Blogcast #36: Nicholas Jones – CEO of Pipleline 44 & Social Selling

Nicholas Jones – CEO of Pipleline 44, a Venture Into Business Growth with Social Selling

Rebecca: Welcome everybody to the Entrepreneurial Journey podcast. Today I have Nick, is it Nick or Nicholas?

Nick: Nick is perfect.

Rebecca: Nick. Nick Jones. Hello. You are quite hard to find LinkedIn because there’s quite a few. Nick Joneses and Nicholas Jones’, but I found you nevertheless.

Nick: My parents were obviously considering my anonymity when they gave me the name.

Rebecca: Must have been. Definitely. And you are the CEO of Pipeline 44. What is that? Do we explain because on the website where I normally do quite a lot of my research, it is just a little countdown clock. Okay. I need more than that really. So explain to everybody what it is.

Nick: Right. So the Pipeline 44 group is a venture that I started and invested in with a couple of other people. My business partner Sam Raffling and Chris Taylor quite a few years ago. And it’s a venture into, into lots of different things really. But our main focus is supporting not just startups but micro business predominantly with, and I’m sure we’ll talk about this later on and the reasons kind of why we’ve got into it and particularly why I wanted to get into it. But with social selling, but more generally than that business growth. And we’re going through quite a number of, we think quite exciting iterations of the product and the service that we’re bringing to the market, but essentially it’s focused around business growth through the implementation of effective social selling.

Rebecca: Amazing, right. I love it. So yeah, why micro businesses and what’s your definition of a micro business?

Nick: So micro business being anything, I mean a lot of people throw around the SME label, but my understanding of SME, however people define it, is that it’s generally a bit bigger. So I tend to think of sole traders, small businesses turning over perhaps a few million or less, but the small guy if you like, in the business world. And the why it’s very, it goes back to my history really. I’ve been really lucky in my business journey. We’ve had plenty of failures and I’ve made plenty of mistakes, but I’ve also had enjoyed a lot of success. And what I suppose there are lots of lessons to be learned as you’re going on that journey, but one of them is that it’s flipping hard. It’s really, really flipping hard and it doesn’t matter what anybody tells you, building a business or growing a company, it’s just so difficult.

And I kind of went off the grid a little bit and went to work overseas and came back. And when I came back a few years ago, it really struck me that with all the experience of working with people around the world, we have such fabulous people with such great ideas in this country, but they’re challenged with this noise, this noise of frankly terrible advice from people starting a businesses because they think it’s a good idea. They come online and they shout about stuff they don’t understand and they’ve never experienced and it just makes it harder. And I got really angry and it still enrages me and my whole motivation behind, I did a post about it on LinkedIn actually last week. My whole motivation behind investing in and helping grow this pipeline 44 venture is actually because I’m really enraged at how freely people are able to distract and mislead those who are just trying to take a good idea and grow something for themselves. And actually I think everybody deserves a chance to do that. Not everybody will succeed and that’s okay. They’ll learn a lot on the way and they’ll move on to other things. But everybody deserves a chance to do that. And it enrages me that we are misled so easily by all this noise and nonsense.

Rebecca: You’re a man after of my own heart. One of my favourite books is the Four Hour Working Week. I’m like really? Really? No, just no, because yeah, you could work for four hours a week, but you’re not going to make any money whatsoever.

Nick: I can’t claim to have read it, but I’ve heard the titles of all of these things. I tend to avoid these types of books. But yeah, look, business is hard work and there’s this fallacy that you can work smart, not hard. No, you need to work smart and hard. And if you want to grow a business, and it doesn’t really matter whether your ambition is to make a few thousand pounds a month sustainably and be able to retire, which is the bit nobody talks about or whether you want to make millions and millions of pounds, it’s exactly the same. You need to work smart and hard and you need to put the graft in because, and what typically happens if you don’t, you see people ending up in this kind of feast, famine cycle and they’re trapped in the circle of always having to sell just to make money and to survive. And if they don’t sell next month, they can’t pay the bills and that’s no way to live. That’s worse than working for somebody else, so many people start businesses because they don’t want to work for somebody else, but they end up a slave to themselves, which is no way to be. Right.

