Momentum Podcast: 216
Process Will Set You Free
by Alex Charfen
Every entrepreneur, including me, has had the thought, “do I even want to keep doing this?” In fact, it happens to me all the time, but it goes away a lot faster than it used to. It happens to all of us. In fact, we can go through a prolonged period where we don't have the right things happening in our business, where there's not the right processes, and when we don't have the right systems, when we don't have a foundational communication or planning system, where it's hard to see how to move forward.
Every entrepreneur, including me, has had the thought “do I even want to keep doing this?” Listen to my interview with two of my clients Brad Gibb & Ryan Lee, to see how the processes they have put in place have set them free and changed their mentality towards their business.
Full Audio Transcript
I'm Alex Charfen, and this is the Momentum Podcast. Made for empire builders, game changers, trail blazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off, and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop, and we don't know how.
While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority. The few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future, and instead of just day dreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution and we always will be.
Process will set you free. Every entrepreneur, including me, has had the thought, "do I even want to keep doing this?" In fact, it happens to me all the time, but it goes away a lot faster than it used to. It happens to all of us. In fact, we can go through a prolonged period where we don't have the right things happening in our business, where there's not the right processes, and when we don't have the right systems, when we don't have a foundational communication or planning system, where it's hard to see how to move forward.
Two of my clients, Brad Gibb and Ryan Lee with Atlas Wealth Solution, who are incredible entrepreneurs, who I knew when we started working together had this massive impact they could make on people by helping them understand their finances at an entirely different level. As you'll hear in the podcast, they have added process and created incredible outcomes coming from a place of wondering if they should keep doing it at all. I want you to listen to the practical application of the discussion or the topics that I've discussed in this podcast, and the things that you've heard me talk about. Because what you're going to hear is two entrepreneurs who are in momentum killing it and having a lot of fun, and who just a few months ago were wondering if they even wanted to continue being entrepreneurs in this business at all.
Brad, Ryan, it's awesome to connect with you guys. I'm excited to have a quick conversation really primarily because I want the two of you to share the contrast where you were just a few months ago and where you are now. I think that everyone listening is going to get a ton of tactical application of like, these are the things that really move the company forward. You guys have had a pretty incredible few months, huh?
Brad: Yeah, absolutely, man. It's been an amazing roller coaster ride that just gets faster and more focused as we go.
Ryan: And when we met you, Alex, at the first of the year it felt like a therapy session where you were going through and diagnosing all of our deepest secrets and fears and worries and so we ... I hope people can take away things from this because really our biggest take away from this is that it's possible, and what seemed totally and completely impossible, and we had tried it so many times that we were completely convinced it would never happen, has already happened.
So we'll just jump right to that. It's May and we've already out done our total revenue from the prior year.
Brad: And not only have we already out done the total revenue from the last year, we've done it in a way that has reduced pressure and noise. I mean last year we grinded like crazy to get the revenue that we had. This year in four months we've still grinded, but we're grinding back on moving forward again, being in momentum, and it's because you've helped us get clear on how to build a team.
Alex Charfen: So Ryan here's something that I wanna make sure everyone who's listening understands, because I think entrepreneurs get to this place where they're like "man, all of this is gonna take so long, and it's so hard" and it's hard to see forward motion. We started working together about four months ago, right? Four, five months ago?
Ryan: Yeah, in January.
Alex Charfen: And in January your company consisted of just the two of you.
Ryan: That was it.
Alex Charfen: And how big is the team now?
Brad: Seven people now.
Alex Charfen: Brad what is that like having seven people? Like how much more do you guys getting done now?
Brad: That's why we were able to increase revenue. We were out of the ability to increase revenue because we had no more capacity, because Ryan or I had to do it and we were avoiding clients because we didn't ... we couldn't give them any of our time.
Ryan: So Alex we were just having this conversation this morning. We love, absolutely love, what we do, but at the end of last year we were burnt out.
Alex Charfen: I remember when I talked to you guys it was ... it kind of felt like you were on the edge of like "should we do this anymore?"
Alex Charfen: So you both really were there?
Brad: We had had those conversations already. Yeah.
Alex Charfen: So Ryan here's something that I want everyone who's listening to hear is that it's only been four months. Like it's a little bit more than a quarter and you went from "I don't know if I should do this anymore" to like ... what is the mentality now for the two of you?
