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Intro: Welcome to the Smart Energized Entrepreneurs Podcast with JP Stonestreet, episode #8.
JP: On today’s podcast, I am excited to welcome Scot Barringer who is my investment manager. Scot is a great guy, really smart. In fact, he was one of the advisors that I used when I sold my company several years ago. He gave me and my business partner advice on what to do and how to handle the offer and all that stuffs. So, Scot is a really smart guy and knows lots about investments, sends out a great newsletter every Monday with all kinds of investment information and on top of that Scot has been self-employed for 29 years. He has been a successful entrepreneur for 29 years. So, he has a lot of advice to give us about how to run a business and be successful for that long. So, without further ado, let’s welcome Scot Barringer.
Welcome Scot to this episode of the Smart Energized Entrepreneurs Podcast, how are you doing today?
Scot: I am great JP, how are you?
JP: I am doing fantastic. Just got off of another amazing podcast interview, you are my second one today and I am really looking forward to talking to you about this. We talk a lot when we meet to talk about finances and we talk a lot about sports and business, but I don’t think I have ever heard your story of how you got your start in the financial services business. So, that’s what we are going to start. So, tell us about yourself and who you are?
Scot: It was a long, long time ago, in fact I am sure some of your clients weren’t even born when I started in the business, January of 1985, I had a couple extra classes that I had to take to finish college and I was looking around for an internship and I wound up doing an internship for the father of a buddy of mine who was a stockbroker out in Southern California and I went to work for him thinking I would do that and then pursue my dream of being a real estate entrepreneur and wheeling and dealing, doing nothing down real estate deals and quickly found out that nothing down real estate deals didn’t provide a lot of cash flow to put food on the table and so I came back to the investment business or I should say I just stuck with it after the internship was over and I wound up getting my license to be a stockbroker and started cold calling and rest is the history.
JP: Wow and so that’s how you got your start in the financial services business and now you manage assets or manage investments for lots of people. So, tell us about your business, basically what is your elevator pitch. If I met you at a networking event, what would you tell me?
Scot: I don’t really have a really good elevator pitch. I have worked on it from time to time and I have had trouble kind of creating that habit if you will of saying the same thing or having a consistent message. Unfortunately, I tend to just kind of come forward with a very bland “I am an investment advisor, I manage money for individuals,” I have been working, I am trying to develop something that’s little bit better, but I haven’t had it rounded it into form yet, but I know that’s something I need to do a better job of.
JP: Yes, I bet Sandy is going to have you do that. We share the same business coach now.
Scot: Yes, we do.
JP: Thanks to your recommendation, she has definitely taken my business to a different level in just go past like three weeks since we have been meeting and if not for her, I would not have been prepared for those big meetings I had last week in Los Angeles. She helped me prepare for those and I just can’t thank her enough for that and thank you for giving her good recommendation.
Scot: Absolutely and I am actually getting ready for a similar type of a trip back to the East Coast where I have got two big meetings and I downloaded your comments about preparation and I am going to be meeting with her later today to go over some of the same information and materials and kind of prepare myself for couple of big meetings back on the East Coast next week.
JP: That’s good. Yes it’s so important to prepare and I wrote a blog post about my experience and how it’s important to prepare for meetings with important people and I will put the link to that on the show notes page for this podcast so that you can get to it. Listeners, if you have a meeting with an important person, check that out because preparing may be is difference between a successful meeting and “Get out of my office.”
JP: Yes. So, how long have you been in business doing your own thing?
Scot: 29 years last Sunday.
JP: Wow, you have been self-employed for 29 years.
Scot: Originally a stockbroker, I technically was an employee for a couple of years, but it was always commission-only, I have drawn a regular paycheck in my adult life.
JP: Wow that is amazing. See that’s a success story being in business that long, that’s the kind of stuff I like to hear because you can do it. A lot of people are struggling especially in their early startup days of their business and the feel to talk to somebody who has been doing it for 29 years is very inspirational. So, speaking of inspirational, what was your inspiration – why did you decided that –you took that opportunity in California, but it takes a certain type of person that want to run their own business and be responsible for that commission-only type lifestyle. So, what was your inspiration, why did you decide to start your own business instead of just getting a job at a brokerage?
Scot: I started out with a job as a brokerage and I did that for a couple of years and I guess I initially broke off in 1988 and started my own broker-dealer. In those days I was 20 something years old, I was full of piss and vinegar and I was going to show Merrill Lynch how a real stockbrokerage firm should be run and to be honest with you I am not sure I would have done it the exact same way, I certainly would have gone off on my own and been an independent, but may be let else take care of the back office because for a while it certainly slowed my business down and my client base didn’t grow as fast and because I was taking care of basically running the business part of it, that was a huge lesson to me that it wasn’t just a matter of going off on my own and now I could do it for myself, I actually had a business to run now, not just a group of clients to work with.
