Jake Fackrell is a born entrepreneur—as a kid, he started a lawn mowing business, and by the time he was 17, he partnered with his cousin to start a collections company in Las Vegas. Mackrell thought that what he really wanted to be was a doctor, so he worked part time as an athletic trainer in college while starting a coupon card business. Tired of “rubbing down 350-pound linemen,” Fackrell made a change and jumped all into being an entrepreneur. After a series of starts and sells, he’s run Domega, a subsidiary of his business Land Voice, for 10 years. Now he has 62 employees, and while he’s still focused on business growth, he talks with Clate and Infusionsoft’s director of content Carey Ballard about how committed he is to seeing his six children grow up instead of being a workaholic.
Jake Fackrell: The entrepreneurs that wrote the books, and my one regret is I was a workaholic and I didn't spend any time with my kids growing up. I said that is not going to be me. I want to be able build – I want to build a successful business, and be able to have that time with my family, and see them grow up.
Clate Mask: That's Jack Fackrell of Domega. He didn't want to be a workaholic so he grew his business to achieve success without being a slave to the company. Find out how he did it by tuning in to this edition of the Small Business Success Podcast. Welcome everybody to this edition to the Small Business Success Podcast. I'm Clate Mask, co-founder of Infusionsoft.
Carey Ballard: I'm Carey Ballard, Director of Content at Infusionsoft.
Clate Mask: Carey is standing in for Scott who is having fun on vacation right now. We've got a guest that I'm really excited to have you hear from. Let me introduce to you Jake Fackrell, he's a CEO and co-founder of – CEO and founder of Domega. Jake, great to have you with us.
Jake Fackrell: It's good to be here, Clate, you've been _____ me.
Clate Mask: You bet. So tell us – tell everybody a little bit about your business. How long ago did you start it? What do you do? How many employees do you have?
Jake Fackrell: So we – I started Domega back in 2005, and have been running it ever since. In fact, it started back in 2005 it was under a different name, and we've just made different iterations and pivots along the way to get to where we are today. Today it's called Domega, and we have 62 full time employees, equivalents today. So we've just steadily grown over the years, year after year, and would you like me to tell you about what we do?
Clate Mask: Yeah. Tell everybody what you do, and maybe you'd talk a little bit about Land voice, because I that's the biggest brand of part of what you do. So just tell the listeners what you do.
Jake Fackrell: Sure. So Land Voice is a subsidiary of Domega. We started out – our bread and butter – we service the real estate industry primarily. We started out in 2005, we identified a need in the real estate[00:02:00]
industry, specifically with real estate agents who were lacking data, information, leads to be able to be successful. So we realized early on that we could help them with that need. We could pretty much automate the process of things that they were doing manually, and taking an hour or two hours a day to do. It was so cumbersome that most real estate agents wouldn't do the work. They just would rather do something else.
So we created technology that goes on the Internet and grabs all kinds of raw, unstructured, non-normalized data. So simply in the real estate industry we'd go and find for sale by owner data, for example. The reason why that's important is because most for sale by owners who will eventually list with a real estate agent, those are really hot leads, and very important and valuable data to real estate agents.
Clate Mask: I remember years ago when you started doing the for sale by owner
leads, that was the big push, and you built a good business doing that. Then gradually you expanded and began doing other types of lead information and data that you could provide to different industries. So today you've got – you're still – real estate's still the biggest part of what you do. But I think you also do stuff for auto dealerships, and – what other kinds of lead information do you provide?
Jake Fackrell: Yeah. Great question. So we built that great technology that can get data on the Internet, and aggregate the data, filter the data, and then add to it. So we expanded that into other industries like family history. We can go get all the obituaries, for example, we can go into the automobile industry and grab all kinds of data for them, and financial services as well. So we've just really expanded our product line as the years have gone by, and just really hedge our bet. If there was a downturn in real estate we've got these other verticals that we can go into now so it makes it really nice.
Clate Mask: Cool, so let's pause right there on that last pause right there on that last point, because you've been doing this for over 10 years now, you've got a successful business with over 60 employees. But that point that you made right at the very end about hedging your bet, you talked about a subsidiary. For our listeners, the reality is you have multiple businesses that are all part of Domega, and multiple lines of businesses. That gives you the ability to weather storms when things are up in one industry or down in another.
