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IAM194- Speaker and Author Helps Organizations Retain and Keep Millennial Employees Engaged

Podcast interview with Jeff Butler

 

 

Jeff Butler is a speaker, author and passionate millennial who helps organizations improve their relationships with millennial employees. You may have seen on him on Forbes, USA Weekly, or on the TED stage. A native Californian and raised in Silicon Valley, he graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Computer Science. During his time in college, he was training for the Olympics under 3 time Olympian Tore Gustafsson, but left that pursuit because software engineering paid more. Unlike other experts on millennials, Jeff has been in the trenches of what it means to be a millennial and what it takes to retain and keep them engaged. With Jeff ‘s versatile background, he has addressed companies like Amazon and Google as well as thousands of professionals across the North America.

  • CEO Hack: System of procedures: break down tasks and hire someone to do it to get structures in place as you grow.
  • CEO Nugget: (1) Perseverance (2) If something makes you uncomfortable, find a way to compensate for it
  • CEO Defined: Sets the vision and takes responsibility

Website: https://jeffjbutler.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jefferyjbutler
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jefferyjbutler/


Full Interview


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Transcription

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Intro 0:02
Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:27

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today I have Jeff Butler of jeffjbutler.com. Jeff, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Jeffery Butler 0:36

It's great to be here

Gresham Harkless 0:36

It's great to have you. And what I want to do is just read a little bit more about Jeff so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing. And Jeff Butler is a speaker, author, and passionate millennial who helps organizations improve their relationships with millennial employees. You may have seen him on Forbes, USA Weekly, or on the TED stage. A native Californian and raised in Silicon Valley, he graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Computer Science. During his time in college, he was training for the Olympics under 3-time Olympian Tore Gustafsson but left that pursuit because software engineering paid more. Unlike other experts on millennials, Jeff has been in the trenches of what it means to be a millennial and what it takes to retain and keep them engaged. With Jeff‘s versatile background, he has addressed companies like Amazon and Google as well as thousands of professionals across North America. Jeff, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO Community?

[restrict paid=”true”] 

Jeffery Butler 1:32

I guess I am. Let's do this.

Gresham Harkless 1:33

Let's do it. And I appreciate you telling me that lifeline. I knew I was gonna trip over that name. But I appreciate it.

Jeffery Butler 1:38

No worries.

Gresham Harkless 1:39

But the first thing I wanted to hear I know it touched on it a little bit. But I want to hear a little bit more about your CEO story. What led you to start your business?

Jeffery Butler 1:46

Yeah. To see your story. I'm more seen as like you run a business, your last line of defense. And it really started when I first graduated from college. So I had the golden handcuffs job in software engineering. And as you probably would guess, UC Berkeley, it's ranked number two in the nation. You walk out with a six-figure salary, and you're like, Oh, baby, I got a maid. Things are nice. Things are awesome. But then I was there for about two weeks. And I realized the guy next to me probably was earning 50k more than me. And he was 15 years older. And I'm like, wait a minute, 15 years for 50k? Like, I don't know if I want to go through that. Like, that's not really worth it. For me. This sounds like I don't know, some people love it. Some other people don't.

So I was like, okay, what can I do to run my own shop? And so at that time, I was 23 years old at 24. I already had a company founded that was a commercial real estate data business. And about a year from there, I quit my day job. It was profitable, but not enough to pay the bills. But I thought belief would be the best thing my parents both were Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and still are and they're like, Jeff, don't quit. You don't have enough revenue. And I'm like, No, Mom and Dad, I got this. I know what I'm doing.

So I quit. And about like three months and doing that. I was like, wait a minute, this is just looking at data all day. This is boring. Not that I jumped from a lot of things because I was at that company for 18 months. But I was like, You know what, this isn't what I want to do. So I had a little nest egg. I quit that, right? And I'm like now jobless. I don't have any company whatsoever. And I'm like, What the heck am I gonna do? So I started my dream list and one of them was speaking and I said, let me try that. So I spoke, Toastmasters. Do you know Toastmasters by any chance?

Gresham Harkless 3:23

Yes, absolutely.

