Ep. #641 - Break Free from Daily Operations
In this episode of Startup Hustle, tune in to Part 25 of “How to Start a Tech Company” as Matt DeCoursey and Austin Netzley, Founder of 2X, discuss how to break free from the daily operations of your startups.
Covered In This Episode
Founders and CEOs often spend most of their workday managing their organization’s daily operations. These responsibilities keep them busy and away from more important aspects of the business. But what do founders have to do to break free from these daily operations to focus more on scaling their businesses?
Matt DeCoursey welcomes his co-host for Part 25 of “How to Start a Tech Company,” Austin Netzley, founder of 2X. They talk about the importance of breaking from daily operations to help organizations grow more efficiently. Matt and Austin share how to switch from reactive to proactive management, make changes, and set priorities. More importantly, they talk about making things simple.
Join Matt and Austin as they discuss how to break from daily operations in this Startup Hustle episode.
Gain access to the complete “How to Start a Tech Company” series.
- Austin Netzley’s back story (1:36)
- Getting stuck in the dirt and weeds (3:28)
- Switching from a reactive to a proactive (4:49)
- Turning your business into an operational machine (8:23)
- How do you deal with people who don’t like change? (12:49)
- How do you make changes stick? (16:09)
- Tips or tricks on getting people to step up (20:50)
- Why do many people fail to achieve their goals? (25:15)
- How to set priorities? (30:55)
- Founder’s freestyle (37:23)
- Wrapping up (49:58)
Many people have way too many marketing channels, or they have too many products, or they’ve got just way too much complexity from an operations standpoint. If we can come in, and first of all, simplify again, 20 to 40%, that alone will free up not only your time and headspace but other resources on the team as well as other money and everything. So simplification is definitely one of the first steps.Austin Netzley
Making a change is very, very difficult on a personal, professional, and physical level for all people, and then what’s even harder is maintaining the change. And I’m sure everyone listening has heard that it takes 30 days to make a new habit and stuff like that.Matt DeCoursey
Every single one of us needs accountability. And oftentimes, as leaders of companies, we don’t have that outside accountability. Yes, maybe it’s with investors, or maybe it’s with somebody else. But having that day-to-day, week-to-week execution. Focused accountability is absolutely huge. We all need that too.Austin Netzley
When you grow quickly, you often move fast and break things, which is okay. But at some point, you either have to leave the mess behind and just go somewhere cleaner, or you got to begin to repair things. So for us, it really involved simplicity, starting with basic execution.Matt DeCoursey
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Matt DeCoursey 0:00
And we’re back. Back for another episode of Startup Hustle, Matt DeCoursey. Here to have another conversation I’m hoping helps your business grow. Now, you’re probably tuned in for the weekly installment of the How to Start a tech series that I’ve been working on with Matt Watson. But Matt got sick. So we weren’t able to record this week’s episode of it. And we are going to go ahead, and much like any startup does, we’re going to be agile, and we are going to take a different approach. So with that, we’re going to talk about breaking free of daily operations today. And those are. And that is a really important part of figuring out how to grow your business and how to do better, and those daily operations sometimes get in the way of things. You never know what’s going to come up and what’s going to happen. Before we get too far into that, as a quick reminder, today’s episode of Startup Hustle is brought to you by Fullscale.io, helping you build a software team quickly and affordably. As previously mentioned, we’re gonna break free from daily operations today. And with me today, to talk all about that I’ve got the founder of 2x. His name is Austin Netzley, and he’s straight out of Austin, Texas. If you want to learn more about what 2X, go to 2x.co. Austin, welcome to Startup Hustle.
Austin Netzley 1:17
Matt, it’s a pleasure to be here, man. Let’s have some fun and hopefully get some value today.
Matt DeCoursey 1:22
I’m ready to break free, baby. I’m ready to break free now. You know, I like to say that no one said no one tells their own story better than the CEOs, the founders, the people that started it all themselves. So once you give us a little background about your backstory.
Austin Netzley 1:36
For sure, I started out as an engineer in the corporate world. The corporate world was the only thing I knew. And then, a couple of years, then I was working down this perfect plan that I had to work my way up to C suite. And I was like, wait a minute. I’m not jealous of any of those people that are in the C suite in the past that I was headed down. So I was like, Alright, I’m gonna look at other options. And at this point in time, I had started my journey of personal development and just consumed hundreds and hundreds of books. I was in sales at the time, they took engineers and put us in a sales and management development program that I was in, and just started to get exposed to this whole new world and I didn’t even know existed because I just didn’t grow up around that. So long story short, I learned that the corporate path was not my long-term solution. So I started my first business, my first business was day trading. And it was stressful as can be. I was making money, losing money, making money, losing money, I was doing everything myself didn’t have any people on my team. And that was my first exposure to entrepreneurship. It wasn’t like the business in the way that you and I probably know now, but it was my first exposure to that. And I learned that, hey, it’s stupid to try to do it yourself. It’s stupid to try to stay stuck in the weeds, and just a muscle and hustle, because that’s just the job that I created. So I created my first job for myself. And through a series of a couple of other businesses learned, hey, there’s a better and simpler, more strategic way to run and grow your business. One is to get free from the weeds. So now at 2x, we help people get free from the weeds and turn their business into an operational machine. If we do that, the growth starts to become much easier, because we’ve got much better visibility, we got much better profitability, we got a lot more time. And we’re gonna just get a much better ability to be strategic instead of just get lost in the dirt and blurry of the day to day.
