Tribe Podcast Transcripts: Jim Penman – To successful looking after your customer first

Tribe Podcast Transcripts: Jim Penman – To successful looking after your customer first

Please enjoy this transcript of my interview with Jim Penman (@jimpenman) .He is the founder and CEO of Jim’s Group. He started mowing lawns part time as a student job in the 1970s and now has 4,300 Franchisees in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. He is funding a research program into the root causes of mental illness and is the father of ten children.

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Miko Santos (02:41):

Please. Welcome Jim Penman. Thank you first. Welcome to the bootstrap podcast under Auspod Syndicate, Jim.

Jim Penman (02:51):

Okay. It’s fine. We’re actually, we’ve got more than 4,300 since that was done. So remember we’re still growing,

Miko Santos (02:57):

Still growing. That’s fantastic. So the first question they usually asked Jim, where’s the beard and hat.

Jim Penman (03:08):

Well, it didn’t doors now and the lights aren’t that strong. So I don’t really need a hat. I used to wear those bucket hats when I was mowing lawns. Cause they don’t get knocked off. When you go under branches and things. Uh, the what actually what happened was, 21 years ago, I found myself single and my beard was going gray. And I think if I’m going to get married, I’ve done it to look any older than I am. So that’s why it came off. And I got married the following year, just up to add 20 year anniversary. So no reason to grow it again.

Miko Santos (03:40):

All right. So if you do fast forward now, the Jim’s group is the largest franchise in Australia by number .

Jim Penman (03:50):

Up by value. Not by value. I can assure you the McDonalds are worth an awful lot more anyway.

Miko Santos (03:57):

All right. So Jim’s mobbing his iconic brand and I was really excited how easy to communicate with you. And you’ve got over 50 different services. So everyone is everyone who’s watching right now and also listening, particularly people in a startup or in a bootstrap or starting at a new business. How did you start at from moving and what happened next

Jim Penman (04:26):

Well was cleaning, but that was more or less accidental because, because we sort of thought that we we’d extended beyond nine because we had the sort of a contracts and systems and stuff. So we thought that the mowing this, um, image was it, that’s a guy with a beard and a hat. It’s a gardening image. So we didn’t think it would work. So we actually tried cleaning with a logo called sunlight issue and lit with these sprays and stuff. So it wasn’t, that was a nice clean logo. And so we sold a couple of French trusses. Didn’t work very well. Couldn’t find the work for them. And so, uh, we gave it away and then later somebody came to me and said, we’d like to do Jim’s cleaning. And I said, no, you don’t because that’s a like a gardening image. And they said, we think they’ll work better under your brand. So I said, okay, well look, you want to have a go at it, do so. So they didn’t and it worked. That was really how to start it. And then we find that we can apply it to anything, which is a bit like, you know, Virgin, which was originally a record shop. The store is now, you know, airlines and colors and everything else.

Miko Santos (05:27):

Is it the first time you stablish this business is that you’re already thinking on franchising, the business or you

Jim Penman (05:36):

Not at all I never thought when I when I used to my lawns in the seventies, the student job, it was just getting outside and it was pretty good money. Cause I could get five bucks for my old one, which took me half an hour. That was good money in the, in the mid seventies and it was, you know, exercise and so forth. So that was, that was good.I was intended to be an is anywhere my academic career collapsed. And I knew I had no chance of getting a job, in, in a university that, I don’t think I knew how to do. And even then it was just something that was to keep going until I found my real career. It took me quite a long while to work out. This was really quite a good idea.

Miko Santos (06:15):

So if anyone watching this, now they have a bright idea and have a unique as a service based business and looking to franchise and want to put in the market. So we want to license their brand. Just like what you did before and turn into a franchise. What is your recommendation to them?

Jim Penman (06:39):

Well, first of all, to franchise a business, you’ve got to have a successful business. People often think your franchise, an idea, you don’t franchise As an idea, everybody has brilliant ideas, including me and most of which are pretty crappy. As it turns out, you have to actually have a business to work. So you have to know how to market it. You have to know what to charge. You have to know what kind of services to give, what kind of equipment to use. You just have to understand the business that means saw now. So when I, when I franchise knowing I knew that business well, I’d been mowing lawns for 15 years. So I knew that really well. And you’ve watched sort of equipment and you everything about it. so that’s what you need. And you’ve got a great business and you want to franchise it well, then you gotta, you gotta change your viewpoint because one of the things about franchising is people don’t realize, is it major clients actually, then not so much even the clients themselves, but are your franchisees and the, the whole concept behind Jim’s Jim’s mowing, is it wasn’t the beginning is that you want system that everybody should really, really want to be part of the, I used to say at the beginning, it has to be so good.

