Deciding to make a change in your career can be difficult because it often requires you to trade what feels comfortable for a very long time for an uncertain path. Rocky Lalvani is all too familiar with this struggle, having left corporate life to start his own accounting firm. In this episode, he joins Michelle Weinstein to share the story of how he came upon the decision to leave and what he did to overcome the fears that have kept him from finding the freedom to do what he loves. He also tells us the next couple of steps he took to set up his own business—from signing up to Profit First to starting his own podcast, Profit Answer Man, where he attracts clients he never thought he’d get from calls. Talking to those who want to start their own podcast, Rocky then shares some advice on how to set-up your show, what you should be thinking first, and how you can use it to meet other great people.
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From Leaving The Corporate To Starting A Firm With Rocky Lalvani
We have a very special guest, Rocky Lalvani. He is a Profit First professional who helps business owners ensure they always have profit. He plays the role of Chief Profitability Officer to make sure the focus is on the bottom line. You can learn more about him on his two podcasts. The first one being the Profit Answer Man, which by the way, if you want a recap of all the chapters of Profit First, he covers them in Episode 3 through 13 on that podcast. The other podcast being Richer Soul.
Before we welcome Rocky to the show, it is about March timeframe, and you might be completely stressed out because it’s in the middle of tax season and you might not be too happy with where your accounting practice is right now. I get it. A lot of the accounting clients that come to us are frustrated, stuck and extremely overwhelmed. What I found is that you’re not charging what you’re worth and you don’t have a solid system that works on gaining high-paying consistent clients.
I have created the selling without ever selling system. Most of this information has been only for my clients, but if you’re wanting to get more yeses from higher paying clients, have your clients and prospects see you as the expert and get consistent high-quality referrals, then let’s explore and see what’s possible and maybe working together. If you want to, book a call over at TheAbundantCall.com and learn how to detach from the emotional side of the business. Maybe you want a paradigm shift after this 2020 that we’ve had and this new tax season, who knows how long it’s going to go? You see that the sales process is the nucleus of your business. You want to also have an objection become an asset instead of a combative discussion. If you’re looking to eliminate all that and you want to do that without being a bother, desperate or nag or salesy or pushy, then head on over to TheAbundantCall.com. Let’s explore what it could look like working together. I look forward to hopefully talking to some of you. Let’s welcome Rocky to the show.
Thank you so much for having me, Michelle. I’m excited to be with you.
Thank you so much for taking out the time to speak to our readers here. It’s going to be a great conversation. Rocky, can you introduce yourself, what you focus on, how you left corporate, and now you’re a Profit First professional.
I am a Profit First professional. I don’t come from an accounting background, but I come from a numbers background, which when I look at numbers, spreadsheets and tax returns, they tell me stories about how people are behaving and how they’re behaving badly with their money. I was like, “I can use this skill to help people behave better with their money.” That’s what I do. I work with small companies. I call myself the Chief Profitability Officer because my goal is to make them more profitable.
Behave better with money. Why don’t you tell them when you started and you went off 100% on your own?
I left corporate in August, 2020. I planned this out. I knew that I was leaving corporate about March or February of 2020. I took that six months to build up to my walking away from corporate. In that time, I had a lot of conversations with Profit First. We had everything set and in place. I said to them, “As soon as I leave, I’m going to join.” I went in and I resigned on a Monday. I already had my appointment set for Wednesday to talk to the Profit First people and sign up and go.
I have a couple questions about leaving corporate because I know you’re at your job, you’re in corporate, you’re getting paid pretty well, maybe between $80,000 and $150,000, $200,000 a year, but you’re sick of spending all this time working for someone else, growing someone else’s firm or business or whatever corporate position you’re in. You’ve always wanted to start your own business, accounting firms, tax practice or your own Profit First professional coaching business. For you, Rocky, I know you planned it out over six months and that paycheck every two weeks is pretty comfortable, and to jump ship and go all in, what were the biggest fears, like the 1 or 2, that you had to overcome?
I don’t think I had particular fears, but understand that this was a 30-year plan in place. It’s a long plan. Ever since I was young, I always read the Wall Street Journal. Every time there was a recession, you would always hear about that guy who was in his early 50s at the top of his career would get laid off for no reason of his own doing, then he would struggle. He couldn’t find another job. I always had that fear in the back of my mind. If I’m going to work for somebody else, one day when I’m in my 50s, they may sucker punch me and I want to be prepared for that. A big part of what I did was build wealth along the way. My wife is also an accountant. She does work for one of those big accounting firms.