Jeffery Butler 3:24

I go into a Toastmasters room and go in the front, I speak for one minute, and I totally forget everything. I'm going to say Sit down. I was like, dude, that was amazing. I got to do this for a living like it was just boom, I could see myself doing this for the next 15 years. So I said, let me build a business around who I am. So I went there for about several months, probably 6 to 12 months, I successfully evaporated all my savings, like poof, gone, completely broke, and had to go back to work. And as a software engineer, someone I'll probably be the first person I ever met who quit their job and had to go back.

And so it was brutal. Got a lot of ego checks on that. And I stayed with it got on TEDx and for months of speaking, I ended up building a successful speaking business that now I started speaking to corporate professionals speaking about a year ago, and it's been about anywhere from 50 to 70% growth each quarter. It's just been rapid and it was already like six figures but just it's blown up rapidly.

And I'll go into this later in terms of the really crazy remote team that I built because usually people for this type of business it's a sole proprietorship you don't necessarily have a seven eight-person team for it, but I'm like, I want this to be as some bigger strong business. Let's build the foundation now. So let's just say my CEO story consisted of me being very naive, as a quote-unquote millennial trying to like quit my job and live my dreams but got knocked around a bit, but finally came out on top, I guess four years later.

Gresham Harkless 4:48

That sounds awesome. And as a millennial who has done something similar only when I took the leap of faith and quit my job, I landed on my Achilles tendon and it broke 3040 days after that, so I got beat up a little bit too. But like I've always learned, I'm sure you can definitely say just keep on going. It's the biggest thing.

Jeffery Butler 5:05

Exactly, exactly. You just keep going and keep iterating on that, and the perseverance will hold softer.

Gresham Harkless 5:10

There you go. Absolutely. And I know you touched on it a little bit talking about your business and how you're doing public speaking, could you drill down a little bit deeper and tell us exactly what

Jeffery Butler 5:18

Yeah, so essentially, how it works is that whenever you go to conferences, you have meetings, annual meetings, they usually bring in speakers. And those speakers are authors, people who can entertain the crowd and provide some information. So infotainment, basically. And that's what I do. So you basically are hired for like an hour can be anywhere from like, one hour to eight, depending on what kind of stuff you're doing. It's usually about 45 to 90 minutes, and you go in there and deliver a keynote.

And that's the main source of revenue that I have in my business right now. Now, it's great, because it pays, when you first start out, you're charging, 5K, once you start getting professional level, and then you start breaking like the 10k 50k mark for a one-hour speech. So it's a really good living, but then you get kind of caught up in okay, this can get you to mid-six-figure high six-figure even seven-figure level, but it can't scale very well. What if you get sick and go to the hospital? How do you go past that? Well, there comes the consulting side. And so what we're currently building right now is the consultant side of the business, which is I can duplicate myself, and someone who can go on who's trained help consulting company behind the scenes. So those are some of the services that we provide

Gresham Harkless 5:20

Awesome, awesome, awesome

Jeffery Butler 5:47

Revenue, like business model kind of thing.

Gresham Harkless 6:32

Yeah, absolutely. And I wanted to hear a little bit more about like, you've been able to, obviously, it sounds like positioning yourself. So how have you been able to kind of do that as the expert as the person that they want to hire to be able to do these keynote speeches?

Jeffery Butler 6:44

Yeah. So I saw a glaring problem in this space is that not a lot of people who are in their 20s are crazy enough to do what I do. Because it's like, You're the youngest person there. They're like, Okay, what does this young buck have to say? And so what I realized is with millennials talking about them is like, I'm actually a millennial. There's a whole bunch of people out there who are like, Hey, I'm 50 years old, I'm gonna tell you what Millennials think I'm like, no, no, I'm a millennial. I'm like living through this right now. This is why it's happening. And so that was the big, unique selling proposition on that front. So there was that.

And then the second part was my background in terms of interview experience. I've been in over 500 interviews, when you're our software engineer, it's constantly going through interviews, especially when you're straight out of college. And I mean, I worked in about five or six different places, most of them were internships, building experience through college. So having all that and walking in there, I'm like, Look, I was just out of the job industry. And I'm a millennial. Let me tell you how it is.

