Today’s episode is all about our entrepreneurial journey, and how you can find your own freedom through entrepreneurship.
Today’s episode is all about entrepreneurship.
For those that aren’t aware, Russ and Mika both have an extensive history as entrepreneurs.
Owning and operating businesses has been one of the most impactful things that they have ever done in their lives.
It hasn’t always been easy, but the ability to determine your financial fate through operating your own business can be an absolute game-changer for you and your family.
Today, you’ll hear Russ and Mika share what they’ve accomplished as entrepreneurs, the lessons they’ve learned, and the types of businesses they would want to start today.
In this episode, you will learn:
• What entrepreneurship has done for our family.
• The lessons that we’ve learned from our business failures.
• Three tips for managing your team members.
• Ideas for businesses you could start today.
Mentioned in this episode:
• Russ Perry on Instagram
• Mika Perry on Instagram
• The Sober Entrepreneur by Russ Perry
• The Russ Perry Show
• Wake Up Warrior
• “This Naked Mind” by Annie Grace
• Annie Grace on The Same 24 Hours
• The Almost 30 Podcast
• Tazo Dessert Delights Tea
• Naturopathic Medicine
• Marketing is Not About Your Company’s Values by Kris Gage
• Rent by Big Freedia
• QuestNutrition Cookies
• American Airlines
• Entrepreneur on Fire by John Lee Dumas
• NEAT Method
• The Russ Perry Show – Episode 27
• Prime Pimpin’
• The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
• The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
• Google Home
• Pickle and the Bitter Gourd
Russ Perry: I’m Russ Perry.
Mika Perry: And I’m Mika Perry. And you’re listening to Good to be Home.
Russ Perry: Good to be Home is a weekly exploration of entrepreneurship, family, marriage, sobriety, and how we balance our business and life.
Mika Perry: From our family to yours, thanks for joining us. And welcome to our home.
Russ Perry: Everyone, welcome to another episode of Good to be Home. I am Russ Perry.
Mika Perry: And I am Mika Perry.
Russ Perry: And today we are talking about business.
Mika Perry: Business.
Russ Perry: So the topic title is, How to Start Your Own Business. And if you don’t know, Mika and I have both been entrepreneurs, and worn many hats. But we really wanted to talk about this today because, being a business owner, and determining out own fates in that regard has been one of the most impactful and influential things in our family, really, I think. It hasn’t always been easy but it definitely has allowed us for tons of opportunity, tons of experiences. Today we’re going to talk about what we’ve done, the lessons we’ve learned, and then we have a fun section towards the end of businesses we’d actually want to start today. Mainly around problems we’re having, and we hope maybe one of you go out there and create one of these businesses so we can use it. Before we get there, Mika, do you know what time it is?
Mika Perry: It is time for our weekly reading, listening, eating, and loving. Our new segment. We did this last episode for the first time, just as a little snapshot of what we’re doing right now, what’s in our head. What’s on our plate, what are we doing? Just to give you a quick idea I guess.
Russ Perry: That’s right. If you go to goodtobehomepodcast.com, our cool website, you can go right there on the homepage and put in your email and get the most updated list. We’re going to compile these for awhile. It’s just a Google Doc, but we’ll make something cool later. But you can go there and you can see the whole list of all the episodes we’ve done of what we are reading, listening, eating, and loving. So, definitely go check that out.
Mika Perry: Yeah, and I’ll have links so that you can go directly to these favorites if you want to try them out.
Russ Perry: Correct. The resources themselves.
Mika Perry: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Russ Perry: All right, Mika, how about you go first?
Mika Perry: Okay. So, reading. I am not the best reader because I fall asleep or lose interest, and I have a lot of unfinished books. Right now I’ve moved reading over to Kindle, I think I’m going to move it over to Audible soon because I love listening, and that’s why I love doing this podcast because that’s how I consume a lot of information is via auditory. But I do have on my Kindle right now a book called This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness, and Change Your Life. It’s by Annie Grace, and I found this book last summer after I decided to become sober, and I found her via a podcast. I think it was called The Same 24 Hours, is the podcast. She was being interviewed, talking about how she entered into sobriety and then a lot of the science behind it. Something we’re going to be talking a lot about is addiction, whether it’s alcohol or something else. I wanted to inform myself on the science behind addiction and what current thoughts and research is supporting what different information I can get from it so that I’m more informed, I guess.
So that’s my reading. I hope I can finish it, I will let you know. I am like-
Russ Perry: I don’t know if you can merge reading and listening into one category. I think like reading’s reading.
Mika Perry: Well, yeah. So that’s reading.
Russ Perry: I know, but you said you wanted to go to audio books for those.
Mika Perry: Oh, will that not count?
Russ Perry: I don’t know. We’ll review the rules of this section at a later date. Continue.
Mika Perry: All right, so listening. Right now I’m listening to a podcast that I feel has been pretty popular so I’m a little late to the game, but it’s called the Almost 30 Podcast. I am 35, so I’m not almost 30, but it’s these two chicks, I think they’re out in L.A. They’re hilarious. One of them is a Soul Cycle instructor, but they focus on very wellness related lifestyle topics, which I enjoy. Eating? Yesterday I went to Target, picked up this new tea by Tazo, and it’s a dessert called Dessert Delights. I got two types called Vanilla Bean macaroon, and Butterscotch Brownie or something. And my aesthetician, Emmy, who is really into fitness told me when she gets a sweet tooth, which I struggle with, she drinks this tea instead. So it’s kind of tricking your mind with the scent of something sweet, the aroma. I know. Don’t laugh at me.