Rebecca: I have been there and it was horrible.

Nick: It’s hard and it’s stressful and it’s depressing.

Rebecca: Yes, yes and yes. And I agree with you. And it’s also for my, and this is very dependent on the individual for my part, even though it’s hard and it’s stressful for me, it’s still better than having to wear a lanyard to work.

Nick: Yeah, well it is kind of all relative though, I suppose, isn’t it? There are a lot of people, and I hear this a lot people, they leave employment because they don’t want to work for somebody, they leave employment. And I hear this whole mantra around I want the freedom and the flexibility. And I think certainly from my perspective, and please disagree with me, oh well,

Rebecca: You don’t

Nick: Worry. I think it’s the opposite actually. When you work for yourself, you’ve got to be harder on yourself than any boss you’ve ever worked for. And we are kind of not taught that. We’re not taught to hold ourselves to account. We’re not taught the discipline that we need to instil in ourselves on a daily basis to actually make these things work. And so whilst we might enjoy the ability to pop out for lunch or spend time with our kids and pick them up from school or whatever the motivation is, and that’s wonderful. The reality is that the finances and the business success, however that’s defined, tends to suffer because we’re not working hard and we’re not actually treating ourselves in a way that makes us do the work that we need to do.

Rebecca: Yeah. Somebody once said to me, you work from home, you work for yourself. Do you not just get tempted to watch telly? I went, no, my children would starve because if I sit and watch Judge Judy all day, then I’m not doing any work and the mortgage won’t get paid and my kids won’t get fed. So no, there’s nothing quite like that monthly bill, whatever it is that you’ve got to pay to motivate you to get off your backside and go and find the clients. Now, the bit I like about working for myself is that I can see where the cash is coming from and when it’s coming, so I’m in control of that. And if I need to turn up the dial to get more cash in, I can do that. If I want to take the foot off the pedal, I can absolutely do that, but I can plan for that. And that’s the bit I like is that controlling that flow once you’ve worked out what it is that you sell for a living, that’s the bit I like. And that’s the bit you miss out on when you work for somebody else. You can’t see what’s coming on the horizon. You can kind of try and work it out, but you not in control of that. Definitely. You start first business when you were 16, didn’t you?

Nick: Well, it’s one of those ridiculous entrepreneurial kids being opportunistic type stories at school, being a geek, building computers and selling suites through people at school because they weren’t allowed to, the sweat and all that stuff. And actually it was great. I made a fair amount of money doing it. But no, to be honest, when I was a kid, I was a complete waste of space. I didn’t do any work. I didn’t do any work. I hated going to school. Maybe that’s a pattern with people who go on to do business, I don’t know. But I certainly wouldn’t advocate that any of my many children don’t work at school. I would strongly suggest they do. But yeah, I came out, I actually wanted to be a musician. And sort of got a part-time job. Well, I was going to take a year out before going to music college. I got a part-time job, started earning money and realised that that was far more fun than playing music and not earning money. So that’s just a happy hobby now. But yeah, I started straight after school, didn’t go to university or anything like that.

Rebecca: Two questions. How many kids have you got?

Nick: Four.

Rebecca: Right? That is quite a lot. Well done.

Nick: Four under 10. Four 10 and under. It’s great fun.

Rebecca: Right. Okay. That is a lot. Why are you still smiling? Why are you still standing up? I mean, that’s four kids in 10. That’s great. I’ve got three kids. That was enough.

Nick: I have a very strong partner, is probably the answer to that. And I credit her with everything, not me.

Rebecca: And what musical instruments do you play?

Nick: I play the euphonium, which is for anybody who doesn’t know it’s a tenor tuba, it’s like a little tuba, a little bit more melodic. And also the jazz string bass, the double bass, which I enjoy… kind of the smoky backroom pub disappear away from the world. And actually the serious point is that I find music really expressive and I’m not a particularly emotionally effusive person, and my way of getting that out is through playing music.

