With an aim to make the most money he could, Johnny Washington from McKinney, Texas acknowledges that he used to take way too many risks. Amped on the rush to action tendencies of the idea-oriented personality, he thought he could do just about anything he imagined. He produced many significant breakdowns and is still stuck with some choices he says, “I still don’t see a clear way out of.”
Armed with Transactional Competence, he’s now thinking accurately about his choices and how they will affect his Conditions of Life. He’s also compressed his sales cycle from an arduous set of meetings lasting hours and weeks into a simplified sales process that takes only minutes. “What does life look now?” he says. “A lot less hectic and much more money.”
Johnny: My name’s Johnny Washington. I live in McKinney, Texas just north of Dallas about 25 miles. I help people with complex tax problems and finance problems, asset protection problems and I have a small business accounting practice.
John: Very good. We know that people listen to these podcasts because sometimes they can get some takeaways. There are some case studies or lessons that people get in listening to this, so we want to take a look at what you’ve learned here. From your notes, you’d said, in the early days, you took too many risks, and in fact, there were many breakdowns that happen because of some of the risks that you’ve taken. Now, here you are, and life is a lot less hectic, and you make a lot more money. How was life before you started working with Influence Ecology?
“We’ve added about a third more clients than we had prior to me starting Influence Ecology.”
Johnny: I had this attitude, especially in the earlier years, that I could just about do anything I wanted to. A nanosecond before I started Influence Ecology, if I thought that I saw some value in the marketplace, I might just go right to work on that project. It may be a thought that happened in one second, but it might be a 10-year project to pull it off. There were many of those.
John: Did you feel you had the confidence to do those or you just leapt from a good idea to action? Did you feel you ought to be able to do all those? Was it confidence or hubris or naiveté or all the above?
Johnny: All of the above. I would say definitely naiveté. I’m on a project now that’s 14-years-old, but I wish I were out of. I don’t think that I’ll ever make that mistake again since I’ve come to Influence Ecology.
John: What happened and what did you learn that had you be a little bit more careful?
Johnny: Well, I’m a true hybrid. I land between the inventor-performer. People talk about inventors. Inventors tend to talk more than anybody, and I got called on that immediately. That all the details of my life are not all that important to everybody out there. There was one thing that hit me — If I see something that is valuable in the marketplace, rather than do any study, rather than think about all of the things that need to get done to pull it off, I just go straight from invention to production.
Just go right straight for it. “How much money we need to put together now? What do I need to do?” I’ll grab a few people to try to drag along with me on the project, and there I’d go. It made a big impact on me just to hear that and to realize that — To just stop and look at the Transaction Cycle and really follow it. I shouldn’t be in production if I haven’t made a deal yet. Just basic stuff.
John: You sound like a lot of people, in some ways. We tend to hear about a good idea. We tend to see something going on out in the marketplace. They go, “I ought to do that” or “Maybe I should take advantage of that.” Then, we rush into action. There’s a little bit of this that sounds like, when we held the mirror up to your Transactional Behavior, perhaps you didn’t know that you were rushing to action? Was it because we held up the mirror? Was it a little bit more of that or was it somewhere in the study of the Transaction Cycle itself you started to go, “Uh-oh, I’m missing these steps”?
Johnny: You held up a mirror out of the gate, but then it started to show up in the transaction cycle too. If I could, I’ll share something that I really got from the Transaction Cycle.
Johnny: And I wasn’t even planning to get it. With onboarding new clients, I’ve now been able to onboard one in 15 minutes, where typically, that’s the record so far. I talked to that man for an extra 15 minutes just because I felt guilty that we had onboarded him that fast. I needed something else to talk about. In reality, the way it used to go to onboard a new client, they’d come in, meet with me. I’d decide what they need to do, that would take about an hour and a half or two.
Then, the next two or three weeks would go by, and we’d be working on a statement of work. Then, five, six man hours have gone by producing that. Two, three weeks later, we close the deal. Now, we close the deal before they leave my office. The statement of work’s signed, the money’s collected. There’s some production of work that’s already happened by the time they leave.
John: That’s fantastic.
Johnny: I didn’t plan to do it that way. I didn’t plan that change. Partially, it had to do with learning where people fit in the Transaction Cycle from their personality. I moved around personalities. I found a person that could come in and close the deal with me and produce the paperwork for me for the statement of work right then and there. I had a judge in that position before. Well, she never had time to do it right now. When I took the judge out of that position and put a performer there, immediately it just worked, because anything I’d say she’d say yes. Where the judge would say, “Well, I don’t have time to do that right now,” like that.
