Having to file for bankruptcy at the age of 29 was a defining moment in the life of Joshua Long. Today, as a consultant for business owners, Joshua believes that the key to getting a business break through the million-dollar plateau is finding an Operating Manager who loves to do things that you hate to do. Learn the process of the Six Levers of Growth and how it can propel your business with more successful and strategic operations management.

My guest is a business expert who looked at med school and opted for an MBA instead. He then went into the mortgage business and lost it all in the big crash. Interestingly, his next big move was to work with me at Business Breakthroughs International, where we became instant friends and colleagues. He is now a consultant who focuses on helping B2B companies breakthrough their current revenue plateaus and unlock rapid growth. He’s also the author of Bottleneck Breakthrough.

Break $1M Through Strategic Operations Management with Joshua Long

Josh Long, welcome to the show.

Thanks, Mitch. It’s fun being here.

I reflect back on the time we spent together and the crazy little trips we did out to Georgia to visit our producer, our fulfillment house. We had a lot of fun together and at the same time, I just really welcomed you so much into the company. I learned a lot from you working with you. I just admired the way that you were able to just pick things up and make them happen. This is really a long time coming having you here on the show. I’m really glad to have you.

YFTC 054 | Strategic Operations Management

Bottleneck Breakthrough: How to Find & Fix Your #1 Business Challenge to Unlock Sustainable Growth, Fast

Thank you so much. It was nine years ago about a month ago that we first met. I still remember that first conversation. We talked for an hour and a half and got into day trading and business strategy and bankruptcy and failure and everything on that first call. I knew we were fast friends for life with that one.

Josh, what we’re here to do is we’re here to help others. One of the ways we do that is by uncovering some of the hard-won wisdom that we acquired typically through knocks on our head and arrows in the back and such. Let’s start from the beginning. I know that you decided to go to med school and you changed direction and became an MBA. Tell us a little bit about what happened after you graduated and were getting started in the mortgage business.

I just fell in love with business. I met my wife while I was in grad school, I didn’t want to drag her through med school. Every doctor I had ever worked with in the ER prior to that one as an undergrad in grad school that had been married before med school was divorced after and I just knew I didn’t want to do that. I really loved business, so I fell into the mortgage business. I had a roommate that was a loan officer. It seemed like a great business model. I got pitched by his boss who was a manager of a brokerage to start a brokerage together and I started quick in 2004 and cut my teeth on it. I was one of the newbies with half of the rest of California trying to figure out that business. It grew up pretty quick. It didn’t have a ton of staff but we had some good flow of clients. Fresno in Central California was the second hottest market in appreciation from 2005 to 2007. There was plenty of business to go around and plenty of deals to fall into.

The interesting thing was around early 2006, I just was overwhelmed. I had been in business for about a year and a half or two. It was just like a bunch of white noise in my head of everything I had to get to. There were piles on my desk. I was very disorganized. Two things happened that year that really changed my trajectory. The first was I came across Michael Gerber’s book, The E-Myth Mastery. I had been given E-Myth Revisited but never read it but E-Myth Mastery, I got an audio book. Even though I’m not an auditory learner, I just was walking my dog for a weekend, listening to that book and couldn’t put it down and couldn’t stop listening. I jumped into his Mastery Impact eighteen-month training program. That gave me all the structure and organization that I needed. It allowed me to use his Seven Centers of Management Attention and break the business down into those categories and start dividing all the tasks and all the responsibilities there.

I actually used it years later when I taught at Fresno State in the entrepreneurship program. I taught business plan writing. I structured the business plans around those Seven Centers of Management Attention because they’re so applicable in running a day-to-day business. The students weren’t going to be metric funded but by having that structure, they could start with partners, start with employees, start with freelancers and hand sections of the business off to run it. That was huge. It was getting that organization. That same year, I was handed a CD by a friend and it was Dan Kennedy’s Info-SUMMIT Awards winner CD. It was interviews with I think this guy Nigel from the UK that won the Info-Marketer of the Year award and it resonated. I started digging into Dan Kennedy and realizing that his approach to marketing and ruthless implementation was just a perfect fit. I loved his analogy of you running out on Monday and cut a check for it and by Thursday, you get some leads and close them so that you can get paid before the check clears Friday. It was just very practical and very cashflow-focused. I dove in with him and really went headlong down the Dan Kennedy world and bottle up courses, went to events, ended up becoming an independent business advisor for him, setting up a pseudo-franchise in 2007 right before the bottom fell out in my world.

