Grow Your Business With This One Change With Joshua Gillow And Duane Draughon

Ep. 63: Grow Your Business With This One Change

BCC 63 | Grow Your Business

What if the secret to growing your business relies on you making one small change? Today’s guests are Joshua Gillow, Founder of YES Express, and Duane Draughon, Co-Founder and Lead Designer of VizX Design Studios. The duo also hosts the Outerspaces Podcast, sharing tips, strategies, and contractor success stories. Joshua and Duane join Ryan Englin to talk about how they built their own successful businesses in the outdoor living space and what you can do to achieve the same results. All it takes is one little shift. Tune in and gain incredible insight on how to take your business to the next level.

Grow Your Business With This One Change With Joshua Gillow And Duane Draughon

I’ve got a couple of guests here that I’m excited to talk about because I often meet people coaching other people, how to get this done, get out of their business, and create success, and they’ve never done it themselves. Not these two guys. They’ve built some amazing least successful businesses in the outdoor living space. We’re going to talk about what they’ve learned and what things you can do in your business to help you achieve some of the same incredible results they have. I’d love to welcome to the show Duane Draughon and Joshua Gillow. Welcome to the show.

Thanks for having us.

I always start out with this first question. What is the biggest myth in your industry? I don’t want you to limit it to outdoor living spaces. Let’s talk about the trades in general, anybody that’s in that construction space.

The biggest myth in our industries is that if you work in your business for most of your life, you’re going to retire rich one day.

Break that down for me. You talk about working in the business. What are you talking about?

Showing up every day as your best employee owning the company and thinking that you’re going to work, maybe like your grandparents did on the farm. You’re going to work and one day you’re going to open up your bank account and there’s going to be tons of money in there. That’s not the reality of life and owning your job is like working in your business. Once you flip and strip and start working on your business, that all changes.

I love what you said there, “It’s a job.” If you wake up and go to work for yourself every day versus creating an asset, creating this value and leveraging other people to make it happen. How did you guys take that concept in versus on your business and create the incredible businesses that you guys have?

When I was much younger, I grew up in a garden center. At five years old, I started in a family business and grew through that, selling things and getting used to helping people and all that good stuff. I worked in the family business. My brother, father and I started a landscaping company. I worked in that business as well and I was not aware of it at the time, but working a little bit on it and mostly in it. Fast forward that fifteen years, we kept hitting this glass ceiling. I couldn’t get through it. I couldn’t break that million-dollar line. Eventually, I realized in order to do that, I had to start working on the business, not in the business.

That started to change. It worked out well. I started another company where we focused more on the design and the management portion of the industry. I shattered right through that in no time. It’s because I started working on the business, not in it as much. As soon as I started that, I started hiring people to do the things that I was doing so that I could focus on the growth and the trajectory to be the captain of the ship, not the one running around, throwing the coal in the engine. It’s constantly changing your roles to get to a point where you’re managing a company, an actual entity, and not working in the business doing the day-to-day task and trusting. The big thing is to trust that other people can do it, and not just do it, but do it a hell of a lot better than you.

Trust that other people can do it, and not just do it, but do it a hell of a lot better than you. Click To Tweet

The change came from educating yourself and educating your mind. We all talked about this in our podcast. The trades were such a powerful thing back then and we were also looked down upon and you look down upon yourself. When we were working our businesses, we did not feel right unless we were the ones working. We were the physical wheelbarrow pusher. Before I met my wife, I bragged that I worked 67 days straight, and that was like a hurrah brag, like, “I’m working hard.”

Educating yourself and understanding that Who Not How types of books. Proximity is power hanging around the right people, and then you start educating yourself and you realize that, “Maybe I need to start doing this another way. Maybe I need to start bringing people in who can do this better than me. Educate or motivate them and you can pull away from the business,” and that’s what I did. When I look back in the terms of years, this is why I’m so passionate about teaching. I have more years of that physical work than I do have of the years now that I have the management work. I want to help change this for people.

