In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Mike Michalowicz. Mike is the author of ‘Get Different’, ‘Fix This Next’, ‘Clockwork’, ‘Profit First’, ‘The Pumpkin Plan’ and ‘The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur’. His books have been translated into 10 languages. Mike is also the founder of Profit First Professionals. The Profit First Professional organization is designed to support accountants, bookkeepers, and other financial professionals to substantially differentiate themselves in the market.
If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you started your company so you could be your own boss, make the money you deserve, and live life on your own terms. But the reality is, you’re bogged down in the daily grind, constantly putting out fires, answering an endless stream of questions, and continually hunting for cash.
In this episode, I talk with entrepreneurship expert Mike Michalowicz about his latest book, Clockwork, Revised & Expanded, where he shares his improved step-by-step method for getting more done by doing less – making it easier than ever to have your business run itself.
Questions I ask Mike Michalowicz:
- [1:51] If I’m that person who already owns this book, why I should go out and buy another copy?
- [4:38] What’s been a big aha moment for you when it comes to the way you think about your business?
- [10:04] What’s hard for you now that maybe didn’t use to be?
- [12:18] What’s been your inspiration in terms of the development of your own time management?
- [15:55] A big concept in your book you talk about is the 4 D’s: Doing, Deciding, Delegating, and Designing, and you’ve added a 5th now: Downtime. Can you unpack the 5 D’s now?
- [20:08] How do you get the right balance when trying to implement this concept?
- [21:39] Would you say clockwork, particularly for people out there who are familiar with the principles of EOS, would you say they work pretty well together?
- [22:56] Where can people find out more about this book, catch up on any of the books that you’re working on, and all of the various programs that you have?
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John Jantsch (00:01): This episode of the duct tape marketing podcast is brought to you by business made simple hosted by Donald Miller and brought to you by the HubSpot podcast network business made simple, takes the mystery out of growing your business. A long time, listeners will know that Donald Miller's been on this show at least a couple times. There's a recent episode. I wanna point out how to make money with your current products, man, such an important lesson about leveraging what you've already done to get more from it. Listen to business made simple wherever you get your podcasts.
John Jantsch (00:47): Hello and welcome to another episode of the duct tape marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Mike MCIT. He's the author of get different fix this next clock worth profit. First, the pumpkin plan and the toilet paper entrepreneur. He is also the founder of profit first professionals. The profit first professionals organiz organization is designed to support accountants, bookkeepers and other financial professionals to substantially differentiate themselves in the market. We are gonna talk about one of Mike's old books because he's come back and revised. It really added a lot of new content to it. Evergreen important topic of getting more done managing your time. So Mike, welcome to the show. This is at least your third or fourth time here.
Mike Michalowicz (01:32): Yeah. Awesome. To move back with you, John. Thanks. And thanks for the pre-show conversation. I was fine. Oh yeah. We had to get around and start recording some of this didn't we
John Jantsch (01:41): This is a question I always ask people when they revise books, you know, David Meerman, Scott's been on this show. I think he's on like the eighth version or ninth version of his oh, the new rules, new the book. So I was like trying to tell people, I know there's a whole lot of new stuff. We could go down a laundry list of it, but if I'm that person that already owns this book, like convince me why I should go out and buy another copy.
Mike Michalowicz (02:02): Yeah. So it's 60% brand new. Wow. And 40% of the original content has been adjusted. So for fluidity, basically there's two reasons why I do a revising expanded it's so only the second time I've ever done one, um, is if there's growing demand on the topic. So do I see the book there's continuing and growing demand for the book?
Mike Michalowicz (02:21): And there is in this case, secondly, is there regular points of confusion? So I'm really fortunate to get emails from readers telling me what's working, but also what's not working. And there were, was a few significant sticking points under our belt for the last, I think the prior book came out four or five years ago under our belt. We have now thousands of implementations, we have a training institution or school or whatever you call those things, training curriculum that our, uh, readers can choose to go through. And we've now over a thousand student, over 2000 students, I've gone through that program. And so we get feedback, oh, this is what's working. This is, what's not working. This is why I'm confused. And my goal with a book is that no one needs to ask a clarifying question that every ounce of content's in there, cause unlike a speech or a class or a workshop where student can raise their hand, say, can you give me more details?
