Successful Life Podcast

Starting a Plumbing Company During the Pandemic: Success, Strategies, and Family Dynamics - A Conversation with Mitch Smedley

July 21, 2023 Corey Berrier
Successful Life Podcast
Starting a Plumbing Company During the Pandemic: Success, Strategies, and Family Dynamics - A Conversation with Mitch Smedley
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Show Notes Transcript

Discover the inspiring journey of Mitch Smedley, who defied the odds and started a thriving plumbing company amidst the challenges of the pandemic. Learn how they achieved impressive revenue growth each year and became the highest-rated plumbing company in their area, boasting a remarkable 5-star rating on Google. Join Corey Berrier as they delve into Mitch's successful pricing strategy, aimed at maintaining a stellar 4.8 rating and avoiding price complaints.

In this thought-provoking episode, Corey emphasizes the importance of responding professionally to customer reviews, while Mitch shares valuable insights on handling one-star reviews and managing customer feedback through separate channels. Uncover the secrets to working with family members, as Mitch and Corey highlight communication and understanding each other's love languages as key components in their own successful marriage.

Parenting and family dynamics take center stage as they discuss how children learn from their parent's actions and personalities, exploring different parenting approaches and tackling topics like cussing rules. The impact of social media on children is also explored, shedding light on the criticism faced by industry professionals due to viral mistakes.

Mitch's incredible journey unfolds as he shares how his military background led him to a fulfilling career as a plumber after a medical event altered his path. Listen as he advocates for the benefits of trade school over college, stressing continuous learning and value addition in the trades industry. Discover how individuals in the trades can achieve six-figure incomes without a college degree.

Don't miss this captivating episode of 'The Void' podcast, where Mitch Smedley provides valuable insights into self-employment in the trades industry. Get ready to be inspired and equipped with essential strategies for success as they navigate entrepreneurship, family, and personal growth. Tune in now and embark on an enlightening journey of knowledge and empowerment!


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Welcome to the Successful Life Podcast. I'm your host, Corey Berrier, and I am here with my man, Mitch Smedley. Did I say it right? Yep, you did, dude I, usually get everybody's last name wrong, but I, that was pretty good, and I did not practice that either. So what's up, Mitch? How are you? Well, I'm doing great. How are you? Good, brother. I'm excited about this conversation. So where's your remind me again The, company's located where? We're, just outside of Kansas City, so we service the Kansas City metropolitan area. Okay. Small plumbing company that we started in 2020, man. 2020 was 2020 was interesting for a lot of people and a lot of people lost their shit. And a lot of people gained a lot of shit. Yeah. And I think the people that took action in 2020 are benefiting massively from it now. Yeah. I, Ours was more of a, like we had, it's something that we wanted to do for a while. So when we made the commitment to do it we made the commitment to start the company in January, and the pandemic was mildly being talked about, but it wasn't anything serious yet. It didn't really get serious until like, what, March of that year or something like that? That's right. And so we made the commitment to start the company. We started preparing our personal finances and I started putting all of the processes together and you know, pounding away on the keyboard every night, building my price book and all of this stuff, and like it was going to happen. And then the pandemic hits and. Like came in full force, you know, all the kids came home on spring break and then never went back to school that year and, all of that. And so everyone, I didn't tell a lot of people that I was starting the company, but everyone that knew was like, are you sure you still wanna be doing this? And I'm like, Hey it's, already, the ball's already in motion, right? Like if I let this be an excuse, why not to start, then it just adds to a whole nother list of excuses that I've used for the years. So we're just doing this thing and so we, opened our doors August 1st, and I've never looked back since. So, and we've, done a fair, we've done a fair job of growing ever since then, so, so, So, alright, you, you mentioned growing. Tell me a little bit more about that. Yeah, so we, we started August 1st. I was our only plumber and my wife was doing, she wasn't even on payroll yet but my wife was doing all the bookkeeping and all of the you know, answering of the phones and the scheduling and everything else. And so we ran with me as our only plumber for about eight or nine months. But At, month number three, I had paid myself back all of our startup costs to, to create the company. I started our company with about$30,000 and I paid that self or paid that all back to myself within three months. And then four months after that, I was able to buy truck number two with cash. Cuz you're only in business for seven months, banks look at you like you're unemployed. So nobody's gonna give you a loan. So you're left with buying vehicles with cash. So I bought truck number two with cash. Six weeks later I bought truck number three with cash. Had yet to hire plumber number two. And we don't have a, we didn't have a shop or anything at this time, so my HOA is probably like getting pissed off at me cuz I've got three Ford