Blake Johnson is a Los Angeles based entrepreneur who has successfully founded and sold a variety of businesses that currently exceed $550 million in valuations. Both Currency Capital and IM Capital Access (companies in which he was the Chairman and Founder) were named on the Los Angeles Business Journal’s Best Places to Work. Several of his ventures have landed him on the Inc 500/5000 list of fastest-growing privately held companies.
Blake’s Email – Feel free to reach out to Blake!
3 Value Bombs
1) Invent and consistently think outside the box on how you can get from Point A to Point B the quickest way.
2) Whatever your current plans are, starting a business as an entrepreneur is not exactly what it should be or will be in the end.
3) Be persistent in identifying opportunities, develop a system, scale, and focus on customer satisfaction and profitability.
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**Click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.
Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: Think Like a Lazy Person with Blake Johnson
1: 21 – Blake shares something interesting about himself that most people do not know.
- He grew up in a small community down on the Mexican border, and he worked at a cattle ranch from a young age.
[3:27] – What is this concept of “Think like a Lazy Person”?
- Blake ironically learned the concept of “Think like a Lazy Person” early on in life.
- You work hard, but you have to maintain a work ethic and think like a lazy person to succeed in life.
- Invent and consistently think outside the box on how you can get from Point A to Point B the quickest way.
[9:58] – What are the core elements you need to get right before launching a business around the concept of “Think like a Lazy Person”?
- Always learn from your mistakes.
- Keep in mind that it will take twice as long whenever you start a business, cost twice as much, and be twice as hard.
- Take the next step – identify how big your market is.
- Know your budget.
- Identify the lifetime value of your customer.
[18:15] – What is the right frame of mind for one to be in during the first two years of launching a business?
- Whatever your current plans, just starting a business as an entrepreneur is not exactly what it should be or will be in the end.
- You have to evolve continuously.
- Be ready when an opportunity arises, and continuously think of better ways to execute things.
- Think like a lazy person – there will always be a better solution; you’ve just got to look for it.
[22:23] – How do you maximize your outcome once a company is up and running?
- You can maximize your outcome by measuring your every step from start to end.
- Develop a system specific to your business to identify your best practices and areas of improvement.
- Allow the data to speak for itself so you can improve.
[24:26] – Blake’s parting piece of guidance.
- Be persistent in identifying opportunities, develop a system, scale, and focus on customer satisfaction and profitability.
- Blake’s Email – Feel free to reach out to Blake!
- Start to encourage people and understand every single cost that is associated with their business.
What's shaken fire nation. JLD here with an audio master class on thinking like a lazy man to drop these value bombs. I brought Blake Johnson on the mic. He is a Los Angeles based entrepreneur who has successfully founded and sold a variety of businesses, which currently exceed $550, $550 million in valuations, both currency capital. And I am capital access companies in which he was the chairman and founder were named on the Los Angeles business journals. Best places to work in foundations today. We'll talk about that concept called think like a lazy man. We'll talk about the core elements that we need to have right before launching a business and the common mistakes entrepreneurs make in the startup phase.
And so much more. When we get back from thinking our sponsors fire nation, are you looking for a step by step roadmap to financial freedom and fulfillment? Will I have some great news for you? My first traditionally published book, the common path to uncommon success is available for pre-order now visit uncommonsuccessbook.com to pre-order today and lock in the incredible bonuses that are going away soon. Uncommonsuccessbook.com, but Lake say what's up to fire nation and share something interesting about yourself that most people don't know
1 (1m 26s):
What's up fire nation. Happy to be on, on with you guys today and wanted to thank everybody for their time. Something interesting that a lot of people don't know about me, especially in, in the context of today, that everybody, when I, when they get to know me a little bit better and I share this this point, I always get a sideways look as if you know, I'm making this up, but I grew up in a really, really small community down on the Mexican border. It's statistically arguably the most poor community in the United States with the undisputed heavy, you know, undisputed number one, all time unemployment rate. And I grew up working from a really young age on it on a cattle ranch.
1 (2m 11s):
It's really a feed lot. Cattle ranch makes it sound romantic and sexy, but it nothing is romantic nor sexy about this place. It was 120 degrees in the summer. 12,000 head of cattle. We were up at three in the morning, had to be working by four and did some of the most miserable jobs known to man. And the funny part about that is when I got home from work every day, the, the Wrangler, the pair of Wrangler jeans that I was wearing would inevitably stand up by themselves. They were so caked in all this dirt and dirt puts it lightly all the other cow excrement, but they could actually stand up by themselves.
