How To Kill It in Operations

Episode 68 February 16, 2023 00:49:30
How To Kill It in Operations
The Agency Hour
How To Kill It in Operations

Feb 16 2023 | 00:49:30


Hosted By

Troy Dean Johnny Flash

Show Notes

Join Troy Dean on this week's episode of The Agency Hour Podcast as he interviews Alexys Bartok, CEO & Founder of Process to Profit, an operations consultant from Atlanta, Georgia.

In this episode, Alexys shares her expertise in breaking down and rebuilding companies, helping listeners move from being stressed-out to shareholder.

The discussion covers topics such as process improvement, delegating to team members, and codifying intellectual property, making it a must-listen for anyone struggling with overcomplicating things in their business. Don't miss out on this opportunity to learn from a top expert in the field.

Free guide to fix the root issue & stop drowning in your business. Scale without sacrifice: 

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 So I like to kind of take a step back and start like super high level in terms of, I like to call it the system skeleton. And so the sales and the marketing of the business is the blood of the business. You have to have it in order for it to exist. But the operations, which most people don't really understand what operations actually is, and the best way to explain it is it's like the skeleton where it allows the business, allows the blood to flow, it allows it to grow, and eventually go from a crawling toddler to a running person. So it allows it to grow. Speaker 2 00:00:33 Welcome to the Agency Hour podcast. This week we are joined by Alexis Barock, c e o, and founder of Process to Profit, all the way from Atlanta, Georgia. Alexis is an operations consultant obsessed with breaking down and rebuilding companies. She's fantastic at what she does, and her mission is to take you from stressed out to shareholder. In this episode, we discussed being addicted to chaos, being open to changing your processes, and learning to let your team take the wheel, as well as the anatomy of a process and how to codify your ip. And whether or not you should, if you're struggling with over complicating things in your business, you won't wanna miss this one. I'm Troy Dean, stay with us. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the hi hour, the one and only Alexis Barock, all the way from Atlanta, Georgia. Hello, Alexis. Thank you for joining us. Speaker 0 00:01:22 Hi, Troy. Thanks so much for having me. I'm so thankful for being here. Speaker 2 00:01:25 Well, we are very thankful for you being here. For those that don't know, uh, Alexis has been working with us inside our company here to help us sort out our processes. We thought we were doing a pretty good job. But my word, when you have someone like Alexis come in and actually start sorting out your processes, you realize how many gaps there were and how many things need improving. Before we dive into this, uh, whole, you know, scale without sacrifice and process for profit conversation that we're gonna have, just give people a little bit of background. Who are you, what are you doing here? How did you get into this? Speaker 0 00:01:55 What a journey, what a journey. It could go down <laugh>, professionally. I like to say I'm an operations developer, so kind of a consultant, kind of an agency owner, um, coming in to take this craziness that you created, which is your business, make it no longer be your baby. Make it a machine with systems, processes and team that if you wanted, you could sell. So I take you from stressed out to shareholder is how I like to put it. Speaker 2 00:02:23 Yes. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that makes perfect sense. And I think that's why we hired you. Yes. <laugh>. And, and why, like, why this, why, why, why, why is this your calling? Speaker 0 00:02:34 Yeah. You know, it's interesting. I think I, for a while I said this was my mission, but I didn't fully understand it until only about six months ago. And I've said that my mission is to help people enjoy the moments that will never come again. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So I want you to buy back your time and have time and money, freedom. Enjoy your children, enjoy your loved ones. And actually, in October of this past year, my father passed away. And that made this switch in me where I was like, I have to take this up a notch. I have to help more people. Because when I was thinking back on times with him, I was so thankful for all of the happy memories that came. And so really that's my why is to make sure that every father like you, Troy, gets to spend as much time with your children as possible. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, or as much as you want to spend time with your children. Speaker 2 00:03:31 I'm so sorry to hear that. And, and thank you for sharing. I, I, you know, I, I have this, I have conversations with agents, owners every day, and they forget why they started their own business and they get trapped in their own business and they end up resenting their own business. I'm having these many conversations in Slack channels at the moment, this very conversation about agency owners who feel stuck and they feel trapped and they can't back out. It's so, I call it a zombie company where you've built something that's too big to shut down, but it's not big enough for you to get out or to really, it's not, you know, scaling yet, but it's too big to shut it down because you've got staff, you've got clients you need to look after, and you're stuck in it, and you're walking around like a zombie. Speaker 2 00:04:10 And it's a horrible place to be. And it d it, I've been there before and, you know, I've went through that journey. I got through what Seth Gordon calls the dip, and we've come out the other side and now we're doing it again. Um, but it eats into your head space. You go home from work and you're grumpy. You're not present with your family and your kids. Your, your mind is elsewhere and you're distracted. It's a horrible place to be. Uh, so it sounds like you've got a very big personal reason for sharing your expertise with clients. How did you, what, what, what was your journey to actually learn what you've learned so far and then be able to apply it to other business models? Speaker 0 00:04:49 Yeah. I actually started as a virtual assistant at Digital Marketing Agency. And I started when, I think that was in 2018, and just kind of hopped in and very quickly scaled up from being a VA to an executive assistant, to an account manager, to a project manager, to operations manager. And then eventually I was offered a COO position. And so that was an incredible experience because that all happened within about a two