I'm Val! Coach for creatives
like you who are ready to be healthier, happier and more empowered women who love the business you run, the people you serve and the life you live!
Put simply, Profit First changed everything for me. This book and cash management system truly changed the trajectory of my life—which is why today’s episode is a total pinch me moment, as I get to chat with THE Mike Michalowicz, author of Profit First! In today’s episode, Mike shares the concept behind Profit First, the psychology and human behavior behind it’s design, and how you can implement it into your business. Listen in as he shares two simple steps you can take today to make your business permanently profitable!
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Mike Michalowicz is the entrepreneur behind three multimillion-dollar companies and is the author of several business books, including Profit First, Clockwork, The Pumpkin Plan and his newest book, All In. Mike is a former small business columnist for The Wall Street Journal and business makeover expert for MSNBC. He regularly travels the globe as an entrepreneurial advocate.
As a creative small business owner, you’ve probably been taught that profit is what’s leftover at the end of the year; it’s not something you control. Typically we see businesses run their numbers by taking their sales, subtracting their expenses, then what’s left over is profit. When something comes last (profit in this case), it’s human behavior to not address it.
Profit First allows you to flip the formula to be sales minus profit equals expenses. A simple way you can dip your toes into this method is by taking a small percentage from every sale or deposit and put it in a separate bank account as profit.
Profit First is reverse engineering profitability in your business through the pay yourself first principle. The beautiful thing about Profit First is that it works for businesses of all sizes, even the ones just starting out.
The number one reason that Profit First gets rejected is because it’s just not the norm. It’s not your traditional take on accounting. Psychologically, when we hear the same thing over and over again, we tend to believe it’s true.
Profit First addresses human behavior through Parkinson’s Law and behavioral intercept. Behavioral intercept is the idea that it’s easier to get an outcome by not changing behavior than it is to change behavior. For example, when you do something new in your routine, it will change your behavior.
To implement a behavioral intercept into your finances to move towards Profit First, you keep your money where it already is, your bank, then set up multiple bank accounts. When money comes in, you carve it up based upon percentages. Therefore, when you log into your account, you see what money is available for what purpose. This is the envelope system translated to business.
Small businesses aren’t just the backbone of the economy—they ARE the economy. If you’re making any revenue, you are a business. If you want to be a successful business that continues to serve your clients, you have to be profitable!
If you decide to skip Profit First due to having to make hard decisions, the day will come that you’ll be forced to make the same decisions anyway, because the money won’t be there. From raising prices to cutting staff, at that time, it’ll be too late. Profit First simply makes you take care of it today, allowing you to generate a really successful and profitable business, building longevity for your brand and income.
There are over 850,000 businesses that have implemented Profit First. When you’re building a Profit First business, you’re forcing yourself to make prudent and strategic business decisions with your money. When they’re prioritizing profit, they have less money to put into the business, so how they use it is so much more important, driving a more innovative and healthy business.
It’s human nature to not want to change anything—if you resonate with this, here is your sign to make the move to Profit First. You don’t have to do the entire Profit First system—most take 1-2 years to get there. If you do the following two things, you will be permanently profitable:
The goals of these two things is to start showing you results and winning over your confidence. While it’s almost inconsequential, but you’ll see a small percentage of profit sitting there for the first time—it’s there to reward you. Profit is for the shareholder.
If you start there and increase it over time, it will grow, allowing you to implement the entire system over time. This is the perfect way to simply dip your toes into Profit First, allowing you to pay yourself a regular and predictable paycheck.
While you can start with just these two accounts, your goal is to have five. Long-term, you could increase that based on your needs.
1:30 – Why Profit First
3:15 – Why Profit First Often Gets Rejected
10:35 – Why Female Creatives Should Implement Profit First
16:50 – Getting Started with Profit First
19:20 – Profit vs. Pay
22:02 – Simplifying Finance Management
25:10 – Profit First Success Stories
Mentioned in this Episode:
Connect with Mike
Connect with Val
Hey guys, this is a total pinch me moment for me. I am super honored and just really excited to introduce you to Mike Michalowicz. You’ve probably already heard of him, but he is the author of profit first and a bunch of other great business books. One of which just launched this week. I am going to be sharing my full story with you guys in a couple episodes where I’ll tell you all about how profit first has completely changed my life.