Transits parked in my driveway and one of them, you know, it has stickers on it and then I'm, running out of the other two, were just blank white Ford transits. So but soon after that we hired plumber number two, and then soon after that we hired plumber number three. And, then you get that kind of motion going and then we had a shop, so we were able to kind of, you know, make the neighborhood happy again. So, But yeah our, first, you know, five months in business to round out that first partial year, we did about$150,000 in revenue. Our first full year in business. So 2021 we did 7 79 in revenue. And then in 2022 we did 1.295 million. So just a hair under 1.3 million. So and here we are about halfway through this year, and right now we're pacing for currently right now we're pacing for about 1.5, but we've got some things in the work that are gonna start here in the next few weeks that really should put us to 1.6 to 1.8 by the end of this year. So, So there's a lot of people that listen to this show that are at, you know, a little low below a million. They, you know, try to get one to two. It's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard time for a business to get from one to two, two to three to five, right. So what was the what was the catalyst that got you from. Let's just say, I guess two questions. One, the one 50 to 7 75, and then up to that 1.2 because you had to have done some things differently. Yeah, and that was a lot of that came in my setup. Right? So we, made the commitment to start the company in January, but we didn't actually open our doors until August 1st. And it wasn't cuz we were lazy or pushing the thing out or anything else, it's that I had a lot of processes that I wanted to get. Like in place before we started the company. You know, how do we run a service call? How do we handle the money? How do we run the schedules? How do we, do the business? Right? And so I didn't want to just be winging it, you know, with everything, the starting a business and the, life of an entrepreneur is, ad-libbing enough already as it is, but there are some definite things that you can put processes in place. And so when you have a good process in place everybody, operates smoothly. But then also you can delegate that process to other people and allow for growth, right? So we have a process for how we book service calls and my wife, you know, took that over and dominated that and did exactly what we needed to. And then we're constantly tweaking the processes along the way. But Basically creating a process for somebody else to work within. Give them some boundaries and some framework so that they know what success looks like and, then, you know, growth just kind of happens after that. Because now you can hire additional people to answer the phones and they know how to do it. You can hire additional plumbers. And they already know how to run the service call. They already know how to restock the truck. They know how to, you know, do what it takes to get a five star review and, all of that kind of stuff. So which is, it's kind of cool along the way. We're, knocking on the door of 600 Google reviews in three years. Wow. I think we've got five 80 as of today. We'll have 600 by August 1st, so we'll, get 20 in this next month. But at, this point too, we still have a 5.0 rating on Google. We're the only company in the Kansas City metro area that has a couple hundred reviews and has a 5.0 rating. So we're, you know, that puts us as the highest reviewed plumbing company in the KC metro area. It's pretty cool. There's some other companies that have, you know, a thousand reviews or a couple thousand reviews, but they've got a 4.6 rating or something like that. So we're the highest rated company. Do you think I could see why? You'd be proud of that. Yeah. But I do have to ask and, I'm just kind of funneling this from information that I've heard from other people. I don't really look at it personally this way. If I see somebody that's got five star review I, tend to believe they have a fi you know that, it's legitimate and anybody probably that knows you, believes it's legitimate, and I believe it's legitimate. Right. I've heard in the past that. It's not bad if you have a couple of bad reviews assuming you handled it correctly online. Yeah. And see that you answered the question or, solved the problem. Do you think that. Do you think that ever hurts you having that five star? Because I've heard that. I don't know if it's true. So I've read several studies that actually talk about the most profitable companies have a 4.6 to 4.8 rating, and I can totally 100% believe that and buy into that and subscribe to that idea. And basically, essentially what it is, the big difference makers between us and those companies would be the price point, right? So that company may be running at a higher price point, and if they're running at a higher price point, they are bound to get a couple of bad reviews, specifically around price and price alone, right? And so we, are probably just towing the line of crossing over into that. We're not the cheapest company in town, but we're not the most expensive, but we are on the upper half of the pricing for sure. I think our pricing is just under the level that would earn us the 4.8 rating where you would have enough people coming in and saying, you know, the service was great, but the price was just too much or, whatever the case may be. So I can totally understand the, logic behind not actually shooting for a five oh rating, shooting for a four nine or a four eight so long is that the only difference is the price complaints. Well, I think now as you sat there and said all that, if you think about, you know, if you did have a 4.8, 4.9, whatever it is, and you handled those things