year span. Um, and really that opened my eyes to the possibilities of online. I didn't even know <laugh> about the openness of, of just the digital world. So that kind of unlocked it for me. And then I did it again. And so I actually ended up leaving that position and was freelancing for project management and some operations. And then quickly, um, during 2020 when the whole world was a crazy place to be, I decided I wanted to be a part of a team and really make a bigger difference. And so I joined in as an executive assistant at another online company. And within four months that time I was offered a COO position. And so, huh. At that point I was like, okay, there's something about operations that I'm good at. And I just started diving in learning, reading, um, applying, and went out on my own. And then I Wow. Just have kind of grown from there. Speaker 2 00:06:13 Fantastic. Um, how, what, who are your typical clients that you serve? Speaker 0 00:06:17 I typically work with coaches, consultants, and agency owners. Um, a wide variety. So like the smallest would be someone that is still already hitting that multi-six figure a year mark, but they're really a solopreneur. Um, so kind of what you were talking about where it's just like a real stressful, there's no way out, and the most often is people that are already hitting that like million dollar years, but they just really need the systems, processes, and team in order to scale and make it sellable. Speaker 2 00:06:46 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, we have clients who are over seven figures a year. I, we have some clients that have been doing this for 20 years and are doing really well financially, but they just can't step away from the business because the business owner is the linchpin. Right. They have all the knowledge is in their head. All of the, every time a client calls, they ask for the business owner. Every email that comes in is addressed to the business owner because the business owner knows everything and isn't either isn't prepared to let go or hasn't been able to let go or doesn't think they have the time to let go, or doesn't believe that anyone else can do it as good as them. And I think I was in that position for a long time until I realized the only way forward is to make a decision. Speaker 2 00:07:32 You, you, I don't think you can wait for your business to be in a certain position and then go, oh, well now I can take Fridays off. I think you have to make the decision to take Fridays off and then build whatever structure you need to make sure the shit doesn't hit the fan too bad when you're not there on a Friday. Right. Because if you don't, if you don't just put in your calendar Fridays off, you'll never take Fridays off. Cuz you'll always find a reason to go to work on Friday. Because I think that's how most small business owners feel useful is by being in their business and working and being productive and contributing. Right. I'm curious about h how you navigate that psychological aspect to a business owner who's just not for whatever reason, not really prepared to let go. How do you, how do you help them navigate that? Speaker 0 00:08:18 To be really honest, someone has to be in enough pain to work with me. And, cause I've tried and I've like made this realization that you have to be dealing with what you're talking about of like wanting something else, but actually you're sitting on your laptop on the couch while watching a movie with your family and you're missing the kids' soccer games. And so there has to be a level of, you get to choose, do you want to forever trade your time for money? Do you want to stay in this phenomenon or can we, can we move on and can we move forward? And so a lot of it is psychological. Part of it is just having a consultant or strategist that makes them feel safe in order to make these decisions in terms of hiring or system changes where like sometimes just my presence is enough. Other times it is being comfortable being called out and be like, okay, well is that really true? Are you really the only person that can do that? Which is not true? Or is it something where you feel worthy of the success you've created and you feel important because you have put yourself in that position. Speaker 2 00:09:30 I've observed this a lot, particularly with men. And I don't mean to be, you know, too gender bias here, but I have observed this a lot with men where they are really, they don't know what else to do with themselves. So therefore they're not prepared to let go of the, the, the wheel of the bus because if they're not driving the bus, it's like, well, fuck, who am I? Like what, what do I do? Like what value do I add? Am I no longer relevant? Am I no longer important? And that's really confronting for, you know, traditionally someone who is proud to be a provider, they've built this business, they're really proud of the success that they've achieved and, and what they've grown and the team that they've assembled and the clients that they serve. And if they're like, well if I'm not driving the bus and I'm not providing for my family, you know, what am I supposed to do with myself? Speaker 2 00:10:16 And I, I, I think there's a comment more than a question, but, um, and again, I don't mean to be too gender biased, but it's just my observation that men get a lot of their self-worth out of that status and that pride, myself included, and it's taken a long time for me anyway, to realize that. And you, and you mentioned it before, and this is a phrase that I've picked up from you, is that your business is not your baby. It's an asset that is, that can continue to generate good profit for you and your family if you just stop treating it like your baby. Cuz if you treat it like your baby, you're making emotional decisions, you're making decisions about the business based on your pride and your ego, and that's not, they're not usually the best ways to make those decisions. Right. Speaker 0 00:11:00 Right. And I think it's also changing the association of what providing needs, because it doesn't have to be so direct of you are only providing for your family mm-hmm. <affirmative> and it actually changes to you are now providing for your team's families and you are now creating and providing time, freedom and time with your family. So it's a different level of providing. And I do agree, I see it all the time, um, especially in men. It is true of this uneasiness because who am I without my business? Who am I if I don't have the control? And we do have, as entrepreneurs since there's been a, there was a study, I think at the University of Queensland in Australia that brought out the addiction to chaos that 90, like a lot of the times can't remember the exact data, but