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Nov. 8, 2022

How To Define & Design Your Dream Life / Business In 3 Years w/ Cameron Herold

How To Define & Design Your Dream Life / Business In 3 Years w/ Cameron Herold

Cameron Herold is the Author of "Vivid Vision" one of my all time favorite business books. 

Cameron is a serial entrepreneur and COO extraordinaire. He has built and scaled multiple companies including 1-800-gotjunk? from 2 million to 106 million in 6 years. 

https://cooalliance.com/
https://cameronherold.com/


 

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Transcript
Brian:

Cameron. How are you my friend? Finally. Good man. How are you? I'm doing good. I'm doing good. You're a special interview for me because I distinctly remember sending you a Facebook message when I started the show. I said hey man, I started this brand new show called Action Academy. Would love to have you on, Love the book, and you. Nope. Too small . Yeah, and that continued for. A year. Yeah. And now here we are. And I loved every single second of it because I would message you every couple of months and you'd be like, Nope. Too small. Not worth the time. Too small. And I'm like, One day I'm gonna get Cameron on here and it's gonna be big enough and it's gonna be worth his time to come on.

Cam:

Now we're ready. And by the way, and that was never an a front on you. You took it perfectly. I just need to stay hyper focused. For me, it's about working on the critical few things versus the important many. Yeah, let's crush this. I'm good.

Brian:

I loved it. I just wanted to bring that up because people maybe sometimes would , take offense to that, I was fired up by it and I absolutely loved it. You have probably the number one book that I recommend on the show and recommended this audience. You are the author of Vivid Vision. , I wanna provide context before we get into the vision of your background and all of the insane things that you did with 1-800-GOT-JUNK. You took it in six years, from 2 million to $106 million. So I would love to start with your background, introduce yourself to the audience and walk us through that journey from 1-800-GOT-JUNK.

Cam:

So that's actually the middle of the journey. The founder of 1-800-GOT-JUNK. Brian, he and I met in a mastermind group that we were in called the Entrepreneurs Organization. So we were a part of eo. We were in a forum group together, and Brian watched me for four and a half years, build two other companies. So where I really got my start was with an organization called College Pro Painters, and it went on to become the world's largest residential house painting company in the world. I was a franchisee for three years. When I was 20 years old, I had 12 full-time employees. I built that company up. Then I worked for the head office and I oversaw 120 of their franchisees, including hiring Kimball Musk, Elon's brother in 1993, and then also his cousin Peter Reeve, who built Solar City. They were both employees of mine back in 1990. So I had coached 120 real companies by the time I was 30 years old. Left there and I was a partner in a chain of auto body collision repair shops, which became Gerber Auto Collision in the US Boyd Auto Body, and candidates, the largest collision repair chain in the world. Then I was hired as the president of a private currency company, similar to what Bitcoin is doing today, but we had 30,000 companies buying and selling using our digital currency like Starwood Hotels, Avis rent a car, budget, rent a car, the Rob report, all using our digital currency instead of the US dollar. That was 22 years ago. Left there after selling the company and I was hired by Brian, my best friend, to help him grow 1-800-GOD-JUNK, but because it was my, then my fourth company. For me it was very easy for the first five years. So really from the 2 million to the probably 60, 70 million zone, it was really simple cuz I'd done it before. So I was almost like his mentor and coach and partner for that first five years. Only in year six did that company get to be big. In my head we went from 14 employees to 3000. We were operating in 330 cities. We were in four countries and I'd been the COO for that entire trajectory. We were on Oprah. We were the number two company in all of Canada to work for. So I think what built that company was our focus around three things. Leveraging free pr, turning the company into a little bit more than a business and a little bit less than a religion, getting in that zone of a cult or a culture. And then really obsessing about growing my employees skills. And if I could really grow the skills of the management team, they could scale the company. So that was 1-800-GOT-JUNK I left there 15 years ago. And I've now written five books. I've got my sixth book called The Second In Command. Coming out in January, I've been paid to speak in 26 countries and on every continent. Last February, I was paid to speak in Antarctica to groups of entrepreneurs, and then now I have an organization called the COO Alliance and a podcast called the Second in Command. Yeah, I could

Brian:

tell you, I could tell you have a podcast and do keynotes with . How succinct that was . Beautiful, man. . So couple different parts I wanna pick apart there. , . I know that you come with an entrepreneurial background and your father was an entrepreneur, which got you into it at a very early age. What do you. Was different between you and the average 2020 to early 30 year old. Besides just the exposure, is there anything else that really wired you differently to be able to go through four different companies where you have most 20 year olds trying to figure out their ass from their elbow and they have no idea what's going on in life?

