Makse Sure Your Business Profits
Today we have a special guest on the show, Meaghan Likes, CPA from Likes Accounting.
Meaghan’s superpower is taking people’s fears out of their finances.
She owns five businesses in Northern California. Her favorite of which is her window cleaning business.
And, while you wouldn’t guess it from her personality, Meaghan’s day “job” is working as a CPA.
Meaghan’s passion is educating and empowering other business owners worldwide by teaching them how to find financial freedom in their own lives.
She is known as a disrupter in the accounting industry, and her claim to fame is showing small business owners how to do their bookkeeping correctly in less than 1 hour per month using Quickbooks Online.
No accounting knowledge or experience is required.
She’s a proud Rotarian who volunteers on average 10 hours per week, and she teaches smarter ways to make money, save money, and will inspire you to give back in meaningful ways.
Fun Facts about Meaghan:
She is the 3rd fastest female window cleaner in the world.
She spends about 20 weeks a year traveling.
She is an avid gardener and a proud mom to 7 chickens and one dog.
So without further ado, let’s welcome Meaghan Likes.
Mark Ambrose: Hi, Meaghan, welcome to the show. Thanks for sharing your time and expertise with us today. Tell us a bit of yourself, what you do, who you do it for, and what your company is doing today.
Meaghan Likes: Yes. Hi Mark. Thanks so much for having me. I’m really happy to be here. My name is Meaghan Likes. I’m a CPA based in Northern California, and I have my hand in quite a few different pots. I do a little bit of everything, but my specialty is educating and empowering small business owners to know their numbers to live more financially rewarding lives and just get more joy from their business.
I started helping small business owners with bookkeeping and taxes almost 20 years ago. And common denominator found were people have a lot of fear around money, a lot of fear around finances. They are good in terms of the field that they work in. But the business side of things maybe doesn’t come naturally.
And very specifically to the business side of things like marketing is fun and sexy and, sales is something you can learn and skill that I feel like people get excited about. But, still, finances and money are something that most people avoid; it’s worse than going to the dentist. And so I started coaching my husband through his small business, and he does not have a traditional background in business.
He barely graduated high school. He wanted to be a professional skateboarder, and he runs a successful window cleaning company now. And so I spend a lot of time coaching him about and understanding his bills and payroll and income and how they’re all related and how you can set goals around those things.
And his confidence as a business owner and the joy he got from his business just grew exponentially. When we got over the fear and hurdles, he realized that I could do this. I can understand this. This is doable. I don’t need to outsource this to somebody. Or cause I’m the wife.
I don’t have to have my wife do all of that stuff for me. And my distance will be better if I’m able to do some of it myself. So I started a business called Bookkeeping Academy Online, and that’s what I do now. I teach business owners how to know their numbers.
I teach them how to understand how much money they’re making and spending and where it’s going and maybe how to make better decisions around that.
I also have a full-service accounting firm called Likes Accounting company where if you’re still really allergic to it, you don’t want to do it. You can outsource that to my team. And that’s me in a nutshell; I love business. I’m a business geek, and I love money. I mean, who doesn’t love money.
Mark Ambrose: That’s awesome. So both the done for you service and it has done with you, service.
Meaghan Likes: DIY kind of teaching you. I say that any business owner running less than a million in gross receipts can do their bookkeeping in less than an hour a month. And that’s, without any formal training, without any accounting principles, we can use tools and software and leverage technology now to automate those processes.
And I encourage business owners to at least start by doing it because you’ll save money. But, then, nobody will care about your business money as you do.
Mark Ambrose: And price things. So when you got together with your husband and started working the books together, was the pricing of his services correctly initially? Or did you help them get to the proper pricing? ,
Meaghan Likes: I mean, it probably took ten years. Understanding your value, understanding what you want the profit to be, and knowing how you scale with employees and how you scale when you start, stop being a technician when you stop producing work yourself, and manage people took a long time.
And I feel like every business is every hire we make every new campaign we run; we have to run the numbers first. So just to make sure that our pricing is still in the mind that we can support and funds that money does drive many of our business decisions. And that’s not from a greedy perspective.
I think there’s a lot of shame around saying we want a profitable business or we want it we want to be financially healthy or sound. And for us, we’re incredibly philanthropic, and we’re very proud of the companies we run.
