Episode #25 – Chris Duncan of PointB Education
Chris Duncan, PointB Education
In this episode number 25 of the InnovaBuzz podcast, Chris Duncan of PointB Education openly shared with us his experience in building and operating (as of now) 8 different businesses by building systems, processes and developing people to gain leverage. He’s all about helping people achieve total freedom. He’s been helping people get from where they are to where they want to be, and fast. Find out how we doubled his already BIG Goal on the podcast today!
Listen to the Podcast
I’ve just got one model that works to build companies, and so I think to myself, “There’s an opportunity.” I just start it, then I scale it, then I systemize it, then I find somebody who runs it for me.
Some of the highlights of this episode include:
- Chris strongly believes that one cannot be a solopreneur. You’ve got to be an entrepreneur and build a team, and an organization. This requires systems and processes, as well as good people.
- The internet has provided unlimited opportunities for business today – you can have your own talk-back show, tv station, newspaper – start with Zero money and scale to billions!
- When starting a business first find the person who’s going to be the builder. The person who’s actually going to create the structures in place, the systems, and then you’ve got to have someone who thinks up the ideas. Then you’ve got to have someone else who’s actually going to bring the team together.
- I think it’s important for people to understand, especially when they’re innovating, that getting something imperfect into action to get the feedback is vital. Get to market fast and get validation.
- Automated webinars that are selling products are a massive opportunity today – automated income streams.
What great business is no one building right now?
Peter Thiel, from “Zero to One”
The Buzz – Our Innovation Round
Here are Chris’s answers to the questions of our Innovation round. Watch the interview to get the full scoop.
- #1 thing to be more innovative – Ask good questions. I think all innovation starts with asking the question of “How can I solve it? What else is possible?”
- Best thing for new ideas – The best thing I’ve done to develop new ideas or new products has been to trust myself. If you would use it, if you believe in it, then go for it.
- Favourite tool for innovation – My favorite tool or system is building a team. The ability to delegate gives you massive leverage.
- Keep project / client on track – Weekly accountability sessions.
- Differentiate – Go BIG! Then double or triple it!!
To Be More Innovative and Productive
Stick to what you’re good at. Play your A game. Build on your strengths, have other people fill your weaknesses. Do not allow yourself to be spread too thin, and try to do too many things, because you’ll reduce your potency. Just focus on your circle of genius.
Chris suggested I interview John Abbott, Founder of the Results Platform Foundation, serial entrepreneur, technologist and global epic adventurer on a future podcast. So, John keep an eye on your Inbox for an invitation from me, for the Innovabuzz Podcast, courtesy of Chris Duncan!
Click to Read…
Hi, I’m Jürgen Strauss from Innovabiz. Welcome to Episode No 25 of the InnovaBuzz Podcast – designed to help smart businesses with an interest in innovation and the Internet of Things become even more innovative.
Today’s guest is Chris Duncan of PointB Education.
Chris is all about helping people achieve what he calls Total Freedom in their life by leverage within their business. He is an entrepreneur, speaker, coach and very smart business person, he works with other business owners to help them get from where they are, to where they want to be and Fast! He has 8 separate businesses himself right now and is aiming to reach 100 $1million dollar businesses (actually that goal was revised to 200 on the podcast, so listen in to find out how that came about!).
This podcast is sponsored by Innovabiz, where we help smart, innovative growth focused business owners grow their business by making their websites achieve more. Of course, at Innovabiz, we do more than just build websites – we provide solutions to our clients’ needs by leveraging the power of the internet in innovative ways. If you want to learn more, then go to innovabiz.com.au or contact me directly through the contact information there.
Now, let’s get into the Innovation Hive and get the Buzz from Chris Duncan.
Jürgen: Hi. I’m Jurgen Strauss from Innovabiz, and I’m really excited to have here with me today on the podcast, all the way from Auckland in New Zealand, Chris Duncan of PointB Education. Chris has a whole bunch of businesses actually, and I’m sure we’ll find out more about those today. He spends much of his time coaching other business owners to get results. He says, on one of his websites, “I’m all about helping people achieve total freedom. I help people get from where they are to where they want to be, and fast.” Welcome to the podcast, Chris. It’s a privilege to have you here.
Chris: Yeah. Likewise. Thanks for having me. It’s good to be here.
Jürgen: Before we start talking all about business growth and coaching, and other topics all about your other business, let’s step back a little bit and find out more about you as a person. When you were a young child, what aspirations did you have? The typical question, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Chris: Yeah. Well, for me, it was 100% around sports. There was nothing more than I wanted to be than a professional athlete. That was my whole focus, and I got there briefly, but didn’t quite crack into anything.
Jürgen: What sport were you into?
Chris: Basketball, actually.
Jürgen: Okay. That’s fascinating.
Chris: Yeah, it is. That was me growing up, just sort of very kind of focused on that.
Jürgen: When did you decide you weren’t going to pursue professional sport as a mainstream career?
Chris: I think it was about age 18-19. I just had … There was different life events that happened, and it just came to be something that I just let go away. I’ve thought about it a lot, actually, whether I should have stuck with it or not, but yeah, there was nothing major to be honest. Just kind of drifted.
