Wondering how to be a business owner without the stress? You're in the right place. Dan’s away on paternity leave so we just have Lloyd Knowlton in your ears this week.
“He’s rubbish anyway” - Lloyd Knowlton.
In this episode, Lloyd shares his unique views on how to be stress-free as a business owner. Impossible right? Wrong!
Lloyd discusses his strategies of how "making yourself redundant" and spending your money in the right way can massively improve your mental state. Bring your tissues, he’ll have you questioning what truly makes you happy.
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0.00 - 0:38 Introduction
0:38 - 1:39 Lloyd Talks to Himself
1:39 - 5:38 The Way We Work
5:38 - 8:09 Why Do We Value Different Things?
8:09 - 9:55 How to be Stress-Free?
9:55 - 15:08 Make Yourself Redundant
15:08 - 18:33 Spreadsheets of Life
18:33 - 19:09 Outro
Hi, Lloyd the CEO here. Pat the podcast editor is currently soaking up the sun in Santorini. In today's episode, I give some controversial opinions that would make most CEOs cry in their Lamborghinis.
I'm a business owner and I don't value hard work. I don't value people just working longer, or working harder to achieve stuff that could be achieved in a better way.
And even though Dan selfishly left me on my own to spend time with his newborn baby, he still has to be the center of attention.
Everyone on Tiktok... Phones ringing! Sorry about that, it's Dan.
So, Here is a whole episode with nothing but Lloyd Knowlton in your ears. You're welcome. This is episode 104 of the business anchors podcast.
So Lloyd, how can you grow a successful business without feeling stressed or having to work long hours?
Well, Lloyd, I'm gonna be talking to you about that today.
You'll be talking to me about that?
Yeah, I'll be talking to me because Dan's had a baby and is on paternity leave.
Oh okay, no worries! He's rubbish anyway.
Am I doing it right? Is that how you do a solo episode? I'm actually a bit scared of doing this episode on my own guys. I will try and make it as good as possible. I've prepared far more than I normally do for these podcasts. Dan has had a lovely baby boy, and he'll be back in a couple of weeks. But for now, you've got me talking about not being stressed at work. You're welcome.
This episode, the kind of message behind this episode is going to be a bit different, I feel like I'm gonna get a lot of love, but potentially a lot of hate as well? because the stuff I'm communicating is probably very different to what most of the online business community are talking about, and the way they're telling you to work. So if you love this, please do let me know because I think people are gonna hate me for it as well.
To be clear, I'm talking about the way we work and trying not to be stressed and work long hours, and that kind of thing whilst growing a business. This isn't the kind of good, I was gonna say guru shit, I probably shouldn't describe it as that. That's not the kind of four-hour workweek style stuff that you might have heard, as in, 'do these kinds of processes and you'll only have to work for four hours, and you can have this massive successful business'. That's not what we have, that's not our plan. It's also not kind of like a set of hacks, it's not tricks for you to be able to, like, do worse work, but charge a lot for it and not have to do much work in your business or anything like that. We're talking about trying to build a brilliant business doing really good work. But, I guess going against the grain in the fact that most of the online business community are like 'you've got to grow the biggest business you can, as quick as you possibly can. You've got to hire 100 people and hit a million turnover as quickly as you can and then 5 million turnovers by year two'. That's not what I'm talking about. We're not trying to build the biggest business possible here at Knowlton.
In this episode, I want to try and persuade business owners out there or people supporting trying to run any kind of business to kind of join us on this journey? and kind of think, actually, extreme financial success isn't the thing we want to aim for, or building the extreme level of the biggest business isn't what we want to aim for. You can make the judgment as I'm going through this, and maybe you want to join me on that journey or maybe you'll think I'm an idiot. So you can let me know that in the comments as well.
I think there is a different way to grow a business and the things that Dan and I are aiming for and I want to communicate in this episode. We're aiming to live a relatively stress-free life, to have happiness for ourselves, our team and our family, to be financially secure enough to be doing the things we want to do, and to have a great work-life balance. To be clear, we still want that traditional success of money, like we want enough money to have a nice life. So this isn't one of Lloyd's fluffy, hippie things like 'oh, I just want to have a little garden and grow cucumbers and not have any money'. I am talking about growing a business that's financially successful as well. This isn't an either-or thing. It's not like 'we're running a business and we were not going to make any money. We're just going to be happy'. I'm talking about how you can build a business and have that traditional financial success by not sacrificing the quality of the work that you're doing.
