Mark Timm is President and CEO of Ziglar Family, but first and foremost he is the CEO of the most valuable business in the world: his own family. Together with his wife, Ann, he is proud and humbled to parent six of the coolest kids on the planet.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [00:57] – Mark loves being an entrepreneur
- [01:02] – He has started and founded more than 10 businesses
- [01:06] – Mark, from all his achievements, is most proud of his family
- [01:46] – His area of expertise is in talking to entrepreneurs about what they want for their exit strategy, identifying in people what makes them special, and then finding a way to make that happen for their business
- [03:47] – One BIG and Unique Value Bomb: Most of Mark’s employees were not hired because of job openings but because they are a great fit and have the skills and abilities that he needed
- [04:15] – The mistake entrepreneurs make is finding people who fit into a position, but it’s vice versa
- [05:08] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: When Mark became the CEO of his family, he brought the entrepreneurial feel to their home and everything changed. The worst moment was when he started to open up and his teenagers told him, “Dad, you just don’t get it. You’re just not understanding what we need”
- [07:33] – Mark’s children told him that they NEEDED him to be PRESENT
- [08:29] – The biggest lesson for Mark was to prioritize his family and follow it up with actions
- [09:37] – The question is, are you ready to use what you know at home?
- [10:13] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: When Mark recently bought a business he had already sold, he realized there were 35 families depending on it and he thought about giving them the same opportunity to experience what he does
- [11:25] – It’s no longer enough for Mark to gain success, but to pass it on to others
- [12:05] – Don’t be afraid to let go of success and empower others
- [12:51] – What is the one thing you are most FIRED up about today? “I am in and I am experiencing my best year ever because of that excitement of getting up every day”
- [13:37] – Families need to win and Mark and his wife use the 7-day family challenge
- [14:33] – The 7-day family challenge is sponsored by Ziglar Family
- [15:09] – Text 7DAYFAMILY to 44222 or go to 7DayChallenge.com
- [16:22] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “I never saw myself being an entrepreneur”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “Business will suck every bit of energy, time, and resources you have. But, if you can somehow discipline yourself to step out, step back, and really spend focus time on the business instead of being sucked into the business… this is when my business leaps forward”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “The biggest thing for me is to get up and get going”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Google
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – See You at the Top – “the book that got me going and inspired me when I was a young man”
- [19:45] – The most important business is the business of your family
- [20:11] – Challenge families to find a community with families like them so they can move from surviving to thriving
- [20:26] – Connect with Mark on his website and via email
Mark: I am fired up!
John: Mark is the president and CEO of Ziglar Family – but first and foremost, he is the CEO of the most valuable business in the world: his own family. Together with his wife, Ann, he is proud and humble to be a parent to six of the coolest kids on the planet.
Mark, take a minute. Fill in some gaps from that intro and give us a little glimpse of your personal life.
Mark: I love being an entrepreneur. I’ve started – people call me a serial entrepreneur. I started/founded over ten businesses. But without a doubt, the thing that I am the most proud of is the business I come home to every day, instead of the one I go to, and that is my family.
And I love being the CEO of my family. I love being on this journey with my wife and just taking everything that I’ve learned as an entrepreneur, everything I’ve learned in business, and applying back to the business that really, John, matters most to me and that’s my family.
John: Love that.
And Mark, you have a lot of areas of expertise because you’ve been doin’ some things over the years. You’ve been tryin’ things out. What would you say, today, your area of expertise is on the business side?
Mark: Well, on the business side – again, I’ve started, founded, grown, sold; I’ve built companies to, you know, seven figures and I have sold those businesses. John, I recently – I sold a business eight years ago and I bought it back last year. And then I turned around and sold that business the next day –
John: Come on.
Mark: – to my staff. And so, it’s now an employee-owned company.
And so I would say the thing that in business – that I love the most and really find myself helping other entrepreneurs on the side – is talking to them about what they really want in an exit strategy for their business; to have that in mind because a lot of people decide they want out when it’s two years past the time. And so, I’ve helped. And part of the reason I’ve been successful at selling businesses is because I decide two or three years earlier what I want that to look like and I envision that and then it becomes a reality. And so, I didn’t envision buying a business back that I sold but it just was the perfect situation and we’re on fire with that venture as well.
So, I love business but I’d also say my other area of expertise is really identifying what, in people; what, in my team; what, in my staff, uniquely makes them special and then finding a way to put them in a position to do that for the business – because when people are passionate about what they do, when they love what they do every day, they bring their A game every day. So, my best employees, my most loyal employees – the staff that I can’t live without – I didn’t hire them to do the job they’re in, they found that job. And I helped them find that job because that’s what they love and they’re passionate about. And I think that’s been the secret sauce to my business success as well.
