Rise and Shine: An Inspiring Conversation with Phil Yeager, from Yaeger CPA Review

Episode Transcription

[0:00:00] Glenn Harper: Hello, everyone. Welcome to another edition of Empowering Entrepreneurs. I’m Glenn Harper.

[0:00:04] Julie Smith: Julie Smith.

[0:00:04] Glenn Harper: What’s going on, Julie?

[0:00:05] Julie Smith: Hey, you know, we have starbucks. It’s it’s a good day.

[0:00:08] Glenn Harper: It is a good day. I hate getting out and getting it in the rain, but sometimes that’s what you got to do.

[0:00:12] Julie Smith: Sometimes you have to do that because you don’t have hair.

[0:00:15] Glenn Harper: Oh, yeah, that’s true. How do I have to worry about my beauty here? Well, we’ve got a real treat for you today. We’ve got Phil yeager, a fellow entrepreneur and the driving force between behind Jaeger cpa review. He has helped many of cpa wannabes become part of the cpa club. Thanks, Phil, for being on a show.

[0:00:34] Phil Yeager: Glenn, it’s a pleasure. And had I known we had so much time before we started, I could have gone over and gotten five starbucks.

[0:00:44] Glenn Harper: Well, you don’t want to get too crazy. The caffeine makes this accountant jittery. We got to be careful.

[0:00:47] Phil Yeager: Yes, it does.

[0:00:49] Glenn Harper: Phil, I detect a slight Kentucky accent. Did you grew up in the south?

[0:00:54] Phil Yeager: Yeah, I grew up in southern Long Island of New York. So yeah, pretty close. Right outside of New York City area.

[0:01:02] Glenn Harper: Outstanding. I did a little bit of it’s.

[0:01:06] Phil Yeager: Called the South Shore of Long Island.

[0:01:09] Glenn Harper: Got it. I had Julie do some stalking on you. And apparently your college journey includes a bs in Accounting from the University of rhode Island, an mba from farley dickinson University but wait, there’s more. A doctorate in philosophy from Walden University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Did you just want to stay in school or what? How did this happen?

[0:01:29] Phil Yeager: Well, I actually had an idol in life, duggie hauser. I don’t know if you remember his name. Okay. dugie was my idol. And I would have gotten out sooner, but I started fooling around. I joined a fraternity, had a good time. So that’s why I graduated the age of twelve.

[0:01:50] Glenn Harper: That explains a lot. That makes sense because some people just they don’t want to leave the cushy life of college life. I would have thought that you probably would have want to stayed in Minneapolis and see the aurora borealle every night versus in Maryland and center watching the lights of the DC. swamp. How did you want to not stay there?

[0:02:07] Phil Yeager: Well, with the Walden degree.

[0:02:11] Julie Smith: All right.

[0:02:12] Phil Yeager: Walden actually, we had a lot of people have nontraditional education now. Back when I got into Walden, walden had just been accredited by the North Central accreditation, which was one of the regional accreditations. And I went there because, one, in order for me to go on for a doctorate, I was teaching at Catholic University at the time. But in order to stay there and get ten year promotion, I had to get a doctorate. But every other doctorate in the Washington, DC area required that I go fulltime.

[0:02:50] Julie Smith: All right?

[0:02:51] Phil Yeager: And I couldn’t do that. I had a wife and I had a child. So then they came up with this nontraditional, and Walden was one of them. Now, they called it at the time a building or an institution without walls. All right, but interestingly enough, george Washington University started a doctoral program about a year later, and they actually used the Walden model. So gw used to insult Walden that they’re not a real university. But then they started this model because people could not just take off and go full time.

[0:03:29] Julie Smith: All right?

[0:03:29] Phil Yeager: And I’ll tell you, it was not easy. Walden was a research institution because it was a PhD. And I was the first PhD in accounting there, because they really did not have an accounting PhD. But the way it worked is this. I had a PhD in administration management. But if I wrote my dissertation on something in accounting, then I got a PhD in accounting, and I wrote my doctorate on a negative image of the accountant.

[0:04:04] Glenn Harper: Fantastic.

[0:04:04] Phil Yeager: And I went around to different universities, had them fill out questionnaires, and they all thought that accounts were dull, boring people. And I said, well, what did you base that on? And they said, well, every time I turn on the TV, the account is wearing that eye shade thing, the dullest looking guy. And I actually did a lot of research, and this is what I found out. Did you ever watch those death wish movies with Charles bronson?

[0:04:33] Glenn Harper: Oh, yeah.

[0:04:34] Julie Smith: I have no idea what you’re talking about.

[0:04:37] Phil Yeager: Too young for that. But Charles Bronze Charles bronson when they picked him for that role, and there was five Death Wish movies, and without going to detail what they were about, actually, the original book that they were based on, the character was an accountant. And when they brought the movie and they actually filmed it from the screenplay, they made him an architect because they figured that was a little more exciting to be an architect than an accountant.

[0:05:08] Glenn Harper: Well, that moved. The accountant with Ben affleck is fantastic. I was cast for that role, but I was a little too short. It was a great movie.

[0:05:15] Julie Smith: Well, you really there’s a big similarity.

[0:05:18] Phil Yeager: I see that similarity. You could have been married to what’s your name? Lopez.

[0:05:23] Julie Smith: Jen Lopez.

