Shelley Rogers: You're listening to another episode of Inspiring Greatness where we share the stories of remarkable entrepreneurs.
Welcome, my name is Shelley Rogers, your host. Join me each week as we share experiences from amazing entrepreneurs who have had success and failure. Listen to their stories, recommended books, technology tools and business tips. If you're an entrepreneur at the start-up stage, or if you have a business experiencing high growth, welcome, this podcast is for you. Listen and learn from the entrepreneurs' best and worst moments and hear what inspires them.
Now, let's begin.
Ken Fowler: And if you really forget about the 80% of the things you do in business, just focus on that 20% of things that create sales profit and free cash, and ignore everything else. Sure, you'll leave a trail of destruction in your wake, but at least the boat keeps going.
Shelley Rogers: Welcome to episode 126, you just heard a snippet from Ken Fowler, who's an expert on recruitment and passionate about developing leaders.
In today's episode you'll hear Ken share his 14 plus years of experience. The ups the downs of owning several recruitment companies at the same time. The struggles of buying out his business partner three months prior to the global financial crisis, or crash, in 2008. Importance for entrepreneurs to shut off and put that do not disturb button on. Understanding your financials with a focus on cashflow and budget versus variance reports, not revenue. You'll hear tips on how to hire the right people based on attitude not aptitude, and why big is not beautiful. Lastly, how a person's perspective changes when faced with a life-threatening challenge.
Ken also provides us with two amazing free resources, which you can find on our webpage. Which is B2B Selling Skills, which has 15 chapters, it's a training program. Also, Job Preparation course for anybody looking for a job, anybody looking for an advancement. Great things on that.
Stay tuned, and here comes our interview.
Entrepreneurs near and far, Shelley Rogers here. Thanks for joining me today and listening to this episode where we share remarkable stories from amazing entrepreneurs to inspire you.
I am real excited today to introduce our guest entrepreneur, it's Ken Fowler. Welcome to Inspiring Greatness, Ken, are you ready to share your story to inspire our listeners?
Ken Fowler: I certainly am, Shelley, thank you very much for allowing me to do this with you.
Shelley Rogers: Well, thanks for being on the podcast. Now, Ken and I have known each other for quite a few years now. He is engaging, he is passionate, and he's truly authentic, so I'm really, really happy. I asked him to be on the podcast a while ago, and it wasn't quite the right timing, and we're so very delighted to have you here today.
He's also managing director of the B Series Group of Recruitment Consultancies, which includes a big group of companies. I'll let Ken describe that a little bit more in detail. He is known for his relentless passion for developing leaders, and his commitment to employees professional development. Also, I have to add, he's been an amazing member of the Entrepreneurs' Organization, Brisbane Chapter, and has given back relentlessly in helping grow that Chapter as well.
Thank you so much. That's a little bit, just a snippet. We'll dive a little bit more into Ken and his career coming up. Ken before I begin, can you just share a little bit about your personal life?
Ken Fowler: Certainly. I'm just turned 51. I'm an avid entrepreneur, a lover, and an adventurer. I have structured, or designed my life over the last 15 years, so I can run, grow my business. At the same time always take between eight to 12 weeks off a year to go on adventures, to learn new things, to see new places, and have new experiences. Those three things, being an entrepreneur, a lover and an adventurer, those are the three things that I do.
Shelley Rogers: Now, lover. We might have to get a little bit more deep into that, but I know you love your ... you have a fantastic, gorgeous catamaran, so you do take a lot of time off and enjoy those special moments. Maybe tell us a little bit more in depth about your adventures?
Ken Fowler: Well, the adventures have been so many. I set myself roles at the end of each year for the next year. I set myself different roles to be a European adventurer, to be a hiker. I've done walks, such as the Overland Track in Tasmania, I've done the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea, I've climbed to the Annapurna Base Camp in the Himalayas. I sailed a catamaran from Hong Kong back to Australia. Last year, for my 50th birthday party, I went to Antarctica.
Shelley Rogers: Wow, lovely.
Ken Fowler: Feels cold. I'm not one for going and sitting on a beach, I'm one for going on an adventure, to experience something, to do something new. The loving side of it, is to do it with people who I admire, love, enjoy their company, learn from, stuff like that. I got taught many years ago as a younger man, especially when I started my businesses, that you don't have to like your staff, you have to love them. That was a very interesting take away, because a lot of them frustrated me. Once you actually learn to love the people that you're with, makes life a lot easier.
