July 12, 2022

Mike Winnet: How I Sold A New Business For £8mill in 2.5 Years (With No Money) | E5

Mike Winnet 50 Shades of Trade podcast episode 5

In this episode, Mike Winnet reveals how he started a business from scratch and sold it for £8million just 2.5 years later. Impressively, he did this without any industry experience or investment.

Rather than pumping out paid ads, Mike worked hard to create quality, free content which had an incredible impact on his customers and business revenues.

During the episode, Mike explains step-by-step how his recipe for success can be applied to any business in any industry. If you're interested in growing or selling your trade business - this is a must watch!

If you prefer to read your content you might want to check out our blog, picking out some of the top tips from Matt's conversation with Mike.

Rather listen to this episode? Stream the audio-only version here:

You can read the transcript below:

Transcript

Matthew Franklin

Thanks for joining us Mike, welcome to the podcast. 

Mike Winnet

Thanks for having me. How are you, good? 

Matthew Franklin

I’m really good thanks, how are you? 

Mike Winnet

Really well, ok. 

Matthew Franklin

Excellent. It’s fantastic to have a best selling author on the podcast, for people that don’t know, tells us about that briefly. 

Mike Winnet

Yeah, so I just realised that most people on stage, selling shortcuts to success, all of them seem to be best-selling authors. So I thought, you know, having read some of their content, there must be a way to game it, because none of them can really string a sentence together. So I looked into it, researched it, found a way to guarantee that you get a best-selling book. To prove the point, I published a book that said ‘blank page’ on 144 pages and got it to number one on amazon within 24 hours. That was then used as the hot new release of the week, promoted by amazon so people bought it.  

I sold 49 copies and was the best-selling author and it didn’t even have any words in it, so just to show, a lot of this stuff is all smoke and mirrors. People teaching a shortcut to success aren’t to be trusted as it's an easily achievable thing, it’s easy to gain credibility, authority, and game accolades like that. It’s like pay to play isn’t it essentially, it's easy to do so there’s a world full of these people sort of taking money off people that really shouldn't be paying them for advice if I’m honest. 

Matthew Franklin

Yeah so that is you contrepreneur series, you spent years paying to go on these courses and exposing these people. I’d love to talk a bit about that but the thing that I'd love to talk more about is your first business because clearly, that was very successful and what led up to building that business, what you learnt from that, the sale of that business. Give us a quick overview of that and I know that you spent six years in startup businesses, figuring out how to how to build this business, was that planned? 

Mike Winnet

Yes so essentially, I’ll sort of backwards plan it, so I sold a business for eight million, I sold that in 2017, I set that business up in 2015, with the sole intention of growing, scaling it, and then selling it for ten million, that was my goal that was my plan, it was to sell the business for ten million in three years I didn't achieve that thing. I achieved eight million but I managed to sell it in two and half years.

Part of the reason why I sold it at that point was because the people that wanted to buy me, number one they wanted a quick sale, and number two they didn’t want me to have a work out, so I wouldn't have to do like a twelve month, twenty-four months, three for five-year handover, like a lot of businesses do when they're being acquired so that was part of the reason why I sold it.

Plus there were lots of things in the industry at that time that made me think that maybe the good run was coming to an end. So time in the market is so important if you do anything; whether that's investing, growing a business, selling a business. And the things that made us unique and that we did that were different to the industry when we started, two and a half years earlier, had now started to creep into other people's businesses in our nićhe.

So our competitors started to actually look at us and go, shit the business that we thought wasn’t gonna be around in three months' time, and we didn't like how they market themselves and the things that they said and the stuff that they pointed out that was wrong in the industry, they actually started to follow our lead. Now if you think about it, we were - me and my business partners - just a couple idiots from Warrington, with no experience in this industry. If we could achieve our business to have 340 corporate clients - that we only acquired on LinkedIn by the way, we didn't do any paid advertising and we did this with just no experience and no money, imagine how quickly some of these big corporate multi-billion power businesses could achieve what we had done in such a small time frame. 

So the timing was right to sell that business when the product was still fresh, it didn't need to be updated we still had a competitive advantage on lots of people, we were causing enough problems for other people that wanted to buy our business, and before everybody else started copying what we did. Interestingly, now, pretty much the business that we created and sold which was unique and unusual, is how most businesses in the learning online sector, now looks and feels like. So we had genuine USPs, that weren't around at the time and if I was going to do this again I wouldn't do exactly the same thing as what I did the first time, I'd actually build something different in the same industry because I now think it's tired again and it's ready to be disrupted again with a far superior product, so that would be my advice. 

Matthew Franklin

So that just very briefly so that business, was Learning Heroes, which was online learning courses that you could subscribe to.

Mike Winnet

Yeah, so how that started was - I'll take you to the beginning there - so I’ve always wanted to have my own business I don't want to go back and say I used to sell cigarettes and used to sell chocolate in school because that's, well everybody did. That doesn’t mean that you're going to be a business person, an entrepreneur. But essentially I always felt like I would have my own business.

I worked in sales jobs, got quite good at selling. I worked in a big corporate company, you might have heard of it, British Telecom. So I used to sell broadband to people over the phone, like B2C, on a dialer, calls every, four seconds, pissing people off when they're eating their tea. So I had to think on my feet, I would try and sell people things that they hadn't even asked for. Cold calling outbound. I learnt a lot of stuff doing that.

Then I got promoted from that or moved to the b2b department in BT, so that was there now. These were clients that used BT and they used their core plans, they used BT mobile, they used BT switch system, whatever it might be. Then I had to basically get them to upgrade to a better package or try and sell them business mobiles, whatever it might be, I did that. So it was a different conversation, and to be honest, I wasn't even that great at that, but it was a different conversation to just getting constant no's and bothering people.  

I didn't think I was very good at it but I then got moved to, something called BT local business, which was a start-up at the time, BT hadn't really run this program before, and that was designated teams that were owned by franchisees, that would deal with a small business community in their postcode area. So this was BT giving their... you know, what would you call it, hand holding - you were our key account. I  was on a 6 man team basically and this was owned by a franchise so this was a start-up business.

