In today’s episode, we sit down with Paul Maskill. After building his own business from zero to half a million dollars in 4 years and selling it for a lucrative return, Paul founded the Ultimate Freedom Mastermind.
After watching his father pour everything he had into his own service business for 40 years until he couldn’t do it anymore, Paul knew something had to change. Today, Paul helps other small business owners automate and scale their business so it can thrive without them,enabling them to leverage their business to build a life they love.
We’ll chat with Paul about how to initially identify a problem within your business, how to start getting out of your business so you can work on it, as well as…
- Simple changes you can make to start automating your business now
- How to start reclaiming your time
- When to hire, how to do it, and how to find the right person
- The tactics Paul is using with his clients right now
- And more
Mentioned in this episode:
Ryan Englin: Welcome back to another exciting episode of the Blue Collar Culture Podcast. I’m your co-host Ryan Englin and I’m here with Jeremy Macliver. Say hi, Jeremy.
Jeremy Macliver: Hey, welcome back, everyone.
Ryan: And today’s guest is Paul Maskill, the founder of the Ultimate Freedom Mastermind. After building his own business from zero to half a million dollars in four years and selling it for a lucrative return, Paul set out on a new mission. He watched his father pour everything he had into his own service-based business for 40 plus years until he could physically no longer do the work.
With no employees and no systems, Paul’s father was not able to capitalize on all the work and risk he put in for four decades. The sale of the company was simply selling the truck and the equipment. So today Paul helps other small business owners automate and scale their business so it can thrive without them, enabling them to leverage their business to build a life that they love. Paul, thank you for joining us today.
Paul Maskill: Ryan. Jeremy, thanks so much for having me. Looking forward to it.
Ryan: Yeah, so I’m really excited. So we got to chat a little bit. But what I’d love to do is, hear your story a little bit. How did you get in this? I mean, I hear that it’s been in the family for decades, being an entrepreneur. But tell us a little bit more about your journey from your point of view. Maybe some of the things that you learned that can really help our listeners out?
Becoming an Ultimate Freedom Mastermind
Paul: Yeah, so as you mentioned in the intro, so my dad he’s been he was a blue collar guy his entire life. We grew up in Michigan, which is a very blue collar state. So he owned his own hardwood floor company, like you said, for four decades. So growing up, he always told me don’t do this, like don’t do this fiscal work, go to school, get a good job, get good grades, go to college, and my mom was starting her career kind of in the finance world as well when I graduated high school. So that’s what I did.
I kind of followed both their directions. And not just them, but really everybody in the world. They say, you know, don’t go do that. Go use your brains go to college. So I did. And I just followed what everyone told me to do. Got good grades graduated, and I moved to Chicago to climb the corporate ladder in the finance world. So that just wasn’t as glamorous, long story short, that just wasn’t that glamorous. Didn’t love it. Wasn’t fulfilling.
And ironically, I started in the finance world in 2007, which meant shortly thereafter, I watched a lot of my coworkers really lose, you know, lose their jobs, lose their careers, everything that their life was built on was this one job. And to me, that didn’t make sense. Everyone always said, you know, if you go work for someone else, it’s so much safer. You get the 401k, the benefits, all that, all those, you know, bright, shiny, things that they used to attract you and to me, it just didn’t make sense.
So what I did was I quit my job, moved down to Raleigh North Carolina and started my own business. So that wasn’t I mean, it was sort of blue collar. We were running after school programs for elementary kids. Sports programs, summer camps, all that. So we didn’t need to build a huge team. When I sold it, we had over 40 employees very part-time, but the culture was huge, especially because they’re all out in the field every day. So I couldn’t physically bring them into the office every day. They were out delivering the programs.
About halfway through that journey of owning that business, I literally couldn’t grow it anymore, because I was doing everything other than delivering the programs. And that’s when I realized, I need to put something in place because if I get hit by a bus or something happens to my family, this business is going to go down pretty quickly. So you know, another long story short, I went from working 80 hours a week to putting systems the processes in the building the leadership team to kind of run all the backend stuff so that the business could begin to thrive without me.
So once I did that, a lot of people started asking me Well, how did you do that? I want to learn how to do that. And that’s really when I started to fall in love with kind of the blue collar work because I feel there’s such a huge opportunity in that field because so many people are running terrible businesses in there. And it’s really not that hard to impress a customer, especially in the home service world if you literally answer your phone, show up when you say gonna show up, reply to emails and reply to voicemails, you will be in business forever, like literally because no one does that. So that’s kind of the quick and dirty of my journey to where I am today.