What is the thing that’s holding most people back from this? I get we could go down the hiring path. You can’t leverage and find people you can trust if hiring is so hard. That’s probably a different conversation, but there’s something that comes before people. We were talking about this briefly before we started this show. Talk to me a little bit about what you think is the number one thing holding businesses back.

I want to start on mindset in general. The more I’ve understood this study, 80% of what we think in our minds is what we become. We’re never thinking, “Let’s hire people. Let’s bring them in.” We’re always thinking, “I got to pay that next bill. I can do the job. Nobody can do it and talk to the client better than me.” Until we release that out of our minds, a lot of the businesses are always going to say the same way.

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. If you keep that mindset that you’re the only one or you’re going to go broke if you bring somebody in, you’re going to get stuck in that rhythm and that pattern, and it’s going to stay that same way. What needs to change first is to change the mindset then start working everywhere else.

You only got so many hours in a day or a week. Even if you’re billing an insane amount at the top of the market, you’re going to put a limit on what you can make and what your business can do if you don’t figure out how to get out of that stuff.

At the end of the day, that’s a good point. Most business owners out there, a lot of them start out as actual workers. They got a hobby, and all of a sudden it becomes their business. What happens is they get stuck in that role. They have a hard time changing what they do because they’ve always promoted their way of doing things to their clients, and then all of a sudden, if they put somebody else in place, they would do it differently. They don’t have systems and processes in place. They do it the way they do. How can you trust somebody to go out and do you? It’s not going to happen. That doesn’t work. Oftentimes, that’s too big of a mountain to climb and they stay away from it.

They’ll say, “I’ll bring somebody in and I’ll have them do the stuff behind me. I always have to be the front of the company,” but the problem is you can only go so far. If you want a vacation, the company stops growing and moving. It doesn’t work that way. A big thing for business owners after they’ve been doing it a while is trust issues. That’s a huge one. You are trusting that others are going to do it the same or better. That’s isn’t the case. Believe it or not, we have to put our egos which is the second piece here. Put those that aside because as for the mindset, it’s so much, especially the males out there. They’re driven by ego like, “I want to be the face of a company. I want to be sitting in that truck. I want people to be looking at me. I’m the one that’s building this empire,” but they didn’t step back a little bit.

BCC 63 | Grow Your Business
Grow Your Business: The biggest myth in our industry, or industries in general, is that if you work in your business for most of your life, you’re going to retire rich one day.

Step back and realize that the bigger goal is to empower that team because as a business owner working on your business, it’d be great to be able to do that from a beach, while running five other companies, or being at your kid’s soccer game. That’s the cool part. That’s the success. It’s not having 50 guys looking at you saying, “Boss, what’s next,” or 85 trucks in a row with your name on it where you can point to your friends, “I own that.” It’s lame. The team behind it drives the engine of the business.

The best leaders create that team and empower and equip them with what they need to make it happen. I’m so passionate about process and systems, but most of the stuff that a business owner I see happening is they’re stretched in 100 different directions. When you hire somebody and you say 100% of your focus is on this doing the work and taking care of the customer. One hundred percent of your focus is on managing my finances. They can do it so much better because they’re not constantly putting on different hats, taking them off, switching gears and going from dealing with an upset customer to a sales meeting to designing the next project. They don’t have to keep shifting those gears. They can focus, stay in their lane and it can be so much more productive.

Some of our marketing is story-based. With the new staff we’re bringing in, I gave some work to one of the staff members. It was amazing how fast they were able to knock it out, focus on it and get it done that way. I would do it, but it’d take me 3, 4 or 5 days to get it right and I have to have it proofread and it was done in about an hour and a half because I gave it to him. Now it was full focus on them to do that. It was amazing how much faster that was. It’s almost like you can’t afford to hire people.

You guys make it sound so easy to stop working in the business, but sometimes in practice, it’s not that easy to get owners out. I worked 70 hours a week as a badge of honor. I used to have this job working for someone else for 40 or 45, but now I go work for myself, I work 60, and they’re excited about it. What’s the thing that maybe you guys went through it or maybe you coach some of your clients through it? What’s one of the first steps people can make to start down that path of shifting that mindset so they can start working on the businesses instead of in it?

