Moving from Business Operator to Owner

In this The Faces of Business, Erin Marcus, Founder & CEO, Conquer Your Business delves into the transformative journey that takes business owners from being hands-on operators to strategic owners.

In this The Faces of Business, Erin Marcus, Founder & CEO, Conquer Your Business delves into the transformative journey that takes business owners from being hands-on operators to strategic owners.

In an era where entrepreneurship is more than a buzzword, business owners must evolve from being the hub of operations to the visionary leaders of their ventures.

Having transitioned from a high-flying corporate executive to a successful entrepreneur, Erin brings over two decades of wisdom, blending her corporate acumen with entrepreneurial grit. Erin has been instrumental in helping service professionals and entrepreneurs break free from the operational quagmire to achieve their business dreams. Through her innovative three-step journey, Erin empowers business leaders to focus on impact rather than just tasks, ensuring their ventures scale and thrive sustainably.

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Erin’s approach is not about more work; it’s about different work. Her methodologies have redefined success for countless businesses, making her insights invaluable for anyone looking to elevate their business. With accolades like Business of the Year and Trailblazer of the Year, Erin’s recognition speaks volumes of her contributions and the tangible impact of her strategies.

Damon excitedly starts the show. He loves the unpredictability of his show, stating, “You never know.” He invites Erin to begin by discussing her background and how she got into her today’s position.

Erin shares her origin story, talking about how she stumbled into her current career path almost unintentionally.

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She brings to light her upbringing in Chicago, where her father was a homicide cop and her mother worked as a beautician. Erin recounts her experiences growing up in the city, attending Chicago Public Schools, and the freedom she had at a young age to navigate the city independently. She highlights the diversity of her upbringing, surrounded by people from 22 different countries, and humorously compares her childhood experiences to those depicted in the TV show “Stranger Things.”

Later, Erin reflects on her upbringing marked by self-reliance and trust. Despite the limitations of her education, she learned through real-world interactions at Chicago Public Schools. Similarly, Erin recounts her unconventional learning experiences, including interacting with students from gaining access to influential figures as a journalism student.

Through these experiences, she learned the importance of treating everyone as equals and honed her communication skills to understand both spoken and unspoken messages.

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Similarly, Erin weighs in on her learning from big events. She notes how hosts often maintain a certain level of detachment from the audience. This approach helps them protect their energy for the day. Erin relates this to her own experiences and she recommends protecting one’s energy, especially when making significant leaps in business or personal growth.

Damon agrees with Erin on energy management, especially in the context of transitioning from a business operator to an owner. He believes it suits business owners best to pause and process situations rather than react impulsively.

Erin reveals that her upbringing helped her learn to manage personal crises while maintaining professional composure. She shares a poignant example of receiving a call from her father while in the middle of a client meeting, as he was being rushed to the hospital after a heart attack. Thanks to her compartmentalization and resilience, she later drove to be with her father and sat there, while also fulfilling her professional commitments.

At Damon’s request, Erin discusses her career transition from a corporate job in financial services to pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities. She describes feeling a sense of disconnect and a desire for something more fulfilling in her work, despite her appreciation for her previous experiences and mentors.

“But I love the puzzle of the business,” she remarks! Despite initial success, she faced challenges in the aging parents niche due to market saturation and unfair competition.

Damon brings into discussion the challenge of explaining platforms like Instagram, ecommerce, and social media to older business owners who may not understand their relevance.

In response, Erin finds it critical to select the right platform for content distribution, sharing her decision to focus on YouTube for long-form content. YouTube, in her view, is unique compared to other platforms and her preference for direct communication. She relies on YouTube to learn problem-solving skills.

Damon comments on Erin’s role in helping people transition into owners, noting the difficulty some face in making this transition, especially those nearing the end of their careers.

Erin describes this transition as “harder than starting a business.” There are unexpected responsibilities that come with ownership, such as leadership, sales, hiring, and financial management, which may not align with one’s original skills or interests. Erin metaphorically describes the idealized perception of business ownership to reality, as the perilous Indiana Jones Bridge.

Damon talks about the common experience shared by business owners who initially started their ventures out of passion for their work, only to encounter the overwhelming responsibilities of ownership. Many find themselves working tirelessly yet not achieving the financial success or freedom they envisioned when starting their businesses.

Agreeing with the host, Erin advises business owners to recognize themselves as assets of the business, separate from the business itself. By separating personal finances from business finances, owners can make more informed decisions about investing in the business’s growth and maintaining healthy profit margins, allowing them to “wiggle” their way toward success.

Damon shares Erin’s recent success story concerning some professionals transitioning into entrepreneurship out of a passion for their craft. Erin, adding to Damon’s comments, puts her belief in celebrating small victories to motivate entrepreneurs, saying that even a glimmer of hope can inspire progress.

Likewise, she addresses the misconception that everyone desires the stress and responsibility of leadership roles. “Yes, most people don’t want this level of stress and responsibility.” She asks to hire people who give their best, and excel in their respective fields, even if they surpass the owner’s expertise. She demystifies common business functions like marketing and sales, asserting that the true challenge lies in personal growth and adaptability.

Damon requests Erin to talk about the common reactions she observes from business owners as they begin to grasp these concepts.

Erin shares that she advises reluctant business owners against falling into regret over past decisions, cautioning that interpreting them as limitations to current potential can be misleading. Erin suggests letting go and not being attached to mistakes. She uses the metaphor of putting “bumpers in gutters” to illustrate the need for boundaries to avoid both giving up too soon and wasting resources.

