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Keep Your Money: Profit First for E-Commerce Sellers – Return on Podcast Ep. 5 with Rocky Lalvani

Keep Your Money - Profit First for E-Commerce Sellers

The following is a transcript of Episode 5 of Return on Podcast, the show where we help e-commerce sellers improve their ROI in business and in life. For more episodes, subscribe to our YouTube channel or listen on Podbean, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify.

Tyler Jefcoat (00:09):
Welcome to Return on Podcast, where we talk about the experiences, obsessions, and habits of the most successful e-commerce entrepreneurs. I’m your host, Tyler Jefcoat, and I wanna welcome you to ROP number five. You’ve heard of return on investment. Well, this is Return on Podcast, where we’re going to guarantee you you’re gonna take away nuggets, habits, hacks that will give you an ROI on these precious minutes you choose to spend with us. In today’s episode of ROP, we’re gonna talk about profit in cash flow. And my guest is actually a really good friend of mine, Rocky Lalvani. He’s an expert at Profit First. He’s a Profit First practitioner. His website is profitcomesfirst.com. Profitcomesfirst.com. You know, Rocky also has a great podcast called Profit Answer Man. I just gotta say this as we kind of bring Rocky into the show here. I know Rocky really well personally. Rocky, I would consider you to be one of my mentors, brother. I really have learned so much from you. I’ve actually, this is a fun nugget. We’ve been at a couple of conferences where we’ve had to share a room, and we both have sleep apnea. So you know, thank God for our wives, but hey man, it’s so great to have you here today. Thanks for joining me, buddy. You might be muted. Let’s unmute you.

Rocky Lalvani (01:32):
There we go. Thank you so much for having me, Tyler. I’m used to that, ’cause that’s what you do when I snore at night.

TJ (01:39):
Yeah. If I could just mute Rocky. There it is. No, so it’s funny. So, you know, we – my coping mechanism last time, Rocky, was I brought not, we’re not talking like CVS-level earplugs. I’m talking like the real ones, you know, that you gotta get mailed in, but no, seriously, Rocky’s a great friend of mine. Here’s the thing. The reason I consider you a mentor for me, Rocky is, you know, in life you wanna have expert mentors that are actually practitioners of what they teach. Like you can find a real estate agent, or you can find someone who’s made millions of dollars selling and investing in real estate. You can find a stockbroker, or you can find someone that’s actually an expert implementing investment tactics that have worked. And Rocky you’re one of these guys in my life where people talk about making, stewarding, planning around finances, and bro, you just quietly do it so successfully.

TJ (02:33):
And you do it in a really annoying way, and this is what I mean by that. You are never stressed out about it. You just do it, and you’re winning. And so I just like selfishly wanna surround myself with people who crush it and are not faking it. They’re not marketing it. You’re the real deal. And so here’s my first question for you. You are one of these guys that successfully transitioned from the day job to being an entrepreneur. Like what was that transition like for you? Tell us a little bit of your story, but kind of like part of that story that you tell us, give us the kind of corporate desk monkey to self-employed part of that. What was that transition like for you?

RL (03:05):
Pure hell. I mean, cause it’s a totally different mindset, right? I mean, I left a job where I had a six-figure income guaranteed, pretty much recession-proof. Here’s a laptop, here’s an iPad Pro, here’s an iPhone, here’s an expense account. Here’s a car, here’s a gas card. Like I just ordered my first car that I’ve picked out for myself since – the last car I bought was 1992, ’cause the company would say, “Hey, it’s time for a new car.” I pick one and select the list. So I was very much well taken care of. In spite of that, I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t thrilled. I wasn’t doing what I loved, but they paid me well, so I kind of put up with it, until the point where – and you weren’t there at that point. I had had enough and things got really bad at work, and I realized it was time to go.
RL (04:04):
And I think that was my biggest struggle. It’s like, I knew I was gonna do this one day, and the question was when. And two things happened: one, work got not so good, so, you know, that created the first step. And the second step was, do I go somewhere else, or do I do this now? And what I thought about is, if I wait another five years and I did it then, and I was really successful, I would be so mad at myself because I gave up that extra time. And so I was like, you know what? I want to do this now. And I went and I asked my wife for permission. I said, “Hey, I’m about to leave all this money on the table. Start from zero, pretty much. What do you think?” And she said go. So that kind of was the emotional side of making it happen. Now I’ll be honest with you. As you talked about, I had a massive runway. Meaning I had the cash that this was not like, “Oh, in three months I need to have my business up and running and fully operational.” It took a while. It takes time to build a business. And I think the reason I could be so common because I had the long runway to be able to do that without stress.