correctly. In other words, if it was a price objection or price problem, it's how you as the owner responds to that review. And I think that probably shows what kind of business person you are. Oh, how you're gonna respond to that review. Cuz I look, I see people rip their customers heads off when they do that and I'm like, yeah. That, that's the stupidest thing you could do. Yeah. Because it shows people that if they don't like your service, you're gonna rip their head off when nobody wants to do business with somebody like that. Yeah. Yeah. We, do have two one star reviews. Actually we might have three. One of them we couldn't, I think we do have three one stars. But when you have so many five stars, the math still comes out to an average of a five oh rating. And one of the, one of our one stars was from like a house flipper that tried getting out of paying us their$5,000 bill. And, so like, we kind of clapped back at them a little bit on their review just because you, tried to scam us outta 5,000 bucks. And then another one of our one star reviews was actually we have a YouTube channel and this guy I don't know if he was drinking one night or whatever, but like he, he literally put like 150 comments on one of our YouTube videos in, a night. Like, I woke up to my phone just hot with, notifications from YouTube and it was just this guy. You know making all these comments and, one of the rules with YouTube, if you have a YouTube channel, one of the rules is you want to interact with every single comment. Right. It helps the algorithms, it helps YouTube kind of pick your video up and everything else. And so here I am interacting with every single one of his 150 comments and he, left us a one star review on our business page that says the plumber talks back too much. And it was, cause I've replied to all of his 150 comments. So it was pretty funny. That is pretty funny. Yeah we, do a very good job of separating our reviews out. So the way that we ask for the review, we kind of split the customers between like five star customers and then four star and less. And this isn't through a review filter or anything else. This is just our process for how we get reviews. But basically if we have a five star customer, we give them a link to the review and if we have anything four star or less we, give them a link to send us an email and address the concerns. Prior to them leaving a review. And so ultimately the end goal is if we have somebody that's concerned about something, we want to hear about it and we, would prefer to hear about it through a channel that's not a Google review, because that way we can actually fix it. Right, right. If you leave me a bad review, there's not a lot I can do. I mean I can respond as a business owner and all of that stuff, but it makes it difficult to. Solve your problem, you know? So you know when those emails come in because they absolutely do come in. Your, inclination is to be like what you had said earlier, to be that business owner that kind of wants to tear their head off. But then you have to pause and think, this is our system working? Is it in intended? This would've been a bad review, but it's not. It's coming in an email and if we handle this correctly now, they'll actually go and leave a five star review. Right? And so that's the way that we approach'em and it works really well. That makes sense. So you mentioned your wife runs some of the business. I mean, I know that working with family members, whether it be immediate family, a brother, a cousin, whoever can sometimes be a challenge. Yeah. Because you can't be the same dude at home as you are at work. And lots of times the, you know the set the, it's hard to separate that, especially when you both work together. So tell me a little bit about, you know, how that process has been. Yeah, so we it's, funny you bring that up. We we've been married coming up on 16 years here pretty soon. We started the business when we had been married, what, 13 years I guess. And we've been married quite a while and you know pretty, typical marriage. Nothing, nothing crazy. I think all marriages have their fair share of like struggles and everything else, but. The, business kind of highlighted exactly what you pointed out, that you need to be a different person in business than you are at home. And prior to starting the business my wife never really got to see who I was at work. She would just kind of see the results, but she never really saw the behaviors or the personality. Of the guy that was at work. And so we started the business and, it kind of exacerbated some underlying issues that were already there in our marriage and a lot of those kind of surrounded around the idea of. I'm able to set my emotions aside and just do what it takes to get the job done for work and produce the crazy high results. But in your marriage, it's kind of hard to put your emotions aside, right? I mean, that's the whole reason you're married to'em is because you have an emotional attachment. That's right. And that kind of highlighted some things where. She was able to realize like, okay, you're this badass guy at work that can do anything, but yet we're struggling at home. Why can't you be a badass husband? You know? And it, just evolved into what became the biggest fight that we ever got in, our marriage. I was getting ready to leave for a business conference to, I thought I was gonna go to this business conference and learn about business. And literally the night before I'm getting ready to get on a plane. We got into the biggest fight of our marriage and we're, not fighters. We, I've, I bet we've only fought four or five times in the whole 15 years we've been married. We're not, you know, we're not physical people. We're not violent you know, nobody's got an anger