1 (2m 51s):
And now I live in Los Angeles and live, you know, very different life, but comparing those two and, and, and, you know, sharing that with people, I always get interesting luck, so to speak
0 (3m 8s):
Fascinating for a number of reasons. And I'm going to be curious how this ties in to the main topic that we're chatting about today, which foundation is, you know, is thinking like a lazy man and Blake, you have this concept think like a lazy man. So break it down for us. Cause you know, it's one of those really kind of head scratching type of topics. So how has fire nation going to benefit from this concept?
1 (3m 32s):
It's interesting. And, and ironically, you know, that, that first point we started out with kind of ties well into this, something that I learned early on or something rather that was taught to me because El Centro in that community was on the Mexican border. It worked with, you know, everybody kind of crossing the border from Mexico and work with about 30 guys working cattle each day. And the first year I got out there, it's about 13 years old, kind of kept to myself. I got regulated to the worst of the worst jobs, which was scooping out water drops, which were filled with all kinds of things, except water. The cattle would stand in, in the water, drops all day. So you imagine giving cattle in there standing all day, what comes out of those cattle and what had to be removed and with a five gallon bucket, you know, go through all 117 pins, which took me from Monday morning to Thursday afternoon to get through.
1 (4m 28s):
But, you know, so I kept to myself the first year, second year, the guys in the feedlot started to warm up to me. They, you know, would have lunch, which was really our breakfast, but you know, eight 30 in the morning. And so I started getting invited to, you know, eat with them, which was a big accomplishment for me at that age, really was proud of that for awhile. And, you know, they took a liking to me because I kept to myself, I just worked. I didn't complain. And into that second year I had one of the managers who, you know, is the clear the halfway, right? He was the boss and he came over one day and asked me in Spanish.
1 (5m 12s):
And he said, he said, Hey, you know, Blake, if you had to pick one of these 30 guys to do a job to, you know, translate it a little bit better, but to my satisfaction, the quickest way, you know, the smartest way, who would you pick? And I looked across, you know, all 30 guys sitting there eating. And I said, you know, I'll pick that guy over there. And he asked me why. I said like, that guy is always on time. He works really hard. You know, he never complains. It's always clean, cut. He's the most clean cut of the guy kind of shook his head and looked at me and started to walk up. And then it's like, hold on. Who would you pick? And literally all 30 guys were together with the exception of this one guy.
1 (5m 55s):
And underneath this like little Bush tree was kind of inappropriate to say, but you know, without, without trying to filter, it was like the fattest laziest guy of the whole group. Right. I mean, he would complain about X, Y, and Z. You know, if you asked them to pick up a bucket and walk 10 yards, I mean, it was not without a complaint or voting. Like, you gotta be kidding me. And I'm like, you picked back guy and he's always late. I mean, just, just, it was almost a guy out of character. And he said, yeah. And he goes, look, he goes, that guy is so lazy.
1 (6m 35s):
He'll think of something that nobody else will think of in order to get the job done. It's spending the least amount of effort without getting fired. And he started to name off all these inventions that were very particular to the feedlot, including the siphon system that nobody had told me about to pull out all the water from the feed, from the front, from the trops and a pulley system at the mill to, for hay bells and all these crazy, crazy things that you know, were really, really ingenious. And I was a little stunned, even being a young teenager as a little son. And he took me aside and said, look, you work really hard, but if you want to succeed in life, you'll maintain your work ethic.
1 (7m 23s):
And also think like him. So, you know, I've really taken that kind of throughout my whole life, my whole business career, and trying to get, you know, understanding, Hey, we're at point A today and we're going to point B or we need to get to point B what's the quickest way to reverse engineer that. And I hate the term of thinking out of the box and everything, but I really haven't found a better term, but it is really that concept of, you know, question the standard way of doing things. And if you know where your destination destination is, what's the quickest point from where you're at today to that point. And what can you invent and what can you think of in order to get there in the most expeditious fashion?
0 (8m 9s):
It really resonates with me Blake for a lot of reasons. I mean, you know, I look back over my journey. You know, I was an officer in the army for eight years and then went to law school. I tried to corporate finance. I was in commercial real estate. And a lot of those things took a lot of work. I mean, it's a lot of work being in the army, especially in a time of war, which I was, it's a lot of work in law school. I dropped out as a result. It's a lot of work being in corporate finance. There's a lot of work being in commercial real estate, knocking on a lot of doors, it's work, work, work, work, work. And a lot of people are like John, like, man, you're such a hard worker. Like he did a daily podcast every day for 2000 days in a row. And guess what? That was a lot of work. But to me, it was me getting up walking five feet to my in-house in-home studio and a conversation like I'm having with you right now, Blake for 25, 35 minutes.
