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Sept. 7, 2021

116. Profit Wise - Make More Money by Doing the Right Thing with Jeff Morrill

Plan ahead and put people first to create a profitable and smoothly operating future.

Plan ahead and put people first to create a profitable and smoothly operating future.



  • Jeff Morrill co-founded Planet Subaru and businesses in retail, telecommunications, real estate, and insurance.
  • He’s the Author of Profit Wise: How to Make More Money in Business by Doing the Right Thing.
  • He is donating all author royalties to charity.
  • Using the secrets shared in the book, his companies generate over $100,000,000 in annual revenue and win many awards for customer care, environmental stewardship, and team satisfaction.
  • Jeff’s achievements in building ethical and flourishing companies have been featured in USA Today, Automotive News, and Entrepreneur Magazine.  



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The trick is to begin as soon as your first hire, thinking about the person who can take on many of the responsibilities that you don't really enjoy and and to begin looking for your successor. And it might not be a single person, you might need a team. Welcome, everybody. Today, I'm going to introduce you to a gentleman that's going to help us look at how you can make more money by doing the right thing and fix your hiring mistakes so you can reap the rewards as soon as tomorrow.


Today I have on Jeff Morrill and I'm excited to have him on because after speaking with him on our preinterview, I get a sense not only does he really understand what he's talking about, but he really wants to help people. He co-founded Planet Subaru and is in business, in retail, telecommunications, real estate and Insurance. He's the author of Profit Wise How to Make More Money in Business By Doing the Right Thing. And he's donating all of the royalties to charity as an author.


That's something that certainly caught my eye. You put a lot of work into a book, and if you're willing to do that, that that certainly speaks something, at least in my experience, using the secret shared in this book. Profit wise, his companies generate over one hundred million dollars in annual revenue and won many awards for customer care, environmental stewardship and team satisfaction. His achievements in building ethical and flourishing companies have been featured in USA Today Automotive News and Entrepreneur magazine.


Thank you so much for joining us today, Jeff. Thank you, Wade, for that generous introduction. Yes, you know, I just I read pretty well sometimes actually stumbled today. I did well, so I'll give myself props for that. You all don't always hear the editing or see the editing.


So the first thing we talked about that I really found really interesting, Jeff, is when we talked about your story of starting at twenty six and then the changes you had to make with the dealership, mainly because at least from when you and I talked about, things didn't go exactly the way you thought they would, and you had to make some changes on the fly that, you know, a lot of people sometimes are a little afraid to make, maybe share a little bit about, if you would, your story starting at what worked for you and when you realized you needed to make a change.


Let's start maybe with a broad observation that I've noticed, because I've been in the in business now about a quarter century and how there are these seasons that you experience and the skills and the insights and the perspectives and the work ethic you need at one time in the business will evolve over time. And I'll give you a specific example. I think the kind of skills it takes me now to be a coach to over one hundred team members, they overlap with the skill set that I had when we first opened the first business, which is playing at Subaru, and we had a team of somewhere I don't know, might have been 15 or 16 people.


And the trick, I think to keep yourself sane and to keep your business is growing and to to make sure you stay married to your first spouse and see your kids as to evolve along the way. So I'll give you an example, a story that happened to me and it's my favorite mistake and it relates to hiring in particular. So we had just opened this as we opened October 2nd, 1998. And and this is, you know, just a few weeks in.


And we're trying to build out the small team that we need to to run this this dealership. And and I interviewed a young man, and my hiring process at the time was to spend a half an hour with someone wedged in between. All my other obligations rely entirely on my not very well developed intuition about people. And when I liked someone, I just offered them a job right on the spot. And that's exactly what I did with this person.


And he accepted and we shook hands. And we set up the start date two weeks later. And you know where this is going. Two weeks later, the the man, he never showed up. I mean, he just totally goes to me. And my guess, looking back on it, what I did to him is he he probably wanted to think about it before accepting the job. You wonder, you know, maybe learn more about the company or or consider the offer in relation to the other offers he had or might get.


And he he just panicked and said, OK, great. And was either too embarrassed to to ever get in touch with me after that moment or or just probably just wasn't conscientious enough as a person. And I had spent so few minutes with him that I certainly wouldn't have been able to detect whether that quality was present. So anyway, that was the first of many mistakes we would make in hiring. And and by making those mistakes, at each occasion, we would observe the negative results of our mistakes and and tweak our process a little bit.


So so you can see the obvious thing I did at that point was to add an additional interview. Subsequent applicants would have to meet more, more people than just me. So we would have two interviews which would give us two opportunities to to observe the candidate's behavior and more opportunities to identify red flags or or concerns that we needed to either disqualify the candidate or learn more about share with the candidate and let the candidate respond. So we now the simple process that we have in place now for our companies is actually described in my book profit wise.


But I won't go into too much detail other than to say that we've now arrived at a point we do three interviews and that sounds like a lot in and it is because it takes a lot of resources on our our part and it takes quite a bit of time on the part of the candidate. But but it's just too important to screw up. And so we want to make sure we get it right the first time because the cost of of getting it wrong or are very high.


Yeah, there's two things I love there. And, you know, if you're listening, first of all, whether it's an employee that you're hiring or I'm going to suggest even if it's a freelancer, unless it's literally a project, and if you're hiring somebody to do a graphic image for you, you don't need their life story. They can you can just look at the work. And I'd maybe draw the line to see if that person is going to be representing you verbally to other people in a way that you can't see them versus if they give you a piece of work.


So, again, graphic image. A person creates a logo for your website. You can assess it really doesn't matter what the other person presents to the public because they're not going to see the public. And yet the people you talk to makes a big difference. And one of the things that I found that you just mentioned, gosh, you have to have your team or at least some of the people on your team interview this person because they've got to work with them.


And that's actually that's pretty much it to why, you know, and then Z is because they also have information that they can help you weed out the wrong person because they know things about process. They see things that you don't see. And then if you even want to get on the more slightly clever side, they can ask the questions that you're not supposed to ask, that they'll ask.