problem or anything else, but you put enough emotion into anything and things can kind of spiral outta control. And I lost my temper and I, walked away from the situation and walked down the hall to our spare bedroom and. For some reason I just felt like the, door didn't look right without a hole in it. So I put a hole in the spare bedroom door and, you know, lost my temper and just punched a hole through the door. And I turned around and my son was standing there. My, at that time he was like nine or 10. Standing there and he's crying. You know, he's wondering what's going on, why are we yelling at each other? Cuz it's not like us to do that. And he's never seen me that angry where I'm punching stuff and so he's crying, asking me to calm down and everything else. And the reason I was going to the spare bedroom was cuz I was leaving the next day anyway to get on an airplane. So I'm like, well, heck, I'll just pack tonight and I'll leave. I'll just get a hotel by the airport and just leave tonight, you know? After a fight like that, you don't wanna be around your, spouse, you know? So he was, my, my youngest son was actually the one who convinced me to stay here tonight. You know, he, you know how kids can be. They, assumed the worst and, chances are, his assumptions probably weren't that far off. You know? He is begging me, you know, stay tonight, don't get divorced, you know, don't, you know, you know, all this stuff. And, so, When I got on that plane the next morning, I was pretty sure that I was gonna come home to like the beginnings of a divorce. And you know, the business didn't cause that necessarily. It was all the other underlying issues that the business just kind of highlighted and brought out. And so we, I kind of had to put the business on the back burner after that. And you get to a point and realize like, okay. I, need to solve these underlying issues. She needs to solve those underlying issues. We could get divorced and then we're gonna go find somebody else. And on a long enough timeline, these same underlying issues are gonna present themselves there. And you're right back in the same boat where you were. So why throw away the 13 years for what would eventually be the same problem with somebody else? And so, We decided to kind of slow the focus on the business and increase the focus on us. And you know, we got our marriage back on the right track and, we're stronger and better than never now. It's, kind of funny. We're so strong now that it almost makes me like jealous that of, my, like, it, it makes me regret that we didn't solve these earlier, right? Like, sure, Hey we missed out on some hardcore years here where it could have been just freaking amazing if we would've just taken care of these. Issues before. So but, now, you know, we're solid enough that now I can kind of turn the focus back on the business a little bit. Would you say communication was one of the biggest problems? Yeah communication for sure. But then the I, think the biggest issue is probably just understanding each other's. Love languages. Like what, she really sees value in from me. Right. Prime example, she it, just makes her super happy if I'm like doing housework around the house. Right, right. That's just, it's just what it takes for her. And prior to our big blowup, my logic was my time's worth more than housework. I'll hire a maid. Let the maid clean the house and I'll, we'll actually make more money if I just stay at work. And it took me until that fight to realize it's not about the money, right? It's about her seeing me be physically present in the home and contributing to the home. Right? And, as men, a lot of times we like to think like, why shouldn't, like she should be happy. I'm providing for the house. I'm buy, like, I bought the house, I bought the cars, I bought all this stuff and, Shouldn't that make her happy? Well, maybe not. Like realistically, she might wanna see a vacuum and, as humbling as that may be, if that's what it takes to make her happy, then you get the vacuum out and you vacuum, you know? And everyone's different. I'm not saying that other wives are like that, but you know there is kind of a balancing act there where you've gotta do things that seem inefficient in your analytical mind. But that seem very beneficial in the emotional side of things. A hundred percent. The five love languages. I think everybody should read that. I've, you know, my life's is physical touch. Yeah. And I don't mean like in a sexual way. She just wants to know that I'm pre, you know, like you said her, me being present in our relationship is maybe even holding her hand or whatever it is. And like that stuff seems ridiculous to me, but it's not me. Right. Right. It's not, I'm not going off my love language cuz if I, that's what I did forever. Right. And you know, it's important to, to figure out those things. It's important to dive into that. If people haven't listened or read, that book is vitally important. And there's a test, like you could take a test that takes. 