You will also learn how he automated their sales process as well as the employee training process to find the right people to represent his business.
OWEN: My guest today is Chris Mitlitsky and he’s the founder of Automation Playbook. Chris, welcome to the show.CHRIS: Thank you for having me.OWEN: And so, let’s get started. What exactly does your company do and what big pain do you solve for your customers?
CHRIS: Definitely. Automation Playbook is about automating your business lifestyle. It’s about audio marketing and sales run on autopilot so that you could focus your efforts on bringing more clients and nurturing other relationships.
OWEN: Awesome. And so, my listeners, they always want to know kind of the scale of your business. So, let’s talk about how many full-time employees you have working for you, maybe even part-time as well.
CHRIS: Well, definitely, I have 2 full-time employees in-house. One is a consultant like myself, and the other employee is a coder/web designer.
OWEN: And I think during the pre-interview you also mentioned how you have about 10 virtual employees as well.
CHRIS: Yes, I do have 10 virtual staff that do all the daily tasks for us. And my role in the company these days is to quality control and make sure everything that they’re doing up to our standards.
OWEN: And also, in terms of annual revenue. What was last year and what do you expect to do this year?
CHRIS: Last year’s annual revenue was around 275,000. And by year end I’m projecting around 400,000 this year. We’re growing slowly but surely. But this is going to be a very big year for us.
OWEN: Awesome. So this interview is all about bringing on entrepreneurs on the air to talk about how they’ve been able to create a business that runs without them having to always be there, by the mere fact that they’ve been able to systematize their business. So, before you go to the point where your business runs without you, let’s talk about some of the low points in the business and describe how bad it got.
CHRIS: Oh yeah. So some of the low points in the business are– I took on too many clients too fast in the beginning, and what made me so special started being lost because I was over-extended, stretched, I was missing deadlines. And because of that I chose to not only hire in-house staff but my virtual employees. And when I took on the virtual employees, I gave them the benefit of the doubt. And what ended up happening was I was not able to keep task on everything they were doing. And when that happens– like I said, deadlines are being missed, things were falling through the cracks, and it was just unacceptable, and things needed to change immediately.
OWEN: And so, at that time with over 100 active employees. It was more about communication on the backend with your virtual staff to make sure that was the issue right there.
CHRIS: Right. Yeah, so at that time I had about 100 active clients. And as they were requesting their marketing activities and what they needed, it was all being assigned to Zendesk, which we’ll talk about later on. And it was my assumption that the work was just getting done and I was mismanaging because I grew a little too fast and I didn’t have the proper training in place right off the bat to manage everybody.
OWEN: Okay. So let’s talk about how you solved the problem. So, let’s jump right in. So you said had to create a systematic approach to solving them. But let’s talk about what was the first thing you did when you realized that you had this problem. What was the first thing that you did to solve the problem?
CHRIS: Right. I took a step back and just started working with the basics again. I identified the problem. My problem was that I was not managing my employees effectively. I was overstretched, I was doing everything. And by doing everything it really meant I was doing nothing. I was not able to become as effective as I was when I first launched my business. So, the first real step was after diagnosing the problem, hoping in and fixing it piece by piece. The number 1 thing that I did was instead of having all of my clients’ request tasks via email, I then forward them over to Zendesk which is a task management system, which basically opens tickets.
CHRIS: So, if you’re not familiar with Zendesk, a client opens a ticket, I see that ticket, I can and respond to that ticket, let them know that I’m working on it. If I need any clarification I’ll reply back to that and then they’ll know that that’s pending to them. And then finally, when all is said and done, I close that ticket out. So each one of my clients has access to their own account, and at any given time they’ll see what tickets are open, which means I’m working on them. What tickets are pending, which means they need to reply to them, and then finally, what tickets are closed out and completed.
OWEN: Okay. So one of the ways you solved the problem was systematizing and outlining how you get stuff done. And then also trying as much as possible to automate how the task is done, and we’ll talk about that. So, speaking about Zendesk, you said that instead of having your employees send in their request through web form. I’m assuming that’s on your website. And that is linked into Zendesk and it turns into a ticket, right?
