Owen: Hi, everyone. My name is Owen McGab Enaohwo and welcome to Process Breakdown where I get on successful entrepreneurs to come on here to tell you exactly how they deal systems in their businesses that allow them to be able to run their businesses literally on auto-pilot without as much involvement from their part. And my guest today is Phil Thomas from GotMemories.com. Phil, welcome.
Phil: Thank you for having me.
Owen: And I’m very excited because during our pre-interview, you mentioned how you literally worked 15 minutes a week and yet you generate over $200,000 in profit a year. Not even the runway but actually the profits, so that is awesome.
Phil: Yeah, thank you. Yeah. It’s not something that happens overnight but yeah, it is the truth and yeah, here I am living free.
Owen: Awesome. The listener right now, I’m sure they’re curious, what is your company all about? And what’s the big pain that you solve for your customers?
Phil: Well, GotMemories.com is a company that converts video tapes, film, all of the old media formats that everyone used to shoot in all that home movies back from as early as the 1920’s up to like the 1990’s with camcorder tapes in such. So we put them in digital form so people can access them, watch them online, put them on DVD, they can edit them, share them with friends and family around the world.
Owen: Awesome. So basically as people bringing this new technology and we have the old technology of how you’re capturing memories, what your company does is basically takes all that, old school cameras and all that and brings it into the new tech age, the digital format I guess?
Phil: Yes, correct.
Owen: That is very awesome. And also so that people could understand kind of like the scope of employees that you have, how many employees do you have?
Phil: I have four full time employees that are on location in Tempe, Arizona which is part of Phoenix and I also have two contractors that work here in England, where I’m at right now and so I work between those two places.
Owen: Awesome. And so you mentioned that you made about 200k in profit last year. So that the listeners know that this is not something that just happened overnight, you’re actually doing this on a yearly basis. What was kind of the turnover for the last couple of years? Give us a little bit to understand what you’re doing there.
Phil: The turnover from the last couple of years. Yeah, last year was 200,000. The year before was about 150,000 and the business has been going for 10 years. So it started to make money on its own without my full-time involvement after about 5 years.
Owen: Awesome. And the reason I’m asking that just because the listeners are wondering, I want to listen on standard. I actually bring on proven entrepreneurs only here who have employees, who have businesses that are actually making money and we want to learn from them and that are why I ask these questions ahead of time. So let’s go back a little bit, what would you say as kind of the lowest point in your business back in the day and just quite how bad did you get?
Phil: Are you talking about emotionally or mechanically?
Owen: Yeah. Let’s go both ways then. Let’s talk about emotions and also the mechanics that’s behind it as well because I want people to understand where you were before and we can take them to where you are now based on the systems you have. I just want them to have a peak into what it was before.
Phil: Yeah. Probably the lowest point emotionally is probably about 5 years ago. One of the things that were kind of linked together, so mechanically, we had equipment that was breaking down a lot it was very cumbersome. We had quality issues here and there. Retention of stuff and that was then directly were linked to the emotional point as well because you’re kind of at the point where you go “What do I do? Do I pack it in? Do I just go get a day job and clock in and clock out? Or my point here where most people give up and see that road block and just do actually give it all up and get a clock in, clock out job and I think those points in the business is where you go “Uh-huh, this is where most people give up. If I get over this and figure out what’s going on, think about the best way to overcome it and improve,” then you’re in kind of like a whole new group of people that start to realize and understand business and understand these ups and downs. So the low point was equipment and the only option was spending quite a bit of money in buying the right equipment, finding the right equipment. So if you could ultimate process this and retain stuff and reduce the amount of time it takes to do what you’re doing to therefore lower your prices as well and bringing more customers with lower prices.
Owen: Just so that the listeners can kind of get like a concrete example, you mentioned that one of the issues was you didn’t have as much reliability from the employees saying “It was a pain to train them.” Can you share a story with us as to that can give more, highlight that point a little bit more if it comes to mind?
Phil: Yeah, well, in our industry, for instance, film transfers. There isn’t too much equipment out there to do it in a very speedy way. Equipment is expensive so you got to kind of rely on more antiquated methods and equipment that breaks down. You got a projector and typically how it is done in the industry and you filming off the wall and it’s quality issues and there are so many things that can go wrong in that whole antiquated process and I basically just thought this is no good and we have to spend the money and do it right and research the different types of equipment that had the processes. And it’s just more fun pleasurable experience now transferring film as one particular I’m talking about and we can also basically [06:58], we document our processes now with video to the customers so they can actually see how we’re doing and we’re doing it right and giving them an educational experience as well.