Shelley Rogers: True. We spend a lot of time at work, and life's too short to not enjoy the people that we are around. When you graciously volunteered your time at one of the EO Brisbane Events on selling, Best Practices For Selling, I could tell. One of your staff was there, and you guys just bantered back and forth and had so much fun. You could tell that, there's that close-knit group in your business. On that note, could you tell us a little bit more about your business, B Series Group of Recruitment?
Ken Fowler: Certainly, not a problem. I entered the recruitment industry in 1999, as an employee. I worked for a company, Bond Recruitment for four years, before the owner turned round and said, "I'd like to open another consultancy in partnership with you." Having been in other self-employed enterprises before, I looked at the structure and the opportunity, and I thought, "This is great." I knew the model, and I knew the market. Within two years we opened Barclay Recruitment together. That was the same size as Bond Recruitment.
At that stage I got given a book called The E-Myth by Michael Gerber, and that talked a lot about the entrepreneur being basically, 5% inspiration, 25% planning and 30% just working really, really hard.
We realized that we had a model that we can duplicate. In 2002, we opened Barclay Recruitment, 2005 I opened Ballantyne Recruitment, 2007 Buckingham Recruitment, 2009 Brazen Recruitment, 2011 B Series Contracting, 2014 B2B Selling Skills, and Job Prep, Prepare for Your Next Job. In the interim I decided to put all of these companies under one roof, and purchased two floors of a strata CBD building in Brisbane.
Climbed, and climbed, and climbed, and then got to the top. The markets I was specifically targeting, being mining in Queensland, faced a bit of a down turn in 2013, and I started coming down the other side. It was a fascinating journey, because while you do learn a lot through growth and drive and expansion, I probably learned three times as much getting smaller than growing bigger.
Shelley Rogers: Okay, I have to ask a question about, why so many companies? That's a massive amount of growth. That's a lot of; A, book keeping, a lot of managing. How come so many companies under one umbrella? Is there a strategy behind that?
Ken Fowler: Well, part of the philosophy of the E-Myth is that you're going to get 80% of your business, and 20% of your customers. Maybe naively or not, I thought, "Well this is easy. If I open five companies, and they all get 80% of their business from 20% of their customers, I'm going to have 100% of the market share." There was quite a number of years when one of my companies would lose business to one of my other companies. I didn't expand interstate, or the business were located in Brisbane, they were all targeting the same markets. While people might think that's a really strange thing, we'd sit down at the end of each month or each quarter and have a look at the data lists, and we weren't dealing with each others customers.
That really comes back to something I want to talk about with my learnings from Stephen Covey's, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and that is to have an abundance mentality. There is so much work out there. You never need to get upset about losing a deal, you should always be willing to share. I found that people that had the scarcity mentality or, what's in it for me? mentality, never really get the appreciation of just how much business, how much work, how much people are willing to share.
Shelley Rogers: I'm a firm believer of cross-collaboration gets you a lot further than the, me, me, me, mindset for sure. Okay, so you had all these different companies, they were competing with each other, but you did capture majority market share, by that strategy. People would call these companies not really knowing that you were the face behind all these companies, is that what ...
Ken Fowler: Well, to a certain extent that's what happened. You've got to remember, in my experience it's far easier to run four or five companies of about 15 people, because they're about the size of a football team, than it is to run one company of say 100. Keeping things as simple as possible, trying to minimize, let's call it, shared services or head office costs. That was one of the reasons behind it. Plus, as far as the wealth dynamics profile, my dynamic is a mechanic. I make machines, and I make them run. Once I knew how to run one, just open four other ones.
Shelley Rogers: It's almost like a franchise model?
Ken Fowler: Well, yes, in that each had the same business plan, but at the same time, and this was a learning lesson for me, the culture of each business came from the general manager or managing director downward. That's why I ended up with five different businesses, because five different cultures, to a certain extent, evolved from the leadership within the businesses.
Shelley Rogers: Interesting. You talked a little bit about Job Prep and B2B Selling Skills, and I think I did get to see a snippet of your Selling Skills at the EO presentation that you did. Can you share with our listeners a little bit more about those? Also, Ken is going to provide these as a free resource for our listeners as well, so.