Damon agrees that mistakes are a common occurrence even for seasoned business owners. He shares a recent business decision where the willingness to take risks, even if they turn out to be wrong, was crucial for progress. He asks Erin about her motivation to help people through their business challenges.

Erin shares two key driving forces behind her work. Firstly, there is personal responsibility, rooted in childhood experiences where decisions made for oneself hold significant power. She illustrates this with a personal story involving her mother advocating for her medical treatment as a child when she sat with her. Secondly, Erin was moved by the access to information, learned during her corporate career. She believes in empowering individuals with financial and legal knowledge, seeing it as a catalyst for positive change and addressing systemic issues from the ground up.

The show ends with Damon thanking Erin for her time.

The Faces of Business

Learn about the strategies that have allowed other business owners to overcome all kinds of adversities and limitations to achieve their business goals successfully.

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Exit Your Way® provides a structured process and skilled resources to grow business value and allow business owners to leave with 2X+ more money when they are ready.

You can find more information about the Exit Your Way® process and our team on our website.

You can contact us by phone:  822-BIZ-EXIT (249-3948)   Or by Email:

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Other websites to check out:  Cross Northwest Mergers & AcquisitionsDamon PistulkaIra BowmanService Professionals Network (SPN)Fangled TechnologiesB2B TailDenver Consulting FirmWarren ResearchStellar Insight, Now CFO, Excel Management Systems  & Project Help You Grow

people, work, business, business owner, learned, hire, wrong, entrepreneur, talk, decisions, change, give, love, problem, aaron, day, sat, aging parents, energy, chicago public schools
Erin Marcus, Damon Pistulka

Damon Pistulka 00:02
All right, everyone, welcome once again, to the faces of business. I’m Damon Pistulka, your host. And I am so excited today because we have Aaron Marcus from conquer your business, we’re going to be talking about moving from business operator to owner. Thanks for being here today.

Erin Marcus 00:22
Thank you so much. I can’t wait to see what else we

Damon Pistulka 00:27
never know. You never know. It’s kind of a freeform thing here. So Aaron, the thing that we always like to do on the show is let our guests start off by talking about their background, and how they got into doing what they’re doing today.

Erin Marcus 00:44
The origin story, the origin origin story, the quick run or the I like people ask me, how did you get in this business? And I said, kicking and screaming. And it wasn’t even on purpose. It was realizing I have one of those lives that when you look back, it didn’t make sense, like how it very segmented. I grew up in the city, Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, my dad was a homicide cop. My mom was a beautician in the 70s and 80s. I say all the time, I was allowed at 13 years old to take Stacy Hartman from around the corner who was 12 and my little brother, who was 11, and get on a bus and then a train and go downtown by ourselves. Wow, we’re gonna imagine Can you even imagine? And I also grew up, we counted with people from 22 different countries. So I was in public schools. Everything you’ve seen from Stranger Things is true. We raised ourselves, I just saw a t shirt, I need to buy it. It’s called Gen X raised on hose water and neglect.

That was it in a nutshell.

Damon Pistulka 02:01
Raise that hose water and collect.

Erin Marcus 02:05
But here’s the thing. You build self reliance. Yeah, you build self trust you, you realize that people are just people, and we’re all just trying to earn a living, and you learn how to communicate with everybody. And because your kids, you just want to play together. So you figure that out. And now you don’t actually learn anything in school this way. So I always give the example of my Chicago Public Schools, my Algebra teacher was actually a geography substitute. So still don’t know algebra cannot solve for y. But I sat in the back with this guy, Assad from Saudi Arabia who didn’t speak English, but he was a really good artist. So he would draw pictures. And I would tell him what the words were, like what those things were right. But it’s this diversity, this communication, this learning how to hear what’s being said and hear what’s not being said. And then once I got past my professional, juvenile delinquent ways, and moved into college, I kind of had a repeat of that in a different way. I was a, I have a journalism degree. And because it was a student, not an actual reporter, I was given access to politicians that were way above my paygrade, to murder trials to city government, to people who would give us the time of day, because we were kids and we were students. And I got to interview Mike Madigan, one of the last great statesmen as he’s known, and Paul Simon, Mike Madigan, before he went to the federal government and Paul Simon, who was just an unbelievable human. And I learned again, people are just people. Yeah. And I learned how to talk to people. And I learned how to ask questions. And I learned how to listen again to what’s being said and what’s not being said.

Damon Pistulka 04:05
Yeah, that’s such a such a powerful thing to learn, to be able to just well communicate,

Erin Marcus 04:11
communicate. And also, again, the other thing that I learned was how to talk to anybody that those people were actually approachable. Right, I Was I nervous of course, I was nervous, but I there was a requirement to go talk to these people. One talk to other human beings, but talk to people who you may by definition, consider out of reach out of your league. Who are you to be doing this?

Damon Pistulka 04:42
Yeah. And they I mean, I think people like that to appreciate vn this talk to you like people, most of them some some, you know, obviously their head. Well,

Erin Marcus 04:51
you know what I learned? I learned by watching this. I’ve been at big events, big entrepreneur events, big speaking events, and I’ve watched etched the host, kind of remove themselves. And from from the inner workings and being in the audience, they were really keeping themselves separate. And one, I always wondered, wow, how did they get such a thick skin? Because this is not? This is not. But also I learned how to protect your energy. Yeah. Right. Like what I realized that they were doing and this is this is like, I do this in 80 million ways. How do you protect your energy, because the bigger leap you’re trying to make, whether that is scaling a business, whether that is hiring huge teams at a time, whether that is putting yourself out in a new market, whether that’s getting on stage. I mean, whatever the version is, I get real black and white during those moments about my my energy and my safety bubble. And sometimes I stop talking to a couple people, if I just need a minute to let that take hold be my little tenuous.

