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May 11, 2022

Jodie Cook On The Power Of Intention To Create A Successful Liquidity Event (#124)

Jodie Cook On The Power Of Intention To Create A Successful Liquidity Event (#124)

“It's all about how to run a business without it running you” - Jodie Cook

Jodie Cook is a Forbes 30 under 30 social entrepreneur in Europe. In 2011, Jodie started a digital agency that was later acquired in 2021. Alongside running a business, Jodie writes books and articles about entrepreneurship and powerlifting. Jodie's books include Stop Acting Like You're Going to Live Forever, Daily Me, and Instagram Rules. Jodie also co-wrote How to Raise Entrepreneurial Kids and the clever Tykes storybooks.

Jodie is a regular contributor for Forbes Magazine on entrepreneurship, as well as providing commentary to publications.

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Your liquidity event is the most important financial transaction of your life. You have one chance to get it right, and you better make it count. 

But unfortunately, up to 90% of liquidity events fail. Think about all that time, money and effort wasted. Of the "successful" liquidity events, most business owners leave 50% to over 100% of their deal value in the buyer's pocket and don't even know it.

Our founders said "no" to a 7-figure offer and "yes" to a 9-figure offer less than two years later. 

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Transcript

[00:00:00] Jeffrey Feldberg: Welcome to the Sell My Business Podcast. I'm your host Jeffrey Feldberg.

This podcast is brought to you by Deep Wealth and the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience.

Your liquidity event is the largest and most important financial transaction of your life.

But unfortunately, up to 90% of liquidity events fail. Think about all that time, money and effort wasted. Of the "successful" liquidity events, most business owners leave anywhere from 50% to over 100% of their deal value in the buyer's pocket and don't even know it.

I should know. I said no to a seven-figure offer and yes, to mastering the art and science of a liquidity event. Two years later, I said yes to a different buyer with a 9-figure offer.

Are you thinking about an exit or liquidity event?

If you believe that you either don't have the time or you'll prepare closer to your liquidity event, think again.

Don't become a statistic and make the fatal mistake of believing that the skills that built your business are the same ones for your liquidity event.

After all, how can you master something you've never done before?

Let the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience and our 9-step roadmap of preparation help you capture the maximum value for your liquidity event.

At the end of this episode, take a moment to hear from business owners, just like you, who went through the Deep Wealth Experience.

Jodie Cook is a Forbes 30 under 30 social entrepreneur in Europe. In 2011, Jodie started a digital agency that was later acquired in 2021. Alongside running a business, Jodie writes books and articles about entrepreneurship and powerlifting. Jodie's books include Stop Acting Like You're Going to Live Forever, Daily Me, and Instagram Rules. Jodie also co-wrote How to Raise Entrepreneurial Kids and the clever Tykes storybooks.

As a social media expert, Jodie is a regular contributor for Forbes Magazine on entrepreneurship, as well as providing commentary to publications.

Welcome to The Sell My Business Podcast and great news. I have a fellow business owner with us and not just any business owner, a business owner, who's had a successful liquidity event is also a thought leader and an author.

Jodie, welcome to The Sell My Business Podcast. An absolute pleasure and delight to have you with us today. Jodie, there's always a story behind the story and I'd love to hear what's your story? What got you to where you are today?

[00:02:51] Jodie Cook: First of all, It's an absolute delight to be here. Thank you so much for inviting me on. I guess it all started probably when I decided whether or not I was going to start my own business. And that is probably where the story starts it because that's the biggest crossroads and the earliest prosperity that I faced. So when I was 22, I worked out that I'd already had 15 jobs up to that point.

And that was in hospitality, in retail, and some freelance work, or that I probably didn't know even the word freelance at the time. And also some volunteering, various different jobs like babysitting and everything else. And so when I was 22, I got to the point where I was deciding what to do in my future.

And I realized that getting a job to me was not aspirational because I thought it was easy. And so getting a job rather than becoming my plan A which everyone around me, it was that funny. It was okay. I've left university. What do I do now? I need to get a job. For me, it was very firmly my plan B or even C or D, to be honest, and plan A with starting a business.

And I think I'm quite happy that it was 2011 when that happened. And there were probably quite a lot of opportunities around. And so rather than think of all the things I could possibly do, I basically just settled on one. And at the time I was a social media manager and social media was this newfangled thing that was nowhere near as big as it is now.

And I started going to networking events. And introducing myself as a social media manager, and then I started getting clients. So that is where the story begins.

[00:04:39] Jeffrey Feldberg: And, you know, what's interesting. You were a quote-unquote overnight success, a ten-year overnight success. But let's go back to the beginning. So it was 2011. Social media is on the scene, but you're new at all of this. And you don't really have a track record. You found a painful problem that you're going to solve.

So it sounds like you started to put yourself out there and you're going to these events. What were some of the biggest lessons learned for you in the early days of building your business that later on just paid dividends, it was an ROI from maybe some of the hardships that you had gone through earlier?