August of 2007, IndyMac becomes insolvent, there’s the run on the bank there down in Southern California and the rest was just falling off a cliff essentially. I had bad fundamentals. I had a lot of debt. I just by early that year figured out how to track my books and how to get reporting and all that stuff but it was just too little too late. Early February of 2008, my oldest was a week old and we were meeting with an old mentor of mine from grad school who was our bankruptcy attorney. I was 29 years old and signing the paperwork to start the bankruptcy process. I was figuring out what to do next and thought I really love Chet’s book, The Ultimate Sales Machine, and shot an email out. I met you and that entrepreneurial journey right out of school was down that path.

You were given a huge gift at that moment in time, the same week that your child was born. You received the gift of despair. Lucky you because it’s with the gift of despair that true change is possible. So many of us have been handed that gift and don’t even see it as the gift it is and in fact, we’d like to throw it away or bury it. Instead, what you did is you embraced it. There’s a big lesson here. I think we all go through this in life. I bet everybody has gotten that same gift at one point or another. I believe it’s the way we treat that gift that takes us on our next journey. Josh, thanks for the story. I also want to relate one more small thing about what you said. For those of you who are listening to the show and have been for a while, you’ve probably already heard my amazing interview with Michael Gerber. Michael Gerber is a genius beyond scope of recognition to most people and possibly the single greatest authority in business that’s alive today. I’m lucky enough to be working with him on a groundbreaking project called Radical You.

With all of that, Josh, here we are. You came to work at Business Breakthroughs. You were thrown in and immersed into the chaos of our little company. What I loved about our work together is that you were able to pretty much help in any area of the business that we asked you to. You never said no. You dove right in. We asked you to get on the phone and close sales for Business Mastery and you did it. In fact if I remember, you were one of the top salespeople on that team.

Jon Cronstedt crushed me but I did my best.

He is a special personality when it comes to that. The thing was is that you just did everything well. If you remember, you helped me build basically the first mind map I used to organize lead flow for the organization.

I think that’s how we came up with the concierge role. There were so many services and so many opportunities to help people. It really came out of frustration because I was following up with all these high-value leads for consulting potential with our consulting division, and some of them I’d call and they’d say, “Will you leave me alone?” I’m like, “What? This is my first call.” They said, “You’re the fourth person this week from your company to call me.” It’s like, “We have an organization problem here. Let’s serve them better and how can we do that?” I think the concierge model got really well from it.

The type of business we had was a very entrepreneurial business. We had basically ten independent operating entities under one roof and everyone was run by an incredibly entrepreneurial individual. When a new lead came into the company, it was like the sharks descending on a drop of blood in the ocean. Josh’s work was instrumental in helping me organize this because we ended up putting together a process by which we had only one group called the concierge team to go off and actually start working with clients directly. Because their focus was to build relationships, in the long run, that group turned out to be the single largest sales organization in the whole company.

YFTC 054 | Strategic Operations Management

Strategic Operations Management: Marketing leads the ship. Sales is the infantry that runs off the ship and takes over the territory.

It was just a reorganization of the systems because by that point, the company had so many moving parts and so many service lines and prospects really wanted Chet’s help. He had so many angles and services that could help but it was just a qualification process, which is hilarious to think about because that’s one of my favorite things to do with clients. It’s to inspect their gen lead conversion process and develop a robust qualification process that works every single time. To not only serve the clients and prospects better, close them better, but it frees up a ton of time of the sales team or the owner if they’re carrying the brunt of it.

That leads us into the discussion because I know that you’re a business consultant and I’m a business consultant in a different scope. What I really want you to do is I want you to share your process with us. I want you to lay it out. I want you to make believe that the other person listening is your client. Take me through the process so we are literally helping somebody with their exact business issues.

