How to Make Money From Your Passion: Tailored Solutions for Creative Minds

How to Make Money From Your Passion: Tailored Solutions for Creative Minds written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Christian Brim. Through his extensive experience as a certified public accountant and certified management accountant, Christian Brim has gained profound insights into the intersection of creativity and profitability for entrepreneurs. In this episode, we cover the unique challenges faced by creative entrepreneurs and explore tailored solutions to help them thrive in their businesses without having to sacrifice passion for financial success.

Key Takeaways

With over 25 years of working with small businesses to grow their businesses profitably Christian Brim is experienced in the unique mindset of creative entrepreneurs, emphasizing the importance of embracing profitability as not just essential to creative endeavors but also, honorable. Through the Three-Pronged Decision concept, he highlights the necessity of aligning market needs, profitability, and personal passion for success. Christian guides creative minds in implementing the Profit First framework to prioritize profitability while ensuring financial stability. He also underscores the significance of value pricing as a strategy to maximize earnings. By integrating these insights, creative entrepreneurs can overcome financial challenges, unlock their full potential, and thrive in their unique ventures.


Questions I ask Christian Brim:

[00:54] Seeing as Mike Michalowicz created ‘Profit First’ what new insights do you bring to the concept?

[02:26] How are creatives a unique group with specific challenges in the business world?

[06:38] Can you explain further with a specific example from your career?

[05:13] Explain the 3 pronged decision every creative makes?

[12:36] After the profit assessment, explain the process of the profit first framework

[15:42] Talk more about the pricing dilemma in making profit

[17:34] How did your oil field experience in Oklahoma influence your career?

[20:00] Is there some place that you would invite people to find about your work, connect with you and pick up a copy of profit first for creatives?



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John (00:08): Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Christian Brim. He’s a certified public accountant, certified management accountant with over 25 years of working with small businesses to grow their business profitably, heavily influenced by a family riches to rags experience. In his formative years, Christian has dedicated his life to work, helping his life’s work, to helping entrepreneurs have their business work for them. He’s also the author of a book we’re going to talk about today, profit First for Creatives, redefining the Creativity slash Money Paradigm. So Christian, welcome to the show.

Christain (00:51): Thank you very much for having me, John.

John (00:53): So first thing, Mike Albo has been on this show, a creator of Prophet First wrote the original book, prophet First. So let’s just start with an overview. What does Christian bring to the prophet First world

Christain (01:05): That’s interesting? Yeah, so when I decided to write this book last year, my original intent was to use it to gain traction in the space with our target market, which we’d recently defined creative industries such as videography, marketing agencies, interior design. But a funny thing happened along the way. I started to realize the challenges that I had faced, even though I wasn’t in a creative industry and my experience working with other creatives. What came to the surface was there are some things about creative entrepreneurs that posed some challenges in implementing Profit First. So the profit first component of the book is, you can read Mike’s book, my book, any of the Derivatives. They’re all very similar, but the big difference in my book is the mindset application in creative spaces.

John (02:13): So maybe let’s talk a little bit about how are creatives different from a mindset standpoint, particularly when it comes to running a business, making money, selling all those kinds of things that are part of the entrepreneurial world. Is there a unique subset of folks that have challenges?

Christain (02:30): Yeah, so let me define this first. When I say creative entrepreneur, I don’t necessarily mean someone that’s in a creative industry. The distinction there is, as Perry Marshall explained it to me, and I go through this in the book, is the difference between entrepreneurs, either being builders or artists and builders are ones that see opportunities in the marketplace to find a way to make money, and that’s what drives their entrepreneurial journey. Artists or creatives are driven by passion. So they may see an opportunity in the marketplace, but they have no interest in it, and so they pass on it. In other words, if the entrepreneurial endeavor does not strike their passion, they have no interest in doing it. And so in a lot of ways, Mike was a creative, he probably had never thought of himself that way, but he was passion driven. And one of the problems when you are driven by passion is that you run into work that you don’t want to do.