Avoid the long hours, avoid being stressed and avoid hating your life. I think, listening to a lot of business owners that have exited, they basically talk about the horrible time they had growing the business and how stressful it is. Then they have long-term health issues and that sort of thing. I don't want that.
I guess one of the questions is, why do we value these different things? like the norm of the online community, 'the business community' is, we want extreme growth and extreme money, that's what we're aiming for. We still want the money, but there's more. So we want to be successful financially, but we want to be on track with those things that really matter.
Over the years, we've realized what actually makes us happy. This is Dan and I, by the way, that I'm talking about, and I think they're the things that will make us happy in the long term. We're both in our 30s. Now, Dan's only just 30. So kind of in his 30s, but to be in our 30s, and be okay financially, to go to my son's sports days, to have holidays and not worried about having that time off, and actually switching off, leaving early and going to exercise on a Friday afternoon that we do most weeks, having a positive impact on the outside world and supporting our team to have enjoyable and fulfilling work. These are all things that we're extremely lucky to be doing at the moment and want to continue to aim for.
So this is really important. I think before I get into how to grow a business with this more balanced way of doing it. I think business owners should ask themselves a big question. If you're on your deathbed, will you be happier if you had the super yacht? And the kind of lifestyle that extreme wealth brings you? Or will you be happier thinking about the positive effects you've had on other people from your business's point of view and the time that you've had to spend with your family, and your children when they're young and that sort of thing?
By the way, I think it's completely fine either way, I'm not judging people that want financial success. I think more people should ask the question themselves, if I'm on my last legs, I'm on my deathbed, will I be happy that that's what I've aimed for and the life that I've lived? Or actually, should I be aiming for something different? And for me, and Dan, it's the different side of things of actually trying to have more balance and having a positive effect on the world, doing good work and not being stressed.
So how do we do this, Lloyd? How can you run a stress-free business that makes us happy?
I know that I'm so fortunate to be stress-free, and very happy running and growing a business at the moment. I know, that's very rare. So I want to share how I'm currently doing this basically, and things may change. Maybe, I'll regret this in the future and I'll learn lessons. This is where we currently are and I want to share how I'm currently doing it. it's what a lot of people ask me about in my DM's on LinkedIn.
So, step one... gradually make yourself redundant. I know that sounds weird, I'm going to talk about what that means in a minute.
Step two is to give yourself a promotion.
Step three is to repeat those processes over and over again.
We do this, not just with us as a business owner, but with our team eventually, and they can carry out the same process. So, the kind of 'busy business' person or the 'standard business' person will say things like 'oh, you can't be expected to be successful If you don't put the hard work in'.
You can't actually take holiday, you've got to be doing emails and stuff while you're on holiday. In my eyes, you don't necessarily have a business if that's what your life is like. I think you just have a stressful job that relies on your constant hard work to survive. Not even to grow or thrive but just to survive. The busy business owners kind of increase the money they make by continually working more and more and sometimes improving their skills to produce more money but normally just working more.
Why you need to make yourself redundant is to introduce processes and people that decrease the time that you need to put in, to earn that same money. So focus on improving the skills of other people, rather than just working longer yourself to achieve the same thing.
So making yourself redundant is key. What I mean by that is, as an example. When we started the business, I was shooting and editing videos myself, and doing all the financial side of the business, all of that stuff. Over time, I was finding either processes that made what I was doing more efficient or finding people that could take over certain parts of my role. I made myself redundant from those positions.
At first, I made myself redundant from the position of video editor, and we employed a video editor. Then I was just shooting videos and outsourcing the video editing. Then we hired a video editor, then we hired more people, and I was just organizing shoots with our team delivering the work. The shooting, the editing, all that kind of thing. Now my role is focusing on improving the business side to allow our team to deliver the best work possible. I'm not perfect and still have lots to learn but that's what I'm doing. I have made myself a redundant video editor and I gave myself a promotion and made myself redundant from shooting and organizing shoots, and I gave myself a promotion. That's what I mean by making yourself redundant.
