066 : Make Your Life Easier Through Cloud Accountancy with Tracy Irwin

“Accountancy isn’t about just getting someone in to sort out your taxes at the end of the year anymore. Now, a good accountant is more like a consultant who helps you maximise your
business every day.”tracyirvin

I hope this week’s Hardcore MBA guest, Tracy Irwin from TI Payroll, will excuse me when I say:
dealing with the accounts is, for most of us, boring. That’s why it’s usually the first thing every entrepreneur outsources, even if they don’t think of it that way – but that’s exactly what you’re doing when you hire a highly qualified accountant like Tracy to deal with the money issues for you. And for those of you who are yet to start your business, and are adamant that you can deal with the tax and legal issues yourself, this week’s podcast will hopefully convince you of just how wrong you are.

In the podcast, Tracy and I discuss:

  • The importance of picking the right accountant, someone who you can get along with, because you’re going to be working closely with them on some of the most important parts of your business.
  • How to use the cloud-based Xero system to simplify your accounts and make your life easier.
  • The Profit First model of Mike Michalowicz (a previous guest star in Hardcore MBA!), and how Tracy implements it with clients.

Hiring an accountant is usually a ‘gateway’ to outsourcing more – once you’ve seen how much time you can save by paying someone else to do the boring work, and once you’ve understood how you can grow your business and make even more money in that free time, you never go back. Take a listen to this week’s podcast, and then head over to TI Payroll’s website or Facebook to get in touch with Tracy if you think she could help you on the path to the freedom lifestyle.

What’s your experience with accountants? Good or bad? Let us know in the comments!


065 : Escaping the 9 to 5 with Maren Kate Donovan

Maren Kate Donovan“I don’t judge people’s value based on the amount of hours they put in at the office, but on the amount of value they actually produce – if you can do equally good work from a Starbucks rather than a cubicle, you should do it!”

This week’s Hardcore MBA features a true superstar of the entrepreneurial world, Maren Kate Donovan, one of the founders of Zirtual. For those who don’t know, Zirtual provides online virtual assistants to businesses and entrepreneurs around the world – much like my own Mr Outsource company. On top of her experience with building such a well-known brand, Maren has a wealth of experience in running her own businesses, hiring the right people, and cultivating healthy habits – all key things that I like to focus on in Hardcore MBA!

In the podcast, Maren and I discuss:

  • Our mutual love for a great book by Tim Ferriss, The 4 Hour Work Week – I’m sure you’ve all read it by now, but if you haven’t, check it out!
  • The roundabout way in which Zirtual got started, which is an inspirational story showing that anyone can achieve the same if they’re willing to put in the effort.
  • The importance of a morning routine that keeps you healthy and balanced.
  • And the 80/20 principle of the working day, which is something I also discuss in my book Never Work Again.

[Read more…]

064: Build Your Business by Building Your Fitness with Nick Mays

“I call myself a lifestyle coach rather than just a fitness coach or personal trainer – because often, better sleep, better nutrition, and stress reduction techniques are just as important for my clients as working out.”

nickmays_hardcorembaThis week’s Hardcore MBA is a short and easy listen, as I chat with charismatic life coach Nick Mays. Nick has worked with a number of celebrity clients in the UK and the results have been stunning, with numerous newspaper spreads focusing on the miracle results he’s had.

In this week’s podcast, Nick and I discuss a few of the key moments in his life and the tips he has for my listeners:

  • How Nick went from being a normal personal trainer to making it as a life coach for the stars.
  • The importance of achieving a healthy balance between your work, your fitness regime, and your lifestyle.
  • And the key techniques Nick’s clients use to reduce their stress levels, live longer, and look better.

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063 : Build an Automatic Customer Base and Double Your Company’s Value with John Warrillow and Lisa Campbell

Warrillow“When looking to buy a company, investors want to know how much recurring revenue there is, and how dependent the business is on a single founder figure – so you need to reduce that dependence if you want to successfully sell.”

This week’s Hardcore MBA is a little different from our usual instalments. Our chief guest is John Warrillow, author of the great books Built to Sell and The Automatic Customer, and an expert on how to scale your business up, build a recurring customer base, and prepare for the sale of your business to allow you to live the freedom lifestyle. But after listening to John for the first half of the podcast, we bring in Lisa Campbell, owner of London’s Yotopia yoga studio, for a live consultation focusing on how she can increase her recurring customer base and make her business more attractive to investors.

In the podcast, John, Lisa, and I discuss:

  • How long it takes to prepare a company for sale, from the day you decide to sell to the day you finally retire for good.
  • The importance of keeping two or three top employees in the know about your plans, and the increase this can bring to your eventual sale price.
  • And how to offer a greater value proposition to draw in recurring customers.

This week’s podcast is a little different from usual, but the range of practical tips and ideas you’ll get from it is just as great as ever. If you’d like to get a feeling of how a consultation with John might go, I urge you to take a listen. When you’re done, check out John’s books and website for more information.