[00:05:11] Jodie Cook: One of the biggest lessons I learned early on is that no one has a clue. And so you're going to these events thinking that you don't know anything, you haven't got any experience, who are you to stand up there and say that you can do this stuff but really loads of other people are in that boat.

And it just doesn't really matter. So for me, the biggest thing that made a difference was getting one client or having one piece of experience to talk about. Because then what I did was to talk about that experience and then everyone knew I had experience. And then I used that to get client two and client three and client four.

I think it's a myth that you need to have hundreds of clients and like loads of success, stories and testimonials. You could just have one because then your message is I've done this for this person and I can do it for you. I think another thing that really played in my favor was just being naive because I had no idea if the so-called customs of networking events or of doing business. I just took people at face value. So if I went to an event and someone said, hey, let's talk about social media gave me their card. I would just follow them up and keep following them up and keep following them up. Because they told me they wanted to talk about social media.

So let's talk about it. And I didn't really understand that someone might've been being polite or they might not actually want to talk, or they might have changed their mind. I just was very persistent in following them up. And I put that down to naivety, but I think that served me well

[00:06:33] Jeffrey Feldberg: Sometimes ignorance indeed it can be bliss and it sounds like it's certainly worked out in your favor in the early days. So zero to one from no clients to the first client. Absolutely the biggest challenge for all of us business owners to do. And then you got that. So now you're growing your business and Jodie, I'm just curious about these kinds of questions because ultimately you were successful and you had a liquidity event when all was said and done after you had your first group of clients, what was changing for you? What were the things like in the early days?

[00:07:04] Jodie Cook: In the early days, I think that these is years one to three. First of all, I was looking after clients, myself, and then I started hiring people, but I didn't have any experience in business, really. I just had experience in my craft. So I would just hire people to do exactly the same role as I was doing.

But then what happened was that because I was hiring more and more social media managers, it meant that we almost had to have the accounts department and the HR department and the sales department and all these different departments, which actually weren't departments at all. They were just all me. And at the time I was still looking after to clients, myself as well.

So the years one to three, I affectionately call the Jodie show because I was the center of everything. And as many business owners do, I struggle to let go of things. So every client would want to speak to me all the time. I was the person who did the sales. I was the person who did payroll, who did all the finance stuff, who did all our marketing, and everyone else was more like helping me with stuff.

And it wasn't until the end of that third year that I thought, hang on. This is the wrong way of doing things. I need to let go of some things I need to get help in some areas. And I need to stop being so integral to every single part of my business.

[00:08:20] Jeffrey Feldberg: And, you know, what's interesting for our listeners out there in the Deep Wealth Experience are 9-step roadmap, Jodi. one of the things that we do with the step number two, actually, X-Factors. X-Factors that insanely increase the value of your business. And that's one of the questions that we ask does your business run without you?

So you came to that, probably through a lot of pain and not having time and work-life balance out the window, but I'm going to talk out of both sides of my mouth. And I'm curious if you'd agree with this. My thesis is that in the beginning, in the early days. Unless a business owner does the opposite and actually does run everything.

It's not scalable, is not where you want to be for your liquidity event, but that period as painful as it can be gives you the understanding. You get to know every nook and cranny of your business and of your industry and what it really takes to run it successfully. So the next person that you hire, they're not going to pull a quick one over you and you know what to do, and you can be a terrific mentor.

So what do you think about that? Is there something to that or not?

[00:09:22] Jodie Cook: I absolutely agree. I think that in the beginning, I think it's all about execution. It's all about saying yes. It's all about doing things that don't scale so that you can just get that knowledge and get that mastery. I think the only reason I was successful in hiring social media managers was that I'd been a social media manager, the main reason myself, the same mistake it is because I'd done it myself and I knew what to train them in. So I think it's really important for entrepreneurs to do everything at first and then learn which bits they want to outsource, but have enough knowledge so that they know enough about it. So they're not just completely blind.

It's almost like entrepreneurs have to have, you know, like a bell curve in every single area. So sales, marketing, finance, training, everything. I think entrepreneurs need to be like in the middle of the bell curve on almost everything. Because if they know too much about something, they are an artist and they're a craftsman and they are doing that thing all the time, which might mean that they're not running a business, they are an artist.

But if they know too little, then they just have to rely on other people all the time. And one area that I felt that with was like web development, say we worked for web developers and I hardly knew anything at all. And so they would be able to say, oh yeah, but this is complicated and this is going on and you wouldn't understand this.

And I didn't like it. But once I started knowing a little bit more that's when I could talk to them more in their language. And that's when web development projects, for example, became more successful. So I think there's a sweet spot for entrepreneurs to sit on, but they have to sit on it in very many areas.