My goal was for her always to leave and start her own practice. She never did it. She had the fear. She still has the fear, “I don’t know if I want to do that. I don’t know if I want to run my own business and all the things that are involved in running the business.” When things got bad for me at work, I went to her and said, “This is not good.” In the back of my mind was I could do this in five more years and never have to worry. If I did this in five years, I would have regrets that I could have been enjoying my life for five more years had I stayed or had I gone and found another job somewhere else. That was the big thing for me was the regret of not having the freedom to do what I loved and what I wanted.
The regret of not having the freedom for those that have the entrepreneurial itch inside of you and want your own firm, that’s the thing that you keep thinking about all day, every day, around the clock. You thought about it during your 30 years. That’s a pretty big fear, Rocky, “I read the Wall Street Journal. I don’t want to be that guy who’s 50 and who’s going to get laid off for no reason because of the recession.” During the 2020 year, the accounting business is grateful. I’m super grateful to even be working with all of you. We are busy, but a lot of your clients might not be so busy and businesses are closing and shutdowns here and there. It’s a crazy rollercoaster ride right now.
I will tell you that people are getting laid off in the accounting industry right now. Think about it, if your client went out of business, that revenue to the firm is gone. All of them are very much cutting. The same thing happened in 2008. They were cutting back then because of what happened. The same thing happened in 2000. These are cycles. They happen all the time. A job is not as always as safe as you think it is.
You have your own destiny in your hands when you can have your own business. The hard part for most people reading is the sales. You don’t want to be a bother. You don’t want to be a nag. You don’t want to reach out to people. You don’t want to do all the things that bring in the clients, which the partners in the firm you’re working for are doing that work right now. That’s a great segue into why Rocky is here. He’s here because when we first met during Profit Con or something like that, he started a podcast. I thought that was awesome because most people are like, “It’s scary to start a podcast. It’s a lot of work,” but you get clients that way. You don’t even need a whole lot of clients.
I thought Rocky and I would have a conversation of the journey of starting the podcast. Maybe how many clients he did get from it, even though it’s not a ton, but you don’t need a lot. When you have the autonomy and you have no more regrets of not having that freedom to do whatever you want when you want you, you get to create whatever it is that you want. That’s more secure than a job because they could lay you off at any time. Rocky, do you want to share with us your journey from you signed up for Profit First, the day that you resigned or the day after? What had you go, “I want to start a podcast?”
I already had a podcast. I started a different podcast a few years ago. I was using that podcast as a way to meet people and as a way to market my financial coaching business. The problem is it wasn’t specific enough. It didn’t speak to a particular person about a particular problem. It was great for meeting people. Podcasts are a phenomenal way to meet people that you normally would never get to answer your call. From that standpoint, it taught me that part of it. The reason I started that podcast is because I suck at writing. People who suck at writing have podcasts. People who are good at writing don’t have podcasts. Figure out the medium that works for you and the way that you work.Podcasts are a phenomenal way to meet people that you normally would never get to answer your call. Click To Tweet
What happened was I was like, “This podcast is wonderful. I like it. I don’t want to let go of my baby, but it’s not speaking to the person that I need to speak to.” Then I started the other podcast, and it spoke directly to the people I need to. It’s called the Profit Answer Man. Everyone knows why I’m coming to this podcast because I want the answer to, “How do I be profitable?” It speaks to the business owner and I tell them that upfront. I designed it around my perfect client and I started speaking to them specifically. I did speak about Profit First. Mike came on for Episode 2 and then Episodes 3 through 13 are me going through every single chapter of his book and putting my take on it. Showing what I thought about it and explaining it.
After that, what I did was have people who’ve used Profit First come on and talk about how Profit First has helped them. I might have somebody come on who is a business owner and struggling with profit, and we talked about how they overcame it, or there are other systems besides Profit First. I have other people on to share their particular systems because the system that’s going to work for the business owner is the one that they like the most. If it’s not me, I’m perfectly happy to recommend you to someone else that may fit you better. They always remember me as the guy who’s the Profit Answer Man.
