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Digital Marketing Expert Jay Owen On The 4 People You Need To Succeed: The ROI Online Podcast Ep. 19

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What do successful entrepreneurs have that the other guys don’t? It’s not spunk or drive or even a snarky sense of humor. According to Jay Owen, it’s the right kind of people by their side.

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On this episode of the ROI Online Podcast, Steve talks to entrepreneur and author Jay Owen about the problems business owners face that no one is talking about, the importance of having a system, and the four kinds of people you need to achieve success. 

Jay Owen started his own business at 17 when he was still in high school. At that time, the business was a way to earn money to watch movies on the weekend. But, after working in insurance with his uncle, he came to a crossroads. He could make tons of money in insurance and be miserable every day of his life. Or, he could invest everything in his design business and risk an unsteady income but enjoy every second of it. 

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His wife encouraged him to follow his dreams, so he did. His business, Design Extensions, grew from a yearly revenue of $5,500 to millions. He wrote the book Building a Business That Lasts, and created a podcast of the same name, to help other entrepreneurs overcome the challenges of starting a business and strike a balance between work and life.

Jay faced his fair share of ups and downs during his personal journey to success. He credits his survival to the four kinds of people he had by his side: Someone to look up to, someone in the same place as him, someone who looked up to him, and someone who believed in him when he believed in himself. These four kinds of people are the key to surviving the entrepreneurial gauntlet. Without that support system, business owners can have a hard time picking themselves up when they fall down and can experience debilitating depression. 

Another component of his success is having a system. When you have a system, you can grow and expand your business. Plus you can enjoy yourself at a week-long vacation without everything falling to pieces without you—when everything opens up again, of course.

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Also available wherever else you get your podcasts.

You can learn more about Jay here:

buildingabusinessthatlasts.com
Listen to Jay’s podcast: buildingabusinessthatlasts.com/episodes/
Read Jay’s book: Building a Business That Lasts

 

Read the books referenced in this podcast:

Predictable Success  by Les McKeown
Building a StoryBrand  by Donald Miller
Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself  by Mike Michalowicz

 

Get your copy Steve Brown’s book, The Golden Toilet. Also available on Audible for free when you sign up for a 30-Day Trial Membership!

Topics: Marketing, Podcasts, Story

Jay Owen : 

Now, manipulation is different. Manipulation is when you're trying to convince somebody to do something they shouldn't do. And this is where sales gets a bad rap over time. And I think our work that you and I do, Steve, in marketing, just so tightly knits together with sales. I think in the in the old world of things, people have thought of marketing as this team over here and sales as this team over there. And I think in the new world, especially this new economy that we're going to be heading into, it's never gonna be more important for those two things to be interlocked. And having a consistent message on the bottom, StoryBrand as we talked about, is kind of the foundation of the building upon which everything else is built.

Steve Brown : 

Hi, everybody. Welcome to the ROI Online Podcast, where we believe you, the courageous entrepreneurs of our day, are the invisible heroes of our economy. You not only improve our world with your ideas, your grit and your passion, but you make our world better. I'm Steve Brown, and this is the place where we have great conversations with winners just like you while we laugh and learn together. Welcome back, everybody to the ROI Online Podcast. Today, I'm really excited to introduce you to someone I think you really need to know. His name's Jay Owen. Jay is the founder and CEO of Design Extensions. They are a HubSpot Gold Agency and they're also a StoryBrand Certified Agency. And Jay has a podcast that you need to know about as well. It's called Building a Business That Lasts and he happens to be an author as well of a business by the same title, "Building a Business That Lasts." Jay, welcome to the ROI Online Podcast.

Jay Owen : 

Steve, thanks so much for having me. I'm excited to chat today.

Steve Brown : 

This is the first season for the ROI Online Podcast and the intent of it is the folks that listen to this are entrepreneurs and I believe entrepreneurs and small business leaders are the invisible heroes of the American economy. I don't know if you know, but 98 and a half percent of the businesses in the American economy, have 20 or less employees. And that means that those courageous, kind of off a little bit off people that decided to just step into the gauntlet with everything against them, decided they would just do this and yet they end up employing, this group of folks end up employing over half of the American workforce. And to me, they're heroes and I relate with them. And so the folks that listen to this, what I want to do is introduce them to people that are just like them that are struggling with common themes and their businesses like you and I are, and most importantly, learn that we're not crazy. And we're not alone. And that's why I'm excited to have you on. Why don't you tell us a little bit about your backstory and how you got to where you are.

Jay Owen : 