Val: Yeah, his. His story and his process is just, it really is life changing. So first, Mike, I just want to thank you for that. Thank you for going through the pain of, you know, discovering that process and then putting it out there for the world and all of the resources that you’ve created for us. It’s amazing.
And I honestly don’t know where I’d be without it.
Mike: Oh, you’re very welcome. It’s my honor. I’m I’m thrilled at serving you and I’m and I want to reciprocate the fact that you’re spreading the word for me Val on this subject and helping other entrepreneurs. Thank you. Totally.
Val: of what profit first is. Some of my listeners have no idea. They’re all pretty much small business owners, but give us just your quick, simplest form.
Mike: Sure. And profit. First, we’re going to talk about applies to the smallest of all businesses. I’ve literally worked with brand new startups with zero in revenue. They made their first sale to their mom and you can be profitable and you should be and you should be. Here’s what we’ve been told and what I discovered is wrong.
We’ve been told that profit comes last. It’s you have your sales, you subtract expenses, you incur in your business and what’s left over is profit. And we even call it the bottom line, the year end. All these things mean not now and it’s human behavior when something comes last, we don’t address it. Like if you love your family, probably say I love my family.
I put them first. You don’t say I put them last. If your health matters, I hope you’re not saying I’m putting my health last now. No, you put it first, but we’re told profit comes last. So what profit first is, is we flip the formula to be sales minus profit equals expenses. Well, I mean, in practice, and anyone listening in today right now can start doing this.
Every time a deposit comes in, take a percentage, a small percentage, but take a percentage, hide that away as profit, forcing profitability. And what’s left over is now available for expenses. What you’re doing is reverse engineering profitability for your business. And this isn’t like some new age principle or new idea.
It’s been around forever. It’s called the pay yourself first principle. We’ve applied it in personal finances. I hope this is a translation into business finances. Yeah.
Val: So it’s really kind of disrupting traditional accounting though. I mean, there’s a lot of, I get pushed back on it and it’s pretty countercultural, even though it just makes perfect sense. But since not everyone jumps on board right away, like would you just be able to share a bit more of the psychology behind it and why it works so much better for our brains?
Mike: Yeah. Well, I’ll start off with the part why people reject it. It’s because we’ve been told the other system. And when you hear it over and over again, you just believe to be true. There was a time I remember as a kid, I answered on a question about the solar system, how many planets were there? And I said, eight.
And the teacher said, wrong, it’s nine. And then they just recently discovered, well, Pluto’s not really a planet. There’s eight planets in the solar system. I was right. You know, but I was told I was wrong and, and you may be right if profits not working, maybe the, the, the teacher is wrong. Maybe they’ve been told wrong and it becomes this kind of established systemic axiom.
So in profit first, what we do is by taking a profit first addresses human behavior. There’s a concept called Parkinson’s law and the entire book is based upon psychology. It’s a fun read. It’s not about math. You don’t have to be good at math. I suck at math myself. It’s not about that. Yeah, well, welcome.
I designed it for you. It’s based upon a few principles. One’s Parkins law. Another one is what’s called a behavioral intercept. Maybe it makes more sense to start at the behavioral intercept. It’s easier to get an outcome by not changing behavior than it is to change behavior. So one example is I wanted to start getting physically fit.
This is about 15 years ago. I noticed I was becoming a little bit of a couch potato, and that’s not who I wanted to be. So I said, I’m gonna start working out every day. Yeah, that does nothing, right? So day one, I worked out day two is a little bit painful. I got there day three, never worked out again. What I did is I looked at my behavior and what I do is I’d wake up in the morning, go to the bathroom, make myself a cup of coffee, start scrolling the news and say, Oh yeah, I need to work out. It’s in that pattern, the established behavior, wake up bathroom, coffee that I saw an opportunity. I said, every morning I wake up, I always go into the bathroom. Let me put my gym sneakers on top of the toilet seat. That’s a behavioral intercept. The only way I can do an established behavior now is by doing something new.
So I walked into the bathroom to use a toy. I have to grab the sneakers. I put my feet, there’s enough momentum to at least walk down to the gym and get exercise. And it became transformative. The last 15 years of my life, I’ve been working out religiously. It’s been huge. Well, the same thing with finances.
When I interview audiences, Val, I say, do you log into your accounting system, QuickBooks or Xero? Do you run the P and L? Do you know your metrics and KPIs and all this magical stuff?
Val: Or what those words mean.
Mike: Yeah. Yeah. And that’s like, the thing is that’s totally cool. I don’t get them either. A cashflow statement.