That’s always been the case. But interestingly, music, we’re going off on lots of tangents, but music has always played, I think a really important role for me in my professional career for the obvious reasons that as you’re a kid and as you’re growing up, standing in front of audiences of people playing, starting off desperately trying to get one or two notes out, but later becoming more competent, more comfortable with those situations. There are a lot of lessons there about life and confidence and about hard work and practise. Something that I talk about a lot with my business partners and our communities and people is kind of this idea of working hard, which we talked about earlier. And I think the musician analogy is it rings true. It has become really proficient at an instrument. It’s not something you can do quickly or overnight. You need to put in hours and hours of work.

10,000 hours is the number that’s banded around. And actually I find that to be reasonably accurate in work life in terms of when people become competent seven, eight years in employment’s roughly 10,000 hours, that’s usually when they get good. But that musician analogy is great because you’ve got to work for those 10,000 hours, whatever it is to become half decent at what you do. And it’s the same in work. And it’s really interesting. The vast majority of people who come into the small business world, they come with a skill and typically speaking, they’ve spent a lot of time in a corporate career say honing that skill and they’re really good at it because they’ve probably done the 10,000 hours or whatever it is. What they haven’t done is spent any time learning how to run a business and how to do sales or marketing or finance management or anything else, or any time holding themselves to account, talking about working for ourselves. And quite often it’s overlooked that actually all those things are skills that we need to learn and we need to master as quickly as possible. But there really isn’t a shortcut to that and we’ve got to put the time in.

Rebecca: Yeah, you really do. Now, before we came on air, I said, what’s your job title? And you said Muppet, which I just thought was hilarious. So just while we’re on that subject, if you were a Muppet, which one would you be?

Nick: Kermit the Frog. Clearly. Clearly. There’s only one Muppet, isn’t there?

Rebecca: Well I’m Animal, so I’m the crazy drummer, which is fine.

Alright, no, that’s fine. So social selling, because we train business coaches, that’s our business model and they’re micro businesses. So everything is saying, we hear from our coaches, they come out the corporate world. I’ve just had a great conversation with a guy who spent 25 years with the fire service. He’s just coming out. He’s like, where do I begin? Okay, we will hold your hand and we’ll not only teach you how to coach and our methodology and coaching and consulting, blah, blah, blah, and we’ll teach you how to sell, how to position yourself, how to, and I said, don’t talk about marketing too weighty, just talking about having conversations with people about what you do. Let’s start there. Let’s start really simple. So tell me about your social selling model and how that’s going to help the micro businesses exactly what’s needed.

Nick: Yeah, so social selling is interesting. Obviously we live in an age now where the vast majority of people who are looking to take something to market turn to the online world. And I think it’s largely misunderstood and it’s purpose is largely misunderstood. And this term social selling, we’ve coined it purely because that’s what people are looking to and understand that they already have this perception that that’s what they need to do rightly or wrongly. So we use the phrase because it does embody what we’re doing, but what we’re doing is much broader than that. It’s just a hook.

Rebecca: It’s just a hook. Right,

Nick: Okay. And I think one of the challenges that so many people face when they’ve come out, take the fire service gentlemen 25 years, you said they come out with this skill. I think there’s lots of challenges, but one of the really big ones is okay, like you said, where do I start? And it is always very difficult to know where to start. And I think that the actual first phase of any business needs to be learning and it needs to be learning in an applied kind of way because the gentleman with skills honed over 25 years is very good at what he does in the scenario and in the context that he’s been in before. But that doesn’t necessarily carry over. So for me, the starting point for people is always to take your skill and figure out how you can turn that into something that people actually want to buy. Because there’s this myth that people want to buy people and they don’t. It’s a nonsense and they don’t need to like you, they don’t need it is all garbage. What they’re buying is an outcome and they’re buying a solution to a problem that they’re suffering. And if you are the person that can deliver that outcome and solve that problem, then they’re going to buy from you whether they like you or not. It’s

Rebecca: Just a myth. I can disagree slightly with that. Love it.

Nick: Please

Rebecca: Do. I am. And that you’re right, they’re buying an outcome. I agree with that, definitely. And they would prefer to buy it from somebody that they like.