Ryan: You could literally say you’ve been there done that. If someone ever came to you and said, Hey, I’m struggling with this. You’re like, hey, let me tell you about a time. Sounds like you’ve really got a lot of really great real-world experience when it comes to everything entrepreneur. Is that fair?
Paul: I would say it’s pretty fair, especially for the small and medium-sized businesses that are focused on serving their local company, building a brand building a culture, you know, within their community and being the best in their industry. That’s really what I love to focus on. Really, because whatever blue collar business it is, whatever service-based business is, whoever started is really good at it.
They have a passion for it. But then how do we take that experience, that passion, and build a team around that. And that’s where I see a lot of business owners get stuck, and they’re so close, yet so far. But when you build that team, it is so liberating because then you truly do own a business instead of just owning a job.
Ryan: I know. I love that. So what are some things that you’ve seen or some thoughts you would have on how a business owner can first recognize that that’s the problem. I think that’s a big challenge for a lot of people I talk to, is the owners feel like they have a business but things just aren’t quite moving the way they want to. Things aren’t quite working out. And they haven’t really recognized that maybe them being so involved in the business is part of the problem. What are some things you would have for our listeners around that?
Paul: Yeah, I mean, I think really, just to recognize that the easiest question is, how long would your business survive and thrive if you just disappear? And that’ll tell you real quick if you have a business or if you have a job. So a job, the definition of a job is you only get paid when you work and if you’re not working, you don’t get paid.
Now, most jobs, you get a couple weeks paid vacation, which is nice. But really, in general, you’re only making money if you’re actually working and a, you know, being self-employed is basically the same. So, you know, my father is a perfect example that when he was installing or standing or refinishing hardwood floors, he was getting paid. But if he stopped, the money would stop.
So I didn’t want to be in that position where if something did happen to me or my family or, I live in Raleigh, North Carolina now with my wife, her family’s in Florida, my family’s in Michigan. If something happens to them as they get older, I want to be able to go be there with them and not worry about my business that hey, income’s still going to come in, I can still check in every day, you know, on Slack or on phone or whatever. But the business is going to continue to produce revenue and that’s really, you know, business is supposed to be an asset. An asset is supposed to be something that will build your wealth really.
Ryan: So in hearing what you just said, I feel like there’s a catch 22 like a chicken or the egg scenario. As an entrepreneur who’s self-employed, I can’t really get out of my business to work on it. Like, that’s the mindset around this. And sometimes it feels like there is no option. If I stopped doing the work, so that I can focus on building a business, the money is gonna stop coming in. So it’s like, it’s really this how do you start and is it really a chicken or egg scenario? Or is that just like a myth?
Figure Out What Your Vision Is
Paul: I would say it’s sort of a myth because we have more time than we think. It’s just a matter of how do we spend that time is going to really determine our success. So I break it down for all my clients and any business owner that will listen, you have 168 hours in a week. So if you’re going to sleep for eight hours a night, that’s 56 hours a week you got 112 hours left. So how committed are you to really building this business instead of just working a job will determine what you do with that time that you’re awake.
So if you’re, you know, if you’re a plumber and you’re out visiting houses 12 hours a day sunup till sundown, yeah, that’s probably 60 hours a week and maybe some on the weekends, but you still have another 52 hours to, quote-unquote work on your business. And with technology now you can make a lot, you know, you can really get a good bang for your buck out of that time, if you want to. So what I find is, really, the easiest way to determine how you should be spending that time is figuring out what your vision is. What is your why? Why did you start your business?
And if you want to be a solopreneur, there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t want people to listen to this be like, I just want to go be a plumber and that’s it. The guy that works on all of our appliances, he’s the best appliance repair guy and he doesn’t want to hire anybody. So the key is, then are you charging enough to make more than what you need to live so you can reinvest that into some sort of asset, real estate, other business so that if something did happen to you, money would continue to come in.
But when you get really clear on your vision, that becomes the ultimate filter on what kind of organization do I need to build in order to serve that vision because my belief, as you said in the intro is our business should be a vehicle to enable us and empower us to do whatever we want in this world. Now we just got to go make that happen. So getting anybody crystal clear on their vision, then when you start doing things, is this getting me closer to it? If not, why am I still doing it? What do I need to do short-term?
