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Aug. 12, 2021

106. Put Profit First with Rocky Lalvani

Start paying yourself first and making sure that YOU make money now.

Start paying yourself first and making sure that YOU make money now.



Rocky serves as Chief Profitability officer for business owners. He teaches them how to ensure they get paid and they make profit a priority! As a certified Profit First Professional he implements Mike Michalowicz's Profit First System. We change the accounting formula of Sales - Expenses = Profit to Sales - Profit = Expenses. This ensures Profit comes first! (PS. It's not about money at all costs, people come before money!)

Rocky started with nothing when his parents immigrated to the United States when he was two years old, and his parents were in there 40's. It was his parents' second time starting over in life as they moved here to experience the American dream. In spite of a lot of struggles and his mom passing away when Rocky was 7, he has been able to achieve financial and life success. Rocky loves to share his journey and inspire others to achieve their dream even faster.










Abundance is having enough money. To be able to say no. Right, to be able to say, no, not doing that, no, I'm not working with, you know, don't feel like it, you know, I'm doing what I love. I have the ability to do that. It's the ability to let go of the parts of the business. Nobody is perfect in every part of the business. Right. And even if you are, then you're just going to be running around like crazy doing every part of the business.


You're not going to be in the business instead of working on the business.


All right, welcome, everybody. Today, we're going to be focusing on putting profit first with Rocky Lalvani.  Rocky is a profitability officer for business owners who teaches them how to ensure they get paid first and make profit a priority as a certified profit. First professional, he implements Mike Michalowicz Profit First System. He's the host of the Profit Answer Man and the Richer Soul podcast. And there's a little bit more about him. But I'm going let him tell you a little bit about that.


So, first of all, welcome to the show. And thanks so much for coming out, Rocky.


Thank you so much for having me today. Wade excited to be here.


Awesome. Me too. So first, what do you mind telling us a little bit about your personal story, your family, and how that led to being passionate about what you do today?


So I'm an immigrant to the United States. I came here when I was a little kid with my parents and they were starting life over for the second time and they'd come from India. And at that time there was currency restrictions and limitations. So they essentially had to start life over with about twenty five dollars. And clearly, when you start like that, you're on the wrong side of the tracks. But very quickly, I saw them and a lot of their friends who came over at the same time quickly move up the economic ladder.


And so the parents would all get together and they would talk about life in the American dream and how to how to survive and thrive and how to negotiate and how to afford things and how they were finding like, you know, what are you buying? How much are you spending? How much are you making? So these were all normal conversations in our household. And unlike now where the kids are shuffled off somewhere else, we got stuck having to sit there and listening to these boring conversations of our parents.


And so I just grew up having money conversations. And somewhere around the time that I was a teenager, I decided I wanted to be a millionaire. And so I started learning about the only way I knew how, which was, you know, stocks and investing and doing all of that. And I'm also kind of one of the things that was just natural to me was technology and computers. So everyone talks about, oh, the kids today are digital natives.


Well, you know what? I grew up on the first PC. I know how to do that kind of stuff, too. And one of the things that I was really good at was electronic spreadsheets. So that was when Vesicle first came out. And so here I am, a high school kid in there talking to adults and accountants, saying, here's how you go from paper ledgers to electronic spreadsheets. So for me, numbers tell me stories and they create questions.


And that allows me to kind of figure out what is going on with people and how they are handling their money and in what they're doing. And so, you know, you go through life. And I just started instituting all the principles I learned as a kid and I built wealth. And but along the way, I'm always like, why aren't there more millionaires? Why are more people struggling? Why is this happening? And I realized most people never had money conversations at home.


I have an MBA, I have a bachelor of science in economics, we never had money conversations in school either. And yet here we are spending all this time and effort to get a job to make money. But nobody's talking about the end result. And then a few years ago, I read a book from Mike Michalowicz and I got turned on to the fact that business owners aren't looking at their financials. And I'm like, I'm shocked. I'm like, how is it that business owners don't understand the business of business?


And I realized they're off doing what they love. And being an accountant isn't one of those. And so that's kind of like my whole journey in a nutshell there. And when I realized that and I realized my skill set, I finally figured out how I could help people thrive and grow financially by using the skills I have to compliment the areas that they needed help.


That's awesome. There's so many things you said there. Respond to, first of all. That people aren't as aware of what they're doing, and it's surprising to me, too, in working with business owners, how many of them would be so focused on developing, let's say, their sales skills and some people that are, you know, top 10 percent, top five percent in the country or the world, but don't know how much money they're making and not just how much money, how much money they're grossing, how much they're netting, how much is going to pay dads, whatever it might be.


And definitely the part you say about numbers telling a story I'm very familiar with when I work with the clients I work with, one of the things I asked me to do is give me some key numbers. I work a lot with Insurance Insurance. I know that business model really well. And there's certain numbers of, you know, how much have you put on paid advertising or how much you grossing, how much you taking home, what percentage your clients are defecting, just different things like that.


And because I've seen that story so many times, I literally can take the number and say, OK, that means this these are usually the behaviors that are going on. These are usually the conversations that either are or to your point, are not going on. And it's amazing how after a while and I never thought of it that way, but yes, I can just look at three to five numbers when you really know business. And I cannot do this with every business, but with that model, I've been around thirty five years.


I know it so well that other than a few outliers, I can pretty much tell you what's going on. And yet it's so curious to me why business owners don't look at their financial reports, what have you found? Why don't they do that?


So it's funny that you talked about salespeople, because salespeople think the solution is always more sales, which is partially correct, except when you have unprofitable sales. Now, I think in your business, it's hard for them to have an unprofitable sale. But in many businesses, it is not hard to have unprofitable sales. So I just kind of bring that out so people know it's emotional, right? We have these money mindsets and as kids, we were taught things about money.


