Phil Fraser is a business sounding board who helps business owners not be lonely at the top. And he's a spare pair of ears and eyes to help business owners explore things that they haven't got anybody else that can really understand it and talk with them about.
NOTE: Complete transcript available at the bottom of the page.
Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 592
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See Tom's Stuff – https://linktr.ee/antionandassociates[02:13] Tom's introduction to Phil Fraser [08:20] Business Sounding Board [14:00] FFS Strategy [20:37] Recapping the steps [23:15] Sponsor message [25:17] A typical day for Phil
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Disabilities Page – https://imtcva.org/disabilities/
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/philfraser/
Phil's website – https://philfraser.co.uk/
Fraser Five Step (FFS) – https://philfraser.co.uk/fraser-five-step-ffs/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/phil.fraser/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/phil_fraser
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Episode 592 – Phil Fraser
[00:00:09] Welcome to Screw the Commute. The entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money, with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire, Tom Antion.
[00:00:24] Hey everybody, it's Tom here with episode 592 of Screw the Commute podcast. I'm here with Phil Fraser, and this guy took a kitchen table start up with no investment all the way to a multimillion dollar. Well, he calls it pound because he's a UK guy sale to a PLC, which is our version of a corporation. And we want to hear that story today for sure. So we'll bring him on in a minute. All right. Make sure you pick up a copy of our automation book. It's we actually figured it out about about two years ago. Just one of the tips in the book has saved me seven and a half million keystrokes. You are crazy. You are Looney Tunes. If you don't take advantage of all these things that are either free or cheap to automate yourself so that you can spend the time working with customers or doing other things rather than fighting with your computer all day. So pick up a copy at screwthecommute.com/automatefree. While you're at it. Pick up a copy of our podcast app at screwthecommute.com/app where you can pick where you can put us on your cell phone and tablet and take us with you on the road. Now we've got a great update video on the program we're doing to help persons with disabilities. And the guy, it's just amazing to me. The guy is blind, legally blind and shoots better videos than I do. So, check it out at our school website. IMTCVA.org/disabilities and it'll click you over to the Go Fund Me campaign and any little bit helps, but you can see his video over there. It's just very inspiring. So check it out.
[00:02:14] All right. Let's bring on the main event. Phil Fraser is a business sounding board who helps business owners not be lonely at the top. And he's a spare pair of ears and eyes to help business owners explore things that they haven't got anybody else that can really understand it and talk with them about. He spent 15 years in the advertising industry and he also pitched an idea and it failed miserably. So he pivoted and made it work. So, Phil, are you ready to screw? The commute?
[00:02:50] I am. I am indeed. Tom, thanks for the thanks. The big build up there.
[00:02:54] Yeah, no problem, man. So you started with nothing and built up a big multimillion pound business. Tell us about that.
[00:03:05] Okay. Let's let's go back to 2000. I was working at a sportsbook company who I launched their online casino for them. We then looked at the opportunity of getting into bingo. They decided not to do it at the end of the year. I left the I left the company. But I thought there was thought there was an idea in here at the time there was only online bingo in the US and it wasn't in the UK. So my idea was to was to launch what would have been the UK's first ever pay to play online bingo site. So I put together a business plan, put together a pitch and went out into the real world. You guys call it Shark Tank on the TV. We call it Dragon's Den. So Shark Tank in the real world and got zero, got no funding whatsoever. However, what I'd done is I'd I'd built a website that listed all the, the US bingo sites that were out there and on it had put a pop up questionnaire to ask people about their spend habits, age, sex, frequency, recency, all those sorts of things. So that when I did my pitch, I sounded like I knew I was doing. And what happened was a number of those US bingo sites that were listed on the website contacted me and said, Hey, can we advertise on your website? So I said, Yes, send me some money and I'll put some ads on the website. And that was the business. That's what became the business.
[00:04:40] That's pretty amazing. So you'd never expected that it's kind of an accidental business, huh?
[00:04:46] Exactly. And this is this is why I call it an accidental start up, because I you know, I took one business out to pitch. Everybody said no way. And then this happened. And we thought, oh, well, I've done advertising the past. I'll give it a go, see what happens. And it was funny, actually, because at the time I was still having failed to get the funding. I went out and looked for a proper job, got offered a proper job, and the day before I started, so the Friday before, on the Monday I was due to start, I went in to see them and said, Sorry, guys, I can't take that. I can't take that job. I've got this thing that's just starting to gain traction. I'm going to go with it, which at the time was probably stupid, but hey, screw the commute, you know, let's go for it.
