Bill Konves – Trusted Advisor for Entrepreneurs Looking to Scale

Episode Transcription

00:00:00 – Glenn Harper

All right, welcome to another Empowering Entrepreneurs podcast. Glenn Harper here, Julie Smith What’s up, Julie?

00:00:05 – Julie Smith

What’s up?

00:00:06 – Glenn Harper

Not too much. Just another day making some doughnuts. We’ve got a please to have a great guest today. A friend, colleague, client compadre, fellow wingman, bill Converse. He has a bunch of litany of companies that he owns, primarily in the marketing and scaling of one’s business. But this guy is into everything. Bill, how are you doing?

00:00:28 – Bill Konves

Hey, good, good. Good to be here. Thank you, Julie. Thank you, Glenn.

00:00:31 – Glenn Harper

You bet. Your your bio or your email says chief of Staff Is that like you’re the head of a client’s company or a part of the Kansas City Chiefs?

00:00:41 – Bill Konves

I know that part of the Kansas City Chiefs, unfortunately.

00:00:44 – Glenn Harper

All right. What does that mean? Chief of Staff.

00:00:49 – Bill Konves

I help business owners, successful business owners, scale their business, bring in the right players, mostly around marketing a lot of businesses that are trying to scale. They have a hard time finding the right marketing partners to help that without hiring full time staff. And that’s not always the best solution. You hire someone full time, then you have to manage that person. You might only need them for a few months, and that’s it. So. So that’s what we do. We bring in people to get jobs done and then those people move out.

00:01:21 – Glenn Harper

A lot of people say, you know that this part time CFO and these part time HR people. Would you like a kind of that kind of thing like an augmentation of marketing department?

00:01:33 – Bill Konves

Yeah, that’s that’s exactly what it is. You could call outsourced CMO. Ok. I do much more for many of my clients than just marketing. And so that’s where the chief of staff comes in.

00:01:44 – Glenn Harper

When you say more, what is more mean?

00:01:49 – Bill Konves

Hiring for production, for example, the e-commerce company, we were building a great marketing plan for them and I said, why can you not get the product produced? We’re having all kinds of issues as well. This is actually where the chief of Staff’s concept started. I said, I know people. Let me help you get that out. I called some colleagues x Victoria’s Secret people. We got the production work. I hired them on my staff. They came in, they did some projects for us. Then they exited back out. So that’s an example. A lot of times businesses are able to scale or we can scale marketing, but then they can’t handle the marketing. So what are the other issues in your company? What do you need? What do you need to do? Do you need more employees? Do you need a project done? That’s the stuff that we look at.

00:02:34 – Julie Smith

So Bill, what I hear you saying, though, is that you’ve been able to create all of these relationships to ultimately help others in their business. How were you able to cultivate and create those over your career? How did you figure out the key to that success?

00:02:50 – Bill Konves

Well, a lot of it starts with people like Glenn and networking with Glenn. Networking with other people in our group, mastermind groups being open, being at conferences, just just being open to have these conversations with people and learn and not shut down and think, you know what, I only do marketing in this what I am going to do, and it’s only people I’m going to talk to. You really open up your your experiences when you talk to people in other industries. I’m scheduled to go to a real estate conference next week. I help some real estate investors scale their business. I don’t need to go learn more about real estate. I’ve done real estate myself, but I’m going to a real estate conference just to learn to hear what they say, and I’ll probably meet a couple of people and make some connections through that.

00:03:39 – Glenn Harper

So you’re telling me you don’t just sit around and just be happy where you’re at and be content, you’re always questing for more.

00:03:45 – Bill Konves

I wish I could. That is correct, so. So I’m envious of people that can just sit and work their nine to five and come home and hang out with their kids, see their dog and go to sleep.

00:03:57 – Glenn Harper

Don’t lie to us. That’s not true. And you know it. You love what you do.

00:04:01 – Bill Konves

Yeah, I do. But I am envious at times.

00:04:04 – Glenn Harper

Yes. So back in the day, I think you had some, you know, you came out of college and you I think you got what’s called a real job and you work for the man. And then at some point you decided to, you know, not work for a man and do the thing you’re on your own. What what was your experience prior to becoming an entrepreneur when you’re working for someone?

00:04:26 – Bill Konves

It was it was a good experience. Yeah, I worked at I worked for the man in Victoria’s Secret limited brands, Coles, Je Gap, several large companies and I was promoted. I moved through the ranks. It was. It was good, but I guess something was always missing because I once I hired a supplier once and we worked very closely together to build a loyalty program for Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy. And I liked his life. I liked what I saw. He was out signing deals. He was traveling all around. He was doing some entertaining. He was he was capturing business and enjoying that life. And I thought, I’m never going to have that in the corporate world unless I get to the level of CEOs. And that’s just not me and how many of them are there. That’s like high school trying to make a college athlete and then college trying to make it in the pros. It’s the same thing when you’re going up through the corporate ranks. If you want freedom and you want something big and you have to either be a CEO C-suite level. Which is probably not going to happen then you have to make it happen on your own. And so somewhere they’re working with that guy. Shifted my thought process and I actually went to work for that guy and left the corporate world and went still working for the man. But it was a three million dollar company. Instead, we were working back in selling to all those retailers we worked with. And so we took that business from three million to 20 million over the course of three years. And I thought, Wow, maybe I could do this myself, and then I took the next step out. To be fully on my own,

00:06:04 – Glenn Harper

Did you have a like when you’re a kid, did you have, you know, entrepreneurial tendencies or did you just listen? I just got to go up and go to work. Do you think this did? Did that trigger you, those thoughts when you were young or did it trigger you when you saw this different kind of lifestyle dealing with this vendor?

