Mike Abramowitz | [Front Row Dads Series] Best Practices to Transition from Business Operator to Business Owner

Mike Abramowitz is an accomplished coach, author, speaker, and philanthropist. He helps overwhelmed entrepreneurs implement automation, delegation, and simple systems to transition from business operators to business owners. As a Strategist at Better Than Rich, Mike supports leaders by providing them with wisdom, mentorship, inspiration, education, and community. He has written nine books, has been featured in various media publications, and is the co-host of The Better Than Rich Show.

In this episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, John Corcoran is joined by Mike Abramowitz, a coach, author, speaker, and philanthropist, to discuss how overwhelmed entrepreneurs can simplify their businesses through automation. They also discuss common barriers to delegation, how systemization has impacted Mike’s business, and the challenges Mike faces working with entrepreneurs from different industries. Stay tuned.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • [02:06] Mike Abramowitz’s earliest entrepreneurial ventures
  • [06:18] How automation and systemization have impacted Mike’s business
  • [12:14] Common barriers to delegation
  • [18:07] Why overworking yourself is not good for business 
  • [20:25] The challenge of working with entrepreneurs from different industries
  • [22:16] Mike’s favorite business tools and software
  • [27:15] How the Front Row Dads community has impacted Mike’s life
  • [28:46] Mike talks about going into business with his coach, providing his clients with virtual assistants, and the peers he acknowledges for their support

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Sponsor: Rise25

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Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90xAtariEinstein BagelsMattelRx BarsYPO, EO, Lending Tree, Freshdesk,  and many more.  

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Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.

Episode Transcript

John Corcoran 

Today we are talking about how overwhelmed entrepreneurs can simplify and systematize their business through automation, delegation, and systemization. My guest is Mike Abramowitz. He is an expert in all of those topics written nine different books, and he’s going to teach you exactly how to do it. I’ll tell you about them more in a second. So stay tuned.

Chad Franzen 0:23

Welcome to the Smart Business Revolution Podcast where we feature top entrepreneurs, business leaders and thought leaders and ask them how they built key relationships to get where they are today. Now, let’s get started with the show

John Corcoran 0:39

are welcome everyone. John Cornyn here I’m the host of this show. You know if you’ve listened to my past past episodes, every week I feature smart CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs of companies and organizations ranging from Netflix to Kinkos, YPO EO Activision Blizzard, had all kinds of great episodes back there. I’ve had all also experts in systemization and automation, which is what we’re gonna be talking about here today. And of course, it’s episode brought to you by Rhys 25, my company where we help b2b businesses to get clients referrals and strategic partnerships through done for you podcasts and content marketing, and my guest is Mike Abramowitz. He’s an accomplished author, speaker, coach, and philanthropist. You know, he’s got a crazy story. So he and his wife in the New Year’s Eve, his wife gives birth to their son. And we were just talking about this beforehand, only 26 weeks old, and end up spending about eight and a half months in the NICU. Just keeping him alive, just a crazy story, we’re gonna get into it. And of course, Mike, when any kind of change like that, you have to modify your lifestyle, his wife becomes a medical mom has to support the child. And so what he ended up doing is helping to automate delegate and systematize. And now he helps others to do that as well. So we’re going to talk all about that. And and as I mentioned, also, the author of nine different books been featured in a lot of different media publications, co host of the better than rich Show podcast, I love podcasters go check it out. And so Mike, I’m, I love having you here today. I can’t wait to dive into your story. But I also love hearing those stories of entrepreneurship as a young kid. And never before as I have I had someone on this show who actually had a vending machine in their house and then threw parties in high school for the ulterior motive of selling out that vending machine. You had some fun stuff in that vending machine. So tell us all about it.

Mike Abramowitz 2:30

Sure, I saw the vending machine at a garage sale. And by the way, John, thanks for having me here. And I saw the vending machine, the garage sale was 50 bucks. And, you know, I told my mom was like, let’s get this vending machine. So we put it in our back room in her house. And at first my mom was my best client, you know, I’d fill it up with all of her favorite snacks. And she was my best client. I was like, this is this this is Get Rich slow. So I filled up the vending machine. I went to Planned Parenthood and put a bunch of condoms in the vending machine put a bunch of cards to Oh, yeah, I got him for free. Pretty common. Yeah, I would get, I would buy the candy bars for like four for $1 when they went on sale, and I would put them in there and sell them for like 75 cents each. And then my older sibling, her older friend would go get a keg and I would pay pay them to get the keg. So I’d have to front load a little bit of cash. And then I would sell it $5 A cup a solo cup for people to come in I would throw a raise a big giant party I would sometimes I would have 80 to 100 kids come through at $5 A cup you know on the keg and then I would put a sign in one of our back rooms or guests room and I would rent out the guest room and let them go do their business in the guest room if they wanted to. And condoms were in the vending machine and I would walk away making four or five 600 bucks profit on on a party I did that probably you know six six times seven times during during my junior senior of high school so that was my version of a lemonade stand.