entrepreneurs more often than not grew up with a difficult upbringing, um, because they're so good at problem solving, but they are addicted to chaos. And so they will create chaos mm-hmm. <affirmative> rather than allowing it to be good. Because if it's good, then it was too easy and you're not worthy or deserving of reaping the benefits. Speaker 2 00:12:13 Mm-hmm. That is so true. Uh, I had identified a while ago after we had some, you know, I'm talking three, four years ago, we had some team members leave and on the way out their exit interview, they were basically like, well, you're not letting me do my job because you, you, you come in at the last minute and play Superman and try and save the day. And that was a real eyeopener for me. Um, in fact, I told Max yesterday, and I'm gonna tell him again. Tell me to just shut the fuck up, dude. Just say, no, get out of the way. We've made the decision. Shut up. Leave us alone. Right. <laugh>, because I'm constantly like cr I I love problem solving. I think we all love problem solving cause it makes us feel good, but if there's not an obvious problem to solve, we'll go f we'll go create one just so we can then solve it and go Yeah. Speaker 2 00:12:59 Look me, I solve the problem. Part of part of, um, delegating is I have a very particular approach to processes and part of delegating, uh, I think where people get stuck is that they, and and I'm curious cuz I know you have a very particular take on this as well, and I'm sure I can learn from your experience here. I don't have the patience to document a process to the point where I can then go, oh, well that's ready for someone to come in and and run it. What I like to do is hire someone who's already done it before and then get them to teach me their process. Right. That's, for me, that's a faster way to move. I also know that it's not for the fainthearted because it's quite scary, yet there's a lot of trust in someone else coming in, especially if it's anything client facing. Speaker 2 00:13:45 Right. If you're hiring for a role that's client facing, like project management, account management, biz dev, if you're hiring an an accountant or a bookkeeper, I don't understand their process. I trust their process. They're not really client facing most of the time, so it's okay. How do you, how do you prevent business owners getting stuck trying to optimize their processes before they grow the team? Or is it a, is it a bit of balance about, well the process is good enough that we can bring someone in and our expectations are that they will follow this process but also continue to improve it? What, what's your your take on this? Speaker 0 00:14:19 Yeah, I think there's two parts to that of, one, there's so much work that has to be done before you hire. And it's not even necessarily in the documentation of the processes, it's more in the expectations and intention of the hire. So if the intention is this person's gonna come in, set this up, we're gonna see how it goes, they're gonna grow into the company. Cool. Now we know that the processes that need to be put in place, maybe you only need to be at about 40% completion because we're actually expecting this person to step in. If we're hiring someone a little bit, bit more entry level and the intention is to buy back time, immediately, get things off the plates, then really we wanna be at least an 80 per 90% completion in terms of documentation. Um, I think a lot of times documentation we overcomplicate mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so like, yeah, my team will come in and create the documented SOPs and put it out in a beautiful way. But all you have to do is record a loom video. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, like, keep it as simple as possible because a new hire, we're really hiring for their traits. They're the culture fit, they're, are they really excited and gung ho and driven and excited to, to grow with the company? They'll figure it out off of a loom video. Speaker 2 00:15:31 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. And, and also, um, that indicates that they're resourceful. One of the things I, one of the things I used to do was give people most of the process, but deliberately leave some information out just to see if they would come back and if they'd solve the problem themselves. Or if they'd come back and say, you know, I was looking for communication, I was looking for resourcefulness, I was looking for resilience, I was looking for those character traits because I think the, the stuff that we do can be taught if the right, if the right character traits have been hired in that role. Um, now I also think that there's a balance because you don't, I quite often tell our clients, we're not a community college, so we're not here to hire people and then teach 'em how to be a project manager. We're here to hire project managers and then teach them how we do things in this business. Speaker 2 00:16:15 But let them come in and if they come in and go, well that's not how we project manage. We project manage this way because it's way more efficient. Totally fine. But the mistake I think I've seen a lot is agency owners particularly who are not very strong at project management, hire a project manager and then teach that project manager their process, which isn't very good. Right. And, and the, and I've saw one agency only go through about five or six project managers in a year because the project managers kept leaving going, well, I'm not doing it that way because that way's not efficient and you won't let me bring my expertise to the role. I, yeah. I think, comment, comment more than a question, but I'm curious about your thoughts on that <laugh> Speaker 0 00:16:55 <laugh>. No, I mean, I'd, I'd agree. I think, like I said, it's more about the intention. Like are you open to changing? It's one of my clients right now is an agency owner and this is what we're talking about. Cuz I've actually been working with her project manager and it's been a conversation of are you open to changing how your current processes are for the ideas that the project manager is bringing? And sometimes it's yes, and sometimes it's no and it's communicating that in a way where the parts that she's not 100% comfortable letting go of yet, it's like, okay, that's totally fine, but let's communicate that with the project manager and say, Hey, I'm just a little bit nervous about some of this just because I am working on letting go. So I wanna give you this part of the business. I wanna keep doing it how we're doing it, and then give the rest over to you to kind of test the new hire if you will. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Mm. Um, cuz I think there does have to be a level of, if you aren't as trusting as Troy, like Troy, you're incredible in letting the team hop in, take over. You've also had experience doing it. So sometimes new agency owners still have that belief of it's my baby. Hmm. So there is finding that, that fine line, I Speaker 2 00:18:06 Think I've, I've heard, I've heard this before, I've heard people that we've worked with before say that, you know, I'm really, you know, kind of hands off and letting the team do their thing for the most part. Um, I think the, how I've got there is one I've realized that there's no alternative. Well there is the, it's called burnout. The alternative is just burnout. Right. And I've been there and it's horrible. Like literally wake up like at night chest pains, can't think, wake up the next day, go, oh fuck, I just can't do anything. Lay on the couch all day and watch law and order reruns and cancel my point, cancel my calendar. Right. I've done that more than a handful of times and it's a horrible place to be. Um, I've also realized that the way to let your team go is to be prepared for them to make mistakes that are gonna cost money. Speaker 2 00:19:01 And that's okay. That's an investment in the team. It's an investment in the processes, it's an investment in the business. Most, not most, a lot of business owners aren't prepared to do that because it potentially could cost money. When I say it's cost us money, it's cost us revenue. It hasn't, you know, I'm sure and it has actually cost us some money in the past where clients we've underdelivered, but it's, most of the time it's cost us revenue. Because I look at what's happening from a marketing and a sales point of view and go, there are just so many holes there, you know, that could be fixed, but I can't fix them. And I used to try and dive in and fix them and then that would just cause more gaps down the road. So you have to be prepared to step back and treat yourself as a board member or a shareholder and go, all right, well this thing is not performing at its best, but that's okay. We can improve. We know what we need to fix. We know it's gonna take some time. But as a board member and a shareholder, I am not allowed to fix things. I have to let the team do it. Even if that means I can see that we are leaving money on the table or we are losing, you know, we've had to refund that customer or whatever it was. That's just part of the process of learning and letting the business grow and evolve and stand on its own two feet. Speaker 0 00:20:14 Yeah. And I think that's also why when we're talking about deciding who to hire and being intentional about it, part of it is like, okay, what's the margin? What is the margin for error both in revenue and in time? And if it makes sense, like does it make sense at the first hire is a project manager, is that gonna be the quickest thing? Is it someone that can VA or an EA that can come in and it's pretty low level tasks that we can get off your plate right away? Is it actually like a copywriter or someone in fulfillment? So there's like a strategy to it of, you know, sometimes it does make sense to hire someone like a marketing agency or a fulfillment, someone that's gonna be a little bit more of an investment because they're gonna buy back your time and do it way better than you ever could. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> other times it actually we need to put you into the reinvestment phase where you're actually reinvesting your time into the business, which means the number one thing we're looking for is buying back your time. Mm. And so that's usually more of like a mid, like someone that doesn't have a whole bunch of team mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but has enough and maybe that's actually cutting team cuz sometimes there's an excess Speaker 2 00:21:26 As well. I wanna come back and talk about that in a second. How do we know what to process and what to document and what not to, I've got cuz humans are pretty good at solving problems and thinking creatively if they're given the right playground in order to do that. So at what point do you go, well we don't need to process that because we actually need a human being to think here and make some recommendations and make some decisions. We don't wanna document that because we are not sure. You know, so one example is when we're having regular strategy meetings with clients, we can have a framework for running those strategy meetings, but the prescription and what we are going to recommend to the client can't always be documented because things change. And it's a, it's a dynamic space in which we operate the, the digital marketing space. Right. So how do you know when, okay, let's not pro let's not document that, let's let the human being do their thing and think. Speaker 0 00:22:16 Yeah. Um, so I like to kind of take a step back and start like super high level in terms of, I like to call it the system skeleton. And so the sales and the marketing of the business is the blood of the business. You have to have it in order for it to exist. But the operations, which most people don't really understand what operations actually is, and the best way to explain it is it's like the skeleton where it allows the business, allows the blood to flow, it allows it to grow and eventually go from a crawling toddler to a running person. So it allows it to grow. So I like to call it a system skeleton because from like a very high level, we wanna see what systems run this business in under 10 systems or less. Like it should not be more than 10 steps. Speaker 0 00:23:01 And then from there you can find the sub-processes of, you know, especially in fulfillment, if it's like an agency, what are the phases, the assembling line that we need to build out to really make it scalable? And so through that work you'll be able to see a little bit more in terms of does this need to be a process or just a framework? Um, the easiest way, like without going into how to create a system skeleton, the easiest way is one, is this a repeatable task? If I were to pay someone to do this task or pay myself, how much would it be? Like how much is that actually worth? And then like I said, it could just be a Loom video or it could just be like diagrammed out of what the process is. So it doesn't necessarily have to be like 150 page manual of how the business works Speaker 2 00:23:51 <laugh>. Mm-hmm. And I think that's where a lot of people get stuck because they want this mm-hmm. <affirmative> impressive. I've seen agencies show off about their operations manual and it's 150 pages long and 143 of 'em are relevant now because things have changed and they haven't updated it, but they've got this great thing on the shelf. Right. I have to ask this question because the lizard brain of all the people listening, uh, are dying to know what is the go-to software platform for operations and documentation and processes. What should we be using Speaker 0 00:24:18 <laugh>? I think it's different for every person. And I know that is not like for every company and I know that's not what you want to hear. Um, it's different. Like for instance, I do it for clients. And so I don't use things like Tango or Scribe, which both are great. Is it Speaker 2 00:24:35 Scribe? Yeah, scribe. How Yeah, I'm saying that Speaker 0 00:24:37 Right. Yeah. Okay. Um, those are both great, but what we do is we actually leverage chat G P t. Hmm. Um, so we have, and this is what I would suggest in terms of if you have like multiple team members and you have one person on your team in charge of creating the SOPs Hmm. Which would be the goal. Uh, eventually if you're knocking outsource to an agency like ours, then that's what I would definitely suggest. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> is having someone on the team that's like your systems person and send them the Loom video, take the transcription, throw it into chat g p t, get the summary, put it into a document, and then pull out the information from the Loom video into the doc. Wow. And then you can place it wherever makes the most sense. Like you can either put it into a notion, you can put it into click up. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I like to do it in multiple places. So there's like a, a company wiki in notion if that's what the company prefers mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but also having the SOPs linked to the appropriate scorecard for each role. Speaker 2 00:25:37 Mm-hmm. That's great. I love it. So I I wasn't aware that chat G p t could r write a summary of a transcription of a video. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:25:46 Cool. I know I just gave away my secret sauce. Speaker 2 00:25:48 That's very cool. That's Speaker 0 00:25:50 Great <laugh>. But it's really Speaker 2 00:25:51 Cool. How do you know which people are listening to this going great. I'm really excited about this. Which processes should I work on first? Speaker 0 00:25:59 I think the question to ask is like, why are you working on processes in the first place? And typically for agency owners, it's that they are maxed out for time and they are don't know how to scale this thing. Like one new client actually feels like more work instead of more freedom. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> or excitement. And so typically for agencies, I suggest starting with the fulfillment. Uh, because once you have fulfillment down both in terms of process and system, but also in team, then it's like smooth sailing and you won't sabotage growth. Speaker 2 00:26:33 Mm. I love it. I love it. I'm the complete opposite. I'm like, let's just sell the shit out of everything and then figure out what breaks on the back end. Uh, but I love it and it's good. I lo I love this kind of, I love learning from people who come at it from a different approach because I have a very particular lens through which I see everything, which isn't always the best, uh, the best lens. Um, Speaker 0 00:26:55 Well let me say before you move on though. Sure. Like to preface that that's only if you have sales and marketing, like I'm not saying start to start from scratch mm-hmm. Build out your fulfillment process. Mm-hmm. Like, definitely not when you're starting to hit overwhelm or when you're starting to be like, oh, I should probably work on my processes. Mm-hmm. That's when to work on the sale, the fulfillment side of things. Mm-hmm. Speaker 2 00:27:17 Um, what, what, what's the, what's the, I mean, I know every process is different, every business is different. But if, if you had to like, you know, in, in, in 30 seconds, describe the anatomy of a process. If someone's like, all right, I've got my Google doc open. Like what are the four or five headlines that I need in a process that I need to fill in? What, what's your go-to anatomy of a, of a standard operating procedure? Whew. Speaker 0 00:27:38 That's a very good question. <laugh>. I do Speaker 2 00:27:42 It. This is not scripted ladies and gentlemen. Speaker 0 00:27:44 <laugh>, I do it a little bit different than most. I know a lot of people have like the purpose and all of that purpose procedure. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, in the top, I will have like the key team member when this is happening and the department it's responsible for. Then I like to have an overview. I like to call it like a table of contents, which bookmarks to the rest of the process. So like one through five, these are the five steps you have to do. And then the number one most important part of it that gets shoved a lot of the time is the expected result and the intended outcome. And those are actually two separate things. The expected result is from this, what is the result? So like from recording a podcast, we get to talk about fun, exciting things and grow our network. The intended outcome is how does it affect the company as a whole, which would be like as a whole we are growing our audience, increasing booked calls and you know, adding to our no like and trust. So our lifetime value is increasing. So there's two very different things, which is really important to include, um, specifically in the training part because you want your team to latch onto that intended outcome to see how they impact the business as a whole. Speaker 2 00:28:59 This is where I think it's really difficult to do this work on your own business. Right. And yeah, we, I, full transparency, we thought we'd done a pretty good job of doing this work in our own business until we met you. And then Emily's like, okay, I think we should hire this person. I'm like, all right, well you are the boss, so you know, <laugh>. And, uh, we did, and then I kind of wasn't really across it. Emily was working with you in the background and then she started presenting some things to me and I'm like, holy shit, where did this come from? She's like, yes, that Alexis girl that we hired. I'm like, all right, cool. Uh, and I think it's really difficult to do this in your own business, right? We we're a business coaching company. We coach marketing agencies, web design agencies, digital marketing agencies. Speaker 2 00:29:39 I, I go into a, an agency and I can see within, within two minutes I can see low hanging fruit that we can fix just by looking at their website. Right? I'm like, ah, there's definitely things we can fix here. They can't see it because they're too busy looking at other people's businesses. Right. I think it's really difficult to do this work in your own business, which is why we have