0 (9m 0s):
Like that was literally what I was doing for 2000 days in, by the way, I was also batching them all together. Cause I was too lazy to do that every single day. So I figured out ways to batch them and do all my interviews on one day per week for the whole week's worth of interviews. And I've always kind of taken this like attitude of, you know, if I wanted to work really hard, I would have stayed in law school. I would have stayed in corporate finance. I would have stayed in commercial real estate, but now like in a lot of ways I'm lazy. And like, I don't want people telling me what to do, but also B I don't necessarily want a lot to do, like I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it. And in a way that kind of makes me lazy, but it's allowed me to build this business. I have. So take that kind of understanding of what it means to think like a lazy man fire nation, and potentially look at it up and applying to your life and then things that you can do.
0 (9m 49s):
And one thing that I'm kind of curious about for you, Blake, is these core elements that you've identified that we have to have right before we're launching a business around this whole core concept of thinking like a lazy man.
1 (10m 4s):
So, so when it kind of thing, and for context for, for the audience, I've founded five businesses, I've successfully exited my, my last four. I'm on my fifth, hopefully in a couple of weeks, I'll be out of my current job. We're looking to sell my current company bite and, and I've already started my sixth bite. It was a great story, which we can get into, but it was really the cumulation of all the learnings I've had from the previous four. And, you know, really kind of looking at that, you know, we obviously make a lot of mistakes. I always say, I make guaranteed more mistakes than anybody else, but you learn from those mistakes and you, and you refine your palette on what are the kind of core tenants that you have to, you know, to have in, in, in the makeup of the business to get right.
1 (10m 54s):
And by, it was started in March of 2017, we're three and a half years into it. We didn't have any investors. We became cashflow positive relatively quick. We have now squarely of a billion dollar plus evaluation. And you know, that, you know, people are always like, wow, how did, how did that ramp so quickly profitably and to that level. And, and, you know, I've said on multiple occasions that, you know, while byte was only three years old and arguably grew faster and more profitable than most, any other company, any other industry in existence, it truly is not a startup because it had the same DNA as you know, the previous company, which is company called currency capital that I grew, you know, at that same pace, not quite as big and the company prior to that.
1 (11m 48s):
And so when you, when you're thinking about these things and what you have to to do, my dad always had cattle and business guy. And in that farming community spent a lot of time, you know, getting exposure to a lot of businesses, ironically, in that small community, both successful or not most them were farming, but he always would, would remind me when you're starting out in business, whatever you think it is, it's going to be, it's going to take twice as long. It's going to cost twice as much, and it's going to be twice as hard. And you know, that, that was kind of one lens. I always put on everything when I'm, when I'm thinking about my own businesses, where I'm hearing about others, you know, that to be really sober on to recognize that, you know, whatever you think your budget is double it, however long you think it's going to take to make a dollar double that whatever the challenges are going to be double those, if, and, and most of the times I would say triple nowadays, but you know, when, when I kind of think about these core components and really kind of taking that next step, which is being really sober on your addressable market, how big is your addressable market is what you're trying to sell or whatever it is.
1 (13m 6s):
I always say, we're very agnostic on what we sell. We just want to check a few core boxes in order to get into a business. Those core boxes for me are really understanding a few things. One is budget, you know, running proformas, running a P and L really getting granular and sober on how much things are gonna cost. You know, from, from top to the bottom, you know, from the top being marketing data, I would say is, is, you know, one of the most key components, I think that's overlooked. What does it cost you to acquire a customer and how many customers are available for you to acquire and mass?
1 (13m 51s):
You know, as simple as that sounds, a lot of people don't spend enough time thinking about that. And then, you know, really what is going to be the lifetime value of that customer. People often overestimate how much they believe a customer will pay them. You know, if you get those two things wrong, even one degree off it's deadly, it's deadly, you know, one degree today or tomorrow is in detectable, but you multiply that over a week. Or excuse me, I forget about a week a month, a year, you know, multiple years at one degree. You know, if you're, if you're trying to shoot right now, you're missing your target by a mile, you know, the further you go out.
