Are you just operating your business, or are you an actual business owner? Today’s guest is someone who can transform you from the former to the latter. John Livesay sits down with Tim Francis, founder of Profit Factory, where he helps entrepreneurs figure out what they are not doing correctly that’s causing them to not be profitable. Reevaluating why you became an entrepreneur in the first place, Tim talks about the ways we have been misled to chase fame and fortune instead of truth and mastery. He explains why we should seek to improve our businesses and help everyone because that way, the fame and fortune naturally follows. Furthermore, Tim also discusses what it actually means for you to be a creator of content in comparison with someone who just consumes it. Learn how to become profitable and more as Tim shares with you his Know Your Numbers workshop and his other company, Great Assistant, where he highlights the importance of how virtual assistants help you save time.
Listen To The Episode Here:
Profit Factory With Tim Francis
Our guest is Tim Francis, who is the Founder of two companies. The first one is the Profit Factory and the other one is the Great Assistant. His niche is helping entrepreneurs figure out what they’re not doing correctly that’s causing them to not be profitable. Great Assistant says, “What it is in its name, getting you a great virtual assistant so that you can save time.” His income himself when he got a great assistant more than doubled, and that’s what he helps other people do. We go into a deep dive about truth and mastery and what it means in terms of, are you someone who is a creator of content or just consuming it? The whole concept of looking at fame and fortune is like a cat. If you chase it, you won’t get it but if you sit still and let it come to you, it might jump on your lap. Enjoy the episode.
Our guest is Tim Francis. He’s an award-winning entrepreneur from Canada and the Founder of Profit Factory and Great Assistant. He is a graduate of the University of Alberta, and back in 2010, he was blindsided by a rare illness that left him unable to walk for three months. He nearly went bankrupt and was forced to restart. He promised himself that he’d never be a burnt-out entrepreneur again, which is a driving motivation, which led to the creation of Profit Factory. Entrepreneurs who are chronically stuck working in their business turned to Tim to achieve the freedom and control that made them want to be an entrepreneur in the first place. He helps entrepreneurs go from operating their business to being a business owner. He helps them arrange things, delegate, and zero in on their sweet spot so they can have time off to enjoy life. Tim, welcome to the show.
Thank you for having me. It’s nice to have you here in Austin as well.
I’m thrilled to be living in the same city that you have taken by storm. You are the person that makes the city desirable to move to because while people may not know you, they know someone like you is living here, which is making a positive impact on the world. It causes Austin to be voted one of the best places to live and creates this whole community of startups. You’re open. You’ve got many successes going on that people want to be around that energy. Our mutual friend, Billy Bross, who has also been a guest on the show, connected us. I was blown away. I thought, “If Tim is a sample of the quality of the people that are in Austin, no wonder this place is thriving.” One of the things I want to ask you about is your story of origin. One of the easiest ways to do it would be to have you described what you have on your wall, which in this photo montage of amazing moments from your life. Take us on the journey of some of those pictures that give us a little story of the origin of you.Know your numbers. Click To Tweet
It’s funny when we host dinner parties here, people usually have 1 of 2 reactions to the photos on the wall because it’s my life in fifteen pictures. Some people say, “That’s clever. It enriches all the stories that are shared.” Other people say, “You’re a raging narcissist.” It’s a matter of opinion, and we host a lot of dinner parties, so I get lots of feedback.
It’s your house. If you’re not going to have pictures of yourself up, where are we going to do that?
I can’t wait for the opportunity to have you at our dinner. It’s going to be great. We’ve hosted 44 of those dinners and we’ve got people flying from all over North America to come to attend. It’s going to be fantastic to have you out to one of the dinners soon. I grew up in Canada. One of the pictures on the wall is of me riding a little tricycle with a little Canadian flag on it. It’s one of my favorite pictures of myself. It’s purity and innocence in that passion that we all have when we start. As I was growing up, I knew that I’d be an entrepreneur. Another picture of my wall is me in front of a painting truck because it was my first ever business when I was nineteen. I was also a varsity athlete and I loved the experience of competing when I was in college and whatnot.