So you did something really interesting a few years ago and branched out from just the real estate, and it gives you the opportunity to build a bigger business, but also like you said to diversity. So that's a smart approach, and one that I think our listeners can, at the right time, it makes sense. You don't want to do it too soon if you don't have the business really stabilized and nailed. But you also want to be wise and not get stuck in just one thing for many, many years in case that industry has a problem.
So you've done a good – you've done a cool thing there. Congratulations.
Jake Fackrell: Thank you, and back in 2008 when real estate just fell out, the bottom of it, we were just getting started, we were just getting momentum, and then we had that downturn in the economy that especially hit real estate hard. Lucky for us we had this great technology that we'd only applied it to real estate until that time, and we thought where else can we apply this, and that's when we went into the family history space, and have done very sell in that space with that technology.
Carey Ballard: So you've just hit on a really interesting point that you had to – there was a moment in the business that probably wasn't super easy. We like to ask all of our guest tell me about a time that you felt like you really, really weren't sure you made the right choice.
Jake Fackrell: Lots of times.
Carey Ballard: Is that an easier question to answer than it should be?
Jake Fackrell: [Laughter] I could talk for hours on all of the wrong choices that we made. But what's important is you learn from mistakes as an entrepreneur.
We constantly learn every single day, and we just try to make better choices every day. There – we've made wrong hires, for example, we thought certain people would be awesome, and they turned out not to be, and that's still something we struggle with. It's really hard to find those right people to fill those seats on the bus so to speak. The other issue for us is we are a bootstrap company, meaning we have never taken outside investors. VCs, venture capitalists, private equity, we haven't taken any of that money.
So we have to have positive cash flow every month to make sure that we keep our heads above water, and there's been some months where we haven't made that, and that's when I don't take a paycheck, and sometimes go into some credit card debt and things. So those have been some areas where maybe we've hired too quickly or we spent money where we should have waited another few months to spend that money. But we just want – we want to continue to grow, and it's really hard to grow without deep pockets backing you to invest in the company.
So it's a balancing act, it's a juggling act.
Clate Mask: I'm glad you said that, because the vast majority of our listeners build their business and bootstrap it, they're not looking to raise capital. So the reality that you're talking about is the reality we dealt with for years before we ever raised capital. A lot of people don't know that about Infusionsoft, we didn't start raising capital. We built the business up to about $7 million in annual revenue before we went out and raised venture capital. But so I'm very familiar with the bootstrap challenge, and our listeners understand this very well.
I think the key question that you're touching on is when do you hire the next person? When is it okay to add to your payroll versus maybe we should wait? Are there any lessons that you learned in hindsight where maybe you hired too soon, and you wouldn't have or maybe where you didn't hire soon enough and you wish you would have? I got a couple of things in my mind, but I wonder if there's anything you want to share with our listeners about that?
Jake Fackrell: Up until just a couple of years ago it was all just a shotgun approach. We just – whenever we felt like we needed somebody we'd hire them and it didn't always work out. Sometimes it did, but most of the time it was a struggle. So we started tying our employee cost to revenue at a certain percentage. We got up to about 60 percent of our revenue was going to employees and team members, and that just got a little bit overwhelming for us. So we ratchet that back quite a bit, and now we have a certain percentage we want to stay within. So we don't hire until we have enough revenues to support that and stay within those bounds that we've set for ourselves.
Clate Mask: Great. I think you hit right on the – a key ratio that I think a lot of times listeners learn the hard way, and that is the ratio of labor cost to overall revenue.
We went through that same thing, what we found was – we found that if our labor cost was greater than 60 percent of our recurring revenue then we could run into some trouble. But if we kept our recurring revenue – if we kept our labor costs at 60 percent or lower of our recurring revenue then we were just fine. Now if the business owners out there don't have recurring revenue there's two lessons in it. The first lesson is get recurring revenue, figure out a way to change your business model to have some recurring revenue.
But more importantly for the vast majority who don't have that notice that if you tie your labor cost to total revenue, and you have major fluctuations in your revenue then you're going to be – you could run into some challenges on the payroll front. So I think that as I've talked to successful business owners over the years, they find the right thing for their industry, for their mix on what labor expense should be as a percentage of total revenue.
Sounds like you found that recently, and a couple of years ago anyway, and that makes a huge difference as you're making hiring decisions.