Mike Michalowicz (03:12): Or another angle in a book, you get one shot the sentence it delivers or not. So it was stripped down to the bare bones infrastructure of the book reorganized and I rebuilt it out. So I think it'll be easier, faster, better. You know, one of the things that I think as an author, you know, you've maybe taken your past and you put some examples and things in, but you know, 2, 3, 4 years down the road, you've heard from lots of people, you've got all these like rich treasure stories of stories. Right. And I think that's, you know, don't, you wish you had those in the beginning, right?
Mike Michalowicz (03:57): And we had our workshops running for a year in advance, but there's something different once the book is out, because you hear back from people that never go through any of those experiences, just read the book, telling you what's working. What's not those become good stories. And of course people have gone through it. So I, I mean, I'm biased, but it's a markedly better book I believe.
John Jantsch (04:13): Yeah. Well the, the good news is you had a lot of experience with toilet paper when you wrote your first book. So that helped. Right?
Mike Michalowicz (04:19):
John Jantsch (04:37): I think it's fair to ask you. What's been like a new learning
Mike Michalowicz (04:49): Yeah. So, okay. So I had a call. This is not in clockwork. I'm working on another book called all in I'm like, this was the defining moment for this book you ever have
Speaker 1 (05:15): Cause it seems like there's always this churn of firing and you clean on a few good people. I got a call from this place in Texas. It's a barbecue. It's called Kings smokehouse or Kings barbecue smokehouse. And the owner, his name's actually Stephen King. But not that Stephen King called up and said, I took, I bought this place. Which first of all, I'll never buy a restaurant.
John Jantsch (05:47): Yeah.
Mike Michalowicz (05:48): So instead he goes, I tried this thing, I gotta tell you about it. He employed. He didn't even know that there's a technical term out there called psychological ownership. And he goes, I employed it without knowing what it was.
Mike Michalowicz (05:59): And so I've been researching this. There's an interesting phenomena. You gotta check this out called psychological ownership. What it is, the feeling of possession without legal possession necessarily. Right. And ironically legal possession does not constitute the sense of ownership sometimes actually generates the opposite. So ownership to defining that is where we are all in on something. We, this is important to us. It actually is defining of ourselves as part of our purview, I guess. So when you hear someone say, this is my company, they're showing a sense, psychological ownership over as opposed to this is John's company. That where there's a detachment. So what's interesting is that I, the analogy I use is like renting a car. When I rent a car, they give me responsibilities care for no scratches, fill gas. When I leave that place. After the hundredth ID check I'm in that freaking OCN, I'm crunching down on the gas pedal, I'm hitting the brakes.
Mike Michalowicz (06:52): I'm hitting the curbs. I don't really care about this car because I've been assigned some certain responsibilities to adhere to. I don't have a sense of ownership. Now, the irony or the interesting thing is when I do own something like I own a car at home. That one I don't mess around with, but here's the ironic part. I don't really own it. I'm making my payments to the bank that they're the legal owners. I just have psychological ownership. So with this guy, Steven told me, he's like, oh, I started to give people ownership, which is slightly different, subtly different, but significantly different ones. Outcomes than responsibility. Responsibility is clean. The clean, the inventory room, stock everything correctly. So there's this one guy Joel's a long answer, but there's one guy, Joel, who I interviewed subsequently who was by all definitions, a horrible employee showed up late to work.