JP: Yes as an entrepreneur, you have wear lots of different hats and it’s really hard sometimes to know which hats you should pass off to somebody else and which ones you should keep, especially when you are early on. Sometimes it becomes obvious when you need to pass the torch for some activity that you have been doing, but sometimes this just not as obvious and it’s a harder thing for an entrepreneur to do is to give up that control and to delegate, but it’s absolutely critical if you want to be successful.
Scot: Absolutely, I would say that’s probably been one of my biggest challenges as an entrepreneur is delegation. I am not naturally a really good delegater. I would like to have control, I like things to be done the way I like them to be done and I am sure with absolutely no reservation that I could be much more successful if I was a better delegater.
JP: So, how are you working on that, how are you going to overcome that obstacles or that challenge?
Scot: I just try to look at – I have got a couple of people that I work with, team that we have put together and I try to look at almost everything that comes across my desk in terms of do I need to do this or can I have somebody else do it and then work on something else that’s more unique to my skill set personally. So, I just try to pass off as much as I can to the other team members, but there are certain things that obviously I can’t, lot of the business planning and things like that fall to me and so I try to give a lot of the paperwork and the day to day stuffs and then the second thing that we are doing is we are trying to create systems what we call workflows which are very specific step by step processes for handling as many aspects of the business as possible.
JP: That’s brilliant, that’s basically you are scripting out the processes that need to be done and then it’s a lot easier to pass them off once you have that script because until you have that then you can’t just say “I need you to do this” because somebody else wouldn’t know how to do it if you are the only one that knows how to do it. So, documenting processes are so critical to being able to delegate effectively.
Scot: Yes, absolutely and it helps today or I should say in the short run if you think about the creation of a workflow as a process on day #1 when you create the process, it actually takes me a little bit longer to create that process than it does to just do it myself and sometimes that’s frustrating for me and I find myself thinking “I could have this done already and I would be onto the next task,” but I view that as an investment in the future of my business that by using that time today and then being able to much better delegate that workflow of that process in the future, I am going to have a better business and then ultimately down the road kind of this starting with the end in mind concept, down the road if I have got a business that is built on a whole bunch of processes that are clearly laid out and delineated, I have got something that’s much more valuable to sell to a prospective buyer than if I just have a bunch of tasks that I do myself.
JP: Yes, that a really important point to make is that when you do start delegating, initially it does take longer, but it is an investment in the future because you literally cannot continue to do everything in your business, your business will not succeed if you continue to try and do everything and you have to be able to delegate, which means you have to invest some of your time upfront. There are lots of things that I could do faster right now, but I am documenting the process which takes longer so that I can get somebody else to do it and you have to do that in a business.
Scot: You have to invest your time and you also have to usually invest some money in order to pay somebody else to do those tasks for you and one of the things that I think about somebody told me one time that is kind of stuck in my mind is think about how much what your time is worth and if something comes along across your desk that you can hand off to somebody and pay them less to do it then what your time is worth then that leverages your time and leverages your money to be able to delegate that to them.
JP: Yes, that’s a great point too. Delegation is huge, it’s one of the largest challenges most entrepreneurs face and it’s one of the most important ones to get corrected as quickly as possible.
Scot: I do want to say JP just for people who are listening; you don’t want to get discouraged if you don’t think you are a good delegater. I have survived for 29 years as not a good delegater. It just limits how much you can grow or you don’t necessarily achieve your maximum opportunity if you don’t delegate well, but you can still build a big good business without doing it, it’s just you can’t build a best business you are capable of without doing it.
JP: Plus it’s a lot more stressful because you are putting so much pressure on yourself and you end up working ridiculous hours.
Scot: Yes, the answer to every problem, if you don’t delegate well, the answer to every problem is to work more hours.
JP: Yes, that is true and that’s a quick way to put yourself in an early grave.
Scot: Yes, it has a lot of negative ramifications.
JP: Yes, it hurts your relationships with your kids, your spouse, your significant other; it hurts your health; it just hurts everything and it’s amazing.
Scot: All the things that lack of balance bring to your life is what that mindset creates.
JP: Yes, so how are you finding your team members? How are you assembling the team that you have been talking about?
