How To Automate Hard To Scale Business Models | Ask Clay Anything

Show Notes

How do you automate workflows in an industry that is imbued with one-off solutions? Clay provides solutions and wisdom about why when you choose your clients you choose the quality of your life.

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Podcast Audio – 


How do you automate workflows in an industry that is imbued with one-off solutions? My company strives for standardization in advanced building science for the construction industry. Standardizing the actual construction details is easier than formalizing process for builder clients who are used to a chaotic, archaic, slow to move industry. – Mariana Pickering

Imbued Definition:

inspire or permeate with (a feeling or quality). 


  1. Determine what your F6 goals are?
  2. Build a business that serves you, not a business that you serve

Idea # 1: Choose your clients. Choose the quality of your life. 

Idea # 2: Decide what kinds of clients you want to work with. 


  1. DJ Connection – I used to personally DJ every event (I loved to DJ, but my life was terrible, but I enjoyed my work)
  2. DJ Connection Scaled – I did not personally DJ anymore (I missed DJing, but I loved my schedule, my income, and my life)
    1. ACTION – It comes down to tradeoffs – What are you willing to make?


  1. Business Coaching – I used to personally work with every client (I loved business coaching, but my life was becoming 100% focused on work and nothing else)
  2. Business Coaching Scaled – I did not personally work with the client, but I do make each and every business plan and I do coach the coaches. (I love my schedule, my income and my life)
    1. ACTION – It comes down to tradeoffs – What are you willing to make?


  1. The Thrivetime Show Podcast – I personally produce every show and I will never delegate it. I love it and this is what the Lord wants me to do. I have no plans to ever scale it beyond my ability to produce every show.
    1. ACTION – It comes down to tradeoffs – What are you willing to make?


  1. Automate and Delegate the 80% of the work that you can 
  2. Only personally handle the 20% of the work that you can’t delegate
    1. ACTION – It comes down to tradeoffs – What are you willing to make?


    1. The custom builder (Works all of the time, takes personal pride in all the craftsmanship…has no time or financial freedom)
    2. The turn-key builder (Rarely works, does not personally hand scraped the floors…enjoys time and financial freedom)
  • ACTION – It comes down to tradeoffs – What are you willing to make?

How To Automate Hard To Scale Business Models Thrivetime Show Slides

Business Coach | Ask Clay & Z Anything

Audio Transcription

Best Business Podcast Download Podcast

You have questions. America’s number one business coach has answers. It’s your brought up from Minnesota. Here’s another edition of ask clay, anything on the thrive time business coach radio show.

All right.

Thrive nation. Welcome

to another exciting edition of the thrive time show on your radio and podcast download. And on today’s show we’re answering a question that is coming in hot from a thriver by the name of, what would you say Jason? Marianna. Marianna. Okay. So go ahead and read the question. My friend Marianna asks, how do you automate workflows in an industry that is imbued with one off solutions? Can you plaease explain what imbued means? Yes. Educate me. The dictionary definition of imbue a verb, past tense, inspire or permeate with a feeling or quality. Okay, continue my friend. My Company strives for Standardization and advanced building science for the construction industry. Got It. Standardizing the actual construction details is easier than formalizing process for builder clients who are used to chaotic, archaic, slow to move industry. Okay. And so I guess that the question is how do you go about doing this?

How do you help automate workflows? Do you put it? That’s the question. How do you automate workflows? Oh yeah. Okay. So let me just, um, give a few examples here that I’ll, maybe this will help you. Um, the first, the first, um, question that I would ask you to, I would encourage you to ask yourself is what are your goals for your business? Um, what are you, I don’t know, it sounds like this person works at a business and maybe isn’t the owner or as maybe a part owner. Is that what you’re feeling on this email? Yeah. Okay. So I just have to figure out like what are the goals of the business and what are your goals? So let’s do an example. Um, elephant in the room. Uh, Jason, you manage the three off in the room stores, correct? You are the super manager and please explain the difference between a barber and a licensed grooming professional.

Well, a licensed grammy professional has a cosmetology certification so they can do anything from as far as cut hair, got a times makeup, a barber, goes through a much more extensive licensing program. That car, it’s a little bit more time consuming, costing them a little bit more money, but they come out the other end with far more technical skills and knowhow. So once you to put this on the show notes, this is, this is idea number one. Okay? I want you to put this in the show notes, Jason. Yup. We want to do is we want to write down, this is a Seth Godin quote. Seth Goden, the marketing expert. He says this, he says, choose your clients. Choose the quality of your life. Choose your clients, choose the quality of your life. So let’s think about that for a second in the context of men’s hair.

