Ross Hewitt - Ep 005 - Don't Be Fooled Podcast

The creative response of small business owners to shift in the aftermath of a pandemic and the affect its having.

Special Guest: Ross Hewitt

The 4 Most Important Priorities For Owners To Focus On Every Day:

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Ross (00:00):
I wanted like everybody else, uh, a quick fix or, or something to, you know, turn on the switch. And then all of a sudden I’ve got more clients than I know what to do with, but that’s, as we know, not the case, you really have to put in the hard work. And it was honestly one of the best things that I’ve, I’ve been through it

Amy (00:21):
Now is not the time to write a book or to create some video series. It’s time to keep doing the thing that you have been doing the best. And your market is demonstrating that they find value in it because they continue to pay you.

Shane (00:38):
If any of these fears are driving your decision to lower your price or add more products or start spending more money on new clients, it’s time to slow down and manage those fears before they crushed your revenue.

Amy (00:54):
Hey everyone, it’s Amy with Shane on Don’t Be Fooled podcast. Orville Wright said just wants to go higher and higher while he was describing his glider that eventually became the first aircraft recorded to lift off and fly. Now, I believe this describes the entrepreneur’s drive to keep creating and innovating until they achieve the outcome they desire most. In 2020, this strength was truly put to the test. We are a year into a pandemic culture and creativity is driving owners more than ever. According to a survey commissioned by, small business owners reported that rather than looking outside to outside factors for help with their model, they are turning inward and they have tapped into their innate ability to keep going higher and higher. Now, here is the three outcomes that have been recorded during this pandemic year that owners have turned to. Number one 51% have made price changes.

Amy (02:03):
Number two 30% are focusing on new client acquisition. And number three, 26% are focusing on innovation on new products and services. 50% of the participants reported their belief that they would report growth in early 2021, despite 44% of them reporting a decline in the last quarter of 2020. That’s some serious confidence. Four out of five owners have begun their digital transformation or are beginning to do so. Now I want to make a warning to those of you owners who are resilient, who are convicted and who are persistent. That the message that this research says about discounting, adding new clients and creating new offers is dangerous. Do not be like the owner who discounted their prices added more offers and increased costs on advertising because ultimately what he did was he lowered his cash flow. He increased his expenses and he could not acquire enough new clients to make up the difference. For if you do this, you will be like my client who saw costs rising acquisitions, going down in suffocating cashflow. Let’s listen to Ross’s story. In his own words,

Ross (03:31):
My passion to help others came from my family at a very early age. My dad was always one who was helping his friends and they were, his friends were always coming over to our house, helping us with projects. So it really taught me to work hard, uh, and help others when, and if you can, if you’ve got the ability and if you, and if you’ve got the time, then you might as well be helping people. My grandma was always also a big influence on me. She is a very spiritual person and we’d often have talks about our life here on earth and how God, uh, you know, really wants us to be and how we’re here to help others. And, and to, to be a resource, you know, for Him. I also recognize, you know, as I was growing up that making others happy is, you know, more rewarding than just trying to make myself happy or try to get the things that I wanted.

Ross (04:19):
So, you know, the older I get, the wiser I get and, uh, really figure out what truly is important in life. You know, I had a, uh, before I had a great paying job, I had, you know, I had my dream house and, uh, not, not quite my dream car yet, but, uh, I honestly was miserable, you know, cause it was getting to be just, you know, serving, uh, for money and for making sure I made the, the bills and was able to pay for all this stuff. And I lost sight of what truly was important and that is that it’s helping people. So, you know, I went through the proverbial midlife crisis and I came out with a vision and a mission to serve others, you know, with my God-given talents and be a conduit for him. And that has made, you know, all the time.

Ross (05:09):
Well, as I said, I started with a big firm and, you know, with those in that setting, you get referrals and you get a client opportunities pretty readily. And when I decided to go out on my own, uh, all of that stopped and also as the beginning of the pandemic, uh, so I started my tax business on April 16th in 2020 when the pandemic was just getting started. So not an ideal time by any stretch of the imagination. Uh, but it has been a blessing as I look and reflect backward on that. Having gone through, you know, my career over the last, almost 30 years, where there was a certain way of acquiring clients and, and, uh, going and getting, uh, clients, uh, it was more old school. And, uh, when I started on my own, I quickly realized that the market has changed. Everything is totally different and I really, really needed help.