Cam:

I was groomed as were my brother and sister. We were all groomed to be entrepreneurs at a very young age. So I did a talk that's on the main TED website about raising kids as entrepreneurs. And I had my first entrepreneurial venture when I was seven. So I could tell you 15 different businesses that I had before I was 18 years old. So we were groomed to be entrepreneurs. But being an entrepreneur when I grew up was vilified. It was dirty, it was evil. We were capitalists. It wasn't cool. Entrepreneurship wasn't cool until 98, 99, the rise of the first.com era. So I was doing entrepreneurship when it wasn't cool. But what I was shown by my dad and by both my grandparents who were also entrepreneurs, was being an entrepreneur was not about money. It was about free time and controlling your time. The more that you could focus on free time and controlling your time, the faster the money would come. So that actually helped me build all these companies because I delegated more. I focused on growing people's skills more. I focused on working on the critical few things and saying no more. And that allowed everything to scale versus being obsessed about money, and forgetting At the end of the journey did I enjoy the journey. So I think that's probably what separated me from a lot of others. Entrepreneurship was about giving myself, this amazing life and lifestyle. Like my wife and I have now been to, I think 36 countries in the last four years. And that's including during the Covid window. We, so it's all about me controlling time and free time, and then the money follows.

Brian:

Yeah. And so now you're a full time digital nomad for the last 18 months, correct? Yeah, we

Cam:

sold our house in Arizona, sold the Hellman Vancouver, got rid of our cars. We're down to a backpack in the day pack that's,

Brian:

Man, for people listening you guys have been following me on my journey and then you got Cameron over here that's just taking that and putting it on steroids, man. I love it. But I'm curious. Entrepreneurship. Like you said, it used to be vilified and now it's celebrated. It's become this sexy thing, and before you had this hustle porn kind of culture in entrepreneurship in general to where it was, the grind was glorified, right? It was that 90, a hundred, 120 hour work weeks, and now it's going to your point. The pivot to freedom, The pivot to, Okay, cool. Let's delegate, let's have systems, let's find our operator. I'm curious from the inside perspective of you being involved in both kind of time zones here. What were the big changes and catalysts that you saw that were the change between the hustle culture to what we

Cam:

have? Two big, two big actual catalysts for that. And both of them actually ended up being friends of mine. And the first one was Tim Ferris. He and I met four hour work week . Yeah. So Tim and I met about 14 years ago. I took Tim to his first burning man. He stayed at my home, his brother stayed at my home. I've known Tim forever. And so Tim's four hour work week really showed people how to actually set up a business so it could operate without you having to run it all. And that was a very foundational, but that's only 14 years old, 15 year old mindset. That was that was definitely foundational. The second one was Gina Wickman, who wrote Traction, his entrepreneurial operating system, eo. Showed the visionary integrator and now entrepreneurs don't have to know how to do it all. They can find the right who's right, like Dan Hardy and Ben wrote Who Not How. That again is another pivot point, that traction system. So I think those are probably two very big ones that I just happen to be pretty deep in with. I, Tim, again, Tim and I are super close personal friends, but then Gino Wickman and I are in two different mastermind communities. I'll see Gino tonight at the Genius. Yeah,

Brian:

I'm having Ben Hardy on in January. So

Cam:

I'll see Ben. I'll see Ben tonight. We're both members of the Genius Network and Strategic Coach together.

Brian:

Love it. , tell him that this was the best interview you've ever done, and he should get excited and ready for it.

Cam:

And there's a note, there's actually a lesson there for everybody listening as well. Pay to put yourself into the communities where you're around really smart people to raise your bar, right? If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room. But if you can pay to put yourself in a Mastermind community. So I go to Strategic Coach, I go to the main five day TED Conference. I've done that for 11 years. I go to Baby Bathwater, I go to War Room. I like, so when you put yourself in these communities and you're around these other really focus driven people, It raises your game, right? You're under, you end up being around biohackers all day long. You end up being around people that are building companies. You end up people that are driven and focused, and then you don't have to be the smartest person in the room because you know them. So you can connect the points. I love