Let me make this as simple as possible and not make it a technical answer. This is what I did do. The first position that I brought in was an assistant. It was a tough job for the assistant because the assistant was working for somebody who didn’t know how to hell to show the assistant what to do. The assistant’s job was to learn how to pick up, take over, figure out things to do to make it easier, and then we slowly got into a rhythm. After the rhythm was created, a lot of stuff was taken off my plates.

I’m a guy who’s living a life right now where I don’t even check my junk emails anymore. That’s something my assistant does, goes through it and deletes all that stuff first, and then I take the meat of the emails. I may not be an expert on this, but it’s worked for me, bring that assistant in, start taking that little stuff off my plate, start freeing me up, give me some other stuff to do and then I can focus and start bringing in some of the big guns. At least that’s what I think.

It got me thinking that one of the things you said was it didn’t work out super easy in the beginning. It took you a while because you didn’t know how to have an assistant. I see that happen often where somebody will hire one of their first employees and it doesn’t work out on the first day. They’re like, “I knew it wasn’t going to work.” They give up, they throw it out and they say, “I’m not going to do this again,” but it sounded like it took you some patience and trial and error to figure that out. How long should people be patient for this to figure out how to bring someone in and help them with the business, especially if they’ve never done it before?

To be honest, my experience was I often like to have things planned out. I’m a systems-in guy. I want to lay everything out and plan things out, but it was on faith when it comes to hiring the first person. I’m like, “Help. I don’t have all the answers right now. I know that I can’t keep going the way I’m going now.” I started writing out things that I did every day. I started running lists. Here’s what I do every day. I track what I would do for 1,2 or 3 weeks. I don’t even remember but it was a pretty useful amount of time, and I started seeing some similarities, things I was doing over and over again. I’m like, “I don’t need to be doing this. I don’t need to be answering the phone, this email and scheduling projects.”

Certain things started becoming more evident that I didn’t need to be doing, and then once that was the case, I’m like, “Here you go. We’re going to have to figure it out.” I’ve never had somebody in the office the first time around to help that with that. We went together on faith and said, ”We’re going to figure this out together.” I told her when she came on, “If you’re looking to get on a train, punch in a ticket, fall asleep for a while and head down the tracks because everything’s lined up for you, that’s exactly what we’re going to do every single day. It was probably not the right job for you.”

What needs to change first is the mindset, then start working everywhere else. Click To Tweet

I said, “If you’re ready to sit down in this dune buggy, put on your seatbelt and go across the dunes with me and back and forth, up and down, day and night, if that’s something you’re in for, let’s do this thing because I don’t have the answer. I am not the leader yet that has all the answers. I’m getting there.” My mindset is always ready, fire, aim. I’m like, “I need this. We know this has to be done. Let’s figure it out together.”

If not, you get stuck in analysis paralysis. I see this with a lot of our students where they don’t know what to do first. “What should I do first?” I don’t have any help and assistance. Start writing a list of the things you do on a daily basis and put in a list of, “This lights me up. I can’t wait to get up and start this in a day.” This other side is, “I’d be happy if I never had to do that stuff again,” and then find somebody that lights them up, the stuff you don’t want to do. The next thing you know, everybody’s happy.

It takes a certain amount of humility to be able to do that, to be able to say, “We’re going through the dune buggy together. If we roll the dune buggy when I ask you to get out, then help me flip it back over because we’re so focused on this together.” It reminds me of when you talked about the systems and processes, which is probably more for the readers that are a little bit more technical in nature.

I remember Mike Michalowicz describing in his book Clockwork, one of the easiest ways to document your systems. He’s like, “Take your phone, set it up, point it at your screen or at the work you’re doing. Wear a GoPro and whatever it is, and think out loud while you’re doing the work.” Record it, and then take that recording and say, “Here’s your training. Watch me do it while I think out loud what I’m going through.” It’s almost something that people can do intuitively because they have to remember to think out loud and then they can document all their processes.

