#ALB 65 The Queen of Green

In this episode we welcome Karlie Somerville aka the queen of green, at the moment she is helping more than 4000 business owners deal with the crisis that coronavirus has brought.

Karlie is a two-time former One Percenter and made a guest appearance in John’s last book, “Routine Machine.”

Three years ago, Karlie said she was going to get a commercial business premises. A few people told her she wouldn’t be able to do that, but guess what, she did, and the rest as they say is history. 

Ambitious Lifestyle Business Podcast #65

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Karlie’s first business was EcoBlitz, an environmentally conscious cleaning company. And with her commerical premises now secured, she went on to launch EcoBliz Laundry Limited.

By Karlie’s own admissions she is a workaholic, She is completely inspired by learning and achieving new things. Karlie even says that it has become her lifestyle therefore she doesn’t look at it like work.

In this podcast, we are going to go back to the early days sitting in the pub where Karlie had plenty of discussions with John and Jason, as a former One Percenter, Karlie learnt the benefits of having efficient systems and processes in place. This was partly why she felt ready to launch EcoBlitz Laundry Ltd. Well, efficient systems and processes alongside a bucket full of ambition!

This ambition is still as fierce now as it was then, and has led to Karlie now having no less than five successful businesses.

So how has lockdown been for Karlie? Well it looks a little like supporting 4,000 (and growing!) business owners. 

Let’s meet Karlie…

John –  Today’s guest, Karlie Somerville is a true force of nature. In today’s episode you’re gonna hear why Karlie is the queen of green and how she’s helped more than 4,000 business owners deal with the coronavirus crisis. Karlie is a two-time former One Percenter and made a guest appearance in my last book, “Routine Machine.” Welcome to the show, Karlie.

Karlie – Thank you for having me.

John – So Karlie, you are, I believe, the first former One Percenter we’ve had on the show.

Karlie – Oh wow.

John – Yeah, we always get current One Percenters on, we get them talking about their journey, we’re talking about how we’ve helped them, and this is the first time we’ve actually brought someone back. Now you’ve actually been a One Percenter twice before.

Karlie- I have yeah.

John- So I’m gonna hand over to Jason now who’s gonna press gang you into coming back for a third time.

Karlie – ‘Cause it’s the reason for getting me on the call.

John – Exactly, it’s technically a sales call, really. That’s the only reason we do it.

Jason – It’s an interesting way of doing it, John, isn’t it? We’ve found. 100% success rate so far.

John – So Karlie, do you wanna talk us through your journey over the last few years? ‘Cause when we first came into the One Percent Club, what, three years ago, four years ago now?

Karlie – Yeah, I think so, it must have been. It’s coming up to three years actually, because I remember joining in the January and we were at the pub in Plympton, and I remember being there and thinking, oh this is a little bit different, but I’ll give it a go.

And I said that my first one thing was going to be to get a commercial business premises, and there was a few people like, you can’t do that. You’re not gonna be able to achieve to get the lease, and you’re not gonna be able to do it within the month, and yeah I did, I went and I managed to get my commercial premises at Faraday Mill Business Park, and yeah, I guess the rest now is history.

It was the first big thing I think I did for my business. It needed to be done, and the group pushed me to do it. I made a decision to do it, and then went for it. And that’s how it started, really. And then we obviously upgraded venues. So I started coming back, and yeah, it was great.

Jason – Early days in the pub.

Karlie – In the pub, yeah.

John – We had the regulars walking between the bar and the toilet and asking us if we were all millionaires yet.

John – It was a very spit and sawdust pub, wasn’t it? It was interesting, but yeah, it was authentic. It worked.

Karlie – Pretty cool.

Jason – For that particular meeting.

John – Yeah, we didn’t stay there long, did we, Jason?

Jason- No.

Jason – No. We became millionaires, we moved on to the Boringdon , wasn’t it?

John – Yeah, it was Boringdon then.

Jason – So when we first met you, Karlie, you had just the one business. It was EcoBlitz, environmentally friendly cleaning company that did commercials and rentals and that kind of thing, wasn’t it?

Karlie – Yes it was, so I just had EcoBlitz. And then when I took over the unit I then incorporated another business, which was EcoBlitz Laundry Limited, so then I did the launderette from the unit, so then I had two businesses.

Jason – And what inspired you to do laundry from the cleaning side of it? Was that to complement the existing thing for the changeovers and stuff at the properties that you were looking after? Or was it just a case of actually I’ve got this commercial unit, I need to do something that’s related?

Karlie – Yeah, mainly because we look after so many holiday rentals, and I was running it from our home, so I needed my house back. And also it just meant, it just made financial sense, really, to do it from the unit. And I just felt I needed, because I was gonna grow, and I’d committed myself to growing the company, I needed to get out of my house, and I needed to have a base for people to drop off their laundry but also for us to do our laundry in house for the holiday .

Jason- Excellent.

John – I was thinking about those early days back in the pubs and the hotels and the spas and everything we went in, and our experience of working with you, Karlie. Because we focus on the ambitious lifestyle business, there is a spectrum that people have, and at the one end is very, very ambitious, and at the other end is very, very lifestyle, and we tend to attract more people towards the lifestyle end.

They’re like, yeah, yeah, I just want a really, really nice lifestyle, don’t really fancy doing any work for it, so we end up actually coaching them to be more ambitious. As you said, pushing people a little bit, encouraging them, showing them how to use digital marketing and to actually achieve more. I think with you it’s a little bit more the other end, that you certainly have the ambition, don’t you?