Yeah, absolutely. But before I do that, I just want to kind of double down on what you just said, I think it's so true. You know, the reality is like, building a business that lasts is really hard. And I always say it's so easy for so many owners to end up in a place where they feel stressed out, worn out and ready to quit. And at the end of the day, anybody who's been in business long enough has felt that way. And it can feel very isolating in that season. And I think I love what you're doing, which is connecting other entrepreneurs together. And you and I, we do very similar work, very similar gifts and skill sets. I think a lot of people might think, "Well, why would you have somebody who's a 'competitor' on your show?" And I think man, there's so many fish in the sea. I believe in an abundance mentality. And I think that some of the best, the most powerful things have ever happened to me have been in community with other people who are doing similar things to me. And that could be entrepreneurs in general, in that class, because I'm in that sub 20 class. I've got 17 team members here internally, but I remember when I couldn't make enough money for myself, from a backstory standpoint, I started this a long time ago. I was 17 years old. I was a kid in high school. I was a junior, just trying to make some money for movies on the weekends, to be honest. And, our total first year revenue was about $5500. That would have make us through a day to now these days, but I remember back in the day, there was a season where I wasn't sure I could make it work. I just got married and you know, my wife was pregnant. I started work for my uncle, and he's in the insurance business and and I love my uncle and I learned so much about business by being in his business, but I had always come from a creative background. And so, when you come from a creative background, and you end up in the insurance world, what you find out real quick is if you get too creative and insurance, you might end up in jail. Now I didn't actually end up in jail so that's good. But I came home one day and this is what I knew I had married the right woman. And I said, "Babe, I could do this. I'll probably make a lot of money at it. But I think I'm gonna hate it every day." And she said, "Well, follow your dream." And that was the day where I decided I'm going to make this thing work, but I remember back then going, "I don't know... I wonder if I'll ever have enough money to... I'll never have enough work even to make make myself have a full time work week, much less other people in a full work week." And today what was just a company that made literally a few thousand dollars back then, is now a multi million dollar business. And it's because ultimately because she believed in me and said, "No, no, you can do this go go make it happen." And I think that's a big thing for entrepreneurs is they need someone who can come alongside them, doesn't have to be a spouse, but they need somebody else who believes in them when they don't believe in themselves. Because despite the public image of what entrepreneurship is, we're we're always this braggadocious, ready to go, you know, conquer the world kind of people, behind the scenes, every entrepreneur at some point doubts themselves and asks, "Do I really have what it takes?" And I think having that person to come alongside you, that made all the difference for me. And over the years, we've grown little by little. I'm a believer in slow consistent growth. Little by little year over year, we've grown every single year for 21 years in a row. So that's kind of the where I've come from and where I am now.

Steve Brown : 

I love that. Tell us about when you learned about StoryBrand and what attracted you to that?

Jay Owen : 

Yeah, absolutely. StoryBrand has been a just a pivotal upgrade, if you will, in our strategy from a messaging standpoint. I think I had, I don't I remember exactly how I saw the book originally, I think I had listened to the podcast, there's a StoryBrand podcast, y'all haven't heard that those of you listening to this, you definitely should go listen to that, too. I think I listened to the podcast and the book came out, it sounds interesting, I'm going to get that I like the idea of story. I'm interested in marketing. And I'm a, you know, kind of a book nerd. Although I do audiobooks over written books, usually. And when I read the book, there was something that just so heavily resonated with regards to kind of what I already believed, and sort of what we were already doing, but not really. It gave me a framework to apply and improve kind of what we already thought to be true. We just didn't have a system to stick it in, basically. And once we did that, we we like to use ourselves as our own guinea pigs so we'd like to try stuff on ourselves before we do it on our clients, and when we implemented the framework and just change the messaging on our homepage, we literally doubled the number of incoming leads without changing anything. And when I saw that I thought, "Holy smoke, like what have we been doing?" And that was only I don't know, maybe three years ago. So we've been in business for almost 21 years now. So it's been absolutely huge for us. We did it kind of ourselves for a while, then I thought, "Okay, I need to get more serious about this. We're teaching the clients. We're using it for clients." I joined the guide program. I was in that program for a while and I decided, you know what, this is going really well. I need my whole team to really be kind of qualified in this, I can't be the only one teaching it because that's a lesson for entrepreneurs too. You can't be the sole roadblock in your system, you got to have other people if you want to build something that's going to last and outlast you. And so we upgraded to the agency certification so the whole team would be trained, even though they kind of already were because we all abided by it anyway. But it kind of made it official. Now the other team members can write BrandScripts and do all the things that need to happen as it relates to StoryBrand, but it's been absolutely monumental for our business growth and that of our clients.

Steve Brown : 

You know, you say framework, and it really didn't sink into me the value of a framework until we became acclimated into the StoryBrand philosophy. Before then I think what resonated with us before then we'd sit down and I, whoever's the most persuasive that day as far as what should be on the website for this particular client, that's what would start to happen on there. But when we ran into the StoryBrand Framework, everyone on the team really adopted it immediately. There wasn't as much resistance to the change of implementing a new procedure because of the framework. And when we say framework, it means that you go step by step and you land upon an effective, succinct, impactful message for every single project. It's amazing.

Jay Owen : 