Of course, we'll find out some of the things that maybe you're not supposed to know the person's lifestyle habits. Oh, yeah, I was out until three a.m. last night and I just made it in the interview just in time, the things that you would love to know that they're not going to admit to you and definitely to your point, you know, the cost of a bad hire. I think this is the part that and I explain this to people from both sides.


If you're the employer, you want to really realize that you know about higher costs, you what the person's whatever the person's salary is, times at least one and a half, two times, you know, other costs, training costs, different stuff. But I also make sure that employees understand that so if you're in a business where your employer is not treating you well and they don't understand that the cost of losing you is a lot, then a negotiate for better situation for yourself and or, B, find somebody that understands what your value is worth because, gosh, you know, there's that that saying you've probably heard this, Jeff.


There's nothing that's worse than hiring a good person and losing them is hiring a bad person and keeping them not a bad person morally, but a person that just doesn't work out because you're just constantly losing money. And so that's one of the biggest areas if you're a consultant. When I do 4-Day Work Week coaching, when I do profit coach, I do software coaching. That cost of employee turnover, as you mentioned. Gosh, it's so huge. So to your point, three interviews, that's nothing.


You're about to spend a long time and a lot of money on this person and understanding that. I think it's so huge. You and I talked about in the interview about a very simple concept. I've heard it said before, but you brought it up and I haven't heard a lot of people talk about this, knows how to make a slow buck, that there's no quick dollars to be made.


How have you found that that relates specifically well to your business and then also specifically to recruiting and hiring people? Maybe another way to say there that's very difficult to make this lobach is that there are very few shortcuts and I think some people bottle lightning. I mean, there they're industries that you just happen to stumble into. And I don't want to take anything away from, say, Mark Zuckerberg. But he was he was a very smart person with the right product at the right time and society.


And there were a lot of forces that conspired to propel that company to to the blockbuster success that it did. But but very few of us will will have the situation to ever be able to reproduce that. So what we have instead is is, you know, a very competitive environment matter what business we're going into, whether it's leadership coaching or whether it's landscaping or operating a restaurant or it's just just the nature of a well developed, mature economy that we find ourselves in.


There's tons of competition. And that means that if there aren't any shortcuts than what you have to do is find out the way to make sure that if you're going to take the long road, that every step counts. And and I think that's what we've tried to do, is we identify what are all the places where we can gain that little bit of competitive advantage, because there really aren't any ways to to gain at least that I found the to gain a huge advantage over your competition.


You have to to identify those things. And they're little and you put them together like a mason builds a brick wall. It's one brick at a time. And any single brick is not especially important. And if you happen to break it or the wall, even miss that one brick, you could still build a strong wall. But the key is to make sure that you're always doing all those little things right. So in our businesses, we talk about the importance of operational excellence, meaning you need a lot of things to operate a business.


Well, and of course, you need good marketing and all those things. But when I want to use the term operational excellence, I mean, I want to make sure that we don't have to answer the phone on the first ring. But I want to make sure no matter which one of my companies you call, you're going to talk to someone quickly and you're not going to get voicemail. So I'm not so compulsive that we have, you know, the number of rings set, but we literally do not have voicemail in any of our companies and that, you know, it has its disadvantages.


But one of the advantages as an example, is that you're always talking to a person and you never get stuck at a dead end where you where you're just so frustrated and you need help, but you can't find someone to get you what you need. So that one thing and so many others is how you go about making the slow buck. Awesome. And one of the things that I'm really encouraged to see is that there's more and more people getting attention for what I'm going through, somewhat arrogantly call wisdom, because it assumes I'm right.


But I think we've reached a point, as at least in the business world, a critical mass where we've absorbed the whether it's even from a 20 year perspective, Michael Dell, Dell Computers was not not not a huge not quite so meteoric of a rise as Facebook or so quick or like an Instagram or Snapchat, but still an overall scheme, things 20 year company doing really well. But then more and more people are finding, OK, what are the principles, what are the foundational things that people are doing that continue to work?


And and to your point, for the 99 percent, for the 95 percent, hey, if you can come up with something that nobody else can figure out, if you can sell a pet rock, if you can, great.


Good for you. But that's not really wisdom because a lot of people can't do it any more than if Michael Jordan says, here's how you don't like it and you don't like, whoa, hold on. I'm not six six. I haven't I have all these variables that don't fall into that case for me. So I need to talk to more like Steve Kerr, somebody who played on his team who is a role player and say, OK, what's true about basketball for the rest of us that are not, you know, Immortal's or some other really, really, really high level.


When you looked at. The way you built your business, you and I talked about. The pace you were going at and you mentioned that it threw you how quickly you hit the wall because you had this idea and I just hear the story so often, Wade, I'm young and I can work the hours and it's going to be fine.


And all of a sudden, again, these these little things, these little gnats, I've heard that I've got the quote, but it's you know, you're your business distractions.


It's not some big elephant that comes out. It's all these gnats that you just get in your way that distract you. What would you say to a person who's starting a business and they're making perhaps their first hire or their first or second or third hire, they have a smaller team. How do they make sure that they're able to acknowledge what their limitations are and know that as they're bringing on team members, employees, whatever word you want to use? That their process is acknowledging what they do best so that they're not going to hit the wall, they is the CEO, the owner, whatever word you want to call.


And yet at the same time, they're acknowledging, yes, here's what this person is worth or could be worth as opposed to this sort of just. Almost bipolar experience, if I got everything all by myself to, oh, my God, just throwing money at anybody who can bring on and that's that was my first time was just like, oh, my God, I'm in the middle of this crazy software season and I'm literally just in between. One day the next, I'm hiring somebody and I have very few practice.


But because I went as far as I could as this solopreneur hero and and hit the wall, but in my case, hit the wall in the middle of my busy season.


So it's like I didn't have time to hit the wall in private. I was hitting the wall publicly needed help.


How can somebody perhaps notice the signs of when they're going to hit the wall and how do you start building that team for that person? That's like let's say you're scared to make that first hire the commitment of what it might be. And how do you do that wisely? Let's start with what I call the general principle of burnout, which happened to me and I'll briefly tell my own story of what happened is that, you know, so I started the business in my 20s and I made it about 15 years of very long hours and intense stress.