Giving away those things to other people, or finding processes that make them efficient. So, they only take five minutes, rather than five days. That has allowed me to be stress-free and allowed our business to work much better and deliver the same thing without me working incredibly long hours.
As I said, this is a process now that I'm encouraging some of our team members to take. If you have management within your business, passing on this so that they don't have stressful lives where they have to work long hours, is about making themselves redundant from those tasks and delegating to who they need to. So that it's not just reliant on them being there all the time, working crazy hours, being stressed, hating their lives. I hope that makes sense, by what I mean by making yourself redundant and giving yourself promotions constantly.
An example in another person's case you could have a one-man band, what could you be doing? you're selling toilets! Okay, just 'you' selling toilets. You're doing all the invoicing, and you're even cleaning the dirty toilets yourself. First, you want to make yourself redundant from the financial side. You're going to start using XERO as financial software, much better processes take less of your time and eventually, you're going to hire an outsourced bookkeeper. So you've made yourself redundant from that to focus on other areas of the business, and you've given yourself a promotion, then you're hiring a cleaner. So you don't have to clean the dirty toilets, you made yourself redundant from the cleaner position, giving yourself a promotion, now you're not spending your time on those things that add less value to the business and you're not working really long hours to do everything. That's how it starts, eventually, you'll have a permanent finance assistant, a permanent cleaner, and you'll have lots of different roles within your business and you keep stepping up and you can get your team to do the same.
Why does that make me stress-free and have time to invest in other things? If you're implementing the new processes, hiring good people and training good people, that gives your business the life support it needs when you're not there. You're preparing your business to thrive and work well when you're not there working on it. Whereas if you go the traditional way, the 'busy business' owner way, you will just be working longer hours to make your business grow. You're setting the business up for failure when you're not there because it relies on you just doing more work personally. Basically work yourself to death, in my point of view.
I think as a business owner, I know it really helps me being able to step away and be able to do like a good level of working hours and have a good work-life balance because it allows me to step back, recuperate have breaks, have time for my exercise, go on holidays and that allows me to come back in and do a better job for our team here. and improve things and allow us to all do better work. Hopefully, improve all of our skills.
Now, the other side of this is away from the business, it's kind of the 'life side'. This is something revolutionary for me and part of where it's coming from saying, I'm not aiming for the extreme levels of financial success that the traditional business world aims for.
I looked at my life and my outgoings and I went through spreadsheets because I'm this sad but all of my costs, I looked at and looked at what am I spending money on that actually makes me and my family happy? What am I spending money on that isn't making me or my family happy?
Doing this process allowed me to not rely on earning crazy amounts of money to have a happy, stress-free life.
An example from my life and my spreadsheet. Looking at costs for cars. I've got friends and people that I've worked with and clients and things that are paying upwards of 500 pounds a month for a car. So if over the next three years, that's usually something that it can be 20,000 pounds over the next three years that you'd be paying off on this car. I've had my car
I don't think this is talked about enough because everyone is aiming to earn more money and do more, like I said, and aim for that extreme wealth. It's amazing finding ways that you're spending money and thinking I don't have to spend that. Therefore, I don't have to earn that and that means I can work less. I'm really happy. So that's the other side of this. I think you can do the same with your time. This is an exercise, I think I got it from a book? but again, noting down everything you spend your time on. It's kind of like what do I spend my time on that doesn't make me or my family happy? and cut those things out. Again, that's a way that as a business owner you can reduce stress and save time. If you can't do all those things you're spending time on that aren't giving you anything, you're gonna be less stressed, and you're gonna have loads more time. Yeah, I hope this has helped guys.
Sorry, this is a weird episode. I know Dan brings a lot to the podcast, and he's better than me, but I've done my best. I'm hoping this might just help a few business owners. It might be one of those light bulb moments. It's been massive for me knowing that I want to grow an amazing business and a business that's doing amazing quality work, but not feeling like I have to keep up with the Joneses and aim for that crazy wealth and that kind of thing to make me happy, and maybe a few of you will feel the same.
Thank you for listening to the business anchors podcast sponsored by Adobe Express, and we'll see you in your ears next week.