Yeah, it really is. And, you know, I think I undervalued, which is horrible to say for someone who has been marketing their whole life but it's true. I think I undervalued the words that were used on pages and I overvalued the aesthetics. And now what I always say is, "Design builds trust, but words are what sell." And I think that they're both important. Like you have to have good design. But the words might be more important. And I think there's tons of examples out there of this too, even in like the direct sale world of something like like a Russell Brunson and Click Funnels and people out there, if you're not familiar with them, they basically create a platform where you can take someone through a funnel to sell them. And to be honest, most of those pages are not very attractive. They they aren't aesthetically amazing, but the words convince people to take action, and they disturb enough to make people realize that their problem is serious enough that they have to take action. I think that's what StoryBrand's done for me is it's just kind of put it all together. One of the things my uncle taught me a while back that I thought has been really impactful around understanding where prospects are in a sales funnel, this could not be more important than it is right now because the season of business growth is going to be hard over the next year or two, and you're gonna have to be more intentional you have to be, you've got to have a better plan than you did before. So there's three kinds of prospects. There's the prospect who doesn't know that they have a problem. They might have a problem, but they don't know that it's a problem. And then there's the prospect who knows they have a problem, but they're not sufficiently disturbed about it to take action. And the third is the prospect who knows they have a problem, and they're sufficiently disturbed about it to take action. Now that that term sufficiently disturbed kind of rubs some people the wrong way, because it kind of feels like I'm trying to convince them of something that they shouldn't do. What I always tell people is good persuasion and sales, it's not bad. If I'm trying to convince you to buy something or to do something that is in your best interest, I'm almost morally obligated to sell you on it and to persuade you. Now manipulation is different. Manipulation is when you're trying to convince somebody to do something they shouldn't do. And this is where sales gets a bad rap over time. And I think our work that you and I do, Steve, in marketing, just so tightly knits together with sales, I think in the old world of things people have thought of marketing is this team over here, and sales is this team over there. And I think in the new world, especially this new economy that we're gonna be heading into, it's never gonna be more important for those two things to be interlocked. And having a consistent message on the bottom, StoryBrand, which is what we're talking about, is kind of the foundation of the building upon which everything else is built.

Steve Brown : 

Totally. You know, in my book I talk about the disconnect of sales. And the thing about StoryBrand is one of the epiphany is for me was that the messaging, there's a couple of things you said there. The words support the design. Well, the design is a way that we feel. It's a way that we read, and we use our eyes. But we get a feeling from this. And we have this part of the brain called the brainstem, and I call it, it's the body guard. But this body guard doesn't speak. It just stands there and protects you and keeps you safe. And if it sees danger it takes you out of that situation, but that body guard part of your brain does not process language. It does not read. It goes by feeling but no decision that you make happens until the body guard signs off on it. Then the logical part of your brain takes over and justifies that and so the design is resonating with that body guard and the text is the way the logical confirmation process. So it's a one two complimentary process, but it's about feeling safe. And when you wrap that into the sales part of things, and think of the times that you were attracted to... You sat and evaluated potential solution, or product or service for what you were needing, and you liked it. And you came closer, you started talking to them, you come in, maybe even went there to get the final pieces handled, or you sign the paperwork or whatever. But something happened in that sales process that offended you. That didn't feel the same as before. And you walked out of there, and you were really upset. And you walked out of there, you'd invested all this time, but you left and it was because of that sales process that you're alluding to that wasn't congruent with the rest of the marketing message.

Jay Owen : 

Yeah, I think... You know, one of the things I was just thinking about, as you were talking about that is that, if the feelings are wrong, or even if fear kind of conflicts with those feelings, if the feelings are wrong, the facts don't matter. And I think that happens a lot in the sales process, and especially when there's lack of consistency between what marketing messages is out here with the internal sales messages in here. I actually had a guy on my podcast not that long ago, I think it was the most recent episode that just got launched, actually. And he was talking about internal marketing. And I never really thought about that term. But especially with a larger company, it's one thing when you got five or 10 people, but when you start to get to, you know, 30, 40, 50, 100, 200 people, the message internally, is almost as important as the message externally because like you said, as soon as a customer encounters something that's not congruent with what they expected in their experience, the likelihood of them then closing and buying something becomes exponentially more difficult.

Steve Brown : 

Totally. One of our best clients and anchor client for six years, we lost them because of the oil price crash, right? But when they came on, you would assume that what we do that the first thing we were going to address was their marketing message externally. For a couple of years and we worked on their internal messaging, communication to their stakeholders, communication to their employees, and marketing to attract employees. Those marketing initiatives were more important than the external marketing.

Jay Owen : 

Yeah, one thing that you said there, I think is really interesting. And I don't think people think about this enough as it relates to their marketing as a whole. And you said to attract employees specifically in that scenario, but it could be in all kinds of different types of communication. I think that's one of the greatest things I always say that people undervalue their social media for. People want to treat social media like it's some kind of a sales tool. And it's not. It's a relationship tool. And it's a storytelling tool. I think for us, one of the best benefits of our social media work as a team about ourselves has actually been acquiring people who are in aligned with our core values draw on the wall behind me, and are kind of the kind of people that are going to be ideal team players for us. I think companies as a whole need to attract the right people. And they need to find the right people to have their team not just warm bodies in seats. And that social media messaging can have as much to do about that new team acquisition as a team member acquisition as it does about a new client acquisition. And to me it's all about that magnet of attracting people who are, whether it's clients or team members, who are going to be aligned with who you are and what you believe because those are gonna be the people that you want to work with. And same thing for you and I, if somebody comes in to our agencies and wants to work with us, and they've already read "Building a StoryBrand and they're already like aligned with kind of what that StoryBrand principles are, they're already kind of a fan of Donald Miller or something like that. We're gonna have a lot easier time connecting with them because we already kind of have some alignment with what we believe. And we're not trying to set those foundational principles of what's most important.

Steve Brown : 

Totally. So you have a book and talk to us about your thinking process of why you even gave yourself permission to write a book, what?.... Who are you to write a book, right? Or talk to us about that thought process?