Karlie – Yeah, definitely, and you did reign me in to be more lifestyle, definitely, and even now I think you still give me a little nudge, which is greatly received.

John – Yeah, I think I remember it was not long after we’d moved to the kind of the five-star hotel, and it was all these very nice plush surroundings, I think I’ve got a photo somewhere, and it was you sat next to Garry Hunt, who was a local web coder, web designer guy. And Garry is wearing this T-shirt, and do you remember the Frankie Goes to Hollywood T-shirt that used to say Frankie says relax. So, Garry was wearing this T-shirt that said RELAX on it, and then Karlie walked in and Karlie’s wearing an almost identical T-shirt, like same colour schemes, almost the same typography, only Karlie’s T-shirt says HUSTLE.


(Editor’s note: John’s memory failed him – here’s the actual photo!)

Karlie – It was, yeah.

John- Does hustle sum you up, Karlie?

Karlie – I think so, probably. I’m not sure, to be honest. It’s really difficult, isn’t it? Because I just, I just, I love work. I do think I’m a workaholic, and yeah, I’m just, I’m really inspired by learning and by achieving new things, and I think sometimes I do need to chill out a little bit more. And probably slow down a little bit more, but yeah, definitely.

John – Yeah, there’s somebody very much like you, Karlie, in my last book, “Routine Machine” who just kept saying yes to everything. And we’d had this little conversation about well if you’re gonna say yes to this and yes to that and yes to the other, what are you actually gonna say no to? Because you do have a capacity of things you can actually fit in the day and fit in the working week. Anybody sound familiar on that?

Karlie – I don’t know actually, not too . Are you referring to me?

John – Well, this person wasn’t named in the book, so I couldn’t possibly say.

Karlie – I did note that.

John – Any likelihood to, any person living or dead is purely coincidental.

Karlie – Thank you for not naming me.

John – Oh dear that’s fine. Actually, you do remind me of Neville Wright. So the guy from Kiddicare.

Karlie – Oh, okay.

John – Who obviously we’ve had on the podcast before. I think it was episode 37 we chatted with Nev. And Neville famously wrote the book, “The Answer is Yes, Now What Was the Question?” Because that was Nev’s attitude was he was up cleaning windows or painting doorframes or lugging wheelbarrow full of sand around, and someone would stop him and say, “Oh, Nev, could you?”

And before they get anything further out, he’d just go, “Yeah, yeah I can do that. “Now what was the question? “What was it you want me to do?” And it is just, you really do remind me of Nev, because Nev is, again he’s very bubbly, full of energy, say yes to anything, help anybody out, and I think it’s, it is refreshing ’cause we, as I said, we are very much lifestyle entrepreneurs. It’s all about the lifestyle design and actually designing the business to deliver the lifestyle we want. But actually, as you said just now, we’ve kind of, you’re really, really passionate about what you do.


Is it work?

Karlie – No, it definitely doesn’t feel like work for me, not at all. No, it’s just my lifestyle.

– Yeah.

– It’s my lifestyle, so yeah, it doesn’t feel like work.

Jason – What’s your motivator, Karlie? What drives you? Why do you feel like you need to keep saying yes and keep successful cleaning business, now I’ve got to do something else. I need more, I need something else. What’s that?

Karlie – I’m not too sure, to be fair. I think obviously I could just settle with EcoBlitz and it would be absolutely fine. I’ve put a lot of systems and processes in place because of that whilst I was in the One Percent Club.

So actually, although I was gonna built the business, which I have, it allowed, it gave me more time, and then when I had more time I was like, I don’t know what to do with my time. I like being time rich, but I also like learning, and I like inspiring other people, and I just felt like, I’m not completed just by sitting and relaxing. And that’s just the way I’ve always been.

Even when we’re at home I won’t sit and watch a film. The boys will. And that’s completely fine, but that just isn’t me. So I just feel, I just want to continue to learn and I just want to push my boundaries, because I wanna know what I can achieve. I know what I’ve already achieved. And that’s absolutely fine. But actually I don’t think, I think there’s more that I can achieve, and I’m just ready to go out and get it.

John – What does that drive look like? You said there’s more you want to achieve, so what’s the self talk in your head? Do you, even now, still think, oh that’s a bit too big? I’m thinking too big there. Do you reign yourself in? Or do you give yourself complete free reign to say, yeah, do you know what? Why couldn’t I do that?

Karlie – Yeah, I don’t think I reign myself in at all, to be honest. I’ve got five businesses now I think you guys reign me in a little bit, but apart from that, no.

John- This sales pitch is going well, I think here Jase, she’s talking herself into coming back isn’t she? She needs us to reign her in.

Jason – Affirmation, affirmation, it’s a wonderful thing.

Karlie – Yeah, no, it’s, obviously Jamie and the boys ground me, and I always make sure that I’ve got time for them. So I think, providing I have got the balance, I do wanna continue working and building businesses, helping people, as well, at the same time. I think I’ve learned a lot throughout my several businesses so that I can implement that in other people’s as well, and just give them a hand.

John – Yeah, I think so many entrepreneurs are exactly the same. It’s that desire to give back. It’s somebody helped me out when I was first starting, and someone gave me a couple of rungs up the ladder headstart, so if I can do the same for others, fantastic.

– Yeah definitely.