I don’t know how to read it. And I don’t even know if my accountant knows how to read a cashflow statement. I’m like, so what, what do you do? And what I heard from everyone and what I do is I log into my bank account. If I log into my bank and there’s money there, I can spend it. And if I don’t, I panic. So I said, okay, that’s the walking into the bathroom.
Everyone is logging into her bank account. Don’t change who you are channel. So profit versus system that sits at your bank. What we do is call your existing bank. You set up multiple bank accounts. One for profit. There’s other purposes. You have tax liabilities are going to come about. You have a tax account.
You want to pay yourself a salary. You definitely should. Even if you have a micro business, you must pay yourself. We have an owner’s compensation account. There’s expenses to run the business. So we set these multiple accounts. Then when money comes into your bank, we carve it up based upon percentages.
And now every time you log into your bank account, you see the multiple accounts sitting there. You can determine what money’s available for what purpose. This is the envelope system translated to business. So that’s the essence of profit first.
Val: Mm hmm. Yeah. So I have found that the bank accounts, it’s funny because that’s actually kind of the Of the process. Right. But it also seems to be the thing that people resist the most, at least in my world, like it, there’s something about having to go somewhere for one, like for people who, you know, have a local bank going in and talking to a human and opening these bank accounts.
And then potentially being like, what are you doing? Why are you doing this? So I would just love like. What is your best advice for someone who’s stuck on that? Like just really struggling with the fact that it’s weird to have that many bank accounts.
Mike: So if you’re a person resisting doing this, there’s a label for that. It’s called being a human being. I first wanted to say that’s normal and you’re not some kind of weirdo or there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s human nature to resist even the smallest changes. So for me to put the sneakers on a toilet seat, while it sounds so simple and so easy, it was kind of awkward.
My wife was like, what are you doing? Just work out. So you’ll get that resistance. Just do it. Just be better with your money. But the reality is we need to set up a system that even channels the worst of ourselves. So we have to do it because we’re always going to that bank account. That’s where we’re always going.
It needs to be there. I do have a shortcut and this doesn’t, I’m not trying to sound like promotional here. I found a bank I love it’s relay, but you can go to banklikemike. com. I even set up a domain banklikemike. com and it’s an online bank. So you don’t have to drive anywhere. They know how to do prop first or they’re certified in it and you just click it and it sets up all the accounts.
It’s like minutes as opposed to hours or any pain. Um, but if you like your current bank, keep working with your current bank. It is worth the effort go down there, but there’s no challenge you’re gonna face. You’ll show up and people that don’t get the system, like your banker will say, you’re setting up five accounts.
You don’t need that. They’re, they don’t understand the system. My own accountant told me, he’s like, you don’t, you don’t need to set up all these bank accounts. I have, this is the extreme version. I have 15 accounts. That’s rare. I just took it to the umpteenth degree and I’ve been doing this for so long.
My accountant said, why do you need all these accounts? And I said, well, let me ask you something. I didn’t mean to be a schmuck, but I kind of was, I said, uh, how many of your clients do you have are currently profitable? And he has like 500 clients he works with. He’s like, well, to be honest, you know, a handful, a handful are profitable.
A handful are taking quarterly profit distributions. A handful are paying themselves an appropriate salary. Everyone’s getting by, but no one’s really doing it right. So I said, okay, so basically none of your clients are successfully doing it. I said, well, all your clients who on a percentage basis is most profitable, he goes, Oh, you by far by a mile, Mike, I said, why are you arguing the system?
You’re even worse. Why aren’t you teaching it? And the reason he’s not teaching it is he’s been trained like everyone else. Every book says, do the accounting, know your KPIs. It all teaches us this very complex technique. So you will get resistance. You have to fight through or go to a bank like Mike Duck.
Val: Right, right. Yeah,
Mike: I’ll do that. Yeah,
Val: So most of my audience, most of my listeners are women. They’re a one woman show they, or they might have a small team, but a lot of them are pretty overwhelmed and numbers especially are just extra hard for them as creatives, and I would say most of them are either. Kind of content with their ignorance is bliss mentality.
Um, or they’re honestly terrified out of their mind to face the music with their numbers and don’t even want to look at it. So some of them don’t even feel like they’re making enough money to do something like profit first. Like they’re not quite seeing themselves as a real business, which. You know, that’s a whole other mindset
Mike: Yeah, we got to fix that
Val: thing, but can you kind of speak to the timing of implementing profit first and why it’s something that we should really be doing sooner than later?