Mike Michalowicz (07:39): Steven hired Joel because his friend asked him to do him a favor, which is the worst way to hire someone. He was a mechanic, not an employed mechanic, but he's working on his own card all times. So he was covered with grease and he was supposed to be a new waiter after one week. Steven's like, I gotta fire this guy. He calls his friend, says, I'm. He says, give him one more week. Steven acquiesce is and out of a, kind of a hail Mary Steven goes to Joel and says, Hey man, it's really, all this stuff is really difficult. I wanna give you ownership over something. Use those exact words. And there was this little box of straws on the bar. You know the one, when you pulled the one straw out and all the other straws kind of falling out, he goes, I wanna give that to you.
Mike Michalowicz (08:15): Meaning your job is to maintain that. Anyway, you sit, see fit. We're gonna call it Joel's straw box, maintain it. And Joel started doing a good job with it for the next few hours in the next day. And then Steven says, well, Hey, you're doing a great job with that. Do you wanna own the bar mat? This guy Joel says, okay, starts controlling it fast forward. He starts this cascade effect fast forward. Now this is two years later. Joel's his best employee. He does anything for the company. He goes above and beyond. What's asked of him when he sees an opportunity to fix something, he fix it cause he acts like an owner. So I called Joel. I said why? And he says, listen, he goes, you don't know anything about my background? I had a horrible background. I was abused as a child. I was told I could never own anything.
Mike Michalowicz (08:59): And that was the first time in my life. I was given control over something. The ownership, he goes, I'll do anything for this company. And as I was wrapping up the call, I said, Joel, I heard that you're into repairing cars. Tell me about that. He says, yeah, he goes, I love repairing cars. I wanna be a race car driver one day. That's my dream. And I said, dude, the way you're going, I think this is gonna happen. I said, it's gonna be such a loss for the barbecue house. And there was this long pause and Joel looks back, we're doing over zoom. He looks right in the camera. Like he's a pro. And he goes, I'm never leaving the barbecue house. I'm gonna be a professional race car driver and still work there.
Mike Michalowicz (09:34): He didn't have to find the a player. Yeah. He simply started mastering there's many elements to it, but he started to master assignment of ownership and Joel's behavior and other people's behavior, radically changes. I know who his first sponsor's gonna be right on the car. Right? Big, big barbecue patch on his. Exactly. Right.
John Jantsch (09:53): All right. So that was a great answer. I have a flip sort of side of that one. I asked you kind of, what's been a new aha for you. What's hard now. And we are gonna talk about the book I promise, but I just wanna take the advantage of the years of experience from you. What's hard now that maybe didn't used to be okay. So here's what I didn't expect is my goal was not to run all these different, I didn't wanna run businesses besides selling books. Like I've done that.
Mike Michalowicz (10:26): It's okay. It's I have nothing against it, but I wanted my primary business to be books. But now as a business has grown, we've always partnered. It's the challenge is ensuring that every partner is served to the level they wanna be served. So instead of me owning all these different businesses, like we started a business for this new book, all in this that's two years away. Yeah. I gotta take care of that partner and be a service to them. Clockwork new book has a partner and I gotta be a service to them. And I didn't really anticipate the challenges there of catering, but catering a way that there's balance that everyone's represented fairly. And the interesting thing is sometimes they raise their hand and say, but I'm not being treated fairly. And it's like, we have to show the documentation. Like we've done the exact same thing for everybody else.
Mike Michalowicz (11:08): What we're trying to do is rise. The tide and your boat will rise, but you know, the licensee fairly enough. But what about my boat is always, you know, their boat and not the, which from my perspective, I can't worry about the boats. I gotta worry about the tide. So that striking that balance is a delicate court is necessary. It's important. It's just a little harder than I thought. I thought the boat, the tides rising, we're all good. But uh, I gotta watch for the boats too with them.