And it's just it's a function of my personality that I'm very conscientious and dutiful and I don't want to let balls drop. And, you know, there are a lot of balls in the air when when you're an entrepreneur and of course, all the business on business owners and your audience can relate to that. So what happened is it snuck up on me. There was a it started to happen. I would pull into the parking lot and I would take the key out of the ignition to, you know, to walk into the building.


And I literally could not do it like my legs worked. It wasn't because my legs couldn't carry me in. It was it was a psychological condition, I mean, short of a nervous breakdown. But but I had been pushing so hard for so long that that I just ran out of gas. And that's that's not a place you want to find yourself, because then it's a little too late. And to be candid, I never recovered from that.


So within that was about the time my wife and I started looking to move back to our native Virginia. The businesses are in Massachusetts and we ended up pursuing that because I realized that I wasn't going to be able to change myself in as long as I was still living near the businesses. I was going to be walking into them every day. So anyway, so now I'm actually even though our business is in Boston, I'm talking to you today from Charlottesville, Virginia.


I love my life. And it worked out well. And and I did I made a lot of mistakes, but did something really well that I hope your your listeners will acknowledge and try to incorporate. And here's the direct answer to your earlier question. The trick is to begin as soon as your first hire, thinking about the person who can take on many of the responsibilities that you don't really enjoy. So in we all we all have different things that we like.


My brother, my co-founder, he he loves interacting with customers. So at one of our dealerships, he doesn't need to go in every day. He's got an awesome management team. He goes in every day and he loves to meet people and he meets with vendors. And that's something that's really enjoyable for him. He is not a process oriented person. So what he did in the business is that he was responsible for is that he began early finding people who did like process.


And there are I mean, that sounds like a strange person. Sounds strange to me. But there are people there's like doing things really well repeatedly the same way. And they don't find that tedious, like so many attention deficit disorder entrepreneurs like I am. Do you find tedious? So the trick is to find those people that have the skills that complement yours and and begin looking for your successor. And it might not be a single person. You might need a team.


In my case at the I have two key managers that that divide the responsibilities among them. And then, you know, they're like, if it's you can imagine there's two quarterbacks on a on a football field running are our team. And then I'm a coach on the sidelines, you know, cheering them on and, you know, trying to bandaid them up when they come back off the field after getting sacked, which, you know, happens in any business.


So so I think that there's a there's a couple of ways you can you can begin thinking about it that will serve you well in the long run.


Awesome. Thank you. And that's something gosh, that's such a huge piece. I know one of the people I work with, I help my father run his insurance agency and I do coaching Insurance in the industry have been in that industry for years. And I always used to joke that I didn't want to hire a lot of people. I didn't want to grow my own business. I chose not to be Insurance and I probably could have been. And yet, as his life fate would have it at this stage, my father, a certain age, he still gets to do what he enjoys.


But I'm actually about three years ago, four years ago, he wanted some help. Sure. And I thought I was going be a part time thing, but I'm getting more involved than I've actually enjoyed. I've learned it like you. I don't like a lot of processes. I don't like doing that stuff. But it's kind of forced me into a test lab and make me learn some things which have been great. And one of the conversations he and I often have is this idea of general manager, coach player and those three different roles.


So we happen to be fans of the Miami Heat. So, you know, Pat Riley is our general manager. People refer to him as The Godfather. He's that guy who's up in the box who, you know, in his day has been a player and has won championships as a player.


He's one champion as a coach, but he doesn't want to fly around the country anymore, doesn't want to do that. So he's got his coach and Erik Spoelstra is the coach. And then Erik Spoelstra, then you've got the players. And what happens sometimes is one of the toughest conversations that my father and I have. Sometimes when I try to remind them of, OK, you can be a player if you want or you can be the coach, you can be the GM.


But each of them has a natural. Responsibility to it and accountability to it, and he takes that well, but some of the other clients I work with, they want the attention and the accolades of the player and the work level of the general manager. And it's like those two don't necessarily go together. So I just even think getting clear about are you the player, are you the coach or are you the GM? Or you said to me a concept of, you know, you couldn't quarterback the team anymore.


You needed to coach again. Bottom line being getting clear about what role you're going to be in and if you get clear about that, how much easier it is for things to run as opposed to this sense, which at least I've had in my business, where I'm the business owner and I want everything to be about me. I want it to be that I get to do this and I get to accept the award. And I know it doesn't work that way.


There's there's a nature to each of those positions. And if you want things to work well. What have you found as you're building out a team and you're looking to implement a hiring process that's not just you mentioned, you know, you didn't have an informed intuition and I love that concept because a lot of people, someone use your intuition with I do brain surgery, I don't know, squat about brain surgery. So you don't want to trust my intuition on brain surgery.


You asked me about something. I know. And I have an informed intuition.


How do you implement a repeatable hiring process that's not only perhaps, you know, great at attracting people, but also retaining people and something that ultimately you can eventually delegate or give to somebody else. I think it starts all the way back with. Understanding what your company is in isn't so I like this theme, just a call back to your earlier comments about the different roles you can play on a sports team. I like that idea of engaging, investing in a discussion either with yourself, you know, through journaling or just personal reflection.


If you tend to be more introverted or with a coach or with a spouse or a partner, all of which I do to try to understand. Where your life is and where your skills and energy are and how you can use those, I think too few people give any thought to these themes in their life. And so they just end up waking up and going into their company and doing what they did yesterday. So I think there's a lot to be said for this taking however it works for you.


Maybe if you do it while you're hiking, guess that if you do if you have a partner that you can bounce ideas off a coach. You need to you need to do that and end focusing that question now on hiring in particular, I think you need to figure out what kind of soldiers you want. And if you understand that, then you're definitely going to have an advantage when you go to write your recruiting at. Which is one of the first places along the process where you need to understand the kind of person you're looking for, and then it's going to help you when it comes time to interview the applicants to understand what the qualities of the applicants you need in your company really are, because it'll give you an example.