[0:05:25] Glenn Harper: Who doesn’t want that kind of scrutiny on everything? That’s the best. So the funny thing, when we talk about accountants, obviously I play one on TV and you play one on TV, but there is a lot of stereotypes of what they do and how they do it. And you kind of made the transition of being an accountant, of actually running numbers and doing those types of things, to say, you know what? I’m going to teach people how to become cpas. When did that start?

[0:05:56] Phil Yeager: Well, I graduated and this will give away my age, but I graduated University of rhode Island in 67, and I really did not want to be an accountant, honestly. But my mother see, when we lived in long island, there were three professional groups. There were doctors, lawyers, and then the third was the accountant. And I don’t know if you remember the comedian Jackie Mason. Do you remember Jackie Mason? And he used to say, for those who don’t know him, very funny. Unfortunately passed away a couple of years ago. But he said, well, in the Jewish family, all right, if you have a son who’s really brilliant, he becomes a doctor. If he’s not as brilliant, he becomes a lawyer. And if he’s totally stupid, he becomes an accountant.

[0:06:48] Julie Smith: All right?

[0:06:49] Phil Yeager: Well, that’s what I became an accountant. And I said to my parents, I said, I can’t stand this major as boring as can be, all right? I want to change. And they said, well, if you go out of accounting, we’re not going to pay for your tuition. So I graduated with a degree in accounting, and I started working. My first job was with General Electric Company, but it was a financial management training program. But the bottom line is it was still accounting. Then I went to work for Columbia Pictures, the Screen gems division, which was their TV division. And I thought, wow, I like the entertainment field. Hey, I’ll see a lot of entertainers. Now, I did see entertainers in the elevator because at that time, the TV show bewitched was on the air, I Dream of jeannie, all right? And I used to see Elizabeth Montgomery in the elevator occasionally when she would come and negotiate her contracts and forgot Barbara Eden was I Dream of jeannie. So I saw her a few times. Very exciting. You open the elevator, and boom, they’re staring right at you, all right?

[0:08:04] Phil Yeager: And also, otto Premager. Give me your auto premature.

[0:08:08] Glenn Harper: Let’s ring a bell.

[0:08:09] Phil Yeager: Auto Premiere was a very famous director, but he also played in movies. But auto premature was completely nowhere bald. And you’d see him occasionally, but the nastiest guy in the world, he had space in the building, all right? And I would walk in and say, oh, hello, Mr. framing. Jenny. He would grunt. But I really like being around the entertainment field. But no matter how much I tried to get a job, I wasn’t going to be a comedian because I can’t tell jokes, all right? But someone said to me, you’d be good on a talk show, on the radio, something like that. And I tried and very hard to get out of accounting. Once you have a brand on you that says accountant cpa, it’s like being a cow, and you can’t get out of being killed. So that’s how I got into it. But eventually I went into public accounting because you had to get experience requirement, all right, to get the cpa. So then after five years of commuting from New Jersey to New York, every day, an hour and a half one way, I said, what am I going to do?

[0:09:20] Phil Yeager: So I took a class teaching accounting at It’s Fairly dickinson University in New Jersey. All right. I said, you know, this is fun. I like standing in front of people. And the students used to laugh at my jokes and say, you make accounting fun. So that’s how I got into teaching. And I decided I’ll go to Maryland. I found a community college I worked at full time, and I really enjoyed standing in front of people, because in college, I took three public speaking courses, all right? And I used to like giving talks. And I remember one speech I gave in a public speaking course was how people die from the disease called alkatosis. Okay?

[0:10:07] Julie Smith: All right?

[0:10:07] Phil Yeager: And of course, these were phony diseases. So what I did was to catch the attention of the students is I walked in with a glass, I dropped in three what do you call it? alka seltz. And I said, Kukunk goes the tablet, right? And then I said wrong. And then I talked about how you can die from alkatosis. But those would be the speeches I would make up. And people said, Boy, that’s really funny. All right, I don’t want to tell them they were phony speeches, but that’s really what I wanted to do. I wanted to do something where I could talk, all right? Unfortunately, I never got into anything in entertainment that I really wanted to get into. But if things were I could just share this with you. We lived in Denver, Colorado, from 1982 to 1988, all right? And I had an accounting practice. God, the last place I wanted to be.

[0:11:04] Phil Yeager: I started an accounting practice. It became very successful, and I said, I hate doing this. So my wife was nice enough to send out cassette tapes of me to the radio stations so they could call me up and be an expert. So I got on a few of the radio stations, one of which there was a gentleman by the name of Alan berg. You ever heard of him?

[0:11:28] Glenn Harper: I don’t believe so.

[0:11:29] Julie Smith: Probably not.

[0:11:31] Phil Yeager: Alan berg was a jock radio, but controversial. He used to knock the white aryan Nations group. Well, eventually they killed him and they shot him, and he died in his driveway. So he was going to have me on a show at least once a year, but that fell through, so it’s like I was cursed. I couldn’t get on. All right, so anyway, did I want to be an accountant? No, but it led me to other things. That’s the advantage of the cpa. I then bought a cpa review school. It became very successful, all right? And let’s just put it this way. It put my daughter through college. My two grandchildren are now in college, and thank God I was able to pay for this, all right? So I have to say, if you don’t think accounting is your area, get the cpa, because it gave me the flexibility to do things I never thought I would do in a million years.