Matt DeCoursey 3:28
So we have a couple of agricultural references there dirt and weeds. What when we talk about like the dirt in the weeds, like what does that consist of, for most businesses,
Austin Netzley 3:38
so much of the admin stuff or so much of stuff that’s reactive. So So oftentimes, whether you’ve got a product based business, whether you’ve got a service based business, there’s so much reactivity that pulls you off of being intentional and being strategic. So what we want to do is have we call it 0% reactivity, like we literally want zero things to be needed and reactive because the only thing stopping people from crazy success, not the only thing but a major thing. It’s just the matter of doing deep work. Right. It’s like if you build a multi six figure multi seven figure business, like you have the potential to build as big as you want, if you can execute in the proper way. So whether we’re talking about the leaders and founders of a company, whether we’re even talking about adness, even they want the least amount of reactivity, they want to be able to do the most amount of deep work. So if we can have things not be reactive, and make sure that your time is really valued and all the admin is off your plate. Again, we can come into a company and help change those couple things and free up 30 Sometimes 50 hours a week of people’s time just from reactivity and admin stuff.
Matt DeCoursey 4:49
So the opposite of reaction is pro action and you mean like dealing with stuff before it happens. And that’s obviously what you’re somewhat in the business of, you know, One of the things that I find with a lot of peers and I’ve been in the same boat myself is that you often get really busy. And you know, especially as your business is growing rapidly, so during this rapid growth phase, it’s sometimes feels easier to do a bunch of stuff yourself, rather than to hand it off to someone else. And you’re like, oh, it’s easier for me to do this now than it is to teach someone now you forever tie yourself to that task, if you’re not going to begin handing it off. But at the same time, you have to stop often stop doing what you’re doing, find some maybe even find someone to do it teach someone how to do it, like how do you begin to start to switch from a reactive reality to proactive? Like, what I mean, what’s the what? Like, you got to take a first step. So what’s in that first box or bucket?
Austin Netzley 5:51
Great question. The first thing that we come in and do is we got to simplify, like in every single business that we’ve ever worked with, and we were six and seven figure business has already gotten in are looking to scale to the next level, the first thing that we come in and do is we’re looking at, hey, 20 to 40% of stuff that we can just flat out cut out, or at least pause for now and say, hey, we’ll come back to that in 90 days, guess what, we never come back to it. Right? It’s like there’s the 8020 rule is real, right? 20% of your inputs and efforts drive 80% of your results. And if you can have that in your mind, and really take a conscious look at everything that you’re doing. So many people have way too many marketing channels, or they have too many products, or they’ve got just way too much complexity from operations standpoint, all across the board, we could go into the complexity of literally every area of the business, that if we can just come in, and first of all, simplify again, 20 to 40%, at least, that alone is going to again, not only free up your time and headspace but other resources on the team as well as other money and everything. So simplification is definitely one of the first steps.
Matt DeCoursey 6:59
Yeah, I’ve been I’m kind of obsessed with this stuff in my own in my own life. And I often use an example of that was a business’s this is this point, probably seven or eight years ago, and I noticed that we were spending a lot of time engaging in a particular activity activity that was all based around loss prevention, you know, basically making errors that that either cost us money or time. And I quickly realized we were spending more money trying to prevent a loss than the value of that loss. And you know, like it was just like it was just goofy stuff. It was an error that that was rarely made, because we evolved past it. But yeah, people often don’t like the cheese moved. They do things like one of the I think one of the things if you hear it, it’s sad at your business. That should be a red flag is will we continue doing it? Because it’s the it’s the way we’ve always done it. Yeah. Is that is that is that in fact, a red flag in your world? Like we keep doing this? Because we’ve always done it and sometimes don’t even know why.
Austin Netzley 8:09
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So so that’s why whether it’s us or somebody else or her you whoever you have, we always need very frequently outside eyes to come in and just walk us through an objective view of our business. And one thing that you did is you looked at the numbers. And so few businesses now you’ve probably exposed been exposed to this as well really know their numbers inside now and really use the numbers to guide their decision making and where to focus and what to fix and what’s working, what’s not working out. Yeah, so if we can. So what we again, help people do is turn the business into an operational machine, one of those major pieces of that is knowing the numbers inside now. So it’s a little bit scary and overwhelming to start to track your numbers. But as soon as you really do have them for every department or every function, then again, you can see very clearly what’s working, what’s not where to focus, and it just makes this thing tangible. And then you can address it. But so many people are too busy to start tracking the numbers, so they stay too busy, right? So we’ve got to take a step back. And that’s why again, we put so much emphasis on this operational machine. Because if you can do that, everything becomes possible from a scalability standpoint, and so many people are just trying to grow too fast that they don’t quite do that. So they never can grow to the level that they want.