Jay Owen : 

One, I love that you've phrased it that way. Because that's a real question. That's a real question. I think when you sit down to write a book is, "Who's gonna read this? Who am I? I'm a..." At this point, I wrote that book. I was 36 years old, you know? "...Who am I write a book is when I'm not there, yet." But I had enough people over time that said, "Hey, you should write a book. You should tell your story, you could help other business owners." And my heart and passion is for a lot of the people that you talked about those sub 20 companies, up to 20 people, companies, and especially people who are just starting out ideas. And what I say in the book is: Starting a business is easy, making it last is hard. In today's environment, specially with the internet, it's easier than ever to actually just start a business. It doesn't take that much work doesn't take that much money. Anybody can start a business and they can do it in a couple of days. Shoot, they probably could do it in a couple hours and a couple hundred bucks, really. But building that into something that's actually going to sustain over time is a whole different ballgame. And I think the other piece of the puzzle for me that the subtitle of the book is "without sacrificing family." And so for me, it's not just about building the business. It's not just about creating more profit. It's not just about growing year over year. It's about doing that while also sustaining a life that I actually want and desire. I've been married to the same woman for 17 years. And my greatest desire is that we grow old together, and that we have grandchildren together. And I've got five children who range from seven years old to 15 years old. And my relationship with them is more important than any of the relationships that I have with the 17 team members on my team. And so I've not got all this stuff figured out. But I've learned some things along the way that I thought, "You know what, I need to share some of these things." And what gave me the permission was really the belief that if I just help one person, it's worth it. And I believe that I had enough information to certainly help at least one person. And, and I think the other thing about writing a book that's interesting, which you know, because you just published one recently, is there's something cathartic about just getting those ideas out on paper. There's there's something about having to struggle through that process. Because again, starting the book is not hard, but finishing it and getting wrapped up and getting it actually out and delivered. That's hard work. And there's something about like kind of checking off that milestone that I kind of wanted to do. And now I've kind of got some ideas swirling around in my head about another another book. But that particular book, what's most interesting about it is, it doesn't even always necessarily relate to our ideal customer. Because sometimes our ideal customer is actually a little bit bigger than the audience that I'm really targeting in the book to some extent, although the information is relevant for everybody, people can relate to it. But I just have a real heart for entrepreneurs, people starting out people trying to get past those first five years, which statistically are the hardest. If you can get past the first five years, certainly, if you get past the first 10 years, you basically can last as long as you want, as long as you don't make any major jump off the cliff moments.

Steve Brown : 

Yeah, and those are still in play,

Jay Owen : 

Especially in this economy right now.

Steve Brown : 

Right. So you talked about... That's... The person that doesn't know the person that knows and doesn't really not really worried about it. Then you talk about the disturbed person, not mentally disturbed, but disturbed with the challenge that they have I look at it... There's, there's this life cycle that a business goes through, there's a book called "Predictable Success" by Les McKeown. And in that book I learned about and it would make sense that there's a life cycle that a business goes through or you start, you kind of get some traction, and I'm not saying the stages right for his book but if you can read it and call me back and correct me but there's this point where you kind of get into the fun stage and then it goes into a scaling stage and it gets scary because things start to rattle and the wheels start to shake and people start to fall off because you're moving so fast, but there's this point and I realized that in a business leader entrepreneur, they get to this point where they kind of look up. They've been fighting. They've got customers, they have employees, they have a good product or service and they finally got that down a little bit. And then one day it hits them, "I need to get my act together with my business development situation." Okay, they've been winging it up to that point. And that means they're getting ready to approach a scaling. And so they start searching, they start reading, listening to podcasts, they start...what do they call them...masterminds, or they... That's the stage that they're starting to really pull in information so they can make better decisions. And I realized that the folks that read "Building a StoryBrand" or a book like yours or mine, they're in that stage where they're really wanting to... They're going to make it, they're going to be achieve or overcome. They want to avoid stepping in a ditch. And that's that disturb stage that you're talking about. And that's the time that it's incumbent upon you to help give them information so they can make a better decision. Otherwise they're vulnerable. They're exposed. And that's why you want to produce a podcast. That's why you want to write a book. That's why you want to make a blog post, to serve that person in that moment with information maybe they didn't know you're going to help them avoid and it didn't dearest them to you. They appreciate it. Is that been your... The folks that have read your book and they come to you, what has been your experience?

Jay Owen : 

