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Finding Your Company's 'Why' [Podcast]

Episode 51: In this episode, Michael and Kathryn reminisce on when they started their marketing company and discuss their big 'why'. If you've ever struggled to pinpoint your 'why' or had difficulty figuring out how to leverage it to influence your company, employees, and customers, then take a walk down memory lane with the founders of HaBO Village in this podcast episode. 

Man walking on sand

In This Episode You Will Learn:

  • Why Michael and Kathryn started their company.

  • Why most business owners struggle to find freedom in their life.

  • The dangers of the 'golden handcuffs.'

  • How to balance preparing and sacrificing today so you can have security and joy for tomorrow.

 

"How do you find the type of hard work that produces joy and happiness, that doesn't sacrifice a healthy holistic perspective in your life?"

– Michael Redman  

References:

HaBO Village

 

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Michael:        Hi there and welcome to HaBO Village Podcast. I'm Michael Redman.


Kathryn:
      And I'm Kathryn Redman.


Michael:
      And we're glad you're back with us today. Thank you so much for visiting us. We want to talk to you today about the why, the need for a why in your company, but really want to talk to you about the why for us. Because we're realizing that there's some really significant reasons to go over this right now in the history of our company and the history of our podcast. We want to make sure that we're just talking about the power of why's in companies. Then, just as we're doing that, share with you our why and what's powerful. And then I want you to just think about, as you're hearing us talk today, what is your why? How are you using it to leverage your company? How are you using it to leverage your own energy and motivation to move forward, and those around you, either freelancers or staff, and your customers?


Kathryn:
      Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Michael:
      What does that look like? So Kathryn, for you, why talk about our why today? What's significant about the why that we have? And why is it important?


Kathryn:
      Why does why matter? I think that for me, the important part of reminiscing a little bit and thinking through, "Why did we start this?" What is it that we were trying to achieve? What were the goals that we had? Some of which lacked a little clarity, some of 'em we made up as we went. But initially, why did we do this?

                          Part of the reason that matters is because on days, you just need to remember the importance of what it is you're trying to achieve in the good and the hard times. One of the reasons a lot of people start companies is it can, when it goes well, result in a level of freedom in your lifestyle, right? Where you do actually get to control a little bit of your own schedule and you get to make decisions about your time and you don't have to be on somebody else's time clock.

                          Both Michael and I had worked at a lot of different companies and had been beholden to that reality, which is not a bad reality. I had some great jobs and great bosses. But there was such an excitement about the possibility of actually having a bit more freedom. We had come from a place where before we started this company, we had been in full-time ministry. We'd had a baby. There was so much freedom to bring her places and to do things with her, stuff that a normal schedule, eight to five-


Michael:
      Yeah.


Kathryn:
      -wasn't going to provide. And then the other thing that it gave us the opportunity to do, even back then, is we actually worked together.


Michael:
      Yeah.


Kathryn:
      That was a pretty high value, especially, that was something that you felt was really, really important.


Michael:
      Yeah. Well, and I think it was. I think it's turned out to be significant for us and powerful for us. People comment about it all the time. The fact that we're even doing this podcast together, and the comments we get about this and how well we interact. But we are a great team at work.

                           But I think the way we've directed the company, the way we've built the company, the new ventures we're moving into now, and the new offerings that we have coming up, especially the really big one that we have coming up, that we'll that talk later about in this podcast, all come about having a clear vision of what we want to do and achieving some of those things. It's kind of multi-part. The why behind it, one of the why's for us is actually being able to have that freedom. One of 'em is having the ... you start a company going, "If I can make this work, and we can be successful, not only will we have more control over our time, but we'll be able to invest our time in projects that we like." The goal is to craft and design a company that you can use your gifts, skills, and talents in things that you enjoy more. The ideal job, if you can, is to find a place where you're creating a company. If you can do this on your own, or someone else is paying you, where you have a company, you work for, put everything you do all day long, work straight within your gifts, talents, and skills, and people will pay you for it.


Kathryn:
      Yeah. We were just eating out last night and had a gal who we've known for a long, long time come over. She'd just got her new job and she's like, "I just love it! I sit there and I think, 'I'm getting paid to do this!'"