What sacrifices do I need to make in order to get there? So, you know, a lot of blue collar folks first, you just probably need to start, stop answering the phone and hire somebody to answer for you. There’s answering services, you could have someone part-time. With technology, they don’t even need to come into an office, they can do it from their mobile phone. You know, and then maybe it’s emails, then maybe it’s estimating.
Especially in the blue collar space, people are very reluctant to give up delivering that service and that’s fine, but if you delegate everything else, your life is going to be a lot easier because when you’re done turning the wrench at seven o’clock at night, you don’t have to worry about returning phone calls, sending out invoices, doing estimates, doing all those things, that somebody else could do it and they’ll probably do it a lot better than you because they only have a couple things to focus on.
Ryan: I love what you said there. So what I heard was, first off, make the decision that this is what you want. Do you want to be that self-employed entrepreneur where you don’t want to hire people, but just make sure you’re charging enough so that you have a retirement plan, essentially. But if you do make that decision that you want to grow a business, you want to get out of some of the day to day, some of the menial work, the administrative work, then start taking baby steps and putting people in place for that.
I absolutely agree with you, the business owner should never be answering the phone. You never know who it’s going to be. You never know how much time it’s going to take. And something as simple as getting an answering service can be a game-changer for a lot of entrepreneurs.
Jeremy: You know, it brings back some memories for me when I was starting my body shops. I was a technician mindset. And so it was hard to let go of the actual repair. So a lot of what you’re just saying there, Paul, was exactly the path that I followed getting rid of those things that I didn’t like doing, the office work, the phone calls, the emails. What I was surprised to find is there’s people that actually liked doing that stuff.
I thought no one would like to do that. And eventually, it began to free my time up to where the time that I wasn’t working, I began running the business versus answering telemarketer calls versus rescheduling a delivery driver, those kinds of things that really weren’t adding value to, that wasn’t the best use of me to add value to that operation. So what are some ways that you help these owners as they’re in this spot? What are some ways that you help them recognize what direction and who they should start with to start breaking that time free?
The Delegation Snowball
Paul: Yeah, that’s a really good question, Jeremy. So, you know, once we’ve gotten clear on their vision, we really then need to figure out what type of organization do you need to build in order to serve that vision and that mission. So, you know, in your body shop, maybe it’s, hey, we need two technicians, we need somebody answering the phone. And maybe we need a salesperson at the front desk or whatever, you know?
However you build it up, that’s your ideal organization. That’s your future goal. That’s where you want to work towards. So now that becomes kind of the second layer of that filter. And then once you have that, what I recommend everybody do to really figure out what should I start to delegate is, I just call it the delegation snowball. So just playing off Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball really using the momentum of just taking small actions every single day.
So every business is basically based on five systems. No matter what business it is, this is kind of the general overview of it. And if you just follow the customer journey, it’ll be pretty easy. So the first system is lead generation. How do you get people interested in your business? Do you use, you know, digital marketing? Do you use, you know, mailers?
Whatever it is that you do for lead generation, that’s your first system. The next system is that in sales, turning that person that’s interested into someone who’s paying you for the service you provide. That’s your second system. The third one is kind of the customer relations. So you have this customer service, which is more reactive, and then you have the customer experience, which is more proactive. So all that encompasses customer relations. And then the fourth one is the actual service that you provide. So most people listening to this, that’s probably where their wheelhouse is, that’s where they’re the experts.
So that’s a system in and of itself, how do you deliver that service consistently, so that way, no matter who’s doing it or delivering it, they’re going to get consistent results. And then the last one is the one that nobody likes, like you said, Jeremy, that there are actually people out there who like this stuff. I’m one of them. It’s the operation. So building all the backend, you know, whether it’s the phone answering system, or the technology, or the finances, all the backend stuff that most business owners do after hours, that’s kind of your operation.
So within those five systems, literally just take a whiteboard, take an Excel sheet, take a piece of paper and write out every single thing that you, every single process that you do within those systems and then you might have 150 processes. And this list will go, it’s not just going to be done once you get done. It’s always, you’re always going to add to it because things pop up. But then just write out, you know, how often you do it. How long does it take?