Jürgen: Noted that one of your early businesses was a personal training business, so did that evolve out of your sports interest?
Chris: Right. Well, it all kind of happened at the same time. I mean, I left school. I didn’t finish high school, which I think is really interesting. I left high school, and I went and got basically an exercise diploma, and so I could spend the most time playing basketball, I became a personal trainer, and I was able to earn good money in a small business with very little time. It sort of actually opened my eyes right back then to what was possible when some of my friends were earning, you know, 15-20 dollars an hour, and had to do these jobs they hated. There I was in a gym earning 50-70 dollars an hour, and all the business perks that came with it, as well. That was my first proper business, aged 17, working in a gym. All kind of intertwined together, actually.
Jürgen: Okay. Then, there’s also something about a DJ company on your resume?
Chris: Yeah. What happened was I did very good at my personal trainer business, but what I found is I wanted to do something bigger, and I didn’t have any ideas. I got some advice, which was to go to University, get a business degree, which was interesting, because I didn’t finish high school, but I managed to get into University. While I was there, again, I didn’t want to go down a traditional job route. That’s never been something that I’ve looked at. I started hosting some parties, and realized that I liked playing the music, and so I taught myself how to DJ, got myself a little gig at a bar, and then it started evolving. I would go around to different bars and nightclubs, and I would play music, and then we would do 21st’s, and then it expanded, and we had other people. It was more fun. It was more of a hobby. All the hobby entrepreneurs out there, I’ve definitely been you! It was good. It supported me through Uni, and a little bit after that, as well.
Jürgen: All right. I guess those early experiences taught you a lot about business that you’ve then started to share with other people?
Chris: Yeah. The main thing that they allowed me to do is all my businesses have given me more life. That’s something that I talk about a lot. So passionate about people having businesses, that give them more of their life. One of our companies is the Freedom Fast Track, and PointB Education, and we’ve got the new growth epic and stuff that comes out, but all of it is there just to get people to get more from less, so they can actually do other things with their life. I think that’s sort of critical and I guess right back from when I was doing my personal training business, the business was there to give me money and time to do my basketball. Then, when I had the DJ company, it was there to … Well, actually the DJ company was a lot of fun, as well. I mean, I was like, “I’m partying a lot. I may as well get paid to party.” I think that’s really helped me now, because I see a lot of people, they’re in businesses and jobs I think they don’t love, and that’s something that’s never been okay for me.
Jürgen: Yeah, that’s sad, isn’t it? There’s a lot of people talk about it, but I guess most business owners somewhere along the line fall into that trap. They don’t realize that they’ve set themselves up with a job that is going to be unpleasant at some point fairly soon on the journey.
Chris: Yeah. I think it’s not their fault.
Jürgen: That’s right, yeah.
Chris: Everyone is born into going to school, and we’ve got to learn everything. We’ve got to do it all ourselves. I think some of the biggest skills of being an entrepreneur is the art of not doing it yourself, and delegation, and actually having that trust in other people. I don’t think we’re taught that enough. That’s another big story.
Jürgen: I want to explore some of those things a little bit more later on, so systems and delegations, how delegation and how do you scale a business, because I know you’ve got a lot of information there on various of your websites, plus videos and so on. Before we get onto that, how many businesses do you actually have running actively at the moment?
Chris: Well, it depends which way you slice them. We like to say 8 right now, separate entities. There’s actually a couple more that have sprung up, and I think a lot of people go, “Well, how do you do that?” And, “What’s going on?” It all comes back to the … It’s the same system. I’ve just got one model that works to build companies, and so I think to myself, “There’s an opportunity.” I just start it, then I scale it, then I systemize it, then I find somebody who runs it for me. Most of my companies, it’s an hour to 2 hours, 3 hours a week, max. Just meetings and just making sure they’re on the right track, and then I let it go. I leave it to them. 8 currently, which is really exciting. It’s very exciting.
Jürgen: Yeah, that is exciting. I think you’ve captured there in a snapshot of how you can actually systemize a business and grow it, and delegate. That’s basically you’ve developed a system, repeat the process, and hand it off to somebody, and just monitor it.
Chris: Yeah, I agree. 100%. Business, should be easy. It should be simple. I think people complicate it too much, and again, there are so many people that are out there that will do good things for you, and one thing that I love is finding great people to do the hard stuff in the business, really.
Jürgen: What do you spend most of your time doing day to day?
Chris: Most of my time, that’s a really good question actually. Most of my time is … Well, on the brand for half of my companies, so most of my time is finding ways to reach out with that brand, so videos, social media, and actually putting out good content. I spend a lot of time in front of the camera shooting videos. We’ve got our new TV show, as well, which is taking up some time. The second big thing is talking to everyone running my company, or different companies. I spend a lot of time just coaching and interacting with them, and helping them to do what it is that they do. Then, the next one is actually reaching out with new partners, joint venture partners, people that can help our companies grow. Other than that, there’s only one other thing that I really do, and I sit there and I plan, and draw out new ideas, and where the companies heading. I really enjoy my days, and obviously this what we’re doing now, is a part of me getting my brand out there, so people know who I am, and so that fits right into everything I’ve just shared, as well.