Gresham Harkless 7:38

Right. And I think that's, that's very powerful, like you said, because you kind of blazing your own trail, because not only are you speaking to the people that everybody wants to know about millennials, like how they operate one of the things and things like that you're able to speak to that. But then you're also of that ilk, so to speak. So you're able to say this is actually the truth because I know because it's actually me.

Jeffery Butler 7:56

Right? Exactly.

Gresham Harkless 7:58

Awesome. awesome. awesome. And now I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce. And this could be your unique selling proposition. Your differentiator, what do you feel kind of sets you apart?

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Jeffery Butler 8:06

That's my secret sauce, right? There is it? I saw it as that millennial side of things. But the way I like to see more secret sauce is that most businesses don't have a secret sauce. It's that there are about 100 attributes in a business. And they somehow get more of those higher than, say, their competitor, right? So say maybe their website looks better, their product has a little bit more value, and the way that I guess their sales team reached out was a little bit better. Like all those things start to add up over a period of time. So instead of me just sitting my back and being Oh, you know, I'm a millennial, I haven't figured out what's a good value proposition. I'm like, No, keep on going back to the business. How can I make my website better? How can I train my sales team better? How can we have better PR, right, keep doing all those things over and over. And eventually, they'll start to have an exponential effect in terms of revenue.

Gresham Harkless 8:52

That makes perfect sense. And I feel like I've heard that at least from financial terms. I don't know if that's the same thing, but definitely let me know in terms of building a moat. So once you find your niche, you find what you do better than everything else, you start to grow out like you said, start building a better website start doing a better PR campaign or something like that, all those things start to add up, and all of a sudden, no one can kind of defeat you just because you have so much more that is above average.

Jeffery Butler 9:14

Right? And that's one of the biggest challenges that a lot of entrepreneurs have, how can I get over to this point where I'm earning more money for my business like it's not profitable, right? And usually what happens is that they get to that profitable area, there's another hurdle which is how do you reinvest the money? Do you put it back into the business or do you put it into your wallet? Because usually what happens is they've gone through so much struggle that they want to reward themselves be like, Oh, I gotta get some Louis Vuitton, you know, stuff for my girlfriend because I haven't been spending much time with her or gotta get a new suit. Because now I'm a profitable entrepreneur. It's like, no, no, no, no, that goes back in a new like, shut up. Keep your living expenses as low as possible, because you're going to need that money later on. So if you take that money and keep putting it back in, it starts to build up because you have this very frugal, hungry state of mind. And you keep taking those dollars and applying them really wisely. And is that Dudley?

Gresham Harkless 10:05

Yeah, absolutely. It's funny you say that I just literally saw a video I want to say yesterday it was on, on LinkedIn, and it was with Jeff Bezos, and he was driving and doing the guy was doing an interview like CNN. And he was like in a Honda Civic or something like that he was at that time worth like, $7 billion. So the guy was like, what's what the Honda Civic is worth, like $7 billion.

Jeffery Butler 10:27

That's their mindset, like people would think it's weird. Like, I earn mid-six figures. And I run my bike places that are like that, and you don't have any money whatsoever. Like, what are you doing? Run that biker and your shoes are messed up? I'm like oh, look at that, man. That's what matters that okay?

Gresham Harkless 10:42

Exactly, exactly. No, I love that it's now I wanted to switch gears a little bit, Jeff, and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. And I know we touched on it a little bit. But this is something that you feel makes you more effective and efficient?

Jeffery Butler 10:52

Yes, yes. So in my story, I mentioned how my first speaking business failed, I wasn't able to produce revenue. Part of that was I was in the wrong space. But more importantly, is like, I didn't know how to build systems and operations to sustain a strong business. So a really good hack is if you look at your business, it's filled with activities. And usually, you want to start off with the sales part of it is that if you don't have sales, you're not going to grow.

So you look at what sort of activities I have to do every day there in sales, collect emails, follow-ups proposals. And when you write something down, it's called a system of procedures, every single activity writes down how much time it takes, and how much it emotionally drains you, then once you have that all written out, massive clarity, what you do is you take the most time-intensive ones that are easiest, per se, and then you hire someone for that position. That is you go for someone like remotely like let's say it's email collection, right?