consultants like yourself and coaches and other agencies come in and help us and we, you know, pay that forward and help other agencies. Um, more a comment than anything. But, um, how do you keep your source sharp? How do you keep learning and, and how do you keep evolving and making sure that you are staying ahead of the curve? Speaker 0 00:30:19 One, I love it. Like I, for fun, am reading a book every day, at least a chapter of someone that's killing it in operations or, um, I typically have two books at a time. One that's like for more mindset and psychology and the other one that's more for like specific for my learning. Um, and honestly it is a lot of people like you guys that are open to trying new things. My team is open to trying new things. Like we just tried chat g p t three weeks ago and I was like, let's just try it. Let's see how it goes. And it cut our time in half. So really exciting for us internally. But yeah, I think it's reading and finding so much joy in it, like it does not feel like a chore and don't burn out on this stuff. Hearing your client wins make me wanna do it like 10 times more. Mm-hmm. Speaker 2 00:31:10 <affirmative>. Um, so here's something that's interesting for the listeners. I'm doing an onboarding call this afternoon for a new sales accelerator client. I have not done one of these in a long time. Uh, our calendars are full for our onboarding coaches. Uh, this person is in Australia. So Anna pinged me yesterday and said, Hey, are you up for doing an onboarding call tomorrow for a new sales accelerator client? And I said, ordinarily, I'm like, I don't wanna do onboarding calls, but I'm like, yes, I wanna do this one because I like to meet our customers. Two, I wanna see the process, I wanna see how it works. Uh, so Anna flicked me a link to a slide deck Yes. That we have to run the onboarding call. I'm like, what? We have a slide deck. That's amazing. I would never have gotten around to doing that. Speaker 2 00:31:54 That's awesome. And Anna's gonna join me and we are gonna do the onboarding call together and follow the process. And I'm super excited about it. Not only because I get to, uh, do something that I haven't done for a long time, but also because this proves the fact that when the rest of our onboarding coaches are at capacity and don't have time, someone else, and we've kind of decided here that everyone in the company needs to do at least one onboarding call with a new client. So they get to meet the clients, they get to meet our customers and know that what we are talking about on our dashboards are not just numbers and statistics, they're real people that we're impacting. And also to follow the process and go, Hey, that works, or let's improve this, or this is missing, or I didn't have access to that, just to see what gaps there are. So I'm really excited about that. Um, and I don't, I haven't had to think about it. Someone's just given me the process. I follow it and do my thing and it's super exciting. Speaker 0 00:32:48 I had no idea that's happening. I am so excited to hear how it goes. Yeah. And definitely poke holes. That's part of it too. Yeah. Like you were saying, like how do you keep this sword sharp? Is is having amazing people like you that are like, yes, this is a process, let's test it out. Let's see how we can make it even better. And that's part of it, like you said, being comfortable with some margin of not necessarily air, but growth. Speaker 2 00:33:10 One thing I do wanna touch on, and this is selfishly, I want a bit of con a bit of free consulting here on the podcast. How do you, one of the things that we are working on here, and, and as you know and I'll share this publicly, is that we are trying to uh, we are trying to really document how there, there, there's a certain, uh, there are certain conversations between us and clients that fall on my desk, right. That come to me because I seem to be the only one with the, uh, I, I don't know what it is, whether it's the experience or because I created the frameworks that we teach and I created the curriculum that we teach or what it is. But there seem to be certain conversations where our clients get stuck in a certain way where I end up getting on a call with 'em and I get them unstuck. Speaker 2 00:33:55 And we are really trying to process that. So I, I'm calling it, we're trying to document how I think and how I solve problems. Right? I don't know how we do this, but I imagine that a lot of coaches, consultants and agency owners who are your target audience and your client base. I imagine a lot of those businesses end up with one person in the business, usually the business owner who has the intellectual property and the experience in their brain that allows them to have these conversations with clients and get clients moving again. How do you take that and turn that into something that other people in the business can follow and execute on? Speaker 0 00:34:32 Do you want the answer you're looking for or do you want the coaching answer? Speaker 2 00:34:40 That's a very good question. Uh, let me talk about the desired outcome and the expected result. <laugh>. Speaker 2 00:34:49 So, so again, full transparency. I believe the most valuable thing that we can do for our clients is to remove me from as much of this business as possible. I'll explain why. Not because I'm an idiot or I'm useless. I mean, partially there's that, but it's because I don't want to be the bottleneck to our client's growth. I don't want a client to be frustrated that they can't move fast enough because they physically cannot get on my calendar. Right. That's why I don't want to be the only person that can have certain conversations with clients in this business because other people dunno how to have the conversation. So what I really want to do is, is I really wanna host the podcast. I love hosting the podcast. I'm, I'm happy to do a live stream in the group a couple of times a month, right? And then I wanna mentor the team, shoot YouTube videos, come up with curriculum, uh, keep producing content. But I really, apart from a handful of clients that I just, um, my buddies that I really enjoyed jamming with, I, I really don't wanna do a lot of coaching because I become the bottleneck. People can't get on my calendar. They wait 10 days for a call, they get stuck, they're frustrated. I feel bad that I'm letting them down. How do we, how do we get me out of that? Speaker 0 00:36:13 Yeah. So the systems answer, I'll give you first and Okay. Cuz I know that's the one you're actually asking for, but then I'm going to, if you're open to it, coach you for a second. <laugh>. A hundred Speaker 2 00:36:24 Percent. I'm I'm up for Speaker 0 00:36:26 It. <laugh>. So the systems answer is one, start auditing