Scot: I am really fortunate. I have got one team member who has been with me for almost 20 years and she is really kind of the backbone of the team. I have another, actually a partner that I have brought in, I shouldn’t say I brought in, we found each other about three years ago and so, between the two of us we found that we have a very natural delineation and we are the dictionary definition of opposites attract. If you had told me when I met this woman that I would be business partners with her, I would have laughed at the idea because we are so different, I never would have thought that it would be a compatible situation, but what we found is our differences are also our strength because what she does really well is a group of things that I can do, but I don’t do nearly as well as she does and what I do well the things that she can do, but she doesn’t do as well as I do and so it just goes together perfectly and it’s almost a seamless process that we go through working with clients where she handles a portion of it and I handle a portion of it and it just fits together extremely well and so those are two primary people right now, I am trying to bring in a technology oriented person, somebody in the investment business that’s got some experience that has some technology skills and savvy that they can help with some of the technology that we handle with managing websites, creating websites, managing different marketing campaigns that are done online and things like that. So, that’s kind of the next person that we are looking for right now and really the main thing I have done in the last couple of weeks is once I have made that decision that I wanted to find that person was just try to put the word out to people that I know who I think might know somebody like that, that I am looking for that.
JP: Okay, so word of mouth is definitely a good way to go. Even if you get a referral though, make sure you check references and look at their past work, don’t just take their word for it or your referral’s word for it. I have seen that go badly as well, but yes the best way to get somebody is a reference.
Scot: Yes, I have made that mistake in the past where I didn’t check things as thoroughly as I needed to and it came back to bite me.
JP: Yes, it does. So, we’ve been talking a little bit about my next question which is how do you handle stress? You are in the financial services business which is inherently stressful in addition to owning your own business which is also inherently stressful, so I would like to know how do you cope with all that stress, how do you deal with that on a daily basis?
Scot: Like I said earlier, my main weapon is to work more hours and I say that half seriously, half jokingly, I do really enjoy what I do, so I do work a lot, but I just try to be out of the office sometimes and just put things down and realize that it will still be here and the world’s not going to end if I don’t get it done right now and just get off and do some other things. I also feel a little bit like I am little bit blessed in the sense that I feel like I kind of have an internal, I don’t know what you call it, kind of a sensor or a clock or something that tells me that “Hey you need to back off a little bit right now because you are pushing yourself a little too much” and I kind of liken it to in football, they talk about a quarterback having an internal clock that he knows “Hey I have been back here in the pocket for one second, two seconds, three seconds, I need to get rid of this ball because somebody is going to come in and sack me if I don’t get rid of it quickly” and I kind of feel like I have that same clock that tells me “Hey you need to get some time out of the office, you need to find a buddy and go play golf or take an evening off and go to a movie and dinner with my wife or go to a ball game with a friend or something like that.” Just those urges kind of come along and kind of pull me out of the office from time to time, so I feel grateful for that.
JP: Yes, it’s important to listen to those internal cues about stress and you have to have balance in your life, the balance is what brings success. If you don’t work enough, you are not going to be successful. If you work too much, there is a good chance that you are going to stress yourself out, you will start making bad decisions based on stress or those chemicals that get released in your brain from stress, they don’t help you make good decisions all the time, especially long-term business decisions, those stress chemicals help to make good short-term decisions which may not be the best decisions for your business.
Scot: One of my little things that I ask myself is “Yes success, but at what price?”
JP: Yes, that’s a good question to ask yourself periodically. So what is your favorite aspect of owing of your own business?
Scot: I would have to say its flexibility. I think the two things are flexibility and I think that’s something that a lot of people really dream of and aspire to is kind of being in charge and being able to set your own schedule and do things. The thing that they have to realize if they are just getting started is the ability to set your own schedule and decide when you are going to do things – just means that you get to decide what your 20-hour a day looks like, but it really then also gives me the flexibility to go off and watch my kids play sports and do a little getaway trips here and there with my wife and do things like that kind of on my own schedule; I just was in Orlando, Florida at a business conference. So, that was kind of a business thing, but it was also kind of a getaway, recharge, spend sometime by myself, just sorting though different things, looking forward to the New Year, etc. To able to do those things, you are able to set your own schedule, that’s probably one of the main things that I think of first. The other thing that I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoy is the challenges of running your own business would require you to constantly be growing, learning new things, I think of it as sharpening the saw, I love to listen to audio tapes, I guess they are not tapes or even CDs anymore, they are mp3 files that are downloaded on my phone that syncs to my car stereo so I can listen into in the car type of thing, but just listening to whether it’s self-improvement stuff or industry specific information, learning about different marketing strategies, learning how to try to take my business online a little bit, which is particularly difficult in the investment business because of the regulation, I almost feel like I have kind of reinvented my business in the last five or six years because it just is so different than what it used to look like and it has become somewhat nontraditional so that that growth aspect of it is the other thing that I really enjoy. You have to be upgrading and improving all the time in order to continue to grow.
JP: Yes, the personal freedom thing is the thing that I enjoy the most about owning my own business and being able to meet somebody for lunch and not have to worry about being back in time or I like to run my errands on Tuesdays because there is nobody out and it takes me a fraction of the time.