So I was in there but at this time, there were six of us on the team but there were probably 20 in the business altogether. I worked there for 2 years and I learned so much about the start-up business and business in general, being in that environment.

One of the key things that I learned there was, they made it clear what everybody got paid. There was a spreadsheet, so everybody could see exactly what people got paid, but against your name was the costs that you incur that business. So I was fully aware, being aged like 21/22, that I had: my salary, I had national insurance contributions, I had pension contributions that the business made, how much my computer cost me, how much my business mobile cost me, the heating, the rent for the building that they lived in (the office cost). We were the sales team, so we were the revenue-generating team, but we were supported by admin staff, so we had the admin staffs salaries and bonuses split between the sales team. We didn't get paid until all of our costs were covered and we were all fully aware of this.

So everybody could see exactly how much they cost, even down to ten pounds a month, that would be added to my cost, to cover: tea bags, Robinson's juice, everything. So I was fully aware.

So I realised, oh shit, when you hear these salespeople saying "well I did a ten grand deal for this business", how much actually goes to the business? It might only be five hundred, six hundred quid. And it suddenly made me realise that, you sales people out there that think they can do this [your]selves, you aren't aware of how much, how many pounds, you have to make to actually get a pound in your pocket - and this was before utility bills have gone through the roof as well. So I learned lots of things about this and I was quite good at it. So I tried to learn as much as I could.

When I turned 24/25 the owner of that business, he was called Martin - he recently died, he was what I would call my mentor. He didn't know it. He didn't advertise himself as a mentor. He didn't have a Facebook group where he'd give you "download this pdf and follow these video tips" or whatever, he was just a business bloke. Everyone got on with him, he was dead nice, and he was quite successful. It was actually him that invented or designed the BT local business franchise model for BT, so he was quite entrepreneurial.

Anyway, so I worked for him. I realised that, when a promotion came available to become a field sales person, to do face to face selling, and I was overlooked for that - I wasn't even asked for an interview or anything like that, I realised that I probably wanted to go elsewhere to further my education and knowledge in business. So that's what I did. I looked around for start-up business opportunities in Warrington, brand new with

less than twenty people in and I found a start-up called Legal for landlords and they didn't have any employees whatsoever, they didn't even have a website, and I quit and left my job where I was earning decent ish money at the time to move somewhere else for a pay cut because  I knew I would learn more at that start up and more growth opportunities that I would be better prepared for when I wanted to set on my own business, I then worked at Legal for landlords, I went down to fourteen grand a year on I stayed there for four years and at that point having spent six years in start up businesses, I went from fourteen grand to seventy grand by the way in that four years, my bring home was about four and a half grand after tax at the time but I had literally been at the forefront of everything that business did, I had to design the sales process, I had to do customers service, I started to hear conversations that would normally be outside your sphere of influence if you're working, if I work for BT proper i'm not going to be sat there with the head of marketing and the head of sales, the directors the people that set up that business, so I was a sponge basically for four years hearing conversations I shouldn't really be listening to and learning so much about business and that's what I did for four years and then I realized I was, i've always been a bit

of a tight arse, I don’t wear jewelry don't drive fancy cars whatever like that still live in a three-bed semi so my expenses were only ever too grand a month, and I had a family at the time so what I did was when I was earning seventy grand a year, I realized that I wanted to set up my own business, I realized my expenses were too grand a month I saved all of my money outside of that my expenses and then told myself when I had enough money enough runway to quit working altogether and survive for six months I would set up my own business, and that's what I did on the day that I had enough money to do that I handed in my notice aged 29, quit a seventy grand a year job with a baby that was due in three weeks' time, and went home and I didn't even know what my business was going to be on that day, I had no idea, I hadn't even thought about the idea at all, and that's what I did I quit that job, went home my wife at the time said to me what are you doing we've never had it so good, we've never had so two and a half grand on left over when after everything as been paid, why have you quit, and I said I just think I can do more I wanted to be in control of how much I could earn whereas when you worked for somebody else, my feelings was only valued as much as they value you, so long story short I was promised something I was promised grand if I achieve something when I did achieve that thing they only tried to pay me five hundred pounds, so I quit a seventy grand job because for two reasons, number one I didn't think they kept the words, and they tried to bump me for fifty percent of what we agreed on, and the second thing, was I finally felt ready six years in start of businesses, I felt that i'd seen for things that went well, seen enough of things that go badly to just be able to have a

crack at running my own business and then I left they put me on six weeks gardening because they were worried I was going to set up in direct competition with them, I didn't I went and set up a business in a completely different industry that I'd never ever worked and before and then basically wrote a plan that how I could create a real alternative to what was out there,  and then backwards planned that business from ten million in three years, that

was my plan, I didn't even have a passion for that industry, I didn't even particularly want to be known for doing that thing, it was just a vehicle to create enough money for me to do things that I actually wanted to do and that's what I did. Year one I got, so it was an online training business and I'll give you an example of how I come up with the business idea. 

How do we learn in real life if you're at home you want to learn anything? You probably go to one or two places you probably going google, you prbably go in youtube, and that could be anything how to cook the perfect roast in, how to set your sky digital box,

how to, I don't know, whatever it might be you'll go to those two places, weirdly when we're at work and your business tries to give you LND or develop people they'll make you sit in front of, like a three-hour death by powerpoint learning module right, I don't know why they do this because we all accept that none of us learn like that in real life, no one's going to go out you know what, I really want to learn about whatever how to perfect roast dinner I'm going sit at my computer for three hours. 

You want to find out as quickly as possible and follow along and then pause, put it into practice, pause it put it, into practice. 

So while looking at job boards I kept seeing stuff like you need to be able to work in a team, you need to, be able to communicate effectively and I thought how can you prove that you've got these skills because you can't do a GCSE in effective communication so I started to look at online courses and all of them were dog shit and I thought why on earth would I pay twenty-nine pound for an effective communication course there's six hours long and it literally looks like it's been made Collin the IT guy that's never actually been on the shop floor or in management or actually, work he's just an IT geek that knows how to do powerpoint. 