We’re very proud of our role as employers and the way we’re able to give back to the community, one through our employees and helping their families and helping them meet their goals, but also in giving back to our community.
So we’ve kind of owned that as. I don’t know if we’re stewards or models, but our goal is to be a sound business person is good business for the world.
Mark Ambrose: Absolutely. People’s livelihood depends on the business owner, knowing running a good, solid, financially stable company.
So what would you say, so you work with a lot of contractors, correct?
Meaghan Likes: So I specialize in field services. So home service, field service, mostly field service kind of branching into the home service space. But when I think field service, what I mean is you’ve been running your business from a truck or multiple shops or cars.
It doesn’t matter, but there’s maybe not like a home office that got many people working in it. And so having the leverage technology to be mobile so that you can dispatch and you can optimize routes, and you can know what the day looks like and where everybody’s headed in what they’re doing.
So the markets that I tend to serve the most are window cleaning, my primary industry, gutter, cleaning pressure, washing lawn care, quite a bit of lawn care maid service. And then kind of heading into the plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and roofing spaces. So that’s kind of, and then in my head, fantasized about pool cleaning and carpet cleaning.
Those should be very similar to my industry, but I have not done too much in those industries yet. But what I like is that we can learn a lot from other industries. So in window cleaning, for example, where a lot of one-off sales and we’ve learned so much from the main service, and then it turns out lawn care is essentially made, serves outside.
So lawn care has helped us, except we don’t have to be seasonal in California with window cleaning. Lawn care does the rest of the world or the rest of the US. And then you can learn things from HVAC in terms of service agreements. We can learn things from pest control in terms of sales.
I love picking and choosing these nicely refined business models in an industry that’s not my own—and then bringing it into my industry and sharing it with others. I love that.
Mark Ambrose: I like that. Learn from one cross-over to the other and share that information with the business owners you’re doing business with.
Meaghan Likes: And we’re talking to business owners, right? So I encouraged you as a business owner to talk to somebody in a different industry. Don’t do it the way everybody’s doing it in your industry. You can learn from my service. My husband was the guy that would show up to a house that he’d cleaned the windows that two months before.
And he’s like, And they’re still clean. I’ll see you again in two months. And we learned from eight services. No, you clean, clean, it’s called a maintenance clean, people will pay to clean, clean and that’s okay. And I would have never had that language for him to then use with customers, educate them without having learned from another industry.
That is nothing like my industry, really, but we can learn from each other.
Mark Ambrose: Absolutely. Agree. What would you say from the contractors that you have worked for or with that? Their biggest problem is when it comes to bookkeeping and accounting. What’s their number one issue, or is it the entire bookkeeping?
Meaghan Likes: They avoid it. They don’t do it, and they stick their head in the sand, and they just hope that it’s not; they just hope that it’ll go away. It’ll work itself out. I’ll do it tomorrow. I’ll do it next week. I don’t have to do it until tax time. And I reject all of those ideas. I understand that. It’s not fun. I understand that it’s not sexy.
I understand that it’s not something you’re ever going to wake up and be like, oh, I want to do bookkeeping. Now I do that. But I’m weird. I know that is that important. And it can ease all of the stress that you’re feeling anxious or if you were feeling uncertain, or if you were feeling like you don’t understand where it’s going, or you’re working your tail off, and you have nothing to show for it.
I will tell you that bookkeeping and knowing your numbers is the answer that it’s the solution and it’s never going to get better, and it’s never going to get easier, and you cannot outsell yourself out of this problem. You have to face it; they have to fix it. And your numbers are the answers.
Mark Ambrose: I agree. And it’s just new words, right? If you’re in. Whatever your mechanic, there are pushrods and pistons and heads. And if you’re a plumber, there are the names of all your tools and stuff.
And those were difficult maybe in the beginning, but you’re running a business and the businesses 100% or whatever, 90% about numbers, about the map. So, where I feel for these guys and girls out there is because they stay away from the numbers, away from the math, away from the bookkeeping.
Usually not pricing. Their services correctly. So I see these guys are out there working their Fanny’s off, and they think they have made a profit because there’s money still in the account at the end of the month, maybe. But they’re not pricing themselves correctly. They’re not pricing direct or indirect costs.