I think that's that dead on. I think one of the biggest mistakes people make in the early stages, especially something like a book or a podcast, is I think people are overly concerned sometimes with how they're going to monetize it. And I've sold plenty of copies of the book, but not enough to make an impact on how much time I spent on it. Like it's, I'm not going to get rich off the book, it's not the intent. My heart at the very beginning of that whole process, it was with the podcast too, was, "How can I help other people with this and help other people kind of avoid pitfalls that I landed in, or maybe get get ahead a little bit quicker, so they can kind of see something sooner than I saw it?" And I just honestly believe that, if you help enough people along the way, like it's gonna come back to you and I'm not like a new age karma-ish kind of guy. But that's kind of the same principle, right? It's like, I just think if you reach out enough and go, "Hey, I've had somebody that helps me, and I need to help somebody else." And I talked about this a lot. I don't know if I can put this in the book. I kind of did, but I've kind of flushed out this framework a lot more. I believe people need four people in their lives that make a huge impact. And this is something I'm gonna be talking about in the coming months and years to come. They need somebody to look up to. So somebody that's ahead of them. Like I have plenty of people that are ahead of me that I'm looking at going, "Hey, how you doing this and how you doing that." So they need somebody to look up to. They need somebody beside them. That's kind of like what you and I were talking about earlier, we need people in our community, we need other business owners, other leaders who are kind of struggling with the same things who can some extent commiserate with us from time to time, but also encourage us. We need people that are peers, people alongside us. And then we need somebody who's looking up to us. And that's kind of mindset behind the book and even the podcasts. But the podcast is more about me highlighting other business owners who have been in business for 10 years or more and tell them their stories, but it's the same thing. And so other people are looking up to me that I can help them. And then the fourth person that I just added is actually my wife from that original story—doesn't have to be your wife, it could be somebody else—and it's somebody who believes in you when you don't believe in yourself. So somebody you look up to, someone who stands beside you, someone who's looking up to you, and someone who believes in you when you don't believe in yourself. I think if you have those four people in your life, you become such a better person. First of all, we've all heard that ideal of like "your the..." I don't know where this came from, maybe Stephen Covey or someone like that, "...You're the sum/average of the five closest people to you," that kind of thing. This kind of falls into that framework, but there's people at different stages. And I think if we have those, it helps a lot. And so for me, I think the danger that some people out there listening may think is, "Well, I'm not far enough along to help somebody else up yet." And I couldn't believe that's farther from the truth. I think that no matter where you are, there's somebody else who's a day behind you, a month behind you, a year behind you, and you can help them. And there's something so powerful and so rich about being able to teach and encourage somebody else. And I think that that behavior alone can make you such a better person.

Steve Brown : 

Most every day for the last 10 years, I've worked with business leaders such as you. And there's this common conversation that I've had over and over again. It goes a little like this, "Steve, I see other brands excelling online, and I feel we need to do the same because my customers are expecting out of us. I'm not sure where to start, but I think we need to redo our website. What's the best way to approach this?" And this is why I wrote my book, "The Golden Toilet: Stop Flushing Your Marketing Budget into Your Website and Build a System That Grows Your Business." It's a book designed to empower my business leader so that they have the words and the proper expectations to communicate what it is they really need and get what they really need instead of something that's sold to them, it puts them in a position of confidence and clarity. And so to get this book, it's a great read, you can go to Amazon, get it there, or you can go to thegoldentoilet.com, and click on "Get Your Copy." Now, back to our conversation. I love that. You know everyone's looking for the silver bullet. "So if I just take... just drink this chia smoothie, my health will improve." But we know that we need to exercise and sleep and some other things, stretch maybe. Don't work on your abs. That's that's really ambitious but what you described is a way to have a more cohesive, healthy relationship mix, diversified portfolio of a relationship and that helps us be more... What's the word... Calm? Or probably if you have those out of balance, I'm just grinding on this while you're talking. If you have those out of balance, you're going to feel probably a little more insecure. Or maybe not give yourself the credit you need. Talk to us more about why you thought about that?

Jay Owen : 

Well, I think, for me, one of the things that I have struggled with and I think other entrepreneurs and leaders have probably struggled with this too, is it's easy to feel like everyone else is (first of all, this is a very arrogant belief, but it is one that I've had) everyone else needs me. And so everyone else is kind of feeding off of me if you will, like my team, my children, my family, all these people kind of need me to help teach lead and encourage them because leadership is in my nature. It's in my blood. I believe that God gave me that as a gift. But the danger which I've experienced is of not having that person who's beside you, that peer who is walking the path with you, is that you get alone, and you can end up depressed. And this is a major problem that's not being talked about in entrepreneurship is depression and suicide rates among entrepreneurs are off the charts compared to others. And we're not talking about it. Because we need peers beside us who are walking alongside us. We cannot constantly be pouring out. So those four people, I love the way you kind of put it about a portfolio of relationships basically. And if you have... If all you're doing is pouring out to other people, but you don't have somebody walking alongside you, or all you're doing is walking alongside people, you don't have anybody that you're looking up to, you're not striving for the next thing that's beyond you, you're not going to grow. And so all of those pieces of the puzzle are extremely important and there's been many seasons for me where I will get those out of balance. The two ways I usually get out of balance, either one, I'm constantly pouring out and I'm not taking the time to pour back into myself. Or sometimes I'll do the opposite where I'm over pouring into myself. So that person you look up to, it doesn't even have to be, in my opinion, somebody that you actually know, it could be an aspirational identity, somebody who you follow all of their content, read all their books, listen to their podcasts. But I think as a leader, you can also over saturate yourself with that, and that can stress everybody else out too. So that balance between those different those four different people, I think, has been a big piece of the puzzle that I'm still working on growing towards.

Steve Brown : 

That's interesting. You know, the whole reason I started this podcast was to do that, that beside them part, and I make a joke out of it, and we laugh and because... But you do feel crazy when you're alone. You... It's amazing. We do say, "Oh, I'm not crazy."

Jay Owen : 

Yeah.

Steve Brown : 

You see how you're beating yourself up and actually, you're actually considering I might be crazy because you don't have that fellowship with people. People that are fighting the same battles. And I think one of the reasons I wrote my book also is I start to see a common theme and all these conversations with these business leaders that I work with. And that's a common theme in the business leaders that I talked to. The thing about the conversation you and I are having. How often does this happen in your life when you have one to one attention? Our phones are off right now. You and I, we didn't talk about it, but we turned our phones off. Our kids aren't running in interrupting us, or our spouses, or our employees. We're having one to one focused, engaged conversation. When I hang up after these conversations, I had a great day. I've I have this energy. That's amazing. And I was thinking about and why is that? But you and I are saying sitting and focusing on a conversation totally engaged. And it's very fulfilling.