Owen: On the employee side, I’m just curious that you’ve mentioned that the equipments side where you had issues with the equipment but on the employee side, was there any kind of thing that you can remember back in the day of how it wasn’t as reliable in terms of result that we’re getting, if you can share a story with us during to make that point concrete as well?
Phil: So where I had unreliable staff?
Phil: In terms of the processes, in terms to relating to equipment and the process as in stuff before we upgraded, yeah, I mean there was a lot of ways to make mistakes and you really have to watch the staff to make sure they were doing it correctly. Corners could be easily be cut. Training time, there was so many pieces to the puzzle and to try and get somebody to do it correctly and right, you literally have like a 15-step process as opposed to afterwards, you have like a three step process. So it was a lot more clearer once we upgrade it and did everything the correct way or upgraded equipment and the process is just less to train is less for them to think about, less chances for them to make a mistake. And if they’re making a mistake, they get deflated and no good at this and this is too hard and they, all of a sudden, you got something that’s easy and fun and they go “Yey, I’m good at this.” And they are because the equipment is kind of 85% of doing the work that they use to do. So yeah, it’s all about morale and when it is more fun, they’re going to stay and they’re going to grow with the company and they don’t going to give up and that’s huge.
Owen: So you said in 2007, you actually end up taking the blunt in finding the equipments and that needed easier for the actual work, your results to be more reliable and then on top of that, you also decided that you wanted to improve the quality of training so that you can basically increase the retention of the employee that maybe when you hire them it’d be quicker for them to get started. So I want to just jump into specifics behind what kind of business systems you have in place now because in 2007, you made that thing so let’s jump into some of these systems you have in place in your business.
Phil: Yeah, I mean other systems in 2007. We had invoicing program that was based on one computer and they stopped supporting it that we had a website that was all over the place and the sales process was just all over the place. There was a point that you got so sick of repeating yourself to customers and to staff as well and it very quickly started to move into “Hhow do I use things that been [10:28], like web apps and blogs where people have already done it before and they’ve got it documented?” and just start to basically realize that it’s all been said and done before, why reinvent the wheel?
So I started to use things like FreshBooks.com for invoicing for estimates and it was easy, it was clean, it was so great for the customer to see, it’s professional. But on the other end, the staff enjoyed using it and that was a big moment as well and started to use YouTube for my staff to understand like the most frequently asked questions. So I’m so sick of repeating myself to customers that I started to make video just so I didn’t have to repeat myself every single day, a hundred times a day with the same questions.
And so when the staff would get off these questions, they would diver customers to the FAQ page and they go “Yeah, number three.” And they’d watch a video on me talking about it and then the staff needs to learn from watching these videos and so with the customers as well. It was kind of like a two-way thing and also the staff where they had these videos out which customers really like, with me and then I’m confident and I’m in front of the camera and everything and it gave them the confidence because I was actually taking the time to make the company look professional and so forth and again, they have more pride and retain them because I was putting in this much effort as they were.
Owen: During the pre-interview you mentioned how you literally created a book where you had set in procedures in place and actually documented procedures, let’s jump into that a little bit. How did you even get started with that? What did you even start documenting at first? I want to understand how you literally broke down what you do step-by-step in procedures for your team.
Phil: Well, we created a book. It was the Got Memories Bible and it’s literally like that is the coverage of it and it still goes and is sitting around and it’s filed away and it’s got everything written in there and if anyone had any questions as what to do, they went to that book and looked it up and it also clarify to me as well when I was writing that and I would say “Wait a minute, that’s full step process right there” and when I read it out, that doesn’t seem to work. That could be two steps. So as I was writing it out to the staff, I was actually inspiring myself to exemplify even more and so that was pretty much how that started. I also brought in a consultant and relatively, the consultant was confusing that as even more and wanted to add more steps and that’s a whole another blog right there. But yeah, so we’ve got it right and now we have companies like SuiteProcess.com. Everything, you basically want to take that and have that in the cloud and have it accessible anywhere, anytime, any locations.
Owen: Thanks for the blog but I also want to talk about something where because a lot of people will look at documenting procedures, something friction that will come to their mind or things that want to make them do it and I’m trying to figure out from a mindset standpoint, how did you get passed that mindset and actually say “Okay, this act of me documenting my procedures step-by-step is actually an investment as opposed to checking my time.” What tricks did you get passed that mindset to actually do it?
Phil: Okay, myself I’m a firm believer for a motion to happen, you need emotion behind it and my biggest drive, everyone else whose trading business tries to look at that more money, more base, more, more, more. Like “My God, there are a million things to think about.” And right about 2007, my son was born and my wife is a flight attendant. She travels around the world on private depths and she’s gone for times, weeks of the time. So I wanted to spend as much time with my son as possible at home or somewhere else other than the office. I used to take him to the office on a baby [15:17] and so I was very lucky to have that. That once he gone older, the crying and having him in the background and just reaching stuff and so forth, I was like “How do I remove myself completely from this business?” So I don’t have to put him in daycare and that honestly was my biggest motivator. I have to do it. Otherwise I had to put him in daycare and nothing against daycare. It’s just something that I didn’t want for a young baby. So really, that was my biggest motivation with him.