In our case, we interview technicians who generally they don't interview well at all, and few of them have really well-developed interpersonal skills. Some of them do. But it's that's it's an exception. But we don't really care because we need the people to get along with team members and we're looking for for positive character traits. And I'm not saying that they can they can get by without the ability to interact with other human beings. But but we don't need that particular area well developed in their life.


And we understand that. So our interview process, we have a different we have a different bar, if you will, for your charisma during the interviewing for a technician than we would we would for, for example, a salesperson. If you have a salesperson, there's no energy, no excitement, no enthusiasm. Isn't able to infect others with that, then that that salesperson is always going to be at a disadvantage. And know I'm not saying that that person can't be a good salesperson, but they better have some really amazing qualities to go along with it to compensate.


And we have some of those people we've succeeded with some of those people. You need to understand the kind of person you're looking for. And once you and not to go through the entire process, I'll give you one more step in it, just as we're kind of moving along that as you get to the interviews, I strongly recommend you have scripts. In other words, you have already worked out in advance what questions will get out, those qualities that you need, those applicants to have.


And when you have a script, then you can make the most of your your precious time together with an applicant instead of talking about hobbies or where they went to school. You can you can really drill down into those areas that they need to excel and to succeed in your company.


Yeah, it's interesting to me when you talk to people about their questions, like what questions do you ask? And you might have gotten them from a book, from a coach or whatever. But when I talk to people and they have no questions. I remember when I first started out doing recruiting and I felt weird asking the questions because it didn't feel like a flowing conversation, I like organic conversations. Then finally somebody said to me, Wade, look, this is not about how you feel.


This is not about whether you enjoy this conversation. This is a very specific results based conversation to see can you determine if this is the right person and there should be certain things to your point characteristics or traits that should be standing out based on how they're answering. And of course, there can be other parts. There can be where you ask them a very specific thing. How do you do X, you know, or what's the exact way to do this?


Or for this person, how would you sell a person a Band-Aid or all these different things? But there should be some sort of flow to it. Question for you. What are some of the things that you find are. Unworkable, so, for example, I think, you know, some people say Wade, you know, the recruiting process, this person, you know, may misstepped on these couple areas. They kind of dropped the ball here and there, but they did OK here.


I know in our hiring process there are certain things that if they dropped the ball on, we've even made you know, we've even talked ourselves back into that person and said, yes, we're going to hire them. Then they didn't work out with some of the evidence was already back there when they didn't do such and such or something that they missed. What do you find are those things that are it's not so much unforgivable, but just unworkable that you see something, you say, OK, Wade, that's just in any position, that's just not going to work out.


Yeah. Deal killers, I guess I should mention. Just going to the last point to on my Web site, Jeff Morrill dot com, there are a lot of resources that accompany the book. One of those resources, we have several examples of the actual interview scripts we use in our companies. And if you want to, you know, do you don't have to you don't have to buy the book to go. Just visit the website and you can look at those tools.


If you're if you're trying if you've never used one before an interview script, you're wondering, well, what would that look like? What kind of questions? Then I invite your listeners to at least take a look at our example and the questions help unearth the things that you're talking about here. We're looking we're looking for someone Strang's. We're also trying to find those deal killers. What's the thing that's going to potentially force us to fire this person when they when they do something that's so egregious that we can't keep them on the team or whatever?


So we have some questions that they try it to address those things. But I think what we look for is character related things. And by character, I mean, that's a very broad term. It's it's not easily defined. But I can give you an example. When we've interviewed some people that have had 10 jobs over 10 years and that's not, you know, immediately a disqualification. But when we engage the candidate on why that happens and you start hearing that, that every one of his managers was a jerk and didn't appreciate his skills.


And it's like, wow, ten in a row.


Like I mean, yeah, I've had you know, I've worked with people that didn't appreciate me, didn't get me, underestimated me. That happens. And there are some there are some crappy supervisors out there. So, yeah, if we hear someone tell us a story about a bad supervisor and why that required them to to leave their last position or they needed to be fired because they couldn't get along, you know, that's not that's a red flag, but not a disqualifying event.


But you look for those kind of patterns. Another thing would be when we we hear a lot of profanity in. And I've I've been known to to, you know, cuss once in a while. And I don't I don't mean to say that we're really. You know, hung up on on the F word or or and of course, I'm not talking about, like, ethnic slurs or anything, but just like, you know, the F word or SJT or whatever, when people are using those during an interview.


What it suggests to me is that we're working with a person that doesn't understand the professional rules of the world. You know, it's one thing to to cuss with your buddies. You're out having a good time and, you know, you trip and fall and skinned your knee and that kind of thing. But but in that context of interview, you know, we really don't want to hear that stuff in. And I think if we see that, then it indicates that we have someone who does and doesn't know know how to interact according to whatever cultural requirements apply.


Like we we would never want a salesperson for, for instance, interacting with a customer and that he or she didn't know well in offending them in some way. So, again, not you know, if someone uses a single word, you know, we're going to note that. But if it's F this and F that throughout the whole thing, that then that tells us a lot about somebody. Yeah, no, one of the things that I try to explain to people is.


That we take recruiting very seriously and we take. A person's time, their energy, their family situation very seriously, so we're going to do our best to No. One, show you all the awesome parts of the opportunity. So we're going to say, here's what's awesome. Here's the pay, the benefits to all these things. And we're also going to say, look, let's see what we can do and figure out. Like you said, I think you worded perfectly.


The signs that let us know that there's already a problem that's waiting to happen. Can we identify that ahead of time and so I believe there's a lot of wisdom in country song, so I love the country song, God is great, beer is good and people are crazy. And that's my explanation to why systems don't always work, to why hiring doesn't always work. Hey, Wade, everything lined up, the hiring looked great. The person got is great because good people are crazy.


It's that simple. Put simply, we're unpredictable. We're humans. So if people ask me Wade can you guarantee a great said I can never guarantee a great hire, but I can almost guarantee a bad hire by certain things. And so I'm like, you're saying I'm just looking to weed out the ones where. Gosh, I've seen this before or yes, this really reminds me of so-and-so who everything was always a problem and it was always them. They this they that they the other or f ing this f ing that f ing the other or whatever it might be.


