Rae Williams: Hi, guys. It’s Rae Williams, back with another episode of Author Hour, where I interview authors about their new books. When provide a service you believe in, one with the power to change lives for the better, you’ll approach your work with a sense of joy. The business side of things, however, might be a different story.
Our guest today is Shawn Dill, the author of None of your Business, and he’s going to talk to us about why the way you communicate your value to the world changes everything. We’re going to talk marketing, mindset, and entrepreneurship. Here is our guest, Shawn Dill.
Shawn Dill: First of all, I’m a chiropractor by profession and I’ve been in practice since 1995, over twenty-four years. And obviously, when a service professional decides to entertain a course of study, whether you’re becoming a doctor or a lawyer, an accountant, most of the time, you’re entertaining this because of a big passion and a service-oriented heart.
My story is I ended up moving to Costa Rica, where I had the additional cultural challenges, language challenges, not to mention that I really didn’t know what I was doing from a business perspective.
I realized that if I was really going to be able to serve as many people as I desired to serve in my lifetime, I was going to have to become really good and astute at business concepts. Then as I’ve grown and moved to the United States and our business has grown, I have come more and more in contact with a variety of service professionals that I see have the same challenge.
Basically, what I’ve realized is that probably some of the very best providers—be it doctors, lawyers, accountants—are absolutely unknown, merely because they do not have the business acumen to build a strong business. It’s a shame.
There’s multiple prongs for why this book. One is because we want to be able to help those providers. It’s a shame that there are so many talented providers that tare not reaching more people merely because they do not embrace the idea of being an entrepreneur.
But maybe even more important than that, we want to reach the people that they should be reaching.
I often think about how many people are out there that have issues that could be resolved by talented service providers but are not resolved just merely because the service providers are not making themselves known by having strong marketing systems, strong sales systems and getting their message out there, people are probably suffering because the talent is staying in relative obscurity.
That’s why we wrote the book—we want to get those people that those providers were meant to serve. We want to get them together with the providers by arming the providers with the business skills necessary to make themselves known to the world.
Rae Williams: What is that first step that people should take to do this?
Shawn Dill: Well, the first step is to actually begin to understand. We spend some time in the book helping the reader to understand that you cannot give what you don’t have, and I think that the challenge is that most service providers got into their particular profession actually to escape business.
They’re like, “Well that’s why I’m a doctor is because I don’t want to do business, that’s why I chose my profession because I don’t want to be a business person. I want to serve.”
The reality is that you cannot give what you don’t have.
If you want to serve people, you’re going to have to have a strong business, you’re going to have to be able to pay our bills. I’m not talking just about from a business construct, I’m talking about from a life construct.
If you can’t make your mortgage payments or your car payments or if you’re renting an apartment and you can’t afford to feed yourself and your family, well then, your business isn’t going to survive.
Ultimately, you are not going to render any service to the world.
Step number one is just getting comfortable with the idea that you have to be a business person, you have to adopt the role, at least in some way, shape or form of being an entrepreneur, if you’re actually going to provide a service to the world.
More Than a Practice
Rae Williams: How do we begin to take action on actually being business people?
Shawn Dill: First of all, I hope that the book helps to dispel the idea that it is a very complicated thing. There’s a couple of myths around this, and one is that it’s super complicated. Two, is that it costs a lot of money.
There’s an axiom that it takes money to make money, but the reality is, most of the strategies that we’re teaching in the book to help to market and sell your business actually don’t cost very much money at all.
How we overcome that is one we have that realization that, first of all, that it’s important. We realize, look, this is an important thing. And then, here’s what I think is sort of the step by step process is, go back and realize why you got into the particular business. That’s interesting too, right? Because people would say to you, “What business are you in?”
I would say, “Well, I’m a chiropractor.”
That’s interesting because we don’t usually say to somebody, “What profession are you in,” or “What service do you provide the world?” We just say, “What business are you in?” The first thing is it’s a business, second thing is “Why did I decide to get into this business?”