Russ Perry: I’m not laughing at you.
Mika Perry: When I lose weight, you just …
Russ Perry: Okay, tell me more about your candy tea.
Mika Perry: Well, so I made my first cup last night and it smelled amazing. I put it underneath our Nespresso machine with just the hot water. So I poured it over the tea bag. And in doing that it smelled amazing, I did the vanilla one. And then I put a splash of my almond milk creamer in it just to create a more luxurious … why are you laughing at me so much about this? And then I drank it and it was delicious. I had a friend DM me because I put this on the story. She was like, “Hey, how is it? How does it taste?” And so I said, “I’ll get back to you. Stand by.”
Russ Perry: You’re like, “I’m too busy eating a cookie. Sorry.”
Mika Perry: And so I said, “You know what? It was pretty good. It’s not the real thing, I’d much rather have a real cookie, but I’m going to try this strategy. Drink this tea instead.” But I did eat a cookie last night, too. Next topic. Okay, lastly, loving. I am really loving naturopathic medicine. I just came from an appointment right before this, and I was getting my blood drawn to really target hormone and thyroid levels, and address a lot of my imbalances through naturopathic medicine. So not traditional medicine anymore. You know, like mood. So far it’s been good. It’s been great actually, I started in January and have already seen great results from supplements, but the body is a dynamic thing, it’s always changing. So we took some levels, we’re going to target some concerns I have.
Russ Perry: Well, on to my list here. For reading, reading, reading, reading, I am a fan of an article one of my team members sent over off of the site, Medium. If you’ve never been to Medium it’s cool, it’s like a super blog site. Basically people write, it’s a little more high brown though. A lot of scholars and actually other publications repost on there. But this article by Chris Gauge is called, “Marketing is Not About Your Values.” And it is a breakdown on how, when you’re marketing you should be most thoughtful about what other people are interested in, and what other people value, and create your products and experiences around that. And of course, the beauty child of all marketing case studies ever in business, she talks about Apple and how Apple looked at what people valued in music, and connection, and experiences, and then created products around that. They didn’t try to force their values onto other people. So that is a quick read. Listening? Oh, my gosh. I’m so pumped up. I’m not talking about Cardi B this week.
Mika Perry: Oh, god. I really thought you were going to mention her.
Russ Perry: Although I’ll bring it back. This week instead is a bounce hip-hop expert, Big Freedia from New Orleans, she released a new single called, “Rent,” which is freaking awesome. I highly recommend it, I will link to it. If you don’t know about Big Freedia, she’s actually he. A gay, not transgendered, but goes by the pronoun she, but has been featured in so many hip hop artists, notably Mannie Fresh from The Big Tymers, as well as Queen Bee herself, Beyonce, has used Big Freedia, not only as a dancer, but in her opening act as well. So, shout out to Big Freedia and her single, “Rent.” Next up, eating. Cookies, specifically Quest Nutrition cookies. Mika got a big box of these from here influencer status, and I’m just eating through them like a maniac.
So, Quest, they do the protein bars, they now make like every food imaginable. Powders, chips, cookies. I believe they’re good, but it is huge cookie like the size of my hand, so I don’t know how healthy it is. Finally, loving. I’ve been doing some last minute travel this week, and I am living American Airlines. I think airlines get a lot of crap. Logistically it’s an insane thought of what airlines do on an annual basis, even on a daily basis. And one blown window, and one person sucked out of an airplane, and the whole reputation goes out the door. So I want to give some love to the airlines and actually shout out to American Airlines of their awesome experience that I’ve had with some last minute travel. And just being great people, great staff. The app I downloaded, it’s been a good app. So repping on that. Okay, so let’s jump into the main topic today. As we shared in the intro, business is near and dear to our hearts. Not just businesses, but this whole concept of entrepreneurship and what it has done for our family, and really the lessons we’ve learned.
I think there’s enough out there for what you can go and find in terms of starting your own business. I really recommend if you are wanting to start your own business, actually, a friend of mine, John Lee Dumas, has a podcast called EO Fire, and it is a daily podcast interviewing business owners. He has an awesome community, an awesome way to start businesses, podcasts. It’s a great resource. I think the internet is saturated with topics on how to start your business, and what to do, I don’t think we’re going to talk about today. What I wanted to talk about, and what we wanted to share, is more the lessons from like a family perspective, and a married couple perspective on what we’ve learned, what we would want to do differently if we were to start a business, and the impact it’s had to our family. So, Mika, I have a question for you. What business hats have you owned in your lifetime?
Mika Perry: All right. So my main business that I ran for about three years is a professional organizing company, luxury home organizing, and it was NEAT Method. They’ve really grown a lot as a brand, especially online with Instagram, so you may be familiar with it. But I opened the Arizona market in 2014, and it was the eighth market. Now they’re like almost at 40 markets, in 40 different cities. So I was kind of on the earlier side of their business and expansion. Things are very different now than they were before. For example, I was a licensee of the brand, and now they’ve become a franchise, which I think is super smart. So I’m super happy for them. So that was really my one and only entrepreneurial endeavor so far. Since then I have used blogging a bit. I wouldn’t say that’s my business, I’m not using it as a source of income so I don’t consider it that. There’s a little residual here and there, but I do run it like a business as far as scheduling and leveraging resources that I have.