And so what else can I tell the person is, look, if you're in a job situation where things are kind of 80 percent, 85 percent good, I want to make sure that if you're about to risk that, that you're coming here with an extremely high percent chance of success. And I'd rather have it be that we say, yeah, I'm not so sure. And almost it's not meant to be this way, but it's almost kind of like college dating or high school dating in the sense of actually more high school.


If you know the principal least interest, if you're too interested, then all of a sudden maybe they're less interested as opposed to saying, look, yes, I want to tell you about all the things, but I don't ever want to try to hire somebody any more than I ever want to try to marry somebody. I want to see if that's the right person first. That's the first answer. Do you want to see is there a fit for this person in your business?


Because there's still so many things that can go wrong, because God is good, because great people are crazy and you might not agree to be great or guys great as good.


Anyway, long story short. I just know there's certain things that. And I find myself some people might call this cynical, they might call it prejudiced. But I'm going to use the word discrimination in the dictionary sense of the word discrimination does mean to have judgment. And so if I see a person does the same thing 50 times as somebody or I've made the same mistake, yeah, I'm going to play the odds.


And it's and it's not based off of color, skin or gender or any orientation, anyone.


It's based off of their behavior that they're choosing or the way that they're presenting themselves or acting or say, OK, how is this going to play out with a customer like you said, gosh, even if f ing this f ing that great. If you're in a part of the country where that's common or they're with that client, great. But then what about when the next person comes in who's not comfortable with that and the sale is already dead, like you said.


So there's there's just certain things where they really are deal killers and. To some people, it feels like Wade you're being so judgmental. No, I'm saving this person grief because they're not going to make it in our environment. I'm saving us or whoever. I'm representing money and time and energy and frustration. And so a lot of this stuff sometimes about whether it's in my case, you know, I focus a lot on 4-Day Work Week Journey the simple fact that you're able to be in Virginia running businesses that are in another part of the country.


It's not even so much about, I think, being able to get double the results or triple the results, it's about just looking for how do we just let go of the obvious mistakes, the things that are going to just, you know, again, you start having a humility about life that, OK, I've tried this five times before. It hasn't worked five times. I'm really, really brilliant. I know I am. But this probably isn't going to work out again as opposed to forcing things.


How can you when you look at your journey and you and I talked a little bit about burning out. How has improving your hiring process impacted your ability to be more energetic, to be able to you know, you mentioned you have multiple businesses you're working on. Maybe to end to describe that specifically to a person, let's say, who's on their first business, how can a person, no one do that in a way where they're managing, whether it's the recruiting of the business?


Best, what's the wisdom around that and then how do they know when maybe they are ready for taking on a second business versus well, no, you don't have systems yet and you're about to just bite off more burnout, more possible losses. How did you know when it was good time for you?


And how can people be aware of that? My observation about other companies that I interact with and, you know, whether that's a landscaping company or a plumber or, you know, you think about all the services we need, both within our businesses and into some of our homes, is that that businesses generally start growing. At the limit of the entrepreneurs ability to attract good people to make up for his or her lack of skills in particular areas, so that might be literally one person.


There are one person companies and that person, you know, serves us and they've never figured out the way to implement a process where they can bring an additional person on and make a good, good decision about that person or start making repeated bad decisions so that they can they can start building out their company. And that's fine if someone wants to be a solopreneur forever. But the risk of doing that is you've basically just bought yourself a job and that's fine.


And I wouldn't criticize or denigrate that approach because I know people there are plenty happy doing that. For me, that was never going to be enough because I just didn't want to do anything. There is nothing that I like enough to do for 40 years straight. Like, I was just nothing like I wanted to. It was always our vision. My brother and I had we founded the company to to build it and then find a way to to put a management team in place and in our case, even to have partners who have bought in and have equity in the company so that they've benefited from that so that we could we could spread the wealth and the joy.


In the healthy culture, but not have to do the hard work ourselves. So I guess that's the kind of the big picture on that, you know, is is just having the. Having some process in place and some willingness to to make. You know, really good hiring decisions, knowing, as you said before, that not all of them, no matter how good your processes will work at every time, but you can definitely improve the odds.


Awesome, thank you. Yeah, and I think that's something that's so important to one of the things that I suggest people, as they decide at different stages, just as you and I talked about the roles of coach, manager, player in a sports franchise, let's say. To also consider where do you want to be, I have friends that are employees that are highly respected, highly valued, very well compensated and have a high degree of freedom where they say Wade at this stage or maybe forever.


That's what I want. So to be really clear, this is not about making being a business owner better than being Solopreneur or a solopreneur better than an employee. A lot of it is about knowing yourself and what you want.


There is beauty to leaving at five to one as an employee and knowing that everything is taken care of and that's a path. So to be really clear for those people and I want to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneur. Ninety nine times out of 100, at least for three to five year period at least, is way more work than being an employee and maybe 10 or maybe 10 or 15 years.


Yeah, and in my case, I for me, the number was about five years. But having already spent seven to 10 years in the in the field as an employee with the father was an entrepreneur getting mentoring from some of the best people. And I've still had very much my ups and downs of businesses taking off and just dropped by 40 percent revenue. Oops. What do you do now?


And the other thing I'd say is to know what stage yet. So there is a stage and there's no moral judgment for this, but knowing what you want in life. So.


When I was starting my company and was growing, I was doing the Solopreneur thing, brought on a team member, awesome team member, and right when we were about to have our first child, I was traveling about 20 times a year, which at that point was kind of fun. And my wife and I were a couple. We didn't have kids yet. And she's more than adult enough that, OK, Wade going to go out, go out, go to your events and come back and whatever.


And when we had children, I was like, OK, that didn't feel as fun, it didn't feel as much as I want to, and we even intentionally slowed that down. And what that meant for my business was my ability to scale. The business was reduced, but that was a choice. Again, that doesn't make better or worse. That's what we wanted for my wife to be able to stop working or pause working in the workforce. And so I did go more back into that solopreneur with a team member managing expenses as opposed to we're just going to sell our way out of anything, we're just going to keep growing and both have their beauty.