Mike: Sure, you got to do it. First of all, you are absolutely a real business. If you’re making some revenue, you are a business and our society depends on you. I used to say for the longest time on stage that small business is the backbone of the economy. It’s a common phrase. I ran the data and actually he’d say a small business is not the backbone of the economy.
Small business is the economy. Every single business I investigated started off small and became something else. Maybe it sustained that. Maybe it grew, but every business starts off as a small idea, a small concept. You are the backbone, the seed of maybe something even greater, but the fact you’re even in business is great.
So damn it. You are a business. You got to realize that. Secondly, you must be profitable. And this isn’t like some selfish thing. Like, Oh, I can get some great stuff for myself. I can be rich. No, no. That’s part of it. Maybe if that’s what you want, but the real thing is your clients want you to be profitable.
They’re starving for it. Now they’ll never say it. I’ll never have a client say, Hey, can you charge me a little bit more? Can you rip me off a little bit? They’ll never say that. Here’s what your clients will say. want you to do your best work for me. I want your undivided attention. I want you caring for me like I’m your only client.
I want to be important. Well, the only way to do that is by being profitable. If you’re not, if you’re just scratching by, it’s constant stress and panic. It’s always about the next customer.
Mike: going to a doctor, you go to your doctor, you have a major cardiac event, you know, whatever that may be. And the doctor looks at you and she says, um, Here’s the deal.
I’m really stressed out. I’m barely making any money. So we’re going to have to rush through this. I need to get more clients in. Uh, let’s go. How do you feel about that? Doctor versus the other doctor comes in and says, um, I understand you had a cardiac event. I’ve done this procedure before. I charged top dollar for it cause I’m very good at it.
I’ve all the time in the world. We’re going to get this right. Cause I always get it right. Which doctor do you choose? Probably doctor number two. Probably that doctor who’s the absolute confidence. I bet you price is almost irrelevant. You want them to be profitable, not panic. Your clients want the same of you.
Maybe you’re not saving someone’s life, but you may be altering their lives. They want that attention. And you need to be profitable accordingly. Now, how you get there is by taking your profit first. It’s reverse engineering profitability. I know businesses, business after business to say, Oh, I’ll be profitable when I hit 200, 000, that’s the number when it doesn’t happen, they say, maybe it’s half a million or maybe it’s a million.
And I was that business owner too. It never happened. In fact, the longer I went in business, the more it grew, the more stressful it became financially, the harder it became when it comes to implementing proper first, they say like planting a tree, the best times 40 years ago, the second best times today, The best time to implement it is today.
The smaller the business is, the sooner you get it right. When you take your profit first, it forces you to control your expenses, but also forces other considerations. Are you pricing appropriately? Should your prices be higher? Is efficiency right? It’ll force you to have that hard conversation. And we’ll tell you this.
If you decide not to do profit first and skipped it. The day will come where you’ll be forced to make those decisions anyway, because the money won’t be there and you’ll have to cut staff. You’ll have to raise prices, but it’s too late. Those hard decisions are coming. They just may come when you’re not ready.
Profit First makes you take care of that today.
Val: Yeah. And I feel like something I, I mean, I’ve had this and I hear this a lot is just, there’s that misconception that we should be just kind of putting all our money back into the business at the beginning, like when we’re first starting out. And, and I know you speak to that in the book.
Mike: getting a headache hearing that, yeah.
Val: I know, but, What do you think really helps change that mindset?
Because I know that we might say we don’t believe that’s true, but then we just keep functionally living out that we do, you know?
Mike: Right. Yeah, always trust people’s actions, right? So what we say doesn’t mean anything. It’s how we behave. That’s the indicator. And, we use these soft terms. We call it plow back or reinvest. I got to reinvest in my business.
Mike: Problem at first is a percentage based system. If you make 100, 000 a year and we allocate 10 percent of that money, that’s 10, 000 a year to our profit, your business will be healthier and probably grow faster.
And we have, I’ll give you some statistics why I know that’s true. But now, you know, I have 90, 000 to make this business work. What most people do is when they plow back money in, it’s arbitrary. They say, well, I need money from somewhere. Let me just put it back in. But there’s no predictable ROI. It’s just rando.