TJ (05:25):
And Rocky, lest our listeners maybe misunderstand you, like you didn’t come from like, substantial family means. You didn’t inherit a ton of money. You’re just really good at managing your cash. Like, would you tell us a little – like, how did you become this guy who just kind of like, does really smart things with money, like way before Michalowicz wrote Profit First? Like this was something that just was embedded in your life, right?

RL (05:52):
It was. When I was a kid, like I got to – so we’re immigrants. My parents came here with $25. They, we were on the wrong side of the tracks. All right? But what I did see was them and their family and their friends make it quickly up the economic ladder. So they started to have more and more success from where they were. And as a kid, I saw bottom line of poverty, and I saw massive wealth. I was like, I want to be, well. I wanna be rich. Right? So I just started reading and learning about that as a kid. And I would listen to the radio shows, you know, back then it was, AM radio, and they’d have financial shows and all of that. And basically I was taught that, “Hey, you’ve got to save money.” So that’s number one, figure out how to do that.

RL (06:44):
But I was also taught you could live a rich lifestyle on a pauper’s budget. And when I got outta college, what I literally did was I automated all of my savings. So I started a habit. You know, Mike talks about the fact that profit is not an event, it’s a habit. So when I got my first job, I set up all of these different automated saving systems. And then every year I would just crank them up a little bit, baby steps. And I continued to do that to the point that, you know, when I left corporate, we probably had a savings rate of about 40%. You know, money was just – and we never missed anything. We lived a very nice lifestyle throughout that whole process. But if you live below your means, you have the ability to create excess cash. And that gives you security and freedom. And it’s the same thing in your company. You know? Every company tends to run at the edge. Why? You don’t have to.

TJ (07:44):
So there’s, you know,, so like when you think about these entrepreneurs, because we haven’t really told people this, but Rocky is a fellow CFO in the space like I am, and Rocky is very focused on the kind of Profit First methodology, but really he’s focused on what he just said, which is how do we create a disciplined habit-based predictable way to actually make money instead of letting your business run you. And so Rocky, as you work with your clients, what do you think the – why don’t people do what you just described? Like why is it that entrepreneurs find it so innately impossible to – you know, everyone’s like, oh, that sounds easy. Rocky set up these habits when he was 22. And now, you know, he’s saving 40% of his income. But Rocky, nobody’s doing that. Like why?

RL (08:28):
So that was a question I asked myself for 20 plus years.

TJ (08:33):

RL (08:34):
Couple of things come up to it. First and foremost, we are not taught money in school. Even if you have an accounting degree, I have an economics degree and an MBA. We are not taught how to build wealth. Two, there is a lot of emotions around money. We all have these money scripts, right? Your parents may have told you, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” They might have told you you have to work hard to make money. But if you believe you have to work hard to make money, you’re gonna work hard to make money instead of working easy to make money, right? There’s all of this emotion involved, number one. Number two – and I didn’t, this was my real “a-ha” moment. I assumed business owners understood the business of business, and I found out they didn’t. Business owners love what they do. And accounting, sorry to say this, Tyler, is at the bottom of their list.

TJ (09:28):
Yes, it is.

RL (09:29):
It is. And you know, I was just on a call with Mike Monday, and he had probably 500 entrepreneurs on there. And the number one question is “Who here likes looking at their P&L?” And it was a big thumbs down. It is not what they like to do. And so I think when you start, you do the emotions, and you start doing some negative self talk, “Oh, I don’t understand what the P&L means. I don’t know how to read it.” And unfortunately, a lot of times the accountants talk down to people or they don’t answer their questions in a way that they can understand. So the business owner’s like, “I don’t understand this. I just built a $2 million business, and I don’t understand my numbers. I feel embarrassed.” And so what you’re hearing here, it’s a lot more about emotions than it is about math. ‘Cause it’s all basic math.

