No, yeah.
[01:26:55] Matt Bailey: Yeah. So, no, but then again, so, and, and so it took me sitting with her. “Okay, as a photographer, we’ve got stock photo sites. Also, when you’re selling your photos, you know, you can create,” and, and we signed up. There’s, I can upload my photos, so if you do a wedding, you can upload all the photos and you can have this business site where people can, “I want that size. I want it in that frame.”
[01:27:22] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:27:22] Matt Bailey: “I want it,” now you are not doing the selling. People are logging in, they’re selling themselves…
[01:27:28] Sue Grabowski: Right.
[01:27:29] Matt Bailey: …on what they want, and, and it handles and…
[01:27:30] Sue Grabowski: Recurring hands-off revenue.
[01:27:32] Matt Bailey: That’s it. And then, you know, we’re looking, what are other ways, what are other channels that you can apply this to? And so, if you’ve got a talent or, another example, I’ve got an employee here. I’ve got her working on a very specific software package for training and education. She’s good. I mean, and part of it is she has a design of programming background.
[01:27:58] Sue Grabowski: Oh.
[01:27:58] Matt Bailey: Perfect.
[01:27:59] Sue Grabowski: There you go.
[01:27:59] Matt Bailey: Perfect. And so, as she’s going through this, I told her, “You get a few of these projects under your belt, we’re going to put you on Fiverr and sell your services on Fiverr.”
[01:28:08] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:28:09] Matt Bailey: And, you know, and immediately the look of fear.
[01:28:12] Sue Grabowski: Yes.
[01:28:12] Matt Bailey: I’m like, “Oh no, no, no, because you need to develop more income than just what you’re making from me. Something that you can do, if, if you leave, you go somewhere, you move, yeah, you can do work for me, but guess what? You do work for someone else too.”
[01:28:27] Sue Grabowski: There is opportunity like I’ve never seen before…
[01:28:30] Matt Bailey: Oh, yeah.
[01:28:31] Sue Grabowski: …to do things that I, I couldn’t have imagined. So, I understand the search for starting a new business, right? But there are so many, uh, so many opportunities out there right now, and I think that we, as entrepreneurs, we, we can’t help but see them for other people.
[01:28:51] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Right?
[01:28:51] Sue Grabowski: We can’t help, we can’t help but go, “You know what you could do?” And I get, I get accused of being bossy or that I’m, I’m, I had, I had one person I’ve, that came to me and said that they’re thinking about changing careers and I’m like, “You could do this, you could do this.” And they were all, they were all business startups. Right? I can’t help but think that because I would say, “No, don’t go work for somebody. Take what I know you can do and do this.”
And he said to me, “I’m not you. I don’t want what you want. I want steady and I want predictable.” And I’m like, “The only way you get steady and predictable is if you’re managing yourself.” To your point of you’re at the mercy of some other company, right? But I, I, I will say that I think COVID has brought about the opportunity…
[01:29:40] Matt Bailey: Oh…
[01:29:41] Sue Grabowski: …for entrepreneurs. And I agree with you. Don’t devalue making a couple hundred bucks on something you do well. Think about how you turn that hundred bucks into thousands. And there are ways.
[01:29:54] Matt Bailey: Oh.
[01:29:54] Sue Grabowski: There are so many ways to do that. And I, I really think it’s right for anybody at any age. I mean, when people are getting paid to commentate on things on YouTube, you know…
[01:30:00] Matt Bailey: And then commentate on the commentators on YouTube.
[01:30:10] Sue Grabowski: Yes. It’s…
[01:30:11] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Yeah, it’s, so I went to Fiverr, and I bought a music riff that was custom, I’m like, “Here’s what I need. Here’s kind of what I’m looking for.” So, musicians on, anyone…
[01:30:25] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:30:25] Matt Bailey: …just go look at Fiverr and look at what people are selling, the services. I, I love, love these gig…
[01:30:31] Sue Grabowski: Yes.
[01:30:32] Matt Bailey: …these gig sites. And I, I’ve had to learn, like you Sue, I will no longer say to anyone, “What you should do….”
[01:30:39] Sue Grabowski: Nope.
[01:30:39] Matt Bailey: I will no, no.
[01:30:41] Sue Grabowski: I, I’ve got…
[01:30:42] Matt Bailey: My other daughter gives me the eye.
[01:30:43] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:30:43] Matt Bailey: I’ve just…
[01:30:45] Sue Grabowski: I’ve gotten, I’ve gotten a, again, in Entrepreneur Organization language we always talk about “in my experience.” We experience share, we don’t tell people what to do. So, we say, you know, “In my experience,” or, “In the past, I did this.” And I didn’t think about that and to present ideas in ways that are not me just being, my exuberance overtakes.