Jim Penman (07:44):

You’d have to be mad not to join it. So I’d compare with what was available already from my major rival who had 250 franchisees when I started and I said, okay, how can I do something that would make it so much more attractive? So I put a lot of extra protections and benefits. In for example, we have a system people didn’t like the fact that in that system, they could take lead clients off you. So if somebody, if you had some regular clients and new franchisees started in one area, they used to take your clients to give them to the new guy and franchisees didn’t like that. So we actually said no, in our contract, you can’t do it. And people a lot of upset about people getting to 10 years and then being told they can’t renew. So we give our franchisees automatic, might’ve have a renewal and there’s a whole lot of protections you put into the contract. And then with Tommy Cleveland Morin, we allow our franchisees to change to a different franchise or, or vote out their franchise or, or veto changes to their own manual. So you keep on looking at it from the point of view of first priority. Is our franchisees. Now we’re passionate about customers. And I personally spend several hours a day looking at customer issues, but franchisees are number one.

Miko Santos (08:53):

So if someone wanted to have franchise and Jim’s group is that hard to get our, you are very picky on getting a franchisee or just easy.

Jim Penman (09:06):

We have a very strong emphasis on selecti we had a franchise all last year who put on a franchise who intended to that. When I looked into the issue was completely unsuitable and not only stopped it happening. But actually when that guy came to renew, he said, you need to sell your business because there’s other reasons too, but it was grossly unethical for him to do it. In fact, the guy, the young bloke, actually his mother was buying in a franchise. What I discovered because she approached me about his mother was buying a franchise for him and she was buying it for him because he couldn’t find a job. He couldn’t hold a job. And I said, that’s terrible. That’s that’s guaranteed failure. And she was quite upset. And I said, listen, how about I find you your son some work.

Jim Penman (09:52):

So actually put him out to work with a couple of our local franchisees in his area. And he was terrible, fail completely. So this poor woman would have blown all her money. So there are some people who should just not be franchisees. And very, when I trained franchise owners, the first session I talked for an hour and a half is about why it’s so crucial to choose franchisees. Now, having said that most people who apply for a franchise with the right training, with the right support, with giving them extra work, when they need it with all the different things we can do, most people can be successful. So you’ve really got to look out for the minority who just haven’t got what it takes.

Miko Santos (10:29):

So if you could say one thing to somebody who’s never been an entrepreneurs and thinking about making a leap of faith and becoming into an entrepreneur, what could you tell them?

Jim Penman (10:43):

Well, I tell them, first of all, the service industry is a fantastic place to be because it requires very little capital and it’s wide open. The demand for services is phenomenal. We not back hundreds of thousands of leads a year, cause we can’t cope with them, even though we’re growing. And our people are just too flat out even to the window when it’s quiet, no among people are busy fencing about 60% leads on service. So I would say that people often have this idea that the future business is all about high tech and sitting in front of a computer natural effect. The best opportunities are really in the most basic preside businesses like mowing lawns like cleaning, like building fences, like pest control as kind of things that there’s so many opportunities in the services area, people do ignore that. There’s a wonderful book called the millionaire next door, which is about American millionaires.

Jim Penman (12:00):

And if I ask you or anybody who you think the typical American millionaire is people will most like yourself. Well, there’s some tech guru or somebody who’s, you know, very clever lawyer or something like that. What’s a typical American millionaire, but actually they’re not. They’re actually people more like me and my friends and my most successful franchisees that people who’ve gone into the service industry and being very successful. And they typically have very, like I do very simple tastes. Don’t live in a luxurious manner because you know, this is my normal, I don’t think I own a business suit. For example, I drive a 12 year old car. That’s very typical of such people. So I would look, I would look at areas that are open and that’s particularly in the service industry I would recommend, but basically go into any business. And you know, if your passion is pizza, well, you might try that. That’s a very competitive area, but just, just go in and the business and do it and really, really, really well do the really great business. Look after your clients, look after your staff and when your franchise and look after your franchisees, just be focused on service and not on money. First. That’s a big mistake. People make, they look for the money. First, you look for the service first.

Miko Santos (13:08):

My next question is it’s about the service and also about the people. So what is your three best tips to be a successful business? Based on your experience,

Jim Penman (13:21):

Focus on service. Look, you’ve got to work out a way to make money out of what you do. And we recommend that people work on at least 60 bucks an hour in the service industry, but you got to, you got focused on making the people, your happy with rating things. That’s the idea. How can you make your clients delighted in you, whether they’re clients with their franchisees, whatever. That’s the first thing. I’d also say the secret of success. People often think it’s a matter of having some brilliant idea. He said, Oh Jim, you know, it was like, you were suddenly mowing lawn mowing. And suddenly you thought, what have I franchised? But a good idea. And some of them multimillionaire, it doesn’t work that way. It’s, it’s a thousands and thousands of different decisions about what you can do. Now. Every day of my working life, when the time I started pushing a, along around to now, I asked myself the question, how can you do it better?

Jim Penman (14:13):

And even today I was having a discussion with a staff member and we decided to make a change of policy that, you know, there was an issue that Rose because clients were reacting a certain way. So we said, okay, we’ll do this by. So we changed something and tomorrow I’ll do it again. So every day we say, what can I improve on? How can we do it better? That that’s the biggest thing. The people, people, they sorta think one of the mistakes people make is they think they’re better than they are. I mean, nobody is as good as they should be. As service is incredibly better than it used to be. You know, our complaint, right? Pre franchise, very hundred. We get about, we used to get about a hundred complaints that was before our frinchise When I had some contractors, you know, after a few years, it went down to a hundred leads, five complaints.

