Every now and then I’ll focus on people who have inspired me. Today, we’re going to focus on Christian Rodwell. His Escape The Rat Race project is huge and has resulted in a hugely popular podcast on iTunes, among other things. He lives and breathes personal development, and has helped countless people make huge changes in their personal and business lives. We strongly recommend you check out his podcast and website. In the meantime, and because he’s an extremely busy man, enjoy these thoughts from the man himself.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in business, and how did you deal with it?
I spent 8 years as the Label Director for Independent dance music label, Cr2 Records. Whilst there were a number of business challenges throughout that period of time such as distributors going into administration (twice), ultimately the buck stopped with the owner of the company (who I’m sure endured many sleepless nights throughout these troubled periods). It wasn’t until I stepped outside of my comfort zone to leave the music industry behind (the safe & secure monthly pay cheque), and embark on my own entrepreneurial journey that I truly realised just how difficult being the owner of a business can be at time, and in my experience so far, invariably related to cashflow. I’ve heard many business owners say that it’s the people in the business (staff) that cause most of the problems, and that is why I’m designing my business now to work with remote staff and not have to take on actual employees which means I don’t have to worry so much about office space, pension schemes and the day to day ‘stories’ of why they have turned up late for work!
What’s the best thing about being an entrepreneur?
I’d have to say the freedom. Success and failure sit squarely on the entrepreneur’s shoulders, and if you are the kind of person that enjoys living life on the edge at times and taking risks then you’ll no doubt enjoy the roller-coaster ride of entrepreneurship. Sometimes I have to stop and reflect that I no longer have the dread of ‘going to work’ tomorrow, or to be faced with tasks that I don’t want to do. Of course, there are some jobs still that I don’t particularly want to do, but the difference is that I can choose what I do and don’t do, and I can outsource the jobs which either I’m the best person to take care of it, or that I simply don’t want to. I think this only comes after a year or two of being your own boss, at first you run around a bit like a headless chicken, but like most things, you learn from experience and after some time the chaos period passes and you learn to systemise more processes within your business and leverage other people’s time and money.
What’s your elevator pitch?
I help people to escape the rat race. So, tell me what it is that you do?
Which business quote had the biggest influence on your career?
I love personal development, and the very first person that I listened to that got me hooked was Jim Rohn. Still to this day he is my favourite speaker/author on the subject of personal development. He has many great quotes, but the one I refer to most often is ‘You can work hard on your job and make a living, or you can work hard on yourself and make a fortune’. Closely followed by ‘Profits are better than wages’.
To what single personality trait do you attribute your success?
Since embarking on this journey as an entrepreneur I have connected with so many fantastic people in the world of business, mentoring, coaching, speaking, authors etc. One of those people (who is now one of my mentors), is Roger Hamilton. I first became aware of Roger through his Wealth Dynamics Test which helps people to discover their natural entrepreneurial profile. My profile is that of the Deal Maker. When I took this test it just made complete sense. Since my teens I had always been the one in my group to pull everyone together, whether that be for nights out or connecting different groups of friends together. It was just how I was, and it happened naturally. The Wealth Dynamics test highlights these natural personality traits that we all have, and then specifically explains how to follow your natural strengths in order to reach a state of ‘flow’. It’s by finding this flow that life becomes easier, and we open up the path for wealth to flow towards us – simply by focusing on what we do best and building an entrepreneurial team around us based upon the different profile types. It gives you an incredible feeling of awareness once you understand this.
How do you select employees? What process do you go through and what questions do you ask yourself?
Well, this ties in very much with my answer to the last question. Every business has different roles for different tasks that need to be completed. And so the people that you choose to employ to carry out these tasks should be naturally aligned to the role. So often in businesses, this is not the case. Let me ask you now; Do you feel like your job get’s the best out of you? Do you love your job? When you look around you in your office, do you feel that every person is doing a great job in their role and that every member of the team has 100% trust in one another to complete their duties in the best way possible? If so, congratulations!
I know that if I am looking for someone to manage my accounts, such as a bookkeeper, then I am going to want someone with lots of Steel energy (one of the four geniuses explained in Wealth Dynamics). I’m probably going to look for someone that naturally has an analytical mind, that doesn’t want to be chatting to all the customers and finding out about their summer holiday plans (like I would want my sales team to be asking).
When everyone in a team is following their natural genius, the whole team is in flow, trust increases, which leads to better performance, increased results and a much more enjoyable environment. This leads to increased profits, which can then be passed on to the staff in bonuses and pay increases – it’s so simple yet so many businesses have no idea about this and the unbelievable difference it could be having in so many areas.
What was your first ever business idea?
Well I’m sure I’ve had a lot over my lifetime, but one that I had about ten years ago when I left my first job working for EMI Records and went travelling to Asia and Australia for 16 months was to fly one of the Thai Pancake makers over to the UK and set up a chain of pancake kiosks called ‘Hello Pancake!’ (because that’s what they say as you walk past their pancake ‘carts’ in Thailand! They are so tasty and entertaining to watch (check out some of the videos on youtube)….I really thought it could be a great idea to introduce to the UK Market. If anyone fancies a JV then hit me up!
What is the weirdest (or bravest) marketing tactic you have used?
When I left the music industry my plan was to become a property millionaire! I spent 12 months growing a property sourcing business in South East London, and one of the marketing tactics that my mentor advised us to do was to slap stickers on all of the wheelie bins when they were lined up along the pavements on bin collection day. It didn’t result in me getting any deals, but it did result in lots of phone calls from pis*ed off residents telling me to stop vandalising their bins!
What is your favourite business book? Why?
Ooh, that’s a tough one! I’ve already mentioned that I love personal development, so ‘Think & Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill is just an all time classic that I believe is where all the current personal development authors, speakers and ‘gurus’ still essentially just regurgitate the core principles that were first published by Hill back in 1937.
If I had to pick one ‘business’ book, I would actually go for ‘How To Build A Business That Creates Wealth’ by John F Kettley. John also happens to be one of my business mentors, and without his guidance, I would not be where I am today, so I would like to take this opportunity to thank him.
Who would you most like to have dinner with?
Well, it would have been Michael Jackson, but unless they start offering hologram dinner experiences soon then my second choice would be Tony Robbins because I just think the guy has worked so tirelessly over the last 30+ years to improve himself and others and has impacted millions of people around the world, and that inspires me.