Scot: Wait a minute JP, whenever we have lunch, you always say you have to get back to the office, why is that?
JP: Yes, but we usually been talking for two hours by then.
Scot: I am just kidding.
JP: I know, I love talking. We have very philosophical lunch debates, I love those debates.
Scot: We do, we do. I am sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt your there.
JP: That’s okay. So, how did you get your first five customers if you can remember all the way back 29 years ago or however long it was, how did you get your first five customers?
Scot: Cold calling.
JP: Wow cold calling. So, that’s the thing you did there.
Scot: “Hi, this is Scot Barringer from Bateman Eichler, Hill Richards and I was just calling to see if you would be interested in United States Government Securities Mutual Fund?”
JP: Wow, you remember the pitch.
Scot: Oh my gosh! You say it a hundred times a day for three years, you have just to remember.
JP: Those were back in the days when you could actually call end-users or consumers_.
JP: You can’t do that anymore. I would bet it’s harder to get started now.
Scot: I think so. It’s harder to get your license, they have made the testing process much harder, I think it’s harder to reach out and get new clients just because of all the consumer protection stuffs out there, sadly just because of abuses. The bottom line is that it was the grunt work was how I got five new clients and I think that’s the thing that sometimes people don’t wholly appreciate is you got to be willing to do the grunt work and you got to do the things you might not enjoy doing in order to get new business.
JP: Yes, that’s so true and cold calling is the bane of most people’s existence. That’s how we were onto Quote Catcher was on cold calling and that’s the only thing we found that worked when we were trying to find out vendors to buy the sales leads that we were selling. We just had to call them and then talk to them and we had I think five telesales reps at one point and that’s all they did was make 100 plus calls a day to just to get vendors and it’s not fun and I made some of those calls, did not enjoy it, but you have to do it if you want to be successful. Sometimes you have to do things that you don’t like.
JP: So, let’s fast-forward 29 years, what’s your most effective marking tool now, how do you get your clients today?
Scot: Again, I feel very blessed; I have kind of stumbled into relationship with the Department of Agriculture up in Fort Collins. I do a lot of work with the federal employees these days and we have this relationship with the Department of Agriculture, they have got a campus of about 7000 people up in Fort Collins and in fact tomorrow and Thursday, we are doing two workshops up there and we will have about 120 people combined at those two workshops talking to them about their federal employee benefits and from there then we wind up meeting with about 70% to 80% of the people that attend and wind up developing client relationships with about half of the people between 40% and 50% of the people that we meet with.
JP: Wow, that’s a great thing to talk about because it’s kind of non-traditional. I was kind of expecting you to say word of mouth, referrals, but this is something that most anybody can apply in most any business, not necessarily at relationship with the Department of Agriculture, but you can get out there and speak to people and give presentations, give away free advice and then with some sort of an upsell or an add-on service that you can offer to them at the same time, but basically you are giving free advice at that initial meeting, is that correct?
Scot: Absolutely. We actually give at the workshop, each workshop lasts four hours and we actually bring in a speaker because we have to be very, very careful with the Department of Agriculture with the government that we are not promoting ourselves or marketing at these meetings. So, we found that the most effective way to do that is that we really don’t speak that much at these meetings. We bring in an expert, we are experts ourselves, my partner and I in Federal Employee Benefits, particularly my partner, but we bring in another expert to give the presentation just so that we are not tempted to cross that line that the government doesn’t want us to cross which is self-promotion and marketing of our services. So, we do that.
JP: So, then how do you convert them into the next level, the 70% that come, what do you do with them?
Scot: At the end of the workshop, we offer for them to get together with us and have a discussion of free – it’s actually a two-meeting process that we offer, so it’s about two. The first meeting lasts about an hour and a half and the second meeting lasts usually about two hours. In the first meeting, we basically gather all the information that we need from them about their government employment and where they are in the pecking order, grade and step, what their retirement befits information looks like that they have gathered from the government, etc. Then we get together on a second meeting with the comprehensive report where we have gathered everything together and tell them all about their benefits. So, we do these four-hour workshops that lead into a two-meeting process. At the end of the second meeting, we basically say to them “In the process of putting this report together, we have looked at your entire financial situation and we see a couple of strategies that might be helpful to you and your situation either to improve your situation and enable you to accumulate more money towards retirement or you have already done a great job at accumulating and we can kind of bullet-proof what you are already doing,” but yes, there is a lot of free information given upfront and that does a couple of things, it establishes our expertise and it builds credibility and it creates a bond, you spend four hours sitting across the table from somebody and you start to develop a little bit of a connection with them and all of that is happening before we ever bring up the services that we charge for.