Ryan: Now we're back. We're back on purpose and we're back on fire again because we've now created space for us to do what we love. The reason we were so burnt out is we hired employees without any intention whatsoever and as soon as we put them on payroll we thought that the problem would go away. And that mentality and that framework compounded the problem. And that was part of our issue last year is we treated it ... we did not know how to target the right people, we did not know how to set clear expectations, we weren't ever in alignment, and it turned into a big chaotic mess.
Brad: Well and we also didn't know how to be a CEO. We were implementers and we were very, very good implementers, which is why we were a seven figure business with just two implementers. But we didn't know what it meant to actually be a CEO and run a company. And I sort of felt disingenuous when I say I'm an entrepreneur because it was just me, you know?
And Ryan and I weren't even on the same page. It was Ryan was doing his thing and I was doing mine and we called our ... put ourselves under the same name. But in the last four months we've hired two very key people directly on our team, and then contracted with four others. Or I guess ... what's my math. Three others so that gives us our team of seven.
And we've taken out of our head everything that had the way Ryan was doing it, and the way I was doing it, and it's a very easy to understand, clear process and now we can hire somebody to say "that's the process I want you to own..." Or well less that and more the outcome, right? "Here's the outcome that needs to be done, here's the tools that you have to do it," and we can move just incredibly fast now.
Alex Charfen: So one of the things that I share with entrepreneurs is this statement that "process will set you free." And here, let me just set this up because here's what I hear from people so often. Like "ugh, I don't wanna be in meetings. I don't wanna have a schedule. I don't want stuff on my calendar. I just want the business to grow, but I don't wanna have to do all the stuff." And what we coach is if you put the right process in place, you spend a fraction of the time running your company that you are running when there's not a process in place. Are you guys finding that to be true?
Ryan: One hundred percent, man. I mean when you say the word meeting I think any entrepreneur kinda throws up a little bit in the back of their mouth because [inaudible 00:07:51] that, right? But now that we have targeted interactions there's a very clear purpose, there's a very clearly choreographed time and purpose for the meeting, and we get in and get out and get back to production, get back to making a difference. And not only us, but our teams. They like it, they know what they're being measured on, they know what's expected. They get in, they get out, we go to work.
Alex Charfen: One of the things I tell entrepreneurs is that when you work within a process, time with your team will feel like momentum. Because for a lot of entrepreneurs, time with your team feels like you got in trouble, or it feels like you're in detention. Have you noticed that contrast?
Ryan: Man one hundred percent. The team that we had last year, [inaudible 00:08:37] was over some just big chaotic collision because we hadn't paid attention, they hadn't paid attention, we were expecting a result, we weren't on the same page. So every time we met it was exactly that.
But now when we meet you're right, man. We have energy because we know what we've done, we're excited to report on it, we're excited then to hit the next milestone.
Alex Charfen: Brad was that weird for you to go from ... because I remember when we talked before you guys had even mentioned you dreaded meetings with your team. I think you even used the word dreaded meetings with your team. And how weird is it to go from dreading meetings with your team to looking forward to it and being excited afterwards?
Brad: Well again, it makes us like what we do again because something gets done and it's not ... because we've done the work now that where that person can be effective. Now it's about ... because at the ... we're all bottom line, right? Entrepreneurs, we're all bottom line. The meetings didn't used to be bottom line, they used to be mucking through all of this garbage, and not clear, and peoples' feelings, and the stuff that scares us all to now it's just "is the process working or not? How can we support you? How can I help you get what you want?" And we're back to what we like as entrepreneurs with just solving the problem and moving it forward.
So we spent ... I find myself just leaving my team messages saying "thank you guys. This got done and this is awesome and we appreciate you." So it's more than just avoiding it, now it's like yeah, pendulum's swinging the other way.
Brad it feels like you're getting kinda a little emotional.
Brad: Yeah, just a tiny bit.
Alex Charfen: But you are, right? And I wanna draw that out because here's what I'm reading and feeling from you is that when you have a team that shows up in a way that it makes you feel like you can do more, when you have a team that you really feel that support both personally and in the business, it is emotional, isn't it?
Brad: And so much for me anyway was relief. When you ... one of the big mind shifts in becoming a CEO was not accepting the crap that I was used to accepting. Giving myself permission to say, "I need help and support to take this away." And when we brought our key person on, the first 15 minutes of the interview as to whether this is gonna be a good fit is we were very clear "you're here to support me and Ryan. You're here to get us through that and to protect us in a way and that's what we're gonna hold you to. That's what we need done." And to say that used to feel like weak before, but now it's empowering that I can go to that person and say, "hey you're not doing that." Or I can give them things and say, "this would help me feel more protected, this would help lower pressure noise that's why I need you to do it." And it gives us a connection that I do like. Yeah, for sure.