Jake Fackrell: Sure, we're still fine tuning it. I like the idea of tying that to recruiting revenue as well so I'll make a note of that and go back to the drawing board a little bit with that.
Carey Ballard: That's a good tip. So I can tell you two know each other pretty well.
Jake Fackrell: Yeah.
Carey Ballard: So there's some history there.
Clate Mask: I have to make full disclosure here. Jakie and I have a little more close connection than most of the guest. Jake's wife, Tammy and my wife Charisse, actually met each other in college. So when Charisse and I got married I met Jake, and he was engaged to his wife Tammy. So we've known each other for 22, 23 years now, and have had fun in entrepreneurship, trading war stories and battles. When I told him we were doing the Small Business Success Podcast I think he was slightly offended that I hadn't asked if he wanted to be on it. [Laughter]
So, Jake, good…
Jake Fackrell: _____
Clate Mask: What's that?
Jake Fackrell: I appreciate you letting me be on the podcast, and we have traded quite a few war stories, and it's been great to see your success over the years. Great in what you've been able to do with Infusionsoft, and all the great advice. You're not only have given me, but just a – thousands of small business owners out there. So that's been awesome.
Clate Mask: Thanks, I totally appreciate that.
Carey Ballard: So I want to dig into know Jake a little bit more, and I think our listeners do as well. So, Jake tell me one of the most interesting thing I think for a lot of entrepreneurs is when did you decide that this was the path that you were going to take? How did you know?
Clate Mask: I've got to cut in here. Jake, know no other path. Let me just tell you, I don't know what Jake's going to say, but I will tell you this from the moment I met Jake I was like this guy he has to be doing – he has to be running a business all the time. There were – he had multiple things he was doing. So I – Jake is awesome that way; he is a true entrepreneur, a serial entrepreneur if ever there was one.
Carey Ballard: Did you have lemonade stands when you were a kid, and things like that as this was – is this a recurring theme?
Jake Fackrell: Yes, I did.
In fact, I had a lawn mowing business when I was eight years old. I had this old rickety white lawn mower. I pushed it around the streets of Las Vegas, and I – and me and my brother would mow people's lawns for $5. I was the finance guy, and so I took all the money and I can remember at the end of the week in the summertime just having this wad of $5 bills, and that was pretty neat. Then throughout – just like Clate said that I've just been an entrepreneur.
I really like to find needs, and then fill those needs, figure out how to solve problems out there for people. I've done a number of different things along the way, but it's probably when I really knew that I was going to be an entrepreneur and run a small company was in college. I really wanted to be a doctor, believe it or not. I was an athletic trainer, and I was doing that, and I couldn't hold down a part time job because school, and athletic training and everything, I just couldn't do it so I couldn't support my family. So to support my family I went and started a business called Platinum Savings Card, which is a little coupon card business.
We'd go get businesses to put offers on the card, and then I would go sell them.
Clate Mask: It was Groupon before Groupon.
Jake Fackrell: Exactly, it was Groupon, dang. [Laughter]
Carey Ballard: Missed opportunity.
Jake Fackrell: When Groupon came out I thought that same thing, I was a little premature on that. Anyway, so I found myself loving, absolutely loving coming home from being an athletic training, and just craving to go and contact businesses, to go out and sell the cards, and just trying to figure out how do I grow this business. I started to despise going to rubbing down 350 pound linemen, I don't know. So I decided to make a change. I actually switched majors in the middle of college to my wife's credit, Tammy she went right along with it. She was supportive from day one, and that's the one thing I think entrepreneurs definitely have to have is somebody on their side, on their team that's 100 percent supportive, and love my wife for that.
So, at that bold moment I switched over to business management, and started another company. I sold that company actually four years later. I had grown it to over – we actually started having schools sell it as a fundraiser, and we grew it to over 60 schools that were selling it. I sold that company to my competitors, and then in 1999 I started an online company, and that was in real estate, and that's how I got into the real estate industry.
Clate Mask: That's awesome.
Carey Ballard: That's interesting. Alright, so tell me how did you come up with the name of the company, Domega?
Jake Fackrell: Domega, that's really fun.
Carey Ballard: It's a fun name, and I'm so curious ever since I heard it.
