(Writer and A Business Coach)
How to find our purpose in life? Goal vs. Purpose? What are the main keys to have work-life balance? Success Vs. Happiness Vs. Fulfilment?
Why believing in Abundance is important? How do you Motivate yourself when you feel that you are giving up?
I am a former bi-vocational pastor and contractor. I was the President and founder of Home Innovations, a Design/Build remodeling firm based in Fishersville, Virginia. We provided design, construction, and fine furnishing services for the home. Beginning in 2010, I pastored a new Heartlink Network church plant in Nelson Co. Virginia called Riverbank.
For years my career and work has centered around construction. I have always enjoyed working with my hands, but honestly I found my way to construction by default. I had spent time in summer jobs (that paid better than fast food), church youth group mission projects, and one year serving with Habitat for Humanity, and family projects and learned some skills. So when I got married, and I needed to provide for our family, I naturally went into construction because it was the only marketable skill that I had. Through the years I moved from general laborer, to carpenter, and then from foreman to contractor / business owner.
But life has not always been filled with success. In 2009, the business that I had founded and ran, Home Innovations, failed in bankruptcy. It was one of the most difficult seasons of my life. There were a lot of reasons for what happened, some outside of my control. But, I was the one leading. I was the one “at the helm when the ship went down.” I was embarrassed, felt like a failure, and felt like I had let everybody down. The affects were far reaching, hurting my employees, suppliers, friends and family. For month’s I struggled with feelings of failure, worthlessness, and hopelessness. Over the next few years I went through the slow process of healing and rebuilding my career and life. Therefore, I have a special place in my heart for those who are trying to get back on their feet after a crisis event. I know first hand how difficult those seasons of life can be.
Ever since I was young, I have sensed a call to pastor and help people. I studied pastoral ministry at Liberty University and then received my Biblical Studies Certificate from Cornerstone Bible Institute. My wife and I spent a few years in youth ministry until our twins were born and we shifted our focus to our young family. In 2008 we started sensing a call to pastoral ministry again and began the process of relocating our family to Nelson County, VA . Over the next 5 years we gave leadership to the establishment of the Riverbank church. During this time, I also worked bi-vocationally as the Production Department Manager for Integrity Home Contracting in Charlottesville, VA.
In 2013-14 God led me on a journey to personal and relational health that resulted in me resigning from both Integrity Home Contracting and the Riverbank church. During this season I worked as independent construction consultant and business consultant for construction companies. I also took this time to rest, spend time with my family, and discern my direction and God given destiny.
As a result of this journey I launched this blog in 2014 as the first step of encouraging ordinary people to fulfill their destinies through writing, coaching and speaking.
About me Personally
I met my beautiful bride during high school. We are both pretty strong willed and had to “chill out” a little before we started dating after high school. We were married shortly after in 1996. We have four amazing daughters (Twins in the middle). They are teenagers and learning to spread their wings. I love this season of family life.
I enjoy working with my hands, being outdoors, carpentry projects, gardening and homesteading. I believe in simple sustainable living and taking care of the wonderful earth that has been entrusted to us.
I love sports and cheering on my favorite teams…. the Atlanta Braves, Liberty Flames Football, and UVA Cavaliers basketball.
And finally, after all these years in construction, I still like my pick-up truck and power tools. And, I am most comfortable in my jeans and a baseball cap!
BRIAN MININGER “THE CONSTRUCTION COACH”
I am passionate about building. I started building forts and tree-houses as child, graduated to summer jobs in the construction field, and then worked my up from a carpenter’s helper to a Class A Contractor. Now I use my passion for building to help others realize the dream of owning a home that meets their needs and desires without creating undue financial bondage.
- What’s your background and How did you start as Pastor?
- From general laborer, to carpenter, and then from foreman to contractor, how and why you chose this path?
- Why your business Home Innovations failed in 2009 and what did you learn from that experience?
- Why you resigned from both Integrity Home Contracting and the Riverbank church?
- How did you learn about internet marketing & blogging and I noticed that both you and your wife started blogging is that started after buying a certain online course or engaging with a certain mentor?
- Do you still doing contracting work or just contracting coaching?
- How to find and select the right contractor?
- What are the common mistakes that people do when they select a contractor?
- How to find our purpose in life?
- Goal vs. Purpose?
- What are the main keys to have work-life balance?
- Success Vs. Happiness Vs. Fulfilment?
- Why believing in Abundance is important?
- How do you plan your to do list and take action on it? Which program do you use?
- How do you motivate yourself when you feel that you are giving up?
- Is your blogging and business-consulting career started showing some fruits?
- How do you write and plan your blog posts efficiently?
- What are the Tools that you Use To Increase your Income and Personal Productivity?
- How much do you charge for 1 on 1 coaching?
- Share with us some of the tools or software that make you more efficient?
- What’s your daily life and work routine looks like?
- What are your other hobbies?
- Who are your top 3 mentors?
- What are the Top 3 apps that you use on your smart phone?
- What’s the best advice that you ever received?
- If you have the chance, what would you say to advice your younger self?
- What are your top 3 favorite books?
- What are the top 3 people that you are inspired by?
- What makes you really happy?
- Is there’s any other question that I didn’t ask you and you wanted to talk about?
• How people can contact you?
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Hi everyone this is Ahmed Al Kiremli and welcome to Be Efficient Tv. The mission of this web TV show is to boost the efficiency of your business and life through tips and tricks from leading experts. Today I have with me Brian Mininger, he is a writer and business and construction coach welcome to the show Brant.
