James Mackay Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
Introducing James Mackay
James Mackay is todays guest joining us on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots podcast.
He is a man who I am truly delighted to get to speak to.
When you start a show like Join Up Dots, you hope with all your heart that the words, and advice will make a difference to someone, somewhere across the world.
Someone will listen and think just like I did many years ago, “I think I can do this and make a go of it”
Well todays guest did that and after leaving the following review on iTunes I looked to get him on the show to start joining up the dots of his life.
As he says “Listening to this podcast week in, week out has given me the confidence to take the plunge and set up my own business. My only regret.. I wish I had done it sooner! The guidance, tips and advice offered by David has been invaluable and I can only attribute the success I’ve had with my business to the valuable wisdom provided in these podcasts.”
But how has he done it?
How The Dots Joined Up For James
After leaving the university of Birmingham with a bachelors of science, he began for a period of six years working for a series of financial advising companies around the Bristol area of the UK
As he says “After leaving University I decided on a change of direction.
I completed a financial planning graduate programme with one of the UK’s largest financial advice networks and have worked in the financial services profession ever since.
Then I worked in several financial advisory firms, big and small, learning what works and what doesn’t.
My areas of expertise include working with small business owners, self-employed consultants & contractors, as well as professionals such as lawyers, solicitors and accountants.”
And now with his own company and his expanding team of colleagues he is really starting to see what I say in every episode.
So what was the moment when he thought “Ok, its time to get going and do my own thing?”
And what was the hardest part…getting his mindset going himself, or convincing his colleagues to start working with him and his fledgling enterprise?
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots, with the one and only James Mackay
During the show we discussed such weight subjects with James Mackay such as:
James shares how he loves creating the goals of financial freedom for his guests, not simply advising on what to do with their money.
We talk about the process of deciding on what the business is going to be for the founders. Why create a business that becomes a nightmare.
James reveals how he was willing to put the effort into his business at the beginning, but knew that he had to hold himself back from burnout.
Why James and his partner believe that you should only do what you truly love doing and outsource the rest.
How To Connect With James Mackay
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Interview Transcription For James Mackay Interview
David Ralph [0:01]
Once upon a time, there was a guy with a dream a dream, which is Jobs himself online and have a kick ass life working when he wanted him where he wanted across the world. Little did he know that dream would lead him into a world of struggle, burnout and debt. Until he found the magic ingredient and knows drunk was became a thing of the past, of course, was bad person. And now My dream is to make things happen. BU Welcome to Join Up Dots.
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be but somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK, David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:56]
Yes, I love it. Good morning, everybody. Good morning, and welcome to Join Up Dots welcome to a very special episode because this guy is a guy who kind of connected through the world of virtual life. And I tried to hunt him down by making a play on an episode. And Ben he just sort of walked out of the woodwork and and he was there anyway. So um, he’s on the show and he’s a guest joining us on the podcast, as he is a man who has, as I say, I’m truly delighted to get to speak to when you start a show like Join Up Dots you hope with all your heart, but the words and advice will make a difference to someone somewhere across the world. Someone will listen and think just like I did many years ago, I think I can do this. I think I could make a go of it. Well, today’s guest did that. And after leaving the following review on iTunes, I looked to get him on the show to start joining up the dots of his life. As he said, listening to this podcast week in week out has given me the confidence to take the plunge and set up my own business My only regret. I wish I had done it sooner. The guidance tips and advice offered by David has been invaluable and I can only attribute the success I’ve had With my business Ted a valuable wisdom provided in these podcast me, but how has he done it? After leaving the University of Birmingham with a Bachelor’s of Science he began for a period of six years working for a series of financial advising companies around the Bristol area of the UK and as he says, After leaving university, I decided on a change of direction I completed a financial planning Graduate Programme with one of the UK is largest financial advice network and have worked in the financial services profession ever since. Then, I worked in several financial advisory firms big and small, learning what works and what doesn’t. And my areas of expertise include working with small business owners, self employed consultants and contractors as well as professionals, such as lawyers, solicitors, and accountants, and now with his own company, and he’s expanding team of colleagues. He’s really starting to see and do what I say in every episode. So what was the moment when you thought okay, okay, it’s time to get going and do my own thing and What was the hardest part? getting his mindset going himself or convincing his colleagues to start working with him and he’s fledgling enterprise? Well, let’s find out as we bring on to the show to start joining up with the one and only James McCown.
James Mackay [3:15]
Good morning James. How are you?
Unknown Speaker [3:18]
Morning David and I’m really well thank you and what one introduction that was so thank you very much and as well,
David Ralph [3:25]
yeah, no, you are somebody is rocking and rolling because you’ve decided but you can do it and you can go out and you’ve gone into with big one aid. excitable eyes, although when I first spoke to you, you was less than excitable. He was Good morning, David. How are you? And I said, you know, let’s perk it up, James that Yeah.