Alex Charfen: So here's what ... gosh you guys, I can't tell you how much I appreciate it because the way you're communicating this, I think the entrepreneurs listening are going to hear possibility, and they're going to hear the potential for really being able to get help. Because when I hear you say it used to feel weak to say "I need help, I need support." Explain that contrast to me, Brad. So it used to feel weak, what does it feel like now?
Brad: Well it's empowering now. Now this thing that was in my brain that I ... because honestly most of it I just avoided, I didn't wanna deal with it. And so there was just this compounding noise in my head of "I know I need to be doing that but there are other things that are more important I'm just gonna suppress it down inside." Now I can take it out and give it to somebody and know that it's going to get done and I have the ability to think again, and to process and own, again, all these things owning space in my brain because they weren't being dealt with. Because I was never going to deal with it, but now I have somebody there that will and that I have a process that I can trust and an accountability and a clear outcome on it.
Alex Charfen: Yeah. Ryan how much easier is it for the two of you to communicate with the team within the system of our cadence than it was before?
Ryan: Man it's night and day. We didn't know what to say other than "man, it's burning." And when Brad talks about this compounded pressure inside of us, that's where we were at the end of last year. We did not want to go through what we went through again in 2017 because we haphazardly approached our business and our interactions with our employees and so the end result of that was we just let everyone go and we're faced with a decision do we contract, right? Do we reduce the size of our impact that we're going to make in the world and be okay with that? But any impact driven entrepreneur knows that that's not okay, right? That is the absolute last place that we wanted to be and that's why we came to you.
And now because we're clear on what we're trying to ... what we're hiring people for and we have a clear system to plug them into, we ... man in our practice we talk about people collapsing time in their financial game plan, 40 years of results in 10 years or less, that's what you did for us, man. We achieved at least 12 months in four months or less just by using and plugging into your system. Alex Charfen: That's fantastic. That's so awesome. For the people who are listening, because like I'm gonna play devil's advocate for a second. For the entrepreneur who's listening going "oh come on guys, can it really be that easy?" So give them some tactics. What are some actual things that you took out of our program and you put in place, and what was the difference that it caused?
Brad: Before we jump into one of those I will say this, if you asked me two months ago, I still would've been like "I have no idea where this is gonna go." Like I was in the middle of the tunnel where I lost the light behind me and I didn't have it in front of me before, and I looked at everybody else in the group getting these massive results and was like "what? How come I'm not getting that?" It'll feel like everybody's implementing way faster when you get in.
But we've really only implemented two or three things but you helped us identify the two or three most important things and I've taken three drinks of a water bottle so...
Alex Charfen: You're making me thirsty.
Brad: But it doesn't take ... the thing I wanna tell you, you don't have to be perfect at the entire system from day one to get the result. You just need to find the couple pieces that are meaningful, implement those, and then find the next ones. So as we go through these tactics, it's not ... yes you can get the results and it didn't take shutting down my business for four months to write out steps and procedures and processes.
Ryan: So with that in mind-
Alex Charfen: Go ahead Ryan.
Ryan: ... what you did for us is we ... A, you helped us get very clear on who we needed to hire. The exactly personality type, the exact responsibility of what that person needed to be. That was insanely empowering for us. We just picked someone in our network that said they wanted to work with us and started throwing money at them. But now we were targeted, we intentionally weeded out ninety-seven percent of the distractions so we could focus on the three percent that would work.
Then once we had that person, we knew how to clearly plug them into a system of "hey, here's where we're going, we haven't done very good at the annual stuff but man, we've been amazing at the quarterly stuff" and then breaking it down to the 30 and the weekly. So now every single day we get on and do our targeted interactions, we report on a number that's meaningful to all of us, that all of our interactions contribute to, and we talk about what's working, what's not, and on a weekly basis we're clear on what needs to be done. I mean that was huge for us. Brad and I are now working together instead of independently side by side and the same for our team.
Alex Charfen: Yeah that's huge.
Alex Charfen: You wanna add something, Brad?
Brad: Yeah I was just gonna add the getting clear on ... we would say we need a personal assistant, and that wasn't good enough for Alex. He's like "what is that person going to do? Exactly what... no, that's what job descriptions say that executive assistants do. What is your executive assistant?" I mean we went back and forth on our Four R document for a week before we even ... but that allowed us to get the person who knew what our expectations were, and knew exactly what they were gonna be doing for us.
