Episode 188: Working with Passion: A Conversation with Tim Meinhardt

John: Thanks for tuning in to Local SEO today. Don’t forget to subscribe and share this episode. My guest today is Tim Meinhardt. Tim is the CEO of Atruity, a company which helps clients implement OKR goal setting methodology. Thanks for joining me today, Tim.

Tim: Well you’re welcome, John. Thanks for having me on the program.

John: I’m so excited to hear about…a little bit about yourself, how you started your company and your journey so if you don’t mind sharing you know, a little bit about yourself and what you’re up to these days.

Tim: Well, sure thank you as I mentioned you and I talked…I said you know, I’m kind of at the…I’m at the…let’s put it this way I’m at the 5 or 10 yard line with regards to careers but I originally when I graduated college I had no idea what I was going to do as a profession. I was in a fraternity and enough said about that and…but when I got out I thought you know, I always had the gift of gab so why don’t I just try sales and I got into sales right out of college selling what at the time was a typing system that is kind of the precursor to computers today and you know, I kind of failed at it miserably after a year or so I wasn’t really ready for a full-time job so I went back waiting tables I did that all through college and it took me a while to hit my stride as a professional. I stumbled onto a profession which I knew absolutely nothing about and it was the mortgage industry and at the time interest rates if you can imagine this were over 17 percent to buy a house. I mean that’s a high rate even for a credit card today so knowing nothing about the mortgage industry and being offered a job to essentially be a chauffeur to this individual had broken his leg. I took any job I could find to get back in the professional ranks and off I went into the mortgage industry. What was one of the great breaks that I ever had in my entire life because I had the opportunity to essentially be mentored by one of the best mortgage banking professionals in the business at the time and I got to spend 30 with him…30 minutes with him in the morning, driving him to work and 30 minutes driving him home. Plus I got to do everything for him during the day because he was on one leg after a terrible skiing accident so speed forward wise the mortgage industry was a fantastic business for me. There’s nothing more I would ever say to anybody other than when you get into a profession really learn your profession and I didn’t know anything. Every day I went home and I asked myself, “Gosh, what did I learn today?” But I learned credit and I learned people and I learned banking during my tenure. I spent roughly 15 years as a mortgage banker and at the last stint of that I was essentially confronted with becoming self-employed. I had it with and again this is the personality of me. I had it with answering to bosses I was like — I know this better than they do. And so it was my first foray into being self-employed, started my own mortgage company and was very successful in that endeavor however the mortgage industry began to change a little bit, John and it became very litigious and I began to just grow away from mortgage banking and really wanted something else you know, there’s a great book called who moved my cheese and if you haven’t read it…it’s about people changing careers. And you know, you rustle around for a while and you can’t find your cheese and lo and behold you make a turn or go something goes the other way and a break happens and boom there’s this new whole mound of cheese that these mice in the book…then they eat and they’re happy there for a while until they run out of cheese and it’s who moved my cheese and you got to move around in life so as I was considering a career change my computer kid was starting a company on his own and I couldn’t find him and when I would call him on the phone, he wouldn’t call me back and I got irritated and so I was like, “Chris, when I call you, call me back. This way business operates.” “Okay. Oh, you know, I’m sorry Mr. Meinhardt. I’ve started this new company.” And I went, “Oh, Chris you’re a young kid. What are you doing starting a company?” He said, “No, I’m convinced this thing…the internet is going to change the world.” And I said, “Oh, great you know, what a great idea.” So I said, “Chris, listen I need some work done for me and I…. and I’ll tell you what I do. I’ll buy you lunch and you can tell me all about this inter thing that in something whatever it was so he we went out to lunch.” And he proceeded to tell me all about this thing called the internet and had started a company called Internet Information Services, IIS so he was so passionate about it that I said, “Chris, listen I gotta get you out of your basement. Why don’t you come in? We’ll