Jim Penman (15:01):

Some years ago, it was down to like two complaints. Now it’s just under one complaint. It’s gone down and down. Now I am not satisfied with it. I reckon we can cut that list in half over the next 12, 12 months with some new technology we’re doing. So every no matter how were you doing? You always want to do better. The characteristic of people who failed, they tend to be arrogant. They tend to say, Oh, well, I do it well. And then if you look at what they’re doing is all you could do this, but Oh no, no, no, no, you’re wrong. It’s not my, it’s not my mistake. It’s the client’s fault. Your systems are fault. You’re a fault. They don’t look at themselves. So a good operator will always look at themselves what they’re doing and say, how can I do it better?

Jim Penman (15:38):

And that attitude is, I know it’s a funny word, use a business. A lot of us got to do is humility. You gotta be able to say hi, I made a mistake. I make mistakes all the time. I make more mistakes. I reckon that most people haven’t done it every year, month in their entire lives. But I’m always saying yes, that was the wrong. That was the mistake. I’ll do. I’ll do it different. Or listen, you know, every single franchisee in Jim’s group has my phone number and my direct email address, everyone, even today I would have individually had contact with, you know, 15, 20 different franchisees or franchisors on one issue or another. And I listen to clients too. I’ve had, I’ve had several discussions with clients about customer service issues. Cause I, I deal with that. So I’m always in touch with what’s going on. I go in and talk to my staff and say, what’s happening. You know, you client, what are people saying? What, what, how are you getting a bad reaction to this? Just talk to people all the time and more information. How can I do it better? How can I do it better? That is the, those are the two major things that I would say. And then within that context, obviously you’ve got to look to make decent money, but never is never top priority

Miko Santos (16:44):

In relation with people starting up their own business. Why do you think, why do small business fail? Some of them fail on on the first year of their business.

Jim Penman (16:59):

First of all, to be very fair. It’s not easy to start a business from scratch. When you don’t know what you’re doing, you don’t have experience. You don’t have much capital. Just, just to give you a picture. Now, there are, there are figures on the failure of business. When people talk about who will business trouble is they include things like retail, which are entirely different. But when it comes to service businesses like cleaning and gardening, the estimated failure rate in the first year to be 90 and 95% that you can look this up on the internet. There’s an American associations called the cleaning janitorial services.association in America, which has got the figure on their website of Nike 5% failure. Okay. Now our failure rate in our first year based on the last in recent times is around 12%. So it’s not zero.

Jim Penman (17:47):

We’re still about 12 of people who fell on what Simon does will not be there at the end of 12 months. And that they haven’t always felt sometimes they’ve gone independent or a bit off in a better job and stuff, but that gives you some indication of the level. So it’s not zero, but the difference is what we provide for them is so much more. First of all, we provide them with leads. So we’ve, and we also provide them with training. I mean, we used to lose 17% of our franchisees in the first year. As soon as we put proper training in place, which is a separate mounting, a six day course, we actually dropped that down to where it is now, probably even a bit lower sometimes in the past. So we provide training, we’ve got ongoing support. Our franchise was ringing regularly. We have meetings every six weeks or so.

Jim Penman (18:30):

There’s a very structured, we have somebody they can talk to. And if that person develops somebody else that I can talk to including myself. So there’s a whole series of things. Then we’ve got manuals, we’ve got all kinds of resources, like then use this other franchisees they can turn to and ask advice from this trainers and so forth. There’s a, there’s a whole structure of ways of putting things together. So we, what I generally say is there’s some people who probably could start a business from scratch and be successful. And we call those silver and gold franchisees cause in assets. And they do very well. Now for the end up, employing people are becoming franchise owners. most people probably wouldn’t succeed without our help. Now once you’ve got them going, one of the problems we have is that people do actually tend to go independent after all, some people do which is pitches allowed.

Jim Penman (19:21):

It’s part of their system. They just pay a few grand and they can go independent. But all the same, it is, it is a challenge, no matter how good you are to start from scratch. Especially full time. The advantage I had is that I started part time and I wasn’t dependent on it. So I started off my actual business started in 1970 when I did some gardening and I was charging a dollar 50 an hour. And then I did that for a while and then I bought a car and I wanted to pay for it. So I thought I might as well get a lawn mower cause I could make more money. I could charge five bucks for, you know, half our job, which is good money and nice,

Jim Penman (20:07):

And um, so, but I didn’t, I wasn’t dependent. I was a student, so I didn’t need to make a living. I could just gradually build up and learn from my mistakes and learn how to use equipment better and just, just gradually do it. That’s a good way to start.

Miko Santos (20:21):

They, they think Jim, because of some of the failure of the some business owner and to be here because of them shiny object syndrome is that can be quite a bit.

