Today’s guest is Paul McManus. Paul started his career working in his family’s office supply store that was in existence for 107 years. Like many of us who have switched careers from a family business Paul found that the industry he was involved with had changed. It was no longer a viable economic option for he and his family. He talked with his mother and came up with a gut wrenching decision…….it was time to sell the business and move on. Paul now has a company called More Clients, More Fun how to use LinkedIn using the Book Yourself Solid System.
We’re going to talk with Paul about how he came to make the decision as well as how he decided on what’s next in his life. Changing career mid-stream is always a difficult decision. Leaving a family business to change careers is even more difficult.
Here are some of the things you’ll learn in today’s podcast:
- Why it’s always important that you follow your passion.
- How to make sure your parents are taken care of should you decide to leave the family business.
- What it takes to do a mid-life career change.
- How the first idea isn’t always the last idea…..where flexibility comes into play.
- Why when you make a change you get to really choose what works for you.
Narrator: Welcome to the Sustainable Business Radio Show podcast where you’ll learn not only how to create a sustainable business but you’ll also learn the secrets of creating extraordinary value within your business and your life. In the Sustainable Business, we focus on what it’s going to take for you to take your successful business and make it economically and personally successful.
Your host, Josh Patrick, is going to help us through finding great thought leaders as well as providing insights he’s learned through his 40 years of owning, running, planning and thinking about what it takes to make a successful business sustainable.
Josh: Hey, how are you today? I’m Josh Patrick. As you know, you’re listening to the Sustainable Business podcast. Today’s guest is a little but different than our normal guests, the fact that we’re going to talk about what it takes to leave a family business and start a business from scratch.
Our guest today is Paul McManus. Paul was in the family business that had existed for 107 years. He left his family business and is now working as a LinkedIn expert and he’s very good at that in helping you figure out how you can use LinkedIn to build your business using what’s called the Book Yourself Solid method. As we get into it today, I’m sure Paul’s going to tell us a little bit about what Book Yourself Solid means and how you can use it in your business. So, instead of me talking about Paul, why don’t we bring him in and we’ll start the conversation?
Hey Paul, how are you today?
Paul: I’m doing great, Josh. Thank you so much for having me.
Josh: Oh, it’s my pleasure. Let’s start off with the transition from the family business into doing something completely different and while you answer the question, can you tell us how old you are?
Paul: I am 107 years old—no, I just turned 40, so I just hit the big 40. The company itself – my family’s company is an office products company in Southern California which was started in 1907. It was three generations. I joined it, back in 2003, full time. I ended up running it as the Chief Executive Officer. And then over about 11 years, ran that. And then just in July of this past year, I decided to retire and pursue my passion of helping others specifically through coaching.
Josh: Why did you decide to leave your family business? I mean, it’s a tough thing to do.
Paul: That’s an incredibly tough thing to do, yes. My mother and I ran the company together for about 11 years. She was the president. I was the CEO. She was at the point where she was looking at retiring and having me take it over. And for the 11 years that I was there, that was my plan – to take over the business.
And so, just to kind of give your audience a sense, it’s basically an office supplies business and there’s just massive competition, whether it’s from Staples or whether it’s from Office Depot. Interestingly enough, recently the biggest competition’s coming from Amazon. And so, as simple as pens and pencils are, it’s an industry that’s incredibly complex with a number of skews that we sold, constantly changing. It was just overwhelm on steroids.
And so, I always had a dream of creating a bigger and even more successful business but quite honestly I just found that during the time that I spent there, it was just incredibly challenging to make it a sustainable business. I mean, at the end of the year, if we weren’t losing money, I was happy. And that wasn’t in line with my own vision for myself. That wasn’t what I wanted to create. And so, it was an incredibly difficult decision to leave the business because not only was that my plan for my future but my own mother was counting on me to take it over as part of her retirement.
Josh: How did she handle that? And how is she handling her retirement now?