Jake Fackrell: Domega is actually short for domegemegrottebyte, was just one word. It's a scientific term for data storage, similar to a megabyte or a zettabyte. They keep getting bigger until you get to domegemegrottebyte. Because we deal with so much data that we wanted to make sure our name signified what we're doing right now.
We thought that domegemegrottebyte might be a little long for a URL.
Carey Ballard: It's awful fun to say though. I enjoy it every time you say it. That's great.
Jake Fackrell: So we shortened it down to Domega, and we really like the name.
Clate Mask: That's great. So you – I – you glossed over one of your high points in some of the businesses you've started. So tell me about your collections company that your started. Because I know just a little bit about that, but tell our listeners about that one.
Jake Fackrell: I – in – I grew up in Vegas, and when I was 17 my cousin who was a little bit older than me, maybe five or six years older than, said I'm going to do this little collection agency. I'm like, "Oh," and he says, "do you want to help." I said, "Sure," so we partnered up actually, these two young guys, and I didn't know anything about it. I guess that was probably helpful, because if I knew at the end what I knew at the beginning I would not have done it.
But, anyway, I was out walking around Vegas in some pretty shady parts of town knocking on doors asking these pretty gruff guys for money and pay their bills. I was just a little 17-year-old doing this, and I learned pretty fast that there's some businesses that are awesome, and there are some businesses that you probably necessarily want to do for the rest of your life. You just learn what you like to do, and what you don't like to do, and that was one of the businesses that I didn't like to do very much.
Carey Ballard: So no more rubbing down linebackers and no more knocking on shady people's doors. This is the lesson I'm taking away.
Jake Fackrell: That's right.
Clate Mask: Alright, so Jake tell our listeners what – a high point that you've experienced. You've got a business now with over 60 employees, you've been running it for over a decade, you've expanded, diversified in a lot of different ways. What's a high point that you think about when you look back on the progress you made?
Jake Fackrell: Clate, by far – when we started this business we knew what we wanted to do, but we never really drilled down far enough to know how or even why, and really you want to get to the why or the purpose of what we're doing here. What – just a few years ago, maybe two or three years ago, we drilled down and found out the why or the purpose, and we figured out that what we really want to do is we want to empower achievers to create abundance. The way and the what were what we were already doing.
We were helping real estate professional go out there and find success, and so for me the highlight of everything I do every day is hearing our success stories of our clients. We have – we've helped tens of thousands of real estate professionals over the years, and many, many success stories that come our way of way lady in particular who got up on stage in front of thousands of real estate agents at this big Keller Williams event.
They call it Family Reunion, and she told the whole audience I was – she said, "I was homeless with my daughter. Keller Williams took me in, showed me what to do, and I got my lead from Land Voice, and I rocked it." Now, she says, "I'm not – I bought a house, I'm not homeless," the whole crowd claps and cheers. I'm sitting there in the audience going that's why we do what we do with that one reason right there. It's all worth it. Everything's worth it. So when you talk about highlights we have literally thousands of success stories just like that of people who go out and create abundance for themselves, and using our services to do that. It makes it all worth it right there.
Clate Mask: That's cool.
Carey Ballard: That's fantastic.
Clate Mask: Yeah. There's a couple of things you mentioned there that are common themes that I hear from successful entrepreneurs. The one thing you said there is getting really clear on why you do what you do. It's not easy for business owners, particularly in the first couple of years to really understand the why, the real purpose behind what we do. As time goes by we start to see it, we start to get more clear on it.
It's very common, it'll take business owner years before they get to that place of really understanding why. Once they get there, frequently, their ambition for the business changes. Instead of wanting to sell the business, they want – they see more opportunity, they see more avenues for making impact in the world, and they get excited and driving and inspired by that. So the first thing that I hear you say is you got clear on your why, and then the second thing, and it's related, is just the satisfaction of serving our customers, and seeing what actually happens when we create our solution in the world, and it solves problems for people, and it changes their lives. That's the – that's so fun, and I hear that frequently as well. Then that becomes a great driving force the entrepreneur to keep grown and building the business, and making greater impact. So a couple of common themes that you drew out there in your highlight, which is great to hear. So thanks for sharing that.
Carey Ballard: Absolutely. So we did talk a little bit earlier in another podcast about the identity, the connection between you and your company. Do you feel like your company is an extension of who you are?