James Mackay [3:49]
I’m bouncing now. So this is a dreary, dreary, November morning in in Bristol, so maybe that was that’s the excuse anyway, that I’ve got no very really pleased to be on the show. And yeah, thank you for doing what you do. Listen to most episodes, and I’ve kind of tracked you for, for quite a while. And yeah, it’s been fascinating. Wow,
David Ralph [4:13]
thank you so much. And that’s the end of me that let’s move on to you. Because one of the things I want you to understand James is about those clouds. It’s not dreary. And if you increase your altitude, Ben, it’s always happy. Somebody said this to me once and I say a lot on the show because it’s true. But jet pilots only have sunny days, because they’re higher up. And so if we raise our sort of expertise and our standards, it’s always going to be sunny in our life. Isn’t it always a naive point of view as you are ploughing into growing your new business?
James Mackay [4:48]
No, absolutely. I think I think you’re right. It’s all in the mind, isn’t it at the end of the day. I’m not really miserable, even though I think I maybe just had too much of a late night but yes, absolutely ready figure.
David Ralph [5:02]
Right? So let’s talk about you because this this is fascinating. And as I say, I wanted you on the show and I set out my network to find you and then you just kind of bumbled into my life anyway. So it was it was brilliantly easy. So you were, are you interested? This is the key point to me, because I would be bored, stupid doing what you’re doing, because I just haven’t got regulation in my blood. I like to cut corners. I like to make things happen. And I know with the FSA as it used to be in whatever it is now. There’s restrictions all the way around, does working in financial industries excite you and interest you or is it a job?
James Mackay [5:45]
Well, some people think financial advice can be boring. Yes, I understand that. But I mean, if I flip it in terms of you know your analogy a minute ago in terms of mindset, I mean, the things that we concentrate on Suppose the outcomes that we deliver for people and I don’t think those are boring. So for you know, for example, you know, helping people build wealth faster to hit financial freedom or retirement sooner or giving people peace of mind that they know if anything happens to them, you know, their family will be taken care of. So, you know, if we really drill down on what we do, as much as you know, the legislation, the regulation, tax, all these kind of things, they can’t they can be boring, yeah. But putting everything together and, and delivering those things. And, you know, most human beings want security, they want freedom, and and we kind of help them achieve that in in one way or another another So, so no, I don’t find it that boring actually. I quite enjoy it. You know, you learn a huge amount about various different People who learn about their storeys that businesses what they want to get out of life and, and if you can be a small part of of helping them along their journey. I think it’s, you know, it’s a great profession personally, but I can see why I was boring.
David Ralph [7:17]
Yeah, no, but I agree with everything you said there. Because you know, in in that regard we’re no different because I hopefully inspire people to do it. I’m actually I changed 360 recently and for the first three or four years of Join Up Dots, it was all about global domination, it was all about growth. And now I’m I’m fascinated with anti scale and I was on a podcast episode yesterday being interviewed. And I’m fascinated about how can you make the smallest business possible so that when you open your email, you’ve only got interested customers, you haven’t got all the rubbish by blasting it out. Now we’ve yourself, obviously you’ve got to start getting customers. And as I say, constantly on Join Up Dots. Most people start a business because they think, Oh, I’m good at this thing, but then they suddenly realise there’s a lot of other things that I need to be good at, or at least possible at the start getting the ball rolling, that one thing is just not enough. How did you do it? How did you go from saying, let’s start this business to getting the first customer through the door?
James Mackay [8:28]
Good question. Actually, we, we spent a long time planning that this is I should also say, I’ve got a co co director, Chris. And also I better give a shout out to him. So we’ve kind of planned it together. But we, we we started off the business really with an idea of what we didn’t want to be, I suppose. So I think a lot of people, rightly in many cases, think of advisors This kind of middle aged men in shiny suits that that talk, you know, talk a load of jargon filled language and the world of finance can be made simple, or it can be made extremely complex. And I think it’s over complicated in a lot of areas and we wanted to simplify everything. So we have a bit of a saying sort of, you know, do it in crayon, where people can, you know, really understand, you know, concepts, whether it’s you have to do with investments or whatever it is. So we kind of that was that was that was one that was one of the reasons we kind of the idea was was was born about I think also financial services, broadly. isn’t the most highly trusted profession. I think we’re probably somewhere between, I don’t know, estate agents and car salesman with with respective professions. And yeah, exactly. And so we want and so we wanted we were really wanted to be a business that was the highest of honesty and integrity. And that was a, you know, a non negotiable. So, you know, we we think of that as having sort of the family test, you know, is the advice that we give to each of our clients the advice that we would give to a member of our family. And those big firms and banks can’t can’t say that they do that I don’t think,
David Ralph [10:24]
well, I used to work for NatWest bank, I’m going to give him a name check, because they’re not really around anymore in that West Bank. And we used to just sell stuff because we could sell it. Well, there wasn’t any sort of qualms about it the customer needed or anything back in the 80s. It was just a tick box culture of Yeah, there’s a few sales get down the pub in the afternoon and that was it, you know, you just did it. So it is brilliant, how it has become regulated as well. But one of the things that I was interested in, what you were saying is how you and your partner decided on what type of business you wanted. Become It can become a nightmare. So many people plough into it, they go into the scale by go for the financial rewards but then realised by never leaving their office. They’re working incredibly long hours. And to be honest, they might as well have stayed at work, working for somebody else leaving at five o’clock. I mean, going back to it the next day. Did you have those kind of discussions about Yes, we want it to be like this. We want to provide the freedom for ourselves and not just our customers.