CHRIS: Right. Well, there’s multiple things going on here. So, one of the main ways that I automate my business is through a software application called Infusionsoft. It is just the ideal platform for any small business trying to get into the market. It has to do with sales, marketing, email, and just full-out automation. So, basically what happens with Zendesk, somebody puts it a ticket, and that integrates with Infusionsoft. So, when a ticket is generated, if that ticket has not been updated or addressed within one business week, I will get a direct notification of that and hoped in and see what’s going on. If at any time that ticket has been addressed within that time frame, I won’t get a notification because I know it’s being dealt with in a proper manner.
OWEN: And when you say dealt with, is this the in-house manager who is dealing with the ticket so far?
CHRIS: Exactly. So I hired an in-house manager to manage [No audio 00:06:13] and all the tickets that come in on that account. But that’s where my virtual employees are.
CHRIS: So, I have virtual employees that actually do the work for the tickets and then report back to my Zendesk manager, and he gives final approval on that.
OWEN: Okay. So the manager is the one who is basically managing the task that are coming in, or maybe assigning to the right person in a team. But the virtual staff are the ones that are actually implementing this task, right?
CHRIS: Exactly. Yup. And then he goes in and makes sure that he quality controls it, make sure it’s good to go, reports back to me. I give it one final overview and report back to the client that the job has been done.
OWEN: And you mentioned during the pre-interview that you have a sequence that you created with this whole Zendesk task workflow. Can you explain that?
CHRIS: [No audio 00:07:07]
OWEN: Can you hear me? Can you hear me? Hello?
CHRIS: Hello, hello.
OWEN: Yeah, can you hear me? I think the signal went down. Can you hear me now?
CHRIS: I can hear you. Can you hear me?
OWEN: Okay. Yeah, the signal went down a little bit. Are you using wireless?
CHRIS: No, I’m not.
OWEN: Okay. Don’t worry alright, it’s fine.
OWEN: And so, we lost the signal and now we’re back in. So you were talking to find out about the– you said something during the pre-interview, there’s a sequence that you setup where it waits a week and will notify the Zendesk manager immediately if the task has not been completed. Let’s talk about how that sequence works.
CHRIS: Definitely. So, I have Zendesk that integrates with Infusionsoft. So anytime a new ticket has been created in Zendesk, that kick-starts an automated sequence in Infusionsoft.
CHRIS: So, once again, once that sequence kicks off, my virtual employees have 5 days, 1 business week, to address that ticket. If that ticket has not been addressed I get direct notification. And then I know that somebody is not doing their job. And that’s when I report back to my Zendesk manager, let him know of the situation and he addresses it to the best of his capabilities. And usually, 9 out of 10 times he’s able to rectify the situation, but if not, that’s when I step in and take control.
OWEN: Okay. So we’ve spoken a little bit about how Zendesk works for you, but how does Infusionsoft now work, especially when it comes to know being able to automate the business?
CHRIS: Infusionsoft has been a dream for me. Every entrepreneur as we know it is married to their job. They’re pulling 80-hour weeks, even longer, don’t get many vacation days. I’m happy to report that all of my marketing and all of my sales runs fully on autopilot. I literally make money when I’m sleeping sometimes. And I wake up and I see me my little receipt in the inbox, and it’s all because I’m driving traffic to my site. They’re watching videos about me and what I can do for their business. They opt-in for some free content, all automated. And before you know it, I’m closing a sale from a video that I made a year ago, but it’s brand new to everybody that opts-in and it’s a wonderful thing.
OWEN: Let’s see if we can dive into that because that sounds like more on you’re combining these two tools. Now Infusionsoft is automating the sales and marketing aspect of things, and then Zendesk is now automating the actual production of the work, right?
OWEN: For Infusionsoft specifically, during the pre-interview you mentioned how initially you had invested time in the beginning to create some sequences and all that. Can you talk about that?