Let’s assume that you’ve got a $1 million professional services business. You’ve got seven or eight staff and you’ve been in business for a decade and clients love you, people know you but you’re just stuck at this $1 million plateau. The reason I use $1 million is it’s just the most common obvious plateau with the clearest solution to solving that bottleneck. In the book, I use a framework called the Bottleneck Matrix. It goes through different revenue plateaus, whether it’s $500,000, $1 million, $2 million, $5 million, $10 million, and the common bottlenecks of each one. It doesn’t matter what your business is like or how unique it is, each of these plateaus are common, just like what we talked about with all the lead chaos at BBI. I think we were right around the $10 million bottleneck at that point and we just needed sales organization and having vertical specialization that people could get what they need. Vertical specialization is a solution at $10 million for growing your sales team further.

The quick shortcut is at $1 million, you need an operations manager. You need somebody that’s going to come in and take over fulfillment and in-house management, office management, whatever. A good business owner can hustle $2 million, closing the deals and project managing the client fulfillment, but they can’t get past $1 million because there are just too many moving parts. They start throttling. They start closing less than they know they could because they know if they closed more, all of that fulfillment management overhead would fall on their shoulders and essentially become a self-inflicted prison. That’s the fast and dirty solution is just, if you’re running it at $1 million, you’ve got to get some kind of manager. You don’t have to make them an equity partner. You don’t have to call them a founder or anything like that. It’s just somebody that you can trust that can start taking over client fulfillment and paying bills and office management stuff so that you can go close more business.

The process that I go through is I sit down and in the book, there are six levers. I call them the Six Levers of Growth. They’re very logical. They came out of just asking the same questions over and over and being curious and inspecting. The first spot is to look at your positioning, your strategy, how are you differentiating, what’s your business model, how are you charging. For most businesses, that’s not a problem. Unless you’re taking on work that is a loss leader or you’re commoditizing, you’re just replying to every RFP out there and taking whatever you can get because you just need a billable time even without any view of profitability, then you’ve got a problem with your positioning, and your business model and your pricing. We go from there, strategy to then marketing. This is where are you getting leads and how are you closing them? My belief is that sales falls under marketing. Marketing leads the ship. Sales is the infantry that runs off the ship and takes over the territory.

I want to go back to the first part of this, and I want to reinforce something that you said. The path to $1 million is almost always a solo act with a couple of contractors or VAs along the way. Where you talk about that $1 million mark and needing an operations manager, in my experience, it could be as high as $2 million or $3 million. In my first company with Timeslips Corporation, it really was closer to the $2 million mark when I decided that I needed to put some senior people in place to help me. Here’s the thing and this is very important. An operations manager that we bring into a company today for any of my clients and I’m sure for yours as well, has to love being an operations manager as much as you love being an entrepreneur.

Tom Schaff, another consultant we worked with at BBI, he gave me the term. He called that role, the little Napoleon. The person that just loved cracking the whip and following systems and keeping everybody organized and that they love it. That’s a big factor. I talk about that throughout the book in the management section. As you’re offloading, as you’re delegating, you’ve got to make sure that you’re finding people that love doing the stuff you hate. As crazy as it seems that somebody could possibly love creating checklists or filing or paying bills or whatever, there are people out there that really love it.

That to me is more administrative. What I really look for is I look for a person who I can inspire with my vision. If I was bringing somebody into my company, I would start by really making sure that they are fully inspired by my vision and understand that they have a moral obligation to our clients to make sure that our stuff is delivered at 100% quality level. Once someone has that moral obligation, once someone feels the passion of the founder, that operation manager basically steps into your own personality and runs your show with you and for you, with the respect for you as the CEO and owner, leader, etc. but with the authority of you as well. Would you agree?