Paul: Yes. So that was about a year ago. I think, initially, it came as a shock but my mother is a terrific person with a wonderful heart. And so, even after I left—the first thing that I did because I knew that she was serious about retiring, was that I started exploring options for her to sell it because I wanted to help her transition as well. And so, right after I left, I got very lucky. I reached out to my network and I found someone that was also in the office products business. It took about a year but he, just a few months ago, completed the transaction, so my mother is now happily retired and the business of 107 years is continuing but just a different ownership.
Josh: That’s a terrific story. You know, that’s not a lot different than my own story in that I had a family business. We sold it and moved on. It’s always an emotional issue and a hard one to deal with. I congratulate you on handling as well as you did.
Let’s do a little pivot here. You sold the business. And before you sold the business, you were thinking about other things to do. What was that? And what precipitated the choice that you made?
Paul: Because, just trying to make the office supplies business successful in a sustainable way was such a challenge, I never quite felt that I had an approach that really resonated with my values. In other words, you know, all of the sales and marketing advice that I got from the industry was really much more about prospecting and being really pushy, if you will. I was never a good sales manager because I never really bought into a lot of the advice. And so, it was hard for me to implement it in my company.
And so, kind of during that process, I just in my own search, I’ve always loved reading business books and personal development. I came across a gentleman named Michael Port who I believe was on your podcast not too long back and I discovered Book Your Solid. And so, that quickly let me to joining his mentoring program where you and I met. And really being surrounded in his community with a group of just really inspiring people with a marketing system that really finally resonated with my values. That gave me a lot of hope in terms of, “Finally, could implement the system and really get results”. And at the same time, it led to a transition. So in that process, I realized that in the office products business, even though I was selling maybe upwards of $3 million a year, the margins are incredibly bad. And so, it’s very difficult to consistently make a profit in that business even if you’re selling a lot.
And when I became a part of this mentoring program with Michael Port, I was exposed to a lot of different ideas, a lot of different people especially coaches. And what I discovered was that they seemed to really be enjoying what they did, helping people in a meaningful way and making a lot of money. And so, in the course of about six or seven months, I decided “that’s what I want to do.” At the same time, I was going through my own personal transformation, I had lost 150 pounds over the course of about 17 months.
And so, when I initially left my company, the first thing that I did immediately was that I became a health coach for the program that had helped me lose 150 pounds. During that course, I applied the Book Yourself Solid System to my health coaching business. I started from scratch. I got to what I consider to be book solid and had a realization that I was much more interested in helping business owners build their business, get more clients than I was in being a health coach. And so, I pivoted again. That was in April of this year.
And so, since then, I have been building my business, helping entrepreneurs – very specifically coaches, get more clients using LinkedIn and kind of my big innovation, if you will, was I am showing people how to apply Michael Port’s Book Yourself Solid System specifically to LinkedIn because I think it’s just this great social media platform for entrepreneurs to build their business from.
Josh: Okay, so we’ll get to Book Yourself Solid and LinkedIn in a second. But I’m curious about your pivot from weight loss to being a business coach. It sounds to me like you gave that a try, it wasn’t your passion so you made a change. So, what was the lesson that you could take away from that?
Paul: I think there were a couple main reasons why I pivoted again. Initially, it seemed like a good fit because I really enjoyed being able to help people in a meaningful way which was helping them to lose weight. And so, that I got a lot of pride out of. But I also realized that the company that I was associated with, I wasn’t a big believer in their business model. It was a multilevel marketing company. People do that and that’s great. Just for myself though, it wasn’t the right fit. I enjoyed helping people lose weight. I wasn’t interested in the multilevel marketing aspect of it.
And so, my original goal probably goes against any traditional thinking was instead of focusing on the multilevel marketing part, I simply focused on getting Booked Solid with clients – helping them lose weight. And once I kind of got filled up, I realized that that model wasn’t that profitable. And so, I was spending a lot of time helping people, but now I wasn’t making a ton of money. And so, I liked the model where I help people in a meaningful way, I make money and also it fits in with my passion.