Owen: I think we got now, we got the biggest motivation that you beat the mindset by having a big “Why?” behind it but not as the actual mechanics of doing this. So you’d have a big “Why?” the mechanics of doing it now, I’m just trying to see what challenges you have with the mechanics of actually, literally documenting procedures and how you overcame them?
Phil: I literally sat down and went through every single step of the business, from the first one, a couple of different areas. So when that customer first comes to the website and they place an order. What are they doing? And they go from ABC and I basically drew it out to about six steps and how do I automate everything using auto-responders, forwarding web pages with videos where they’re not calling up, taking up stuff, time, wasting their time as well and not having to make any phonecalls or anything. So I literally went through every single step and documented everything. But also in that process, I came up with a solution to that step as well. Like kind of a subset by making a video, by making a webpage to explain it to customers and then also to staff as well. And then put it altogether in a book and also took action and documented it on the website as well in terms of helping customers get to where they want to go without having to pick up the phone or send an e-mail that will be making it easier for them to give us money.
Owen: I like that and I like the way you broke it out, how you did it. But what I also like to do is give listeners a kind of an example that makes it a bit more complex. Let’s jump into business and see what the first thing you started with was? What was the first task that happen on the recurring basis that you felt you had to start documenting and why? Maybe kind of walk us to how you did it. That way, the listener can use that as a starting point in their own business? You understand the question?
Phil: So basically, let’s talk about a process of when an order comes through our front door.
Phil: And one thing with us is every single piece of media that we have, these are people’s home movies and they’re very precious and you cannot misplace anything. All the videotapes look that same, look alike and you want to keep everything. So the customer sends in 50 videotapes and they’re going to get 50 videotapes back in a roll and so forth and they’re done right. So when it comes to particular process is when we got a packaging and we open up the box, what do we do?
And using like FreshBooks and all the different programs, we basically set out system where you were using Ziploc bags, synthesize inside Ziploc bags, synthesize IKEA boxes to put everything in or using stickers on every single tape back to the invoice numbers. They’re all sealed out and put into these boxes and zipped up and then put on a particular shelf and then they give an order that they’re going the shelf and IKEA was a big help with that, with the auto-maintain processes just through furniture and all the different knick-knacks that we use to basically make conveyable so to speak of everything.
So checking in jobs as being completely documented on one, literally about six steps and everything is written down on tables and this has all been a lot of it has been implemented by the staff. So I give them a lot of freedom, a lot of leeway and we work together to come up with these systems. So it’s they’re idea and they know it. They’ve created it and I’ve got great staff and they’re very organized and that’s one of our biggest point is staying organized. We know what everything is at any given time within our building.
Owen: And I like that and the reason why I wanted you to give an example is that the goal is too for the listeners to say “Okay, this is my business” and your business is different from theirs because you actually, literally have to receive physical goods from people in terms of tapes.
Owen: And you literally have to create a system those goals in from when you get the tape, what do you to get all the way to an endpoint where they don’t have a digital copy? So the listener listening to this has this “Okay, for my own business, depending on what I’m doing, I have to look at it different. Like a journey from when the customers come in.” How do we get them? What are the different steps in place? And you just kind of broke down your intake process. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be the same as the listener but I just want you to say that so that you’ll understand the reason behind how you broken, created procedure, whatever task. The intake process of your business and what do you mention was how you said that you literally empower your employees to kind of help to take, you’ve created the initial foundation of the procedures but you have a part that could take you to the next level? And I’m curious how and how does that even benefit you?
Phil: My motto is “The less fingerprints on everything, the better” and usually, how can we make the job more fun and more enjoyable? How do we create the questions are how do we get customer work? And I make them happy and make the job more enjoyable for all of us and which usually involves less steps. So I sat down with them, everything from furniture arrangement. Where this goes and where the computers are? So we’re just all flow and I let them, I empower them to create their own work spaces and what works for them. I’ve been an employee myself which I think helps once you’ve got your own business because you know what it feels like on both sides. But when it is their idea, there’s a sense of thrive there and there’s less friction. I think a lot of owners out there that just want to do it their way and they’re not in their 40 hours a week. So I like to give the staff to take out of their brain all of the time. Half the time, they’ve got better ideas than I do. If there are other questions, I just throw that question back out them, what would you do? And I’d say half the time, they’d come up with an answer and I’m like, that is way better than I did.
