Dominic Rubino is a business coach, entrepreneur, and podcaster. He has built and sold two companies — CanadaPharmacy, which he built up to $120 million a year in annual revenue before selling it, and FocalPoint Business Coaching, which was in partnership with the business guru, speaker, thought leader, and author, Brian Tracy.
Dominic is the Host of two podcasts for the construction industry — Profit Tool Belt podcast and Cabinet Maker Profit System. He started his first business, a light installation company, while in high school.
In this episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, John Corcoran interviews Dominic Rubino, a business coach and podcaster, about the lessons he learned from his entrepreneurial journey. Dominic also talks about his Profit Tool Belt podcast, the challenges he faced building CanadaPharmacy, and how he became a business coach. Stay tuned.
Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:
- Dominic Rubino talks about starting a light company while in high school and a painting company in college
- How Dominic became a business coach, his tips for keeping long-term clients, and how the idea for CanadaPharmacy came about
- The challenges Dominic faced building CanadaPharmacy during the early days of e-commerce and why he sold the business
- How Dominic acquired the global rights to Brian Tracy’s business franchise
- What Dominic learned from his attempt to buy a coffee shop
- Dominic explains why he started a podcast with a focus on cabinet makers
- How Dominic joined Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) during its early days
- Dominic’s future business plans, the peers he respects, and how to get in touch with him
Resources Mentioned In This Episode
- Profit Tool Belt
- Profit Tool Belt podcast
- Cabinet Maker Profit System
- Dominic Rubino on LinkedIn
- Calvin Johnson on LinkedIn
- The Culture Kitchen
- Brian Tracy on Linkedin
- FocalPoint Business Coaching and Training
- Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO)
- EO Accelerator
- Brian Scudamore on LinkedIn
- Martin Hunter on LinkedIn
- Marty Park on LinkedIn
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Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.
Welcome to the revolution, the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, where we ask today’s most successful entrepreneurs to share the tools and strategies they use to build relationships and connections to grow their revenue. Now, your host for the revolution, John Corcoran.
John Corcoran 0:40
All right, welcome everyone, John Corcoran here, I’m the host of this show. You know, for those of you who are new to the show, go check out our archives because we got so many great past episodes with CEOs, founders, entrepreneurs from Netflix to Kinkos’, YPO, EO, Activision Blizzard, LendingTree, OpenTable, and many more. I’m also the Co-founder of Rise25, where we help connect b2b business owners to their ideal prospects. And I’m excited for today’s guest. But first I want to give a shout out to Calvin Johnson of Culture Kitchen. Go check him out at workplacehappiness.com because he introduced us to today’s guest whose name is Dominic Rubino. He’s a business coach and entrepreneur and a podcaster. He’s built and sold two companies, check this out CanadaPharmacy, which you build up to $120 million a year in annual revenue, then sold it and also FocalPoint Business Coaching which was in partnership with the business guru, speaker, thought leader, and author, Brian Tracy, who has got tremendous respect. I’ve read his books. Great guy. He was the, Dominic was the global master franchisor, took that from six franchisees to 237. In the lifetime of that now he’s the host of two podcasts for the construction industry Profit Tool Belt podcast and Cabinet Maker Profit System. So we’ll talk about those as well. And even his first business going back to Yoho. Like it’s got to be the best name for any business that’s ever been on this show. And 12 years is a Christmas Light Installation company. So we’ll talk about that. Of course this episode is brought to you by Rise25 Media, where we help b2b businesses to get clients, referrals, and strategic partnerships with done for you podcasts and content marketing. Go to rise25media.com to learn. All right Dominic, such a pleasure to have you here. And let’s start with yoho yoho yoho, what is that?
Dominic Rubino 2:19
That was the best intro I’ve ever had.
John Corcoran 2:21
Thank you, sir. I want to hear about it. I want to hear about this company.
Dominic Rubino 2:25
You want to hear about the yoho yoho yoho?
John Corcoran 2:27
I got to start there. How can we start anywhere else? How did that come about? You were you were student you were in college or in high school you were to I was
Dominic Rubino 2:35
a high school student. And I sat down and I thought what can I do that other people don’t want to do that they’ll pay me for. And I had a Toyota pickup truck. But you have to remember the Toyota pickup truck. It was like from the tiny back then. Oh, they’re tiny. Oh, what’s up? am I drawing a blank? Back to the Future? Remember?
John Corcoran 2:52
Dominic Rubino 2:54
We had driven one? Oh, yeah. Not Marty. Marty had one. Okay. I had that Toyota pickup truck with a roll bar in the back. Yeah, these days. They’re massive back
John Corcoran 3:03
Each time it was yeah, it was a little tiny.