Nick: Now if I’m going to rephrase that, they preferred not to buy it from somebody they dislike. Exactly. They don’t have to like you. They have to respect you. Yes. They don’t have to like you. And I think the interpretation, the difference is really important because if we start telling people who are new to business that they’ve got to be liked, they’ll go and start being friendly. And that is not how you grow business. Being friendly isn’t a way to take something to market because being friendly will lead people down the road of then trying to convince people that they should work with them.

Nick: Which again is a massive distraction. And I’m going to pick on a word actually that you used earlier and that is control. It’s really interesting when we start out, and I haven’t forgotten your question about social selling, there’s lots to talk about. We’ll circle that we’ll get there. This idea of control is fascinating because we have all of the control when we start out in business, but it’s very rare that we actually take it. And I think when we start out, one of the most important things is to identify what it is that we can control, what it is that we can’t control and actually take control of the things that we need to at that point in time.

The standard pattern would be that the 25 year very skilled person would come into the self-employed world and go out to the marketplace and start selling based on the fact that they’ve got these skills and start saying, well, I’ve done this, I’ve done that, and I’ve done the other and you should work with me because features, benefits, prowess, convincing, and that’s the standard fare. But if we switch back to this idea that people are buying an outcome from somebody of their respect, suddenly instead of selling yourself, you need to sell a service. And again, there’s a really distinct difference between those two things. There is. So starting out, my advice for anybody would be figure out what service you’re going to sell. It doesn’t need to be perfect, it doesn’t need to be the finished product. In fact, those who think that they have the finished product really need to get out of their own way because the service that you sell on day one will be unrecognisable by the time you’ve hit year two. So this kind of open-minded approach to actually I need to take something to market here that’s going to solve a problem. And actually taking it to market by, as you said, having conversations with people,

Rebecca: That’s all they need to do.

Nick: Just talking about what they do, getting out there and doing it for free if they have to, if nobody’s paying them and if nobody’s paid them in one month, they’re not going to in 10. So do it for free and figure out what it is that you’re actually doing with these people. Because in marketing, back to the social selling point and in sales, the things that are going to make the difference when you are talking to people are the relatable. And this is something that we’ve developed in our social selling models, the relatable actions, the ineffective actions, the things that people are doing every day that aren’t working and the things that they’re doing every day. Sorry, the things that they’re not doing every day. We call ’em missing actions, ineffective things and missing things. They’re the things that people are going to relate to. And if you haven’t figured out what your service is and you haven’t actually written that down and tested it and figured out what it is that your target market is doing wrong every day, you’re going to struggle and you’re always going to be convincing people. So I dunno how we got into this, it’s just a long ramble, isn’t it?

Rebecca: But I like Daniel Priestly’s phrase, which is with or without you energy. So I’m doing this whether you are with me or not. And that sums up so we don’t sell. So when we invite people to our monthly event to see whether they want to do what we’ve got on offer, we don’t sell. We just tell them what it is. We tell them what they’re going to get and we’re like, if you want it, it’s here. If you don’t, it’s fine. And there are some people that almost when they’re having conversations with us on LinkedIn are almost going, right, well sell it to me then. And my response is, no. If you want to come to the event and find out what it’s about, great. If you don’t, that’s absolutely fine. We’re not really going to lose sleep over it. And what I do know is that people are like, well, what do I need this for?

It’s like, well, you don’t need it. If you want it, it’s there and it’ll give you this, this and this. If you don’t need it, fine, don’t come and join us because actually you’re probably not going to work out. You’re probably just getting in your own way a little bit and maybe you don’t need us at all. And that’s fine. And I love that, that people will find you. And this goes for the micro businesses. If they’re offering something that people want, we’re going to use the word respect instead of like, and that’s fine. I’ll accept that from you, Nick, definitely. And they don’t have to go with you. So you don’t have to actually overtly sell them anything. If you’ve laid your store out in the right way for your audience, they will come to you. And as long as you’re talking to enough people about it and showing people what you’re doing now, disagree with me, agree with me. Build on that.