Brian Mininger: Thanks Ahmed really glad to be here with you.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So what’s your background and how did you start as a pastor?
Brian Mininger: Well my role as a pastor goes way back it was something even as a high school student that I really had a desire to be a pastor so I started on that course in terms of schooling in ministry I went to Bible college and during that time I started working in construction because I got married at a family and needed to support myself of my desire was always to be a pastor and there was a point early on where the guy I was working for a construction decided it was time to retire and I started feeling the stirring to start my own construction company and it didn’t really make a whole lot of sense to me but I want to talk to my pastor and he said well if that’s what God is calling you to do them do it so I went ahead and launch a construction company and did that for a number of years and kind of moved away from the pastoral role for a while and then about five years ago God just kind of started putting that back in our heart to get involved in ministry, my wife and I moved to help start a new church and wisdom that for the past five years until this last summer I was also involved in youth ministry, years ago until I had twins and then that change things in my family quite a bit and I needed to take a break for quite a while. But yeah I’ve always had a desire to help people and that has been involved in ministry and a lot of different roles through the years.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: And are you still doing that or did you start because you are busy with the business and the consulting business?
Brian Mininger: No, I actually resigned from pastoring over the summer and the story behind that is that after I started my construction company I found that I really had a passion for business and I really enjoyed that I read my own company for a while and then after that I worked for another firm and as I did that I was kind of doing that and pastoring at the same time and I just struggled, I’m a guy that likes to be able to focus and I felt like I was kind of competing and so I decided I really needed to find my one thing so to speak and as I processed that I realized that I really like business and I really liked helping people and I just wasn’t sure that staying in the local church ministry was really what I was called to do. So I resigned from that and started the course and the business that I’m on now of helping small business owners and I really feel like this is where it all comes together for me I get to be involved in business and help people and I love it.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Still the same level of faith moving your focus from church to business your same level of faith?
Brian Mininger: Yeah I tell people in some ways I view myself as a pastor to small business owners now some business owners I can say that to and some I can’t but I love having the opportunity to help people not only with their businesses but with their lives and for me it’s always been family, relationships that I have with my friends and my family have always been very important and I find a lot of small business owners start a business because they want to have more flexibility for their kind of family but then what happens is the business kind of takes over and then they lose that and they start competing so I love helping people kind of get their life back and be able to have time for the things that are really important for them to have time for their children and their families. So I do still feel like there’s a lot of ministering.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How did you start your construction company like from general laborer to Carpenter and then you started the company and what did you learn through the process? In the construction business?
Brian Mininger: In some ways I had to learn everything so because I started in construction not thinking that I was going to do that for very long it was a skill that I had I had some experience in it and I needed to provide for my family while I went to Bible college so I just started working construction and I worked for a small company and moved up the ladder as that went on so I learned to run the jobs and learn to manage the people and that kind of thing I didn’t learn anything about running the business so when the guy was working for went to retire I decided okay I’m going to launch out on my own and that’s about all I really knew. I had to really become a student of anything I could get my hands on businesswise, I didn’t have time to go back to school I had a family I had a business to run so I would take and workshops I would read things on the Internet I would read books I would listen to things, anything I could do to get my hands on to learn about business because all I knew how to do was how to build a house. How to manage the labor and so it led to a lot of hard lessons learned and so forth but when I did it I found that I, it was a passion that I really enjoyed I really enjoyed the business side of things so I’m not sure if that quite answers your question but…
Ahmed Al Kiremli: You are into construction so let’s ask you some construction questions how can people find the right contractor?
Brian Mininger: What’s that?
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How can people find the right contractor?
Brian Mininger: I was in the residential construction industry so I work directly with homeowners particularly and remodeling so one of the things that I would tell people if they’re looking for a contractor is check your references make sure you have a reputable company but then behind that really make sure that you’ve got somebody you’re comfortable with because you’re going to have to work very closely together, their crews are going to be in your house you going to have to make a lot of decisions together so really make sure you have somebody you’re comfortable with, I encourage people to wait to get a price because I have seen people make more bad decisions based on price them probably anything else, they find somebody they really like and then they get another price that’s a lot lower so they decide to go with that decision and once you make it there’s no going back so they end up regretting the decision that they made. When you are dealing with professional companies and good companies the prices are fairly similar now there’s always a level but you get what you pay for so I think sometimes people really make bad decisions because they get too caught up in the price.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Sometimes difficulties like even the contractor shows you references but either it’s not his work or the quality of his work through the process is not really good so you have to try someone and see how you’re going to get along with him and based on that you make a decision.
Brian Mininger: And really pay attention early on in the process to whether they follow through and do the things they say they’re going to do, the contractor tells you he’s going to give your proposal or an estimate one day and three weeks later you’re still waiting for it you don’t want to hire that guy because it’s going to be the same way with your project.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How about the payment? How should you agree with them in terms of payment how much should you pay as a down payment before the work starts?
Brian Mininger: Well there’s different legal issues in different areas about that the way we always work with our clients is that we are not going to finance the project for them so we need to have deposits and progress payments along the way to purchase materials and do the work so I would say make sure you’re comfortable with the payment schedule I wouldn’t give a high percentage of the money upfront unless there’s a really good reasons such as really specialty materials that have to be ordered before you can start that cost a lot of money or something like that but if you’re dealing with a company that has been in business and has been around and you know that then you generally don’t have to worry too much about the payment schedules because they want to stay in business so check references, finding someone that you know someone has worked with that you know someone has worked with that contractor is usually a great way to learn a lot about a contractor.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Are you still taking some contracting jobs or did you stop after shutting down home renovations your company in 2009?