Jim Penman (20:33):

Ideas are cheap. Ideas are incredibly obvious and simple. It’s not so much the idea. It’s the way you do it. Like for example, you take something like search it search now. the Google boys, weren’t the first people to think about the idea of internet search. It was already a massive business when they came along, they just did it better. And the same thing with computers, it wasn’t the first people to think about putting computers together. They just did it better than anybody else at that time. And the same thing with, with Amazon, I mean the idea of selling books online that wasn’t original to Jeff Bezos, it was, he just did it better. So people have, re-estimate the veg, the brilliant ideas. What really matters is, is, is looking at what you do and just working out better and better ways to do it.

Jim Penman (21:26):

How do you, how do you make a business work better? And there’s so many aspects of business, even if this is like a lawn mowing business, if you think that’s pretty simple, but it’s actually not that simple at all. So you’ve got to look at things like, okay, what are you going to charge? What sort of equipment do you use? What’s the best mode to use? What sort of trailer do you need? how do you find the good what’s the most cost effective way to find work in Bubba that changes all the time. What we do now is totally different to what we did even 10 years ago. And then you go and look at things like, you know, uniforms and what sort of uniform you wear, what sort of clothes you wear, what sort of protections you have. And then you’ve got safety gear, like goggles and glasses and stuff.

Jim Penman (22:04):

And then you’ve got to know how to approach a client. And what do you, how do you, how do you raise your prices to a client when inflation goes up and how do you know what to charge you? What’s a reasonable acceptance rate and how quickly do you need to get back to a client to do them? And that’s just a mowing business. There are lots and lots of ideas. You could probably put it, you know, I could probably spend, I could probably do pages, pages and pages on the basics of doing something like running mowing business. And of course, when you go beyond that when you’ve got employees and how do you choose employees and stuff, and how do you supervise them? Which I never spoke with when I, before I was afraid, she was my employment system is terrible.

Jim Penman (22:42):

Some of my friends, she goes into a much better and you see, I might want 15 years. And when I started franchising, we started having meetings. These guys who just started up my own lawns, we used to have meetings originally in my lounge room. And they had all these ideas that I actually, even though I was really too busy, I had thought I really wanted to get out there and start mowing lawns again, just because I realized how many stupid things I’d done wrong. I’m going to stick somebody, you know, back in when I first started, full-time in 1982, I’d been doing as a student for seven years or so. I remember being very proud of the fact that all my clients were accepting my prices and, and I, even people we used to give me tips like 20 bucks. I was like, this is great.

Jim Penman (23:25):

I’m fantastic. And I was making five 50, 100, 500, $600 per week. Now I’m looking at it back over the last I was being done. I was undercharging. In fact, the acceptance rate was too high. Something like 75% is much more agreeable. So I could have been, actually increased my income by an extra say 15, 20% without just by knowing something as simple as that, which is what we tell our franchisees now. So I actually council franchisees. I say, you’re too cheap. You’re not getting enough. Knock-backs I had one franchisee who was he was converting 95% of his leads. And I said, you know, this is he actually, cause I was just talking about 75%. So this guy knew, he said, I didn’t, if Jimmy ever hears me doing this, you’re not, there’ll be in trouble. So he raised all his prices, any, any, still got back down to the high eighties.

Jim Penman (24:16):

And so he thought this is no good. So a few months after that, he raised all his prices significantly. Again, never got down to 75%, but made a lot of money. So simple things like that. What do you charge? You’ve got to, you just got, there’s so much to learn. There’s so much to know. And one of the things we say, Pete, when a person buys a franchise, what they usually tend to buy is the lead stream. When we’re on, you know, do modesty, we’re pretty good at funding work. And we have this thing called pay for work guarantee where you can get paid for offering freebies. If you don’t make enough, but actual effect, the biggest advantage really ongoing is the advice it’s learning from really good people. Like for example, you talk about upselling. That’s a big, big clue to being successful. And I didn’t realize this when I was out there.

Jim Penman (25:05):

That’s how you make your money. So for example, if I go in and mow your lawns, I’m going to charge you say 60 bucks to do a job, takes me 35 minutes. Now, if I can then clear your gutters, I can charge 120 bucks for a job that takes me three quarters of an hour, which is if you count the traveling, it’s very similar. So instead of making 60 bucks, I’m making 120 bucks in the same time. Can you, can you see how that, which is really something more like $150 per hour? Can you see how much more attractive that is? So it’s kind of learning things of that nature and how to do it successful. In our top franchisees, they make several hundred dollars per hour mowing lawns and doing things of that nature. But then how do you approach somebody? You know, if you’re mowing somebody’s lawn, how do you approach somebody?

Jim Penman (25:51):

Now, if you, for example, you can go to somebody and say, Hey, how about if I clean your gutters? But then if you say that you could be knocked back and you can be seen as pushy. So what we say to them is this, do you say to them, something like this, it’ll look, how does your lawn look? You know, you’re happy with that. You know, it is cause it’s magnificent. Cause I did it because it was great. And he said, look, if there’s anything else you ever want done, like, you want you to get us cleared or rubbish, removed or gardens. We’d happy to help. Okay. Now the difference between those two is if you said the second way, there’s no risk of rejection, which we’re all fry fried off and there’s no risk. The client will feel pressured. So we actually teach our people to use these kinds of phrases, but how do you get them?