John – It’s interesting, we’re talking, we’ve talked on the podcast several times about Derek Sivers and his quote about it’s either a hell yeah or it’s a no. And we’ve talked about it several times, and kind of it applies here because we’ve maybe said a few times to you about saying no to things.

And I think we’ve probably even used that analogy with you before, but when you’re evaluating any decision, and this is the filter that Derek puts on it, it’s either hell yeah I wanna do that, of if it’s not at that level, it’s a no, and I’ve kind of repeated that for a good couple of years now, at least three years since I’ve been working with Karlie, and I listened to an interview with Derek yesterday, and he kind of he was grilled about this a little bit further, and he said, well, this isn’t just a filter that I apply when I start to get a little bit busy.

He said, I apply that all the time. Even when I’m not busy, I still have that same filter. And he said, I need to sometimes force myself to say, I’m sat at home today, there’s nothing in the diary, I have nothing to do, do you want to record a podcast today? No, no I don’t. It’s gotta be either, yeah, it’s a hell yeah, let’s do this or it’s no.

And that was a very interesting conversation to hear him talk about almost forcing yourself to sit on your hands and not be busy ’cause he said what happens if you don’t do that is you start filling your diary with stuff that isn’t a hell yeah, it’s not really lighting your fire, and then when something comes along that would really fire you up, guess what, you haven’t got the capacity for it. You’re like, I’d love to do that. I haven’t got time. I can’t fit that in.

And it’s only by subtracting, by taking things away, and by taking everything away. He’s taken that quite militantly, I think. He said he would have forced himself to go, what am I doing next week? Nothing. I’m doing absolutely nothing. I’m jut waiting for an opportunity to come my way that I’ve deemed worthy of my time. How would that work with you, Karlie?

Jason – Hell no.

Karlie – Hell no, yeah. I found myself wanting to sit on my hands a little bit then and be like, no. It was, yeah, I have calmed down a little bit, I would say. I do, I have taken on board what I’ve learned within the club, and there have been time when I’ve said no, but I think there’s probably more occasions where I’ve said, hell yeah.

Jason – I’m intrigued on these no’s now. Have you got a no that you can tell us about?

Karlie – No.

Karlie – No. Not off the top of my head.

Jason – Oh dear, that’s fantastic.

John – It’s, how do you, how do you fit in all the hell yeahs? ‘Cause I get this impression that you have far more that you want to achieve than you have the capacity to achieve in the timeframe that you want to achieve it. Would that be fair?

Karlie – Yeah, definitely, I think I’ve got to be selective going forward now. And lockdown’s been really interesting, actually, for me. I’ve actually sat back and realised the things that I used to enjoy and I think going forward I probably will do business completely different because of it. So, although I’m a very hell yeah person, actually there have been occasions where I’m gonna say no, and I know that moving forward it’s just gonna give me the capacity to do the hell yeah things really well. So yeah, I’m quite excited by that.

Jason – What kind of filters are you gonna put in place to decide on that yes or no decision? Because obviously you’re creating something now where we’re all kind of doing that in this lockdown thing, so the businesses have had to change, and that we understand, but what’s gonna be your filter, if you like to say, actually, that’s gonna be a hell yeah or that’s gonna be a no because it doesn’t meet my level or it doesn’t meet my criteria. I must be able to do x, y, and zed to make this happen. Otherwise, it’s a no.

Karlie – So when lockdown happened, well the weekend, actually, before, I actually did a new business plan. And obviously that’s how the group for the coronavirus business support route came about anyway. So, it’s all part of a bigger plan, which obviously I won’t go into, but actually I reevaluated, at that point, what I wanted for my future and how I was gonna react myself, and then I realised that other people are probably gonna be doing this as well. So actually, my new business plan, if it’s not on the plan I’m not doing it. That’s it. That’s–

John – Yes.

Karlie – Yeah.

Jason – Yes .

Karlie – So yeah, so I have got a new business plan because of the coronavirus.

John – I think we all have.

Karlie – Yeah, and if we haven’t, we probably should have by now.

John – Yeah, that’s it, we were talking before we came on air and said obviously this episode is going out, I think we said seventh of May.

Jason – 2020.

John – Yeah, this year, yeah. And we don’t want, we could do this as a coronavirus special and let’s talk about all the help that’s available out there, but ultimately if you’re waiting until the seventh of May to react to an event that started in mid March, you’re a bit late. And I think the, you should have actually helped yourself a little bit by now, and I think this is where, Karlie, you’ve obviously helped people already.

This is where I love small businesses. We’re sat here now, where are we, a month into lockdown, and we’re all running our new business plans. We’ve gone back to the drawing board, ripped everything up, reevaluated everything, and cracked on with the new plan.

Meanwhile, Primark have suddenly gone from $450 million of sales a month to zero and gone, oh, what do we do? And it’s these big, big businesses that actually struggle to pivot, they struggle to turn around, they’d got massive overheads literally weighing them down.

Us smaller guys, we’re nimble aren’t we?

Karlie – Yeah, definitely. Yeah, I think we’re able to adjust and react to these situations better than the bigger companies as well. I think, yeah for me, especially I’ve, I don’t know it’s really, it’s really strange, because I don’t feel phased by this and I probably should. I probably should feel really overwhelmed at this point, and I don’t at all. I feel like I’ve got what I can under control, so the things I know I can control I’m controlling, and that’s absolutely fine by me. So yeah, I just, I’ve just completely embraced it, to be honest, and I think everybody else should be doing the same.

John – Yeah, yeah.