Jay Owen : 

Yeah, I think that's a huge thing. It's funny when I first launched my podcast, and I said part of this just encouraged my own ego just in case it got damaged, because I have to protect it sometimes is I said to my wife, I was like, "You know, the beauty of this is in the way that I'm structuring this, which is kind of similar to what you're doing, of interviewing one other person who has been in my case, the goals tend to be people that have been in business for 10 years or more, is that I get to spend somewhere between 30 minutes, 45 minutes, maybe even an hour sometimes with another business owner has been in business for more than a decade. And if nobody listens to that show ever, there is extreme value for me, and hopefully a little bit of value for them." I mean, even just now I'm writing down like portfolio relationships. That's a good idea to diversify. Yeah, I'm writing down, you know, "Predictable Success" book. That's a good idea. Let me go check that book. I've not seen that. And so if I come away from this conversation with a couple of those things, and a little bit of encouragement, I don't care who listens to the podcast because there's value along the way. I'd like people to listen to it too. But you know what I'm saying like that. That's what's so great about the opportunity we have and even the technology that we have, especially in this season.

Steve Brown : 

Speaking of technology, let's talk about your clients right now. How are you? How are you helping them confront or plan for the changes of how they're they're starting to realize or conceive actually, there's going to be an impact in the expectation of their customers and how they conduct business, how they can conduct employee relations. Talk about tell us about what you're doing right now.

Jay Owen : 

Yeah, I think that what this is doing right, there are some positives of all the chaos that we're going through. Which is hard to say cause a lot of people really are really struggling, so I hate to say it that way, but you can always find the light in the dark. And it just made me think, and I think in this case it's pushing businesses and organizations to use technology in a way that they probably should have been using it five years ago. But now they have to. And this isn't a client of ours, but just as an example, look at churches. There are lots of churches that that were like, "We're not doing online services. We're not, you know, having members log into a portal, we're not doing this, we're not doing that." And now it's like, "Okay, well, you better do that, or else, you got no other way to connect with people." And so they're being forced to use technology in a way that they can actually connect to people. I think, for our clients, especially, and a lot of our clients, they're already using certain technology, but as we have new people that are opportunities, even things like having a simple live chat tool on your website, or a bot chat, they can kind of automate some of those things. I think creating opportunities like that, from a technology standpoint, that stuff used to be really hard, you know, three, four or five years ago. Now you can go sign up for a free HubSpot account. And you can get a little widget that you have somebody stick the code on your website and you got a little live chat bot. There's other tools out there like that, too. And ultimately connecting all those things. And here's how I think of work that needs to be done because it's easy for entrepreneurs as well, to be really overwhelmed. But I think I took this from somebody It was probably either Michael Hyatt or the guy that wrote "Clockwork." I can't remember his name. Mike? I can't pronounce his last name. Anyway, here's how I think of like things that need to be done as it relates to technology. Number one, the question is, do I have to do it? Does it have to be done? Does this thing really need done or can it be trashed? If it can be trashed, let's get rid of it. Number two, can it be automated? And that's where the technology comes in. A tool like HubSpot which you and I you know use and love and sometimes we hate it but it's mostly love allows us to connect all these different pieces together and when you when you can see all of this stuff automated that you didn't have automated before. You're saving tons of time. And you're increasing opportunities to communicate well, which in this season, there's nothing more important than communicating well. So does it have to be done? Number two, can I automate it? And that automation using technology is huge. Number three, as an entrepreneur was asked question, can I delegate it, not just the task, but kind of delegate the outcome? And number four is, if I have to do it, which is what's left, do I have to do it now? And if not, I'll schedule it to do it in the future. But that's second when the automation piece we've been thinking a lot about that. How do we connect tools, people out there if you want to know a lot of different software tools, there's a great tool that I love called Zapier. That's how you pronounce it zapier.com, great tool to connect from one thing to the next. So just as an example, when we get a proposal or a quote that signed in HubSpot, it automatically goes over to teamwork, which is our project management system, creates a new task to make sure that client gets billed. It automatically sets up the project that we need and the next task list to onboard that client. So those types of automations right now are going to be huge for businesses. And frankly, there's there's a little more time right now in some businesses to get some of that stuff set up like we're in a season now where some of the things that we might have normally been doing, we couldn't we can't do, or we're actually a little more efficient. So we don't have to drive 30 minutes to that meeting and drive 30 minutes back. We just saved an hour in our day, because we're doing it over Zoom. And so what are we doing with that extra time? What if we take that extra time and implement some new technology, implement some new automation, and it's not even just about marketing. It's really about business process as a whole. Because if we can get some of that done, you get some of that technology implemented, I think people are going to have to do that if they want to survive in the new economy to come.