Jim Penman (26:29):

Well, first of all, you got to remain as the client. Secondly, you got to ask, but again, you don’t want to ask them directly. You want, don’t want to be saying, Hey, can you tell him? Because that puts pressure on them and they can say, no, they can feel pressured. You might feel rejected, is hard to do. So you don’t do that is I look, um, built. It’s been it’s it’s been great doing business with you. Here’s my business card. And here’s a couple of extra cards in case, you know, anybody who wants work done. Okay. Now that’s not asking a direct question. That’s just giving them an extra card. You don’t ask him a question. They can’t reject you. They can’t feel pressured. Let’s talk in those small, not put the cards in their pocket, but if they know anybody, they know that you’re after work and it brought by, Hey, do, might need the service too.

Jim Penman (27:13):

No matter what it is that these particular I’ll give you an example of those two things. These are the things I didn’t think up. These are things that my franchisees come up with and we teach our franchisees how to do them. So little simple ways of dealing with clients. What do you do when a client’s unhappy? How do you do with them? How do you make them happy? That’s in the end? What do you need to do? And with our system, it’s pretty simple, but whatever we have a complant system, the only way to get rid of a complaint is to get evidence that you’ve, haven’t met the client. Now that might mean you refund. It might mean you give them a total gut check and fix what was wrong. You might go give a totally free service. It doesn’t matter what it is. Something do something for them, make them happy. That’s it?

Miko Santos (27:50):

Thank you Jim, that’s a good explanation. So I watch one of your YouTube channel in a day as a CEO on Jim’s group. So it’s been, it’s been quite hectic from the morning up to liasing with your staff. So what drives you to do this? And do you have any challenges of getting a burn out because of this? It’s been hectic schedule every day?

Jim Penman (28:17):

I don’t know. I think it’s a matter of temperament, partly, but the thing of it is, first of all, I have a sense of mission because there are more than 4,000 families that depend on me. And I take this very seriously. I find by far, the most painful thing is seeing a franchisee fail and they do fail really is very, very upsetting to see a franchisee fail. It’s the worst thing that happens. And the best thing that I enjoy most is a franchisee telling me they’re doing well after one month, I write them an email and they come back to the most of them and just tell me how they’re going. That’s a great, that’s like the high point of my day when I get one of those, which I do probably most days, I have a sense of purpose in what I do. And the other thing too is I’m very driven because the whole aim of my business is to fund a research program that I’m running through the Latrobe University, which we’re spending multiple millions a year.

Jim Penman (29:03):

And we’re looking for the root causes of mental illness and things like drug addiction and so forth, which comes out of my PhD work. So I always have a sense of purpose in what I do so that it’s, and I love what I do too. It’s really, really, really fun in a way I cannot begin to describe it’s businesses. Like the most exciting, challenging, rewarding computer game in the whole world is just fun. And you’ve got to love what you do. When people come to me to say, what business do I go into? What divisions I go into? I say, which is the most best earnings. I said, it’s the wrong question? What do you love doing? Do you love dogs? Don’t wash. You love cars, car you about being outside. Knowing you’re not just making things tidy and neat and clean well cleaning, maybe, you know, so it look to you love doing books, but bookkeeping. So, so find out what you do, do what you love and you’ll tend to make the most money and be most successful at that. I also think too, and this is really important you’ve got to look after your mental, psychological health.

Jim Penman (30:20):

Now doing something that you enjoy and you love is very important, but other things are very, very important to like fit that that’s one of the most. Now, if you’re mowing the lawns, you’ve got much of a problem, but most people don’t do that. These days. I have a, I have a rule where I get at least a half hour of vigorous exercise every day and the weekend, usually I spend four or five hours a day doing hard physical work. I’m working on my farm. So physically fit. Obviously a good diet is important. You’ve really got to try and live in a way that, that, you know, it’s good for your health and things like a good family relationships. Good personal relationships, good marriage relationships with your kids, with your friends, with your coworkers, people like that. Good social environment. Connections with me church is very important too.

Jim Penman (31:01):

So it could be a sporting club or whatever. So look after your psychological health, your physical health, and that all helps to do motivation. I never get burned out, not in the slightest. I’m like people sound like a force of nature. They just keep on driving. I, I can’t, my hardest thing is I’ve stopped. I really should try. Doctor used to try to work on the Sabbath, but I just can’t do it. I just cannot do it. I can’t stop. And even late at night can, if I wake up in the night or go out and do emails, but I just it’s me, but it’s fun. It’s not hard to do because when it’s fun,

Miko Santos (31:33):

You have to have passion on your business to do it, to drive it. Yeah.

Jim Penman (31:39):

But the passion comes out of doing something that’s meaningful. If you just care about making money. Well, that’s, I suppose it’s the kind of thing like I want to become rich so I can, I can buy an expensive sports car so I can impress girls. Well, that’s a kind of a, but it’s not really a, it’s not where it must be for happiness. There’s all sorts of studies. I’m very interested in the size. I actually read probably on average, at least a couple of books a week and you don’t listen to, I love mostly all kinds of different things. So, so, you know, socially history, politics, economics, economics, that kind of stuff and there’s a lot of work done on, on what makes me happy. And, and people think that having lots of money makes you happy. It’s actually very loose relationship after you’re making about 75 grand a year.

