Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”:
On this episode of the IAMCEO Podcast, the guest is Liz Illg, who is a successful and innovative entrepreneur. Her story of entrepreneurial achievements encompasses various industries and she excels in implementing effective business systems.
Background: Liz owns multiple brick-and-mortar businesses spread across Phoenix, Arizona while simultaneously managing several online endeavors. She established her own consulting business when she discovered a trend: fellow business owners regularly inquired about how she managed to grow her brick-and-mortar storefronts rapidly. These inquiries led Liz to realize she had valuable insights to share, thus launching her consulting career.
Consulting Business: Illg's consulting firm helps other entrepreneurs and business owners succeed by guiding them through the process of building efficient systems, teaching them how to delegate effectively, and supporting them in developing a robust strategic plan aimed at scaling their operations.
Her businesses – both brick-and-mortar and online ones, have thrived due to her unique approach to business development and growth. This involves streamlining processes, delegating tasks, and conscientiously planning her businesses' future growth and expansion.
She firmly believes that her success in developing multiple ventures is testament to the effectivity of her business growth strategy. By teaching others to implement these strategies, Liz aims to assist other entrepreneurs in trailing a path of success similar to hers.
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Liz Illg Teaser 00:00
Having freedom. I thought about this in 2013 when I bought my first brick-and-mortar, and I was working a corporate job. I said, here's the thing, I might not be that successful for a long time or a while, and I'm going to be in a lot of serious debt, but freedom was important to me.
Are you ready to hear business stories and learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and level up your business from awesome CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders without listening to a long, long, long interview?
If so, you've come to the right place. Gresh values your time and is ready to share with you the valuable info you're in search of. This is the IAMCEO Podcast.
Gresham Harkless 00:48
Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the IAMCEO podcast and I appreciate you listening to this episode. If you've been listening this year, you know that we hit 1600 episodes at the beginning of this year. We're doing something a little bit different where we're repurposing our favorite episodes around certain categories, topics, or as I like to call them, the business pillars that we think are going to be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, business owners, and what I like to call the CB nation architects who are looking to level up their organizations.
This month, we are focusing on operations. The systems will set you free. So think about systems, think about flow, sustainability, potentially working out in your morning routine, waking up early e-commerce, different business models. Think of the operations in the models that basically set up the foundation to allow the creativity within organizations, but also to make sure the trains are running on time and things are going as they should.
Now, this is extremely important because we often turn to the sexy parts of business and forget about the operations and how important that is. So I really want to focus this month on this specific topic. So sit back and enjoy this special episode at the IAMCEO podcast.
Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the IAMCEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Liz Illig of Liz Illg Consulting. Liz, it's great to have you on the show.
Liz Illg 02:08
Thanks for having me. I'm so excited to be here.
Gresham Harkless 02:11
Super excited to have you on as well. Before we jump into the interview, I want to read a little bit more about Liz so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing.
Liz is a multi-industry entrepreneur with brick-and-mortar businesses across Phoenix, Arizona, and several online businesses, including her own consulting business. Liz Illg Consulting was founded when business owners continually asked Liz how she grew her brick-and-mortar storefront to multiple locations in a short amount of time.
Liz attributes all of her success and business growth to systems, effective delegation, and strategic planning. Business owners consult with Liz when they're ready to systematize, delegate, and scale, and that is definitely the name of the game.
I absolutely love everything about systems and processes. So I love everything that Liz does. It's how you build a really successful business. So Liz, great to hear from you. Are you ready to speak to the IAMCEO community?
Liz Illg 02:59
Yes, I'm so excited and just thanks for having me today.
Gresham Harkless 03:04
Yeah, absolutely. So, to kick everything off, I wanted to rewind the clock a little bit, and hear a little bit more on how you got started. What I call your CEO story.
Liz Illg 03:12
Yeah, so from early, early childhood, I would say in 1995, I have literally been creating and at that time, it was creating little products here and there and things like that. But in 1995, I got my first dog and I had asked my parents for a dog for years upon years. I'm originally from Iowa and so we had traveled up to Phoenix, Arizona. So I actually named my first dog Phoenix because I eventually wanted to move to Phoenix. And so I moved to Phoenix in 2005. So, even from that 10-year span, I knew before, and I was really young at the time. So I've always had a passion for pets. I actually own multiple businesses. I know the brick-and-mortar business and I know the digital aspects of online businesses. And so I have a total of 10 businesses and six of them are brick and mortar and they are pet grooming shops.