Jason – That’s the different mindset I think, isn’t, to be fair? That is that different mindset is actually, you can control the things that you control. Those things that you can’t, why worry about them? There’s nothing you can do about those things, so actually embrace what you’ve got and make those the best that they can be, and then your businesses are gonna be in a better place. You are gonna be in a better place, your family will be in a better place, and that stress and that worry kind of, and the overwhelm that you talk about is just lifted, isn’t it?

Karlie – Yeah, definitely.

John – Yeah, I think the, the overwhelm comes from a lack of perceived control, because I’ve got too much to do. I can’t deal with all this. Oh my god, the economy’s collapsing. Oh my god, this is gonna go to hell in a hand cart. Actually, even if you are gonna lose your business through this or you’re gonna lose properties or whatever, and you’re gonna be financially really hurt very badly by this, accepting that that is the case, and making a plan and saying okay, what can I control? How can I limit, how can I do damage limitation?

How can I come back from this? Actually empowers you, and there’s so many people who right now are going through tough times, but there will be businesses that also would not exist without this virus, without people being, I was chattin’ to another ex One Percenter, actually, a couple of weeks a go who is working for a retailer at the moment. He’s on furlough. He’s been sent home on 80% pay, told not to do any work. So, he jumped on a call with me and said, I think it’s time to talk about starting that business.

So, he’s gonna be launching a podcast soon. He’s gonna be writing books. He’s gonna be creating training courses. He is gonna launch his business that’s actually gonna get him out of his day job, and where’s that time come from? Because he’s wanted to do this for a while now, but he’s lacked the time. And this is, always say be careful what you wish for, ’cause I think us business owners for years have been saying, oh my god, if only the phone would stop ringing and things would be a bit quieter and all these customers would stop coming, and if only I had the time to work on the website, to work on the staff manual, to work on the systems and processes. I don’t have time to do that. Yeah, you kinda do do now. Careful what you wish for?

Karlie – Yeah, definitely, now you’ve got all the time. You should be cracking on. I think people have to remember that actually we’re business owners and we, although we might be small business owners, we actually started a business before, so I can sympathise with people that potentially might lose their business, but also, you started a business once before. That takes a lot anyway. And I think sometimes people will walk away and they won’t go back, and they just wanna be employed.

There’s been occasions where I thought, do you know what, it’d be much better to be employed at this particular time. But, that’s obviously not, that’s not gonna happen for me. But I think people have to remember that actually you started a business once before. You can get up and you can do it again. If that’s what you’re made of, then you go do it.

John – Yeah, and it’s the Rocky quote, isn’t it? About it ain’t how many times you get hit or how hard you can be hit, it’s how many times you can get hit and keep getting up. And keep going one more round, one more fight. And it’s the business owners who are able to be a bit more resilient, and this may, I think this will build resilience in business owners because if your business survives this, it survived it because you adapted.

It survived it because you’ve looked at the skills you’ve got. You followed a battle plan, you’ve taken professional advice from mentors, from professionals, and you’ve made a plan. You’ve stuck to the plan, you’ve done the work, and you’ve adapted. And it’s like doing workouts at the gym and you build up the calluses on your hands. And it’s those calluses that enable you to lift harder weights and do more reps and everything like that. Without the calluses you can’t do the work, and it’s the same for business owners. We can’t expect it to all be sunshine and rainbows all the time, can we?

Karlie – No, certainly not. There’s definitely no rainbows at the minute for some businesses, whilst others are, I guess others won’t be. So yeah. It’s difficult times for everybody, but I think you need to adapt and move forward, because if you’re just staying still, you’re never gonna get anywhere anyway.

John – Exactly, it’s paralysis analysis, isn’t it? It’s the deer in the headlights. Stood there, ahhh, do I go left? Do I go right? I’m just gonna stay exactly where I am and let the world do what it wants with me. Karlie, I’m curious, how soon did you get this Facebook group up? Because it seemed to me very, very quickly after lockdown, wasn’t it?

Karlie – I don’t even think it was, no it was the, I wanna say the Saturday before it was actually before. I could just see, I guess I could just see what was gonna happen. Maybe even a week before

Jason – Around the time that Boris said the bars gotta shut, wasn’t it? Wasn’t it about that same time? It was definitely before the general population–

Karlie – Yeah, it was.

Jason – But it was the time when businesses started to get affected, wasn’t it?

Karlie – Yeah, it must have been a couple there were a few posts regarding that in the group. So yeah, I just sat down and my table looked like paper chaos, and out of that paper chaos came this group, which chaos.

John – This is what I love about you, though, Karlie, is you’ve gone oh my god, something’s happened. Right, let me grab pen and paper. I love that. See it’s proper old school planning. You grabbed your pen and paper. You journaled, you made some ideas, and then you took action. You’re like straight away, right, what can I do? What is the first step I can do? You didn’t sit there and go, right, okay, how am I gonna do? I mean you got the Zoom call this afternoon with, I don’t know how many people are gonna be on the Zoom call, but you could have 50, 100 people on this Zoom call. You didn’t start there, did you? You just went, oh I’m gonna get a Facebook group up.

Karlie – Yeah, and they just, I felt like I needed a platform for myself. So there were a few things that I wanted to ask questions, and I wanted some support. And I just felt, well, I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of people that will be in the same situation as me, and I guess I am a bit of a Facebook junkie, so it just made absolute sense to create a group just so I could actually help other people, and I expected maybe 300 businesses from Plymouth. If I’m honest. And yeah, it’s growing every day. And it’s now I think 4,200 plus business owners. Even councils are in there, which has surprised me. So yeah, it’s really good.