We had our assistant start making the processes for us based upon how they see it. We’ll take it and tweak it, and then based upon how they see it and saw it. We have a lot of different processes that were created by the assistant. I know the word process. I guarantee it. Some of your readers are like, “I can feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up.” I hate that idea. It feels like I’m constrained in a box. Where does the creativity come in? I feel like it’s the mundane task every day of doing this and doing that.

The crazy part is it’s a hell of a lot easier when you create systems and processes and you manage the system and processes versus the people doing them. Once you come up with a standard, even if it’s a very basic, certain thing you do each and every day, you hand that off to somebody, then you’re managing the process. You’re not blaming them for doing it wrong because the process is at fault, unless they screw it up.

It’s a process. The process didn’t work. Maybe we need to take step nine and put it before step eight. Try that and see if that works. Eventually, when you’re hiring 5 or 6 people that do the same process, they’re all filing the same thing. It’s like McDonald’s. It’s a production line. That’s the beautiful part of it, but they can add their own creativity to those things as well. Having that, starting out and spending a little bit of time writing down what you do on a day-to-day basis and then starting to systemize it or standardize it as your standard, that’ll start your entire process then deals through your mind go like, “If I can do that, what else could I give up?”

You’re not talking about the step-by-step. If they got to enter something into our CRM or their jobs management platform, it’s not like click this box and then type this and click this box. You’re saying, “What’s the 20% of the work that gets us 80% of the results?” It’s, “Put them into our management platform.” That’s one step of the process. How do you do that? That might be a different training, but it’s, “Just do that or call the customer back within 24 hours.” I’m not going to tell you how to call them back or what time to call them back, but we don’t get that detailed. It’s call them back and we make these processes simple.

BCC 63 | Grow Your Business
Grow Your Business: Once you flip the script and start working ON your business, everything changes.

We have some specifics. The way things are loaded into the CRM system, it has to be loaded in exactly the same way every single time, but they’re easier processes. It doesn’t take rocket scientists. We have it all spelled out and we have our CRM. We created it to where it’s like a flow. You got to go from one spot to the next spot, then certain things are required. It has to work that way. It is very specific but it works, and maybe because that’s that little word in me. You mean like, “I can’t have the last name, not with the capital letter.” I will lose my brain. There are some things that’s got to be right.

To that point, those are preference things sometimes. I’m sure we all have it.

There must.

If you’re working for Duane, you got to capitalize the last name. That’s it.

The home address is not the work address. It’s the home address.

Take notes. If you’re applying for a job to work with Duane, there are some rules, but for the most part, what happens is people get hung up and they think process, “I got to have this manual.” That’s like 30 pages long to tell him how to do this. I’m not even that detailed. They get hung up, but I love what you said, Joshua. We coach this a lot because human beings make mistakes.

If you’re struggling to hire, it’s usually because we set a standard for human beings above what they are capable of, which is perfection. “I got to be able to trust them right out the gate. I got to like them. My customers got to like them.” If we build great processes and we know the processes work and the people follow the processes and something breaks, we get to turn to the process. If the people aren’t following the process, that’s a different issue, but the majority of the time when someone fails at their job, it’s because of a broken process, not because of a broken person.

Think about from the employee or the team member’s standpoint. They then have a standard to go by. Oftentimes, they want to succeed. Most of them do. Let’s keep that as a standard. They all want to succeed. When you give them a set of rules to follow and go through, it’s like you’re playing a game like a football game or a baseball. There are certain rules in order to consider the winner. You got to do certain things in order to win. With systems and processes, you can lay that out as well. They know they did a great job when they got this result and they follow the process to get there, and it’s the same process everybody else follows so that they can all have a conversation around that. I’m going to throw another angle at you here, which I found very powerful for our business.

I remember hearing or reading a book or something where McDonald’s said, “I want to be able to hire a $7 an hour person and be able to give them a task that anybody can do. Run a gigantic company like that. They’re doing a small part of it, but then it’s process and system-driven that anybody could do it. Is there a point? You could come in drunk and high and you could figure it out because it’s that simple. It’s a 1, 2 or 3-step.” My memory is not fantastic. When it comes to our more complicated projects, we’re doing outdoor living projects where we have hundreds of different moving parts throughout this entire project. We might spend six months to a year in a client’s home.