CHRIS: Of course, yeah. So, like I said with Infusionsoft, the main goal there is automation. You’re trying to make as many things in your marketing funnel run on autopilot so that you can focus on other parts of your business. So, basically what happens with me is I am driving traffic through Google Adwords, or Facebook pay per click, or whatever it may be. And people are coming to my website, they’re coming to my landing page. And I am offering them on showing them how I can make their business run on autopilot. So, when people are watching my videos, I’m going to offer them a free video series of how they can do that and some helpful tips and tricks. And when people opt in, they’re going through an automated sequence that’s going to take them through the entire sales cycle. From the beginning, to the during, and then to the after process of that sale. And using Infusionsoft I’m able to track everything that they do, and also give each person a unique experience. So, there are many programs out there that are just wonderful. One of the things I like to use is a program called Questionmine, which is a video program that actually tracks consumption of that video.
CHRIS: So for example, if I’m giving somebody a demo or one of my marketing videos, I will know if they’ve consumed 90% of that video.
CHRIS: And if that’s the case, a certain unique tag is getting applied in Infusionsoft that’s saying, “Hey Chris, this is a very qualified prospect. Here’s their phone number. You should give them a call today.”
OWEN: And is that Questionmine only integrated with Infusionsoft? Is this tracking how long they’re watching the video, and then based on how long they’ve watched the video, then tells Infusionsoft that, okay this person watched 90% of the video. It’s hot, hot, hot. You need to go after them based on this kind of series of actions.” Or maybe the person starts the video 5 minutes and turns it off, it tells you this person is not that serious. Keep sending him some maybe additional information. Something like that, right?
CHRIS: Exactly, yeah. Questionmine integrates with many CRM’s, but Infusionsoft to me is definitely the backbone of my business as it is with many entrepreneurs. But once again with Questionmine, it tracks all that consumption and also gives the ability to actually ask survey questions in the middle of the video to make sure people are paying attention and also recording that data. So, that’s just another wonderful, automated program that you can add to your marketing mix.
OWEN: So you mentioned something about before, during, and after. Basically, breaking down the workflow into different stages. Can we talk about how on each stage, to give the listener more insight in each stage, the before, during, and after, when the automation is happening and what’s happening behind the scenes, stuff like that.
CHRIS: Well, definitely. So, before the sale process is me educating the consumer. I’m going to tell them about myself. I’m going to tell them the consumer’s only interested in one thing, what’s in it for me?
CHRIS: So, I’m going to show them what I can do, I’m going to tell them how I can do that. And that’s really the before the sale process. I’m getting them ready, I’m nurturing them, I’m teaching them. And then, as they now recognize me as the expert, and know me, like me, and trust me, that then answers the during sales cycle where I’m then pitching them my product and my services. Throughout that pitch, through Infusionsoft I’m able to gather plenty of analytics on what emails have been opened, what links have been clicked, who have opted in, how long they’ve watched, everything. And from there I’m able to segment out who the hottest of the hot prospects are, and who needs more nurturing, and so on and so forth. But anybody that’s a hot prospect, I’m going to call and get them on the phone immediately myself.
CHRIS: So, that is the during sales process, of course. And then, the most important thing ever is the after the sales process where they’ve committed to you, and now you have to go above and beyond, and just blow their expectations out of the water.
OWEN: And this where the Zendesk now comes in for the actual management of the tasks that–
CHRIS: Of course. The moment somebody signs up for my services, I lay out and I tell them exactly what they’re going to expect. Lead times, responsive times. They know exactly what they’re signing up for, and I have everything down to a science where once again, if my Zendesk team is one business day or 5 business days late on a task, I need to rectify that immediately because my client’s expectations have already been set. And if it goes longer than a week we have a problem. And these days, it never does because I’m top of it well before that.