They’re usually pricing the job cost, but they forget about insurance and trucks and all that stuff. Do you find that to be accurate as well? You’ve got to—a deeper touch into lots of more companies on the numerous side than I do.
Meaghan Likes: In my experience, when I am meeting with a home service business owner, or as you’re calling them a contractor, they have priced based on their competition 90% of the time.
Which I think is absolute baloney. That does not matter. I don’t care if you’re the most expensive or the cheapest; your neighbor’s pricing has nothing to do with you. I encourage people to price based on working their way backward. So how much money? And I like to start here, how much money do you need to make to feel financially free?
And that’s very different than how much money do you want to make. It makes you look hard at what are your expenses as a family? What are your senses as an individual? What are your goals as a family? And then as an individual. And I like to call that, and other people call it to a fleeting coined this.
But, still, your financial freedom metric, what is the number at the end of the day that would make you and your family feel financially free and you could breathe when it came to your monthly expenses and goals and wishes.
And then you work backward from that, right? So that should be the profit amount. Plus, the owner salary that you’re able to pull off of your business. So then you have to start adding to that.
You’ve got to add all those expenses that you just said, and you used the big, scary words there, Mark like indirect costs or fixed costs or costs of goods sold.
Like those are big, scary accounting terms, but what we mean to say is the hard costs that you are on the hook for every month, at first, the month, whether you make any money or not, right? So those are your hard costs. And then we’ve got things like variable costs, which are different than the cost to consult.
And I am breaking my golden rule. I am saying accounting terms, and I never say accounting terms because I want your ears to stay on and your eyes do not glaze over. And I can’t see you if you’re listening to this.
It costs money to be in business, and you deserve to have a good business. You deserve to spend good money on your business, particularly on your people and on your brand, and on the service that you offer.
And so you should add in all of those things that you need to offer a really good service. Then you need to mark it up because you probably did the math wrong because, let’s be real. Most people are terrible at math, either. Mark it up a little bit. You come up with a total number. Then you need to figure out how many jobs I need to do?
How long are they going to take me? How many person-hours? There is some math involved in pricing appropriately, but I encourage you to go through the exercise.
However, I will warn you that there are no shortcuts. Calling from your area is not an inappropriate pricing strategy with nothing to do with you, your family, or your business.
Mark Ambrose: 80 to 90% go out of business. So are you pricing yourself based on people who are heading for the exit door or ready? Not a wise move.
Meaghan Likes: Oh my gosh. It reminds me of this story. When I would have clients come into my office, my former life, I was a tax accountant, a corporate tax accountant.
I know super boring, not fun cocktail party stuff, but people are coming off of them and be like, I just don’t understand my refund.
It was less than my neighbor, Joe’s. It sounds like you like your taxes. It has nothing to do with neighbor Joe’s tax return and me doing a bad tax return. Like taxes are very different than other things. So that’s pretty funny. I feel that way about pricing. I feel like the pricing is just very specific to you and your family and your industry.
Mark Ambrose: Your desired salary and benefits are unique. Everything’s unique. A couple of weeks ago, I had a client tell me he was getting a price book from another consultant. And I was like, no, no, no; you can’t do that. His prices are different than your price.
It says expenses are different than yours. His goals are different than yours. What he wants to get paid is different than what you and your family want, etc. The benefits that you want to pay up?
Meaghan Likes: And the scary part is when you get to the end of all that math, you’re going to have like a man-hour rate.
You’re going to be a charge rate. And you’re going to look at that number and be like; nobody will pay that. No one will pay that. And I will say, well, that there is the heart, that’s the challenge. You figure out your value, how to articulate your value, how to sell your value, and how to find customers that appreciate your value.
And I feel like that’s what you do, Mark, right? That’s the secret, and part of marketing is helping somebody figure it out. Okay, this is exactly what I need to charge. And now, truly, that’s the easy part. Cause that’s a number doesn’t lie. That’s like hard facts. Then you just need to figure out how to sell it, how to translate that down.
And for us, when we added health insurance and dental insurance and life insurance and disability insurance, and retirement 401k plans, and we set up a career ladder that said a window cleaner in our company could make $69,000 a year. Plus bonuses. Suddenly way easier for you to sell to my customer because a customer who doesn’t value those things for my staff doesn’t want to work for them.