I see that most service providers are extremely passionate about the service that they provide, and that’s been one of the great things about working with the people that have been involved in the creation of the book.
Everybody is super passionate. All the way down to this interview with you. Because you’re super passionate about the service that you’re providing, you’re making an impact on the world by hosting podcasts, and that’s an amazing thing.
If we want to reach even more people, we would need to begin to embrace the idea of it being a business. Once we’ve realized it’s a business—we’ve gone back and we’ve understood the passion, the reason why—then the next thing is to drill it down a little bit and begin to understand who are we providing this service for. One of the biggest challenges that I found in my life is when I started out in my profession. I was 24 when I graduated, and I thought, “My gosh, I want to provide my service for every man, woman, and child on the planet.”
That is how I began at 24.
Why do I have to do to reach everyone in the world? And then as we were discussing, I got a hold of Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port, and I realized that it was actually a foolish idea that I would attempt to see everybody.
I realized that there are seven billion plus people on the planet, that’s actually impossible that I would provide my service to all of them. I began to understand that the key was, for me to only provide my service for those who I was meant to serve.
I am hopeful that this podcast will reach the ears of the people who we were meant to serve.
Jointly because we want exposure to you and the work that you’re doing, and then obviously, we want exposure to what’s in the book that we’re providing.
But we don’t want this to reach everybody, because frankly, we wouldn’t work well with everybody. Frankly, not everybody would enjoy listening to this podcast.
The next thing is to decide, well, “Who do I do my best work with?” That’s the beginning of a conversation of exploring your ideal client, your target market, because then the next step beyond that is, well, where do I find people like that, right?
Then, once we get beyond that, we begin to understand, how would I market to them? Those people that I do my best work with, now that I have isolated and found them, what is it that they’re looking for and what are they trying to achieve in their world, what does my service bring to them and how do we make a match? Then of course, the second back half of that is getting real comfortable with the monetization of that, which a lot of people aren’t real comfortable with either.
That’s another thing that a lot of service providers have an issue with and we tackle this in the book as well.
They’re not comfortable with charging because you see, we provide a service, it’s not something tangible, it’s not like we sell a widget and we know that there’s a cost involved in that, but because it’s time, it’s our time. For many of us, it’s hard to assign a monetary value to that time and charge for that. The back half of the book is about getting real comfortable with the idea of your time and your service has value in that you have to be able to sell that value and you have to be able to charge for that service that you’re providing.
How Shawn Got Started
Rae Williams: Tell us a little bit about your business in particular and your journey. How did you discover this?
Shawn Dill: I began my career in Costa Rica. I moved there in 1995 at the age of 24. Like most 24-year-olds, and I hope I’m not offending any of our younger listeners, but I knew everything. I had life figured out, there was nothing that I wanted for, I know exactly what I was going to do.
Of course, I’m saying that facetiously.
I moved to Costa Rica and I didn’t understand business—not to mention, I didn’t speak Spanish. That proved to be a major issue, and in fact, my first year in practice was a giant struggle because of that.
I ended my first year in practice seeing about four people a week. But I was on a mission to learn Spanish and I was on a mission to really get my mind wrapped around learning business so that I could see a lot of people. As we had mentioned before, that passion.
At the end of my second year, I was seeing 200 plus people a day, five and a half days a week. The challenge is in looking out, well, what changed? I think that was sort of my biggest lesson. First of all, obviously, one of the things that changed was I learned to speak Spanish. If you can’t communicate what it is you do to the world, you’re in trouble. That’s a basic marketing tenant, right? I have to be able to communicate it.
But second of all, I began to embrace the idea of being an entrepreneur. At the end of my second year, we were seeing a lot of people, we began to bring more doctors down to Costa Rica. At our peak at Costa Rica, we had four clinics with six chiropractors and two medical doctors that worked inside of our system to provide this service to the people of Costa Rica. We had grown quite a bit.
I have two daughters and they were beginning to get of school age, so we moved back. I sold the business and we moved back to the United States and in essence started over.