JP: Wow, that’s a great lesson. I have said over and over, people buy from other businesses and people that they know like in trust and what you are doing through this three-step process, the workshop and then the two meetings is you are establishing the relationship that allows them to trust you, you are establishing that you are an expert at this and you are right in front of them. So, they are not going to say “Well I am going to go interview other people,” they are going to say “Well this guy knows what he is talking about, he has looked at all of my stuffs already, I like him, I am just going to go with this guy.” It’s kind of a no-brainer decision at that point.
Scot: Yes, I think a lot of times people are afraid to kind of give away what they feel is the value of what they do and yet I found that giving people information and helping people out, it winds up tracking them back to be clients as opposed to empowering them to go off and do it themselves or steal your ideas or run with your ideas without you type of thing. Very, very few people in my experience really have that initiative or have that mindset that they want to kind of pimp you for that information and then go on in different direction, but we also are very directed in the initial meetings. We volunteer upfront that we do this process and we give you all this information, but we do ask that if we show you a strategy that makes sense and that you think would be beneficial for you to implement, that you implement it with us not somebody else, not your neighbor, not your son-in-law, not somebody else that you know. So, we are direct about that, just candid about, that’s how we make our money is when you implement a strategy of we get paid at that point.
JP: Yes, this is something that I am actually going to start doing in my business. I am going to put together a free presentation on online business and web startups in an effort to drive people into my full workshop, which is full day long. I have my own work to do and Sandy is helping me put all of that together.
JP: That’s a good transition point. Something – we’ve already mentioned Sandy, you business coach and my business coach. You have been in business 29 years, some people will look at that and say “Why do you need a coach, you are obviously successful?” So, let’s talk about the value of a coach and what you are getting out of your coaching relationship?
Scot: I think that there are a lot of things that are valuable about a coach. The fact that I have been in the business for 29 years means that I have learned 2% to 3% of what there is to learn out there type of thing. There is just so much to learn and a business coach brings a lot of just information and helpful knowledge to the table to start with and secondly they bring a lot of thoughts and ideas that might have crossed my mind previously, but they bring them in a very organized kind of systematic way with ideas about how to implement them as opposed to me having to kind of grab ideas out of the air and then sit there and figure it out how do I turn this idea into a part of my business, the coach has already thought that through and already knows how to do that. There is an accountability aspect to the coach, you meet with the coach regularly, you may have homework, I have not had a lot of what I would call homework scenarios with Sandy, but I feel a sense of accountability to be moving forward with the ideas that we have and actually find myself looking forward to them and I mentioned earlier that I am going to be going back to the East Coast next week for a couple of day meetings and those are things that Sandy and I had talked about and have spent some time discussing and when I got the meeting set up, she was actually the first person that I wanted to send an e-mail to and say “Hey, I got the meeting set.” So, there is kind of a sense of accountability, there is – I don’t know if the word “partnership” is the right thing, but there is the sense that you are in it with somebody else and it’s another person that is kind of on your team, they are not necessarily handling day to day activities in the business, but they are on your team, they are supporter, they are cheerleader, they are somebody to call you out and say “Hey, what about this thing that you need to get done” and things like that and then I would say the final thing that’s really helpful about a coach is that it’s kind of a time where I step back from the day to day activities with the business and look at the big picture and the planning and the overall running of the business which sometimes can get neglected or at least buried in paperwork with all the day to day activities that come across my desk.
JP: Yes, that’s the way I feel about Sandy too. She is my first official business coach. I had a life coach that I worked with a few years ago. He was going through getting his life coaching certification and I was one of his guinea pigs. I met with him every week to talk about life things and business was part of it, but Sandy is like – I would say that she is the first real business coach who is driving me and motivating me and holding me accountable and giving me ideas and helping me focus and prioritize, that’s one of the problems I really have is prioritization when you are so – as an entrepreneur most of us are overflowing with ideas and it’s so hard to figure out which one of those is the most important to work on. I am betting you have similar issues.
Scot: Absolutely, and that’s exactly when you sit down with somebody who is kind of objective and then when I look at three to four different ideas that you toss out there and they might say “Well, one of these ideas I am not really even sure how it relates to what you are trying to accomplish and of the other three I think that these two are the most important and those are the ones that I would focus on.” It’s kind of that objectivity again, they are not somebody whose head is buried in all the minutiae of the day to day stuff and so they can kind of pull you out to the 30,000 feet view of things and point you in the most productive, most beneficial direction or help you to figure out the most beneficial direction for yourself.
JP: Yes, what she did with me is help me put a revenue plan together because it is something I hadn’t even thought about and so she helped me put that together like how am I going to actually generate revenue with my business, noble concept, right?
Scot: I do think in business that’s one of the things that is one of my strength is I am constantly thinking about how to monetize ideas.