Money doesn't grow on trees. Rich people are evil. Right? That's a that's a horrible one. You have to work hard to make money. So now you think that if you want money, you have to work hard. The concept of effortless money doesn't exist in your vocabulary. So these are all the scripts. And I think everyone needs to go back and examine for themselves what are their money scripts and what's their their money temperature because everyone's got a comfort zone with money.


And when you realize what these are, then you can start to ask yourself, do I want to change them and how do I want to be with money? So I think that's one of the biggest underlying reasons is actually psychology of why we struggle so much with money.


And something you said there that that really caught my interest, too. I've heard of the concept of the temperature. Some people say the thermostat, you know, you're comfortable. And, you know, there's so just for the audience, the person that says, OK, I'm comfortable making 40000 a year, and then even if I get laid off, I somehow find another job at 40000 a year, but I can't find one at 60 and I will never take one a 30.


And part of me says, well, what if you just adjusted that thermostat to 50 or 60? And so, yes, there's definitely and sometimes it's skill. I mean, to go from 40000 to 40 million. Of course, that's that skill sets. But sometimes it's not. There's a range sometimes. And so sometimes it's that. The other thing that I find and by the way, to the specific point you made about the insurance industry, actually what happens, which is becoming more common in other business models, the insurance industry has a residual income, a renewal income model to it.


So people in membership's have a similar concept. If you're in a SaaS business, a software is a system business. What people miss is sometimes they're only actually looking at the financial part of the equation. So they'll say, for example, Wade, I'll spend one hundred dollars to get one hundred dollars of income because I know it's going to renew. But depending on how it's sold, it might have been sold. I call it cowboy style, just like the signature and kick their butts out the door.


The client might not renew. They might refund. And even if they do that, they also forget to put in their equation what are the time of their employees costs? So if it's the business owner said, well, I'll just throw labor out. Yeah, well, that labor cost you X dollars per hour and they're just thinking advertising costs. So even in that which is that's one of the most foolproof business models, the insurance agency industry. And yet because of customer defections, customer turnover, even that can very quickly, if you're not careful, if you're so focused on the new sale and very often the salesperson is so focused on the new sale, the shiny squirreled thing, and even though the existing client that seven times more likely to renew and requires literally maybe a tenth of the time, forget about that person, there's nothing that's easy.


And then they go after the new one, but then they forget. And that's as you know, that's what runs the business and keeps things going. Why is it so important for people to focus on the bottom line if they're running a business and not just the top line and of course, none of us are saying that you should never focus on the top one. You've got to make money. You can't just hack expenses to death. You've got to generate income.


But why is it so important to focus on the net more than the gross?


Because the net is what you really keep. And so, you know, so let's put some numbers to this. Would you like a 10 million dollar business that pays you one hundred thousand dollars a year? Or would you like a half a million dollar business that pays you one hundred and fifty thousand a year? And and those two businesses each require a certain amount of work. You're going to have to work a lot harder for that 10 million dollar business.


But if at the end of the day you're making less money and I threw out some really dramatic numbers there, but in reality, some of those numbers do happen in in many businesses because people don't focus on the bottom. They get they create such a massive structure around them that your infrastructure is costing you a fortune. And if you're only making a little bit off of everything, you're running like, you know, on a hamster wheel, getting very little results.


And that's why I like I'm a little lazy sometimes. Right? I'd rather work less and make more. And that's truly the bottom line. And I think that's a big thing that people need to shift the way they think. The problem is, it's really easy to figure out the top line. You know, that almost immediately figuring out the bottom line is a very difficult thing to do for most business owners, and many of them don't find out until tax time.


And also, it's not always fun to look at the bottom line or the expenses, the counting, the expenses, the pain, you know, definitely as someone who has at times operated as a first just struggling startup entrepreneur, I've been a. Just rocket growth. Oh, my God, it's growing too fast. Stage were high, a bunch of employees. Oh my gosh. And then hired perhaps too many and then had to scale back. I've done the solopreneur more recently with my wife and I having children that are 14, 11.


Now, I've been more of the Lifestyle Solopreneur. We're definitely even the minute you said 10 million versus five hundred thousand, I just thought, well, if I had thousands of easier right away now, it might not be. But usually it's going to be. And to your point, there's so many moving pieces and there's something I've seen that happens. You go back to your money beliefs and people say, well, if it's a big business, then there's got to be a lot of advertising.


The old school, about 10 percent of your budget should be advertised and well, maybe 30 years ago, I know when I put my dreams in marketing, but we studied large corporation marketing when I was in college. As far as a small business or a solopreneur of 10 percent of your budget is marketing. If you're selling at a really high level and converting, perhaps if you can prove it, sure, go all in. But for a lot of people arbitrarily just putting 10 percent of the money out there just because is it necessary the entrepreneurial guys are going to give you that back necessarily just it might not come back.


And so a lot of people don't seem to know. And to add in a piece and this might not be everybody, but I know this has been me at times, even with my wife, my wife's been very supportive. We chose to do the thing. We're like, hey, let's do what we can to have her be able to stay at home. We've been able to move back and forth to Peru and whatnot because I've worked from home.


But there have been times where she told me things that. From a mathematical standpoint, I was literally just wrong, but things I've been told while you got to spend money to make money, some of those other beliefs and all these different things were castle syndrome, where and usually it's a male gets the office that has 10 seats in it or 10 chairs in a brick and mortar building. And now now there's the lease and the five year contract or.


And what if profit doesn't happen at 10:00? Who said that 10:00, you know, but it looks great. Well, that doesn't mean that's where you're going to be profitable. And so certainly that's something I think a lot of people maybe even have the equation wrong. They're looking at it wrong. How do you help people? You and I talked about this. This is the case, but this isn't a complete set of questions. I know Rocky knows the answer to this.