Owen: I’m curious too, just so that we can have this more concrete in the mind of the listeners because I’m always about empowering the employees to improve the procedure. Your job is to create the foundation where you impart and take it to the next step. Is there an example you can show us? Like a moment that you got based on getting feedback from your employees that you guys actually improve the procedures for what you guys are doing?
Phil: My gosh, there’s a quite a few. I’m trying to think of something recent. Right now, we’ve got a new piece of equipment that has been put in place by the manufacturer and there have been some problems and I have literally, I used to get involved in the middle of going back and forth between the manufacturers. The staff will communicate to me and then it will fill back to the manufacturer, the wrap and then it comes back through me and then back to them.
We eliminated me from the middle and I’ve been kind of in the outside just recently with a big problem and with one of these new piece of equipment and has it really been tested that much. My staff would actually come up with a solution themselves beyond what the manufacturer could come up with and now they’re working directly with the manufacturer and they’ve helped them improve a product. So that’s one kind of area where I just stepped out of the way and given them the respect that they’ve got brain and have a good amount of intelligence to figure out the problem themselves and improve the process there and steps and so we can all get quality product type on time.
Owen: And one of the things that a lot of people also struggle with is giving up of control because I’ll just give an example of how, before and now, when you’re having a problem with an equipment, they would have to insert you into it and now, in this case as example, you literally took yourself out and they have taken over the process and that even help you to improve when you are in that all step that you just mentioned. But how does it feel to just literally let go? What kind of struggles that you have struggled with in terms of giving up control?
Phil: It’s big. It is the biggest step that you have to do is to trust that they’re going to do it. I mean, I’ve seen my own habits, I’ve seen other entrepreneur habits and it’s the biggest thing that I see that just “You know what? I’m just going to do it myself.” I could get this done in 3 minutes and it’s going to take them 15 and I haven’t even given them a chance yet and it is really hard to let go but once you do, it’s kind of like your child. When you got a baby and you just don’t let anyone near it, you want to feed it, you want to do everything because nobody else knows your child. It’s kind of like that once you start mature a little that you go, “I’m going to let them walk on their own and will had them bang their head and get little cuts and scrapes.” But at the end of the day, you see those 10 years later and that they can bike downhill and you’re not even thinking twice about it and it’s 10 times more dangerous than anything you ever thought they’ll be doing but it’s okay to let go.
What’s the worst that could happen? I think it’s good to start with a very small thing—something very simple, straightforward. Yes, it might take them a little bit of extra time but just let them do it and just sit back and remind yourself that it’s okay. Really, it’s about wanting. What do you want from this business? Do you want to be in it every single day? Do you want to go? Do you want to have a life? And I’ve seen many entrepreneurs that escaped the 9 to 5 and now they’re in the 6 a.m. to 12 midnight in the week. And it’s because they will not let go and if they took some of the advice from the day job and they had bosses and they were comfortable what they did. Somebody trusted them as some point to take over and it’s time to let someone else. They might not be the greatest person doing that job at the time but at least you’re going to learn as you go and go “Okay. Well, that person might not be good for that job. Let’s get someone in that can be.” But yeah, it’s a huge step that once you do it once, twice, you get kind of addicted to letting go. You just like, you know what? I’m just going to see how it goes and what’s the worst that can happen?
Owen: And I’m curious too because now, we’re talking about letting go and giving up control, the most that happened something from your own experience that was a little more difficult than everything else to let go of control and if you can’t shed some light on it, what was it and how did you finally get past it to let go to your employees?
Phil: I think the biggest was letting employees handle customer’s media and transfer the film. I’ve created my own system in my head when I was transferring film to video DVD many years ago. So long that I thought that was the only person that could do it this could and I remember the first time I really let someone else do it and then stands in over them and I’m literally like “Oh, oh” and I’m being really critical. I’d still be in the room but I’m listening and I’m looking and I’m like and then I remember the first [28:39] as she walked out of the room, them doing it and I’m like, it feels kind of good actually.
Then after a couple of days, I’m going to go get a cup of copy at the road and then you’re at Starbucks and you’re just going “Actually, I’m making money right now.” It feels kind of good and you come back an hour later or so and go “Done okay” and I just made $200 and you go “Okay, can I make a thousand bucks?” and then you start to do more fun things. I’m going to go at mountain biking and they’re coming in at 9:00 and I’m out mountain biking and if there’s any problems, these days, you got your cellphone, they could text you, they could video chat with you, there are so many things opposed to even 5 to 10 years ago you couldn’t do. So there’s constant contact now and really there’s no better time to let go on that. And so yeah, it’s a really good feeling though. I mean, you’ve got to focus on what you want and why and the feeling that it’s going to give you, the emotion I was going to feel when you’re at your kid’s soccer game, someone else is doing the work for you.