Totally. I think that’s another one, responsibility with authority. I see so many clients that make people responsible for an outcome but don’t give them the authority to do whatever they need to get to that outcome. I call that the purgatory gap. I was in the spot years ago with a company I was running marketing for them, and they wanted lead flow. I had a new landing page created with some great guides and case studies. I had all the responsibility but I couldn’t do anything to the website because they’re web developers. They just didn’t want to deal with it. Every time we tried launching the new landing page, it would break other parts of the site. I had all this responsibility to get leads but I didn’t have any authority to do anything to the site. It really is a great form of torture for people to give them responsibility without the authority to get the outcome.

Let’s talk about the second part.

Marketing is the next pillar and the next lever. Everybody comes to me for marketing. Everybody thinks they need more leads. I’m speaking at Perry Marshall’s event helping him with the 80/20 Summit and his partner in that event, Tim Francis. I saw a great ad that he posted talking about that sales solves all sins. It’s like, no, that is so far from the truth. You’re going to bury yourself or deliver poorly for so many new clients if you don’t have your systems in fulfillment and processes in place. Everybody comes to me for marketing and I spend a lot of time looking at marketing. That’s the next on the list because it’s top of mind for everybody. They think they need more leads. We’ll go through their funnel. We’ll look at where are the leads coming from, how are they getting engaged, how are they converting them, and how are they getting them started. That’s the bottom half of the Seven Centers of Management Attention from Michael Gerber. That’s lead generation, lead conversion and client fulfillment. I just inspect that process and look for any cancer spots. Nobody is going to be 100% across that funnel. They never will be. There are inefficiencies at every stage. It’s just, can we find any glaring problems, any holes in the bucket that are quick wins and easy fixes?

I want some examples of holes in the bucket.

In the book, I talked about the Mountain Training School. It’s a trade school for mountain guides that was based in Chile, Alaska and Spain. They were running into the $1 million bottleneck and they were getting great leads. They had a ton of lead flow from AdWords. He was a Perry Marshall student, so obviously he had his AdWords very mature and dialed in. The owner was taking Q&A calls with potential students anytime they wanted to schedule it. It was consuming about 20 to 25 hours a week of his time. Out of the fifteen or twenty a week he talked to, only one or two were qualified that could actually afford to come and take the time off. It was a four-year program with three-week to six-week expeditions on ice caps and stuff, so it was a big commitment. I said, “Have you ever thought about creating a frequently asked questions video series or anything like that?” He’s like, “Yeah, I just don’t have any time.” What we ended up doing was he had a little questionnaire and said there was a charge for $40 afterwards to get on his calendar. There were no gates, there were no ‘if this then that’ system that stopped people from just scheduling on his calendar. What we changed was, to get started they had to apply. They had to pay a $55 application fee like a university. Then they were taken to a 60-question application that took upwards of an hour to an hour and a half to complete. When they submit that, then they got access to his calendar.

With that, after the call, we sent them a welcome pack which was a backpack and a student ID card and a couple of other things that made them feel proud to share it with their family that they were accepted. What happened was, these calls went from 20 to 25 hours a week down to three to five hours a week, but then of the four or five calls he had every week, three to four of them were qualified and got started. I think that is a great example of holes in the bucket that we tweaked that process and it saved him all of his time, increased his close rate, and allowed him to focus on developing that operations manager to get past the $1 million mark.

I used to have a little button on my website that said, “Book this call on my calendar.” As you can imagine, that didn’t last very long. Instead, I put a form on my website. If you go to MyPowerTribe.com, right on the page itself, there are three qualifying questions. If you qualify, you get to apply.

I use a tool called Typeform. It has conditional logic. I did this for Keith Krance when I was helping with his Facebook coaching program. We were getting a ton of leads and he wasn’t even advertising it. It was just a sales page on his website that people stumbled across. I was doing the closing calls because I enjoyed it at the time and I had the bandwidth. I realized 90% of the people just weren’t qualified for coaching. They needed to just start with his Facebook Ads University membership program to get started. The funny thing was I found the question of, “How much do you want to grow your business in the next year?” We gave them five radio buttons. It was 0 to 15%, 15% to 50%, 50% to 100%, 100% to 200% and 200% to 500% or 10X or whatever. It was just these milestones. What we found was anybody who said they wanted to grow over 200% or 10X was a newbie because real businesses can’t handle 200% to 500% growth in a year. It just breaks things. That became a conditional question that if they answered that, at the end, they were shown his Facebook Ads University. Or if they hadn’t started on any paid traffic, like there’s no point to start with coaching if they’ve never done paid traffic. It’s just too big of a learning curve, too big of a gap. We made this conditional logic that at the end, took them to different offers and the ones that did qualify to get a call with me went to my calendar and we closed 50% of them all day long. Again, it took my call volume down dramatically and the close rate went way up. It’s just from that logic of questionnaire.