[00:05:39] We don't think there's anything proper about a job. So. So it's.
[00:05:43] Okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
[00:05:44] Yeah, yeah, yeah.
[00:05:46] So then what happened?
[00:05:48] So we sort of started pushing it and started to to go out to the market. And as we were lucky that the online bingo market was growing. So we had new clients coming on board all the time and awareness of of online bingo was growing. So.
[00:06:06] Who's we? Who's we?
[00:06:08] So. So the we is myself and my wife. And that's it. That's she was the CEO. I was the I was the operating officer. So she she was the boss. And, you know, as as the market. We took on some freelancers and sort of spread out a bit and the industry kept growing and then five years in and we were still working from home at this point and five years in. Our main freelancer came to me and said, Look, I'm I'm getting a proper job. And that was that was sort of in poker terminology. That was our stick or twist moment. What do you do now?
[00:06:52] So working. So working for you wasn't a proper job, I guess.
[00:06:57] Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. So I think he I think he, you know, I mean, those people who are out there who freelance, it's it's brilliant when it's going good and it's, it's very feast or famine, I think. Yeah. You know, and I think some people just go, hey, do you know what? Let's just take 9 to 5. So this guy, because he quit, it made us sort of think, what do we do next? And we got we got a our local area were doing some free business consultancy. So we got a guy in and. So I've very tentatively sort of showed him this thing we grow and that we never really thought was a a real business. It was just, you know, it seemed to be going okay. And we sort of tentatively showed it to him. He said, we are. What should we do? And he said, Go for it. Get yourself some stuff. Get yourself a proper grown up office. And and we did. And those people have worked in start ups that taking on your first member of staff is a really scary thing to do, because when it's your own business, you know, if it goes well, fantastic. If it goes badly, hey, you know, it's it's beans and potatoes for for a week. You know, when you take on a member of staff, you then start thinking I'm responsible for their rent and their mortgage and their kids eating and they won't have these shoes on their feet. And it's, you know, so so that's how the business that was like the first stage of the business growth.
[00:08:20] Well, explain to people what your definition of a business sounding board. What what is that?
[00:08:29] Okay. So let's go to the end of the story. So after we sold the business, you know, when you read all these business books, they talk about startup and growth and getting bigger and bigger than selling. They don't write the next chapter. What do you do next? What do you do next? So I was sort of kicking around. I did a bit of a local voluntary work with some schools and a number of friends of mine who've got businesses were sort of coming to me and asking for advice, saying, Oh, I've got this issue, I've got that issue, or You've sold your business. What does it look like? How did you prepare for it? And I thought, Well, I'm quite enjoying this. I like, you know, I like talking to people about business and I like I like hearing about their businesses and they seem to be getting some benefit from it. And it made me think during my business journey, I was fortunate I had my wife to discuss things with. But most businesses, when you're the boss, you know, the great thing about running your own business is you're the boss. You can make every decision. We can go this way or that way or this, or we can expand into that market, whatever it might be. The problem you have is that there is only you making those decisions and there's nobody to sit down and go, Hey, Tom, I've got this idea. Does this sound really stupid or I've got this problem. I don't know how to solve it, or I've got this opportunity.
[00:09:48] I don't know how to maximise it or just or just can you just listen to me, download for 20 minutes and then leave me alone? So that's the service I offer people is just, you know, I start meetings with clients with, okay, what do you want to talk about? And it's their agenda and it's it's what's on their shoulders at any given time. And I'll give you a very simple example. So you're the boss. You've got a team of staff, whatever it might be. And you're thinking of buying the business down, buying a competitor down the road, which is a great business thing to do. You can't sit down with your sales guy and say, Hey, Dave, I'm thinking of buying the guys down the road. Because Dave, your sales manager's immediate reaction is going to be shit. He's going to keep their sales manager and get rid of me. So he's not he's he's not going to give you good advice. He's not. You can't. The other thing about running your own business is a lot of the time it's you know, you're making it up as you go along or you feel like you're making up as you go along. And again, you can't tell your team that you go, Hey, hey, guys, I think this is the right direction. Just roll with it. But you can talk to me, but you can talk to me about that because I've got no bias. I've got no, as we say over here, I've got no dog in the race. It's just independent advice.