incubate this in the mortgage company and at the time I was looking to have some fun.” And I said, “Look I can sell anything to anybody so why don’t you…why don’t I go out as your sales guy, sales manager and we’ll see if I can help you sell something.” So lo and behold he told me about this very large law firm that he had an appointment with and I was like flabbergasted. I’m like how did this kid get this appointment with this big company so a lot of stories I’ll speed forward we went to the appointment. I was in a three-piece suit as a banker. Chris had on brown hush puppies tie-dyed jeans and a t-shirt and a backpack and I was like — Oh, this is gonna be so much fun. They thought I was Chris at the time because I was dressed appropriately. Chris was just not and so we walked into this law firm and within 30 seconds they realized that I was not the guy. Chris was the guy and it…Chris turned out to be one of the most brilliant people I’ve ever met with regards to technology and we forged what was Washington Business Journal and I’m from the DC area. The Washington Business Journal ranked us as the 11th fastest growing company in Washington in 1999 and it was…we just thought you know, we became a…we were a systems integrator, we were a java experts and I could barely spell java, alright? I ran the business and Chris and I remind me of this old movie with Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder where one guy’s blind the other guy’s deaf and here we were two people you know, kind of in this crazy rowboat rolling like hell knowing that one thing is gonna happen if we quit rowing we’re gonna go over the falls and so regardless of our being completely opposite people. We forged a wildly successful business in the internet space and people always ask me how did you make that career change? What was the leap to do that and it was the desire for me to do anything else other than mortgage banking and I said –Well, I’ll just try technology and you know, I have so many funny stories that took place in building the company but I really couldn’t even boot a computer, didn’t know a computer from an air conditioner and yet we were one of Sun Microsystems largest resellers in our Middle Atlantic Area to commercial accounts and some of our clients that we did business with are some of the most recognized names on the planet. National geographic was a client of ours. You can imagine that we were a 15-20 person company but landed National Geographic and we actually built their internet backbone that they launched a million hits in the first day so anyway it was a great career. We were one of the lucky ones to actually go through a sale and we went from penniless bozos to multi-millionaires in a stroke of a pen and it was one of the most unique I’ve ever been through in my life other than the birth of my children and saying I do. It probably won’t right up there as as one of those great success things that you’ve accomplished in life like you built a company you’re…the lives of these individuals were in your hands, you’ve grown as a professional and you know, I… we gave away you know, a million dollars or more in options to people when we sold our company and this all happened in the span of five and a half six years and what was born out of that, John was this ability to learn how to plan, how do you…how do you grow a business and somebody came to me who worked for me and said, “Tim, what’s your plan for next year?” I said, “We don’t have a plan. So we never had a plan and he goes, “Oh, you have to have a plan.” I said, “No, we’ve never had a plan. My plan is to make payroll next month and just continue to sell stuff, right?” So he convinced me we needed to do this plan and I remember our first plan was a little choppy but the second plan was pretty good and the third one was excellent and had we not had this third year’s plan…we encountered some resistance and through our ability to shift our plan quickly and change our organization on a dime. We ended up continuing to flourish and ultimately sold the company so planning was always something in my mind that said if you are going to be successful as a business owner, small business owner you got to have a plan because if you don’t have a plan, any road will take you there. Okay, kind of thing and so I always liked… and I wrote this manifesto on my linkedin page and said…and showed this way that we did this planning so speed forward so I’ve done consulting work since then I ended up starting a staffing firm which I did for several years and then I was building houses and finding my way along the way. Everywhere I looked, John there was no cheese and so Who moved my cheese? And I was doing a project in my staffing firm which we normally didn’t do and what took place from there was they asked somebody…asked me to do a strategic