James Mackay [11:29]
Exactly that I mean, you hit the nail on the head, you know, we spend our time, our time helping people live, you know, live their lives by design. And it would be a bit hypocritical if we weren’t to do the same. So we had an idea of what we wanted to build we we don’t want our business to to scale to some dizzying heights and take on the world. We want to remain pretty small, pretty nimble. Look after people really well and and specialise in what we do as well, I think that’s important. So for any business to actually find your, your target market and and and, you know, go deep on that rather than be all things to all people.
David Ralph [12:17]
Yeah if you go niche you get rich and I spend a lot of time now, as I say working with people because we we’ve got a business coaching platform going deeper and deeper. And when I started doing it, I thought I was going deep. But now every time I train somebody, we go even deeper and we find the rewards greater because quite simply, there’s less competition. Now with yourself James, being the sexy individual you are. Are you the kind of person that can seduce people into your office because it’s still you? You didn’t answer it really James, you didn’t answer it. So I’m going to come at it from a different way. Yeah, how did you get that first customer to go? Yes, this company’s only been around two minutes but I’m gonna trust them How did you do that?
James Mackay [13:11]
Really it was first first customer was a family member in all honesty but I’ll but I’ll wipe that aside is getting out there oh no why
David Ralph [13:21]
why would you want that? Because that is that is a customer you know you are targeting people that need your help and I think so many people make the mistake of thinking, Okay, I’m in London I need clients from you know New York but actually you need the next door neighbour you need to personally in the next room.
James Mackay [13:39]
Oh, yeah, exactly. I was gonna open so cuz I didn’t answer your question. But really, for me, it’s getting out there and meet meeting people. And I think when you get out there and meet people in your local area, let your local community whether it’s networking, I still I still attempt to play rugby although my body’s trying to stop me, and, and and, you know, meeting people and if you know if they kind of learn a little bit about you learn a little bit about your business, understand what we do differently, then a lot of people are quite interested, and whether that’s luck or judgement, I’m not sure that we’ve had a really
David Ralph [14:22]
so where’s the difference in James? where’s where’s the difference? Well, what would you do that is different because that is what, you know, benefits and services aren’t sexy. But the difference is what makes a difference in what you do, how you create the vision of what somebody is going to get how their life is going to change. How do you express that difference to them?
James Mackay [14:46]
Yeah, well, expressing it is one thing really, we’ve tried to show them so we try and put we try and put their numbers into into pictures really. Which sounds like a strange concept. We can show them using a few different tools that we have financial planning software and all these kinds of things. And really we can put in someone’s you know, financial life understand what they want their future to look like. And we can show them whether they’re online on track to achieve it or not, and if not what they have to do to course correct. What are the things that they can do today to achieve what they want to do, whether it’s, you know, becoming financially independent and retiring at 5560 whether it’s travelling the world, whether it’s, can they afford to spend more now and not put so much weight for the future. So, really, we we focus much more on the big picture of our clients financial lives, because people don’t really have financial goals in my experience. They have they have life goals with financial implications, and so we focus on far more about their life. Well, they’re trying to achieve and answering, you know, the, the big picture questions that they have. And I think we take away a lot of people walk around with sort of a burden of, you know, uncertainty and worry about the future. And I think we help, you know, we take that off their shoulders to some extent, by doing what we do. So, we do we do to, you know, things quite different from the norm of, you know, just catching up having a cup of tea and chatting about what the investment markets has done recently, and I think that’s, that’s one of the biggest things that we found our clients have really sold on Well, that’s different. We really want to do that. So yeah.
David Ralph [16:44]
Yeah, because that sexy time isn’t it? The vision is sexy time I had a guest on the show. I lady can’t remember the name but like me, but she was a financial person in America. And she basically said to people, it’s not about having lots of money in the bank account is about having experiences, what do you what do you want most from and let’s try and bring that into your life. And I think but yes, I want to support my kids, but I don’t want to support my kids, if it means that I’m not having a good life, you know, basically, I want to go out travelling when I want, I want to go your way with a wife when I want. And then when I die, I say to the kids, look, there’s there’s a bit of money for you. But I’ve had a bloody good time. And it was all my effort. That’s where I think it is. And that’s what I think a lot of people fail miserably in your industry, but they’re talking about, you know, high interest savings accounts and switching ditch and all the kinds of stuff all important.
James Mackay [17:44]
Yeah, but it is not boring. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. And understanding what you want to do. Some people some people know that like you know yourself you want to sort of you know, you’re only here once you want to live depending on the beliefs that You know, most people only only here once and want to make the most of it. And, and I think, you know, having the knowledge of what that means, you know what you really want to do what you we often we often ask a question to, to two people to stay if they’re struggling to really, you know, if they’re just Well, I want to retire at this sort of age. We say, Well, you know, if you were, if you were struggling, health wise, if you didn’t have that long to go, what would you regret not doing? And that is it’s a difficult question to ask and it’s an even more difficult question to answer. But often that you know, asking yourself that can really help you understand some of the some of the things that you would really love to do. You know, I think I think you know, you know, we don’t we don’t often give ourselves time. to really think about the future, think about what we’re trying to get out of life. And, and, and really sitting down and having a think about those sorts of things. Like you may or may not have done, but by the sounds that you’ve kind of, you know, you have a good idea in terms of what you want to what you want to get out of life. And that’s the first that’s the first part of what we do. I think.