Who should be doing it based on that ideal organization that you just built? And then how bad do you want to delegate it? So, on a scale, you know, if there’s 150 items, what is the first thing that you want to delegate? Because whether it’s because you hate it, or because it’s really easy, and someone else could do it from your peace of mind standpoint. And then just do literally, if you did one of those a day, you would probably offload almost everything in your business within 12 months, which might sound like a long time but, you know, a year in business ownership goes pretty quick.
Jeremy: Wow, that’s actually a really interesting and impressive way of looking at that. So when they start letting go of this, obviously, you’ve created this map of how many employees and this kind of the structure that we’re looking for and this is the things I want to start going, doing it every single day. Could you just maybe give us some coaching? How do you help them to start taking action every day to find something like that? Like, what’s it look like if I wanted to offload phone calls today?
Paul: Yeah, that’s a really good question. So what I walked them through is, I just used the acronym p dad PDAD. So first, you need to perfect the process. And that doesn’t mean it’s perfect, it just means it’s done consistently in the same way so somebody else could then take it over. And then you need to document how it’s done. So how would you do this? So on a phone call, you could use video recording software and just, you know, do some roleplay and just record that call. And then you also obviously want a script.
So thank you for calling, you know, Paul’s Plumbing, how can I help you? And then they’re gonna have a script that they follow. And if you use an answering service, they might already have this kind of plug and play system where you just give them the information they need, and give them access to the systems they need and then it’ll happen. And then you either automate it, which is you know, mainly using technology, or you delegate it. So perfect the process, document how it’s done and then either automate it or delegate it.
So then, you know, it’s the phone calls, you work through that. It’s not going to be perfect right away. It never will be. But the only way to make it better is by take action. Once you take action, you’re going to know what breaks what you need to fix and what you need to improve on. So literally, if you do that once every day, now, answering the phone, you know, that’s a big task, big hurdle. No one’s going to talk to my customers as well as I do. But when one person that’s their only job is, you’re probably going to answer a lot more phone calls, which means you’re going to close a lot more business.
Jeremy: Yeah, that’s gold right there. That’s really good. So PDAD huh?
Paul: That’s it.
Jeremy: So one day at a time. PDAD every day.
Paul: Yeah, and really, you know, people say they don’t have time, but if you just spent an hour a day or even 30 minutes a day, a lot of my clients, I just say hey, start 30 minutes a day of working on your business. And that’ll free up more and more time. So that’s the other part of the snowball is you’re really exponentially freeing up time so you can continue to work on your business.
And eventually, you know, maybe the last thing to go is delivering the service, which at that point, you should be so efficient in generating a lot more revenue, where you could then hire an apprentice or an assistant or tech, whatever you want to call it to basically be your assistant. And if every single task from then on, you could literally give them your phone, you do the task this time. So I’m in landscaping, you could say this is how you hedge a bet and they’re recording it if you haven’t done this before, they’re recording with your phone. So now they’re watching you, they’re recording it, they’re retaining it.
And then when you’re done, you give them that video and say, Okay, go home, watch this, or watch it on your lunch break or whenever. And then, you know, eventually, you’re going to be the bet hedger. Now you know how to hedge bets. Let’s move on to the next thing. So it’s a lot more simple than most people think. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to, you know, really be functional.
Ryan: So when I look at a lot of things, People, we talk to, a lot of small business owners, there’s a few reasons why they’re not building a team. One of the things I hear all the time, Paul, you probably hear this too, I can’t find anybody. There’s just no one out there that wants to do this work. But on the other side of it, too, I find that a lot of times, business owners don’t want to hire people. Like you’d mentioned you had that one contractor you were talking about, and he’s like, I just don’t want to hire anybody.
Because there’s a lot of fear on Am I going to hire right? Is this going to be someone that’s going to actually care about the business as much as I do? You know, in our book we’re putting together, we actually talk about when you have that vision, and you have that purpose and it aligns with your values, it’s one of the best ways to build a really effective, cohesive team. But I’d love to hear what are some of your thoughts on that entrepreneurs say, you know what, you’re right, Paul, I do need to go hire somebody. But how do I get started doing that?
Paul: Yeah, that’s a great question. So I mean, this is a big area of focus on because everybody I talk to says, I just can’t find good help. I can’t find anybody that I can trust. And my first question is what are you doing right now? What is your, you know, what is your strategy to attract employees? And they say nothing. You know, if we spent as much time as we did getting customers as we did getting employees, it would not be a problem to get employees.