They could hire Joe Schmo with a bucket down the street. This is my core principle as a business owner. I get joy out of providing a living wage, providing nice trucks and brand new equipment, and fun morale, boosting culture. That is important to me. And if you, as my potential customer, do not value those things, that’s okay.
I understand that. I appreciate that, but we’re not going to waste our time. And so, for me adding in all those expenses and seeing them from that perspective helps me translate that value onto my customers because it turns out they’re amazing humans, and they want those things for my stuff, too.
Mark Ambrose: Right.
Meaghan Likes: And now they brag about my company. Do you know my window cleaner? He offers a retirement plan for his 20-year-old. Nice. How cool is that?
Mark Ambrose: Exactly? Well said, very well said. So how did they get to fix it? Meaghan, so we, and I’m sorry, I took them down the path of terms and numbers and stuff, and I know you didn’t want to do it.
Meaghan Likes: No, that’s okay. That’s fine. I hope you’re still listening. I hope mark did not scare you off. If he did come back, keep it. Cool guy.
Mark Ambrose: Hope we didn’t scare you away, though. There’s always going to be at the end of the rainbow here. And it’s easier than you think it is.
So what is the solution? Let’s take a look at your servers, Meaghan, where you teach them how to do that. How long is it going to, if I’m the con, if I’m the home service contract to me, this is French, Latin, whatever, and I’m scared of it.
Meaghan Likes: I speak French.
Mark Ambrose: It feels like it’s going to take forever to learn. So how long. How long have what do I have to dedicate time-wise to get this figured out and get a hold of my numbers? So my businesses are under control.
Meaghan Likes: All right, I’m going to take you back to the first question that you started to ask, and you started to say where’s the next step.
What’s the first step? For me, the first step is to choose a number, one number. I don’t care what it is, and I want you to figure it out, and I want you to gain it. So the most obvious number would be revenue. So I need you to own your revenue number.
How much is it per man-hour?
How much is it per day?
How much is it per crew?
How much is it per week?
And I need you to get super comfortable with that number. And if you’re sitting there at the end of the week for the end of two weeks or the end of the month, and you’re like, There’s no money in the bank or I didn’t pay myself, or I have no, I can’t breathe.
Mark Ambrose: Right.
Meaghan Likes: Then your revenue is; it is what it is. So now you got to choose another number.
Is it my cost of labor that’s screwing up?
Is it my net profit percentage that’s screwing up?
Most simply easiest fix is to increase your prices, raise your prices. Just do it. If you don’t want to do all the math to figure out the correct number, keep increasing your prices.
So I like to say start where you are and choose one number. And the easiest one is revenue. Cause it’s the sexiest of all the numbers that our business, how much money we make is the one we talked about at the bar, right? We talk about, oh, I have a seven-figure business. I have an eight-figure business.
I’ve got a ten; whatever it is, that is the number you’re going to talk about. So I need you to know it intimately, and you need to know it by an hour and charge rate. It’s very different than your hourly average sales a day, because how much money do we make when we have a technician driving to a job, $0.
And we can’t teleport from the shop to the job yet. If you are in a big service area and you’re driving all over town. That’s your charge rate is not a solid number. How much did you make per day with that technician? And we could talk about a million different metrics in your business, but dialing in your pricing, dialing in your sales is a great starting point.
And then as you dial in the other things, those big, scary words that we’re not going to talk about on this show, but as we dial in those other big, scary words.
Your profit gets six naturally, and everything is a by-product of your sale. So everything trickles down from your sale. So if your sales are, if you’re underselling yourself against yourself, I always say start there.
And if you’re going to do anything after today’s podcast, if you’re going to learn anything from Mark and me today, raise your prices. I guarantee you you’ve experienced inflation in your business in the past 12 months. I guarantee you your cost to do business has gone up significantly in the past 12 months. I also can almost guarantee you; you haven’t even noticed that. That’s something out of your pocket.
You need to translate it to also go to your customer’s talk product. Are your vendors are doing that. Your landlords are doing that. Your banker is doing that. So every person that you’re paying has already raised their prices on you.
Mark Ambrose: That’s good. Because even when they crunch the numbers, they will eventually need to raise their prices anyway.