[00:11:12] That for most.
[00:11:14] That call for.
[00:11:14] Me. Oh, yes. Sorry. That's that's somebody that's somebody at the gate. Sorry about it. Oh, tried to turn my phone off.
[00:11:23] Don't worry.
[00:11:24] They're going to knock the door down. Now.
[00:11:28] I'll get my wife to do it. Yeah. So that's. That's pretty much what a sounding board does.
[00:11:35] You'd be out of business if more people were schizophrenic because they just talk to themselves.
[00:11:43] Well, I'll tell you what. That's one of the things you do as a business owner. You sit there and you talk to yourself and you have to go, well, is this a good idea to say, well, this might go wrong or that's a good idea and you think it's a good idea? And we'll try it and you explain it to the team and they'll look at you like, Hey, what's this idiot talking about? That's the wrong thing to do. So yeah, it's, it's, I think it's a service that I wanted as a business owner. And I've, you know, and clients seem to seem to like it as well.
[00:12:14] Well, you've kind of determined that a lot of businesses and I've seen this myself, they're like making things up as they go along.
[00:12:24] Oh yeah. I was doing it all the time. I was doing all the time. You know, as a business owner, you you see opportunities. You maybe, you know, you do the research, but but at some point you've got to you've got to stick or twist. You've got to make a decision, just a strategy to go this direction or that direction. And if you haven't got anybody to to bounce you, off you go. Okay. I'm making it up as I go along. I mean, it's one of the things I think is one of the drive. Almost a subconscious driver when we sold our business was was almost let's sell the business before people find out we're making it up now. Don't know what we're doing.
[00:13:03] Well, what were some of the biggest influences in your business journey?
[00:13:09] Um. I do. I do a lot of a lot of reading of of business autobiographies. I read a lot of business magazines. And again, this sort of feeds into the imposter syndrome thing, which was almost a driver, which was like, you know, you feel you do not know, you don't you do not know enough. So you've got to find it from somewhere else. And now I listen to podcasts and, and, and read a lot of online stuff. But there was the company I worked for before I worked at the sports book was an ad agency that I worked at for six years, and they had a wonderful company culture and a brilliant way of doing business. And I took a lot of that into my business and, and, and try to get that culture in my team. So probably my last. But one employer was probably the the biggest influence on me as a business owner.
[00:14:01] Well, now you I don't know if you developed this strategy, but what's the PFS strategy?
[00:14:09] Okay, so most people know what PFS stands for. My PFS stands for the phase of five step, which is. Try and simplify people, put in a usable, actionable business strategy in place. So it's five very simple steps.
[00:14:30] Before you get into that. Before you get into that, I don't know what the PHS strategy was supposed to mean. What is it?
[00:14:38] Okay, maybe it's maybe it's a British thing, but people use it as a as an exclamation for sake.
[00:14:46] Okay. Yeah. That's not real common over here.
[00:14:49] Okay, well, it's a UK thing, it doesn't translate. I'll have to find, I'll have to find a us. Well something similar in the US.
[00:14:55] W t f is is over here. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
[00:14:58] It's, it's similar to that. Yeah. So I call it the WTF strategy.
[00:15:02] I, I is the, the CSI strategy, not strategy but syndrome all the time. I don't know if they have that TV show in UK, but crime scene.
[00:15:14] Yeah, we got CSI, CSI Miami and so.
[00:15:18] So I call it crappy stupid idea that's what.
[00:15:24] I'm going to steal that.
[00:15:25] I can now you.
[00:15:29] So what is the let's go first.
[00:15:34] So we can go through it. So it's the phrase a five step, five steps, number one, a single sentence target or aim for. What does perfection look like in a year's time?
[00:15:48] This is why this is a planning thing. Is this what it is?
[00:15:52] Yeah, yeah, yeah. So so step number one is what is perfect? What does perfect look like next year? So that might be $1,000,000 of sales or it might be $1,000,000 of profit. Or it might be I've sold the business or it might be we've now sell 200 products rather than 100 products. Whatever it might.
[00:16:09] Be, I lose.
[00:16:10] £30. What? Not my mistake.
[00:16:14] Not in money.
[00:16:15] It's the same with me. It's the same with me. We've got to be realistic about it.
[00:16:19] Oh, okay.
[00:16:19] All right, all right.