I just thought it was rubbish so then I started to look at the businesses that create your learning the all charged businesses, per course, per head, they have collections like the management collection the leadership collection so not only was it a shit product they were overcharging for essentially what was content and trying to tie people into a long contract so it was like you're trying to force businesses to learn in a way that we all accept nobody actually learns in real life and tie them in for four years so I just thought what a novel concept this could be just create something that you would enjoy yourself the terms that you would want if you were a customer so I would want, short bite sized animated and explainer  style or just tell me one skill let me go and try and put that into practice because I realize that elearning is actually a shit way to learn anything the real learning happens putting into practice through experience on the shop floor because that's how I learned about starting a business right I went and did six years on the shop floor and learned so much so I realized learning is good at introducing concepts ideas and thoughts however the actual learning takes place on the shop floor through experience in shadowing people, tying things, trail an error.

So why not create that for businesses to train their employees and I would just look at everything that I didn't like about how our competitor's worked, long contract price per head price per course, tie me in andjust create the opposite so I literally said canceling same subscription new content every week I don't care if you've got ten thousand staff or a hundred thousand staff it costs me the same to make it, if you get more value out of it, great like I shouldn't profit because your business has grown and got an extra ten staff or if you're a start-up and you take on a new member staff then you come back and go oh Carol's just joind the same team, how much is it to add carol to the learning system? I just thought it was nonsense and that's what I did I literally tried to create a genuine alternative to what was out there with real USPs on the biggest problems I see where business is now, I see it all the time with Facebook, I see it all the time on Linkedin, if you ask a question what's your business USP they'll go it's me I'm the USP because I'm quirky or whatever, like or whatever they're not real USPs if that's what you're relying on you’re probably stumped when it comes to so I actually had real genuine USPs what was out there and then I went about market and had no money by the way I was boots strapped like literally I was on the savings and so if I didn't sell something it was game over which I think a bootstrap startup you are probably more likely to work harder than if you just get investment.

I think a lot of companies or people, start-up business owners focus on getting investment at the beginning that they don't realize that you know that just that's just to get you to day one, it’s now day one, when you now got to start working they think this done getting investors I reckon I'd work harder if it was my own money like that was spending when I made decisions if I was spending two million of investors' money so that's why we did it without investors. So set the business up didn't have any money, so I thought right how do I get people to notice me, and then I I made content around questions that people would ask if they wanted to buy my product and that's all I did put content on LinkedIn grew an audience to like forty thousand. 

Year one signed eight corporate clients up but the stuff like the football association, Halfords, Matalan, the Arcadia group, Topman, Topshop,  Boots pretty much anyone that you know on the high street used our training, building firms, the NHS, colleges', universities, because we had such a compelling offer at a  pice point that made it no-brainer, because it was canceled any time we could easily, it wasn't either-or decision between us competitors it wasn’t like were tied into a four-year contract with this company, however we'll make you content as well as whereas again a lot of our competitors were they would have to wait two years, when's your contract ending no one's, going to spend another thirty-four grand on train so that's what we did, year one signed up eighty clients, but this is monthly recurring revenue,  eighty clients paying between three-fifty and five hundred pounds a month year two I'd signed up another two hundred clients,  and that was, I had two hundred clients with the price teased up by this point because the was a lot, a lot more in it so they were paying about, the average was about four hundred and twelve pounds, but so pretty much five hundred quid a month, all.

Your learners could get access to all of our training content and you can use it however you wanted and that was it. Year three, three hundred and forty clients they didn't spend one single penny on paid advertising at all, i was the only sales person until the last sort of six months in that business yeah. Sold the business, got offered seven million, turned it down, they offered eight million three days later so had the money third-two days after the first inquiry about buying the business that. 

Matthew Franklin

Was turning it down an easy decision? Was it kind of like well they're gonna come back with another offer, so?

Mike Winnet

Yeah, because I wanted, my idea was ten, so said was like what if I made you an offer of seven million now what would you say? And I said, if you had a house that was for sale for a hundred grand and someone offered you seven grand for what would you say? It was the same answer I think people sometimes think you take the money out the equation they were trying to bump you for thirty percent of what you actually wanted, so it was an easy decision to be honest. 

Matthew Franklin

But you took eight though?

Mike Winnet

Yeah, because the terms were better. So so that was like that was better for me, because I wouldn't have to work for two years for somebody else my point was I didn't want to work more than three years as soon as the terms then change it meant that I wouldn’t have to work for somebody, why would I want to work there, I didn't and I could do more with the money to my own thing. 

Matthew Franklin

Yeah I mean it's fantastic to have that opportunity to not have to go through that earn-out period just go there, I mean was that very much planned inlike the way that you create that business was very much focused on it doesn't need me to run.

Mike Winnet

Yeah so the biggest problem in with a lot of people, I've got like a little business community all views of my own, where it's full of business owners

Matthew Franklin

It's good

Mike Winnet

So many people in there have essentially created a job for themselves and they don't realize that and I think too many people realize that too late in the process, like if you are bob boilers and it's just you and then you've got like maybe an apprentice, no business is going to buy bob boilers from you, because you know everybody buys the boilers from bob because they know bob right, and you're doing everything like you are basically you've

created a job for yourself and you're the business person the business employee. That whole business was set up to run without me, so like the last twelve months that business we had somebody that I paid more money than I paid myself because I was still paying myself minimum money because I knew my big payday would come at the end so I was paying somebody like sixty-four thousand pounds to be the MD in that business for when I sold the business I could show people here's your MD, here's your head of sales, here's your head of marketing, this is how the businesses ran and we don't do anything within that

business so I built it and I employed people and paid them top dollar so allow me that when it came to the sale, if I couldn't get the price that I wanted, I could negotiate the terms that benefited me the most and that's what I did. Yeah everything was built to sell, so we sacked ourselves replaced ourselves and on paper that business ran completely without us, the management team was in place.

Matthew Franklin

And you wrote a little bit about, I think you mentioned at some point, that that deal nearly fell through or like you mentioned some of the mistakes you made, it be great to hear some of those because I think that that could really help people.