And then in the interview with them, it was ... I mean we could go through people a lot quicker. We feel like we got the right person, and that's proving fruit now. But we got clear and now the handoff ... the problem before, we hired an assistant we didn't give her anything to do. The first assistant we hired, we paid her for a month and she didn't do things for us because we didn't know how to get it out and off. But with the Four R document, with our huddle and with the cadence pieces, we could actually give that person something to do and then we had time to hire the next person.
So it wasn't that time was magically created out of thin air, but we were able to offload, create more time, offload, create more time, offload to where we are where we are now. And it just got faster, and faster, and faster to where it took probably six weeks to see really the first result of it, but then it was a month to see the next one, and Ryan and I were just sitting here before jumping on with you that in the last, really in the last week to 10 days, we feel like we had another entire month of evolution because it just builds momentum and it compounds.
Alex Charfen: That's huge. That's so awesome. So a couple of things just on that. So one is on the Four R document, I think you drew great contrast because most people write a job description, and what we write, and so everybody who's listening knows, it's role, responsibility, the results you expect, and the requirements for the position. And that four part document really spells things out. So when you guys went out and started interviewing, when the person came in, they were relatively plug and play, right? You don't end up with this place where it's like there's any lag.
That description that you just gave, Brad, of hiring someone and having them sit there for a month, I can't tell you how many entrepreneurs have told me that. It's like "I've got an assistant what do I do?" But when you go through the Four R process, there's no ambiguity at all, right?
Brad: And then we could build a [inaudible 00:18:50] it was really ... we dread building processes, but once I could ... I got bought into the outcome, the results that they were gonna get me, I wanted to build the system so that ... because now I wanted those results. Like I got bought in to her position as much as she's bought in to her position. And then it gave us motivation to say, "okay, to get that these are the things you need, this is what it has to be" and then building a process to get that, it pulled us into it rather than us resisting against it.
Alex Charfen: That's awesome. So another thing you brought up that I wanna just ask about, because we have a few minutes left, is the daily meetings. So we have everybody in our programs do a daily huddle and when I am in public and I speak to big rooms of entrepreneurs and I say "how many of you are meeting with your team daily?" honestly half the room rolls their eyes. They're like "ugh, it's gonna be one of these guys who wants me to talk to my team." Which is so funny because can you imagine an NFL coach saying, "I'm gonna coach the team this year by talking to them once a week." You know? It just would never work. Or a director for a movie, "hey guys, I'm gonna check in on Thursdays." And when you look at what we do as CEOs, we are every bit the coach of the team and the director for the movie. But what ends up happening is it's just we have too much involvement because we don't have a process.
What has the daily huddle done for you guys?
Brad: You can take that one.
Ryan: Man, I think more than anything it's allowed us to stay connected with our team, connected with the weekly results, and then it's just built momentum. I mean because we follow your cadence, it's already preset, we all know when we're meeting, we know what the expected outcome of the meeting is, we know what we're gonna be talking about, we know what we're celebrating, we know what ... how to report what we're struggling with. And putting that together in succession has resulted in a compounding effect within our business. And when we talk about accelerating results, it's the daily targeted interaction that is really the engine that drives that.
Alex Charfen: So Ryan here's an interesting question for you. Do you get excited going to that daily targeted interaction?
Ryan: Man I do. We put it right at the very beginning of our day because now the tone is set for the entire day. We know what we're all driving to, and we're excited to report on it again the next day. I mean yes, that's what the momentum generator and boost that we have to start the day.
Alex Charfen: So Brad I share with entrepreneurs if you're willing to commit to a daily huddle, you will get to the point where the daily huddle is one of most important things in your life. Are you guys there?
Brad: Well I had to miss one because I was at a family thing with my kids, and I felt myself wanting to be like "can we wait for like 15 minutes so I can do that." Obviously I didn't and I used better judgment, but I did. And this is gonna sound cheesy, but entrepreneurs, especially that are in a lot [inaudible 00:21:37] this where, we're alone, right? We feel like we're the ones that are broken, we don't have any connections, I can't go to a dinner party or a super bowl party or something and interact with anybody because I'm wanting to talk about entrepreneur things. But I feel grounded when all my team is there, it's like rallying the troops and I can see what everybody's gonna do, and it gets me excited going like "Ryan's gonna go crush it today, Eric's gonna go crush it, Jessica's gonna go crush it. We might be able to actually do this. All right."