John: That’s fantastic. You took your entire — You call it your onboarding process, but from the time somebody meets with you to the time that they sign the deal, you took that from several hours and several meetings to a very short little span of time. You sped that transaction up significantly.
Johnny: It’s 15 minutes to two hours now, and it’s complete right then.
John: In doing that, did you also find that you closed more clients because you got more effective at that piece or did you just have a whole bunch free time on your hands?
Johnny: Well, it’s a small business practice. I like the size of it, never intended to grow it fast, but we’ve added about a third more clients than we had prior to me starting Influence Ecology. It’s all referral. I haven’t advertised in years. We added about 20 in the last quarter.
John: That’s really great. Well, I don’t know, but I think, if [chuckles] anybody’s listening who’s looking for a business that was all referral, that increased by 30% in the last year, and then you also got yourself a lot less work and a lot less hectic. You close the business quicker; you remove certain obstacles. That sounds like a real nice deal.
Johnny: It is.
John: That’s fantastic.
Johnny: My intention is always just to grow a little bit. I like the size of the practice the way it is now. I also know that I need to grow it a little bit.
Johnny: Or you’re going backwards. It almost occurs, with the thing that I’ve done for 25 years, that I can add as many as I want or slow it down if I want to. It’s nice.
John: Very, very good. You help people with some pretty complex tax and finance and asset protection strategies. Is that right?
John: You and I don’t know each personally that well yet, but I know Kirkland does. He’s said a great deal about your genius in all of that. Can you say a little bit about your unique skill set there?
Johnny: I can just give a few examples of things that just show up. There are times that I just can see things that other professionals haven’t seen or didn’t think of. I saw a contract, read it in about 15 minutes and saw a flaw in the way it was written. It saved the client $600,000 (USD) in tax.
Johnny: Just something in the contract that should be written different. I said, “You don’t close this deal, give me the opposing attorney’s name and number, and I’ll call him, and I’ll show him. Everybody’s going to agree, I promise you.” Called and talk to him and they made the changes, and we were done. That’s one. I’ve had people with major tax problems. The things you hear on TV, in terms of advertisement, “Reduce tax liabilities from half a million dollars (USD) to $1,200 (USD).”
At times, I’ve seen where people were about to file bankruptcy. One of my best cases ever was a guy — Rather than filing bankruptcy, we went a different direction, a work-out direction. It literally saved him around a half a million dollars (USD), which meant that he didn’t have to sell his house and go through bankruptcy. Wouldn’t have been able to pay the mortgage, in the bankruptcy they’d have taken all of the cash. He wound up with about a half million dollars (USD) in cash until he could find another job or whatever else he wanted to do going forward.
John: It’s impressive in ways that, as Kirkland has relayed to me sometimes, some of what you do or have done or can do. It’s impressive. Is there a particular kind of client that is the best client for you? I’m thinking about the people listening. Some of them might go, “Hey, I should give Johnny a call.” Anybody that’s your perfect kind of client?
Johnny: First off, they’re a small business. That’s my client, small business people. The project that I’m working on — I’m not sure whether this is my primary transaction or not — Is to target $300,000 (USD) in income to one and a half million (USD) or so. A net worth of $10 million (USD) to $200 million (USD) in that range. That’s what I’m working on in Mechanics and Practice, but that’s not really my primary transaction. It’s something that would bring more of those deals that I just shared with you just a few minutes ago. Going out and finding them at will, not just having them show up at my office.
John: All right, well, let me ask you a different question. You’ve been around here studying with us since what, three years, four years, something like that? What has you sticking around, what has you participating here and joining us at conferences and the like?
Johnny: I just see the value. It’s a co-constitutive, reciprocal relationship. That particular client, those examples that I gave you, those will typically pay me somewhere between $50,000 (USD) and a $100,000 (USD) in the first year. Then they become clients forever after. They may not pay me near that much after, but in that first year that I help them get out of a mess — They become extremely loyal when they’ve been in a big mess, and I’ve created enough cash flow to pay my fee. What I’d like to do is know how to find them, rather than just have someone refer them to me. I think, at some stage, in the midst of MAP, whether it be MAP– Then, if I’m invited to do MAP II — That somewhere in the middle of that I’m going to learn how to do that.
John: That’s right.
Johnny: I don’t need many of those a year to alter my income.