Brian:

that. And to the point of TED Talks, there was a quote that you said in one of them that I think is a perfect segue. Story of the creation of Vivid Vision, which was one of your first big breakaway books. And that's one of the books that has literally changed the course of my life because like you and I just talked about off camera that is what I did. I left Corporate America because I created the Vivid Vision. It was a three year vision. I accomplished it in 1.2 years. Now you said this quote in one of your TED Talks and it really, was one of these lightning bolt quotes and I specifically remember it because, I was always having difficulties in describing the difference to people between a vivid vision and a vision board. , and you were talking about when you were on stage, you said, if I were to do a vision board, that is my personal perspective. So you would not be able to be on board with what I'm saying because if my goal is to do a Ted talk and speak on stage. My vision board would be a picture of me looking at the audience, whereas your picture would be the audience looking at me on

Cam:

the stage. Bingo. Yeah. It's, so I'm actually friends with John Asra from the movie, The Secret John's, the guy who popularized the idea of vision boards in the movie. The whole idea with a vision board is, remember the saying, a picture says a thousand. Yeah, so if I cuted a picture and it's a picture of, a dining room table and it's all set and it has glasses and cutlery and there's people sitting there and there's champagne bottles and champagne flutes and wine, and great food. The one thing in that photo that might be important for me, for my vision board might be the idea of a champagne flute to celebrate something. . But you might see the picture and think it's about dinners with friends. Cuz we see something very different in a picture. So a vision board is a great way for a person. To take their ideas and put pictures in front of them to motivate them and align them and remind them. A vivid vision is a four or five page written description of what your company or your personal life. Looks acts like and feels like three years in the future. And I'll send you a couple examples that you can share with your listeners. I'll send you an example of my personal vivid vision. I'll send you one that my wife and I wrote for our marriage together, and then I'll send you one for the COO alliance. And you'll see a very different description of each of the three most important things in my life. And it's not me understanding how I'm gonna make them come true, but it's describing the finished state. So a real good example of a vivid. You hopped into a time machine. You flew out to December 31st, 2025, and you walked around your company. You describe the meetings, you describe the energy, you describe your physical office space. You describe the hybrid work culture. You describe your remote employees. You describe your marketing, your pr, You describe your leadership team and your meeting rhythms. You describe every aspect of your company as if you're walking through it, describing what you see now. You don't know how it happened yet. But when you can describe it as a four or five page description and you can get a writer, polish it, a copywriter to make it pop off the page, then you can figure out how to make every sentence come true. Similar to a homeowner who wants to build a home. The homeowner is really the CEO of the home building project, but they don't know how to do electrical or do plumbing or hang cabinets or put in furniture. They put in floors, but I can describe what I want the home to look and feel like. The contractor, if they understand my vision, can create the blueprints. The contractor can hand the vision and the blueprints to the employees, and the employees can build my home without ever speaking. To me, that's the power of the vivid vision. And then the third aspect is the vision statement, right? That one sentence statement where we mash a bunch of our words up and it's supposed to align everybody, go team. That one sentence mission statement doesn't do enough to actually explain the whole company like a vivid vision.

Brian:

It's also a better articulation of values of a company as well because , I was reading the book The Buddha and The Badass By Vision, who I know is another friend of yours. Of course. I was reading the book and I had no idea that you were gonna pop up. And then I saw you and I was like, this guy again. , so Vision is the CEO of Mindvalley and he was talking about how he made the pivot going from those boardroom meetings where everyone's throwing stuff at a wall to see what sticks is your buzz words. You. We wanna have integrity values. He's But what does any of this mean? And then in comes the vivid vision and they're able to implement it and articulate it. So before we get into some more tangible examples, can you walk us backwards a little bit about the creation of this and how this book came to be?

Cam:

Yeah, so I actually, my dad when I was 16, said, Cameron, you're never gonna be smart enough to figure out business on your own. Your r and d should stand for ripoff and duplicate . Find, Find the really great companies and do what they're doing. So I realized that just was going to be my path. I was gonna find the cheat sheets. So 24 years ago, 1998, I was invited to a lunch in Vancouver, 120 entrepreneurs got invited, about 20 of us showed up, and we were meeting with this Olympic coach, and he was a high performance sports psychologist. Who coached athletes on how to use visualization to excel in sport. And he talked to us about how to use visualization in business. And he said, If you can get your employees to see what you can see as the entrepreneur, they can figure out how to make that come true. And he challenged us to write down the vision for our business and what it would look like and feel. So I created one for my barter company. We became u barter.com, which we built and sold back for 64,000,020 years ago. 22 years ago, Brian created what he then called his painted picture for 1-800-GOT-JUNK, and that was what became the Vivid Vision concept. And then when I joined Brian two years later, Brian handed me his 2003 painted picture or the vivid vision for one eighth under Got Junk. I read it and I was so inspired by what I read and I saw how I could make every sentence come true. Cause I'd already built three companies, two in the franchising space. I was like, Okay, get outta the way. Let me do this. And he was so relieved cuz he didn't know how to do everything on there at all. He'd never built a franchise company. He'd never done marketing. He'd never like, so all of those things that he didn't know how to do that were in the vivid vision I knew how to do. And I was excited cuz he'd written it down so I could see what he could see. We had an unfair advantage, right where most people are hiring their integrator or their second in command. Brian and I had a very unfair advantage. He was my best man at my wedding three months before I joined him as his second in. We knew each other for four and a half years. It's almost like he had a four and a half year interview getting to know me. So I walked in day one with huge amount of trust, huge amount of relationship with the ceo, and so much clarity around that vision that I could then help him make it come true. And he was able to move back and let me do it because he knew me and trusted me. And we were able to, I want to