10 minutes. Yep. And you'll know exactly what is important to your wife or yourself for that matter. Right. Right. And if you can get your spouse to take that test, it's mutually beneficial. Yeah. Yeah. And, a lot of times too as, guys, we kind of on that same line we, like to take that line of like, they should be happy because I'm providing for the family. You know we, kind of. That, puts us in a mental position where we're starting to resent our wife because they're not happy that we're providing for the family. Right? And so you develop this underlying resentment that's basically all boiled up because you're refusing to, like honor the, genetic makeup of your spouse. You know, you can't they, your spouse can't change. I. Like what their love language is, right? They, physically can't change it. They can suppress it, they can try to hide it, they can try to ignore it, but all that does is just let it build into a bigger blowup. You know, speaking from experience, having that blowup at, year, at the tail end of year 14, right before our 15th anniversary, you know, we suppress that for. A long time and it blew up huge. Being able to honor that and respect that and, follow through with that is huge. So and, then it's not a chicken way out, like you still have to provide for the family. You still have to provide for the house, you still have to do all that, but you have to do this in addition to it. Right. So how did it make you feel that night looking back at your son like. Just talk, walk us through that. Yeah. That was, you know, that is an eye-opening experience, right? Because here I am, I've lost my temper, which I rarely do. I'm, a very calm person most of the time, and so here I am, I've lost my temper and it's happening in front of my son. Like it's one thing to lose your temper, but you know at the moment it's happening in front of your son. Now your son's learning. From you. Right. And they're not learning from you in the best position. Right. So thankfully one of our, older son was not in the house at that time. He was away at the in-laws farm for the week. So thankfully only one son had to see that. But you know it's a massive shock to the senses when you turn around and you see that. And, I mean, instantly everything changes. It's, I don't wanna say it's like going into shock, but when you turn around and you see that, it's like, okay, now it's like I can, it wasn't real when I'm punching a hole through the door, you know? Right. But now it's real. Now that he's standing here seeing all this, now it's real. And You know, he props to him. He, sat me on the, he got me to sit down on the spare bedroom bed and he got, he was like, you know, take a couple of deep breaths and calm down. And like, I mean, he was a rockstar at the role of, getting me to calm down and just kind of pause for a minute. That, that was really eyeopening to see what kind of example I was just setting for my son in that moment. Where did he learn that, the ability to give empathy in that moment? I have no clue. I would love to think that it's because usually I am that person because you, like I don't have an, a bad temper, I don't have an anger problem or anything else. It's just that one time I lost my cool. And so I would love to think that he was basically, Taking what I've taught him over the years and kind of putting it right back on me at the moment that I needed it, you know, so what do they say that we should learn to take our own advice. We'd be better off if we do that. And that, was a moment there where he's basically given me my own advice. Well, you know, I think that, you know, I don't think for sure our children. Watch everything that we do. Right. Good, bad, or indifferent. And they pick up on all of it, it feels like. Yeah. So, so he probably did learn it from you? Yeah, he probably did. Especially since it's is your son. You know I, see my daughter. She does all, everything my life does. Now there are some things that she does like that I, you know, that she's learned from me, but for the most part, they're like a spitting image. Right, right. Yeah. It, the apple does not fall far from the tree, that's for sure. That's right. So what's, what, one thing that amazes me about kids is, you know, we got two kids with same parents, right? Me and my wife, we've raised them both the same way. At least we think we have. But yet the kids grow up completely opposite of each other. And, it's just wild to watch their personalities develop because they're, literally fighting for different corners of the market, so to speak. You know, one kid would be really assertive in an area, and the other kid's like hyper lazy in that same area. And it's because like, I can't be the assertive one. He's already got the assertive part covered, so I gotta be the lazy one, you know, or one kid. Really excels at sports. And the other one like doesn't wanna do anything with sports, and they're just, it, they're just constantly searching for the, opposite of their brother in, in one area or another. Wonder why that is? I don't know. I, the only thing I can think of is that they're, there's, they're fighting so hard to find their personality and find out who they are. That they literally shape their personality off of what's left, right. If this guy's good at sports, well then I can't be good at sports, so I'm gonna be the other guy, you know, I'll be good at video games or, you know they're, constantly searching for the area to excel in, so, yeah. I think we spent a lot, I know for me I, haven't even spent a lot of my adult life searching for who the hell I am, you know? Right. Because you know that we take on personas, personalities, and I, mentioned this in a post not long ago about, you know, you're gotta be different people in front of different people. You don't have to be, I suppose, but that's how kind of I've lived my life and it's really eyeopening. When you look at that because it's like, well, damn. Who, are you? Well, I'm not really sure. Depends on who I'm around. Yeah. And so it's been a pretty eyeopening experience for me just to recognize that and it is what it is. I mean, does that make sense? Yeah. Yeah. And like for us especially this last year I had one kid that was in his last year of middle school and I had another kid that was in his last year of elementary school and They're, you know, the rules are different in middle school than in elementary school, and so, like what? I mean, I don't know if it's right or wrong. I'm sure I'll find out in a long enough