Went through the same processes and the growth curve was accelerated because I had this experience. But today, we’ve created a model that we have franchised. Currently we have 16 offices that span across the United States, as we’ve begun to learn more business constructs learning scaling and all of this in an effort to reach more people. Then ultimately, we decided to go in to the consulting side, my wife and I, who was instrumental in scaling once I moved to the states, scaling, creating the franchise.
We decided to go into consulting.
Lacey has a massive roster of coaching clients or consulting clients that she works with, and we started a group called the Black Diamond Club, which is just shy of 500 service providers that we mentor on a daily basis and help them to come to grips with this idea of being an entrepreneur.
The birth of the book and the ideas that are in the book are all products of having worked with literally hundreds, if not now thousands of service providers, and watching their struggle. The struggle, frankly, breaks our hearts.
We want to see service providers be ultra-successful in their business, ultimately so that they can reach more people.
Of course, in our personal business on the chiropractic side, we believe passionately in the chiropractic service that we’re providing, which is why we’re so interested in scaling and reaching people all across the country. And ultimately, we’re beginning to initiate some conversations to expand internationally as well.
Setting Goals and Meeting Them
Rae Williams: Very early in the book, you actually talk about goal setting. Why is that important? What do we need to do in order to set these goals and get to these goals?
Shawn Dill: I love to do presentations on this, and I know that there’s a lot of great people that talk about goal setting, but sometimes I think it gets a little bit watered down. The first thing about this is that you cannot go to a place that you don’t know where you’re going.
You can’t arrive at a destination that you don’t know where you’re going. In the book we use the example of a GPS in your car. I also sometimes will say, for example, if I were on a train. I used to live in the San Francisco bay area and they have a thing called the Bay Area Rail Transit called the BART. The first step in going anywhere on the BART is you have to determine your final destination.
Talk about how foolish it would be for me to just go down to the train station and jump on the first train and just ride it until the end and then get off and say, “Where am I?”
Nobody does that. You pick first the destination and once you know the destination then you calculate the route. Sometimes you might have to take multiple trains, you might have to get off at the stop, jump on another one, go to the next one.
It all begins with determining your destination.
Frankly, this goes beyond service providers and this is for just business owners and then frankly, this is just people in general in life, they’re just attacking life with a vision for making as much money as possible. They’re not really attempting to do anything particular. In essence, they’re driving their car, the GPS is on, so the GPS is calculating where they are, but it’s not giving them a route, it’s just telling you where you are.
Maybe on a yearly basis or five years or every so often and you check your bank account, you check with your financial adviser, you check in with your accountant, you see how things are going. But you’re not really on any particular trajectory.
Step number one is why not define exactly what it is that we are trying to create? In essence, let us put in an exact address into the GPS and then step number two is, let us look at the route calculation and see.
Your GPS does that for you, but sometimes it will give you choices. Maybe there is the faster route, maybe there is the route with no tolls. In life, maybe there is a fast route to achieve what you want.
Maybe it is a collaborative route, maybe it is a go it alone route, maybe you need to partner with other people, maybe you need to take a route that only gets to a certain place. Then you need to recalculate because there were obstacles in the path. There was a road construction or there was an accident. But it all begins with first setting your course, your destination.
Inside of that I will say, a lot of people have a hard time with this simply because they cannot fathom what life would look like in any other way other than how it is now.
I’ve had conversations with people where I have said, “Look what would your life look like if we could help you to make changes in your business. Let’s say that we doubled your revenue. What would your life look like?” And the most common answer that we get is, “A lot better than it does now.”
To which I respond, “That’s why you will never get there.”
You can’t pursue a vague goal.
So, we spend sometime in the book talking about the importance of setting goals.
And then we talk about a methodology that we love, that we utilize and then the other part of it that I think is super important for entrepreneurs and again this goes beyond just service providers, is when you do achieve your goals you have to because most of the entrepreneurs, service providers, are actually self-employed. But even if you are not, if you are attempting life goals, you have to reward yourself. There is a neurological component to this.
