Taking Profit First w/ Mike Michalowicz

Super excited to be having Mike McCalla, widths author of the very popular book profit first now Mike came over to a mastermind that I’m a part of and gave a keynote. And I’ve heard about the whole profit first system, which. Do you guys know Google ed? There’s a chart online where it spells it out. Pretty simply. We don’t really need to read the whole book, but, I think it’s good to hear about it.

Different ways, listen to this lewd show. So what does it inspire? What does the action plan that I did? You’re supposed to pay yourself for said kinda split things out now. Not as super childish as an envelope system. But a virtual envelope system, right?

So you have your checking account maybe is your owner’s pay. Or I had been using my infinite banking account as another sort of virtual envelope. And also my spouse’s account as another envelope to take things off the table, take profit first, at least that’s how I’ve been using it. If you haven’t heard of the infinite banking, check out the infoPage@simplepassivecasual.com slash banking.

And also while you’re at it, learn how we use these short-term liquidity sources as our opportunity fund. You can learn more about that concept@simplepassivecashflow.com slash Oh fun. But enjoy the show

hey, simple passive cashflow listeners. Today. We have a real life author. Who’ve actually sold more books than a hundred, like some of those other podcasts.

That’s the best intro Everlane. That’s it we’re done. I’m so to social proof right there. But, Mike and I met a few months ago in San Diego. He came and gave the keynote speech at our mastermind. He wrote the profit first book, clockwork search, the pumpkin plan. That was a popular one.

And he’s also looking to release his next book, fix this next. He, by the age of 35 founded and sold two companies w one to private equity and another to a fortune 500 today is working on his third multimillion dollar venture profit first professionals. And he’s a former small business columnist at the wall street journal for more business make-over specialists on MSNBC.

And he is here to help give some insight more for the passive investor today. But thanks for coming on, Mike. Really appreciate it. Yeah. Happy. We were able to pull this off. Thanks for coordinating this lane. Yeah. Yeah. Once you go over your story and kind of you were working in corporate and I think a lot of

the investors and listeners here are in that cubicle. Maybe they’re middle management, maybe they’re upper middle management. Maybe tell us a little bit where the inspiration for like the suite of, pretty awesome books came from. Thank you. Yeah, I did corporate for one year, my adult life, and it was difficult.

So the quick story is I’ve been an entrepreneur for the entirety of my life. When I graduated college, I tried to get the corporate job and couldn’t start a business in the tech space. Through raw effort, a lot of ignorance, but I was able to sell it to private equity. I then was in computer crime investigation, had that company.

It was a fast run, sold it to a fortune 500. I was acquired by Robert half international, if you’re familiar with them. And that’s the corporation I worked for one year after being acquired, it was for me, murderous figuratively speaking, I just had never experienced bureaucracy. Like that or gamesmanship or whatever it wasn’t about getting results.

It was much more about the politics and I couldn’t handle it nor could they handle me. Like it was oil and water. So I left that I was escorted out in fact gratefully and started my next business where I was an angel investor. And I was just horrible at it. I started a business that had no right to be in.

I thought, cause I knew entrepreneurship so well. I two exits I had proof. I knew the process and I sucked at, I collapsed. I lost all my wealth. It was Financial travesty and, ultimately triggered depression and struggle and but a restart. So I’m actually most grateful for that period of my life because I felt called to figure out.

How to make entrepreneurship simpler for me and for our fellow entrepreneurs, how to really master the journey. And I decided it was 12 years ago, decided to become an author. And I started writing books to solve my own challenges. I started new businesses that I own today that made them the Guinea pigs and platform profit.

First professionals is one. I own four companies now. And have those businesses operate and use these principles while I teach the systems. And that’s who I am today. I’m an author. I love entrepreneurship. I love micro business and small business. I am convinced it is the backbone of our planet and these businesses, our businesses need to be successful.

So I hope my books are support in that journey. Yeah. Let’s talk about profit first, because that was my first introduction to your content. And I’m going to share this little image. I took your ideas and I, hopefully I didn’t bastardize it too much. This is good. This is an engineers interpretation.

Of your ideas. So for those of you guys don’t know, you can correct me if I’m wrong, Mike, see, this a game of telephone worked that profit first is this idea of, obviously paying yourself first. And I think a lot of us are like, all right, done. I can go home and back to my nap, but it’s a little bit of based on how much you make and for a lot of us that working the day job, that may just mean how much income you bring in.