I've got the energy for the day, where before I had to fight a battle with my team, and I had to fight a battle with Ryan, and then I had to go to the marketplace and fight a battle. But now I feel like it's us putting the armor on, getting the rally cry together, and now I really feel like we can go take over the world. And so that's what I like about the huddle.
Alex Charfen: Guys I can't ... I've had chills like five or six times while we've been talking because I remember our original conversation, and I want you to know something. We have very good content as a company, I know we do, because we get a lot of very good results with people. But it doesn't matter how good our content is unless we have entrepreneurs who one, believe in it, implement it, use it in an ethical way, and really care at a deep level, our stuff does nothing. So when I look at what you guys did, the way that you've implemented, the way that you've pushed the "I believe" button, the way that you've gone out and found the right people.
Here's the thing that I can't get out of my head. You've done as much up to May as you did last year. I wanna come back in three months and do this again so we can share with everyone where you're going because the growth has literally been explosive. Ryan: Well man and that's the exciting part for us, that's what puts us back in momentum because ... I mean last year we grinded. The first four months we built a team and now these next three months man, Brad and I, we have the pressure ... or not the pressure, the opportunity, the space, and the capacity to go back out and create again. And that hasn't existed in our business for at the very least 12 to 18 months. And that is the huge part about this.
Brad: And full disclosure, there's was dip in February because we like "okay, we gotta figure this out." But we ... you've been cleaning up your language, which is really great. But you cursed when we shared our March number with you-
Alex Charfen: Yeah I did.
Brad: ... because it was double anything we'd done ever before.
Brad: Triple what we ... yeah. Probably triple what we'd done before because January was a good month but then April we didn't quite hit March but we didn't fall back to any ... that raised ... now we feel like in our company if we don't hit our April level like that's our new normal.
Alex Charfen: Yeah, and-
Ryan: Yeah, it's insane. And I shared this with you before [inaudible 00:24:25], but so we've got some really good mentors around us and they've tried to get us to see to 10 million because of what we do and how passionate we are and we really feel like we're trying to change the industry in what we do. But I had never believed it. I honestly never believed it. I thought if I could get to three, because I could get to three through hustling. I can just figure out how to hustle harder, and get a couple of people to hustle with me, and we could do three.
But now not only we're on path to the three, but I can believe that we're at 10. Like we're already at 10, we just have to execute. It's not an if, it's ... we're there all we gotta do is execute and then figuring out how to go further from there. And that shift, again that gets me excited again about what we're doing because nobody likes to plateau, and part of my fear about going bigger was like "well I can't, so why? Why try?"
Alex Charfen: Gosh it's so awesome. All right guys, so here's what we're gonna do. Three months from now, let's come back and do this again, I wanna get an update from you within the next three to four months. I wanna get an update and here's what I want to start working towards with the two of you in our program is if you can see 10 from where you are, that means we're really close to you being able to see 100. And I know it's been a big step to 10, but if you can see eight, you can see 9, and guys we're building an infrastructure for the two of you with impact you have on entrepreneurs, where that's where it's going. And I just want you to know I see it, and I'm gonna make it my mission to show it to you.
Brad: I'm excited.
Ryan: Can I just make one plug for anyone listening to this?
Alex Charfen: For sure, Ryan.
Ryan: If you are an impact driven entrepreneur, Alex and what he shares will do more for your business than anything else and man, that has been amazing for us, Alex. So huge gratitude and appreciation to you, who you are, and the system and the team that you've built. I mean you're leading us on a path that you've already walked, and that's ... we love that about you, man, that you're leading us and that's been awesome for us.
Alex Charfen: Thank you Ryan, I really appreciate it, man. Brad, thank you brother. I can't wait to see you guys next week in Boise.
Brad: Yeah I'm excited to hang out.
Alex Charfen: All right, well guys thank you for this. This was absolutely amazing.
Brad: Awesome. We appreciate it. Thank you, Alex.
Alex Charfen: If you're ready to add foundational process in your business and the communication system that will help you grow quickly, we would love to hear from you. Go to billionairecode.com, answer the few questions, and we will give you a complete summary of the billionaire code, but more importantly, you will have an opportunity to book a call with a member of my team.
If you know you have a business where you could be doing more. If you know you have a business where if you had the right infrastructure, the right team around you, you could be providing more, making more, creating more, helping more people, making more profit, then reach out to us because if you've created the opportunity, we help entrepreneurs build the infrastructure that allows them to scale and grow to any level they want. Billionairecode.com.