plan for this. It was a publicly traded company for their IT department and I had a chance to watch this woman who was just fantastic. She was arguably one of the most highly credentialed facilitators honestly in the world. She was a Cornell Grad and she was just fantastic with this particular group of people and as I watched her I was like, “I love planning. This is so cool.” I really enjoyed this so it took me about three more months and then I said, “You know, I think I’m gonna…I think I’m gonna really do some research about planning.” So I did all this research about planning and I was convinced that I could go out and do seminars and make money doing, teaching people how to plan and I’m a small business guy so I always wanted to give back. One of the coolest things that ever happened to me like I said was when I sold my company and I just wanted somebody else to feel that joy that you have that like, Oh my, that…oh that oh, my God moment when you sell your company. It…my hair stood straight up on my arms. It was so exciting and so I went back to planning and I did all this research and I found out why things worked and I was convinced and I started Atruity. This is how I started Atruity and so there I was again you know, I could see the cheese but I didn’t really know if it was cheese could be a mirage you know, because I’m in the desert at this point. I haven’t found cheese in a while. I’ve tried a bunch of different things but I never gave up on finding something that was that I was passionate about and I just I’ve always been passionate about seeing other people succeed. It’s one of the great joys in life that you have is watching people who you’ve mentored and trained and I did a ton of that. In the mortgage industry in fact some of the people that I trained and brought in the mortgage industry have become very successful within the mortgage industry here in the Washington DC area and so I wanted that give back kind of deal and I remember calling this woman up and saying I’m going to start this company again and she said, “Well, come on up to Philadelphia. Let’s have lunch and let’s talk about this.” And she said, “Tim, I don’t think you know, what you’re what you’re getting yourself into.” And I was like. “Oh, no you tell me this, alright. I’m all excited about this, right?” So she basically said, “Tim you better find out why these plans fail.” And I went, “What? Why do these plans fail?” And I kept thinking in my mind I don’t have any idea why these plants fail so I went back to the research and I researched and I researched and I found why organizational plans fail so we speed forward a little bit and I happen to wanted to have a meeting with someone who I had known both personally and professionally for 20 or so years and I was hoping that he would introduce me to this other company that had a whole host of smaller businesses that I could possibly sell my methodology to so we got about three quarters of the way through the conversation and he said, Tim, would you do this for my organization and my jaw dropped and I said, I would be honored, flattered to do that. Well, that was the beginning of Atruity and then he said, “I want you to read several books.” One of the books he had me read was a book by this fellow John Doerr and the book is Measure What Matters. So when I got the book this gentleman Paul had asked me, “Tim this is the method planning methodology that I want to put in our business can you do that?” And of course as a small businessman what was my response, John? Of course I can but of course I can so I read this book and I got about one quarter through the book and I had one of those Aha moments and I was like — this methodology is fantastic. It resonates with the small businessman, it resonates with the large business executive. I said it takes a particular individual to do this and I jumped into this objective and key results or OKR’s for short methodology and ultimately that’s how Atruity started as a business. He’s still my client. They are very successful. One of the leading one of the coolest and sexiest companies on the planet a company called Red Hat for your audience and I handle their public sector work and they were purchased by IBM through all of the things that I’ve done with them and now they’re a part of the IBM umbrella but they still you know, they still act a little bit like Red Hat and that’s how I got my start so long story short quick question that’s what I’m all about I’ve never really had any profession that long. I didn’t get a little bored or Gosh, I was so successful in my first career change that I became ever more hooked on being an entrepreneur and then the thing that underlies that is the ability to want to give back not only to the small organization but give back to people who were nice to me so John that’s me.