Jim Penman (32:25):

What matters is, is what you do with your money. Like for example, the worst way to spend money is, is status goods, like the more expensive house or car or that that tells me to do very well at all, somewhat better as experiences, but the absolute way, this is, I’m not, I’m talking to scientific research. This is studies that have done the absolute number one best way to use money to make you happy is to give it away to a cause that you are personally involved in the way I am with my research project, for example, but it could be anything that’s, that’s, that’s what, that’s what the research tells us. So it’s kind of, yes, you’ve got to be passionate, but passion comes out of doing something that’s worthwhile. I couldn’t do a business that I didn’t see value in. I didn’t see, I was doing some good. I couldn’t be in a business that was just speculative, like buying and selling Bitcoin and stuff. To me, that’s got no value to society or anybody it’s just garbage. I have to do something that I feel is helping people and it’s probably hurting my competitors that site, but certainly the people I did it, this is my own tribe. The Jim’s is tribe my own people. So I feel a strong sense of loyalty towards them.

Miko Santos (33:37):

So is this your ultimate aim to help other

Jim Penman (33:42):

My ultimate aim is my research projects. Um, we’re looking at the epigenetics of way of changing character in a way to help people to overcome. And we’re looking at things like one of the things we’re doing is we’re subjecting rats to different forms of food restriction, which hasn’t, which is known to be very beneficial in many ways to humans, there’s different forms. There’s, there’s moderate and there’s this on and off and then looking at the actual changes in their bodies, what’s happened to their cytokines, to their epigenetics, to, to their microbes, to proteins, to a whole lot of different things. And we’re looking at a fix and then looking at ways to actually, um, duplicate that and including trying different all pheromones to we’re trying different kinds of, of repurposing distinct drugs. So the whole of different ways of doing that. So that’s my ultimate purpose. It’s the science that actually could change the human rights. I mean, that’s, it’s a huge goal, but that’s what I’m after.

Miko Santos (34:41):

So Jim’s group is almost more than 500 million the business itself, so can, Wealth and success be harmful?

Jim Penman (34:54):

Yes, most definitely they can. And, um, there, there are many lives stories of life being destroyed by wealth. One of my close friends had a brother who was immensely wealthy. I mean, he’s probably worth more than me, property wealth and stuff, and he committed suicide a couple of years back just, just wrecked up, messed up family relationships. See some, for example, I mean, a man who’s got so much money. It can go to his head. He starts to become very proud and he says, you know, I don’t have to be faithful to my wife. I can have all these goals and beautiful young girls throwing themselves at me. And so he starts slipping around there. Rex is married to his family, and then he says, Oh, I can afford to take cocaine or whatever. So you can take drugs and things like that. As soon as you get into the attitude of saying I’m going to do what’s, what’s best for me.

Jim Penman (35:42):

And that’s to be incredibly destructive and very dangerous to health and happiness. So there’s so many stories of people who lives have been wrecked by access funny. Now, literally to a large extent, the second generation, one thing I’m determined, I’m not going to give much to my Cuban will to help with housing and stuff that they can make their own way. And they don’t find, um, they don’t, they don’t need to lean on their father. There’s no such things as trust funds in our family. So it can be very dangerous. Wealth can be an enormously powerful thing. And you look at the way and the person I admire most is bill Gates. And to a limited extent because of the business, did he go for far more because he’s what he’s doing with the money. And this guy retired long ago from business and, and Microsoft is worth nearly $2 trillion now.

Jim Penman (36:28):

So it’s done very well, but now he’s fully focused on the Gates foundation, just working out. But I normally admire that guy here he’s, he’s way above my level, but, but that’s the, that’s the perfect idea of an entrepreneur. Somebody who makes immense money and then there’s, how can I use it to better lives, but his foundation would have saved millions of lives. How would you, how do you assess the value of somebody’s life when they’ve done a thing like that? It’s taking kids, especially from communicable diseases and stuff like that. He’s an extraordinary man. That’s but then so girls can do incredible good, but you know, Gates, here’s a good actually, I mean, it lives in a pretty nice house, a bit more than what I would, but for example, he makes a point of, of, of I think, I think they do the washing up together.

Jim Penman (37:11):

He also drives his kids to school. I mean, things of that nature he’s, he lives in some ways, a very ordinary life, and he’s not allowed the wealth to go to his head, but there’s other people who just do, it’s just become so self-indulgent and it’s so destructive. Yes. So what’s this going to be as good in my view, as a, as a Christian, God gives us wealth. It’s a trust. And Jesus said, it’s hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Then the camels that go through an needle. And that’s, there’s a lot of truth in that because wealth can be very, very distracting.

Miko Santos (37:43):

How do we fix it? How can we, so you said, can wealth and success can be harmful. What do you think is the other option to fix this problem?