How do you look at the equation for profit and how is that separate or different than what most people see things?


So there is a standard equation, it's generally accepted accounting principles, which says that the equation for profit is sales minus expenses equals profit. And what that means is profit comes last. It's a leftover. And what Mike wrote about in the book and what the profit first system is. Why are we making profit? A leftover profit is the sole purpose of our business. Right. Let's make it the primary purpose. So sales minus profit now equals expenses, which means we take our profit first, we pay ourselves first, and then the expenses are something that are left over and you learn to live within your expenses and you spend less.


And one of the things that we talk about with expenses is vanity spending, which is exactly what you talked about, the big fancy office building. Nobody's buying Insurance from you because you have a big fancy office building right there. Not buying Insurance from you because you chose the Beemer. Right. They don't care. And so that's kind of the thing that you have to keep in control is keeping your expenses in control, including your marketing budget and understanding.


Is there a return on investment? So one of the things I try and tell business owners is let's just say you have a five percent profit margin. Every additional dollar you spend needs 20 dollars in revenue. Because there's all those costs associated with that spend.


Let me stop you there. I want to slow this one down because you and I talked about this, I think is so brilliant. So the reason he's saying twenty dollars and this is not meant to be condescending for those who are not great with math. Twenty five percent of twenty dollars is one dollar. So you think so? OK, I made 20 bucks, but to get that one, because you're only making five percent on all the dollars that come in.


So every hundred you make one every 20 years to be. Every hundred you make five. Every twenty you make one. So yes. So if you have a five percent profit margin and you spend an extra dollar, just want to make sure people get the math, because I think you and I are numbers guys. So I think that that comes very quick. But and that's just math. That's not a I guess people could debate it, but that's not really an opinion.


That's that's what the math is. Just math.


Yeah, it's basic math. But I think what happens is, is everyone thinks every dollar is equal. And my only comment here is to realize that a dollar coming in is not a dollar to your pocket. And that's really the only thing. And whatever your margins are, they'll probably be different. But just think differently about spending, because as you said at the beginning, we're taught to spend, spend, spend, and yes, you have to appropriately spend, but there need to be limits and controls in pretty much every business owner that I work with.


It's always the same story. They spend too much, right? It's lifestyle inflation. It's business inflation. So that comes back to to something called Parkinson's law. Parkinson's law basically states we will use up all of the resources allocated. So it works with time. You know, if I give you three weeks to do a project, it'll take you three weeks. If I tell you you've got to get it done in three hours, you'll figure out a way to get it done in three hours.


If I give you one hundred thousand dollars for a project, you'll spend 100 grand. If I tell you you've got ten thousand, you'll find a way to do it for ten thousand. Right? You are resourceful. And so I think people need to realize that. And what what we do here by cutting the expense budget is for people to be more resourceful there. And then the second rule that comes in, that is the 80/20 rule. So we all know the 80/20 rule, which says 20 percent of what we're doing is producing 80 percent of the results, which means 40 percent of what we're doing now gives you 96 percent of the results.


Right. You're looking at that, which means we're wasting 60 percent and that goes for our spending. If we start looking at our spending, we probably are not getting very much value out of 60 percent of our spending. And it could be software that we no longer use, software that we signed up for a very high service level. But we use the basic features, something that we only sell like. Well, you have a podcast, right?


We're on a podcast. There's a service that I use for my podcast that I could pay monthly. And I looked at it and I'm like, I would never use that much monthly. So I just buy time and I can use the time as I want. And I get 10x the results compared to buying the monthly thing. But you have to compare costs. And that's something that I think a lot of times we don't do. We don't compare costs.


We don't negotiate. We don't challenge. We don't even ask. Right. Do you hey, is there a less expensive option available for me?


Well, I think that's the thing, too, there's a few things you said, there are quite a few things. Well, first of all, as far as the less expensive thing, I know I have a charge with emotionally or a shame or whatever. I don't want to ask somebody to do it for less than they want to charge. But that's different than than saying, hey, wait, you've got this five part piece here. I'm thinking I only need these two pieces.


Is there a two piece option? That's not me trying to say, no, Rocky, you're not worth this. That's different. And I'm not a fan of that person because the person didn't want you that they would have charged less. But absolutely. To at least explore. Is that a possibility as far as the pay yourself first? You know, gosh, is somebody from the Insurance and financial services background. People talk about that so often people get the concept when it comes to their stocks or their investments, but they don't sit with their profit and certainly with their time.


And since we're now starting to talk multiple currencies, of course, as a small business owner, you invest money, you invest time, and there's a saying, you've probably heard it. You're always going to pay for something if you want it, either with your money or your time or some combination or frustration. But nothing's free. So you have some people that want to write a check or paying their credit card and think that that's going to take care of something, which it doesn't.


You've probably had clients like that. I've clients like that where they want to write you a bigger check and say, well, no, hold on. The bigger check doesn't make it happen. The work makes it happen. So there's certain things that the business owner can't buy their way out of necessarily. Some things they can't, some they can. But then also just that pay yourself first. And that's the simplest way I would tell people is the same concept.


And you you talked about a little bit about working. Let's make it more 4-Day Work Week or whatever lifestyle you want. The only guaranteed ROIC that I know, the only guaranteed return on investment I know of is when I spend time doing things I love or the people I care about or doing work I care about. And because I'm not concerned about the money and that's not a knock on money, money is awesome. But even in that, if I don't pay myself first, if I put all my needs last in my family's needs or whatever is important to me.


The emails that come in, the news, the Internet, the social media, they've got plenty of agendas for me and same thing goes like you say, there's plenty of people sending you in, you know, hey, why don't you buy this once you buy this, once you buy that. And I really love the part you said about putting the profit first because something clicked for me. And I've I've known this, but it's even hitting me more, as you're saying this, because people sometimes ask me, Wade, how do I know how much to bootstrap?