John: That’s awesome man. I love your story so do you still talk to Chris?

Tim: We do on occasion and you know, he went his way and I went mine. Humorous story, our daughters…we didn’t know this until one day we were chatting and I said, So you know, we were talking about our kids and they were all grown up now. They were little kids. So he said, Yeah, I know my…I said, “Man, my daughter went to Maryland. She was a Tri Del at University of Maryland. And he says, “Oh, my daughters were Tri Del’s.” And I go, “No way, Chris!” And I said, “So where’d they go to school? He goes, “Maryland.” I go, “Oh no, don’t tell me this.” And it turned out that our daughters are actually sorority sisters.

John: Oh, no way that’s hilarious.

Tim: So and I haven’t spoken to Chris in quite a while. He’s doing his thing. I’m doing my thing but we will forever hold that one particular organization near and dear to our hearts. Pretty cool you know?

John: That’s amazing so growing up did you ever want to be a business owner like it seemed like you started your career in sales, in the mortgage industry and you jumped around in you know, being a builder and doing development versus and then doing your own you know, kind of coaching OKR stuff? So like what did you want to do when you grew up?

Tim: Oh, great well…so this will age me a little bit all right but I wanted to be a pilot that would maybe if I could be a pilot that would have been fantastic but one of these crazy things happened to me. My mother took me bowling and I think I was I don’t know eight years old and also I wanted to do was be a pilot but flying a plane be the coolest thing, right? And so I asked my mother when we were bowling. I said, “Why aren’t there spaces between the pins and she goes, “Oh, honey there are. I think we need to take you to the doctor.” And it turned out that I had inherited my mother’s genes and my father’s genes which was really…really bad vision and so you couldn’t fly planes if you wore glasses and so that was a horrible reality to me that I could no longer be a pilot. So my father was a was a college athletics coach he coached basketball and he coached tennis and ultimately my father became a director of athletics for a school in Towson Maryland, Towson University but growing up as a kid we were all about sports and so if I couldn’t be a pilot I want to be a professional athlete that’s really what I really wanted to do. Growing up in the midwest we had several sports that you know, we had to master basketball being one. I’m a fairly tall guy. I love basketball but I had this weird situation happened when I was a kid where my grandfather was a country club manager, we didn’t have any money. My dad was a teacher and we would go and our big vacation would be to go stay at the country club because they lived on top of the country club and we’d stay in their little apartment that they had up there and that was our vacation so we got to swim at the country club pool. We got to go out to dinner. We learned that all we had to say was you know, my grandfather’s you know Charlie Price and they would…everybody would take care of me. Well, my bedroom on this apartment overlooked the first tee of this golf course and I began to fall in love with golf and I picked up golf as a young kid which and again this ages me. No one really liked golf. Golf was kind of a dork sport you know? And but I fell in love with it and became a very accomplished amateur on DC area and in high school and…but I wanted to be a professional golfer and that did…what…that didn’t take place. I said, “Well, let me go in and get a college degree and I’ll figure it out from there.” So when I woke up after graduating college and I was a fraternity guy. I was an ATO for Maryland. I went, “Oh, God. What am I going to do?” And that brought me back to the first conversation.

John: So what did you study in school?

Tim: Actually I was a general studies major which means I’ve gotten far enough along and to where eventually I said, “I gotta get out of here, alright? And finished up as a General Studies major and so I really had no particular major whatsoever. I just… I had the gift to gab and you know, I told people you know, don’t let your education get in front of your college life you know? So enjoy yourself in college it’s a fleeting moment and then reality kicks in and holy gosh does it kick in spades.

John: Wow, that’s amazing it looked like you know, when you were telling me about that mortgage your first gig where a very successful person who got injured was kind of like your mentor, right? Were there other people that kind of guided you? So that was really in the mortgage space but he taught you the ropes, right? On how to be very ultra successful similar to him. What about your other ventures like it seemed like in IT, Chris was younger but he also really knew his stuff, right? Was he more of a mentor for you at that time as well in that industry or were there other people?

Tim: So I wouldn’t say he was a mentor. He was my partner and we drove each other nuts but that’s like mentoring is a great question, John because…I give Clark Goldstein a lot of credit and
in that he really was a mentor for me and he taught me more than the mortgage industry. He taught me about business, he taught me about life, he taught me about family. He was a really great guy and so as I moved on and made this transition the next mentor I really had was in an obscure way was my CPA and you know, I…Joe and I are still dear friends and yet Joe always grounded me with questions about how to grow a business and you know, so I would say he was somewhat of a mentor. He would allow me and teach me how to look at a financial statement uniquely you know, statements of cash flow. “Tim, this is what I think you should be doing.” And so I would put him as a mentor as well. So I moved on to consulting, John you know, I would tell you that this woman Dianna Gurwitz was somewhat of a mentor to me in a very limited fashion but she gave me enough snippets based on all the experience that I had to be able to just take her knowledge and shift in a different direction and as I’ve been a consultant there’s a gentleman by the name of Life Ulstrup. Now, Life has been a consultant forever. I met him in a very in…when I had the staffing company which truly was probably one of my biggest mistakes that I ever made in my life with regards to business and…but I met Life and Life has been great with me today as I’ve grown our consulting business so you know, just to your audience from small business it’s really great to have a mentor you never know where they’re going to come from and yet through your life there are certain people that impact you and Clark truly impacted me. I was at that right stage of age where I had enough fun. I was trying to figure it all out and here was a gentleman who took an interest in me that we had…the only thing we had in common was the University of Maryland and yet Clark was a funny guy and he was unique in his own way and yet his values and the way he carried himself are things I still carry to today and I’m going to mention one other person. John, I’m sorry. I’m going to do this in your interview. There was a gentleman by the name of John Mason now, John was my first boss’s boss and ultimately worked for me and John and I still remain friends today but John impressed upon me the value of being prepared for your work day and your work week and I’ll never…and I do this and I will never forget this as long as I live is that we were going on a sales call Monday morning and I was with John and I was nervous because he was my boss’s boss and he was a very gruff guy and tough. I mean really tough guy and I…you know, here I’m just hanging out. I’m after college you know, it’s Monday. I’m still enjoying from the weekend, right? And I’m now…I’m in with my boss and we’re driving down I go, “John, I gotta get some gas here real quick.” And he goes, “Gas! What are you talking about Meinhardt?” He goes, “How could you start your week not being prepared? This is your only thing you need to do in life.” Blah blah blah and I’m like, “Oh, my God. He’s upset at me already.” And he was upset that I wasn’t prepared and being prepared meant having gas in your car and to this day John, on Mondays I make sure my gas tank is full so I’ll give them that. So John was a great mentor as well…that he brought me in early in the morning. Get in here at 6:30. Well, we got to make stuff happen. Anyways so from a mentoring perspective there’s been a few people in my life.