John: As I said, you’ve been around for quite a while. Is there anything about this education that knocked you upside the head? I love learning, I’ve always loved it. Every now and then, something I come to study, it knocks me upside the head for a moment. Really wakes me up or alters my trajectory. Any little moments like that here at Influence Ecology?
Johnny: It really knocks me upside the head to not move, to not immediately start working on finding those clients and closing them. I know people that fit the demographic, I know an abundance of people that are one degree away from the demographic. It is so hard for me to wait and not just start doing it.
“It really knocks me upside the head to not move, to not immediately start working on finding those clients and closing them. I know people that fit the demographic, I know an abundance of people that are one degree away from the demographic. It is so hard for me to wait and not just start doing it.”
John: That’s so good.
Johnny: An example of it, sadly. Even though I have the knowledge not to move forward until I have all the pieces put together, I’ve still pitched a deal to four people. Even though I know not to. It knocks me up the head, like, “How can I not talk about this and get myself in a situation where I’m presenting a transaction that I don’t have fully implemented?” That’s what knocks me up the head. I’ve got one that’s on the schedule right now.
John: Let me say something about that real quick for those who are listening and may not quite follow what you’re meaning, because I totally get it. When someone constructs a transaction, sometimes, there are parts of the transaction they haven’t yet constructed. For example, if I’m going to construct some offer and I don’t yet know how I’m going to fulfill that offer or how I might maintain it over time or how I might assess that transaction, it may be too early to launch. Because I simply haven’t put together all of the aspects of the transaction that I’m going to trip on later.
I may find myself in a world of hurt, if I haven’t done that. I think what you’re pointing to is that you’re sitting here constructing the transaction, you’re not quite complete with all of the aspects of that transaction, so you’re being a little cautious. [chuckles] At the same time, you’re ready to get going, and in fact, are a little bit. Is that what you’re saying? Is that a good way to say it all?
Johnny: It’s exactly. I know better than to do it, but I’ve done it for so long that it’s hard for me to stop myself. This education is probably the only education out there that would even get what I’m talking about.
John: Right, because, for the most part, people are taught to go for it. “Come on, if you can dream it, begin it and do it,” and all of that. Yes?
Johnny: “You can do it. What about risk? Don’t worry about that risk. You can’t have a reward without risk.” Just like you say, “Go for it.”
John: Exactly. Well, I think that’s a great place for us to start to wrap this up, because the naivete of, “Go for it, you can do it. Come on, what are you waiting for? Life’s today,” while there’s some value to that — I certainly find, sometimes, getting myself out on the jogging trail, sometimes that’s a useful thing to remember to go for it, to get up, to move.
In terms of transactions, that may cost me tens of thousands or perhaps millions of dollars, if they go awry. It certainly serves me to think accurately about those and to plan accordingly. It’s very good. All right, well, the last thing I want to ask you, because I give everybody an opportunity, is, if you have any soapbox moments? There are, often times, for people, something that gets their goat.
Something they intend to be quite passionate about. They’ve addressed something here about that, or they’ve learned something here about that, or there’s something we teach that’s irrelevant. Any soapbox moments that you have that you want to say?
Johnny: I’ll tell you what gets me up every morning. Most small business people are successful for most of their lives. If they’re self-employed, they’re fairly ambitious. The sad part about it is I can’t count the number of people that I’ve seen that wind up 65 or 70 years old and they’ve had a great career their entire career, and they take one big hit, and they’re done.
“I’ll tell you what gets me up every morning. Most small business people are successful for most of their lives. If they’re self-employed, they’re fairly ambitious. The sad part about it is I can’t count the number of people that I’ve seen that wind up 65 or 70 years old and they’ve had a great career their entire career, and they take one big hit, and they’re done. They’re broke, and they’re 65 or 70, and they have no way to recover.”
They’re broke, and they’re 65 or 70, and they have no way to recover.
With these small business people, my goal is for them to build wealth outside that business, to look at them globally not just the business. That that business is not only for them to build wealth from, not pour money back into. I want to make sure that they are secure outside the business while I’m helping them take care of their business.
“My goal is for them to build wealth outside that business, to look at them globally not just the business. That that business is not only for them to build wealth from, not pour money back into. I want to make sure that they are secure outside the business while I’m helping them take care of their business.”
John: Well said. All right. Well, Johnny Washington, it’s been a pleasure having you today on the Influence Ecology podcast. Always a pleasure and I thank you very much.
Johnny: All right. Thank you.
John: You are welcome.
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