JP: Yes, I need more of that on my end because to me I just enjoy doing what I do and then the monetization is an afterthought and it can’t be. If I want to continue to do what I love to do, I have to be able to monetize it or I wouldn’t be doing it anymore.
Scot: Yes, if you don’t monetize it, it’s not a business, it’s a hobby.
JP: Exactly and so she is really helping me with that piece of it specifically and if whatever my idea that is doesn’t fit into my revenue plan then it gets put on the back shelf and before her I was like “Oh I love this idea, work, work, work, how am I going to monetize this?”
Scot: Yes, I think it’s definitely important to know upfront how you are either going to monetize a particular idea or how a particular idea is going to contribute to monetizing something else.
JP: Yes, exactly. Now, she is helping me switch that around. Now, I think how am I going to monetize this and then I work. So, it’s a different philosophy, but it’s one that I needed – for some reason I needed somebody to tell me and she was happy to tell me that.
Scot: Yes, my experience, I have not had a coach before either. It’s interesting because my partner was in the federal employee business work that I do. She actually trains people to become financial coaches. So, she is very involved in the whole coaching world. I have never been involved with it, but I have been very, very happy with the contribution that Sandy has made to my efforts.
JP: Yes, me too. So, who or what inspires you? Do you have a hero or somebody that you look up to or something?
Scot: That’s an interesting question. I guess the people that I look up to the most are not really business people. I have always been involved with sports, growing up I played lots of sports and so the people that I look up to tend to be athletes or people that are involved in sports and it’s not so much the direct parallels between what an athlete does and what a businessman does, but there are certainly are lot of skills and talents and capabilities that the crossover from sports into business and so that’s where I find a lot of people that I really do look up to and like, admire, and respect people that have accomplished a lot in sports and then they translate that, I think of Magic Johnson, who is an extremely successful basketball player and has become extremely successful businessman and listening to him talk and reading some of his interviews and things like that, it seems to me that a lot of the same skills that he used as an athlete, particularly the mental toughness and things like that, have contributed a lot to his success as a businessman.
JP: Yes and in the same way I like sports too, I look at it as kind of a guilty pleasure of mine, I especially like basketball and football. So, I like Peyton Manning and his dedication. They say that he prepares more than anybody. He credits his success to his preparation and I really admire that and I have been told that I prepare a lot. Some people have told me that they wish they could prepare as well as I do. I look at Peyton Manning and I say “Man, I wish I could prepare as well as he does.” If I get prepared like that, there would be no stopping me.
Scot: Yes, I think you are exactly right. Those types of kind of crossover skills or whatever you want to call them definitely, you see them in sports and they have application in business absolutely.
JP: Yes, it takes the same kind of dedication and energy in business as it does in sports, it’s just not as physical…
Scot: …and passion.
JP: Yes, passion and dedication. It’s just not quite as physical unless your business is sports related or personal trainer related, but I agree, I like that, sports is definitely inspiring to a lot of people. Do you have a book that you recommend, something that you read may be that influenced you or changed your business or affected your business?
Scot: Yes, I read about a book a week and I love reading, I love getting ideas from books and I would say that one of the best books that I have read in the last couple of years was Brian Tracy’s Goals! book. I spent probably the first 25 years of my career with what I guess I think was kind of a misperception about goal setting. Somebody made a comment to me one time that there were two types of people; they were people that were very goal-oriented, they laid out their goals and pursue those goals and then there are people that were very task-oriented and they just basically laid out tasks that they felt would lead them in the direction that they wanted to go and then they focused on those tasks and the accomplishment of those tasks was kind of their intermediate goal types of things and I think that I was wrong in that because I think I wound up with doing a lot of tasks over the years, but they weren’t comprehensive enough, they weren’t really aimed well enough at the target and what was missing was that long-term goal or objective to hold every task up against and say “Is this taking me towards my goal?” and Brian Tracy’s book really kind of turned me around and got me focused on goal setting and reviewing my goals regularly, writing them down, going over them literally every morning and sometimes even at night before I go to bed I just kind of program those objectives and those goals into myself so that I am really focused on them and moving towards them, the whole concept to the law of attraction and things like that, I am a big believer. So, that book, Brian Tracy’s Goals!; I think it’s called The Ultimate Goals book. It’s available as DVD set or mp3 downloads and you can also get it in hardcopy.
JP: Cool, I will put a link to that in the show notes section for this podcast. So, how did you go about setting your goals because in order to march toward goals, you actually have to have goals, so what was your process for setting those goals?