Yeah. So based on which category you’re in, you can split off how much profit you want to take off the top, which you should spend because after all, that’s what makes us happy. And then how much we need to pay ourselves as owners. And then how much we did to save for tax and operating expenses. Yeah.

That’s exactly it. Yeah, that’s called the taps chart or target allocation percentages. What we did is my business. We studied about thousand other companies, but they were the fiscally elite. The leaders in their industry and it was everything from like a pizza shop. What’s the best pizza shop financially in the world achieve numbers to real estate, to professional services and everything in between.

And we found that these are what. On average, the fiscally strongest companies are industry agnostic. One thing is interesting about that chart. You’ll notice that column B, C and D. If you look the profit or increasing profits from five to 10% to 15, and then in column D it drops back down to 10, 15%.

What’s interesting is that there’s a sweet spot. We found for businesses once a business surpasses a million dollars in revenue. There’s a fundamental shift where the business owner is extracting themselves from the business. Actively and is investing more in the growth of business, through automation, efficiencies and so forth.

So we see a dip percentage-wise in profit and also the owner’s compensation continues to drop. But then these businesses, once they surpass the $5 million Mark, we see the profitability start increasing dramatically. And the owner, you can see the owner’s pay continues to drop because they’re extract themselves from the business in the process and the.

Reward they get is ultimately in the distributions of the business, but they’re not working in the business anymore. Yeah. But 5% of 5 million is way more than 50% of Texas. Exactly. It’s way more. I’m an entrepreneur and what I did here was my goal for my little coaching and education group.

Right now, I’m in that stage, B C that you said I’ve got normally when at any business you bootstrap it from the beginning, right? You do everything yourself. I’m still editing podcasts and stuff like that. We’re recording my own video, editing the video, uploading the video, taking it, all this silly stuff.

But as you said you take after you hit a certain level of scale, you need to slow down to speed up. In a way, when we started a business, when you’re in the a stage, if you will, the only way to run the business, if you’re the sole partner, is you doing all the work?

And if you start with another partner, you’re splitting the work amongst each other, but is not just. Contingent upon the owner is fully dependent on the owner’s effort, but very quickly as we get to stage B C and in really in column D that’s where our behaviors and owner needs a change. So in the beginning you must support the business.

There is no other resource. Quickly on, especially by column D we need to change our behavior and not do the work anymore, but really become delegators at work to specifying and having clarity on the outcomes we want for our business, but have other people at the resources, do the work. And that’s a tough transition for many people.

Many people will, since you start a business and launch it off your sweat, the common belief is I got to keep sweating. I got to do more work myself, and we get in this trap of thinking that the growth of the business. It’s fully contingent upon our effort and working harder. We’ll get more results. But of course there’s a cap on that and we hit it and then we get stuck.

What do I do? Cause I do everything. I’m the hero for this business. No one can do it. I can do. And that’s the problem. We need to start transitioning our mindset from doing the work, to designing the outcomes, to saying I have to create a business structure that is healthy and strong and delivers the outcomes that I expect.

But without any of my effort, it’s where we stop asking me, how am I going to do this work? And asking, who’s going to do this work. So that’s that transition? Another big takeaway I had. And if you didn’t come speak on stage, I would have never got this highlighted there in red, the operating expenses for the category that I thought that I was in and I realize I put in there 28%.

I don’t know why I did that, but I was like, okay, I’m almost spending nothing. I’m doing everything. I’m not spending anything on operating expenses. And to me, that kind of was like a big wake up. Hey dude, you got to spend money on this. I got to hire people to help me

it’s a rare circumstance. Most businesses that I walked through this are spending more than they should. It’s rare, but does happen that people are spending less than they should. And they’re like, my business is nailing it. I’m not spending any money, but then they realize perhaps you did in your case is I’m not investing.

Forward. So if you’re in column a or B, for example businesses at that stage sometimes can run solely off the owner and we can have a tremendous amount of personal income coming in, with very low operating expenses because we’re doing the work. And so there is no operating expense, but that becomes a trap in itself in that you have to do the work.