Damon Pistulka 06:09
Yeah, that’s that’s a great point. Because as you know, today, we’re going to be talking about moving from business operator owner. And you know, as that transition, the changes that you have to make everything as a business operator or owner, depends on our energy. And not knowing when to get out of a situation to protect your energy for the day is huge. Because you can get caught in that and go right down the drain and come emerge from that situation. drained, and screws the rest of your day. It

Erin Marcus 06:45
screws the rest of your day. And I read a book I it’s a it’s a well known book, I just never read my read too much. And I forget what’s in which book, but they talked about peak performance. I think it was peak performance. And the the study tennis players, because they’re it’s an interesting game, right? And the higher level performers recover faster. Right, it’s how can you get back to set your energy and one of the things I’ve learned is stay out of reaction mode.

Damon Pistulka 07:22
That’s a huge thing.

Erin Marcus 07:24
Stay out of reaction mode.

Damon Pistulka 07:26
Yeah, that because as you said that I was thinking how that’s so so important for a business business owner to be able to deal with something, and then just take that split second to process rather than react right away. Because the time to process allows you to think clearly. And not just go Wow.

Erin Marcus 07:50
Well, I know I’ve had this how many times even when I was in corporate, and how many times have you had a key team member out of the blue, give notice or get sick? And now five minutes later, you’re getting on the phone or the zoom call with the biggest opportunity of your career? Yeah.

Damon Pistulka 08:15

Erin Marcus 08:19
You know, how do you remember that? I mean, we’ve all been there. How do you reach that? How do you an IVR. Now this is an extreme example. I got the phone. I was on my I was in my coaching group in my my clients. And I’m old enough to know that or to believe that it’s appropriate. Like, there’s work and then there’s right, like, do what you said you were going to do when you said you’re going to do it. And the phone was ringing and I finally answered it because it was clear and emergency. And it was my dad calling from the ambulance. He had had a heart attack. He was on his way to the hospital. Who and I had 15 People clients on a zoom call looking at me. Yeah. Can you compartmentalize for a moment? So you can do what you need to do. Right? It’s not ignoring I didn’t I didn’t continue you know, we got the call early. I drove to Michigan, he’s fine. He’s currently in Atlanta, judging the collegiate powerlifting competitions. Right. One years old, so he’s fine. But uh, yeah, like that energy, that resilience. That ability to go from thing to thing. Yeah. Yep. Right. And I think that is a lot of what and truthfully, as much fun as I was having in high school. It certainly wasn’t the kind of fun you hope your kids are having. It was a little nuts. It was a little and little Learning how to read the room learning how to interpret what’s going on around you learning how to feel the energy, and being able to predict what’s gonna go wrong, what isn’t gonna go wrong, where do I need to be? And it just continued. And then, I mean, after that it was just jobs like after that it was amazing mentors, amazing, amazing mentors. I did my part and showed up and showed that I was willing to put in the effort and they more than met me halfway. And that’s where all the business acumen comes from. And a non stop desire to learn new stuff.

Damon Pistulka 10:41
Very cool,

Erin Marcus 10:42
right? Just absorb information. I learned that from my Strength Finders, evidently, I can’t help it. My top three are strategy, visionary, and learner. My brain will take everything you told me rearrange it and go, we’ll just do it this way.

Damon Pistulka 10:56

Now, if you want me to fill out a form, or fixture? That’d be wrong. Yeah, gonna be wrong. That’s if you want a pretty logo. Yeah. Not me.

Damon Pistulka 11:13
Awesome. Awesome. So as you as you came down this path, and you started to get you got this experience, and you’re, you’re moving on into your fold. First of all, let’s just say anger is here this evening. Thanks for saying hello, anger. And she says continuous learning is so important. That is true.

Erin Marcus 11:36
Right? What did they say? The worst two words is I know, as soon as you say, I know, you’ve shut down any ability to learn?

Damon Pistulka 11:45
Yes. Yes. It’s just, it’s it’s a it’s amazing. It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s just amazing. When you just open your mind and realize that I don’t know, a lot of stuff, the majority of the stuff, the vast majority of this stuff. And even less than that I know, and then go out life like that. Okay, you know, because you really don’t really know, little

Erin Marcus 12:11
people get themselves in a bind. I used to see this in corporate a lot. When you feel like you have to know and that your worth and your brilliance are based on right like you don’t I will promise you every day that you are better off saying that’s a great question. I’m not sure. Let me find out. And I’ll get back to you. And then do what you said you were going to do over making something up. Or, again, reaction mode. People don’t mind you going? Isn’t that interesting? You know what? I’m not quite sure the best thing to tell you to do. But I know where to find the information. It was in another book I read talked about. They were having conversation about Jeopardy winners. Like oh, wouldn’t you love that guy in your team? No, that’s just memorization of facts. I can Google any of it. I can Google any of it. I have I cheat and make my mom think I’m really smart. But

do it all time. But

Erin Marcus 13:24
learning how to think learning how to communicate, learning how to discern.

