Welcome to the Unstoppable CEO podcast. My name is Steve Gordon and I am here and excited this week to be talking with JV Crum, III. JV was named by Inc. Magazine as one of the top 13 business shows in 2017, the host of one of the top 13 business shows of 2017.
He’s actually the host of four shows on the Conscious Millionaire podcast and radio network. He just told me he’s launching a new show soon. He is a 34 times best-selling author, speaker, and high-performance coach who is known for his live, on-camera trainings where he helps coaches and entrepreneurs find $50,000 or more in hidden revenues and then helps them develop steps to go put that into the bank. He is the founder of Conscious Millionaire and the High Performer Bootcamp. JV, welcome to the Unstoppable CEO.
Well, thank you Steve for having me. And just a huge hello to everybody who’s listening. I am so excited to be here and to be able to connect with you and I hope I’ll be able to hear from you. So Steve, thank you so much for having me as a guest.
Absolutely. This is going to be a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to this conversation. And before we kind of dive into the meat of things, I always think it’s good for everybody listening to have a little bit of context. So can you give us a little bit of context beyond just what’s in the bio? Help us understand how you got to this stage of your career.
Well, that’s a great question. Steve. I’m going to give you a little trilogy so that we don’t have to make this into an eight hour show. So the first piece I’ll go, is I grew up out in the country and by the country, I mean like 200 or 300 people on a four by five mile lake in Central Florida. Nobody had any money, including my family.
And so, I ended up feeling very motivated early on that I was going to make some money because I knew our family didn’t have any. So my first little entrepreneurial endeavor was I got a pup tent for my fourth birthday. I lived in a household that was three generational. I didn’t have any siblings, but my grandmother lived with us and we had a tangerine tree. So, one day she and I spent the day squeezing tangerine juice and putting it in egg cartons that we had collected, saved over time.
And I set up my little pup tent where the high school kids got off the bus because I had figured out they had jobs and they had money. So Lucy had nothing on me with her five cent psychiatric help. I sold my eight carton of tangerine juice for a dime to the high school kids. And that’s where this all kicked off at, really. And I was always selling something. Door to door. I was the only kid in town that did any of that. I had a little lawn mowing business.
So, if we kind of skip forward, when I was 23, my father had a trucking line, but it was basically about bankrupt. I was finishing my first graduate degree, which was a masters in clinical psych and he said, “Will you come help me?” Well, I didn’t know anything about business but I loved my dad.
So, I became kind of the accidental entrepreneur, although you could look back and say, well I was headed that direction. I just didn’t know I was. And I very quickly turned around the business and by the time I was 25, bought the four story home, had the Mercedes, made my first million, and really when I wrote my books and I’m going to skip forward, ultimately sold that, because I wasn’t fulfilled. But that was an 18 year journey.
Ended up really with an inspiration called Conscious Millionaire coming into my mind. Wrote the book Conscious Millionaire and when I was writing it, my editor said, you’ve got to explain how you were able to turn around, you know, basically a bankrupt business not knowing anything about business and become really successful, quickly. And I realized it was all about systems. It was all about having the right strategies, looking at everything from a standpoint of how do the pieces fit together and how can we duplicate, find something that works and duplicate it.
So, we ended up with 50 trucks and that’s really how you scale and take six figures, turn it into seven figures and keep growing it, is that you’ve got to put it in the right systems and have the right strategies and get the model right and then you can build it. So I ended up selling that and going off, looking for what was a way that I could help people?
Because I had realized, I wasn’t that fulfilled. I had figured out how to make money, but I’d been fortunate enough to make just enough money that I realized that wasn’t the real answer. And so I said, “Well, how can I help other people be of service, make a difference with my life?” And out of that came Conscious Millionaire and helping business owners and coaches and service professionals build businesses that are based on making an impact and turning that impact into money so they get to do what they really love, make the difference, create a mark in the world, play bigger. As I like to say, make a big wave, and make big money at the same time. And that’s what I do now.