Brian:

hit a, on a couple of points when it comes to vision in general. So one commonality that I see for people that are especially early in their entrepreneurial career or people that are listening to this, that are maybe in that W2 position like I was before, and I was writing out all these wild, crazy ideas in my vision, right? I'm over here writing about waking up in Greece. There was that pit in my stomach that said, Dude, there's no way in hell that you would ever do that. How would you figure out how to do that? But because of the size of the vision, I had people that were attracted to that vision because it was so large that they started coming in. And I've seen that to be true over and over again. It's A players start to get more attracted to solving that problem as opposed to a smaller vision. I'm curious about your perspective on.

Cam:

So there's two parts of that you can lean out too far with your vision, and it becomes so far out there that it's hard to get people to be inspired unless you've done it before. So an example of this is Elon wants to colonize Mars. . So that's okay. But remember I met Elon in January of 1995. His brother used to work for me. I was a reference for Elon and Kimball mos in their first round of funding for ZIP two in January of 95, where they only wanted to raise $600,000 and they raised $3 million. No one would bank on Elon Doc then because he was unproven and dreamed too big. They invested in Kimball and his operational experience on the ability to make the dream of this mapping company with zip two happen. They later sold ZIP two for about a $350 million in cash to compact. Only because Elon has been able to do that. Take Tesla, was she acquired or was the first investor, Turn that right. Build out space X because he is now got proof, they're willing to lean out further. But the B a G is colonizing Mars. That's the big hair audacious goal that's different from a vivid vision. So my company, my B a G, my big hair audacious goal that Jim Collins term is to replace vision statements with vivid visions world. That's my colonize Mars. It's like Simon Sinek has that core purpose. Simon was on, he was on our board of advisors four years before he wrote the book. Start With Why Simon flew out to meet Brian and I at wanting Togo Junk and talked to me. He's the one who showed me my core purposes to help entrepreneurs make their dreams happen. So I would not be on your podcast if it was for government or if it was for marketers, or if it was for lawyers, or if it was for real estate. I'm on your podcast because it's about entrepreneurial organizations, so it's a hell. Everything I do is aligned with my core purpose. So what inspires people is your b a G, your core purpose, and then that three year vivid vision, which is almost like the picture on the front of the jigsaw puzzle box. If they can see what they're building, they can figure out the how. But if it's too big and you're unproven yet, the b a G might scare them away. But if you have the B a G and the vivid vision and your core purpose and your core values, you.

, Brian:

I wanna elaborate on that from the people that I've seen accomplish both Vivid Vision and B a Gs when they create this vision, They accomplish the vision and it gets almost to a scary dollar amount to where it's like almost exact dollar amount that they anticipated, but the how was completely different than they could have ever imagined.

, Cam:

have you heard you tell this

Brian:

before? No.

. Cam:

So when I joined Brian, it was October, 2000. We were $2 million in revenue and towards the end of that first year, we were sitting at the top of the Hyatt Hotel in Vancouver with Andrew Sherman, who is our corporate lawyer. He's the lawyer for the Entrepreneurs Organization as well. And Andrew said to Brian and I, What would you like your revenue to be in five? And Brian and I, without skipping a beat, we'd never talked about this before. Both of us said a hundred million. And then I looked to Brian, he looked to me and we're like, Where the fuck did that come from? I remember where we were sitting and I'm like, We both said it. And then we started laughing and Andrew goes, a hundred million. It is, let's go. That night over drinks, we reverse engineered a hundred million backwards a year to 50, backwards to 25. So we reverse engineered it and I realized all we needed to do was five doubles and we would get there. So four to eight, eight to 16, 16 to 32, 32 to 64, 64, 1 0 6 done. And that's literally

Brian:

what we did. So you were able to pretty accurately map out the how and then execute