Ross (06:07):
So initially, uh, in the summer, probably June, July timeframe, I engaged somebody that came off as specializing in accountants and getting them into the digital age and teaching them how to do, uh, things like funnels, uh, email, drip campaigns, uh, things like that, but he didn’t spend a whole lot of time on message. Uh, it was all about coming up with content and blasting it out as to as many people as possible with as much content as possible. So I wrote an ebook, uh, set up my funnel and, you know, it was just crickets. You know, there was no response. I had no client acquisition after I spent a good sum of money trying to get, uh, guidance in this area, but one thing was missing. So when I encountered Amy and got, uh, involved in that, the message resonated with me because I think the missing thing was that, you know, even though we’re in the digital age, we’re still human beings and we need that connection and we need people to be authentic.

Ross (07:20):
It didn’t sound right, but it sounded good. But I was still skeptical at first. I knew that my, you know, with my experience with the other guy, there was something best thing. And I think this was, was the answer. So, uh, initially, I mean the research was hard. I’ve wanted, you know, like everybody else, uh, a quick fix or, or something to, you know, turn on the switch. And then all of a sudden I’ve got more clients than I know what to do with, but that’s, as we know, not the case, you really have to put in the hard work.
And, and it was honestly one of the best things that I’ve, I’ve been through. It was, it was very difficult reaching out to clients or reaching out to people, uh, is not, you know, first nature to somebody like an accountant, like me, a natural introvert, uh, very to himself and, um, you know, love people, but not one to, uh, interact or be comfortable with that.

Ross (08:16):
So it was hard, but the results that I found and the responses that I received really opened my eyes to how much I can help these people and, and what was truly missing in my message. So I believe this is more true to myself than the other, even in my past career, you know, being authentic was not really preached, you know, back with, with the firms, you have to present yourself as very knowledgeable that you are the smartest person for the job that, you know, nobody’s as good as you are. So it was much ado about how good you are and not, you know, how, how can we help, you know, so I think that that makes all the difference. And we didn’t really have to back in the day, because that was just the way things were. But as I said, things are, are changing. And I think for the better.

Ross (09:16):
This approach has also helped me with my personal battles, with depression and anxiety. Uh, I placed my value as a person on how good people thought I was at my job. And if I lost a client or if I didn’t go get a client, I was, you know, uh, taking that personally. But, uh, with this approach and trying to reach as many, you know, tried to reach people, but also learning that you’re not going to be the answer for everybody and not everybody needs or wants your services. So that helped me. And then, you know, knowing that I’m helping people also, you know, is a good thing. Uh, I’m not cured, but, uh, I don’t know if I ever will be, but I’m definitely going down the right path. And the funny thing is, I mean, people are more receptive and respond better, you know, the more authentic you are.

Ross (10:05):
So it’s, it’s been a great experience and, and, uh, you know, being authentic and developing those relationships, as I’ve noticed, the a hundred percent turnaround in my business, I went from having no leads to having honestly, you know, um, to a point now where I need to kind of decide whether or not I need to either add people or do something different so I can handle, uh, handle more. I’m kind of at a turning point or a growth section where I need to figure out what I’m going to do next. And honestly, it’s given me a lot of confidence, you know, to be myself, uh, both personally and professionally, and the quality of my relationships in both aspects of my life have improved. Uh, since I’ve adopted ascend, uh, Ascend systems

Shane (11:04):
Football was a sport that I played in high school. My senior season, we played for the state championship and our, I will always remember what it was like to roll through that small South Georgia town, where we played our team was the visiting team. And this entire community was rallied around their local school for this big game, right? I mean, storefronts were decorated. Banners were hung from light poles that draped over the streets. When we went down our way to the field, I mean, this game was hyped! Even Garrison Hearst, who would later play professional football for the San Francisco 49ers was the star running back for the other team. And I want you to know every recruiter that you can imagine from a major college in the Southeast was going to be at this game to watch him play. I mean, it was intimidating! And at halftime of the game, this game was so close. We came out in the second half and we managed to have the lead with less than two minutes to go.

Shane (11:57):
And our team had to punt the ball on fourth, down at this stage of the game. And Garrison Hearst ran it back for a touchdown, putting his team ahead by just a handful of points. Well, if we were to win, it would be by driving down the field and scoring a touchdown. And I remember, I remember being in the huddle on what would have been that probably a first or second down. And I mean, we really believed that we could make this happen. And our coach called a passing play. And as our quarterback dropped back, he was met with this crushing defensive rush. And he went down and he went down hard. Well, as he got up, I noticed that his hand, when he was really banged up, I mean, scraped up, couldn’t move it. Well, he was in major pain and I thought, that’s it, we’re done.