timeline, but like, we don't mind if our kids cuss so. And, mainly because, like I've always had a hard time understanding the logical reasoning behind cussing is bad until your kid's like 18, and then it's like cuss away. Like what, makes that the magic number? Right? So we were kind of thinking like, well if we don't mind that they cuss now, then maybe they, it just, it'll lose its luster and it'll just like fall off, right? Well take that and then apply it to them going to school. Right. And my youngest kid got in trouble for calling a kid a dumbass in fifth grade. And, so we're talking with the principal and we're talking with the, teacher about it, and his teacher were like, so what's up with this whole dumbass thing? And the teacher's like, well, to be fair, that kid was kind of being a dumb ass. And, I'm like, so why is he in trouble? You know? Cuz what's funny is like, you get into middle school, you can call somebody a dumb ass all you want and, it's. Acceptable. It's acceptable. Like, I mean it's not encouraged. I'm sure it's still frowned upon, but you don't get sent to the principal's office in middle school for calling my kid, kid a dumb ass. But you do in fifth grade. So it's, made for an interesting dynamic as the kids are trying to develop at the same age, but yet they're at different places in school. And meanwhile, you know, us as parents, nobody know. Like there's no manual to be parents, right? So we're all just doing the best we can and, doing what we think is right. So, you know, you're right. And I'll, tell you another thing that, and this kind of goes along, like we can't control. Even though they're our kids, we really don't have any control. Like no, I mean, they're gonna do whatever they want. Look, I was a terrible kid. Yeah. My parents try to do whatever they, but they if, you don't, you know, I don't necessarily let my kid cuss in front of me, but like I'll read her text messages that she cusses like crazy in her text, like, It's what it is like. Yeah. And if, you've heard anything like me, my parents would tell me not to do something and I would go just as hard to go do that thing. Yeah. And that, was part, that's part of like why we were okay with the cussing and stuff like that was kind of on the same line of and not to say that the kids were on the house, but like if you tell'em no on, on arbitrary issues, like there are some absolute things where it's a total no. But on arbitrary things that don't really have a, basis or a reasoning to'em, well then they're gonna go just as hard to defy you in that area and do it behind your back. Right. On the arbitrary things, like cussing and stuff like that, it's like, it's just a social taboo. Like if you say, gosh darn it, or gosh damn it, it's the same thing. It's just you, were trying to make a PC version of what is a cuss word. So essentially it's the same. And we, just, that was not a hill we were willing to die on. And, so we, you know, let'em have that one. Yeah. I mean, it makes sense. I mean, again, like I'll ask you this, you know, as far as social media is concerned with your kids. Tell me again their ages. So I've got one that's 14 and I've got one that is 11. So my, my, our kid is 14. Yeah. And, you know, Social media is a really interesting thing at that age because I mean, you know, not to bring up a terrible subject and I won't mention any names, but anybody listen to this that it's probably gonna know exactly what I'm talking about. But like, if you look at when people make mistakes, let's just take people in our industry that make mistakes. And people want people put that out on social media, the mistake that they've made. Yeah. If it's bad enough and sometimes it is bad enough, people rip your ass apart. Yeah. And sometimes it's deserves. Yeah. I mean, or it feels that way. Now we're probably only getting one side of the story with some of it. Yeah. But at the end of the day, I can't imagine getting shredded. Like some, like I've seen some people recently Yeah. Get destroyed. Yeah. I mean, destroyed. Yeah. Yeah. I, you know, I have a very intentional way that I run my social media and I'm very transparent with that, with my children. My oldest son does have a Facebook and of course he's got Snapchat. That's how they communicate with all their friends. Right. And he is got, you know, Instagram and TikTok and all that kind of stuff. But he does have a Facebook and so now he gets to see a lot of what I'm putting out there and he gets to see that Holy cow dad's the same person on Facebook that he is in real life. And, you know, a lot of people treat their social media like it's a highlight reel. Like we're only a gonna show the best of the, best of the day in the life or the best of the year, you know, whatever. And. I'm, pretty transparent. I try to show everything and, I try to be very transparent with my thoughts and my opinions and all of that stuff without being divisive. Right. Some, a lot of people use social media just to be divisive. And so, you know, he gets to see that. And, so that's probably one area where I don't have any concerns with them on social media because they're getting to see from the example of somebody who's doing it pretty well. And, they get to see the full gamut because we don't hide anything from them. If we're having a struggle with an employee or something like that, they get to hear that part of the conversation too. And and they get to see. The, full side of everything. And so they see that there are no hidden agendas. They see that like, if we're struggling with an employee, it's because we genuinely care about them and we're frustrated that they're not doing as good as they could, you know or, whatever the case may be. It's, never with selfish intent or anything else. So that helps a ton in