Ken Fowler: Yes, happy to.
Shelley Rogers: Thank you.
Ken Fowler: Fundamentally, everyone has a core trade, and my trade is as a sales person. I've studied it for years, and years, and years, and it's not that hard to do. I looked at the way people were selling, and when I spoke to other EO-ers, I fundamentally realized that people are scared of sales. Once you get over your ego there's nothing that can actually physically harm you when you're selling something. Then it just comes down to a skillset.
I decided to put together a course of videos called, B2B Selling Skills, that is 15 short videos. It is how to structure a sale, how to actually do a face-to-face sales call. It's not the lead generation bit, nor is it what happens after the order, it's the things that come out of your mouth when you're sitting in front of a client. Basically, nothing happens until somebody sells something. You don't get to manufacture anything, you don't get to count anything, you don't get to warehouse anything. You don't get to do anything until somebody sells something. If you get that bit right first, and what I try to do with the videos was to make the complex simple, and the simple compelling. That's not an original quote from me, but it certainly sums up what B2B Selling Skills is about.
Shelley Rogers: Well that sounds awesome. Then the Job Prep is more for somebody looking for a job and preparing for the interview, is that correct?
Ken Fowler: Yeah. Job Prep is four courses. Once again, after nearly 20 years in recruitment and interviewing over 10,000 people, it becomes self-evident that people don't do a lot of interviews. It's not something they get good at. If I wrote a course, once again, 10 videos of about five minutes each, to tell them how to prepare, what to prepare and what to expect. It dramatically improved their chances, and the client's chances of really having a good interview, so that they could get an understanding of who they're going to employ or consider. Had an ace at interview.
Believe me, if I've done over 10,000 interviews, God knows how many resumes I've read, so I wrote another course, How To Write A Cracking Resume. I then had a lot of people applying to me who were in good jobs, but fundamentally were looking to move, only for monitory reasons. I wrote another course called, How To Get A Pay Rise. The final one was, How To Get A Promotion, because a lot of candidates, they want to advance, they want to improve themselves, they just don't know how. There's a very simple structure to getting information.
Shelley Rogers: Nice. Well, like I mentioned earlier, we'll have those links to Ken's courses on our show notes page. Thank you for offering those for us.
A lot of entrepreneurs, we struggle with hiring, and retaining staff, motivating staff. You've done over 10,000 interviews, what is the secret source to finding the right people?
Ken Fowler: Everyone has different sources, right? This has been said, once again I'm probably stating the obvious, but hire on attitude, train on aptitude. There's three parts of a person's employment, and that is number one, they've got to know what to do. Secondly, they've got to know how to do it. Thirdly, they've got to have the desire to do it. When you employ them, they'll probably have some certain skills that they can bring so they know what to do. Then you can teach them the way you want it done, so how to do it. You can't get them out of bed in the morning, you can't have every day being a, "Thank God it's Monday, I get to go to work day." They've got to have that desire. That comes down to managing people at their expectations, so that you're serving them in a ... Not so much a master/servant relationship, but, "My job is to look after you." When you dig down and you find people's motivators of what they want, if you support them that creates desire, and I found that to be very effective.
Shelley Rogers: Nice. Hire on attitude not aptitude. What would be one of the best questions an entrepreneur in the recruitment or interview phase could ask to get that information out of the client, the applicant?
Ken Fowler: Well, having done so many interviews I get bored with them, so I sometimes play with the candidates a bit and ask them odd questions. A lot of this goes back to Brad Smart's Topgrading. Things like, "Shelley, tell me what has made you most angry in the last year? Shelley, right, if you were to be an animal, what type of animal would you be and why?" Once you study a little bit of your own linguistic programing, you can see whether these people can actually think on their feet, or whether they can't.
One of the basic questions is to ask them, "Do you have goals?" And if they say, "Yes." Then you say, "Do you have them written down?" And if they say, "Yes." I say, "Can you show them to me now?" Anyone who can do that immediately goes to my A-list of people I should consider. Most people will say, "Yeah, I have goals." "Are they written down? No? Okay, well you've got some dreams." But we go from there, so.
Direction. Once again that comes down to the desire, because if you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there.
Shelley Rogers: The long road. Yes.
Ken Fowler: Usually.