Matt DeCoursey 9:29
So yeah, in my book, million dollar bedroom, I actually have a section about undoing the ball of rubber bands, which you know, if you do if you’re fortunate enough to get a business that grows really quickly. I mean, you’re moving fast and breaking things on a lot of days. And at some point you have to go back and say, Hey, I’m not gonna put ball I’m not gonna put any more rubber bands on this ball, but then you actually have to undo them. And sometimes, you know, like, it’s painful. I mean, I’ll just say it’s painful because no one likes to do that. And then oftentimes you have to stop everything else you’re doing to get that done. And that can be that can be pretty catastrophic. Okay, so different, I’m gonna throw something different at you here. So let you know we’re talking about rapidly growing businesses, that means the business is killing it. And you’re just all of a sudden, you’re like, Ah, this rocket ships going and you’re trying to get people on the damn rocket, you know, you’re like, Come on, jump on board. What about the other side of things for like, so, you know, a lot of businesses are stuck in the middle. And when I say stuck in the middle, meaning they’re not on the rocket ship, but the rocket also hasn’t crashed? They’re just they’re doing what I refer to as middling. That’s exactly what it is, is is some of these approaches, is that the way to get unstuck from that middle ground? Or like, I mean, do you run into that, too, like, it’s that business that’s doing well enough that they’re not failing, but they’re not exactly like, killing it. No one wants to invest in businesses like that, because they’re stuck in the middle. But you know, maybe taking a different look, or a different approach to things is the way to get out of there.
Austin Netzley 11:03
Yeah, for sure. So, a couple of things on this number one is what we go back to no matter where a company is at is we are going in really honing in their foundation, first and foremost, and I don’t care if the company’s at 10 million or 200,000, wherever we’ve got to really go back and make sure that their foundation is set part of those foundational items are just making sure that they’ve got product market fit, is really looking at do they have irresistible offers is looking at some of the basic things that we want to kind of skip past sometimes. But if we’re not getting like true traction, if we don’t have true product market fit, everything that we do from a marketing and sales perspective will just be a little bit too muscled beyond what it has to be. So we always start there. And with that, and with the simplicity and with the operational machine are getting more momentum easier. And we have more resources, if it’s done, right. So then at this point, then we have a question of like, All right, do you want to double down and start to grow in an effective way? Or do you want to just take some take a step back, and oftentimes, that’s the case, right is like, somebody’s just been working their butt off for 10 years, but they’re like, Hey, I’m good to make this amount of money. And like, yes, my business will grow by, you know, 20 or 40% per year, but like, I need a little time to like, you know, get my life back and these different things, but having that flexibility and ability to choose, like that’s the power position, really. And what most people do is they start to get recharged pretty quickly. If they do have to take a step back, then then they’re ready to grow. So it all goes back to the same thing as building a really healthy company. That’s simple, that’s strategic and intentional, that has great product market fit that has an operational machine, then we can choose where to go from there.
Matt DeCoursey 12:49
With me again, today, I’ve got Austin, Netzley. Austin’s the founder of 2x, go to 2x.co. To learn more about what his business does, and how they help entrepreneurs grow stuff, there’s a link in the show notes for that. There’s also a link for FullScale.io. That’s my business, if you need help building a team of software developers, that’s what we do. So come check us out. All right. So I’ve, I’ve traversed the realm of mentoring and coaching. And that’s, and I commend you for taking that on full time. I think as a business owner, you’re by default, a mentor and a coach for the people that work with you. With that, you get all different types of personality styles, and all different types of, you know, people. So when it comes to change management, and instilling and installing change, some people are, have open arms and welcome it and some people fight it like you wouldn’t even believe. How do you deal with those people, like the people in your organization that just like, and this is just a fact, like certain personality types, handle change better than others? Like it can be really disruptive for a lot of people, like they get anxiety. They don’t buy in, they don’t want to deal with it, like all of it. How do you when you work with companies or entrepreneurs, how do you deal with how do you how do you advise that? Well, and then sometimes it’s the founder, sometimes it’s the founder that just, you know, has has paralysis analysis. So you know, or analysis paralysis. So how do you deal with those folks?
Austin Netzley 14:24
Yeah, great question. Um, the first thing that we need to do from a coaching standpoint, is gain control of the client. So what we have to do to do that is gain their trust and show them that hey, we know what we’re talking about. And being we’ve got a great strategic plan in place because if they don’t, first of all, let go because like they’re leading their companies day in and day out, because we are working with the founders or CEO to start. And if they don’t, like give into that of like, Hey, I’m going to let go of the reins. Yes, they still obviously make all decisions, they still run the day to day business but for us to guide them to the most success possible, they have to let go a little bit. And we have to again, guide them there to that spot. The second thing is everything that we want to do, like we want to create it into a culture thing. So we Yes, we’re working with the CEO or founders to start, but over time, like we want them to not need us, right. And we want them to have a full culture that is living out the same things that we’re teaching them such as systems and solving problems with systems and solving problems with the right people. And just everything a to z that we talked about, again, we want to take on down. So to do that, when we start to go into a team, which is the second piece, the first piece is again, to get the CEO or founders on board. The second piece, as we go into a team, it’s like we want to start small, like if we go in and we start changing things, one by one, then it’s just going to be a mess, and they’re not going to have to buy in, they’re gonna push back. So if we can start small, and show them how their life is easier, how there’s that their life is better, how there’s way less reactivity, way less stress within the company there, you can get them some wins as well, then they’re in as well. And again, just building on it one step at a time. So our methodology, we have one hour a call every single week, it’s one on one business coaching. And our focus is like, hey, if we can solve one really important problem every single week, and do so with the system so that it’s like repeatable, ongoing, then, you know, in 30 days, we’re going to have a business that’s much smoother and much more healthy, let alone after 90 days or six months. And again, the team starts to notice that so we have to just deal with first and foremost, oftentimes the ego of letting go, as I mentioned, but after that, you know, if we take it slow and do it strategically, people are going to see the winds and hop on board pretty quickly, usually.