Damon Pistulka 13:31
Those are the skills. Those are the skills. Yeah. So as you moved into helping business owners, you decided that you wanted to be an entrepreneur with cockier business. What really was the the, you know, turning point or decision point for that. So

Erin Marcus 13:51
there’s two now I am not the person who had the horrible job. And you know, I’ll show that No, I had amazing people that I worked with, I had amazing corporate career, but it got to a certain age, I think it really was age based, because that’s experience based. I was about 40. And it all felt weird. In the work started to feel the only word I can come up with. And I don’t mean this as a negative, but it started to feel contrived. So I was in financial services. And we were the go between middleman between the insurance carriers like John Hancock and MetLife. And then the banks and broker dealers who were selling the product, right. And so you have three layers right there. And then you had five other layers that wanted to get involved. And the next thing you knew there were 16 rules and regulations, and they were different for every state and everyone wanted to make a nickel off of everybody else’s dime. And though the end product of the insurance product was amazing and important, and I wholly believe in it. The work I was doing, started to feel cool. reIated just to be work. Yeah. And my mentor at that company, I was like, You cannot. You cannot believe how grateful I am for this and how this happened. I started to feel like there was something more. And I found out about this franchise opportunity, which was my first leap off the cliff. And I went to him that was very, I felt like I was the right age, I would finally gotten old enough to actually know something. But I was still young enough to still have energy to do something. Like this window. Yeah. And I went to him and I said, I found an opportunity that I really want to take advantage of. I think this was after like, 12 years, and we were very close. And I’m like, I think I really want to go do this. And he stopped everything. And he grabbed the our lawyer, and he grabbed the president and the senior vice president. And we sat down in the conference room, and we spent hours. And he asked me a million questions about what are you going to do about this? And what are you going to do about this? And what are you going to do about this? And they looked through the paperwork? And he’s like, all right, you can go do this. That’s awesome. That not amazing. That is amazing. Yeah. And the first leap was actually a franchise, I didn’t make the full leap. And that franchise, I got my office to the top 10 out of 200, in about 18 months. Yeah, because I knew business. I have an MBA in marketing and executive leadership. But journalism degree always comes in, you know, communicate with intent, great skill to have. And so I got my business up very quickly. And I’d like a team of like, 15 people, we were, it was doing really well. But it was in the arena of working with families with aging parents. So you had caregiver burnout. And at the same time I had I was up against, there was no barrier to entry in the marketplace. And all my competitors were working under the table. So I’m paying Cook County, Chicago level taxes, workers comp, it just got to be a losing battle. When you put all these things together, and at the same time, the franchisor had hired me, and brought me on to help launch new franchises. And when it was my turn at the networking group to talk about my business, everyone’s like, yeah, yeah, yeah, aging parents, but why are you making money? Like, why is this working for you? And suddenly, you know, and so I started just helping everybody, with their marketing, with their messaging, with their business, with their offers, with their product portfolios, with their pricing with their team building, with all the different pieces that I love, because to me, business is a puzzle. I love the game of business. That’s what I was allowed to do at corporate. That’s why my franchise did well. I don’t get me wrong, the aging parents were very lovely people. But I love the puzzle of the business. And so finally, I just it was much more of letting everything else go. And focusing only on this piece that I’m doing, rather than seeking it out.

Damon Pistulka 18:31
Yeah. So you’re you’re moving into it. And the other the business that you originally thought that would be what you would do became a went away on that

Erin Marcus 18:40
off, and it became an alert, you know, it became a one more version of education. So now, I have the view of street kid in Chicago. The view of this 16 year old working 60 hours a week, because that’s what we did. I have the view of C suite in financial services. I have the view of a small business owner with a team of 15. And I have the view of a solopreneur, entrepreneur, content creator. Which these are all such different models.

Damon Pistulka 19:17
Yeah, so you got a wide range of experience that you can bring to bear when you’re talking with

Erin Marcus 19:23
people. Yeah. And and I really think that a lot of people run into problems with their businesses when they only look to similar industries and similar businesses for solutions.

Damon Pistulka 19:35
That’s a huge thing. I’ve had your I don’t know the umpteenth person that that is in that helps different business owners that says that because just because you’re working with somebody that’s in healthcare here doesn’t mean it doesn’t apply to a landscaper over here or a manufacturing company or an E commerce company or

Erin Marcus 19:56
whatever. We’re actually going to help you more because you’re not going to fall into old patterns that everybody’s doing. Yep. It’s actually going to help you more.

Damon Pistulka 20:09
Yeah, I had that very thing happened to me last week with with client there was, I don’t know anything about your industry. But I know that everybody under the world, anybody that’s selling the way that we’re talking about is doing it this way. And, and whether you like it or not, we don’t sell to ourselves. This is the things I always, always talk about. Whenever you talk marketing with a business person. And I look at myself, I say, we don’t sell the people like me. I have to remember that. It’s like, because if you look at in business, right, especially b2b business, most people that are buying are in their 30s and 40s. That doing the buy?

Erin Marcus 20:55
Yes, you have to read? Yes.

Damon Pistulka 20:59
Yes, you have a bit more than that. You and me both. Were a bit older than that, right? And when we’re talking, we’re talking to the business people they don’t they don’t understand it. Why would why would I want to sell on Instagram? Why do I need to have ecommerce on my business? Why do I need social media? Just like, listen

Erin Marcus 21:21
to your business, I mean, like this is so to me, I don’t get it. Like, I here’s my very unscientific analysis. I don’t have kids. And I think because of that I still associate with the kids. I just do. And, you know, I’m not great at social media. I grew I spent the first 20 years of my life making sure nobody knew.