Russ Perry: To get free cookies.
Mika Perry: To get free cookies for my husband.
Russ Perry: Big time.
Mika Perry: And them more recently my third role, which I’m really excited about, is co-founder and creative director of our lifestyle and wellness brand called Sobr.
Russ Perry: S-O-B-R.
Mika Perry: S-O-B-R.
Russ Perry: We’ll talk about that later.
Mika Perry: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Russ Perry: Awesome. And shout out to anyone out there who’s “running their life like a business.” Whether that is in like a job, or as a parent. But we’re not talking about that today, we’re talking about actually owning a business, having your name on a company that you filed with your local state organization. I loved seeing you enter into the business game. When we get to my laundry list of businesses, I have a bit of a longer list, but it was so cool to see you step into that from our relationship standpoint when you launched NEAT Method here in Arizona. When we could talk about business topics, which before you were really tuned out of because it didn’t matter.
Mika Perry: And in fact, I actually didn’t like the idea of entrepreneurship. I was coming from a corporate position, you know nine to five actually, more like nine to nine, I don’t know. And here was Russ with his own business, hustling, doing his thing, and I wanted a little stability, and we weren’t seeing the results yet so I was very apprehensive about it. I still remember the day that I approached Russ with the idea to start my own business. It happened with just scrolling through Pinterest actually. I was a stay at home mom, I had a little baby. I’m someone that likes to always have something to do, so staying at home I organized the heck out of my own house, I was working out a ton. But in scrolling through Pinterest one day I came across a questionnaire, a list of questions of, “Would you make a really good professional organizer?’ And it was from a professional organizer, and it was one of her pins. I went through it and I was like, “Yes, yes, yes, yes.”
I checked all the boxes and it was like, “This is perfect for me. I didn’t even know you could organize professional and get paid. I do this just as a hobby.” So I remember sending you a text and saying, “Hey, what do you think about me starting my own businesses as a professional organizer?” And he was like, “Game on.” So actually you set up a date night. We went to like Fleming’s or something to sit down to start branding and brainstorming this new idea I had. And how it evolved is that I found that there wasn’t a professional organizing service in our area aimed toward the luxury home market, that really took into not just the functionality of organizing, but the aesthetics that matched that next level of interior design. In one week we came up with this idea, we were brainstorming on it, and then you found NEAT Method and forwarded it to me.
Russ Perry: Right. I had found it on this site called [inaudible], which was like a personal assistant site, and they had a partnership with NEAT Method. I clicked through it and I thought, “It’s people like you, Mika.” It’s like these attractive, well organized, higher brand. Bright colors, lots of-
Mika Perry: Well, no. It wasn’t even bright colors necessarily. But I remember the colors, we were thinking like gray and white, and just aesthetically.
Russ Perry: Right. It wasn’t maroon and green.
Mika Perry: It was well branded, and it was very much in line with the brand that we came up with ourselves. So, rather than starting from scratch we reached out to them. One page on their website was, “Would you want to be part of this?” Because they were licensing out the NEAT Method brand that had been successful for them for about a year or two. Oh, no. Longer than that. So, long story short, I got on board to be the Arizona girl, and went with that.
Russ Perry: Nice. And maybe in another episode we’ll talk about why you left. It was on good terms, and they’re crushing it. But we leaned that [inaudible] entrepreneur and sometimes what you choose isn’t the right fit for you personally.
Mika Perry: Yeah, or that changes. It was right for you at the beginning, and then maybe you change, or your family’s needs change.
Russ Perry: So, speaking of change, let’s jump into my list of things I’ve done to give a little background on folks if you’re not quite familiar. Starting way back in the day, in terms of my entrepreneurial career, I was a freelance designer. I came out of college and had a few side gigs and really learned/faked my way into graphic design, and getting paid to do that. I still vividly remember my first graphic design job was for a menu design with a couple from Chicago, that I had picked them off as a client working at Apple in the store and said, “Hey, I do some design. If you need help, here’s my information.” And it was the worst design ever. I didn’t even know there’s actually a science behind menu design in terms of where you place the food, how you highlight things. You always put your most profitable food items in the box with the star as like the featured item because that makes you the most money, and people buy that the most. I knew none of that and it was a nightmare design.
But I since worked from there and got started within my creative design firm, Keane Creative. And that was good for a while, then became a disaster. Then I formed a partnership and kind of matured my agency, and actually had two partners from Argentina, and we had a company called NSB Keane, which you can jump over to my other show I do, The Russ Perry Show, and check out episode 27 if you want to learn more about that brand and how terrible it was to have a company called NSB Keane. Literally saying it every day was a nightmare. There is a small stint in my life where I was the co-founder and owner of an online fake watch and pimp cup company called Prime Pimpin’. That was an interesting experience. I did not do very well in the eCommerce space of pimp cups and fake watches, so I sold my interest. Do you know I sold my interest in that for a bowling ball and a Mexican food dinner to my partner?
Mika Perry: Really?
Russ Perry: Yep. And then I started the career I am on, which is with my graphic design company, Design Pickle. And I’ve spun up a bunch of other side businesses on there. We have a software company called Jar, jarhq.com. And then I’ve launched into training and consulting [inaudible] warrior, so I’ve been doing that. And that is its own business. And finally, most recently, co-founding, and being the CEO of the company and brand, Sobr. It’s quite a career. Lots of failure. I’d say most of my success has come in the last few years with about eight to nine years of that lifestyle you referred of, “When is this going to pay off? What the hell are we doing?” So, Mika and I both come from kind of a varied background of entrepreneurship. I’ve spent most of my successful years in the space of design. I’ve actually spent a lot of failure years in the space of design. But we wanted to really share things that we’ve learned from all of that, because if you’re wanting to start your own business there is so much benefit to that from time, earning potential, freedom.