00:06:23 – Bill Konves

Yeah, that’s that’s hard to say. Not when I was young, because I grew up in a blue collar family. You know, my dad worked for the city and so it wasn’t there. I wasn’t even supposed to go to college, so I got lucky and figured that out. It wasn’t in college. When I graduated college, I was always messing around with with side businesses, side hustles, trying to figure things out. So it’s always been in me. And then when I saw that guy, that lifestyle and joined his company, that’s when it probably hit me that, hey, there’s more to this, but I can’t identify where it happened. It definitely wasn’t. When I was a kid, I did not have the lemons. Lemonade stand was not shoveling too many walks, so it was not walking dogs.

00:07:06 – Julie Smith

Do you think that that supplier that ultimately helped you make that jump was ultimately your mentor? And do you still keep in contact with that person as you’ve, you know, turned into the entrepreneur yourself?

00:07:22 – Bill Konves

I do not keep in contact with him, he’s changed lifestyles as well. He sold his businesses. He was 15 years older than me. So he’s moved on. I think there were people that worked with him inside his company. I liked his lifestyle. I liked how he saw it. I liked how he made things happen. I like some people, more of a mentor that were in his management team that I followed more closely and the entrepreneurs that I like have somewhat of a corporate experience. Everything I do in life, I run more in a corporate manner. But I like the freedom of the entrepreneur, so I’m kind of a hybrid. You might be able to throw me back into the corporate environment, and I might be able to do just fine. I like to think I could. A lot of entrepreneurs will say no way do I ever want to go back to the corporate world. I just can’t handle it. I don’t. I don’t look at it and mind it. So but again, I haven’t been back in that world. I have a few phone calls once in a while and I realize it’s tough.

00:08:23 – Glenn Harper

Yeah, it’s funny. The typical entrepreneur, when they leave a real job, they’ve successfully will never be employable by anybody else. That just is a rule. But you, you definitely have a little bit of tendencies that you, I guess. A Segway is you kind of like process. You like structure. You like that plan the the. I don’t want to say a corporate game, but just understanding all the different pieces because you’re not just doing one thing, you’re doing multiple things. And most entrepreneurs only do one thing when they can do the other things. That brings a little bit of that corporate back into you and works on that. Do you feel like, you know, that gave you a competitive advantage, being an entrepreneur, having that experience to understand that you can’t look at things in one dimension, it’s more of a, you know, all over the place looking at things like a spider monkey or do you feel like you went into this just doing one thing?

00:09:17 – Bill Konves

I think the corporate background probably is a hindrance because it’s a crutch. I always think, Oh, I can always go back, I don’t anymore. I’ve been out so long. But for the first seven, eight, nine years I kept thinking, Man, it’d be nice to have a paycheck every week, man. It’d be nice just to talk to people at the water cooler and not work as hard as I’m out here working. You know, eating what you kill is much different than getting that, that paycheck every week. So it’s difficult to leave that and make that transition. But once you’re once you’re gone long enough, yes, I’m probably not employable because I would drive people insane with with. Let’s get something done now. What are we doing? Why are we talking for an hour and a half about this category here? Why is everyone here? You know, this is a marketing project. Let’s just move this forward. Let’s take a baby step. Let’s test it. We don’t have to. We don’t have to have the whole committee agree that this is the way we’re going. So yes, I would probably frustrate myself and frustrate others in a corporate environment at this point.

00:10:23 – Glenn Harper

Do you think the you know what I see a lot with entrepreneurs? Is this the speed that things can get done and the no hindrance of any have to worry about what anybody else thinks you can just say like, well, I just want to go, do that. Let’s get it done versus, well, I got to go market it to this person. This person and this person figured out, get a budget for that and everything. As an entrepreneur, do you you? I mean, you just said that you really, really enjoy that. But can you imagine that if you had to deal with that in your business and have to go through committee to get something done, it’d be nauseating, would it not?

00:10:59 – Bill Konves

Yes, it would be I was on a call last week where we were going through this with a corporate environment or a corporate client corporate environment. And I was, I was I was not happy and I probably showed my frustration a little bit in the fall when you ask a question in the first five minutes of the call. No, no, no, no, no. We’ll get to that. And then you go through an hour and a half. And then I said, you, by the way, remember that question? I ask, Oh yeah, that’s what we are. That’s what we can do. We can do that. I ask that in the first five minutes. We wanted to do a dog and pony show for the entire, you know, because you’ve you had a dog and pony show to present and you wanted to get it all out. Well, if you don’t need to get it all out, then let’s just get the job done and move forward. So, yes, that is one big difference.