Around that time is when I started my first ever business and I realized quickly that business is a little bit harder than expected. When you’re out there competing, you’re not just competing against your peers, but also people that have significantly more experience. I became an entrepreneur fairly quickly after university and I was broke. I had three roommates help me pay the rent. I had a home that I owned and I called it the Entrepreneur Academy. It was me and three other friends who all live there. I thought that I was going to be a millionaire by the time I was 25 or 30. I had big aspirations. I was a touring drummer at that time, which is another picture on the wall of me playing in a small arena. While we were on the road, I would also study real estate investing DVDs, how to acquire houses with no money down, and how to raise money?Navigate the cash crunch. Click To Tweet
I got a little bit of traction and I ended up getting four houses. I thought I was in great shape, so I thought that I would get rich and famous with rock and roll in real estate. In 2010, things changed. The crisis hit in ‘10, a little later in Canada than it did in the USA. I ended up losing $100,000, mostly of other people’s money, which was crushing. My residence went upside down by $100,000, so I was down at a couple of $100,000. I also had a mentor who ended up being 1 of the 2 leaders of a $12 million Ponzi scheme and his business partners convicted in court given a $250,000 fine, banned from Holding Securities for 25 years. His partner more or less, fled the country. It’s stressful and I ended up developing an illness because of the stress and exhaustion called Erythema Nodosum. For three months, I couldn’t walk.
I would have gotten double bankrupt in my business and my personal finance had I not had an amazing family to take care of me. My mom paid my mortgage for me for three months to cover me. I’m indebted to my parents for how they raised me and have given me so much stability that I could take risks outside of the home because I knew the home is always safe. There’s this moment in February of 2011 when I was laying in bed in month number two, where I felt the warmth go through my body and I felt some tingling like it never felt before. I heard a voice that said, “Tim, is this what you want?” At that moment, I don’t know if a second went by, a minute, or an hour, but time stood still. One of those pivotal moments in life. I heard another voice that was quiet and weak, but it was clear. It said, “Yes, entrepreneurship. Yes, this is what I want.”
John, at that moment, all these dominoes started to fall cascading realizations through my head, heart, and soul. I realized that I’ve been chasing fame and fortune when what I needed to be chasing were truth and mastery. Ever since then, I promised myself that I’m going to get a little bit better with entrepreneurship with every week that goes by. That’s been my mantra since the beginning of 2011. Here we are, every little bit has built on top of the one before. In my personal finance, I was able to pay everything off, which was great. My health is fantastic. I’m the healthiest I’ve been since I was a college athlete, which is fantastic. I don’t know if many people in their late 30s can see that. I’m proud of that. Not that it’s a comparison game, but it’s what I want, and I’m proud and fulfilled by that.
I’ve helped save multiple companies from bankruptcy and my own company. We’ve got two companies. One of which, I do consulting to entrepreneurs. I’ve sat on 139 different board meetings. I’ve looked at their financials and helped 70 companies, which has been fulfilling. Every day, there is such a precious opportunity to learn new things. I find fame and fortune interesting. It’s like a cat. If you go after it, it runs away but if you sit quietly and you focus on doing your work one step in front of the other, it’ll come and jump on your lap. I remember the shock that I had one day in Dallas. I was invited to speak in Dallas for a group of entrepreneurs and I’ve never given this particular talk before. The night before the presentation, I spent fifteen hours practicing in the condo that I’d rented.
You could go back to my Facebook feed. If you went far enough back, you would see this post that says, “Forbes Inc. and Entrepreneur Magazine had better all be in the audience tomorrow because I spent fifteen hours preparing this presentation and I’m bringing the heat.” I say that. There’s a picture of this dark room with a single pendant light. It almost looks like an interrogation room, illuminating this laptop at the end of a long night of working. I was astounded the next day to give the presentation. There are probably 150 entrepreneurs in the room. I got this wonderful ovation and about 30 people came up to shake my hand at the end, I’m busy shaking hands.