John: And I love hearing that because it seems like throughout your journey in life there’s so many people that impact you and mold you and become makes you become the person you are and there’s so many pivotal points in terms of work, personal that drives you, right? To become successful or whatever that means right? But it’s really the habits that really ingrained you and if you know these people coaches, mentors or people that you actually look up to they’re gonna really help you steer you in the right direction so that you make it a part of your life and it’s very memorable because all these people really made a huge impact on what you are currently doing for your business, right?

Tim: You’re 100 percent right and you know and looking back those people really you know, there’s no…it’s very hard to replace the ethic of hard work and yet everyone doesn’t think. It really is until you really have to make it work and then you know, looking back at the people that were playing for keeps that when you originally started out. Yeah, you were but you weren’t. Yeah you know, it’s whatever I’m selling something, right? And they really do forge you and I’ve been very blessed with having the opportunity to mentor many people myself and that give back like I said to you is a very…it’s very near and dear to me both personally and professionally.

John: That’s awesome so on to the next question. I wanted to ask you challenges that you kind of faced or mistakes that you kind of made in business, right? I know you mentioned something about the staffing business, can you elaborate on that a little bit?

Tim: Sure so when Iwas thinking about this there were two or three things that really stuck in my mind that was…that were challenges to me and they go like this in no particular order but the first one was deciding that I wanted to be self-employed. There are so many people out there and John you know, this being self-employed that will say, “Geez, John you’re very successful you know? How did you do it? Alright, I’m gonna do that someday when I grow up you know, when I decide you know, I’m gonna do that alright.” And that is an enormous leap to become self-employed and yet it…I draw this picture for people that there’s like this cellophane that you’re staring into that the people on the other side are they’re the self-employed people and you’re not okay and you just look at them, right? But you can’t see them that well so then you decide, “Okay, I’ve got to walk through this cellophane.” And it is such a scary thing and once you get on the other side and turn around and look at all the people that say they want to be self-employed and they’re not…it’s vastly different because it’s like being a tighrope walker and saying, “I could do type rope. I could walk that tightrope like no one’s business.” You go on the other side and they go, “Okay, no net.” And you go, “What wait a minute? What? I gotta have a net.” “Well you know, there’s no safety net anymore. It’s just you.” So to me that was one of the biggest challenges I ever had and the second challenge that I had was that I would say if you’re not passionate about what you’re doing then I would say please don’t do it and I’ll tell you about my biggest mistake. I wasn’t finding any cheese going back to that book and I decided that staffing was a good way for me to make a living but I never really liked staffing that much. Just was never my role, my passion. I knew people that were but I could never find that passion in it and as a result I really wasn’t successful at it because it became more like work and there was this one when you’re passionate about what you’re doing you’ll find yourself many times as self-employed like what do I do next like gosh, this is not working and you have to develop this mentality like you do in golf like there’s no…there’s another shot we still have a chance. Let’s think this through. There’s always a way to make it work so when you don’t have passion, you begin to not find those solutions but when you’re passionate about something you’ll find him because you will succeed, alright? You will not give up because it’s not in a human being’s nature to give up. We give up if we’re not passionate so if you ask me the mistakes and challenges those would be some things that I think listeners would love to hear about that it’s actually making that step, taking away the fact that you no longer have a net but making sure you have passion enough to succeed.