Brian Mininger: After I shut down in 2009 to give a little bit of kind of my journey at that point in time I really wanted to become a business coach and move in that direction and I actually start working a little bit with an action coach franchise where my business coach was a part of bleeding before that but the bottom line was I was such a mess personally from what it happened that it was the biggest colossal failure of my life and I had to lay off twelve people right before Christmas and I had to have a lot of, I became friends with the people I did business with and a lot of people lost a lot of money including myself so I wasn’t in any shape to be successful and what I ended up finally doing was going back to where I started and I picked up a hammer and I started doing some carpentry work to help out a neighbor of mine and I did that for probably six months just to clear my head and then I went to work for another construction company and did that for about two years until about a year ago and at that point I was kind of back on my feet but I still really would like to do something different this is an where I feel like my passion is anymore so what I did was I had some people that wanted me to do some independent construction management of some projects so I use that as a bridge to leave for I was working and kind of get some space. So starting a little over a year ago I was doing independent construction management I have a couple different contracts and then I also started doing some business coaching and consulting and over the last year I just kind of gradually traded those things out, the construction contracts have gradually ended the last one that I was doing ended in November so at this point I’m full-time business coaching and consulting and really really enjoying it. So I was self-employed in both roles I just kind of like one type of work fade away and gradually picked up the other type of work.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: But don’t you think it’s contradictory like before growing a successful business to become a business coach some people don’t ask you that are argue that with you?
Brian Mininger: Well in terms of what happened with the bankruptcy is that what you’re referring to?
Ahmed Al Kiremli: No I mean even after the bankruptcy if you have built some other businesses before starting the business coaching career?
Brian Mininger: I guess two things, one is that I had built a company pretty successfully pretty quickly so I had that history and then the company that I was working for I was working on business development system side so I gained a lot of experience and credibility there we took that company and double the revenue in two years, when I got there the company was selling a lot but they couldn’t produce it their systems just couldn’t handle it. So I was brought in to basically fix the production systems fix the technology systems so in two years time we were able to double the revenues of that construction company and so in some ways a lot of what I help people with is that I learned from my failures not just from my successes, sure there are things that I don’t know and haven’t experience but there’s a lot of things that I learned through the process that I help people with and a lot of the people that I’m helping are kind of in that startup mode.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How did you learn about the Internet marketing world and blogging I noticed that you blog constantly since like last year and your wife as well blogging with you so how did you both find this world and who is your mentor and how did you get into it and is it paying the bills now is a business consultant from the Internet, how does it work how do you market yourself?
Brian Mininger: That’s an interesting story, my wife has done a lot of independent freelance writing through the years so she started her blog probably four or five years ago and continued that a year ago she actually took a full-time writer’s position as a blog writer for a local university and I never saw myself as a writer, but throughout this past year as I was building the coaching consulting business she kept putting stuff in front of me about blogging and saying hey you need to really look at this, one of the people was Michael Hyatt who wrote the book platform so I read his book and what he’s got to say is right if I want to build this coaching business I’m going to need to blog and I had tried it twice before and not stuck with it, so basically I said if I’m going to build this business I need to build this blog so I set a schedule and I did not let myself off the schedule so I waited a little bit until I was ready and then I decided okay I’m going to publish Monday Wednesday Friday no if’s and or buts something is going out and I started writing. In the process I found that I actually enjoyed it and I have over the last period of time also written the beginning manuscript of a short book too in the same period of time so yeah I never considered myself a writer but I felt like it was key to get where I need to go.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Did you start everything yourself or was there a mentor behind that did Michael mentor you or did you just read his book, all the work you’ve done online was I just by yourself learning from books and maybe some courses or do you take some mentorship like courses?
Brian Mininger: So to this point it’s all been things that I have read and learned and implemented so the learning curve of trying things and did not working I went through a stretch of a month and a half or two months on my blog or I’m writing three times a week and nobody is reading it so I kept researching and reading things that other bloggers were putting out, pro-blogger has been a very helpful site to me, Jeff Goins with Goins writer, Michael Hyatt and his resources I’m a part of his platform University so because of the transitions that I was and I really wasn’t in a position to pay for every high priced coaching programs so I really had to focus on what I can read and learn which is what I had to do when I started my construction company back in 2003, I had to read and learn and implement and then take what I, the results I was getting and tested and try something different and move forward. I had studied a lot about marketing, read all the guerrilla marketing stuff in the mid–2000s and was also studying Dan Kennedy’s resources using direct mail marketing in my construction company so a lot of those things have transitioned, when Facebook came on the scene we started using it immediately so there was a lot of those things that I had worked out in my construction company too.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How would you review the Platform University of Mike Hyatt?
Brian Mininger: It’s a good book, it…
Ahmed Al Kiremli: No I mean the course.
Brian Mininger: Oh, the platform University course yeah it’s been really helpful now the best thing about it is I joined and pretty quickly there were three of us in this geographic area that were in there and we connected, one of the guys took the leadership on it but we formed a mastermind we that with a couple other people and that mastermind group is just powerful for me right now in terms of building the business because we’re all kind of at different stages I’m actually in some ways a little further along in building a platform online business the other guys are still working other businesses but some of them have experience I don’t have so it’s really been a great group but the Q and A calls are fantastic I get a lot out of those, when people ask questions behind the scenes, videos they do they give a look at how they’re running their business all of those things have been really helpful and it’s thirty bucks a month or something it’s not expensive.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is best for you in terms of driving traffic to your blog what are the strategies because like with Michael when people see what he is doing it took him years and years until he reached that level of traffic and people think it’s very easy to get into that level when they start and then they quit. So tell me about the struggle how do you feel how many times a week do you think of quitting what works for you the best attempts of traffic for the blog?