00:11:45 – Glenn Harper

Do you enjoy working? I mean, in your career, you definitely being this chief of staff, you have to deal with different sizes of companies. Do you find it more rewarding working for somebody who’s little trying to get things started? Somebody who’s kind of rolling or a company’s already established and rocking and rolling? Do you have a preference of which level you like to enter in with a client and be their advisor for that?

00:12:13 – Bill Konves

Yeah, one hundred percent and I’ve done all three and I just I can’t identify any longer with the first two you mentioned. You have to be rocking and rolling because my experience is too deep. Startup’s product launches all those things. One, the client looks at you in a much different light. They’re ready to fire you every second because they’re like, Hey, we’re small. We don’t have a budget. This is it. You’ve got to go. And so if you don’t perform very quickly, they’re looking at you to get to push you out the door. And that’s and that’s not the way to run a business. You have to be well invested and think this is, I mean, you know, if it’s six months and we have to invest ten thousand dollars a month in this for six months, that’s what we have to do. So unfortunately, the ones in category that are just starting up. Not well-funded startup and even well-funded startups. They have their challenges. Everything is about the return on investment and then number two, the ones that are. It have a product and it’s starting to work, they just don’t typically have the hindsight or the foresight to say, Look, we’ve budgeted for this.

00:13:19 – Bill Konves

We’re going to write it for six months. We’re going to see what happens. We’re going to analyze it and then we’re going to make decisions from there. The guys that are rocking and rolling. They’re fun to try to keep up with. They have the challenges because they’re scaling their business, and we don’t know who to put here, and we don’t know who to put there. We don’t know what marketing is going to work, but we’re doing great right now. So I like to jump in with those owners and say, OK, where are your problems here and here? All right, let me go. Solve those two problems today to knock those out of the way those roadblocks are done. So I definitely I actually I only now take clients and it’s in my LinkedIn bio successful scaling businesses because it’s much easier to take a business that’s already scaling to a much higher level than it is to take a startup because a lot of startups fail.

00:14:08 – Julie Smith

So Bill, you’re talking about where you are now, can you kind of take us, you know, you went with that supplier, you took that leap of faith. You did that. Can you kind of walk us through what’s happened in your journey to where you are now, where you just want to work with successful rock and roll and companies?

00:14:27 – Bill Konves

Um, yeah, it was it was an interesting journey, Glenn, being my tax advisor, knows the journey very well.

00:14:35 – Glenn Harper

I can’t talk about everything. Maybe just some things.

00:14:37 – Bill Konves

Yes, exactly. Some of the during the journeys that happened here in Ohio, it’s been tough because when I went out, I actually bought a concrete company. When I left the small company that we took from three to twenty five. I bought a concrete company and I wanted to go out on my own. I needed to make sure I had enough cash flow to support myself and my family and my wife because she she doesn’t work. And so I was looking at different businesses that had certain cash flow that I could handle and would support us. And so we looked at probably five or six businesses. I was in Glenn’s office a few times looking at a couple of them. Some of them just don’t pan out, which is a good piece of advice. Don’t buy a business without getting your your your strategic partners involved, your attorneys and your accountants, tax advisers. Then we ended up with a concrete company purchase that then at the same time, bridal company purchased that. I had to repeat the shops at the same time. And I had twenty eight rental properties. That was probably way too much to be doing at the same time. And so. Um, what happened there was concrete was we had more business than we know what to do with. Well, I’m a marketing guy. I needed a chief of staff and that’s one of the things I learned in my experience is that we were scaling. We were growing. We had every builder in town, custom builder.

00:16:03 – Bill Konves

We just couldn’t keep up and said, the pleasing guy I am, the marketing guy is let’s find a way to do it. Let’s find a way to do it. Let’s find a way to do it. And we overcommitted, and it just was not a good situation. And I’m out there just marketing away. If I had that number two person, that was with me to say, Wait, stop, slow down. You got issues here. You’ve got challenges here. Let’s fix those because you have a great product. Don’t get too quickly. So that was going on at the same thing happened in a few of the other businesses. We’re just scaling too quickly after it was all said and done, I was worn out being being the owner operator. And it made me realize that, wow, I really like being number two. I want to be number two in all these companies and help people. I don’t want to be the number one guy. So working with my coach, we developed that that scenario in that marketing plan of of how can I go out and help other people? And so I ended up selling all the companies, selling real estate and just focusing on being that true supporter of that founder in a business. And so to keep me busy at the level that I need to be kept busy. Yet it has to be a company that’s scaling that successful. That’s moving quick because it gives me all the things that I want to get my fingers into.

00:17:22 – Julie Smith

So Bill, what it seems like you’re saying, though, is you kind of took all the lessons you learned throughout your journey came to a conclusion through a lot of self-awareness, it sounds like. And then we’re able to take a step back and use kind of where you were able to pivot in your journey to help everybody else and still be able to succeed.

00:17:42 – Bill Konves

That is correct. And so that’s that’s continual analysis of yourself and where you’re going helps because once someone goes on the entrepreneurial journey, they don’t really know where they’re going to end up. But if you’re too focused on where you’re going to end up, it could end bad. And some of my business does not end up where I wanted them to go, but because I had a bigger awareness of myself, I knew where I wanted to take myself. So where I’m at today is perfect. All those lessons, the great lessons, the hard lessons they add up to where I want to be today and I’m close. You think I’d figured it out by now, but I’m close to being exactly where I want to be, isn’t everybody? Yes. Everyone. Everyone should be. Yes, they should not have had it figured out yet.