Um, if every single client that we worked with demanded to have a barber, Jason, what percentage of the people out there in Tulsa that can cut hair? Do you think? Our barbers, just from your experience, I’m not looking for hard fact, but just from your interviewing many people from my experience, 10% or less. Yeah. So if I were to offer the services of a full barbershop [inaudible] at elephant in the room, how tough would that be to staff? Very. Yeah, so what we’ve decided to do is we offer a lot of great things at elephant in the room, right? We do a, just got explained some of the services that we offer for the first time customers who is listening today and they come in for the first haircut, it’s a dollar. What are some of the services that we offer? Yes, so for just the dollar, they get their complimentary beverage, a choice of four different options.

They get a full consultation. Their stylist will listen to them intently and walked them through the process of how they want their hair cut and styled. They then get their tailored haircut, they get a shampoo and condition both of the Scout, massage, hot towel over the face, face, moisturizer, face massage, and then their choice of style with the dozens of products that we offer. And what are the things we can’t offer because we don’t staff a hundred percent barbers. Anytime people want to come in for like a clean shave with like a razor straight razor shave, correct. We’re just not going to do that. Right. Gonna put a knife by your neck because it’s not scalable and there’s not enough clients out there that could justify hiring a team of just barbers. So again, we don’t appeal to everybody. We determine our clients, we determine the quality of our life, right?

So we determined that we don’t want to have a business predicated on doing, dealing with just the kind of clientele that needs all of the services of a Barbara. That’s example number one. Yep. Let’s put another example on the show notes here. Um, DJ’s disc jockeys. It’s well documented. One of my first companies to scale and to become a multimillion dollar company was a company called DJ when I first started, I was a DJ Mc as I was known as an Mc DJ, which means I could really, really rock a Mike and I could DJ. So I could do both. Now, most people who are hiring a disc jockey for their wedding, they want a guy who can m c and also play music. They don’t really care if the DJ can beat match. They don’t care if the DJ can scratch. These are things they don’t care about.

But if Jason, I tried to build a company filled with entirely, um, men who could scratch and beat match and use a vinyl records and stuff, how many Djs do you think I could find? Hm. By today’s standards, a handful. And it would take a long time to do. So I found that I could not find more than two or three reliable guys at a time. Oh yeah. And so to scale the company, I had to determine, you don’t want to do, I’m not going to cater to the parties and the events that need that kind of service. I’m going to let the other guys have that, right? I’m going to cater to weddings and corporate events where that is scalable. So that’s an example number two too. So again, I could have barbers, but then I couldn’t scale the business. I could have a s that could scratch and do turntable mixes, but then I couldn’t scale the business and to, as it relates to this company in Marianna, you have to decide where your company has to decide what kinds of builders that you want to work with.

Because I work with, and Jason, you’ve met some of these guys, but I work with some custom home builders and I, well, I also work with a more like Spec home builders or semi custom home builders. Yeah, so I’ll give you example. It’s Shaw homes. If you work with Shaw homes, you get to go into two or a model home and then they sit down with you and they do a thing called a price out where you sit down like in a theater setting and you can customize a ton of different features and really make a house that you’re proud of. However, it’s not a completely that. Every home is not completely original. There’s, there’s options you have to choose from and there’s dozens of options you can choose from because they’re trying to standardize things, but you can’t just sit down and say, I would like to have railing with an eagle head on the railing.

You know, I want to have a house in the shape of like a circle in the middle of that circle. I want to have a garden. I mean I guess you probably could if you paid now, but that’s not their niche. And so I think what we’re getting at here, and Jason, maybe I’m missing the question if you’d feel like I’m not answering it all. I would love to hear your take on this, but you have to figure out who you’re going for because you have to determine the quality of your life is determined by the clients you have and you have to know your niche and so you just really have to know who you’re going after and then only go after those kinds of clients. Am I missing something, Jason? Or do you feel like I’m clear I’m answering this, this question with this clarity.

I feel like if I had answered her, if I’d asked you this question, you would have given me a solid answer there because I think with most people, at least what I’m understanding, the core of this question is you’re focusing on the idea of advanced building science. But what you also need to be focusing on it, like you said, is who that services catering to. And sometimes you have to realize that there’s not enough people in the world that wants your thing. Yep. To make it worth your time. Let’s, let’s do some, a couple more examples. Adjacent business coaching. Others, a neat client. You’re working with a first name only please, but a guy in a Elliott and he is based in California and he hasn’t committed to some kind of sound and lighting. Right. And uh, did you do the initial 13 point assessment with Elliott?