Brian Mininger: I don’t think about quitting anymore because I’m doing what I love and I’m seeing results now the traffic some days gets really discouraging and one of the things I think is that the audience I’m speaking to is a tougher audience for blogs, my wife decided to kind of rebrand what she was doing she launched a new blog in November and she’s quadrupled my numbers already because she speaking to women and they love blogs they’re all over it. So I’m actually looking to make the transition to podcasting but in terms of traffic generation Facebook has been one of the top ones and Twitter, both of those of really been pretty key for me in terms of getting traffic, I started as I generate more revenue I’m starting to do some paid advertising on Facebook because I think it’s very affordable for targeted advertising to be able to drive more traffic and I’m still learning on that, how to do that effectively but those are the two places that I’ve worked a lot but I also have worked a lot local networking because my target audience is more off-line businesses so I go to networking events, local Chamber of Commerce when I get local speaking engagements I take it so anything that’s within a geographic area that I can drive to I’m looking for opportunities there to build my tribe, build traffic…
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Do you think so far in terms of business you generated have you generated more from off-line than online?
Brian Mininger: I generated more from off-line however that being said the blog has allowed me to provide valuable content to the people that I already had connection with that of ended up in my email list. Therefore some of the clients that I have I’m hundred percent convinced I would not have gotten if I had not been writing the blog. Because it positioned me to be able to help them and it gave me something to stay in regular contact with them.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So tell the audience about that it will not necessarily have a direct result but as a package it works with the other strategies to give you credibility to close customers.
Brian Mininger: Correct I actually, all of my clients that come from my personal network up until last week I actually had somebody email me and say hey we found your website, that business had a similar story to mind and the administrative assistant set up a meeting with the owner and the next day I called and talked to them and the next they were getting started. That was the first client I’ve gotten purely from the Internet marketing so that was kind of exciting. I’ve been able to get my other clients through my own network.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So how does it work how do you charge your clients how much do you charge for one-on-one coaching what are the packages that you provide?
Brian Mininger: So the main package that I’ve been providing has been a marketing package where I help small business owners with their web presence because a lot of them have been stuff they don’t have on my and so I kind of try to take the Internet marketing that usually is all in language for Internet companies and repackage it in a way that makes sense for off-line business owners and then walk them through the process because a lot of them are scared of even simple things like setting up mail chimp are difficult for them so that packages three months and I do once a week conference calls and walk them through the process. I’m getting ready to raise the price but currently it’s $1200 for that package.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: For one year?
Brian Mininger: For three months. And then I also have done WordPress site set up for clients setting up mail chimp Facebook profiles we’ve done some of that work as well and that fills up the repertoire but I’m getting ready to repackage I want to have a smaller introductory coaching package that I can offer people and I’ve gotten enough clients now that I want to raise the prices and not get overtaxed.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What makes you the most closed clients is it email marketing or ads or what works for you the best?
Brian Mininger: Like I said it’s mainly been working my personal connections in construction I build a lot of contacts with a lot of different businesses so some of those have been direct some of them have been referral but when I knew that I was really going to build this business and I was going to have to take the networking skills I used to run a construction company to get out there and meet and talk and engage with people and I use a lot of social media to do that, LinkedIn messages Facebook messages, text email but I really strive to make a connection, I’m not trying to push I’m trying to connect with people and making relationships and sometimes those people’s that become our clients sometimes they’re the one referring someone to me but yeah making those connections even in an online world, I think it’s just powerful so many people look at and I think a small business owner does this to they run print ads they run radio advertising they run TV ads so then they come to the web and social media and they think it’s the same thing they think it’s an advertising medium when really the power and it is the ability to connect to people and meet people that they would not be able to meet or connect with otherwise so I really try to help people do that but that’s what’s been key for me, if I start interacting with people on twitter and they some kind of engaging I just keep interacting and if it looks interesting then I say let’s go Skype call let’s talk but find out who each other is see if we can help each other if we can great if not okay but I’ve met some fantastic people, the only problem is that Twitter opens up the world to you and are so many great people I just can’t meet them all. But I left making connections.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How did you do this transition from failure 2009 construction company you work for certain companies before quitting you start to do the things online and the blog and then you decided to move full-time after getting some clients, what do you advise the people who just starting now in the online world?
Brian Mininger: It does take some time to get some traction so if you don’t have the money to really sit around and not get paid for a while I think you need to be doing something else so for me what that was is I left the company I was working for and I landed some larger online construction management contracts so that was what built the bridge for me. I was working self-employed but I was doing construction type of work and management and so forth so that gave me the time because if I had stayed at the company I was working at I didn’t have time to build the blog and do these things so by working as a higher paid construction consultant I was able to free up some time to then start building the blog, start networking with people, start finding those business coaching clients. I think in a lot of ways if you can have something that you can build alongside it really helps. But different people are in different situations, I would not advise somebody to leave their job and jump out to start an online marketing coaching consultant business without lining up some clients and having something in place or having the finances to be able to go a while I remember before I started my construction company one piece of advice I got that was really good was make sure you have enough capital to operate for three months if you don’t bring a dollar in and you can only operate for three months you can also feed your family. So that’s what I put in place before I started my construction company so then every dollar that came in from the source three months just extended are cushioned it gave us a little bit more time and by the end of the year we were self-sufficient but I had to have that bridge. Any business takes a while to build up.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: The problem is that most people see the successful Internet marketers where they make the thing look very pretty and they are making millions of dollars and they think they are just going to make it in the first month or even the first year sometimes and they just quit their jobs and even the struggle between like when you have an off-line business maybe you can bring business immediately by signing a contract while when you do the things online it takes time to build a platform and traffic and then to monetize the traffic and to keep in touch with them and not to lose them, so many different things to look at.