[0:12:32] Glenn Harper: Well, I think that’s the takeaway is if you’re going to start down a path, don’t stop short. Take it to the top. If you’re going to be an accountant, you might as well be a cpa because you’re in the club now, and you have that instant credibility, right? And after that, the doors will open. So it doesn’t take that I mean, cpa test is hard. It’s not easy, but back in the day when I took it, you had to handwrite everything. But now it’s pretty much electronic. But again, if you want to get in the club, you got to get in the club, and that’s how you do it. But amazingly, like you said, you practiced a lot as a cpa doing those types of things, and then you decided you wanted to be an entrepreneur and buy a you kind of were just more doing business with your practice in Denver. But then you decide you want to be an entrepreneur and actually build a business, which is your cpa review course. What made you make that decision? You just got tired of being an accountant, and you’re like, I need to own a business, or what did you do? What made that transition for you?

[0:13:28] Phil Yeager: I don’t know if you remember, the Journal of accountancy used to have ads in the back, and there was a blind ad that said, are you interested in opening a cpa review franchise? So I wrote back, and the franchise was lambert’s cpa review of school.

[0:13:46] Julie Smith: All right?

[0:13:47] Phil Yeager: I was the first lamber’s franchise, and I was his only successful franchise because he learned that even though he had excellent books, you needed someone to teach who would stand up there and keep the attention of the students. And of the five franchises he tried to set up, I was the only one who succeeded.

[0:14:09] Glenn Harper: How about that?

[0:14:09] Phil Yeager: So that’s how I got into it. And then eventually, Mr. lambert passed away. vince passed away, and his books were not kept up. So I ended up starting with my own name, jaeger cpa review. I changed it, and it became very successful. I was beating out. See, back then it was you took all four did you take all four parts or one part at a time?

[0:14:35] Glenn Harper: All four parts.

[0:14:37] Phil Yeager: So when it was all four parts, we ran four and five month classes.

[0:14:43] Julie Smith: Okay.

[0:14:44] Phil Yeager: And we went over all four. We knew exactly when people were going to take the exam, either May or November. So we were able to have three locations in the Washington, DC. Area, and I didn’t worry about the other competitors like becker. They did not have a chance. We were the largest ones. But when the exam went one part at a time, we could no longer do all four parts. And then we had to convert over to where it is now, streaming video, that type of thing.

[0:15:15] Julie Smith: All right.

[0:15:15] Phil Yeager: But I just loved doing that live class because, as I said, I did three live classes. I had 150 students in each live class, and the people used to we were such a close class. I was invited to the people’s weddings. They invited me to their children’s births. I got very close with the students. That’s something I don’t get today, and I miss that.

[0:15:45] Glenn Harper: I suspect that’s probably one of the big things as an entrepreneur out there is it’s not about what you sell or your product or service. It’s about the relationship. Right. And if you have a great relationship, not only you’re going to have long lasting interactions, but you’re probably going to refer you out to everybody as well, and you’ll become a standard name. And I think that’s probably what you did.

[0:16:06] Julie Smith: Right?

[0:16:08] Phil Yeager: I didn’t have to do marketing. The students were my marketing arm. They used to go out and tell everyone about Phil jager. And the one thing I have to tell you, at the end of every cycle, every class, 150 people. I would say that maybe 80 or 90% of those people in the last class stood up and gave me a standing ovation. All right, well, that’s something you don’t get at a job. And I never took it for granted, but it always choked me up that I got that standing ovation, and I got that for, like, 30 years, 30 years of that.

[0:16:48] Glenn Harper: That’s the thing. If you know your customer and know what they’re doing, the candidates in your class, they’re literally putting everything, their entire heart and soul and livelihood, they got to pass this test. And you’re helping them do that. I mean, that’s going to be a bond forever. And that’s like in anything that you do as an entrepreneur. Just you got to know your customer, what do they really want and how do you help them achieve it, and they’ll be customers forever.

[0:17:15] Phil Yeager: And what I’m doing now is the review school is not the main source of the income. Thank God I made it, but I’ve been able to give back. My wife got parkinson’s eight years ago.

[0:17:33] Julie Smith: All right?

[0:17:34] Phil Yeager: So I started making there’s this company called Charity Buzz, and what you do is you bid on auctions, and you can meet certain people if you’re the highest bid bidder.

[0:17:47] Julie Smith: All right.

[0:17:47] Phil Yeager: Well, as a result of that, over the past five years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting people such as I was on the Morning Joe set. I don’t know, you can see that. All right. I met Joe scarborough, I met his wife, and I become very good friends with a guy by name of Willie geist who’s on that show.

[0:18:07] Julie Smith: All right.

[0:18:09] Phil Yeager: And also, I’ve gone to the Shark Tank twice already and met the people there because I bid money and I gave to their charities. And we’re going again this summer. This is the third time. We were supposed to go last year, but the Pandemic, they closed the set down. But I got to meet all those people. Mr. Wonderful.

[0:18:34] Julie Smith: All right?

[0:18:35] Phil Yeager: Robert Hershevik is probably the nicest guy.

[0:18:38] Julie Smith: All right.

[0:18:38] Phil Yeager: Do you know who he is?

[0:18:39] Glenn Harper: Oh, yeah. No show.

[0:18:41] Phil Yeager: Well, exactly the way you see him. He’s a real nice guy. And Mark cuban, which I’m sure he’s not listening to this, but Mark how.

[0:18:52] Glenn Harper: Do you know that? He probably is.

[0:18:55] Phil Yeager: Mark’S a little he’s quite impressed with himself, all right? And I said hello to him, and he said that type of thing. But Barbara cochrane, I’ve met her three times, and she’s a nice person. I’ve met a lot of entertainers, and this is something I would not have met had I not gotten involved with this charity buzz.

