10 years 10 lessons

Build Live Give. Mentoring With Paul Higgins

Hello to the Build Live Give solo podcast, Episode number 314. Today, I'm going to share with you my 10 year journey of running my own business. But don't worry. Don't stop. Don't press the button where it says you've already listened. I'm not going to give you a boring walkthrough of all the 10 years. I will give you a quick summary, but then I'll pick out my 10 lessons learned over my 10 years so that you can benefit and really reflect on your own lessons. If you're new and love what you hear, please subscribe. If you're a regular, thanks for your support. It means the world to me. I love listening to podcasts and always have follow-up questions. If you're the same, go to Paulhigginsmentoring.com/questions and modules and I promise to answer it. Please check out past shows on your favourite platform. Just search Build Live Give.


I left my role as director of Coca-Cola in 2011. Yep. 10 years ago to be an executive coach. I was motivated to run my own business, but also knew I had to set something up for my deteriorating health condition. Within the first six months, I enjoyed it, but I really knew that I'd make a better mentor than a coach, and also wanted to work with small business owners. I really wasn't keen on continuing to work with high-paid executives in corporate. I became an advisor to small business owners. I loved it and could share a lot of my experience from working at one of the best-run companies in the world, in my opinion, Coca Cola. But also working with thousands of our own small customers. It was like I was advising and learning for, you know, my 18 years whilst I was there. I saw two gaps in achieving results, which led me to create an outsourcing company in the Philippines.


And then in 2013, I started working with Scott Galilee on selling a platform called Podio because I knew that, if you had the right resources, and if you also had the technology to tap into it, it made a pretty good pairing. We had a trial of working together and we joined forces in 2014, but I still kept my advisory company. In 2016, after scaling a development team to support Podio, we realised that Citrix acquired Podio and they had different intentions than what we had. It wasn't the best thing when I went to a global conference overseas and realised we had to get off the boat, because it wasn't going to go anywhere.


We then became platform agnostic in our take company. I divested my outsourcing business cause I couldn't really travel to the Philippines anymore. And I set up a mastermind to be able to work from anywhere, once again, preparing for my kidney failure. I did the sales and strategy for the tech consulting business and we quickly scaled so much that we sold it in 2019, which was very nice just before COVID. I continue now to help owners of business or consulting businesses to generate revenue through the sales machine and accelerate sales programmes. You can find all about those at Paulhigginsmentoring.com. So enough of my history, I hope you're still with me. Let's go on to the key lessons.


Lesson one. Build it and they will come. And I'm sure you've heard that millions of times. We went and built the team for Podio before we truly researched the opportunity. We had fallen in love with the product and assumed everyone else had as well. It was a classic. We only saw nails because we had a hammer in our hand. Never make that mistake again... Touch wood. 


Lesson two. You don't have a business until you have an offer that converts. I learned the hard way to run webinars, paid traffic and go to all this effort, throw it to an offer and I hadn't proven the offer in the first place and that it converted and was a dismal failure. Not the expert's fault, nobody's fault, except mine. 


Lesson three. Pick your partner. Scott and I spent 12 months before we decided to get together for me in the business, which I told you. We had a well drafted shareholder agreement that covered what all the worst case scenarios would be, if things didn't go to plan. And I really wanted to do that, in particular because of my health, and I didn't want to leave him in the lurch. We also had complimentary skills and were very much value aligned. So if you're going to go into partnerships, please consider those points.


Lesson four. Work with people who've gone before you. I've had a mentor for nearly every year of my business. I always believe in that self-development, which I'll talk about a little later. And I believe the ones that created the best value, was ones that weren't too far ahead of me. They gone through my situation, but they still understood it, versus the ones that were far ahead of me that were too advanced and forgot what it was like to be in my shoes.


Lesson five. You don't have a business unless you have a team. So one of my favourite authors, Michael Hyatt, said that and it really stuck with me. And I agree with it. I learned firsthand what it was like whilst I was on dialysis and post my transplant, that my team meant everything to me. I could not have run the business without them. I cannot thank them enough. And remember, always be recruiting and hiring the great people ahead of the revenue. They'll make it happen.


So before I continue, I'd like to talk to you about Leadjet.io. Have you looked at your LinkedIn profile and had to manually put the information into your sales CRM. It's an absolute pain, right? Ever sent someone a message on LinkedIn and had to copy and paste it into a sales CRM. No more with Leadjet.io. It does both of these activities automatically for you on your major sales CRM. So whether it's Copper, Pipedrive, Salesforce, HubSpot has got you covered. Why not check it out for yourself? Go to Buildlivegive.com/leadjet. All the links will be in the show notes.


Lesson six. Bear with me. We've got four. I'll keep it nice and punchy. Riches are in the niches of niches. I always get that wrong, but there's different talk around the world. You can track my success based on when I was trying to be all things to all people versus being very specific. Ask a family member to look at your website or LinkedIn profile or both, and get them to simply say what you do and who you do it for. If you can't answer that, you need to really start to niche down. If you don't get, you know, and I suppose the classic sign is a confused buyer, never buys. And if no one else gets it, neither will the people who are trying to buy from you. 


Lesson seven. Leverage technology. I've always used technology to fast track my results and Coca Cola definitely brought the best out in me with that. I now have clients and team members all over the world, thanks to leveraging technology. A small silver lining of COVID is that people now realise they can help people no matter where they are.


Lesson eight. Give before you get, okay. I know Gary V is very famous for that, you know, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. But think about this. Every time I give all of my information out, right, I really see a spike in my sales, right? So I truly believe that, you know, we're in a world where content is so powerful. People will make decisions about you before they ever meet you. And it's the content you put out. And if you want some help on LinkedIn with content, please get in touch with me. 


Lesson nine. Second last, personal development. I've dedicated 20% of my time to my own personal development since I was 16. It is easy to step out of corporate like I did, and not continue to develop yourself. Podcasts have been my true source of the development of light. Whatever your source is, please continue to develop yourself because we are often paid for our thinking and not our doing as consultants.


Lesson ten. Last but not least. And I definitely left this one to last to really emphasise it for you to be setting your time should be spent on sales and marketing, if you're the owner of the business. When was the last time you did a quick check on that ratio. I use Toggl, a great platform, not sponsored, but it really helps me to check that each week. Many clients approach me with poor sales. And when I look at the analysis, they're only spending about 10% of their time on sales and marketing. Now, good activity is better than just any activity, but if you do good activity to 50% of your time, you will get great results. And, you know, I really do believe that you, as the business owner, need to sell. Especially up to the first couple of million, I think only you can sell your business. I still think also that, you know, your business just won't sell itself, right? People aren't going to flock to you anymore. SEO and search is becoming so busy, so that's why I believe that you've got to invest that time.


So three key actions from today. One is to apply one of these key lessons to your business today, right? So take action please. Second, do the same exercise on what you've learned and then read it each and every day, because that's what I do to remind myself. So don't repeat the same mistakes. Third is to reach out if you would like some help. If you can get all the links, as I said before, in the show notes or Paulhigginsmentoring.com/podcast, episode 314, on the app you're listening to now. I recommend the PocketCasts app. If you want to know if you have the sales to send, to reach your next million in sales, go to Paulhigginsmentoring.com/pulse. Nine critical questions in three minutes. Please follow me on LinkedIn, it's where I produce my best content like this podcast. And if you know, one, maybe two or maybe even 10 people who could benefit from this, please share it with them. They'll love you for it. Please take action to build live and give.




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