Steve Brown : 

I totally agree. I'm doing a class today. When this shelter in place happened, I reached out to the SPDC here and I offered to teach some classes on how to use Zoom, how to do video email. And today we're going to do one over Slack. And so I'm doing a little studying on it. And I'm realizing that there's some common themes in these tools. We used to organize things in folders. So let's talk..... Our inboxes is folder where all this email comes in. And so I was looking at Slack. Slack's wanting to replace your email between your team, okay, where everything's live, and so you have channels instead of inboxes. But it's kind of like Google Drive. Used to be when I used Outlook, I'd have to organize these emails into my own folders. But the flip is, you don't need to. You can search it or you can set up a channel for conversations on certain topics in there and then go search them. It's really cool how this is helping us communicate better, but it wraps in In my book I talk about you need four things you need clear messaging, marketing automation, sales automation, and strategic campaigns. And so you take your messaging and you're going to put it into the technology of the day. And the reason you do your messaging clear is to help someone feel understood and safe. But that technology that you're talking about has the same responsibility. It helps me feel understood by reducing friction, reducing annoyance to making things expedited or easier, the workflows you're mentioning, but also helps me feel safe because I can evaluate, communicate from a distance, until I'm ready to identify who I am and schedule a call or ask for a call. That's, that's what I'm really seeing is that if you were a one of those Change models they call it. There's like the innovators, the early adopters, the late adopters, and the laggards. Well your big companies that you work for, or you may serve, they're usually early adopters was slack or other things. But small companies are generally laggards in adopting technology because they're too busy fighting all the fires of their day to day stuff to go and evaluate some technology and implement it. And so the opportunity that you, your team, and my team has right now is to help these folks quickly get acclimated into the new. That time to evaluate whether between early adopter and late adopter has been mashed and just a matter of six weeks that that whole bell curve has been mashed in. It's more like a mountain. And it's our job to help people quickly get acclimated in the new environment.

Jay Owen : 

But here's something that you just mentioned and that I think is really... I want to make sure people notice in what you were talking about, that's really important. And you talked about setting up those education classes to go help teach people learn how to use Zoom and learn how to use Slack and use technology ultimately to help improve and grow their business. That's not one of your service offerings. It's not, you know, it's not what you do, you're not making any money off of that.

Steve Brown : 

No.

Jay Owen : 

And yet, education, content right now, serving others in a way in areas where you have knowledge or value. So like, you know, you and I are probably the kind of people that tend to be a little bit more like, "I'm going to set up a free trial of every software product that comes out and play around with it and see what I like and see what I don't like, and I need a whole separate email address just from my free software trials." But what you're doing there is you're taking something that you have knowledge skill set inability and or you're willing to go research, and you're going, "Hey, I think I can teach some other people and help them." And so as a result, what you're doing is establishing yourself as a subject matter expert on technology, but it also could relate to business growth, technology, things like that. And so when those people end up in a place, maybe you're teaching a class online, especially of 100 people. I mean, that's a pretty big audience. If you were standing in front of them in person, shoot even 20 people online, if you're standing in front of them in person is a pretty good sized group. So what if one of those people ends up needing your product or service? This is a lesson for everybody. A masterclass in using education in this time period, number one, and most importantly, to help people through a difficult season. But number two, if you help enough people through a difficult season and you become the subject matter expert on that, all of a sudden, there's great value. I'm doing something kind of similar. I found myself spending a ton of time on this whole Payroll Protection Program and the SBA and loans and all this and I'm not a banker, and I'm not an accountant. And those are not my areas of expertise. But because I felt like I wanted to figure this out to try and help protect my own team. I'd studied so much. I've had so many individual phone calls one on one mode. Their business is going, here's what I'm doing. Here's how it's working all this. My wife goes, "Why don't you just set up a webinar and help a bunch of people with that?" I'm like, "Oh, who's the marketer here? Apparently, you are." And so that's what I did. I set up a webinar, and I had 150 people in that thing. And I had to upgrade my zoom account just to have enough people to talk about this Payroll Protection Program. I'm not a lawyer, or an accountant or a banker. I'm just a small business person who's figured some of these things out, I'm going to share that with other people. And I've had, at least a solid handful or more who have reached back out to me and said, Hey, because of the information that you gave me, we were able to get the loan that we needed to help protect our business And it's like, "Man." And I didn't make any money off any of that. But that feels so good. Number one, to be able to help somebody else. And who knows along the way, either them or somebody else they know might need the services that we provide as an agency, and who are they gonna call? They're gonna call us. And the same thing for you. If you're stepping in now in this season to help. But that's also why, and I don't want to get too far off tangent, but if this is also why we have to build businesses in a way that they have enough stability through... I mean, this is the craziest season I've ever seen ever my whole life. But we have to create enough stability from understanding cash flow, understanding the foundation of how to run and protect our business, so that we end up in these seasons. And we're able to, you're able to go take an hour out and go teach a class on slack that you probably spent several hours just studying and preparing to teach, maybe a whole day. And so these are, these are the times where we realize like, "Okay, you know, what, I probably should add a little bit more cash in reserve. You know what, maybe I should a little bit more diversified client base." And we got to learn now, and some people are learning the really hard way. And shoot, I'm sure I'm learning some hard lessons right now. And I think over time, getting a community like that it's really powerful, but that education piece that you're talking about, that's a huge opportunity right now, for people out there in any industry. Go help some somebody else a group of people ideally, learn how to do something that you know how to do. And that's the best thing that people can do marketing wise right now in this season.

Steve Brown : 

It's been really good conversation. So what's one question, Jay, that I haven't asked that you wished I would have asked?

Jay Owen : 

That's a great question. I might start using that one. Oh ,an. I don't know. I feel like we've covered all kinds of stuff. It's, I think... The only question that I'll give it to you actually, the only question that I always ask because I love this question is and I'll actually ask you because I'm curious: What does work life balance mean to you? Number one, because it means I'm different everybody, and how has that changed for you over different seasons of business and life? I'll answer too if you want, but I'm asking you.