Nick: No. So I think largely I agree with you and I think the reverse psychology effect of pushing people away is it’s very well documented, isn’t it? In sales psychology. I always think of this journey because let’s face it, most of the people who start small businesses are terrified of the idea of selling. They’re terrified of it. And for good reason actually is because actually usually people’s perception of selling is getting on the phone and convincing people that they should buy, which is

Rebecca: Not.

Nick: It can be done and sure there are people that do it that way, but I reframe that slightly. And I always think of the process of marketing and sales as one seamless process. A sale actually is just the process of a close is just the process of taking an order. I don’t really know how people generally define the word sale. It doesn’t really matter. I’ve never looked. But this whole process from somebody coming into your audience for the first time. So cold traffic, if we’re talking about online platforms, moving them all the way through to the point of a close actually only requires one thing and it requires a mindset shift. So the way I define marketing and the purpose of marketing is that it should shift the mindset of people in your audience. It won’t shift everybody’s mindset, but the things that you communicate and the way that you communicate and the way that you build on your communication as people move through the various stages, touch points, go through collecting, dwell time and exposure to you and your brand and your assets.

You’ve got to try somehow with your communication to instigate a mindset shift. And that mindset shift needs to move through a few basic phases. Who are these people? I don’t know them. I’ll accept the connection request if it’s on a social platform through a, actually this looks all right to yes, I’ll give them a bit of my time. And from that point to I need to work with these people. And if you do that job properly, actually when you get on the phone with them, it’s taking orders. It’s not actually sales. And I think that’s missed. Most people don’t really get that if we’re going to do this well and most importantly sustainably. So my mantra is often to talk about sustainability in business to avoid what we said earlier, and that is this feast, famine I’ve got to sell to pay the bills next month. And let’s face it, the post covid dream of work from home flexibility is wonderful, but if you’re still going to be doing that when you’re 105, it’s not a great venture. So this idea of sustainability is really important and scalability to some extent,

Rebecca: And consistency, I’m going to slip consistency in there because, and it’s bedfellows with sustainability, is that people will turn up to one networking event and go, well, I didn’t get any clients. No, you have to turn up every single time for at least a year. So people get to know you and respect you and trust you, and then are able to understand exactly what you do. Or I put a post on LinkedIn and I didn’t get anything back. No, you got to turn up consistently and consistently sustainably and using your brand and all that to get that audience going. And it just takes time.

Nick: It does. And you’ve hit on one I love. I love to explore with people there. The idea of consistency, I agree with you, consistency is really important. But the way that consistency is interpreted by people who don’t know any better, it’s not their fault. It’s just what everybody does. Take the posting, you said posting online or the turning up to a networking event, fine. If you post, I mean the expectation shouldn’t be that you’ll get business from content anyway because that’s not what it’s for. But say if you post and it doesn’t work, the idea that you consistently turn up every day and post the same sort of stuff actually just perpetuates the not working. So consistency shouldn’t be reinterpreted as doing the same thing over and over again because that will keep you exactly where you are. Consistency should be applied in the pursuit of improvement of being micro ambitious.

I think it was, Tim mentioned in a speech that talked about micro ambition, but be micro ambitious. Take what you did today and if it didn’t work, improve it and try something else tomorrow. And if that works a bit better, improve it. Again. So consistent showing up, yes, but I assume we’re doing that anyway because we’re running our own businesses, but consistent improvement and consistent iteration with trajectory, that’s how we should apply consistency. Unfortunately, when you look at social platforms, and let’s face it, that’s where the vast majority of people are sucked to most of their time in a day is spent probably boredom scrolling, but when they’re actually trying to work on their businesses writing posts, they’re just kind of churning out the same stuff day in, day out, and six months goes by and they’re in the same place. Well, everybody says be consistent.