The second last person extends their right hand to shake mine and extends their left hand with the business card in it. On the business card, it said, “Forbes Entrepreneurship Editor.” Forbes is there and asked me to be a regular contributor to Forbes. That was one of those unbelievable moments that I was joking when I made that statement on Facebook the night before, and here they are. It’s been an incredible journey. The more I know, the more I don’t know and I’m constantly reminded of that and do my best to help everyone that I can along the way.
First of all, I’m going to tweet out, “Fame and fortune are like a cat. Let it come to you and jump on your lap.” It’s great. Arthur Ashe, the famous tennis pro, said, “The key to success is confidence. The key to confidence is preparation.” When I gave my TEDx Talk, it was about twelve minutes and they said, “You should practice an hour for every minute you’re speaking.” Most people go, “I’m not going to practice that much.” Clearly, you practiced fifteen hours for a talk, and you should be able to start it in the middle and start at the end. You know it well that you’re no longer having to think.
Like an actor does when they get on stage or in front of a camera to do a movie, they’re not wondering what the next line is. It’s in them so they can be completely present. In this case, as a speaker, we do that with our audience, whether it’s in person or via Zoom calls. You also said something about truth and mastery, which is something that you’ve learned from all of this experience and journey you’ve been on. What can people do to figure that out? Maybe if you explain a little bit about what you mean by truth and mastery, and then how someone can figure out how that could apply to their life as a takeaway?Are you a creator or a consumer? Click To Tweet
Maybe a couple of quick points on that is I’d read a book it’s called Millionaire Fastlane. It’s a hype-y title, but it had an incredible perspective and it talked about, in our lives, we can be producers or we can be consumers. If you look at your life through the lens of consumption, it’s like, “I want to buy that purse and that trip.” The production mindset is more of, “What could I create? How can I help?” One time, I was listening to some Jim Rohn. What a classic guy that he is. He’s both a brilliant mind and a poet. Jim Rohn said something like, “If a farmer walks to a field and yells at the field, give me food because I need it, the field will look back and say, who is this clown? I’m not interested in your need, but I’m interested in your seed.”
If we’re ready to show up and sow seeds of knowledge, effort, passion, and contribution, then all of our needs will be taken care of. If we’re in a dire situation or in a crisis environment, there are some exceptions there. There was a point when I was a couple of $100,000 upside down and I had no way to work because I couldn’t walk, stand, and even use my hands to type because the swelling in my elbows was painful. As soon as I could start to move my elbows again and sit up, I started studying like, “How do I get better at marketing?” Maybe I can’t go to meet clients. Keep in mind that this was many years ago, things were not as online as they are now. It was the next single thing that I could do that would tell the universe that I’m ready to take on more, receive more abundance, and be a steward of the gifts that are handed to me in the future because I’m being a steward of the gifts that I have right now.
I interviewed Rob Angel, the creator of the game Pictionary. He tells the story of how he created the game by saying, “What’s the one easy first step I can do to create a word list?” He took a piece of paper, pen, and dictionary, opened it up, and wrote down the word Aardvark. That became his whole metaphor. “What is your Aardvark?” It’s fantastic. You have done the same thing. This is what I love hosting the show because I get to connect the dots, lessons learned from different guests, and then introduce the guests to each other on top of it and say, “Do you want to hear Tim’s aardvark story?” His version of that was when he said, “What’s the one simple thing I can do as I’m getting well to start to get out of debt?” It was, “Start to learn and start to figure out what my seeds are.” I invite all the readers to think to themselves what they might feel overwhelmed from one thing or another, whether it’s a debt or a situation in their career issues. What’s the one thing I can do to start being a creator and not a consumer? It would be my takeaway there.
I’ve been hyped up, John, to study the ultra domination method so that I can retire in 60 seconds. When you’ve got no money and you’ve got little to work with, you realize, “I can’t operate in the land of one day, someday, wishing, hoping, and praying.” It’s more like, “I’m standing in a kitchen. I can’t go to the grocery store. What can I make from the ingredients that are in my fridge and in the pantry?” I looked into my environment and it turned out that one of my friends was an entrepreneur and he had a business on the internet. I said, “How do these credit cards appear and give you money? Who are these people? How do they find you?” He said, “Google AdWords.” I started studying a book by Perry Marshall. After that, he said, “Great.”