1 (14m 34s):
So those core components are, you know, really understanding your marketing costs. I was saying on the gravestone, you know, it's going to be CPA cost per acquisition or a cat, right? Cost cost for acquisition costs, really understanding that. And then getting, getting sober and understanding what your core components are in order to operate the business and how those fluctuate with scale. A lot of people think, you know, there's economies of scale as you get up and made factor those in, but what they're not accounting for is all those extra costs to run the business. As you scale too, you get economies of scale in certain areas, but the very opposite in other areas,
0 (15m 12s):
A lot of things I took away, fire nation. I won't repeat what Blake shared at the end right there. But one thing that he said a little more towards the middle was how big is your addressable market? Like, I want to make sure you understand that concept. And you're really thinking about that as you're driving forward and we have more value bombs coming up, fire nation. When we get back from thinking our sponsors, four Sigmatic is a functional food company that is well-known for its incredibly delicious mushroom coffee. And we've got some awesome news. They're having an incredible winter sale happening right now. I've been starting my day with their mushroom ground coffee for a while now. And this smooth dark coffee helps support my immune system and focus with every cup. Not only is it smooth, but mushroom coffee is also easy on the gut and it won't leave you with that midday crash.
0 (15m 53s):
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Anytime with business wifi solutions from net gear, you can focus on your business, not your it visit netgear.com/wifi and never worry about wifi. Again, that's netgear.com/ Wi-Fi. So Blake we're back and a lot of people. And I mean, a lot of people, specifically entrepreneurs, they struggle with the mindsets at the beginning stages of their entrepreneurial journey. So what is the right frame of mind for those people who are listening, who are in the first two or years
1 (17m 50s):
Of launching their business? So I always love this question and I, I constantly, I have to remind myself of this and, and what I found to be true. And what I've found to be consistent is whatever we're thinking about today as entrepreneurs, whatever our plan and is today or more. So if you're starting a business or if you're in your first year or second year, whatever you plan on is wrong, it's simply wrong. The right, nobody ever started a business and had this beautiful mindset and beautiful business model. And you know, when they get over the hump and they create a successful business, it happens exactly as if, as if it was scripted at the beginning, we have to be constantly aware that whatever we're thinking today is not exactly what it should be or what it will be in the end.
1 (18m 45s):
And I've, I've come to just soberly recognize that that, you know, okay, I have a plan today. I've started, I've started this new business altar, and I have this theory of how it should go. But I also know that that there is wrong and that I have to start walking down the road and getting data real time, seeing how the market evolves, seeing how consumer behavior evolves, seeing for instance, how COVID nobody would've predicted. COVID, you know, a number of months ago now that's shifted. Everybody's kind of belief system and buying habits good and bad. And so as entrepreneurs, I really, really want to stress that, you know, if you're in the first few innings of the game first year, two years, three years, the end result, which is going to make you the most successful is not what you're doing today.
1 (19m 37s):
You got to constantly evolve. You got to take some, you know, you got to identify where you can take some shortcuts, you got identify evolving market opportunities. And so if you approach it with that mindset, it's incredibly valuable. I think because it keeps you light on your feet. It keeps you sober to like what you're doing today. Something that something could be better. There could be a better solution, a better process, a better angle for you that you come across next week. The week after that, you know, I had my first job out of college, you know, I had his manager, Tommy Romero. I don't know what he's doing now, but he, he told me something and he said, you know, are you hunting in, are you hunting in a crouch position?
1 (20m 25s):
Or are you just hunting, like standing up straight, like walking and what I think he meant by that was, you know, are you ready to pounce when you see an opportunity, come ahead of you. And, you know, I think that that as entrepreneurs, you know, we get so, you know, stuck in this straight forward path and we're just, we're focused on, you know, 12 o'clock straight ahead that we're, we're in, it's an easy thing to do to just kind of focus and rinse, wash, repeat, which I'm still a big fan of, but also are you constantly scanning for the better way to do it goes back to thinking like lazy man, right? There is a better solution out there, but you gotta be looking for it and hungry for it and trying to snip it out, you know, 24 hours a day.
0 (21m 12s):
One thing that I really try to focus on is maximizing the outcome of my business. I mean, this is one way, and one reason why we are always publishing our income reports on a month, over month basis. I mean, we share them publicly, but even if we didn't share them publicly, like I would still honestly be doing these on an internal basis, just keeping the finger on the pulse, letting us know where's our major profit coming in. Where's our big expenses are those expenses worth. It's like what's really working and trending right now for us. What may be trends of workforce last year, aren't working anymore. And like these income reports really helped me understand this focus in these trends and the projections that we can make, and as well as where we should be focusing.
0 (21m 53s):
So once a company is up and running Blake, how can we maximize our outcome?
1 (21m 59s):
Another great question. And one that I see commonly overlooked, but we've become very religious and not, we weren't like this a number of years ago, but have become, you know, with each iteration in each passing month year really start to become bigger and bigger believers in being highly, highly metric driven. You know, we, we often at byte in previous companies, you know, we, we use this term of gonna hit the button, get the cheese, you know, we're, we're focused on a process. We're focused on metrics. We're focused on measuring each one of our steps from the very start to the very end and then devising a system.
