Entrepreneurship is definitely not a walk in the park but there are ways to make things less challenging.
In this week’s episode, we get to talk with Jessi Burg, the founder of Outgrow Your Business. Jessi has a passion to turn chaotic situations into systematic processes. She loves details and believes that these small pieces matter so much about how businesses operate well.
We discussed the following:
1. How does she get to see how a business work at a very young age
2. What does Outgrow Your Garage do?
3. Why do you need to know and understand your demographics?
4. How do they create systems and processes for their clients?
5. Her best advice to new entrepreneurs
Visit Jessi’s website: https://outgrowyourgarage.com/
Katie Brinkley 0:02
Hi friends. I’m Katie Brinkley and you’re listening to Rocky Mountain marketing. This podcast is all about helping Colorado based small business owners, entrepreneurs, realtors and professionals discover the strategies and systems that take their marketing to all new heights. Let’s dive into today’s episode. Welcome back to Rocky Mountain Marketing. Today, my guest is Jessie Berg. Jessie is the founder of outgrow your garage, and has worked in the skilled trades since her very first job in printing at age 12. H, well wait a second, that’s like not child labor.
Jessi Burg 0:39
I violated a lot of child labor laws.
Katie Brinkley 0:45
She started her journey as an entrepreneur after a series of toxic work environments. And as a values driven business owner, Jessie absolutely adores proving that you can make profit while breaking down barriers. Jesse, thank you so much for coming on the show today. Absolutely. I’m excited to be here. And I always love it when I can kind of kill two birds with one stone have somebody that can educate my audience about digital marketing and business while still being a Denver or Colorado residents. So welcome to the show. And before we dive into exactly what outgrow your garage is, tell us a little bit about your business journey starting work at age 12. That’s crazy.
Jessi Burg 1:30
So yeah, so like a lot of parents, you have to occupy your kids in the summertime. And if you have family run businesses, you drag your children into those family run businesses. And so in my house, my mother at the time was working for a family run printing company. And she wanted a way to teach me about working and about how to get a job and how money works. And so she would take me to work with her and I would go make boxes, and I would run the Stitcher and I would run different machines and help out on in the printing factory. And nobody ever looked at the child labor laws. And when I was 16, there were actually three of us working that summer in the boundary. And they were like, oh, maybe we should look up the child labor laws. And they were like, oh, yeah, you guys actually aren’t allowed to be in here at all. Now you’re relegated to the shrink wrap over there in the corner, because you weren’t really allowed to be in a factory at all until you’re 18. And so that was kind of how it worked. But I really grew up around, my dad was a mechanic and my mom worked. She worked in the office of the printing, but I worked in the binary. And then I spent a lot of years in working for summer camps in environmental education places and in agriculture and in landscaping. And so I had all this different experience in these different places where it was what we call non traditional employment now, but it was just non office jobs. In my 25 years of work history, I have had exactly 15 months of office jobs, it was all in a row. And I had it while I was working on saving up money to start my own landscaping company. And so my work history is entirely How do I not spend time in an office? How do I work together with other people who are doing really interesting things? How do I stay outside? How do I stay moving as part of my employment? And that was a lot of why I decided to start my own business and a lot of how I ended up in the trades.
Katie Brinkley 3:14
You know, and I think it’s interesting, too. It’s such a Colorado thing to say of how can I spend more time outside? Because I know my winters are spent, you know, up in the mountains snowboarding and skiing and then no summers I’m camping and hiking. And I think that is one of the biggest things that a lot of entrepreneurs realize as they start their business is how can I build a business around what I’m most passionate about what means the most to me, in addition to you know, what kind of goals and what you’re best at, but at the same time, that is one of the biggest parts of entrepreneurship, building that business around what’s important to you. And I guess that kind of leads me right on into what it is that you do now with outgrow your garage. So talk to us a little bit about what that business is before we dive into how it’s really shaped the rest of your journey.