I did it a few months ago. After about three months, I have picked up two clients from it. They’re high-paying clients. These clients love me. It was two sales calls. They end up on my calendar. I have no idea who these people are. They’ve never been connected to me before. We go through and I get to understand them and what their issues are. They tell me why they ended up on my calendar. They give me access to their QuickBooks. We set up a second call. I go through their QuickBooks and I understand where they’re at and what the goals are. I look at Profit First and I say, “This business could get to here.” We get back on a second call and I said, “This is what you told me your problems were. I looked at your QuickBooks. I can help you solve these problems. These are the outcomes that Profit First says we can work towards. Here’s what my monthly cost is. Do you want to talk business?”
The cost is what they’re losing every month. They’re negative in their net income problem. That’s what it’s costing them.
It’s their monthly investment. It’s like, “I’m ready to do business with you.” With the first one who came through, I sent them an invoice that night, and within 60 seconds of the invoice going out, it was paid. That’s how excited they were to work with me.
All the accountants reading say and they already know, “Michelle doesn’t give out free advice,” but when I hear ‘send out an invoice’ for all of you reading, who have been reading for the last few years, you know what I’m going to say. I’ve had Eric Green on a couple of times and he’s taken my advice. Here’s my tidbit for you, Rocky. Instead of sending the invoice, ask them, “Would you like to pay ACH or credit card? Which way works best for you?” Type in the information in your own QuickBooks for them. That’s my piece of advice for you and let me know how it works out.
My last client, that’s how I did it. Part of the problem was I didn’t have the systems set up. I was using PayPal because they made it easy for me to send out a monthly payment system. I didn’t have to think about it. I try not to think as much as possible.
Even on PayPal though, you use PayPal but most accountants don’t, but I use it, you can create yourself the link that the customer would see. You send it to yourself and you fill it in for them. That’s how I do it. On any system, in the last few years, I have not met one accountant with all the different systems out there where that is not possible. You can pay an invoice for a customer. You need to do a couple of workarounds and get it on the customer viewing mode on your end. All you say is, “Which credit card would you like to use or ACH? Which works best?” That’s it.
My latest customer, what we did is I set that up in QuickBooks. I had them sign an agreement that I could ACH him and they gave me the information. I go into QuickBooks and I create a sales invoice. I put their information in and I say, “They gave me permission,” and it takes the money out.
We got past that, Rocky’s doing it the right way. For all of you that still send out proposals, invoices and wonder where your clients disappear to. You’re like, “I sent that to them two weeks ago and they did not pay it within 60 seconds,” that’s why. When you’re on the phone or in a meeting with someone, that’s when they are ready to move forward. I have a question for you, Rocky. A lot of people are like, “Podcast is a lot of work. It takes up a lot of time.” I know you’ve got two clients. Your ROI, let’s come up with a rough draft number. The value of those clients is what on a monthly basis for those two?
Those two add up to about $1,750 a month.
You’ve had the podcast for six months?
How long have you had the client?
It’s probably about 3 or 4.
What’s $1,750 times 4?
It’s $7,000 divided by 6, so your podcast has generated you $1,100 a month so far. If we look at the return on the investment on our time, that’s good. How many hours a week do you think on a monthly basis do you probably spend trying to get your interviews, get topics to talk about? For a lot of accountants reading, it’s always busy. There’s April deadline, October deadline, tax season. I always learn there’s never a good time. I want to bring it to the surface because this is a great way for all of you to start getting leads. If you’re like Rocky and I, we both don’t like writing, we rather talk all day. This is an opportunity for people to get to know you. I don’t think it would take you too much time. For you, Rocky, how much time has that taken?
If it’s a solo episode, they tend to be about fifteen minutes of recording time. It might take me time to then prep for the fifteen minutes of time, so that might be an hour. If I have a guest, they tend to be closer to 30 minutes long. There’s the back and forth, before and after, when you’re building relationships, so about an hour. My other show is very polished and has all these different segments and all of that stuff. This show is for the busy entrepreneur, so I don’t have all that fancy stuff. I kept it basic. I don’t have an editor for this show. I run it through some automation stuff that removes the breath sounds and does some stuff. It takes about ten minutes to do the editing. I just have to put my beginning and my end in, which takes a couple minutes to record. I have it scripted out so that it’s very much the same almost for every episode. I got somebody who was nice enough to give me some free music, which is a fifteen-second clip to start and end it. After I produce it, it takes me maybe fifteen minutes to produce the show itself. There are people that will do this for you in the Philippines for $30, $40.