Michael:
      Yeah, right.


Kathryn:
      And it's like something she would do on a volunteer basis if she wasn't getting paid. Those are ideal situations for sure.


Michael:
      Yeah. But most of the time, even with her, she's enjoying it because she's getting to do a lot of stuff she never got to do. But there's all these other things that you have to do inside the job. There's all this other tasks and paperwork and stuff like that. When you are unwilling to do that, you get yourself into trouble.

                          One of the other reasons I started the business is because I always, when I was young, it was deeply important to me to do stuff that I enjoyed. There's a selfish that can happen in that, but there's an informed wisdom in it too. Going around, looking for work that makes you miserable is dumb. Only being willing to do stuff if you're happy is also unwise. There's a balance in there. But I will say that what I wanted was I wanted to do stuff where I felt like I was making a difference, I felt like what I was doing was significant, I felt like what I was doing was contributing towards, at least in part, what I was doing at that moment was building toward something else, both in my community, it was going to help me, but it was going to help my friends, my family.

                          As I grew older, realizing, you know, how do I help my ... I got married, I've got a kid, what am I going to do with my family? How are we going to take care of things? Do we need two incomes? Do we want two incomes? What does that really buy us? What does it really get us?

                          Ultimately, what it came down to is I want to make sure the bills are paid, that we're taking care and preparing for the dreams of tomorrow, and the potential emergencies of tomorrow, and that we are making sure that we are capturing the joy of today, that we're not just pissing it away. The days collect into weeks that collect into months. All the sudden, you realize, "I haven't been happy in years, because I've been putting it off for something that may or may not ever come."

                          There's this tension. I wanted a job that allowed to have this balance of preparing and sacrificing today, for a dream and some security or protection against emergencies tomorrow, while at the same time, not having to sacrifice all of the enjoyment and all the joy for today.


Kathryn:
      Well, and I had witnessed, but you had actually been told growing up, by one parent who was [crosstalk 00:07:37] clearly-


Michael:
      Well, I was told by my father-


Kathryn:
      A miserable human.


Michael:
      Yeah.


Kathryn:
      That, to be happy at work was just stupid, that just isn't ... a job is a job and it's just what you have to do. It doesn't matter whether you like it or not, it just matters that you get there and you get it done. Just be responsible and just get it done.


Michael:
      Yeah.


Kathryn:
      Right?


Michael:
      Folks, this was a message I heard when I was in fifth grade. It was a very poignant, strategic moment in my development. I was struggling in school. I wasn't focused. I wasn't getting stuff done that I need to get done. The answer that came back to me from my father was, "You just, this is life. What you're experiencing now, and it's hard, is just life. And it's all of it. Suck it up and just do it, because it's never going to get better."


Kathryn:
      Yeah. There's no more.


Michael:
      "You're done being a kid. It's not all about playtime. Move on."

                          Well, there's a way to articulate some of what he may have meant. Some of you may be going, "Wow. He didn't say that well, but this is what he meant." Or, "He meant well, or whatever." I just need to clarify: he didn't mean well. I know that because my father. Was a deeply troubled man who wrestled with alcoholism and depression and never came to terms with it. One of the reasons is because he was always looking to try and figure out how to ease the pain in all kinds of other ways that were unhealthy. He basically lost everything he had in his life, including his marriage and everything else.

                          What I watched is a man who lived a life full of regret. That was one of the other things that I didn't want to do. I didn't want to live a life of regret. How do you balance when you're model has been somebody who suffers from different forms of mental illness all at the same time and alcoholism, and is incredibly gifted and talented and intelligent and articulate, but selfish to the core. Yet there were so many things, lessons that I got from him, so many gifts I got from my father that were valuable. Sorting those out were difficult.

                          I said to myself, as a kid, "I've got to figure out ... I'm entrepreneurial." I didn't use those words, but I knew it. My first attempt at making money was taking my shoe shining kit that I'd been given at six years old or something and going down and setting up shop. I kept trying to do that.


Kathryn:
      Bugs Bunny shoe shining.


Michael:
      Bugs Bunny shoe shine.