Dominic Rubino 3:05
But I had that in my truck.
John Corcoran 3:09
And I can hold one string of lights basically and still ladder. A ladder.
Dominic Rubino 3:13
I borrowed my ladder from my dad. I still have the ladder and haven’t given it back to me. But as you know, I just sat there and I thought everybody talks about doing stuff. I’m going to do something. So I started the company. I thought I’d give it a funny name. I actually started it with a buddy of mine. We’re still great friends these many years later, and I came up with the name Yo, ho, ho, light CO.
John Corcoran 3:34
So you’re out in the cold in Canada getting up on a stepladder in December, freezing your butt off on
Dominic Rubino 3:41
cedar shakes roofs with a staple gun in my hand. Wow. Yeah.
John Corcoran 3:46
I don’t like something. Most parents try to talk their kids out of how old were you when you were doing that?
Dominic Rubino 3:50
Well, whatever grade you are in grade 12. I can’t grade 1216 1718. I don’t know
John Corcoran 3:54
And looking back now, did you? Were you kind of like an entrepreneurial type from a young age? Or was that? How come?
Dominic Rubino 4:03
I don’t think I knew the word. Back to that I had an uncle. I’ve had a couple of uncles who were in business. You know, one of them owns a retail store, a specialty retail store. And then another one’s a framer, okay, construction framing. And I always looked up to them, and I thought it was so cool if they had this thing called a business and they were a business owner. But at that age, I just, I don’t know. I knew I was not going to be a great employee. I needed to carve my own path but had no idea. No idea what it was gonna be.
John Corcoran 4:31
Did you have jobs in addition to yo Whoa, whoa, or Yeah, yeah,
Dominic Rubino 4:35
I was a lifeguard at the same time. And I also was a bartender, huh?
John Corcoran 4:40
Yeah. And so something lit a fire under you. Was that a good experience having the the Light Company
Dominic Rubino 4:46
fantastic experience. You know, what I did is I cold called eyed net. Nobody taught me how to cold call. I was cheap, right. I was trying to save money. So on an eight and a half by 11 piece of paper, I mocked up my own flyers. And then I cut them in four and a half by 11 pieces of paper and I just took them door to door and I can’t say it was the first house that I went to, but I knocked on the door of his house and I said, Hey, boom, we’ve done Medicaid. So Christmas is low skill, kid, right? And the guy that comes to the door quickly, closes, comes outside, closes the door behind him. He’s like, my family’s bugging me to install lights. Can you do it? And I’m like, yeah, you’ve got so much for my house. And I didn’t, I wasn’t prepared. I said, 200 bucks. worst mistake of my life. But what I did do is I said to that guy, I’ll do your house for 200 bucks a year, for as long as I’m running this business, and he became the greatest client. And I don’t know if you remember this job, but he was a ginseng farmer. So not, not where his house was. But he owned some some farms that produce ginseng when
John Corcoran 5:44
they were still producing that you’re gonna see you’re not going indoors in the right neighborhood. It sounds like
Dominic Rubino 5:48
yeah, oh, yeah. I went to an athlete. I walked from my neighborhood to a better neighborhood.
John Corcoran 5:52
Okay, well, that’s smart. Yeah, yeah. And 200 bucks, was that profitable? Or was that you know,
Dominic Rubino 6:00
John, at the end of the first year, when I did the math, like very rough math, I made 26 bucks or 23 bucks. I didn’t make any money. But I did get the bug. I did. You know, I knew I wanted to do it. I knew I wanted to be in business. I just didn’t know what it was going to be. Now you had other businesses
John Corcoran 6:15
after that, as well. So talk about some of the other ones before you got CanadaPharmacy.
Dominic Rubino 6:19
Yeah. Well, I create. Thank you. I craved learning. So I mean, if you’re ready for a good laugh, I did go to university, but I’m an archaeologist. I have an Arts degree with a specialization in forensic anthropology as a natural training for
John Corcoran 6:33
Yeah, that didn’t make it alright, either BA in English. So you know, I’m not much better or worse.
Dominic Rubino 6:39
You’re here we are. Yeah, podcasters who would have thought, right.
John Corcoran 6:43
So what was the next business? The next business
Dominic Rubino 6:46
was a painting company. And it was actually I didn’t know as a franchisor at the time, but I became a part of triple A’s student painters, which is like college Pro. You know, I think every City’s got some sort of university painter type thing. And I joined there. They really taught me how to sell and they taught me how to manage projects. It was absolutely the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. business wise, it was soul crushing and hard. Just beyond hard.