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John Jantsch (12:08): All right. Let's, let's talk a little bit about clockwork. There's a lot of ideas in here that, you know, maybe have been incorporated in some fashion in some other books, some other courses, some other people writing. Sure. So I wonder if you could talk a little bit about really what's been your inspiration in terms of your own. I mean, essentially this is a time management, you know, book approach. What's been your inspiration for developing that. Yeah. I mean, I think the inspiration is, I think it's not time management, but that's the benefit. Yeah. To the owners. I think what it really is empowerment team empowerment and building processes and systems, which then brings back time management so we can hone in what we wanna do.
Mike Michalowicz (12:46): Yeah. So I think that's the starting argument I make. I think one of the big parts is team empowerment. So one of the kind of pinnacle tests of the book is what I call the four week vacation. And in, in my research of the companies, I analyze 90 X percent plus identified that if the owner was away for four weeks, that the business was experiencing all the elements of its business cycle within those four week periods. So in theory, if I could leave for four weeks, I could leave into perpetuity because everything's happening during four weeks and these monthly cycles. Yeah. Yeah. But then the fear was like, oh, if I leave for four weeks, my employees make, oh, you're making money off of my sweat. Mike goes to the beach and or the mounds with John and all I do is work. So that was the fear of what I found and why, including the book.
Mike Michalowicz (13:32): And there's actually now every chapter has a section for employees is that this is actually an empowerment opportunity. We, as business owners act like superheroes. Yeah. We swoop in can fix anything. Cause we know everything about the business, but we lead this wake of damage behind us, or we interrupt someone's ability to take true accountability over something because we swing and take it. When I left my business, I've been doing this for five consecutive years. Now when I leave my business each year for four consecutive weeks, I come back and my employees consistently say, oh, I feel even more empowered. I've taken on these responsibilities. Yeah. And then the interesting thing too, I, including this book, we tested our own business three years into this. So two years ago, every employee started taking four vacations. And it's not, it is a benefit to my teammates, my colleagues here, but the real benefits back to the company, because if Jenna or Jeremy or Izzy, or one of our teammates leaves for four weeks in their absence, we have the cover for them.
Mike Michalowicz (14:27): So there's this backup and redundancy that's being trained. And, and the final assessment's this everyone's leaving for a period of time at some point. Yeah. Because they retire, maybe illness, an accident happens, life events happen. So this for vacation concept is something that I think the entire company should be doing to prepare for the inevitable and to strengthen the company.
John Jantsch (14:47): I had three employees go out on maternity leave at the same time. One time, you know what 10, oh my gosh. But it is reality. So I think we can prepare for that. I actually, the, just this year took myself and my director of operations were both out for 10 days at the same time. And we were actually on lake Powell, which we have no signal at all. So there, there was zero ability. Cause every now and then, you know, you're like, well, let's just make sure there's no disasters.
John Jantsch (15:13): Right. But there was no ability to, and you're absolutely right. People, we came back and people were like, let me tell you what I did. Right. I mean, it's pretty cool. Yeah.
Mike Michalowicz (15:21): Yeah. You know, you know, the biggest interrupt to that. And I read about it in the book too is for, at least, for me was my own ego. Yeah. When I was away after like day two, I'm like, oh my God, I need to check in. Right. Like what are they doing? The place is burning down. And then I need to SWO in. But then when I came back and they said, they don't need me. I'm like, oh, you don't need me. And like, the tears were welling up inside. Like I'm not needed. Yeah. But it was once I started really understanding that this is a form of empowerment that I again, then kind of got my ego back in check and said, okay, this isn't just about me.
Mike Michalowicz (15:50): This is about my teammates and elevating them. Yeah. Yeah.
John Jantsch (15:53): So, so there's a big concept in the book, the four DS doing, deciding, delegating, designing, you can unpack that a little bit, but I was happy to see. And it makes total sense that you had it a 50, which is downtime, which we've been talking about a little bit. So go ahead and maybe do your quick spiel on unpacking the five DS.
Mike Michalowicz (16:09): Now I, yeah, so there's, this is there's four stages of a business and the business has to be serving all these. But when I say stages, we as an entrepreneur can elevate to the fifth, the fourth stage and, and implement the fifth. So the first stage is doing is the activity that a business must do to generate revenue, to be a service to clients. But it's also the structural work that needs to be done.