Matt DeCoursey 16:50
Yeah, I think you know, whether you’re aware or not listeners, making change is very, very difficult on a personal, professional and physical level for all people like it’s, it’s, and then what’s even harder is maintaining the change. And I’m sure everyone listening has heard that, you know, it takes 30 days to make a new habit and stuff like that. But, you know, it’s one thing to open your arms and say, give me your change. Let me wrap my arms around, you give you a big kiss on the cheek and a hug. And I’m happy to have you here. So how do you how do you advise that people actually keep that shut up? Because like, I mean, most people that start a diet fail most people that want to I mean, change does not stick intuitively, it’s actually easier to go back to your bad habits go back to doing the things that you didn’t do. Well, any of that. So how do we make it stick?
Austin Netzley 17:48
Yep, great question. Two things. Number one is you need to see very, very clearly where you’re going. And one of the hardest things for us to figure out is what we want, right? So one of the first things that we do is help people map out a very clear, detailed vision of what is their life look like? What does their business look like? What does their team look like? What things are they trying to achieve? What’s their mission? What’s their purpose, and we use this as the number one tool to get the team rallied and to even build the team in the future and hire amazing people is like, we’ve got to have a great vision, a great mission that gets us fired up every single day. Because guess what, there are going to be some ups and downs, right? Every single day is going to bring its own set of opportunities and challenges. But if we see this big vision, and we can really feel that in our DNA, and sometimes this takes six weeks for people to like really work through to where they they see it and they feel it. But if we can see that, then again, the small things are just they’re just that they’re just small things. The second thing I would say is every single one of us needs accountability. And oftentimes as leaders of companies, we don’t have that outside accountability. Yes, maybe it’s with investors, or maybe it’s with somebody else. But having that day to day week to week execution. Focused accountability is absolutely huge. We all need that too.
Matt DeCoursey 19:08
Yeah, I actually, all the people that I work with I, you know, sometimes it’s the CEO or the founder, especially when your company gets bigger as well. You need to, in my opinion, you need to try to avoid people that are just Well, yes, people, they’re just going to tell you so they’re not going to tell you at all and you know, I license everyone that I work around, I’m like, Look, if I’m doing something, you can hold me accountable. In fact, please do you know if I’m not doing something that you need me to do, and it’s preventing you from being successful? I need you to tell me I don’t want you to be shy. I don’t want you to hold back. I don’t want you to do any of that. And then you know, as I as I mentioned earlier, today’s episode of Startup Hustle is brought to you by full scale.io And we help you build software teams quickly and affordably. But part of how we help keep them there is we’ve created levels of accountability that go into background, you know, so like having someone that goes around to every team and sends us a little 15 minute meeting every Are we winning? Or are we losing? You know, that kind of stuff? And, you know, overwhelmingly the answers are positive, but when they’re not it we have created, you know, we have to well, we’re being proactive and reactive at the same time, you know, the proactivity, of knowing that someone’s going to come around and ask, Are you winning or losing? But part of the trick is also getting people to tell you on Sundays, you know, and especially, I think, and, you know, part of what we deal with as well, as you know, we have over 200 employees in the Philippines, and it’s a different culture. And and it’s not always encouraged or considered wise to tell the boss No, and we try to tear down those walls. But I mean, do you have any tips or tricks on getting people to, like, you know, step up and use their critical thinking skills to say, Hey, you’re this is something you’re you’re off track here, or we’re off track here, or because like I said, That’s a, that’s a tough conversation for some people to have. The number
Austin Netzley 21:14
one thing we kind of mentioned it earlier, is to just know your numbers inside now. And every single number, whether it’s on a p&l, or whether it’s on department dashboard, or whatever, is going to have a name beside it. And if you can do that some of those are beside you, right. And like, that’s just a great public accountability of, hey, I’ve got my own numbers, too. And this is what I’m responsible for. But what this does is by going to the numbers and leading and, and making decisions by the numbers, as we take out the the the emotions we take out, Hey, Matt, like, you know, this is what you said to do. Like, these are the numbers that we agreed to. This is where it’s at what’s going on, what are we doing to fix here? What do you see? What do you need support on and we’re just using those as its outside objective thing, that we can have a much more strategic conversation. So it’s, it’s again, taking the numbers to a level 10 in your business, if you do, you’re gonna make better decisions, you’re gonna make faster decisions, you’re gonna have better accountability, better production from your team, less micromanagement, more of what you want, yada, yada, it’s a big thing that takes a lot of time. But you don’t have to track hundreds of numbers, like every single person should have a couple of numbers that they’re responsible for. Every department should obviously have a very clear dashboard as well, if you can do that, again, it takes out so much of the emotions. And then from there, get buy in from other people don’t say, Hey, this is your number, I’m gonna hit you over the head with it, say, Hey, this is what we did last month, what do you see over the next couple months and have them set those targets? Because now it’s their commitment. And you know, psychology says that they have even more buy into it to go and hit those because they set up themselves. So you don’t have to necessarily beat people over the head. You can use the numbers as your guide to have much more constructive conversations.