David Ralph [19:21]
I know my biggest regret in life will be, but I haven’t seen every part of this world. You know, when I go on road trips, and when I go travelling, and you get a bit tired people always say to me, oh, why don’t you have a keep in the back? You know, and I always think to myself, no, because I’m going to miss out on seeing, you know, it’s something that I will never see again and I want to absorb this planet, because I think that ability to, to, you know, wonder the world with freedom. That’s the thing that excites me so much, but actually, when I die, I think I haven’t seen Greenland. I haven’t seen this. I haven’t Same bat. I think that is where the experiences of what you’re talking about, come into my life big time, how do I channel my money, and my time and we’re going to come to that straight after these words, we’re going to talk about money in time. He’s,
Jim Carrey [20:14]
my father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [20:41]
Now, one of the things he says in there is do anything you can basically to get it going. Now I speak to so many people, James, and I’d literally want to shake them because I know they’re not willing to do the hard work and everything that is great in life takes time. takes time. It takes effort. It takes sleepless nights it takes investment. Did you know in your heart of hearts that you had that effort that you were really going to make a go for it go with it?
James Mackay [21:14]
short answer is yes. Yeah. I, I’ve always wanted to run a business. I’ve always been really interested in business. And I’ve always kind of I probably, if anything, I’ve kind of overworked rather than underworked, and sometimes I like patients, which is which is often a sign that you know, you’re you know, you’re ambitious and you came to came to do different things in life and achieve different things in life. So, yes, I’m certainly one of those people. I don’t know whether it’s always a good thing. As a matter of fact, that you’re always focusing on, you know, the next the next thing to achieve. I think sometimes you need to appreciate just Kind of where you are what you’ve got. But yeah, that’s me in a nutshell.
David Ralph [22:04]
I was laying in bed this morning and the alarm went off and me and my wife always have a little cuddle. And it annoys me actually this cuddle and I’m gonna, I’m gonna air it to the world for the podcast. She doesn’t listen to me in the house, so you’re not going to listen to this. But I like that the alarm goes off. I look at the alarm and I get out of bed because they know I’ve had my full quota of sleep. But my wife likes to keep on snoozing it so I had to look at the clock but like half hour until she’s ready to get up out of bed. She says it’s a cuddle but I find it is an inconvenience. Anyway, I’ve Ed. Why do women not just want to sleep until I can wake up and Ben just jump straight out of bed. James, what’s up?
James Mackay [22:47]
I’ve got no idea that one that’s not my domain.
David Ralph [22:53]
It’s just madness. It’s madness. Yeah. But anyhow, I was laying in bed and she bought me a cup of tea this morning. She said what you got on to And I said, Oh, it’s best best guys at 10 o’clock in the morning. And then I got about six more later on. And I was saying to you know, it’s funny why I constantly look at what needs to be done, because what I’ve already done is enough. And, you know, this is where my mindset at the moment is on empty scale on knowing that pushing, pushing, pushing doesn’t do anything in the long term other than where you are. Now. It does do it to a certain point, you know, you’ve got to put push an effort in at the beginning, but there’s got to be somebody that says to you, which I didn’t with me, James, you’re looking knackered me You need to have a break. You need to go off on vacation you need to leave this behind. It will be back when you get back. Have you got anyone in there in your life that is your sort of anchor that pulls you back when the James hustle muscle is going too far.
James Mackay [24:00]
Yes, I do and, and, and sometimes I think that’s the best thing that you know, whether it’s your other half whether it’s your business partner can say to you is is, is, you know, look, you know, you stop and, and chill out whether it’s you know, going on a holiday or just having a, you know, an afternoon off or an early night or whatever it is, I think these days as well I think gradually we’re, we’re moving away from the typical, you know, nine to five work week, you know, with with technology and and, and the gig economy growing and all that kind of thing. And I think I think humans actually work best if we if we kind of works, you know, Sprint work, if that makes sense. And then you know, and then take long periods of long periods of rest, I think, I think the, you know, the slugging it You know, a 1012 plus hours a day. I think that’s a bit of a relic of the industrial age and and when you’re, you know, trying to be creative or using using your mind i think i think it’s probably not that good for you either and you don’t you don’t do your best work.
just slowly trying to battle through and slogan. So the way
David Ralph [25:22]
I you know I mentioned this because it’s so important, it really is important, but when I started Join Up Dots, I know it only sounds like a podcast, you know, and people today, just think that I can launch one and make a success of it. But I was doing literally 20 hours a day, I really was I was working till midnight, and being going to bed, but I couldn’t get to sleep. And then I’ll probably get to sleep about two o’clock and then I was waking up at six again and going and I look back at pictures of myself now. I look terrible. I look really really terrible and everything was just going to pieces My life, but not one person really said to me, David, there’s a different way. They said to me, You should stop. And I was saying, well, I can’t stop because I’ve got to build it, I’ve got to get it going. But nobody actually said to me, there’s a better way. And the better way is walking away, giving yourself two or three days off, and allowing that obstacle that you’re pushing against, to come up with a solution. And I play an Oprah Winfrey speech when she says, you know, be quiet, don’t think about what you’ve got to do. Just think about the next right thing. Is your next right being obvious or do you get lost in the process as well? Have you got a plan what you’re going to be doing this week or next week? Or do you literally juggle plates as soon as you walk through the door James?