Steve Brown : 

Work life balance...I think for me... I think that work life balance for me is that when I can go and turn off and just go hang out with someone and not think about work or if I can go and just go home, take the laptop, I'm planning on maybe doing some work in the evening, but you know what I get started cooking and I'm enjoying myself cooking and then then we get in the car and go drive or take the dog for a walk or whatever. And then I get up the next morning I don't feel guilty that I didn't do three of the 49 tasks that I need to get done that that evening. That's... And not be critical of myself or beat myself up about it or think I'm lazy and just...I think that's for me is work life balance.

Jay Owen : 

I love that. What I always say is It's different for everybody. And that's okay. And I always say ignore the system, but have a system. So you got to find what works for you and your season of life. And I think it changes. When I was a 19 year old kid, trying to run a startup business, not making much money at all, I didn't have a lot of other obligations. And I enjoyed the work. So like for me to have my laptop on for 16 hours a day, plus, sometimes, that was fine in that season. That was not overbearing for me at that time. But now I've got five kids, and that's not okay anymore. Not if I... But there are some days still where even, shoot some weeks, where I'll go to my wife and, "Go, Hey, I got this stuff going on. I'm gonna have to deal with it. And there's been some of that lately, and I just need some extra time." And she's like, "All right." I think that's that communication for me, especially when it comes to a spouse or children like communication of understanding what's going on. I think it just changes in different seasons. Right now our business entrepreneurial messaging around this subject to me is so one side or the other. You got Gary Vaynerchuk on one side, who I love Gary Vee, he's got some great content out there. But it's the non stop hustle, if you're not working this many hours a day, then you're not doing it right. And then you have the other side over here, where if you're not taking a three hour nap and do a yoga every afternoon, then you're not doing it right. And I don't think either one of those is true. And I actually think Gary would would agree with this too, in that you've got to find your own place in the midst of what that looks like for you. And it's okay for that to change over time.

Steve Brown : 

A lesson I learned, yes, the fate... The season is a great word that you use there. The lesson I learned, I was a member of a nonprofit for a long time. There were guys in there that were very active all the time and I was new. And so I became as active as possible because they're active, but what I didn't realize was they were at the advanced stage, or the they've been in business for years, they had all their systems worked out, they could afford to take the time off and go and invest and serve other people at that point, but having a new business, I needed to not be comparing myself to them and wanting to emulate them, I needed to be focused on my responsibilities and do what I can. So that comparison was getting me off balance. And I think and the seasonality of where you are in that lifecycle of a business, you have a life cycle as an entrepreneur as well.

Jay Owen : 

Yeah, I think comparison is the thief of joy. And Instagram is a liar. So you know, just be careful out there, get into where you need to be as an entrepreneur, there are seasons. especially in the early days where you're going to have to work a lot to make it work. You just are and... But you have to have a target of where you're going to go. So like for me, one of the big things for me several years ago was (this was many years ago now, actually) but I had gotten to a point where I really had not taken much real vacation at all. It just wasn't a thing for me. And as my as my kids were starting to grow, this is not this is not healthy. I couldn't leave my phone, I couldn't leave my laptop somewhere for a day even. And so I set a goal one year, and I said, "All right, by this date, I want to be able to take a whole week off, and not bring my laptop with me. What needs to be true in order for that to happen?" And so I think that question is a really powerful one. When you when you visualize that future story, and for me back then it was one week. Now this year, though, we'll see what happens with this price, but anyway. This year, my goal is one month, I want to be able to leave the business for what I would consider a full life cycle of 30 days and not email, not pick up my phone. And I don't want it to just survive without me. I want it to thrive without me. And so what I've asked along the way is: What needs to be true today, in order for that to be true at X date in the future. And I think as an entrepreneur, if you have that vision of where you're going, and then every day, you're asking that question: Am I am I stepping towards it? Or am I stepping away from it? That makes all the difference and it's really changed things for me.

Steve Brown : 

Scott Adams has a great quote, it's, "Systems are for winners." And what you're talking about, what has to be in place is a system to deliver that. Good goal, but if you're not building that system, you won't achieve that goal. Jay, this has been a great conversation. I'm really grateful and I appreciate you and value for being on the podcast today. Where can people find you?

Jay Owen : 

The best place to look is for the podcasts and the book at buildingabusinessthatlasts.com. So if you want to go there, you can grab a copy of the book actually. We ship it to you just for the cost of shipping so you can go there, buildingabusinessthatlasts.com. And all my other links and everything else are on that site along with the podcast.

Steve Brown : 

Jay Owen, thank you for being on the ROI Online Podcast, if I can say that. ROI Online Podcast.

Jay Owen : 

Thanks for having me. It's been a pleasure.

Steve Brown : 

Enjoyed it. Bye bye. That's a wrap. Thanks for listening to another fun episode of the ROI Online Podcast. For more, be sure to check out the show notes of this episode. And feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, where we can chat and I can help direct you to the resources you're searching for. To learn more about how you can grow your business better, be sure to pick up your copy of my book, "The Golden Toilet," at surprise, thegoldentoilet.com. I'm Steve Brown, and we'll see you next week on another fun episode of the ROI Online Podcast.