I mean the thought of having to request time off doesn’t necessarily exist in our mindset, in our world. But there is a huge price to pay, that you have to get through, to get to those luxuries if you will. It’s not just, you quit your job and tomorrow it’s the lifestyle you’ve dreamed of. We’ve literally been working on this for over 11 years together. Since before we were married we’ve been working on this. So if you can walk away from this podcast and gain just a few insights on where you should go, or things that we’ve learned, that’s the ultimate goal of today’s episode is just to give you these super strategic detailed things. And then like I said earlier we’ll give a few ideas too. So let’s go back and forth on this. How about you give one, and then I’ll give one, and we’ll go down our list?
Mika Perry: Okay. So we’re covering lessons?
Russ Perry: Lessons. These are the lessons we’ve learned over the 11 years that we’ve been living the entrepreneurial couple game.
Mika Perry: I would say one is that if you are a new entrepreneur, you’ve never opened up your own business before, finding a brand that already exists is a great entry point for someone. And that’s what I did. Although I had Russ as a great resource who had launched businesses over and over, and really was a support through all of that, it was really great to have a community and a brand that you could step into and backed by to give you, one, credibility as you’re starting out. And then, two, support as you grow. So it was a really great way to gain some confidence as an entrepreneur.
Russ Perry: I now know going into a partnership with you as a business owner, I mean, well we’re married so you kind of own everything that I do anyway, but with the Sobr brand, and the new brand we’re building, it’s so awesome that you have that past experience that you got in a safer environment under the NEAt Method brands. And you can do this with multi-level marketing groups. As much crap as people give other people inside the MLM space, it’s a great way to learn the basics of being an entrepreneur. You can get hosed if you get wrapped up in one that’s kind of shady, but if you’re selling Cutco knives, or scented candles, or whatever it is, you learn how to kind of build those skill sets. And now we’ve taken that and we’re using that foundation in something we won 100%. I’m so glad you did that. And I didn’t have to teach you, which I tried at times and we learned quickly that I’m not a great teacher for you specifically. Okay, my first time is life first, business second.
And what I mean by this is, I had the belief for many years that working more would give me the lifestyle I wanted. I had to sacrifice, I had to be away, I had to go through and deal with crap, and bad clients, and a tough business that didn’t have much money left over, much profits. And this was my penance, this was my price to a lifestyle later on. That almost imploded me. And what I learned from the ashes of my first eight years of business was, if I am really clear on the lifestyle I want first there is a business out there that can support it. And the easiest, most concrete example is the lifestyle of travel. Of time and freedom. If I choose a business that is online based versus a business like your old business of organizing, where you have to go to people’s homes, then one is going to be very supportive of the travel lifestyle, one is not going to be very supportive. It’s not that you couldn’t travel [inaudible] method, it’s just that you couldn’t work.
Or if you did, you had to work in another market or something. So be very cognizant of what you want in your lifestyle first because that wilt narrow down the list of things and opportunities that you could choose upon launching your first business. And a book that I love, love, love, it’s a legendary book in my world, and my past life, is The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Faris. This book, even though it’s 11 years old now, or going on 11 years old, was the first book I ever read where I was like, “Wow, you can make money online doing whatever you want to do. And you can come up with things, and products and services, and here’s all these people doing it.” So I highly recommend that book if you haven’t read it. And if you have read it, but it’s been awhile, go read it again because I have like four copies on my bookcase of this book because it’s been so influential in learning how to create that lifestyle first, and then putting the business backing behind it.
Mika Perry: Nice. Okay, next thought or lesson for me is, recognize your style and what’s the best fit for you as a business owner. I found this out through trial and error, which sometimes you have to do. But now I know that I would be the owner, I wouldn’t be a franchise. That’s because I know that I am creative, and I like to have my own ideas and kind of jump right in and roll with it, while other might thrive more on that franchise structure situation. My next step is, now owning this brand with you. You know, a franchise, or a licensee, or an MLM or something, that those are easier for a setup but you sacrifice control. You ultimately have someone to answer to, some guidelines, and you have to ask for permission or run it by someone. And at some point that could work well for you and maybe it doesn’t. So it’s recognizing maybe as you go along. Maybe you’ve already owned a business. Reflect back on what worked really well and try to gain some insight on your style. What makes you passionate and thrive?
And what were the things that were important to you, and made you just really excited to wake up in the morning? And was your business model giving you that? Your business idea that you have now, will that give you that? So definitely check in with yourself.
Russ Perry: Right. And I don’t think you had that. That’s insight after the fact. But that checking in with yourself on a regular basis kind of goes along with my first item, like life first. Evaluating, “Is this still serving me?” Asking yourself, “Is this setup giving me what I want?” And if it is, then keep going. But when it’s no longer serving you, don’t be afraid to change course because so often we stick with something that’s not serving us because of the fear of change. However, the simple act of changing, to leaving, or doing something new, there’s so much more opportunity in that next step.