Jake Fackrell: Absolutely. We started to drill down on what our core values were, and what we wanted to accomplish with our purpose and our why. I realized that it's an extension of me, an extension really over the years I've hired this great executive team and management team to be around me. Not really knowing some of these principles that we're talking about right now with core values and purpose, and those things, and I realized that I hired all these great people that are a lot like me as far as just core values are concerned they're different than me as far as skillset. But core values to the core we're all very similar, and it just helps with building a culture that everybody can get around, and it really helps with unity, and making sure that everybody is onboard with our purpose of going out and creating abundance for these clients of ours.
Clate Mask: Yeah, that's awesome. For – we talk a lot of times about the stages of small business success, and when you get to stage four and five, when you've got between – that's when you've got between 10 and 100 employees, what becomes critical is the team that you're building, and at the heart of everything is the trust that you have. Patrick Lencioni in a book called Five Dysfunctions of a Team, another book he wrote called The Advantage. But the key thing there is the trust that you have with each other, and that trust is very difficult to build if you don't share these common values.
So it's important to whatever your values are, that the entrepreneur has, is our listeners are out there thinking about what makes them tick. It's finding people that share those values, and you said it very well. It's not that you've got a bunch of people that are exactly the same. It's that you have people who have great skills, they add to the culture, and they share a handful of values that bring them together, and keep them aligned to the purpose of why the company's doing what it's doing.
So great job in building a team around that. It grows trust, and then when you have greater trust you can achieve your goals much more effectively. That's what as a company gets over 10 employees it now becomes a people challenge in building that trust and building that team so that you can achieve your goals in a common pursuit of those goals is critical. So nice work on that. I've watched you do that over the last couple of years, and I see how that's become a good driving force in the company. So well done on that.
Jake Fackrell: Thank you.
Clate Mask: Let me ask you a couple of things here. A lot of times when entrepreneurs are focused on their work, they're doing – they achieve a certain level of success. If you're – if you are – if you're one of our listeners, and you haven't yet achieved that level of success sometimes it can be easy to say I don't know if I want to do that. I don't know if I want to have 62 employees like Jake, he's crazy.
I don't know if I want to build a company to that level in revenue. So I'd love for you to just take a second and make this personal, make this real. What has it meant for you? What has your business success enabled for you in your life?
Jake Fackrell: You say make it personal. There's – a lot is going through my mind right as far as that's concerned. I think of first my family; being able to build this business in such a way that it still allows me time with my family is one of the great things I – we – my wife and I love to travel with our children. We've got six kids and they keep us very busy, and early on I made a decision…
Clate Mask: I know how that feels. [Laughter]
Jake Fackrell: Yeah. I read a book, and the entrepreneurs that wrote the book said my one regret is I was a workaholic and I didn't spend any time with my kids growing up. I said, "That is not going to be me, I'm going to be able to build – I want to build a successful business, and be able to have that time with my family and see them grow up." By hiring really good managers along the way, of course it didn't start out that way, but throughout the years I've just made a conscious decision that come 5:30 p.m. every day I'm going home or if the kids have a recital or a game that they're playing I'm going to be there for that.
I just worked my schedule so that I would do that. I had a – she had a couple of buddies that are very successful that would tease me about that. I'd say, "If you want a successful business you need to stop doing that," because they would have these great businesses, but they were never home. I'd say, "Success to me isn't just about making more money." Once you start – you're profitable and you're making money, and you can buy your house and your car what else is there.
So I wanted to really strengthen that relationship with my wife, and my children. That's been one of the great things of having this successful company, and to keep growing it. The other thing I would say is…
Clate Mask: Let me interrupt you real quick there before you jump in – before you continue. I don't want you to forget that though; so make note of the thing you're going to share. I think – I've watched, you have seen a lot of successful entrepreneurs, and I love the approach that you take there of trying – of making sure you have time. Here's the thing; I know that most entrepreneurs start their business with the view of having freedom to be able to do the things they want to do, go the places they want to go, take the vacations, all of those things.
But somewhere along the way a lot of times people get lost, and they – the business actually controls them, and even when it gets very successful they become so addicted to that success of the business that they don't want to take time away from the business. To me that's an unfortunate thing. The whole point of entrepreneurship in my view is that we can have control and freedom.