[0:19:25] Glenn Harper: Well, at the same time, I think it goes to the premise that you got to expand your sphere of influence. When you’re an entrepreneur, you just can’t stay with the same old, same old. You got to shoot really high to try to get the influencers, and the people that have money and the people that you can help them, they can help you just don’t keep you got to keep trying. You just can’t ever just sit there and just wait for something to happen.

[0:19:47] Phil Yeager: Well, these people have not been they haven’t done anything as far as getting clients. The only person who really helped me was Barbara cochrane. On three occasions, I had a Zoom call with her, and the question was, how do you do marketing? I was having trouble with the marketing of the school, and her contract says she’s not allowed to do consulting for anybody other than the people she invests in on Shark Tank. But I had three Zoom calls with her, and she gave me ideas for marketing. Unfortunately, she’s a sweetheart, but I’ve used them to some extent, but they really have not helped me. The problem with this present field is this, all right, we’re doing technology here, okay? And you have Julie, and I’m sure you know more about technology than I know. Well, I don’t know anything about technology, and I’m having a hell of a time is that a bad word to say hello?

[0:21:01] Glenn Harper: That’s perfectly good.

[0:21:03] Phil Yeager: I’m having a hell of a time getting people who can help me with social marketing, all right? They come and go. They say they’re good at it, but they’re not. You’re very fortunate to have Julie there. God, I wish I could pick up two or three julies to do the marketing.

[0:21:22] Glenn Harper: I think what you’re saying is one of the things that we really believe in, empowering entrepreneurs is that you’ve got to build a team around yourself and the people. That the weaknesses you have. You got to go find those strengths. You can’t do it all, and even.

[0:21:38] Phil Yeager: If you try to be very glad, it’s so difficult. There are days that go by, and I talk to people, and they say, oh, we can do this, we can do that, and then, no, they can’t. I don’t think people want to work as hard as they used to, and they don’t want to go to school and learn, because that requires an effort. Can I buy jewelry from you for say, a week of marketing expertise? Have I won an award or something?

[0:22:14] Glenn Harper: I feel like you’d have to be some kind of contract going on there. I don’t want to be involved in that, so good luck with that. But I think the premise I didn’t have that in mind, but anyway, the value is you got to have the clear defined vision. Julie and I talk about this all the time, especially with clients and entrepreneurs, that you have to decide what it is you want to do and how you want to do it and who you’re bringing with and who you’re bringing with. Now you got to identify those strategic partners and make sure they buy into what your vision is. And you might have to go through 100, 500, it doesn’t matter. You got to keep trying till you find the one that fits, because if not, you’re never going to go anywhere. Right? That’s the number one rule as an entrepreneur out there. You’ve got to find people that believe in you and will buy into your vision. Right, Julie?

[0:23:05] Julie Smith: That’s absolutely correct.

[0:23:07] Phil Yeager: If this is too personal a question, I’m just curious. How did you find someone like Julie? Honestly, can I ask you that?

[0:23:15] Glenn Harper: Sure. You have to go outside, went outside the industry. You can’t hire an accountant to not to do something that’s not in their wheelhouse. And so I was fortunate to have a colleague that introduced this to me to Julie, and she’s like, oh, I have this other skill set. And I’m like, wow, that’s exactly what I’m looking for.

[0:23:33] Julie Smith: Actually, he tried to run the other way, but I didn’t let him.

[0:23:36] Glenn Harper: She tricked me. But no, it’s about again, I knew what I needed. Every successful client that I had that was doing very well in their business. They always had like a COO or practice manager of some sort that was able to bridge the gap between the owner and what they’re trying to do and the technology and the staff and trying to bridge the gap so they could communicate and put in systems and processes and a culture that would warrant to make my vision become the reality. And that’s really what you have to do. So when I recognize that, because I could see it, and I was out shopping and it took a long time to find the jewelry, but we’ve got her and she’s awesome. But every business owner needs to figure out what that is, if that role can exist, and when it needs to happen again. When you get to a certain size, you kind of have to have one. But when you’re small, you can do a few of those things yourself, but you outsource a lot of those things. We’ve got marketing people, we got our podcast people, we’ve got attorneys, we’ve got financial advisors. We’ve got a whole team around us that help us do what we need to do. I can’t do it all. So as an entrepreneur, that’s the key, recognizing where you need help at and then go acquire that talent.

[0:24:50] Phil Yeager: I’m sorry. What were you going to say, Julie? I’m sorry.

[0:24:52] Julie Smith: No, go ahead.

[0:24:55] Phil Yeager: No, I was just going to say I don’t know how many people watching this know this. I had the pleasure of having the two of you on as a guest on my podcast. And I’m going to tell you, I got off and I said to my wife, seriously, I said, those are two impressive people, all right? And God, I mean, if I needed your services, you would be the first one I would think of if I needed services. Such so anybody who’s watching this, all right, hey, get glenn’s name, get julie’s name. They’re really, I would say, first class people on what they do. Really. And I mean this because I don’t really just say this for the hell of it, all right? You guys are sort of my idols. I wish I had one 10th of 1% of your knowledge of what you do. It’s amazing.

[0:25:53] Glenn Harper: You’re too kind.