Shelley Rogers: Well, thank you for sharing those tips. I'm curious to understand what has been the best advice someone has given you? I love this question.
Ken Fowler: Yeah, it's a tricky one. One has been professionally, and one has been personally. I'll start with the personal one, the best advice I think I've ever been given is, wait 48 hours. Something might land on your desk, there might be some sort of confrontation. You could have an issue that comes up and you immediately go into possibly fight or flight. I found that if I put it down and I let it rest, 90% of the issues that I have to face in life, I just wait 48 hours, usually resolve themselves.
Shelley Rogers: Great advice. You said that you had two, what was the other one?
Ken Fowler: Yeah. The other one is a professional point of view, and it's quite simply this. People will do what you inspect, not what you expect. I started five companies, all of them turned over more than $1 million in their first year from standing start. By the time a lot of them were going for two to three years, the wheels would fall off a bit. You'd have a good quarter then a bad quarter. I learned this by actually going round and sitting at desks of consultants and saying, "Okay, show me what you do?"
We had manuals, we had procedures, we had programs, we had systems. I'd sit down with some people and it was like they were working in a different company. It was because we didn't inspect what they were doing, we just expected them to do the job once they'd done the training, once they'd done the induction, and once they were working. This was such a quick fix. If you know how your process works, and you've got an underperforming employee, just sit down and make sure that they're following the process.
Shelley Rogers: Yeah, ask the questions.
Ken Fowler: Yeah, ask the questions, and sit at their desk. You know, little things. I'll turn round and say, "Tell me what you're doing?" And they'll tell me, and I'll say, "Okay, show me what you're doing?" Tell me, show me. This can be things like looking at their marketing lists, it can even be just going into their sent items and seeing what they're doing. Now that may sound a bit intrusive, but they're at work, they should be working, lets just see what they're doing.
Shelley Rogers: Right. You do have a lot of process, you're a process orientated person, you talked earlier about taking the time off for your personal trips and expeditions. What personal habits or key mindsets contribute to your success, and how do you maintain them, Ken?
Ken Fowler: Probably the first thing would be the second habit of The 7 Habits, which is begin with the end in mind. There's two types of creation, there's the mental creation, and the physical creation. The mental creation's really difficult. You've got sit down, you've got to write it down, you've got plan it out, you've got to look at what's got to go wrong. You've got to look at the time, resources, the emotional investment that you put into it. Once that's done, and you have a clear picture of where you're going, life becomes really boring. It becomes boring because when things come up, you say, "Look, I know where I'm going, so I'm just going to keep heading in that direction."
I use the analogy of a catamaran, because I like my catamarans, leaves Brisbane heading to Auckland. 99% of time, because of the wind, the weather, the tide, whatever the case maybe, it's not on track. 99% of the time it ends up in Auckland, because that's where it knows it's going.
Shelley Rogers: Right. So begin with the end in mind.
Ken Fowler: Begin with the end in mind.
Shelley Rogers: It does, it keeps your vision, right? Your vision's there, you know where you're going, you're not going to get off course. It's kind of like that GPS is set. I always say to myself, "Okay, what I'm doing right now, is that going to be the biggest impact for me to achieve my goals today?" I always start with tackling the biggest thing I want to get done that day. First thing in the morning, and I do a 30 minute sprint, and I use an App called Focus Time, and it really helps me stay focused. You know me, Ken, I'm a little competitive.
Ken Fowler: Perfect. Absolutely perfect.
Shelley Rogers: When the timer's set and I can see it counting down, and I know I have 30 minutes to finish this task, or try and get it accomplished. I let my perfectionism go because I want to get it done. It's cool how that has really helped me anyways.
Ken Fowler: No, it's excellent. The other thing, especially for entrepreneurs, it stops you chasing after shiny things.
Shelley Rogers: Yes. The shiny object syndrome.
Ken Fowler: The shiny object. Oh my God. That has happened to me in the past, and I'll be the first to raise my hand and say I'm guilty of it. So many times, Shelley, and I hope you'll excuse the language, I find myself polishing a turd. It's not going to be great, it was never going to be great, but I'm polishing this thing to try and make it work. It wasn't part of the plan, it just came up and said, "Oh, that's interesting. It's a shiny unicorn, let's go and hunt that thing down."