So, what we focused on in our landscaping business is literally we’re recruiting every single day because we need that pipeline full because if someone quits, someone gets promoted, we continue to grow, we want someone that we can plug in there. So they really need a strategy to actually, you know, grow their business from that time because without employees, you don’t really have a business. So, you know, what I really like to focus on is first you need to make your business attractive.
Like, you can’t just put up an ad that looks you know, took you five minutes to do, it has grammar errors, and isn’t enticing. And then maybe it is enticing and then they go to your website and your website’s terrible or you don’t have a website or you haven’t at Gmail or at Yahoo email address. Well, you’re not putting, you’re attracting what you’re putting out there. If you’re putting out garbage and you’re not attracting, you’re not gonna attract a business, you’re going to get bad hires.
You know, so really focusing on that part before we even look at how do you interview people? How do you weed people out? All that kind of stuff. We could have an hour-long conversation just on this, you know, but really, what I found is with the proactive recruiting, then a lot of people say, Well, I don’t need anybody right now. Well, that’s the other problem is you might not need anybody right now but you might need somebody tomorrow.
And then if you don’t have a strategy that’s ongoing, what happens is you need someone tomorrow because just picked up a big job or a new client or new contract and you hire the first person that applied. And that is the biggest recipe for, you know, disaster because it’s never going to be the right fit when you’re hiring someone because you need to, not because you want to. So kind of the last analogy that I use with everybody and then like oh, that’s It kind of makes sense is if you look at the NBA, so if anybody’s a sports fan, even if you’re not you probably know who LeBron James is. So every team in the NBA, their roster is always full.
They got their starting five, they got their bench guys. But if LeBron James went to any of those teams, and he said, Hey, guys, I’d love to work for you guys. I would love to join your team, nobody’s going to say, Sorry, LeBron, we’re not hiring right now. Give us like six months and then maybe call us back, you know, we can probably work something out. Nobody would do that. You would figure out how to bring LeBron on your team.
So if you did the same thing in your business, and you’re always recruiting every single day making that part of your agenda, and using technology that’s out there to consistently post for you, you would never have an employment problem. The problem is you’re never doing that. So you’re only fishing when you’re like starving. So you’ll eat the next thing that you catch. And a lot of times it’s probably not something you should be eating. So if you’re fishing all the time, always looking for employees, no matter what, you know, if you need them or not, you’re gonna have a much better, you know, success rate.
Ryan: You are speaking our language right now. I absolutely agree with everything you just said. That is so true. Always be recruiting. I think over the last, I don’t know, since the recession ended, I’ve seen a lot of business owners put a lot of effort into, like you said, customer acquisition. How do I get the next customer?
And if they would have just put that much energy into hiring, customers are showing up right now. Like you said, if you just answer your phone, return your voicemails and do what you say you’re going to do, you’re going to have business. If they could just put as much energy into hiring the right people, they’d actually be returning those calls, doing the voicemails all that and the business owner would be sleeping better at night.
Absolutely agree with everything you said. What’s the biggest tactic you see? So I love getting into just really takeaways. What’s the best thing that you could say for a business owner who’s just starting this process? Or maybe they’ve had some bad experiences. What’s the most effective way you seem to actually find that right person?
Paul: Yeah, so I think you know, once you are, once you are, say fishing every single day you need to put, I like to call them tests or, you know, it’s basically a funnel for employees. So putting little tests along the way to really weed out a lot of people that aren’t a great fit based on their actions, they’re self-selecting themselves out. So that way, when you do interview somebody, you’re most likely going to hire them as long as they show up for the interview because they’ve already made it through all these things.
So, you know, when we post a job, we give them specific instructions, you know, apply with a resume, answer all these questions. Some people apply without a resume, or the resume looks like it was typed up by my three year old and it’s like, Okay, well, you didn’t really want this job based on your actions, so you’re automatically out.
Another good tactic that I like to use is on the application a lot of business owners say I want to make everything required because I want to know all this information. Now, the information I want to know I’m going to make required but then I’m going to make a couple questions not required to see how these people respond. There’s plenty of people who don’t answer because it’s not required and that to me, They’re automatically out.