OWEN: And so, this is a question my listeners always like me when I ask this. So imagine your business like a conveyor belt. On one end is somebody who’s browsing the internet and looking for ways to automate their business, looking for consultants that can help and stumbles across your site. And on the other end of this conveyor belt is this person, excited, raving about your service. They love you guys because they’ve used you guys now and you’re helping them automate their business. In-between those 2 different stages of transformation of that person who’s anonymous and this person who’s your customer now, there are things working behind-the-scenes that’s making that happen, the different parts.
OWEN: Just what goes through it, so that the listener can have a full–
CHRIS: Oh, definitely. So, once again, people are opting in to my marketing funnels and that’s really the before segment of that sales process. And as they go through the buying process, all of my prospects are in different campaigns. And it’s kind of like those choose your own adventure books that we used to read as children, where based on whatever that client does, whatever they opt-in for, whatever they click, whatever they’re reading I know that and I’ve created the scenario that will then guide them down that path. So, for example once again, if I’m doing a marketing seminar and I know for a fact that somebody sat in for 90% of that webinar, they’re going to go down path A where I’m going to talk about specific features of that webinar. Where somebody had only sat in for 20% is going to go down path B and I’m going to re-invite them back to that webinar because I know that they had to bail and they’re going to have a customer cater messages that says, “Hey, I know you had to leave. It’s totally cool. Here it is again, here’s a replay. See what you missed. Here’s some key points” and so on and so forth. By setting up, investing your time and efforts, and building out these automated sequences, and walking yourself through every scenario that’s possible, once you hit publish on that campaign, these are running on autopilot. You can go on a vacation, you’re going to do whatever you want. You could focus your efforts on other pieces of the business because your marketing, your funnels are down path and they’re doing the work for your while you’re sleeping.
OWEN: And that’s kind of like scaling, personalized service by using tools like this. But one of the things I’m kind of running to is like, with this ability to create different funnels, and different tracks, basically like choose your own adventure based on their actions or inactions. It becomes a thing where, okay, how do you now– because you have so many different ways to go about it in terms of the different options that you can put a person into a specific funnel based on the action or whatever. But how do you now choose the best set of– Do you understand the question I’m trying to ask because with the tool like Infusionsoft or a tool like that where you can literally craft out different option or what they do, that can now become the new stresses. Like how do you figure out where to put the people? Is there a framework that you use to say this is how I’m going to do it?
CHRIS: Yeah, definitely. You’re talking about seeding out the top prospects?
OWEN: Yeah, I’m trying to figure out how you do it in terms of–
CHRIS: Oh yeah. That’s a very good question actually. One of the key features in Infusionsoft is something called lead scoring where it’s a set of 5 flames, and they heat up as the prospect becomes hotter. That criteria is set by you but it’s based on actions, and tags, and whatnot. So for example, I offer a 6-part video series. If somebody consumes all 6 videos, then they’re the top prospect for me. I know that. And when they consume all 6 videos, I get a notification in my inbox that says, “Hey Chris, this person watched 90% of all 6 videos, give him a call. Here’s their phone number.” And it all runs on autopilot. So every day I have a task list that says, “You need to call these 10 people today because they consumed all of your videos up to 90%, they’re waiting for your phone call.” And by having all these processes run on autopilot, my day consist of bringing more people in by making a personalized phone call for myself. No pre-recorded messages, nothing, because that personalized service can never be lost. People need that interaction and that’s how my day starts everyday, where I login, I know exactly who I need to call and chat with. And I’m on the phone a lot, but I like that, I’m able to do that wherever I want. I’m moving to California for a month next month just to sit on the beach, but I will be working the whole time.
OWEN: I think it’s kind of like– the person listening to this, the way to take what you just said as basically to look at your businesses. What are those key activities that put your customers in the past have taken and using tools like this is set like trip wires to kind of like, they check all my videos, or they go on in my blog. And then you build that profile. And if any new prospect has all those same activities said done, then you know this person has risen to the top of the list for me to go ahead and try and bring them in by a personalized phone call. Whereas if the person has not done any of those things, okay, maybe they need to still get fed with more information and then make themselves an ideal potential customer, I guess.