And you just told me whatever you got left, you need to make a certain amount. And it is amazing how much money I can at least attribute. Six figures of income lost to or actually of unnecessary expenses, which is even worse because again, because of my profit margin in that business, about 30 percent of God. Thanks, Rocky. Now, I'm feeling crappy about this now as now. It was about now three times that because it was stuff that I thought, well.


I have to do with this guy or this guy was doing and generally done in good in good conscience, doing my best. This is not me trying to be lazy and they're doing it. So I should write. And that is kind of like the whole jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge or whatever it is. Well, no, it doesn't mean that you should be doing that. Now, if there's a lot of information says these are best practices and even still a small experiment, doing an experiment, just like stocks do an experiment, you can afford to lose that completely and learn.


But I think there's expectation, certainly an entrepreneurial world that's been put out there since there's been Internet business owners for the last five to seven to 10, 15 years, that a business is supposed to be profitable and three to six months. And my experience is it's three to six years. And this idea of in other words, if you're going to start a product based business, you're going to be a consultant, well, you should be getting paid right away.


But this idea that you're going to start a business from scratch, let's say, selling online courses, since there's no overhead, it's got to be profitable right away. We'll know your courses might not sell. It might take you a while to figure out what the market wants or whatever it might be. But again, this idea that you're going to build a true business in a year, it takes a year just even to understand or at least three to five years to understand yearly cycles of what happens.


Because what happened had just started a business on Black Friday. Look at my sales. It doesn't mean that's what they're always going to be. And so I think there's this sense of. A lack of of of not just patience, but perspective, because people not knowing who to look to, as if there's only two models, either it's the Warren Buffett invest and wait 30 years, which is not quite, but that's how people see it, as is this.


It's going to take way too long or instant success. And in my experience, I think probably you could speak to the same. The monthly cash flow of a business is one of the best indicators I know of. Are you trending in the right direction? And if you're not willing to at least look at it that often and this is this is from a like I should be like you might watch out for lines about to strike me because I did it to sell my way out of it first thing.


That's what I started. But I've learned I've got to look at this monthly and I've done that for probably the last third of my career. And that's when I was able to start taking more time off, because then it was either my time off or this new doohickey that somebody says I should get. Well, especially as an entrepreneur, I can have my Friday off if I've got enough cash. But if I don't now, I've got to go hustle and get some cash.


So, you know, that doohickey is not worth my Friday. So getting more in touch with those numbers has become something that's worth it to me, where I really I've come to understand, even though I don't love the work all the time and yes, I'd love to sell my way out of it so I can just hire you or somebody that can do this all the time. But that's not always the case to find out where you are on your business.


And yet I know I'm going to save a certain amount if I don't use these services. But if I use them, maybe I will. Maybe I won't. How does this relate? You and I talked a little bit in the interview about chasing profit and that balance between. Being focused on profit, still being focused on the people or whatever is most important in your life, and yet still. Doing things in a way where you're still say no, no with profits, the main reason, because, again, if there's no profit, we don't have the business, we've got a hobby or we've got something else.


How do you keep that focused without becoming obsessive, without becoming that person that thinks that money is the only thing in the world? What have you found in the people you work with? How do you keep that balance?


And I think if there's a balance and I think it's appropriate, I tell people. Especially when it comes to hiring people. Don't don't cut their salary, right? Pay people more, but if somebody is not providing value, then that's where you make the change. If they're not providing value. Chances are it's a wrong fit. They're not happy. You're not happy. So cut them loose to go do their thing. But don't don't cut your people's salary.


And money is not the end all. But if you're not focused on it at all, it's going to be elusive. And I think that's the bigger part of the problem is, is finding that appropriate balance. You always talk about Costco. Costco pays its employees very high, but it has a lot less employees and they have great customer service because of it. It's a business model that fits their values. So what are your values? How do you want to run your business and do that appropriately?


It's not about profit at all costs, and I do want to make that clear. But it is also about controlling our emotions, not chasing the shiny objects and having the balance so that you can have Friday off, because I think that's much more worthwhile, especially when you have kids and you just touched on something I didn't realize we were going to get into. But it's so huge is something that comes up. I know I started my business 20 something years ago, so there wasn't up work or fiver or some of these online hiring sites where you could get freelancers, because if you've not heard of that concept, you can get awesome talent for part time and and you're not hurting the person.


Because I remember when I hired my first employee about six years into my business and probably about a year late, but worked out really great things went well. And if you're not from the US, we had a couple of ups and downs in six to eight and then some different things. And so some of those things really impact our business. And I then found myself in a situation where I was having to strip a lot of extra business to help cover my employee and pay for them.


And I agree with you completely. No one wants to reduce a person's and I'm going to be precise, your hourly income, unless there's a good reason, you've pretty much declared war on them. And in fact, even if even if they just don't fit, I'd say find somebody else first, because that's something that's so harsh that usually when you do that, unless you've established from way up ahead what the criteria are and different things, hourly income is one thing.


In fact, to be really precise, you can have an hourly income and have bonuses and say, oh, you didn't make your bonuses. But hourly income people feel very entitled to. And because it said no, you said you were going to sort of guarantee me this income. But definitely to your point, gosh, so many people don't have the right training or they don't have the right person or they don't have to identify the right person. And so many and again, I'm going to pick on sales people here, but because very often they're whom this is the problem.


I mean, if we were having a call about sales, I have a lot of areas I could do better in sales. And there's a lot of people listening to your sales force. You can probably coach me on this, but there's a lot of people that as salespeople, I'll use this example. Michael Jordan looks effortless when he does things, he can do certain things. And so I could imagine going to the Michael Jordan school, say, how do you talk where you stick your tongue out, see?