I have even a better option then if that’s it. If you want to start a podcast, email me, they’ll do it for $99 an episode, all of what Rocky talked about, plus the blog, transcript, etc. Let me know and I’ll introduce you to that person. You need to message me on my website. In total, Rocky, for the month, what would you say your time investment is to keep it going?
I would guess about four hours a month.
That’s nothing as long as you schedule it.
I enjoy it. I don’t consider that work.
You’re passionate about it and you love doing it. You find the medium that works for you, be it writing or Facebook Live or Zooming or podcasting for us. It doesn’t feel like a whole lot of work. It got you two clients. It’s only going to get you even more clients. This is one of the best ways to generate leads from something that’s organic. One thing, Rocky, I don’t think you mentioned earlier, but the clients hired you right away because they’ve gotten to know you. If they’ve listened to your chapter dissection for your Episode 3 through 13, they heard your interview with Mike, they’ve gotten to know you. A lot of you have gotten to know me. I spoke with a couple and they said, “We’ve listened to your podcasts.” It’s like, “You guys know me. I need to catch up. I need to get to know you.” They’ll be joining me in my next Sales Mastery training. This is an opportunity for you to build a relationship and rapport with future clients that you’ll be able to service in the future.You want to deliver content in a way that's easy for your audience. Click To Tweet
They know you even though you don’t know them. It’s weird in the beginning when this happens because they’re talking about all these things about you. You’re like, “Who are you again?” You don’t know them. It’s not a two-way communication method. It’s weird but it’s good. I will say this in the world of podcasting, they say it’s somewhat lonely because it’s hard for feedback to come back, but know that people are out there listening to you. It’s impressive because you’re in their head for hours. As long as you create good evergreen content, which means that if you went back and listen to any of the episodes, they would all still make sense now. They’re not topical to the moment. You want to make content that a few years from now still applies to somebody. A few years from now, even if you stopped doing the podcast, it’s still producing revenue.
That’s what the definition of evergreen means. If you’re like, “What was that?” That’s what he means, having the content live now and in a few years from now. It’s relevant and it will help somebody. What do you think the first 1 or 2 steps are for the accountant? They’ve already left corporate. They’re too feed in on their business. Rocky, from all of the people that have contacted me, they think their biggest challenge is leads. If they want to start a podcast, what’s the first 1 or 2 steps that you would tell them to do right now? You can’t start it until you have your niche and who you’re talking to. When you were figuring that part out, and I think this is the hardest part for most people, how did you unwind what was in your head?
Both you and I have learned from our first podcast, they weren’t niche specific enough. I have one too and it’s not. It’s called Success Unfiltered. You would have no idea what the heck it was about, but that was my first stab at it. It’s still going. Everything is evergreen there. If you had to rewind several months from now, and as you’re starting Profit Answer Man podcast, for the accountant who’s looking for new clients, what are the first two things they should do?
You have to think about, “Who is my end client?” You have to think in terms of them and what are they looking for? How will it be simple and easy for them to find it on my podcast? In my case, it’s called Profit Answer Man. It’s designed for people who are looking for profit. They’re struggling with that. You want to do this that a five-year-old could understand what your podcast is about. You want to be super niche to the way that person behaves. You want to deliver content in a way that’s easy for them. My other show is an hour-plus recording. The busy entrepreneur doesn’t have an hour to sit there and listen to me. They do have fifteen minutes. That’s why I made this show so short so that the busy entrepreneur could listen and get value out of it. I was thinking about who’s my customer, how do they behave and how do I serve that behavior?
I like the, ‘How do they behave?’ I didn’t even think about that before until you said that. I work with all of you guys. You’re busy. You’re accountants. You have a pile of paperwork in front of you. You’ve got a deadline around the corner. You’ve got many emails. You don’t have time to listen. That’s why all these episodes are about 20 to 30 minutes. I know you’re busy and I didn’t even think about that. Thank you for sharing that. Anything else that you would share with them like the first 1, 2 or 3 things?