I clearly have time because I don’t have much else going on. How can I take this new skill that I’m learning, Google AdWords? How can I apply that? I looked into my environment again and my dad had a company. I went to my dad and said, “Can I practice this thing I’m learning in your business?” He said, “Sure. Sounds good.” I can’t remember if I even asked him for any money. I wanted the experience. I got some success there. I looked in my environment and said, “Who else is around me and how can I help?” Piece by piece, even if it was a humble skill and a humble opportunity, instead of being above it or instead of thinking it wasn’t big enough, I took it. It created momentum, confidence, experience, and track record. Interestingly, opportunity comes almost like, you’ve heard that expression, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” At the same time, when the entrepreneur is ready, sometimes the opportunity appears. It’s that classic story of, 74% of millionaires are broke or worse off within five years of winning the lottery.
They don’t know how to manage it.
I call it The Seven Pillars, Skillset, Mindset, Coaching, Community, Tools, Strategy, and Environment. The cup was only big, if $1 million got poured into maybe a $100,000 to air mindset or a $50,000 to air mindset, the water spills out and the money’s gone.
It’s almost like a comfort zone. We don’t have the consciousness to be a millionaire. It’s comfortable. That’s why for some guys, it’s hard to make more money than their dad if they have that belief that they can never do it.Fame and fortune are like a cat. If you go after it, it runs away, but if you sit quietly and focus on your work, it'll jump on your lap. Click To Tweet
I love to give credit where credit is due, but someone said that “Our content cannot exceed our context.”
This is the story of the Profit Factory. It’s what you’re telling us. The story of the origin of how you decided to help be of service. You saw a big problem that entrepreneurs were completely consumed with being busy all the time and not focused on profit, sounds like.
Coming out of my illness, I had a small internet marketing agency because it was the next skill on my path of mastery to becoming an entrepreneur. What I realized from doing it for a number of people, everything from websites to online advertising or whatnot, I was better at the operations of marketing than the actual creativity of marketing or inventing crazy new exciting headlines or campaigns. My friends and clients are asking me more for help on, how do I create nice SOPs or an onboarding process for team members?
For those reading, is SOP Standard Operating Procedure?
A checklist or something, yep Operations came effortlessly to me. I almost couldn’t believe that people didn’t know how to do it, but it isn’t the truth. Our greatest strengths sometimes are six inches in front of our nose and we don’t appreciate it because it’s not hard. We think it’s got to be hard to be a skill.
It’s not hard for us, but it’s hard for everybody else. That’s the big a-ha moment to figure out, “This might be something that’s my genius.” You have something called the Blueprints, correct?
Yes. We’ve got a Cash and Clarity Blueprint. What that is, I looked at my process. On my journey of mastery, which I’ll be until the day I die, I learned a lot about marketing, operations, finance, and about selling as well. I can’t forget that. This gets back to truth and mastery. I realized that because I hated math, and accounting, I would avoid my bookkeeper’s emails, and would never answer the phone when my accountant called. All of that, that’s like trying to run a business. Imagine you’re getting onto a plane, John. Let’s say that there are 250 people on this plane. It’s a big Boeing commercial plane. You walk on, everyone’s turning to the right to find their seat and then you turn left. You walked into the cockpit because that’s where your seat is. You’re the pilot of this thing. Imagine looking at all the dials and saying, “What is all this?”
The people on the plane could be your employees, clients, and audience. If we as the leaders don’t know how to understand the dials or worse, we say, “I don’t like that,” and then we close the door as if it doesn’t exist. I spent four years and around $100,000, crisscrossing the continent, attending different workshops, seminars, including night school at the University of Alberta, to learn about how to lead by the numbers. There are parts of it, John, I hated every single second of it but one of the biggest things I learned was that 98% of accounting, we do not need to know. We can leave that to our accountants. There’s only about 1% or 2% that we need to know. That’s what inspired me to create a three-day workshop called Know Your Numbers and then inside of that, especially given the 2020 pandemic, I created this clarity and cash roadmap.Our content cannot exceed our context. Click To Tweet
What that roadmap does is it helps any entrepreneur, who for any reason, is in a cash crunch. Whether it is because of some global event like a pandemic or whether it’s a new competitor in town or struggling with a new business to get it off the ground. You can use that clarity and cash roadmap to make sure that you don’t run out of money and you can get out of a sense of panic, splashing around in the water, trying to keep your head above the air. Let’s give you an edge of the pool that you can hold on to that allows you to reallocate your energy from survival to evaluation. You can say, “I can be calm for a second. What’s in my environment? What opportunities are here? What threats are in my environment? What do I need to avoid?” Now that I can be a little calmer, I can get clear on what I need to do. I’m confident in my next steps, which allows me to get back to being creative, to create new opportunities.