                          That was a huge motivation for me. Out of that, out of wanting to have all that balance, out of that semi-traumatic experience growing up, and those situations where I was trying to figure out, "How do you grow up and become a teenager and go through adolescence and find your place in the world when you don't have control?" And when you're being told that what that thing in your heart that you're trying to find, that balances responsibility and joy, and actually, the responsibility is done in such a healthy way, and the commitment and sacrifice that needs to happen in life, the hard work that needs to happen, can also produce joy.


Kathryn:
      Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Michael:
      How do you find that type of hard work, that produces joy and happiness, that doesn't sacrifice a healthy, holistic perspective in your life? It doesn't require that you ignore your children or your marriage, that you sacrifice everything for X, Y, or Z, and that you play the long game. You realize that it doesn't have to happen tomorrow and it can grow. Finding that out and discovering that was a very long journey. When we started out our company Half a Bubble Out, that was really the pivotal moment in 2002 where we were going, "We're going to try and create this."


Kathryn:
      When you go back and roll the clock back to 2002, I was in the middle of a job that required I be on the road a lot.


Michael:
      Yeah.


Kathryn:
      So we're trying to raise a kid. This is before nice, easy, simple cell phones. There was definitely no Skype. I'm in a restaurant on the East Coast, finding a pay phone to read a book to my two and a half, three year old, over the phone, so that she can go to sleep. We did that for a significant period of time. The money was great!


Michael:
      Yeah.


Kathryn:
      But the life was not fun. I had been through, in my teen years, watching my dad chase a career. The money was great, but the career meant that he was basically gone for two, two and a half years, give or take a few weekends here or there.


Michael:
      And some significant times during your teen years.


Kathryn:
      Yeah. And we're talking across the world gone. I had been aware of how that felt from being a kid and feeling like the job matters more than the family and watching him sacrifice relationally to earn the money. There was a responsibility in that, but it was also super unbalanced and very unfortunate.


Michael:
      Yeah.


Kathryn:
      To then be in the situation where I was the person traveling, even if I was coming home on a regular basis, which I was. I mean, I was never gone more than two or three, four days at a time. But to be on the road all the time and having a child at home was like, "Ai. This is, I don't want to live this way."


Michael:
      Yeah.


Kathryn:
      We also came out of that perspective of, "How do we solve that?"


Michael:
      And it was a bit of the golden handcuffs for us.


Kathryn:
      It was rough.


Michael:
      Because for those of you that don't know the thing, it's like, "I made ..." There's two places where the golden handcuffs happen. One is, "I make this much and I have a lifestyle and expectations-" [crosstalk 00:13:41]


Kathryn:
      Requires that much.


Michael:
      That requires this much. I have expectations of ... we want to put the kids in three sports, and we want to do this and we want to do that.


Kathryn:
      Private schools.


Michael:
      Or whatever it is. Yeah. It's like, "They deserve it. So I've got to work to make this much money, because our lifestyle is this." For some reason, we've deemed that that is a magical place and those are magical things we're spending on, and if we don't have that, everything is going to fall apart.

                          The other part of the golden handcuffs is that idea that you walk away from something and you said, "I made ... " We're trained to walk up the ladder. If the ladder says, "I made 50 thousand dollars this year," or better yet, for leaders, "I made 150 thousand dollars this year, and I'm leaving the company, it would be dumb of me to go to a company where I made 100 thousand dollars. Matter of fact, it would be a disappointment. It would be awful. Because I am worth 150 thousand dollars."

                          I can't tell you, in 16 years of consulting, how many times I've heard people say. "I'm worth X."

                          "Are you happy?"

                          "No. I'm miserable. But I want to get out of here."

                          "How did you end up making that much money in this job?"

                          "Blah blah blah."

                          "Okay, you're willing to be miserable and do this thing that you hate because ... could you afford to make less? Could you afford to make 100 thousand dollars?"

                          "Yes. But I'm worth." There's an ego thing in there. There's a value thing. When you get your value from those things, and you've set those numbers, it becomes a golden handcuff.