You see the difference. It’s completely really that we define that in the right way and we apply it in the right way. So I’d say be beautifully inconsistent with what you are doing, but be inconsistent consistently. And that inconsistency driving through an iterator programme of improvement. And it could be as simple as you look back on a content platform like LinkedIn, look back at the last month and see what worked and try more of the same thing and do it every week. But we don’t because we’ve got this idea that in order to succeed on social platforms, if you go to a networking event and you don’t talk to anybody, you can go to as many as you like. You’re never going to get any business. If you go to a networking event and you do a rubbish sales pitch that nobody cares about because you’re talking about yourself all the time, you’ll never get any business. So yeah, I always take issue with the word and the way it’s applied purely because

Rebecca: I can’t disagree with you, Nick. No, you’re right. I think I take that tweaking as you’re going along for granted, it wouldn’t even occur to me to keep doing something that didn’t work. But I guess you’re right. If you don’t know what you don’t know, then you would keep going with stuff that didn’t work. Now here’s a question.

Nick: Yes, please.

Rebecca: From your LinkedIn profile. So you have worked overseas quite a lot, which is really interesting. What can we learn in the UK from the people that you’ve worked with overseas?

Nick: Wow, that’s, how long have we got? That’s a great question. Love it. An awful lot actually. I think that perhaps this isn’t necessarily just about business, but if we look to, there’s an awful lot of cultures in the world that are nowhere near as fortunate as us in terms of material wealth, and perhaps use the wrong word there in terms of fortunate, but the material wealth, most of us, our kids will achieve a level of material wealth that’s never been seen in human history in this country, in America, in the west. And yet our satisfaction levels, our happiness, our, we’ve all heard it a thousand times on podcasts, but it’s so true. Some of the happiest people that I’ve ever met are those people who plough the fields every day to get food and sit around the campfire with their families and talk every night of the year.

I think there’s a lot to be said for that. We are so lost in our phones, in our screens, in this idea of instant gratification with connection to the outside world because we don’t have any meaningful connection in our own lives. And I think that plays through obviously our personal lives and our mental health and our wellbeing, but that directly impacts everything else. So number one would be that it has to be that the most contented people are generally the ones with the least. And I don’t advocate we should throw everything away, but take control of our lives and be disciplined. We generally don’t have discipline in our society with relationships, with time. Everybody will always complain about not having enough time. If you haven’t got enough time, you’re not controlling the time that you have well enough and that’s your fault. So this idea of contentedness, I think requires in our society a considerable amount more discipline given the distractions and the temptations that we have every day. So that’s got to be number one.

Rebecca: I agree. I agree. Travelled. I’ve not worked overseas the way you have, but I’ve travelled extensively and that’s certainly what I observe. My pet passion at the moment is family, and I mean family in the broadest sense. So not everybody has kids, but we all have family of some kind, whether that’s very close friends or work family or our neighbour family or our community family. We have family. And that’s what I get from people overseas in different cultures is that they put that, like you say, that chatting around the campfire no matter what it is. And for me, that sitting down for dinner every night together as often as you possibly can, you can’t always do it. But I had a phrase years ago, a family that eats together stays together. And I think we’ve lost that kind of discipline. Sorry, my dogs talking of family, my dogs. That’s okay. My dogs have left the room. Elvis has left the building. My dogs have left the room. And I think we need to come back to that actually. Yeah,

Nick: Yeah, I totally agree with you. And again, it comes back to discipline and boundaries and it comes back to everything. It all ties together, everything that we’ve been saying. We see people in small business working ridiculous hours. And don’t get me wrong, sometimes we need to do that. It’s part of the journey, but quite often we find people working late into the evenings and missing, I’ve done it right? I’ve done it in the past. We’ve all done it.

Nick: It costs me hugely actually. But we work late into the evenings out of this kind of almost anxious need to do because what we have been doing isn’t working very well. And it comes back to that idea of taking control and being disciplined and actually progressive, positive iteration of work. If what you’ve done in the eight hours and the day isn’t working, it’s probably not going to work while you’re doing it while your family’s eating dinner. So go eat dinner with them and clear your mind and be fresh and come back to it tomorrow and do it better.