It sounds like what most people want in business, right? Have that big impact.
But that’s really what I’ve discovered is, you know, people, at least the people I talk to you and listen to my podcasts or I get on the phone with or a Zoom call, they all want to make a positive difference with their life and they say, I want to be fulfilled, but I’m not making the money that I want to make. How can I bring the two together? And that’s really what we do at Conscious Millionaire is bring those two pieces together.
I love that. Well, you clearly started your business career in probably less than ideal circumstances. At least challenging circumstances.
But I sold those egg cartons with tangerine juice.
The Systems a Business Needs to Survive and Thrive
That’s right. If you count all the way back to there, but I’m thinking that taking, coming in and working with a trucking company that is almost bankrupt and figuring out how to turn that around? That had to be a challenge.
It was a challenge. But you know, there’s a blessing in everything that we do. I mean, I say this on almost every show that I do. I don’t think there’s any accident that you’re listening to this show. I also don’t think there’s any accident that everything that’s occurred in your life has occurred in it. Even the stuff that you might say to yourself, “Wow, I could have done without that.”
Well, here’s what I’ve found. Every time I start to say that, I go, “Wait a minute. Actually, there’s something that I’m learning here.” So in the trucking business, to give you a relative understanding, it’s a really hard business, because when we were doing it for 18 years, the national average at that time was a 4% profit and we were able to crank it up to 8%, which is why I was able to sell it.
So, you’re working in an environment where there’s no forgiveness, everything has to be done right. And that was one of the best training grounds I ever could have had because of the precision that I watch my numbers, that I think about systems, that I’m concerned about customer service. I know that every piece has to work well. So when you’re in a business where you’re doing something like coaches or doing anything that’s a service, there’s usually a pretty good margin. I didn’t have that margin and I’m actually grateful that I learned business in that kind of an environment.
You couldn’t be sort of fast and loose with things.
No. Everything had to be precise. You had to have a system. If three different people in the company did it, they all had to do it the same way and you had to design things so nothing fell through the cracks.
Wow. So, I know that getting that business turned around over the course of 18 years and then going on and building another one, that was not necessarily a perfectly-paved, golden path for you to follow. There were probably some potholes here and there-
And some bumps in the road.
There’s still potholes.
Yeah, because I like to say, you know, we’re all in this entrepreneurial journey together and I think at the core of this journey is something called personal growth. I really think that’s what it’s ultimately all about. It’s about our personal transformations and you know, some of those potholes, I was thinking about this before the show Steve, is maybe one of the biggest ones because I do it and everybody does it, is at times we forget how powerful we actually are as human beings.
What our reference points are, how much success we’ve really been able to create in different ways, and we get lost in the drama of something not going well and all of a sudden, we forget that actually we’re very powerful that we are all high performers inside. But we can forget that at times.
I love the way that you articulated that. That we’re more powerful than we think we are. Interesting. I was having a conversation with our oldest son who’s 17 and along those exact same lines, in fact, I used very similar language with him, challenging him. He was trying to, you know, do something athletically. It just wasn’t quite getting to where, you know, I thought he could easily perform and he was getting in his head. And I think we do that in business as well. We kind of get in our own head. We don’t understand really what we’re capable of and we’re capable of more than I think we give ourselves credit for a lot of the times.
Adopting a High Performance Mindset
Well, everything I do at Conscious Millionaire is centered on helping people become a high performer and helping high performers go to their next level and what I’ve discovered is so much of that is being committed to becoming better, to showing up at a higher level and then ultimately, having strategies executing correctly, and then internally … That’s the external part. The internal part is connecting a mindset and mindset is more than beliefs.
Mindset is about state as well and having a positive state that’s really about “I will achieve what it is that I want” and being on fire that you’re going to get there. That’s what high performance is all about and that’s when you take your six figure business, you start figuring out the systems and the right business model, because oftentimes what got you to 100 or 200 or 300 isn’t exactly the model that’ll get you to seven figures.