Brian Mininger: One thing to add to that are you familiar with John Lee Dumas?
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Yes I interviewed him for the show but it’s not yet live on the website.
Brian Mininger: I was looking back he publishes his income records and if you look at it he is making a lot of money right now, his podcasts is 2 ½ years old and it would be easy to say well he’s an overnight success but if you go back and look he’s making like 1,000,000 and a half this year in profit or something like that but in his first year from the September he launched to the next September he made a total of $44,000 profit for the first year and I’m like you know 99.9% of people would’ve quit and not kept going so that’s the story that a lot of people don’t here in the way I look at it is every day I keep going somebody else’s dropping out of the race and that’s where you beat the competition is you just keep going.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Not only that sometimes people see the success of John of the podcast so the jump into podcasts after two or three years when the podcast is not yet even hot like it was an sometimes the timing because online needs quick action to see and have a vision for this thing if it works it doesn’t mean it’s going to continue working in this way most people get in very late and then they just quit they get frustrated and quit.
Brian Mininger: Persistence means a lot.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: You write about goal setting and purpose so how can people find their purpose in life?
Brian Mininger: That’s a big one, I think let me back up and tell my story just a little bit and then I think that fits for me, I mentioned earlier I had these competing passions I really liked being involved in the business world and I really like the ministry side of helping people and so forth and as I was laying things down I read a book called 20,000 days by Robert D Smith where he basically talks about getting to a point in his life where he realized he had half his life behind him what is you want to do with the next part of his life and how does he wanted to count and how does he want to be remembered and so forth so after doing that I just sat down and I wrote out, this was in July of last year I wrote out what I wanted my life to look like both from the standpoint of what I wanted to accomplish what I wanted my lifestyle to be like and how I wanted to help people so. In terms of that process of coming to that probably years in the making, years of trying things and realizing hey that doesn’t really fit, I think we find what we, I believe we were created for a purpose and therefore when we were created we were given the skills and abilities we needed to fulfill that purpose I think a lot of times people think I really enjoy this but my purpose must be something else because that doesn’t make sense. But if we look at what our interests are what are hobbies are being when we enjoy doing at the end of the day if we are doing what we were created to do when we get done doing it we have more energy than when we started, if when you get done doing something at the end of that you have less energy than what you started with then you probably are doing the wrong thing so for me as I was testing and one of the things I did was I got together a group of small business owners I knew and I just started facilitating a discussion group with them and by the time I got done with those conference calls I be so fired up I couldn’t sleep for two hours and I just knew okay this is on the right track because I’m gaining energy from this not sapping my energy. I think we just have to look deep inside of how we are created what’s important for us for me my faith, my spiritual life, my family is very important to me I want a lifestyle that fits that I want freedom to be able to invest in those things but I also love helping people and I want to help people with skills that I have so that’s really been a journey, I would love to tell people well just take a retreat and go figure it out but for hardhats like me and if you’re like me I’ve had to go through bankruptcy have had to go through times where I walked the fields out there on the farm wondering if anybody would ever call me to do any work again and not knowing if I would ever have an opportunity to contribute or if I’d even be able to put food on the table so I’ve walked those journeys. It’s in those journeys that you look deep and find out who you really are so it’s the challenges is the tough points those are the things that shape us and help us really discover who we are.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So we should not measure our purpose or what we like or what we should continue doing only based on money, money should be one of the things but how much you enjoy it is a providing you freedom and this varies from person to person you should like put all these things and you see which one is a priority for you in based on that you choose.
Brian Mininger: Yeah and I think part of it now we all know the starving writer jokes about folks that follow their passion and couldn’t feed themselves so when I feel like is that we got a look deep inside the figure out who we are and then we’ve really got a look at the marketplace and look at the customers and say what to the customers want and I believe for every person there is an intersection where those two things come together, where what they are passionate about and what the market wants comes together and if we deliver that we will be successful so it’s not just find your passion and pursue it and you’re going to be successful because you can be passionate about something that nobody wants but on the other hand if we focus just on making money and what people want then we don’t pursue her passion and we get burned out and we wear out because we doing something we don’t enjoy. So as I’m working with people who are trying to start that’s the first thing I talk with them about is okay what is it that you’re passionate about what are the skills that you have what are the abilities and then let’s talk about the marketplace and what the market wants and let’s find that intersection where they come together and let’s work right there.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is the difference between goal and purpose?
Brian Mininger: You could probably ask 100 people get 100 different answers but for me a goal is a specific action, purposes a bigger picture it’s a mission it’s a cause for me so for me my purpose and cause is the revival of the small business, I believe that small businesses in America around the world I know you guys your overseas, can transform our communities can transform our homes I’ve seen small businesses and action making huge impact in their communities providing great places for people to work, the best places in the world to work or not the big corporations there the small businesses because helping revive that helping people do that helping those kind of businesses that’s my passion and my purpose, goals are things that I want to accomplish along the way to serve that group of people so for example I said a goal back in December that I was going to launch my podcast on 26 January which is next Monday so I have been working very diligently over the last month and I believe I’m going to headed I’m on target so that’s a goal, that’s a specific measurable thing that I can say okay this is what I’m going to do.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: This is the goal but the purpose is helping people with their small businesses.