Cam:

on it, once we knew the destination. We wanted to build a world class brand, so it was all about our b a G was to create a world class company culture. , we knew our core values, we knew our quality focus areas. We knew the foundational. We knew where we were going. I knew where we were, right? So we just reverse engineered the delta from where are we going to where we are. Kind of did that SWAT analysis and then we figured out how to get there. So in the early days it was build a marketing program, build a marketing budget, build a marketing calendar, build a franchise training manual, build a franchise training program, build a franchise sales program, build a leadership team training program to grow people, build a cult so we could have that magnetic culture to attract customers and employee. Leverage free pr cuz we had no money for advertising. So the more free press we could get, the more we could. And that we, By the way, I left the company in May of 2007, right as Facebook was starting and I had the first, the Facebook account, people were laughing at me, so we had no social media when we built one each Togo junk. It was all built off of culture and pre and. , so there's some transition points that happen at every one and three in your company. So if you go from a hundred thousand to 300,000 to a million to 3 million to 10 million to 30 to a hundred, right at a hundred thousand in revenue, you're able to start replacing your job. At 300,000 in revenue, you probably have enough money to hire a person to do some work for you at a million dollars in revenue. You probably have a bunch of employees, and you probably have a manager who's managing a few people. For you. At 3 million in revenue, you've probably got your first management team, four or five people that are managing everyone in the business for you, and you're managing those four or five people. But they're not leaders yet. They're managers. They're compet. At about 3 million. You're fine. Sorry, at about 10. That's at 3 million. At 10 million. You're probably now putting your first leadership team in place. You're probably now starting to get some people from the outside. But that leadership team, you need to grow their skills. That's the whole reason why I launched my Invest in Your Leaders course at the 10 million mark. You have to grow people. You have to grow their skills around coaching, delegation, situational leadership, time management, like all the soft skills of leader. To go from 10 million to 30, you're now building your first real leadership team. You're hiring people from the outside. Politics are starting to come into the organization to go from 30 million to a hundred million. It's about building a solid team. Really start solid skill set. Removing the politics, keeping people focused, getting back to the critical few things, saying no more to them. You say yes, and that propels you from 30 million to a hundred million where you can then really hire the first time the pure team of people that have built two or three companies each, your head of marketing has done it two or three times. You're head of find, like that point is a trajectory shift and then it's from a hundred million to wherever you want.

Brian:

To circle back to our original conversation when we began this, where it went from a culture of , hustle porn, and the glory is in the grind to the freedom part. So now that you've done that, you've built and scaled to a hundred million dollar exits and all that stuff, was it worth it to you? Looking back in hindsight with the amount. Effort and work that it took to build, because I've had some perspective from some of my friends that have built a hundred million dollar companies and they were like, it took decades outta my life. And I'm not sure if I would go back and scale to that specific level again, or is there just a better way to do it? Bingo

Cam:

is a better way to do it. You've seen, you've seen a fly trying to get out a window and it keeps kinda bang, right? And then, but you're like, Dude, there's a door. Fucking here. Turn, Go out the damn door. Like it's Just go out the door. right? There's always a better way to do it. Driving harder, working harder, trying to catch up, never actually scales your. So the lessons that I learned pretty early on that I wish I'd even be better at that I'm much better at today is you delegate everything except genius. You start hiring people to do the stuff that's below your effective hourly rate. So as an example, when I used to do a lot of, a lot more coaching of CEOs than I do today, cause I'm really focusing on growing the co alliance in my course, but my hourly coaching rate was 4,200 an. I was 70, I was $7,000 for one 90 minute call a month. So when, So basically if you're not gonna pay me $4,000 an hour, I don't want to do work for you. And that means I should not be doing any work that's a hundred dollars task, or a $50 task or a $20 task. I should be delegating all that stuff to either free up my time or to work in my unique ability. So I would have hired more people earlier, I would have delegated more faster. We did a great job of that at one eight He junk, but the two companies prior to that, yeah, I definitely worked harder than I needed to work out. I learned and now I started, building one eight Indigo junk. I was 35, so I already had enough wisdom at 35 to build that as my fourth company, but that's where we really worked on growing people and delegating more and growing people and delegating more. My to-do list was, it needs to get done, but not by Cameron. Build your whole list of stuff that needs to get done. Who can do it? How? How few hours do I want spent on that project? How little money do I want spent on that project? Who can get it done? If they don't have the skills, I'm gonna grow them, but I'm not gonna do their work. I just look at how can I get someone to do this and how do I make sure they have the skills and confidence to do this? So I use a lot of situational leadership, a lot of coaching, and a lot of delegation. Three of the core skills for my invest in your leaders course. That's how you propel your. I