The first thing is to think about your client. The other thing I want you to think about differently, and this is a totally different way to do a podcast, is if you need to meet business owners, think about who the business owners you want to meet are, and create a podcast that allows them to tell their story. The whole purpose of this is to go meet the business owner. You’ve got a reason to call a business owner that’s not about, “Use me.” It’s, “You’re doing a great job in the community. I’d love for you to share your story. Will you come on my podcast and do that?” Everyone will then start to look at you as the person who’s sharing business success stories. They realized, “They’re an accountant too. They must know what they’re doing because they’re with all these smart, successful business people locally.” If you’re working with people locally, that’s a great way to get in front of business owners and to build a relationship without sales being involved.
It’s the more passive way to build a relationship. The only other thing I would add to that is I know a lot of you reading, some of you work with dentists, real estate agents. I would try to even get industry specific because then you will have better quality leads coming to you. One of my clients I work with, she works with chimney people, plumbers and those types, and that would be amazing. They can listen to that as they’re driving from house-to-house and client-to-client. Think about one other layer of the industry.
It’s accounting principles for dentists.
This is called the Abundant Accountant podcast. It’s abundance for accountants and it’s a podcast. They should able to figure it out in two seconds, as you said, five-year-old. Rocky, is there anything else that you want to share with those reading that you think would be a good golden nugget for them to leave away with, that would be helpful and useful, that you would like to share?
Have fun and be your own person, bring your personality out in your podcast and do something quirky. It’s okay because then they remember you. If you’re like everybody else, then you’re not going to stand out from the crowd. Don’t follow the crowd, be your own unique person that attracts people like you. You might have another hobby along with your accounting thing, bring your hobby in there. That brings another point of relationship building into it. That will help you find those people. All of a sudden, the people who need accounting help, who happened to love X, Y, Z are going to want to work with you because you have something else to talk about besides debits and credits.
Thank you again so much for being here with us on the show. It was an honor to have you.
Thank you all so much for joining Rocky and I here on the show. I know a lot of you come to me saying that leads is your problem. It’s the biggest challenge. You don’t have enough people coming to you and you need more people to talk to. Now, you can pick your medium. You can pick your way. Maybe it’s writing, maybe it’s blogging or for Rocky and I, it’s podcasting because I suck at writing. It only takes them about four hours a month and you can do it easily. If you need some support on that, you can send me an email and I’ll refer you to the company that I use, that does all the backend.
Think about those things he talked about. The first one being, “Who is your end client you want to help?” Until you figure that out, you’re throwing spaghetti at a wall and hoping it sticks as far as it comes to trying to generate the right leads. I also love that he explored how do his ideal clients behave. He works with busy entrepreneurs, so they can only listen for fifteen minutes a day. I work with all of you. You’re busy. You want to get straight to the point. All these episodes are about 20 to 30 minutes.Don't follow the crowd. Be your own unique person that attracts people like you. Click To Tweet
Thinking about how your ideal client behaves is crucial prior to starting a podcast, a blog, a Facebook show or whatever medium you’re going to use to attract new clients. It’s March 2021, and you might be inundated with 1040 tax returns. If you’re completely sick of it and want to start attracting those higher paying clients, have a sales process to convert at a high level and position yourself as the expert, I would head on over to TheAbundantCall.com to book your first slot that you see. If you truly want to build a firm where your confidence, you have a sales process, you have more time with your family and your kiddos, hopefully you’re not homeschooling for much longer, but have the abundant life that you’ve always dreamed of, you can head on over to TheAbundantCall.com and we can explore together and see what challenges you’re having with your sales process.
If you were to get a lead, what happens to that lead? Learn and see where are you being attached or detached to the emotional side of this whole sales process. For those of you that want a paradigm shift, now is the time. You no longer have to have another year stressed out, overwhelmed and underpaid. Head on over to TheAbundantCall.com. I look forward to talking to some of you. You must be in business for at least two years to book a call. Make sure to know that prior. I hope you have a beautiful day.
- Rocky Lalvani
- Profit Answer Man
- Profit First
- Richer Soul
- Episode 2 – previous episode of Profit Answer Man
- Eric Green – previous episode of Abundant Accountant
- Success Unfiltered
About Rocky Lalvani
Rocky Lalvani is a Profit First Professional who helps business owners ensure they are always profitable! He places the role of Chief Profitability officer to make sure the focus is on the bottom line. You can learn more about him on his two podcasts, Profit Answer Man and RIcher Soul.
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