And then you jump and then you just do this and to him and LeBron James in a couple hours. Yeah. That's what you do in the rest of us would be like, I don't quite get this. And sometimes the people that have extraordinary talents in sales as well are not great teachers because they didn't have to learn it from the fundamentals. You look at the NBA, Steve Kerr, I'm not going to pick on him. I guess I just already did.


Michael Jordan's coaching career versus Steve Kerr, who played for Steve Kerr is clearly not the better basketball player. But Steve Kerr was a role player, so he had to know a lot more of what was going on. He, I'm sure, had to figure a lot of things out. So he has a perspective of somebody who's had to come literally from the ground floor and not take anything away from Michael. I know he's worked hard from what I've seen, but again, he's almost blind perhaps to what he doesn't have, what he doesn't know.


And bring this back, as I see a lot of sales people that they don't want to change their salespeople. And yet they say, well, then they must not be motivated. They must not be hungry. They must be lazy. And it's not that. And so then they push harder and then they'll go to one of these sort of systems. And I'm going to micro measure you. It's like, no, you don't understand. You never taught me what to do in the first place.


A friend of mine had a son. The son asked him, how do I bounce a tennis ball on a tennis racket here on the racket? And the dad just literally went like this. And boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. Here they had handed in the racket literally less than three seconds. And I just want to say, oh, my gosh, your son just asked you to spend like fifteen to thirty minutes with them to show him something and and really nice guy.


But it was so he was so blind to it. They're like, oh no, here's how you do it. And he moved on because he had mastered that skill. And so the hiring piece is so huge for profit. And certainly as I tell some of my my best sales clients say, look, if you don't know, then keep less of them, keep less people and find one or two that get it right. And then, as you say, pay them well, treat them well, and hopefully they can help you help develop a team of people like that.


So this brings me to something we got to talk a little bit about. Freelancer's, you and I talked about some news and you talk about your chief profitability officer and then use the term seemed kind of someone to be a fractional CFO. What is that and why is that so important for people getting CFO, chief financial officer? Why is that so important for small business owners either to be doing or to have somebody who does that?


So if you're a numbers person and you do this yourself, go for it. Right? If you're the kind of business owner that when it comes time to looking at your numbers, you get a headache, you know, or you get anxiety or you just. A lot of people feel bad, they're like, hey, I've created this big book of business, I know how to sell, but I don't want to admit that I don't understand what's going on in my business.


And so there's a lot of emotions tied to this. Those are the people everyone needs. Somebody on their team, whether they're wearing the hat or someone else, is to look at the financials, to look at the bottom line and make sure that things are flowing properly. Bookkeepers don't tend to do this. They tend to be transactional. Accountants tend to be tax oriented. They don't tend to be focused on your profitability. More often than not, your tax accountants actually incentivized to make you less profitable.


And you say what? See, here's the thing. Business owners go, I don't want to pay taxes. So the accountant figures out how not to pay taxes, which means you're spending more money. Right? So that's their incentive. They're not there to say, hey, you're going to make a lot of profit and we're going to give a bunch of it to the government, or I'll find a way that you can keep it tax free. But that's not their mindset, nor do you tell them to do that for you.


And so I find that once a company gets to a certain size, they can afford to have somebody in the seat, which is perfect. But in those in that smaller area, there's a lot of people who really struggle with this. And the reality is. Looking at your numbers doesn't take hours upon hours a week, right? So for most of my clients, I work with them about two hours a month. So it's kind of like you talked about, you know, you just get a freelancer to come in and give you very high knowledge for very little time.


And the amount of delivery you get in value is tremendous. So I'll tell my clients, look, if I can't bring you a multiple of what I'm saving you on the bottom line, then fire me because I'll fire myself. As a matter of fact, I have a sales call tomorrow with someone and I'm going to tell them point blank, based on how you're running your business. I don't think I can save you very much money at all. This isn't like I can coach you on some other business things.


And here's some ideas. If you want to work through that. Great. But honestly, you're doing a great job. Now, I've got my other client for him. He was not doing a great job, so I helped him increase his bottom line 300 percent this year, which is massive. So now, like, you know, every month he looks forward to the call because he sees how much his bank account is going up every month. So he sees, hey, I'm paying this guy X and he's delivering literally 20 X in my bank account.


So he's happy paying in. That's kind of how it works. And that's what I do. You get high level advice without having to pay a big fee. And unfortunately, the only reason I can do this is because I've already built wealth and I love doing this. So I do this because I love it, not because I'm trying to make a buck. If I was, I'd probably charge a lot more and I'd probably have a lot more clients and I probably wouldn't spend as much time on them.


And but I'm done with all of that, so. I'm a rarity.


That's awesome. Well, and, you know, there's a couple of things and just to break it down for people, so if I were to ask a person, say, hey, would you rather have an accountant? OK, you can get two hours of free advice from somebody. Do you want the two hundred and fifty dollar an hour accountant or professional or attorney or coach or doctor or whatever? Or do you want the hundred dollar. Well I want to.


Fifty one. OK, great. So if that same person that whatever the profession is. But in this case we're saying a profitability coach or profitability officer, if that person in two hours, let's say they cost you 500 bucks, they can help you find twenty five hundred bucks. Is that time well spent? And we can look at it from a couple of different ways. We could take one, two hours. You let's say you worked with them.


So in two hours you found twenty five hundred dollars, but you spent five hundred. So you have two thousand dollars and two hours. You made a thousand bucks an hour and two hours. Are you making a thousand bucks an hour normally. Well no. And very often if your situation is similar to mine, a lot of these are things that repeat. So if you can remember to keep doing this, just remember he's not going to charge you or she's not going to charge you every single time you do this any more than your kindergarten teacher is going to charge you any time you say the word dog or cat.