Jürgen: Yeah, that’s great. How big of a role does the internet play in your businesses?
Chris: I don’t think that any of them would work without it. Bigger than big. Every single one of our companies make money online. Every single one of our companies engage our customers, clients, every single day online. We wouldn’t have anything without the internet. It is the coolest thing. Just on that, it is the coolest time ever to be a business owner right now. I mean, I’m looking around me, and right now, you’ve got your own talk back radio show. On my phone, I can shoot video and there’s my whole TV station. I can write a blog, there’s my newspaper. We can create our own content. Businesses can start with 0 dollars and scale to billions. It’s just … I’m so excited for all the entrepreneurs out there that are listening, just because …
Jürgen: It is, isn’t it? I was talking to somebody today about Periscope, the new Twitter tool. I haven’t got into that yet, but I’m hearing people getting into that, so I need to have a look. You can do a live video broadcast from your phone.
Chris: We’ve created multiple thousands of Periscopes already. I was an early adopter. It’s my 3rd month on Periscope, and honestly, I am so glad I got into it. There’s a few others that have come out. There’s Meerkat, there’s Blab. There’s this new podcast one coming out, and obviously Facebook Mentions. I’ve just got to say, this is known as their innovate. I love what you do in the title of this podcast. The innovators … Sometimes you’re either innovative or you’ve got to get on the forefront of these innovations, and Periscope is huge right now. I mean, I jumped on the other night, and you’ll love this. It was after a podcast I did. I just opened up my phone and just sat it there, and I can’t remember … Oh, I wrote, “Why you don’t need a website to make sales.” Within half an hour, I had 455 people live viewing. It was cool.
Jürgen: That’s fabulous. I know, I have to have a look at that.
Chris: Get into it.
Jürgen: Yeah. All right. Is there something that you worry about? Something that keeps you awake at night?
Chris: I saw this question and I looked at it, and I was like, “Do I tell them the truth?” The answer was yeah, I should. I should share exactly. The thing that keeps me up at night, there’s 2. one, I’m either super, super excited about something that I’m doing, and I just can’t put it down, and I’ve spent … Sometimes I just don’t sleep all night because I’m that into a new project, but the thing that really keeps me up, and I know the way that you labeled that, what keeps me up, is that whenever something doesn’t go to plan, I am a stressor. I am. When things aren’t working out for me, if I have a client who isn’t happy with something that’s happened, or I’ve put money into something that doesn’t work, I honestly and I don’t like to admit it, but I will sit there, and I will stew on it. Until I find the answer, there’s not much sleeping happening. I don’t know if that’s the answer you’re looking for, but it’s the truth.
Jürgen: No, we’re just trying to find out what drives people. For me, it’s a couple of things. One of them is what you said first, which is if I’ve got an idea, or if I’m working on a project that I’m super excited about, I just can’t turn it off. I find that I start getting new ideas and the moment I start getting new ideas and that creates another idea, and then I’m gone. I won’t sleep the whole night, but the other one is, if I’ve got my teeth into a problem, I tend to look at problems and say, “Nothing’s impossible,” and I’ll figure out a way to do it, but sometimes that takes a longer time. Then, I’m kind of off. I’ve tried a dozen things and I’m thinking, “Okay, I’m going to call it a night. I’ll come back to this tomorrow morning.” Then, of course, I’m stewing over, “Well, what else can I do? What else can I look at?” There you go. I’ve shared mine.
Chris: I love it.
Jürgen: You know, you talk about freeing up time and making time to do other stuff. What do you do to keep balanced and fill up that other time that you’ve made up? You still play basketball?
Chris: I don’t. I’ve been meaning to. In fact, I’ve gone and got a brand new basketball, some new shoes. I was traveling. Basically for 3 years, we were just straight on the road, traveling. I didn’t have time to connect with a team and that sort of stuff, so no. When I’m not doing my business, like I am kind of obsessed right now with entrepreneurship and business, and ideas, so honestly, other than spending times with my fiance, or walking my puppy, or hanging out with friends, I’m thinking about business ideas. That might seem weird to a lot of people, but to me, business is my sport. I gave up basketball, which was my sport. This is my game that I’m planning on winning, and I’m planning on winning big. I mean, 8 companies is just the start for me, and so I look at that, and I go, “Well, what can I create? What am I doing? Where can I move? What are some ideas?” I’m always listening to new book. Listening to new podcasts, or connecting in with new books or more people. Kind of obsessed, which I wouldn’t recommend to be honest.
Jürgen: Yeah. It is fun, and as you said earlier, it’s exciting to be in this age of the internet. Not only does it create all these opportunities through cool tools and technology that’s available, but also, you can connect with people. I’m listening to a couple of new podcasts now, people I met last week at a conference. I thought, “Wow, that’s great.” I’m sort of really listening to those podcasts at every spare minute because there’s really interesting information there, and then there’s great stuff that you can read, whether it’s eBooks or, I don’t know if you know Blinkist. I came across that recently, and I’m obsessed by that.
Chris: What is it?