Oh, someone else ran Facebook ads. I should run Facebook ads. It’s when we actually have less money to fuel the business. We have to make smarter decisions. It forces innovative thought. Just pouring every dollar in allows you to kind of dumb yourself down. That’s the harsh reality. Now, here’s the statistics.
We have, we’re approaching now 850, 000 companies that are operating profit first. A lot of women or female owned businesses, a lot of businesses that are doing less than 200, 000 are doing profit first. And all these businesses, or at least the vast majority are outpacing their competition in growth.
Which sounds bizarre. They are taking their profit first. They have less money to put back in their business, but they’re growing faster. So the question, of course, is how can that be possible? Because they’re forced to make more prudent decisions. I have a little less money to put in the business. How should I use it?
We start analyzing. Well, this has worked in the past. It’s likely to work again. Let’s put our money there as opposed to rando decisions. So it actually forces prudence and good thought, which drives a more innovative, healthy business. Yeah,
Val: It’s, it’s one of those things that, I mean, everything you said in the book, everything you say every time I’m always like, yes, yes, it just makes so much sense, but it’s. But it, it still is a change. Like we still have to make a change. And especially for my people, it’s usually going from, I don’t even look at my money.
Mike: I know, I know.
Val: It’s needing to have a plan. And so can you talk a little bit more about like the time commitment and, you know, for someone who’s literally wearing all of the hats and very overwhelmed and will resist, like anytime a finance task is on the list, you can guarantee it’s going to get pushed day after day.
Mike: it’s human nature, it’s easier not to change anything. Even if it’s not serving you, it’s easier not to change. But, I’ll give you a technique to get started. You don’t have to do the entire private first system. So, in the book, I outline the entire system. The majority of companies take about one or two years to slowly get there.
The first goal is to win over your own confidence. So here’s the simple starting point and the very low time commitment. I ask that you do two things. I promise everyone listening right now. By tomorrow morning, if you do these two things, you will be permanently profitable and it will take almost no effort, but it’ll take a small amount of effort.
And all of these two things is a, to start showing you results, you’ll be driving profit. But secondly, to start over winning over your own confidence that you’re capable of being very profitable, regardless of the size of your business. So here’s the two things. Step one, call your bank.
You can go to bank like Mike if you want, but go to your current bank and only set one account. Set a savings account and we’re going to call it profit. Hopefully that will only take you 15 minutes. You probably can do it online. If you have to go there in person, great. Or you can go to that website if you want. The second thing is allocate 1 percent of your income. And the reason it’s 1 percent is it’s such a low threshold going to profit. Now they won’t even feel it. If you get a thousand dollar deposit, I’m saying take 10 bucks because you’re running your business off a thousand dollars. You can run off 990.
It’s almost inconsequential, but you’ll see 10 of cash sitting in a profit count for the first time. The discipline is you can only use that to reward yourself. Profit is for the shareholder. That’s you, the owner of the business. So you can’t use it to plow back in the business or reinvest. It means it’s an expense.
But if you set that one account and do 1%, just do that for the next three months. See where you stand? Always putting in 1%. And I know I’m convinced because we have so many businesses doing this, then it’ll become 2% or five or 10. It’ll grow over time and maybe in a year or two is the entire system.
But if you start today with those two little steps, you will be permanently profitable.
Val: Hmm. Yeah. Yeah. And I love the. There’s a way to dip your toes in because a lot of people making this kind of change or getting into something like finances, when that’s not your favorite thing, it’s hard to make a big system change. And so just seeing the reward and honestly, for my people, a lot of them.
Aren’t even paying themselves a salary at all. And so to evens, I know, I know it’s so sad, but even to see that money set aside in a different account, I feel like could be just monumental for them.
Mike: It will be. It will be. And the fact that they’re not paying themselves ultimately becomes another part of profit first. There’s profit. Ownership of business. There is pay for the work you do in the business. And we’ll, we’ll achieve both those in due time, but we have to get started. I just got to drive home that point.
God forbid your clients discover that you’re not paying yourself. God forbid your clients discover you’re not profitable. You become a dangerous vendor for them. I have, and I don’t want to mention this person’s name, but someone doing some work for me who shared with me, that he may not be able to pay his mortgage, this upcoming month.
And I sat there and first of all, I felt pain for him. I’m like, so sad. At the same time, I’m like, Oh my God, I just gave this guy a big check. And, I don’t know if he’s going to complete this work. It put me in a panic mode. Now, I’m very concerned for his future, but selfishly, I’m also concerned about the service that I’m going to receive or not.