Mike Winnet

So there's like loads of mistakes, obviously you've never done this before it but workin class people, it's hard enough to set up a business that actually works well and you can attract clients and all those types of things so there's lots of things you don't know and when people are buying your business, yes they can kind of take advantage of that, however things that we did that you know looking back now I should have got I should have improved, number one was contracts, the right contracts in place, so we had internal staff we employed employees but we also have third-party, freelances even though we paid them to create content for our business, learning content, elearning models, animated explainer videos, we didn't when we were selling the business own those things, because they were created

by somebody else because we didn't have the correct IP contract in place so we then had to go and get them to sign contracts backdated contracts that meant that everything that we sold, which is mad so you've got third party developers for an apple whatever it might be when you come to sell that business unless you've got the right IP contract in place that isn't shown as an asset on your balance sheet which is crazy we and we had worked like that

for two years not knowing that because we just assumed that the freelance contract that we had was good enough but whenit was under scrutinyit wasn't strong that meant that we could we own those assets so we had to go back get that sorted that was one. Number two, accounting is huge there's one thing that you listen to me to saying you want to go and do it like get managed accounts in your plan so you can know exactly what's going in what's going out how much things cost your profit your loss our accountants weren't particularly very good but we paid a lot of money for them we assumed that they were good but they've never dealt with an online subscription base sort of like, ed tech company before. So when we were selling our business I remember being in their office saying that I think business would be valued at ten million when we sold, and this is three months before we sold by the way, they laughed and said that the most we'd ever get for the business is one point two million. That’s our accountants by the way they're the people that are meant to positioned so we get the most value.

Matthew Franklin

So did they did they explain how they actually calculated that?

Mike Winnet

Yeah because all they're used to islike you know john's hardware store and it's like well how much profit you get right, times that by three, not looking at who would be likely to buy our business, what cross opportunities are, what's the savings made on the same management team, our products worth a hundred grand, you've got three hundred and forty clients, could we sell our hundred grand clients product to your three hundred and our clients then there was also selling our product to their existing three thousand six under clients just to put this into perspective the people that bought our business were acquired again nine months later, on the acquisition was two point six billion and it, they're now the biggest learning company in the world and we were a small part of that but it goes to show they had, when they were buying rather than go in well it's, there's lots of reasons why the bought, the cash flow subscription based all those different things that make it attractive but essentially there going does it fit or bigger picture, which is let's roll lots of businesses that got this modeling together then we can sell for a big multiple of a huge number and that's what they did. 

Matthew Franklin

It's incredible I think, the thing that really impresses me about what you've done there is just the planning the forethought and that going to set this goal i'm gonna go out i'm going to create this business I’m going to set it

Mike Winnet

Most people don’t do that though it's mad

Matthew Franklin

Yeah

Mike Winnet

Isn't it like, if you don't when you say to people so what successful what's, weird by the way if you say how much money you want to earn a lot people say ten grand, I don’t know why they say ten grand, when you say how much you want to sell your business for, people say numbers one million three million five million ten million like no logic or behind it like most people aren't working towards a plan working towards a goal we were laser focused on getting enough customers paying us five and quid a month that we could get the multiple that we wanted that would then allow us to sell the business for I mean we would have probably sold them the business for ten million if we had gone to our run date because we were six months early were at eight million so if we had got that we carried on the acquiring at the speed we were, however it was the terms that made us sell at that point because everybody that a sort of been interested to that point wanted to keep us in place essentially wanted to pay the money over three years four years pointless, using the money that our businesses was generating to pay us anyway,  so that's why we sold so i would have hit the target probably gone a little bit over but it wouldn't have been what I wanted but we used to say does it make the boat go faster? so the problem of a lot of business owners is this not paying themselves you know they're eating hand to mouth and then out the blue google comes out the blue but anyone, we've not paid ourselves at this point wer ebout four or five months into the journey google said i've seen one of your animations that we'd put on new youtube and we'd like you to work with us and the offers ninety grand,  baring in mind were not paid ourselves they want us to work exclusively for them for four months and they were goin to give us ninty grand to do it, we turned the offer down to carry onmaking modules for our main catalogue of content we were creating, to try and sell to people for £350 a month. We turned 90 grand down, to do that. And most people will go, well, why would you do that? Why didn’t you take the 90 grand?

No. Because then we would have become an employee of Google, for 90 grand, and we couldn't have reused any of that content. So it would have put us off track, off the goal. We were laser-focused on executing the plan that we knew would work or believed it would work.

That's what we did.

So people follow or chase shiny things. Every so often, see this, I need to do this, I need to do that. No. Just do the thing that you know is gonna work, at 100% effort and execute it. Don't go and chase that because you might make two grand there or five grand there or in our case, 90 grand there, you know. We turned that down and at the end of that month, after turning down the 90 grand from Amazon, we paid ourselves 500 pound each that month.

Which for a lot of people they think that's mad. But I believed and knew, that doing that work and making those sort of twelve modules, twelve different courses, in that same time frame, would allow us to attract, you know, business, like a lot of business. So that essentially, when we sold and we got the multiple would mean a lot more money than the 90 grand - delayed gratification.

So. Yeah. That's that's what we did.

Matthew Franklin

Do you have any regrets?

Mike Winnet

I regret not just going and doing this like. Going straight back into work like two weeks later, I was applying for jobs like two weeks after I sold. I regret just not starting straight away because. But regrets one of them is like I didn't know a global pandemic would hit the world for two years. I didn't know that all my investments, now I've got the villain. Spain never been to it. There's never been the wrong holiday. I've been there to view it by it, you know. So there's lots of regrets, but the regrets that are outside of my control. But if I, what things that were in my control. I should have just started doing. Similar model again. 

Matthew Franklin

What kind of jobs were you applying for? 

Mike Winnet

Like working a state agents. Because I like to learn properly.

I kind of like to learn through doing. Yeah. So I, you know, do I want to pay. A Property guru. That if you look at his balance sheet or check companies House doesn't have any assets. Doesn't show any profit.