I did not. [inaudible] did you do the initial inbound phone call with Elliott? Nope. That was also you. Did you handle the um, uh, website development for the website where Elliot found us? Did Not. Did you produce the podcast that did? Maybe Elliot hurt if only, but no, but you might have been on the show. Right? But here, here’s what I’m getting at here. Jason did not produce the site. What? Let’s, let’s it go back even further. Jim. Step one, Jason did not manage the advertisements to Jason did not build the website. Three. All right, so Jason did not manage the advertisements. One, Jason did not manage the website too. Jason did not handle the initial phone call. Three Jason did not do the f the 13 point assessment for Jason did write the business plan five but Jason will coach and help this client implement and they will dominate.

Now let’s review the things that I did not do. I did not launch the advertisements. Ah, I did not build the website. I did not handle the initial call. I did the 13 point assessment and I did the business plan. But I am not going to coach and implement the help the client implement. However, every morning at 6:00 AM. What do we have Jason, our daily coaches meeting and what kind of things do we talk about? Kind of questions get answered in that meeting. Any question where we feel like we’ve hit a wall and we need to get our coaching clients a direct answer. And then I answered those questions. Oh yeah. So it’s like, oh, there’s a bunch of Jed eyes and then we all get together. And when you look for the guy that looks like Yoda, that’s me and I answered the questions and that’s how it works.

Right? Um, but again, I’m in that meeting faithful every morning because that’s the one thing that I can do. That’s the, that’s where I should spend 80% of my time is doing the onboarding, you know, on the phone, writing the business plans and answering those questions. And every time I write a business plan, it takes me hours and hours to do. But it’s worth it because it’s going to change the life of a guy like, uh, Elliot. However, back in the day, back before I knew you back before I knew any of these people in 2009 what do you think the most number of clients I had at one time is? And these are every hour or every client you have a one hour meeting, he said the most, because remember every client you meet with them. If, if we have a coaching client, we meet you every week for one hour of power.

And then also in between meetings, if you have a question, we’ll answer it or we might talk to you on the way home or whatever and we see you at workshops. But 2009 um, as I was trying to figure out how to scale coaching, how many individual clients to you think that I had at one time per week? Mm. I’m going to say anywhere between 10 to 1663 wow. I get to 63 is the most, so I had 63 individual clients. That is impressive. Yeah. Well the individual thing about that is that a, I had a 63 hours a week on the books, right? My first meeting was like at 6:00 AM on like Monday and I go six, seven all the way to six [inaudible] six to sets 12 to 12 hours right there. Oh yeah. I was like five days a week, I’ll say two or three or four clients on this Saturday.

Wow. And, but I did that because I wanted to figure out what are the common issues that every business owner has. And I need to be able to make a path for a guy like an Elliott or a home builder or a, uh, a photographer or I needed to know all these industries and be able to put it together and build that track record and build the systems. And that’s how it, that’s how it works. But at that time, when I was personally meeting with 63 clients, let me tell you this, I hated my schedule and loved my work. Like I loved my clients. I loved helping them. But man, I hated coming home at seven o’clock and just being mentally done. When you’re making that many decisions, you get the distance, the, uh, decision fatigue going on. Oh Man. Or when I built the DJ business.

What do you think the most number of shows I ever did in a year was 4,000 are be personally? Oh, you personally? Um, that’s a good question. I’d say at least a couple hundred. Yeah, two 50 wow. 250 shows one year. So net at 250 shows in one year. I love deejaying, man. I loved it, but I didn’t like my schedule at the time. So we have to figure out here is now all the shows that I teach in this 250 they all said, we won’t book you book DJ Connection Unless we get you. And I said, okay, I’ll do it. And then all of the clients said, I’m not going to become a client unless I get you. And I said, okay. It’s the same thing, right? So as you have to do is figure out, do you have to determine your clients and determine your life. And so I realized over time I got to move away from events that need just me and my skills and I’ve got to move away from consulting clients.

Like I used to work with Maytag university. Yeah. And do you know where they would typically host the Maytag university events? I do not anywhere but Tulsa. Why? I’ll see. That’d be like Caesar’s palace. Vegas. Okay. They’d be like a Hollywood. It’s probably because there’s a lot of Maytag store owners. Gotcha. And they all needed coaching and they probably, Tulsa is not the birthplace of tourism and so they would fly me out there, but those clients were very, very happy with me. But again, it wasn’t scalable. So I’m hoping I’m getting to this theme here. You determine your clients and you determine the quality of your life. You’ve got to figure out who are you go in for Jason and why am I missing something? I know Maryann is not here and I sometimes worry that I don’t answer the question. I miss part of it. You feel like I’m answering a question you, like you said before, you are the Yoda in the room right now. So Marianne, if that does not answer your question or if you have a followup question related to this question, please do not hesitate to email [email protected] you are a great American. We really do appreciate you and we hope to see you at our next in person thrive time show workshop and every thought he further. I do. Jason, free to boot.


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