Often times what I find is that people become jaded or resistant to goal setting and the reason why I’ve identified is that they have done it in the past and maybe they achieved the goal and they didn’t do anything to reward themselves.
I am not talking about having an ice cream cake or buying yourself a watch. It is something has to be different. In essence, they achieve goals and nothing changed in their life.
Think about it, if we were working at a nine to five job and my boss told me, “If you could accomplish X then we are going to give you a $500 bonus,” and I accomplished it and then they never gave me the bonus, that would actually prove to be demotivating.
I would not aspire to entertain this idea of having a goal again, because I would think like, “Well you tricked me.” There is no difference whether I achieved the goal or not.
A lot of entrepreneurs and a lot of people in general have done this to themselves by setting goals, but it is never tied to anything. I lost 10 pounds, but nothing was different in my life other than my clothes were looser. Nothing was really better or any different, and therefore, I am not motivated to lose another ten. In fact, I am actually not even motivated to keep the 10 off because life looks the same.
In business it is the same thing. Some people have these grandiose goals and they actually achieve them and maybe they do double their revenue, but they don’t change anything about their life and so they step back and they look at their life and they say, “but my life looks the same. My life is the same making $80,000 a month as it was when I made $40,000 month. Why go through all of the hustle and extra work to make that amount of money?”
So goal setting is very important because when you are your own boss we forget that and we forget that we wouldn’t treat employees that way, but we don’t have any problem treating ourselves that way. And ultimately I fear that sometimes neurologically we end up programming ourselves for failure rather than success.
Getting the Price Right
Rae Williams: How do you we make sure that we are charging correctly and making sure that we are going the business side of things while still being fair?
Shawn Dill: Oh my gosh that is such a great question. There are three factors at play here and they are value, price, and affordability. So the first thing is what is the value of the service that you provide. Honestly, any time I have ever asked a service provider that, they tend to fall more into the realm of, “Well you really can’t even place a value on it.” Right? It is life changing.
The value is beyond comprehension.
So then based on the value, you have to assign a price, because nobody is going to sign over to their entire bank account for a haircut. Even though the provider may feel like look, the value that I am providing in self-confidence, self-esteem, the ability to get a job, etc., is immense. Relationships are transformed and changed. Great. We have to assign a price.
We talk a little bit about pricing considerations in the book. And how to figure out from value to price.
But then the next step is affordability, and I think that is where people get hung up. If something has a value and you and I are great friends, it is perfectly within my right to give this for you for free. Frankly, there is nothing wrong with that.
That is within my right to do, and I think that the more successful you are, the more able you are to do that type of thing. I think that in the hypothetical scenario that you are describing, typically we see that occurring in people who are just getting started.
And when you are just getting started, that’s when you cannot afford. So, there’s that third factor—affordability. I cannot afford to just give my service or even my product away because we are in startup mode.
If you understood the value and then you understand the price and then you understand affordability, we can come to grips with this dilemma.
Having said that, I think that there are situations where you are going to give people a massive discount and/or provide your service for free.
I couldn’t imagine charging my mother or my father for the service. They have done so much for me in my life, I would never charge them. Brother, sister, etc. But then we have another circle or another layer, which will just be friends. We were friends since high school, or something along those lines. I think the most important thing whenever we are faced with this dilemma is that we do communicate first value.
So, if somebody said, “Hey can’t you give me a discount?” I would say, “Well first of all I want you to know the value of what I do. I also want you to know what I charge. I want you to know what other people are charging for me.”
Many times, that’s just left out. We do a lot of discussion in the book about price and how price is nebulous. If I said, “I will sell you an hour of my consulting time.” Who knows what that’s worth?
Nobody knows until I establish a price.
If I never established a price and I told you I will do it for free, then we are going to go based off of what you felt like it was worth. I think that what happens for service providers is, because we live in our service, we think that people know what it’s worth. People pay us all the time either for chiropractic care, for consulting, so I know what other people pay me. But if you were my great friend, you don’t know that. You have no frame of reference.