We didn’t use leading questions or silly questions like, “How much do you plan on spending on coaching?” or “When do you plan on buying coaching?” Those are too leading and people will game them to get around them. What’s a funny one for me on my application to work with me is I found if business owners don’t read books, they’re not a good client for me. It’s not because they have to know all the latest books and stuff. I think it’s just the behavior of being open to somebody else’s input.

The mindset of learning, I think that’s what you’re looking for.

YFTC 054 | Strategic Operations Management

Strategic Operations Management: If business owners don’t read books, they’re not a good client for me. It’s just the behavior of being open to somebody else’s input.

If somebody is open to learning, I can help them. If they’re not open to learning, there’s just no point. They’re good people, smart people with profitable businesses, but every client I’ve had that doesn’t read books has been a headache client for me.

I never made that connection. I ask a different question and it’s a very straightforward question. Yours is indirect reference. Mine is straightforward. I said, “Are you coachable?” If the answer is, “Well, sometimes or no,” then we’re not a fit. Honestly, people are willing to pay you for advice but not enough people who pay you are willing to take that advice and be successful with what it is that you help them with. That’s frustrating.

I like Jay Abraham’s statement to me once when he was helping me when I was working with you. He was one of the clients we were working on. He was giving me all this great advice. There’s a good opportunity for him to help in the long term. I said, “Jay, that’s really gracious of you.” He says, “I appreciate you recognize that. It’s also selfish because if you succeed, there’s more work for me.” That’s it. At the end the day in a consulting engagement, we have a ticking clock. If we’re not getting results, A) we feel bad, we feel frustrated, but B) the client is not going to keep cutting our check if we’re not producing a return on it.

There’s another element to that too, and I’m sure you understand this, Josh. If we’re not inspired by our clients, then we don’t really inspire our clients either. I’m working with a client right now, a former NFL star, and the guy is absolutely amazing. He has a public persona bigger than I’ve ever had or worked with. What I love about him is that he just does what I ask him to do and he gets into it. It’s just so fulfilling.

I tell all my clients when they come back and they say, “I did this and it worked. I read what you recommended. I contacted so and so,” I’m like, “You know how to make a consultant’s heart go pitter-patter.”

We got to marketing and certainly now we’re talking about sales as well. We’ve chatted about some great gating techniques to make sure they were only talking to the right people. What really is the next step here?

The next lever is management. 100% of small business owners need better skills in management. Nobody will ever pay me for management training. Nobody would ever say, “I need to be a better manager. Will you coach me on that?” It’s a four-letter word, it’s bureaucracy, it’s the antithesis of the entrepreneurial personality type. I’ve found over the years that it’s almost like feeding your kids vegetables and cookies. I needed to find creative ways or simple ways, really hacks, on how to make my clients better managers or else my engagement was going to run out because we were running into their limitation as a poor manager to make sure anything stuck. It really comes down to a couple of key fundamentals. One is a weekly one-on-one meeting with each individual direct report. It just makes everything flow. Discipline becomes easier, accountability, important things not falling through the cracks, financial reporting doesn’t become cancerous six months later because you thought so and so was taking care of X, Y, Z. That weekly meeting is so key.