what these questions are that are the ones coming up to your desk? Is it, you know, where in the business, what are the consistent struggles? Is it, you know, specific around a certain part of the offer? Is it more mind related? And they need to get out of their own way, which I know Emily and I chatted that through. And so it's kind of finding the actual root issue, which not, it's not always your IP and how to codify your brain, it's actually figuring out what is missing that the clients need that the team and you currently believe only your IP can solve. Mm-hmm. Speaker 2 00:37:07 <affirmative> Speaker 0 00:37:07 Mm-hmm. <affirmative> in terms of how to actually codify IP one, it's just sitting down and just loom video or zoom recordings of you actually talking to the clients, creating these frameworks, but also going back to the team and asking, how would you handle this? What would you say? Like putting it back on the team so that way they start thinking, cuz it does become more of a mentorship between you and the team, um, in order to empower the team to step up and use the IP that they know it's yours, but they're taking it on, they are absorbing it so often that it doesn't even actually have to be codified. It really has been in the company culture and the trainings. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, does that make sense? Speaker 2 00:37:49 Yeah, it does. There's a certain, um, I know I'm not the only person that can do this, but there is something I know that I do really well, which is I can listen to people make them feel heard. I have a certain emotional intelligence I think that I know other people have, but I'm very good at accessing that. My wife's a psychologist too, so I'm very self-aware. I know when other people are struggling with, you know, something that's not technically business related, that they might just be struggling with their own belief or their own confidence. And I'm really good at leaning into people and listening to them and making them feel heard and encouraging them and kind of supporting them to get through that, which is not my favorite thing to do because I'm not a therapist. I'm a I'm a business coach or I'm a marketing guy, right. Um, so, so I'm, yeah, I'm curious to see how that plays out and how we can systemize our marketing and our fulfillment to make it that that's not really a conversation that we have. That's we, we, we are not your therapist. We are here to solve these problems and, and that's what we solve. So I'm curious to see how that unfolds over the next few months as we continue to work with you. Speaker 0 00:38:58 Yeah, it'll be interesting. I, I don't know how much I should say from internal conversations <laugh>, um, but that's definitely something we've discussed of actually that mi potentially being a part that might be missing that if we were to solve that in terms of a team or a component of having, because Yes. And then maybe this is like beliefs are beliefs different, differentiating in terms of when you, going back to what we talked about earlier of like that addiction to chaos sometimes for clients when you have been so used to struggle, you're so subscribed to the struggle. Um, there is a level of self sabotage and it's not necessarily any systems, but it is work that has to be done in the mind. So for like specifically agency Mavericks, and I think it'll be, I think you'll be excited by the things Emily and I have been chatting about to, to solve that issue. But in terms of codifying, um, stay tuned because we'll keep working on that. <laugh> Speaker 2 00:39:57 Awesome. I love it. And I have been saying for a long time that I would love one of my, uh, goals is to have, um, and I, whether this happens or not, I, I, you know, is, is yet to be seen. But I would love to have some, um, someone on the coaching team who can lean into the psychology of a business owner or the mindset and can do that coaching because I have done a lot of that over the years just through osmosis and through the, the having the com. I mean, you wouldn't believe some of the things that our clients have told me over the years and I've just kind of leaned into that and been a support for them. But I don't really want to do that anymore because one, it's, it's not what I'm qualified to do. Uh, it's exhausting. It's emotionally quite taxing. Speaker 2 00:40:38 And also I then do become the bottleneck for their growth because I'm the only one really I think in the, in the company that kind of has that conversation. That's not entirely true. I know Pete also does lean into clients and talk to them a lot about mindset and, and what's going on between the ears, which really is like 90% of what's going on in your business if there's a problem, it's because of there's something going on between your ears. So if we can fill that gap, I think that's a big step in the right direction. Um, was that, was that the coaching answer that you were gonna give me? Speaker 0 00:41:06 <laugh>, I think you ended up answering your own question. Like I didn't end up having to do it because I was seeing some places where you were saying that you really were the only one able to, there is no one on the team. Um, and sometimes, like I said, we like to overcomplicate and so it was kind of the over complication of this need to codify a system that there isn't have to be a system, it might just be a higher Speaker 2 00:41:34 Love it. Um, I wanna come back and talk about, um, uh, revenue or profit per head in a minute. Um, but before we get there, I will let you know that I, yes, for a long time have been kind of addicted to the chaos and I've definitely have that entrepreneurial, um, you know, mindset of, of wanting to solve problems and therefore creating problems just so I can solve them. I tell you what I'm becoming very fast addicted to now, and this is because you've got me time tracking, right? Uh, that's right. Uh, you, you <laugh>, Speaker 0 00:42:08 I'm proud of you, Speaker 2 00:42:09 You, you've got me using toggle to to time track. What I'm really addicted to now is, uh, without sharing, uh, too many numbers. I can tell you that last months we generated more net profit in this business than I used to earn in a year. Right. And, which is kind of mind blowing. Yes. And I don't know how many hours I worked, but it wasn't many. I'm on a, I'm on a mission now. I was on a mission to get down to, uh, about eight hours a week. Right. Um, I'm on a mission now to get to the kind of profit that we were generating last month. I'm on a mission to do that consistently and literally work four hours a week in the business just so I can tweet Tim Ferris and go, Hey, I did it. So it took me 10 years after reading your book, but I did it. It's the four hour