Damon Pistulka 21:59
Yes, yes. Bad. Yeah.

Erin Marcus 22:04
Pick your platform. If you and I were talking before we hit live, I have moved my long form content to YouTube. And I did it on purpose. And I did it because one, you can’t I’m not going to sound like everybody else. Because there’s no AI version of the same post that everybody’s doing, like you’re seeing on Facebook and messenger. So this is it. Right? I don’t have the attention span to be busy. You like it, you don’t like it, at least you’re gonna know it, you get to be a little direct. I won’t do this if it’s not fun. And the other thing is, people younger than you and me, don’t Google things. They YouTube things. I was just doing this. I was just telling me. You got to remember that Google owns YouTube, you got to be smart about this. So the string in my hand that I’m obsessed with, I am in an internship with a I don’t know they’re not a restaurant sanctuary with a it’s called wings and talons. I’m learning how to work with hawks and owls and Falcons so that we can bring them to educate you. You don’t even understand this. I’m five feet tall. These have these birds are bigger than me. And I literally before we went on, I’ve got this string around my microphone stand. And I’ve got a YouTube video playing. showing me how with baby sized hands to tie the knots that I need to try to work with the Faulconer is not to work with the bird. I didn’t Google it. I went on YouTube. Yeah.

Damon Pistulka 23:46
Yeah. And that’s where I mean that’s where people look for education now.

Erin Marcus 23:50
Yeah. And it’s you know, if you can, I don’t understand, complain complaining about things changing. I though I give you a preview, my video that I’m shooting tomorrow is Stop waiting for the world to change and go change your world. Like, why would we be mad that things change, things always change, you’re growing or you’re dying, there is no stagnation.

Damon Pistulka 24:20
You just don’t feel the change. You don’t feel the change in the moment. So you don’t think it’s changing but it is.

Erin Marcus 24:26
But it is and if you want to rail against change, that’s fine, but your business will suffer for it then don’t be an entrepreneur. Be the old man get off my lawn

Damon Pistulka 24:43
this an easier job that’s for sure. Like right like what are we nuts? This is crazy. Yeah. We doing this? Yeah. So so as you’re as you’re working with these these clients and their business, you’re great how you Say it on your LinkedIn profile, you’re taking operators and help them become owners. Yes. You know, that that process. me seeing owners near the end of their careers. I see so many people that never were able to make that oh really make that transition. It’s

Erin Marcus 25:20
me, it’s harder than starting a business. Oh, yes, way harder when you go into business because you love the thing the business does, yes. And then one day you wake up and you’re grumpy, like, wait a minute, if I’m a business owner, people think that’s moving me further away from the thing that I love that the business does. And now all of a sudden, you’re a leader, and you’re a salesperson, and you have to hire people. And you have to like read p&l and balance sheets. And like, there’s all these things that have nothing to do with the product you manufacture. And the thing that you sell any commerce or the teeth that you clean, or the picture that you take, or any of the things that you do, show the skills that you had to launch your business, have nothing to do with the skills that you need to be a business owner. And the way that I describe it is too many people, unfortunately, you think that this journey to business owner is going to be like strolling over a bridge or a garden. And it’s a nice stone bridge, and there’s a stream. But really, it’s the Indiana Jones Bridge. It’s on fire. And there’s a guy at the other end with a sword. Right? So what do we do, we retreat, we run away. And we settle, we settle for the business, we can pull off instead of the business that we want. And this is where businesses explode. Because you realize as the business owner, and if you’re making the error of being the wearer of all hats, you’re out of hours in the day, you’re out of days in the week, this is not a sustainable business model. And it’s not a sustainable life model. And that’s when you go screw this. And you’ll give up on the dream. Right, the freedom that you thought you were starting because a nightmare. Yeah. Yeah. And the bottom line is, the good news is, it’s not more work, it’s just different work. You don’t have to do more work. You just have to learn how to do different work.

Damon Pistulka 27:38
Yeah, it is, it is, you know, it’s just like you said to, you get to a point, and you see these business owners and all of us, right, I don’t care who it is, you’re gonna, if you’ve got a business, you’re gonna run into this, I got in business because I love this. It can be a plumber, you can be a doctor, you can be a whatever, engineer doesn’t matter. And you get to a point you go, wow, like you said, we have to hire people, we have to do this. Now we have to think about finances and maybe, you know, all this other stuff. Yeah, loans and all this other kind of stuff. And you’re like holy God. And but a lot of people get to a point and they go, Well, I just can’t work any harder, right? Because they put in everything they was put in all the hours they can, they’ve neglected their their friends and family to the point that they’re about ready to tell them take a hike, we haven’t seen it in six months anyway, doesn’t matter. And, and they’re wondering why they are not making the money or having the freedom that they went into business to create. And it’s in it’s this whole process that you talked about from becoming moving from a business operator to becoming a business owner.

Erin Marcus 28:51
And it’s completely possible. Like when you’re looking, one of the things that I talk a lot about is your business as a system. Your business is a system right. And at any given point, whether it’s sales, marketing, branding, Team buildings, client fulfillment, whichever piece of the system, at any given point, a couple of those pieces are acting as anchors and lagging behind. Right, they’re pulling everything down and they’re lagging behind. So the idea you have to do is you just wiggle it, you just wiggle it there, you can’t shoot it. This is a constant wiggle of maneuvering up and down so that you can get as least the lesson least amount of friction as possible. And there’s a way to do this. Humans think very all or nothing, right? We’re very all or nothing, either. I’m in the gym five days a week eating clean or 31 flavors and playdough beef, right? Like there was no middle ground here. And instead of thinking all or nothing, what you want to be able to do is keep to Applying revenue and expenses the same distance apart. There you go. People choose not to go into business owner because they think they’re going to lose some of the money that they’re finally making.