John: Yeah, I think these are great little advice that you’re sharing because you know, it’s very difficult to sell or be the biggest advocate of your product or service or business if you don’t believe in it or passionate in it, right? Like and plus you got to enjoy what you do so you got to wake up early and spend x amount of hours doing what you love if you’re not then you know, a lot of people who are working in corporate for instance they’re doing it for a certain reason and maybe it’s monetary, maybe it’s survival but you going into the other side which is you know, self-employment. You already have made that shift mentally that there’s no boss that’s gonna dictate. You are the boss and you’re fully accountable so then you gotta really realize well if you’re accountable, you’re it you need to figure out how to make it, right? Whatever make it means, whatever success means whatever that goal is you need to really push yourself and what are the action steps that needs to be in play to get there, right? Which is you know, exactly what you said because if you don’t possess a mindset or passion and all these other skill sets it’s very difficult to even get through that hurdle, right?

Tim: And you know, John you know, so some advice I would give peoplem, okay? The first one is nobody cares if you fail nobody cares so when you decide to become self-employed. You think the world’s against you it’s not that they’re against you but nobody cares. You’re the one that cared enough to get started in this. Next if you’re gonna fail, fail fast. I always tell people I mean we’re going to fail when I started Atruity I was convinced in the OKR marketplace that I could build software. Well, I got into that a little bit and suddenly realized there’s people raising millions and millions of dollars on this I got a change in mindset so I failed but I still have contributed and I was passionate enough to make a course correction so it’s fail fast. The other one I mentioned was never quit, never give up there’s always another move you know, I think one of the greatest joys I have in life is waking up every day truly excited. I don’t know how many people that took government jobs or whatever that they woke up and they. “Honey up. I’m going to work.” They give her a kiss. They go off to work and like what do they think about all day, John like they just do a job like I can’t imagine that you know, I want to wake up with passion every day and again that’s one of those things if you don’t have the passion don’t do it because it requires passion for you and you know, this you wake up everyday thinking this is going to be the best day ever. I’m just passionate about this and the other thing that I tell people is that you need to learn something every day when I got started in the mortgage industry when I would go home after dropping off Clark I would ask myself, “Wow, what did I learn today?” And if you review that and ask yourself that every single day think of where you are in three months, five months, six months a year. Heck, I’m 64 years old when I finish today. I will have learned something new today so I tell people if you’re an entrepreneur or you’re passionate make sure you learn something every day and the last piece of advice I’d give people is take fear and throw it out the window. I don’t fear, okay? Because you have to stand on your own two feet. Are you good enough or you’re not good enough and I believe I am so I look at it. Don’t fear it, attack it and to me that’s how I’ve lived ever since I’ve become self-employed like you know, maybe I was just arrogant enough to be able to say I don’t want to answer to anybody anymore you know, but with that comes a lot of responsibility where you suddenly put all those life lessons that you learned getting to that point into play.

John: That’s awesome though like you hit so many good points like from curiosity to you know, yeah, failure happens, right? It’s how you pivot, how do you move forward and you know minimize the mistakes but also it’s all about like being optimistic, right? Because fearful is not optimistic. Be in control and control what you can do and don’t let anyone dictate that right? Things that are out of our you know, nature like you know, unexpected events they will happen and they are a part of life but things that you can control you can actually dictate the outcome, right? So all these things are really really great points because I read a lot I…you know, take everything that you’ve mentioned and I’m always trying to incorporate some little tidbit to my day, to my business and that’s all it is. Little, small improvements every time and yes, some might not work some might work but it’s okay to try, right? And a lot of people are scared to even try it.