John Corcoran 3:57

Never before have I had someone say that they had a vending machine full of condoms in their back room and that so they might have been money as a kid but the first time for everything so that this makes total sense like naturally that would lead into selling knives through Cutco. So you ended up joining Cutco. Now Cutco for those of you who don’t know, I had a number of guests on on the show who worked for Cutco has an amazing training program and they sell knives to individual but these are really high quality knives. How did you get attracted to that?

Mike Abramowitz 4:29

So interesting enough, I applied in Tampa and I did not get accepted for the position. And now granted I actually had a big fro I had cornrows when I applied for the position at first. I did not get accepted, moved back up to New Jersey for that summer and started working in New Jersey and I got a letter in the mail up in New Jersey and they advertised me went in for the interview. And I started just started selling Cutco to friends and family doing initial appointments. They had a base pay so they were paying me just to do the appointment, and I would do the presentation People bought the knives ended up selling about $350,000 with a cut, go through college, funding my education and then advanced into management and started teaching students how to sell Cutco. So as a student manager, I ended up, I was responsible for probably about $2 million in sales as a college kid, before I graduated from the University of South Florida with my degree in Industrial Engineering with a minor in leadership studies. So it was a great way to pay my way through college. And then when I graduated, they offered me a career position to do this as a career to teach young students or recruit students and teach them how to do what I did as a college kid. So that’s exactly what I’ve done now since I was 22. So I’m 38. And so it’s been a really great post college experience, as well as a really great college experience just to learn all the necessary skills that students really should learn.

John Corcoran 5:52

So I guess the question is, I guess the question is, why didn’t you just, you know, fill up the vending machine with the knives and just let that be the seller?

Mike Abramowitz 6:02

Maybe, you know, maybe, but yeah, it is it is, it is a phenomenal place. It’s a great playground for young professionals, 17 to 22 year olds just to get their feet wet, and learning sales and entrepreneurship. And I’m forever grateful for that count for the company to provide the opportunity for me.

John Corcoran 6:19

It’s interesting that you eventually for a confluence of reasons got into what you do now, which is helping others with automation delegation. systematization because sales is not an area that you would normally think that you can automate a lot of different pieces of it or maybe I’m wrong about that.

Mike Abramowitz 6:39

Well, yeah, being in direct sales, it’s nearly impossible. Like I was the bottleneck for all of us. So I when I graduated college in 2008, I started my own Cutco office. So from 2008, till about 2015, I did everything. And the challenge with doing everything is I also was neglecting my relationship with my significant other the market collapse in 2008. I had these rental properties at the time that I invested in and they were just hemorrhaging money. So trying to dedicate time to like my personal passion projects are feeding the homeless, I started a nonprofit called BB and J for Tampa Bay where we fed the homeless once a month, and now we’re over 100,000 meals we provided with that. And it’s like, I wanted to write books, I want to travel, I want to speak I want to have kids one day like it was just impossible for me to do that being the cog in my machine. So I hired a coach back in 2015 2016 Just to start teaching me some of like, How can I win back some of my time and free up my time and systemize my business a little bit, and 2016 to 2017 2018 I was really getting into it. And then 2019 We were the number one office in the country, and Cutco sales. And then I was like cool, I could start winning back my time my wife and I we started we got married in 2017 started winning back my time a little bit but then COVID hit in 2020. And I was like all systems go let’s really apply all the things that I learned by having my virtual assistant team and putting an automation and technology in place that was almost taboo in direct sales, like no one does that indirect sales. And we did. And we you know, give you an idea. The record in our category was like 2.6 million that stood for over a decade and we did $2.5 million that year. So nearly breaking an all time record and just crushed it. And then now in 2020 2020 during COVID interest absolutely crushed it and once it What

John Corcoran 8:31

was it I mean, if you know these were knives have been sold a certain way direct sales face to face for so long, was it because you’re able to save time not having to travel to different appointments and doing it virtually.

Mike Abramowitz 8:42

So we recruited almost 1000 kids that year, because everyone was looking for work. So we were providing jobs to all these students to be able to work from home. And then because I put all the systems in place on how to virtualize the demo. So the demonstration typically is in home at the kitchen table demonstrate but I was really pioneering how do we virtualize the demonstration of the knives over zoom and on virtual and also how do we recruit these kids through zoom interviews so I was already doing that before anybody ever really did zoom because I wanted to work from home so being able to implement some of that before it was a cool thing to do and does boom be able to drop the load on on the company saying hey this is what we do. I had a team of foreign assistants doing all my admin work overseas that and you know because I didn’t have I didn’t have one of my staff that was here stateside to be doing admin work I wanted them to be customer facing and client facing and recruit facing so I had them these virtual assistants doing all the admin work having some automation put in place for like reminder sequences and and text messages follow up appointments and inbox management social media messages, like all these things that we were just putting in place it was just really dialed in with the machine. And then law as you mentioned the kids yeah, my Son will my son was born at 26 weeks.

John Corcoran 10:02

So it’s kind of back to back, you’ve had these two massive shifts in your life and your business, first the pandemic, and then your son is born New Year’s Eve 2020 2021 Talk about that.