Jürgen: It’s called Blinkist. It’s an app that you can download onto your phone or tablet, and it gives you hundreds of business books, but in summary form. Probably about a third of them are in audio, so you can listen to them, but all of them are visual, so you can read. It just captures a snapshot, so all the classics are there, like “Seven Habits of Highly Successful People,” and “First Things First.” All the Stephen Covey ones and that, which for me, is fantastic, because I’ve got them on my bookshelf, but every now and then I think I should go back and read that, so this is a way to kind of capture just bullet point form, the messages that were there. I mean, I’m sure there’s heaps of other things like that around.
Chris: Yeah. I’ll get it offline from you. I’m really interested.
Jürgen: I want to dig a little bit deeper about what you do in your business, and coaching, and see what we can learn from you there. Little tips and tricks. What do you see as the biggest hurdles that business owners face today and that you deal with the most?
Chris: This might be controversial, but it’s so on my brain right now, and this week, and even this month, that it’s important for me to share it. I think the biggest hurdle right now is people going and learning stuff and wanting to just do it all themselves. I think the biggest problem right now is business owners stepping out of their genius. Say that they’re like me, they’re a good public speaker, they’re a good inspirer, they’re a person that can sell, they’re a person that can pitch ideas and do that sort of stuff. Then, I go and try to learn, and I’ve done this. I go try to learn Facebook ads, or copywriting, or I go learn how to build websites, or I go try to learn team management, or I go learn all these other things. I think the biggest challenge right now is we jump on social media, and as soon as I pop on, there are 50 guru’s telling me how they make their money. Probably 48 of those guru’s do it in a way that’s not going to suit me, and the way that I need to do business, and my special place in the business. I want to add to this, and say that the biggest challenge in people when they’re starting their business is they try to do it all right from the start. The first thing I would say when starting a business is you’ve got to go and find the person who’s going to be the builder. The person who’s actually going to create the structures in place, the systems, and then you’ve got to have someone like me who thinks up the ideas. Then you’ve got to have someone else who’s actually going to bring the team together. They should go learn those tasks and those roles, and everyone together. One plus one, plus one, should equal 20, not 3. I think the biggest challenge facing business owners right now is that they get sucked into another piece of information or another training, or they go to seminar after seminar, course after course, and two thirds of those courses or seminars that they go and do, are not in an area that’s their flow. That may be controversial, but that’s the truth.
Jürgen: Yeah. Actually, it’s a really good point, because … and we’ve talked a little bit about great new tools, and interesting ideas, and as you say, there’s a lot of guru’s around. There’s lots of different seminars to go to, and a lot of them are really great, but it’s all about focus, isn’t it? You can’t do everything if you try to do everything, you either burn out or things fall over.
Chris: Yeah. It’s that school mentality of, “I’ve got to pass the exam. I’ve got to do everything. I’ve got to do it. It’s up to me to learn it. I’ve got to get a good job. I’ve got to pass University. I’ve got to understand this job. I’ve got to understand all the pieces of my job.” Then, we go into a business, and we’re still trying to understand all the pieces of a business. Then we go, “Okay, cool. I don’t know blogs yet. I don’t know this yet. I don’t know that yet.” It’s like, “I don’t know how to systemize, build websites,” or, “I don’t know how to speak on stage.” Suddenly, we just become this jack of all trades, and I see it so often. I got so sucked into it. I know way too much stuff. I know way more than I want to know. Two thirds of it I shouldn’t even know. I’d be much better if I just focused on my genius, stuff that’s natural to me, and just outsourced and delegated and brought in people into my business that were good at the other things, and worked together. That is the big thing. Here’s the one that I really want to say. I believe the solopreneur is a myth. I think that everyone out there is after the solopreneur dream, and I think the word itself just cannot work. You cannot be a solopreneur. You’ve got to be an entrepreneur and build a team, and an organization. It may be controversial, but I just thought I’d bring some controversy to this tonight.
Jürgen: No, that’s fine. We can handle controversy.
Chris: Good. It’s already been done.
Jürgen: It is a really good point, though, and I suppose we can take a step back and say, these people don’t have to be employees. You don’t have to start a business and say, “Oh, gosh. Chris is telling me I’ve got to find 50 employees because there are all these 50 things that need to be done.” The classic is example is your books, your accounting. You have a bookkeeper do your books. You have an accountant do your accounting. Anybody that’s doing that themselves, unless they’re an accountant business, really you’ve got to ask yourself why? Is that the best use of your time? Are you going to do a good job with that? You can go through all the things that need to be done, can’t you?
Chris: Yeah. Absolutely. People underestimate the power of a future goal. Think about it right now. When you start a business, even though you’ve got the idea, it’s still zero dollars at the idea phase. I go, “Okay, so what I’ve got is zero dollars, but I’ve got the potential of an idea that can create, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 million. What if I just” … This is how I build my businesses a lot of the times. I get an idea, and then I go, “Okay, cool. Do I have the money or do I need to find the money? Okay, I’ve got the money. Am I going to actually be the face of the business or do I need to get someone to be the face?” I go, “Would you like to be the face of this? There’s your, I don’t know, 7%.” Okay, person gives me the money. “You’ve got 30%.” Person who does this, “There’s your” … “You’re going to build the website. There’s your 10% of what we do.” Sales person, “You’re going to get 5% of the overall thing.” I add all these out, and suddenly, I’ve built myself out of this company. I do an hour a week meeting, and I’ve got 30%. I love that. I love that so much. Then, these companies grow and people go, “Chris, how have you got 8 of these things?” I go, “I just told you.” This is what I try to share with people in the “Zero Dollar Startup Program” and the “Freedom Fast Track,” is that if you can understand how to be what I call “the glue,” the missing piece, the one that sees it all and brings it together, then that’s what I believe is going to make me be one of the great entrepreneurs and take big businesses and do things I haven’t done yet, but I can see the potential and so that’s what I think.