So start there, even if you shoot in blind.
Meaghan Likes: And here it’s the fun math; let’s say you’re charging a hundred dollars per hour, and I am not recommending this. I have no idea what industry you’re in.
You might be a plumber.
You might be a roofing contractor.
You might be a window cleaner.
You might be maid service.
And each of you has very different charge rates per hour. But let’s say just for ease of purpose that you’re charging a hundred dollars per man-hour. And if you doubled that to 200 per man-hour and you lost 40% of your customers. You would still be making more; you would still be making more 20% more.
And this fear of losing customers. If you are paying your customers to go to work, you shouldn’t be losing them. So I’m guessing unless you’ve been living under a rock or you have a superstar reputation, you’re having a hard time recruiting right now. You have a hard time staffing jobs. I don’t know; a single business in the home service is having an easy time recruiting.
So if you’re having a hard time recruiting, why don’t you just have fewer technicians that work for fewer people and make more money? Super simple, but it’s also terrifying.
And Mark, you mentioned something about chasing money and when they taste money. You’re not going to be happy, and you’re not going to be in a line.
Mark Ambrose: It’s so fun. Send you right. I like that. Double your money, lose 40% of your business. You’re still ahead.
Meaghan Likes: 20%
Mark Ambrose: And more importantly, profitable. They are bringing in sales. Is it irrelevant if sort of if the numbers are wrong? So if you’re not charging the right price, all of the sales in the world isn’t going to help you.
Meaghan Likes: And you’ll never outsell an unprofitable business. If your profit margin is not right, you will not outsell it. It will just get worse. And for me, when I have people’s livelihoods, depending on the success of my company, that is a lot of stress. I have guys having babies and buying houses and buying boats, and I’m not going to fail them.
That is important to me. So I better make sure it’s priced sustainably and priced right.
Mark Ambrose: I agree
Meaghan Likes: If I want to do that.
Mark Ambrose: They come to me want to do more marketing, more advertising, and stuff. And I always bring it back to the very beginning of working with the client. Where are your numbers?
Are your numbers right? Are more sales or leads going to help you at all? Because they’re not if your numbers are wrong.
Meaghan Likes: We could have a whole different discussion.
Mark Ambrose: Or your sales process?
Meaghan Likes: Exact answer. I think we can have a whole different discussion, which is way above my pay grade, but about bringing in leads and then not having a sales process that would close those leads.
I mean, Yes, I reject all of those notions, fix what you have, start where you are.
Mark Ambrose: Those two biggest problems that I see in small businesses don’t have the numbers under control. They’re not pricing, right. They’re not watching their numbers regularly. And then two is that the sales process is usually lacking.
And so they still want more leads, but they’re not working on the leads that they currently have. So let’s fix those two things. We’ll just take off. Meaghan, if you don’t mind, I’m going to interrupt and say you recommended a couple of folks the last time you and I spoke. And I think they’re great tools for our audience.
So I’m going to bring them up. If you don’t mind first, Where did the money go? Ellen Rohr. So she starts to teach you how to read your financial statements, which are vital. And then from there, “How much should I also charge” by Ellen Rohr, you can get both of these on Amazon or any bookstore, and she will take you through the journey of how to price your services properly.
Meaghan Likes: I didn’t meet Ellen. I’m a huge fangirl, but I’ve not officially met her, but I was introduced to her by Tommy Mello, which is how you and I met was through Tommy Mellow’s podcast.
And Tommy Mello loves Ellen Rohr, and she helped him with his book, the home service millionaire, and she helped him come up with a Friday financial health check for his business.
And I love this theory of taking something scary and semi-complex and boiling it down. So here are the numbers you need to watch this week, and this is how it’s supposed to go. And Ellen’s background is in plumbing. I think originally, her hag name or pen name was the plumber’s wife.
So I loved her perspective about that industry. It’s an amazing industry. And I know it’s an industry that you appreciate in service to Mark.
So I want to give credit; I didn’t find Ellen on my own. Tommy Mello helped me out there, and he’s got a great book out there. Exactly.
Mark Ambrose: It was a good suggestion and credit to Tommy Mello and his Home Service Millionaire, I believe is the name of his podcast. Tommy Mello is the owner.