Damon Pistulka 30:17
Oh, I see. Yep.

Erin Marcus 30:19
They think they’re going to have to great. So one of the things I tell people all the time, is, make sure that you realize that you are just one more asset that the business owns. Because if you still see my business, and you’re holding on to it tight, you won’t spend anything, because you’re gonna think that’s your money. It’s not your money. It’s the business’s money, you should be getting paid your market value, and you get to double dip with profits and taxes. And you know, all the Yeah, but you’re an asset of the business, if you can separate those two. What does the business need to invest in and keep your money and key profit margins, you can just wiggle this all the way all the way up?

Damon Pistulka 31:08
I like that concept of wiggling it. Because it is it’s a constant like, Okay, what’s really working, we’re looking across the board and going, Oh, we should pay some attention or move some effort into sales, we should move some stuff around. And like I said, and client fulfillment, or if

Erin Marcus 31:25
you get too far on any of it, it stops working the analogy, the visual I use is here, I grew up in Chicago, and every single house is the yard, we all have these truing fences around it. And they all have these gates, right? And these freaking gates have these locks where there’s these two latches. There’s one on one side and one on the other side. And if you try, right, so you gotta flip the latch off the metal pole to open the gate. Yep. But it’s not actually connected. And so if you don’t flip them up together, and they’re uneven, you can’t open the gate, right? Because it’s the friction, just stop and doesn’t matter which sides up and down. It just doesn’t work. In your business is nothing more than a series of those. Because if you’re great at sales, and you suck at client fulfillment, you’re gonna end up with all sorts of refunds. Yeah, and you might be fantastic at marketing, but you can’t close a deal. And if any of these are too off kilter, everything comes to a screeching halt. You see that right now in the supply chain? I mean, look at what the supply chain problems did to our country. Yes.

Damon Pistulka 32:45
Yes. And webshop, back after two and just the whiplash came back. You know, because I was just reading something the other day, we couldn’t get cars, right. Literally a year ago or two years, whatever it was. And just reading an article about in in Detroit, I think it was Michigan Speedway, they had 1000s of f150 sitting out there that they were waiting to deliver. And

Erin Marcus 33:09
now we can’t get prescriptions. Yeah. Yeah, you can’t get your prescriptions. Yeah.

Damon Pistulka 33:17
That happened in our household couples a couple weeks ago. Yeah. It’s it’s, it’s it’s so interesting. When you when you think about it as as business, these people and it’s it happens all over. It’s accountants, its lawyers, it’s electricians, HVAC people, everybody goes out and starts our entrepreneur journey, because they love this. And then they get into it. And pretty soon now I’ve got seven accountants in my office, and it’s a business and I gotta think about this. And what you’re doing is, is really helping them as they said, as is like Edgar says, You’re strolling, never in business. That’s right. But you’re really helping them to see their way through that transition. Because once they get there, or get moving there and see their role, and really feel how that is how that has changed. Don’t you see that? They enjoy it just as much.

Erin Marcus 34:17
Oh, absolutely. It’s we used to, you know, one of the things I’ll say, just need to get you a couple of wins. Like here’s the really good news. It’s not hard to motivate entrepreneurs. A little Oh, like, if there’s a glimmer of hope in there. That will get us get us over the bridge. Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s a world of difference. It’s one of those things where you can’t unsee it. Like you can’t see it from where you are now. But once you’re there, it doesn’t really unravel. Because you can’t unlearn it. It’s a different way of thinking In? Yes, it’s it’s, it’s really what it comes down to is a different way of thinking, you know, the role of a business owner, to me is a mixture of visionary and asset allocation. Right? That’s really what you’re doing. You’re, you’re creating something that’s never existed before. And then that’s why it has to be reverse engineered. Right? Every time. That’s the other big mistake I watch people make and why it doesn’t work is they start at square step one. And it’s that’s how you start a business. That’s how you scale a business. Yes, in the beginning, you got to go do something. That right, but once you get to scaling, you got to be like, Okay, what do we actually creating? And where are we go on in here it what do we do? And I, what is it that book? Good to Great. And the whole story about? Get the right people on the bus? Yep. is fantastic. But if the nobody

knows where the bus is going, no one’s getting on it. Like it’s not a thing, right?

Damon Pistulka 36:15
Yeah, device hasn’t gone far with the wrong people

Erin Marcus 36:17
are evil. Right. And I will, and that’s another thing, you know, completely is a big, big pitfall and why you can’t become a business owner? Is you’re hiring TaskRabbit instead of hiring for horsepower. Yeah.

