By Jason Eisenberg Community Program Manager for Office Depot
Meet Andrew Lassise. In 2014, Andrew was working for an IT services company that was getting ready to shutter its doors. Instead of looking for a new job, he told the owner that he could still handle the 300-400 customers who still had about three months of subscriptions left in their contract. Once that subscription ended, Andrew could renew them under his new business that began to unfold. He handled every single client himself (from his living room) his first year and made about $36,000. Andrew was happy and proud of himself, but he was working around the clock for that income.
The following year, something clicked for Andrew and his business, Rush Tech Support. He discovered the math behind entrepreneurship and his company’s revenue exploded, making $1.75 million in year 2.
In year 3, people he knew started their own IT company in their garage and reached out to Andrew for help, knowing what he did for his own business. After three months, that company reached $1 million in revenue. Andrew realized he had a formula that could be placed in virtually any industry, so he started working as a business/financial coach. In his five years as an entrepreneur, Andrew now runs Rush Tech Support, Rush Tech Designs, Lassise Coaching and is the host of the podcast, Self Made and Sober.
How did Andrew do all of this – especially with a humble IT background and working in restaurants? Here he shares important lessons he learned through his journey to serial entrepreneurship.
A sharp eye for opportunity
A sound entrepreneur knows when one door closes, another one opens. You just have to take a step back and see the whole house. In 2014, Andrew ran the IT department for a company that was about to close shop in three months. Since it was a relatively small business, Andrew admittedly did all of the customer IT work and knew his clients and what they expected. He made a deal with the former CEO and said he would fulfill their subscriptions until they expired. If those customers wanted to re-up, they’d then go to Rush Tech Support – Andrew’s business. Turning a scary situation into the biggest opportunity of his life, Andrew doubles down on the well-known quote to say:
“When one door closes, EIGHT windows and the doggy door is open.”
Which leads to his next big shift into entrepreneurship – hiring and the math behind entrepreneurship.
The math behind entrepreneurship
Before I share how to capitalize on this math, I want to explain it as clearly as possible. Most people learn through basic math that in order to make money, you trade it for your time. If you want more money, you trade more time. Andrew emphasizes that this is just ONE journey.
There is a multiplication factor in this formula most people don’t pay attention to, because it requires a long-term mindset rather than one of instant gratification. I’ll use Andrew’s example in the video above.
Someone pays me $100 for a project that takes eight hours to complete. I could keep that $100 all to myself and spend 8 hours doing it and at most, I can make $300 in a 24-hour workday.
Someone pays me $100 for a project that takes eight hours to complete. I pay someone $80 to spend their eight hours doing it and keep $20 for myself without sacrificing my time. Every five people I pay to do this will grant me $100 AND MY TIME. This could be scaled, depending on your industry.
“People will get in the trap of doing all this extra work and to keep this extra money coming. But the reality is you could pay someone to do it for less, still have processes in place… you can multiply this $20 times as many people as you can get to pay you for your service and as many people you can get to fulfill it.”
How to let go of control and scale
Some people just don’t want to let go of control and that’s a valid perspective to have, but it makes growing a business increasingly difficult as you do indeed grow. But it’s truly a game of numbers. The more food you have on your plate, the less of your meal you can finish. That’s why businesses hire and delegate – so they can eat the broccoli and you can enjoy your main dish.
But it is one of the most difficult things an entrepreneur does when growing a business. How does a business owner let go of control? Andrew answers this in one sentence.
“Most of my employees are better at their job than I am.”
But if you need more assurance before relieving yourself of a certain job, creating a system – or a checklist – is one of the easiest and most obvious ways to mitigate that fear.
“We do this with our content writers. There are 11 things on the checklist to make your blog post SEO-friendly - it’s just following the recipe. So, my expectation is just that they will follow this sheet I’ve given them. It gets rid of a lot of the ambiguity. It’s really difficult to argue and if they didn’t follow it, then they weren’t the right person for the job.”
Prioritizing your time as business owner, human
In my interview with Andrew, he often iterated the importance of working ON your business, not IN it. Hearing this phrase from multiple entrepreneurs in previous #Workonomy chats, I asked what it means to him. He explained by comparing entrepreneurship to taking care of your health.
“People that will set aside time to go the gym – nobody is going to know whether or not you did it, but you know that you’re doing it for a bigger purpose, a longer and healthier future. No one is going to know in the moment whether or not you put in the work because you’re not seeing the results that day. You may not see results that week or even that month! And most people aren’t willing to not get that instant gratification.”
And that’s the big secret from this serial entrepreneur. Most people are looking for the instant reward, but life - and good business - doesn’t work like that. It can take years of daily work at the gym to get to your fitness goal but the only people who get there are the ones who stick with it, don’t get deterred by current results and prioritize its importance.
For more on Workonomy services to help your business grow, visit here and if you have any small business questions, you can join our free Workonomy group and prompt our business community with a question.
About the Author Jason Eisenberg is the Community Program Manager for Office Depot, specializing in small business and entrepreneurship. Based out of one of the most exciting cities for startups – Austin, TX – Jason is plugged into the business community, often connecting with thought leaders, entrepreneurs and strategists to help identify and find solutions to common pain points all business owners share.
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All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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