00:18:26 – Glenn Harper

The fun is actually figuring it out, right? I mean, we don’t want to have catastrophic failure at any level, but the only way you can kind of develop and evolve is you have to go through the schnitzel. Is there anything prior to what you’re doing now that you wish? You know, if an entrepreneur is listening to this podcast and trying to figure out what they’re going to do and where they’re at and they may be on their journey at the very beginning, having some challenging times, you know, what is that one thing that you took from when you had to make all those changes? That man, if I had just thought of that or if I had just did this, or if I had to cut the cord sooner here, if I had just got that advice, what would you advise fellow entrepreneurs that are struggling, perhaps or trying to get to the next level,

00:19:12 – Bill Konves

Rely on your network and ask a lot of questions? When I look back, there were quite a few times I’d ask and listen to the questions. I mean, I’m sorry. Listen to the answers that they give you. In my in my most challenging times, some of the answers that I had received from people like tax adviser plug for Glenn. There was some good advice. Do you think about this and this? I mean, hey, but I don’t worry about I got it. I’m good. I’m going. Instead of stopping slowing down and thinking, Wow, what did my attorney say or not even paid help? I mean, you just ask questions that my mastermind group joined mastermind groups. Be around people that have already been in your shoes that can give you that advice. Don’t hang around the same friends and family and don’t talk about your business with your friends and family because they’re going to give you the wrong advice unless they’ve already been there. So listen to your advisors. Have a good, strong group of advisors. Reach out to your network. Free advice But people have already been. There are people that are on the journey that you’re on, so you can all share your experiences. I did not do that. I learned that too late. I went from the corporate world to the entrepreneurial world. I didn’t know all these groups existed in mastermind groups, and I didn’t know to align myself with all those people. And I didn’t know really to listen to my advisors as closely as I should have. So it is. I do it all over again. It’s pretty simple. Open up your network and listen to people and move a little slower.

00:20:41 – Glenn Harper

It it is kind of funny that a lot of entrepreneurs that are like industry specific or doing whatever they do, they generally feel like they know everything there is to know. And it’s the second they realize that it’s possible, just slightly possible that they don’t know it all, and they listen and try to learn. The light switch comes on, and all of a sudden things just happen. And it’s the hardest thing is to get an entrepreneur to understand that at some point, hopefully early on in their journey that they don’t know it all and they should go out and get this information. Can you imagine being a entrepreneur? You know, twenty five years ago, 30 years ago before the internet existed, before all this stuff, you would have no support structure. I mean, the men and women that came prior that started businesses, how the heck did they do it without all these resources? You ever wonder about that?

00:21:40 – Bill Konves

I do. I also know that the competition wouldn’t be as fierce because it was harder to start a business then, so there were much. There were many fewer people starting businesses. So I think it’s all relative. There are so many resources now, but we all have access to those resources, so we take advantage of it. But when you start, a business is probably other. Five other people start the same business in the same week, whereas 20 years ago there wasn’t.

00:22:05 – Glenn Harper

What do you think most entrepreneurs have, like we call it, a superpower like something that they’re just they just can’t figure it out other than the fact that they’re just darn good at something, whatever that thing is. And they’re just they’re unique. They’re they’ve got this special thing that can help other people. It’s very rewarding for the entrepreneur. What do you think your superpower is?

00:22:29 – Bill Konves

I think you’re going to have to wait a few more years till I figure it out, but if I had to answer today. It’s definitely supporting a founder of a business and being their trusted chief of staff. Most, most people, most founders don’t have someone to go to. They have their C-suite or they have their partner or they have someone that has a completely biased opinion. They don’t have someone to go to and say, Hey, this is my challenge. This is my struggle. What should I do? You know my business, your side by side with me and my job, much like the chief of staff for the president, is to serve at the pleasure of that founder. I have no other. I have nothing else that I want out of life except to help my client get the best results. So I think that’s my superpower is that I can focus on that. I don’t care about my results. I love to spend money. I love to make money. But the money will come. I’m not looking for the dollars. I’m looking to take care of my client. And if the client gets taken care of, I’m going to find out how I’m going to make my money. So I think that’s unique. I love to be the number two.

00:23:33 – Glenn Harper

I mean, who doesn’t want to be Austin Powers number two guy? So when you’re sitting there, you just said something too that was kind of unique is the entrepreneurs they always start. Some of them start out like, I got to do it for the money. I’m doing it for the money. But we find the most successful ones ultimately really don’t do it for the money. They do it because they like to build something like to do something. They like to exercise a skill set. And if they can figure it out quick enough, how to how to scale and turn that into valuable process and systems and a team, then the money will always come. You said something interesting, like you never did it for the money. You did it because you I mean, you had to get the bare minimum to survive. But it wasn’t about, Oh, if I can make $100000 a year, I can make $500 a year, make a million dollars a year. I don’t think you have a limit or a base on that, do you?