Owen: And I’m curious too is I like the point that you share and this question I have is basically now you sort of how you created kind of procedures for your teammates to handle several different recurring task in your business but then the question that’s in the mind of the listeners, how do you exactly know that they’re delivering the results that you want them to deliver? What ways are you verifying and tracking the results are coming out the way you want? So let’s share right on that.
Phil: Yeah. It’s a great question because you can get sloppy with letting go. You can start to look in the solution, everything is great and on the backend, all of a sudden you got customer complaints about things aren’t getting shipped on time especially now with review sites or bad reviews on there and a couple bad experiences and these people are really pissed off and they’re going to write a novel and there’s people [30:53] they go down Yelp or wherever and there’s a thousand great reviews but there’s 3 bad reviews and then it goes straight to the bad reviews.
Owen: I definitely do that when I read, looking for new books, I just go to the bad review first. Let me see the bad review.
Phil: What’s the problem here and also very important how was it rectified? You have to always respond to those bad one. But getting on point, so you know we have within FreshBooks, you know it’s a ticket system, customers can log-in if there’s a problem as a ticket. We also have to run older review sites as well and you’ll be also get a lot of work through eBay so we got that whole in the feedback system as well. And I kind of judge it by the ticket system if there are problems and I monitor, usually once a week, I’ll take a quick look or my manager will take a quick look over the reviews. But generally, it’s amazing. I mean, I’ll be gone for 2 months and come back in it so usually like what’s going on? And there are no problems or whatsoever. I’d be hearing about it. I have my e-mail, my personal cellphone number on our entire site. If anybody wants to speak to the owner, they have my name. I’m over the website. I’m all over the web, videos of me with my face and my name. So if there are any major problems and I’m an open book, I mean, I’m very accessible.
Owen: One of the things you also mentioned during the pre-interview, because the way your team is structured, the kind of work in tandem together and there’s a missing piece, it cannot coordinate to the accountable, can you shed some more light on that?
Phil: Yeah. We have a motto, “We never want to see the same piece of media again ever. It should be done right the first time.” If we have some work and it’s done incorrectly, well, people on the front end are going to get the grief. The customer complaining and then they’ve got to work hard, going to ticket system, they’re going to create shipping label, call time and to get FedEx ticket back up again. It will be shipped across the country and we’re going to re-do it and then got to ship back again and then it’s just all these different processes.
So busy, it’s the last thing that we need. It’s just more dead work. Everybody has a place and if somebody has to pull that way or if there’s a silly problem, they’d come down or we all come down on each other. I mean, it’s a very constructive way of coming down but they’re all very respectful of each other and literally, everyone has got each other’s back. If there’s a problem, they will get together and they’ll solve the problem. When the work comes back in or if there’s a problem in-house that work as a team and they were very closely on that to make sure that we’re not getting grief from the customers and the customers aren’t getting grief from our work.
Owen: And what I hear from that is like I feel like your business is kind of like a conveyor-built. You think of a conveyor-built like a manufacturing, like an car manufacturing where the parts come in and they put the pieces together and on the other end is the car. I couldn’t get an extra sense like a conveyor built kind of like?
Phil: It is like that. Yeah, it is. And we’ve simplified as well to my process. I mean there are so many different things that we could be doing in our business and some of our capacitors they have a lot of different options and they do all different other types of media, audio and all these other stuff that we don’t do and we keep it very simple for a reason just so we have a great at this block of stuff and it works well with the equipment we’ve got and it simplifies our business greatly so we can get a lot of work here and knock it out very quickly and efficiently with very high quality. And we’re not trying to be masters of everything so that’s not bad.
Owen: There’s one thing too, basically when you’re doing the work yourself, right? If wanting to document how you work is being done so that you can deliver it to the front end guys, the employees who are going to do the work but then, you mentioned how you have a manager. And now how did you create a system so that the manager can takeover you and manage over from you and manage your employees on your behalf, is there anything that you can share with us based on what you’ve learned on creating a system on which managers can use to manage on your behalf?
Phil: Yeah, I think with the manager for me because it is a small business, I had created within work but we also had a personal rapport as well and very similar personality. So really there was a lot of unspoken stuff, we just knew what was going on just with eye contact and movement. So that’s one of the biggest things that taken over with sales and e-mails and responding to e-mails. So really, that was the biggest thing and also having the respect of other employees as well. So I chose her out of everyone else because she had previous experience with managing people and she wasn’t afraid to speak up and also to speak up to me as well. So that’s the big thing as well. She’s not afraid to speak her mind to me and that is exactly why I have her in charge. But she’s very good grandma, very good rapport with customers. Doesn’t flip hire over things. If there’s a problem, she’s as cool as can be and a really good maturity level but does have management experience in the past and that’s a big plus there.