[0:25:54] Julie Smith: Yeah. We don’t know what we’re doing. We’re just going in the wind, going with the direction that the wind blows. But I think it’s really important as you go to grow a team and build that, that you personally have to define what that looks like. Because oftentimes what we have found is that we have different generations in the workforce, but as you define those expectations and can effectively communicate that to them and they can understand where they fall into that, they tend to step up to the plate in order to be able to perform at that level. I think what happens oftentimes is small business owners go ahead and hire a person and haven’t necessarily been able to define the role. And that way you’re kind of setting that person up for failure because they don’t know what they’re doing. It’s constantly changing. And so they’re kind of out there in the wind going with whatever direction comes in that day. And I think with proper expectations and communication and again, understanding your own vision and where you’re going and what you’re doing, people will fall into place because people want to follow a leader. And so I think we found that throughout our journey that that has really set us up for success and being able to do some of those things upfront before getting that person into that position or role.

[0:27:08] Glenn Harper: Julie and I banged heads for a long time because we just couldn’t communicate. I’m thinking this way, she’s thinking that way, and finally I had to go take some what is a personality test or something.

[0:27:20] Julie Smith: Finally, I was like, okay, I’ve tried to market what I want in four different ways, and it’s not coming through. How can I best communicate with you? And I was like, can you just take this test so I understand how you’ve think? And literally, once he took the test and gave it to me, we really have been on par since because I can understand how he communicates. And I gave him, hey, here’s how I communicate, and here’s kind of how my thought process is behind that. And that’s really helped us kind of not have those roadblocks and beating our heads against the wall in order to get to where we want to be. So I think that was also very important.

[0:27:52] Glenn Harper: And to you, Phil, like I said, you’re sitting there talking, interviewing strategic partners, and this is any entrepreneur out there, they may have the product and skill that’s needed, but if you don’t know how to communicate with them because you’re just not speaking the same language again. Generation X, millennials, the elderly, the greatest generation, middle aged, it doesn’t matter. You got to know how to speak the language. And if you don’t know how to communicate, that’s a huge thing. And we’ve seen a lot of companies blow up because they just couldn’t figure out how to talk before julie, I.

[0:28:29] Phil Yeager: Don’T know your relationship. Are you partners or do you we’re partners.

[0:28:33] Glenn Harper: Quite a few things, yes.

[0:28:36] Phil Yeager: How many julie’s did you have to interview before you found the real Julie?

[0:28:41] Julie Smith: 25 years worth?

[0:28:45] Glenn Harper: Well, I have only 21.

[0:28:49] Julie Smith: True. I forgot.

[0:28:50] Glenn Harper: No, it’s funny. When I was in business with another partner, and you have to be aligned with your partner on all aspects of how the business is going to be run, because if you’re not, you think you need X, they think you need Y, and then you’re trying to figure that out, right? You have to be aligned. So if you’re a solo practitioner and you’ve got people, you can make that determination, and ultimately you just got to keep hunting and looking. But the crucial mistake that most business owners make and most accountants make an accounting practice is that they’ll take whoever they have in house and try to make that person somebody they’re not. And it’s very rare that can happen. But you’re supposed to define the role. You want all the attributes of that person that you want in that role, then you go find it. It’s not just throwing a body in there, because that’s just not going to work. If I need an accountant, if I need a cpa, I can’t go get somebody who’s not an accountant because they have to know how to do accounting. If you’re going to hire somebody who a practice manager, you need somebody that has that skill set or an mba. You got to find that type of person.

[0:29:58] Phil Yeager: But how do I find you’re saying finding a cpa. You can usually say, oh, that person is a cpa. But how would one and I’m taking advantage of your services now, how would one find a social marketer that I can trust and believe that that person can do what they claim they do?

[0:30:19] Glenn Harper: We got one. We, we use one. Will it give her your name?

[0:30:21] Julie Smith: But I think you have to define exactly what you’re looking for. So when you say a social marketer, that means something different than that means to Glenn. And so you have to really define exactly what you’re looking for. Are you looking for someone just to post on social media three or four times and to create the brand and make sure the messaging is correct and making sure the story is correct, or are you simply looking for someone to retell or repost whatever is coming from your mind? At what point are they empowered to do what they want? And so I think if you’re able to kind of go through, literally write it down and define that, some of that is going to help that communication to be able to look and see for me where I would go look for that if I was looking, would be the younger generation. And again, they may not have to work 20 hours a week to get you what you want.

[0:31:04] Phil Yeager: The younger generation, you can’t pluck them off a tree.

[0:31:09] Julie Smith: You definitely can’t. But I mean, I don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, but technology is that generation. Yeah. So I would go to go to the colleges, look for someone who wants to make some extra cash and do that.

[0:31:25] Glenn Harper: Go to LinkedIn and here’s what we’re looking for. And you control around there and search for social media companies, interview them. There’s so much wait, Bill, if someone’s.

[0:31:34] Julie Smith: Listening to this and it’s like, oh, I’d be interested in that, how would they get a hold of you?

[0:31:40] Phil Yeager: I will give you my phone number. Is that okay?

[0:31:43] Julie Smith: Well, maybe don’t put your phone number on there, but maybe let’s do your email or your LinkedIn or something like that.

[0:31:49] Julie Smith: I’ll give you my email.

[0:31:51] Phil Yeager: Okay, here it is from the old generation, the phone.

[0:31:57] Julie Smith: All right.

[0:31:58] Phil Yeager: It’s Philphill.

[0:32:03] Julie Smith: Yeager, and that’s Y-A-E-G-E-R.

[0:32:09] Phil Yeager: Let me repeat that.

[0:32:10] Julie Smith: Y apple. Edward Y-A-E-G as in George, Phil Jagger@aol.com.