00:24:25 – Bill Konves

No, I don’t. My best earning years, very high earning years when Glenn, you said you need to do more of that and replicate, I’m like, I just I just don’t like, I don’t like that. I don’t like what I’m doing. I don’t like the person. I am doing it. And so I didn’t. And I know where my base is and it’s interesting right now. I’m having the discussions because I have four clients that I really enjoy working with, and they pay me well enough to do everything I need to do in life and have a really nice life. And I could do that and probably 30 hours a week. But here I am, building these other potential projects, building other potential revenue streams that I don’t need and I have. I have a coach that I that I speak with every Friday and we talk about this and why am I doing this? It’s because I like to build things. And you know, there are certain things that I haven’t achieved yet, and I want to know what they are. But I am in a position right now to pick and choose my clients, pick and choose my work, pick and choose how much I work. And yet I’m working more because I don’t know why there’s something I’d like to build, and there’s a couple exciting things in my life that I want to make happen.

00:25:37 – Glenn Harper

So are you potentially off your meds and you’re not staying focused? Is that why you keep doing this? Of course, I’m just kidding.

00:25:43 – Bill Konves

No, I know. No. But that’s that’s the one thing that that’s why I meet with the coach every Friday, we call it. I said, Will you call me like, it’s not business coach, it’s not life coach. It’s just my clarity coach going, you know, I like to chase squirrels. I always have like to chase squirrels. Me with someone every Friday to talk about squirrels that you could chase and to make sure it’s not a squirrel is very valuable. You have been with her for two years. She knows me very well. And if I bring up anything crazy that doesn’t match with my personal mission, vision and values, she’ll question it and say, Why are you looking at this? Where are we going with this? And then I talk through it. And most of the time before she even answers me, I’ve already talked through it and figured it out for myself.

00:26:31 – Julie Smith

So has she become your number two essentially as you’re being the number two to these four companies, has she become your number two?

00:26:39 – Bill Konves

No, she she’s just simply a coach we meet every Friday. We talk. She gives me advice. By this good point of clarification, when I say, number two, I want to be a sounding board, but also I’m not simply a consultant. I want to get it done with them. So, OK, these are your three problems. I got it. I’m going to go solve it. Let’s go figure it out. I’m going to bring it back to you. We’re going to make some decisions and go, whereas I call her a coach because she is simply a coach, we meet. She gives me some advice. She goes away.

00:27:10 – Glenn Harper

You know, you’ve seen very most consultants in your space. They come in fire and brimstone. Go through chaos everywhere. Analyze everything. Do this. This is here’s what you need to do. And I’m going to charge you 50 grand for that. And then they walk out, and that company has to now figure out how to execute it. So you’re telling me that you do some a little bit different, you not really get the plan, but you actually finish what you start and do what you say and assume that role very seriously and make sure things get done.

00:27:44 – Bill Konves

That is right. Good summary, you’re right that on my right, that on your blog, if I had a website which I don’t.

00:27:51 – Glenn Harper

Yeah, well, you want to stay on the down low so you know where you’re at right now in your career and your journey is there every every entrepreneur generally will have some sort of like dream deal or what they would like to be part of and be like, man, if I could just get in with that company or that person. And I think I can take that company to that person’s their product service, whatever, to a whole different level. What is that dream deal for you? Do you have you thought of that? You have one of those.

00:28:24 – Bill Konves

I do not have one, I have a I have a dream deal for each of my clients, and maybe that’s how I look at things differently if I work with a client. Then they have to have long term potential for me and they have to have something really, really unique that I can see and I can dream with them. So, for example, I’m working with a Saudi Arabian fashion luxury brand startup, which is not my rule, but this but this we’ve been working together for for 40 years now. So I didn’t know that real then. So we are we have a dream. I know the founders dream. We’re doing some great things with the Saudi government. They want to support us when involved in international consulting, and we’re pushing this dream out. I have the founder’s dream. I’m excited about the founder’s dream. I want to be a part of that dream. So I’m connected. That’s my dream as well. And I can say the same about all my clients that I work with. I know what they want to do, and I want to be a part of it. Long term? I don’t know. I don’t know if that answers your question. But for myself, you’re probably asking for myself, do I have something that I really want to do? Yeah.

00:29:38 – Glenn Harper

Well, what I mean is like, you know what? What you’re saying is that you really don’t want to work for a client. You want to work with a client and be part of not on the outside looking in, which is really hard for a lot of entrepreneurs to be fully vested like that because that takes a lot of emotional capital, a lot of because you’re all in, you’re not just on the outside kind of playing around, you’re going deep. So that’s why, like you said for clients, is probably more than enough to do that because that takes a lot of bandwidth. And so I guess what I was suggesting is that if you, you know, you listen to a lot of podcasts, you listen a lot of, you know, educational things, you read a lot, you travel a lot. Have you seen a company or individual out there that would be like, Man, I just know they’re doing it wrong. And if they would just do this, I could take them from a to the Moon here. It’d be an amazing journey for them if they would, if I could just get in front of them. Do you have anybody like that that you’ve kind of looked or identified with and say, Man, if I could just get with them?

00:30:39 – Bill Konves

I do not I cannot think of one.