John Corcoran 7:12
Is this the same student painting company that Cameron Herold was involved in as well?
Dominic Rubino 7:16
I think so. Yeah, I don’t camera because we’re in the same city? Isn’t he? No, he was a college Pro. I was a triple A student painter. TASB. But it’s just different in advance, saying, yeah, it was really, really incredibly hard. But that was trial by fire. And I learned a lot of things there. Yeah.
John Corcoran 7:35
And then, tell me how you get to CanadaPharmacy. How did that come about?
Dominic Rubino 7:40
Oh, so you know, I left university and I became a realtor. I didn’t like that. And as a matter of fact, I was doing a listing presentation at a house and I didn’t know that the guy was a recruiter. And so right there at his kitchen table, I’m trying to get him to list this house. He recruits me to work for Sprint Canada. So I became a salesperson at Sprint. That job I don’t think even exists anymore. I was selling long distance services. And now that doesn’t exist. But you know, I was the blue suit, red tie power tie. They taught us really well there. And there was a lot of discipline in following the sales process. So I did that. And then I got a promotion to the Prairie region, which is everything north of North Dakota, but in Canada, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta. And then I while I was there, I started selling us junk on eBay, of all things, and I sold used calculators,
John Corcoran 8:28
just to make a little buck on the side kind of
Dominic Rubino 8:31
did for fun like to keep my mind going. Do you remember ColecoVision? Head to head football games? You’re too young for that?
John Corcoran 8:40
No, possibly. What was it was it a it’s a handheld
Dominic Rubino 8:43
video game with little LED lights in it. And it was a Colico. It was a Colico or handheld game. Anything with LED is called or was collectible led calculators led games. So I started selling those. Then it became partners with my cousin because we were both at the time living in Alberta. He was at Red Yars of Calgary. And we started selling the stuff on eBay. And that was going well. But that is really when I got frustrated with business because we were doing okay, but not good enough to stay open and not bad enough to close. And so that’s when I started looking for more business training. And I became a franchisee of a business coaching thing that I found based out of Australia. And I learned to be a business coach, selling during the day.
John Corcoran 9:26
You’re selling products on eBay. Yeah. And you’re also doing business coaching.
Dominic Rubino 9:33
Yeah. So at this point, I’d left corporate. I went over to this, this franchise company out of Australia, and I learned to be a business coach. And then I did really well as a business coach. And I think a big part of that reason is when I was at Sprint, I was running the agency program for the Prairie region, which meant I had to fly into far northern communities and go to the local competitive phone companies, not the main phone companies, but the competitors and people that sold handsets and I had to sell Sprint’s business case to them so that they would then sell it to their clients. And so I became kind of like a sales manager and sales trainer, just roving the province, the provinces, teaching and coaching them. And so I kind of learned coaching there. And then when I became a business coach, I did really well.
John Corcoran 10:16
Now, one of the challenges of a business coach, his experience is just longevity of clients, and creating that kind of stickiness. How did you overcome that so that you didn’t have high client churn?
Dominic Rubino 10:27
You know, I’ve had clients for as little as a week, and I’ve had clients for, I think my longest existing client now is nine years, and then seven years, and I’ve got a bunch of the five year range. Just have to add value, you know, as long as I’m adding value, I’ll keep the client but if I’m no longer adding value, I’ve got to go. And if the clients are no longer doing the work, they’ve got to go. Yeah, right. Right, right
John Corcoran 10:52
now. Okay, so we’ve got a straight clear path here, from Christmas Light Installation to painting company to sales for the phone company, to tell me if I miss anything to business coaching to online pharmacy, of course, naturally, yeah, no,
Dominic Rubino 11:09
there’s no straight line there. So let me take you back into the eBay company. So the eBay company’s doing okay, I become a business coach. And that’s where I learned how to turn around a company while it’s still running. And so I apply that to my own little eBay business. And from so I went, I still remember the gas station, it’s in Surrey. It’s one of those combination coffee shops at gas stations. And I sat at the little stand up table and like, We are either going to sell books, we’re going to sell records, or magazines, because I needed something consistent, easy to describe, easy to ship with, people needed to want it. So I decided on books. And then I do this all the time, John, I forgot to do the math. I did the math that said, Oh, look at sale price, x, we need 250,000 books in inventory, no problem. But I forgot to do the volume calculation on how many, how much space 250,000 books would take. But I changed the nature of our business, from selling junk to selling books, selling books. There’s a couple of convolutions there, but I’m not going to bore you. And then we started selling over the counter medications from Canada to the states. And that became CanadaPharmacy. So that company started as an Excel spreadsheet. And then when I sold it, it was 120 million in sales.