John – And that’s all over the country, as well, isn’t it?

Karlie – Yeah, it’s U.K.

John – Cool. For those listening, do you wanna give out the name of the Facebook group so that people can find it? Or is there a URL they can go to?

Karlie – Yeah, so, it’s on Facebook. It’s Coronavirus Business Support Group UK.

K- Yeah, there is a UK at the end.

John – Cool, cool, so yeah, but, so by the time this goes out probably 50,000 members in this group. No.

John – Is that something you’re saying no to is the Nigerian spammers that are applying to join your group?

Karlie – Yeah, we have had a few that have come through which have been very interesting. But yeah, but I’m trying to keep it a nice group of actual business owners and not people just wanting to sell face masks from China and I don’t know anything about their business and things like that. Because that’s just no good for anybody.

John – Or sunglasses. We had a load of sunglasses being sold there. That’s what everybody wants right now is a nice pair of Ray-Bans.

Karlie – Was that in my group?

John – No, no, that was in our group, yeah. We get it all the time. But that’s what I love about you, Karlie, is that you’ve immediately thought of others, and it’s like how do I help other business owners, and it was the same when you were in the One Percent Club. You helped your fellow One Percenters much more than we helped you, I think. ‘Cause you were an absolute giver.

Karlie – Yeah, I do like to help people. And I think, if I, and I feel like if I needed help got so many people I can turn to now, so when I do need that I’ve got that safety net around me because I’ve given out so much that eventually when I need it I know it’s gonna come flooding back.

John – Definitely, and it does, ’cause, again, you’ve shown that real strong desire. And I think it is that strong desire. I mean, for those watching on the audio, on the video rather, there is the word desire above my camera, and it is that desire to help people and to help small business owners, I mean all three of us have got this on the call.

We’ve, since this happened I think our One Percent coaching calls, which I think when you were a member it started off as being an hour on a Monday. And then we turned it into a 90-minute coaching call, I think since we’ve done, since we had the lockdown, since that first week, three hours and 12 minutes was our first one and I think we did another one the following week which was another three-hour marathon. Jason’s been doing one to ones every Thursday.

Obviously I’ve been given away my books on a Friday. Why are we doing this? Because we genuinely care about small businesses, and we want to see small businesses survive, not just these three months or however long it’s gonna be. That was, sorry, that was Dr. Lamerton coming out there with his projections of exit strategies there. But not just however long this takes, but actually three years from now, 10 years from now, I want to be speaking to business owners who say I started my business during the coronavirus. I mean, you speak to business owners now who started their business in 2008.

Our main business started in 2008. We started that during the global financial crisis. It was born out of that. And there will be business owners who thrive because of this or pivoted because of this and suddenly discovered, oh actually do you know what? We don’t need that office. We can all work from home. We can have a remote team. Oh, we could sell what we do offline online. And there will be people who’ve made a lot of lessons and a lot of learning from what they’ve been forced to do now. And I think that is the key thing isn’t it?

Our hand has been forced somewhat. But actually, we may choose to keep some of this lockdown life whenever it is we’re allowed out to play again.

Karlie – Yeah that’s it. I think for the people that have adapted and discovered new ways of doing business, when everything starts to calm down, and we go back to supposedly the old normal, it’s–

John – Not gonna happen.

Karlie – They’re gonna be in a better place because they’ve actually got more opportunities to sell, which they didn’t have before because they were just stuck in their ways and they weren’t, they didn’t go out of their comfort zones to find out if it was gonna work, but actually you’ve got no choice, you have to do that because, you’re not gonna find out if going online is gonna work, but because there’s just been no choice at all, the people that are doing it and they’ve actually managed to increase sales, it’s fantastic.

John – I mean, obviously you know Sarah, my wife, we’ve have the same conversation about taking her offline home tutoring for children, taking it online, and doing that. And we’ve been talking for a while now about doing online stuff. Yeah, yeah, I know I need to do that. Ooohh, and it is that comfort zone of I don’t know enough about that. I don’t know if that’s gonna work. And then all the sudden Boris comes out and says, you can’t go to people’s houses. You can’t go to other businesses. Essential travel only. Right, I have to do online now. I have to make this work. And do you know what, three or four weeks in, and she’s flying and she’s doing Zoom calls. She’s not quite doing virtual backgrounds like Jason is right now, but–

Jason – We’ll get there, we’ll get there.

John – We’re getting there. One step at a time. but it is that, I think, as you said Karlie, having forced people out of their comfort zone, they’re gonna grow.

Karlie – Yeah definitely. I’m a firm believer that you do push yourself outside your comfort zone and you do do things that make you feel sick and you just, I’ve been to meetings before, and I just feel like I’m gonna have a panic attack and I can’t do it. It’s just way above me. And if I calm myself done, I’m like do it. And then after I’ve done it I come out and I just realised why was I so worried? I’m worried because I care, and I’m worried because I really want it. But actually, the hardest part was almost walking through the door because once I was in there I was absolutely fine. I know my product, I know my service, and I know how to sell it. So all those little thing never mattered. It was just getting through the door and actually forcing yourself out of your comfort zone allows you to grow. And a lot of businesses are gonna be experiencing this now, which they hadn’t done before.