Owen: So from a manager standpoint…
Phil: Okay. That’s my son Sydney.
Owen: We’re almost done.
Phil: Yeah, he’s all grown up now so this is my reason for ultimatum my business right here, was this boy right here so we can travel back to England and hang out for a couple of months and get out of the Phoenix Heat and hang out with the family and stuff and anyway, I’ll be right back. I’ll be down in a minute, okay? Okay. I’ll have it this time, all right?
Owen: I like that. It’s very real. The listeners listening this now are seeing real life. We’re not even headed to this stuff and so okay.
Phil: That is as real as it gets. Some of my videos online I’ve been doing I’ve got a million videos and some of them I’d come up with ideas and I’m in the middle of recording them and in my office and they will pop in and just do the same thing and you’re like “Hello, there you are.” So that’s why it’s a little hard right there.
Owen: One thing on the topic of tracking for results, I guess how you track the turnover, the profit and customer service is based just to relate that to how the employees on the ground are actually doing in their work but how do you track on the manager side. What do you use for the manager to make sure that the manager is doing his work? You understand?
Phil: Well, sales. Sales and profitability. Number one, I mean she’s in charge of the numbers and that is pretty much the bottom line right and if the number are dying as some accountability and so far, I mean so far so good. So that is pretty much it. I mean I’ve checked the numbers every day on my iPhone, there’s an app and I’ll just quickly look it up, quick scan. Sometimes every day, sometimes every couple of days depends on my mood on where I’m at but yeah, we’re comparing them. I got numbers, she got numbers. We have goals and targets from the beginning of the month and history of last year, the same month last year and so on and so forth and during the month we’ll do checks over the past 5 years of where we are in relation to the middle of the month of July…
Owen: For work analysis, right?
Phil: Exactly, yeah. So yeah and that’s pretty much the money is what it comes down to and where we are at.
Owen: I love that because for when I get from that is not only are you now delegating the work to both on the employee side where they’re doing customer facing or work or on the manager side where the manager is managing the employees but on each level you are creating metrics to track the results for each level so that you can actually see that “Hey, not only do they want to do the work but I’m actually very fine and trusting that they’re getting work based on the results I’m getting back.”
Owen: One thing you mentioned too was that how you have automated your marketing. This is different now from systematizing and creating procedures for how work gets done but I wanted to shed some light on what exactly you did to automate your marketing?
Phil: Automation of the marketing, as I kind of talked about earlier was this is just me every day. The phone would ring or a customer would come in and they would say the same questions again and again and I used to be running to that phone. If any other staff member again talking about letting go, I mean, certain letting go of the process is in the some of the manufacturing side of things. But letting go of sales, I mean where you have to make that money, you got payroll to meet, rent to pay, families to support and an employee picks up the phone and so as like, “Hi, I want to give you money and lots of it.” And they go “Yeah…” And you’re just like “Ohh” and you know how to sell. I mean, you actually master the process. You own it and you know that $2000 job would have been done.
So I just literally die for the phone every time it went [41:27]. Everyone in my office, if the phone is ringing and it wasn’t a telemarketer or a number that they recognize. It was they could get out of the way. He’s running and I’ll grab that phone out of breath then I’ll just [41:44] and I had to sell every single time and I got so sick of repeating myself every single day. I could only talk to one person at a time. It’s not like I’m having a conference call or standing in front of a bunch of people. Every single person I was putting in the same passion, same energy and the same words again and I could literally just on auto-pilot and I was just so bored with it that I just sat there one day and I’m like, there’s two things here, I could make videos to empower the customer in finding out the information themselves and at the same level of energy and passion and everything and they can see my face as well and they can tell from the video whether if I’m full of crap or not and have it on the website.
And have it on YouTube, have it on Daily Motion, have it on Vimeo, having it in all these different sites and actually that was the site that I didn’t know that was going to start happening. I just made it so I didn’t have to repeat myself and my staff then had a little bit more confidence because they have seen the videos and also knowing that some of the customers have seen the videos. So they were like already pretty much sole because that seemed filled on the left side and they go “Wow. It’s a good website, good information, the videos and the competition don’t have these videos.”
Anyway, so I made those videos and then very quickly without me knowing, they started to go viral in my industry. Viral as you know, top videos of 100,000 hits maybe over but it’s steady and if you typed in certain keywords or long tale. There was my free spaying face and I started to just asking “Where did you hear about us?” and so forth or the e-mail and saying “I saw your video or I’ve seen your videos” and the great thing was they would, lot of them, you don’t have to repeat yourself, if they were calling up, they already knew the answers. I’ve been there, it’s stunning.