Do you have any helpful ideas for how Lisa (or any other business owner) could increase the attractiveness of their deals and bring in more recurring customers? Share them in the comments below!

062 : Outsource Lead Generation and Increase Your Sales Immediately with Alex Berman

“Don’t use social media aimlessly – use it to research potential leads so that when you cold email them later on you have some information you can customise your message with.”

alex_berman_hardcore_mba_podcastI’m sure all entrepreneurs have had the experience of cold-calling or sending direct mail to someone in the hope of landing a new client. But for many of us, it’s not really in our nature – we hate feeling that we’re bugging people, or we’re simply a bit shy and inexperienced with that kind of thing. As a big fan of outsourcing, I’ve always thought it would be great if someone else could do the heavy lifting when it comes to cold selling. That’s where Alex Berman and Inspire Beats come in – they have the art of cold emailing potential leads down to a T, and in this week’s Hardcore MBA, Alex explains what it’s all about.

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061: Shine a Light on Your Email Strategy and Massively Increase Your Response Rate with Kate Barrett

“Marketers tend to focus too much on the message they want to put out, and not enough on the question of what people actually want you to give them.”

Kate BarretIn an age of social media, many people will tell you that plain old email marketing is out of fashion and out of date. This week’s Hardcore MBA guest, Kate Barrett, would very much disagree. Kate is an expert in the art of email marketing, and realises that for it to work well, it needs to be more than simply spamming as many people as possible with identical messages.

In this week’s podcast, Kate and I discuss numerous ways to make your email campaigns more effective:

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060 : Scale Up, Delegate and Achieve the Freedom Lifestyle with Verne Harnish

“The biggest barrier to scaling up is your ego – because you needed that ego at the beginning, but then you need to get rid of it in order to become the stupidest person in the room.”

VERNE HARNISH_HARDCOREMBAThis week’s Hardcore MBA guest, Verne Harnish, wants to help make your business into a gazelle – that’s a term for a business that has expanded by at least 20% for four years running. This is important, because I’ve seen too many entrepreneurs start their own business and have their enthusiasm slowly fade away as they find themselves working 80 hour weeks just to keep afloat. The only way to avoid this is to scale up to the point where you have other people working for you, taking on the boring but necessary work of running the business day-to-day, and ensuring you receive the benefits of owning your own company while getting to focus on the stuff you love. Verne is an expert in helping people to do this, and is the author of the book Scaling Up, so I’m very pleased to welcome him to the podcast. [Read more…]

059 : Build Your Inner Strength and Make Full Contact with Rodney King

“Often when we communicate, we’re not really communicating – people aren’t in the moment when they’re doing it, they’re on their iPhone or thinking about tomorrow or yesterday, or whatever. But as an entrepreneur, you need to be focused on the present, because that’s how you build relationships.”

Rodney KingI sometimes think that I had to deal with some hard times on my way to success – long hours,stress, panic attacks. But I never found myself sleeping rough in a park. That’s the situation Rodney King found himself in a few years back, and was the catalyst for turning his life around. Now he teaches people his ideas about ‘full contact living’ and encourages them to develop ‘inner management’ – that is, careful control of the thoughts and emotions to help you achieve what you truly want in life. [Read more…]

058 : Millionaire Mind, Live Abundantly and Learn to Have It All with Mac Attram

“A seed can be planted in the right soil and flourish, or it can be planted in the wrong soil and wither down to nothing – that’s the importance of making sure you put yourself in a positive environment”

macattramThis week’s guest is Mac Attram, whose entrepreneurial journey reminds me a lot of my own – he was working 90-hour weeks trying to keep a business afloat and realised that things had to change. He met with T Harv Eker, author of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, and scrupulously applied the lessons he learned from him. Within 18 months he had gone from being massively in debt and constantly under stress to completely changing his mindset and being financially free. Now he teaches others to understand the same money and business principles he has used, and helps them increase their revenue by up to 200% in just a few short months.

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057 : How To Triple Your Sales In Six Months And Launch Your Business Into The Stratosphere with Michael Graham


“In the opening stages of a business, the best person to sell the product is the person whose idea it is, rather than a salesman who comes in from the outside. That’s why entrepreneurs need to know about sales.”

Michael Graham Hardcore MBA PodcastMichael Graham was doing door-to-door sales at the age of 17. By the time he was 18, the company he worked for had folded, and he had taken the entire workforce of 300 people and branched out on his own. Before he knew it, a chance encounter with the fashion designer Victoria Jackson propelled things into the stratosphere, and soon his company had 1,000 people going door-to-door selling Sky and Talk Talk subscriptions among other things. Michael is a natural salesman and entrepreneur. But he also understands that sales techniques are a skill that can be taught to people who are willing to put in the hard work to learn – and that’s what he offers now.

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