Mike Michalowicz (16:29): So I create furniture that I sell the clients, that's a doing activity, but also the invoicing, all the administrative work behind that is all doing work. A business, an optimized business will spend 80 to 90% of its time there. The next level up is deciding is necessary, but only in short spurts, it's kind of like that adrenaline kick. It's good for you until you have a heart attack. Yeah. And so deciding is where the manager, or in many cases, the business owner themselves is making decisions for other people. So, and so goes off to do the work. I TaskRabbit. They come back a second later and have a question, oh, do I sort invoices by first name or last name? And I think about it and I give them a decision. I call it colleague, it's an Indian goddess with one head and eight arms.
Mike Michalowicz (17:08): The vast majority of small business lives in the deciding trap. One person being the brains for the entire organization. And it limits it to about three people. Four people max can work there. Yeah. To get past that with the move to the next D, which is delegation or delegating, delegating is not the assignment of tasks. That's what we think it is. What delegating truly is the assignment of outcomes. It's about that empowerment. You know, we agree you and I'm your employee. You say, here's where we need to go. Mike, do you agree? And do you understand why? Yes. Here's what my thoughts are. Guess the outcome, we have a best practice, you know, way we've historically gotten there, but your job is to get there no matter what. And if there's a disruption or a better idea, take that. And you know this, when I come back with a question, say, Hey, John, I have a question.
Mike Michalowicz (17:47): The response is no questions. I hired you for your brain. Mike, go and figure this out, get to that outcome. Yeah. So that's true empowerment of employees. And that moves us, the owner to the ultimate stage, which is designing, designing is visioning the goals and outcomes for the business and then strategizing ways to get there. This is the hardest work yet. We think it's the easiest. We think doing's the hardest. That is the easiest. It's easier to dig a hole than it is to solve a Rubik's cube for most people. Yeah. So most people would rather just sit there and sweat it out, digging a hole than thinking we're making great progress, but we got to get the puzzle aligned in the right direction to move our business forward. So get out of doing and start envisioning where your business needs to be. The last part is downtime.
Mike Michalowicz (18:27): There was a study came outta the UK. This is a new addition to the, they identified that the average knowledge worker produces 3.2 hours per day, regardless of hours work, you work eight hours, you're producing 3.2, you work five, 3.2. We need to recover. So intentionally give your colleagues downtime. And we do it through breaks or interns. We hire a lot of part-time employees. In fact, the vast majority of our staff is part-time. So downtime is on their own time. We give our part-time workers, eight hours of project work, traditionally eight hours of work, they get done in four or five hours. So clearly eight hours things. It's kind of a ruse. It's really about the project output. And we do the sabbaticals all to recover emotionally and physically with through downtime.
John Jantsch (19:08): Yeah. There's a lot of, a lot of companies actually like a number of countries studying that whole idea of the four day work week.
John Jantsch (19:14): And you know, the fact that people are getting as much done because we just, you know, we don't fill it up with silly meetings or acting like we're working.
New Speaker (19:21): That's right. We, we were trying to hear we're small. You know, my, my author office were 10 employees and we cut it to a four day work week, two years ago, partly cuz of COVID kind of forced it. And so we, no one works Fridays except for me. I choose to. And my gosh, the output is the same. It's not higher. And people come so refreshed on Monday. There's I asked employees a few days ago. I'm like, how does Sunday night feel? I'm excited. It's a change up again. I'm coming back to work where before it was like, oh my God, the weekend flew by, do I have to go back to work?