And so, the other part of that is that losing weight and being healthy – those are things that were important to the extent that I embraced them into my own life. But it wasn’t something that I had this passion about. I mean, I didn’t read books about it, just my free time.
Business, personal development – specifically entrepreneurship, these are things that I just love. That are hobbies for me that I think I’m kind of like you where I just absorb these books, these ideas as material. And so, I got my certification as a Book Yourself Solid Coach but I hadn’t done anything with it yet. And so, I’m like, “Why am I doing this when I could be really helping people in a very meaningful way which is to get more clients, create that freedom in their lives but have it aligned with what I just love doing. Everything that I do now, all material, all ideas, I just so much love it so that I’d be able to help others apply that – accomplishes my goals of waking up every day, loving what I do, helping others in a meaningful way and making money.
Josh: All good things. One of the things I find really fascinating, Paul, is that you basically decided to become a LinkedIn expert and you just did it. I mean, first of all, it takes a tremendous amount of guts to do that. I might use another word but we’ll stay with guts. And second, how did you go about doing that? I mean, that’s not the easiest thing in the world to do?
Paul: Right now, when I look back, without trying to toot my own horn, I’ll call it a stroke of genius. But at the time when I started it, it was actually a result of small thinking. In another words, I got my certification as a Book Yourself Solid coach. I was looking at the other coaches and I was thinking “How can I start this business in a meaningful away when I’m brand new and just really get that traction?” And so, I decided to go hyper-specific. So, instead of trying help others generally get more clients with the Book Yourself Solid System, I decided, “Okay, I’m going to be the person that specifically focuses on connecting the Book Yourself Solid System to LinkedIn.” Interestingly enough, at that time, it seemed like nobody else was doing that.
And so, my big idea was a result of small thinking but in the long run it turned out to be an incredibly powerful idea. The reason is this, is that I find, now in the marketplace, myself and my business partners, we bring in 300+ people, say, onto a weekly webinar that we do. And what people really come for is they come for LinkedIn. LinkedIn just has that well-known brand. Most everybody’s on it. I would argue that most service professionals and entrepreneurs are frustrated with it because they don’t get a lot of business from it. And so, what we find is that by really marketing ourselves as helping others get more clients using LinkedIn, we’re able to attract a huge audience on a consistent basis into our sales cycle. And then through that webinar that we do, what we show them is really how to apply the Book Yourself Solid System to LinkedIn. And so, it’s just become its huge lead magnet for us.
Josh: I’m going to bring something up with you which I think you might want to think about, I don’t think you had small thinking. What I think you had was focused thinking – when you were making the move into LinkedIn.
Josh: We want to be clear that what you have done is you have just done a magnificent job of very focused niche development.
Paul: And that’s why I say that initially I think it was small thinking, just in terms of the impulse behind it but the fantastic results we’ve had is exactly what you’re describing. It was because that we were so specific. We really wanted to dominate a niche. That’s where the success really came from.
Josh: And there’s a huge lesson for anybody listening to this podcast about this. You might think that narrowing your focus is limiting your options, I can promise you it’s not. The actual opposite is happening and Paul just gave you a great example of that. So, we have about five minutes left, Paul. And I want to do two things in that five minutes. 1) Get a very brief description of what the Book Yourself Solid System is and then 2) let’s move into how you use that within LinkedIn.
Paul: The Book Yourself Solid System was developed by Michael Port. He’s a New York Times best-selling author. Essentially, it shows people how to get clients in a predictable way. And it also shows people how they can actually enjoy the marketing and selling that they need to do to get more clients. And so, it’s very much relationship-oriented and it’s really quite the opposite of a lot of the typical sales advice, at least my opinion. That’s just a very brief description of the system.