If your clients discovered, you’re not taking care of yourself. They’re not going to think you’re going to take care of them. They’re, they’re, they’re afraid of that. You’ve got to start paying yourself. There’s also a psychological shift. There’s a day that you become a true business owner. Right now, if you’re not paying yourself, the business owns you.
We got flipped that when you start receiving from your business, that’s when you start asserting authority. And that’s where confidence come from. It starts this tremendous change. So we do need you to pay yourself. There’s no question.
Val: Oh yeah. That is the like number one thing. That I love getting people to change when I first start working on profit first. It’s like you actually get a paycheck and you get a regular paycheck every single month. Yes.
Mike: What’s interesting is a predictable paycheck of even a minimal amount. So maybe, maybe it’s 100 every week is different than receiving maybe 2, 000 at the year or whatever the number is. The fact there’s predictability starts bringing about confidence. And so that’s the power of starting slow and letting it grow.
If you start even with small amounts, it’s about winning the mental game here. Getting some money and over time, and it’s actually pretty rapidly, you’ll start improving the business. And, uh, I bet you, if you start today, a year or two from now, your future self is going to be so grateful that you started today.
Val: Oh yeah. Honestly, the number one thing I hear from people is I wish I would have done this sooner.
Mike: For sure. Me too. Me too.
Val: We have, yeah, we all feel that way. So I think with the time commitment and just being resistant to finances in general, another current concern that I hear a lot is just that it’s more complicated, which is funny when you think about what it actually takes to, you know, do your books the traditional way, but you know, it’s just a mindset we have.
And so can you just share a little bit about how Profit First works? Simplifies your finance management.
Mike: Correct. So traditional financial management right now is done through accounting systems. And many small businesses don’t even have an appropriate accounting system. It may be on paper still, or maybe you just input numbers and your accountant figures out for you. So it’s ignored data. But when you dig into it.
You have to do analytics. You have to know the things called GLs accounts, general ledger accounts. What’s being categorized, where you do things like job costing, how much went in this category. It becomes very complex. You have to know your KPIs. You have to know what’s called ratios, operating cash ratios, so forth.
There’s all these terms. It is overwhelming. And I’ll tell you, I know small business owners that are doing five and 10 million in annual revenue, and they don’t know what any of that stuff is. So something that’s complicated, we avoid it. And we hear profit first, what I’m saying is there’s ultimately five foundational accounts we need to set up.
That’s it. You can go to the varsity level if you want, like I have where it’s 15, but five is where we get to. And people hear that. I say, my God, five bank accounts. I only have one account right now. I can’t imagine having five. So it simplifies it because it brings clarity right now. When you lined your bank account, we see that one account, how much money is there?
We make decisions based upon it. I referenced Parkinson’s Law earlier. Parkinson’s Law is a theory where we see a resource and we consume it based upon the amount we see. So the more we have, the more we consume. It’s human nature. If, I don’t know how big your closet is at home, but if you ever had a smaller closet, I bet you it was packed.
And now you have a bigger closet, it’s still packed, I bet. Right? That’s Parkinson’s Law. The space is actually dictating our consumption, so we always find a way to pack it. So with our money, when we see that glop of money, maybe there’s a few thousand dollars in the account, we’re like, oh, I have a few thousand dollars to spend.
But the reality is we don’t. That money has to account for multiple parts of our business. So in Profit First, we carve this money up to profit, rewarding the business owner. Owner’s compensation, rewarding the owner who works in the business, which is different than just owning a business, it’s working in it.
Taxes, you will have tax liabilities, and that’s the biggest bill business owners are least prepared for. We’re prepared for that. Operating expenses. This is the, the, um, the operations of the business and there can even be more and more accounts after that. What we do now is money flows in, we carve it up.
So instead of say 2, 000 in one account, you see, you have 300 of profit. You have 400 to pay yourself a check. You have 50 for future tax liability. And you have the difference, say it’s 1, 200 or 1, 300 to pay the operations, your business. It gives us instant clarity. You don’t have to guess. You don’t have to log into your accounting system.
You don’t have to do any job costing or GL account review. You know what money is available for what purpose every time you log in.
Val: Yeah, it’s a beautiful thing. I think I have nine accounts and I have plans
Mike: I love
Val: I’m with you.
Mike: think I can do two more. Yeah.
Val: it is the clarity is addictive for sure.