There’s people literally on this day, I’ve spent an hour and a half on your website, watched all your videos and I just had one extra question, I’m like “What is that?” “Because we don’t have a video on that one.” It’s all just like touch, feel the business and go “Okay.” But these videos just started to get crawled and other people were embedding them on their site and for the blog content and newspaper where they did an article on it. They were using our videos like “You might want to go here and click here for an explanation on this.” And it just started to just viral in a good way. So yeah, I mean, that was kind of by default. But that came from just not wanting to repeat myself and getting sick here.
Owen: And I like that because one of the things I’ve learned from that now is one of the things too is a lot of times is the founders are usually like the best salesman or saleswoman of the company. What you literally did there is you literally replaced your sales skills by answering questions with the excitement and all that that you’re showing here. Answering questions that customers potentially have, turning that into educational-based products. The people can actually watch on their own for free and get all the questions in advance and remove all the resistance even before they come to the employee. So the employee doesn’t really have to be this kind of sales person now. This person is ready.
Phil: They’re just taking orders. Yes, we are open, we’re here, we’re alive and we haven’t closed down in the past [45:33] the video. That’s pretty much it and its amazing because if ever I’m in the office, I used to rush to phones now, I used to look at the phone and it’s ringing and ringing. I’m like, is anyone I’m at the way like they’re running. I’m like “Whoa, okay.” And I listen in and I’m like “My sale is gone, good.” But if I answer the phone, there’s usually about 20% of the time people call me out by name.
They go “Hi.” Because of my accent, business in America, they like “Oh, this must be the same guy that watching but a lot of them are laughing or they called me by name. They’re like “Oh, Phil!” And I’m like “Yeah” and they’re like “I’ve just been watching you for like an hour.” And like “Wow.” If you got anything [46:23] but it’s fantastic, I mean then they just compliment on the videos and it isn’t just sitting in front of the webcam. I mean I spent quite a lot of time with the videos and production value. I try and keep it real and it doesn’t have to be fancy but I think you can just rather be passionate about what you do and definitely I am and know what I’m doing.
Owen: I like that because you said that because the way you’ve automated out with these two things, you systematized your business so that your team knows how to deliver the results based on you creating procedures and on this order and you actually automate your sales based on education based marketing of videos and all that and one of the things you mentioned during the pre-interviews that because of your automation, now of your sales, you literally have videos coming in from all over the world and you are able to take on new customers regardless from where. You say that, I’ll repeat it, you say it.
Phil: So yeah, I mean it’s crazy when we get work and from Italy. We got a lot of work from Australia.
Phil: And it’s crazy. I mean, I love to talk to those customers. If ever I get them on the phone, I’m like what on earth possessed you to send you home movies 7,000 miles.
Phil: Across the ocean. Because that’s powerful right there and I’m like, I’ll go to place up the road and I could have taken my steps 20 miles at the road but I chose to send it to you guys because of the videos and the information that you’ve provided. You didn’t have to do that but you did and if you take that much current attention to your marketing, on the backend it reflects everything about your business if you care enough to educate me. Then you’re going to care enough to take care of my precious home movies and that’s true in my business but that’s true in everyone’s business.
Owen: And we’re almost done. I know Sydney is waiting for you to come back and we’re almost done and we have a couple more questions and we’re done.
Phil: I think he just likes the limelight.
Owen: And so we love how you’ve been able to literally remove yourself from your business and one of the things that people might be listening is what has been the longest time that you’ve been away from the business? I’m just curious.
Phil: The longest time I’ve been away from the business is 8 weeks. That’s 2 month.
Owen: Wow. That is something. That is definitely something.
Phil: Currently, right now I’m on a 6 week vacation in England to my hometown in [49:27] where my family lives. So I’ve got a big family here and here with Sydney and it’s in Phoenix, this time of the year it’s just 115 degrees and there’s nothing to do really even going to pool and sitting in an air conditioned house. So I literally just say goodbye and then I’d get on the plane with him and flyover here and spend 6 weeks and travel over. I mean, we’ve been literally on this trip to Belgium and France, we’re going to Scotland in a couple of days and he’s having a real world vacation and a real world experience, something the school can’t give him. We’re up in Australia 2 months ago for 3 weeks. I do pull him out of school a lot so I’m kind of in trouble with the school sometimes because I do take him away on vacation quite a bit and so yeah.
Owen: We’re getting the real deal here. It’s real, this is real stuff.