Do I want to go to his 14 hours course in Basingstoke so I can learn how to invest in properties for, like $2,987. Or do I want to get paid for my learning and learn about property investment through working with property investors or working for investment company or working as a agency. 

Matthew Franklin

So you knew what you want it to do. You just wanted to experience in that area for the things that you wanted to do next.

Mike Winnet

Yeah. Like what we say. Like, you know. When it comes to doing any of these things business, whatever. There's two ways of learning in my thought and it this. Do you pay for a guru to try and shortcut what you need to know and tell you what you need to know? Bear, bear in mind.

He probably doesn't know anything about the industry you want to work in. Anything about you as a person. Do you want to pay for that? And it costs you money to learn. And it's probably not going to be beneficial or in depth or actual real world experience or do you want to actually go on work in a real startup. Preferably in the niche that you're thinking about working in yourself and get paid to learn. Which one do you think is a better way of learning? Which one do you think is a better quality of education.And which one do you think is going to benefit you more long term? Which one of those who think, do you think you're going to be more successful? Having done. If anybody has said, the guru. You know. You must.

Matthew Franklin

Lots of people do take the easy option, it’s a shortcut. 

Mike Winnet

Who would you say are the most successful business people in the world? 

Matthew Franklin

Branson

Mike Winnet

Richard Branson. Musk. Steve Jobs when he was alive. Bezos. Not one of them would ever attend a guru seminar and sell a shortcut success. Not any of them put their secret down to only work in 4 hours a week from the beach on their mobile. Why? Because we all accept even the people that try and bypass this stupidly, that hard work, underpins all this. Jeff Bezos is sat there in his garage or whatever it might be working 14, 15 hours a day. I'm not saying don't work smart, but work hard is key to any of the success stories we know. And that's in business, that's in sports, that's in the gym, the rock. Do you think the Rock watches videos,  my three quick tips to get the perfect chest? Or my you know how to grow python biceps in 90 days? Or do you think that the rocks in the gym, doing curls, squats and bench pressing so we all accept this in everyday life, however, for some reason when it comes to business, we try and shortcut it and we line the pockets of people, that haven't even achieved the thing that they're selling you a shortcut too, and I always give this anallergy, to make you realize how stupid this sounds.

I'm gonna now do, a guru ad, but I replace business or affiliate marketing or drop shipping or NFTs or crypto or sixfigure your income or whatever it might be. I'll switch it with sport and you'll see how stupid is. 

Imagine you're on Facebook, an advert pops up now, boom. Learn in 90 days how to win a PGA Tour even if you've never picked up a golf club in your life. Two grand.  You'd go, that’s fu*king stupid. You know, if you've got no experience, you've never picked up a golf course in your life. How do you think in 90 days time, you're gonna be on the PGA tour.

You're not. However, as soon as you replace that with anything that is wealth creation people think it could be true. Being a successful business owner is like elite level sport, you've got to do your reps, you've got to do your hours in the gym. You've got to do. You've got to go through all that learning to be successful, there is no way to shortcut and here's the kicker, most of the people that sell these courses still use Musk, Bezos, Richard Branson in all their marketing any way.

Yeah. As a way to hook you in, like, oh, Look, Jeff Bezos, he's on Amazon. He earns £20 billion a second, however, if you take my Amazon, fulfill bounds and course, you two can earn a six figure income.

Jeff Bezos is making all that money. You're just working for Jeff Bezos and paying these dickheads just to show how to upload products to Amazon. It blows my mind, you know, and that's kind of what I've spent my time doing. Is exposing those people because I could quite easily have been one of those people on stage saying, hey, guys, follow my two and a half year plan to scale your business and sell. Your business for 8 million. But you know why I don't?

Matthew Franklin

Go on

Mike Winnet

Because, what a lot of these gurus don't tell you is. Luck. Like luck is a huge part of this. You can do all the right things you can do, identify the right business, you can work really hard, but there's an elements of luck that has to happen. Market conditions, outside of your control that you can't replicate. I couldn't replicate the exact same thing if I did it today. And work two and a half years. I couldn't, because I can't guarantee that there would be the same market conditions. And somebody looking to acquire my business in two and a half years time. So that's why I can't just package it up and sell it as a course and I've actually done the thing as well, which makes me different from most of the people that do sell this bullshit. I've actually sold my business.

It's Public record, but I still don't feel comfortable enough to sell it to other people because number one, you're probably not going to achieve it because I probably couldn't achieve the exact same thing. And I've already done it once.

Matthew Franklin

I think this is quite interesting area actually. Where, it's I've come across lots of people that are quite successful with been successful. Probably, through doing one thing. And haven't necessarily appreciated the variables that are involved there and the luck that has

Mike Winnet

You know why they don't because that somehow dampens their genes. All their ego doesn't allow them to admit that. But I ain’t got no problem with that, I'm just the working class kid from Warrington, to come up with good idea. Executed it quite well, Is alright at marketing. Found someone stupid enough to give me close to the price that I wanted for and sold. 

Matthew Franklin

I mean the best people, that give that kind of advice in the right way, would say, look, this is what I did in this scenario. These were the these are the variables. Like. I'm not saying, go and do this. But this, you could learn from this. 

Mike Winnet

That's why I like views of my own. Like, views my own. I just let literally let people see exactly what I'm doing in my real businesses, now, in real time, like, here is a real case study of a aggregate marketing company in the I've run myself. I'm not saying it will work for you. I'm not telling you to dress up like ghosts and run round exhibition centers or to, you know, hire a crane in Manchester with placards. And, you know, not saying for you to do that. I'm just saying, here's what I've done here with the results. Here are how I come up with an idea for a marketing campaign.Go and come up with something yourself. 

Rather going, if you do this marketing campaign campaign, you will earn six figures, which, and that's my biggest problem with the same thing. Especially when now I know I understand marketing right. You can almost laser target exactly who you wan to speak to right? It's too easy now. If you're crafting your marketing message to be something like. No experience necessary, no money down, 60 days, It's not fair if you say anything to do with it. Very little money or no money, especially property, for example, you are knowingly targeting somebody whos not got any money so the chance of them being successful is pretty low.