Brian Mininger: Correct.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the main keys for worklife balance?
Brian Mininger: It comes back to purpose, it comes back to knowing what’s important to you so for me one of my purposes is helping small business owners seeing that revival but even there I want that to have a higher purpose because I believe that small business, successful small business owners can have healthier families so finding that bigger purpose for me and then in terms of balance a lot of it is about decision-making, I remember back when I started my construction company one of the things I did learn is I want to talk to successful business people that I knew and ask them for advice and one of them I want to talk to he was very successful and what he told me was basically you’re going to have to work 65+ hours a week or you are going to be successful. Well in some life situations maybe that would’ve been okay but I stepped back and looked at it and said I’ve got young children I’ve got twins actually that are like two years old, my wife needs help, these relationships my family is important to me I can’t do that. And then I stepped back and looked again and realized that this guy had been married three times so the train wreck in his personal life was there so I just had to decide that I was going to do what I could do but I was not going to sacrifice everything for business success. So Victoria and I sat down and talked about what my schedule was going to be so I knew that between certain work hours I didn’t have to consult her to do anything I could schedule whatever I needed to but if I needed to work outside of those hours I always consulted with her before I made a commitment that way she knew when she could count on me to be there and so forth and if she needed me during the work hours she didn’t commit me to anything without checking with me first so we were able to kind of use that as a way of just having a baseline that we could then communicate and talk with about and usually if I needed to do something extra it was fine but I just gave her the respective asking first, now my kids are older they’re teenagers so one of my goals now is to not spend so much time working, you know in the past I’ve always spent a lot of time working so my kids are going to be going to college and leaving home over the next four or five years and I don’t want to miss this time so I think just knowing what’s important to you and then looking at your business and building a business that fits like for me for example a construction company doesn’t fit within that at this point in time that’s part of why I made transitions is because lifestyle wise I wanted something different and I know what’s involved in being a construction company, ten years down the road from now when my kids are gone and life is different maybe I’ll get involved in a construction company again I still enjoy it, so just knowing what’s important and making, setting boundaries around that really helps.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What do you think the difference between success happiness and fulfillment are?
Brian Mininger: Well happiness comes and goes, success for me is accomplishing what’s really important to you so it’s not really external it’s really internal so if I look at it and say this is the thing that I want to have in my life and I achieve that for me that a success, happiness I look at a lot of times is kind of an emotion that sure there’s times and happy sure this times am sad, that’s more affected by circumstances and things that go around me and fulfillment is just the satisfaction of living my purpose and really enjoying every day, and maybe haven’t accomplished the success I’m going for yet I might still be working toward it, working toward a goal but it’s just the satisfaction of knowing that I am fulfilling my purpose, living the way I’m called each and every day so that’s probably I guess the way I would look at them.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Why is believing in abundance important in business success or life success?
Brian Mininger: This is one I’ve really had to just work through in my own life because when you experience a business failure like I did where you go through months where there’s very little if any money coming in and you feel like you have to hold onto every dime to make things work, you start holding things with a tight fist and the thing I’ve had to realize is that while on one hand maybe that is necessary for a short season of time it’s not the way to live life, first of all it’s very stressful, it’s a very difficult way to live because you’re so worried about losing something, so I believe we have to learn to hold things with an open hand, we have to be willing to let things go because we are never going to move to a greater success without letting go of some success. The hardest leaps forward are the leaves where we have to let go of something good, not let go of something bad it’s easy to let go of the bad stuff, it’s hard to let go of the good stuff, believing that there’s something better in store for us so I just believe that we has to see that there’s abundance all around us, for me in Scripture it talks about God owns the cattle on 1000 hills that there’s just an abundance out there so the other thing to do is that I think success comes from giving and helping others and if we get competitive and hold things tightly we don’t help other people we don’t give we are generous people and at the end of the day I believe we sabotage their own success. Even if we are living in a scarce world we need to treated as abundant.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: People don’t get that unless they really fail and feel it, sometimes when you fail you just want to succeed now you want the money now but once you relax about it you start getting it automatically more than when you are just focused on it and I want it now but people don’t get that unless they go through certain number of failures and experiences still they start really realizing that you need to relax more about it and feel that it’s going to come to you if you do your what you want to do in the right way…
Brian Mininger: Well you know as difficult as the seasons were when I had lost everything the sun came out the next day, my kids still lovely, my wife still left me I still had good friends and you know you start realizing it took me a while, I’m not going to sit here and tell you it was easy but after a while you realize losing it all is not the end of the world and so in some ways it allows you to function a little more freedom.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How do you motivate yourself when you’re depressed or down especially like working as a business consultant online sometimes it’s lonely and you need to motivate yourself to do the work?