Shelley Rogers: Oh, gosh. I was just in Melbourne yesterday, and the day before, doing Accelerator Training for their Chapter, and we were talking about strategy. One of the analogies I used was that, as entrepreneurs we have so many options and choices, so the shiny object. Think of all those options or trends as dominoes on a table. We could basically jump on the table right away and knock down a bunch of those dominoes, or things that we want to get done. We probably won't accomplish them because it's just going to be chaos. Or we can step back and methodically look at the table, look at the dominoes and pick one or two that is going to basically make the biggest difference, and set the rest of those dominoes down on the table. Yeah, same thing.
Ken Fowler: Exactly.
Shelley Rogers: Yeah. Speaking of tech tips, what tech tips for entrepreneurs do you have that you find useful, with you're own business or personal life?
Ken Fowler: This is interesting. Being a mechanic I make a system that runs, and the system runs really simply. The technology I used is very systems-based. The problem with technology I use, which is most important to me, is Xero. There's two really specific reports that I go to in Xero all the time. It's not a balance sheet it's not my profit and loss, I go to my budget variance report. I have put my Auckland in, so my Auckland is my budget. I need to know, am I on track to hitting Auckland? I don't look at my P & L, I go straight to the budget variable reports.
The other thing that really has made a massive difference in my understanding of, sometimes big isn't beautiful, is the cash summary. I think if a lot of people actually went and had a look at their cash summary quarter by quarter, they'd be firstly bamboozled, secondly confused, and thirdly turn round and say, "Hey, I'm making a profit." But where's it going? My defined outcome from business is to make free cash.
Shelley Rogers: Absolutely. What's that saying, revenue is vanity, profitability is sanity, and cash is king.
Ken Fowler: Yeah, it's fine to say that. Don't start with farming, yeah, you've got to start with revenue, because nothing happens until somebody sells something. At the end of it, you've really got to look at your whole operation, and say, "What's making the business spew cash out? What's sucking it up?"
Shelley Rogers: Yeah. Breaking down the individual profit margins based on your product or service. Sometimes it's eliminating entire product, because it's not making any money. Until you individualize them, and analyze them, you have no idea.
Ken Fowler: Yeah. The second thing is, once again it's not an App, it's not a program, but it is technology, is the do not disturb function on your phone. My do not disturb basically shuts my phone off at 7:30 at night, and turns it on at 7 o'clock in the morning. The phone goes on a charging table, it's not at the dinner table, it's not in front of the television, it's not in the bedroom. That do not disturb function, really, I have found enormously beneficial.
Shelley Rogers: How long have you been doing that? What have you noticed the biggest benefit?
Ken Fowler: Firstly, everyone has a certain amount of bandwidth or thinking width that they apply themselves to. To think deeply about things and really consider them, you have to allocate a certain amount of time to it. If you're constantly having this phone distracting your attention ... I'll give you an example, yesterday, myself and seven other EO-ers went out on The Antidote, The Antidote is my catamaran.
Shelley Rogers: Beautiful one I might add.
Ken Fowler: Thank you very much. I spent the first hour and a half screaming at them, saying, "Put your bloody phone down. Put your bloody phone down. Be present, we're on the water, there's a dugong, engage with the person next to you." They got the message. It's that constant distraction. That technology, or that little bit of, do not disturb, makes me present, and I value that.
Shelley Rogers: I appreciate you sharing that because it's easy to just name off some tech tools. I think this is a harder one, because entrepreneurs do have a hard time switching off. I'm going to challenge my listeners to try this. Shut your phone off and be present. Thank you.
Ken Fowler: 7:30 at night to 7:00 a.m. in the morning.
Shelley Rogers: Perfect. There we go, the challenge is out there. I'll try and get feedback.
Okay, so you're favorite book? You talked a little bit about E-Myths, you talked a little bit about 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Ken Fowler: I have been just a rabid consumer of self-help books, business books, books on tape, ever since I was, really, in my late teens. The one that's actually had the most impact on my life is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey. It deals with private victories and then public victories. The private victories are the first three habits, be proactive, begin with the end in mind, put first things first. Then you onto your public victories, which is think, when, win, seek first to understand, and then to be understood and synergy. Then The 7 Habits of Sharpen the Saw. It's a maturity continuum. It took me a long ... This is a heavy book to read. I was attracted to the principles and I implemented it, and like a lot of things, Shelley, once you get into a habit, aha, it becomes quite easy.