John – Exactly. What other kind of evolutions or changes have you seen, as again, we’re recording this kind of a month into lockdown, so over this last month, what evolution have you seen in kind of business owner’s mindsets from the very early days or pre-lockdown days. First week government announcement of support and kind of where we are now with, well, where are we? Lockdown’s been extended. We got about another two weeks of official lockdown before anything else is renewed. So where have people’s mindsets changed over that period?

Karlie – So, when the retail and hospitality got shut down I remember putting a post out in the group, and there was a lot of sympathetic posts, and there was a lot of people wanting to just offer their sympathies, really, for the people that got forced to shut down before anything else really happened. But then within a couple of days, actually, people started to go online.

They started to do takeaway deliveries. So once one business had done it, it just showed so many other business owners that they could do it also. And then the spirits lifted, and everybody got excited again that there was a new way to do business. It might not have been what they were expecting to do, but actually, if they wanted their business to survive, they had to adapt. And everybody then just joined forces, and now they’ve had websites being built for people so that they can go online, and I think that has just naturally happened, because people have been forced into a situation of the unknown, and then naturally they’ve been able to share ideas, work out a solution, and then just put it out there to everybody.

And there’s been lots of platforms where people want to support local businesses, so I think the local support in the group as well has been, well, it’s just been amazing. I’m firm believer of shopping locally, going to Greengrocers and buying locally, sustainably. But actually because of this, I think more people are gonna be doing that after this has happened because they want to support their local businesses.

John – Yeah, I think people have suddenly realised when this all happened and literally the world stopped and we can’t go anywhere, they suddenly realised that blueberries come from Morocco and the bananas come from Costa Rica and getting them to within half a mile of your house requires quite a bit of effort. And it was only that realisation, I think we’ve gone a little bit primal in one of the things we talked about, I think in our first coaching call after this happened, was about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and how everyone’s just jumped down a few tiers, and we went back to oh I just want safety, security, food, warmth, shelter, and a good internet connection. That just was the standard–

Karlie – That’s the most important.

John – I think the things that were important seven, eight weeks ago, where we going on holiday this year, and when we’re getting our new car, and all the fancy, shiny things, suddenly did not matter overnight, and I think it’s that, it’s interesting to see that evolution that you said about once somebody finds a solution to a problem, and then shares it with other,

I can liken that to what we’ve always done with our books, with podcasts, with One Percent Club, is guys, this works. We’ve got strategy here, this works, go use it. And I always use this analogy of, remember the end of the film Independence Day, the original one with Will Smith back in like ’97, ’96, and they figure out how to bring down one of the alien ships. And then, I think it’s Bill Pullman, who is the very macho President of the United States, then proudly announces, “Go tell the rest of the world “how to bring them son of bitches down.” Is that, well here’s how we do it, now tell everyone else so that we’re all better off as a result of this thing that I figured out or that I learned. So if one person figures out, oh, I can do takeaway deliveries and shares it with others, it’s not a zero sum game. It’s not if I tell you this you’re gonna gain and I’m gonna lose. And there’s so many stories like that. You must have hundreds from your group, I’d imagine, Karlie.

Karlie – Yeah, and that’s it. I think it’s a global pandemic, so it actually requires a collective group of efforts for people to support and help each other. So I think the more that people do that the better, because normally we work almost in competition with people. We do that anyway, don’t we? So the fact that people actually are cheerleading each other on and supporting each other, we’re actually finding, I guess, quickest solutions to the problems that we’re being faced with. So yeah, it’s just a new way of working with people as well. I think business relationships are gonna be formed from this because people have picked up the phone, and they’ve offered to help someone, and they’ve set up groups of people and websites for people and they’ve helped with legal, HR problems, and people–

Jason – It’s quite nice isn’t it?

Karlie – Yeah Yeah.

Jason – And the people that are standing up and giving are the ones that are shining, really. That’s the thing. No matter what the cost of their business that they may or may not have got anything, they’ve just stood, they’ve given out all of this information, they’ve given out all this knowledge, and kind of just risen above, and that’s really worked really well for those people. Have been all giving, really.

Karlie – Yeah, definitely, and they will be remembered after this, which, for their businesses, will be a benefit. So actually, if you can do that now, I would encourage anyone to do it. I think, I wouldn’t necessarily be considering how you’re gonna cash in on this, I would actually say how can I help somebody?

Because actually, after this, you’re gonna be remembered for what you did, and if you’ve actually gone and you’ve gone above and beyond and helped someone, they’re gonna come back to you anyway. You’re the one that’s gonna get, be recommended. You’re the one that’s gonna be at the forefront of everybody’s minds after this is all over. And actually, I prefer to use that particular person and their service or buy their product, because of the way they reacted when people needed help.

Jason – Exactly that, exactly that.

John – Yeah, we’ve seen example after example of that. I mean, Jace, just this morning, Alison in the One Percent group has had exactly that, hasn’t she?

Jason – She has, exactly yeah. So her business, she’s got a brewery, a pub, sorry. Actually she’s got a little microbrewery, and she had the idea that actually, she was selling boxes of beer, and for everyone that she sold you could nominate your local that she made a relation to. So she had lovely reply from one of her competitors, actually it’s someone she’s been trying to get her beer into. But actually came back with actually, oh this has bene really good. I received two payments from you guys for nothing, and it’s brilliant and it’s just, yeah, just kinda shows that actually it wasn’t really a marketing . It was just a case of actually we’re all in this together, let’s help out. But when it comes to what beer should I buy this week in a few weeks’ time, few months’ time, few years’ time, whatever it may be, she’s gonna be, oh yeah, I remember that one. I’ll buy some of that beer. That’s was great.