Brian:

There's so many different rabbit holes that I wanna take you down here in a second. But first I wanna bring you back with one last question the reason I'm asking these questions is because these are topics that I haven't really heard you pressed on too much. I like getting this side of you to where I can hear a little bit more in depth about some of this stuff. Where do people go wrong with doing their visions? What vivid visions do you see crash and burn and

Cam:

why? Yeah. One is they put too many data points in their vivid vision, and it becomes too much more like a plan and less of a vision describing where you're going. Wow, it's more qualitative than quantitative. Second is they tend to lean out too far into the future, and they're trying to describe their company in 10 years or 20. That's too far of a stretch. People, if you lean out too far, you fall over. So It's people that are leaning out a little bit too far that they're not able to then attract and retain the right people cause it's too much of a stretch or because it's so far out, there's not enough tension to make it happen. So it's all about leaning out far enough and then getting the plan in place and then executing on those critical few things. It's also really where I think people go short on their vivid vision. They don't focus on the foundational parts first. Let's say you're hiring six people, which people can you hire first that will grow your revenue and will grow your gross margin. So then you have more money to hire the operational people or the people that can build out your processes and systems. But I think a lot of companies often go wrong in building the better mouse trap and forgetting to sell the better mouse trap. So it's almost like you wanna sell it first and then use that money to build it.

Brian:

So focus on the profit centers

Cam:

first. Yeah. Anything that like, Cuz as Joe Polish has always said from the genius network, there's not a single problem that exists that a check can't solve. So if you have gross margin coming in, you can buy your way out of any problem. But the better system or the better Mouse trap or the better widget doesn't necessarily scale. And then you spent money and time building something without enough money to take it to the next level. So that's something that we worked really hard on was how do we get more revenue, and then keep going faster. And then as we're growing fast, figure out how do we hold it together as we continue to. Perfect.

Brian:

All right. That makes a lot of sense. So the pivot that I want to take is an accidental rabbit hole that I found myself going down when I was looking at your podcast second in command, and I saw a name from 20 18. Ironically, I was going back and I saw a name that I now recognize that I would've had no clue who this person was back in 2018, and that was Layla Hormo. Whoa. Yeah, so I saw Layla H's name pop up, and I was like, Holy crap. Because now I am obsessed with the HSEs, as is most of the business world. That's just the content that we're consuming. And now they've got acquisition.com. Doing all this. So it was really fun for me to go listen back to your interview with her back in 2018 and how things have differed now that she's got this media machine and this entire portfolio of companies built up. I'm curious about your relationship and what you've seen along their trajectory, and then also the power of media when it comes to COOs and operations, because it seems like it's a massive accelerant, especially in today's.

Cam:

Yeah. Okay. So two parts there. Funny you mentioned Layla and Alex from Mosy. literally last night, so 12 hours ago, I sent Alex her mossy an email on my flight from where we were in transit coming back from Dubai, but I sent Alex a note. I met Alex and Layla four or five years ago. And they came to an event that I hosted on building a world class company culture, and it was how to turn your company from something into a little bit more than a business into a little bit less than a religion. It's how to get into the zone of a cult. So I actually trained them on how to turn their company into more of a cult. They were amazing at marketing, but they didn't necessarily have the operational chops at the time. They then put their COO or their second in command who is at a Layla's sister. They put her into one of the early years of the COO Alliance as a member. So we helped grow her skills and capacity as well. They're fucking geniuses when it comes to, to, the marketing and that's exactly what I mean. They're always focused on marketing, sales, marketing, sales, marketing, sales. Yeah. Then they can spend the money on figuring out how to grow the business better. But if they'd only spent time on this, on the operations, operation, they have this perfectly operating company, they wouldn't necessarily have the scale they

Brian:

have today. Yeah, I just wanted to use that as a bit of a segue into the whole COO conversation because this is your niche and this is what you're infatuated with, is helping these second in commands really take over and grow these companies up to these new levels. I'm curious about your perspective on the second command, because this is your entire brand.