Matt DeCoursey 22:56
I’ve got I’ve got a little thing that I invented to mainly back the line down at my door for people asking me, you know, for a yes on things that they shouldn’t even have to ask on. And, you know, like I said, a little creation of my own here. I call it the rule of Yes. The rule of yes means if you think I’m going to say yes, 90% of the time, don’t ask just go for it. I’ll deal with the 10% of the time that you’re wrong. Now, the rule of yes can be super powerful, if applied the wrong way. But I’ve learned it needs to come with a couple of disclaimers like meaning you got to figure out the things that people could abuse. Like, if they’re late to work for the 10th time in a row. I knew I felt if I called you, you’d say yes. So I didn’t ask you know, there are there are some some things but there are just so many other things, especially operationally. And I think I came up with this eight or nine years ago, because I was spending a fair amount of time every day. I wasn’t seeing progress, because it was like I have an office manager. We’re out of paper. Should I go buy more paper? Yeah, yeah. In what scenario was I going to say no to that. And you know, I think that freeing yourself from a lot of that stuff. Well, first off, I think it just makes it easier for other people to do what they need to do, but then sometimes just sitting down on top of stuff like that, and just asking them, you know, like, what do you need? What do you need? What do you need me to rubber stamp for you here now and in the future, so you can go do your job. So a lot of that often becomes with defining what that is so, okay, so you were talking a lot about a lot of different things and knowing your numbers and stuff like that, I find that a shocking amount of people don’t even have written goals. Or don’t even write anything down like as a business you know, it’s like or they are the founder has the mission and it’s stuck in their head. And you know, something magic happens between the head and the hand. When you write something down it becomes it becomes real literally on a piece of paper. or, in many cases, how important is like, is that one of the fundamental things that you guys sit down with people and like? And how often do you run into that? Like, we don’t actually have written known goals here?
Austin Netzley 25:15
At least 85% of the time, which is crazy.
Matt DeCoursey 25:18
It’s crazy, isn’t it? Yeah, I know. That’s why I think it’s like four out of five. I was thinking at you for people I run into and yeah, that’s why do you think that is? We think people have I think those same people have goals, but they don’t ever they’re not down. They’re not written down, or they’re not shared, or they’re not, I don’t know, they’re not transparent. So there’s
Austin Netzley 25:41
several things. A oftentimes, a lot of the goals if they do have them are just super general of I want to be a millionaire or make a million bucks, I’ll have seven figure business won’t have eight, pick whatever the next thing is, which that doesn’t drive people, right. Like that’s, like everybody goes through phases of having those particular general goals. But like that’s not specific and tangible enough for like a given situation, question that people act on. The second thing is, I think that ambitious people set big goals, and don’t do what we’re talking about today of simplifying and doing the operations and staying free from the weeds, yada, yada, so they don’t achieve their goals. So we train ourselves over time, that we’re not going to achieve these goals. So like, we just keep scrapping our goals out until we don’t really need them. Besides that, you know, the turn of the year, going into it, we’ve got these goals, and then you know, by the 15th of the month, you know, 80% of them are gone anyways. So I think that we train ourselves over time. And then, by this point in time, years into a business, we just get so into the day to day, it’s like we always feels like we’re on this cusp of like really exploding and like things are right around the corner. But like we’re just in the hamster wheel, like we’re just doing the same thing over and over again. So that’s why it’s again, so important to objectively and regularly be able to take a step back and just be much more strategic and intentional. So what we do is we map out a high level 12 month plan, but then we simplify it down into 90 day sprints. And we focus on three things, Max, usually it’s like two primary things. But sometimes we’ll do three. So the way that we see it, the way that we run things at 2x, is there’s there’s two functions. In most businesses, there are some different models, and we don’t need to get around this. But in 99% of businesses, there’s getting customers, and there’s keeping customers. So we always have one major rock that’s focused on those two, and that can just have us be laser focused and have us do a really, really, really, really important project. Well, we still do the other business as usual stuff as well.
Matt DeCoursey 27:47
Yeah, to be a lot more general, in that same subject, one of the things so psychologically when you set your goals, and I wrote about this, in my book balance me, because that’s all about trying to find a working and healthy balance between your personal professional and physical life is, you know, we oftentimes, like you said, we go like right to the top, like the while the Olympics are going on right now. So we’re a gold medal pad on the podium at the Olympics. And we don’t get into any of all the stuff that needs to occur before you get up on that podium. And the thing is, is your mind can only really like when you say, oh, I want to make I want to be a millionaire, but you’re not even close to that. So your mind doesn’t really register that those things are real. And there’s all kinds of phrases and crap, you know, you got an eat an elephant, one bite at a time, start at the tail, and, and all this stuff. But you really do need to do that. Because like I will, I’m back to that general example of people, I want to lose 30 pounds, but your body doesn’t get that you got to try it. In that case, you got to try to lose three, right? And then three more, and then three more and give yourself some credit and some praise and try to use that as fuel for your next step. But, you know, there’s so many things, you know, like another example I used in the book that was like so one of the biggest goals for people individually as they grow and mature is to buy a home. Well, if you’ve ever purchased a home, there’s like a whole shitload of things that need to occur. Before you’re going to do that. You don’t just say, oh, I want to buy a home and then you walk up, there’s a sale site, you put the sold sign on the front, and move in. No, there’s a whole list of things that occur along along the way. So by figuring out where it is that you want to be and just reverse engineer your success, and you got to come up with as many I mean, there’s sometimes I mean, what will feel infinite but a winning Day is a day where you’re putting checkboxes towards getting towards your goals and like that’s, you know, like that’s even, you know, even created like a simple scoring system around that like and with that. Trying to determine You know, at any given moment, you are deciding what you want to do, who you want to do it with and how you want to do it. So the question is, is what are the most valuable activities that you can take part in, and those you and the most valuable by my estimate, or, or any activity that puts multiple checkmarks and multiple gold boxes, is clearly valuable, but you know how to win. And I have a feeling that a lot of the people you work with, probably struggle, and we all do as entrepreneurs and just people in general with priority, but like, so what, in the business sense? And with what we’re talking about here today, like how do you begin to establish priority or advise that people, you know, like, what, how do we choose what to do first, when we have a literal, infinite number of things that we could do with our time?