Karlie – Yeah, that’s great.

John – Yeah, I think… Obviously I’ve recorded a little bit that I’ll put at the end of this recording with kind of our three step battle plan that we’ve told all of our clients to kind of work through to basically survive and thrive because of coronavirus. The biggest takeaway from those three, without a doubt, apart from obviously getting your cash flows sorted, is what you said there, Karlie, that people will remember how you made them feel during this time.

I think people don’t necessarily remember exactly what you did or exactly what you said to them, but they will remember that you stiffed them on payment. They will remember that you hung up on them. They will remember that you went above and beyond. We’ve had stories galore of business owners who’ve just gone the extra mile just to deliver or just to help, and that will be remembered.

And I know one of our One Percenters mentioned that there is a list circulating amongst their industry of all the people who will be getting zero business once this is over because of the way they’ve treated their suppliers during this time. They’ve literally shafted them. No, not literally, sorry. That’s They’ve virtually shafted them. So there’s a list and people really do have very long memories, and I think if there’s nothing else you can take from this video it is that you need to remember how you are treating people during this, because everyone’s emotions are raised.

And I know you’ve had a few instances within the group where emotions have taken the better of people, and there’s been some infighting, let’s face it, if you’re gonna have a Facebook group with 4,200 odd people you’re gonna have some idiots and some trolls and some infighters there.

Karlie – And very strong people as well. There’s a lot of strong characters within the group, and but it’s fine, because actually, I think until you experience anything like this, you don’t know how you’re gonna react, and although I’ve been subject to some personal attacks and negative reviews left on my business page, and I’ve had horrible inbox messages, the people that are doing that are obviously struggling a lot more than I am, and actually that’s, I do feel for them even though their actions aren’t right.

And obviously they’re quite hurtful, but actually I haven’t taken it personally, and I won’t because I’m doing what I can to help as many people in return. I am trying to make sure this, the negative Nancys of the group are controlled, I guess, in a sense of, because they’re, I don’t think we should create an environment where just negativity thrives. I think actually it needs to be the complete opposite. We need to be remaining positive, and we need to show people what to do to be positive, and we need to uplift people. So, although, yeah, I’ve had a few bad experiences, the positive ones far, far outweigh those.

John – They do, but unfortunately human nature is that six months from now you will still remember the negative person.

Karlie – I don’t know, I’m not sure. I’ve forgotten about the person yesterday, ’til you brought it up.

Jason – Was it John?

John – It wasn’t me, no, I don’t leave reviews.

Karlie – I’ve tried a few times, trust me. John can you leave me a review please?

John – Unless it’s on my own books. I do leave reviews on my own books. They’re the only one star ones I’ve got, you know? So, this podcast, Karlie, is called the Ambitious Lifestyle Business podcast. What does an ambitious lifestyle business look like for you?

Karlie – Blimey, that’s a question. Well, I think it probably looks like my business and me, completely. And yeah, I just think that pushing yourself outside your comfort zone, finding a balance. So obviously you’ve got your family, your friends around you whilst you’re benefiting from the reward of actually having a successful business, because otherwise there’s no point in doing it.

And I think helping others as well, actually. I think part of being ambitious is to help people. Because actually, until you’re in this environment with everybody else, you don’t know how you’re gonna react, and actually just by learning from the way people respond to certain situations, I think will help you grow your own business. So I’d like to think that by supporting other people, yeah, it should just naturally flow towards an ambitious lifestyle business, definitely.

I feel like I’m very ambitious, but I’ve also got a nice lifestyle. So yeah, I’d probably say my businesses, to be honest.

John – I’d agree with that. I mean, you are one of the most ambitious people that I know. But you do have that lifestyle in mind. And it’s not ambition for ambition’s sake. It’s ambition to provide for your family and to provide the lifestyle and to design that lifestyle, design your businesses to serve and deliver the lifestyle that you want.

Karlie – Yeah, definitely. And ultimately I do everything for the boys. So they’re always at the forefront of everything I do, like the environment, so actually, yeah, the more I learn the more I realise a, I absolutely love work, I love business, but it isn’t work. It’s just my lifestyle. This is my lifestyle, and although I seem crazy busy all the time, I’m actually not. I’ve got a lot of systems and processes in place, where I am actually time rich and I can help others now, which is really good.

John- Okay good.

Jason – Thank you ever so much for joining us on this edition of the Ambitious Lifestyle Business podcast. It’s been great having you. If anybody wants to get into contact with you, I know we talked about your Facebook group for the coronavirus, so the Coronavirus Business Support Group UK. They can find you inside of that group, but how about if they want to contact you about EcoBlitz or any of the other businesses that ?

Karlie – So yeah, obviously I’m on LinkedIn, I’m on Facebook, so I’ve got EcoBlitz and then Ambition Property Group Limited on Facebook. I’ve also got Commercial Cleaning Group UK. So I can be found on Facebook mainly. But I do pop into LinkedIn every now and again, occasionally, I’m trying.

John – We’re all trying.

Jason – Thank you ever so much.

John – Fantastic, thank you very much, Karlie, and thank you once again for all your help that you’ve given all to your business owners, and yeah, it’s been wonderful having you on.

Karlie – Thank you for having me, I appreciate it. It’s been nice to see your faces.

John – I know, even if we can’t do face-to-face. We’re all in Plymouth, but we couldn’t do a face-to-face. So yeah, stay safe, keep washing those hands.