[00:10:56] Jeffrey Feldberg: Absolutely. And so the takeaway for our listeners in the beginning, and really only in the beginning, is it's okay to not do something that's scalable because you're learning and you're just making sure that you know, everything that you need to know. So, Jodie, you're going along your business journey. When was it that you just knew you were going to have a liquidity event?

How did that work out for you?

[00:11:16] Jodie Cook: That was very later on, I think in the lead up to when the pandemic happen, actually, I hadn't even thought about selling my business. I think in the early days, I wouldn't have known that it was even a thing. I don't think I knew anyone who had sold a business. I just didn't realize it was possible.

In the mid-years, we had actually one or two different offers. Someone came to see us because they wanted to acquire us. And I didn't really want to sell to them at the time. So it just wasn't the right time. But then towards the end, it felt like the right time for a few different reasons. One of them was that I had got my business to a stage where it was very self-sufficient and so much so I was able to travel for one month, then every three. And I did that with my husband for about five years. Because the business was so process-driven because we have such an amazing team who knew what they were there to do because our clients we're all pretty much on retainers rather than it being project work.

It meant that the default was we made money. We collected it and the work was done to very high standards so that was just the default. And so for me, life was comfortable. And then the pandemic hit, and then in March 2020 in one week, we lost 25% of our client base because they were companies in hospitality, events and travel, and they were having a much worse time than us.

And so I got very back involved and pretty much tried to outwork the pandemic and turn everything around. And I ended up happening that summer to the summer of 2020 was that it wasn't just me trying to outwork the pandemic. It was almost like all of my team. And not only did we manage to get back up to our normal size that we were before, but we might have grown a further 20%.

So by the time it was August 2020, we were much bigger. We'd thrive through one of the probably the hardest periods in the company history. And that's when I thought, I think this is the right time to sell. And it was only then that I got intentional about it, but I found that once I got intentional about it, magic things happened. Introductions were made, connections were made and it moved along to a sale.

[00:13:27] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow, Jodie. Okay. So much there to unpack, but I got asked this question before we go into those other areas. So you were down 25%. The world was at a standstill, this small little thing called the Coronavirus in case you're not sure what we're talking about. So what was it that you were able to you get back involved, the team, everyone's going at this, the world is shut down, but not only did you get back to where you were, you're saying that you were 20% or more ahead of where you were before the pandemic started. How did you do that? What was going on?

[00:14:02] Jodie Cook: One of the things that we thought about was how are we going to get new clients? Because we'd lose some clients say we just have to work out, how are we going to get new ones? I'm actually, even before that stage, we thought a lot about how do we make it so that our clients who were having a horrible time are going to come back to us when they're not having a horrible time.

And from talking to other agency owners and from hearing about what other agencies were doing, we learned that quite a few were waiving contracts and saying hang on, you know, you need to give us this notice or you're in this contract and all that stuff. And we decided not to do that. We just decided to be kind and just trust that in the future, it would work out in our favor.

And actually, that is what happened because what we found after the first three months or so of the pandemic, we started getting those clients coming back to us because they'd been resourceful. They'd figured out a way to make their business work. And they were ready to come back and start working with us again.

And we were still really great friends because we treated them well throughout that time. So that was one thing that made a difference. And that kind of just happened. We left them to it and then they came back to us. Another thing that happened was that we knew we had to replace seeing people in person with something else.

Say before pandemic times, I'd say about 50% of our new clients came from referrals. So existing clients referring us and also people who various members of the team met at networking events or one of our team members, David, he did a lot of speaking events, so people would come up to him and then they would become clients after.

So we knew we had to replace that. So we run a shed load of webinars. I think during May we ran one a day. And that was to just a mailing list. So I looked at our MailChimp's statistics for March 2020. And I think before that we used to send like maybe two emails a year, something like that. And we were sending two or three a week from that time, just keeping in touch with people coming up with new, crazy formats for webinars, getting people along. We did a thing where someone would send in a social media platform that they wanted a second opinion on and we would just go through and give them a second opinion.

And it was all these different ways of just speaking to people. And we didn't really have a plan of what it would lead to, but actually, it led to staying in people's minds and then either becoming clients themselves or referring their friends and them becoming clients. So that was, I'd say one of the main differences.

And then the team went from being in an office all in the same place to being remote. And one of our team members, Tom became Taskmaster Tom, and we would have a team huddle every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 15 minutes where we go around the team of 16 and we'd each kind of share something like an amazing bit of plant work we'd done that week or on Fridays it was a less business focus and more fun and focus topics.

So it was things like what kind of biscuit are you? And what's the last film that you watched? And so things like that just helped the team ready get closer strangely or they, we weren't physically closer. It felt like we were, yeah, we were just closer as a team and worked better together.

[00:17:04] Jeffrey Feldberg: I absolutely love that. And really what I'm hearing ooze through your stories is resilience. And I like to say resilience trumps resources all day, every day. And you just tapped into your resilience and you've found different ways of getting in front of people and you look to make that happen.