Jessi Burg 4:03
Yeah, so after your garage is really born out of things that I wished I had when I was running my landscaping company and things that I wish other people I worked for knew when I was bouncing around from job to job working for so many different people one day, I’m going to total up the number of jobs I’ve ever had in my entire life. And it’s going to be high at one point I was juggling eight part time jobs at once. So what our career garage does is we focus on how do you build a business when your business does not fit neatly into these categories of business development. Right? So when you look at pricing as an example I use a lot of when you look up how do I price my business? A lot of times people go okay, well you look at the cost of goods and how much it costs to get things shipped and then you price your product accordingly. Well, okay great. What if I run a service? What if my business does not meet the criteria of how you traditionally price a product right about farming, farming is really subjected to the whims of what people can afford to pay for food, how your food operates, what the shipping logistics are see of all these different pieces that go into it, that really aren’t talked about that often in pricing. And so whatever your garage does is builds online courses and hosts virtual coaching sessions to help entrepreneurs through those early stage growth questions. How do I price my services? How do I streamline my client communication? How do I build a sales process? How do I do the same things over and over again, when you’re not really sure how your industry operates, or you know a lot about how your industry operates, but not a lot about running a business. And that’s true for your plumbers, or electricians, your H fac, a lot of these skilled trades where they know a ton about if you’re a residential plumber, you might know every single style of plumbing that has happened in your area for the last 100 years. But your ability to build a business budget might not be there, because maybe you’ve never had to do it. To help people that’s such
Katie Brinkley 5:59
an important part of you know, I mean, like, that’s what started the whole purpose of this podcast. Really, it’s amazing that I haven’t had you on sooner, because that’s one of the struggles that I had when I was starting out was I was passionate about social media, and I was laid off from my dream job. And so my boss at the time, she said, because we were sitting in her office, and Jen turned to me and she said, Katie, you know, I know that this is devastating for you. It’s devastating for me, I am shocked that it’s happening and it sucks. But I want you to take this and think about what you’re really good at. And I know you do so much as the marketing manager here for the TV station by I would love to see you take this and make social media, your main thing your full time job just because the way you’ve grown. The station’s social media presence and strategy is amazing. It took us from nothing to actually you know, we had Twitter Tuesdays, we were bringing in celebrities to take over the Twitter account and all sorts of things. And I think that you should just really try and and do that. And so I was like, All right. Now what, I guess I got to have a website. And there was a lot of things that I learned along the way that I wish someone would have told me like, hey, you know, maybe instead of just trying to quickly get something out, let’s think about it for a second here. Let’s just hold the horses. And if it wasn’t for so many different business owners that were two 510 steps ahead of me, that just gave me the gift of their time to share their entrepreneurial journey, what mistakes they made, what what they would do differently, I wouldn’t be where I am today. So I think that what you’re doing with outgrow your garage is extremely beneficial, especially for people in the trade industry. Because majority of the people in the trade industry, they’re a one man show or one woman show, and how do you do all the things and grow your business? So that you’re not the one scheduling the calls? You’re not the one doing the work? You’re not the one trying to do the marketing? How do you do it?
Jessi Burg 7:57
Yeah, that’s exactly the question. And so my superpower in life is really how do I take a bunch of chaos and turn it into an organized logistical systemic process, right? And it manifests in really bizarre ways, like the people in my life make fun of me all the time. Because if you’re like, Okay, where did we leave the batteries? In the middle of this moving process, I’m gonna be able to say they’re in the box with the cookbooks and the koozies. And it’s underneath that other box. So we put the moving truck next to the couch, and my husband’s gonna go, how on earth? Do you remember all that? Like, I don’t know, that’s just how my brain works is I can place all the things in a room. And so on a business level, what that means is I can take these really complex, weird processes, and turn them into something that is approachable, and then be able to build a system out of it. And so after your garages, courses are really like organized flowcharts, you answer all the questions. What am I doing here? What do I do next? What do I do next? What do I do next? And then when you look at all the activities you did over a course, suddenly you have a process, whether that process is our client communication course that’s out that takes you from the initial client contact of what do I need to ask a client at the initial contact? And then how do you manage that communication through your entire project all the way to that final invoice and follow up of please leave me a review on the internet. And so if you write that whole process down, it becomes so much easier to bring someone else in to answer the phones or help with your communication. And so everything works like that. I just released a course where we’re looking at how do you set up your budget? And how do you set up your pricing? And part of that involves correlating the terms we use for business budget, your gross revenue, your gross profit, your net profit all these words that we hear, but we don’t really know what they mean, and how do you correlate them to the things you spend money on in your house and really relating that so that no matter where you are in that learning process, you have a framework that you already know to be able to understand some of these budgetary terms because it’s not just this person is really occupied. and learning all the things about their trades. It’s also how do we explain business concepts to people who don’t have college educations? How do we explain business concepts to people who don’t speak English as a first language? How do we explain business concepts to teenagers and people trying to figure out how the world works in general. So all of these different pieces are things that I tried to address an app for your garage to really bring it down to? What is an approachable way to build a system out of the things you’re already doing?