[00:16:20] But we can use that. I tell you what. We'll use that. We'll use that as. As our strategy is sustainable. What is perfect look like in a year's time.
[00:16:29] Step number two is tactics. Sorry, sorry, sorry. Step number one with mission. So step number two is strategy. So what strategies are we going to put in place to deliver that mission? So in your instance, Tom, we keep this really, really simple couple of sentences maximum. What would your strategy be? So your strategy might be exercise more, eat less. That's the strategy to lose you £30.
[00:16:55] Got it.
[00:16:57] So we've got a mission which is lose £30 or $1,000,000 of sales, whatever it might be. Your strategy, your top line strategies. Eat more.
[00:17:06] Sorry more. Yeah, I've been living that strategy my whole life.
[00:17:16] So on top line strategy is eat less, exercise more. All right. Then we get into tactics, which is a bit more specific. So okay, so we've got two main strategy points. So let's let's drill down a little bit on the eat less. So let's maybe put two or three tactics in place to eat less. So we have zero burgers. We're allowed one portion of fries a week and every meal has to include protein and complex carbs, something like that. That would be your tactics on that side of things. Your exercise more might be, I'm going to join a gym and I'm going to go twice a week. And that's that's that side of it. That's your your your tactics. Yeah.
[00:18:08] Yeah. But I would like to add to that one. I'm going to go twice a week for at least two weeks.
[00:18:16] This is.
[00:18:18] It's a year plan. Come on, I'm going to go twice year. I'm going to go twice a year.
[00:18:27] And then so that's that's your that's your tactics. You then go into actions, which is what are you actually going to do? So on the food side, our thing is we're going to go we're going to go shopping Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and we're going to make sure we have all our meals prepared and we're going to eat more protein. So we're going to make specifically Mondays, chicken, Tuesday, tuna, Wednesday steak, whatever it might be. So you get down to quite specific parts of your business tactics here. So again, on the maybe more exercise side, the specifics would be I'm going to rig up tomorrow and or I'm going to decide Monday and Wednesday is I'm going to I'm going to be in the park running and shooting. Thursday, I'm going to be the gym and Saturday I'm going to go swimming. So you get down to real tactics at this point. And then you final your final part. The five step is, is what we call controls and measures. So in a business scenario, this would be who is going to do it, when are they going to do it? To what level are they going to do it? What budget going to do it? What time scale to do it? So you actually get down to real granular stuff.
[00:19:40] So you again, you go right. 9:00 Monday morning, I'm going to be at the greengrocers. 11:00, I'll be preparing dinner. So it's all ready for me to eat so I don't eat chips and stuff when I get home. So you get out to really, really granular stuff and then and this is where the beauty works. You flip it all upside down and you start with those actions, those controls that now become the top. So you say to your team, Right, Dave, you're doing this for on Monday and I need it back by Thursday. So we're actually very, very specific. And if everything works to plan the actions, deliver the tactics, the tactics, deliver the strategy, and the strategy delivers the mission. So in 12 months time you're £30 less because you've put all of those strategic things in place now that obviously we've done it from on a personal basis for you, but you do that on a business basis as well.
[00:20:40] All right. Recap the steps again.
[00:20:42] Okay. So step number one, what does perfect look like in a year? Okay. Let's let's let's go through a sales, a sales, a business scenario, £1,000,000 worth of sales. So step number two is your strategy. What are we going to put in place to make £1,000,000 of sales happen? So we're going to do that by improving our sales team and increasing our prices. So you're. Your tactics. So that's your strategy is you tactics, then go, okay, well, if we're going to take on a new sales team, we need to put some tactics in place. That is recruit somebody, put an ad in place, put an ad online, draw up the spec for the job. What sort of person do we want? That sort of thing. We're going to increase prices. So you go, okay, well, maybe we need to look at the market. We need to see what other people are paying for things. We need to look at our profit margins and then you drill down the next two or three steps, you hand all that out and you get really down to specifics. So again, if you if you've decided your strategy on increasing sales is to get a sales manager in place, you go, okay. At the bottom of that pile of things, we said, somebody has got to write the ad, somebody's got to put the ad live, somebody's got to do the interview.