[01:31:07] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:31:07] Sue Grabowski: ‘Cause I get really excited for people and it’s really like, “I don’t give a rip whether or not you actually take my advice. I don’t. I’m just excited for you at the possibility.” And I think that that’s what entrepreneurs do. We get excited at opportunities, and there’s a big difference between opportunity and possibility.
[01:31:25] Matt Bailey: Yes. Yes.
[01:31:26] Sue Grabowski: There’s lots of possibilities.
[01:31:28] Matt Bailey: Well…
[01:31:28] Sue Grabowski: There’s very few opportunities.
[01:31:29] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:31:29] Sue Grabowski: Again, that’s, that is a, that, that is Rob. Again, my balance here as Rob has always, I’ll be like coming back to him going, “Hey, I talked to this person today!”
[01:31:39] Matt Bailey: Idea man.
[01:31:41] Sue Grabowski: And he goes, “That’s a possibility,” right?
[01:31:44] Matt Bailey: My wife calls me “idea man.”
[01:31:45] Sue Grabowski: Might not be a, might not be an opportunity.
[01:31:48] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:31:48] Sue Grabowski: And, and that’s another thing that entrepreneurs need to determine is, what, is the path I’m going down a possibility, or is it a true opportunity? And I think there are, today, lots of possibilities.
[01:31:59] Matt Bailey: Yes.
[01:31:59] Sue Grabowski: They could become opportunities, but you’ve got to make them yours.
[01:32:03] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:32:03] Sue Grabowski: And side hustle, you’re right, completely cheapens true opportunities.
[01:32:07] Matt Bailey: Oh, well, and, and early in my agency, whenever I would hire someone, the onboarding process was, “Okay, go create a WordPress site. Here’s my server. I want you to do everything. You can come ask for advice, but you need to read the instructions. You need to know how to install it. You need to know how to put a theme on it and, and develop it and create a blog.” You know, the looks I would get were just… no.
[01:32:33] Sue Grabowski: You didn’t hire me for that.
[01:32:34] Matt Bailey: Yeah, exactly. No, you’re a copywriter. Yeah, you need to know how to do this.
[01:32:37] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:32:38] Matt Bailey: So, create it. And, and it was, I want you to build something that you’re passionate about. What do you like? What do you, what are you passionate about? What could you write about and give your opinion about for the next couple of years? That was the challenge.
They would do that. Then after a couple months and, and started getting it started, it was like, “Okay, now, phase two. I want you to make money with it. How do you going to make money with this?” And that I thought was, it was a challenge, but what was amazing is how many different ways people found.
[01:33:14] Sue Grabowski: Yes.
[01:33:15] Matt Bailey: Some found YouTube. YouTube commissions, and they went that route. Others put ads on their site because they were driving page views, and ads were a great way to do that. Some, I’m trying to think. There was a couple, I’m trying to think that just the different ways. eBooks…
[01:33:32] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:33:32] Matt Bailey: …for one. Even taking old blog posts, turning them in books, selling them out there. Here’s the thing. We got, we landed one of our biggest, most long-term clients off of one of those projects.
[01:33:44] Sue Grabowski: There you go.
[01:33:46] Matt Bailey: That, that was financially worth everything.
[01:33:50] Sue Grabowski: But what it does to them internally, how it, how it bolsters true teamwork, and you want culture? Build it off that.
[01:33:59] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:33:59] Sue Grabowski: You want, you want comradery? Build it off a project like that.
[01:34:03] Matt Bailey: Everyone’s learning from each other.
[01:34:04] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:34:05] Matt Bailey: We had more innovation because the analyst is doing analyst things to try and figure things out. He figures it out, shares it with everyone else, they implement it. “Oh, wow. Yeah.” Copywriters, SEO, they’re figuring things out. They’re sharing it with everybody else. Oh, YouTube. They’re, they’re, they’re figuring out some algorithms on YouTube, and how things are working and, “Here’s how we’re,” and so, everyone is increasing their skills.
[01:34:31] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:34:33] Matt Bailey: So, it increased our innovation. It increased our clients. And also, the policy that I had was you can work on this. You can use our software. You can use our tracking, do all that. And when you leave, you can take it with you, because it’s yours. It’s not mine. It’s not the company’s. You have taught yourself how to do this.
And I’m amazed at how many of them still have their sites. They’re making money, the best stories, I had an intern who had a site, put ads on it, started making close to $10,000 a month. And then he retired at 23.
[01:35:15] Sue Grabowski: That works.