It all depends on where your mindset is. Even when you start, it depends on what you know and don’t know. Click To Tweet

With that being the case, I had to constantly go through the entire project, building it in my head, thinking of everything that could happen, making sure all of my RFPs out to my partners and subcontractors were coming back fully loaded with everything I needed in them. It took a ton of brain space to do that. Every time, that shut the world down and focus on building a project that we haven’t even started yet.

Instead of doing it that way and I did that for years, it was too much. I said, “What if I spun it around back the process and wrote down every possible thing that could happen during that or I could need?” A question I would have or something might come up during, say, construction of a deck, a patio, a roof, a pool, landscaping or whatever it might be outside. Instead of remembering everything, I could take the things off that weren’t pertinent to this project. I don’t have to think anymore. I go down through it like, “I do need one electrical outlet to over by the grill. Thank goodness I had that there because my mind is in three other projects.”

By having a list of everything, and it’s always being added to, possibly be asked, I could then forfeit some of those that don’t pertain to this project, as opposed to trying to remember those small details. By doing that through all of our processes, and that’s how we have all of our RFPs set up now, when a team goes through them like “No, yes,” they don’t have to think anymore.

I had a mentor real early on in my career tell me that the brain is meant for processing, not for storage. It took me a while to comprehend that because I’m like, “I’ve got to store some of the stuff I’m processing,” but the more that I write down and create systems and processes, the easier things became because then I could take my brain and use it for that creative side of the job and work.

We could probably take this to a whole other episode. I agree with both of you guys on that, but I’m still amazed at what the brain is being loaded up with. I cannot believe the amount of information that I’m loading up my brain and it’s taking it, storing it and remembering it. I hear what you guys are saying, but this brain is loaded up right now.

One of the things that we deal with is that my hiring process is so focused on marketing and how you promote and do that. The biggest thing we were talking about a little bit before was, “How do you cut through all the noise?” It’s so noisy right now and this is the problem with the brain. It’s not designed for handling the volume of noise that we get. A study said the average Gen Z receives more advertisements in a 30-day period from everything. The greatest generation. Their great grandparents’ great-grandparents got their whole lifetime. The brain is a lot of volume of information, and not everything is going to stick.

Remember every single ad you saw on social media or every single spam email that came through. A lot of that stuff, we’ve had to teach our brains to let that stuff go because if we don’t, we’re never going to be able to hold on to all the volume. How do you cut through all that noise, and how do you help your employees cut through all that noise? How do you, as the owner, cut through all that noise? A lot of it is to get a lot of that stuff out of your brain to retain and process the good stuff, the stuff you need to grow the business.

I’m going to add to that. Since there’s so much clutter and so much, “Look at me,” sparkly things, looking around, instead of thinking about how do they see you, focus on having them feel you through your words and your delivery. How do you have your future team members, your clients and your customers feel you? That changes the game.

BCC 63 | Grow Your Business
Grow Your Business: It’s a hell of a lot easier when you create systems and processes and manage that versus the people doing them.

We talked a lot about mindset and creating these systems and processes. How do people get started in this? I hear this and I’m thinking back to when I’m getting started in my business. I’d be like, “Awesome stuff, guys.” What’s that step I have to take? Do I need training, a mentor or a coach? How do I consume some of this information that can help me with building this?

It’s real simple. Start to surround yourself with people.

We’re going to try to answer this, but that’s going to be a tricky question because it all depends on where your mindset is even when you start this. It didn’t depend on what you know and don’t know. I remember when I first started this whole business thing and I would see all these extra things that I need to add.

I would get stressed out and I’m like, “Maybe I’m not even a business owner.” I would lose my mind when I go to that class, and it was talking about how to set up workman’s comp and all that other stuff. I remember reading that and I’m like, “I don’t want to own a business. This is not for me. This is BS.” What happened is you’re in it and you start building your work and you realize, “I can do this. I can do that,” but one thing I want to say is one of the best things to do is you got to get outside the business and hit some immersive training.