You’re such a good storyteller. I want to point out to the readers so that they can become better storytellers. When you describe turning left instead of right because that’s your job, you’re the pilot and then deciding, you don’t even want to go into the cockpit and that’s how some people run their business, they don’t even want to look at their numbers, it’s a great analogy. When you also describe the sense of feeling like you’re drowning and you need a minute to hold on to the edge of the pool and get your bearings, it’s another great analogy.
I don’t even know if you’re consciously doing it or not, but you’re doing it and that’s what makes you such a great speaker. For anybody reading to say, “How can I become more persuasive or better at pitching anything?” Storytelling is the whole premise of why I’ve created this show. When a guest like you shows it, it’s my job to underline it, circle it, highlight it, and double click on it, whatever you want to say, so that people go, “I heard somebody do it twice naturally. What can I do to start doing that?” We’re clear on who you help and what problem you solve, which in my definition is what a great pitch is.
We’re clear that you’re helping people who are struggling with areas they don’t want to do. What happens if they don’t fix these problem courses, business goes underwater. When you get to know your numbers, you are free and confident and once you’re confident, back to the Arthur Ashe example, that’s when the creativity comes back. That’s what caused you to start your business in the first place. Speaking of creativity, here’s my transition statement. How did you come up with the idea to start Great Assistant and not Okay Assistant or some so-so Assistant?
Thank you for your kind words about my ability to tell stories. It means a lot coming from you. You’re the pro. I feel knighted. I feel like there’s a knight’s sword. It’s not enough, I’m creating another story by creating that analogy. In the process of providing consulting to entrepreneurs on operations and finance and these are the backstage of business. I don’t teach, coach or consult on the front stage of business. I don’t help with marketing and selling. There are other experts who can help us with that. Being the backstage guy also means I end up in the back rooms and boardrooms. I see what’s going on. I’ve been privy to see a ton. I’ve worked with dozens of clients. One thing I realized over and over again was that entrepreneurs were too often stuck in the minutiae of their business.
It was almost like if you imagine crabs in a bucket, it’s the entrepreneur would start getting some traction where they’re starting to climb up and they’re getting more clients. They’re feeling excited. The other crabs are not other people, but it’s getting dragged down by your email inbox or by maintaining a website, plugins, by having to deal with invoicing, administration paperwork, or something. The entrepreneurs like, “They can see the top rim of the bucket and they know that there’s a big world out there at the next level, and they keep getting drugged down.” When I saw that the first couple of times, I was like, “That’s interesting.” Along the way, I had tried hiring assistance overseas. It was a total train wreck for me and I tried many different countries and many different pay rates.
What I finally decided was I needed to bear down and I needed to get my own North American based virtual assistant. I was someone coming out of corporate or professional America who was looking to work from home. I went on a website called HireMyMom.com, which is a fun name, and I ended up hiring someone by the name of Sarah. She was a paralegal leaving the legal field because she wanted to be home with her kids and her husband. She ended up being my greatest assistant for six years. This happened before I ever realized that it was a common issue. In the twelve months before getting my great assistant, I made $39,000. In the twelve months after getting my assistant, I made $107,000.