Shane (12:41):
This guy is out. And he’s the only one who can get us in that end zone. But the guys stayed in the game. Play after play the pain, increased in his resolve to not come out of that game too. I mean, he, this guy, he was so convicted of our team’s need for him to be on that field, that he was not coming out no matter how bad he hurt. And I remember, I remember him coming up to the line of scrimmage, literally tears in his eyes, still standing strong, taking the snap for the next play. We made it down to what would have been close to the 14, 15 yard line in our final offensive play of the game. His final pass of his high school career fell to the ground in complete. We lost the state championship. And I want you to know that night in front of thousands of people I witnessed, what is still one of the greatest displays of resilience that I have ever seen. I mean, this was truly an amazing demonstration of character.

Amy (13:41):
What an incredible experience for both you and him. Shane, it reminds me of the words of Albert Caymus when he said sometimes carrying on just carrying on is the super human achievement. Consistency is the secret to the most resilient and successful owners that I have observed. Most people that start businesses, can’t keep with one thing for even a hundred days, but it’s the self-discipline to not switch gears in the middle of the game, but carrying through on what you know is working no matter what the environment around you is saying. So how can an owner evaluate what’s working in the business and focus on only that instead of discounting adding more offers and increasing costs when it comes to client acquisition, that they’re not sure is going to convert? Well, number one, we need to look at the evidence in the business where the most revenue is coming from.

Amy (14:43):
So rather than adding new offers or products, we need to make the ones that are converting. The best thing that we offer. So evaluating, where is the most revenue coming from is the evidence that you need to keep doing that thing. Delivering that service over and over now is not the time to write a book or to create some video series. It’s time to keep doing the thing that you have been doing the best and your market is demonstrating that they find value in it because they continue to pay you. Number two, we need to evaluate the gross margin of the business. So this will help us determine if pricing needs to be changed. So if the gross margin of your service based business is 60% or higher then no price changes need to occur, especially discounting.

Amy (15:43):
Listen, people feel really uneasy, paying for cheap services. Nobody wants to brag that they have the cheapest service provider in the neighborhood. Okay. They really, really see the value in your service based on the price that you are requiring. Number three, we need to audit our marketing practices.
Is there a 300% ROI on average in your marketing efforts? If so, where is it coming from? You see, it’s not add new, new marketing tactics until we know if the ones that we’re currently using are getting us a healthy ROI. So if you don’t know where people are coming from into the business, how much it costs to acquire a new client, or how long it’s gonna take to acquire them, then you do not have marketing metrics. That’s the first place to start is not by adding on new client acquisition. That’s going to cost you money that you’re not sure is going to actually make you more money.

Amy (16:50):
When you venture out to start a business, you must be aware of your imaginary enemy. And when you venture out to add new things to the business, you’ve got to be aware of your imaginary enemy. Skepticism is the deadly enemy of progress in self-development. You might as well stop this podcast than to approach what is coming next with the feeling that Shane and I are some philosophical theorists that have never tested principles or wrestled with this imaginary enemy. You see we’re living in an age where being a skeptic will kill your efforts to progress. It is in this technology era, we have seen more of nature’s laws uncovered. I mean, Shane we’ve witnessed more millionaires and billionaires created after implementing the most valuable technology on the planet. We can explore the bottom of the ocean from the comfort of our homes. We can travel to outer space with astronauts and experience the solar system from our couch.

Amy (17:48):
We have major secrets of our brains and leverage them for the greater good. And yet we have barely scratched the surface of knowledge. People much smarter than me have traced poverty and failure back to one thing. Fear! Not discounting, not more offers and not adding on the cost of marketing that you’re not sure is going to convert. They have also discovered the fact that the man who masters this fear may march successfully on to achievement in practically any undertaking, despite all efforts to defeat him. Now, Shane, I know that you tackled these angles of fear every day with your clients. So tell me, how does one begin the process of mastering fear?