Damon Pistulka 36:32
Yeah. Yeah, one of the hardest things we see if we’re helping people through this, and in our practice is just like that, you hire somebody that was really good at doing that task when you start your business. And now that same person has been there a long time. And you want them to be the head of that, because now they have to have multiple people doing that. And

Erin Marcus 36:54
they don’t want to be the head of the Oh, right. We think people are just like us, most people are not like us. Yes, most people don’t want this level of stress and responsibility. They don’t want it or you hire someone to take over a task. And effectively replace doing the work with managing the person. That’s not less work, that’s just a different problem. Hire people who will don’t be scared to not be the smartest person in the room. Hire people that are so much better. This is this is how I describe this. marketing, sales, branding, operations. None of its hard. None of its work. The reason it’s not hard, is you can buy it, you can buy it, there’s brilliant people everywhere. Who can create amazing e commerce websites. You none of that’s hard because you can buy it. How you think the hard work is getting out of your own way. The hard work is changing your approach to me. It’s the resilience, it’s the persistence. It’s the self awareness. One of the things that I used to before it was conquer your business. It was conquer the conversation. I have a big background in communication, like we talked about. And one of the things that I asked leaders all the time it this is like the most brutal question, if you’re willing to have an honest conversation with yourself. What is it like to be on the receiving end of you? Do you know that in your business, what is it like to be on the receiving end of view?

Damon Pistulka 38:36
Yeah, that’s it’s a hard one. It’s a hard one.

That’s not always a fun conversation. Oh, no,

Damon Pistulka 38:44
no, I know, I know, myself. Personally. I know, it’s not always fun. But I do know I think about it more today than I ever have. But it’s still excel comes back. And I think that’s that’s from you know, really, as as you’re going to become a business owner. We talked about this a while ago, that responding is becomes more and more in more and more important. Because you are going to have people coming up to you all day long wanting answers to a problem that you can you can react and just don’t answer. Or you can respond and say, Well, what do you think?

Erin Marcus 39:30
Right? It’s that visionary? Right? Everything you do has to be for the good of the long term. Yeah. You can’t act in a moment and make decisions to alleviate temporary pain, which is usually right in and harm long term. I think that’s one of the things that we also mess up as humans we think are temporary challenges or permanent situations. Yeah, right. And so we have, so just our nervous system and how it works, or subconscious will have us believing we’re all gonna die all the time. When truthfully, if you think about it in this moment, I’m sitting in my loft, the soup, I can smell dinner as being caught, like I don’t actually have a problem right now. But my nervous system was like, Oh, my God, this bill and that thing and this. Yeah, risk.

Damon Pistulka 40:28
This is a great point. That’s a great point. So as you as you are working with these business owners, and they start to get a taste of this, what are some of the things that you hear come out of their mouth?

Erin Marcus 40:46
I think it’s one of the things is anything, we all do this, I wish I would have done it sooner. You got to be real, real careful about the regret pieces. You got to be so careful about the regret pieces. It’s very easy. There’s a lot of regret over financial decisions that didn’t work out. And business decisions that didn’t work out that you’re interpreting as now. They’re limiting your potential. Or right, like, if I didn’t make this mistake, I would have already been all the way up here. You don’t actually know that it feels that way. But you don’t actually know that. So the frustration, and you got it right. Even, um, it was a National Geographic that did the study of where in the world people live to over 100 years old more than other people. And one of the things all the people they interviewed had was being able to let go, being able to let go of not being attached to mistakes not being attached to right. So that’s one to really look out for. And the flip side is true. Also. I sometimes the relief is too much. And don’t confuse changing your role with abdicating your responsibilities. Right? Yeah. Like it. My whole thing is always I gotta put bumpers in my gutters. I gotta put right, you’re chief decision maker bottom line, you’re the business owner, Chief decision maker. This is you get paid to make decisions. You’re paid in accordance to how many decisions you can handle and the capacity to handle that situate that like that’s it. And so I’m always looking for what are the bumpers I can put in my gutters? Not regret, but not get too far out over my skis. Because the idea is the more near not give up three feet from gold, but not through good money after bad. Yeah. Right? Because you got these bumpers in the gutters. And the trick is, how narrow can I get those gutters? Because the other half of the problem is there’s a pendulum. There is a pendulum swinging back and forth between those gutters. So the more narrow you can get your gutters, the less it hurts when the pendulum hits you. Yeah.

Damon Pistulka 43:24
Because that’s what happens. Yeah. So you’re just gonna run into things that are going to come out of the blue, and they’re gonna knock you down, and you’re gonna have to get back up and you have to reassess. And you do everything

Erin Marcus 43:36
right, and it still doesn’t work. I mean, I think that’s the, and this is where. So another random weird thing about me, I used to compete in powerlifting, which again, really weird five feet tall. But I used to do benchpress competitions, body bodybuilding. powerlifting. And in the gym, when you’re training for those types of sports failure is your goal. Yeah, failure is your actual goal. You’re not done until you just can’t do anymore, then you’re done. No. And so the idea that failure is a goal, and most things don’t work. You just got to understand, I saw Gary Vee video on this and he’s so dead on the problem that entrepreneurs are having today, especially younger entrepreneurs, because they came up during a different understanding of the universe is they want to make three decisions. He was so dead on about this, they want to make three decisions, and they want all three of those decisions to work out. They want to be three, you know, his goal is to be 117 and 82. Yeah,

Damon Pistulka 44:51
yep, that’s all you can hope for as as as a business owner is just make you know, it happens. I don’t care. You know, we’ve been in business long longer in a few weeks. And still, it’s every day someone said something to me about making a mistake a while ago, and I said, I make mistakes every single day, every

Erin Marcus 45:10
day. This is how I write Yeah, on my podcast, the way that I can tell a seasoned business owner, is when I asked them, All right, let’s lesson people’s learning curves. What have you done that hasn’t worked? So if we just say, just don’t do what I did, you’ll be ahead of the game. That response you’re having right there. My season guests, they laugh, and they go, which one? My newer people get real nervous, like you’re not supposed to share the dirty on their belly. I’m like, our we’ve gotten new problems and new mistakes, like we just have to be okay with that. Yeah, those things don’t work. Failure is the goal.