Tim: Scared to try, John isn’t that the truth.

John: And without knowing like how do you know if it’s gonna be successful or not like I’m the biggest advocate of advertising anywhere, everywhere. I’m the biggest advocate of trying and doing something about it because people can read and be fearful of, “Oh, what if it doesn’t work?” So it’s okay move on, right? What’s the big thing that’s gonna happen? You lose a couple clients or you don’t take any clients. It’s money, it’s time like it’s okay, it’s a journey, right? So look at the long term, right?

Well, that’s as I shared with you like if I told somebody or anybody said to me so Tim what was your life journey be like — I’m like, Oh, I’ve had a blast you know? And I share with your audience I remember distinctly when I was in college I lived at the beach every year and we had so much fun at the beach but I can distinctly remember walking the beach and asking myself like how’s my life gonna turn out like how’s this going to be? And you know, you never know whether you’re going to get married, whether you’re going to have a family and I am so blessed I’ve been married for over 35 years and I have two lovely daughters, John. You’ve had the pleasure of meeting one of my daughters and that is one of the really cool things is when your daughter can actually spend time with you and work with you but I’ve been very blessed and you know and you’re right and part of that being blessed is having that passion to wake up to every day you know, I look at pillars in my life and I kind of say them humorously but they were kind of the three F’s and the first one is it’s family you know, I think that’s a big deal for people you know, it’s hard to be self-employed if your spouse isn’t someone that likes or enjoys the fact that you’re out on the edge. Okay? I was so blessed that my wife, her father was self-employed so she sees me with my head hung low at dinner and then my resurrection at night and saying we’re gonna go tomorrow and she’s lived with me both through the ups and downs and the challenging times you know, people will ask you or they think it’s so glorious. “Hey, you built a company and sold it. You’re self-employed. I always wanted to do that.” And I’m like, “Well, take a look at my back. You’ll see all the scars that come with it, the sleepless nights, the up at four in the morning, working weekends, nine to five isn’t even a word. I even really know.” What it means so family is a big deal, second big deal is friends. I’ve been blessed in life with kind of an outgoing personality so for me to make friends and be around friends it’s just something that comes very naturally to me. Networking is a critical component to building one’s business. You have to be out there, you have to be meeting people and one of the things that’s most important about meeting people, John is finding out about them. They don’t care about you. They care about themselves. You know, I play a lot of golf and I’m actually a pretty good golfer and people are intimidated to play golf with me and I always tell them I said, “Guys here’s the deal. I don’t care what I shoot and I don’t really care what you shoot. I’m just out to have fun.” So…but it’s amazing people will think about their game. What are they doing? So when I talk about friends it’s I’m more interested, what’s going on in their life so get out and get to know some people. You and I just met recently and yet I feel like I’ve talked to you for hours on end because you share a you know, a great passion with me so the second F is friends. The last one believe it or not goes back to my college days. It’s fraternity and fraternity’s all about kind of a common set of experiences you know when I joined a fraternity it was meeting people who I still am very good friends with and have been and will be for my entire life. They mean a great deal to me but my fraternities expanded and included now people that have are of like minds to me so I think those three things sometimes are good pillars to have. And yeah.

John: I love the fact that you mentioned you know, being grateful and you know, that is such a big thing because people forget and sit down and kind of reflect, right? On what are really important in their lives, right? And for you to do that with your wife and throughout the different stages of your business and you know, even early days when you’re at the beach, right? To really figure things out, what does your life look like, right? What does it want to be…look like and then over the course of the years to really navigate and take in bits and pieces of great people that you really aspire and want to become, right? A lot of people are very you know, introverts. I would say and they rely on information that might not…are as accurate as you may think it is so images or social posts they perceive and they’re out to sell you something but if you actually get to know someone if you go out there and make real friendships, real conversations with real people you’ll really figure out like if they are legitimate in it for the right reasons or not, right? Once you start reading people but that it is an art as well because you’ve been in sales myself included. We can actually know if the questions that you ask the way the tone that they say it back at you. You know, all these little subtle things that we read people, right? You can tell if they are good people or not just by their actions, right? And the way they talk, the way they say you know, certain you know, nuances, right? Subtleties like when you go for golf, right? Like as much as you are out there just to have fun. There’s people that aren’t…they’re very serious , they’re doing it for different reasons, right? To have a sales call or whatever like their purpose and intention is completely different than yours, right? So…but you’ll go through it by learning by making mistakes, by interacting with the wrong people and that’s life and it sounds like you’ve lived it and I’m still in the process of living it but I totally get what you’re going through because that’s what joy is all about, right? Like learning.