00:30:42 – Glenn Harper

Well, you’ve got to go read more Listen more, I guess is the take away from me.

00:30:46 – Bill Konves

I know we’re here. I’m invested, fully invested with the clients that I have now. I do. I will tell you this. I guess it has an industry. I guess we could talk about an industry if the industry. So I’ve been pushed into the home services industry to help with marketing and other things by a good friend of mine that owns, operates by sells or services company, plumbing, heating, all these different things. And we’re doing some marketing work for him. So there are some really large agencies out there that charge a lot of money to do work for these guys. And once they get their claws in most home services companies and founders, they’re like, We don’t know the questions to ask. We’re afraid to turn them off, but they’re charging us with too much money. So he and I are working together. We fired his agency. We’re putting together a plan that helps those guys. And so he said, Bill, I gave your information to another fellow in Denver. Twenty eight trucks. Really large company. Same problem. Wrong agency. Charging way too much. And I just did a free analysis for him. It’s like three page report sent it to him a couple of days ago.

00:31:52 – Bill Konves

Within an hour, he responded back, Hey, this thing’s amazing. We’ve got to work together. What are we going to do? My other, my other agencies on contract until May. I’m ready to push them out. Let’s go. And I said, Well, I appreciate that because all the home services companies are having these same challenges, but my job is not to come in and compete and push people out. My job is to come in and help you from a sea level perspective, look at your partners and say, Hey, maybe they can do this well, maybe they don’t do that well, we don’t need to throw them out. And so that industry overall, it needs to outsource. Chief Marketing Officer, if there was a term for that because that industry and those in those business owners are being taken advantage of by a lot of different marketing agencies that charge way too much money for what they’re doing. So I’m aligning myself in that world since I know it. I owned a concrete company. I know the struggles. So that might be my my dream challenge fixing industry. And if I do that, it would be very lucrative.

00:32:52 – Glenn Harper

It would be. When you are, you know, working with clients, you know, there’s definitely certain sizes that you want to work with and and challenges like we indicated you like the more complex, sophisticated type ones. But again, when you describe your portfolio of clients, you’re kind of all over the board with that because I think the challenge is again, that was my initial thought or question was is it funner to take somebody that has nothing and bring them up? Or is it better to take somebody who has something and make them even better? Which one do you like more, which is more rewarding for you?

00:33:32 – Bill Konves

More rewarding. Well, yeah, that’s a tough question. I know, because then it becomes a financial question because you do, everyone needs their base minimum, what they’re worth, what they feel, what they just, what they have to pay their bills. So if I could look and say this is a product that’s amazing and it’s a startup product and I know it’s going to be amazing. I want to ride that journey, then that would be extremely fun and fulfilling. However, those are unicorns for every hundred products. Ninety nine of them just aren’t going to make it. And so you can hit your your wagon to a lot of tough emotional rides. Those are also the most emotional. You alluded earlier to the emotion. When you’re all in with a team, you’re not playing on the outside, you’re like, Yeah, hey, here’s my bill. This is why I think you should do cool paying my bill and you walk away when you’re inside, you’re worried about every penny. I mean, you cut your own pace sometimes when the client’s not doing well. I’ve cut my own pay in half like, Look, I’m still here, but I’m cutting my own pay. We’re going to make this happen. It’s going to work. It’s very emotional to be in that situation.

00:34:40 – Glenn Harper

Wasn’t that like what they always say? Don’t get emotional in business. So how how do you balance that?

00:34:45 – Bill Konves

I well, yeah, well, I think you need to be emotion in terms of passion, you have to have passion about your product to push it forward. If you don’t have emotion about it, you’re not going to have much of a product. You’re not going to wake up every morning and be jumping out of bed, say, I’m going to make it happen. I’m going to take over the world today. But don’t be emotional about the day to day decisions. That’s where a lot of entrepreneurs get caught up. They’re emotional about every single decision that’s happening, instead of even the passion and the emotion for the big picture.

00:35:15 – Glenn Harper

Perilous by analysis, right? They just can’t get out of their own way.

00:35:19 – Bill Konves

Yes.

00:35:19 – Glenn Harper

So as an entrepreneur, you are out there, you know, making the donuts, slaying the dragons, doing what you do at some point when you’re identifying a client that you want to work with. Do you feel like today versus 20 years ago? I can’t remember how long you been doing this as an entrepreneur, but it seems like since I’ve known you. But do you feel like you have a good, I don’t know, gut instinct to recognizing your client if they’ve got that quote it factor like you like, whoa. They know they they got it figured out. If I can just get in with them, we’ll take it to the next level. Do you feel like you have to have that gut check and kind of just recognize that up front, if we’re working with them? Because if somebody comes up to you and say, Hey, I need to scale, let’s rock and roll. Are you going to just jump in with them or are you going to say, you know, that got to when you said successful entrepreneurs and you said, you know, ones that really got it figured out, how do you know that they could say it? But you have this gut instinct with them that you can just recognize the type of character they have and that they if they have it.