So now. The only resource us is the exhaustible resource. And the day we decide to take off are one, a little break. The business starts slowing down. So this pathway from a to F was designed on the analysis of businesses that grow with the intention of investing in having other people, other resources, technology, doing the work, some business, if you’re like in a.

Uber driver or you’re in the gig economy and stuff. Let’s see. We can cut the expenses even more. If you just want to be the one person ever only doing the work profit first, the percentages as I show them here, may not be optimized for you and you can ramp up the profit and ramp up your compensation, but realize the trade-off is you won’t be putting any money flowing into the business to scale beyond yourself.

Yeah. This business I’m working on is like a mastermind and private group coaching business. And initially when I was in step a here. I was just doing conference calls every week, zero costs other than those three week subscription. But then, like after you came and talked I started to implement, trying to spend some money, different reports, different other subscriptions that add value and I’m really having trouble spending money on the group.

So I keep asking them what do you guys need? I’m willing to spend some money here, even hired another membership coordinator. That was the way I took your word and put into play. Yeah. No, well done. I’m just looking through your chart right now. It’s a pretty good interpretation.

I give you an a plus. Thanks. Yeah. My parents never gave me any good compliments. So I really appreciate that. This is super good. And the interesting thing about profit first is, and you do the exact right thing. Lane is. It is a, framework, but it is not a manual, a definitive manual. Each business can customize the process to cater to their unique works or unique needs around the framework.

That’s why I see what you did here. Nice, sweet, nicely done. Let’s switch over from, most of the people listening there are entrepreneurs and, one of the topics that came up at my recent Hawaii mastermind is look, maybe the, our highest and best use is just going back to our day job.

So speaking for those. Those W2 guys that are just stuck there and, it’s probably not the worst place to be. I started to think, how can I apply this to a lot of, my avatar, that is my passive investor. And one way I realize is like a lot of these guys, most of the times it’s like the dude, right?

The dude there’s so many dudes in my like mastermind. There’s like maybe 20% are like the wives and they take the reins financially. But, regardless, like there’s always one person in the relationship that is a little bit more gung ho about the financial stuff and the other one takes the back seat reluctantly, most times.

So what I thought was like, instead of taking this profit. Like the profit is essentially put it in your spouses of spending bucket and have them to see some of the gains. Any thoughts on how does a, somebody who’s not an entrepreneur doesn’t really have any op ex. How did they apply this to their normal life?

Yeah. If you’re not an entrepreneur yeah. So this can play into your personal finances or your personal endeavors. But let me tell you the intentions of each account. So the profit is in a business sense as a celebratory account, meaning. That is a reward for doing something that very little of the population does do, which is start a business only about 7% of the world population will ever start a business.

So that you’re called a shareholder. And so profit is a reward for making this investment and owner’s pay is the pay for the operations of the business, as well as the key employee. So many it’s called an owner operator. Many business owners also operate the business. So that’s your pay if you had to replace you and taxes are reserved for your tax liabilities and op ex is the ongoing concern of the business.

In our personal lives, in the book profit first, there’s a whole section called profit first life. And we talk about this. It does translate to, because a family income, a family of one, two, I have three children, family of five is like a small business. In fact, most small businesses don’t have more than two employees.

So most families are bigger than most small businesses. And. We treated the same way. There’s an income source. Maybe it’s your salary. And maybe there’s contributors to that. So you have multiple income source or revenue streams rights. There’s multiple contributors. It goes into this main bucket and then we divide the money up also, and the labeling may be different, but the concept’s the same.

You may have a retirement account, which is your profit, which is, future savings. You may have your lifestyle account. To support your life. My wife and I actually, we have a debit account. She has one and I have one. So we have our allowance or with the primary working. And when my debit card, I can’t run the debit cards cause I have depleted my account, but she can still use hers.

And so that’s how that works. Then there’s tax reserves and so forth. This is the. Old world. Our envelope system is just a modernized flavor of it. We do this at our bank. So every time you log into your bank account, you don’t have to read income statements. You don’t have to read your bank statements, bounce.

She’s got the Rihanna stuff. Use lie in your bank account, and you see where money is allocated with what intended use before you spend it. Yeah, we had Benjamin Hardy on the podcast here recently and, he wrote the book, willpower doesn’t work and he’s totally true. Like we suck at controlling it solves we do.