1 (22m 41s):
And there's various ways, you know, software systems that everything out there available to all of us that, you know, can be purchased and customized to specific business to help you better understand, you know, really where you're going, right, and where you're going wrong and where the areas are that need improvement. And one of those things along those lines is just, you know, is just really letting you know both, you know what I'd say, the IQ and the EQ the emotional side of it. You know, you can feel culturally about your business and you understand people's mindsets, but the IQ part of it is letting the data speak for itself and then breaking down your company into specific segments.
1 (23m 31s):
You know, whether it be customer acquisition, you know, customer satisfaction, manufacturing, whatever the, the, you know, whatever the component is to your business. Think about it from a number standpoint, can I get better at that? And then start to measure it,
0 (23m 48s):
Fire nation, what gets measured gets improved. It's a great Peter Drucker quotes. I need you to understand that. I need you to really realize that a lot of our success has come from measuring our things and improving those things. And this is what Blake is talking about when he says maximizing our outcomes. So Blake, we've talked about a lot of awesomeness today, give us what you consider the biggest takeaway from everything that we chatted about here today, give us ways that we can connect with you going forward and any call to action or gift you have for fire nation. And then we'll say goodbye.
1 (24m 23s):
Absolutely. I mean, I love fire nation. It's, it's been amazing. It's been a great group of people would be more than happy. I, I love talking about businesses. I love helping anybody reaches out. It's it's been a big, it's been a big thing in my life that, you know, I've been the benefactor of a lot of people, you know, reach it down and give me, giving me a hand and, and playing inappropriate role in my life at the right time and feel compelled to do that again. It's, it's, you know, the best things I think we can do, you know, and think about is just, you know, is the persistence, you know, of this it's it's, this is a long, you know, constant solving of a Rubik's cube and constant surveying of the land.
1 (25m 12s):
That's identifying opportunities. It's the discipline side. And sometimes it's not fun to have all the metrics and measurement that come into the business and really having a system and creating a system that, that does that our small businesses, our big, the businesses that needs to be inherent in that. And just, just making sure if you're, if you're waking up every morning, do the, do the mundane things, do these things that will dramatically increase the probability that, that you have a successful businesses, successful business that ends up scaling. And, you know, most of all focus on profitability.
1 (25m 52s):
You know, that's the key component, you know, is the focus on, we always talk about two things, focus on customer satisfaction and customer journey, and then profitability on, on as a close second, if you get those two things, right, you know, life's going to be a lot better than, than if you don't get those two things, right.
0 (26m 15s):
We connect with you and any call to action. You might have
1 (26m 18s):
Never ways to connect with me. My, my personal email, which I'd love to receive emails on is by first initial B, last name Johnson, [email protected] and feel free to email me there at any point. We'd love to hear from anybody. And the call to action is, would just really start to encourage people listening to, you know, to really, you know, take another look at their budgets at the revenue stream, what they believe their revenue trajectory is, and really understand every single cost associated with their business. Like the back of their hand,
0 (26m 58s):
Fire Nation. You're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. And you've been hanging out with Blake and JLD today. So keep up that heat. And I love his final takeaway of focusing on profitability, focusing on customer service, you focus on those two things, fire nation, you will win. And of course, shoot Blake and email [email protected] All the links will be in the show notes page. When you head over to eofire.com and just type a Blake in the search bar will link up everything or right over there. And Blake, thank you for sharing your truth, knowledge, your value with fire nation today, for that, we salute you and we'll catch you on the flip side.
0 (27m 41s):
Hey, fire nation today's value bomb content was brought to you by a Blake and fire nation. My first traditionally published book, I'm so excited. It's hitting the shelves on March 23rd, and I am a fired up to say the list. The title is the common path to uncommon success, your roadmap to financial freedom and fulfillment in pre-orders fire nation are everything. So if I've given you any value over the years, it would literally mean the world. Not figuratively, literally mean the world. If you would head over. And pre-order my book, locking a copy for yourself for a loved one. I have some sweet bonuses that this isn't like fake value.
0 (28m 23s):
This is real value. And you'll see what I mean. When you get over there, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dollars of value, real value for you and your loved ones. Head over to uncommon success book, uncommonsuccessbook.com, and you can check out all the awesome is today. I'll catch you there fire nation, or I'll catch you on the flip side.
1 (28m 48s):
0 (28m 48s):
Nation. Are you looking for a step-by-step roadmap to financial freedom and fulfillment? Will I have some great news for you? My first traditionally published book, the common path to uncommon success is available for pre-order now visit uncommonsuccessbook.com to pre-order today and lock in the incredible bonuses that are going away soon. Uncommonsuccessbook.com.
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