00:36:22 – Bill Konves

Yeah, you can definitely tell people that are already doing well and just ready the conversations you’re having with them. But I mean, the

00:36:29 – Glenn Harper

People that aren’t aren’t doing well, like like you just like

00:36:32 – Bill Konves

I won’t. Yeah, well, I will only work with well, I shouldn’t say that. I know at least busted my target customer right now today, and it’s happened over the last three months. Yeah, actually, in the last two weeks I’ve had people referred to me. A startup was referred to me and I said, You know what? It’s just not who I work with, but I’m going to talk with them and chat with them. We’ll put them through my my initial survey fill out a survey. One of the things I have to do is fill out a survey. If they’re not willing to fill out this survey, which is kind of complex, then it qualifies them away the opposite way. So I still have conversations with people because maybe there is something there. But when we talked with this plumber, I looked at his business. I saw he had twenty eight trucks. I saw he’s spending. An ungodly amount of money in a marketing budget every month that tells me there’s a lot of money in that company somewhere. And if he’s seeing it or not, that’s my job to figure it out and make it better. So you can ask questions to say, Oh, you’re twenty eight trucks. Wow, you have an x amount marketing budget. Wow. There is a lot of cash flow in your business, so someone is making money in there. It might not be the owner, as we know in many cases, but I can help you figure that out so you can ask questions and figure out how successful people are. And yeah, I think I’m getting close and what? I’m not close. I bring it to my coach every Friday and we talk about it like, is this a client for me? Is this is this something that matches my values and where I want to go?

00:38:04 – Glenn Harper

So your coach definitely talks you off the ledge, which is which is good because most entrepreneurs are on the ledge all the time. And it’s not only just a ledge or literally walking on the top of the peak on that ridge, and they could slip either way and fall off. And it’s over, right? I mean, that’s a real thing.

00:38:19 – Bill Konves

I lived that life for many years.

00:38:21 – Glenn Harper

It’s the best to make you feel alive, doesn’t it?

00:38:24 – Bill Konves

Yes. Until you hit 50,

00:38:26 – Glenn Harper

I was something bad happened at 50. I thought, that’s when we have all the wisdom. No.

00:38:31 – Bill Konves

Well, yeah, exactly. You don’t want to live that life when you’re 50, you’re supposed to have the wisdom. So that’s good.

00:38:36 – Glenn Harper

So one thing you said and and I and I applaud that because I find a lot of entrepreneurs that, you know, we work with that they hit the point where they have their. They’re not satisfied, but and they’re not content, but they’re they’re doing fine. They’re doing OK. And they still have a lot more to give. But they don’t want to give in like all in to give to somebody, and they end up turning into these mentors and part of these mastermind groups and just give away some free advice and just sharing those experiences to kind of help other people. And you kind of, I guess, alluded to that with this one. You just said you’ve got to fill out the survey and even though you will probably not work with them, you may be in a situation we want to mentor them. Do you find that that mentoring is a rewarding thing? Is it backfire? Is it a good thing or is it a way to give back? I mean, somebody had to mentor you at some point to help you get where you are? Do you do you feel like you’re at that point where you’re giving back?

00:39:36 – Bill Konves

I don’t I think I would be. And currently, I am not a good mentor. I can give advice. And that’s where I’m at right now. I love giving advice, but I don’t have any long term mentor shifts and that I’m mentoring people. I just don’t right now. I don’t think it fits my personality. I’m still driven to, you know, when you’re mentoring, you’re giving advice, you’re not helping them take action in a lot of times. They don’t take action, and it really frustrates you. So if I find someone that takes every bit of action, then I give them, then I’d be all in and probably be excited about it. But I’m not actively mentoring anyone. I don’t have anybody, really. That I’m looking to mentor, but that would be the key if I’m going to work with you and give you some advice. You better take it. Because what’s the point?

00:40:27 – Glenn Harper

Correct? I’ve got a list of like 300 people that would like to hire you right now and maybe not even hire, just mentor you. You want that list. Absolutely not. You know, you’ve got a scarcity of of product, a scarcity of mindset, and it’s very valuable and it’s to the point where why waste that on somebody who’s not going to do anything valuable with it? It’s hard to screen that as an entrepreneur about all those opportunities in front of you, of how you get engaged with them. Because just because it’s a perfect situation, if they aren’t going to do what you tell them, then why even waste that emotional capital and all those things to get it set up? A true statement?

00:41:09 – Bill Konves

True. And then that’s the emotional part. Some people really get mentors can can bounce away from that. I get very frustrated. There’s money sitting on the table here. There’s a product on the table. There’s this problem in your life. You’ve got to take care of it. I’ll take care of it. Let me let me do it for you. So I can’t. That’s why I can’t be a consultant. I need to be involved inside of businesses and work with the founders to say, Look, I got it. Let me do this. Go do what you’re doing. I’m going to take care of this. We have a better week next week.