Austin Netzley 30:55
Yeah, a couple of things on this, the first thing that you mentioned is is people, for instance, wanting to be a millionaire, when they’re not even close. The reason why the company is called to x is like, we want to always look at where are we? And how can we double from there, like clients 7x 9x 10, whatever, but the way that they do that is by 2x, and then 2x, in the end, and to actually get so we’re always looking at that tangible piece right in front of us, because so many people either live in the clouds of like too far ahead, or they’re just in the day to day that we want to be looking again, what’s that tangible thing. And if we can do so with an operational machine mentality, so that as soon as we get there, that’s the new baseline, that’s a comfortable comfortable spot, that then we can get to the next level quickly. So if we keep to axing over time, that’s how you have true exponential growth. So that’s one thing I wanted to come back to because I think it’s a super important point that a lot of entrepreneurs don’t, don’t fully adopt. The second thing is, from a priority standpoint, there’s several things that we do every single founder and CEO that we work with, we tell them, there’s three things that they need to do every single day number one, they need to spend some time driving revenue. So if they can just spend some committed focused time driving revenue every single day making sure that that pipeline is full, making sure that they’re moving the business forward from a revenue and sales standpoint, every single day, then they’re going to, you know, be in a much better spot than if they focus on revenue generation. And then they’ve got to, you know, focus on all these other things. And they take their eye off the ball, a lot of people are on this teeter totter that we want to drive revenue every single day. The second thing is we want to be building the machine every single day. So that is systems numbers team, what can you do today, that you’re not necessarily going to feel in a big way as far as results in the bank account today, but that is going to set you up six or 12 months from now, if you can spend a little bit of time because here’s the thing, as if people are already doing the work, you’re already doing the work, right? If you can just be more intentional to better delegate, or better build systems or more strategically, again, build the operation machine to set us up for six or 12 months from now that that that time is gonna be here in the blink of an eye. And the ones that are building for that medium term are the ones that are going to win. And then the third piece to spend time on every single day is just thinking and communicating a clear, simple, effective strategy. So if you can just spend a little bit of thinking time every single day for sometimes it’s for a particular project, sometimes it’s for a department, sometimes it’s for the company overall, just thinking about strategy and thinking, Hey, how can I simplify? How can I better communicate this, and you do those three things every single day, some of which only takes 1520 minutes to do those things. But the other thing is, is not only do those three, do them first. So if you go into your day, before you check slack, before you check your email before you go into the blur of the day to day, if you can spend two hours of moving your business forward in a proactive way, you’re going to be in a really, really good spot to move your business forward, within a matter of weeks, let alone months. So those are a couple of things is figure out what those key impact activities are have the culture of building the machine for six to 12 months from now, and starting your day by working on the business and moving business forward before you get into any of the activity. And then the third thing that I’ll say is from our coaching calls, we tell everybody like hey, what we talk about, you got 24 hours to move the needle on that. So if they can take this while they’re clear, and now they’re motivated, and they can see this is really important working on the business type activity. And we can say hey, before you go, because like some people would wait, let’s say the calls are on Thursdays, they would wait until Thursday morning of the next week. I’ll be like, Oh, I got some homework to get done. No, it’s working on the business type stuff. You should be doing it. So if they can start fast and start to implement that stuff and get it delegated to the team, then they’re going to move the needle, so those are a couple things is really just starting fast and being as proactive as possible.