[00:17:20] Jodie Cook: One thing, I just thought of and I said this quite a bit with my husband, we would say we would refer to what was going on as our first pandemic. So it was more like we were able to see what was going on for what it was, create a bit of distance from it. And then almost be aware that we were writing this story as it was happening.

So every day it would be like, oh, another chapter in our first pandemic, what's going to happen now. And so sometimes recognizing that you're going through a difficult time, but being so intent on making the story a really good one can mean that, I mean, our lives were just so different.

Start of 2020 to the end of 2021, I'm a different person, a different place everything's changed. And I think a lot of it was to do with seeing it as what can we do with our first pandemic.

[00:18:06] Jeffrey Feldberg: I love that. And for our listeners, I want to ask you a question because Jodie was doing this not after she had her liquidity event but before it. Every three months she was taking one month off in its entirety. So for all you listeners out there, can you do that? Are you even in a position that you can say the same thing?

Because I would imagine Jodie, that your future buyer and you didn't realize it at the time, but your future buyer must have loved the fact that number one, the business ran without you. But if the buyer on the due diligence would be asking, the buyer would hear from the team well, Yeah, Jodie's not here. One out of every three months, we have to figure this out on our own and we're really running the business without her.

So that is terrific on your part for being able to do that. But you said something else that's interesting and you call it an intention. Some people call it synchronicity. Some people call it the Universe, call it whatever you want. But you've mentioned the word intention a couple of times.

And the first time you said, once you realized you were going to have a liquidity event, you had that intention. And then during the pandemic you had the intention, let's make this a great experience, not a negative experience. Let's talk about that because it sounds like the intention, knowing what you want and just picturing that was a game-changer for you. So when it came to back in your journey, okay. I think it's time we got through this pandemic. We're better than we were before. It's time to have a liquidity event. Maybe I should think about selling the business. What began to line up for you almost magically once you made that decision?

[00:19:34] Jodie Cook: Once I made the decision that I wanted to sell my business. I put all my energy into making it happen and it starts as every great process does, which is a journal entry of what do I want and what am I going to do? And I remember writing something about, I need to speak to someone who knows how to do this because I was aware that I had a big knowledge gap and I knew I wanted to sell my business, but I haven't sold a business before, and I wasn't sure how it would work.

So the first person identified as being someone to speak to was a friend who had an agency about eight or nine times the size of mine. And so I said, hey, I'm thinking about selling. I'd really like to get your opinion because I figured that she was the kind of agency who might buy us.

I said I'm not selling to you. I'm not trying to sell to you, but I would really appreciate your help. And she said, of course, so we got on a call and it just happened that they had gone through a potential sale that they hadn't ended up doing, but she had a list of questions that they had asked the agency that they were going to buy, she had a list of things that she was looking out for.

She had all this information that she just gave to me. So we almost have this questionnaire from a buyer that I could prepare answers to, and I could make sure that we were best set up to answer those to the buyers that we met. And then after that, she introduced me to an M&A consultant who does things like prepares businesses for sale and helps the owner do things like put processes in place and get a good second data management kind of like get their minds up to a really good standard and organizes that business so that they have retainer clients and lots of these different things that make a business saleable.

And so she introduced me to him, had a call with him. And in that call, it became very apparent that we were there. All the things that he normally walked people through, we'd done. And the reason we'd done that is because I'd been so focused on getting the business self-sustaining so that I could travel.

And so in that meeting, he said, I just don't think you need me. I think I can introduce you straight to the M&A broker. So then I met with the broker and this all online. I didn't meet any of these people face to face, but the M&A broker basically demystified the whole thing for me, because it was a person who just sold agencies that's what he did.

And they sell about eight a year and say, he said, okay, it's going to take about six months. In months one and two, we're going to put out a one-pager, we're got to do some, like put it out there and get you some chemistry meetings. You're going to have the first chemistry meetings in month three. We're going to have second meetings in months four and maybe five.

We're going to get some offers. We're going to negotiate. And then we're going to complete them in months, five and six. And so just seeing that laid out in that process just opened my eyes completely. Cause I didn't know that it was just possible in a simple way, but also it meant, I knew what I had to do at every stage and in every month so he said it would take six months.

It took six months and two days, he was pretty accurate. And yeah, we got exactly the price we wanted for the agency and exactly the deal we wanted. And I think it just all comes from the journal entry of what do I want and how am I going to do it.

[00:22:56] Jeffrey Feldberg: Fascinating. I absolutely love that your intention just set in really in motion, a whole chain of reactions. One after the other, but Jodie, what's interesting. And I think this is really an important piece for our listeners. Part of your rationale of having the business run without you in a selfish way, which I think is wonderful.

It's a good thing, being selfish it can be a good thing when it's done right. Selfishly, you said, hey, I really want to travel one out of every three months. So what do I need to do to prepare the business? And I'm wondering in your thought process, did you at any point in time, imagine what life would be like after the sale of the business?