Brian Mininger: I’ll give you two answers, first of all going back to that point where I lost everything, there was a point where I have no doubt in my mind I was depressed, I was and I was struggling to function and as I look back the way out of it was I started doing something so for me for some people it was a huge step backwards because I had built a construction company, I had run a lot of people and I picked up a hammer and just started driving nails again but it gave me something that I could do and I could contribute to my family and that just kind of let me on a journey back. Today you refer to working online it’s different, I just become more and more aware everyday about how important it is for me to take care of myself, I need to be healthy at every level, I used to have the best physical health I’ve ever had in my life I need to have the best mental health I need to have the best relationships so I’m very intentional about how I start my day and making sure that I’m functioning in a way that is creative that fits me so that’s kind of how I do it today. I’ve never exercised regularly in my life and then doing that now, when I wake up in the morning the first thing I do is I read the Bible I take time to Journal, I pay attention to what’s going on inside of me if I’m frustrated or struggling with something I just get it out and I pray and then I exercise and they make sure that I get that I take care of myself and I think that’s one of the mistakes I used to just go full bore, forget about me it didn’t matter I would just keep pressing forward and after a while you wear out and you are performing well. So I’ve had to learn that the hard way.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are your tips for planning and to do lists and what program do you use for that?
Brian Mininger: I’m not real complicated about it I keep just a handwritten to do list, sometimes I put it in Evernote but what’s most helpful for me and I started doing this with my blog writing was I right now the content calendar or a business calendar really so I try to keep that at least a month advance so I can look at it and say okay I know I want to launch this thing in this point I want to write about this on this day and I kind of plan all that out into my calendar and then as I’m looking at each day what oh I need to accomplish to stay on track and I write my to do list and stuff I’m able to look at the calendar and see what I need to be and I just use Google calendar it’s not complicated I keep up with an on my iPhone.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So you mention your calendar what you want to write about that like you have a blog post to write but say three times a week, you write the subject as well?
Brian Mininger: Correct because I don’t just blog to blog, the content and creating I want to be adding value to my readers to my tribe I want to be going somewhere with it so if I look at like for example I said okay one of the big key things that I was building around here in January was this podcast launch next Monday so I looked at what I want to write about that leads up to that, what fits, what prepares people for what were going to do in the podcast, those kinds of things so I used my goals to then dictate what I’m doing content wise so now I’m starting to layout the next month and in some cases I have some things for certain clients that I need to make sure projects that I’m taking care of get those into the calendar, and so forth but my calendar is really my main thing and I try to look out in advance, I’ll schedule not just appointments but time for things if I need to record a podcast or I need to interview or edit the podcast I’ll put that block of time on my calendar because otherwise there are so many things, what I do next? So for me planning it out I check my calendar this is what I want to work on next and that way I focus my energy and being productive none of figuring out what to do.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What other tools or techniques do you use to increase your income or productivity?
Brian Mininger: I love Evernote, I’m a huge huge Evernote fan I use it to keep up with all kinds of information, keep my notes and so forth so from a personal productivity standpoint it’s a big piece for me, I use my smart phone as well with Evernote a lot to just be able to record things, keep notes, do my strategic planning, I write all that stuff in there I love that it’s searchable, some of the other tools in terms of income, male chimp for example that I use I use WordPress for a website, using those things just to run the online marketing but then Twitter for me is not only a productivity tool because I can connect with a lot of people quickly and easily but also it drives traffic to the website, I make connections, it’s a piece that I use for my income, I use the voice dictation on my iPhone a lot, one of the big productivity boosts that I’ve gotten here in the last little bit is that I’ve started dictating my blog posts into the iPhone using Siri into the WordPress app and then I don’t even look at it I just dictate it and it converts the text and then I go back from my computer and edit and prepare it for publishing. That saved me a lot of time and actually has even allowed me, I have a teenage daughter who wants to learn a lot of these things so a lot of times she’ll go in and edit those posts for me and then she and I look at them and finish them up so it’s allowed me, I can dictate that post in five minutes or less rather than spending thirty or forty minutes writing it. That’s been a big productivity boost for me too.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How does your life and routine work routine look like and what is your other hobbies?
Brian Mininger: My daily routine is like I mentioned earlier I have my morning routine and then I’m really kind of working from about 9 to 4 or 430 something like that, some days I’m here some days I’m traveling to meet with clients, or networking meetings or whatever but I tried for the most part to get in that time sometimes all have something later in the evening that I need to do but that’s kind of my daily routine and right now we’re still kind of in startup mode so I’m working some Saturday mornings early and working toward being able to let that go.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Your top three mentors?
Brian Mininger: Top three mentors, two of them real quick come to mind one was in business coach from action coach when I had my construction company, he had a significant impact on my life and what a lot of people didn’t know was when the economy started turning we were getting hit and stuff there came a point where I couldn’t pay them anymore and he was a paid coach and he wasn’t cheap and he just Coaching me, he never quit, never did quite and he actually passed away recently and I was at his funeral and started hearing saw the same stories from other people either somebody that he met that needed to help that couldn’t pay him and he just help them anyway so he had a significant impact on my life and then my pastor for the last seventeen years just he and his wife have been mentors to Victoria and I both in our personal lives, he’s the one that walked with me when I was depressed after the bankruptcy and helped me through that process just mentored me through that, today there is some different writers and people that I’ve started to connect with that are really mentoring me at this stage, one of those is Kerry Overbrunner, he wrote a book, day job to dream job that really connected with me and we were able to connect back and forth by email and stuff and I’m getting ready to enter one of his group coaching programs I’m really looking forward to, his writing and podcasts in books and stuff have had a significant impact on me, those are the three that come to mind quickly.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Top three apps that use the new smartphone?