TJ (10:27):
Yep. Yeah, and I do think that last thing you mentioned there about feeling kind of shame, there’s a natural shame response that you and I see in our clients where – it’s funny, I joke a lot. You go to one of these conferences for Amazon sellers or Shopify sellers, and everyone wants to talk about their sales. “I did $3 million in revenue last year.” You know, we recently had a friend of ours, Rocky, who, three, four million a year in revenue. But guess what? Sales is vanity, right? Profit is sanity. And so let’s do this, Rocky. Your – by the way, if you guys have never heard of Mike Michalowicz, the book Profit First, it’s been pretty, it’s been pretty life changing for a lot of us that are entrepreneurs trying to figure out how to manage money. Rocky, let’s get into it. The guys that are listening to this show, the ladies and gentlemen are gonna be e-commerce entrepreneurs. They’re gonna have brands that sell on Amazon, maybe Shopify, Walmart, eBay, Etsy, that kind of thing. What do they need to know about Profit First and how it could impact their businesses?

RL (11:28):
So couple things. Let’s look at some of the premises, and then we’ll get into e-commerce, and there’s actually even a Profit First for e-commerce book, so specific to their needs. The first thing that Mike came up with is, hey, we’ve been given the wrong equation. So your accountant tells you that sales minus expenses equals profit, which means profit is a leftover. It’s kind of something that happens after the fact. It’s not built into the way you do things. The way I ran my life, and the way that Mike got the “a-ha” moment is, let’s change the equation to sales minus profit equals expenses. And now we take our profit off the top and we learn to live constrained with our expenses. And the reason this works is Parkinson’s law. And Parkinson’s law basically says, you know, a business will use up all the resources that are given to you, which is, you know, time and money.

RL (12:26):
So if I come to you and I say we got a project in the business, the first questions the sales reps ask are, “What’s your budget and how much time?” Whatever your budget and time is, that’s what gets used because that’s what you’ve allocated. But if you constrain your allocation, business owners are resourceful, and they will find a way to do it for less and quicker when they are forced to take the time to think about their business instead of throw money at their problems. And so that’s kind of the underlying premise of Profit First. The big thing that I see with e-commerce sellers is they don’t look at the basic math of what’s going on. So what I mean by that is I buy something for a dollar. I sell it on one of these platforms for $2. I’m profitable. Yay! Wait a minute.

RL (13:19):
When I sell it on that platform, there’s a good chance. The platform is taking 30% or something in that, by the time you add up all the fees. So now my $2 becomes $1.40. And so now I’ve only got 40 cents to run my business on, and if I’ve got shipping in there, maybe it’s 35 cents. And then I’ve got all these software programs that I gotta pay for and overhead and my salary. And pretty soon you realize you can’t run your business on that small of an amount. So while you thought the basic math, “Hey, I bought something for one, and I sold it for two. I’m profitable.” That’s not really what’s happening. And I think it’s that awareness for business owners that they will take the time to go look at how profitable their items are actually selling on Amazon and to do the deep dive. And I think it’s really eye-opening. It’s been – every time I’ve done it with them, they’re like, “Oh, I need to plan for bigger margins.”

TJ (14:23):
And Rocky to that point our study last year, it was about 44, 45% of the entire P&L for our clients was Amazon, right? If it was the 15% commission plus an FBA pick and pack fee, plus the advertising load, just those three categories added up to 44 and a half percent. Well, for those of you guys who have been keeping up with Amazon, they have done two, now two rate hikes for FBA pick and pack in the last three months. One was an 8% rate hike in January. And then the second one is – they’re calling it a surcharge, which basically means Amazon is not happy, and they’re gonna charge you more, starting next week. As this podcast goes live right at the end of April here in about a week, you’re gonna see those fees go up by an additional 5%.

TJ (15:07):
And so to Rocky’s point, I think what we end up getting, we get so focused on A. being in love with our products and B. what we thought the economics were three years ago when we first designed them that we’re not actually keeping an eye on the ball. And if you did nothing but ignore it, you would’ve gotten less profitable in the last three months for no other reason than that Amazon is now charging you, you know, a pretty strong amount, more for the pick and pack fee than they were back in January. And so just by the way, PSA here, if you are selling on Amazon, right now is the time to start testing incremental increases in your price to your customer. If you are waiting, if you’re feeling sheepish, don’t wait because Amazon is going to throttle how much you can increase your price at any given moment. And so your job right now is to start doing 1%, 2% price increase tests to see how the market holds it. And you may be surprised, I’ve had several clients, Rocky, over the last couple months that actually increased their price and had sales go up because the market viewed them as being a premium product, like a Cadillac instead of being, you know, a Datsun or something like that. Have you seen that also?