So w I love that. So willpower. Is like a muscle it fatigues, right? So we can be very staunch about something. I’m not going to touch this money. I was going to sit here, I’m say for my future. And then we’re like like a muscle, it starts fatiguing and you put a little weight on it’s males borrow from this account and then we start unwinding the whole system and we’re done.

So with profit first, we, same thing as willpower. We don’t try to use willpower because it’s a weak muscle. What we do is with profit. For example, in these reserves, we actually will transfer money out of your main bank account. Hide it away from you. You intentionally hide it from yourself in another bank, so you can’t access it.

So you can’t see it and you have to make, do with what you have. When we can’t see something, we don’t worry about that thing. So don’t use willpower, use your habits, to your benefit, block and tackle for yourself in advance, by moving in, hiding money from yourself so that you won’t play a game with yourself.

And then, how I implemented that as I, over the last six months, I’ve been opening up new bank accounts, not just making sub-accounts in the bank account, but brand new bank accounts. In my name and wife’s name and signing the profit and owner’s pay. And she’s what the heck are you doing?

What is all this stuff trying to explain? Hey you for the five, 10% of profit, I’m like, I don’t know. It’s going to take some time. Yeah. Know, it will take time. And it confuses some people, they see it. They’re like, what the heck is this? And they don’t get it. So that skepticism and it’s normal.

You know what I encourage people to do? I set the system up for myself 12 years ago. I didn’t even believe it would work. I was, it was desperate times for me. I’d wipe myself out financially. I needed to do something. And it took me a few iterations. I was like, Holy cow, this is working for me. And it’s been life-changing for me, the system.

And So I expect skepticism. And why invite people is let’s just try on a small basis. Let’s just have one account, a profit account or something. Let’s just transfer a small amount of money in there. Every time money comes in, we’ll put small percentage, meaning just one or 2%, and we’re going to hide that money from ourselves.

Then the rest of our lives will run the normal way. After two or three months, let’s see how much our normal life has resulted in savings. And let’s look at how much this little profit account has. And inevitably the profit account is more consistent accumulate more money. And more effective. And then when they start ramping it up, it’s, we’ve got to buyers way into this channels, our existing habits logging into a bank account, seeing the balances to our advantage.

And then once we start seeing the advantage, that’s when we start winning our favor into it. And then we start rolling out the whole system. So one thing I do with like I said, with the profit, that just goes into the spouse’s account. That’s gone off the face of the earth. Lucky for me, they don’t spend it that much.

The second the owners pay is like I use if in a banking, I’ll throw that into my life insurance as an overfunded payment and then it’s gone. And then everything else I’ll keep it. My plethora of bank accounts. I love it. The bank may get frustrated, so as we set up profit first, we have over 300,000.

We think it’s 350,000 businesses now, but over 300,000 businesses have implemented it. The feedback we regularly hear is the bank is like, what the hell are you doing? Why Sam all accounts and there’s confusion over it. Realize you get a bank is a vendor. You can negotiate them and say, listen, if you’re gonna charge me fees, I ain’t going to bank here.

So I want to set these accounts. Don’t charge me fees, just like any other vendor. They have flexibility and can, if they want your business address that, then we start transferring money in and what the banks notice. And what you’ll notice is now you’re accumulating more money because you know what the money intended uses.

So we don’t spend flippantly or frivolously. And the banks, we got banks calling us saying, we want your client to improv. At first they store more money with us. They’re more active with our bank. So if these accounts don’t let the preconceived notions of banks or an account, and our bookkeeper who does not understand the process, dissuade you from it, we’ve 300,000 plus businesses at serving.

It will serve you. I’m convinced of it. You’ve got to try it out and get past that initial. Negative rhetoric. You may hear from, to some people that just aren’t familiar with this process, right? And for a lot of you guys who have reluctant spouses I did write an article for you guys@simplepassivecashflow.com slash spouse.

This is on the list of tips, right? Create a profit first account for them to just see the rewards, as opposed to them just thinking you’re just socking away, investment money, given away, checks here and there for investments, they don’t see any of the cashflow with. It goes, hand-in-hand like, every time we close a deal, I tell you guys like, go and celebrate, go for a nice dinner or something, make it a milestone that you can not you don’t care, but your family and your spouse can point back to yeah, listen with profits.