And you have a direct emailing campaign, you hire someone off of Upwork or online jobs pH someplace where you can say, okay, 100 emails, $25, right, little liability there, then someone comes in and starts doing that great, you go up to the next level activity, find someone for that, get someone doing that too, and then eventually have a group. And that's like, that could be a full-time hire. And so I did my businesses, I started very small. And I'm like, Oh, my gosh, my business partner was helping me with this. And I'm like, I don't know if I can manage two people. And I was like, freaking out over that, like, what do I do? And he was like, no, no, just you do X, Y, and Z.

So he walked me through it. Eventually, the team grew enough. So I had a manager. So any questions didn't go through I went through her. And I kind of just step back and the whole machine started or run and now it's like, it built that sort of structure in place. And so for CEOs that usually, the Gary Vee it, they're like, I have to do everything, stay up later do this crazy stuff. It's like no, no, no, break it down, look at the activities, see what you can do, and maximize that dollar value.

Gresham Harkless 12:43

Yeah, I absolutely agree with that. And it's funny, like, the more you start to look at businesses, you realize they're made up of systems. And if you can figure out exactly what those systems are, those processes are and you're able to either delegate them to somebody else, or coach somebody else, in order to do that, or to think of a better way than often you can be able to scale your business. So I love that you've been able to do that.

Jeffery Butler 13:03

Yeah, and a couple of hacks here, because I feel like that was a very high level, some lower things are when you hire someone for short jobs, make it performance-based and hourly. That's a big mistake that people make. So they would say, hey, I want to hire someone for $4 an hour, they hired their weekend, they basically paid 100 bucks, they haven't gotten any results to happen so frequently, make it tangible. So you time yourself, how long does it take you to accomplish this? See what the market rate is for whoever you're hiring, then charge that for the project. Now you have little liability. They don't get it done. You don't pay them money. Right? Very simple.

Gresham Harkless 13:34

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. And this is a word of wisdom or piece of advice. Or if you can happen to a time machine. What would you tell your younger business self?

Jeffery Butler 13:44

Oh, it's too much. I would say the biggest thing would be perseverance is first and foremost that pops into my mind. The other one is if something in your business really makes you uncomfortable figure out how to compensate in some way for it. So for me, I have a huge hard time with I'm very introverted, and even though I do professional speaking, I don't like doing cold calls or anything like that, or emails and stuff. I thought I just kind of tough it out.

And, let's listen to my Less Brown tapes and go crazy on it. But no, you can find someone who can handle that a lot easier than you can there are people out there who can do your job and actually love it. My aunt loves to walk into stores, knock on doors and try and sell things. I think she's crazy. But it works for her. So thinking about how you can compensate for those vacancies. But you have to be a strong enough leader to do so.

Gresham Harkless 14:32

Yeah, that makes sense. And you got to be the leader to be able to recognize those and that and other people did not understand what their gifts are. So how that comes together and make your team?

Jeffery Butler 14:40

Exactly

Gresham Harkless 14:41

Awesome, awesome, awesome. And this brings me to my absolute favorite question, which is a definition of what it means to be a CEO. We're hoping to have different quote-unquote CEOs on the show but Jeff, I wanted to ask you what being a CEO means to you

Jeffery Butler 14:51

The last line of defense and a company it's also the person who sets the vision. I think too often people when they first have this title CEO think it's this big, grandiose thing, put it on a business carmical person, but honestly, like you're the person who gets the biggest problems, and you have to own it. No one else is there to back you up. Sure your team is there. But you have to handle every single fire if it's big enough, so it's a big responsibility.

Gresham Harkless 15:12

Absolutely. And often, when things do go wrong, even if it's not directly, sometimes you have to take that bullet, so to speak. So I definitely agree with that definition. And, Jeff, I truly appreciate you for taking some time out what I wanted to do was pass you the mic, just to see if there's anything additional, you can let our readers and our listeners know, and then also how best they can get a hold of you.

Jeffery Butler 15:30

Yeah, I guess if it's for people who are looking to just start something off, or maybe they're initially growing like it that they're like the negative six-figure level, basically say, you don't have to be fancy, like create the next Facebook app to have a big business. You just have to do those little things right? A little bit better. And those will grow enough over time. Will you be able to separate yourself?