RL (16:15):
Yeah. Premium pricing does work. And I think, what I find is a lot of business owners are afraid to raise their prices. They’ve got that, again, it comes back to emotion, right? That’s what we’re talking about. And if you do charge premium pricing, there is a certain group of customers who are like, “I want to pay premium pricing.” And when you actually do the math, you will be shocked at, again, what a difference it makes to your bottom line. So let’s go back to the simple example. We talked about buying something for $1, selling it for $2. Well, if Amazon’s getting 45%, you have to run your business on a nickel now. We can’t run our business on a nickel. No, but if you charge $3, now your bottom line expands like eight or nine times, but you only increase the top by two times or one time. And so it really affects the bottom line. And you have to do it.

TJ (17:14):
You do.

RL (17:14):
And people expect it because of inflation. Like, I don’t necessarily deal with e-commerce, I deal with all kinds of businesses. We’re doing what Amazon’s doing. Fuel surcharge, raise prices, your employee costs have skyrocketed. Your cost of materials are skyrocketed. Gas is skyrocketed. We’ve got to raise prices.

TJ (17:35):
Yeah, ’cause I think we almost feel like we’re like, being nice to our customers somehow, but we can’t afford to do that. We’re gonna be dead in the current ecosystem if we do that. So, but Rocky, I know you have helped some e-commerce brands. And my question to you is for the listener here that really wants to understand how, like, what does Profit First have for me and maybe what are some – I get the mindset. There’s kind of the – the thing I always think about from Michalowicz’s book, and if you haven’t read the like kind of seminal piece, Profit First by Mike Michalowicz, it’s a really good book, but he talks about like, if I just put my bowl of cereal each morning, if I just pick a smaller bowl, guess what? I eat less cereal. Right?

TJ (18:15):
If I have the – it’s really funny, ’cause we actually bought, my wife, tried to buy some new, like, plastic bowls on Amazon a couple weeks ago. And you can’t tell how big these are when you look at ’em online. And they came, these things had to be like half gallon. They’re huge. They’re gigantic bowls. Right? And so the bowl of cereal I had in that bowl, I ate about twice as much Raisin Bran as I intended to eat because I just put it into this huge bowl. And Profit First is a method where you just intentionally select smaller bowls. It forces you to be creative, and guess what? We’re pretty smart. We figure out how to spend less money. Rocky. What else would you have in terms of how this applies to e-commerce brands? And if you could do one or two things as an e-commerce brand that would get you really excited about Profit First, what would you say to people out there that are really kicking the tires of this methodology?

RL (19:01):
So I think especially for e-commerce brands, one of the biggest things I do is as soon as you sell something, we automatically have you take out the cost of goods and put it in a separate account. And if you are a growing business, we’ll tell you to take out a little bit more. So let’s just say that you sell something for a hundred dollars and your cost of goods is $25. What I’ll say to you is, “Hey, every time you sell something for a hundred dollars, let’s take $35 out.” Let’s put it in a separate account called cost of goods so that when it comes time for you to place a large order and you’ve gotta order something from wherever you’re ordering it from, you can go to your account and go, “Oh, I can pay cash for that. The money’s there. And I can ask for a discount ’cause I can pay cash. I don’t have to pay interest. I don’t have to do these other things.”

RL (19:53):
And because we’re putting it aside extra, as your business is growing, you even have extra money set aside for a larger order from an e-commerce standpoint. So I think for the growing phase, that is one of the biggest things is taking away the fear of being able to place that next large order. The money’s there. It’s easy to do. And again, same thing. We put money aside for profit. We put money aside for taxes. You know, if you’re getting paid from this business, why not put money aside for you? You deserve to get paid first. You’re the one doing the work. And again, once we start taking all that money aside, it really causes you to constrain how much your overhead is and how much you have left to be able to truly spend.

TJ (20:42):
Yeah, ’cause Rocky, I think for a lot of our clients here at Seller Accountant, there’s almost this like, false belief that I cannot, it is impossible to scale my brand without constantly just getting more debt. I had a $500,000 line of credit, but now I need a million dollar line of credit. And what I’m finding is it’s actually hard to convince people to say no, no, no, no. You may not be able to do it overnight. But what would it feel like, even if you couldn’t do 35% of your payments coming in, what if, what would it feel like if you took 5% or some small percent and started building this war chest so that the next time you ordered your PO from China, instead of it being a hundred percent financed, you only had to finance 80% of it ’cause you had some cash. And then you keep building your war chest so that the next time in six months when you order, now it’s 50/50. And so within – I just, I mean, I’ve seen this work over and over again for our clients, but is that – that’s kind of what you’re talking about here, right? Is like, if you could build a runway to not need the debt, you’re a lot less risky. You’re a lot happier. Right?