Did that ever occur to you, what were you thinking?

[00:23:38] Jodie Cook: For a very long time say a sale wasn't even on the cards, it was more about setting up really amazing day-to-day and a really great year every single year. Once it was on the cards, I felt a little bit about life, about what life would look like afterward. But I was so aware that I would have no real idea until I was there until I was in that situation.

And then when the sale was going through. I was aware that it could fall through at any moment. And actually, until it was 100% completed, I didn't even think about what life would look like next. And even when it completes it, I had a two-week handover and that was getting through a 200-line spreadsheet.

So I didn't even think then about what life would look like next. I almost didn't let myself, because I just didn't want to get so tied to this liquidity event, that it would mean that I was so crushed if it didn't happen. So it probably hit me when I'd had my last day at the agency when the team had put together a really amazing, last-day celebration type thing.

And I'd like to say bye to everyone. And then it was like, oh wow. I don't have a company to run. I think the main difference that I spotted straight away was not being able to be tapped on the shoulder, metaphorically tapped on the shoulder, because I feel like that was probably the biggest thing I actually wanted to get away from.

So even if your business is super process-driven, even if you're surfing different time zones and you're not available for half of the day, if something happens that you need to help with, you will be contacted about it and say the biggest difference was I didn't have that low-level, oh, someone might need me that I'd had before.

And that is insanely freeing and quite confusing because on one hand, it's like, I'm not needed. No one needs me. Do I matter? Am I relevant? But on the other hand, it's wow, every day is Sunday. Every day just it's the same as another day. And I can do absolutely anything I want. I could leave my phone for days on end and it wouldn't matter.

So there's lots of crazy stuff that goes through your head. And I felt the whole time like I was in a really lucky position to even be able to be working through this and work out what it was. So of course it was over journaling. It was writing down, how do I feel what's going on? What do I want to do next?

But I was really trying to not put any pressure on myself to decide what to do next. And I was being asked the whole time. And when I am on LinkedIn when I put my end date of when I was working at the agency, I had no current position, and every now and again, I'd get a notification or an email from LinkedIn to say, hey, Jodie, update your current position.

 Everyone else is asking me. But I'm really pleased that I didn't rush into anything. And didn't put any pressure on myself to decide what to do next cause it would be easy to do.

[00:26:29] Jeffrey Feldberg: And what's amazing, Jodie, as you share your story and just thank you for being so transparent with us really if you look back knowingly or unknowingly at the time, the preparation that you had done all the way through. In your case, the preparation was, hey, I just want the business to run without me, but that came back and it paid itself back in spades because when it came the time where the opportunity was right.

And by the way, who would have thought that during a pandemic, that's probably one of the best times, particularly in your industry where you can have a liquidity event. So in other words, you can do better from a multiple or from the enterprise value of your company in the pandemic than before the pandemic. So you are really one of the fortunate ones that you took the opportunity and you took the timing and you put the two together because you were ready and that's all about preparation.

And that's why we're so big at Deep Wealth on our 9-step roadmap of preparation. When you're prepared, you're ready. You can't control what happens around you. I mean, Who knew that the pandemic was coming, but when opportunity knocks, that's when you can take advantage of that. And Jodie, if you contrast that perhaps to some of your colleagues or peers whose companies weren't ready, or they had a very different story and a very different journey.

And so congratulations on just thinking ahead, having that preparation that was done.

So I am curious, when you look back to the liquidity event, are there some lessons learned that you can share with our listeners of what really worked well or perhaps what you would do differently?

[00:27:58] Jodie Cook: I think even before the liquidity event and on the subject of the preparation, there were some lessons that I learned. Only looking back now, I realized how much of an impact they had. And one of those was in surrounding myself with people who are doers, ambitious, high achievers because when it was in March 2020, and that week that we lost 25% of our clients, I had no idea what to do at first.

It was like, wow, this has never happened before at all. I didn't have a clue, but because I was surrounded by so many friends who are just super high achieving it meant that I could see what they were doing. Say one example is a really good friend who had a business called the Wow Factor that does presentation training.

And I saw on LinkedIn that he had pretty much that week changed his company name to Presenting Virtually started doing daily 60-second LinkedIn videos on how to effectively present via Zoom. And he had started getting clients. He'd started creating a course on how to do all this stuff. And it made me feel quite slow actually and adapting because I had people like that around me.

And this is March, this is still March. And then there was another, Daniel Priestley who's my co-author for one of my books. And he'd switch his whole business model, which was all based around cities to being based around time zones and moved all of his physical events to virtual events.

And so watching these people around me do all that stuff made me go, yes. Okay. This is what I need to do. And I was following their lead and it wasn't until after that, I realized that we were fast as well. We just weren't as fast as those people, but I'm still glad that it happened in that way. So I guess the lesson there is just who you surround yourself with really matters.