Gresham Harkless 15:52

Absolutely. That's definitely a great reminder. And then people that want to reach out to you to book you for speaking or hear more about you. What's the best thing

Jeffery Butler 15:59

Website's great Jeff@jeffjbutler.com. Don't forget the J because jeffbutler.com is really mad at me now because everyone sends him emails and he's like You change your domain. I'm like, No.

Gresham Harkless 16:12

Absolutely. Well, we'll make sure we'll put the J. Will have that in our show notes as well. So that jeffbutler.com will not get angry as well. But Jeff, I truly appreciate you and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Jeffery Butler 16:22

All right, You too man.

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Outro 16:24

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co

I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Intro 0:02

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:27

Hello, hello, hello.This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today I have Jeff Butler of jeffjbutler.com. Jeff is awesome to have you on the show.

Jeffery Butler 0:36

It's great to be here

Gresham Harkless 0:36

It's great to have you. And what I want to do is just read a little bit more about Jeff so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing. And Jeff Butler is a speaker, author and passionate millennial who helps organizations improve their relationships with millennial employees. You may have seen on him on Forbes, USA Weekly, or on the TED stage. A native Californian and raised in Silicon Valley, he graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Computer Science. During his time in college, he was training for the Olympics under 3 time Olympian Tore Gustafsson, but left that pursuit because software engineering paid more. Unlike other experts on millennials, Jeff has been in the trenches of what it means to be a millennial and what it takes to retain and keep them engaged. With Jeff ‘s versatile background, he has addressed companies like Amazon and Google as well as thousands of professionals across the North America.Jeff, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO Community?

Jeffery Butler 1:32

I guess I am. Let's do this.

Gresham Harkless 1:33

Let's do it. And I appreciate you telling me that lifeline. I knew I was gonna trip over that name. But I appreciate it.

Jeffery Butler 1:38

No worries.

Gresham Harkless 1:39

But the first thing I wanted to hear I know it touched on it a little bit. But I want to hear a little bit more about your CEO story. What led you to start your business?

Jeffery Butler 1:46

Yeah. So see your story. I'm more seen as like you run a business, your last line of defense. And it really started when I first graduated from college. So I had the golden handcuffs job software engineering. And as you probably would guess, like UC Berkeley, it's ranked number two in the nation. You walk out with a six figure salary, and you're like, Oh, baby, I got a maid. Things are nice. Things are awesome. But then I was there for about two weeks. And I realized the guy next to me probably was earning 50k more than me. And he was 15 years older. And I'm like, wait a minute, 15 years for 50k? Like, I don't know if I want to go through that. Like, that's not really worth it. For me. This sounds like I don't know, some people love it. Some other people don't. So I was like, okay, what can I do to run my own shop. And so at that time, I was 23 years old at 24. I already had a company founded that was commercial real estate data business. And about a year from there, I quit my day job. It was profitable, not enough to pay the bills. But I thought belief would be the best thing my parents both were Silicon Valley entrepreneurs still are and they're like, Jeff, don't quit. You don't have enough revenue. And I'm like, No, Mom and Dad, I got this. I know what I'm doing. So I quit. And about like three months and doing that. I was like, wait a minute, this is just looking at data all day. This is boring. Not that I jumped from a lot of things because I was at that company for 18 months. But I was like, You know what, this isn't what I want to do. So I had a little nest egg. I quit that right. And I'm like now jobless. I don't have any company whatsoever. And I'm like, What the heck am I gonna do? So I started my dream list and one of them was speaking and I said, let me try that. So I spoken,Toastmasters. You know Toastmaster by any chance?

Gresham Harkless 3:23

Yes, absolutely.

Jeffery Butler 3:24

I go into a Toastmasters room go in the front, I speak for one minute, I totally forget everything. I'm going to say Sit down. I was like, dude, that was amazing. I got to do this for a living like it was just boom, I could see myself doing this for the next 15 years. So I said, let me build a business around that I am. So I went there for about several months, probably 6 to 12 months, I successfully evaporated all my savings, like poof, gone, completely broke and had to go back to work. And as a software engineer, someone I'll probably the first person who ever met who quit their job and had to go back. And so it was brutal. Got a lot of ego check on that. And I stayed with it got on the TEDx and for months of speaking, I ended up building a successful speaking business that now I started speaking corporate professional speaking about a year ago, and it's been about anywhere from 50 to 70% growth each quarter. It's just been rapid and it was already like six figures but just it's blown up rapidly. And I'll go into this later in terms of the really crazy remote team that I built because usually people for this type of business it's a sole proprietorship you don't necessarily have a seven eight person team for it, but I'm like,I want this to be as some bigger strong business. Let's build the foundation now. So let's just say my CEO story consisted of me being very naive, as a quote unquote millennial trying to like quit my job and live my dreams but got knocked around a bit, but finally came out on top, I guess four years later.