Mika Perry: Yeah, and I learned that I was an entrepreneur at heart through this process. I didn’t know that. You know, I scoffed at it before because I didn’t know. And once I tried it I realized that it was the perfect fit for me with my sense of drive and motivation, and especially as a creative. That was always something that I looked for and I gained a lot of benefit, and contentment, and satisfaction out of it.
Russ Perry: My next one is super practical, and this is more about the business you decide to choose to create, is make sure there’s recurring revenue built in, and you’re not chasing invoices. What this means is if you’re providing a service, or a product or goods do something that you can repeatedly deliver value every month, and people can pay you for. That alone has been life changing for me as a businessman because I can predict what is coming in next month. I can tell if we’re growing or shrinking on a really consistent level, and this allows me to make decisions, and this allows me to advance, or invest, or do whatever. Whereas, when I had the business when I would do this one project for you, and then I would invoice you and pay you, as soon as that’s done, that’s done.
And then I don’t have that money anymore and I have to now make that up. And if I want to grow I have to make that up again next month, and I have to make more than that for the next month.
This is getting into more business tactics, but there’s lots and lots of businesses you can choose, and I just think the ones that have a repeatable value delivered to them are the best, best kinds of business especially for lifestyle. And if you’re like, “Russ, well you run a graphic design or software.” There are so many businesses out there that do this, that we use every day, like a gym. Like a subscription to Netflix. You know? Like this recurring fee in our life that we love to pay because of the value that it provides for us.
Mika Perry: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Apple Music?
Russ Perry: Apple Music. Yeah.
Mika Perry: Dropbox. Those types of…
Russ Perry: Tons of software examples. But I don’t think it’s limited to software. I think there’s a professional organizing subscription model out there that exists, or we see it all the time with like photographers. If you pay $200 or $300 dollars a month, they’ll come for an hour and take some photos, and it’s just on auto pay, and you can build revenue that way.
Mika Perry: So I did that a little with organizing. One great thing about a recurring visit, like a monthly appointment, is that’s a touchpoint for you and your client once a month that’s guaranteed.
Russ Perry: Yeah. And you got more business out of it.
Mika Perry: I did.
Russ Perry: Often. When you were in there for that thing.
Mika Perry: Yeah.
Russ Perry: So again, that’s just a really practical one. Make sure there’s recurring revenue, don’t be chasing invoices and bills. Get after it. So what’s your next one?
Mika Perry: It is managing people. As an entrepreneur you kind of think, “solopreneur.” You’re on your own, you’re out to get it. But at some point when your business grows you need to add a team. You need to bring in other people. And I did this somewhat gradually, and really gained a lot of value for my business by really creating a team and hiring in preparation for my goals down the line. So, imagining where I wanted this business to be. The success. Numbers. I’m talking like revenue, hours, where I want to be. And taking a step backwards in time, and hiring a team that will be available to serve that demand down the road. At one point I had the largest team at Neat Method. Again, remember I was kind of earlier on, now it’s a much bigger business that they have. But I really thought that there was a great benefit to having multiple people available to go on a job. I made two lead organizers instead of just one so that they could use each other as a sounding board and a resource.
Russ Perry: What was a lead organizer?
Mika Perry: A lead organizer would go and organize, not on my behalf, but they were the team lead. And so every organizing job we’d go with at least two people depending on the size. But two people would get a space done much faster than just one. It’s crazy, people think that organizing is pretty easy, relatively. But really it’s a lot of manpower and hours, and a lot of strategizing into completing a space. But when my business grew it was more important for me to be working on the business, whether it’s marketing, meeting with people, sending out newsletters. You know, all the back office stuff. I took that on and I enjoyed it. So I had to let go, step back a bit, and give control to my lead organizers, and have them go and actually do the organizing. I trained them by experience, by coming on jobs with me. I made a manual with the cooperation of NEAT Method, they helped, and sat down and did training.
Russ Perry: You were a machine. I loved it. I loved watching you do all this stuff.
Mika Perry: Yeah, and really when I invested in the team I saw the success in the numbers. That’s when I could start scaling what I could do. And I enjoyed the HR aspect of it in some ways. I didn’t know that about myself. I am the type that I like to work on my own, I don’t delegate very well, and by doing so I realized the huge value delegation could be to yourself personally and as a business. So invest in people.
Russ Perry: Right. Well, another book I’ll drop here, because this is pretty practical knowledge, is the E Myth Revisited by Micheal Gerber. It was the very first business book I ever read. He talks exactly about what you just ran through, was to grow a business you need people, you need processes, you need systems. I loved that. In every business I’ve ever done, the ones that have grown had more people. The current one I have, that is the most successful, we have over 160 people in it right now. It’s crazy the amount of growth that we have now achieved because of the path that we’ve been on, driven by the people that we’ve hired way ahead of time sometimes, than what we’ve required.
Mika Perry: I’ve noticed that in that you hired certain roles before you really, really needed it. And then by the time you needed it that person was on the ground, trained and ready to go and accept that demand of the work that they needed to do.
Russ Perry: Also, I’ve learned to be flexible too, where I’m in the market for people and who they are as a person, and their culture, and their personality. What I’m doing, and I think this is the case in most businesses unless it’s a specialized business, say like an engineering or science type, or legal, or doctors. You can figure it out. And if I can find the right people, and capture them, and get them into my company we could find a job for them eventually. It’s more making sure it’s the right fit for the person at the time. And, of the folks that have left Design Pickle, I think in the entire company’s history we’ve had less than 10 people leave. And we’ve had over 160 people come here. This includes the Philippine side of it all. Everyone that has left, has left kind of amicably because it wasn’t that the job wasn’t a fit anymore, it was just that they were a different person, and they were growing beyond that role. So understanding that when you’re hiring you may just want to hire somebody to do a task or a job.