Katie Brinkley 10:25
Well, and I think that it all comes down to systems and processes. And I’ve had a couple other guests come on to the show to talk about these systems and processes. Why do you think that getting the systems in place is essential for entrepreneurs when they’re just getting started, but even after they’re well established, having the systems and processes in place are essential?
Jessi Burg 10:48
Yeah, there’s a couple reasons for that one is, and the biggest one is that as an entrepreneur, you’re problem solving all day, every day, that’s what you do, things come up, you figure out how to handle them. And as whether you’re a solopreneur, or whether you have a staff of 10, or 50, or 100, your job is to figure out what is happening in your company and how to make things flow smoothly. And if you are having to solve the same problems over and over and over again, because you didn’t build a system, that’s all that mental energy wasted, that you then aren’t able to focus on how to grow, or how to build a work life balance, or how to achieve your professional goals, whatever the rest of your life looks like. So you want to make sure you’re doing the same thing every time because then you don’t have to think about that. So that’s the biggest thing that I always recommend.
Katie Brinkley 11:31
Yeah, and it’s very similar with what I teach with social media strategy is just getting into that system that process that routine of creating social media content every week or every month and setting aside that time, because then when you create that habit, it’s just a part of the whole process. It’s a part of what you do on a regular basis. What do you think that one of the biggest mistakes is that business owners make when they are just getting started?
Jessi Burg 12:00
You need to really think about who your demographic is, and who you want to serve. It’s really tempting to say yes to everything when you first start, and you certainly will say yes to more things than you’re eventually going to do. But you want to make sure that you’re kind of honing in on who your your target demographic is, who your market is, who you’re trying to serve, especially in the services where if you’re a house cleaning company, right? Are you residential? Are you commercial? Are you going to focus on moving move outs? Are you going to focus on ongoing cleaning and janitorial services? Are you going to focus on caring for the elderly? Are you what is your goal? And how do you want to handle that, I think it’s really tempting to say, Oh, I got this opportunity over here, I got this opportunity over here, and you chase every shiny thing. And so you really have to hold that idea of this is what I want to do. On the flip side, you also have to be willing to shuffle that if what you really want to be doing if not something people are going to pay for, when I started my landscaping company, I really thought I was going to be doing vegetable garden coaching. And a year later, I was running a full service landscaping company with weeding and not a vegetable garden to be found. That’s how it goes sometimes. But I really loved that also. So you have to find a good balance of that.
Katie Brinkley 13:12
And I think that to work life balance comes into play for all entrepreneurs, one of the things that everyone says like, oh, yeah, just become an entrepreneur, start your own business, and you can pick the hours you want, and you can, you know, work from anywhere. But honestly, I feel like you’ll never work harder, at least when you’re just getting started than in any other position than when you are an entrepreneur. What was changing, like, as you always was, we’re around entrepreneurs and have that kind of entrepreneurial spirit. What was that? How has that played out in in your business journey?