(03:43): It doesn’t interest you. There’s this false paradigm among a bunch of people in the creative space where you have to do what you don’t love doing to pay the bills, or you can do what drives your passion, but you are precluded from making money at it. But that is a false paradigm because as I postulate in the book, profit derives from creativity and every entrepreneurial endeavor, it’s something novel that you bring to the equation that drives the profit. And so the mindset is really about embracing that paradigm rather than running away from it or thinking that there’s a false paradigm that I can’t have both. Yeah,

John (04:35): Let’s get really down in the weeds of the mechanics of this. When I first started my business, I was good at selling. That was about it. And so I hustled work. I came to the end of the year and I was like, oh, you got to pay all these taxes. I thought I just got to keep the money. And so got a real big wake up for sure. So I said, I’ve got an idea. I’m just going to make myself a W2 employee of the corporation that’ll force me to pay the taxes. It’ll basically pay me a wage that hopefully I can make payroll. And so to me, even the thought of profit was kind of odd because I was an S corp, but I was like, I don’t want to make any profit. So talk about I’m setting myself up as something, probably an example you run into,

Christain (05:18): Well, yeah, now you’d be, well, maybe you wouldn’t be surprised. So creative entrepreneurs tend to just ignore it for the most part. But there’s a large percentage of entrepreneurs in the broader sense that have that mindset of I don’t want to make a profit. I don’t want to pay taxes, and I can’t even really get my brain around that because if you’re not in business to make a profit, then what are you doing it for?

John (05:47): Right. It’s a job.

Christain (05:49): Exactly,

John (05:50): Exactly.

Christain (05:51): I think creatives also struggle with this idea that profit is honorable, allowable. It sounds kind of like a dirty word.

John (06:04): You sell your soul or you don’t make money. Right.

Christain (06:08): And the reality is that if the business doesn’t make a profit, you’re exactly right. You nailed it. You have a job. And there are a lot of people that I’ve come across in my experience that they would make more money, have less headaches, have fewer headaches, and just be more happy in general if they would go work for someone else. Right,

John (06:30): Right, right. Just go to the mailbox and get that check. Exactly. No kidding. So there is a concept in the book that you call the Where is it? Three-Pronged Decision of Creatives. I would love it if you could unpack that and give us some really the meat of the work.

Christain (06:48): So every business has to answer two questions. One is, can they fulfill the need in the market with their good or service or product? And the second is, can they make a profit at it? That’s what every entrepreneur has to solve. They have to solve that equation. The creative adds this third aspect, which is, do I want to do it? Does it further my passion? And that is something that a lot of people wrestle with because again, I go back to, I think most of it is they don’t set themselves into that false paradigm. They’ve closed the system, so to speak, so that the alternative of being able to make a profit and do what they love is possible. But in interviewing several clients and going through their stories, it’s really about reapplying their creativity. It’s using their creativity in a different way. It is not like there aren’t going to be things that you love to do that don’t have a economic or monetary impact or value, purely artistic or purely creative for creativity’s sake. Those absolutely are. We call those hobbies. How can I apply that creativity in my business to make a profit?

John (08:22): And that word passion is one that I think is so confusing to people too, because a lot of people that advice do what you’re passionate about. Well, I had no idea what I’m passionate about until I did it, until I got good at it. And then I was really passionate about it. But it’s because blogging, writing, I didn’t particularly say that’s something I’m passionate about. I just started doing it, started getting good at it, people started paying me for it, and I was like, I love this. And I think a lot of people really underestimate that idea is we get passionate sometimes about stuff we get good at by practice.