And now with children that are 14 and 12 kind of back at that stage. I'm ready to more travel again or do different things again. But to be able to have that time in between where for a while it was nice to not have to worry about as much, generating so much more income, have a business that's on autopilot. In that case, a business that to me is not always exciting. But sometimes the businesses that bring a lot of money are not always exciting.


The repeated and there's a there's a pattern there. And so so I think that's the thing. Have to get clear about what is it that you want from the business? Because so many people want everything from it. They want attention, they want accolades, they want money, they want easy. They want excitement. That's like, oh, no relationship does that.


A marriage doesn't. A friendship doesn't. Your softball team doesn't. What specifically is it that you want in getting clear about that? It sounds to me that your clarity of clarity about that has helped you do a better job of growing your business. And then you and I also talked a little bit about. Being clear and how would help you reach your best customers without even necessary to needing to spend a lot of more money on advertising, some of the pivot slightly to that, how have you found that business owners can best reach their customers without spending a lot of money?


Because I know that's something that people very often put faith in and paid advertising can be such it can feel like you got taken and maybe you did or maybe just didn't work the process properly. So there's like there's so many different stories to that. What have you found is is fundamentally true in that area? Yeah, first, let me just, you know. Tell you how much I appreciate and enjoy what you describe about having clarity about your your career aspirations, your entrepreneurial aspirations, I think a lot of people just don't ever ask themselves the question, what is all my achievement for?


And that's dangerous if you don't ask that question. Because when I say dangerous, I mean dangerous. I've met people that have driven themselves to to physical harm, caused themselves, you know, serious health problems, overworking themselves. I've seen people lose their spouses, alienate themselves from their kids because they never stop to just ask the question, what am I doing this for my doing this to earn a good living or am I doing this to fill some hole that that that formed early in my childhood because I had a parent or a sibling or or a teacher that told me I was never going to amount to anything.


And gosh darn it, I'm going to prove that person wrong or whatever. And those things happen, all of us. So I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with with. You know, being being affected by things that happened early in your life, but the trick to that, the freedom, the way you find freedom, is to understand the nature of your past and how it influences your future. I think it's really important for entrepreneurs to just be clear about what they're what they want to do with their lives and how they see that the business will support the community and their families.


And in too few, too few people do it. But anyway, to answer your your your very specific question, I think small and medium sized businesses dramatically underestimate the power of their owned media. O.W. and, you know, their their their own resources. And the 800 pound gorilla for most businesses, their own Web site. So people spend a fortune on other people's media properties, you know, running radio ads or less. So now newspaper ads or wherever where people are spending their money will spend a fortune on that and and neglect the most effective tool they have in their toolbox, which is their own website.


And if if you go on your website right now or at the conclusion of the podcast and you can't quickly find the story of why a customer should do business with you instead of somebody else, then your your website needs a lot of help. And the good news, though, is that that help is is not far away. There are there may be people in your company that that have the graphical skills and the the literary skills to to create more compelling text in our companies.


We don't do anything particularly fancy. If you go to planet super dot com or our YouTube channel, we have millions of views on our YouTube channel, 5000 subscribers, which is modest for for Taylor Swift, but but pretty good for a car dealership. And and these are not high quality videos. I mean, they're well done and they're thoughtful, but we don't have professional videography. We just have have usable content. That makes sense for for people who are interested in gathering information about the products before they buy them.


So if you start with your website, just make sure that that your your story is is there front and center and hopefully, you know the answer to that. And if you don't know the answer of why someone should do business with you rather than someone else, and I guess you need to think a little bit more deeply first. But I think that that exercise might serve you in other ways, too. It might help you with recruiting if you understand what your your differentiator is.


Your unique selling proposition is help you in other ways, too. So that's the quick, quick explanation. There's more in the book about that, too, about how you can you can attract more customers without spending more money. Absolutely, and certainly I found my guess is your experience is the same with recruiting that makes it so much easier when you're clear what you're about. So, for example, I help a lot of Insurance agency owners and. Many of them you asking me, what is the differentiates you?


Well, I represent such and such companies. OK, well, how big is their force? Well, there's X thousand of them. OK, well, that's not necessarily unique. I mean, it's something that may differentiate you from the person at Company B or great. Versus when I hear some of them, and it's not so much that they have to use our verbiage, they have different ways of doing it. But for example, you know, some of the injuries I work with will say something like, well, we help our clients find money, whether it be their credit card debt or whatnot or different ways.


They're not using money as best as possible so that they can put that money to better use, to save for their goals and their dreams and protect their income and protect their loved ones and protect their assets. Just that in and of itself to be able to even, like you said, even remotely even aware that that's on the radar, that that's a possibility to be able to communicate that to customers. And then to be able to communicate to people you're going to interview who want to work with you, and especially if you're talking to people who are of the millennial generation and to speak to, yes, a generalization that that holds across at least research they want to hear more about.


What are you about? What's your why? What do you what is it that's important to you as opposed to what we sell stuff when we make a lot of money?


And where's the first place they're going to go after they see your recruiting ad? They're going to go to your Web site. And if they can't find something that they connect with, then you've missed that opportunity. Sorry to interrupt, but, you know, you're right on the website.


And to me, the other one is your LinkedIn, because your LinkedIn is your it's the closest thing to a credible source about you, your Instagram site.


You could buy a thousand ten thousand fifty thousand followers. LinkedIn, if you have people are following you. And those are for the most part, are going to be real people that are recommending you or whatnot, those two and. Absolutely. But first and and that's even me as a B2B person. So that's on my radar. Most people's radar, it's not like you said, it's the website. And whether it's you know, one of the things that I thought about earlier, when we talk about deal breakers and I forgot at the moment, but I'll bring it up, is just this idea of just remembering when you're interviewing somebody or when they're looking at your website.


It's not just that there's no chance, no chance to make a second impression. You that's the first impression.


But more than that, when somebody interviews with you, that's the best they're going to ever be for the most part. Now, you might develop them and help them become better because they're giving you their best. So they really want the job. So if you feel like they're kind of mediocre right now, it's not getting better. Similarly, if your website is like. The customers looking to say that if that's that's the top, that's they're like teda, it's like it's not getting better than that.