But if you can remember this, it's going to continue to benefit you. And by the way, so if you're a private coach, part of this or any sort of coach around helping people do business with their better build their businesses, part of this is helping them see, you know, a multi-year how many years are going to be in business school if you can keep this up. And if this is a fundamentally sound practice that you've not been doing for 10 years, but now you're going to do it, that's going to make a difference.


So that also helps, you know, as you say, justify your value. And to your point, I've met people that, yes, you're already doing great. You're already in fact, if you if you cut too much more, it's probably not going to be good. And so to be able to tell somebody that they have the knowledge, that is great. But one thing going to touch on and it's been a recurrent theme even in our talk today, is the psychology behind it.


I know a lot of salespeople are used to being competent and considered competent. And you talked a little bit about different cultures in the Western traditional culture, independence and creativity are considered awesome and we haven't yet fully. And I'm saying we as a generic sense, we haven't yet fully left to interdependence. We think it seem to think sometimes it's either dependance or independence. So it's either, you know, you're dependent or no, that's not good. Your victim, you're in survival mode or you're successful and you're independent.


And there's this other level above that which transcends the two of them, which is this balance of interdependence and so on. And so you find a lot of people that will have a hard time saying, well, I'm not good at profit because that must mean I'm or numbers or math. I must be faulty instead of say no. I've done so well in sales that I can afford help give this person a job. And that's this interdependence thing, which is a higher level.


That's the you know, when you talk about synergies in economies and how one plus one does end up equaling three as far as productivity and certain things. But so like you said, with that shame, I can't I don't even know how many times I've heard people that are successful business owners taking home multiples of six figures, which in the United States is pretty darn good. And they'll start with I'm such an idiot. I'm so stupid. I've been screw this up for so long.


And the first thing is say like, OK, so here's what you've done. Well, you've figured out how to have a business that generates, I don't know, eight hundred thousand dollars a year. You're taking home one hundred. You should possibly be taking home at least about 150 to 200 or more. OK, you get let's grow that. Let's build off of that. And but again, that is, I think of some of the Dan Sullivan says the strategic Kohji talks about this rugged individualism that we're supposed to be as entrepreneurs, these bold, brave people that are going where nobody's gone before, Captain Kirk.


And we're taking on the universe as opposed to just saying, well, this is smart, this makes me more money. And yeah, in fact, the other way of saying, yeah, I have the pride that I can hire somebody of Rocky's caliber or somebody caliber to help me do this because. No, I'm I'm good. I'm a six or seven, but this person is eight or nine or ten, and that's just wiser. It's smarter.


It helps me scale. And so I think that's something that. And there's a distinction I remember first learning this distinction from Deepak Chopra, I never really understood the difference between the word affluence and the word abundance. I use them interchangeably. I think a lot of Americans that I know, the United States, Americans use them as if they're the same word. And one of his books, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, he talks about affluence is flow.


So when somebody tells me I'd like to earn a billion dollars with a B or a million, but with a B. And they want to circulate like, that's awesome when somebody tells me they want to possess a billion dollars. I almost I don't so much have a judge, but I guess I have a small judgment, but I will say, OK, why do you need literally to be able to say this billion dollars is over here, assuming that it's never going to circulate?


I'm not talking about I mean, Bill Gates. It's a lot of people that are billionaires. They're doing great stuff with money. But this different thing of say no, I want to have it somewhere that has my name on it so I can. And that's the hoarding that's almost, it seems, the pathological side as opposed to. Yes, I just want to generate and do stuff more of that. If you want to be a billionaire, help a billion people view of the world.


How do you tell people when they ask you, OK, well, then what does it mean to you to have a life of abundance, something that's broader, that's that's bigger than money alone? What have you found that looks like for you? And what have you seen that that with your clients who are happiest or most fulfilled, what does that look like?


So I think to me, a abundances is having enough money. To be able to say no. Right, to be able to say, no, not doing that, no, I'm not working with you now. Don't feel like it, you know, I'm doing what I love. I have the ability to do that. It's the ability to let go of the parts of the business. Nobody is perfect at every part of the business. Right. And even if you are, then you're just going to be running around like crazy doing every part of the business.


You're not going to be in the business instead of working on the business, which, you know, when you talk about Dan Sullivan, his comment is all not not how, but who like I don't want to learn how to do this. Who is going to do this for me so that I don't have to worry about it and I can go enjoy my life and I can have fun. So I think that's a big part of it. And you're right, because I grew up with that same thing, we've got to do it all and we've got to do it all ourselves.


And that's not true. I think that's one of the things that kind of is changing and that we have to change is. Relying on other people to do their best stuff so that you have time to do your best stuff, and that's what's most important. And let's face it, the reality is a lot of people don't like the numbers and so don't do the numbers along the same side because you've been saying this and none of your listeners probably realizes most people hate sales.


Right. Most of your sales people that you're listening are all lovers of sales. The reality is, if you went out into the world like 80 percent of the people, like, no, I don't want to do sales right. If not higher. And so you just have to realize that we're each cut a certain way. Put yourself in that place and then put the people around you. So salespeople are horrible at paperwork and admin. So why are you doing paperwork and admin?


Pay somebody to do paperwork and admin, let them take care of it. So we all have our place. And it's until you realize, hey, wait, this is my place, this is my zone of genius. Everything else that doesn't bring value, what somebody else do and I can work less and make more.


And that's that's so huge, there's there's a humility, there's in any sport, in a musical and a ballet, in a movie, in just about anything we have, you have certain people that you can see that are natural at something and certain people are trying. And it's great if the person's not natural and they can do something, but that's if it brings them joy. To your point, so many sales people don't realize that, yes, 80 percent of the population, 90 percent doesn't want to do what they do and is actually afraid of it, which is why as a salesperson, you make the money well, take advantage of that and either get more time off or get more time doing sales and enjoying what you do.