[01:35:16] Matt Bailey: From, I think, from an entrepreneur, and I’ve shared this story with other people. To some people, it scares them, as an, as the business owner that I felt that empowering my employees, teaching them how to be an entrepreneur, how to make money, how to build skills, I felt that was the way to go. And I was ultimately very rewarded by that. But to others, there is this mentality that I can’t teach them everything. I don’t want them to know everything, or I don’t want to empower them to, they’ll leave. They’ll go somewhere else.
[01:35:56] Sue Grabowski: Yeah. Fear.
[01:35:58] Matt Bailey: I never lost one employee to a competitor. Never. Because I was focused on their development, their benefit, and they knew that.
[01:36:09] Sue Grabowski: Yeah. So, we did something similar where Rob actually invented a product and then went to our team and said, “You’re taking this product to market. That includes getting it trademarked, listed on Amazon, all the way through.” And the same kind of thing where you’re, they’re learning all the techniques of all the things that they need to, and all the pitfalls, right? And in the end, people would look at that and go, “You’re, you’re, you’re giving them the keys to the kingdom.” Yeah, we are.
[01:36:40] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:36:40] Sue Grabowski: ‘Cause we, we, we are in the same boat as you and, and I completely agree with that mentality, but it is very unusual. I don’t, I think it’s pretty rare, and fear. Fear will keep you from growing your business.
[01:36:54] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:36:55] Sue Grabowski: You know, you, it’s weird. You take the risk and you start the business and then you stop yourself in fear after you’ve grown it to a certain size.
[01:37:03] Matt Bailey: Right.
[01:37:03] Sue Grabowski: Like you’re gonna, like you’re gonna protect it at that size or something like that.
[01:37:07] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Yeah.
[01:37:07] Sue Grabowski: But I love that you did that with your people and that, and it builds, it builds loyalty. It builds trust. And again, I hate the word culture anymore. You don’t, you don’t invent one. It becomes its own.
[01:37:20] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:37:20] Sue Grabowski: But you, if you want culture, you know, you want to create a unique culture, give your people the ability to innovate and execute with you and become mini entrepreneurs, and watch what that does to trust, communication, all the things that…
[01:37:37] Matt Bailey: Why would you ever leave?
[01:37:38] Sue Grabowski: …that people want prescribed…
[01:37:39] Matt Bailey: Yeah.
[01:37:40] Sue Grabowski: …for their organization rather than experienced by their organization.
[01:37:43] Matt Bailey: You try and lock employees down and they will leave.
[01:37:45] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:37:46] Matt Bailey: You try and extract resources from them without investing, and they will leave.
[01:37:53] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:37:54] Matt Bailey: You treat them like people, and you grow them like you’re growing your business, they’ll follow you anywhere.
[01:38:02] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:38:02] Matt Bailey: That’s, it, it, it enables, it empowers, and when people feel, and, and that’s value. That’s value. You’re treating people with value, and that’s what will keep them there. If you’re scared of losing them, you’ll lose them.
[01:38:17] Sue Grabowski: Yeah. I agree.
[01:38:18] Matt Bailey: That, that mentality will, that will create culture.
[01:38:23] Sue Grabowski: Yeah.
[01:38:23] Matt Bailey: And, and yeah, the culture is a direct reflection of how you treat people. Absolutely. What a great way to end.
[01:38:30] Sue Grabowski: This was really good.
[01:38:31] Matt Bailey: It is. I, I just looked at the clock and this, I think we may have clocked our longest podcast.
[01:38:36] Sue Grabowski: Oh well. Well, it felt, it felt short, so.
[01:38:39] Matt Bailey: Oh, yeah.
[01:38:39] Sue Grabowski: Thanks Matt.
[01:38:40] Matt Bailey: Hey, thank you, Sue. I appreciate you making the time today.
[01:38:43] Sue Grabowski: I am happy to be here, and we’ll have to think about the next topic to address.
[01:38:47] Matt Bailey: Absolutely. I think, I think I’ve got a few in my notes here that we’ll have to come back around.
[01:38:52] Sue Grabowski: Sounds good.
[01:38:52] Matt Bailey: Alright. Hey listener, thank you for checking in with us here at the Endless Coffee Cup. Always a pleasure, and I look forward to speaking to you. Hey dear listener, thank you so much for checking in with us at the Endless Coffee Cup podcast. I look forward to seeing you on the next episode and keep learning, and I hope you’ve refilled your coffee cup a couple of times for this episode, ’cause I think it’s a long one. Thanks again. We’ll see you soon.
Sue Grabowski, CEO & Founder, Desidara
LinkedIn: Sue Grabowski | LinkedIn
Twitter: Sue Grabowski | Twitter
Past episodes featuring Sue:
B2B Virtual Sales Skills Are Lacking
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