So I’ve been distributing, when we take a corporate profit. Our entire family shares in it. And my wife and I own the business, but my wife and I, we share the profit from the business that you’ll start family, the majority of it, but the kids get to, and now there’s an excitement as we’re recording this, it’s a quarter ends in just five more days and there’s a profit distribution coming out already.

My kids were like, Hey, how is the business doing? Because I consider them investors. They don’t invest money. They make sacrifice. And so there’s an excitement around it. When you engage your family, what are some things, you don’t give them money or, what are you celebrate?

Or like a company retreat or what are some things? Yeah, no, I actually do give them money, but we will celebrate collectively in some way. But They actually get a portion of money and not nothing substantial. Like I don’t want them to think that there’s free money being handed out, but I do want them to appreciate what the business is doing and how it’s impacting them and the family as a whole.

So that’s why we’re sharing some of it, but we do some activities and when I first did, I remember the first distribution 12 years ago, it was $8. I just started system. It was $8 that came out, but it was the best eight hours of my life. I went right to Starbucks and said, give me a nice cup of coffee.

And I enjoyed that. And for the first time I didn’t have to use a credit card or debit card or borrow money or make an expense. It was just, the business was rewarding me. I was like, Holy cow, it’s amazing. And it’s grown to, A lot of money. And so we’ve gone, we rented a castle out in Ireland and spend time out there and, we’re doing these activities that are dream activities for us all from the business.

And it’s taken them a while to get there, but it’s just a celebration every single time. I think that character trait is. Very common amongst my group. This past few months in the Hawaii mastermind, nobody stayed in four or five star will tell they all stayed in the two or three star value.

Hotels. I love it. Yeah. It can get weird, right? Like they don’t want to spend money cause they’re always going by that attitude of saving. So there’s gotta be a balance and right. You’re saving, but you can get to the point of being a miser and you have to define your definition of it.

But when I travel for business, it’s all about the profitability. I stay at The motel AIDS. I remember going to a conference. It was this ritzy hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona. And after the event Isaac, my presentation people’s event Hey, you want to hang out? What hotel room are you?

What room are you at? Oh, I’m down the road at motel eight. And they’re like, wow, you’re not paying $500 a night. I’m like, no, I’m paying like 80 bucks a night. And they’re like why I’m like, cause the profitability and I, we actually share profit with my employees. Now we’re small. We have 12 employees here but my employee, Lisa is the Booker for my scheduling, my travel, she books, hotels.

And she knows if I’m staying in a motel eight, we’re all sharing a little bit more profit. So when it comes to the lifestyle, my business it’s healthy, but it’s frugal. And then when the profit comes out as a bonus distribution, you know that’s my opportunity to splurge a little bit, as I define it.

And that’s when we live a little high in the hog, but then we go back to appropriate lifestyle for the business to be healthy and sustain. Yeah. Yeah. Hey man, I did the same thing. I think we met at the Torrey Pines in San Diego. I don’t stay there. I was not saying that I was not staying there.

Yeah. I stay in the Airbnb. That’s a hundred something bucks. I stayed at the motel eight. So you stayed at a ritzy place compared to yeah, there was no I don’t remember the event. I walked into the lobby and there was vomit on the floor and I. Someone was just drunk and puke. I took a picture of it.

I said to Lisa, I said, I think this is the last motel eight. We got to go beyond the puke level. Yeah. Go at least holiday and or fed. Exactly. Exactly. Live a little bit better. So let’s switch over to the pumpkin plan. Now I didn’t read the book, people have been telling me about some of the ideas of it.

Cause this is one of the first ones you wrote. Yeah, you give a little bit background for people, for the passive investors out there. What’s the pull from this one, there’s the short and thick of it is that it’s the application of the parade of principle or the 80 20 rule that 20% of your opportunities are going to yield 80% of the benefit.

So how do you determine that? And I made into a multi-step process. It was actually formulated after the process of growing colossal pumpkins. I found that. The vast majority of pumpkin farmers, no shock here, ordinary pumpkins for Halloween and the fall holidays, but there’s a small faction grow class of pumpkins and they changed the process just a little bit, but the pumpkin responds with organic explosive growth.

So in the book I document. Their process loosely, but translate to the exact steps businesses need to make. Who are those colossal potential seeds you have around your organization? How do you water and feed those things have colossal growth. There’s usually a few things in your business, matching your, there.