Jim Penman (38:04):

It’s up to the individual, isn’t it, but people should have a moral purpose. I don’t think amassing war threats on sake is of any great value. I personally, I mean, people would sign out right. Stingy in, but I am in a sense, I just don’t like it. I’m always switching off lights in the home. And when they go to Coles I went on a gone by the cheap washing the detergent because I reckon it’s better value. I’m notorious for that kind of stuff. But I think, you know, or we go out too deep there, our family goes out to local pizza restaurant for 60 bucks. That’s how night out kind of thing. We’re not, I just don’t think wealth is meant to be used for personal indulgence. Now I have certain luxuries, like one of the things that’s great about being rich is I can buy any book I want.

Jim Penman (38:44):

I love that. It’s a, it’s a great feeling of liberation to be able to buy any book that I want my children never have to suffer from anything lack of education or anything they really need or health or dentist or anything. I mean, it’s not even a remote consideration. This is really good way to spend money even on yourself, but beyond a certain stage beyond, you know, w when you get much beyond the average Australian income, that there isn’t a value to it. I think people realized how little wealth spent on personal indulgence really helps you. I think they would use it better, but how do you get people to do it? Because I’d be people look up to me and admire me, or I had a better car, or, you know, this thing of, if I have designer clothes or, you know, for women flashy jewelry and those kinds of things it’s just, they think it brings happiness, but it doesn’t, it’s an illusion you’re just chasing after the next indulgence and the next, and it doesn’t work. It doesn’t work.

Miko Santos (39:46):

So you’re saying about you love reading books and as entrepreneurs what books are you recommended? So it’s, if, if I interview starting up a business, so what, what do you recommend to them to read?

Jim Penman (40:02):

I can recommend to read if you’re an entrepreneur, is Stephen Covey’s seven habits of highly effective people. Now, it sounds like a sort of a self-help manual how to get rich, but it’s nothing like that. Actually. It’s about basic principles, such as the character, having a, I think, a good, consistent character and, and pursuing win-win solutions and stuff. And it works just as well for family relationships and friendships, as it does for business. It’s a guide to the right way of thinking about life. I actually, I never read it for years because I always thought it was like some, you know, held it. But my daughter’s who’s as qualified as a doctor actually said to you that you should read this because it’s, it’s what you always talk about. And so I did, I picked up and I got, I’m just about to listen to it the second time.

Jim Penman (40:45):

Actually, it’s a, it’s a great book. And I said, that’s the number one thing I would do now, apart from that there’s many good books around about business. I was very influenced by Lowe’s book behind the arches, which is about McDonald’s. And that was when I was first franchising. Well, looking at some of that back in those days. And, and that example of how he did it, you know, Ray crock actually here’s some of these franchises were millionaires and he was still earning his entire business out of his Mixmaster business. He used to sell mixmasters and then how he actually produced an in degree of passion that he had. That’s a great example, many other books, too. Um, I’ve made one recently Ashley Vance about Elon Musk. That was very interesting. That’s a different level of business, but talking about how did it, why he did it.

Jim Penman (41:34):

I read anything I can about business, about show, shoe dog, or there’s so many books. I read anything I can about business owners, all about Uber and, and, and everything. Um, if anybody wants to look at what I’ve done, um, on my website, www.jim.net, there’s a section that says meet Jim, if you go in there, you can actually download the free copy of my book, every customer, a fan, which talks about what I did and how I did it. And the total detail, that’s all there has even an audio version. Plus there’s a massive different,

Jim Penman (42:26):

There’s probably far more about videos that I’ve done that you’d never want to see in your entire life, but it’s all in there. So it’s not hard to get good information, but I would say, I would say books is a, is a really, really good. And, you know, you read a book and you might only pick up one idea out of it most, I think nothing, but it it’s all, you know, we’re looking at, we’re looking at, um, you know, some of the things they do with these, with these, like reading about what’s the balance sheet about Instagram. I just recently listened to an audio book about Instagram, and it was talking about how they expanded the system to cope with the very rapidly growing number of, um, of users that we’re experiencing. And so when I was talking to my software development head, um, last week, I actually was relating that experience.

Jim Penman (43:17):

We’re talking that this program, whereas with developing, what’s going to happen to, to that if we expand and modular systems and using things like Amazon web services and stuff. So it was kind of relevant in a way, even though it was a different kind of business. So it was just helpful to know things. I often pick up ideas from reading or listening and audio books are a fantastic resource. I might say too, because, um, reading time can be very limited, like, like for example, because I live a reasonably busy life. I love news magazines. I’d be new scientist and economist. I read them every week. So, and I read an occasional book, but most of it’s audio and that’s something you can do on your driving. I’ve got little, the earbud these things. So you got to put it into your ear and you can listen while you’re driving.

Jim Penman (44:05):

And if you get a phone call, you just tap it and you take the call. So that’s easy. So I drive my kids to school, I’m talking to my son on the way to school. And then when I went back home, I’d put this on. Or if I’m working on, on my farm, I listened to audio books. Or if I’m even having exercise, I’ll listen to audio books or just getting just after a shower. So there’s all this time that you can be using for useful things. And it’s just interesting. I don’t know, like a task. I love it.

Miko Santos (44:32):

So we’re talking aboutAudio, so you’re listening to audio book as well. So while you are working, so can you tell us about

Jim Penman (44:39):

Very wonderful little device there?