And so I always tell people about my dog Phoenix, because even from an early age, I was constantly creating like pet products. Then eventually moved out to Arizona and I went and got my undergrad and my business and I started working corporate jobs because that's really what was in my family is you go to college and you go get a corporate job and I was literally melting away at the corporate job. I was like, I have to do something with my entrepreneurial spirit that I really had since a really young age. So in 2013, I bought my first brick and mortar pet grooming location. It was 450 square feet. I wasn't certain of buying a business because I was 60, 000 in debt.
I wanted to buy an existing business because from a brick-and-mortar standpoint, there's a little bit more comfort in knowing that you have customers, but it was a really small, grooming shop. And so when I was working with my corporate job, I actually went from bank to bank during my lunch hour to see if somebody would give me a business loan. Little did I know, this is still 2013, nobody was giving business loans to somebody that has no business really experience. I have a business degree, but that was about it. One bank told me, I will give you a line of credit. At this point I was like, I'll take it. But the interest rate on it was 18%.
So just do the math on any kind of number. You're dealing with a really large interest number, not even paying off the principal. So that's originally how I got started is I took a large, large risk, but since then I've learned so many tactical things along the way that I went from one location owning it. And now I have six of those locations and then I have four other online businesses now.
Gresham Harkless 06:19
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I wanted to drill down a little bit more and hear about your empire and everything you've been able to build. Can you take us through a little bit more on how you're working with your clients?And of course, your consulting practice and what you're doing there as well.
Liz Illg 06:30
Yeah, yeah, for sure. So I started publicly speaking in about 2018 about taking risk and really empowering your passion and things like that. People would come up to me and say, hey, I want to work with you and I'm like, you can bring your pet into one of my shops. That was the only way, that's all that I knew. And so I actually went home to my husband, who was my fiance at the time and I said, hey, I must be inspiring people, right? To take a risk or do something a little bit unknown and people want to work with me. I don't have a service. I have grooming jobs. He looked at me and he said, Liz, yeah. How to build systems from process and documentation and delegate workout.
I looked at him and I go yeah, that is what I mean. That was one thing that has made my success very, very clear. And I go, that's what I'm gonna start doing for a living. So, at that time, I had more grooming shops and those are running on autopilot with amazing staff and things like that. So I started my consulting business where I was helping people build and step out of their businesses and not allow them to be their technician of their business through documentation and process building. And so I did that for about 2 years, and we still continue to do that.
Then I work with people one on one now, specifically growing and scaling businesses. But I also have a full creative and system agency that's called LI Group now. And so the theme here is that that now runs with amazing people. I then work with people within my consulting, and then I also have a few other businesses where I teach people about online courses and things like that. So it's really finding out what you're good at and really deciding, is that what you want to do right? Really, really narrow in and so when it comes to systems and documentation, we work at LI group now. We work with large companies that want to franchise or want to step out of their businesses, but they never thought it was possible. And so we build these systems so that, we get off these calls with them. And I'm like, you might not ever have to repeat this information again, because we're going to document it and it's going to become a process.
And that's when all the other layers, all the things that you've been bombarded with start to open up. That's when you can start growing and scaling, because a lot of people and you probably see this is that people want to hire people on, but they don't invest in teaching them and showing them how it needs to be done. That's what I did in my growing shops. I tell people to this day that's something that I'll have to live with the rest of my life where I brought people on when I actually wasn't ready for it. Those people failed. And I failed them that, yes, they maybe failed at their job, but I set them up for failure because I didn't give them the things and the tools and the resources and the knowledge that I built for them to be successful.
So I always tell people, stop investing in people right away until you can invest in your operations in your back office. Once you have that clearly defined and you can onboard somebody to be successful, that's when you can start investing in people within your organization. A lot of people just say, I'm so busy. I'm so busy. I'm so busy. I want to hire, hire, hire, hire. They bring them on and then they wonder why those people are either A. Unhappy or B. They don't work out. That person probably wants to be at that company or work for that person, but that person's not setting them up for success.
Gresham Harkless 10:31
Absolutely, absolutely. Would you consider that to be what I like to call your secret sauce? The thing you feel kinda sets you apart and makes you unique. Is it that ability to be able to understand that, but also to articulate that and maybe even translate to the people you work with?