Gresham Harkless 4:48

That sounds awesome. And as a millennial who has done something similar only when I took the leap of faith and quit my job, I landed on my Achilles tendon and it broke 3040 days after that, so I got beat up a little bit too. But like I've always learned, I'm sure you can definitely say just keep on going. It's the biggest thing.

Jeffery Butler 5:05

Exactly, exactly. You just keep going keep iterating on that, and the perseverance will hold softer.

Gresham Harkless 5:10

There you go. Absolutely. And I know you touched on it a little bit talking about your business and how you're doing public speaking, could you drill down a little bit deeper and tell us exactly what

Jeffery Butler 5:18

Yeah, so essentially, how it works is that whenever you go to conferences, you have meetings, annual meetings, they usually bring in speakers. And those speakers are authors, people who can entertain the crowd provide some information. So infotainment, basically. And that's what I do. So you basically are hired for like an hour can be anywhere from like, one hour to eight, depending on what kind of stuff you're doing. It's usually about 45 to 90 minutes, and you go in there and deliver a keynote. And that's the main source of revenue that I have in my business right now. Now, it's great, because it pays, when you first start out, you're charging, 5K, once you start getting professional level, and then you start breaking like the 10k 50k mark for one hour speech. So it's a really good living, but then you get kind of caught up in okay, this can get you to mid six figure high six figure even seven figure level, but it can't scale very well. Like what if you get sick and go to the hospital? How do you go past that? Well, there comes the consulting side. And so what we're currently building right now is the consultant side of the business, which is I can duplicate myself, and someone then can go on who's trained help consulting company behind the scenes. So those are some of the services that we provide

Gresham Harkless 5:20

Awesome, awesome, awesome

Jeffery Butler 5:47

Revenue, like business model kind of thing.

Gresham Harkless 6:32

Yeah, absolutely. And I wanted to hear a little bit more about like, you've been able to, obviously, it sounds like positioning yourself. So how have you been able to kind of do that as the expert as the person that they want to hire to be able to do these keynote speeches?

Jeffery Butler 6:44

Yeah. So I saw a glaring problem in this space is that not a lot of people who are in their 20s are crazy enough to do what I do? Because it's like, You're the youngest person there. They're like, Okay, what does this young buck have to say? And so what I realized is with millennial talking about them is like, I'm actually a millennial. There's a whole bunch of people out there who are like, Hey, I'm 50 years old, I'm gonna tell you what Millennials think I'm like, no, no, I'm a millennial. I'm like living through this right now. This is why it's happening. And so that was the big, unique selling proposition on that front. So there was that. And then the second part was my background in terms of interview experience. I've been in over 500 interviews, when you're our software engineer, it's constantly go through interviews, especially when you're straight out of college. And I mean, I worked in about five or six different places, most of them were internships, building experience through college. So having all that and walking in there, I'm like, Look, I was just out of the job industry. And I'm a millennial. Let me tell you how it is.

Gresham Harkless 7:38

Right. And I think that's, that's very powerful, like you said, because you kind of blazing your own trail, because not only are you speaking to the people that everybody wants to know about millennials, like how they operate one of the things and things like that you're able to speak to that. But then you're also of that ilk, so to speak. So you're able to say this is actually the truth, because I know because it's actually me.

Jeffery Butler 7:56

Right? Exactly.

Gresham Harkless 7:58

Awesome. awesome. awesome. And now I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce. And this could be your unique selling proposition. Your differentiator, what do you feel kind of sets you apart?