Miko Santos (44:42):

So we have two working in wrapping up this, uh, this is this podcast. So the last question I have is where are the best opportunity for entrepreneurs?

Jim Penman (44:59):

Okay. So look for most people that I recommend the service industry, and I know even if I’m, if I’m building muscle competition, but it honestly is a very good area because it’s very easy to staff without experience without capital. You can start anything as an entrepreneur, people start in the service industry and going like one of my first franchisees guy called Andrew Macintosh actually became eventize eventually very successful. He was a franchise, or he started the fencing division naturally. He’s now gone into other things, he’s he owns several different nurseries and he’s a, he’s a like a building contractor. So the mine business gave him his capital, gave him his start, his experience. So I would say for anybody, who’s not in business, hasn’t got a lot of money then the, um, that’s a very good place to be. Other, other places that people should look at is in terms of where there’s fast moving technology.

Jim Penman (45:53):

Now, an obvious place is in the IT space, which is to do with, with so becoming a software development program I think there’s a lot of opportunities there to, to go really, really major businesses, a bit successful, that can be a job and so forth. The other area that I would suggest people look at, and this is a little bit more wild, but in terms of the epigenetics revolution, then genetic fibrillation, when you’ve got technologies like CRISPR, for example they they’re, they’re revolutionary. The things that’s happened over the past year with the COVID, the way they’ve developed these, um, these vaccines is astonishing. It’s totally unprecedented and never happened before. Like, like they had the, they had this virus actually figured out within weeks of what it was. And then within weeks after that, that actually it started to develop vaccines to deal with it.

Jim Penman (46:50):

That is totally beyond anything that’s ever been done in the past. this, the potential to do things like, um, I believe actually not so much genetics to potentially put genetic change, but also changes to epigenetics, which is turning on or off the activity of certain genes. I think that’s going to be a massive area. This is actually not that complicated. People think you need like a PhD in genetics. You don’t, you can learn these techniques in a few weeks. It’s it’s actually, a lot of people are caught hack like biohackers. They’re actually doing this stuff. So I would say anybody, there’s probably, there’s three areas. Services is easier because it’s obvious again to the, but it software development of various kinds and bioengineering, because the opportunities are best for a small guy. when the market is changing very, very fast. And that’s why, for example, you look at media, for example, look at the great names of the past, like Fairfax, for example, that was a huge company.

Jim Penman (47:50):

It had the age Sydney morning Herald. It’s now a shadow of itself who are the big players. Now companies didn’t even exist in those days. You know, people like who’ve taken advantage of this thing, like carsales.com.au, Or realestate.com.au These are all the main seek. All these businesses started almost for nothing. And they’ve actually crushed the, the existing operators. So whenever there’s a change in the world going place and same thing with Apple and Google and Facebook and Instagram and all those ones Uber and the rest, they’re all, they’re all looking at technological changes and seeing what can be done. And even though Jim sounds like an old fashioned business actually effects and people don’t realize the great majority of my employees, I’m not actually involved in things like customer service. They’re actually software engineers.

Jim Penman (48:39):

Most of my, most of my salary goes in developing of software with, to improve what we do. So we’re looking at the opportunities there and they are extraordinary. It’s look, I tell you something, it is an amazing world right now. Things have changed so much so fast that it’s the possibility that the billionaires of tomorrow is sitting there thinking about their business plans right now. And there are so many areas I tell you what if I was 2020, again, I could think of so many different areas. I probably wouldn’t try and compete with Jim’s as a franchise, start a franchise directly. Cause it’s, we’re pretty good at what we do, but there were so many areas that, that you could be so successful at. And you want to get into at the beginning of a trend, not you don’t want to try and take on McDonald’s, they’re too good at what they do. But look at, look at somewhere where people haven’t seen the opportunities and then go there.

Miko Santos (49:32):

Thank you so much, Jim. So if anyone wants to contact you and ask some few question or ask some question about your company, how can they contact you?

Jim Penman (49:44):

Well, I’m just going through the website, you’ll see contact details on there. But if anybody wants my email addresses Jim@jim.net, as you, as you’ve seen yourself, I’m very easy to contact and I’m very quick to return emails and it’s often it’s useful. Most people contact me and I know I can’t help them or whatever, but sometimes they get really useful things. That’s why. Yeah. So just, just give me an email and say what you’ve got in mind and I’m happy to give you some advice. I’d probably by bringing up, have one chat with you, unless there’s some really good reason for it, but I’ll certainly respond by now.

Miko Santos (50:19):

Thank you so much. So if anyone wants to have a chat with James, I’ll put all the details in the show notes of this and thank you so much, Jean for your time and see you next week. Don’t forget to like subscribe and comment and review and see you next week for another episode of bootstrap podcasts under Auspod syndicate, and also want to have thank you to my sponsor. The Kangaroofern ,a podcast management Service for this, and also for the l web hosts,, my ayos.com, Thank you so much and see you next week for another episode of bootstrap podcasts under Auspod Syndicate Thank you. Thanks, Jim. All right. No worries. And see if it works for you.

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