Christain (08:58): And I’d even go a step further that your passion is deeply rooted in something. And for me, in my case, it was this richest rag story. And although I had an awareness of it from an early age, truly understanding the root causes and feelings about my passion didn’t manifest itself for a couple of decades. I mean, really coming to terms with understanding what my passion is. And now that I have an understanding of that passion, it’s opened up opportunities that I had pretty much ignored the book being the first one, but I’m already onto my second. That is probably going to be a podcast format. But the point of that is that until you have a true understanding of your passion, what motivates you, it may manifest itself in ways like blogging or in my case, helping people with their finances. But once I understood the true impact of my passion, it opened so many more doors. And that’s really kind of a parallel of the creativity in your business. Once you start looking at it from that lens, you start to see other opportunities open up to express it.

Speaker 3 (10:21): Duct Tape Marketing really helped me to shave at least six to eight months off of work that I was dreading after leaving the corporate world. Even before I participated in the agency intensive training, I had already landed my first customer. This is in essence, more than paid for my investment in Duct Tape Marketing.

John (10:39): What you just heard was a testimonial from a recent graduate of the Duct Tape Marketing certification intensive program for fractional CMOs marketing agencies and consultants just like them. You could choose our system to move from vendor to trusted advisor, attract only ideal clients, and confidently present your strategies to build monthly recurring revenue. Visit DTM world slash scale to book your free advisory call and learn more. It’s time to transform your approach. Book your call today, DTM World slash scale. Yeah, that’s a really great point because for me, I don’t often kid that it’s nine siblings, and so I think I spent a lot of time trying to get noticed, and I think if you were really to take that idea and go back and say, well know a lot of the things in my business. I like to speak, I like to write, I liked that people liked my writing. I, so I think that’s what you’re talking about. There is yes. And I sort of unlocked that maybe early on you’d realize why these things that are kind of hard and maybe not that fruitful you stick with.

Christain (11:48): Yes. And Todd Henry, when I interviewed him for the book, he told me, he said, well, you know what the Greek word for passion is? And I said, no. And he said, I don’t know how to pronounce it, but it’s basically the Greek word means suffering. And he said that in order to really fulfill your passion, you have to be willing to suffer for it. You not necessarily will suffer for it, but it has to have that depth of emotion for you. And so if you use the word suffering instead of passion, it kind of changes the conversation,

John (12:27): Right? Nobody’s so interested in that.

Christain (12:29): Right?

John (12:30): So alright, all this touchy feely stuff, let’s leave it behind. Now somebody comes to you and I think the first step is they do a profit assessment. I know that’s part of the book. And then they say, okay, Kristen, what do I need to do? How does the process work? I mean obviously I know everybody’s different, but from a high level, what’s the process of working through the Profit First framework?

Christain (12:53): Sure. So the profit assessment basically takes your historical financial information and boils it down to some percentages of what’s your profitability, what’s your compensation is. And I use the analogy of weight loss. It’s your weigh in. It’s like this is where you are and there’s no judgment. It’s just a number. But then I think that the harder part is to think about where you want to be and that we can bring in information around industry standards to say, well, this is what on average your peers are making. But I think the first step for every business owner is to fund their lifestyle. And that is, I’m going to take out X amount of dollars to do what I want to do personally support my family. And that’s your first goal. I mean, you need to be able to fund your lifestyle. And so assuming that you have not done that, you’re not there yet.

(13:58): The process is to say, okay, you’re at a 10% profit and you need to be at 20% profit is laying that out in a quarterly implementation plan where we make incremental changes each quarter to arrive at that goal maybe a year, maybe 18 months, maybe 24 months in the future depending upon how big the change is, and then help guide you through to get there. I think one of the things people realize when they implement Profit First is that the initial gains are easy, right? When you’re changing 1%, you’re adding 1% to your profit, they’re easy because you can go back through and say, okay, well I don’t really need to spend this or I can change this behavior or habit. Where it gets more difficult is after you’ve cut all the expenses you can, how do you keep moving towards profit? And I devote a whole chapter into the book on value pricing, and the real lever to increase your profit is with your top line. And in that instance, I’m not talking about just selling more to sell more, but to increase your prices so that your margins are better, and that’s where you really see your profit go through the roof.