Shane (18:32):
That’s right, Amy. And I’ve found that developing resilience requires us to manage our fears. And every one of us is bound to one degree or another by fear. And if we really want to overcome a fear, that’s crippling our impact. The first thing that I’ve found is we have to define it. And then we’ve got to objectively look at the consequences of its grip on our life. Now, Amy, I know that you and I are very familiar with Napoleon Hill and in his book, the Law of Success. He identifies six basic fears that tend to hold all of us back. And first there’s the fear of poverty. Now the basis of this fear comes from our programming to see resources like money as scarce. And I’m curious as you’re listening, what do you, what do you hear when I say money? What’s your view of money?

Shane (19:19):
Do you see it as something that is precious, easily lost? Do you believe someone else could be after your money? And if you aren’t careful, you might be persuaded to part with it unwisely and, and that would actually be devastating. That’s what we believe that produces the fear of poverty. Instead of telling ourselves money is tight and it should be guarded, we should tell ourselves the truth. There is more money, more than enough money available to meet my needs. And I either can access or have access already to the wisdom that’s needed to generate more invested well and steward it with discipline.
Now, next is the fear of old age. And this fear is rooted in the belief that we have limited time before we become irrelevant. Now we’ve watched others step away from meaningful roles at a certain age and, and live what we perceive to be meaningless lives.

Shane (20:14):
We overcome this particular fear when we realized that age is not a limiter of meaning or influence or impact or purpose. What I would tell you if you wrestled with this sphere is to decide what your chief aim is in life, and you will defeat it. Your chief aim is the driving force behind why you do what you do every day. So be inspired by your highest value that you can give today. And this fear will truly flee from you. Now, the third basic fear is the fear of poor health. Now, this fear is closely related to the fear of old, and it comes from our seeing others who suffered from debilitating health issues. And then asking the question, what if this happens to me, we imagine in our mind’s eye, what could happen? And we rationalize all sorts of excuses to never start something that requires us to take a risk.

Shane (21:04):
“What if?” is the dominant statement that keeps us stuck in this fear. Well, instead replace “what if” with “what now”. To eliminate this fear, remind yourself that the present moment is all that I have not the past or the future and asking yourself what now will move you to take the next best step without that fear crippling you. Well, then there’s the fear of losing the love of someone. Now, this is a big one. I’ve seen it arise when I’m concerned that someone I love may not support the direction that I’m choosing to go with my life. Then I’ve also found that this fear can be kept at bay by communicating frequently, honestly, and timely with those closest to me before I make any major changes. Now, I’ve also learned to move at the pace of the other person rather than requiring them to catch up to my pace of understanding the next basic fears, the fear of criticism, and this one strikes this one strikes more people than others.

Shane (22:03):
Amy, no one enjoys being criticized, not at all, right. I mean, it causes us to conform, stay in our place, right? And to risk our dream rather than risk someone, condemning us for chasing it. So we believe actually that the sting of disagreement is greater than the loss of what we want. That is tragic to me! Wow! To remove the cause of this fear from your life, you’re going to want to define your values and live them out with integrity. And this is going to give you the peace of mind that you crave when it comes to criticism coming your way. Now this last basic fear is the fear of death. And we believe that the clock is ticking and it’s working against us. And hey, rightfully so. We recognize there is going to come a day when we are no longer living. And, and that can really be scary.

Shane (22:54):
But remember this, you do have life today. Live your life today, every day, being of service to someone else you may have heard. It said before that people on their death bed don’t regret the times when they lived life in meaningful relationships with others and those relationships create their legacy and that legacy lives beyond them. So build a legacy of serving others and that legacy will outlast your lifetime too. So if any of these fears are driving your decision to lower your price or add more products or start spending more money on new clients, it’s time to slow down and manage those fears before they crush your outcomes.

Amy (23:36):
Wow. So powerful. Now my favorite book says that strength comes in waiting. It also says anyone who meets a man facing a challenge and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. You see resilience is an acting from feeling enthusiasm is not resilience. Endurance is. So if you are going to impact lives for a long time, like Shane said, you’ve got to learn to be patient. You’ve got to learn to slow down, evaluate decide, and then reenter the process, being reactionary and acting from a fear that is driving feeling that is making you feel enthusiastic is not resilience, patience, evaluation, decision, and courage. That’s what it is. It’s endurance. So to learn more about how you can actually implement an agile business system, you can join our masterclass in the link below this episode. And also please subscribe, share, and comment and let us know how you are practicing resilience. Thank you so much for joining us in today’s episode. And we will talk to you in the next one. Bye!

Shane (24:56):
Bye everyone!

Shane (25:03):
The Don’t Be Fooled podcast is copyright by Ascend 1, LLC.

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