[00:22:03] Somebody has got to somebody's got to find a desk space for the person. Somebody has got to buy a PC for them or a laptop or, you know, you get right down to granular stuff and then you start, as I say, you start from the bottom up and you deliver, try to deliver. Now you might review that after six months and go, Hey, we're not we're miles off. And then you might do the process again. So again, what does it look like in a year's time? I mean, you could do six months. You could do 12 months, you could do 24 months. I like a year because it's a nice image for people. But you can do this on an ongoing basis and you can do it for different departments of the business as well. So the marketing team might do this. What does perfect look like for the marketing team? What is perfect like for the sales team? If you're a one man band, it might be perfect in 12 months time. Is I have a member of staff. You know, that might be that might be the goal. And then you've got to put the things in place to make that happen. So that's that's it's simple and actionable.
[00:23:05] Yeah. It gives people a plan, something to work for, rather than just going around in circles all day long and putting out fires and having no, no real goals to where to go. So great. That's a great strategy. So we've got to take a brief sponsor break. When we come back, we're going to ask Phil, what's a typical day look like for him and and how we get a hold of him. So, folks, about 23, 24, 25 years ago, you know, I kind of lose track nowadays. I kind of turned the Internet marketing guru world on its head in that people at my level were charging 50 or 100 grand up front to help them. And I knew a lot of these people, a lot of them, you give them that money up front, you'd never see them again. So I said, you know, that's too risky for small business. I'm a small business advocate. I have a TV show in development Hollywood, and that's called Scam Brigade. And I said, That's just not right. So I said, I'll charge an entry fee, which is way, way lower. And then for me to get my 50,000, you have to net 200,000 while people love this and 1700 plus students later and all these years, it's still going strong. It's the longest running, most successful and most unique Internet marketing and digital marketing mentor program ever in history.
[00:24:28] So unique, many of the features, you know, you have an immersion weekend where you actually live in this estate home at the Great Internet Marketing Retreat Center. We have a TV studio here. It's all one on one. We don't put you. The only time you're in a group is five people at the retreat center. But the rest of the mentor program, which is at least a year, you get one on one attention from me and my entire staff, you know, and you also get a scholarship to the school that we're giving those scholarships to the persons with disabilities. So it's just enormous features you can't get anywhere else. So check it out at greatInternetmarketingtraining.com. And just give me a call. I mean, I'm accessible. There's no high pressure here. And we'll talk about your future online.
[00:25:20] All right. Let's get back to the main event. Phil Fraser's here. He took a kitchen table start up and made a multi million pound or dollar sale out of it to a big company. And so, Phil, what's what's the typical day look like for you now in the in your present business?
[00:25:40] Well, one of the beauties of of what I do now as a business sounding board is it's now, for me, a lifestyle business so I can dip in and dip out whenever I want. So a lot of the time I spend spend a lot of time actually on LinkedIn, posting about stuff, writing about stuff, commenting on other people, writing content for my website. And then as and when clients contact me, it's interacting with them but at the same time. I can duck out. I don't. I'm fortunate now that I don't have to work. So I might be down the gym, I might be on holiday. I mean, I'm actually speaking to you from Spain at the moment. So it's quite leisurely now. But I'm I'm happy to crank it up as and when clients need and I can wind it down if if I need to.
[00:26:37] Oh, that's beautiful. Yeah. So how do people get ahold of you?
[00:26:42] So the easiest way to get hold of me is, as I say, either check me out on LinkedIn, just fill Fraser.
[00:26:47] So spell it for him. Spell it for him.
[00:26:50] Okay. Yeah. So it's p h i l and it's Fraser f r a s e r is not spelt like Smokin Joe.
[00:27:03] And if you want to check out my website, it's PhilFraser.co.uk. It's not dot com because the dot com version of Phil Fraser is owned by a guy who makes medieval costumes. So if you see sort of Robin Hood and bows and arrows and things like that, you're on the wrong side. That's not me. It's PhilFraser.Co.uk.
[00:27:27] Well, if you like bows and arrows and it's a good you can look at that after you look at the real Phil Fraser site. So. Well, thanks for those insights and strategies. That's that's really great insight and we love lifestyle business. Yeah I know when you were traveling to Spain, we waited to book this after you got there. And boy, the lovely can work from anywhere, so thanks so much for coming on.
[00:27:54] Phil It's a pleasure. Tom Thanks for having me.
[00:27:57] Okey doke. So folks, we will catch you all in the next episode. Put those strategies into play and maybe you'll lose £30. And that's not £30 of money. That's 30 actual pounds.
[00:28:11] All right. We'll catch everybody next next time. See you later.