James Mackay [26:49]
I’m somewhere in the middle. So excuse me, you know, we have a long our long term plan for business personal life and and you know, set some goals but In terms of actually trying to, you know, not be splits spinning too many places you say I do something called a well bit of a morning routine where I plan each day I don’t plan a week because things change too quickly so I kind of set you know on a Sunday night I kind of set everything that I want to do this week block out the you know, whether the meetings and then each day I know how much free time I’ve got and I can I can plan and block out the things I want to achieve in that time. So I think a great book on on this I think is atomic habits by by James clearer than if you’ve read it. No. You haven’t heard of it. It’s no no, it’s, it’s, it’s brilliant. And he actually is an American guy. fascinating, fascinating from what you Said I think he’d be really interested in his work. And he, he talks about you know, having it’s all it’s all well and good having all of these big goals in the future. But really we’re a product of our kind of daily habits and sets about how you should use your time most of most efficiently and, and set up your kind of, you know, the big things each day that are going to, you know, help you achieve those goals rather than just saying, you know, I’ve got to get to x revenue, if you’re in a business and running around, chasing your tail, trying to just reach that big goal. He talks about breaking it down, putting it into small steps, and you know, then making it into sort of daily small actions and it’s a fairly recent book but I found it’s really changed the way I work and it’s been massively helpful.
David Ralph [28:51]
So so easy in a roundabout way, James Join Up Dots. Is that what he’s doing
James Mackay [28:57]
in a roundabout way he’s Join Up Dots. Yeah, he’s joining up. habits but yeah, same sort of concept of,
David Ralph [29:03]
because I spent all yesterday afternoon doing a jigsaw puzzle. And I used to love doing jigsaw puzzles when I was little. And I’ve now I’m doing the ferry of the forest. And it’s this ferry in a forest, and it’s a nightmare puzzle. But I get addicted to them, and I keep them coming back. I just do one piece of when I sit there, but I realised but it is my meditation. It’s my ability to switch off I’m thinking about anything other than doing the puzzle. And I used to try to do meditation because people say, you know, and I just couldn’t, I couldn’t switch off. There’s always things going through my mind. And I’m still trying, right. Yeah, and I felt great last night and I actually posted on Facebook, you know how to reset your stress levels. I now do jigsaw puzzles. And I’ll be interested to see, you know how people get back to me now with yourself and you say you still try to play rugby. I imagine that is a similar thing. You’re so engrossed in the game but you’re not thinking about anything else other than getting your head up some man’s bottom and grabbing a ball.
James Mackay [30:07]
Yeah, just what I love to do on a Saturday afternoon. Yeah, no, that’s exactly what it does, you know, you know, everything else falls away out of your head and you’re just focusing on on, you know, getting your head up, someone’s spotting and grabbing a ball. Exactly. And, and, and, you know, I think that’s one of the things even as I you know, as I, as I get older, I will, I will play as long as I can. And as long as, as long as I say my body lets me which which might not be too much longer but but but that’s what that’s what it gives me It gives you a complete sort of complete break from working life and to focus on something completely different and use I suppose a different part of your brain. And yeah, I think just just you know, normal exercise going to the gym I think that does the same thing. jigsaws by the sun does it also do the same thing. So whatever, whatever it is, for individuals that kind of They can just, you know, get out of their head and focus on something completely different. I think it’s always beneficial.
David Ralph [31:07]
Now looking at your team, I’m always interested on how do you get people and I mentioned it in the introduction, how do you get people to buy into a fledgling company? So you’ve got Kevin Malin, you’ve got cat mark and Chris Hendel? How did you actually say to them, guys, I’m starting my own business is going to be called Fraser, James Co. And where’s the phrase a bit come from? Actually,
James Mackay [31:30]
the phrase is my family name? Yes, it comes from like, my grandfather, that was his that was his surname, mother’s maiden name. And, yeah, important person in life and, and so you know, I wanted to be I wanted it to be sort of a family focused company. And so the name was kind of based around around family really.
David Ralph [31:55]
So these guys, I assume that they were already in compliance and they was Already in financial industries, did you say to them visit the passion like Steve Jobs said, you know, do you want to sell soda for the rest of your life? Or do you want to change the world? How did you how did you get them to buy into your passions for this fledgling enterprise?
James Mackay [32:17]
Well, first, I suppose we talked about what we wanted to do differently, like a lack of you know, mentioned before we kind of wanted to build a completely we wanted to drag financial advice into the modern modern day era, I suppose and, and, you know, we can get quite passionate about, about doing that. And the very thing that stinks with that involves, and and, you know, speaking to speaking to these various various people to, to, to help us out whether it’s, you know, to, to do some consulting or to work the business or be part of the business. People have been very receptive and and we’ve chosen to work with people That really wants to do the same thing and have a similar passion. You know, not just one, one the Jobs want one expert to do.