Scot: I started out with what I thought were some good goals. I wanted to make this much money this year, I wanted to reach some financial milestones this year, things like that and you put a specific date on them in all those things, but what I found was I needed to drill down into those goals a little bit more deeply and again, that was one of the things that as I have read that book a couple of times, I started to recognize in what Brian Tracy says “It’s not just kind of that big first general thought that you have, you have to kind of poke behind what those goals are and understand what it is that you really are saying or what it is you really want when you lay out those goals.” So, for me it wasn’t X number of dollars worth of income that I wanted, it was the stability in my business that I wanted and then having that much revenue and income from my business made me feel that I had that stability in my business. So, the big picture is what it is that you really want kind of emotionally from the goal and then you start to lay out the steps and so for me the goal was stability in my business and one of the steps towards getting it was a certain level of revenue and income. So, it was not just the initial thought of “Gee! I want to make this much money this year, it was why do I want that money” and that became a goal with stability in my business and what that then does is it opens up and starts to attract other ways of creating that stability because I was focused on one way of creating that stability and there is actually other ways to create that stability and that has actually started to manifest itself with the idea of expanding my team, that’s not a revenue goal, but that’s a goal towards making my business more stable and so that getting down below the surface of the original goal and understanding what it was that I really wanted with that original goal has given me a broader and opened me up to ideas and things that are contributing to what the real goal was, but were not incorporated in what I thought the first goal of just generating revenue was.
JP: That’s great advice to drill down below the surface because you are right, most people, especially entrepreneurs, we have revenue goals because we like to make money, a lot of entrepreneurs are in it to make money, most of the successful ones are and…
Scot: That’s part of it absolutely.
JP: Exactly it’s part of it, but you are right, you got to drill down below that because there are other things like for me it’s personal freedom, that’s my main goal to owning my own business is to have that personal freedom, be my own boss, not have somebody decide when I can take a vacation or decide when I can take a day off work or decide what hours I work during the day; to live under that it really stresses me out, I like to have the personal freedom to make all those decisions myself even though what that means is that I get up at 5 in the morning, I am working by 6 in the morning and I am usually, if I don’t have Sydney, my daughter, I work until 8 at night. You work a lot more. There is a saying that “If you work hard enough, you will eventually get to be the boss” and instead of working 8 hours a day, you get to work 16 hours a day.
Scot: That’s right. You have complete – that’s why I said early, you have complete flexibility over how you organize your 20-hour day.
JP: Yes, it’s so true, but I love every one of those 20 hours.
Scot: Absolutely and that’s one of the really important things. I do think that it is absolutely critical and people told me this years and years ago and I think I just kind of locked into it that I wound up doing something that I enjoy thoroughly, but you’ve got to do something that you are going to enjoy doing for 20 hours day because there is no motivation that is strong enough to overcome if you don’t like what you are doing.
JP: Yes. Steve Jobs said the same thing “You have to do something you are passionate about” because if you don’t care that enough about it, if you don’t love it then when the times gets tough and you hit an obstacle, you will just give up. So, you have to do what you love.
JP: All right. We have time for a couple more questions and then I am off to my next podcast interview; I am booked today back to back. My voice is going to be shot by the end of this day.
JP: So, there is couple more questions. Looking back over your 29 successful years as an entrepreneur, would you do anything differently?
Scot: There is always a temptation to say no because I am fairly happy with where I am, but absolutely there are things I alluded to earlier starting my own business, starting my own broker-dealer at the age of, I think 26 I was, I might not have done that simply because it wound up being a big distraction for what really is what I enjoy in the business. Second of all, I think I would be a lot more humble and I probably would have tried to learn a lot more from other people earlier in my career, I think I have figured it out or I am figuring out and doing a better job of realizing that there is so much to be learned from other people and I don’t have to go it alone, I don’t have to learn it myself, I can look at what other people do and talk to other people and learn from their experience and their ideas and may be the biggest one is I have tended to be a lone wolf in my career and kind of operated independently and I think I would have focused a lot more on how to work with a team and how to build the team earlier in my career and I think my business would be much bigger, much broader, much more successful if I had learned to work as part of a team and build the team as opposed to enjoying kind of the lone wolf side of it.
JP: Yes, that’s great advice not going it alone. A lot of us entrepreneurs struggle with that. We want to be in control, we want to do it ourselves and then we end up being alone in our business and it’s so important to not be alone in your business and you don’t have to be. There are a lot of other entrepreneurs going through the same thing. There are other business coaches you can hire. There are mastermind groups that you can join and all those connections lead to more opportunities and more ideas and more success and if you are trying to go it alone, it’s like trying to row a boat with one oar, you end up sometimes just going in circles.
Scot: Yes and a boat with one oar is not a boat, it’s a canoe. It just is a totally different process and I would definitely say I have learned the hard way. I have spent a lot of time fighting the idea of bringing in a partner, finding a partner, bringing other people in because it would cost me money or I would have to give up some of the profits, but what I have found is that a good partner more than pay for themselves; one plus one equals two and half or three in a good partnership scenario.