Jürgen: Well, that kind of segues nicely into one of the other things I wanted to talk about is finding your niche, and finding your why. We’ve talked about a business owner trying to do everything, and then if you say, “Okay, you can’t do everything.” What do you focus on? How do you kind of identify what’s your niche as a business, and what’s your niche as the business owner and what should you be doing?
Chris: It’s such a good question. I love it. It seems like there’s two parts to it. One is, what’s your business niche? Then, what roles should I play in that business, I guess? The niche part, to me, it’s always an interesting question, and I think a lot of people go into places that they’re passionate about, but for me, I like to just ask the question, “Where’s the biggest opportunity?” In fact, I’ve got this written on my wall right now. What’s written on my wall was in a really good book that I read recently by Peter Thiel, and he’s awesome. It’s called “Zero to One” and the question is, “What great business is no one building right now?” I think it’s such a good question. When I think about what niche you should be in, it’s all about the opportunity. A lot of times, I see people going, “Oh, well I’ve just done … I know this niche, so I’m going to go with it.” I think a lot of times, that’s a great idea, but I think also a lot of times, we miss … There might be an opportunity somewhere else, as well. The niche question is a hard one. Here’s my best answer for it, is the only way to decide if it’s a good niche is not to sit back and try to analyze it from the outside. I believe the only way is to get something up, put a thousand dollars in, or $5000, get a website up, figure out what you’re going to offer, what is your proposition, and go get some sales. When you’ve got some sales, you’ve got some money coming in, then it’s a niche. Then it’s a business. In fact, I’ve got a video training up. I made $9000 in 3 days starting with 0 … Well, I actually spent $400. I didn’t even have a product yet. I rang everyone and I said, “Hey, I don’t have this ready for another 3 weeks. Do you want a refund?” They all said, “No, that’s fine.” That’s what I think about the niche. The niche is important, and you’ve got to get validation from the market very quick. I’m very quick to put something to market that isn’t perfect. I think that’s important for people to understand, especially when they’re innovating. That’s what this is about, is that getting something imperfect into action to get the feedback is so important. Getting that out to market. Then, what position should you play? What’s the niche, I guess, inside your company? That’s an easy one for me to answer. The question is this. Which piece of the business would you do for free? That’s how I find what I would do. The piece of the business you’d do for free. What would I do for free? Well, I love shooting video. I love being the brand. I love being on stage. I love speaking to people. I love teaching. I would do that for free, and in some places, I do. That’s what I do. Everything else, somebody else does.
Jürgen: Okay. That’s an interesting perspective, what I’d do for free. Talking about the business niche, what you’ve outlined is very much like a classic lean startup model, isn’t it?
Jürgen: I think one of the mistakes a lot of businesses make is they want to go to market with a perfect product. They spend money and time refining things, and getting it just the way they think it should be, and then they go to market, and then a lot of the times, it falls over, because there’s no fit for it, or it’s not the right opportunity, or it doesn’t speak to the right audience or whatever. What you’re saying, spend as little money and as little time as you can, and get some sales. Then, verify it by … If you get heaps of sales, and people actually tell you, “Hey, I’m fine. I don’t need a refund. I’m happy to wait 3 or 4 weeks until you get it finalized,” that’s validation, isn’t it?
Chris: Yeah. That’s why I love what it is that you do, combing through people’s websites and making sales. I think everyone should check out what you do, because making websites work, and actually getting the sales and marketing nailed is, it’s not as easy as everyone thinks. It’s one of those things that it looks so simple, but if I was starting a company, and I didn’t want to be actually in it, the first person that I would hire or have on the team is a proven sales and marketing expert. Somebody that’s proven to make money. That’s one thing I think a lot of companies that don’t work, they’re so focused on the system, and the product, and not on actually getting it out to market, and getting it moving. I totally agree with what you say. Totally. 100%.
Jürgen: Talk to us a little bit about systems and processes then. You’ve alluded to it a couple of times, in terms of building new businesses, but tell us a little bit more about that, and in particularly, how it relates to scaling a business?