CHRIS: Definitely, yeah. So, just another case in point. If somebody bails on video 3 out of 6, I have an automated sequence that knows that they did that. And a couple of days later I’m going to re-invite them right back to that video to pick up where they left off. And I’ve spent that time as I mentioned running through every scenario to make sure that when people leave at a certain segment, they’re going to be led there where I’m going to hold their hand right back to where they left-off to ensure that they go through every step to qualify them as an ideal customer for me. And then that’s when I get them on the phone and close the deal.
OWEN: And so I get this whole thing about automating your marketing, and also automating to an extent your operations side of things. But there has to have been challenges that you had to deal with and experience when you initially try to do this. What were the challenges and how did you solve them?
CHRIS: It’s a very good question. You learn by doing. One of the biggest things you could do in life is emulate your heroes, I guess you could say. I was working in finance originally back in 2008 during the financial crisis, and it scared the heck out of me. I realized it wasn’t the industry for me. So I started diving in to marketing books and finding these books that people are reading. And one of the books that I took to heart, my favorite book and I always recommend it to everybody is Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Work Week. Have you ever heard of that book?
OWEN: That’s like the Bible among my listeners.
CHRIS: Right. And likewise. Anybody that’s looking to jump ship and do their own thing, that’s the first book. And then the second book is The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes. Those two books are prime. But anyway, you learn by example. So, if there are some great marketers out there that you love, sign-up for their list, read their emails, see what they’re doing. And slowly but surely, implement those steps in your own business. And before you know it, you’re going to have a business running on complete autopilot too. And it’s going to take time. From the time I put down Tim’s book to the time I was fully automated, it took about 2 years. But I was able to see results merely immediately. So, there are many aspects you can do. The biggest thing I’ve done right off the bat is check is check your email twice a day, and respond accordingly, touch it once. So if somebody sends me an email, if you’re going to open it you better respond to that and address it then, and then get rid of it. I feel for productivity wise, email is such a time waster. And if you can harness that right there, that’ll free up 2-3 hours a day right off the bat.
OWEN: Yeah. During the pre-interview when I asked the question about challenges that you experienced where you’re trying to create the system. So one of the main challenges that you had was employee turnover, and also investing time to train them. Can you talk about what that was and even how you solve that?
CHRIS: Definitely. Well, I don’t have a problem with my full-time employees. They’re here, I see them every day, we have a great relationship. You can’t go wrong with face-to-face people. Where my main issue where the labor for the 10 virtual staff. You never really met them, you get them on Skype, on the phone sometimes. But obviously they are at a lower price point when you’re paying them, and they definitely tend to roll over. My biggest challenge right off the bat was I’m a personable person. I love to teach, I love to show. I would take my personal time and hands-on training every single person. And when somebody would leave, whether it would be in a month, 6 months to year, whatever, not only would that hurt my feelings of course, but it was also so much time wasted training these people where I was like, “Listen, I’m teaching people how to run their businesses on autopilot. I need to practice everything and do that myself.” And that’s where I came up with a 10-part video series, training my employees step-by-step on what needs to be done. So, I have 10-part video series. They need to take a test and get an 85 or higher on that video series when they’re done. On top of that though which I don’t tell them, every single video is hooked up to Questionmine, so you better know that even if they get an 85 or higher, if they didn’t consume 90% or more of each video, I’m not extending an offer.
OWEN: You can tell as well.
CHRIS: But I’m not going to tell them that. I need honest people that I can represent in my business. And ever since I’ve implemented that, and people fail, they definitely fail. I will give them another shot, but they’ll have to go back and rewatch all the videos, which one’s they don’t know about.
OWEN: And I like that because the Questionmine thing, they can tell you they watched it, but the Questionmine thing actually gives you real data that they watched it. And on top of that you also add a test to it to see how well they understand the work that they’re going to be coming in to do. How did you create this test? I’m just curious.