I think the first thing is communicating value, then communicating price, and then ultimately it is up to you whether or not you want to provide them with a discount. I’ve got to say, for the majority of the people that are going to read this book, the honest truth here is that you are not the only provider that is providing that service.
If I felt uncomfortable with giving a discount, I might say, “Look Rae, I am uncomfortable working with you because of our relationship and I think that it would be better for you if I made a referral to someone else so that you could get the care or you could receive the service that you deserve.” Other people obviously are not going to be in a relationship where they feel compromised to give a discount.
Ultimately if they built the value and established the value for you, then maybe later on you might say, “Look, can we try it? I want to work with you,” etc. It might be an exchange of monetary value there at that time.
One of our axioms here I think that I just want to make sure that everybody knows that when it comes to these concepts there is no one right way to do anything. We are big believers in that.
I love to look out in the world, in the business world, and see how other people are doing things. I think that that’s what happens a lot is that, in business, there is a lot of instruction where people are telling you this is the only way to do this. We don’t believe that. So, you could give it away for free. You won’t be open very long.
I think that you might want to at least set a mental limit. Tell yourself, “I am only going to discount or give services for free for up to three people a year.
That gives you a charity, and it doesn’t have to be three. It can be whenever you want, but it gives you a sort of a charity cushion. I would also say that to you. I would say, “You know Rae you are a great friend. I personally have a limit assigned to myself that I am only allowed to either discount or give away care for free for up to three people. Do you want me to use one of my three on you?”
And then that puts the ball back in your court for you to say, “Actually I can afford. I was just asking you because we’re friends,” or to say “Yes because I really need your help and I really cannot afford to pay for that.”
This even transcends just friends and family because you are also going to run into people who just by nature like to negotiate. I think that is fair that people are going to try to negotiate with you.
These are all things that you have to have thought out ahead of time.
Know how are you going to respond, because if I know that you are a service provider, an entrepreneur, and you’re ultimately your own boss, why not try to negotiate and get a better deal? People will say like, “Well what if I pay cash? Can I get a discount?” And you just need to be prepared for that so that you know what your answer is going to be ahead of time.
I think if you are not prepared that’s when you fall into this trap and you’re like, “Oh my gosh what am I going to say?”
And the often times you default to again being service-oriented and then you let people take advantage of you.
Challenges from Shawn Dill
Rae Williams: If you could issue a challenge to our listeners, what would you challenge them to do that is going to change their life and change their business?
Shawn Dill: I would challenge them to think big relative to the service that they provide and the impact that they could have on the world. Now that in and of itself on the surface probably is a relatively easy challenge. It is probably a thought that they had back when they were getting into the business when they were learning their craft.
For many people maybe they have lost sight of that, but there is a deeper part of that. Thinking big about the service that you provide the world means that you also will be rewarded in proportion to the service that you provide.
I also want to challenge people to think big about their life.
We always say that our mission in life is to help you to see more people with your service so that you can create the lifestyle of your dreams. The two things go hand in hand.
Obviously, the more service you provide, as long as you have effectively created a strong business system around it and if monetized it, then that is going to translate into success financially in your life, the creation of a lifestyle.
The idea is to become so abundant that you have extra that you can give back.
One of our main visions for the book is to help service providers become successful so that they can give back, not so that you can hoard it. Again, nothing wrong with you having fancy cars and nice houses and nice things, but ultimately, we want to see you giving back so that we can create more service providers and reach even more people with your service that you are so passionate about.
But it takes money to do that.
Thinking big about the service and the impact that you can make on the world and then the flipside of turning that coin over says thinking big about the impact that would make on your own life so that you can give back proportionately to all of the things that helped you to get to where you are today.
Rae Williams: If people want to contact you or just to get more information, how do they do that?
Shawn Dill: Multiple ways, they could find us at. They can also find us at and they can connect with us there.
They are free to email us, they could look us up on Facebook, social media. We are quite accessible and we love hearing from people that are applying the constructs. If you have a question we are also open to helping you to navigate any sort of situation that you might find yourself in.