And definitely there's a. Unique genius flow, unique abilities, superstar ability, people call all these different things what you're meant to do. I think so much of it's just a simultaneously being proud of and aware of and self-aware of what you do well and being humble enough to realize that that's not everything. So you might be great at some things, but not everything. And can you just share it? One of the things that I think so much of this is about habits.


And you said something to me that really struck me. There's a few things that I would love you to comment on, if you don't mind, profit being a habit, not an event. What does that mean?


Profit is a habit. It's not an event. It's something that you do like with profit. First, all of my clients get a quarterly profit distribution. It's a habit. It's not. I mean, I'm going to make my my walk away money when I sell this business right. Where I'm going to start taking profit when I have a million dollars in revenue. No, you start building a profitable business. Day one. It's not something that happens when it's something that happens now.


And that's what you've got to kind of look at it differently. I think too often business owners are told you have to keep reinvesting all your profits back into your business, and that's there is an appropriate time to reinvest. But do it intentionally. Don't just do it because you're supposed to. There's nothing wrong with taking money out of the business, because as you see, we all face storms. And if you take money out of your business and you put it somewhere else and you invest it somewhere else, you can weather the storm.


When things go bad, you at least have a nest egg or another cash flow stream or another business that will support you through bad times. And I think that's an important part of it as well.


Yeah, something I still probably gosh, maybe at least three quarters of my time is as an entrepreneur. I still really handle things when I looked back as a self-employed person paying expenses as opposed to a business. I was at the other end of the spectrum, which a lot of Solopreneur spun themselves out of. Well, I'm just going to keep it real simple, Rocky. I grossed one hundred and fifty. I had 50 expenses to make. One hundred.


I keep one hundred and let's start again next year. But I've not put aside ten thousand or I've not done something either for the business and I think definitely someone there. You mentioned the quarterly profit distribution, something that's a little more disciplined. So that's something that I bit at times, again, gotten excited. I'm a shiny object guy sometimes, so. Oh, great, I'm going to do this new thing. And yet sometimes just to have a sense of OK again and most of us know this, it's the doing.


Most of us know. Yeah, you set goals, you have a vision and blah, blah, blah. But the execution of it is is so important. How do you help somebody or how does somebody if they. OK, so a lot of people right now are listening to this and they're saying, OK, I understand, I need to pay myself first. I need to put sales minus profit equals expenses. What are the first steps people usually need to do?


What does that look like and what are those obstacles that people usually run into?


So in in the book, what Mike does is he has you set up a system that you can just implement, so it takes a lot of the emotion out of it. Right. Most business owners are not looking at their financial statements and they don't want to. They're looking at their bank balance. And so we're going to take your bad habits and we're going to leverage them and we're going to make them good. So what you do is you set up five bank accounts.


The first one's your income account. So all your money that you make goes into the income account. So when you sit down and look at your income account, you immediately know, hey, here's how much money came in this month. Crystal clear right now we take that and we allocate certain percentages to where they go in the book. Mike recommends target allocations, but those are targets you have to start with where you are today and take little steps towards the targets.


I tell my clients it probably will take you two years to get from where you are to where you want to be on a routine basis. You sit down, you look at your income account, can you take a certain percentage and you put it in your profit account, right. You take a certain fixed percentage and you put it in your owner's pay account. So that's you're paying yourself first. You take a certain percentage and you put it in your tax account because the government's coming after you.


And tax time can be very, very fearful if you don't have the money to write out that big check. And I can tell you stories of clients who have gotten a surprise phone calls. And they're like, you know what? Because I use this system, the money was sitting and ready and I was able to stroke the tax. Time is no longer that horrible time. And then the last accountant is your operating expense account. So now when you go look at your bank balance, you're looking at your operating expenses.


You've already covered your profit, you've covered your pay, you've covered your taxes, and you're good to go. Now, you can tell me for most of the people that are listening, do they have other certain expenses that are fixed every month that they might have to pay bill on, just like your your employees and your overhead? Like, is there a franchise fee or a certain percentage? Not that kind of stuff.


And so a few things. So there's a couple of people I work with a lot of Insurance Insurance, because that's the field I came from. They don't have those. They usually are paid commissions. They're more like an independent contractor, like a franchise or but they're not having a legitimate franchisee, but they're not having to pay for that. They're put it this way. It's getting taken off the top. So they're getting a certain amount. And then just the rest of the people that, listen, this is my clients are run of the mill entrepreneurs that don't have any particular structure.


And so, yeah, getting clear about what those five accounts are and starting with where they are and moving towards a targeted allocation, I think for a lot of them would be a huge deal, even if it was a slow process, if it took them three years, five years, as I tell people, took me twenty two years to work with 4-Day Work Week, but I got there. What I'm hearing from you is something I've thought about at times in different ways.


And I'm wondering now if people who've told me about her, you know, have read the books. I'm now really I'm interested in reading the book and just understanding that it's just really this the simple or can be this simple, but it's like anything else doesn't mean it's easy, doesn't mean there will still be things you need to perhaps sacrifice or whatnot. But I just I see this is one of those things of an expectation thing. You think of children, what their expectations are.


The kid falls down when they're I don't twelve months and you smile k and they say, I fell down and I got up and or you oh then they free delegable not supposed to like that. I'm not supposed to fall down. It's not supposed to Ariana supposed to be just milk and honey and everything simple. So I think so much of this is what we tell ourselves it's supposed to look like. And then we spent a lot of time arguing what it looks like rather than just saying, well then this is pretty straightforward.


It's math. We can there's certain things we can prepare for, certain things we can't. But being able to be clear about at least what that should look like, as I'm hearing you saying this, not only am I thinking that this should be mandatory for every accountant to understand, to get certified, but definitely, as we talked, a lot of parents talk about what sort of financial education is going on in high schools, let's say. And these are the sort of things that should definitely be part of helping kids understand that they should know what the five accounts look.