Rebecca: I want to come back to the control thing. I come across a lot of business owners who are building a business that they hate. And I have to remind business owners that because you are building the business, you need to build the business that you actually want. So the business has to serve you. You don’t serve it. And I think many business owners forget that. They think they have to do it in a certain way, what you should do. Well, no, you can build a business if you want to work Wednesday to Sunday, as long as your clients can access you, or you can sell what you need to sell between Wednesday and Sunday, work Wednesday to Sunday, or work out a way of delivering your products and service that fits with how you want to run your life. There are ways of doing it these days that didn’t exist 5, 10, 15 years ago. And that is part of the control mechanism for me. Build it to suit you and your lifestyle. And that will change as you grow older and your family grows older and maybe you get grandkids or whatever, but a lot of business owners lose sight of that.

Nick: Yeah, they do. And I think that’s an interesting one because I both agree and disagree with you. And I think obviously if we are building a business for ourselves, it has to serve us. But I think there are certain things that we need to do while we’re building a business in order to achieve perhaps longer term objectives that won’t be harmonious with the way that we want to live today. And the great example of that is this kind of work from home flexibility trend that’s now come about. And I think it’s all very well as wanting to do that and that being the way we want to live. But the sacrifices that we are making without realising it because we are doing it, are massively detrimental to the pace of progression in our companies and our organisations. We are, perhaps, I’m talking about slightly larger organisations with people and staff, but 2, 3, 4, 5 staff is fine.

It’s still microbusinesses with the pace of innovation, serendipitous innovation, chatting around a coffee machine and coming up with solutions to problems and even solutions to problems that don’t really exist and progressing and improving service and function and process and all those things. It simply doesn’t happen in contrived digital meetings because, and we’re not creating the spaces by doing these things for people’s brains to be free to think and collaborate in a that they do when we’re with people. So perhaps a bad example, because it’s not for sole traders, it is when you’re working with people, but sole traders still have to work with people, they still have to work with lots of other people. And we have this idea that it’s a very new idea that our lifestyle comes first and our businesses come second. But I’m not quite sure where I sit with that. But generally, I think I disagree with it because our businesses are there to enable our lives and enable our lifestyles.

And if we don’t do what we must do to build those businesses and progress them, we’re going to have a hard time. Something I always talk about again with people that I mentor or work with, is this idea of aligning expectations with outcomes. If our expectation is that we will work four days a week and we’ll do it flexibly and we’ll work around that, and that’s absolutely fine, but we must expect the outcome and what we’ll achieve to be much lower than it would be if we worked seven days a week, nine to five        , and I think the bit that’s misaligned is that expectation. We expect to achieve everything by doing as little as possible flexibly around our lifestyles. And it’s just not a reality.

Rebecca: No, no. It’s really, and

Nick: Hey, if there’s somebody out there who’s done it power to you, great. But it’s not a reality for most people with most ideas.

Rebecca: No, no, it’s really not. You have to do what it takes. You have to decide what you want and then decide what you’re going to give up in order to get that or what you prepared to give up in order to get that. And if what you want doesn’t align with what you prepared to give up, you need to change what you want without a shadow of a doubt.

Nick: Absolutely.

Rebecca: Yeah. And it’s that alignment that you write is often missing. And those are the myths that are out there online. They are utter, utter myths. And we did a series of videos years ago where we really took the Michael out of them, and it’s just like, do you know what? Yeah, you can’t run your business three seconds a week and be a multimillionaire. It’s just not happening. So please don’t do it right now. I could talk to you for hours, Nick, because we’ve got so many things that we’re aligned with then we can debate and discuss. I think it’s great. But we have to bring this to a conclusion, and that is if your business, so I’m going to call pipeline 44. It’s 44, I got the number right. If it had a personality or a character, either, who would it be? And you can’t have Kermit the Frog or how would you describe it?

Nick: Oh, crikey. Okay. Well actually we’ve got quite a number of different brands underneath the Pipeline 44 group. So I’m going to pick the social selling one because that’s what we’re focused on at the moment with our new product launches. And I’m going to describe it rather than pick a character though. But I think disruptive, it’s a bit weak, isn’t it? But it’s an obvious word to use. But we are being very disruptive with what we’re doing very purposefully and predominantly because we can disrupt and also, what’s the right word? Disciplined. And I think disruptive, disciplined, very strong. We’re very confident not doing a very good job at this. Am I, you asking me to be creative? And I’m not the most creative person in the world, but the point is, what we’re doing is bringing something to a marketplace that’s saturated with nonsense, and we’re doing it in a way that is non-negotiable.