RL (21:44):
Correct. And life is a lot easier. It takes all the stress away, and you don’t have to worry about constantly increasing your line of credit. And that’s one thing that nobody talks about is most companies that grow really fast, what causes them to fail is the growth because they start taking on more and more debt. And at some point the banker looks at you and goes, “Oh, your ratios are horrible. We need to call that in. We’re a little bit worried.” And I cannot predict the economy, but right now, everyone’s looking over their shoulder. You know, when times get a little tougher, the banks have this habit of yeah, we’re calling everything. We don’t really care.

TJ (22:30):
Yeah, that’s right. And especially because a lot of these banks really got burned, you know, 12 years, 13 years ago with the last major financial dip. And I think it’s probably, this is a nugget worth taking away, guys. If you have a line of credit, maybe you have a – whether it’s an SBA loan or something else, force yourself to take 20 minutes to go and read that contract really quickly, and just make sure you understand the terms of that note. I’m a recovering banker. I was a banker for five years, you know. I’m not proud of that, but I am, right? And so what Rocky is telling you that is so true is that most of those lines, with the drop of a hat, with no legal recourse, the bank can make the decision, you know, the guy gets runny nose in the board meeting and says, I think I’m gonna call all of my e-commerce loans. and he actually has the power to do that. And just making sure that you’re a little bit more conservative. I think that’s really what I’m hearing you say here, Rocky.

TJ (23:23):
A conservative balance sheet is one where I’ve just got a little bit more cash in the tank. I’ve got a little bit less risk. I may have to throttle my growth. And guess what guys, as an e-commerce brand, the way to throttle your growth is just to raise your price. Right? I can slow down the growth, capture more profit, and still not have to stock out. But I don’t know. I mean, I think that is hard. I mean, I’ve actually fallen into this trap before myself, Rocky, with my first company where we grew from zero to a hundred employees in like four years. And guys, we lost our butts in a year and a half of that because we grew so quickly. Our balance sheet was a mess, and we didn’t have Rocky around to say, “Hey Tyler, I know you have a degree in accounting and a finance-focused MBA, but you don’t really know how to manage money. Why don’t you try slowing down and actually making money?” And it took me, you know, crashing the ship a couple times for us to actually get there. But anyway, Rocky, what else would you say about Profit First for e-commerce? How can these guys really get started?

RL (24:18):
I think you just made a very important point though, right? You said, “”I have an accounting degree. I do all of these, and yet I’m crashing the ship. And the reason I say that is ’cause people are listening to their accountant, and they’re thinking their accountant is taking them on the right course. The problem is most accountants that you’re talking to are tax accountants. Their job is to lower your taxes and the way to lower your taxes is to make you unprofitable. Then you don’t yell at them because you have taxes due, right. So be careful who you get advice from, and make sure it’s best serving you. And it’s exactly what you said, Tyler. Slow, steady growth, right? That’s where you started this conversation with me. That’s how I built my wealth. Slow, steady growth. Warren Buffett says nobody likes to get slow, get rich slowly. But if you look at Warren, he didn’t make his first billion until he was in his fifties. Slow, steady growth. There’s no need to thump our chests and scream and yell. And as you said, you go to the conferences and every – “Oh, I sold $5 million.” My first question to these people is “how much did you make?” And most of them can’t answer the question, number one.

TJ (25:36):

RL (25:38):
And number two, you know, ’cause I did a lot of this in the online, more on the course side, and that type of stuff, like, “I had a seven figure launch.” I’m like, “Well how much did you spend?” And they look, and they go, “Seven figures and a dollar.” I’m like, oh. You had a wonderful launch. You spent all that money, and you have nothing to show for it. Except that plaque on the wall that said you had a million dollar launch.