And you know, for them to buy your stuff, they're gonna have to go into debt, use a credit card, borrow money from somebody else. So you are deliberately targeting people that you would argue are the most vulnerable people. However, flip side of that is, are you targeting people that just want a shortcut? You know, they're trying to con doing the right work, the hard work, the hard yard. So do they deserve it? I would say probably not.

But you are the result of the questions that you ask online. If you start searching bullshit like how to make a million pound business in twelve months, you probably deserve everything you get after that point because it is the wrong question to be asking. Nobody asked that question or nobody that is successful is asking. No one's going to the rock that really wants to get in shape going, hey, Rock, can you tell me how I can get a six pack, three weeks. Nobody but you see what I mean? 

Everything's out there that you want, all the examples that you want to follow up there. I've read two books in my life that I think have actually changed like my whole mindset on business. 

Matthew Franklin

What were they? 

Mike Winnet

Number one, Rules of wealth, by Richard Templer and the other one is called The Millionaire Teacher and that's a teacher that earns thirty-five grand a year, he's become a millionaire. Taught me about investing and understanding money. You know I've not been to a seminar or paid 20 grand for them to tell me this thing but bough a nine quid book so 18 quid has changed my life. But people don't do that stuff today. Even now, like, oh, well, read the book. No. Can you just get on Blinkist? People shine shortcut everything, It's just mad to me. So I mean. 

Matthew Franklin

That's a big area that you touched on, there is the hard work that's necessary to have those chances at success. 

Mike Winnet

But this is the madest thing, though. We all accept that's how you basically get successful, until it comes down to you doing it? It's like you know the answer but you know what about the six minute abs? Yeah, but you know the answer. Anybody is looking for the six minute abs. I bet they've not got six pack. Anybody that's followed the six minute ab of formula I bet they've not got six pack. What they did was they got somebody that's been in the gym for 20 years, to promote that product and pretend he’s done it in six minutes. If you don't understand that, then. You know there's something wrong. 

Matthew Franklin

Yeah, and a big part of work is ultimately like, it's a really big mental challenge. Is that something that you’ve struggled with at any point? Or there are ways that you found of coping with that?  So now we talked to a lot of people who we’ll see in the trade industries and there's constantly posts on how people say no, I just want to pack it in. Not not saying everyone wants to do that, but like it's a problem that the business owners have it's hard.

Mike Winnet

Yeah, but for what say is when it gets to that stage, so if you've got your own business, you find like it's like a treadmill and you can't get off and it's hard work. You're not enjoying it. It's a cliche that you guys enjoyed the journey rather than destination, because honestly, when that moment happens, you think it's going to be brilliant, but all those things that eat at you inside and anxiety, depression, ups, down, feeling happy, sad, money worries they don't disappear. The only difference is now you've got nothing to take your mind off of it, their amplified right? So you've got to try and enjoy the journey the best. Now if there's things that you're finding hard and you don't enjoy, that is just an opportunity to look at exactly what you're doing in your business and start outsourcing those tasks. One of the easiest, well, the simplest tasks I do is, I list tasks by ten pound, hundred pound, thousand pounds. If you're a business owner and you're doing ten-pound tasks, admin, following up, invoicing, stuff like that, that's probably one of the easiest things for you to outsource to somebody else. It might cost you 20/30 pound a week, just for someone to do that for a couple of hours a week. For 50 quid. That then frees up your time to do £100 tasks. And then once you start doing more of them, you start generating more money. You then outsource those jobs and then you've got a thousand pound tasks and you start outsourcing them. 

So if you're finding it hard and you're not in enjoying it and you seem to be busy. Look at what you're doing. List all your tasks into three columns, and get rid of all the shit that you don't like doing and don't want to do that's low value. Because you'll find someone cheaply that will take that problem away for you. I guarantee you will enjoy it a little bit more. So that's how you do it.

There's no way to get around this. You can't shortcut, bypass or circumnavigate hard work. It doesn't exist. Nobody wants to do that. And you work hard and you do all the right things - and you said the harder I work the luckier I get, I believe in that. So when that moment of luck arrives. You're in a far better position to capitalize on it. You know, that's it. And I was just in that position when that luck arrived for me, I capitalized on it.

Matthew Franklin

And so you were very, very focused on what that goal of achieving the outcome was.

Mike Winnet

Yeah, most people don't know that. And again, I would say, write down what your goal is. People like, oh, I want to sell the business for 10 million. Right. When? So right, put a date on it. Right. So how now do you get to that price? So, what do you need six months before then? How many customers do you need? How many customs do you need paying you how much per month? Right. What's that price per month? Right. So if you need that if you need 500 customers in two and a half years’ time, how many customers do you need by 18 months, nine months, six months, three months? How many each week? How many each day? Right. How many calls do you need to make each day to get there?

When you break that goal down. But most people go, yeah, I want to earn ten grand on a month. All right. What do you charge? Like £200 an hour. How many hours a week do you work? Well, how the hell did you get to ten grand a month? You've not even thought about this. You’ve just literally said a number because I've asked you a question. Like if there is, no. And I'm amazed by how many people just sort of bumble through the week, the months. Month after month, week after week, year after year. Getting nowhere near where they say they want to go.

Write it down. Write exactly how much you want. Exactly. It doesn't even have to be 10 million. It could be, I only want to work four days a week. I want to earn ten grand a month. I want to earn ten grand a week, whatever it might be. And then start planning how to do that.

If you want to work three days a week, then you go right, so how much do my costs cost each week, by costs of two grand. Right. So I need to be charging how much per day? Right. Well, now I'm only working three days, so I'm gonna have to work a little bit more. What other costs are associated with that? Right. Okay, then. Oh, now I've got extra days off, so I'm probably going to be spending more money than I'm currently spending at the moment because I’ve got an extra two days to account for. So actually, I need to earn an extra 500 quid a week that I didn't know. But people don't think like that. It's mad.

Matthew Franklin

What are your goals now?