Karlie – Yeah.

Jason – Take care everybody, thanks very much for joining us.

– Thank you.

– Thanks.

John – Okay, so, I promised my three key things that every small business owner can do to not only survive but to thrive during coronavirus.

Item number one of the three key points is to sort out your immediate cash flow.

This is gonna be the biggest challenge that all, or majority of small business owners are gonna be facing during this crisis.

I’m not an expert on that. I’m a generalist. At this point, with this much at stake, you do not want a generalist giving you advice.

So do not take advice from me on sourcing your immediate cash flow. Speak to a professional. Speak to your accountant. Speak to your HR professional about the furloughing and business interruption loans, grants, all the stuff that’s available to you.

If you don’t have an accountant, you don’t have an HR professional, your accountant’s rubbish, whatever, drop me a line, john@bigidea.co.uk. I’ll put you in touch with some of the professionals that we’ve got in the One Percent Club.

Item number two that you need to look at is doubling down on your relationships.

So our sports betting business is busier than ever and there isn’t any sport.

Why is that?

It’s because the team are busy sending out quizzes, DVDs to watch, box sets to watch, educating customers, starting conversations.

We’ve been speaking to our suppliers. We’ve actually paid suppliers early, nevermind on time, ’cause we understand the impact that’s gonna have on them, and more than anything we are demonstrating that we care.

We’re demonstrating that these people matter to us and that they are important to us and that we care about them. And there’s a very important saying that you should remember at all times, but I think it’s even more appropriate right now.

Nobody remembers what you did. Nobody remembers what you said. But everybody remembers how you made them feel.

And there’s a lot of people right now who are just not even talking to their customers, and the first email they’re gonna send their customers is when this is all over and they go high, remember me. And if you are gonna send that email out and say, hey, we’re allowed out to play again, let’s do this thing, whatever your thing is, what response do you want your customers to have?

Do you want them to say, who the hell are you? I don’t remember you. Do you want them to say I kind of remember you? I think I bought something from you two years ago and you emailed me once or twice a year. Haven’t heard from you in however long we’ve been locked down for.

Or possibly worst of all, do you want them to have that reaction of oh, you haven’t been interested in me for the last couple of months because you’ve had nothing to sell to me, and now that finally you can make some money out of me you’ve decided to start talking to me again.

Is that the reaction you want your customers and your prospects to have?

Nah, I don’t think so.

So right now we are doubling down on all of our relationships.

Our open rates are higher than they’ve ever been. Our response rates are higher than they’ve ever been. The guys running our sports business, the day-to-day customer service team there, they are busier than they’ve ever been. 

Item number three is to build assets.

You may not be able to actually physically serve customers right now.

You may not have, you may have had to close the doors.

But what can you do during this time?

Use this time to build assets.

What are we doing in our businesses right now?

We’re overhauling our websites. We’re rewriting the training manual. We’re optimising all of our systems and processes. We’re working on our sales scripts. We’re writing SEO blog posts. We’re working on our own personal development.

I’ve gone through 40 hours of podcasts in the last three weeks. I’ve read probably six books since the start of lockdown. This is why I’ve done free book Friday. Every Friday I’m giving away my books. Sharpen the axe at this time.

If you cannot work, then what you can do is sharpen the axe, so when we come back and when we come out of this the other side, you’ve got the assets in place, you’ve made it through with the cash flow, and you’ve got the relationship with your customers and with your prospects that you love them, they love you, and we are ready to start rolling again.

So once again there were three things.

Number one, sort out your immediate cash flow, get a professional to look at that for you.

Number two, double down on your relationships. Everyone will remember how you made them feel during this period.

And finally, spend this time wisely, spend it building assets.

Hope that helps guys. Stay safe, and we’ll see you next month. 

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“John and Jason have been there and done it and don’t have an ego about it like many others.

I know I am better organised, better planned and prepared and more likely to succeed sooner, thanks to their wisdom and experience.”

Matt Tricot - 1upsearch

"Two normal blokes from Plymouth" John and Jason have been working together, building businesses for over two decades!

They're the anti-gurus with a strong dislike of psuedo business psycho-babble. Their no-nonsense, straightforward approach with relateable and valuable advice has won them followers from all over the world. They've helped hundreds of business owners improve their businesses and lives.

The King of Can-do and the 'Lazy' Entrepreneur have a mountain of knowledge they're happy to share.

Could you DOUBLE your business 1% at a time?

Could you grow your business by just 1% this week? That doesn’t sound too hard, does it? Well, if you could grow your business by just 1% every week, after 69 weeks, you’d have DOUBLED your business!

These 1% gains are the same techniques used by the British Cycling Team that helped them turn a bunch of “also-rans” into world beaters, notching up forty-two medals in the last four Olympics, as well as winning six of the last seven Tour De France races.

The One Percent Club will show you EXACTLY how to implement these 1% gains into your business, and how they can stack up to REALLY grow your business.

John released his first book “Big Ideas… for Small Businesses” in 2017, and it shot straight to the #1 bestseller list for Small Business and Entrepreneurship on Amazon, outselling books by Richard Branson, Alan Sugar and Duncan Bannatyne combined.

Since then, it’s sold thousands and thousands of copies all over the world, and attracted more than 100 five-star reviews. But more importantly, it’s changed the lives of small business owners all over the world, who now understand that running a lifestyle business isn’t a bad thing.

I think you’ll like it…

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