00:41:37 – Glenn Harper

So I think there’s a you’re in a unique space because a lot of times an entrepreneur is going to either say, Hey, I’m going to do business and I do all the work and I’m in charge of all those things and make a great career doing that. And you’ve got a great job to do that. And that’s one school of thought. And there’s nothing. It’s a great, great model. Then there’s another set of entrepreneurs that say, Look, I’m tired of being on the hamster wheel and I want to build a business and I’m going to scale this and other people help me do achieve this huge business where I’m not really actively involved and I’m still getting paid. You have a very unique situation because you kind of have like a a hybrid thing. You have this job that you do as doing business for clients, but you are actually helping them build a business and you’re part of it. That is very unique in this industry as an entrepreneur. If you looked at it like that before,

00:42:33 – Bill Konves

I have and I struggle with it sometimes because I’m not doing anything myself and as a builder, I want to build something and that’s a conversation that I go through every Friday. With with again, with my coach, it’s like, am I ready to build something? Do I want to build something? Or am I satisfied just building these clients businesses with them? And that’s all I need. So that’s why I do have these other small projects sitting out there. You know what might work? What might take off? What might I get passionate about over the next 15, 20 years? Because people are like, Oh, you’re going to retire? Oh no, I’m looking for that thing that I can retire and work 20 to 30 hours a week because that’s what I like to do. I don’t like to golf.

00:43:19 – Glenn Harper

What that’s that doesn’t sound normal. Yeah. What do you like to do if you’re not going?

00:43:27 – Bill Konves

I like to go to kids sports, probably for kids and travel sports, you know, that life, so that’s fun. In about seven years, that’s going to be done gone out the door. So do I want to still be helping clients build their businesses or do I want to build my own? And so that’s where I’m at in life. Like, do I want to build something for myself that’s going to take me into retirement and let me have something? My wife doesn’t kill me sitting home all day, something maybe for my kids to get involved in something like, you know, just something bigger out there.

00:43:57 – Glenn Harper

So I think that’s the final thought today is the fact that all the entrepreneurs out there, you think you have to have it all figured out and you’re really don’t because it’s ever evolving, ever changing. But try to focus on one thing at a time. Dominate the space before you go to the next thing. Don’t run amuck and do a shotgun approach and shoot out of everything. Stay focused. And then you can always pivot and change. Don’t try to do everything. Try to do one thing at a time and work through it. Do you think that’s a fair assessment bill?

00:44:29 – Bill Konves

That’s a great assessment. And don’t forget to expand your network and listen to your board of advisors.

00:44:35 – Glenn Harper

Awesome. Well, thanks for joining us today and taking time out of your busy day. Good luck out there trying to figure it out, but darn it sure is fun, isn’t it?

00:44:43 – Bill Konves

It is, yeah. Thank you, Glenn. Thank you, Julie.

00:44:46 – Glenn Harper

All right, Bill, take care. This is Glenn Harper.

00:44:49 – Julie Smith

And Julie Smith.

00:44:50 – Glenn Harper

Signing off, talk to you guys soon. I hope you find some value on this podcast.

Episode Show Notes

Bill is one of those guys you can say is on top of his game.

Entrepreneurs seek him out to be behind the scenes to solve problems, act as a sounding board, mediate disputes, and address issues in front of the c-suite. He utilizes his strong marketing background, to facilitate growth, sales, and marketing strategy and incorporate measures to ensure revenue generation, cost reduction, and risk mitigation for his clients.

As he states…

I help business owners, successful business owners, scale their business, bring in the right players, mostly around marketing a lot of businesses that are trying to scale. They have a hard time finding the right marketing partners to help that without hiring full-time staff. And that’s not always the best solution.

How were you able to cultivate all your key relationships over your career? How did you figure out the key to that success?

A lot of it starts with people like Glenn and networking with Glenn. Networking with other people in our group, mastermind groups being open, being at conferences, just being open to have these conversations with people and learn and not shut down. You really open up your experiences when you talk to people in other industries.

What was that “a-ha moment” you had to become an entrepreneur?

I hired a supplier once and we worked very closely together to build a loyalty program for Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy. And I liked his life. I liked what I saw. He was out signing deals. He was traveling all around. He was doing some entertaining. He was capturing business and enjoying that life. And I thought I’m never going to have that in the corporate world.

And what’s great about being an entrepreneur is that you can do it your own way!

Everything I do in life, I run more in a corporate manner. But I like the freedom of the entrepreneur, so I’m kind of a hybrid.

When you come from the corporate world and transition into an entrepreneur, it’s natural to keep that life in the rearview mirror, for a time. But as Bill says, that crutch goes away.

I think the corporate background probably is a hindrance because it’s a crutch. I always think, Oh, I can always go back. I don’t anymore. I’ve been out so long. But for the first seven, eight, nine years I kept thinking, “Man, it’d be nice to have a paycheck every week. Man, it’d be nice just to talk to people at the water cooler and not work as hard as I’m out here working.” I’m probably not employable because I would drive people insane with “Let’s get something done now.”

How important is self-awareness of who you are and what you are doing?

You have to have a continual analysis of yourself and where you’re going. Because once someone goes on the entrepreneurial journey, they don’t really know where they’re going to end up. But if you’re too focused on where you’re going to end up, it could end badly. And some of my business does not end up where I wanted them to go. But because I had a bigger awareness of myself, I knew where I wanted to take myself. So where I’m at today is perfect.

What would you advise fellow entrepreneurs that are struggling, perhaps or trying to get to the next level?

Rely on your network and ask a lot of questions. When I look back, there were quite a few times I’d ask and listen to the answers that they give you. Be around people that have already been in your shoes that can give you that advice.

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