Phil: Those people don’t even understand this is it. This is the end of result and this is the why is because you can go away and do these things and you don’t have to worry about money and all the [50:53] get into. So this is the goal is to be able to do this kind of thing.
Owen: And one last question is now that you have all this time to do the stuff you want, I’m just curious and you only work 15 minutes a week?
Owen: 15 minutes in a week. What are you doing with that 15 minutes? Where are you spending that 15 minutes of your time in the business?
Phil: I would say the minimum is 15 minutes on average, right now, to be perfectly honest, I’ve been working on a couple of little things so it’s more like an hour to two a week but typically what I’ll do is I’ll scan e-mail at the end of the day. If there’s anything that needs my urgent attention, I’ll respond. I’ll look at the numbers and I’ll drop [51:47] and ideas that I’ve had and then I’ll forward those ideas or suggestion on to staff and then get it implemented.
I mean it’s literally just leverage couple of seconds of thought and then quick e-mail and then something is created from that. So once you do let go, you do get as I said, you start to do less and less and less and realizing that there are people out there that know way more than you and are hungry to do great job and you could sit there and teach yourself and learn and so forth in something you’re not really passionate about when you can just hire someone and they love it, they’re educated and they can get it done and time is quicker.
Owen: So basically, because you’re not working in the business now you literally have more time to work on the business? I mean, that’s a cliché but that’s really the reality behind it now.
Phil: Yeah and when you do that, when you remove yourself from it you can see it so much more clearly. Most people in their business is, I kind of feel like a mastered it. I mean, it has taken a long time and most people think of the quick fix and so forth but I would say it does take about 10 years to mechanically, people can get lucky very quickly or they can build business in a couple of years but I think emotionally it’s taking me about 10 years to get a hand on it. Because most people, when they see a problem, they just go “Hold on to that problem.” And they just go crazy and then they do all this crazy stuff and then they do push through eventually. Now I see a problem and I go “A problem” and I’m just much more cooler about it and I look at the resources and I know it all happened before and I just step back and I just go “All right. Well, there are there options here and this is the one we’re going to go with and if that doesn’t work out then we’ll just do this one.” So nothing flips me out these days like it used to. But that does take some time.
Owen: I guess from that, like every problem is an opportunity to go back and fix the system. It’s like a system building thing now?
Phil: Yeah and never stop trying out. You can mess with things too much but also, I’ll be away from the business for 2 months and I’ll walk in and it’s very important not to start changing things immediately because the staff don’t like that. But constantly looking to improve and with also with the notion of less improve this process because it’s going to be less work for you and then you could do something based out the other and then when we understand that, getting the staff out of their habits is another whole of an issue. But when I come from the opportunity, the part that it’s going to benefit them, they listen a lot more intensively and a bit more willing.
Owen: We’re coming to the end of the interview and one of things I always like every gust to do is what books or book have had the most influence on you and why? Can you share the resources?
Phil: Tim Ferriss: 4-Hour Workweek. [55:04] 3 hours, 45 minutes a week. So that’s always good and the constant updates on this blog that he has. I’ve been to lot of Tony Robbins seminars. “Awakening the Giant Within” is a book I’ve read and one of the things really talked about in business is healthy mind meaning exercise, eating right, hands that you’re having a great relationship with your wife, your partner because they are your business partner whether you admit it or not and they’re very much involved in it. So I think it is a lot of different scopes the business and just that the shock of the door and open it and figure out what’s inside. It literally is 80% up here and so yeah. Tony Robbins, his information has been great. Seminar has been great. Tim Ferriss also some of the other Dr. Joe Dispenza Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself is another good book. So these are some of the things that I read.
Owen: Thank you very much and I’m just curious what’s the best way for listeners to reach out to you and thank you for doing this interview?
Phil: Well, gotmemories.com. Philip@gotmemories.com. And if you got any stuff, any transferring, get along over to us and we’ll do a great job. Also, putting out a website called LekoVideo and Phil@lekovideo.com on Twitter @LekoVideo just giving you tips and tricks and information on how to basically automate your business with video getting you, the owner in front of the camera and just letting go and how to free up your time and live your life how it’s intended which would be family and child in the world.
Owen: Just let me do a quick promo to the listeners. If you have been enjoying this interview so far, you know any other entrepreneur that you feel might benefit from this interview, feel free to share this interview and also if you know listener that has been able to systematize their entire business and will be a right fit for this interview, send them my way and I will love to interview them. And finally, if you are ready to get started with systematizing your business and creating procedures so that you could literally work out of your business and let your business be handled by your employee just like how Phil has described. His business is basically handled or run by his employees, sign up for a free trial or free process. And Phil, thanks for doing the interview, I appreciate it.
Phil: Yeah. Thanks for having me, Owen.
Owen: And we’re done.
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