John: Well, that is a secret sauce because most people get it wrong. And my next question to you is, for Fire Nation’s benefit – I mean, what mistakes are we making over and over again, as employers with employees, with people that work for us, that we’re not finding this clean fit like you seem to be able to do every time?
Mark: Alright. Here it is, John. I’m gonna lay it on ya. The best employees, the most successful employees I’ve ever had – and I can sit here and just – I can fill up both hands – I hired them not because I had a job opening, not because I was looking for a particular position, I hired them because they were just fit. They had great skills and abilities that I connected with. I saw their potential and their growth and I knew that, over appropriate amount of time, I’d find the right spot for them.
And I think the mistake that we make is that we have a position to fill and we go through resumes and we try to fill it. We try to find someone that fits that position instead of finding someone who fits us and fits our company and fits what we’re trying to do – and then let that be the decision for hiring them. And there will always be a job that they can do.
John: Mark, I love stories; Fire Nation loves stories. And the story that I really want you to dive into, sink your teeth into, is what you consider your worst entrepreneurial moment to date.
So, take us to that moment that was the lowest of the low; tell us that story.
Mark: Would you allow me to shift a little bit, since – and go to family in this regard, since I’ve taken everything I know in the entrepreneurial world and I’m now applying it to my business at home. Is that possible?
John: I’m going to allow that to happen because you have done this comingling of business and family. So, let’s hear it.
Mark: I’m not only comingled but when I finally got on fire and became ignited as a dad and as the CEO of our family, it was when I realized that I –
John: Wait – are you CEO of the Ziglar Family or of EOFire here? Because your branding is amazing, I will say.
Mark: I am CEO of Ziglar Family –
John: Oh, I love it.
Mark: – and I’m CEO of the Timm family, and that’s the position that matters most to me in my life.
And I brought this entrepreneurial feel to my family and everything changed. I was making a hundred decisions with confidence and clarity at home – I couldn’t make the first decision with confidence and clarity. I was making hundred decisions with confidence and clarity at work but not at home.
John: Now I got it.
Mark: And I struggled when I got home. And so, I started trying to apply what I knew at work to home and I was having some success. And then, I realized at family meetings – I couldn’t function in my business without having meetings.
John: Okay, but before we get to, like, the success part that you’re about to go in to, what was the worst part about the family. Like, tell us a story where it was just the doozy. Let’s hear it.
Mark: Assuming that you could sit down with teenagers like you do your business team. And you want to talk about a failure – I mean, we’re talking a colossal failure.
John: Let’s hear it.
Mark: I’m sitting there – I can lead a team, I can run organizations, I can lead with the best of them – and then I get home and I try to lead my own family and I struggle. And I’m trying to have a family meeting with teenagers and they’re looking at me like, “I ain’t havin’ this.”
John: One specific example. Like, what’s one conversation you had that you’re just like: I’m failing desperately in this conversation, in this situation. Like, what was that one specific moment that you’re just like, “This stinks!”
Mark: Here I am, really pouring my heart out into my family and they’re looking at me and, you know, here’s a teenager that really relies on me to guide them, to empower them, to inspire them. And what I realized is, is that they looked at me and said, “Dad, you just don’t get it. You’re just not understanding what we need. You see, we don’t need a big speech and we don’t need agendas in our meeting; we need you to be present. We need you to be there for us when we need you and we need you to talk to us when we’re ready to talk to you.”
And, I mean, it just – it changed everything. The tipping point in my life – just the pendulum – just swung over to the other way and it really made all the difference when I was able to see that I knew and had the skills but I wasn’t applying them at home the way they needed to apply at home. And my family is who really needed me to bring my A game every single day.
John: So, what’s the biggest lesson you can take away from this? I mean, you had this experience at home. You know that other entrepreneurs are working crazy hours; they’re giving just all their energy and bandwidth to the job. They come home, they have nothin’ left, but they still have a family. What’s the lessons learned?
Mark: I’ve talked to families all over the world. I’ve given surveys to families and literally, 98.5 percent of all the families – and many of them are entrepreneurs, many of them belong to Fire Nation – and when I asked the question: How many of you – What’s the priority of your family? Where does it rank? 98.5 percent of them say, “It’s the most important thing in my life, next to my faith.” But when the follow-up question is that: What are you doing about it? What actions support that? They don’t have it.