[0:32:17] Julie Smith: Love those aols. I didn’t even know it still existed. We’ll put that in the show notes as well. But I think, again, Phil, I’m going to give you something for free. I’ll send you something about how to define that role, how to define some of those things and make you write it down and you go through that. And I think that will help you communicate better to be able to get that person.

[0:32:36] Glenn Harper: And I’m going to guess, Phil, that you’re probably in a situation you might not even know what you really need, right? And if you don’t really know what you need.

[0:32:47] Julie Smith: Having gone through a good seven or eight people, they tell you they can.

[0:32:53] Phil Yeager: Do it, but then they can’t.

[0:32:56] Glenn Harper: Well, that’s just unlucky. You just probably made the wrong choice. And you got to keep don’t ever give up. Keep trying, because there’s going to be somebody or another firm out there that’s going to match up with you and all your entrepreneurs out there. If you have a bad experience, forget about that. Learn from it. Go grab the next person, the next company, redefine it, reroll do it, try to do the thing. And you got to keep trusting your strategic partners because if you go in there with reservations, they’re going to sense it and they’re not going to give you the best. So you have to keep trying. And they may or may not take advantage of you, but you still got to try. You still got to keep trying to give it all you got.

[0:33:31] Julie Smith: So one of our questions, Phil, is always as you try to scale and build a team, how have you been able to do that? Obviously, the social marketer has been a little bit difficult, but obviously you weren’t the only one running your school, your cpa review school. How were you able to go find key people and run it and be able to empower them to do what they needed to do so that you could do what you needed to do?

[0:33:54] Julie Smith: I had five people working for me. One was the chief operating officer. All right.

[0:34:00] Phil Yeager: And honestly, I was teaching and I have spent a lot of time with that. But I have to tell you, they took advantage of me, especially financially. So it got to the point where I had to put money into the business and it gets eaten up so quickly. So really it came down to, unfortunately, it’s me and my wife who’s doing this business now. So it’s like, I trusted people. I hate to use the word naive, but I trusted people. And now it’s probably my biggest mistake.

[0:34:37] Glenn Harper: No, I think you got to trust people and you got to keep trusting people, because if you don’t now, you’re going to be a cynic and you’re on the sideline and nobody wants to work with that. So you got to keep trusting and give them every opportunity at the very beginning to take advantage of you and then, you know, and if they take advantage of you, they’re not the right fit, but I’d rather know right away than go down a path a long time and then they take advantage of you. But you’ve got to trust people. Jordan peterson says it best. You have to go and make yourself vulnerable to grow, and that’s it. Do you think?

[0:35:11] Phil Yeager: Well, I appreciate that.

[0:35:12] Julie Smith: Yeah, I really do.

[0:35:15] Glenn Harper: You do any continued education for people who already cpas as well? Do you have a product and service for that as well.

[0:35:23] Phil Yeager: During the pandemic, okay?

[0:35:28] Julie Smith: What happened was someone wrote something in a magazine that said this was the.

[0:35:34] Phil Yeager: Exact wording don’t study for the cpa exam.

[0:35:39] Julie Smith: Now, during this pandemic, romantic is never going to open, all right? So therefore, don’t study for the exam. So I read that, and really, that’s not the truth. So for almost a year, I decided I gave three classes on Zoom, all right? And I I would get 60 people, but, you know, eventually this other person who was working with me, I had to pay them out of my own pocket.

[0:36:12] Phil Yeager: So when I started charging $75 for.

[0:36:17] Julie Smith: 2 hours of teaching, right, all of a sudden, people didn’t want to pay the $75, right?

[0:36:24] Phil Yeager: For free. They came.

[0:36:26] Julie Smith: But when you try, I mean and.

[0:36:28] Phil Yeager: I never understood that they weren’t your.

[0:36:30] Glenn Harper: Customer, and that’s okay.

[0:36:31] Julie Smith: They obviously didn’t understand the value associated with how you teach and how you set yourself apart from everybody else, because just talking to you, I can tell that I have no love for numbers. I have no love for the credit debit side of the business, but I can tell you that I would listen to you. I wouldn’t be bored out of my mind, right. You would keep my attention, which is huge when you’re teaching, right? Because now you have me intrigued enough that you might get me to learn what a credit and debit is, which is way better than anyone else has ever done.

[0:37:01] Julie Smith: Right?

[0:37:01] Julie Smith: I had to take many accounting classes in college, and I loved all the professors, but, man, all I did was do what I had to do to get that A to get out of that class. So I can tell you, you definitely have a skill set that sets you apart. So it’s how do you create that value that your customer can better understand?

[0:37:17] Glenn Harper: And again, that’s just one of those things where you have to try to figure out what your superpower is. What do you have? And again, you obviously had it for how many 40 years you’ve been doing this review course? So you obviously are good at what you do, but the technology, 50 years? That’s insanity. I always make fun of Julie because she’s not a numbers person, and she doesn’t want to be. And, you know, I’m like, I just don’t understand the the numbers are the greatest part ever, and and she just doesn’t see that. But, you know, if you’re in the accounting space, like, you have to go with whatever class is going to put you in the best position to become a cpa and hopefully have to take it at one time and then you’re one and done and invest that time and effort because it’s a hard test. And if your clients show that success, that’ll speak for itself and that’s where it’s at. Do you have any regrets? When I say regrets, it’s not like, oh, man, that sucked. But it’s more like, man, today where you are today, if you could go back in time and go, oh my God, if I had just known that then would have changed the whole trajectory of where you’re at today. Is there anything that stands out that if you’d have just known something, one key, one nugget, one tidbit way back when, what do you think that might have been?