When I started doing this, when I was I think 28, I started writing down in a book of everything that I was going to achieve in the next year. As I said, I'm 51 now, I've actually got a book that's got 23 years of what I said to myself I would do in the next year. It's the funniest book in the world. I don't know what I was thinking, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Shelley Rogers: It must be cool to go back and look at all that.
Ken Fowler: No.
Shelley Rogers: No? No? You're not going to publish that book?
Ken Fowler: Not in a pink fit. I have two beautiful daughters in their early 20s, and I originally thought, what a great gift? That I could actually show them everything I said I'd do in year, because a year goes really quickly. Every year before I actually write my roles and goals down in the book I read it from the beginning. I think, "Oh, my Lord, what an embarrassment. What an absolute tragedy of learning lessons and failure." But in hindsight, it's been so educational. It just makes me realize, seven companies, 30 years in business, I'm still on such a steep learning curve.
Shelley Rogers: I say that every day is a school day.
Ken Fowler: Correct.
Shelley Rogers: With all that experience, and all the success you've had, can you share your, aha moment? Can you pick one?
Ken Fowler: I suppose the first aha moment was about 10 years ago, when I realized that I am the average of the five people I spend the most time with. I looked around me and thought, "Oh, my God, you're average." That's when I started getting into professional development groups.
Shelley Rogers: I'm glad I didn't know you back then, Ken.
Ken Fowler: I tell you what, I was a lot less exiting back then than I am now. I joined Tech the Executive Connection and spent five years with them, and it was having that external input. It wasn't actually a group back then, but a couple of businesses that were turning over $3-4 million. Probably 18 months after I started doing Tech I was punching six to seven. Two years after I was punching $10 million a year. $10 million a year might not seem that much, but in a professional services firm, especially in the recruitment industry, where its permanent placement, and you're not taking into account contracting income, they're big numbers.
The second aha moment, big is not necessarily beautiful.
Shelley Rogers: Share a little background on that.
Ken Fowler: Well, let's talk about free cash. The amount of money I spent investing, growing, practicing, learning, burning, in going through my businesses. I look at it now and it was just phenomenal. The interest bills I paid to the bank, the investment in systems, and programs, and advertising. If I could just share that with people now, of my experience, it was just the biggest aha moment, when someone actually pointed out. "Wow, look at this, you've turned over $10 million, you've made this amount of money here, but here's your tax bill, and this is how much money you've spent to get there." And you think, "How the hell did that happen? That's not the plan, where did it go?"
They're really big aha moments. As I said, I learned more shrinking my companies down than I did blowing them up.
Shelley Rogers: Yeah. Having more profits, less stress. I'd had the exact same experience when I took my private company public.
Ken Fowler: Yeah, I know your story, I've heard it and it's exactly what I went through.
Shelley Rogers: We spent, I think it was crazy, $250,000 on a software program.
Ken Fowler: I know.
Shelley Rogers: That was supposed to help us report better to meet CAP principles. Yeah, it was just crazy.
Well, thank you for sharing that. I'm not sure if we've covered this one, but what would be your worst entrepreneurial moment? Or has that covered just in this cashflow one?
Ken Fowler: No, my worst entrepreneurial moment, if I look at it historically, I bought out my business partner that funded me into the business six years after we started. I paid top dollar to buy him out of the business, and that happened in August 2008, so six weeks before the GFC hit.
Shelley Rogers: Ouch.
Ken Fowler: Yeah. Once again, I was committed, I'd borrowed this money, I'd put up personal property as collateral for the loan. The company virtually halved its value in the next three months, and I was in the corner. I just had to stick my hands up and take the punches and start fighting. Now, in hindsight, if I had been in EO and had it like a forum of people to share that business decision with, because all I was listening to at that stage was my accountant. I should have turned round and said, "Okay, accountant, how many times have you bought out your business partner, and what happened?" And the answer would have been, "None, I've got no experience here. I'm just giving you what I think would be a good idea."
Shelley Rogers: Yeah.
Ken Fowler: What a donkey I was.
Shelley Rogers: Oh, it's so easy to look back in hindsight, really. Those are all learning lessons that keep us growing, and make us a better entrepreneur in the long run.