Kathryn:
      And then there's just the reality that it is pretty counterintuitive to do what we did, which is for me to literally walk away, quit, leave, a six-figure income and dive off the entrepreneurial ledge into who knew what?


Michael:
      Who knew what, right?


Kathryn:
      Right? Not knowing where the income would come from, how we would survive, what we would do. That's terrifying. It's counterintuitive. It's not fun to tell your family.


Michael:
      Nope.


Kathryn:
      This-


Michael:
      When we deal with all that, folks, these are the hardcore why's and the real things we were dealing with and the real things that many of the entrepreneurs and business owners and leaders that we talked to, and business leaders out there, even if you don't own a company, we talk to week in and week out, month in and month out. These stories, we continue to hear. Some of you, right now, this is resonating in you. At some piece, some puzzle, you're going, "Yes. I get it. Either I know somebody who's going through this, or I've gone through it myself, or I'm going through it myself."

                          I want to go, "There is hope. There is a difference." Because we were successful. We made it. We have a company that has lasted 16 plus years. We call it a passion provision company. It's full of profit and joy. We continue to grow as a company. We continue to extend into other opportunities. We have other products and other services. We've even been able to invest in other companies. That allows us to do and invest in things that we believe in, to continue to extend and grow, and that profit, that provision is met in ways that we're ... our bills our met, our needs are met, and everywhere along the way, we've been able to continue to move into the dreams of tomorrow. Today we're living out some of those dreams of two and four and six years ago.

                           We are able to still walk in a place of provision of joy.


Kathryn:
      Most days.


Michael:
      Most. Things aren't perfect. I don't want to paint the picture that it's 100 percent rosy.


Kathryn:
      Nope.


Michael:
      It never is.


Kathryn:
      Or that the path to get here was a nice, angled curve straight up. Because it wasn't.


Michael:
      It's not.


Kathryn:
      It was a squiggly line, back and forth.


Michael:
      A squiggly line, and it goes up and down. But the overall curve moves in the right direction. When you hit things like a big recession or all the sudden, most of the customers you're dealing with are in a tech bubble, and the bubble bursts, all the sudden-


Kathryn:
      That would never happen.


Michael:
      You're scrambling because 40 percent of your revenue just disappeared, your gross revenue just gone. We've been through those things. We've seen it. And we've survived.


Kathryn:
      "We're not dead yet!"


Michael:
      "We're not dead yet!"

                          I want to encourage you. We started half a bubble out, to really, our core company, to build that life for us and there was another really core thing. I wanted a company that we were helping other people. It really had to serve other people, even though we were doing marketing and then advertising on top of that. Then we went from traditional to digital. Then we went from that into marketing consulting. Then we started growing into business development and leadership development consulting, and really enjoying that. And seeing that it was helpful, because we continue to go, "How do we focus on moving the needle the most for our customers?" How do we continue to look at them and go, "Is this helpful? Is this going to work?"

                          If it wasn't helpful, we adjust it. We did our best, continue to do our best. That's how we've grown and served. One of the things that has been a challenge for us, over the years, is the more we've grown, and this is a mixed blessing, right? The more we've grown, the more our rates have gone up. The more our rates have gone up, the more we've been able to earn, and the larger companies we've been able to work with.


Kathryn:
      But the more the ... some of the people that we really want to help can't really afford it, because we can only do so much at lower rates and maintain staff and-


Michael:
      Yeah.


Kathryn:
      Facilities and everything else.


Michael:
      That's been really weighing on my heart, and Kathryn and I have been talking about it for a long time, for several years. Like, "How do we do that?" We have come up with different solutions over time. Some of 'em were doing a little bit of pro bono work. Some of it was actually doing a mixed bag pro bono, where we would charge somebody a much lower rate because we knew that they could afford it and we could help them. It was helpful. But you could only do so many of those. What that has led, over the last several years, is us to design and start to create a training program, and a whole training arm [inaudible 00:20:18] Half a Bubble Out.

                          Out of that training, out of that preparation, we started doing and testing training with our clients, doing one off consulting and coaching sessions. I've been practicing working with and working out the kinks and stuff for the last year with a couple of folks, some long-term, some short-term. And really being able to work through how do we take what we know and translate it.