[0:38:31] Julie Smith: And something for the listeners that they can hear that story and it resonates with them that if they’re going through it, they can have a pause for reflection.

[0:38:42] Phil Yeager: Well, I was on a few radio.

[0:38:46] Julie Smith: Shows in Denver where they had to come in as an expert. I would like the word expert. And they would say, all right, this.

[0:38:55] Phil Yeager: Guy is going to talk to you.

[0:38:56] Julie Smith: About the new tax act or how to save you money in taxes. And they always brought me in, say, late March, and they would ask me.

[0:39:05] Phil Yeager: To pay an extra hour.

[0:39:06] Julie Smith: They like me if I had to do anything. And I tried to get jobs, but this was the problem in Denver. I was in Denver, they said I’m.

[0:39:17] Phil Yeager: Too much of an Eastern accent.

[0:39:21] Glenn Harper: I mean, that’s true.

[0:39:23] Phil Yeager: For example, this is coffee.

[0:39:26] Julie Smith: Coffee. All right.

[0:39:28] Phil Yeager: Now, I notice, and by the way, I noticed from your accent, you will.

[0:39:34] Julie Smith: Say this, the top of the house is roof.

[0:39:39] Glenn Harper: It’s the roof, right? Roof, yeah. That’s too far east, right? I’m Cleveland accent. Yeah.

[0:39:50] Julie Smith: Do you call the bag the sack?

[0:39:52] Glenn Harper: No, no, bag. Bag.

[0:39:56] Phil Yeager: Because I could just share to you.

[0:39:57] Julie Smith: I lived in Denver, as I said, for six years. I go into a king supers. I don’t know if they have King supers New York, but I went into King supers and they’re packing up my groceries, and they said, first of all, I want to know how many sacks do you want me to put in your buggy? And I said, well, what the heck is a buggy?

[0:40:21] Phil Yeager: Oh, the thing you push.

[0:40:23] Julie Smith: So I said, by the way, you said to me, she didn’t say the word roof, I forget them yet. But she said, we’re almost over.

[0:40:38] Phil Yeager: She said 1 second. She said, how many sacks do you want me to put in your buggy? And that’s when I realized six years.

[0:40:50] Julie Smith: Was enough in Denver.

[0:40:52] Glenn Harper: Yeah, we’re not from Kansas anymore. That’s the whole thing.

[0:40:54] Julie Smith: But I think you took that passion and you were able to pivot to do something that you truly love. Right. So it sounds like you love to speak in front of an audience, and you kind of figured that out early on, and I think you were able to pivot define that and be able to do something just slightly different, but to feed that passion.

[0:41:15] Phil Yeager: Yes.

[0:41:15] Julie Smith: And what I’m trying to do is I really sort of got away from the school for a couple of years. Okay, it was running, but now and.

[0:41:26] Phil Yeager: That’S another thing I let these people.

[0:41:28] Julie Smith: Basically run the show, and they did a real job ruining it and really exhausting funds ahead. So that’s why I’ve gotten back into this full time. All right.

[0:41:40] Phil Yeager: And let’s just say one thing.

[0:41:42] Julie Smith: When you get older, like people say, how old are you? I say, 78. Oh, my gosh, you look pretty good.

[0:41:49] Phil Yeager: Of course.

[0:41:49] Julie Smith: And now I have a full time cosmetic surgeon I carry with me every place I go. But no, the thing is, I tell them, you’ve got to keep working.

[0:42:00] Phil Yeager: Because.

[0:42:01] Julie Smith: I have seen people and get into the 60s, they retire, and within a year they dropped it.

[0:42:07] Glenn Harper: Correct.

[0:42:08] Phil Yeager: That’s why also, I do this well.

[0:42:11] Glenn Harper: Remember, as a general rule, if you’re not tending your flock, the wolves are going to take everything from you. So you can’t be an absent owner, you can’t be an absent entrepreneur. You have to have your kpis measured. You still have to have influence. You still got to lead, and you got to make sure the right people are doing what they’re supposed to do and have a good culture. I mean, you got to do that.

[0:42:31] Julie Smith: So, Phil, you accidentally said your age, and that’s okay, but what’s your end game? What do you want to do? You’ve obviously found many avenues that have fed your passion, but where do you see yourself going in the next couple of years, five years? What else do you want to feed.

[0:42:49] Phil Yeager: Julie in all years? I’ve been working, all I’ve been doing is working.

[0:42:55] Julie Smith: I was a workaholic. And I think I don’t know. I really can’t answer that.

[0:43:04] Glenn Harper: But are you having fun?

[0:43:05] Julie Smith: Yes, I think I’m going to live forever.

[0:43:07] Glenn Harper: But are you having fun working?

[0:43:12] Phil Yeager: Not now, because we’re having trouble getting students because I don’t have the right.

[0:43:17] Julie Smith: People working for me.

[0:43:19] Phil Yeager: It’s so hard.

[0:43:20] Julie Smith: So no, it’s becoming more.

[0:43:24] Phil Yeager: It’S difficult.

[0:43:27] Glenn Harper: You’re at a pivot point.

[0:43:28] Phil Yeager: Because I need better people.

[0:43:30] Glenn Harper: Yeah, you’re at a pivot point where you’ve got to decide what you’re going to do. Either double down, do something different or whatever. But again, most entrepreneurs, they don’t really call it work. This is their passion. It’s something they love to do, and they want to do it. The money is either there or it’s not there. But generally, if you do things for the right reason, we’re card.