You did the Freedom Journal and the Mastery Journal and you talk about goals – and you talk about smarter goals – and I asked those same people to raise their hand: How many of you have a written-down, smart goal for your family? And the hands all go down. So 98.5 percent say, “It’s the most important thing in my life” but they’re not – their actions don’t support their words.
And here is the advice I’ve got: If you’ve been successful in anywhere in your life; in some area of your life – as a coach, as an entrepreneur in business – then you already know everything you need to know to be successful at home. And that’s the truth.
The question is not what you don’t know, it’s: Are you ready to use what you do know, at home?
John: Mark, you’ve had a lot of great ideas over your life. I mean, you’ve bought a business back, sold it the next day to the employees – I mean, just idea after idea. Some have worked out, some haven’t; some you haven’t even acted upon because – heck, you’re a busy guy. I mean, let’s be honest.
What are the greatest ideas that you’ve had over the past number of years that you did act upon? Take us to that idea – kind of walk us through how you acted and how you turned it into a success.
Mark: On the business side of things, when I think of a great idea that I had and I acted on, it was actually this recent, you know, transaction that I had. And it was – you know, I never in a million years dreamed of buying a business back that I already sold. And I looked at it and said: Does it align with where I want to go? Does it align with my family? Is it what I want to do?
And then, you know, it really hit me. It hit me that there were people – there were 35 families – that really depended on this business. And what if I gave them an opportunity? What if the key to me really being fulfilled in life was giving? And not just living the business side of it but actually giving and creating an opportunity for other people to experience the same thing that I’d experienced in my entrepreneurial endeavors.
And I approached, you know, this group and, you know – they really jumped at the chance. And we formed a – you know, an ownership group that ended up buying the business from me after I sold it. But it was the transference of that empowerment. And I really think what I’m finding at this stage of my life is that it’s no longer enough for me to find success, it’s to transfer that; it’s to give that same empowerment to other people and encourage them to go on.
Because I gotta tell ya, the ownership group – alright? I’m the grandpa of the group. I mean, these are a bunch of millennials that are crazy successful and they’re killin’ it. And they’re bringing passion and energy and a technology savvy that I couldn’t even dream of. And they’re runnin’ circles around me in certain areas but I’ve got some wisdom and expertise that I can pass on to them and it’s a total win-win situation.
So, you know – So don’t be afraid, you know, I guess is what I’m saying is. I’ve always been “the guy” and “the entrepreneur” – don’t be afraid to let go of that and empower others to run with your wisdom and expertise. And let – I guess the saying is: “The rising tide rises all ships.” And I’m seeing that play out in real time.
John: I love that. Because, Fire Nation, we can’t be all things to all people, all the time. If you empower others, then you’re just giving them the gift to carry that torch and even combine it. And, you know, like that old Captain Planet cartoon – with our powers combined, like, we can be this Captain Planet better than just us and that single, lone ship.
Now, Mark, what I want to move in to – because I want to give some time for this, because I really want you to sit here for a second and tell us: What has you most fired up today? What’s going on in your world that has you excited to jump out of bed in the morning?
Mark: Without a doubt, I am the most excited – my good friend, Michael Hyatt, does a whole program on “Your best year ever” – and I can tell you that I am in, and I am experiencing, my best year ever.
Mark: And it’s because of that excitement of getting up every day. And I realized that all of the entrepreneurial success I’ve had – and failures, by the way. I’ve had more failures than most; that’s why I’ve had more success the most. Because I get up and I re-do it and I recharge and I go at it again. And I’m taking all of those failures, all of those successes, and I’m carving out a sandbox for families. And I am going to fight for families to be able to have the confidence and clarity at home that they have other places in their work. And right now, what families most need is they need to win. Families need to be able to be challenged. And, if they’re going to win, they’ve got to be challenged.
And I have come up with a vision. My wife and I came up with an idea of a 7-Day Family Challenge, where we literally would tap some of the most brilliant resources – renowned voices in seven key areas of family life – to come together and offer a singular challenge.
Now, think about this for a second. You know – You’ve heard of Dave Ramsey, obviously.
John: Oh, yeah.
Mark: You know – financial guru. And Dave Ramsey stepped up and he’s looking at his entire life, and all that he’s transferred to the families all over the world, and he’s boiled it down to one single challenge that every family in the world can do.
And Dr. Gary Chapman, the author of The Five Love Languages – almost 80 years old – his entire life’s work and he boils it down to a challenge that every single family can do.