The other big one that every client has thanked me for and I’m still waiting for the day when an employee punches me over it, but is to look at employees like eight-year-olds. It’s a funny backstory because when I had my mortgage brokerage, I had a mentor, she was really bright. I had a new employee that I had hired. She was a loan processor and she was just abrasive. She liked arguing and I think she just had some challenges. I let her go within 45 days or so. She filed for unemployment in the EDD, put a claim against my company. I called and they said, “Did you give her three warnings and get it in writing?” I said, “I warned her three times and she even said the last time she needed to be fired but I don’t have anything in writing.” They said, “We’re ruling against you.” It just affected my unemployment insurance rate. I was pissed. I remember telling my mentor, “This is so unjust. They view us as ruthless business owners. Every business owner is like a ruthless tycoon and they view every employee as a helpless eight-year old.” Something just stuck when I said that and I started later thinking about it. My oldest is nine now but when I was writing the book, she was eight. I remember thinking, “She’s bright. She can connect the dots on things but she needs a lot of reinforcement. I can never assume that she knows how to do anything because I haven’t shown her.” Once I started shifting that way with my employees, all of my frustration went away. I knew the business better than all of them. I’d built it. It was my baby. I had to do everything out of the gate. It’s worked with every client that I’ve ever worked with is, once they view their employees like an eight-year old, they no longer make assumptions. I call it common sense-itis. They suffer from the disease of thinking what they think is common sense.

First of all, I want to bring up the one thing about having the weekly meetings. I’m wondering where you got that from.

Actually, it was Michael Gerber in E-Myth Mastery Impact. You and Chet did it all the time too, so it’s a principle that works.

I learned it from Michael as well. The other thing I wanted to talk to you about was I don’t have the same viewpoint as you do, which is totally okay but I need you to understand my viewpoint. My viewpoint is that culture should take care of the problem that you just described. A lot of clients say to me, “What is culture? Do I just have to be nice and happy around people and make people smile? Is that culture?” I said, “Absolutely not. What culture is, is a stringent set of rules that everyone understands completely but has total freedom within.” If one of the rules is that you need to treat people courteously and someone turns out to be a flaming asshole, then they don’t fit in the culture and they could easily be dismissed. As a matter of fact, we had that exact same thing happen to us with several folks at BBI. I don’t treat people or think of them as eight-year-olds. I understand the concept of being able to not think everybody knows what you know, but my perspective is get the culture right and the wrong people can’t possibly stay there.

I won’t argue or disagree. I think we’re on the same coin just different sides because to me, the eight-year-old perspective allows them to then realize they need to develop the culture and the systems and communicate those expectations. It takes away the mindreading.

I use two very important tools when I work with clients. One is what I call The Coach’s Guide to Culture and Ethics. I provide that for all of my clients. It’s 38 points. I ask them to choose the ones that fit and no one ever says, “Not one of them doesn’t fit.” We use all 38 and the next thing that we do is we build a culture course. Actually, I’ve already built it and they record it. They use that to disseminate the culture of their company throughout the organization. That always solves just about every personality problem. Even to the point of it gets rid of the wrong people once the culture is instilled. You could literally install a culture in a company that has a sick culture and have it cure itself in a very quick fashion because the culture becomes too uncomfortable for the wrong people.

I think that’s the more sophisticated version of management is developing that culture framework and platform.

This is the stuff that Tony Robbins taught us. He’s so good at this. He and I worked on this for hours and hours to get this culture piece right. We had the culture that we wanted. We wanted an entrepreneurial culture and we did have that.

I use a line all the time, culture and history has claimed this as their own but I always say it’s an old Chinese proverb that, “The fish stinks from the head down.” Chet was very entrepreneurial and very sales-driven, so everybody in the organization was that way and it was great. The limitations of Chet as a leader and that created the limitations in the organization that you and I came along and provided structure and fixed and stuff.

This is such fascinating stuff and I believe you’ve systematized something that’s very, very critical. How can people learn more about the system that you’ve created?