Yet, as all of our listeners know that can be very difficult to achieve, particularly in the early days. But when you break through and you get passed the survival, and you get to a point where you've got a business that's working it's a great thing to see an entrepreneur like you be able to take vacations with your family, be able to have the dream home that you want. Be able to have the cars, the vehicles that you want. Those are great spoils of success, those are the things that we want to have, and we want to enjoy. I just commend you for the way that you've achieved that balance, and to me that's something that – I know a lot of our – in talking to entrepreneurs I know that's what a lot of our listeners want. They want to have a successful business, and a successful life. That's as you just said the key thing in there; you can't do that unless you have employees that are great, and are driving at the goals, and leading the company with you so that you can actually take time away. So that's awesome to hear. Thank you.
Carey Ballard: You also mentioned that it wasn't always like that, and I think that for a lot of people, for myself included, there are seasons for everything. I think there's seasons where you've just got to put your nose down and do it, and it's going to require a little sacrifice across the board. But the other side of it is more flexibility, more balance, more freedom. Did you find that for yourself, because I know I can say that for my own life that's how it goes?
Jake Fackrell: Yeah. It hasn't always been like it right now where I feel like I've got much more freedom. But like Clate was saying being an entrepreneur requires discipline in many ways. One of those disciplines is in just discipline with your time, and your time commitments. Early on when I didn't have the team that I have around me now I wore a lot of hats, and if something were to break down with the company or something or there was a problem it required my attention. So sometimes that did pull me away from the family or away from an activity that I would like to be at.
But those are the sacrifices you make to build a successful company. As you continue to grow, and that's one of the reasons – to answer your question, Clate, one of the reasons why I wanted to keep growing is to keep being able to hire more people to run and take off – so I could take off more of my hats. Now, I get to evangelize the vision because one of my big priorities, my big three we call them, and every day that's my main objective every day is to make sure everybody understand what our big vision is here, and that they're onboard.
The other thing is as I continue to grow, and it's related to this, is the team. We don't call them employees we call them team members here, really become family. You hire them, you bring them onboard, and what I realized a few years ago is that I'm not just hiring this person. I am supporting them and their family and their families, and it's like the domino effect it just keep growing of all these people we're supporting.
My wife and I were just talking the other day about this, and realized we just – an aha moment a few years ago was we are responsible for the livelihood for so many people now, and it was overwhelming a little bit to us.
Clate Mask: Yeah it's both an aha and oh crap moment. [Laughter]
Jake Fackrell: Yeah. What if – early on if the company fails it's okay, it's just us and we're smart and entrepreneurial. We can go figure out something, and we can make a living. Today I can't even fathom what happens if it fails. We're talking about hundreds of people that would be affected by it, and it's just – it's a driving force for me, a motivating factor to get up every day and get here and solve problems, and just make it work. That's one of the great things I think about the company and building a bigger business is you get to support and provide for more and more people.
Carey Bullard: Yeah, exactly. As big as you get you can – your network increase exponentially both in the customers you're supporting, and the employees that you're supporting. It has an amazing affect.
Clate Mask: Right. That's cool, let me you ask you this. I have one last question I always like to ask people. If you think about the success that you've had over the last 10 years, and you've had – you've done a bunch of other businesses so maybe this applies more than the last 10. But in particular you've achieved a lot of success in the last few years. What's the one trait that you have that you would most owe your success to?
Jake Fackrell: That's easy for me just because I have a favorite word, and that really defines who I am, and that's helped me throughout my career and throughout my life, and that trait or that word is diligence. It's one of our core values, it's beyond – it means more than hard work. The history of the word and where it comes from is actually a French word that means to serve with love.
We think of diligence, and you think of getting out there and working hard, it's more than that. It's serving and it's loving what you're doing, it's loving the people who you work with, it's loving your customer base and your customers, and really having their needs in mind. So I also believe that – I know that here is my company, and another – I'm not the smartest guy in the room, I'm not the – there's a lot of things I'm not.
But I can tell you I can outwork anybody, and I'll outwork my competition, I'll outwork – I'll figure things out, and it's just by sheer diligence and perseverance. Success for me is determined by persistent, and consistent, diligent effort. When I'm working like that, and when my team is behind that, and working that hard; we may fail in some other areas.