Jeffery Butler 8:06

Does that was That's my secret sauce, right? There is it? I saw it as that millennial side of things. But the way I like to see more secret sauce is that most businesses don't have a secret sauce. It's that there's about like 100 attributes in a business. And they somehow get more of those higher than, say, their competitor, right. So say maybe their website looks better, their product has a little bit more value, the way that their I guess their sales team reached out was a little bit better. Like all those things start to add up over a period of time. So instead of me just sitting my back and being Oh, you know, I'm a millennial, I haven't figured out what's a good value proposition. I'm like, No, keep on going back to the business. How can I make my website better? How can I train my sales team better? How can we have better PR, right, keep doing all those things over and over. And eventually they'll start to have an exponential effect in terms of revenue.

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Gresham Harkless 8:52

That makes perfect sense. And I feel like I've heard that at least from a financial terms. I don't know if that's the same thing, but definitely let me know in terms of like building a moat. So once you find your niche, you find what you do better than everything else, you start to grow out, like you said, start building a better website start doing better PR campaign or something like that, all those things start to add up and all of a sudden, no one can kind of defeat you just because you have so much more that is above average.

Jeffery Butler 9:14

Right? And that's one of the biggest challenges that a lot of entrepreneurs have is that how can I get over to this point where I'm earning more money my business like it's not profitable, right? And usually what happens is that they get to that profitable area, there's another hurdle which is how do you reinvest the money? Do you put it back into the business or do you put it into your wallet? Because usually what happens is they've gone through so much struggle that they want to reward themselves be like, Oh, I gotta get some Louis Vuitton, you know, stuff for my girlfriend because I haven't been spending much time with her or gotta get a new suit. Because now I'm a profitable entrepreneur. It's like, no, no, no, no, that goes back in a new like, shut up. Keep your living expenses as low as possible, because you're going to need that money later on. So if you take that money and keep putting it back in, it starts to build up because you have this very frugal, hungry state of mind. And you keep taking those dollars and applying them really wisely. And is that Dudley?

Gresham Harkless 10:05

Yeah, absolutely. It's funny you say that I just literally saw a video I want to say yesterday it was on, on LinkedIn, and it was with Jeff Bezos, and he was driving and doing the guy was doing an interview like CNN. And he was like in a Honda Civic or something like that he was at that time worth like, $7 billion. So the guy was like, what's what the Honda Civic are worth, like $7 billion.

Jeffery Butler 10:27

That's their mindset, like people would think it's weird. Like, I earn mid six figures. And I run my bike places that are like that, and you don't have any money whatsoever. Like, what are you doing? Run that biker and your shoes are messed up? I'm like oh, look at that, man.That's what matters that okay.

Gresham Harkless 10:42

Exactly, exactly. No, I love that it now I wanted to switch gears a little bit, Jeff, and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. And I know we touched on it a little bit. But this is something that you feel like makes you more effective and efficient?

Jeffery Butler 10:52

Yes, yes. So in my story, I mentioned how my first speaking business I failed, I wasn't able to produce revenue. Part of that was I was in the wrong space. But more importantly, is like, I didn't know how to build systems and operations to sustain a strong business. So a really good hack is if you look at your business, it's filled with activities. And usually you want to do a start off with the sales part of it is that if you don't have sales, you're not going to grow. So you look at what sort of activities I have to do every day there in sales, collect emails, follow ups proposals. And when you write something down, it's called a system of procedures, every single activity write down how much time it takes, and how much does it emotionally drain you, then once you have that all written out, massive clarity, what you do is you take the most time intensive ones that are easiest, per se, and then you hire someone for that position. That is you go for someone like remotely like let's say it's email collection, right? And you have a direct emailing campaign, you hire someone off of Upwork or online jobs pH someplace where you can say, okay, 100 emails, $25, right, little liability there, then someone comes in and starts doing that great, you go up to the next level activity, find someone for that, get someone doing that too, and then eventually have a group. And that's like, that could be a full time hire. And so I did my businesses, I started very small. And I'm like, Oh, my gosh, my business partner was helping me with this. And I'm like, I don't know if I can manage two people. And I was like, freaking out over that, like, what do I do? And he was like, no, no, just you do X, Y, and Z. So he walked me through it. Eventually, the team grew enough. So I had a manager. So any questions didn't go through me went through her. And I kind of just step back and the whole machine started or run and now it's like, it built that sort of structure in place. And so for CEOs that usually, the Gary Vee it, they're like, I have to do everything, stay up later do this crazy stuff. It's like no, no, no, break it down, look at the activities, see what you can do and maximize that dollar value.