Meaghan Likes: I think it’s a home service expert. Sorry.
Mark Ambrose: Oh, you’re right. Home service. Thank you. Because listeners should go out and find his podcast, Tommy Mello was an awesome businessperson, created a monster garage store company, and has an awesome podcast with great guests.
So you will learn as I did. And that’s how I found you. Could you talk about the this is a little, there are two books out profit first? This one’s for contractors by Shawn van Dyke. The original is Mike Michalowicz. I believe it is.
And that’s more general for business, but I love this system, and I put it into play myself late last year. And I got to tell you just the first tax year. I don’t care. I know my money’s there.
No worries about paying taxes this year. And it’s the first time in a long time. I can say that. And so can you touch on real quick how the profit first system and if you even recommend it to home service country?
Meaghan Likes: Absolutely. And I highly recommend profit first. I am a very proud profit first professional. The profit-first system is designed to play to your psychology as a business owner. So the idea is we work hard to make money.
And then we spend it just so frivolously and nonchalantly and casually. And so what profit first does is it makes you go back to this feeling of, I worked hard for that money.
And once you have that feeling that this is my hard-earned money and you have to decide at the beginning of each period how much you’re willing to have that hard-earned money to spend. It’s amazing.
Also, another thing I love about the profit first method is that he completely turned all traditional accounting principles on their head. As a CPA, I’m a huge fan of it because I hate traditional accounting models.
So the traditional accounting formula is
SALES – EXPENSES = PROFIT
And Mike, the accountant, said, screw that, I can do Algebra. And so Michaela said sales minus profit equals expenses. And the idea is if you take your profit first and you save that, and you scroll it, and you hide it. You will not overspend.
We will do fine. And it’s a little bit more complex than that. So that’s the simplified version. But as you were describing Mark, if you save for your taxes every time you earn a dollar before you touch it or spend it, I love tax time because it means bonuses because I intentionally overstate personally.
I don’t give it to the IRS. I overtake them—my savings accounts. I write my tax assessment payments every quarter and the bonus. I love tax time. Like it changed the psychology of that.
Mark Ambrose: I’m looking forward to, I’m doing my books, just I’m looking forward to the accountant being done and telling me how much I’m getting back.
I’ve been paying quarterly tax.
Meaghan Likes: You’ll probably get some back, but I mean, as a business owner, it’s kind of resigned myself to never getting a refund again, but you’re also, whatever’s less than that tax account. So like you could, you’re going to write a check this week for something magic number that your accountant told you, and the rest is yours.
Mark Ambrose: Right?
Meaghan Likes: Because the beautiful thing about profit first is next. It starts next month. It keeps accumulating next month; it keeps growing. The other thing for us full disclosure is we were. We had cash flow problems. For many years in business, we struggled to figure out how to invest in our growth and how to pay ourselves appropriately and price it.
I mean, it’s not like we had a secret weapon or had a better understanding than most. We went through the same struggles.
You are maybe worse cause my husband refused to use a computer or ever look at the spreadsheet or numbers. So it was messy. It was hard. And what happened when we switched a profit first is you’re just saving yourself.
You’re like the squirrel storing your acorns all over the place and what happens, but you don’t even realize it’s happening. You start hoarding cash. When I did this talk publicly, I have this vision, and we put money in ATM, and it would go out faster than we could put it in.
That was the visual that I had about the money in our business. And after profits first, the visual that I give is it’s you’re in your own bank space, and you’ve got stacks of passion, all of these piles. And the feeling you have when you’re looking at all the stacks of cash.
So, I mean, my husband and I, the first couple of years of profit first, I’d come home from work, and I’d be like, can I see the bank accounts again? Will you just show me the balances again?
Mark Ambrose: Absolutely.
Meaghan Likes: I encourage you to check it out. It’s entertaining audio.
Mark Ambrose: I agree. We have no affiliation of any kind. There’ll be a link in there, although that might be an affiliate link. So I take that back, but you don’t have to click on it. Just go to Amazon or your favorite bookstore and probably get both of those books, profit first, your contractors, and profit first from Michael.
Cause I haven’t read that one. I’m sure there are nuggets in there that. Unfortunately, Sean Van Dyke didn’t share in the other so great stuff.