But you're not going to outwork us, you're not going to be able to care more about our clients, to serve more with our team members, and so if I had to describe myself or my company with one word it would be diligence.
Clate Mask: That's awesome. I love that.
Carey Bullard: That's a great answer.
Clate Mask: Yeah that is a great answer. I've never heard the background of that word. I talked about diligence all the time, but I'll think of it differently now as I think about serve with love. That's pretty great.
Carey Bullard: I really appreciate your love of words in general. Both in the naming of your company and your motto. It's pretty good. As a content person I have to respect that. So good work.
Jake Fackrell: Thanks Carey.
Clate Mask: That's great. I also wonder – sometimes people have a question for us. Is there anything that I can address for you?
Jake Fackrell: Clate, I've always got questions for you. So it's just a simple one this time. It just relates to my business, and where we are today.
We get a lot of feedback from our team members and asking for paid time off. I wanted to know how do you handle – it's not really related to what we're talking about. But I just wanted to know how do you handle paid time off for your hourly workers? Do you offer them vacation days and things like? How should a company that is growing, and may be a small business owner, maybe not how you handle it now, but how did you handle it early on paid time off?
Clate Mask: I think that last – the last part of your questions is the key thing. It depends on where you are in the stage of your business. The reality is as business owners we – there are many – many times we want to give perks and benefits, but we're just not able to. The business can't support it; so a person that's got five employees and two of them are part time the answer might be very different than a person that's got 50 employees and 10 of them are part time. Very different than 125 employees and 10 of them are part time. So it just – it depends on where you are.
Before I give you the specifics let me give you generally. My belief is that we want to create a workplace where people are excited to be, and it's fun. So I want to give the – all of the perks and benefits that I can that our people have earned. So it's not an entitlement, but it's something that they've earned. So I try to move our perks and benefits at Infusionsoft always in an upward way provided that the company can do it – can financially do that.
Sometimes you're going to go through times where you can more, and other times you can't do as much. So generally I come from a place of wanting to create a great work environment where people want to be, and having fun perks that are a part of that – having fun perks are a part of that. Affordability is the key thing to consider as you apply it. So when we were smaller we didn't do any paid time off for hourly employees.
We had a vacation policy for our full time employees, and over the year we made that vacation policy more and more generous. So – and we got to a point where we also did paid time off for part time employees. We have some part time people in tech support and have had different part time roles in the company over the years, but it didn't start that way. So I think it depends on where you are in terms of affordability. I tend to have – come at it from a place of generosity and creating abundance; so I try to push the envelope a little bit and make it a great thing. But maybe for you and where you are there is some – a little bit of part time – a little bit of PTO, paid time off for part timers. But not as much as you would do for full time.
I think you want to keep in mind what your people are giving to the company as you consider what you're giving back to them. I think if you maintain the principles of affordability, and generosity, and what's earned versus what's entitled then you'll find the right policy for you.
Carey Ballard: I think – on that point I think there's a huge important distinction to make there that when I joined Infusionsoft I noticed immediately that all of the add ons and the benefits and things were called perks because we had earned them. I think it sets the stage in a completely different way in case something changes, which it’s naturally going to do. If you have employees that expect it this is the way it's always going to be, this is the way if it changes I'm being punished.
It can have a really negative connotation, but with the perks concept it gives them the empowerment to feel like they have the ability to change it in a positive way. They can keep those perks and things like that, and I think going back to the wordsmithing thing I think it's a really important distinction. Because it helps put the ownership and the power on the employees as well.
Jake Fackrell: Great. Very good, thank you.
Clate Mask: Good question. You bet. Alright, this has been fun.
Carey Ballard: It's been good getting to know you.
Clate Mask: Yeah.
Jake Fackrell: Thank you, Carey.
Clate Mask: Thanks so much, Jake. I always enjoy hearing the success stories and drying them out, and every time there's some cool things that I think are revealed for our listeners. I think that's definitely been the care here. So thank you so much for being with us, Jake. This has been another edition of the Small Business Success Podcast with Jake Fackrell of Domega. Thank you Jake.
Jake Fackrell: Thank you, it's good to be here. I appreciate it.
Clate Mask: Thanks for listening. Don't forget to rate us, right a review, and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. If you're looking for more ways to grow your business check out our knowledge center at learn.infusionsoft.com.
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