Jessi Burg 13:43
Yeah, so one of the things that is true about me specifically that isn’t true of all entrepreneurs is that I’m actually a really lousy employee, I have a lot of opinions, I don’t like to do things that I disagree with. And I just kind of don’t do them. I’ve argued with my bosses about what I think should be happening, I like being able to set my own hours, I like being able to fluctuate between a bunch of different tasks. And so the end result of that is like, I’m actually not a very great employee, but I do spectacular as an entrepreneur, because I’m good at that visioning piece, and then outlining a plan to get there. And so what I think is true of a lot of entrepreneurs, though, is you don’t go into entrepreneurship. If you have other choices, right? There are a lot of easier ways to make money. So there has to be something else in your world that is calling you to that, whether that’s I can’t find the job that I really want to have. And so I’m going to build it for myself, whether that’s I’m not employable, because I am bad at not having, you know, not voicing my opinions all the time and holding my tongue, whether that’s plenty people start businesses because they have a life event that precludes their ability to hold down a steady job. Maybe they’re a single parent, maybe they have a record. Maybe they have a learning disability that makes it hard for them to operate under specific systems. Maybe they don’t speak English very well, and they’re highly educated in another country. But those credentials aren’t accepted here. because all of these things are reasons that people could start entrepreneurs, and there’s a million more, right. But the thing that is true about all of them is you’re not in it for just the money, you might want to make more. But if you’re only in it for the money, it’s almost guaranteed that you have an easier path out there.
Katie Brinkley 15:15
Yeah. And I think that I love that you said that you’re terrible employee. But you know, what you’re what you’re passionate about, and what means the most to you? What makes the most sense to you? And so you’ve gone out and done it, what is some of the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received? And how has that impacted the way that you’ve run your business or launched new businesses?
Jessi Burg 15:37
You know, I struggle with this question a lot. One of the things that is true for me is that I am often not good at going towards something I’m really good at saying I don’t want to do this other thing that I’ve experienced. So a lot of my early entrepreneurial career was here are things that happened to me in my work environment, that I do not want to replicate, right, I worked at a lot of seasonal places where I didn’t feel valued as a seasonal employee. So when I set up my business, I wanted to make sure that that wasn’t happening to my seasonal employees, I had a job where I was asked to work with somebody who treated me very poorly. And I didn’t like that I wanted to make sure my employees never went through that situation, I worked under bosses who weren’t really clear on what was happening on the ground of the company. And so they couldn’t make good decisions about how things should run because they weren’t listening to the people who were actually implementing the processes, and how they could change. So I wanted to not do that. So it was all of these pieces for me of what had I experienced that I didn’t like, and then how do I not do that? As I’ve grown? Now I have these other amazing companies I can look at and say I really want to do that. Oh, Tiffany, EADS runs an HR consulting company and does amazing work in the Denver Metro area around dei stuff. And watching her facilitate a roomful of people and create space for these hard conversations around race and class. And the different ways that these intersect in your businesses is spectacular. I want to be that open and that good and holding space for hard conversations? And how do I bring that energy into the things I do with our group rush? So I really look for these other people that I think are just spectacular.
Katie Brinkley 17:18
Yeah. And you know, I think that too, one of the biggest things that I learned along the way of following what drives you what keeps the passion for what you’re doing, going is treating others with kindness I’ve learned, especially over the past two years, collaboration over competition is everything. It’s what has helped me grow my business. And I think that I was talking with somebody, I don’t remember who it was and, and they were saying, like, oh, it was another past coaching client. And they were saying like, well, I just No, why would I give away everything that was in my course for free on my web, on my Instagram? And I’m like, Well, I’m not saying just to publish the course on Instagram. But I’m saying distribute parts of what you’re teaching, distribute parts of the value that you can give, give them away, you know, in little micro pieces of content. And they said, Well, then why would anyone buy the course? And I was like, Do you have any idea how much content they’d have to consume and all the podcasts, they’d have to listen to all of the blogs that you wrote all the social media posts that you pushed out? Do you have any idea how much they’d have to consume that like, oh, and I think that that is one of the best ways to there’s enough business to go around for everyone. And when you are doing collaboration, when you are treating others with kindness, and trying to network and thinking of others when you are growing your business and helps grow your business?