But that’s a dangerous way to hire if you’re starting out. If you hire based on the person, and their work ethic, and their commitment they can do a lot of tasks which they will have to at those early days and those early strategies. That’s how we hire now, it’s kind of like irrelevant of their professional experience and more like, “Hey, let’s hear about you personally.”
Mika Perry: I think teams are so important. And while we’re on the topic of managing teams and people, there’s three tips that I can think of right now. Making sure that you praise and incentivize your team members, your hires, and really make them excited. Invest in that. The more pumped up they are about working for you the better the results are going to be. You want them to be there with you. I think that’s super important. Also, if you’re looking to grow your team start from within. I grew my team by asking my current team to refer somebody. And I actually gave them a piece of jewelry, like Kendra Scott. That’s what I gave them when they found somebody to join us, and they were fantastic. And I know you have, too. If you find people you love, the people they love you probably will love too. And I thought that was a great way to find people because I think that’s a challenge sometimes.
Russ Perry: The third point will be actually my main point, which is, seek out international teams when possible. The world is a big place. Being online is a huge advantage, and working online has so many lifestyle benefits to it, as a business owner. Because [inaudible] businesses online and I have teams that can be wherever, whenever it creates such a level of freedom and a lifestyle people are really attracted to. In fact, I’ll show you later a comic that one of my team members did for our internal newsletter. It’s the pickle versus the squash, and the pickle is the guy who gets to work remotely at Design Pickle and has a great life. Where the squash is like commuting to work and has this really stressful life that they have to go into the office. Now we have an office, and we have a great office that we’re going to be remodeling it soon, and everyone’s going to be working remotely. But even if that wasn’t the case and one of my team members said, “Hey, I want to go relocate to Europe for the summer.” Cool. We figure it out and we can do it.
So this ability to hire and work with people internationally, it’s actually ensuring you can work with people remotely, I think is the foundational piece. And from there, if that’s true, if you have a business that can support remote employment then you can go out internationally and find amazing talent, often at a fraction of the cost of what that same talent would cost in The United States. So this is Design Pickle. Hire designers that actually are located in The Philippines and get them for a flat rate, 370 bucks a month. That’s how we build our business, it’s an awesome experience, but I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I was to only look inside The United States for design. There would be no Design Pickle if that was the case. All right, last takeaways, and then we’ll get into our five business ideas if we were to start a company now.
Mika Perry: So, last point or lesson would be scalability, profitability, and opportunity cost. I remember the term opportunity cost. Is that dated?
Russ Perry: No, but you sound like a business consultant here with your [crosstalk].
Mika Perry: Well, I minored in business so I know a few words here and there. But I just remember a macroeconomics class I took my junior year. The term opportunity cost really stuck with me.
Russ Perry: So, there’s a cost of something, and then the opportunity cost is the cost beyond your decision either in time, opportunity. So if I choose to go out of town this weekend the opportunity cost of, “I’ll miss the opportunity to spend it with my family.” So you weigh the consequences, not just in the actual dollar cost, but how else does this affect your life? Sometimes in a positive way, but sometimes in a negative way.
Mika Perry: However, I get it. That makes sense, it’s opportunity. But from an economic standpoint, it does have to do with dollars, and that’s what I’m thinking right now. Because our tagline for this podcast is balancing business and life. We, at the core, our family’s the most important. And I know, if you’re a woman out there, an entrepreneur and you have kids this whole conversation and worry, and debate, and decision making around, “Do I stay home with my kids? Do I work?” That’s where the opportunity cost came in for me because I needed to find childcare, and pay for childcare, should I choose to work. And for me that became an issue in balance, and that happened with teaching. At the end of the day I stopped teaching, I was an elementary school teacher, because the cost of childcare was pretty much the same was what I would bring home.
Russ Perry: We did the math and I think, at the end of the day, we were keeping 500 more dollars a month for you to be a full-time teacher and putting our kids in childcare than if you just stayed home. So the cost, or the gain financially, was $500 but the opportunity cost of dropping kids of at six a.m. at childcare, working at night, working on the weekends, evening events with school. All of this for $500 extra a month. And I remember telling you, “Babe, I will figure out a way to make $500 a month extra.”
Mika Perry: Yeah. So that’s why I stopped teaching, and then likewise with NEAT Method, too, there was a certain limit in the scalability and profitability, that I came up to. Therefore, that kind of came into the decision making of me leaving that. So, analyze your opportunity cost, and then see what can be worked around with profitability or scalability. Can you grow your team? Can you make the service or product work for you, that you can step away and address the other things that you want to do as well, but still make it make sense to keep going from a profit standpoint.
Russ Perry: I wish I had this piece of advice for my agency career, because my opportunity cost was, I wasn’t making a lot of money. And if I said, “Well, I want to make money. This is not making me money, I should do something different.” Eventually, I got there. It took me a long time.
Mika Perry: And you know what’s cool about this? It brings up the point that entrepreneurship is like, there’s no limit to what you can make really. That’s the cool thing. You don’t have a set salary. And that was hugely enticing for me because I always loved to work hard. And now if you combine that with working smartly, which is that whole balancing business and life, then the sky’s the limit.