Tony Robbins’ UPW, Unleash the Power Within, will shake you to your soul. Landmark Forum to understand how to say to your mind, get your mindset down to zero and start becoming one with the universe. This is the Super Bowl of my life. I have lived my entire life to be on this show right now. This is the most important thing in my life. Whoever’s reading this at the moment they’re reading this, that’s the most important time in their lives. Understanding those mindsets, you can start building upon there and going from that spot when you get into that.

There are experts and organizations out there that this is all they do. You mentioned Landmark and Tony Robbins. They help you get clear on that mindset and be present to focus on the things that are the most important. Taking advantage of those opportunities and those experiences that are out there.

I have to back that up as well. That was one of the biggest shifts. A catalyst in my life was to start working on the inner game. It’s the scariest frontier you’ll ever get into. Most times as business owners, we keep ourselves busy because we truly don’t want to dive deep inside of our souls. We want to keep ourselves busy with tons of stuff. That’s why we don’t hire people because if we don’t hire people, then we are doing everything and we can stay in the focus of the fact that I have to do this. If I don’t, then the whole business fails. Once you hire people, you put on a different hat. You now have to be a leader, and that requires work. The sad part is that most, especially men, are scared to death to look inside of themselves at six inches of real estate between their ears, which scares the crap out of them.

They stay busy so they never have to face that, but once you look that old mindset, whatever you want to call it, look yourself in the eye and realize that you got to work on you first, and that’s where these immersive events impact people around the world. Once you’ve done that work and you go inside and you realize you don’t know anything about who you are, why you exist, what you’re here to do and how you’re going to serve and why anyone out there would give any of their precious lifetime to you under your business as a team member, why anybody would ever give that time to you is? You can’t answer that quickly. Why would they come work for you? It’s that simple.

If you’re not offering that at the tip of your tongue, and you don’t know that within your being of what you’re here to do and why you’re here, no one else is going to see it either. If you’re playing with that head trash constantly in your head, and you don’t know when you’re faking it until you make it and all that crap, you’re always going to hit a plateau, stop and blame the world for it. The reality is you got to look in the mirror and you got to say, “I got to work on you first. Once I get you figured out or at least in the right direction, now I can finally empower other people to live their best lives.”

It’s only in that time when you realize that vulnerability is a superpower that you actually start showing up for yourself. Click To Tweet

I coach a lot of clients around. You’d mentioned make your marketing, make them feel. It’s got to creating this connection and the sense of belonging, especially when you’re building a team. I have people tell me all the time, “This is way too touchy-feely.” I’m sure there are people right now like, “Joshua, I get it. It’s way too touchy-feely for me. I’m a rough, tough construction guy.” I’m like, “No. It’s called emotion.”

It’s called getting in touch with our emotions and understanding that human beings are emotional creatures. I’ve heard the argument for, “They’re not my guys. My guys aren’t emotional creatures.” I always ask them, “When’s the last time one of your guys, customers or GCs cursed you out?” Not even days, minutes ago. This is called emotion. We’re channeling the wrong ones.

Let’s get clear on what’s important to people and how we can do this. I love what you said about looking in the mirror and saying, “I got to work on you first.” The mindset is so critical in all this and, Duane, what you said, we probably couldn’t even do it as a series of shows on mindset and how important this is and dive deep into it.

For those people that are out there that are reading, “This sounds good. What’s the next step?” I heard you guys mentioned Tony Robbins and Landmark Forum. There are other groups out there. There are local ones and national ones. You can even find mentors that are good at this stuff, but this is something that you guys work on, too. You guys have students in a program that can go through this and can get exposed to this. Tell me a little bit about your program and then let the readers know how they can get in touch with you.

I appreciate that. I did it the hard way. I know Duane did in the beginning, too. Our goal was we own businesses. That was a big patch on our shirt. It was a cool part. As a business owner, I stand out. I get the identity and all that stuff. The problem is that oftentimes that identity starts running your life. You forget who you are and you have to be whatever the business needs, but at the end of the day, what I found and it took me years to realize is this, “Why the hell should I try to figure everything out?” We talked about processes and systems over this show. For years, I thought I had to make my own.