David Ralph [33:11]
So do you pay them because I speak to a lot of people and that stumbling block at the beginning of how to get enough business in to start paying for someone, they end up doing it all themselves for everyone a day. And even when the profit start coming in, they don’t want to give up some of that profit to somebody else. Because they think you know, it’s all mine. It’s all my efforts. How did you actually stop paying them when you didn’t have any customers?
James Mackay [33:39]
Well, we well, we didn’t actually stop here. We effectively you know, didn’t take on on full time on full time roles. So we didn’t have you know, big, you know, big big salaries to pay. But to to broader point. Both Chris and I both we both believe in, you know, doing what only you can do. And I think that’s, that’s something that I’ve sort of learned with, you know, with clients, eroding businesses, focusing on the stuff that only you can do with the stuff that you’re really good at is one of the big sort of, I suppose, growth strategy, whatever you want to call it, and outsourcing the other stuff that takes time that you don’t enjoy that you’re not as good at. I think that’s, that’s, that’s a something that I’ve learned over over the last few years to basically have a have a huge return on investment. And so and so any staff that you take on really is an investment in you in freeing up your time to whether it’s divert more business, whether it’s to look after clients even better develop yourself or whatever it is. It’s you know, taking on stuff should be an investment, I think
David Ralph [35:00]
I have no staff at all, because I’ve got it to such a stream line. But a couple of times I’ve hired people and I didn’t really have much to do, because I everything is, you know, it doesn’t take much time. Now, it’s, I’ve got rid of everything, but I don’t need to do. So I only do. I was reading a book, actually, today, a guest was on the show recently. And he’s written a book called marketing now. And it’s a brilliant book really good. And he’s given me one of the sort of pre copies. And I was laying in bed this morning with me with me, or he owes me to say, and I was reading this book, and the guy was saying, spend 90% of your time on what works and 10% on test. And so he was talking about marketing, so find your marketing source. And if it starts bringing profits into your business, just keep on ramming money into that and, you know, focusing in on that, and then 10% just try after stop. How did you find out What was working for you? You already mentioned that you network. That’s certainly After a time, you kind of dry out that network poll. So how are you bringing more customers into your business?
James Mackay [36:13]
Sure, um, I think the most important thing that we, that we try and do is look after the current customers or clients to the highest possible level. Because with financial advice, it’s not you’re not buying a product is not a kind of a, you know, an easier service for people to get their heads around. It’s so personal to people to feel comfortable to, you know, talk to you about, about money. The often that, you know, the best form of generating businesses is referrals as old school as that sounds, and, and so we found you know, by, you know, by doing things a bit differently and really looking after people, people have talked about us to their friends to their family, and has recommended us and so that seems to be the biggest way that we’re growing at the moment. Now, going to going back to the book that you were you were reading and that that 9010 rule, which I think I’ve heard somewhere before, we’re also trying other other things. So you know, and and some of them are just hygiene factors like having a nice website, when when when people Google you, but we’re also trying other different you know, marketing things. So, on our on our Fraser James website, we have various guides, and we push those out on social media. So we have a guide on you know, seven simple steps to investing or, or a sample financial plan or you know, whatever it is, and we find that people have engaged with those quite a lot and and then we have, you know, various various online marketing marketing tools to keep in touch and to kind of drip feed in some, you know, some some more hopefully valuable content. And I think that’s a long, you know, a longer term play. But I’m quite a fact you know, big fan of Gary van der Chuck is kind of, you know, keep giving keep giving value keep giving content, we really we give away sort of the vast majority of our knowledge where we can and and then you know, when people feel that actually the time where they need financial advice, financial planning, then that’s the point where hopefully they’ll they’ll have US Top of Mind and get in touch.
David Ralph [38:29]
I think that is key to what you say and it’s a difficult mindset overcome that feeling of giving my best stuff away for nothing, you know, who’s who’s gonna buy anything, and somebody once said to me, when you see Gordon Ramsay cooking on TV, he’s not doing beans on toes, because he wants to save his best stuff. He’s doing the best stuff. He’s showing you how you can do amazing and buying over 99% of cookery books but they sell never Didn’t get used You know, I’ve got a kitchen full of ones from Jamie Oliver that when I look into it, I’ve never got the ingredients so I never ever cook anything from it. But I’ve still been inspired to go out and buy it by these people giving their best stuff away for free. And I think that is an innocent naive point that holds people back. But they’ve got to be secret squirrel
Unknown Speaker [39:24]
Yes, absolutely couldn’t agree more. Well, that’s good then James because
David Ralph [39:28]
we’re on the same page on this. Yes. So when when you looking at your business I’m interested number one obviously you you say you was a listener of Join Up Dots. Thank you very much. But I use somebody that is the more outgoing side of your business. Do the other guys like white secret squirrel? Happy to not network and let you go out and do it?
James Mackay [39:49]
Yeah, effectively. Yeah. So So the other guys are kind of making sure everything’s running really smoothly. first point of contact for the Clients the real sort of technical experts on things like tax and pensions and all that, you know, boring stuff as you might call it. And my my role is really you know, client facing and getting out there and I suppose being the face of the brand and and that’s what I enjoy and and the other guys are doing what they enjoy. So we will have I think that’s important with regards to sort of you know, when you when you when you build a team and putting it together and you know, these are things I’ve learned from other people rather than me telling others what to do, but if I’m, you know, find people with different skill sets and really enjoy what they do and just get them to do that, I think is is critical, really.