CHRIS: Through Infusionsoft. So, with web forms, web form can be an opt-in, which is first name and email address. Or, you can also turn into a survey with multiple custom questions.
CHRIS: So people take that survey, it goes right into their contact record in Infusionsoft and then also sends me an email with the questions and then it grades it automatically as well.
OWEN: Okay. So you made the test, you just implemented the answering of the test by using Infusionsoft.
CHRIS: Oh yeah, definitely. I had to make the test because I cannot pass off anything that my client’s are doing if I wouldn’t pass it off to my clients myself. I need to make sure that everything is known.
OWEN: Yeah. And then all the issue that you have and you should’ve thought yourself the issue with training. And now you have the test thing, and also using Questionmine to make sure they actually did watch 90% or more of the video. The other issue was passwords and people leaving. And now you have losing passwords and stuff like that.
CHRIS: Right. So, the LastPass. If you guys don’t have it, get it. LastPass, it hooks up with Google Chrome or Firefox, and it stores all of your passwords on a database, not standard stuff. What’s cool about this is that if I take on a new employee, I can share certain LastPass passwords with them, and they don’t actually see the username, they don’t actually see the password. All it does is actually log them in automatically to whatever site I told them to go to. But if they were to quit, or to leave, or I had to let them go, all I do is resend their license over there for Last Pass, and I just say, “No, they no longer have access.” So even if they had access to 10 passwords or a hundred, within 1 click of a button, they no longer have access to anything, I don’t need to change any passwords and I just go on my day. Totally safe, totally secure.
OWEN: Yeah, that’s really awesome. But with all these challenges of trying to systematize the business, I’m just curious, how did you stay committed to this whole new direction?
CHRIS: Well, you have to. It’s sink or swim, and there was a huge hole in my boat basically. I was sinking, I was mismanaging, I was losing clients. And a drastic change needed to be done, and it’s a lifestyle change. It’s just like somebody on a diet. You need to watch what you eat and you watch what you’re doing. I needed to mend that hole and I needed to make sure that it would never happen again or I was going to fail. So, that is my drive every day.
OWEN: Okay. We might have touched on this already but we’ll try to go into some more details about the systems that you have in place that make sure that all the employees know what they need to do. So you mentioned about when they come in, the on boarding thing where you do the 10-part training system and test them. Then you also mentioned during the pre-interview about the employee manual. Can you explain that?
CHRIS: Of course, yeah. So, as I’ve mentioned on this interview already. I use Infusionsoft, I use many 3rd-party applications. And this employee manual really details all these applications that use on a daily basis, how to use them, and where to access help. So, I’m big on videos. So, on top of the training that I teach around my business, I have a separate [Disconnected 00:28:47]
OWEN: So we got disconnected and we’re back. And so, Chris, you were talking about how you have manuals in place, like an employee manual. Let’s talk about that.
CHRIS: Definitely. So, in regards to employee manuals, as I mentioned previously, on top of Infusionsoft and Zendesk there are a ton of other third party applications that I use. And I need my boys to get first on all of these stuff because we deal with this every day. So, on top of my 10 video training, there’s also other manuals that document every single application that we use. The best practices, how to use it, how to login, the whole 9–
OWEN: Go ahead, you said the whole 9 yards.
CHRIS: That’s okay. So, like I said, on top of the videos, there’s more videos for every single application. And then, just a written manual that people can print out or just read on their own time about best practices. How to address emails when you’re talking to the clients. Me being the face of the company, I need to have things done a certain way just so that my clients feel comfortable with the daily interactions.
OWEN: You mentioned that also that part of the employee manual is that they have to sign-off, what are they signing off exactly?
CHRIS: Well, they need to sign-off if they’re going to put their best efforts forward. I’ve gone through all this process of training them. Yes, it is all automated but at the same time I’m putting my trust in them. And I want their signature to just say if anything other than I’m going to put my best efforts forward. I want them to enjoy their job. I want them to work and enjoy everything as much as I do. And it’s a contract that I’m holding them accountable for, and they should hold me accountable for as well.