Mike Winnet

So builds views my own to a thousand subscribers a month. So that will bring in 15 grad worth revenue, for that. That will then free up enough time for me to employ a couple of people in the community. Make it, I want to make it the UK is number one sales and Marketing community. So do that and then my main plan is in the background, I will then be able to focus on what I really want to turn views of my own into, which is for businesses and corporates. I want businesses and corporates to basically, when they get their marketing teams to go,  we use views of my own as our training our learning development. And so I would I will have corporate licenses that I charge to businesses. However, I've got two years worth of content, kowledge, experience and almost like testing before I launch a corporate version of it. So that's my goal. And I'm happy once someone wants someone earning ten grand a month again, every month after tax in my pocket, I can just chill, relax and actually get happy because I'm a miserable sod. 

Matthew Franklin

Do you think you can do that? What would you do? When you reach that goal? Chilling out?

Mike Winnet

No, no, it wouldn't be chilling out. Like I would literally go. It's like a gift on the curse. I'm really focused on certain things, and I go all in on things, and I would just go all in on fitness. I'd go all in, like traveling, seeing the world's. My problem last time was I didn't earn enough money for me to be able to do that,  I don't think. What I wanted to do was earn enough money to buy enough properties to guarantee my kids future. That was all it was. And for how much money do I need to do this? Oh, shit. If I work for somebody else, I'm never gonna get in that position.

However. In three years I could earn a basic. I just said in three years I could earn ten years worth of money. Was my idea so I'd get ten years ahead. I'm just gonna do the same again. Now I still think I've got a big one left to me. I don't think that was the big one. To be honest. 

Matthew Franklin

It's awesome. I can certainly test to Views of my my own being useful. I can see the route to, you know, corporate subscriptions. There's two of us in our business right now that subscribe to it because it's really useful. 

Mike Winnet

Yeah, but It'll be different. It'll be more like modules that they could download, put it into their own learning management system, It'll almost be like, I want two versions. I want like a sort of low costs, entrepreneurs, businesses, less than sort of five people. I want that version that would never be able to afford. What the sort of all singing all dancing version will be because that's what my old business was. That's what my business is now and I understand the difficulties of doing that there's no point me telling Boots How To Run A £10 Gorilla Marketing campaign. They've got a million pound budget, you know, to do that kind of stuff, you know? So I'm saying. So it'd be two very different things. What I'm lucky at. Well I'm lucky is. What makes me lucky. Is I've done training for big corporates first so I actually understand what they want, however, I can create that content, but I am actually that small business owner that's worried about you know, Business rates. If I employ an extra few people, the office space gets a bit bigger. You know, having an account and doing managed accounts and stuff like that. So that's my day-to-day life. I just want to create a sort of corporate version of it. 

And we've got, like our first meetup and stuff like that, I actually want it to be like meet up events. Not selling from the stage, literally, like, here are some really good people that can tell you about gorlla marking campaigns. Here's a really good salesperson. And do it properly. There's so many things I've seen wrong in that industry. The Iony, I look at like this now now because it's a bit disjointed.

The contrepreneurs that I just did because I was excited. And add nothing else to do to keep my brain active so it didn't cause myself a mischief. Basically, so I kind of feel like I've done it myself. Achieve something.

I've shown people what to look out for and avoid. And now I'm trying to show people what to do and what to try because it might work for them. So I almost feel like, I don't know if it's right or wrong or they're just way my brain works, I've almost squared it away as the contrepreneurs stuff is important to my journey for the views of my own stuff. Because I've learned, you know, there's a lot of people out there pretending that they've achieved things and teaching stuff. that's bullshit. They've never done it in real life before. They've never owned a real business.

They're telling you how to do a marketing campaign to acquire new business. However, they've never sold a product. They've never sold a service, you know, they don't actually know any of the stuff their teaching you. So I thought, how can I be different that well. How cool would it be to be able to sit there and watch somebody in real time build a business from zero. We had zero customers when I opened the doors on Views My own, and then I just basically documented stuff that I've done. Or stuff that I'm doing. Or answering questions from other business owners, though in the same position as you are. I am. We all are. 

Matthew Franklin

Fantastic. 

Mike Winnet

15 quid a month if anyone wants to joy, click the link in the description.

Matthew Franklin

Yeah, we'll drop it in. We'll definitely drop it in. It is great. I highly recommend it really useful actionable things that we've been taking action on seeing results. So. Yeah, that's great.

Mike Winnet

It's good for those in the trade, by the way. And it's again. It's like the small business owner that you know doesn't want to do. Like, they've not got, they're not gonna buy 100 grand CRM or they're not gonna do, like a marketing campaign that, you know, defrost and all this stuff. It's good for, like, gone there, that's a good idea I'm just gonna put that into practice now. 

Matthew Franklin

Yeah. Highly recommend. I looked at that. You've worked with. Some, certainly I know like Plumbers, heating engineers on some of their marketing. What are the things that are different about that industry? Or is there anything? What are the biggest challenges you've seen in biggest ways you can help them.

Mike Winnet

It's mad right. So people always say to me, oh, well, that wouldn't work in my industry, but, It  does. Look again, I go back to the same principle that when I was creating online learning. When a person has got a problem if I go home now. I'm my boiler is spurting water out everywhere making loser noise. I go one and two places I ever go on YouTube or Google to quickly diagnose what's wrong with it, or find out and try and sort it. Now, Youtube is the second most searched search engine in the world. Google's the first. Did I say Google then? YouTubes second, then Google's first. Google, owns YouTube. So all you need to do is just make content. With a search first mentality. 

So what question would I search, that I want this video to turn up as the answer for? And that's all you do if you just make content answering questions that your ideal client would ask, or your existing customers ask. Put that in the places that they search for those questions, you are basically scaling yourself. So if you're a one man band, two man band, three man band, nobody's better on the phone than you right because you know everything inside out, you know all the answers, all the questions. So if you just start making content that answers those questions and put them in all the places that people ask questions you will start to generate self qualified leads for free. 

This isn't Facebook, ads, spamming, people's feeds. This is somebody with the exact problem you fix, searching for it, finding the answer. And now, because Google owns YouTube, Google started pulling through YouTube videos on the first page of Google. So if you start tagging them up properly calling the right things. And then you can reuse that content and frequently asked questions on your website, in blogs. You can do it as your marketing campaign. Like, here's a great tip on how to make your boil and more efficient.