But in terms of LinkedIn, what we find is that LinkedIn started and for most people, it’s a place to dump your resume. And so, that’s how most people use it and that’s perfectly fine. But for the service professional, the entrepreneur trying to get more clients, they need to approach it in a much different way. And it’s actually pretty simple to do and the Book Yourself Solid System provides a great way to do that.
Let me give you a couple of examples. Looking at your LinkedIn profile, the first thing – as a simple example is that on the headline, most people put CEO, founder, some title that on a resume you would use but never attracts your ideal clients because people that don’t know you yet aren’t looking for a CEO. They aren’t looking for a founder. What they’re looking for is people that can help them get what they want, help them meet their needs. And so, the first thing that we advice people to do is to 1) choose their target market. Just as you said, when you choose a target market, your opportunities expand greatly. And there’s so much resistance to that because most everybody thinks it’s [inaudible 00:15:21] you’re going to limit your opportunities. But really, it’s quite the opposite.
So, in that headline what we advice people to do is that it’s not just a matter of changing the words. First, they have to be strategically focused on who it is that they serve. They need to choose their target market. And second, they also need to be very clear on what that number one, big result they offer their clients is. I mean, all of us probably help our clients in two dozen different ways at least, right? But that doesn’t communicate the message clearly and concisely to our potential clients. So, one tip is on that headline.
In my case, for example, I say, “I help coaches get more clients using LinkedIn.” So, in my case, my target market is primarily coaches. The number one big result that I offer is get more clients using LinkedIn. So that’s one of the ways that we tie the Book Yourself Solid System to LinkedIn. It is because in Book Yourself Solid, one of the foundational things is what we call your Who and Do What statement which is what we just talked about right there.
Josh: That’s a great thing. So, I’m assuming you have a program that actually helps people to do this stuff?
Paul: Yes. We have a mentoring program because as easy as some of the stuff sounds, knowing something and applying something are two different things. And so, our mentoring program is called the More Clients, More Fun Mentoring Program. But anyway, you can check it out at www.moreclientsmorefun.com. And so, this is what we talked about. My goal, now in life, is to help business owners get more clients and to have more fun in the process.
Josh: It sounds like a great thing to me. So Paul, if somebody wanted to get a hold of you personally, would they go to the website or do you have an e-mail, or a phone number, or something you’d like to leave for them?
Paul: The best way is check out our website www.moreclientsmorefun.com. Also, anyone can contact me at email@example.com. And finally, I “hangout” on LinkedIn quite a bit so I’m happy to connect with anyone on LinkedIn. My address there is just /paulgmcmanus.
Josh: We’ve gotten some cool nuggets today – narrow your focus with what you’re doing, make sure what you’re doing is fun and is in your passion, if you need to leave what you’re doing for the past 20 years – it’s okay, there’s nothing that says you have to do the same thing you hate for 40 years. And if you’re in a crummy industry, get the heck out of it.
Josh: Hey, Paul. This has been really a pleasure. You’ve added a ton of information. We might have you come back because we didn’t have time to get into another step which is how you attracted your partners and how you guys are all working together which is also a very big deal. We might have to do a session on that at some point in the future.
Paul: That would be great. Just like I know that you talked about advisors a lot, that’s one of the things that to me has been a game changer is realizing I can’t do everything myself, that the quickest way for me to be successful is to surround myself with other experts and people I just enjoy being with. And really together, we can make progress so much more quickly than simply on our own.
Josh: No question about that. I thank you so much for your time today. I think this has been a great episode. I hope the folks who are listening take heed and use it. We’ll talk with you later.
Paul: Thank you so much for having me.
Narrator: You’ve been listening to the Sustainable Business Podcast where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around 100 years from now?” If you like what you’ve heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick at 802‑846‑1264 ext 2 or visit us on our website at www.askjoshpatrick.com, or you can send Josh an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for listening. We hope to see you at The Sustainable Business in the near future.