Meaghan Likes: Mike has an amazing personality. So if you are still out in the field or if you are in your truck a lot of cars, not to be, not say you have to drive trucks. Maybe it’s like a bike.
I want my husband to have a bike in his route. Anyway, the audiobook is amazing. So it’s engaging. I promise he makes it fun. He makes it understandable for you. He has been in your shoes. He has no ego, and he is very engaging. So profit first by Mike Macallan for profit for contractors by Shawn van Dyke, both great recommendations.
Mark Ambrose: Good stuff. Thank you, Meaghan. Let’s get into the little fun stuff. What’s your favorite part, Meaghan? What you say about owning a business after all these years? What do you think your favorite part is?
Meaghan Likes: So I know it’s COVID, and I’m not supposed to be talking about the traveling, but in the past three weeks, I have worked from Cancun on a beach most beautiful beach I’ve ever been on.
I have worked in San Diego, and it’s beautiful. It’s so beautiful. San Diego, I was in San Diego for five days, and I am now staring out at the snowy mountains of Northern California and a little tiny town called Greenville. And I love that. My first year in business, I picked up, and I moved to France for the summer.
And I had been like a corporate CPA working at a desk at a, not a bad desk job, but it was a desk job. So I thought all day, And I crunched numbers on my calculator. That was my job. And now I still do a lot of number crunching, but I get to do it from wherever I want. However, I want whenever I want. And I love that part of being self-employed.
Mark Ambrose: I agree with that. And I’m, I’m ready for covert to ends here. And I’m about to go on a long journey, myself thinking in a room around for a while. So does your husband get to join a walkabout?
Meaghan Likes: Yes. A little bit of a source of contention, a lot harder to clean windows from France for the summer, but it’s been amazing for his business. So my husband is a classic technician mindset that loves cleaning with him. He loves his job. He’s very proud of his job, and he’s very good at it—small bragging moment. I am married to the fastest window cleaner globally from 2020, the world cup champion, best light.
That is my husband, and he loves it.
And I am. That’s right. And I was the third, fastest, single-minute cleaner last year. So we’re headed to Orlando.
Mark Ambrose: I saw there’s a video on; I’m sorry to interrupt you. There’s a video online national window trade show or something, and they must have had a contest. And I saw you and your husband standing there taking first and third place for the fastest window cleaning. People in the country. That’s pretty amazing.
Meaghan Likes: And the World actually, so there’s a world cup that goes between Europe and the US, and my husband’s name is on it for 2020.
So let’s put her, he does not have the Guinness record for being the fastest window cleaner, but he was in that particular year. And so what we’ve had to do is kind of transition this mindset from his love of his job to now. His passion is translating into a leading, building, and optimizing, and those things can be done from anywhere in the world.
My husband’s not with me this week in the snowy mountains, and he is building out some new lead tech training programs with his team. And he has a very defined goal cause he’s going to Orlando in two weeks, and we’re gearing up into a big training season where he’s averaging three technicians a week or whatever it is. But there’ve been other times when he can do that.
But there’s a lot of troubleshooting that has to go into taking. We don’t want to be absentee owners of our home services. We do not want to sell our home service business, and we also want to travel and not be very dependent on us.
So that has driven many wonderful decisions over the past three years regarding how we could systematize and build out a model that is not dependent on my husband.
But where he can still feel like he’s engaged and he loves his role in his company. So, it’s not a perfect system, but we’re working on it.
Mark Ambrose: Wow. It’s a hard transition that takes years, and that’s great. That’s probably what a lot of our listeners want to. But, eventually, I would imagine either.
Meaghan Likes: I feel like you might be like a Jeff. If you’re listening to this, I have met a lot of deaths in my life. My husband’s name. You might be like a desk. And I say build it the way you want it to.
If that means you want to travel. Great.
If that means you want to coach your kid’s T-ball team. Great.
If that means you want to retire early. Great.
If that means you want to sell it in front of the next thing, fine.
But build it for you to serve you because you’re the one with your neck out there. Right? You’re sticking your neck out there. You’ve got the skin in the game.