Gresham Harkless 12:43

Yeah, I absolutely agree with that. And it's funny, like, the more you start to look at businesses, you realize they're made up of systems. And if you can figure out exactly what those systems are, those processes are and you're able to either delegate them to somebody else, or coach somebody else, in order to do that, or to think of a better way than often you can be able to scale your business. So I love that you've been able to do that.

Jeffery Butler 13:03

Yeah, and a couple of hacks here, because I feel like that was very high level, some lower things are when you hire someone for short jobs, make it performance based an hourly. That's a big mistake that people make. So they would say, hey, I want to hire someone for $4 an hour, they hired them weekend, they basically paid 100 bucks, they haven't gotten any results to happen so frequently, make it tangible. So you time yourself, how long does it take you to accomplish this? See what the market rate is for whoever you're hiring, then charge that for the project? Now you have little liability. They don't get it done. You don't pay them money. Right? Very simple.

Gresham Harkless 13:34

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. And this is a word of wisdom or piece of advice. Or if you can happen to a time machine. What would you tell your younger business self?

Jeffery Butler 13:44

Oh, it's too much. I would say the biggest thing would be perseverance is first and foremost that pops into my mind. The other one is if something in your business really makes you uncomfortable figure how to compensate in some way for it. So for me, I have a huge hard time with I'm very introverted, and I even though I do professional speaking, and I don't like doing cold calls or anything like that, or emails and stuff. I thought I just kind of tough it out. And ,let's listen to my Less Brown tapes and go crazy on it. But no, you can find someone who can handle that a lot easier than you can there's people out there who can do your job and actually love it. My aunt loves to walk into stores, knock on doors and try and sell things. I think she's crazy. But it works for her. So thinking about how you can compensate for those vacancies. But you have to be a strong enough leader to do so.

Gresham Harkless 14:32

Yeah, that makes sense. And you got to be the leader to be able to recognize those and that and other people did not understand what their gifts are. So how that comes together and makes your team

Jeffery Butler 14:40

Exactly

Gresham Harkless 14:41

Awesome,awesome, awesome. And this brings me to my absolute favorite question, which is a definition of what it means to be a CEO. We're hoping to have different quote unquote CEOs on the show but Jeff, I wanted to ask you what does being a CEO mean to you

Jeffery Butler 14:51

Last line of defense and a company it's also the person who sets the vision. I think too often people when they first have this title CEO they think it's this big, grandiose thing, put it on a business carmical person, but honestly, like you're the person who gets the biggest problems, and you have to own it. No one else is there to back you up. Sure your team is there. But you have to handle every single fire if it's big enough, so it's a big responsibility.

Gresham Harkless 15:12

Absolutely. And often, when things do go wrong, even if it's not directly, sometimes you have to take that bullet, so to speak. So I definitely agree with that definition. And, Jeff, I truly appreciate you for taking some time out what I wanted to do was pass you mic, just to see if there's anything additional, you can let our readers and our listeners know, and then also how best they can get ahold of you.

Jeffery Butler 15:30

Yeah, I guess if it's for people who are looking to just start something off, or maybe they're initially growing like it that they're like the negative six figure level, basically say, you don't have to be fancy, like create the next Facebook app to have a big business. You just have to do those little things right? A little bit better. And those will grow enough over time. Will you be able to separate yourself?

Gresham Harkless 15:52

Absolutely. That's definitely a great reminder. And then people that want to reach out to you to book you for speaking or hear more about you. What's the best thing

Jeffery Butler 15:59

Website's great Jeff@jeffjbutler.com. Don't forget the J because jeffbutler.com is like really mad at me now because everyone sends him emails and he's like You change your domain. I'm like, No.

Gresham Harkless 16:12

Absolutely. Well, we'll make sure we'll put the J. Will have that in our show notes as well. So that jeffbutler.com will not get angry as well. But Jeff, I truly appreciate you and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Jeffery Butler 16:22

All right,You too man.

Outro 16:24

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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