Because you’re again telling me you don’t really want this job, and you’re not willing to go above and beyond. So, you know, I’ll put in questions of, you know, what makes you awesome or why do you, you know, why do you really want to work here, or in 150 words or less, tell us something unique, and see how well they follow directions and go above and beyond. Next step after that, say they’ve done all that they’re good, they’ve got a good experience, whatever it is that you’re looking for, the next thing I’ll do is I’ll send them a quick questionnaire.
So I’ll send them a quick questionnaire and say, Hey, fill this out within two days, and then we’ll follow up for a phone interview it looks like a good fit. If you didn’t fill out within two days, you’re automatically out because clearly, you don’t want this job. You can’t follow directions, you’re not good with deadlines. And this is for hourly people that are cutting grass, you know? So by the time we get to the phone interview, we might have went from 50 applicants to maybe five to seven, and then do a phone interview day.
And we won’t tell him when we’re actually calling. We’ll just say Hey, I’ll call you to, you know, call you Thursday between 10 and two. So then I want to see how do they answer the phone. Are they making this a priority? You know, and they self-select themselves out again because some don’t answer. And I get it some guys are working. So if they call back and say, Hey, I was on the equipment or Hey, you know, I was talking to a customer, totally fine.
But a lot of people, they just don’t answer they don’t call back. So it’s like, I’m glad we figured this out now instead of your first day when you flake out. So those are just some of the ways by that time, then you can know Okay, I’m gonna interview a couple people but it makes it really easy and really time effective if you put all those kind of hoops to jump through that allows people to self-select themselves out, so you don’t have to do any of the work.
Ryan: I love that. I completely agree with everything you say. I coach a lot of my clients on the exact same things. Because one of the biggest pushback I get is I’m already working 70, 80 hours a week. I don’t have time to hire somebody. The last thing they want to do is put a job posting on Indeed or Craigslist and get 100 garbage applications that they have to sort through. I love the way that you do that qualification process so that we weed out the 100 and we get to the two or three that are actually worth pursuing.
It’s a huge time saver. Huge, huge time saver. What do you see is working as far as the actual, like, are job boards working right now? Do you see, maybe, you know, we coach on employee referral programs, maybe that? What do you see is actually working with your clients right now?
Paul: Yeah, so we use a program called JazzHR. Don’t know if you guys have heard of it, but to me, it’s like the best for anybody that runs a service-based blue collar business this is probably the best $49, the lowest package is $49 a month and it literally autopost to all the free job boards. And you get applicants delivered to your inbox literally every day. And for those people that don’t have a lot of time, yes, you have to take time to build up the system. It’s going to take you a couple hours to build, kind of maybe some automation and whatnot in it. You can hire experts to do that. You could hire Ryan, you can hire myself.
There’s plenty of people out there that like geeking out on this stuff. But basically, once that’s done and set up, it literally delivers applicants to you every single day. And what I do, even if I have the time, I just do this literally once a week. So every Tuesday, I’ll go into my JazzHR portal and see everybody that applied within the last week, and then I’ll start walking them through this process. So go to JazzHR, it’s to me, if you’re going to spend any money on your business, it’s 49 bucks, you will sleep much better at night.
Ryan: Cool. That’s great. So there’s probably some business owners listening to this right now that they have people on their team and just like you were talking about if, you know LeBron James said, Hey, I want to come play for you, you know, one of the easiest ways to make room for him is to get one of your low, get rid of one of your low performers. But it, you know, in 3% unemployment, like I hear a lot of times I just can’t find people.
What can you do with your existing team? If you’ve got people on your team, they’re not performing, they’re not supporting you and you feel like you’re always putting out their fires, what are some things that you can coach your clients on or some things that you see that can help those business owners that are dealing with that?
Have Empathy For Your Employees
Paul: Yeah, I mean, like you said, that’s, I think it’s pretty common because we didn’t get in business to be a manager of employees. We got in business because we’re good at the service. So it’s not an easy thing to do. It’s really building that muscle and doing the repetitions and becoming better as a leader and a manager. But I think it really comes down to having clear communication, open communication and having the empathy for your employee. I know a lot of business owners who say, well, they’re getting paid to do the job, and they’re not even doing that. So why would I spend any more time with them?
And, you know, the answer to that is, well, let’s figure out why they’re not doing their job. And the other answer is without those employees, you don’t have a business. So let’s figure out, you know, what’s really going on and I, going back to our first of our conversation about the vision, you might not have a clear vision for your company, which means your employees don’t have a clear vision either of where do I fit in?