And I remember seeing that at the start of the pandemic, Disney+ subscriptions and Netflix subscriptions were at an all-time high. And I just remember thinking I do not want that to be made. I do not want that to be how my year is defined. It just what a waste of life. I don't have a television.

I don't have Netflix. I don't have anything like that. Cause I just think it's not how the best version of me spends their time. So yeah, intentionally spending your time, intentionally deciding who you hang around with probably the thing that made the liquidity event happen in the end.

[00:30:14] Jeffrey Feldberg: And you know what, Jodie it's a testament. I believe it was Jim Roan who says something along the lines that you are the average of the five people that you spend the most time with. And in your case, you were fortunate, you had smart, resilient, go-getters in your life that you could really look to and just inspire you and help get you to the next level in your thinking, in what you're doing.

As for our listeners out there here's a question from us to you who are the five people in your life? Because you are the average of those five people that you're spending the most time with. Helping you, are they hurting you? And if the answer is well, they're not really helping me, I guess, or maybe holding me back or hurting me, perhaps it's time to do a rethink on that and just see where that's going to take you.

And so Jodie, big picture-wise, having been through that journey now, and it sounds like you've begun to put the puzzle pieces together and hindsight is wonderful. You can look back and just really make sense of things. What would you be telling business owners today who are back where you were a once upon a time in your journey and they're thinking, okay, you know what, I'm hearing Jodie talk.

I know I've been having thoughts myself of perhaps one day having some kind of liquidity event. What would you say to those business owners being where you've been?

[00:31:30] Jodie Cook: The biggest thing for me was becoming intentional, so one of the things I did was I wrote myself a check. I wrote myself a check from the buyer.

I think about the perfect buyer and they are buying one agency for this merge on this date. And I think I signed it like the perfect buyer or something like that. It was silly, I just hand drew it in my notebook, but then I looked at it and I just imagined that I was cashing that check on that date.

And the date was like a, I dunno, a year, maybe it was eight months in the future something like that. But there was something about staring at it and believing this is going to happen. That changed all my actions before that. I think it's really easy to just carry on almost doing what you've always been doing.

Not really thinking it's starting to happen, but once you believe, no, this is happening, this is already yours. This is a deadset. This is inevitable. Then you will act like you are going to sell your business and you'll do completely different stuff. And so things like extracting yourself from the business, things like making sure processes in place, things like making sure that you've got the right people on your team who want to step up and enjoy being self-sufficient and are ready to take the next step, whatever that might be.

That will all help a sale happen and it will all help us out happen on your terms as well. I think that there's something in having that pretend check. And by the way, I met the buyer of my agency within two weeks of the date I wrote on the check. I think that helped the sale be more on my terms because I believed that it was going to happen.

And if it wasn't the person in front of me, it would be someone else. And so it was almost like I was interviewing buyers involved. The buyers were interviewing me, which then helps in the negotiation. So I was in a stronger position. And also because I believed it was inevitable because I've got my business to a stage where it was very self-sufficient, it meant that I wasn't desperate to get away because I was really happy.

So the less desperate you are to get away, the more power you have in negotiations. So I would say, have a think about it. Think about what you want the outcome to be, and then write it down and then just stare at the words on the page. Imagine it happening, and then act as if it's inevitable.

[00:33:44] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow, and I know some of our listeners are saying, come on really Jodie, Jeffrey, seriously, what? I can just imagine it. And I can just write something down and not even know what it's about it, and it's going to happen well, for all of you that are thinking like that. I have some news for you. Science is finally catching up to what ancient wisdom has known for eons and what Jodie has described that process.

Some people actually today call that quantum physics. And this is where you put an intention in your mind. And some people say, and I subscribed to this thesis, your inner thoughts that forms your outer world, not the other way around. And so I would question or challenge everyone out there. Do you think it was a coincidence, Jodie writing down in her journal, hey, I really want to sell my company, writes out a check, the perfect buyer. And then Jodie, you said something that really is intriguing because I have a different expression, but it says the same thing, and that expression is when it comes to negotiations, the person who cares the least is usually the one who wins.

So in your mind, you're interviewing these buyers and if they weren't the right buyer, you're just so confident it's going to happen. Okay. Next, next, next, let me see the next one until I find the right one, as opposed to coming from desperation. Can you talk to us a little bit about that of how that emboldened you of you knew what you wanted with this buyer when you went through that process?

[00:35:09] Jodie Cook: I knew the meetings that I was going to have were going to be called chemistry meetings. And so I had that a little bit in my head. And so I was looking for chemistry and because I wasn't desperate to sell it also meant that the chemistry was really important and it was important just that everything was right, because the most important thing to me with that my team would be looked after and my clients would be looked after. And so, we had 12 chemistry meetings with different agencies. And I remember one in particular, who were a really cool agency, they had really cool clients, but the people who I spoke to I kind of got the feeling they didn't really like their team. I felt well, I like my team. I want it to sell to someone who's going to like my team too. And that's just is, if it's not going to work, the chemistry is not there and that's fine. And it's not hostile. You were very respectful of each other's time.