Mark Ambrose: Very good advice. Don’t follow others just because it’s their life; do what you want to do. Let’s say we’ve already recommended some resources, and we’re getting close to wrapping uptime. So let’s see. Is there a question maybe if you were in my shoes that I should have asked you that might help our home service people out there, Meaghan since you’d know the numbers better than I.
Meaghan Likes: I feel like this is a marketing podcast. So I feel like I want to mention the role of numbers in marketing. And one of the things I appreciate about you, Mark, and your company and how you built your marketing business very intentionally is that Mike’s numbers don’t lie in finances.
Numbers also should drive decisions when it comes to marketing. And marketing, there are many fun, sexy, cool things that you can do with marketing. But at the end of the day, it comes down to important numbers like lean lead slippage, conversion rate. Your cost per click or your client acquisition costs.
These are all different numbers that you can then dial in in your business. So when I said at the beginning, what is the first step or the next step, choose a number. If marketing is what you find appealing right now, maybe that’s a marketing number you need to choose this week. And in two weeks you can choose your next number.
But when I like about business and when I had this mindset shift is it’s a game against myself, and marketing is a game against yourself. Getting more leads or getting better-qualified leads or getting lower client acquisition costs, or qualifying your leads, so your acquisition costs are a little bit higher. You understand the lifetime value of your customer.
So I just rattled off a ton of marketing metrics, and what I like about Marcus, he understands them, and that’s the money in marketing. It’s not. You shouldn’t have to throw spaghetti at the wall anymore. We don’t have to do that anymore. Mark. If you know your numbers, they can dial it in for you and get you the results you want.
And so I guess if I were you, I would just say as numbers can translate to marketing, and I love marketing based on numbers decisions. And I don’t say that lightly because I don’t like marketing.
Mark Ambrose: I learn to love numbers. They will change your business and your life. And you’re right. Thank you—all, all the marketing numbers matter. So first, as you said, increased revenues, then as we both discussed a little bit, get that sales process down, so you don’t, you’re not leaking. And then after that, you’d need to know your costs to acquire a customer and track all your advertising.
What’s working. What’s not? Stop spending money on things that are not working. So lastly, Meaghan, how do our listeners find to give us some ways to reach out to you.
The place I hang out the most kind of embarrassing to say, but I’ve just owned it during COVID; it’s Facebook. So I encourage you to join me on Facebook from either of those platforms; tons of free resources and information out there. I kind of became the SBA guru when all of this went down over the past year.
So lots of great PDP idol California relief grant, lots of great information on those Facebook pages. And then I’m part of a membership partnership called Fight Club 4 Business number four, and it’s super fun. Every week we have a guest, and we talk about the four major areas we consider to be in business marketing, finances, culture, or people and systems. And again, great free content every single week. So my name is Meaghan Likes, and I look forward to connecting with you on the inter-web.
Mark Ambrose: Thank you, Meaghan. And that fought the number four club for business clubs, the number four, five clubs for business. I saw one of those. I think Ellen road was on there.
Meaghan Likes: We didn’t have Ellen, but we did have Karen Neilson, who I feel is sometimes like LM may think very similarly, but maybe Ellen will be a future guest. Maybe Mark will be a future guest that we encourage you to check that out. It’s designed for home services and centers. So we come from different industries providing different perspectives and just trying to help you fight for your business. It’s a fight.
Mark Ambrose: I can get out there and check out her podcast, and her website gets your numbers under control. It will change your life and your business, folks. Meaghan, a million thank you. I appreciate all you do and sharing it all with our audience out there. Thank you very much. Enjoy snowy Northern California.
Meaghan Likes: Thank you, Mark. That was wonderful.
Mark Ambrose: Have a great day. Thank you.
BOOK: How Much Should I Charge? by Ellen Rohr
A simple book that uses a simple story that takes you through the process of figuring out the proper prices to charge for your services so you can pay taxes and make a salary and profit.
BOOK: Where Did The Money Go? by Ellen Rohr
Another simple book by Ellen Rohr, owner of a $40 million plumbing franchise.
This one should be read first, it too uses a simple story to teach that numbers ARE your business and how to learn them more easily and even come to like them.
BOOK: Profit First For Contractors by Shawn Van Dyke
Stop using money from one job to pay for another. Put an end to not having the money for taxes. And close the door on not paying yourself.
This book can change your business and your life and help you remove the money-stress of your business.