David Ralph [40:49]
And there’s a good thing on your website. I’ve just been clicking around as he was talking and I found it and I didn’t see it before so I’m going to bring this up. But James professional highlights and this is the The three things James loves most about his job. And I think these are these are brilliant but you already know them James word for it. Number one getting to really know and understand people learning about their history family plans for the future and then helping create the life they aspire to. Okay, which is which is very high level but shows that you are the right person to be out front and centre networking, getting your face out there, you’re a people person, which is great. Then being a trusted advisor people in trust us with their financial security and futures. I find that an immense privilege. Now, in the same way, I do exactly the same people. Invest in me people trust me and you. I always say to them, at the end of it, I want two things. I want a video testimonial from you to say but I’ve really delivered and I want you to buy me a drink. And I always think that they’re the two things if you can come out with feeling like you are 100% committed friends and mates that you could walk into a bar and have a drink with, I think that’s the best thing that I can do for my clients. And this thing that I want to delve into, and you of course, know it so you can just tell me, let you’re googling quickly to find out what you said. Simplifying the complex bet is huge complexity in the world of finance, and being able to distil it into need to knows for people to understand is great. So what would your number one need to know then for people because certainly with, you know, Brexit and all the rubbish that’s going on, it seems to change on a daily basis. What would be your needs to know that people really have to understand?
James Mackay [42:49]
Good question, what would be my need to know in terms of just general general Connor kind of financial behaviours financial advisor The people should do a 40 got to that’s okay. What I think one is, is paying yourself first. And by that I mean you know to build wealth and become financially independent and be able to retire when you want to retire. Most people need to set aside a decent portion of their income. So we usually say ideally, it’s kind of 10 to 15% just high level 111 thing that you can do, if you could do more great and if you just have to start with a couple of percent, you know of your of your income, great start there and then and then try not to get up. And the second thing is is is have a safety net. And by that I mean get insured, which is again, it can be boring, it can be a bit uncomfortable thinking about it. But you know, and you hope you hope paying for insurance is going to be a complete waste of money which is a bit odd as well, but The cost of not having it to you and your family if something goes wrong is huge. So, you know, look into life insurance if you’ve got children and look into income protection once you’ve once you’ve got that in place, and often means, you know, sacrificing a small percentage of your income to protect the remaining you know, 99% if you if you get about that surprise, so, those two things, very high level, simple things that you can do. If you do those two things, you know, you’re you’re more than halfway there really.
David Ralph [44:41]
You know, James, you know, I’ve been enjoying this podcast episode from from the moment you connected. I have felt connected with you. I felt like we were Kindred kindred spirits on the same page. I’ve just read something on your website, sir. I’m gonna tell you what it is because I think it’s only fair that the listeners out there realise what a fraudster and a charlatan you are. It says my favourite song to play in the car is podcasts for me. My favourite is currently how I built this the storeys behind some incredible businesses. It doesn’t mention Join Up Dots on your website at all. I’m the
James Mackay [45:18]
website designers must have got it wrong. they
David Ralph [45:21]
clicked up and down. It doesn’t say a thing. It’s just about this other person’s podcast. I’ll get it. I need to go and have a shower now to calm myself down.
James Mackay [45:33]
You’re in the top three days it cannot be top to top. The top one let’s be honest, you
David Ralph [45:40]
know, I’m going to go in there and I will come back in three weeks later. Yeah. To see if it were friends again. Yeah, yeah, that’s what we want to do. Well, let’s play some words but I like to bring onto the show every single day and they buy created whole thing of Join Up Dots. So here they are, again, Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [45:59]
It was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [46:35]
And one of the things I say at the end, and I’m going to say it again on this show is that by joining up the dots and connecting our pasts is the best way to build our futures. Now, do you think that is true? Did those words actually sort of resonate with you and then the fact that you now have that trust and that certainty that you believe the experiences you’ve got the dots but you just got to dig into and then bring into your future
James Mackay [47:00]
It does resonate with me. Yeah. But I think Well, I think I will have more dots along the way. You know, I don’t think I’ve, you know, we’ve, I think anyone’s learned, you know, learned all they need to learn. And and I think if you do, if you if you do feel like that you’re probably at the, at the end of the road professionally or personally or whatever, but yeah, it does resonate with me and, and, you know, looking back, you know, there are plenty of plenty of dots that I can, you know, call back to and have influenced influenced my trajectory forward. So, absolutely.
David Ralph [47:38]
Your biggest regret in the introduction was that you didn’t start sooner. Now, looking back at it now, because you have started, why why did you not start sooner? And could you have started sooner because people always asked me about with my thing, and I say, I could have done but I don’t think it was right to start sooner. I think it’s always the right time when you do start. Why didn’t Is that your biggest regret?
James Mackay [48:04]
Regret might might be a bit strong in all honesty.