Jessi Burg 18:42
Absolutely. And the scarcity mindset versus the abundance mindset is really, I think, a thing that really plays into how we set up our businesses and something that I’m seeing a lot more push towards as, as I find people building out businesses, and this idea of there are plenty of people out there in the world. And I am in a business where i Dear Lord, I wish I could find a competitor. I wish I could find somebody else who was doing the type of programming that I’m doing in the market that I’m doing and targeting the people that I’m doing, because I think it’s so needed. And I don’t think there’s enough people who are handling it on a level where very small businesses can afford it. But I love making connections with coaches and with other people who are providing broader small business content, and all these other places that I can send people for content I’m not going to build, right. I’m never going to build content where I talk you through how to build a WordPress site. I’m not going to do it. I want to bring in somebody else who already does that and say, hey, people who are in my anchor regression network, you really should have a website for your services. business clients really want that. Here’s a person who is an expert in that and can help you do that. We’re gonna run this workshop. Here’s the pieces.
Katie Brinkley 19:56
No and I love that. I didn’t mean to interrupt you, but it just me Amy, really think about when you said the WordPress website, what is one of the biggest things that you think so many of your clients are misled about? Do you think it’s, you know, you need to you should be on Thumbtack, or you need to build a WordPress website, or what’s one of the biggest things that many of your clients are doing that you’d say, actually, let’s take a step back. And let’s do this as step one.
Jessi Burg 20:25
I think the biggest thing that happens in the trades and services is that there’s not particularly if you work in, in residential spaces, but also in in commercial space, if there’s not a good way to market yourself at the beginning, right, it’s actually really hard. Yeah, we exist in a society where whenever anybody says, I’m looking for a contractor, you’re immediately met with a collective groan, you think you’re gonna get scammed, you think you’re gonna have this terrible client communication experience, you think that they’re gonna be really hard to get a hold of, you think that they’re not going to take credit cards, it’s hard to figure out if they’re a real business, because so many people don’t have a website, maybe they have a phone number. I had a painter A while back, who did a spectacular job painting my house, I had a referral from another contractor that I know. But when they came into my house, the only way I could communicate them with text, and if I called their phone number on their business card, I actually got the voicemail of you have dialed XYZ phone number, please leave a message at the beep in Spanish. And so if I didn’t already know, they were a an actual legal functioning business, there’s no way I would have hired. Yeah, and so these basic kind of things that you just don’t think of, in terms of making your business look legitimate to a client, I think is the biggest hurdle for your early stage trades business. And I think they think it’s expensive to do a lot of those things. But it’s what $8 A month, I think, for a Gmail that have your business ending. So it could be info at painters plus.com patriots plus is the name of one of our sample businesses that we use in our current garage when we talk about how our concepts apply to this painting business. And so info at patriots plus.com is a great email, and it tells your clients that you are an actual business, you check your email, you do these things. You’re not just somebody with a pickup truck. And so that’s a really hard leap, I think for a lot of trades people, because technology is really intimidating. Nobody goes into the trades and services because they want to look at a computer all day.
Katie Brinkley 22:23
Yeah, exactly. What type of marketing Have you found works not just for outgrow your garage, but what type of marketing Have you found work for a lot of your clients, when they’re just getting started to get those new inbound leads?
Jessi Burg 22:36
call people back? It is the number one thing, whatever your method of communication is, with clients, whatever things you have to move, or burn down in your life or plans you have to skip answer people when they call, whether it’s on Facebook message, whether it’s a phone call, whether it’s a text message, whether it’s an email, you check your email, you check those things every day, and you get back to people every day. And you do not do it from on top of a ladder. And if you do that one thing where you call people back and you show up when you said you will, you will be swimming in business, because so few people do that.
Katie Brinkley 23:14
That’s priceless me honestly that that many people don’t do it.
Jessi Burg 23:19
There’s always more people who need contractors than there are for them. There are contractors to you at the skilled trades. labor shortage is very well documented at this point. Yeah. And one of the things I do is really work with I started working with some of the local tech schools to talk about how you build a trades business as part of their programming and starting to talk about how, as you exit trade school, how do you go into the workforce in a way that serves some of these pieces? And really working on some of this from the industry side of how do we get more people into the skilled trades in job?