Chris: Absolutely. If you don’t have a system, obviously you’re going to have to keep doing it again, and again, and again. There’s 2 ways that we like to scale. Sorry, we like to systemize our business. One, we systemize it to delegate it. Or, we systemize to automate it. That’s the first question. We go, “Okay, we’ve got this thing that one of us manages. High level, partners, somebody’s doing, and that’s the block, because we can only do so much right now.” It’s already scaled, we’ve scaled to a million, we’ve scaled to 2 million, okay. Now we’ve got this block of fulfillment. We need to create a system or whatever it is. The first question we ask ourselves is, “Are we creating a system to automate or a system to delegate?” That’s the first critical question to ask yourself. That takes you down 2 different paths, because if you’re looking to delegate, then you’re creating a system to make sure that a person delivers on an outcome, but if you create and automate, we’re actually going to automate this process, again, it’s a completely different system, and a different person to bring in to help you to systemize it. There might already be tech available to help you to make that happen. A lot of times there is, and a lot of times, you need to kind of create some sort of external system, or training system, or something. If you were to ask me how I like to systemize, I prefer to use tech that’s already there. We use a lot of different plugins and different tech to make sure our businesses streamline as much as possible, and then I love to outsource, and delegate. We’ve got a team in the Philippines that we’ve created a full training program for, and they run 70% of all of the businesses. That only can happen because of my business partner, his name’s Mark Dyson, and his ability to take a high level problem, or a high level task, and just break it down, and then create a training program, systemize it, and then teach somebody at the basic level, just to make it happen. That’s what we do.
Jürgen: Yeah. That’s great. How do you build that training program? Is that very much like you do your public stuff with videos and documentation that just walks people through the process?
Chris: Yeah. Teamwork, our place where we train our outsource team, it’s very specific, but it makes really logical sense. We first off just start with, “What’s the outcome?” And that’s just put right on the top. “The outcome of this task is to do X.” Then, there’s actually a video. Normally it’s a screen share video, with a voice-over of us actually completing the task. There’s actually some sort of demo involved. That’s very similar to the videos. Obviously it’s not a face to camera video, it’s just a screen share typically. This is like anything, including Skype calls, including sales calls, or booking hotels. We’ve systemized everything with some sort of screen capture video. Then there’s the steps. Step 1, step 2, step 3. Steps you need to do. Then, there’s the weekly rhythm, daily rhythm. Either it’s a project that’s a one off, or it’s a task that’s done every single week. What sort of rhythm is it? Then, there’s basically troubleshooting questions and then the last thing, which is the most important, is who to ask if you are stuck, so that they know exactly where to go up the line to ask how it’s done, so that it’s already completed. We have a standards ritual, and we have someone looking at it, also. I think I’ve covered everything, but it was a really good question.
Jürgen: Yeah. Well, that’s great. That was a little master class actually on how to write a process. I’ve learned a little bit myself, actually. I like the who to ask at the end, and troubleshooting and so on. We don’t have that on our processes yet. I’ll have to go back and do that. I have a golden rule with my team. It’s the first place you ask if you need help is Google. The second place you ask is different team members, and then the team members who have … everybody knows “Person X has certain expertise,” so if you’ve got a problem in that area, you go and ask them first and so on. I say, “If all else fails, then come and ask me.” Yeah, I guess we might have to refine that a little bit more.
Chris: Yeah, well it definitely sounds like you’re on the right track, and I can’t wait to learn some stuff from you. It sounds like you’ve got it all written, too.
Jürgen: How do you present all that stuff? What form do you put it in? Do you have a system?
Chris: Yeah. We use a membership site. We’ve got our own built out membership site that our team plugs into, where it has all the different segues of the different roles, and tasks, and weekly actions, and they all have their own login. Then, we use another application, you probably use it yourself, called Trello. We just put everyone’s projects in there, and then we have another communication board. We just use a Slack channel for that, as well. Obviously we use a bit of outside tech, and then we’ve got our own system for our businesses that’s got our own way of doing things that we’ve personally put a lot of time and effort and built ourselves. I mean, one of our companies is actually outsourcing for other people, so we do have that, “Hey, if you’ve got a speaking business or a coaching business, and you don’t want to do anything, we’ve got it systemized.” We have got that available for people, as well.
Jürgen: All right. That’s great. We have similar setup, I guess. We’ve got an internal Google Sites setup for most the processes and systems. The thing I like about that is the searchability of it. We’re using Asana. We did use Trello for a little while, but we’re using Asana for projects now, and then we’re using Slack for communications. I’d love to have all of that in one place.
Chris: I’ve heard of a few people attempting that. I agree.
Jürgen: All right. That’s given us a great insight into some of the problems you tackle, and help entrepreneurs with. Definitely … Tell us a little bit more about other issues around scaling a business, because processes is one of them.
Chris: Yeah. I think scaling is the solo … I dislike the word, but I think the solopreneurs challenge is scale. How do I scale? It’s very interesting to think about it, but there’s really just 2 ways. Roger Hamilton basically describes it the best. He says, I’m going to paraphrase it. I’ll probably get the wording wrong, but he basically says, “You either magnify one thing, or you’re going to duplicate.” McDonald’s duplicated itself. It just did the same thing hundreds of thousands of times. Or, like an Anthony Robbins, you make just 1 thing big. An Oprah Winfrey just made one thing big. There are the two options when it comes to scale. Now, I think with the internet, there’s so many options for someone to magnify their business very, very, very quickly. I mean, we’ve got automated webinars that are selling hundreds of thousands of dollars and we don’t even have to be there. People are purchasing them 24 hours around the clock. If you’re in business right now, and you don’t have a webinar that’s automated, that’s selling a decent priced ticket, and that it’s working, well, you’re missing out on a massive opportunity to having an automated income stream. I think that’s a great, great way to scale. Public speaking is obviously another way to scale, and that is really cool. The live stream. Anyway that you can move to a one to many situation with your message is going to magnify, and then 0 to many through your videos and your webinars and things like that, is two great ways to magnify. Now, when it comes to scaling through duplicating yourself, this is something that I am wanting to master even more. I’ve definitely got the magnify down, but I have had limited success at actually reproducing, and duplicating, again and again, and again, and again, the same thing. I think that comes down to which sort of tendency you have as an entrepreneur. Whether you just like to make one brand big, and you’re good at doing that, or whether you just take this brand, and you keep it small and you put one in Melbourne, and you put one in Perth, and one in Adelaide, and one in Brisbane. Do you set up one in the United States or do you just kind of franchise it out? I definitely am not the expert authority at all on duplicating the same thing over and over again. I prefer to create scalable sales and scale your business out using those online methods that I was sharing.