Because oftentimes, especially when we have service-based businesses, it we’ve designed a business that we’re kind of maxed out at 200 or 300. Right? So you’re going to have to redesign, how are you going to deploy your knowledge and make your impact so that you can get a revenue called seven figures. You’re going to have to redesign that sometimes.
Yeah. So, this idea of going from six to seven figures, I hear this all the time, I mean, almost every service business owner that I talked to is somewhere in the from 100,000 to 600 or 700,000. Somewhere in that range. And the thing that they’re all looking at, they’re looking up and they see this goal line of a million dollars a year in revenue as if it is, you know, if we get there, we’re in the promised land. What do you think it is about that as a goalpost that gets everybody so excited or anxious to get there?
Yeah. I think that’s not only a great question, it’s kind of fun, is that I think all of us, and it doesn’t matter how much a million dollars is worth on an absolute scale compared to what it was worth 10 years ago or 50 years ago. I think in our culture, especially in our culture, that being a millionaire or having a million dollar revenue, owning a million dollar business has a certain wow factor to it, right?
Because we attach, wow, I want a million dollar revenue business, I want to become a millionaire, which, which by the way, most people who are service providers who have never thought about what’s the value of their business or about selling a business, you know, a business is of some multiple of your cash flow and the speed at which you’re growing that cash flow. And so very often in a well-designed service business, especially if you’re doing coaching, any of those kinds of things, if you’ve got a million revenue, you probably have a company that’s worth a million dollars because you’ve got a multiple of the cash flow. I just like to throw that out because a lot of people wonder, well, when am I a millionaire?
Right? Well, your company, if you design it as something that’s separate from you, so it’s an asset that ultimately can be sold, so you don’t want to call it Joe Brown’s Coaching or Consulting or whatever service that you’re providing. You want to call it something because ultimately you want to design it so that you at some point could step away and sell this asset and the sooner you come to terms with what you really plan to do with this business, the sooner you actually are building an asset that you can now put on your balance sheet in a very valid way and that you can turn into a million dollar asset, which is a huge payday for most people.
Huge. And one I think a lot of people imagine, but very few realize. And I want to come back and I want to talk about how to get there. I want to take a quick break, though. We’re going to be back with more from JV and we’re going to dive into this whole idea of how you take … If you’re in a situation where you’ve got a six-figure professional service firm and you’re in good shape, but you really want to get to that next level? We’re going to talk about what that journey looks like when we come back. Stay tuned.
Hey, this is Steve and I’m back with JV Crum III, and JV, we’re talking about making this transition from a six-figure service business up to a seven figure service business and what it takes to get there. And so I guess maybe first, you know, just kind of lay out for us what’s that transformation look like for a business owner?
Building a Business Beyond Yourself
Sure. Well, you know, Steve, there are multiple ways you can do this and I think one of the threshold questions you need to ask yourself is when I get to seven figures, at that point, do I also want the company to be in some way separate from me? And separate means that if you can sell it and you’re not there anymore, it’s still a viable business. So, it’s not all dependent upon you. So, those are two separate questions.
So do you want to tackle both of those in the way you design your seven figure model or do you want to get to seven figures and you could still be the core piece and then once you’re at seven figures, you want to make another transition? So, you’ve got to make that decision upfront. And really that’s a question about how much direct involvement you have, not on a management CEO, owner level, but on a delivery level, right? And how much the business is connected directly to you and what you’re delivering.
So, let’s say you just want to get to seven figures and then you’re going to figure out the piece about how to totally separate it from you later. That’s a valid way to do that. So, now you’ve got to go from whatever you’re doing that can work for let’s say one to 300. You can make that one to 300 and it’s still mainly a one to one type of transaction that you’re doing with your clients.
But if you want to go up to seven, you’ve got to enter the world of one to many and you’ve got to enter the world where you create something once and now you can sell it multiple times. So one way to do that as you move to a group or different group programs. So that’s a way that you can add a much more revenue for every hour of your time and get known for these group revenues.