That’s the ultimate outcome of a story. If you read nothing else and you were thinking of, “Can I afford it?” The real question becomes, “Can you afford not to have a Great Assistant?” If you’re okay overworking yourself and getting caught up in the minutiae, Godspeed and God bless. If you want to double, maybe even triple your income and get back to the creativity and your sweet spot, your genius, if you will, then Great Assistant can be your solution. Since you’re not the crab being pulled back into the bucket. There’s your elevator pitch. That’s how you explain, everybody, who you help? What problem you solve, and what life is like after that problem is solved?Our greatest strengths are sometimes six inches in front of our nose. Click To Tweet
That’s the resolution that most stories don’t have and we’ve known Tim’s resolution. Remember, if you’re pitching to an investor or you’re a salesperson pitching to win a new client, the better you describe the problem and show empathy for the problem. In Tim’s case, he has complete empathy because he himself experienced the problem. Much like when I was coaching Olympus Medical, I said to those salespeople, “I’ve been in your shoes. I know what it’s like to have a quota. I know what it’s like to compete on price by the pressure that is. I understand your challenges.” They went, “You get us.”
When people say, “You get us,” they’re pulled in. In this case, “Tim gets us. He knows what it’s like to be an entrepreneur and get stuck in the details. He was stuck. He figured out a way to not only fix it for himself but he’s now got this huge, great team of North American based assistance that is going to help me be productive. On top of that, he can also help me be more profitable. Please, what is his number? I need to get him on speed dial.” That’s a great lesson. You also mentioned to me before that you might have a free gift for the readers, but before we get to that and how people can find you, follow you, and all that good stuff, is there any last thought, quote or book you want to recommend?
Thank you for the opportunity to bring the final thought to the table here. It goes all the way back to when I was recovering in bed. After I had that epiphany moment, I saw a quote and it said, “Hell is meeting the man I could have been.” I resonate with that still to this day. When it’s like, “I don’t feel like working out now.” If I asked myself, “What would it be like to meet the Tim that did work out? I don’t feel like learning this skill. What would it feel like if I met Tim that did learn the skill?” The idea of opportunity cost is something that entrepreneurs rarely think about, even human beings. We often don’t think about it. We think about the immediate pain or pleasure, which is natural.
That’s how we’re wired. Oftentimes, we’re not thinking about the other side of the coin, which is, “What is the opportunity cost? What am I giving up to do this? What am I not getting?” To your point on, let’s say, a micro level, for the entrepreneur, what does it cost me to not get an assistant? At a macro level, what does it cost you in your life if you’re not taking advantage of every single day? I get it that we all have challenges and frustrations, and some days are better than others. I encourage everyone to acknowledge the gifts you do have rather than the gifts you don’t have, and how can you combine those for maximum effect so that tomorrow is a little better than now.Acknowledge the gifts you do have rather than the gifts you don't have. Click To Tweet
What a great place to end. Focus on what you do have instead of what you don’t have. Tim, what is the free gift you have for everybody?
If anyone’s feeling any crunch financially or even if you’re not, but if you want to get some clarity around where you’re at financially, we’ve got this great training. It’s called Navigate the Cash Crunch. It’s at NavigateTheCashCrunch.com. There’s a simple and complimentary 90-minute training there. In that training, you’ll learn The Clarity and Cash Blueprint. It’s the three-point plan to be able to make it through any cash crunch, whether it’s due to a global pandemic or some miss targets in business or whatnot. It is the edge of the pool that we can hold on to buy ourselves a few breaths of air and the buyer ourselves some time to be able to reposition ourselves and make sure that we’re clear, calm, and confident when we get back to being creative.
On Instagram, it’s @RealTimFrancis. I thought FakeTimFrancis would be far funnier, but it would not be well suited for situations like this. On Facebook, it’s Facebook.com/ModernBusinessOwner. It’s the full name and you’ll see I’m in a tuxedo, feeling sharp in all my pictures.
You’re the James Bond of entrepreneurship. You have your teams on coming. I’m sure. Tim, I can’t thank you enough for being a great guest and sharing with us a vision of the person we want to be versus the person that will show up if we rely on what feels good in the moment.
- Profit Factory
- Great Assistant
- Billy Bross – Past episode
- TEDx Talk – Be The Lifeguard of Your Own Life!
- Millionaire Fastlane
- Google AdWords
- Know Your Numbers
- @RealTimFrancis – Instagram
- Better Selling Through Storytelling Method online course
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