And you tell each other about your in business, but it just wasn't going to work out. And that was fine. I didn't lose any sleep over 1 of the 12 not very well. It was just like well, it's a numbers game, isn't it? And everything's fine. And say they would have been other ones in there where I thought, it's not going to work with this one, but that was fine too. And then the ones where I liked them or the ones where I thought, yeah, this could go somewhere. The main thing that made a difference, I think was that I wasn't in a rush so it's almost like, whatever you try and do, they do the opposite.

So if you try and rush something through and you're like, yeah, I really need that timesheet, but now yeah, I'm going to need these amendments back by next week or all that kind of stuff. They almost do the opposite. So they go slower. Whereas I was like, yeah, no rush, no worries. We're making money, I'm happy.

Everything's good. You can take your time and then they'd very quick and it just seemed to happen like that. So it's almost like they know that you're having a good time making money, growing the company. So they want a piece of that. So then they move quicker. And I think that comes from setting up a very advantageous situation where you're not desperate to getaway.

[00:37:03] Jeffrey Feldberg: Absolutely. And I just love how really the magic of preparation. And we say this at Deep Wealth all the time when you're properly prepared and by the way, I'll reveal a secret, the strategies of preparation are also one in the same for the strategies of growth. But when you're prepared, you tell me, keep a thriving and profitable business forever and Jodie, in your case, one where you're taking one month off every three months, keep on doing that forever or sell the business tomorrow.

And the point is you have a choice and that choice in either scenario is an incredible choice. And so preparation really paved the way for what was a terrific liquidity event for you, Jodie. Thank you for sharing that. So, Jodie, let me ask you this. We're at the point in our episode here, where we're going to start to wrap things up and I have my favorite question that I ask every single guest has become a bit of a tradition here on The Sell My Business Podcast.

And the question is this, I'd like you to think of the movie Back to the Future. And in the movie Back to the Future, you have this magical DeLorean car that can take you to any point in time. So imagine now it's tomorrow morning, Jodie, you look out your window, and there it is.

The DeLorean car is there. The door is open. It's waiting for you to hop on in. So you hop in and you can now go at any point in your life. It's Jodie, as a child, a teenager, a young adult, whatever the case may be. What are you going to tell your younger self of, hey Jodie, here's some life wisdom or some lessons, or do this, don't do that? What would that look like for you?

[00:38:35] Jodie Cook: That is a great question. I think I know when I go back to, but I don't think it would be for the purpose of giving myself advice. I think it would be for the purpose of documenting more and this is something that I'm hugely passionate about. And I've got a book called How to Raise Entrepreneurial Kids because I know that the way I was raised by very entrepreneurial parents, that I think in a certain way, I act in a certain way.

And I'm on a bit of a mission to almost bottle that so that everyone can have an entrepreneurial role model. And so that everyone can get to 22 and decide that they want to start their own business rather than go and get a job because that's what everyone else is doing. So I think I would actually go back to probably when I was six and just observe. And I think I would document the conversations that we were having around the dinner table, the exercises that my mom was getting me to do, and the mindsets and beliefs that she was giving me back then, that set me up well for a cool and successful future. So some of the stuff that I know she did was got me to pack my own suitcase.

If we were ever going for trips, it was up to me to do it. It didn't matter that I was super young and all my friends were having their parents pack their suitcases. It was up to me to do mine. And it was up to me to put my own Dentist's appointment and Doctor's appointments. And so I'd say six-year-old me would call up the receptionist and say, hello, can I book an appointment and say they would just humor me and book me in.

And so that day they exercise I know. And they're the ones that my mom can remember, but they will be so many that she can't remember that I would just love to document and put into resources and different stories that other people could use going forward.

[00:40:15] Jeffrey Feldberg: Love that just going back in time, really to soak it in and from a different perspective, you're at a different age or point in life and you can just go back and appreciate what was going on back then that perhaps you didn't appreciate at the time. I absolutely love that. And you mentioned one of your books, How to Raise Entrepreneurial Kids, and I know you have Stop Acting Like You're Going To Live Forever and Instagram Rules, maybe without a spoiler alert.

But just to get some of our listeners excited, Stop Acting Like You're Going To Live Forever. What can you share with us? Why should they right after this episode, and we'll put this in the show notes, by the way, it'll be a point and click. Why should they just go out and pick up the book and just start reading it?

[00:40:54] Jodie Cook: Stop Acting Like You're Going To Live Forever is the piece of work I put out there that I get the most feedback about. I wrote it as advice to my former self because lots of entrepreneurs have the same problems and they're working through the same challenges. I've found that it resonates very deeply with a lot of people.