Damon Pistulka 45:54
You don’t know how far you can go until you fail. I mean, that’s your your strength training that you’re talking about there. And in business the same way. It’s like, Listen, if we don’t fail, we’re never gonna go as far as we could. I had had a decision that was that was made in a in a business a couple of weeks ago. And it was like, we’re willing to take the risk if we’re wrong. Right? You

Erin Marcus 46:18
can mitigate your risk might so what am I fair, I used to do training for friends. And I had one girl I was training was new to lifting. And I gave her some 10 pound weights to do bicep curls with and she said, Oh, I can’t do that. I said, How do you know if you tried. And then my favorite, this is my favorite. So my dad, this all comes from my dad does benchpress competitions, right? And I used to work at some of them with him. That’s how we traveled together. And awesome. The way it works is you tell them, You tell them how much you’re gonna attempt to lift. If you don’t make that lift, you can try the same weight. You just can’t go down. So my dad missed a lift. He competed used to compete. He missed the lift. And so when he went to submit for his next attempt, he went up 10 pounds. And the guy at the table looked at him like he was crazy. He’s like, how are you going to lift for 10 You couldn’t live for you know, you miss it. And my dad looked he goes well, yeah, I know. I can’t do that. Already prove I can’t do that. I don’t know. I can’t go 10 pounds heavier. I

Damon Pistulka 47:28
love it. I love it. Yep. If you’re not if you’re going to go go for broke. I

Erin Marcus 47:34
know. I couldn’t do the smaller one. Maybe I could do the bigger one. Who knows?

Damon Pistulka 47:40
That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Well, Aaron, What? What? We were asked to wrap up in a couple of minutes here. But I really want to just kind of summarize a few things. And we’ll have to have you back because you gotta you’re writing a couple books now. And there’s so much other stuff I want to talk about. But what is it that really draws you to help people through this?

Erin Marcus 48:03
There’s two things. One of them comes from childhood, my point of view on everything. If you don’t make decisions for you, people who are not vested in you get to make those decisions for you. It does not make them wrong or bad. They’re the doctors, the lawyers, I got bit by a dog when I was five years old. This is just one example in my life. I get bit by a dog when I was five years old. I’ve 110 stitches in my face. We’re doing video now you can’t even tell right? Nevermind the Zoom filter. You couldn’t tell if we’re in person. That’s okay. Went to the emergency room. 1975 went to the emergency room and the doctor wanted to stitch me up and my mom for 11 I got an enchanter. And 1975 looked at a doctor and said no. Is she stable? Well, yeah, she’s stable. Then, with no Internet, and no cell phones. We’re going to find the top pediatric plastic surgeon in Chicago and we were going to get him out of his house at eight o’clock at night. The emergency room doctor wasn’t wrong. His job was to save my life. He knew how to stitch me up. Yeah, but the outcome of that would have been drastically different for me. Had he been allowed to do it? He does. So whether you’re talking about working with your aging parents, finances, health, your relationships, your business, your career. It’s my version of personal responsibility. If you don’t make decisions for you, you are giving away that power. And it is the most powerful thing you have. To someone else who is not wrong or bad. They just not might not have your same priorities. And then the other. So that’s been since day one. And the other half of that was when I was in corporate. And I was brought by my mentor who I told you about in the rooms that were way above my paygrade. We. And I learned that the difference between people who have and don’t have its access, the tools work at every level, the financial tools work at every level, the legal tools work at every level, you have, you know, I’m not going to at all say there’s not racism and sexism and misogyny and systemic systemic problems. But there is access. And so that access to information, I really believe the why I choose to use my skills in this niche is that I believe change happens from the ground up, and the more money we can put in the hands of people who will do something with it, other than add to systemic problems. That’s how the world changes.

Damon Pistulka 51:08
We should just let that kind of marinate for a little bit right there.

Erin Marcus 51:12
Like I have an opinion about something.

Damon Pistulka 51:16
That’s awesome. It’s awesome. I mean, when you hear hear why people do what they do, I mean, it’s a big deal to understand. Yeah, it’s a big deal to understand. It’s a big deal when, when you think about who you want to work with, you kind of want to know why they’re in it. 100%

Erin Marcus 51:30
Especially when it’s the right, we’re talking about your business, it’s your baby. There’s no separation of heart and soul and business when you’re an entrepreneur. You want to you want to play in the sandbox with people who care about it. Yeah,

Damon Pistulka 51:48
yep. Yep, that’s for sure. Well, Aaron, thanks so much for being here today. I just truly enjoyed our conversation, love getting to talk to you login to know you better and just sharing the things you did. I want to say thanks for anger for being here today. And we had just getting it up here. Someone from the roofers Rhys community was here as well. Thanks for those comments. I really all the people that were listening that didn’t comment we’d love that you’re out there listening. You can go ahead and hit the replay on this if you miss it. Go back to the beginning. Listen to Aaron. Aaron, how can people connect to you if they want to talk with you

Erin Marcus 52:26
make it really easy. Here’s a marketing tip for you if you’re in this is one call to action people one place for the Conquer your you can get links to me to my social to all of it is all at conquer your

Damon Pistulka 52:44
There we go. Thanks so much, Erin. Thanks for being here today. You can so much fun, so much fun. Thanks everyone else. We’ll be back again next week.

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