Rebecca: Cutting through the crap.

Nick: We’re cutting through the crap and we’re doing it at, I’m not here to sell this thing. Other people do that, but we’re doing a price point that makes it a no brainer. And we’ve invested an awful lot of money into what we’re doing. And it, yeah, are here to make some noise. We’re here to make a difference and we’re going to do that unashamedly. So think of some character with strength and resilience, but with this determination, with this proud determination to do things a little bit differently

Rebecca: An asterisk comes to mind.

Nick: Possibly sums it. Asterisk. I like that. Okay.

Rebecca: It got onto the skin of the Romans big time.

Nick: It did.

Rebecca: Alright, now you, your Dharma, the Hindus have this phrase of dharma, your purpose, your destiny. What’s yours do you think right now?

Nick: Right now? Because no doubt it’ll be different next week. It’s to enjoy this completely pointless, empty existence that we’ve been given. And I’ve stolen that from someone else, but it’s so absolutely flipping true. There is absolutely no point. The arrogance of mankind to think that we have a purpose in this universe is unparalleled. I think that I’ve had a bit of a journey in the last 20 years in business and personally and all sorts of things. And I went too far and sacrificed too much. And I’ve come back on the other side of that. I’m extremely fortunate and I think selfish as it might sound, I’ve got my purpose is to have self-respect and to respect the gift of life that we’ve been given. Because if I do that, actually I’ll help an awful lot of other people along the way.

Rebecca: Yeah, amazing. That’s amazing. I normally end there, but there’s one more question if I may, and you don’t have to answer this if it’s too personal, Nick. Sure. But one of the things I talk about is when people are on a certain path and they put a value at the top of other values, and it sounds like in the past you may have put work as your top value at the expense of all of it.

Nick: The pursuit of making money. Certainly. Right. And that’s a childhood thing because I was so bloody useless as a kid. I was always told I could do better. So that came from my childhood, possibly earlier than that as well for various reasons. But it was this need to prove everybody wrong. I had a chip on my shoulder, it was anger fuelled. I probably wasn’t very nice as a teenager or as a 20 something year old, but it was driven from that need to prove everybody else wrong. But really all I was really needing to do was prove to myself that I was worthy and okay, I don’t feel like I’ve got anything to prove anymore. And so that’s completely flipped on its head.

Rebecca: That’s good. Was it a near death experience that changed that? And you don’t have to say what it was if it was too personal. I’m just genuinely curious because I have come across this before.

Nick: No, it’s the culmination of a lot of experiences. I’ve travelled the world pretty extensively and I’ve been to a lot of places that you wouldn’t go to unless you had a really specific reasons. And I’ve had some real close shaves, I wouldn’t say near death, but some real close shaves with various undesirable circumstances in various countries, shall we say. But that pursuit and that need cost me a marriage. It turned me to drink an awful lot. I’ve done a fair number of different things that I probably shouldn’t have done. And coming out of the other side of that, none of it was necessary. And the result, which financially is fantastic, doesn’t make the blindest bit difference to anything. And it’s a lesson learned over a long period of time. Maybe I’m slow and probably need to learn a bit quicker, but it’s so true, this idea that when you get to this, we are driven by this need to get somewhere, always.

We seem to be, and particularly in business, there’s always this need to achieve something else. And I think back to what we said earlier, we need to align that with what it is that we are doing. We need to align our expectations and be really disciplined around the execution and the journey towards those, whatever outcomes, whatever goals we have, and making sure that we don’t go too far because none of this stuff makes us happy at all. What makes me happy is the four kids that most people go, wow, how he’s still smiling. I’m still smiling because of them and the family and the friends, and it’s a cliche, right? But it’s also true.

Rebecca: It is. That’s amazing. Thanks for your honesty. I really appreciate that. Nick. Thanks so much. And I wish you all the luck in the world.

Nick: Likewise. Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.