Brian Mininger: Top three okay Evernote and I use the pages up a lot for Facebook which is real simple and easy and then I guess Siri isn’t really an app and I actually don’t use Siri that much but that little microphone voice dictation on the keyboard I use all the time so therefore this morning I had three or four emails that I knew I needed to get out and I knew that I can do them quicker from my phone by dictating them than typing them on my computer so the Gmail app gets used quite a bit but then finally the podcast app I listen to a lot of podcasts, if I’m driving somewhere or if I’m just working around the farm here I want to be listening to something that’s encouraging in teaching me some things so I use that at a lot.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is the best advice that you have ever received?
Brian Mininger: Narrowing it down to the best is maybe a lot but probably this is come from different folks in different ways that summed up in the quote that I think we must attribute to zig Ziglar which is you can have everything you want in life if you help people get what they want and I think that is probably as good and advice as there ever was for just life in general and business and I’ve had people mentors I’ve talked about model that for me and speak it in different ways but it’s come from different successful people but at some done probably in that statement.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: If you had a back to the future car and you had the chance to advise your younger self what would you advise yourself?
Brian Mininger: Relax a little bit. Don’t take yourself so seriously, don’t stress things quite so much but those are the things we only learn by the journey anyway but probably from a business standpoint the biggest thing I would say is that when I started my company and for most of the years because of the fact that I was a carpenter by background I think I focus too much on the building and not enough on the customer because the building part was my passion so just paying a little bit too much attention to our product and not enough to our customers and I think that was just a lesson that time has had to tell and some of the things that happened that resulted in the bankruptcy can be attributed that, we were in a boom time so we were focusing a lot on delivering our product and probably not enough on the customer.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: In terms of service or quality service to the customer what you mean by that?
Brian Mininger: Say that again?
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What do you mean not focusing that much on the customer do you mean the service to the customer was not that good?
Brian Mininger: I think our service was really good the thing is that at the end of the day the customer is more valuable than the product so in some cases we certainly could have provided more services to the customer we could have given more value to them and therefore increased revenue off of the customers if we had been more focused on the customer and not so much focused on the product but also realizing that we were in an area where we were providing a premium product to a demographic that wasn’t quite, it was a stretch for the demographic to buy what we were selling and we didn’t see that because the boom of the housing was giving people lots of easy money so they were buying but when things turned it dried up real fast and our product should have geographically been in a different market and I can see that today but I didn’t see it then because I was so focused on the product and not so much on the customers.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Now working with small business owners what do you feel that the biggest mistakes or repeated mistakes that most of them do?
Brian Mininger: It’s the same type thing, so many start a business because they have a service they want to provide, a product they want to do a widget they have so all their energy kind of goes into that and they don’t pay attention to the customer, what the customer base is going to be, who are they really going to sell it to, you can’t just create something and then try to sell it you need to find the customer, find a client and figure out kind of like I said earlier where is that intersection between what you want to do and the customer so many small business owners create a product and then try to sell it rather than developing a product or service kind of with their customer so that they know that they are providing something that people want and then also in the marketing one of the simple things that I see is that people that just don’t maintain a list, they just don’t know who their customers are people do business with them but they don’t keep any sort of list whether it’s digital, Excel, anything, they just don’t know who their customers are and therefore they can’t communicate with them and they are losing a lot of opportunity because they don’t maintain a list, we made this mistake for about three or four years and then we started building a list our direct mail list with prospects and customers and so forth and it made a significant different for us.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Who are the top three people that you’re inspired by?
Brian Mininger: Inspired by today I guess one would be John Maxwell he’s a leadership writer and so forth always been inspired by his writing and one of the things that has inspired me about him to is that like myself he’s a Christian and has a pastoral background but his influence because he is very he helps people and is good at what he does is much broader than just the church, he’s been able to influence people at a broad spectrum and I would put Dave Ramsey who’s the financial guru kind of in the same category I admire what they’ve done and then Kerry Overbrunner who I before his passion for helping people find their purpose and helping people really go after that and so all those guys are very inspiring to me.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Top three books?
Brian Mininger: I’m going to put one I just read on the list which is linchpin by Seth Godin, it would be very easy to pick three top books just from him, tribes and permission marketing are both fantastic books. But in a different genre, the notice or by Andy Andrews is just a great book as well and these are some who moved my cheese is a great parable to help you understand where you are and probably the final ones I’m way or three I like to read is how to win friends and influence people by Gale Carnegie it’s a classic but it’s just basic powerful stuff probably one of those books you have to read every couple of years.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What makes you really happy?
Brian Mininger: I enjoy talking about business maybe you can tell that I enjoy helping people I really enjoy hanging out with my family and traveling so that something were wanting to do more of than we have I love seeing new places and things like that I’m a sports guy, I played baseball when I was young so I really enjoy particularly college football, college basketball, my alma mater is about forty-five minutes away from here so we go to the football games down there it’s a lot of fun and I live on a farm here so I enjoy gardening and those kinds of things, having some of the animals around here so I love helping people, I love spending time with my kids they are fantastic, my wife is an awesome awesome lady so I get a lot of enjoyment from life in general.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Last question how can people contact you?
Brian Mininger: The easiest thing is brianmininger.com you can find my blog and all my other social media profiles there but since my name is fairly unique on my social media profiles are Brian Mininger, Facebook twitter, LinkedIn, same thing you can find me on any of those platforms I use all of them pretty regularly.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Thank you so much for this interview Brian I really appreciate it.
Brian Mininger: Oh it’s been a pleasure, I really enjoyed it, thank you very much.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Thanks everyone, be efficient and stay efficient and see you soon with another leading expert.
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