TJ (26:04):
In other words, in that scenario, Rocky, you had a $1 education you just paid for, right? You just paid for a $1 education, and you probably didn’t see your family for a year because you were tied up selling the $5 million. So Rocky, one more thing on Profit First, then I wanna pivot and talk about some other things really quickly. But like if I was, if someone listening out there is an e-commerce brand, they’re feeling trapped in their financial situation right now. Maybe just to what you said a minute ago, if you don’t know the answer to how much money did I make last year, you know, it may be time to actually call my company Seller Accountant or somebody to get your books in order. And if you don’t like the answer that you get, once you realize whether you’ve made money, you know, you may wanna call a Profit First practitioner like Rocky. Rocky, just wanna vouch for you, buddy. You’ve helped some of my contacts and have had a gigantic impact on ’em.

TJ (26:49):
Whereas I’m kind of a CFO for maximizing exit value. Rocky is a CFO that I would trust with zero hesitation about how to get your financial life in order and really build wealth. Rocky, as we pivot though, if somebody was listening to this and wanted to take a couple of concrete steps, something they can really sink their teeth into to get started, to – it’s overwhelming to think about the whole elephant. What’s the first bite that someone needs to think about taking maybe in the next week?

RL (27:17):
So I’ll give you a very simple bite. It’s a really easy one: set up one bank account, all right? And once a month, look at your sales, and just take 1% of your sales, and put them aside in that bank account. That’s all I want you to do, and do it for a couple of months, and then look at it and go, “Hmm.” And then maybe make it 2%. And then three months later go, “Hmm, I better get one of these guys on my calendar. Let’s start cranking this up because I’m amazed at how much money I’ve started to save. And I never even noticed it.”

TJ (27:57):
Yep. And Rocky, I just, and my final point to that is my happiest CFO clients, multimillion dollar brands, e-commerce, but the ones that are my most joyful CFO conversations are the ones where they’re saying, “Tyler can I afford to buy inventory?” And we look at their balance sheet and they have an inventory Profit First account with $250,000 sitting in cash. And I can say, “Yep, order it. In fact, let’s make sure you don’t stock out. Let’s order a little extra because the supply chain’s weird right now.” Those are my most happy CFO calls. And I think Rocky and I can attest that our saddest ones are the ones where we have a death spiral, where we’ve done this grow too quickly, too much debt, not enough margin, too much overhead. And the result is that we have to gently try to help the entrepreneur fundamentally change their business model.

TJ (28:48):
And so my counsel to you guys is if you’re somewhere between those two extremes, do what Rocky just said. Take one, concrete step, save 1% in a profit account. You’re gonna feel great about yourself, ’cause three months later you’re gonna be like, “Oh crud, I’ve got $10,000 sitting here,” and you’re gonna be like, “Wow, I can do this.” And I think once you take that baby step, you’ll probably end up calling Rocky, honestly, and getting a call with him and he’ll change your life in terms of making you a millionaire quickly. Rocky, I wanna talk about money on one other level here. I asked you in our pre notes, what your hobby is and you mentioned, I love what you said here. He was like, my favorite thing to do is to raise money-savvy kids. I know you have two kids, right?

RL (29:26):
I do.

TJ (29:26):
What does it look like, Rocky, to raise money-savvy children?

RL (29:32):
So number one, it stops all the arguments at the store. I want, I want, I want. It ends the “I wants.” It ends – you don’t have to save for college ’cause they’ll be smart enough not to waste money on college. I mean these days, dropping a quarter million dollars on a party for four years is just unbelievable. And they get out into life, and they are financially sound to begin with so that you’re not paying for their expenses when they’re 30. So that’s the big picture.

TJ (30:06):
Okay. So the goal here, my kids are seven and nine. My goal is for Bonnie and Maggie to not live in my basement when they’re 30. I got you there. And so my kids are in elementary school. I know yours are a little bit older than mine, yours are even in college. But what is a couple of concrete things that I could be doing with my kids right now that you think would pay them dividends?

RL (30:28):
So the simplest thing you can do, number one, you and your wife gotta get on board. So you have to be on the same page. Hand your kids some money. Say, wait, so that’s giving them money. Yes it is. And then stop buying them stuff when you go to the local store. “I want a piece of candy.” “You have money, buy it.” Right? So no longer is it an argument, “can I buy candy?” It’s a “spend your own money,” and you will see how quickly kids stop spending when it’s their money versus your money. And then start having conversations. So what we did with our kids is we would give them money every week, and we taught them to save. So we said A, first you give money to charity. So if you’re religious, tithe, whatever you do, money goes to charity. And then what’s left, we split 50/50.