John Jantsch (19:50): So one of the, I am totally on board with, you've gotta get outta doing and get to designing. There are some people that just, well, Mike, let me just say, I think you're a doer. I mean, you are like an action taker. You like to like funnel with the stuff. Right. So does that make, and I think a lot of business owners are that way. So how do you get the right balance? I mean, especially you bring in people to do the doing and you do, you know, so, so not, I mean, you've got some people that 80% of their work is doing right. And you've got, obviously the business owner should be spending more time designing, but how do you get them to let go? Because I think that's probably,
Mike Michalowicz (20:25): yeah, you gotta go into what's called collective. Yeah. It's a big challenge. You gotta go into what's called collective design. Yeah. So it is not the natural tendency for a lot of people.
Mike Michalowicz (20:33): In fact, most people who are doers today start a business because they say I'm already doing this. Right. I might as well continue to do it on my own, which is basically a freelancer. So we don't have the natural 10 or perhaps capability. Yeah. But when you bring in your collective team, then you can do brainstorming and strategizing and the collective brain can be of service. I suggest of doing that. If you do that, don't have the meetings in the office where the regular routine is kind of distracting, overwhelming, get outta the office once a week or once a month, just for a few hours and say, here's the biggest challenge we have. What's everyone's ideas. The other thing is if you get bigger, you may even want to bring in a person that is a designer. Yeah. Someone that can work on that strategy.
Mike Michalowicz (21:11): Yeah. The risk for owners though, is, you know, it's a big blow to the ego. In certain cases I've seen owners take on who they thought were next level designers, executives from these large corporations and stuff. And there's a total disaster. Yeah. Because small business ownership, you get your hands dirty, big business, you know, you're kind of pulling strings. And sometimes there disconnect between the pulling of strings versus actually designing in the trenches.
John Jantsch (21:34): So I noticed you had Geno Wickman, the author of traction and created dos system. Right. New forward for the book. Would you say clockwork for, particularly for people out there who are familiar with the principles of Vos, would you say they work pretty well together? Yeah. Yeah. And I think that's why Geno wrote the forward. So Geno talks about there's different phases of the entrepreneurial journey versus just the idea starting up.
Mike Michalowicz (21:56): He actually wrote a great book called the entrepreneurial leap. Yeah. It's a great book on like, should I do this? Should I stay? Or should I go, as the song goes, listeners, go back and you can find my interview with Geno on, on when he came out with that book. Go ahead, Mike.
Mike Michalowicz (22:35): Once you get past that 50 employees, there's this level of sophistication that starts kicking in where EOS is idyllic for that, it has rhythms and so forth. Clockwork is not about that. It's about bringing a non-efficient business to a, a pretty proficient level of efficiency, proficient efficiency. And then Geno's book takes a little bit further. So he wrote the forward cause he saw this as the bridge between his two books.
John Jantsch (22:57): Mike tell people where they can find, I know you've got a number of places, but obviously find more about this book, catch up on any of the books that you're working on. And obviously all of the various programs that you.
Mike Michalowicz (23:08): so clockwork.life. Cause we, I believe is a lifestyle. clockwork.life is where you can get stuff on this book and me, you can go to my site, no one can spell MCIT. So while Mike MCOW exists, the shortcuts Mike motorbike.com
Mike Michalowicz (23:24): So the other ones were not usable on the web. So Mike motorbike.com and uh, you'll get stuff on the books and clockwork.life for the books was, oh,
John Jantsch (23:33): you and I have been hanging out so long that my spell check knows how to spell MCIT. So got that.
John Jantsch (23:37): That's a victory. That's a victory. Mike, always great catching up with you. And uh, hopefully we'll run into you one of these days out there on the road again soon.
Mike Michalowicz (23:45): Oh, that'd be great.
John Jantsch (23:46): Hey, and one final thing before you go, you know how I talk about marketing strategy strategy before tactics? Well, sometimes it can be hard to understand where you stand in that what needs to be done with regard to creating a marketing strategy. So we created a free tool for you. It's called the marketing strategy assessment. You can find it @ marketingassessment.co not.com.co check out our free marketing assessment and learn where you are with your strategy today. That's just marketingassessment.co I'd love to chat with you about the results that you get.
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