To me, that's something you should know at the top of your head. Even if you're not going to ever start a small business or business, because just to understand how things work and so, yeah, that's that's really, really powerful, from what I can tell. As far as helping people understand that, I imagine when people start doing it, it starts giving them a lot of confidence.


Oh, it does it gives them absolute confidence and it is a simple plan, but I always tell people like is pretty simple, but doing simple is hard. You talked about kids. So when we raised our kids, we essentially used the same system for them. We would give them allowance and they had three envelopes give, save and shared or it was actually spend, save and charity. So think about it. They had three envelopes, they got their money, they put it in their three accounts and they realized, OK, I don't ever touch my save money.


It's for long term. Right. That's my profit account. And then here's my spending account. That's my operating expenses and here's my give account because, you know, teaching them charity and there's a lot more mission based businesses out there now. So if you're a mission based business and you think you want to give back to the community, set up another account and put whatever percent you want to give back of your your. Company into that account, so that when it comes time to give, it's no longer struggle, it's like, hey, we've got ten thousand dollars in the account.


What are we going to support this month? How are we going to give and put back into the community so you can play around with these accounts however you want. But it it it just systematized is everything and it takes emotion away and it makes it much simpler.


I think the taking the emotion away part is huge. And one of the things that I'm becoming more aware of and nobody else has to join me in this, that I'm forty nine and I'm coming to realize that I'm now at that age where it's not me looking around to see who's going to make the world a better place. I'm one of those people that's making the world a better place, whether it's investing my time or my money or my energies or or prayers or whatever it might be.


But rather than waiting for something to happen and so much of this for me, whether it's the 4-Day Work Week, whether it's profitability, whether it's the income, not the end or the income gap, and then the the networth gap in our country and around the world. First of all, third world countries, different things. There's more information out there. And I'm just passionate about helping people understand people might choose not to take advice or whatnot, but the ability to at least know that, whereas before in many countries it wasn't even taught, it wasn't even accessible.


And now was more and more people are getting access through cell phones and all these different things around the world that at least the content is going to be there. And people who want to reach up can get that sort of insight and do something with it. Thank you so much. There's a couple of things I want to ask you about. So there's a couple of podcasts you have. Would you share a little bit with the readers, with the readers, the listeners looking at all these books and saying readers, the listeners, what you talk about on your podcasts?


Sure. My one podcast is Profit Answer, Man. So while we've touched on the themes here today, I go much deeper in that podcast and we're constantly talking about the principles of profit. First, we've got success stories from businesses. I literally go through every chapter of the book and I tell you the principles from every chapter of the book. So if you don't like to read, you can listen. And I don't read the book to you. I give you the highlights in chunks and then we share how others have seen it and how it's worked for them.


And then my other podcast is richer, small. So that's kind of saying, OK, now that you've got the financial piece solved, how do you build a life of abundance? How do you have that life of harmony? And we look at being clear in your purpose. Having the right mindsets, because these mindsets are more than money mindsets, it's a whole ton of other mindsets that we can go into and then creating harmony with your health, your wealth, your time, your relationships and your spirituality.


How do they all fit together and how do you create your unique puzzle of life that's not stolen from somebody else?


That's awesome, and one of the things I forgot because we talked a lot of things I love your definition of about being able to say no, because that's that for me as an entrepreneur, that really is why I started my own gig. I wanted to be able and not to say no, like, I guess maybe kind of like, well, at least to be able to say no, like a like a three year old if I wanted to.


But to be able to say this is what I want and this doesn't matter to me or, you know, even the concept diminishing returns once you hit a certain amount of income. Now, I don't want that extra pain in the butt client. I can now take my Friday off or whatever, whatever that is for you that that people like to do. Awesome. Thank you. And then where can people reach you if they want to learn more about you?


I'm going to share the links of the Instagram and all that stuff on the or the LinkedIn and the Facebook and Twitter, all that stuff I'll share in the show notes how what's the best way for people to get in touch with you to find your work?


So if you go to profit comes first. Dotcom, there are links to both podcasts. There's you can email me, you can get two chapters of the book for free. So that's probably the the main landing page that you can find.


Everything awesome. Thank you so much, Rocky. This has been. I'm I'm really pleased to say I've learned so much as somebody who spent a lot of time, you know, within a specific industry learning the ins and outs of what it looks like for them. You've helped me a lot with the language you have, how to explain things to people. And I'd imagine a lot of our listeners, whether they're entrepreneurs or their startups or side-hustler or freelancers, are going to get a lot out of this.


I can tell you all is. 20 plus years as an entrepreneur, thirty five plus years working with small business owners. Everything I've heard Rocky say today is fundamentally sound, is something that is is true and will help you run your business or run your life better. So thank you again for joining us, Rocky. And to listeners, as always, look forward to helping you help more people and make more money and less time doing the best so you can better enjoy your family, your friends and your life.


Thanks for listening.


Rocky LalvaniProfile Photo

Rocky Lalvani

Chief Profitability Officer & Podcast Host

Rocky serves as Chief Profitability officer for business owners. He teaches them how to ensure they get paid and they make profit a priority! As a certified Profit First Professional he implements Mike Michalowicz's Profit First System. We change the accounting formula of Sales - Expenses = Profit to Sales - Profit = Expenses. This ensures Profit comes first! (PS. It's not about money at all costs, people come before money!)

Rocky started with nothing when his parents immigrated to the United States when he was two years old, and his parents were in there 40's. It was his parents' second time starting over in life as they moved here to experience the American dream. In spite of a lot of struggles and his mom passing away when Rocky was 7, he has been able to achieve financial and life success. Rocky loves to share his journey and inspire others to achieve their dream even faster.