Another way to do one to many is that you add on doing once or twice a year an event or you add on the info product and you can add on more than one of these, the info product so that you’ve got some kind of a tier of info products that you’re selling. And those can sell 24/7 and start having a business that’s got internal assets that are no longer dependent upon you, even though you might be the one that records it.
Or you could say because it’s service business, I want to add two or three people and that’s how I’m going to get to my seven figures. And those people aren’t going to be owners, they’re going to be either independent contractors, or they’re going to be employees, but they’re going to be people who are delivering the service and you’ve created a model that they’re going to utilize to deliver that service and you go, that’s the way I want.
But however, whichever one of those decisions, or you may choose more than one of those, they’re all about moving from a one on one model to a one to many model because that’s where you’ve got to go.
But then, that’s about the model. But scaling is getting pieces of your business working. It might be the marketing piece is all a system. Let’s just say system is just a set of steps. You have a starting point and you have an end point and the end point is the result that you want from that system. The system can be manual, it can be automated. It’s still a system. It’s just a set of steps that has a starting point and has a result and it automatically, by going down the steps, will reach that result and then you can duplicate that. You can teach that to other people.
So, that’s the core of how you scale, is you’ve got to change the business model and you’ve got to build systems, so everything that you do that is really major in the company is systemized. And then you can teach those systems to other people or they can be automated. And that’s how you get scalability.
Well, I appreciate that you’ve laid out all of the models for everyone. In service business right now, like the big popular thing is let’s do the group program or the info product or something along those lines.
I’ve seen lots of people try that and have a lot of trouble making that work. And oftentimes I think one of the easiest ways to take an existing service business … So if you’re, you know, solo or it’s you and you’ve got a little bit of a support staff, and get something that will multiply itself is just to take what you’re doing and almost turn that into a product. The delivery of that service into a product, so that you’re not the one having to deliver it all the time. Depending on the business, in some businesses it’s easier than others, but I appreciate that you shared that as well because for a lot of people it’s hard to see how they’re going to do a group program or how they might do an info product.
Well, I want to throw something in here and actually want to give a shout out if I can to a friend of mine has been on my show several times, Rhonda Britten, who’s perhaps the best-known life coach in the world. She won an Emmy for her reality show, which was one of the first reality shows, for three years. She did a total of 600 television episodes out of Chicago.
Figuring Out What You Love to Do… and What Works
And one of the things she said on my show was that you don’t have to do everything, you find the things that you do well and really enjoy. And I think one of the biggest mistakes that entrepreneurs make is trying to do 10 different things at once. And I am a strong believer in what is called lean design. So the least number of things that you can do to get to that result that you want is, in my opinion, always the best business model, the least number of things you can do to market to bring in the leads so that you can sell them whatever it is you’re selling is always a better business model.
And I find that people who get to the six figures and then flounder are often doing way too many things and then they can’t do them well. Plus feeling an internal pressure or belief that I think is just outright wrong. That you’ve got to have the blog, you’ve got to have the podcast, you got to, you know, do the videos. You’ve got to be on Facebook, you’ve got to be on Instagram and you don’t, you know, and I’ll use myself as an example.
My book came out, it became the number one book on Amazon, not in one category, 34 categories, at one time. I’m really proud of my book. And next year, I think it’s time for another book, but here’s what I learned writing my book. I’m an excellent writer and I hate it. Oh, my gosh. It was like the worst experience of my life, because I want every sentence right, so I’m a slow writer.
Interestingly, the book came out the same time my podcast launched four years ago. We now actually have six podcasts, over 1600 episodes and the moment I got on the microphone, which I had no idea … I had no previous experience in this. I went, “Oh, my gosh.” Within three weeks I said, actually sat back and said to myself, I think I found my Oprah moment and that just blurted out of my mind, you know, after doing I think four shows that day? Four shows, interviewing as a host, and then I sat there for about a minute Steve and I said, what did I just say? And I realized I was in love with the microphone. So now I have people go, “Hey, will you write an article for my blog?” And I go, “There’s not a chance. I don’t like doing that, but I’ll be on your show or I’ll have you on my show.” We can do something with the microphone or a video.