the social media department that they get to see that transparency. And it's not about just flashing dollars or showing off or whatever the case may be. So that's interesting. That's interesting. So do your, you know, how do, you separate your employees from your social media or do they all follow you? In other words, if, let's say you are having a struggle with an employee Yeah. And you go on and you're transparent about the struggle and they know it's if, they're following you, they know it's them. Yeah. How do you handle that? Well, so being genuine about the whole thing helps a ton for sure. So I, you know, don't have a hidden agenda. The, way that, like, the way our company succeeds is I view our company like it's a three-legged stool and So we've got one leg, that's the employees. We've got one leg, that's the customer, and we've got one leg. That's the business. And if you chop down any one of those legs, the stool is gonna fall over, right? So if, we do something that does not benefit all three, then it doesn't happen in our business. We simply don't do it. And so we use that three-legged stool analogy as we're doing a lot of. Of, you know, r and d, should we do this? Should we do this idea? Should we look at this idea or whatever? We apply it to all three, and if it benefits all three of them, we'll do it. And so the guys know that I have their back with anything. And you know I, may not share on the social media per se issues that I'm having with employees, but I might share some of those issues on the podcast yeah. That we have just because that's a little bit more of a tailored audience to people that would understand that. A little bit better. You know, half of your audience on social media doesn't care about what you're talking about, right? So but, also too, I'm reluctant to share any of that stuff until it's come to completion. Mainly, and one of my rules for social media is trying to extract the lesson that I've learned from something. So if I'm going through something and I haven't yet learned the lesson, For why I'm going through it, I'm probably not posting about it yet, because if you post about a negative situation without the lesson attached to it, well then you're just complaining, right? And nobody wants to hear that. No. So making sure that you refrain from posting or talking about that until you've learned the lesson or it's come to completion. And then now you can post about the whole thing. You know, it started with this and it ended with this. And so the lesson is, you know, do this or don't do this type of thing. That's a whole lot different post than, oh, one of my guys is being lazy. You know? Right. It, you, it, it's a whole different gamut than if, I go full completion and I'm like, well, he wasn't given us all at work because. I was presenting myself in this way, and he didn't think I was caring about him enough, and so I had to fix the way that I was addressing him, and now he's given his all again. So the lesson is, I. I have to do better at taking care of my guys. Right, right. That's a whole different post than, oh, my guy's lazy. You know? Yeah. And, so making sure to come at it with that whole approach is huge. And, when I, you know, as I'm trying to teach my children about being with teams of people and managing people and everything else, granted they're only 11 and 14, but it's still, it's never too early to get that exposure to, you know, how to lead people and all of that stuff. So, Very rarely, if ever am I just simply griping at my kids about one of my guys. I'm usually being very transparent and I'm saying like, he feels this way because of this, and so I've gotta get him to realize this so that he now feels this way, type of thing. Sure. So do you look at your employees as. I, think that a lot of guys look at their employees second to the customer, and I think, you know, my belief is that your employees really should be, as the owner, your number one focus. Yep. Because they're taking care of the customers, right. If you've pissed off an employee, they're gonna carry that into the next call or carry that into the day or the week or whatever it is. What's your thoughts on that? Yeah. My view is that you should treat your employees exactly how you expect them to treat your customers, and if you treat your employees poorly, They are treating your customers poorly. Absolutely. If you are treating your employees in a manner that you care about them and you're going out of your way to support them, and you're doing what it takes to make them happy, then they are also going to be carrying on those attributes to your customers. And there's always outliers, right? Like employees have bad days and I could be treating him amazing, and he still, you know, has a bad customer service interaction with a customer. The same goes the other way. He could be delivering amazing service to a customer, and I have a bad day and I say something I shouldn't have said, or I behave in a way that I shouldn't have behaved, or, you know, whatever the case may be. But in general, if you treat your employees the way that you treat your customer or the way that you want them to treat your customers, it works out really well. And I, kind of view it like I, I don't have customers. My customers are my employees, their customers are the actual customers of the business. Right? Right. And so when you separate it that way, it really changes the game because if you don't separate it that way, then you're in this position of. I told you how to do this. Why didn't you do this? Oh, if you want something done right, I just gotta do it myself, type of thing. Whereas when you create that separation, and now I know the only way to deliver amazing customer service is through the employees instead of over