Our Sept 25 Grand Connection was very valuable!
Mike Wolf shared with us how to work smarter and not harder in business. Like most people he started out broke not really knowing how to build a business and that he did not have a clue.
Since then, he has participated in a lot of entrepreneurial ventures. He said there is an evolution and there’s never really a finish line. He recommends to just keep going and keep making it better as you evolve!
Mike figured it all out of necessity – how to have balance and go from being a workaholic to playaholic and now to do the things that he loves.
What are the three phases of building a freedom business?
- The first one is being a solopreneur where we do everything ourselves until we hit that brick wall where we can’t possibly work anymore hours.
- Then there is the second phase which he calls the micromanager phase. This is where you reluctantly hire somebody, and you need to know everything that’s going on every minute of the day. He says you spend just as much time doing the work as we used to and you are now babysitting instead.
- The first two phases are solopreneur, second one is being the micromanager and the third one is where you put trust in your people. You empower your people on your team to make their own decisions.
As entrepreneurs we tend to be control freaks. It takes a while before we have the faith to jump to that third phase where we can trust the people on our teams and empower them. A question he asks of himself is: Where else can I take myself out of the equation, get my time back and what systems can I put in place?
Once you give up that control, you get to that third phase. That’s when life gets really good and you start to get your freedom and your time back. He told us that he knows it’s not easy.
He says every entrepreneur he knows struggles with the third phase and once they can get there, their life dramatically changes for the better.
He told us that the people on his team are better at what they do than he has ever been at the things that they know within their expertise. Mike said he lets them just do their thing, everything just happens, magically, and it just gets done. When he gets in there, he just makes a big mess of things. He makes more money when he travels and let’s go of the control. When he does the things he loves, ironically, he makes more money. He works his business around his lifestyle, not the other way around. That’s why he encourages people to do the same as they are building their business. He recommends to not let it take over your life. He is passionate about this and says this is the reason we became entrepreneurs in the first place.
Mike shares that we want to empower ourselves and often our ventures take up our entire life, take away all our freedoms and don’t allow us to do the things that we should and want to be doing. Make sure you base your work around the lifestyle that you want to lead, not the other way around.
A lot of entrepreneurs are bootstrapped for cash and that’s fine. You don’t have to have a lot of cash to start up a business. He recommends having a funnel and you have to have the right marketing to go with it.
What would you say are the three biggest business mistakes that we need to avoid?
- One of the biggest mistakes he sees is people looking for all the paid stuff they think that’s going to change everything. The silver bullet that’s going to change their lives. People are passing up on all this free or almost free stuff that they could be doing. For example, we all carry around our phones. He is amazed how many people don’t have a YouTube channel. It’s free, back in my day, the barrier to get onto TV was very high. These days the barrier to get onto YouTube is anybody can do it. He is always amazed that not everybody’s doing it. YouTube is free. Number one,
YouTube is owned by Google. When people do a search for whatever topic. Whatever problem your business solves for people search that on Google, the people that get ranked the highest are the people with YouTube videos that have engagement. He recommends starting to shoot videos, set up a YouTube channel and start posting videos. He says if you don’t know what to post, start with the 10 most frequently asked questions you get. Not only will people be searching for those also it’s going to save you from having to explain. By sending people a link, it saves me from having to go explain in detail on a certain topic so saving me time.
Another almost free opportunity is meetup groups (meetup.com) for those of you don’t know. I can set up a Meetup group called real estate investors of Calgary, for example, and then people who have mentioned that they like real estate investing will get an email saying, hey, there’s this new group in Calgary called real estate investors of Calgary. Do you want to sign up? For $72 for a year and you get three different groups. It’s not free, it’s almost free and you’re getting people raising their hand saying, hey, I’m part of your tribe. I want to learn about real estate investing, raising their hand and saying they want what you’ve got.
He recommends that everyone should have a YouTube channel and a Meetup group. And he believes everybody should join a lot of other people’s meetup groups on the same topic because you want to go network with other people that have an interest in the same area as you.
He told us that if we are going to be able to survive through the pandemic and that we are going to be here in six months, start doing that free stuff and get your name out there.
- The second thing is working smart not hard. We were brought up to work hard. What Mike tells us to do is not to work hard, to work smart and use leverage with other people’s expertise, other people’s time and other people’s money. He shared a lot of times you can get other people to fund your business if they believe in what you’re doing, especially if they can see you’re going to make a good return and you may not have a lot of cash yet.
An example he gave was a pub in Calgary he bought and did a joint venture with an expert in the restaurant business. He put up the money to buy it and knew nothing about the pub business. He put up all the cash and didn’t do a single day’s work in this pub.
The expert did all the work and they agreed to this beforehand and he was very happy because that was his passion, being in the pub. The restaurant/pub expert did all the work and went there every day and loved it. The moral of the story is Mike’s buddy who didn’t take a dime out of his pocket on the pub made a lot of money. For Mike it did not take up any of his time, which to him was the most precious thing. He made a lot of money on it without doing any work. Mike told us to start to think creatively, how you can leverage other people’s talents. Without the expert Mike would have never been able to do the pub because he was the expert without me and he wouldn’t have had the finances to do it. Mike told us to use leverage and be creative.
Mike said to get to the next level in your business because a lot of people get stuck because they don’t think they have enough resources and enough time. Use other people’s time and other people’s resources to team up with them and always create a win/win. Make sure it’s a win for them too. Mike was happy to share they sold the pub for about a year and a half, made quite a bit of money on it and we’re still very good friends today and would do it all over again. If we found another opportunity like that.
- The third thing he recommends is get yourself a mentor. Be a lifelong learner, learn from other people’s experiences and other people’s knowledge. Get yourself a mentor, get somebody who’s paved the path before you, to help you and show you how to do it.
He shared that being humble enough and to go ask for help. Go ask for help, go find other people who have the knowledge and let them show you how to do it.
Get somebody else’s life work and life knowledge for 20 bucks, that’s good value. Go read a lot, attend a lot of events and find somebody who resonates with you and find a way to work with them and get them to help you.
The important first steps to creating a freedom lifestyle business is to always start with the end in mind. You can’t afford not to have the right people in the right positions because you’re really limiting yourself. Think of creative ways to get people on your team if you can’t afford them.