Ken Fowler: Well, the thing that came out of that, is that I've looked down the barrel of voluntary administration, and insolvency, and having to let a lot of people go, and stuff like that. Best things you can do. If you really forget about the 80% of the things you do in business, just focus on that 20% of things that create sales profit and free cash, and ignore everything else. Sure, you'll leave a trail of destruction in your wake, but at least the boat keeps going.
Shelley Rogers: I love that. Thank you for sharing that, that's golden.
Getting close to the end of our interview, I want to know what inspires you right now, Ken?
Ken Fowler: Really interesting. I faced the challenge of having quite a serious, what would you put, medical issue just after I turned 50 years old, so about a year ago now. From the research that I did about when these things happen, I spoke to some holistic healers, obviously as well as the scientific medical healers. What came out of that was, that Life is Happening For You, very much a Tony Robbins thing. The universe sends you messages, and sometimes if you're not paying attention, they're going to send you a message that just smacks you in the nose and knocks you on your arse. This did that to me.
What's really, I suppose, inspiring me right now is that I'm changing from being a human doing to being a human being. Going through mindfulness exercises, becoming a lot more present, looking at my future. Not so much as mountains to climb and goals to achieve, but experiences to have, and people to share them with. That's really inspiring me at the moment. I've got some enormously cunning plans.
Shelley Rogers: Wow, thank you for sharing that. That is very inspiring. It's so true, we can get wound up on the treadmill of hitting our goals, reaching our vision. What's important, if you think to the future, if I'm on my deathbed what am I going to remember? The work I did, or the people that surrounded me and loved me and the experiences I've had?
Ken Fowler: Yeah, it's an interesting analogy. If someone turns around and says to you, "Shelley, you might only have another five to eight years to live. Right, what would you change in your life?" Someone turns around and says, "Shelley, you are only going to have another five to eight years to live, what are you going to change in your life?"
Shelley Rogers: Exactly. It's pretty powerful, pretty scary.
Ken Fowler: What would you do if you win the Lotto? Question. What a waste of mental ... bear worth thinking about that. Once you win the Lotto? Don't think about it.
Shelley Rogers: Exactly, right.
Well thank you so much, Ken, this concludes our Inspiring Greatness interview, but before we go, can you either share some parting recommendations for our listeners or a quote that inspires you?
Ken Fowler: One of the things that's been a massive learning lesson for me in going through the challenges in business, the challenges with my health, and things like that, from reading Tim Ferriss' book was to go back and read Seneca, one of the old Greek philosophers, who was very much a stoic. The quote that is really resonating me, and has been for quite a few months, is that we suffer more in our imagination than we ever do in reality. Our minds punish us, but in reality it never happens, it's not that bad.
Shelley Rogers: So true. One of my guests said, "Nobody's going to die. Just let it go. What's the worst. Nobody died. It's all okay, we'll get through this."
Ken Fowler: Exactly.
Shelley Rogers: Thanks so much, Ken, it was a delight to have you on Inspiring Greatness podcast.
Ken Fowler: Thank you Shelley, it's been a pleasure, you have a cracking day.
Shelley Rogers: I hope you enjoyed the episode with Ken Fowler as much as I did. I really want to hear from you, yes, feedback from you. Speak up, tell us what you want more of. Specifics on stop, start and continue.
You can reach us on Inspiring Greatness Facebook page, send us a message there. Or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. If any of you love us then share the love with leaving us a rating and review on iTunes, or SITUR. Again, we read them all, it helps us provide more of what you like.
Lastly, on episode 125 Tim Bishop from Next Level and I offered a 30 minute free coaching together session, to help you get to the next level. This is a limited time offer. Entries will be announced at the end of December, December 15th. If you'd like to hear more, go back and listen to the full details of the contest on episode 125. You can submit your entry by completing our contact desk form on our website @maxumcorp.com.au/contact us. Just provide your contact details in the section, how we can help. Type in freecoachingpromo125, again a 30 minute free coaching session with Tim Bishop and myself.
Thank you that's all. Enjoy your day. I hope you enjoyed this episode of Inspiring Greatness.
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It's that time to commit to change, time to implement ideas. It's time to maximize every day, and make decisions as if you only have a limited time to be great. Learn from the experiences our guests share. It's time to go out there and Inspire Greatness around you.