[0:43:49] Julie Smith: Can I ask you a quick question, Glenn?

[0:43:51] Glenn Harper: Absolutely.

[0:43:52] Julie Smith: You enjoy what you’re doing, am I correct?

[0:43:54] Glenn Harper: I’m sorry.

[0:43:57] Phil Yeager: You really like what you’re doing?

[0:43:59] Glenn Harper: Absolutely.

[0:44:02] Phil Yeager: How would you like doing what you’re.

[0:44:04] Julie Smith: Doing and saying, I love what I’m doing, and I would even do it for no money. All right. But what happens after a while? I will do it for no money. It gets a little frying. At least for me, it does.

[0:44:18] Glenn Harper: Well, right. That’s again, you got to figure out the thing that you got to make a living, you got to make some money. But again, it’s got to follow your passion. And sometimes that passion drives you to putting in time and you’re going to do something philanthropic and do it for the greater good. Sometimes you’re going to drive to exist and make a living, and sometimes you have that drive or you want to go build an empire. And that’s up to you to figure that out, what that is. It doesn’t matter which one it is. We tell our entrepreneurs that you got to find your passion.

[0:44:47] Julie Smith: But what I see, Phil, is that you’re at a point of opportunity. I see it as a very positive thing. You are looking at something and, hey, this is what I have. I can go this way, I can go this way. It may be something that you don’t even know exists yet, but it’s going to come forth from what’s going on and the opportunity in front of yourself. And again, I have no idea what that is, but I know someone like you definitely has opportunity in front of you. And I know that you will jump on it when it speaks to you and that’s what you’re supposed to be doing. And that’s your passion. It’s going to feed you in some way. So keep going. I get that it’s a tough world, lonely world out there, we say, for the entrepreneurs. But there’s definitely something on the horizon and you can’t quite grasp it yet, and I can see that, but there’s definitely something coming, and it may be something completely different than you had in mind, but we always know it always works out and always works out for the best.

[0:45:37] Glenn Harper: Don’t forget, Phil, that at your age and we’ll call it it doesn’t matter really what your age is. You’re what we call a seasoned veteran. You have so much knowledge, you have all the shortcuts. You have what we call wisdom. And when you reach a certain point in your career where you have all that wisdom, you know too much to retire because you still can create value for so many people. So now with that wisdom, you just got to go through your rolodex in your head and try to figure out what can you do with all that wisdom that can bring value that people will be willing to pay you for or do it for free. I mean, if you reach a point in your life, you don’t have to work anywhere. Great. Volunteer at the university, entrepreneur classes, whatever, or teach for free, it doesn’t matter. But find that thing that you just know too much to just stop. I mean, if you were, again, just putting a widget on a widget, okay, I can’t wait to stop doing that. But if you’re out there and you’ve spent your entire career, you’re a master at your trade, never give up.

[0:46:32] Julie Smith: And you love being with people, so keep doing that.

[0:46:35] Glenn Harper: So that would be advice.

[0:46:36] Julie Smith: I appreciate that, by the way, Glenn, I’d like you to put this on record on this tape by saying, phil, if you get to the albany, I hope you’ll give me a holler and give me a call.

[0:46:50] Glenn Harper: Absolutely. Right up the street. Well, for all of our listeners out here, I hope this shares a little bit of things, that sometimes it’s hard to get this out of one of our guests, that there are some struggles. People always think, well, everybody’s successful and they’re living at the top of the world. That’s a struggle out there. Constantly. We got to keep going.

[0:47:10] Julie Smith: Something I think we always talk about on the show, and sometimes it’s more relevant than others, is the peaks and valleys. And we always say the peaks are the easiest and the valleys are the hardest, but the valleys are where we learn so that we can get to a peak. And I think you’ve had a ton of peaks in your career, Phil, and you just happen to be in a valley. But you’re going to learn something very valuable from this to get you to the next peak.

[0:47:30] Glenn Harper: And everybody only sees your peaks. They never see your struggles behind closed doors, what the anguish you have to go through. How are you going to pay the bills? You don’t have this you don’t have that camp on these people, but that’s that internal struggle. You’re very generous to share those struggles on our show today, but again, everybody has those. And now that you know those things and you can identify them, what are you going to do to fix them? And that’s what it comes down to. Don’t never give up. Just change the direction.

[0:47:57] Julie Smith: I appreciate your advice and kind words, and I must say it again. You’re two of the nicest people I’ve met.

[0:48:05] Glenn Harper: Well, thank you.

[0:48:06] Julie Smith: I can meet people like you every week or every other day. I’d be spoiled.

[0:48:12] Phil Yeager: It was every day.

[0:48:14] Julie Smith: You’re just two super people.

[0:48:16] Phil Yeager: Thank you for having me on your show.

[0:48:17] Glenn Harper: Well, I appreciate you, Phil. And again, thanks for being part of the show and the notes we’ll put on how to get a contact you if anybody needs to. Julie, it’s always a pleasure doing a show with you. I hope all our listeners get some value out of this one. We’ll sign it off. Take care.

Episode Show Notes

Glenn Harper and Julie Smith have an inspiring discussion with successful CPA and entrepreneur Phil Yeager about his incredible journey.

Phil shares his struggles and successes in his journey, and what it took to turn his vision into a successful business. He also provides invaluable lessons he has learned along the way, from pivoting to teaching classes online to finding the right employees.

Hear inspiring advice from Phil on how entrepreneurs can overcome the valleys and reach the peaks.

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