John (15:21): Yeah. I mean, theoretically, if you’re getting 10% more for something and not paying any more expenses, that drops to the bottom, doesn’t it? I was going to ask you, you kind of answered the question already, but I’ll ask it in a different way. Profit is a math problem. How much revenue, how much expense so you can lower expenses, raise profit or raise revenue, or both as you talked about, how often do you see pricing not charging enough is a problem as opposed to spending too much?

Christain (15:50): I’d say a hundred percent of the time. I think owners of businesses, all of us have this fear of raising prices, and I have rarely met a business owner that was charging the most that they could. And value pricing really forces you to think about how you price your services or goods in terms of the value perceived as opposed to your time and costs. And when you shift your mindset to looking at it that way, you realize that you’re leaving a lot of money on the table because you’re delivering a lot of value. You just haven’t figured out how to capture it.

John (16:35): This is the point in the show where I should mention that Christian is actually a client of Duct Tape Marketing, and we are going to go back to the drawing board and reassess, raise my piece. Exactly. Yes. Hundred percent.

Christain (16:47): Well, no, I will tell you this. I did a speaking engagement last week with a group of marketers and kind of walked through my company as a test case, as an example on value pricing. And then one of the persons afterwards came up and asked me and said, well, you mentioned you hired a new marketing agency. What did they do for you? And I told them and they said, well, if you don’t mind, how much do they charge you? And I told them, and they’re like, really? That’s a really good deal. And I’m like, I know.

John (17:19): Okay, you heard it here. Christian has agreed to a new, so I want to end with one last thing I said in your sort of comical way on the intro, a riches to rags story. So how did that experience, I think you were in the oil field business service business. How did that experience as you were coming up, I suppose as they would’ve said in the oil field days in Oklahoma, was it

Christain (17:45): Yes. Yeah.

John (17:46): How did that kind of influence your career, your mindset?

Christain (17:50): Yeah, so the whole richest rag story of going from riding in limousines and private aircraft to living in a rent house and driving shitty cars, as I described, it happened when I was 16 and 17. And it shook me, not because of the change in lifestyle, but the impact that it had on the family before we were close and did a lot of things together. And then afterwards, everybody scattered to find employment, and that family unit disintegrated. And that was what really impacted me. And even in my early twenties when I started out on my career, I knew I wanted to help business owners because I knew that what I had experienced, it didn’t have to be that way, and that was my calling.

John (18:51): Yeah, it is interesting starting a business. A lot of people do it to make more money, to have more freedom. And if you don’t get, and ultimately maybe to have impact on the world, but if you don’t get, it’s like the hierarchy thing. If you’re not even paying the bills, then the idea of freedom or certainly the idea of impact is kind of a pipe dream, isn’t it?

Christain (19:14): Oh, a hundred percent. It is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, right? I mean, you got to cover that lifestyle nut first. And I see so many business owners that struggle with that and live hand to mouth and worry when they don’t have work and worry when they do have work to see how they can get it all done. And it’s like hearing our clients’ stories around, well, now I get a paycheck and I don’t have to worry about it, and if we don’t sell something this month, I’m not stressed out and that allows me to be creative. I’m like, that’s a money shot for me. That’s why we’re doing it.

John (19:57): Yeah, absolutely. Well, Christian, I appreciate you stopping by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. Is there someplace that you would invite people to find about your work, connect with you, and then obviously pick up a copy of Profit First for creatives?

Christain (20:10): Yes. We’ve got a URL just for URL’s, listeners to go and be able to buy the book and contact me if you have follow-up questions. I don’t know it off the top of my head, so I’m hoping you’re going to put it in the program notes.

John (20:24): We are going to put it in the program notes, but here it is Core group Is that right? Sound right? Yes. Core group

Christain (20:36): There it is. But

John (20:37): We’ll also have it in the show notes as well. But I’m glad your team shared that with me so that I could save us both.

Christain (20:43): Save my day. Thank you.

John (20:46): Alright, well Christian, it was great having you spend a little time with us and hopefully we’ll see you soon, one of these days out there on the road.