Tim: And you know, John one of the coolest things is when you get a referral you know, you’ve met somebody they like you like them and you’ve done good work for them and they refer you to somebody else I feel honored. I’m like, Wow, they referred. They took the time to say this is the fella to talk to and that means the world to me as a person because it means I made that cool connection and they’re friends with me and they’ll be friends with me for a very long period of time and ultimately that’s what’s really important you know?

John: Yeah and referrals are so pivotal for small business owners, right? Yeah, so…but you have to really focus on like your core values, right? Really take care of your customers, really own them and build that solid connection relationship, right? And a lot of people don’t even think about that longevity, they think about the transaction, they think about the sales, right? They forget about after sales, they think…forget about the service, they forget about like everything else, right? Very short-minded people out there, right?

Tim: And you know, the if you do a good job for somebody they’ll refer you to a lot of people and yet you know, even if you don’t do business with them anymore they’re there always as a referral and you never know where your next sale is going to come from.

John: I always say just be good take care of people, help everyone out because you never know who you’re gonna run into or impact or you know, just do good as a human, right? And don’t expect anything, right? Because the best kind of things that happen in your life are the ones that are unexpected, right? It hits you when you don’t expect it at all like when you’re down, when you’re miserable and depressed something positive will happen and it’s like karma. It’s weird.

Tim: It…I would say karma is a great word because you know, I’m…I believe in people and I believe that if you do good by everybody ultimately what goes around comes around and that really is karma.

John: Exactly. Well, thanks a lot Tim. This has been such a great conversation we had. Thanks a lot for joining us on Local SEO Today. If you can share with the audience members how can any of them get a hold of you directly or any of your social handles?

Tim: Absolutely so our company is Atruity1. The number one…dotcom. You can find me on linkedin Tim Meinhardt m-e-i-n-h-a-r-d-t and you know, I’d like to leave with just a little plug on a program that we have designed for the small business people. When I originally started Atruity I wanted to help small business we ended up helping and do now do a variety of very…very large businesses but we put a program out called SSMP Self-Service Management Program and this is designed for the small business owner who is looking to create some type of goal setting mechanism for their organization to have them better aligned, better focused and their ability to execute and grow faster than they ever thought they ever could. So on our website if you look up SSMP you can buy the program. It comes with a manual about 50 pages and also has a tutorial it’s like a class that you take with a manual. Once you’ve taken the class you should be able to know how to implement this inside your organization. We also have a facebook community that you will be able to be a part of where once a week you can sit in for an hour ask any questions you want, get to know some of the other people that are doing these OKR’s and …Objectives and Key Results and it’s a great place for you to continue to grow and service your business so as a small business people consulting is something that really you know, you and I talk about expertise where you really do want to outsource the best expertise. If you don’t know it…don’t. Sometimes it’s better to buy expertise than it is to try to do it yourself but we do have a self-service management program and then if you want additional consulting help we’re there to help you along the way so that’s how to find us, that’s how to find me and you know, John. I just want to thank you for allowing me a chance to join your program. I’ve loved your podcasts and I’ve really truly enjoyed meeting you.

John: Thanks a lot Tim. It’s always great to find and connect with great people, good people , good hearted people that are in it for the right reasons, right? Showing passion and desire to really help one another so I really want to thank you and if you’re ever in Canada, I live in Toronto. Feel free to bring me up.

Tim: Someday we’ll have a chance to say, “Can’t shake hands.” Once all this covid crazy just blow over.

John: Exactly, when the borders open up again.

Tim: Exactly. Absolutely thanks a lot. Enjoy your weekend and thanks again for allowing me to share some…spend some time with you today. This is great.

John: Awesome, thank you so much, Tim. Have a great day

Tim: Thank you.