OWEN: Yeah. And so, you mentioned, I asked you in the pre-interview. So how do you track and verify the results that the virtual staff is one of the employees they deliver. And you mentioned that you use Time Doctor. Talk about that.
CHRIS: Right, definitely. So, just to cover my own back and everybody else, I use Time Doctor which is a time tracking software. It’s going to tell me to the second actually how long it took each task to be completed. And that’s very important for me because it affects my bottom-line, especially when I’m paying hourly employees. But on top of that, there are other things that are very important. For example screenshots. It takes a screenshot every 3 minutes of what they’re working on just in case an issue would ever arise with the client, where they received an invoice and they had a question on it, or they’re disputing something. I can go back to my records and have every single thing accounted for every 30 minutes with the screenshot. But also, for productivity reasons, there’s also reporting that will tell me if my clients are perusing Facebook, or if they’re doing something they shouldn’t be doing.
OWEN: With your clients here you mean your virtual staff?
CHRIS: Oh yes. I apologize, but yeah, my virtual staff on Facebook or other social media that they shouldn’t be because as everybody knows, it’s all about bottom-lines and time is money.
OWEN: Yeah. And you also mentioned how with Zendesk you have this feedback system that is inputted into it. Talk about that too.
CHRIS: Exactly. So, every 5 tickets that I close out per client, they get a survey asking what they thought, how the job was presented, but also lead time. So it’ll tell you exactly how long from when the ticket was open, to the ticket was closed. And it’s asking what the customer thought on their feedback. And they rate the tickets which is just a super help, because in that rareness since I get something below– out of 5 stars, if I get something 3 and below, I need to follow up and see what went wrong with that experience with that client. And by getting that feedback and looking at those analytics on a weekly and monthly basis, it really helps when you hold on to my clients and keep that retention rate, and also generate referrals to new clients.
OWEN: Yeah. And you can actually get in real-time kind of like data behind like how your team is working, based on them rating you and so on and so forth. And so, now that you have all these systems in place and the business can run without you, I’m just curious, what’s been the longest time you’ve been away from it?
CHRIS: 2 weeks without looking at it has been the longest. After that I get uneasy because I’m having fun with it. I love the challenge, I love the interaction with clients, I love the healthy work environment that I have for my employees because I am trying to teach them that they can also do what I do. Just have your laptop and go wherever. That’s basically it. So it’s been 2 weeks the longest. But like I said, I’ll be on California the entire month next month, which will be the longest one so far. But I’m here and ready to take on new clients, and also nurture the ones I have.
OWEN: It’s funny when you actually enjoy your work and you’re doing it. It no longer becomes working in your mind anymore, it’s fun.
CHRIS: Oh yeah. Like I said, I was originally in finance, and I remember shaking my head and saying there has to be more to life than this. And years later, it has slowly but surely fallen into place. And if there’s anybody out there that just can’t stand their job there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel. Just work hard.
OWEN: So now that we’re on this subject, how will you say that your company has been transformed of taking this approach to systematize a business?
CHRIS: I have room to breathe. I think that’s the biggest transformation. I wake up, I’m not stressed out. I know because of processes that I’ve setup, I know exactly what needs to be done every single day. So, by having a structured work environment and tackling specific tasks throughout the day, I have room to breathe. I can get up, I can have a cup of coffee, de-stress. It’s a very low-key, non-stress work environment and that’s been the biggest change where even a couple of years ago it was frantic, running around, it was craziness. And just honing in on those processes and structure. And before you know it things really fall into place.
OWEN: And from a personal standpoint, how will you say your personal life has transformed as a result of systematizing your business?
CHRIS: So much better. My personal life, my relationships are better, my health is better. When I was in finance I was 30 pounds heavier sitting behind a desk. So, being able to really do your lifestyle. I’m big into juice cleanses, so that kind of stuff. I have more time to focus with my family, with my friends, and doing things I enjoy because I invested that time into systemizing and automating.