RL (31:19):
So I taught them a habit of savings from the beginning. So let’s say your birthday time comes around, you get a hundred dollar check from Grandma. You get $50, $50 goes to savings, right? So number one, you’re teaching delayed gratification. You’re saving this money for some point in the future that you can’t even imagine. So you’re showing them, “Hey, it’s not all about today.” And then have conversations when they go to the store. So my son would go to the store. It’s like, “I want Pokemon cards”. Okay. You have money. Let’s talk about this. There’s a pack for $5. How many are in there? Three. Okay. There’s a pack for $10. How many are in there? Eight. How much is that per card? Oh, by the way, we can go home, and we can go on eBay and you can get a hundred of them on eBay for $20, but you gotta wait a week. What do you wanna do? And the same thing, even with candy. We can go to Costco. We can buy a big bag. You and your sister can split it. Right? Look at how much more candy you get. So it’s years of conditioning. So that by the time they’re 18 years old, they’ve learned that, “Hey, I’m in charge of my money. I have agency. I get to make my own choices. And I’ve learned how to use money appropriately.” Because nobody’s teaching ’em how to use the money.

TJ (32:47):
Wow. I mean guys, for those of you out there who, that have kids like I do, this, what you just heard, is gold and would be worth all the episodes that you’ve heard on the Return on Podcast. So please take action on that. Speaking of which, Rocky, as we kind of close up shop here for today, the last section of our podcast every week is called the ROP, the Return on Podcast. And this is where, to be honest with you guys, if you’ve been listening, there have been enough nuggets already dropped that if you applied one of them, I guarantee you that this would’ve been a successful episode for you to listen to. But Rocky, I wanted to ask you specifically, ’cause you are a habit guy, you’re a practice guy. What is working in your life right now where you are getting unusual ROI that you think someone else should consider maybe implementing?

RL (33:30):
So since we’re talking about family and kids, right, let’s face it. You have a calendar, your wife’s got a calendar. The kids have multiple calendars, and nobody syncs ’em all together. We had a simple rule in our house, right? If it isn’t on Dad’s calendar, it doesn’t exist. And so we put all our calendars together on Google, and most of the activities that our kids were involved with had Google calendars that you could import in. And so it allowed us to look and plan ahead and see what was happening in life. If we wanna plan a vacation for six months out, we go ahead and just at least block the time so that nothing got put on the calendar. And that really helps. My kids send me calendar invites. It’s normal in our house. My wife sends me calendar invites. I send – she’s like, “Can you send me all those calendar invites?” Because we plan stuff, a lot of times, it’s 6, 9, 12 months out. And when you drop all the calendar invites in, it takes all the stress away. So that’s number one: manage your time.

RL (34:34):
And then the second thing is just using Excel. Excel does everything. Like literally my grocery list is on Excel, my soccer team was on Excel. You know, my weight trackers are on Excel. Your P&Ls are on Excel. Excel is a super versatile tool to just keep you on track, organized, and measured. And there are just so many things that you can do with it. And a lot of it can be automated. So those are probably the two biggest tools that I use which really help me with time and just organization.

TJ (35:11):
By the way, I don’t know that I’ve met many rich guys and gals who don’t like Excel on some level. That’s really funny. It’s one of the common attributes of the millionaires out there is that they have some irrational affinity for Google sheets or Microsoft Excel. I think that’s a good hack. Well, Rocky, this has been awesome. I just wanna reiterate again, guys, you want to follow mentors who are actually succeeding in the thing that they are proposing in Rocky. I know you well enough, buddy, to know that you are an extremely successful financial manager. You’re the kind of guy I would want managing my money. Grateful that you joined us today. What is the best way for my audience to get a hold of you, to meet with you, to learn more about your services if they wanted to?

RL (35:59):
So the website is profitcomesfirst.com, and there’s links on there to get on my calendar if you want. If you just wanna get to know more about me, the podcast is Profit Answer Man. All we do is teach. We teach you how to be profitable. We bring on profitable business owners, we bring on people to talk about their struggles before and after, and then we dig into specific areas of your business and say, “How do I become more profitable with marketing? How do I become more profitable with automation? What are the things I can do to improve my business?”

TJ (36:34):
Love it, dude. That’s great. Thank you so much, Rocky. And for you guys out there, thank you for listening to Return on Podcast with me, Tyler Jefcoat. Guys, if this content has served you, would you consider sharing it with a friend, maybe subscribing to our channel? We very much appreciate that. That’s a blessing for us. Until we talk to you next week, have a fantastic day.

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