And I think that's something that people miss out on. And it's not about doohickeys on your website. It's not about this is really clear to people. And please tell me if you've found differently, it's not about do you have something that's cool and the image does this. No, it's yours. Are you relatable? Your story? Do people connect with you and not your story in some grandiose way? You don't have to have been isolated in the Swiss Alps for a week and you found yourself.


And it can be something as simple as here's what we're about, here's what we try to do. Here's how we try to help people. And like you said, with YouTube being able to communicate that through podcast, YouTube, whatever it is, and help people realize that because you start filtering out people, which in a world of seven and a half billion people, that's probably a good thing if you want to have a guess.


Now, I like that idea that that your your media, business, media, whether it's whether you enjoy the social media or coming back to the website or, you know, authentically reflect your company's values. And and I think if you do that well, you don't have to hit people over the head with it. You don't have to spend a lot of money on videography. If you go to Clancy Dotcom, just as a for instance, we found people love dogs and always we have canine greeters.


We call them our blue collar workers. So we always have dogs on the showroom and our our team members bring them in and, you know, they're vetted for not biting people's arms off. You know, they're golden retrievers and labs and stuff. And he really is using dogs. But but I'll tell you, go to a typical dealership website in and there's there's there's vehicles and there's slick, slick videography from the factory. But there's there's nothing that communicates the the kind of vibe once you arrive and and we've promoted our dealerships as on dealership to the alternative to the typical dealership.


So we need a creative way to say that. So one of the ways we found is we don't say it at all. We write in our home page. You'll see there's plenty of plenty of our canine readers and you'll see smiling team members interacting with customers. And and we try not to beat people over the head with it. We let the story unfold organically for people. And and I think that that kind of authenticity is well suited to the current trends in society, where people people are interested in the values of the companies they do business with.


Absolutely. And if you have to scream it out, it's a it's probably not true. And B, they're not going to believe you. It needs to be simply something that you live and they demonstrate and and it just seen. Question for you, and I want to bring this back around. To one of the specific teams, because sometimes people will listen to us, and so if you haven't caught on and you've listened this far and this is not meant to be insulting, it's meant to be clear, so many people said Wade, sometimes you bring on a guest and I can't fully understand the first, like how it ties into 4-Day Work Week, that sort of stuff.


So first of all, recruiting in most businesses is your biggest expense period and excuse me, team members recruiting the whole process, hiring team members, paying for team members, all that stuff in the second one is advertising. We've already hit on a couple of those rather well. Overall. I think a lot of people see for some reason, they see lifestyle as almost a black or white thing, whereas they see their income level in a different way.


And what I mean by that is if I tell somebody, OK, you're making you know, what do you make now? Wade, I make sixty thousand a year. OK, what did you make your first year? You worked. Oh, years ago. Yeah. Wade I made thirty thousand. OK, so you had this expectation you were going to make more money, right. Of course. Wade I wouldn't, I wouldn't stay at a job forever if they wouldn't pay me more.


You know, I'm involved for hourly income. Great. OK, so what about your work hours away? Those have been the same for for 20 years, 30 years, always. So no shift. Not exactly that way. So hold on. Why is this so black or white that you have with your income? You would not accept your expectation. Your your. Internal thermostat, if you will, psychologically, is that this is going to get better, and yet I have to work a certain number of hours, whatever that looks like.


And again, 4-Day Work Week is just one concept. Some people like to work the days their kids are in school and work kids hours that the kids are in school at a certain stage of life. And again, we talked about, you know, what stage you're at, how can you or how have you and your business implemented aspects of creating the lifestyle you want the freedom you want the time, freedom, the income you want. Especially at the stages when you were first starting.


So for that person, you know, some people say Wade when I make 20 million a year, then I'll start taking X days off. It's like, OK, great. And then that there's there's theory to that. But at the same time, it can be done earlier perhaps, and at different stages. Well, I know it can I don't make 20 million and I and I work four days, so I know that's possible. What have you found are some of the ways that you can start.


More creating your your work situation the way you like while you're still growing your business without it being something that cuts everything off or is overtly risky. I don't think I did that very well, you know, I just, you know, worked crazy hours for years and I didn't have a 4-Day Work Week God a seven day workweek. I mean, no exaggeration, but for way too long. But another way I look at that, I don't beat myself up over that.


I think another frame we can view this situation through is to look at our life in terms of seasons. And I was I for some period of time, some few years, which is the few years I really, really knocked myself out in terms of effort, I didn't I wasn't working seven days a week for 15 years.


I was OK with that. I looked at at that time my life as a spring. My wife was working a lot herself. We had no children. I was very engaged in by engaged, I mean, terrified of of going out of business. And so it was it was fine. So I think, you know, if people are thinking about going into a business, particularly if they're on the younger side, they should be prepared to to make a decision like that, because I really don't know too many businesses that you can jump into with both feet where you're going to be able to get away with the 4-Day Work Week or even aspects of it.


I mean, I think it's just I'm not saying it can't be done. If it can be done, you're going you need to talk to someone more experienced and smarter than me about how I did it. I mean, how they did excuse me, the way I did it was just to accept, you know, the early stages are going to be tough. And and what that's going to allow, though, is that those seeds that we spend so much effort planting early will be able to harvest those later.


And that's what we're doing now. So I'm 49 and I realize that perhaps the prime of my life, whatever that means, I've already invested in a business. But but the the years are pretty good now. And and I think it's a pretty good arrangement, actually. I don't I don't have any regrets about the way I did it. Maybe maybe if I could go back and do it all over again, I would have taken a few more three day weekends.


Maybe I would have thrown a few 4-Day Work Week in there early on. But but now I've gone down to like a one day work week. So so it has worked out pretty well. Yeah.


I mean, that's the thing that so many people get caught up with, too, is this sense of when you get there, what it looks like, your insistence upon timelines, you know, to be really clear and for anybody, listen, I've made choices about my expenses to facilitate 4-Day Work Week.


So there's you know, there's always trade offs. There's some sort of thing that you choose. We usually keep our cars 10, 12, 15 years as long as they'll go. So there's just different things that you can choose. And I really like that concept, like you talk about and we hit on a couple of times, just stages. Where you at? What are you hoping for from this? My brother is eight years younger than I am and one of the first things I told him when he was starting out.