Whatever it might be. Just create evergreen, lead generating content and you are essentially having a sales person that works 24 hours a day in 10/15 places on the internet doesn't take a day off doesn't want commission, won't winge, doesn't want to pay raise. It's you, in 20 places. Only talking to your idol customer and that is the same for any trades people. We've just been to Lincolnshire and created twelve videos with Heating Boil engineer and it was showing an install the difference between two different boiler systems. Savings that you can make so you can bring down your energy, your costs, energy cost down. That's the same with every single industry. 

We've done it with an artificial grass company, recently, recently going there what's the difference between these two grass types? You know, can I put this in a garden this size what about drainage? All the questions that you get onto every day and it is a quick tip for anyone that wants some value from this. Just get a piece of paper and every time we're on the phone with anybody, any of your clients or any prospects, just write down the questions they ask, you do that for a week and I guarantee the same 10/15 questions will get asked over and over again. That's your first bit of content. Just make that content, and then what happens is. It makes any of your customers, it removes any objections when they see your contact and call you up, they've seen in your content, has already been overcome. If they're ringing you, they want to buy because they've already bought into. They believe you, trust you, understand you. Loads.

A client that installs balustrates, staircases, same thing. It's like. But it's the same principle, all it is is the questions you're answering are different. 

Matthew Franklin

I think that’s fantastic advice, and I've definitely seen that in action. The biggest blocker that you would come across, the view, explain is to a lot of people, is I don't want to give away my expertise for free. That's the blocker and what would you say to that?

Mike Winnet

Well. It's just stupid way of thinking. Number one, like, think of it like this, right. If you help them, most people can't do the thing that you do right? You can only do the thing that you do in your own. You'll experience you're only that good. And you're only that knowledgeable. Because you've been doing it for so long. Or you're the best at what you do. So I listen, I could tell you all now exactly how to build and sell a business for £8 million, I guarantee that 99% of you won't do it and can't do it. Your customs are exactly the same. 99% of your customers, that search about balastrades or boilers. Aren't going to be able to install a central heating system. They might try and they're gonna fuck it up and then who are they gonna come to? The guy that's helped.

So that's one way of looking at it. So if another way people look is if this is so good, the free stuff is what's it gonna be like for the paid stuff. That's another way of looking at it. Third way looking at is this. If someone watches your content and they've got your problem, and then they go and try and fix it themselves. They were going to try and fix it themselves anyway. They weren't gonna buy from you. However, now you've earned money from them watching your video. So you even start making money from the people that don't even use your business. It's a revenue stream you weren't even gonna get. So at worst, you'll get in a revenue stream from people that were never gonna be your customers, which you've never had before. And at best you're gonna have people that have already prequalified themselves and a 100% in contact with you because they want to spend money with you. So that's it it's a backwards way of thinking.

Matthew Franklin

Yeah. That's fantastic actionable advice. Like, yeah, totally don't even. So everyone should go and do that because actually, there's not a huge amount of competition for it as well. 

Mike Winnet

We'll think of it like this, right. Every single movie that you're watching has got a trailer. They don't go, oh, if we tell them the trailer, they're gonna know a little bit about the movie. That's the whole point. Oh, I trust this guy. He seems to know what he's doing. That sounds quite difficult. I'm gonna get him to do it for me or it sounds quite difficult, but I love a go myself. Oh shit. Now theres smoke coming out the boiler. I bet a phone and quickly, like, listen, I see video, really great, I'll try to do this, can you come around? Yeah. No problem. Boom. There's an extra 50 could call up because you've been an idiot. 

Matthew Franklin

Yeah. And all of the people that we had already on the podcast are doing, like the person that you were talking about, I think it was on our second episode, I think, of the podcast or the first, maybe, and they were all doing that. And they've got highly successful trade businesses. There's no coincidence.

Mike Winnet

It's weird, isn't it? All the people that you say I wouldn't want to do that seem to be doing quite well. But yeah, keep whinging that you're busy, clients are annoying, you're not making enough money. Keep doing what you're doing then, and leave it to the ones this. I know it sounds weird, It's almost like a counter argument. That work thing. Working hard is brilliant, right? Because it's hard to do, but most people don't want to do it. Which then means that you're actually only competing with very few very small number of people. And that's what people don't seem to realize. You know, they say, what is it, walking the extra miles lonely, because most people quit before then. But once you basically outwork some of these idiots that are in your industry and your competitors, which is quite easy because most of them don't want to do that graft. It's easy once you've got past that tipping point because there's nobody else out there. That is willing to do the bit that you're doing so it then becomes so easy to charge more money, grow your business employ more people, remove yourself from the business. It comes easy. But most people quit. This moment it gets hard or the moment gets difficult or they're trying to find shortcuts all the time.

There is no shortcuts of success. There is no there is none. So just work hard at it. Now the quicker you do it, the sooner you do it, then you'll be more successful earlier. Then you can outsource and you can get other people to do all the bits that you don't enjoy. And life is a doddle, business is easy I think. But actually executing it is hard. And that's what most people won't do that. Don't do that. 

Matthew Franklin

100% agree. Fantastic. Well, I think we've run out of time. It's awesome to have you on here. 

Mike Winnet

I always sound arsey. By the way, I always sound arsey in interviews. 

Matthew Franklin

I think you've been very selfcritical there. I think it genuinely that, there's just so much in there that people can actually say, right, I'm gonna go and do that that one thing and see how that works. Just do it like you say, yeah, 

Mike Winnet

Yeah. Just do it. Have you seen Top gun? The new Mavrick? Says don't think just do. So cool but again I just final thing you know I do get working smart, working smart, working hard, they're not mutually exclusive. Work hard at the smart stuff 

Matthew Franklin

Gotta do both.

Mike Winnet

Yeah. Exactly.

Matthew Franklin

Awesome. It's been great talking to you, Mike. 

Mike Winnet

Cheers, man. See you in a bit. 

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