Liz Illg 10:44
Hundred percent. And that's what I've always said is like building a standard operating procedure is actually your secret sauce of your business. Because whether you're gonna sell your business eventually, whether you want to bring new team members into your team and bring them into your culture, every business is unique to some degree.
Everybody's like, I just own that kind of business. Everybody else does. No, there's something unique. That's made you successful and document that and bring your culture together all the people and really make them understand that because then they're going to buy into your culture and the knowledge and the secret sauce of how have we been successful.
Gresham Harkless 11:26
Absolutely. Yeah. I love that. I think it's so important to be able to tap into that because that allows you to spend more time, serving your clients when you're able to say, okay, these processes and systems are in place and they're impeccable. So absolutely appreciate that.
I wanted to switch gears a little bit and I want to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?
Liz Illg 11:49
Self-care. I really have had to learn this over the past few years. When you're growing and scaling your business, it can be really hard to put yourself first, but that's one thing that I learned because I wasn't doing it. There was a point where I was starting to gain weight. I was sitting so much. I was stagnant. And so I had to really look within and say, Hey, I need to take care of myself so I can be better for people.
So, one of my hacks is self-care. Get in my activity. Nourish my body with amazing food, but that is where if I do that, I'm a better person for everybody else.
Gresham Harkless 12:26
I want to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget. This could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something you would tell a client, or if you hopped into a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.
Liz Illg 12:36
So I would definitely say do not be a technician in your business if you really wanna grow and scale. It's one of those things, and my favorite book is the E-myth. I read it way before I even owned my grooming shop, and I really understood that I could be successful without having to be the bee, right? I didn't have to be at all. And that's the one thing within my LI group and my businesses is I bring in people that can do things better than I can. I'm the first one to raise my hand and say, I don't know how to do it, but I have a squad and I have people that can do it better than I can.
I think that's something CEOs sometimes don't want to say. I think it's really important to say, no, I bring people and I walk alongside everybody. Nobody's in front of me. Nobody's behind me. We're all on the same playing field. We're all on that same mission of success.
Gresham Harkless 13:37
Awesome. So I want to ask you now my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. We're hoping out different quote and quote CEOs on the show. So Liz, what does being a CEO mean to you?
Liz Illg 13:47
Having freedom. I thought about this in 2013 when I bought my first brick-and-mortar. I was working a corporate job. I said, here's the thing, I might not be that successful for a long time or a while and I'm going to be a lot of serious debt. But freedom was important to me to pick my schedule to be able to do the things that I want to do. Whether that be making a decision or not working a day, just having freedom has meant a lot to me.
That's what I've always said from the very beginning is I was willing to take a lot of sacrifices to have the freedom of being a CEO.
Gresham Harkless 14:27
Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. And so now I wanted to pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional that you can let our readers and listeners know. And of course, how best they can get ahold of you and find about all the awesome things that you're working on.
Liz Illg 14:38
Yes. Yes. I would love to connect with you. If you're looking to grow and scale your business, you're looking for techniques and also maybe just some inspiration, I hope that you're listening now and you're saying, wow, there is something I'm really passionate about. And how do I get from point A to Z. Going back to that story about my husband is sometimes we don't see something in ourselves and somebody else does. So ask a person that knows you. Sometimes it takes somebody else to see something that we're already good at, but because it comes so natural.
For me, I'm a type A personality. You would think that I would have known that I'm good at that. But I didn't really acknowledge it. And so ask others, right? If you're on this journey of saying, what are you good at, is go seek that. I would love people to follow me on Instagram. that's mostly where I am. It's Liz.Illg and I also can be found on my website, liz.illg.com.
Gresham Harkless 15:40
Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Liz, truly appreciate you for taking some time out. We will definitely have the links and information in the show notes. I love what you said in that kind of last part that you gave us as well, too, because I think so many times things come naturally because they are gifts and the thing that we're supposed to be doing.
We take it for granted. Sometimes we don't even value it. And often that's the people that are around us that really see our gift and can tell us this is your gift, you should try to do that. That kind of lead us in that direction. So thank you so much for telling us about that, of course, for doing that as well to and live in that.
And I hope you have a phenomenal rest of that.
Thank you for listening to the IAMCEO podcast powered by CB Nation and Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co. IAMCEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Don't forget to schedule your complimentary digital marketing consultation at blue16media.com.
This has been the IAMCEO podcast with Gresham Harless, Jr. Thank you for listening.