In my book, Bottleneck Breakthrough, I outlined all of this. I go through all Six Levers of Growth in order, and with helping you use what I got from Jay Abraham: profit, priorities, process and organize what the biggest bottleneck is or the lowest hanging fruit is to fix and can rinse and repeat the process over and over and over in your business. I give away everything in there. I give away the whole process, lots of resources in the book. There is just no way I could ever work with everybody and keep this intellectual property to myself and try to build the next McKinsey off of it. I really just put everything in the book that I could. It’s short enough. It’s not a tome. It’s only 244 pages. There is no fluff. It’s all actionable. Every chapter has got an action steps list for you and you can go through the whole book and find the process at the end to prioritize or you can go to an acute situation. I use the Frustration Fix Framework of just where are you frustrated and taking all of your time is likely your biggest bottleneck now. You could go on the acute side as well. It’s all in the book and you can get it on Amazon and I hope it’s helpful.

The other thing I wanted to ask you, tell me if this is true. I heard that you are giving away the first chapter free. Is that right?

Yes, on the website, BottleneckBreakthrough.com. The first chapter sets the introduction of the concepts, sets the foundation, uses some examples, and gives you some action steps to find your bottleneck now. You can go to BottleneckBreakthrough.com right there on the homepage and request the first chapter there. I love giving that away. I love helping others get the concept quickly and easily if buying the book is a barrier for whatever reason.

I do have a question I need to ask you and this is one of my favorite questions to ask. Who, in all of space and time, would you like to have one hour to enjoy a walk in the park, a quick lunch or an intense conversation with?

That’s a no-brainer for me. It would be my grandfather, Larry Ecklund. He passed a week after I graduated high school in ‘97 when I was eighteen. He was just the greatest human being I’ve ever known. There were close to 2,000 people in his memorial service. He was an amazing, amazing person. He was an educator. He had a math and science games company that he had developed with some buddies out of his garage in the ‘70s and had built that up through the ‘80s and ‘90s while he was still a professor at university teaching math and did a lot of workshops. He just had the curiosity of a fifteen or sixteen-year-old. Everything was fresh. Everything was fun. He was endlessly encouraging. I won the genetic lottery getting him and my grandmother’s as grandparents. The two things that he gave me more than anything were the edicts that if you ever stopped learning, you might as well die, and the greatest skill in the world is problem solving, which is what I do all day. The reason I’d want to have him for an hour now is because at 38 years old, twenty years later, and the life I have experienced I’ve had and the despair gift of filing bankruptcy, the growth I’ve gone through that I wouldn’t change any of that for the world, to be able to share that part of my life, a deeper life with him. As an eighteen-year-old, I was young and dumb and excited. We had great deep conversations but I think having him now would be spectacular.

My belief is that he already knows exactly what you’re doing and he’s watched you. In fact, he’s been your angel now for many, many years.

I totally agree. This is the one challenge I think of generations that when you have family members in your lineage that you do connect with, you do relate to, it’s the unfortunate challenge of being separated by 40 or 60 or 80 years, not being able to share life together as peers.

I had a very similar relationship with my grandfather. I recently located a recording that he used to play for me when I was eight years old. I shared it with my mom and the two of us started crying together over the phone. It’s having had those experiences and bringing back those moments. Thank you, Josh, for sharing that. I think as a business person, as a leader in business, Josh, you’re out to change the world just like I am. My next question is about really how you’re going to do that. What is it that you are doing or would like to do that truly has the potential to literally change the world?

In the short-term, my focus is 100% on getting the book out to as many business owners as possible. This isn’t believing my own hype. This is all from feedback of called reviewers, of friends, of high-level executives, business owners. Everybody that’s read it so far has said they’ve had multiple wow moments. It’s provided clarity to reduce their overwhelm or the complexity or the stress of their business. My goal is to do that for as many business owners that will read it and implement it. I think small business ownership is the most amazing thing in the history of the world to create opportunity, to create new inventions, new services, to make our lives easier, to create jobs for people that have worthwhile jobs. If we can help owners become more skilled and better at running and growing and making them profitable and sustainable, we all win.

Josh, I’m with you 100% on that and we’ve got a lot of work to do. Let’s get busy. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve got a lot of people we need to help. We’ve got a lot of money we need to make. Josh, thanks for being with me and spending this time and sharing your wisdom. You and I, I’m sure, will talk again soon.

Thanks, Mitch. It was a blast.

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