Jürgen: Okay. That’s great. I’m starting to do more webinars that are automated. I’ve discovered that, and I thought, “Wow. This is fascinating.” We’re just getting the technology right at the moment.
Chris: Nice. What are you using?
Jürgen: We’re using WebinarJam at the moment. It’s got an add on called “EverWebinar” which can run a live webinar and then you can use the EverWebinar to basically replay it and the whole thing replays together with the audience, the questions, the comments, and it reuses the registration page and landing page and everything. It’s got the analytics built in so that you know if people are signing up for next Monday’s or the following Monday’s and so on.
Chris: Smart. Good for you. I hope it goes well. The best thing about them is that you can just test and measure.
Chris: And tweak. You can see when people drop off, and you can just make it right. We’ve got some webinars converting in excess of 30% into programs and products that are hundreds of dollars. It’s really good.
Jürgen: That’s terrific, yeah. All right. Well, we should move on to our innovation round. “The Buzz,” as I call it. It’s designed to help our audience who, they’re primarily innovators and leaders in their field. We’re looking for tips from your experience. I’m going to ask you a series of 5 questions, and hopefully we’ll get really insightful one line answers that’s going to inspire everyone and help them do something awesome as a result. No pressure there. What do you think is the number 1 thing anyone needs to do to be more innovative?
Chris: Ask good questions. I think all innovation starts with asking the question of “How can I solve it? What else is possible?”
Jürgen: Yeah, I love it. What else is possible is a great one. Curiosity is a big thing, isn’t it?
Jürgen: What’s the best thing you’ve done to develop new ideas or new products?
Chris: The best thing I’ve done to develop new ideas or new products has been to trust myself. I think a lot of times when you’re putting out something new, sometimes you go, “Well, where’s the model?” But just trust yourself. If you would use it, if you believe in it, then go for it.
Jürgen: That’s a good one, yeah. What’s your favorite tool or system for improving productivity and allowing you to be more innovative?
Chris: I love this question, and I want to say building a team. I want to say building a team. My favorite tool or system is the ability to delegate. I think it’s underrated.
Jürgen: Yeah. That’s really important, isn’t it? I mean, we’ve talked a lot about it today, but in terms of actually giving you as the business owner the space to kind of develop that trust in your own ideas or to think about new things or to start asking questions, think about, “Well, what are the questions I need to ask here?” That’s really important.
Chris: It is. Then, actually trusting someone else with your business, your baby, to actually make it happen.
Jürgen: That’s right. That’s the big one, letting go. All right. Now, what’s the best way you think to keep a project or a client on track?
Chris: Weekly accountability sessions. We do this 10 minute boost calls. 10 minutes. When I do my coaching, it’s 10 minutes, once a week. Ask some questions. Typically I find, and I know this is a longer answer, typically I find something holding a client back is normally just a little question or a little bit of uncertainty and it can be solved in under 5 minutes every single time, but if they think that they can’t reach out to you, or that it’s not a scheduled thing, they put it off, and put it off, and put it off. If they just got that answer on a weekly basis, bam, answered, and then they can move.
Jürgen: I love it. Yeah, that’s great. I like that – it’s regular, so presumably you schedule them.
Chris: That’s it.
Jürgen: They’ve got to come in. They come back with, “Oh, I’ve done the things we spoke about last time. Now, I’ve got some questions,” so they’re not bothering you with questions in the meantime. They’ve got their own time.
Chris: Yeah, that’s it.
Jürgen: Great. What do you think is the number 1 thing anyone can do to differentiate themselves as an innovator?
Chris: To differentiate themselves. Now, my answer I’ve written down was just to go big. Go big! I mean, I feel there’s such a groundswell of entrepreneurs right now, and products and services, and I think the one way that you can differentiate yourself is go big, and then double how big you’re going to go. I mean, go big. Go big. Just go big! I think it’s the biggest differentiator right now, because there are so many people who are playing less than I know they’ve got.
Jürgen: That’s great. Go big, and then double it. Or even triple it. I love it! Great advice. Well, thanks for getting us through the innovation round, Chris. What’s the future for you and for your businesses?