JP: Yes, and I talk about my partner, Greg, who introduced me to you years ago and it was the same way with him. He and I complemented each other so well that I don’t know that either of us would have been successful on our own, but the combination of the two of us is what ended up allowing us to build a successful company.
Scot: To go to follow up on that line of discussion with Greg, I had a venture that I started into with Greg a few years ago; it wound up not producing the results that we wanted. We parted ways on that venture, we are still good friends, we still work together on finances and things, but that venture didn’t go the way that we wanted, but through that venture he got me involved with a networking group and through that networking group, I met the lady who is now my business partner. I mean when you reach out to other people, it’s not just necessarily the direct business that you generate from that, it’s the people that you meet, the ideas that you are introduced to, the opportunities that they bring to the table, it just brings so much and I was just completely unaware that it would bless me in that many ways and so, when you reach out and work with other people, it just adds a lot more than you realize it’s going to add.
JP: Yes, I met Greg at a networking event myself and I almost didn’t go – that was back when I was doing web consulting independently on my own and I went to a networking event and Greg introduced himself to me and we exchanged business cards and I had no idea at that time that that was going to lead to partnership that lasted – I think we were partners about seven years, so we were business partners for about seven years and we ended up selling a successful web startup as a result of me getting off my rear end and actually going to that networking event that I didn’t want to go to.
Scot: Well, you just answered my question. I will be going to my networking lunch today.
JP: There you go, got to get out. You never know – so, I tell people, you never know that opportunity of a lifetime may be waiting on the other side of that short car ride and do you want to take the chance on missing that? So, no, got to go, you got to make yourself go.
Scot: Yes, you are right.
JP: All right we have last question quickly. What is the most important piece of advice that you can give someone who wants to start their own business?
Scot: Oh good, I am glad you asked this question because I give this advice to a lot of people. Starting a business is not a build it and they will come process, you have got to be proactive, proactive, proactive and going out and finding customers for whatever it is that you sell and don’t be put off by the word “sell” or “sales” or anything like that. Life is about sales and you are always selling an idea/concept whether it’s the idea what they have for dinner tonight or what to do for a family vacation, you are always putting forward ideas and trying to present the ideas that you would like to see come to fruition, you are always trying to get other people to sign on and agree with those ideas, don’t be afraid of sales, you’ve got to do it. I had a good friend or I should say a good friend up in Evergreen years ago who started a salon, not a business that I know anything about, but I knew that she was going to fail miserably because her whole concept was built around finding a cute name for the salon and getting a cool sign made and she felt that that would go ahead and attract lots and lots of customers and I tried to tell her no, no, no you’ve got to find ways to be proactive and reach out to people and educate them as to why they should do business with you instead of somebody else, you cannot just build it because people will not come, you have got to market it, you’ve got to reach out, you’ve got to go get clients.
JP: Yes, you do, you got to do it in whatever way it takes. There are lots of ways to do it and I tell people the same thing, it’s not a field of dream, this isn’t Hollywood. You got to drag in there kicking and screaming if you have to.
Scot: Again, it gets back to some of the things we talked about earlier, there’s going to be things you have to do in that process that you don’t enjoy, it’s not cold calling so much anymore these days, but there’s other aspects. I would rather stay here in my office and get caught up on some paperwork today than go to this networking meeting, but as we’ve talked about I need to go to that networking meeting because that’s where opportunities are created. The paperwork will be here waiting for me.
JP: Yes, it will. All right Scot, we are out of time, but thank you so much for joining me on this episode of the Smart Energized Entrepreneurs Podcast.
Scot: Thank you JP, always a pleasure chatting with you.
JP: This was a lot of fun, a lot of good information. We will talk soon Scot, thanks.
Scot: Yes, we got to do lunch soon.
JP: You bet.
Scot: Thanks JP.
JP: Thanks, bye.
Those of you who are just starting out in your new business or may be haven’t even launched yet or may be you’ve launched, but you haven’t been doing it very long, thinking about the prospect of doing it for 29 years may seem unrealistic or daunting or impossible, but if you just keep going, if you keep putting one foot in front of the other, then before you know you are going to be doing this for a long time, you are going to get your level of success whatever level of success that you want, you just have to keep going just like Scot did and hopefully you learned the importance of delegation and assembling a team to help you so that you don’t go insane and you don’t have to work your life away and miss out on everything that’s important to you while you are going through this process. All of the stuffs that we talked about during this episode, the books, and any of the websites, are going to be available on the show notes page. So, go there and check that out now. The show notes page can be reached at JPStonestreet.com. Until next time, thank you for joining me and Scot Barringer on the Smart Energized Entrepreneurs Podcast.