Is look. Go ahead and if you're ready to put in the work now, put it in. So in his case, they have children, they have three children. By the time he started, they started having children. He had already done a lot of the laying the foundation for his work and his Insurance agency had grown it to a point where then he could reap the rewards. And so there was an intentionality of, OK, yeah, I'm going to hustle a huge amount, six, seven day work weeks, whatever it is.


And then again, he's what, forty, forty one and pretty much has the time and he likes. So there's no magic to it. But I definitely think the intentionality is we've both talked about is huge of knowing what you're looking for from it because. And goes back to the thing, if you can't have everything you want, but you might be able to have just about anything you want if you're clear about, you know, those one or two or three things.


Yeah, I'm thinking of Professor Michael Porter. I think he's an author, a professor at Harvard. And he talks about strategy is what you don't do. And what he meant by that is that so much of life is figuring out what you're willing to live without or give up so that you can enjoy the things that are most important to you. And and I have my own story about that. I mean, we're the point now where buying businesses is relatively easy.


We have nearly unlimited access to capital. We have some people call us now, you know, they're retiring or or maybe there's a we have a banker in common and we get calls like, hey, you know, this person, this family wants to sell the business. Do you want to buy it? And, you know, basically, you know, the numbers already determine in advance it's relatively easy. But but we've decided we don't want to do that.


You know, we have enough in. And so part of deciding our strategy is what we're not going to do is more businesses. And that's appropriate. At this time in my life, I wouldn't have thought like that 10 or 15 years ago. But that's the way I think about it now.


That's one of the best bits of advice I had heard. Somebody told to me and I can't remember who I wish I could. You know, you read a lot of people, you hear a lot of things and you forget. But I've seen it now with my clients and. Perhaps the most dangerous answer I hear when I ask my clients, OK, what's your income goal for this next year?


What your income goals, you know, as much as possible. It's like, yeah, that's a tough one. You know how much you want more?


Oh, that's that's that's where you just know that's like the type A somewhere between the type A to the type addict. Like that's the answer of OK, what would that mean to you. I don't know, but I just want more. It's like just about every movie we ever watch about some dude Nusreta dude that's trying to take over the universe of the world or whatever, whether it's Stenness or whoever. There's something about this. This, you know, OK, if I could just do this now, they don't have that.


It's like just more. And so I suggest to you, if you're someone that's saying I want more. So what would it be for? Because to your point, once you realize, OK, I have certain things, I have what I was looking for out of that, like what this would actually get for me, then you might find that you don't need as much. And then it almost it's like having, I don't know, like an eighth scoop of ice cream.


I mean, I'm forty nine as well. I don't want eight scoops of ice cream when I was, you know, ten maybe and I got no stomach ache root. Two scoops, three scoops out a really, really great tonight.


Sure. I'm good. So I think a lot of it becomes about what people are really looking for. I really love what you've shared about how intentionally or thank you for that. Where can people find out more about your work and the book? So my website, Jeff Morrill, dot com, that's our JLL as all sorts of resources related to business, there's bonus chapters of the book that didn't fit in. If your listeners are interested in corresponding directly with me, I'm always happy to hear from readers or listeners.


They can do that there. They can. There's links to buy the book. And and so that's probably the best way to reach me. Or they can just Google profit wise book and we'll take you to the same place. I'm not I don't spend a lot of time. One of the parts of the the strategy of not doing is I don't spend a lot of time on social media. So I kind of focus everything through the website. I'm very easily easy to reach there.


And I appreciate your thoughtful questions today. And I hope that your listeners, if they have more, will or will get in touch. Awesome.


Thank you. And what I just encourage people to say you've been such a great example of this is. Most people, when they're sharing something that at least is true for them, are pretty well certain of, they don't yell and scream. So there's a lot of people that will sell stuff and courses and ideas, and they're very much like this.


And it's all nice and it's loud.


And it's usually, in my experience, those people don't have it, because when it's when something is true, you don't have to scream. I have to scream at them that, you know, I have blue eyes.


I got blue eyes. Argue, disagree. No problem I got here great. Talk to me about whether I could be a better father, a better coach at the YMCA basketball, we might get into discussion because that's maybe insecure about that.


Most of the people I listen to, I even think of Wayne Dyer, the author in the beginning of his career.


And you got to do this so because he so wants you to get it. And later on, you hear him talk in his books and he's talking like this. And it's kind of that chill sense of, look, you can either get this or not and it's still it's still it's still there.


So, you know, that's its own life stage exercise there, because perhaps I was a little more emphatic, you know, in my younger years. And you're right, you get to an age where where you realize that that you have something to share. You hope that people appreciate it, but they will or they won't. You know, there's no no amount of volume I can apply that's going to change that. Absolutely. Thank you so much for joining us, Jeff, I hope you all enjoyed this.


Check out his work. Like I said, you know, whenever I bring on people especially that are, you know, that have success in multiple areas and more than just the online space, there's nothing wrong with the online space. But there's certain things that are true that you have to do in the brick and mortar, the sort of real world space for things to work. And so a lot of what I try to do is vet for guests that really have that.


And from talking with Jeff, not only does everything he say align with what I've seen, but again, hopefully that's something that serves you. So, again, thanks for listening, as always. Look forward to helping you impact more people and make more money and less time. Do what you do best so you can better enjoy your family, your friends in your life. Thanks for listening.


Jeff Morrill Profile Photo

Jeff Morrill

Co-Founder of Planet Subaru & Author of Profit Wise

Jeff Morrill co-founded Planet Subaru and businesses in retail, telecommunications, real estate, and insurance.
He’s the Author of Profit Wise: How to Make More Money in Business by Doing the Right Thing.
He is donating all author royalties to charity.
Using the secrets shared in the book, his companies generate over $100,000,000 in annual revenue and win many awards for customer care, environmental stewardship, and team satisfaction.
Jeff’s achievements in building ethical and flourishing companies have been featured in USA Today, Automotive News, and Entrepreneur Magazine.