OWEN: And with all this free time now in the business, where do you find yourself focusing more on in your business? Where is your focus more now with all these free time?
CHRIS: I’m always focusing on the clients. So, my biggest thing is to harness and nurture the relationships of the clients I have now. So I will give them personal phone calls just to see what’s going on and how they are. But also, where my effort is, is growing. I want to grow, I want to take on more employees and take on more clients. So like I said, in the mornings, I know the phone calls that I need to make every single day and that’s where my effort is right now, is growing slowly but surely, and making sure that I don’t lose what makes us special while we grow.
OWEN: And the other thing behind that is you can grow because you already have these systems in place to actually manage the operations. So you can go in and bring in as many more people as possible because your systems are handling the operation side of things I guess.
CHRIS: Exactly, and that’s exactly the point. I have it down to a tee where if somebody leaves, like I said, with a LastPass. If somebody leaves I just revoke their license, they no longer have passwords. Or if somebody comes in, we go through that entire training process where they’re making the task on making sure they’re watching. Everything is systemized down to a tee and it’s just been wonderful.
OWEN: Yeah. And so what was the very next step as we end the interview that the person who’s been listening all the way to this point, they would have to take in all that to get their business moving in the right direction in terms of systematizing it?
CHRIS: Well, I would say visit automationplaybook.com and sign-up for some of my free videos. That will teach you all the steps you need to know to get started.
OWEN: Okay, good. And so what books will you say have actually influenced this way of thinking besides The 4-Hour Work Week that you mentioned earlier?
CHRIS: Right, definitely, Aside from 4-Hour Work Week and The Ultimate Sales Machine, one of the books I’m in the process of reading right now is called Pitch Anything by Warren Clef, that’s a wonderful book. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, great read right there. And then The Pumpkin Plan by Michael–
OWEN: Yeah, Michalowicz.
OWEN: I don’t know how to pronounce it, I love that book.
CHRIS: [Unintelligible 00:38:17] but Mike Michalowicz, a fellow in New Jersey.
OWEN: He says his name is Michalowicz, that’s how he pronounce his name, but it’s a weird–
CHRIS: Something like that. But The Pumpkin Plan by Michael is actually the follow-up. His original book was called The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. So read that one first, that’s about becoming the entrepreneur. And then the second one is really about cutting the dead weight and losing the bad clients that are driving you down, which is a great read.
OWEN: What is the best way for the listeners to connect with you and thank you for doing this interview?
CHRIS: Well definitely. Like I said, my website is automationplaybook.com. You can pop me an email at email@example.com, but definitely visit the website, opt-in for the free video series and just get that content and start implementing it now.
OWEN: And final question for you. What question were you hoping that I would’ve asked you with for some reason with all our internet issues and the listeners don’t know how long it took us to put this interview together with the Skype issue. What question do you wish I would’ve asked you that I didn’t ask you yet and if there is a question like that, go ahead and post the question and answer.
CHRIS: Well, I was hoping are you going to ask me how I could automate your business.
OWEN: Okay. That’s probably something that we could talk offline, that it’s actually my business. So, we can definitely talk about that as well. And so, to the listener who’s listening to this, what I want you to do is if you’re listening all the way to this point I would like for you to go ahead and leave us a 5-star review on iTunes. You can do that by going to sweetprocess.com/iTunes. And the reason for leaving us a positive review is because if you found value from this, by leaving us a review, other entrepreneurs will come across the reviews. And that means more listeners and eyeballs to the podcast. And the more people to the podcast, the more we are inspired to go ahead and get guests like Chris to come on here and talk about how they’ve been able to systematize their business so they can learn from it. So if you know another entrepreneur that will find this useful, share the interview with them. And finally, if you are at that point in your business where you’re tired of being the bottleneck. You want to get things out of your head so your employees know step-by-step how you get task done, well, sign-up for a free 14-day trial of SweetProcess. Chris, thanks for doing the interview.
CHRIS: It was a pleasure, thank you.
OWEN: And we’re done.