So you’ve got to find what is your groove. What do you really love? Because the truth is, and that’s what Rhonda really said that was so important, is that your people are in many places. You don’t have to write blogs if you don’t like writing blogs. Do what you love and they’re going to find you in those places. Shine because you have such passion and love for what you’re doing. I would say that’s true in how you build the business, which model you build.
I love doing group programs, I love doing laser coaching. I love doing masterminds, but if you don’t like that, you don’t have to do that. There are other ways to get to seven figures, do this stuff that you feel so on fire about that people are naturally going to be happy with it and so will you. Don’t do anything that isn’t going to bring you joy, because I can tell you that’s a recipe for disaster.
You know, I think the last three minutes, that last little bit that you shared, may be some of the best advice we’ve ever had on this podcast. Thank you for sharing that. There is so much wisdom in that and if you break that down and apply it to every part of your business, I think you begin to get a lot of forward momentum. You know, we see it.
I call it the five figure trap that people get in. So, they start a business, they’re paying the bills, barely. They’re trying to get over the six figure hump, right? And they’re taking anybody that meets the two fundamental criteria for most businesses, when they describe their ideal client, they have a heartbeat and they have a lawn. And they’ll do anything for anybody, right? And then they get enough of those and they get over the six figure hump and they think that they have to continue to do that.
But that at that point, you know, you have to make this shift to where, and JV, I think you hit it on the head, you’ve got to do the things that really light you up, that at the same time pay you, and get focused so that you can move on.
So, thinking about the people that you’ve worked with that have made the jump, you know, they worked past that magic million dollar mark and then thinking maybe about the ones who didn’t make it. What’s the difference between the two? What do you see that separates those two groups?
That’s a fabulous question. I think one of the big differences, and I love coaching clients and I have a good sense when I start with somebody who is this right or not? And if it isn’t, I don’t do it. It has to do with internal resourcefulness. You know, there’s something about being a high performer that is intrinsic to the person.
In other words, I don’t think that I can train someone to be resourceful by nature. So some people just naturally go, “All right, how can I solve this?” And they’re just resourceful in that. That to me is one of the hidden factors in being mega-successful is your level of resourcefulness, that you’re willing to try ultimate variety of things in order to figure out something that’s going to work and talk to a multitude of people at times in order to find out who has the right resource or who knows your right client or who’s right for you to collaborate with as an affiliate partner, but you’re resourceful in doing that.
And some people just are so busy getting in their own way that they can’t actually move forward. And I think the difference is whether they’re willing to be open to possibilities that right now you can’t see. I think one of the things that is trainable is to learn to live.
One of the things I love talking about is being in the flow, being in the zone. It’s just an area that I’m so enamored with and I teach people about how to do it. It’s how to live. And when you are present and you’re open to possibilities and you’re taking steps that feel authentic to you, it is amazing how the right things begin to occur for your life and your business and how much easier it is, because you really are quite frankly in the flow of life and people who are willing to do that and that’s totally trainable, are going to be much more successful than people who for a multitude of reasons, are always seeming to try to row upstream. And they’re not going where the opportunities are.
You say that it’s a skill. It’s something that’s teachable.
Yeah. Being in the zone as a state, it’s a skill. I could literally teach to anyone. It’s one of the things that I do and it makes such a huge difference because when you’re in your zone, you’re in your state of ultimate high performance, you’re in your state of competency.
But you’re also quite literally vibrating on an energetic level with the exact opportunities that you’re looking for because you’re in this positive state of expecting life to work. And when you enter your day that way, you will make connections. You will have insights. You’ll go, “Oh, I should email Judy,” and you email Judy and it turns out you have a conversation and you end up doing a business deal. That’s just an important part of being a high performer, being highly successful.