Russ Perry: Well, what you can make is equivalent to the value you can create. So if there is a limit on the value side of things, or you have a very small market, or you’re not great at sales and marketing, people can’t find you. There is a limit. But to your point, the world’s a pretty big place, and you don’t need a lot of people to buy into whatever it is you’re doing to change your life financially. Or in all the other areas with the benefits of increased finances. With time, with your family experiences, things like that. So my final tip here, then we’ll get into the ideas, is kind of related. It more leads into our next section here, solve your own problems first. So if you’re wanting an idea, if you’re wanting to do something, and create something, and build something solve your own problem first. Because if you’re having that problem, if you see value in something and want to create or do something, chances are there’s 10, 100, a million thousand people out there who also could use that or benefit from whatever it is.
Mika Perry: And that is actually the reasoning behind this new business and brand that we’re creating, Sobr.
Russ Perry: Yeah, I mean we looked at the marketplace and we said, “We don’t want to be like an addiction recovery program. We want to be a brand and a service, and have a lifestyle and products that promote this healthy living, and healthy lifestyle free from addictions. Whatever they may be. Whether it’s alcohol, drugs, social media, Diet Coke. Who knows?” And looking at the marketplace we said, “There’s really nothing out there for people our age, our demographic, with the struggles we’ve had, so let’s create it. Let’s create it for ourselves first.” And that’s what we’re going to do. We don’t really have a business plan other than like, let’s create some cool things to wear. Let’s talk about it on a podcast. And that’s it.
Mika Perry: Plus, promote it in our own lives and our own community.
Russ Perry: Exactly. But we’re doing it for ourselves first, and then we’ll see what happens from there. And for those of you who are aware of Design Pickle, what I’ve done in my life, that was created because I was a marketing consultant after my agencies, and I needed help with small graphic design jobs. So I actually created the system of Design Pickle to serve me first. It worked so well I said, “Well, maybe I could sell this to other people.” And I like pickles, and thus the brand was born. So, let’s get into business ideas. This is going to be like our first section, Mika, where we’re going to just rapid fire these. You can go first, I’ll go second and close this out. Business ideas. If you’re wanting to start your own business, here are four to five things that we’ve thought of each. So you’re going to get like nine ideas here, ladies and gentlemen, that you can go with today to change your life, get rich now! Just kidding.
Mika Perry: Well, these are problems that we want solutions form, and if you’re the person for it? Yes. Do it.
Russ Perry: Please do it, and then email us.
Mika Perry: And then let us know.
Russ Perry: And let us know.
Mika Perry: maybe we can be partners?
Russ Perry: Yeah, cool.
Mika Perry: Maybe.
Russ Perry: Invest.
Mika Perry: All right. First one is, bow storage and organization. Hair Bows.
Russ Perry: Oh, not hunting bows?
Mika Perry: No. Or bow ties. Hair Bows. I’m a mom of three girls, we have a lot of hair bows. I’ve not yet found a bow board where you clip up all the bows, that looks great. Sorry, for all of you out there making them, but I don’t like them.
Russ Perry: So for our huge contingency of bow board listeners that we’ve just majorly offended, we still love you but get your design game level up a little.
Mika Perry: Well, I’m noticing like on Etsy it’s very dated patterns, like Chevron or Demasque backgrounds. I mean it’s just-
Russ Perry: What about houndstooth?
Mika Perry: That’s kind of in. Yeah. Nice, Russ. Anyway, so I was sitting in my girl’s room and thought … I’ve made my own. The one that’s in our room right now, I went out and made. I bought the frame, I bought the fabric, the foam, the ribbon. I made it myself to match our décor because I couldn’t find anything that matched it. So I think product as a business is awesome, service is really challenging. So I’ve sometimes said, “The next business I do I going to be just a product where I can just make it and then it sells itself.” Not service, where I have to be somewhere doing something.
Russ Perry: What if you bought the board and you partner with bow makers, and you get a subscription bows delivered every month with the board?
Mika Perry: Well, there’s already subscription bow services.
Russ Perry: I know, but [crosstalk] the board.
Mika Perry: Yeah, if I do this. So if you’re eager, go and do this and make it. Maybe give a shout out to me for this idea. But I don’t know if I’m going to do this, so go ahead and take it. But I have definitely thought there’s great bow makers out there. Huge, huge amount in the maker space of bows. But, what do you do with it? Where do you put it?
Russ Perry: I don’t know. You just throw the bows on the ground.
Mika Perry: Has to be a rap reference. Did you guys get it? I got it. Throw them bows.
Russ Perry: Only if you’re [crosstalk] will you get that rap reference.
Mika Perry: Okay, so that’s my first one. Babysitting service that runs like Uber, where a babysitter is delivered to you, and you do it through an app. There’s actually already one already like it. We found it, it’s called Busy Bees. I think they should franchise immediately. They’re just local to Arizona from what I know, and I actually told the babysitter, I was all into it, I was like, “Wow, so how does this work? This app, the system is so great, and the onboarding email I got was amazing. And what about … ?” And she was like a college student. And it was just like, “Cool, lady. Stop talking to me about franchising.”
Russ Perry: I need to heat up the macaroni and cheese now.