                          What that has, part of what turned out, was this podcast. That was one of the things that we were trying to do was, "How do we take some of knowledge and understanding and give it away for free?"

                                    But the next step is probably one of the most adventurous steps that we've had and the most exciting steps we've taken in the last 16 years, I would think. I mean for me it is. But would it be for you?


Kathryn:
      Oh, oh, well, I ... it feels like it today!


Michael:
      It does. And that is, we are taking this concept of HaBO Village that we've had on this podcast, and we're turning it into an online membership site with a course and continued training and education and community development. So what that'll-


Kathryn:
      With a really, really clear success path. Like a really clear way of [crosstalk 00:21:31]-


Michael:
      A very clear success path.


Kathryn:
      -walking through all the elements of a holistic business, so that you can create more profit and joy, and really develop this passion and provision type of company that we continue to talk about.


Michael:
      The pricing is going to be really, really reasonable. It's going to be way more cost-effective for all those people over the years that have come to our website, who have given us a call, who've talked to us about their company and said, "We need help." As we've talked to them, we've collected our research. We have heard from people the places they're struggling. We know that there are core areas. In another podcast, we're going to talk about those core areas that really are where they're struggling. And designing this whole thing around to meet real needs, to meet those problems. Because when you read a book, a business book is helpful, but how do I ask questions? I can't. Do I get more information about that subject? No.


Kathryn:
      Where's a community I can learn from and learn with?


Michael:
      Is there anybody that I can feel like this is up to date? When I went to college, college was valuable and I learned lots of stuff and I used that stuff in our business today. But so many people go to college, study business and marketing, heck we have them show up as employees. Then a year or two into working with us, they go, "I never learned this stuff in school."


Kathryn:
      Yep.


Michael:
      Well, they learned some core stuff, or at least some basic stuff, but learning, oftentimes going to college, even getting a master's degree, an MBA, doesn't help you run a small business. Gives you some ideas and help, but there's so many other things that come into play, that that doesn't fully do.

                          It's valuable, and the business books are valuable, and the podcasts are valuable. But there's only so much value we can give you in this podcast. There's only so much help a podcast can be, even as great as this podcast is.


Kathryn:
      Oh, and it's amazing.


Michael:
      So we're creating habovillage.com. We will be releasing between now and September of 2018 some information about our first launch, if you're listening to this after September of 2018, then you can still come to habovillage.com, because we will be doing several launches a year to open up the doors. But we'll be doing marketing, bringing people in, announcing that it's available, and then taking a group of people through our course, online and that membership. Then continuing to build a community of people who their goal ... they're not just business people, they're not just small business people, they're leaders of small business companies and medium-sized companies that want to build passion and provision companies, that you want more joy and provision in your life, or profit and joy in your life personally, and you want it in your company, and you have a heart and a desire for that to spill out to your employees and to your customers and to your community and to your family and friends. You want that life that is full of an abundant mindset and full of just an overflow that you get to share to positively impact everybody's life around you, and your own.


Kathryn:
      If you want to hear more specifically about that, or stay caught up or in tune with where we are and what the timeline looks like for releasing, go to habovillage.com and sign up for the wait list. We'll make sure that we're communicating with you and let you know when things are happening. It's going to be fun.


Michael:
      It's going to be fun?


Kathryn:
      It's going to be fun.


Michael:
      Excellent.


Kathryn:
      Yeah. It's going to be a great time.


Michael:
      Okay.


Kathryn:
      They won't just hear our voices, they'll see our faces. Ooh. That could be a plus or a minus.


Michael:
      So we thank you so much for joining us today. We're going to be tuning out. But go to habovillage.com. Sign up on the wait list. There's going to be a landing page there. We are preparing. If you want to hear more about it and you want to hear and see what that's going to look like and the opportunity, then you want to be on that wait list that we'll communicate to you and let you know more information.

                          We're excited. This is great. This is one of those big things. I wish you all the best wishes, and stamina and everything else, and sanity, in your own dreams and visions and goals. Maybe, maybe, we'll get to help you do those in another formal fashion, like HaBO Village. So have a great week. We thank you for the time. Buh-bye.