Reinvent the wheel every time. “Mine is better. You guys don’t understand how I work.” The reality that I found eventually was that if I would hire a coach and a mentor, I could get their help a lot faster. They’d be like, “No, Josh. Don’t do it this way. Do it this way. I know because I did it that way for five years and it didn’t work.” You saved me five years of my precious life, thank you.

Hiring mentors, getting around people, coaches and things like that, you do that for sports. Why the hell wouldn’t you do it for your business? Is it that simple? Our program, we came together after all these years in the business. We have a similar business model and we came together and said, “We see our industry struggling, trying to figure these things out. How to communicate with clients and design cool spaces.”

We’re getting sick and tired of going out and talking to clients that are only looking to do something simple like a paver patio. It’s not that it’s a bad thing, but who the hell wants to go out on a sunny day and sit in the sun, baking on a paver patio? Nobody does. What they want is an extension of their living space. They want a space they can be comfortable in, share memories and create those special moments with their family. Let’s have that conversation with our clients.

BCC 63 | Grow Your Business
Grow Your Business: Why would they come work for you? If you don’t know that at the tip of your tongue, and you don’t know that within your being, what you’re here to do, and why you’re here, no one else is going to see it either.

We’ve done that over the years, and we found that so many in the industry aren’t. We said, “What if we try to help them have that conversation?” We train people in our industry how to have a conversation with our clients, not just to sell them shit, but to better understand what gets them excited.

What’s the bigger why for doing the project? How can we make sure as the guide in the conversation, not the hero here, that we can guide them to the best solutions and tell them when they’re getting close to something that doesn’t make sense for them and guide them away from that? Let’s face it. The work that we do, you might do once or twice in a lifetime.

A client is not looking for someone to say, “Build me a patio.” What they want is someone to help them through this process. That’s what we’ve come down to doing in our own practices now. We’re teaching people in our industry across the country how to do that and how to have that conversation. How to get budget, how to tell a client, “No, we’re not a good fit,” not just take everything that comes in the door because they called you. It’s having a conversation by the end to create a win-win environment for those clients so they don’t have to keep going through the phone book.

How did you find out about this program that you guys have?

We have a couple of different ways to do that. One is that we have a podcast as well. It’s called Outerspaces. You can check us out on any of the platforms. You can go online We have a conversation like this weekly, Duane and I, with all kinds of cool people like Ryan, that’s how we met you. We also have a website Yes.Express, you’ll find us there.

For the readers here, we have a free bootcamp. You can get a little taste of what we do and who we are as people. If you find value in there and you’re like, “This would be great. I could see this being a real launch for my company,” then reach out to us. We’d love to have you onboard, talk and make sure we’re a good fit and then help you take your business to the next level.

Any closing thoughts? Anything else you guys want to add before we wrap up?

This is a little bit outside. I wanted to say in the beginning, we were going to talk about it. One of the biggest takeaways about our industry. One of the biggest hangups I have to say that’s going in my head is like, “People think what we do is landscaping.” There’s this mindset about it behind it as if it doesn’t add value to the home.

I was speaking at an event. I was speaking upon getting more interior decorators to start working with the exterior contractors and building some synchronization between the two. That’s one of the takeaways. In the beginning, we were talking about it and we flipped from that straight into processes.

I didn’t get to say this and it was burning me up for a while. Outdoor living does have a lot of value. It is the place that has the feeling. It can help you feel because the space changes every day and every hour. The temperature changes, the wind blows, the birds chirping and the cars driving by. It’s one of the best places in the house. It’s the place that’s going to give you more value. If you’re swamped out in home remodel with a kitchen, a bedroom, and an install done, the outdoor living space is the best place to have it done, but it has to be designed and done correctly.