And so, we’ve created this 7-Day Family Challenge, sponsored by Ziglar Family, that every family can experience if they accept the challenge; a “week of wins”. And once they have that “week of wins” and that wheel of wins is moving, we think they can keep it moving and start experiencing so much more than they ever, ever dreamed was possible for their family.
So, you can tell, I am seriously fired up about the 7-Day Family Challenge.
John: Well, you’ve whetted our appetites. Where can Fire Nation go to find out more?
Mark: For the tech-savvy out there, you just get out your phone and text 44222, and you text: 7DayFamily (the number 7, day, family – all one word – to 44222). Or go to 7daychallenge.com – that’s the number 7, daychallenge.com. So, text or 7daychallenge.com, and sign up. It starts here in just a few weeks.
And it doesn’t matter when anyone from Fire Nation is listening to this because our intention is to make the 7-Day Family Challenge – We have a kick-off date and it’s going to kick off March 27th and go for seven days; finish on April 2nd. But the reality is, if you’re listening to this six months from now, you text 44222: 7DayFamily; or go to 7daychallenge. And you can start the 7-Day Challenge at any point that you connect with the 7-Day Challenge. We just ask that you do it over seven days and there’s a reason for that – because these challenges are so spot-on, they’re so meaningful, they’re so powerful, that you need to be able to digest it and accept it that day and then move on to the next challenge.
John: Fire Nation, if you don’t think that we have more Value Bombs waiting for you, then you haven’t been listening to EOFire for very long because Mark, myself will be back after we thank our sponsors.
Mark, are you ready to rock The Lightning Round?
Mark: I’m absolutely ready to rock The Lightning Round!
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Mark: I never saw myself being an entrepreneur. It wasn’t something that I felt like maybe my generation – I’m a farm boy from Fillmore, Indiana. And what did I know about being an entrepreneur? And so, all I really needed was the “push into the pool”, I tell people. And as soon as I hit the water, I loved it and I started swimmin’ and I never looked back.
So, I guess the only thing holding me back was somebody willing to push me in the pool.
John: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Mark: The best advice I ever received was when someone talked to me about spending time “on” the business instead of “in” the business. And it so – Business will suck every bit of energy, time, resources you have but if you can somehow discipline yourself to step out, step back and really spend some focused time on the business, instead of being suck into the business – and I’ll tell you, when I do that is when my business leaps forward – and the same applies to my family.
John: What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Mark: Get up and get going. And so, the day has enough, you know, fighting and hitting you in the face. And so, get up and get going and know when you’re the best. And right now, I’m gettin’ it done in the morning time so that I can enjoy the fruits of my day labor with my family at home.
John: Can you share an internet resource, like an Evernotes, with Fire Nation.
Mark: The whole Google Suite so that I’m not – I don’t have competing resources going everywhere, so that I can be in one place at one time. And, again, we’re integrating all of our family into that same world and we’re finding that they become somewhat seamless.
John: If you could recommend one book, what would it be?
Mark: Our friend, Zig Ziglar –
Mark: And, you know, I know it’s a book that’s been around, you know, for a long time, you know – but See You at the Top is, you know – has got to be the book that really got me going and inspired me when I was a young man. And it really put me on the path to believing in myself.
And so, I know there are some phenomenal books that are out there right now, that are moving the needle, but I would be remiss not to bring people back to the timeless wisdom of some folks that really helped get this all started, and the motivation and inspiration.
John: Mark, let’s end today on Fire with a parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Mark: My best parting guidance is that – especially when it comes to family – is to think about our most valuable business that we may ever be a part of, is the business of our family. And our families were created to be in communities. We need each other. We need other families on the same journey as us. We were created to thrive, not just to survive, and we need other families to be able to do that.
And so, my best advice that I can give is to really challenge families, entrepreneurs, members of Fire Nation, to find a community; to join the 7-Day Challenge – or Ziglar Family or find a community with families like them so that they can move from survival to thriving.
And they can find me at ziglarfamily.com. Go to ziglarfamily.com; you’ll see all the resources we’ve got at Ziglar Family. You’ll find ways to connect with me. It’s real simple too – [email protected] – and you can reach me at any point in time.
John: Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with and you have been hangin’ out with MT and JLD today. So, keep up the heat and head over to eofire.com. Type “Mark” in the Search bar; his Show Notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. Best show notes in the biz – time stamps, links galore. Direct call to action, Fire Nation – head over to 7daychallenge.com (that’s the number 7, daychallenge.com) or just text the word: 7DayFamily to 44222 and you’ll be enrolled automatically.
Mark, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, brother, we salute you and we’ll catch ya’ on the flip side.
Mark: Thank you, Fire Nation.
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