Where are we going? Is there room to advance? Am I just a guy getting a paycheck? It seems like the owners making all the money and driving around in their fancy truck while I’m doing all the work. Whatever the conversations that go on in the employees’ heads, it’s probably just lack of communication, at least on that level of what you talked about of the culture is, okay, this is the vision of our company.
This is what the ideal organization looks like. We’re gonna have a project manager, we’re gonna have an account manager, we’re gonna have four crew leaders, we might have a foreman. Whatever it is that you’re going to have in your business, and then sitting down with your employees and say, Hey, where do you really want to go in life? how, you know, what would success look like for you? And they might tell you things that you never knew because you never asked.
Employees aren’t just going to come in and most of them aren’t going to come in and tell you all these things unless you build these relationships with them. So really, you know, getting intentional of building those relationships with your employees and making them kind of your best advocate as well. And you becoming their best advocate of, Hey, this is where we really want to go. So when you can get clear on their vision, it’s your job as their leader and boss to help them make that vision come to fruition as well. So I think that’s probably the first step where I’d recommend everybody go.
Jeremy: I love this, Paul. And you talked about some employers, you know, their employees are talking about the wages and you’re talking about all this motivation stuff. I can’t afford that because I’m not getting the good results. How do you help that employee, besides after you get the vision part of it, hey, this is the direction we communicated that, how do you get them to increase their results? Because, you know, a lot of times I’ll tell people, hey, what are the positions worth is based off how much it produces.
And, you know, if I’m talking about an hourly frontline worker that’s making between 30 and 50,000. I’m like, there’s a guy out there that mows lawns or can run a crew that’s worth $100,000. I’m like, no way. Like, yeah, there’s somebody that could make it worth 100,000. What would they have to do, you know, to become worth 100,000? I know it’s gonna be few and far between, but it’s allowing them to think about where, what is success look like? So how do you help employers work with their employees to get more results and make them worth more?
Paul: Yeah. So I think there’s probably two aspects to that. So one is kind of what is your minimum standards for to do the job successfully? A lot of people don’t know that. So if there are no expectations, they’re going to live up to no expectations. So you know, what is important to people cutting the grass? They got to show up on time, they got to wear their uniform, they got to work with the team.
So that’s kind of becomes your benchmark, like, Hey, you have to show up every day at seven o’clock otherwise, you’re not going to have a job. Hey, you have to wear your uniform every day, otherwise, you’re not going to have a job. So really setting just those baseline standards is the first thing. And then the other thing is setting the expectations of where you want them to deliver and convey to them that if you do that, you will get to where you want to go. So if they want to get that hundred thousand dollar a year job, it’s totally possible. This is what it looks like.
You would be running probably four or five crews. You’re an account manager, you’re running, doing whatever you’re doing, you know, within that organization. And in order to get there, they, this is what we need for you to produce. And I will help you every step of the way when you need help. The key is you need to take action. So, you know, setting those baseline standards and what that really does, even though it sounds silly, it’s like, well, yeah, they’re supposed to be here at seven o’clock.
What it does is it starts to build a really strong culture because it weeds the people out who shouldn’t be there, which in turn uplifts the people who are always there on time because they’re like, finally, my team member is here every day and I can leave and I can go do my job. There’s nothing more frustrating than being a high achiever at an organization that has no expectations and no minimum standards because they’re gonna leave because it’s like, well, you can do whatever you want, why would I stay here?
I can go over here get more money and work with better people. So I equated to report card day. So, you know, the people who get good grades are pumped about report card day. So the people that are excited about these minimum standards and these expectations and how you operate, the people that are excited are the people who do great work. The people who aren’t excited are the people who suck more or less.
So those who are going to self-select themselves out of there, and you’re going to give them, you know, hey, if you’re late one more time, unfortunately, we have to move on and you’re gonna have to go find another place of employment. So they are firing themselves because that’s a whole nother aspect of being a boss, being an employer is we don’t like to fire anybody because it’s just not comfortable. We don’t like doing it. So we’ll just keep people for a really long time, which just, you know, really crushes the culture at the end of the day.
Jeremy: I love that. You know, I, we use a tool called a scorecard. And it’s really about helping team members get clear on what does winning look like. If we’re trying to play a game and go back to the sports analogies, you got that football team out there in the middle of the field, they all pull together and they have a conversation.