them, then it, really changes your focus on how you handle your employees. So I had one more question for you. You know, to sort of, to this point you're a military guy, right? Or no? I tried that's actually how I got started as a plumber. So I went to college. I went to, K State. I went to university for six months or for a semester, and didn't like it wasn't getting very good grades, but it wasn't for a lack of trying. I just didn't like it, right? So I came back and I went to community college for a semester. The grades improved because the class sizes got smaller, but I still didn't really know what I wanted to do. And so I'm like, well, heck, I don't wanna keep wasting money at college and not know what I want to do. So I'll enlist in the, into the Navy, and after five years in the Navy maybe then I'll know what I want to do and then I can get back on the college bandwagon. So I enlisted into the Navy, I ship out on July 5th. I, I remember spending the night in the hotel on the 4th of July, and I, was at a hotel down by the Kansas City Airport, several floors up. So I was able to see fireworks all night out of my, outta my window. And I ship out on July 5th, my third day in basic training. They found me unresponsive on a sidewalk. I had a, cardiac event happen that made me. Pass out basically. And I woke up in the hospital and once they understood what the event was and everything else, they were like, well, you can't be here with this. And so they sent me home and they did what they call an, they gave me the option. They said, do you want to a medical discharge or do you want an entry level medical separation? And so once I understood the difference, the entry level medical separation is like, you are never here. Type of thing. It's basically the same as like you not passing your physical to get into the Navy. Right? And so I said, yeah, you know, ob obviously I don't want a medical, I was here for three days, didn't even complete basic training. Let's go with the entry level. And so we did that. Took him a couple of weeks to get me home. By the time I got home, it was too late to get into another semester of school. So I just, a buddy of mine was working at a plumbing company and he said, Hey, we're busy. Come work with us and then you can go to school next semester. And I've been a plumber ever since. It's probably a smart move. Yeah, Kind of. Kind of fortunate the way all that happens. So sometimes when you wake up on a sidewalk or wake up in a hospital after being found unresponsive on a sidewalk, it's actually a good thing. Well look, a lot of people go to college and at the end of the day, especially this day and time, I, you know, Going to trade school one if you're if, you know, now, I don't know if you actually went to trade school, and it doesn't matter if you did or didn't, but when people are trying, currently when people, when kids are trying to make a decision whether they wanna go to college or go to a trade school, going to a trade school is pretty, pretty it's pretty smart idea. Yeah. You, don't have debt. You get paid. Yeah. And you continue to get paid once you get out without that debt. Yeah. And you've got something that. You can do all your life if you want to. Yeah. Yeah. The, day you grad or you know, the day somebody else would graduate college. A person who's been in the trades over that same amount of time is about$250,000 ahead of the person that went to college. And that's, based off of the, you know, average debt that you're, you have carrying with you when you come outta college versus the average income that person in the trades has made over the five years that the other person was in college, right? And so then the challenge becomes keeping that distance because assumably, so the person that's coming outta college may be eligible for higher wages, so the tradesman now owes it to themself. To continue learning and to continue finding ways to add value to their employer so that they continue to see an increase in wage as well. But great point. Yeah. I mean, people in the trade it's not uncommon at all for people in the trades to be making six figures a year. You absolutely don't have to go to college to be making six figures. So if you can get into the trades it's a great way to go. I think so too. Yeah. Well, look, Mitch, this has been a great conversation. I appreciate you coming on and, sharing all this. I mean we, went all over the place a little bit, but I think it was important. Where can people find you? Yeah I'm most active on Facebook. You can just find me at Mitch Smedley on Facebook. I've got the, you know, I did the whole pay for the blue check verification thing. Just because we have enough other things going on with with our podcast and our YouTube channel and some other things that we have that I didn't want to, I didn't want anybody to have the ability to mimic who I was and try to take advantage of people. So you just search up Mitch Smedley on Facebook, find the one with the blue check. And that's me. And we, have a podcast as well. It's called The Void. You can find it on Facebook at podcast The Void. And basically that podcast just centers around somebody who is currently an employee in the trades that is wanting to start their own business. We help them cross the void from employee to self-employed. You know there's a bunch of. A bunch of places out there, a bunch of people out there that will help you take your existing business to the next level. There are very few organizations that help you bring your business into existence, and that's kind of the nature of that podcast. So yeah those are probably my two most popular channels there. I like it. Yeah. Well, Mitch, I appreciate you, my friend. Yeah, you too as well. It's been fun talking. Yes, sir.