It's all about how to run a business without it running you, it's all about how to create yourself an incredible life that you love to live without deferring it until this point in the future, after a liquidity event or after something big has happened. And it's all about how to keep, I guess it's a little bit keeping the shortness of life at the forefront of your mind so that you don't waste time scrolling social media or having arguments or doing all these things that just don't add anything to your life.

So, Yeah, it's definitely the piece of work that I've done that's made the most difference to the most people. There are volumes one and two, and they come with guided journals as well. So that you can journal with different questions and come up with answers to questions that you might not have even considered anymore.

So those four books altogether is a huge journey of self-awareness, but it might just change your life.

[00:42:04] Jeffrey Feldberg: For the benefit of our listeners, you're listening to this in audio, Jodie and I, we are on a Zoom call and we're seeing each other and I just have to share for our listeners, Jodie, you have an energy and air about you that is terrific. It's really in a good way, intoxicating also just an air of hey, everything's going to be okay. I'll figure it out. I got it. I'll get this done. And I think for most founders and entrepreneurs, business owners, most of us are usually Type-A personalities. We can use a little bit more of that. That can be a bit of our spiritual or energetic vitamin. So for everyone out there, let's definitely take Jodie up on her offer.

And again, we'll have that link out there. You can go get the book and do yourself a favor and treat yourself to this and upgrade some of your thinking and how you look at life and just do some good things out there. And Jodie, as we wrap this up, if somebody would like to find you online or get in touch with you, where would be the best place?

[00:42:58] Jodie Cook: The best place to find me is at my website, jodiecook.com. And you can send me a message through my contact form. I would love to hear from anyone who's listening to this. So I'd love to hear your story as well. And then you can find me on Twitter and Instagram and every other platform through that as well.

I also have a blog twice a week from Hey World and that's on a Monday and a Thursday, but you can subscribe there via my site.

[00:43:23] Jeffrey Feldberg: Terrific. Well, Jodie, as we wrap things up here, a heartfelt thank you for taking part of your day and spending it with us here on The Sell My Business Podcast. And as we close things out, please stay healthy and safe.

[00:43:34] Jodie Cook: Thank you so much.

[00:43:35] Sharon S.: The Deep Wealth Experience was definitely a game-changer for me.

[00:43:39] Lyn M.: This course is one of the best investments you will ever make because you will get an ROI of a hundred times that. Anybody who doesn't go through it will lose millions.

[00:43:49] Kam H.: If you don't have time for this program, you'll never have time for a successful liquidity

[00:43:53] Sharon S.: It was the best value of any business course I've ever taken. The money was very well spent.

[00:44:00] Lyn M.: Compared to when we first began, today I feel better prepared, but in some respects, may be less prepared, not because of the course, but because the course brought to light so many things that I thought we were on top of that we need to fix.

[00:44:15] Kam H.: I 100% believe there's never a great time for a business owner to allocate extra hours into his or her week or day. So it's an investment that will yield results today. I thought I will reap the benefit of this program in three to five years down the road. But as soon as I stepped forward into the program, my mind changed immediately.

[00:44:38] Sharon S.: There was so much value in the experience that the time I invested paid back so much for the energy that was expended.

[00:44:48] Lyn M.: The Deep Wealth Experience compared to other programs is the top. What we learned is very practical. Sometimes you learn stuff that it's great to learn, but you never use it. The stuff we learned from Deep Wealth Experience, I believe it's going to benefit us a boatload.

[00:45:01] Kam H.: I've done an executive MBA. I've worked for billion-dollar companies before. I've worked for smaller companies before I started my business. I've been running my business successfully now for getting close to a decade. We're on a growth trajectory. Reflecting back on the Deep Wealth, I knew less than 10% what I know now, maybe close to 1% even.

[00:45:20] Sharon S.: Hands down the best program in which I've ever participated. And we've done a lot of different things over the years. We've been in other mastermind groups, gone to many seminars, workshops, conferences, retreats, read books. This was so different. I haven't had an experience that's anything close to this in all the years that we've been at this.

It's five-star, A-plus.

[00:45:46] Kam H.: I would highly recommend it to any super busy business owner out there.

Deep Wealth is an accurate name for it. This program leads to deeper wealth and happier wealth, not just deeper wealth. I don't think there's a dollar value that could be associated with such an experience and knowledge that could be applied today and forever.

[00:46:05] Jeffrey Feldberg: Are you leaving millions on the table?

Please visit www.deepwealth.com/success to learn more.

If you're not on my email list, you'll want to be. Sign up at www.deepwealth.com/podcast. And if you enjoyed this episode of the Sell My Business podcast, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Reviews help me reach new listeners, grow the show and continue to create content that you'll enjoy.

As we close out this episode, a heartfelt thank you for your time. And as always, please stay healthy and safe. 

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Your liquidity event is the most important financial transaction of your life. You have one chance to get it right, and you better make it count. 

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Enjoy the interview!