It is matching your best clients to your true uniqueness in your environment and systematizing it that becomes this seedling. To fuel the super fast growth. So the way I look at that, another idea, it was like when I had 11 rentals, I would look at maybe 20% of them that sucked the boss and try and look to sell it or unloaded.

That’s the other side of it. So it’s. Yeah. And I talk about that. I call that the rotten pumpkins, there’s certain ones that are distracting and there’s actually certain clientele that They’re so difficult. They don’t pay well. They threaten I’m gonna slam you on Yelp.

You’ll never get another client again. They damage your property. Those clients are actually costing us to keep them we needed and there’s rules of course ramp, but you need to jettison them as quickly as possible. So you can matriculate or serve your best clients. So I think when I kind of work with investors and a lot of you guys, there’s probably about a dozen pass free coaching calls.

I’ve given people in exchange for having their lives on the internet on YouTube. But like most times I look at people’s portfolios. It’s not really about getting into that next deal at 15, 18% IRR it’s they’ve got most of their portfolio doing absolutely nothing, either debt equity, or. California rental, that’s making $2,000 a month.

That’s over 600 grand. Like it’s amazing, like most cases, even with, investors that are listening to podcasts, pretty good network that this is the case and yeah, that’s the pumpkin plan needs to be put in place.

Mike let’s let’s pitch people on the new book, the new idea that’s coming out. Let’s talk about that one a little. Thank you. So the new book is called fix this next and what the thesis as I determined that the biggest challenge entrepreneurs face. Is knowing what their biggest challenge is.

So the vast majority of business owners are to scrambling, to put out whatever fire presents itself. And it’s a constant rush to all the apparent issues that present themselves. But they don’t know, what this, there it is. They don’t know what the specific challenges that they have. And what. This does what fixes sex does is a tool like a compass to very quickly pinpoint the specific need your business.

Has I call it the vital need and with every business at any given moment, there is a vital need. The question is what is it? So this is a. Design around a hierarchy of needs. It’s a compass. If you will, to very quickly through a series of simple questions, pinpoint what to work on next. And when you concentrate your effort on that and resolve it, then you go through this process.

Can you find the next fix? You start deliberately stepping forward. One step after the other and March forward, most businesses are scrambling and they never get unstuck because they keep on circling around and around. Now with fix this next. We know what to work on next and move our business forward.

It’s particularly applicable now, by the way, with this, with a macro crisis going on, there is a impact what’s called micro crisis on small business macro crisis facilitates more micro crisis. So how do we navigate the individual crisis isn’t challenges our businesses are facing in this moment.

Well said. I’m not big on the shelf help guys who read a whole bunch of books and never do anything I’m big on. I hope I’ve never heard that actually. That’s funny. Yeah. Actionable advice. And like Mike’s books have really helped me out in terms of, here’s another example like on our 3000 units on the operational side of our house, we’ve implemented the profit first.

Awesome. Hold them to put away invested distributions in a little side account for us. They’re a little annoyed by that, of course, but Hey, we’re the boss, your business is your business because we have just we pay taxes, we have to pay investors. Like Mike’s books have really helped me out and giving me actionable things that change my business.

And if you’re one of those guys who reads a whole bunch of books and not really any habit change, I think you guys need to do that. We have the book club. Now we read a book every other month. You guys can get access to that lean and simple passive cashflow, or go and sign up@simplepassivecashflow.com slash lane hack.

And we’ll probably. We’ll do a mic book here. Have you the self exists next? I hope you, I think it will serve you. I really put my life’s effort into this and I think that it will be a great impact, so I hope you guys enjoy it. Yeah. Anything else? Parting words, Mike, for the passive investor stuck in the day job, any.

Yeah, you’re the irony is your clients want you, so I know taking the leap to out of a day job into doing this full time. Maybe it’s not appropriate for you, but it is a necessary side hustle clients. It need great offerings. And I suspect if you’re doing this and you’re listing stuff like this, that you’re committed to being of great service.

So market aggressively make sure clients are aware of you because if they don’t find you, they’re going to find the alternative. And I suspect the alternative is not better than what you have to offer. Yeah. Said. All right. Thanks Mike. Really appreciate it. Thanks brother. Pleasure talking with you lane.