Matt DeCoursey 34:48
Well said well said with me today I’ve got Austin Netzley. Austin’s the founder of 2x, go to 3x.co. There’s a link in the show notes and see how they can help you You start to grow your business or probably in most cases, figure out a way to quit doing all the crap that you don’t want to do that you don’t like to do and probably don’t need to do now before. Now you know, Austin, I end my my episodes and I say my episodes of Startup Hustle because I’m not the only host of the show, make sure you tune in on Tuesdays, you can join Andrew Morgans and learn all about what he’s doing to help all kinds of different clients accelerate their Amazon brand presence and improve e commerce in general. Make sure you tune in on Thursdays Lauren Conaway, the founder of innovate her as she tackles a lot of tough and interesting subjects. If you haven’t had enough Startup Hustle at that point, did you hear that we have a new YouTube channel, come check out the the episodes that we’re publishing weekly, sometimes twice a week, you never know, you never know. And we are trying to share information that will help your business grow. As a quick reminder, I in August, and given up my Friday afternoon spots in favor of bringing in a series of guest hosts, we will be seeing multiple subject matter experts come in with targeted series. I’m not I can’t even tell you how many episodes they’re going to be they’re going to be however many episodes they take to get to whatever point they are needing to make. And that’s going to start in early August with Heather steppy of the Kansas City hemp company who is going to be talking all about the cannabis business. That’s right people, weed, it’s a business and it’s real, and it’s everywhere. And it’s growing quickly. And we thought that it was captivating. And after that you’ll you’ll hear again from a former guest host, Melissa Vincent, who runs a pipeline entrepreneur group here in Kansas City. And she’s going to be talking all about that and with many of the founders that have participated in that program. So back to the founders freestyle, and you’re a founder, I’m a founder. And I like to just kind of do a little freestyle here at the end of shows where I get, I’ll give you a chance I’m buying you some time here in case you need to think about about the way where you get a chance to say anything that you felt that you missed. And we can just go over a couple of key points or the key things that you thought we talked about during the show. And sir, you get to freestyle first slide on us.
Austin Netzley 37:23
I’m gonna freestyle by actually turning the question around to you. If you simplify it down, and you look at this big exponential growth now having hundreds of employees, what are two or three moves that you made that would have maybe even saved you an extra couple of years in the exponential growth? Knowing what you know now?
Matt DeCoursey 37:44
Well, there are a few things that and that’s it. I like the twist on the freestyle, we actually did have a guest freestyle, like lay out some rap lyrics. I was. Yeah, and was. And then later, when the episode came out in front of his rather large a number of connections on Facebook or on LinkedIn actually said, Yeah, and I wrap at the end of it, make sure you listen to the whole episode. A few things, I think you’ll you’ll be pretty excited. So I like to come into into the year any year, with a theme of sorts, and this year, it was simple. It was the word simple. That’s six letters. And, you know, so Full Scale grew quickly, we had 100 employees after a year. And then we got to navigate a pandemic, we operate in the Philippines, we operate in the United States. And, you know, like I, like I mentioned, when you grow quickly, you often move fast and break things, which is okay, which is okay. But at some point, you either have to just leave the mess behind and just go somewhere cleaner, or you got to go back and you got to begin to repair things. So for us, it really did involve simplicity and, and simplicity started with on many days a basic execution. And it’s very easy, I think for just people in general, founders, companies, organizations to get so obsessed and focused on steps 345 and six, that they suck at steps one, two, and three. So now if you want to look at this in terms of a ladder, you’re having to jump to the fourth step to get to it or climb or do a pull up, and you know, the older I get the harder those get. And so for us it was about being brilliant on the basics. We did go through quite a few exercises where we looked at the whole, you know, you know, are we doing stuff that doesn’t even need to be done. We found that in many cases, we had volumes of knowledge base stuff, but it was frickin buried in Google Drives and amongst various documents, and one of the things that was a challenge for us is that you so as a, as a rapidly growing business was any business, you’re going to see change, like, I can guarantee you 100% That everybody that works for you now, at some point won’t, because in the end, they’ll just grow old and die, and they still won’t work for you. If that’s the case, it is impossible for someone to work for you for all eternity. So as we grew, we either had departments that, oh, maybe people weren’t cutting it, and we and we had to hire someone that would and then we find off luck, and I no other way to phrase it than that word, we got to train someone to bring someone in new. So you get the same thing with growing departments. So part of that was preparing for change, preparing for scalability. And then like, the third thing was, you know, I mean, just around. You know, so any startup founder, you know, startups are hard, because they don’t come with an owner’s manual. And I just talked about kind of creating one at our business. But a lot of that is, is just a continual to hardcore review of like, what helps us manage our business? And is it the right tool? Is it the right thing? And are we using it correctly? So talking about just technology in general? So as a startup founder, or a business owner manager, in most cases, especially in our business, where we employ so many developers, we’re always challenged, challenged with, do we buy it? Or do we build it, and over these last few years, especially, I’ve become so much more of a buyer than a builder for so many things. And, you know, so in order to manage our we’re on a path to having 1000 employees, not just 224 to 30 months, so part of that simplicity, that we’re trying to create also involved, you know, having this this mantra and this belief, and this vision, that right now, we have to start acting like the 1000 person company, with the things that we see the things that we do, and and also the things that we might add or hook up. So you know, and this is a weird level of scalability. So I’m also the founder of giga book.com. It’s a simple booking platform, we actually use scheduled to be on the show using Giga book and it reminded you to come here and talk. Now in that example. I mean, it’s similar to like Calendly, and other things. But you look at like scalability. And you start thinking, man, if I’m 1000 user account for some of the software platforms, like shift that might be like 4050 100 grand a month later. And so some of that is, you know, also giving some consideration now, at the flip side, if you get that level