The closer you are connected to your emotions, the stronger leader you become. Click To Tweet

I love what you said there. It’s something that we work with our clients on when we develop their core story. Nobody is buying the actual service that you sell. Nobody is buying the pavers and the swimming pool. They’re buying the memories that they can create around it, that extension of living space, and those other things that are emotionally tied to that. It’s important, especially from my perspective when you’re building a team that the people on your team buy into that same emotional purchase that your customers have. There’s so much to that. Duane, we could go to other shows on this

This is going to go out to the gentlemen in the group that are reading. We talked about this throughout this show so far about being open with emotion. Most guys don’t want to touch that with a 300-foot pole. You’re a coward if you lean into your emotions, or if you cry, you show weakness. Your fear of someone judging you, it’s only in that time when you realize that vulnerability is a superpower that you start showing up for yourself and you start putting on those clothes or that armor of masculinity. It’s like, “I have to be strong. I have to do this.” Let me break it down for you. Your wife, your children and your team, they want a leader that they can connect with. That’s someone who tells them what to do. They need to feel you as well. They feel you when you share that you don’t have all the answers.

Men, we’re programmed to be strong, don’t cry. That’s crap. The closer you are and connected to your emotion, the stronger leader you become. Everybody that I look up to as mentors and all that have figured this out. It’s something that took most of my life to figure out. Once you finally embrace that and realize emotion is power and not something to be feared or put under the rug, that’s when you can truly grow and that’s when a team will collect behind you and say, “Leader, where are we going?” It’s a huge piece of this.

That’s a huge shift. That’s a shift that I’ve seen when our clients make that shift, that it transforms not just their business but their personal life too. They get everything. They get their cake and they get to eat it too, but the one thing I do know is that for many people, this doesn’t matter. This is business owners in general. This is our baby. We built this business, blood, sweat and tears from the ground up. I struggle with other people taking care of my baby. That’s an emotional decision. It’s an emotional hangup that’s keeping us from moving forward. There are people out there that can support you. You guys have great programs. You’d mentioned some programs.

Our program is all about how do you become a company that attracts great talent. People want to work with you. We have one client that says, “We are at a point now where people have to work with us. This is not like I have to be a part of that team.” Not I want to, but I have to. That mindset shift is so critical.

Guys, thank you so much for being here. I’ve enjoyed this conversation. I’m sure we’ll do it again here in the future. Duane is taking notes. He’s probably going to have a whole bunch of ideas for other ways we can take this. I’m looking forward to that. Thank you so much for your candid, honest feedback and thoughts on this matter.

Ryan, it’s been a pleasure. Thanks for having us on and we’d come back on any time. If we can shift one person’s thinking to have them live a more happy and joyful life with their family and their business and fall back in love with their business, I’d be here every day for you.

Same here. I’m game.

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About Joshua Gillow

Meet Joshua Gillow: A Man With a Plan

Award-winning landscape designer Joshua Gillow’s passions – natural beauty and timeless design – are evident in every project he undertakes. Just ask his happy clients, who rave about his work.

After 15 years as a partner in a family-owned landscape design firm, Joshua realized his clients were craving “The Big Picture.” Joshua launched MasterPLAN Landscape Design & Installation in 2011 to combine his love of natural beauty with cutting-edge design tools. With MasterPLAN, Joshua is able to create a realistic 3-D vision of what the finished project will look like.

Joshua’s passion for his work is contagious. “I love the excitement in my clients’ eyes when I present the plan for their new backyard,” Joshua says.

The seed of Joshua’s great love for plants, creative design and the great outdoors were planted in him as a child growing up at his parents’ garden center. He realized he could combine his love of nature and design when he earned his degree in architectural design and engineering in 1999.

Josh excels at combining his knowledge of nature with the skills needed to create a well designed and beautiful outdoor space.

While Joshua has received many honors for his design work, the award he cherishes most is the recommendation of a happy client.

About Duane Draughon

Living in the present moment creating new possibilities for my life and others, is becoming my most exceptional quality. I’ve learned that you can do anything or be anything you want by focus, education, and massive action. There is no glass ceiling.

As for my objectives: Treat everyone fairly and learn as you go. Every day is a new class; some days, you take notes, and some days you create the notes.

Specialties: Business Branding, Spread Sheet Design, Marketing Plan & Design, Small Engine Repair, Disc Jockey, IT Trouble Shoot, 3D Rendering Design, CAD Designer, Project Management, Customer Relations

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