Cam:

So it really comes down to the fact that A, again, I talked earlier about it, my to-do list, it needs to get done, but not always by me building a company has to happen, but it's not the entrepreneur that has to do everything. The entrepreneur has to find the two or three things that they love to do, that they're amazing at, that feed them with energy and they have to delegate everything except genius. So the key is if you're gonna delegate a lot of growing your business to an integrator or to a second in command to a GM or VP Ops or a coo, that second in command has to have the skills to do what's on their plate. All of these systems that we're growing companies with, I don't know why people keep trying to teach the entrepreneur how to grow the company. That's not the person that's growing the company. The person that's growing the company is the second in. So it's about putting the skills into the hands of the people that are actually doing it for you. So the COO Alliance, my second in Command podcast, my Invest in Your Leaders course are all about growing the COO or all about growing the managers and leaders in your company. If we grow their skills, that will grow their confidence, which will grow your company. So think of your COO or every manager that works for your company. So anybody that's listen. Think about any manager or leader in your company, and think about as if they're climbing up two ladders, two 40 foot extension ladders that are right beside each other on the wall of a house. The left ladder, they're climbing with their left foot and their left hand, the right ladder, right beside it. They're climbing with their right foot and their right hand in case you're climbing up two ladders, right foot, left foot, right foot. The left ladder is skills. The right ladder is confide. We need to grow their skills and grow their confidence and grow their skills, and grow their confidence. If their confidence is shaking, they're not gonna be able to go up on the other ladder. They're gonna be too nervous if their skills are shaking, they're not gonna have the confidence so that ladder's gonna start shaking. The key is to grow both. And what happens in most companies is the entrepreneur gets growth. The entrepreneur goes to masterminds, the entrepreneur works on their skills, but all the other people in the company are on these shaky ladder. So I've flipped it upside down and said, Invest in your leaders, right? With that whole invest in your leaders course. Grow your second in command by putting 'em into the COO alliance. Give them the skills to do what they have to do and then coach them and cheer them on and use situational leadership with grows their confidence and then your company scales. What makes

Brian:

a rockstar coo?

Cam:

First off, the rockstar COO is completely aligned with the vision of the ceo, so it's really being on that same. Secondly, it's the C. It's the building, the trust and the communication between the CEO and coo. So the trust is implicit so that they can execute almost like a partnership and a marriage. So you can execute with that kind of level of trust and intuition with each other. You're on the same page. And then third is the COO who wants to work on areas of the business. The CEO doesn't want to and they don't Metal. And that they also look to shine the light on the ceo, to make the CEO iconic, which will have the CEO shining the light on the ceo. It's almost like a very yin and yang relationship. It's why I put the yin and yang symbol on the front cover of my book. Second in command is because it's that yin and yang partnership.

Brian:

What's some advice that you can give to the visionaries that are listening to this that do not yet have that operator and they do not yet have that second in command and they are openly looking for them. They have the revenue they have the business that needs and is desperately screaming for that second in command, that rockstar, but they can't seem to find the right person or they keep cycling through people where it's just not a right fit, not a right fit, not a right fit. Talk to that.

Cam:

I'm gonna talk a lot about it in my book, Second in Command, which comes out in January. So perfect timing for our podcast. The first thing I would say to them is, do you have an executive assistant? If you're a visionary, if you're an entrepreneur or a ceo and you don't have an executive assistant, you are one. So you need it, right? , Brian: Cameron Baum. Yeah. Sorry for the brutal truth there, but that's really where most CEOs are missing. Most of them don't need an A COO yet. Most of them need a second in command or an executive assistant first. After you hire your executive assistant, you can delegate all the 20, $25, 40 hour tasks. You get all the administrivia off your plate and then you're, when you start getting overwhelmed. Then you can hire the real second in command to take all the business stuff off your plate. Second, but most entrepreneurs should not go out and hire a second in command right away. They should hire the executive assistant

Brian:

first. Okay. That's interesting. That makes a lot of sense though, to be able to start with it at a lower position. Figure out the delegation, figure out what actually you need to

Cam:

do. Why would you go hire a 200,000 or $300,000 second in command when you could hire a $60,000 executive assistant and really free up your time for six to eight months, 12 months? That saves you a lot of cash. It gets a lot of stuff done and off your plate, but it's, and then allows you to focus on the critical few things versus the important many that allows you to scale, but don't drain your cash out by giving a $250,000 person $20 tasks to do.

Brian:

Yeah. And I like that you said about the the delegation of the time too, because that's something Alex Harmo was saying in one of his podcasts was he was saying that a lot of people are accomplishing this. What they're trying to do is delegate, delegate everything out. He goes, But they're not actually doing anything with the noon free time He goes, Now you have all this free time. Say you actually have to work guys. You have to still keep working, but just on the more important high impact, high leverage activities,

Cam:

exactly that. That's the key is to decide. So for me, my unique ability is to use my quick intuitive alternatives to help entrepreneurs reverse engineer their dreams. So that's me speaking, doing interviews and doing coaching. It's really not the everything else that I tend to work on, right? The stuff that I could be quite good at, but doesn't necessarily feed me or give me energy. That's the stuff that I have to get more and more of that off my plate. That's why Alex for Mosy will say, I'll give away these systems. I'll do every interview. It's because he realizes the more that he just shares his ideas and shares his vision and shares his energy, the more people will line up to buy whatever he's selling and then his team can figure out how to fulfill on all that stuff.