Katie Brinkley 23:48
Yeah, because I mean, it’s a huge, it is a huge problem. I mean, and I think that with with the trades industry, there is a huge shortage. I mean, there we like you said, I’m just repeating everything you just said. But I think that we do need more people in the trade industry. And unfortunately, they’re being taught how to do all the things with their trade, as opposed to the business side of things of like, this is the accounting software, you should be using this as the marketing, which is $8 a month to get a custom, you know, Gmail address. And that’s Seriously, that’s such a no brainer, cost. I don’t understand why when if I do see someone with a Gmail address, I’m like, that’s like one of the quickest ways to make you take that step from point A to point like,
Jessi Burg 24:36
yeah, it’s because people think it’s hard and they think it’s going to be expensive. Yeah. So in our how to automate things you didn’t know you could automate course, we talked about that. Here’s some really simple things you can do that are easier than you thought they were and less expensive than you thought they were. And then one of the things that is economically true we all know that these small local community businesses are who create gets jobs in our communities, right. And so the more we can do to support these small service based companies so that they can get from one employee to five employees, that one person just created four jobs. Yeah. And that’s huge. And so if you can have these small trades, you’re both solving this skilled trade shortage, because you’re bringing people in, and you’re creating jobs within communities. And a lot of these jobs are ones that are recession proof, right? We just had two years of a pandemic, and your landscapers, your plumbers, your H fac professionals in your house cleaners of the world, they didn’t go without jobs.
Katie Brinkley 25:35
Yeah, they probably were busier than ever.
Jessi Burg 25:39
You know. And so those types of jobs, they have a stability and a pay weight and a pay increase and an ability to create upward mobility that that novel jobs have. And so if you don’t want to spend time at a computer all day, great, go into the trades don’t have the services, start a business. A lot of them, you could do it with a pickup truck and some gumption.
Katie Brinkley 25:57
Yeah. Well, Jesse, I could talk with you all day about this, because we are so in alignment with I think a lot of the business struggles and some of the misconceptions. But what before we end our talk today, before we end this podcast, if someone is listening right now, and they are just having, they’re having a hard time going from being in their garage, and just trying to get the referrals, and what’s the biggest piece of advice that you’d want to give him or her as they’re starting this business and entrepreneur journey,
Jessi Burg 26:27
look for the resources. And so a great place to start is, in fact, the app or your garage Resources page, we collect a lot of resources that are helpful for small businesses who are trying to grow from the Small Business Development Council websites to the Small Business Administration’s free mentoring program to business launch and accelerator programs that are both local to Colorado. And as we find them outside of Colorado, but really look at those resources that are available to you. There’s probably more than you think. And so finding those asking for help. If you ask for help, you will find it. And then the other piece that I’ve actually found really helpful recently, which I don’t love Facebook, man, I have put so many things out on Facebook recently of how do I grow this business? How do I do this piece? How do I figure out this technology option? And somebody else has stepped in and been like, here’s what I do. And that support has been amazing. Yeah, I
Katie Brinkley 27:21
think that Facebook, there’s social media platforms out there for everyone. And I think that find the ones that you resonate with, and Facebook groups have been huge for not only me, but for my podcast and for just really finding a community. So don’t think that your clients aren’t, aren’t out there. I mean, there, you just have to know where to look to find them.
Jessi Burg 27:43
And that can be hard. But yeah, build yourself a good community, wherever you can find it and ask for help. We are really conditioned to think we can start this business all by yourself. But that’s a lie.
Katie Brinkley 27:53
No, it is it is a blatant lie. And I think that, especially as you’re getting started, you need to have that support system around you that can answer your questions as you’re growing. They can be there to give you Well hey, when when I ran into this situation, this is what I did. So absolutely agree. I loved this episode. Today, you shared so many great pieces of advice. Where can people learn more about you and outgrow your garage?
Jessi Burg 28:20
So we are on Facebook. We’re also unlike LinkedIn, and then you can find us online at www dot outgrow your garage.com and your options.
Katie Brinkley 28:34
Awesome. Well, Jesse, thank you again so much for joining me today. This has been a great conversation.
Jessi Burg 28:39
Thank you for having me.
Katie Brinkley 28:42
Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Rocky Mountain marketing. As always, I’d love to hear from you. You can visit my website at www.nextstepsocialcommunications.com. Connect with me on LinkedIn or check me out on Instagram. Let’s keep taking your marketing to new heights