They’re having their meeting per se. What are they talking about? It’s that scoreboard up there. Like how do we move this? How do we make it when? And If they got the guy on their team that can’t seem to catch the ball or can’t seem to block at the right times, can’t follow the plays, they’re going to be helped being you as the coach or as the leader to self-deselect this person.
Like, hey, how do we get this person off our team so that we can become that winning team. I remember the first time one of my employees called me and told me Hey, we nailed it this week. We knocked it out of the park. And they were actually right. They knew, I knew, we all knew what success was. We were measuring it. We were monitoring it, when they could see their numbers in their action, they knew ahead of time that they had achieved what success looks like for them.
So I love it. So we’re just kind of bringing this full circle here. We’ve talked about how business owners that get going and they start up, they have a lot to delegate, they start breaking free. We start looking at how we attracted and hired them. And then we start looking at how do we get clear on aligning their vision and our vision and their results with our expectations and results? What are some last-minute, some of the final recommendations that you would love to give to the audience as we bring this to a close?
Your Worst-Case Scenario Is Never as Bad as You Think
Paul: Yeah, so, you know, what I find in the service-based world is we’re always scared of the worst-case scenarios. What would happen if I hire this person and they totally mess up and they totally screw up my brand, you know, my image, all that kind of stuff, because I’m the only one that’s ever done that.
And, you know, here’s the facts, the worst-case scenario is never as bad as we think it’s going to be because at the end of the day, this is just business. And if you’re, if you hire somebody that doesn’t go as planned and they screw up somebody’s yard, or they screw up somebody’s floors, or someone’s windows or whatever, that is totally fixable. It’s how do you react to that, that your customer will really remember you by.
So, you know, I’ve worked with plenty of business owners, myself included, where we’ve screwed up. But then we’ve reached out to the customer and owned it, which a lot of business owners don’t do. They’ll blame everybody except themselves for this. You know, but hey, sorry, we really messed up. And a lot of times they’ll reach out and say, Oh my gosh, this is so amazing that you actually care. We love you guys even more. So like, you went from screwing up someone’s windows to like them loving you even more.
And that’s just, you know, really the learning experience of building a team, building a business. But the worst-case scenario is never as bad as we think it’s going to be. If you have that clear vision, you have a plan to get there and then you probably you know, the last thing I would say is you need to have that accountability, whether it’s coach, mentor, employees, whatever it is, if you say this is where I’m going, we as business owners, it’s really easy to not go there because we are the boss. There is nobody above us holding us accountable.
So when you can surround yourself with other people going on that same journey, you’re going to get there because you don’t want to be the only person that shows up next week and didn’t do what they said they’re going to do. So, you know, really have that vision, have that plan and then stop thinking about the worst-case scenario and understand that if you can do it, so can somebody else. Even if it’s 80% as good as you can, the customer doesn’t care because it’s still 80% better than they could do it, otherwise they wouldn’t have hired you.
And it’s really about the brand that you’re building with them and the communication and the like and trust factor. So, yes, they might not do it as well as you can, they might not care as much because they’re not the owner, which is totally fine, they’re an employee. But at the end of the day, 80% of what you can do is still amazing, because you are kind of setting the bar as high as possible. So take action. The worst-case scenario is never as bad as you think it’s going to be.
Ryan: That’s some great guidance. I love that. Hey, for those listeners that want to learn more about how you might be able to help them coach them into being the CEO of their business and not just a self-employed technician, what’s the best way for them to get a hold of you?
Paul: Yeah, so if they just go to paulmaskill.com/mastermind at the beginning, you mentioned you know, that’s kind of what I do. I run the Ultimate Freedom Mastermind. So really helping people go from where they’re at to where they want to be through the accountability, being a mentor, putting the plan in place, and getting really clear on that vision. So paulmaskill.com/mastermind. There’s some videos, fill out the application and we’ll set up a time to chat.
Ryan: Awesome. Hey, Paul, thank you so much for being our guest today. I really enjoyed the conversation. I can’t believe it’s over already. It’s always a great sign. Thank you so much. And those listeners out there, if there’s anything that you need some help with on getting out of your business and getting into it, I mean, feel free to reach out to Paul.
Jeremy: Thank you so much, Paul. I really appreciate it.
Paul: Yeah, thanks, Jeremy. Thanks, Ryan. I really enjoyed it.