Mike: Priority is
Val: So. Yeah, I would, I would love is just kind of to finish things out, to hear maybe one or two success stories that you have for kind of the smaller single owner entrepreneurs who have implemented profit first and seen results.
What, what does that look like?
Mike: Yeah. First person comes to mind. Her name is Cindy Thomas. And, I I’ve written about her in the past. Uh, she had a 45, 000 bookkeeping for me. I was her annual income was 45, 000. I want to fast forward five years after that, after she started doing profit first, 1. 2 million in revenue. Very profitable providing jobs.
She’s a big supporter of mompreneurs, people who are reentering the workforce, perhaps after raising their kids or while raising their kids. That’s all she hires. And she’s encouraging them to do prop first in her own lives. I think what’s fascinating about her story is it took her, I think, 10 years to get that 45, 000.
She was running a side hustle and it took that long. Once she implemented prop first, she started experiencing this growth. Here’s what happened. Start taking profitability, a small percentage. And she then was forced to ask herself because there was less money to spend. She said, who are the better clients I have?
Oh, she started to focus on the better clients. She started to cater to them. Better clients were willing to pay a bigger premium. She was able to charge more. Then she hired someone, but she reserved for that hire before she hired the person by using another profit first account called the new employee account.
We start allocating money to an account called new employee before you hire them to see if you can afford the salary and if the business can afford that cash flow. Well, now when you hire the person, you actually have the money waiting for them. So she did that. She started getting more confidence, grew the business, now has 15 employees.
It’s an extraordinary company. Another business owner, Emily Cole, her husband, Jesse Cole, they too founded a baseball team called the Savannah Bananas.
Val: I’ve heard of them.
Mike: okay, they’re wildly popular. I cannot, I wish I could attribute exclusively to Profit First, but Profit First was a part of their journey from day one. I got a letter from Emily and Jesse saying we implemented prop first, they, their dream was to own a minor league. They’re not even minor league. It’s called an all star, but basically a minor league baseball team. They borrowed from everyone and they went into this business and they said, my gosh, we don’t have enough money to keep this thing going by any stretch.
And this is something that is our dream. The average attendance for a minor league baseball game is, you know, a few handful of people. It’s the, it’s the parents of the players. Fast forward to today. The Savannah bananas has sold out six consecutive years of baseball games every season, every game, and they have about 5, 000 or more attendees.
That’s enough seats. That’s all the seats they have. How’d they do it? Implemented profit. First, they start forcing profitability. They look at the numbers and they say, gosh, we don’t have enough money to manage our scoreboard when we follow the system. So instead of saying we can’t be properly said, we can’t have a scoreboard.
What do you do when you have a scoreboard? They ask people in the audience to carry numbers on the field, like as a boxing ring match to show the score. And then they said, gosh, we can have someone from the stands be our cheerleaders. They call them the grandma bananas. You have to be 80 years and older.
Ideally, if you don’t have teeth, you’re even better. You’re, you’re doing the grandma dance and it’d be, it’d be the, it’s the Harlem Globetrotters of baseball. Now they are wildly innovative. They are marketing geniuses, but profit first, at least in part is a spark behind that and it’s grown the business radically.
I think other people experience the same thing when you implement profit.
Val: Yeah. And I feel like we’re often so afraid To go against the norm of what our industry standards are for our expenses. And we think I can’t do business without this. You would think you can’t do a baseball game without a scoreboard,
Mike: right. Yeah. Please don’t comply with your industry. That’s like saying, you know, the average class grade to see, I should, I should try to get C’s all the time. No, no, no, no. Ignore the industry average, be the exception for sure.
Val: Yeah, that’s amazing. Well, thank you. So much for being here. I know this is going to be so impactful for my people. Really appreciate it. Could you just tell us quick where else they can find you?
Mike: Yeah, so you can go to banklikemike. com, that’ll get you started on the banking. If you want to get more about me, my last name is Michalowicz. No one can spell it, so you can go to Mike Motorbike, as in the motorcycle. I actually don’t even have a motorcycle, it just rhymes. Mikemotorbike. com, you’ll learn all about profit first.
I’m an author for small business, of all types, and you’ll find many books there for small businesses.
Val: Amazing. Well, we’ll have all of those links in the show notes, guys. Definitely get profit first. If you don’t have it already and look up Mike, follow him. He’s got so much wisdom to share. So thanks for being here.
Mike: Thank you.
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