I think it I think it probably was the right time. It’s really I think for a lot of people, it’s the same as oh really it’s having the confidence to do it. And you go, you know, you go through life and you in often you will, you know, people doubt themselves and I certainly, you know, no different from from from that and think, you know, is this really what you want to do? Can you really do it? What’s the risk or this kind of all this kind of stuff being being sort of, you know, a financial professional as well you always end up building spreadsheets and and all that kind of nonsense. But at some point, you’ve just got to take the plunge and I think I took the plunge probably at the right time. But there’s always that thing in the back of your head there goes I could, I could have probably done this sooner. So yes, you know, it’s not a huge regret, but I’m just glad that I did it when I did it. In all honesty, David
David Ralph [49:00]
Is there any accuracies on this website? James is there? We seem to be pulling it apart and finding that you said things once you can’t remember them or they’re not right. Or I’m not even mentioned.
James Mackay [49:14]
I’d better update that. I mean, the workflows built but I yeah, but it’s better to change drums change every week
David Ralph [49:22]
next next bring it up to the 20th century or the 21st century, I never know what century we’re into. Now, this is the part of the thing that I do know where we are, because we’ve been building up to it from the very beginning of the show. And this is the part that we call the Sermon on the mic when we’re going to send you back in time to have a one on one with the young James and if you could go into a room and speak to him. What age James would you speak to, and what advice would you give him? Well, we’re gonna find out because we’re gonna play the music. And when it beats you up, this is the Sermon on the money.
Here we go with the best beer This show
James Mackay [50:14]
is quite difficult to follow that build up isn’t
just a fad for this, okay, first, first of all,
I don’t really have any regrets. Despite what I put in that comment. I’ve had a challenges, obstacles and failures, like like most people, but I do believe that all those things really shaped who you are today. And so I wouldn’t go back and change anything specific. But what I would tell my younger self is probably a couple of things. The first is to really be more present, which is a huge cliche these days, but I’ve constantly had my sights on goals and the future which which is important. Don’t get me wrong, but it can takeaway from enjoying the process and being in the moment, I’m still probably working on this, but that’s something that I go back and, and and reaffirm to my younger self. And the other is, as we were talking about just a minute ago is I think take more risk. Put yourself in more uncomfortable situations, I found that that is really where you grow as a person and, and and as a business if you run a business so that’s it for me short and sweet.
David Ralph [51:31]
That’s how we like it. So what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you?
James Mackay [51:38]
Probably probably via via email. It’s James up Fraser. James Fraser with a Zed. James dot.co. UK, or I’m on Twitter, by Carmen bought my or my Twitter handle is so I’ll have to send you that and put it in the show notes or something can I can’t remember any of my social media handles are but there are there. I would say
David Ralph [51:59]
James Mackay 10 on Twitter
James Mackay [52:03]
yeah that sounds about right we’ll go with that.
David Ralph [52:05]
Yeah it’s spot on I know I’m a professional me I’ve got me fingertips.
James Mackay [52:10]
I’m clearly I’ve got everything wrong with forecast that there we
David Ralph [52:12]
go. You have been great. And James, thank you so much for spending time with us today and joining up those dots Please come back again when you have more dots to join up. As I believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our path is the best way to build our futures and James, thank you so much for listening and actually making a go of it. You’re an inspiration.
James Mackay [52:31]
Thanks David back back at you much appreciated.
David Ralph [52:37]
Mr. James Mackay so a listener of Join Up Dots, gets the inspiration and then starts making a go of it and as you will find every single person out there, it’s not that hard. You know what the customer once you find enough that those customers who want it and when you start putting it in their hands and as I was saying in the in the show You really can create an inbox or just customers coming to you time and time again. And it depends whether you want to service them, you know, one on one or in group or you want to sell products to them. It’s about knowing where they are and putting your business in front of them. End of storey. So, all of you out there, don’t just sit there thinking, you know, oh, maybe one day look at yourself and think is today but day, can you start getting the ball rolling? Can you make a commitment? Can you write down a few goals and start ticking them off as you move towards the dream life? And I say it on every single episode, but I’m going to say again, it’s there for you. Okay. And the world is full of people out there to make it happen to you, if you choose wisely, okay, will happen and make it happen for you. Until next time, as always, thank you so much for listening. Thank you so much for James, and I will see you again. Cheers. See ya. All right. Do you ever wonder why people are podcasting nowadays, so many people are starting something Many businesses are starting even Virgin and Barclays Bank and some of these little global businesses are all jumping on the bandwagon. And podcasting and why are they doing that? Because I know there’s money behind it. People listen to podcast, people buy from podcast. And by having your own podcast, you literally do sprinkle Rocket Power over your business. So if you’ve got a business, and you’re not podcasting, why, if you haven’t got a business and you want to start one, then podcasting is probably one of the best ways to actually get that business rocking and rolling. My name is David Ralph, and I’m the host of Join Up Dots. And I’m going to be showing you behind the scenes of how we have turned Join Up Dots into a multiple six figure business and beyond simply with three very easy steps that all of you can follow to, I’m going to be hosting it I’m going to be back live or you’re going to do is jump over to podcastersmastery.com and book your ticket and I’ll be waiting bear probably my best clothes might even shave as well make a bit of effort after all, and We’re be there to show you those three easy steps. Really if you haven’t got a podcast on your business, then you’re missing a trick and over to podcasters mastery.com and you will see my sexy face. Look forward to seeing you Cheers. Bye bye