For Mixergy.com, Andrew Warner has conducted more than 900 interviews with business experts, founders, and executives. He has also worked with successful professionals to craft over 100 different courses that teach members proven methods for growing a business.
A talented interviewer, Warner extracts experiences and wisdom from interviewees who explain step-by-step how they grew their business and overcame obstacles, and what viewers can learn from those experiences.
Mozy once helped Warner recover his files when his Macbook Pro decided to retire itself, now Warner is returning the favor by sharing the three ways entrepreneurs and small business owners can build better businesses:
1. Become an interviewer
Warner’s interview with Heidi Roizen is the first thing he mentions. Roizen is a world-class example of a someone who knows how to network. And she attributes much of her success to her ability to build relationships.
At her first job, Roizen took it upon herself to edit the company newsletter.
Because it gave her access to the CEO, allowing her to build that relationship and consequently meet other important and influential people.
Warner says, “If you’re an interviewer, you can get in more doors than if you send a note saying, ‘I’d like to do a business deal with you.’ People sit down for interviews, and then naturally — it happens to me all the time — they will want to do business with you.”
As an interviewer, Warner built a relationship with Roizen. He has also established strong connections — even friendships — with the 900 other entrepreneurs, including me, who have sat down with him for an hour long conversation to share our experiences, expertise and mistakes with viewers.
You don’t have to edit a company newsletter like Roizen did, or conduct in-depth video interviews as Warner does. You can interview incredible people even as the author of a personal blog.
You will be surprised how many people will open up to you, and how those new connections will help you succeed.
2. Diffuse the “counter mind” and empower the “true mind”
Warner, like everyone, battles self-doubt.
“Anything that we do, that’s worthwhile. There’s a part of us that makes us doubt ourselves. So I might come here to do an interview with you, and in my head I’m thinking, What if I don’t have anything as interesting to say as Gary Vaynerchuk? What if I’m having an off day? What if I say something really stupid? ”
With so much emotional stress and hesitancy, how could anyone accomplish anything meaningful?
“The same thing happens when you read a book about sales. They’ll teach you exactly what to say. They’ll give you the scripts. They’ll show you the process, and then, you’re supposed to pick up the phone and you won’t even do it.”
Warner calls this paralyzing mentality the counter mind. Conversely, there is the true mind, which requires we give it more head space so we can be ourselves.
“If you can diffuse [the counter mind] and bring out the true mind, then you can walk into a conversation and people can pick up on the fact that you’re comfortable. You can learn how to do something and actually go and do it because you’re excited about the rewards of it.”
3. Systematize workloads
Small businesses often struggle to grow. Sometimes, that is because a business is limited by what its owners are capable of.
“We founders tend to do everything. It’s our companies and we’re really good at doing everything and so we end up doing it all. And then we get overwhelmed, and we hire someone and we say, ‘You, do this. Solve this problem for me.’ And they can’t do it right, and so we take it back on our shoulders.”
In the early stages of Mixergy, Warner believed he couldn’t possibly delegate the tasks of pre-interviewing entrepreneurs, editing the videos and managing the business’ finances. So he assumed those responsibilities, overwhelming himself, only to realize that it was he who limited the firm’s potential.
Warner decided to finally hire a professional video editor, but the relationship didn’t work out. Warner confirmed his suspicion that he was the only one capable of running and supporting his company, and so he video edited once again.
Yet, it wasn’t that Warner was the only qualified person to do the job.
“The mistake I made was: I didn’t explain to whomever I was hiring how to do the job right. I didn’t systematize my job so that anyone else can do it.”
Warner, remembering his interview with Derek Sivers, concluded owners should: “[observe] how you do something, tell everyone else how you do it, and then let them do it that way.” He created Mixergy’s “manual,” a step-by-step guide for how to do the different jobs.
And he has been successful in growing the company.
“I gave [the manual] to our [video] editor, and now the editor is better than I am because in addition to doing what I do, he’s improved the job. But at least he started by editing the way I do it.”
Warner no longer has to be Mixergy’s sole work hero. The company has grown to nine people. With eight other capable team members, maintaining and updating the “manual” is more important than ever.
“Here, if someone can’t make it, if someone wants to take a vacation, the manual is there. The next person can pick up their job and do it.”