You know, just sitting here listening to you. And I’m thinking about the people that I know that just look like they’re always in the right place at the right time. And it just occurred to me that the way you described it as the way that they exist.
And by contrast, the people who I know who would describe their experience in business as one of frustration, like they can never seem to get anything to work and they’re always just sort of making it. You’ve painted a really clear picture here I think for those people as well, and not that there’s anything wrong with them, but maybe that they’re approaching this process, this idea of aligning their business with the flow the wrong way. They’re swimming upstream.
Yeah. I think oftentimes that’s the case. And what is wonderful is that we all are on this path. It’s really about bringing our kind of cycle back to what we were talking about before about getting in connection with what is that big purpose, that big impact we want to make? And then realizing, well, based upon that, what are the most important goals that I can have?
Getting in the Zone
And then staying hyper-focused on those, in that state of being in your zone, in your flow. You will magnify the speed, magnify the connection to opportunities and your life will be really miraculously almost, different because of how you’ve chosen to approach your life.
And that’s where that whole area of mindset comes into this. I don’t know, you know, I’ve been interviewing some people on my show that are Olympic athletes that medaled and digging down into their mindset and both of the people I’m thinking of right now who’ve been recent guests, you know, said they were outright not the top athlete, but they decided to win and that deciding to win made the difference.
So the question isn’t, do you have the right degree or do you think you’re the smartest person in the room? I never want to be the smartest person in the room, personally. I want to surround myself with smarter people. But you know, you’re saying, “Oh, I’m just a little fish in this big pond.”
You know, a lot of times being a high performer comes down to making a decision that that’s who you’re going to be. And when you make that decision in things that you were calling failure and then, oh my gosh, the person didn’t buy, you made a sales call. Well, welcome to the real world. Most people you call will not be buying. It’s about reaching the person who will and just understanding that everything, every experience, is a learning opportunity and that the real question is, did I fail to get the result in one instance?
The real question is, did I fail permanently or was this the journey where I’ve simply decided I’m going to win? And so no matter what barrier comes up, what obstacle comes up, you’re going to figure your way through that and if you’re listening today, I believe you were supposed to hear that, because I know that whatever it is that’s most important that you feel you’re on the planet to do, and that includes the impact you want to make and the money you want to make, I know it’s all possible. The real question is, are you ready today to be 100% committed to that outcome and nothing will stop you? And if you are, you will get there.
JV, thank you. I’m grateful you shared some tremendous wisdom with us today. Really, really good stuff. In fact, I can’t wait to go back and listen to this one again once it comes out of editing. Some really important ideas that you’ve shared today.
I want to make sure we take an opportunity to let everyone know how they can find you, where they should go to kind of get in touch with you. So what are the best places for them to get started?
Sure. Well, I’m going to give you three ways, which violates my own rule for my own show, but there are three very different ways. I just feel … I don’t normally give out my cell phone on an airway, but I’m feeling like this is the group of people I want to connect with.
If you want to connect with me and you really want to take your business and your life to a totally different level because those are the people I work with. Here’s my cell. You can text me, please put your name in it so I know who texted me and we’ll set up a time to talk. It’s 303-641-0401 and I’m in Denver, so it’s mountain time.
If you want to become a high performer and you want the high performer formula, I want to give that to you for free and here’s how you get it.
Go to Consciousmillionaire.com/highperformer and if you’d like to take a look at my main show, it’s ConsciousMillionaireShow.com and I’d love to have you come over and take a listen because there’s room for you listening to a lot of podcasts and the Unstoppable CEO podcast is amazing. So I want to thank you, Steve, for letting me come and be with you for this time and I want to thank you for listening because we’re all here together and it’s about taking an entrepreneurial journey that matters to other people, makes a difference, and creates the wealth that you want as well.
Absolutely. I love it. JV Crum, III, thank you so much for joining us today and sharing your wisdom and I’m sure we’ll talk real soon.