Brian:

Exactly. I wanna use that as a transition point to talk about the new book and to talk about everything that you've got going on. So the book is out in January. Talk to us about what's gonna be in the book, why everyone here should go ahead and pre-order it right now.

Cam:

So the whole idea with the book is I really wanted to teach entrepreneurs or visionaries, CEOs how to actually go out and. Onboard and build a relationship with a true second in command, right? How to do what Brian and I did at one 800 Junk. So it's just giving them all those systems to understand if you're gonna be hiring one, how do you know what to look for? How do you find someone who really balances where you suck? Or how do you find someone who can help you build your vision? So it's really talking about how to look for them, and then how to do the actual interviews and how to do the reference checks and how to actually bring them in. And then once you've got. How do you build out that strong relationship? How do you divide the roles and responsibilities? How do you not medal? How do you build better communication and trust systems in place to really build that yin and yang? And then I even get into how do you know when it's time to replace them? How do you know when it's time to get the next, the next camera? Cause I'm, I was the first COO at wanting hundred got. They're now on their third, they replaced me 12 months after I left. They replaced me with the former president of Starbucks, usa. She came in and then Brian let her go. 12 months later, she was the wrong hire. Then they went out and hired Eric Church and Eric has now been there for 10 years. So when you hire the, But Eric would've been horrible in the first seven years. I've known Eric for 35 years now. We started a fraternity together in Ottawa in 1987. Eric would've been a horrible COO for the first six years. And I would've been a horrible COO for the period been there, we were the right people for that right time period for the stuff that needed to get done. So the book, second command talks about all of that as well.

Brian:

Perfect. In closing, I'm curious about all the different entrepreneurial activities that you've done, all the different businesses you've built, all the different organizations you've been a part of, and all the things that you've done with your investing. Which part has brought you the most fulfillment?

Cam:

I think there's fulfillment and then there's like excitement or like that felt good, right? So the Sure, putting the flag in the ground and saying that felt good. Building one eighth under got junk so that it was number two company in all of Canada to work for. And then two years prior to that, two years in a row, number one to work for in British Columbia. That was big as like we did it. Yeah. Getting our company appearing on Oprah, we had about a six or seven minute piece on Oprah was big, right? Because everyone wanted that when we did it. Those would be two big ones. But I think what's probably been more fulfilling is starting stuff and seeing people grow and. And growing kind of their skills and confidence, like building the fraternity building one eight undergrad junk and still seeing it succeed 20 odd years later. Building out my COO alliance and seeing the people that I've brought on, that I've spent time with and nurtured and aligned and given them the confidence and skills, and seeing them take on more and more is fulfilling. But then I think most importantly is remembering. I'm also doing this to give me the free time to have the life that I want so that my wife and I can spend time together. My kids and I can spend time together. I can spend time with my friends. I can have my free time so that I get to really enjoy this life. I think that's probably been huge as well.

Brian:

I love it, my friend. I appreciate you coming on. Tell people where they can find you and talk a little bit more about the podcast and the

Cam:

Alliance. Sure. Yeah, my Invest In Your Leaders course, certainly critical for everybody to get three to five of their managers signed up for that, grow their skills. So that's Invest in Your leaders.com. My second in Command podcast, we only interview the coo. I've always wanted the rest of the story, so everybody else interviews the entrepreneur. I interview the integrator or the coo and we've. The head of Bumble and Cleveland Indians and Shopify and just some amazing brands, Asana as guests so you can listen to those episodes. And then the COO alliance, if your company is at least 5 million or greater in revenue, I think our average size members around 42 million. But as long as you're 5 million or greater, take a look at putting your COO into the COO alliance.

Brian:

I love it, my friend. Thank you very much for coming on. It's been an absolute pleasure. I'm excited to get the new book, and thank you for all that.

Cam:

Thank you Brian. One last point I wanna leave everybody with is to remember that none of this shit actually matters. This is just what we do to make money, so let's have fun along the path.

Brian:

Sounds good to me, man. And with that, that has been Cameron Haard and Brian Lubin with the Action Academy Podcast, signing off.