Mika Perry: So, anyway, I thought it was like, “Oh, this is a good business idea. They need to grow this.” All right, mom industry is huge. Like billions and billions of dollars. Moms are like primed to shop because we have a lot of needs, and a lot of changing needs as our kids grow. One service is a baby car seat, stroller cleaning service. And the reason I bring this up is because we have a friend from church, a guy we met through our pastor, he has a mobile car cleaning service that steams everything.
Russ Perry: Steam driven cleaning.
Mika Perry: Yes, which is great. It’s like eco-friendly and much safer than these harsh chemicals. And so they actually clean strollers and Pack n’ Plays, and car seats. After I had that done I put that on my stories. Blew up. Like so many moms asking me, and now have come back and told me they use them and loved it. And I told that guy, too, it was like, “You have an opportunity here. This is a need that is not being serviced is cleaning these gross car seats.”
Russ Perry: So the next item here is like a wellness consumable product, but there’s a note here: “Go to the Amazon and find the next Chia seed, or … ”
Mika Perry: Acai berry.
Russ Perry: Acai berry.
Mika Perry: Okay, so not Amazon Prime.
Russ Perry: No, the jungles of Amazon. Find a local tribe and get the mushroom mud they’re rubbing on their face, and then that becomes the next thing in Nordstrom.
Mika Perry: That’s my tip, guys. Go to the jungle.
Russ Perry: And find the product. Okay, I’ll close us out here quickly. So mine are not at all like yours, but I do think for a guy out there, or girls, this is not guy or girls, this is just like you’re a working professional and you want to leave corporate America, these ideas are for you. I think your ideas are more like, you don’t have a business but you want to start one, but you just want to try something. Mine’s like, you’ve got to replace a big-time income, and how do you do that? Tip number one is, go find a software company out there that’s doing well and become a reseller of that software. So if you’ve ever heard of a company called Sales Force, they did this really well. They created software, and then they helped people make a lot of money selling their software for them. They not only sell the software, but they help you use the software. So there’s tons of tools out there that people want to use. Even Instagram is a software that you could get paid to help people use better.
But find a software out there, become the expert at it, and if it’s a paid software you can sell it on behalf of that company. But then you make just as much if not more money teaching people and helping people how to use it. So Hub Spot’s a company I would recommend. There are tons, and tons, and tons of services out there that are marketing software. There’s social media software left and right you could use. So get out there. And if you pick the right paid software you can actually make money every month, like a residual. And we did that with Design Pickle, we have tons of people who sell Design Pickle through our affiliate program. We have some people making $20,000 a month. $20,000 a month. Automatically, every month, just because they’ve recommended us to their audiences.
Mika Perry: Are you serious?
Russ Perry: Yeah. It’s crazy. My next idea is to start a smart home automation company that doesn’t suck ass. I am in the middle of dealing with the home automation company, I’m not going to say any names, that we kind of inherited when we bought our house, and is literally like a 30-year-old company run by 60-year-old people. No offense to 60-year-olds out there, but there’s no modern business sensibility in working with this company. They don’t return emails, it’s impossible to get someone to come out, there’s not scheduling software when a tech has a problem. It’s just a nightmare dealing with them. If you go out there and start a company dealing with all the cool stuff, Google Home, Alexa, home automation services like Savant, or Control4, or whatever, but run it like a smart business. The companies that are leading the space are these old-school companies that have been around forever, it’s mind-boggling. So if you want to just crush it get out there, start a company in smart home automation.
But run it like a smart company, like a software company, or a nimble company, and you will crush it.
Mika Perry: The babysitting service, and even our carpet cleaning, has a way better, more advanced scheduling software and system than the smart home automation company. It’s ridiculous.
Russ Perry: Oh, it’s a nightmare. Now, finally this is a shameless plug, is copy Design Pickle. And what I mean by that is, what we did is we found a way to deliver graphic design in a really easy way. We actually created this software called Jar that allows people to do the same thing. So you could actually go to jarhq.com and you could start your own business where you have clients that pay you every month to do something. Now, you could be doing design like we do, or you could do Instagram memes. You could do whatever online that you want to create. Copywriting, video editing, doesn’t matter. Photography. But our tools and our software that built, Jar HQ specifically, allows you to do that. But the bigger idea, and not just to be a shameless design plug, is find an industry that’s just old, or not doing things to your satisfaction, and come up with a model that is easier, cheaper, faster, better, and you will crush it. So, I hope we mint some millionaires with those great ideas.
Well, everyone, we hope you enjoyed this episode of Good to be Home. This is an episode we really wanted to just, again, dive into the lessons we’ve learned. You can go to our website, goodtobehomepodcast.com/business and check out all the notes from this episode, which includes the books. It includes kind of an outline. And like I mentioned at the beginning of the episode, you could put your email in to get our list of things that we’re loving. Every week we’re going to update that. Thank you so much for listening. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram. Russ Perry and Mika Perry.
Mika Perry: And thanks for all the reviews we’ve gotten.
Russ Perry: Oh, yeah.
Mika Perry: Love it. We really appreciate it. And feel free to put some feedback in there, we’d love to hear from you.
Russ Perry: Yeah, please give us a five-star review and nothing less. Please.
Mika Perry: To be honest.
Russ Perry: To be honest, we want the five-star reviews. Yeah, if you’re not subscribed you can catch us on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play. Just search Good to be Home in any one of those services. So we’ll see you next week everyone.
Mika Perry: All right, bye.
Russ Perry: Bye. Thanks for listening to this episode of Good to be Home.
Mika Perry: And don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes and give us a rating.
Russ Perry: See you next time.