work week and profit is more than what I, a month is more than what I used to earn a year. So I'm really addicted to that idea now. And more and more I find myself saying to Emily, like just listening to Emily and helping her talk things through by just letting her make the decisions. Speaker 0 00:43:26 Yep. And it's huge. I mean that was a huge celebration for Emily and I to talk through of like, because when I came on that was a big thing, was like, we wanna get that net profit up and we did, which is amazing, but I wanna get it up at least 10% more. So like that's definitely the goal is to continue increasing the profit while decreasing your time, which I'm glad you're seeing there actually is a correlation between the two. Speaker 2 00:43:52 There is, and that's a story I'm really looking forward to, to, to telling is that like, now my hours are down to four hours a week, look at our revenue, look at our profit. Like I, I want, I want the data to prove that I am useless in this business and that I don't need to be here. Right. Apart from kind of helping Emily talk things through and work things out, um, reality check for agency owners, what kind of revenue, what kind of numbers should we be looking at per employee or per head of team member? Speaker 0 00:44:23 Yeah, this is huge. This is really big. So depending on what you're optimizing for. So if you're optimizing for scale, like you're wanting to scale your big, your business as much as possible, then you want each full-time employee to equal about 400 K in annual revenue. If you're wanting to optimize for like quality of life, you're looking for more of a little bit of like a laid back lifestyle business, you're wanting the bare minimum to be 250 K. So sweet spot would be like 3 25, 3 50. I like to keep it around three 50. Speaker 2 00:44:56 And does that change if, uh, obviously you're pro rat of that if a, if an employee is only part-time or a, or a or a contractor or another freelancer, Speaker 0 00:45:04 If they're part-time, it's half. Yeah. So if someone's not, if they're a part-time, um, contractors get a, it depends on the level of contractor, like if they're really a contractor. But yeah, that gets a little more convoluted in terms of are they actually part-time but you're calling them a contractor type of thing. Um, but this is specifically for team, uh, that if it's full-time, that's total. If it's part-time, you add up part-time people, it's like two part-time would equal one. Speaker 2 00:45:35 We had Mike Mark on the, on the, uh, show recently who's, uh, coaching He also came to our mastermind and spoke as you did. And he's gone from a team of 52 down to a team of six. Uh, and you know, and, and, and it's, and it's, this is, this is, I I we need to be conscious of the fact here that we're not saying you should get rid of people for the sake of get get getting rid of people. But I believe there are in a lot of small businesses, not just in agencies, but in a lot of small businesses, there are team members who are there because they've been there for a while. There's loyalty. We don't want to feel bad, but ultimately they don't need to be here. And them being here is kind of holding the business back because there are resources that we're putting into that person that we could be using for other things. Speaker 2 00:46:26 Um, we've had big changes here to our team over the last few months and you know, part of it is sad because we're parting ways with people who have been around for a long time, but we know that the best thing for the company moving forward is to run a leaner operation and to have different people occupy different seats and have new roles. And we will grow the team again and we'll hire new people into new roles. Um, but we had to have that conversation, um, because we had essentially, we had an org chart that just wasn't reflective of the kind of business that we were trying to grow. And that, and I think that's really common and people don't wanna let people go because it feels shitty, right? Speaker 0 00:47:07 It does. And there that also has to be a reframe of like, I wouldn't have my business if I wasn't let go from, from companies that I loved. You know, and if that didn't set that business owner free, that wouldn't have set me free. So there's so much to look at it, but all of it comes down to seeing your business as an asset. And that's why like up until now, I haven't really met the agency mAbs team. Like I just talked to Emily saying like, it might be time, like we're at a place where it's, I can hop in with them, but I kept myself very like, I don't know the people. So that way I can look at them as scorecards and KPIs and what is the business need so that way the emotions can't get in the way of it. Like you were saying earlier, like sometimes it does take someone that's not in the day-to-day of the business to say right away, this is your low hanging fruit. Speaker 2 00:47:58 Yeah. And that's yeah, that's exactly the experience that we had. Um, and, and we knew like, you know, we knew that things had to change. We were just dragging our feet on it because, you know, we don't wanna be the bad guy. Right. Um, so hey, this has been super helpful. Where can people reach out, learn more about what you're doing and is there something that they can access? Is there something that they can download to kind of get them started on this journey? Speaker 0 00:48:20 Yeah, of course. If you wanted to get like a free playbook, I've got a scale without sacrifice playbook. I think we'll put the link in somewhere for you guys. Um, but fastest way to get to know me is to just look me up on Facebook, join the Facebook group and get free support Speaker 2 00:48:36 There. Awesome. And it's, the Facebook group is called What Exactly Speaker 0 00:48:39 Process to Profit. Speaker 2 00:48:40 Process to Profit. Alexis Barock, thank you very much for hanging out with us on the agency hour and looking forward to keeping working with you in the coming months. Speaker 0 00:48:47 Amazing. Thanks so much. Speaker 2 00:48:51 Thanks for listening to the Agency Hour podcast and a massive thanks to Alexis for joining us. And thank you for all your hard work and insights. We love what you're doing for us here at Agency Mavericks. There you have it. Ladies and gentlemen, don't forget to subscribe and please share this with anyone who you think may need to hear it. Now, are you getting paid to close clients? I know that sounds like a radical idea, but right now we are guaranteeing you can get paid to close eight new clients in the next 30 days. If you'd like to chat with our team about how you can get paid to close, click the link near this episode. Let's get to work.

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