Chris: The future for my business is really exciting, and the biggest thing that’s happening for us is we’ve just got this machine. We’ve had a sales and marketing machine working, and now, in the last 6 months, getting this outsourced machine working, I’m going to be able, within the next 3 to 6 months, take on any product, and within a month or 2 months, get the full sales, get everything working, and then have it all outsourced and working without me. We just put down a goal to have a hundred 1 million dollar companies or more. That’s a big goal, but when you can have 1 machine, and here’s the interesting thing – I find so much passion in the startup and getting a company moving and growing it, and now having a team to outsource it for me, I can’t see myself losing the passion for seeing brilliant ideas getting out to the world. That’s what the future holds for us. We’re just launching something new called “Growth Hacker,” we’re on a TV show over in the US where basically we just grow companies and mainly our own. Lots of fun. Lots of fun. I should add that, as well. I see a lot of fun in my company, as well.
Jürgen: Yeah. I guess if you’re not having fun then why are you doing it? That sounds exciting, and of course, what was it? A hundred one million dollar companies, so that’s actually two hundred, right? Because we’re doubling it!
Chris: Yep. I love that so much. You have no idea how much I like it. That is so good. You’re right. I’m just going to go scribble out – that bigger than big goal. Go bigger than big, man.
Jürgen: Okay. Well, I’m just following your advice.
Chris: It’s perfect.
Jürgen: All right. That’s great. What’s the number 1 piece of advice then you’d give to any business owner that wants to be a leader in innovation and productivity? We may have covered it.
Chris: Number one piece of advice is stick to what you’re good at. Play your A game. Build on your strengths, have other people fill your weaknesses. Build on your strengths. If your strength is building great systems and websites, then do that and become an absolute expert at that, and surround yourself with the other people. Do not allow yourself to be spread too thin, and try to do too many things, because you’ll reduce your potency. Just focus on your circle of genius.
Jürgen: That’s great advice. Focus is really important, and bring your A game. If you can’t play your A game, then focus even narrower.
Chris: Just do it.
Jürgen: All right. Finally, who would you like to see me also interview on the InnovaBuzz podcast and why?
Chris: That’s a really great question. I would love to see you … My very good friend. His name’s John Abbott. He’s over in Bali. I would love you to interview him, and here’s why. He is doing extraordinarily well with a brand new way to sell online. I’ve seen him in the last 3 months, and we’ve all heard of the Jeff Walker’s, and the Ryan Deiss, those people. This guy has got something big, and that’s all I’m going to say.
Jürgen: Okay. All right. Well, John Abbott, I’m coming to get you, courtesy of Chris Duncan. All right. Where can people reach out to you and thank you for all this information you’ve shared with us? You’ve been really generous with time and information and know-how today. That’s been great. Where can people reach out and say thank you?
Chris: Well, I mean, they can come out wherever they want. I think if you’re going to have comments below this …
Jürgen: Yeah, yeah. We’ll do that.
Chris: I’ll jump on and answer any comments. My TV show on the Grant Cardone Network called “Growth Hacker TV.” Every single week, you can check me out there and add comments. My website www.christophermduncan.com. I’m sure we’re going to put down my Facebook, my Twitter, things like that. Just reach out and connect with me. I’m on Periscope twice a day, every single day. If you’ve got on any questions, get on that. We’re building a new TV network on my TV show “eTribe.” I’m everywhere. It’d be very hard not to be able to reach.
Jürgen: Okay. We’ll put a selection of those links underneath this blog post.
Chris: A smorgasbord.
Jürgen: Yeah. We’ll see if we can track them all down. Growth Hacker TV will be one of the ones we’ll link to. Certainly your website, and Facebook and Twitter, and the Periscope one, as well. All right.
Chris: This has been fun.
Jürgen: Thanks a lot, Chris. I really appreciate your time. I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve learned a lot, as well. Thank you for sharing your time and your insights with us on the InnovaBuzz podcast, and keep in touch. All the best for your future, and we’ll see how those hundred, no, two hundred one million dollar companies come along.
Chris: Thanks mate. I really appreciate your time and your experience, and I’d love to have you over on my podcast when you get some time to learn even more about what you’re doing.
Jürgen: All right. Love to do that.
Jürgen: Thanks, Chris.
Well I hope you enjoyed meeting and listening to Chris Duncan of PointB Education as much as I did interviewing him. We both had a lot of fun on the interview and I certainly learnt a lot about building processes, about delegation and automation and how different processes are required for the two types leverage situations.
All the show notes for this episode will be at innovabiz.com.au/chrisduncan, that is C-H-R-I-S-D-U-N-C-A-N, all lowercase, all one word, innovabiz.com.au/chrisduncan, for all of the links and everything we spoke about in this episode .
Chris suggested I interview John Abbott, Founder of the Results Platform Foundation, serial entrepreneur, technologist and global epic adventurer on a future podcast. So, John keep an eye on your Inbox for an invitation from me, for the Innovabuzz Podcast, courtesy of Chris Duncan!
Thank you for listening to the InnovaBuzz podcast. We’d love you to review this podcast, because reviews help us get found and your feedback helps us improve. You can review us at iTunes or Stitcher and while you’re there, please subscribe so you’ll never miss a future episode.
Until next time, I’m Jürgen Strauss from Innovabiz.
Remember, if you don’t innovate, you stagnate, so think big, be adventurous and keep innovating!