of if, if if Alright, so we’ve been slowly switching over to using HubSpot for a lot of our sales process and business process automation. And you know, here’s the thing, man hub spots, for all intents and purposes, it’s kind of expensive. But, but if if it’s used properly, like our CEO is like this will become our most productive employee. Yeah. And that’s how you have to look at so much of this and like, where are things broken? Where will things be broken? And it was really kind of like a forced, you know, I also use the term thoughtful a lot, which is, you know, it’s still that considerate, but also like, are we being thoughtful, and that we’re not making messes for other people making other people climb over different things to get to where they need? So kind of a long answer there. But those are three things that that definitely made a lot for us. And like I said, that coming in simple. I mean, that was, you know, I mean, awesome. The older I get, the end, the more experienced I become, the more I really favor simplicity in every shape and form because it’s simple, it’s simple, it’s easy to understand, it’s easy to change, and the more complex your your, an organism your company becomes, the harder it is to get other people to understand it. I mean, and that’s often just even the people that that you that you’re around. So sometimes simplicity is as simple as you know, I went back and looked at like, oh, shit, we’ve grown so quickly, what was the last time we just sat down and clarified what our mission is like, why we exist, why we show up every day and creating that purpose drip, like our purpose is to help our clients succeed. But how many of our employees have never heard me say that personally. So some of it is that’s back to simple like the same things that you were passionate about. And then you know, and then also try not to suffer from what we lovingly call operational brain damage, which is so much of what this is about, you know, it’s like How can I get how can I not have to do this because you used a phrase in my last comment and my freestyle, but this was more like three songs, not one that that’s. But you know, also, it’s like, you talked about deep work. And for me, that’s, that’s the utmost importance because I admittedly have ADHD. So I’m like, and which is a superpower, not a not a downside, if used properly. But if, if ignored, and you allow it to control you, you just chase shiny shed all that. So you know, a lot of that was trying and then continuing to, you know, get that get that moving in that right direction. And, you know, man, after decades of being an entrepreneur at this point, I always find that I gotta go back and review that same stuff. I mean, none of it’s really changed. It’s the same things that you will continue to allow, or avoid, or whatever, and whatever those are for you there like you’re likely to not shed that you have to constantly remind yourself, so and I’m not letting you out of this. You still freestyle? Just so you know. So what were a couple of the key points or advice you’d want to give to founders that are that, you know, are coming a long way?
Austin Netzley 46:13
Yeah, well, I think you just, you just dropped the mic. On. One of my favorite things, is one thing you said there that most people will not get fired up about this, which is why most people don’t do it. But you said we have become brilliant on the basics. Like that is such a good line that if you can be brilliant on the basics, and really focus on that, everything becomes possible. Because if you don’t, as you do try to scale it just like everything gets amplified, right. So we’ve got to really make sure that we’re building things strategically and intentionally and one step at a time. So I’ll use my freestyle to share a couple of the principles that we live by a lot of which we’ve already talked about. Number one is you can’t scale if you’re stuck in the weeds. So I’m always preaching this every single day to people over and over and over again, as you can’t scale if we’re struggling, because we get into that mentality that you started with of like, hey, it’s easier and faster if I just do it myself. But we always have to be thinking with everything that comes up, especially as leaders of who can handle this, and what systems can I put in place to never have that problem again, or at least not have that problem for a while. So if you can instead think, how do I get this done, if you can stop yourself and think who and what systems, that’s going to set you up in a really a big way. Next is spend time, every single day, whether it’s 30 minutes at the end of the day, or, or if it’s you know, while you’re having lunch, spend time delegating every single day, soon, within a matter of couple of weeks, you’re going to have just again, a whole new reality of time. So we really we call it daily delegation, going through just a very simple basic process to ask, Where’s your energy going? That you don’t want it to? Where are the highest impact things? And how much time did you spend on it that day? What are things that you can get off your plate? what systems do you need, who’s the biggest hire that you can make in the next 60 days, that’s going to change your business? Yada, yada, so just going through some unintentional questions, and doing that daily, will continue to have you be reminded of my lead, my role should be up here, and his high impact role, and not down here in the weeds. So those are a couple of things related to that. Next is growth by numbers. We love the numbers to tell us what’s going on what’s working, what’s not, where to focus, what to fix. And we’d love to from there, do more of what works like is mind blowing ly simple to say, hey, this channel works really well. So many people are like, boom, alright, that’s working. Well, I’m gonna go over here and focus on this other thing. And we’re like, no, no, no, no, let’s triple down on this one first. And we’d like to keep you know, marketing and growth and just like every other area of business as simple as possible, and listen to the numbers and do more of what works. And then what are a couple of other principles. Everything is possible on the other side of building a machine, whether you want more freedom, whether you want to build an empire, whether you want to exit your company, whether you want to XYZ whatever the goals are, everything is possible. If you build an operational machine that doesn’t need the hustle and bustle that doesn’t, that isn’t reliant on any one person, especially you. So if you can have that operational focus, and then definitely build the team so that you don’t necessarily because a lot of people aren’t operationally focused, right? Like they don’t want to spend the time on systems operations, all that stuff, which you don’t need to, but you do need to, from the top down, start to lead that culture. And if you do, then again, anything becomes possible there. So those are the few things that stand out. But at the end of the day, keep it simple and listen to what you shared for about four or five minutes there. Again, because those are some huge principles that matter such as brilliant on the basics.
Matt DeCoursey 49:58
Once again, that’s Austin Netzley, the founder of 2X, go to 2x.co And with that, I got to go. I’ll see you down the road.
Austin Netzley 50:08
Thanks, man. Appreciate you guys.