A lot of people dream of the ‘freedom’ of running their own business. More often than not, the reality is anything but.

Daniel Gibbs, founder of Clinic Mastery, was running a successful podiatry clinic but soon realised he had a big problem – he was the business.

“I had other team members who were twiddling their thumbs, and they had a lot of gaps in their diaries and mine was chock-a-block,” he told Bushy Martin on the Get Invested podcast.

“I’d try to get a client to see one of them. The clients would say, ‘Oh, that’s great, but I’d rather see you’.

“Over the years people would become very loyal to you as a person. It’s really hard to shake that. Suddenly the business becomes very reliant on you.”

Instead of trying to work longer and harder, Daniel decided to make changes. Which was easier said than done.

“Really with the help of a business mentor … I (realised I) was earning 80% of the income for the business,” he said.

“I needed to come off the tools, so that the business no longer became reliant on me. I was challenged to do it in six months. I kind of negotiated out to 12 months.

“You start to think financially, ‘Oh, I’m not going to be generating this income for my business anymore, so how am I going to live?’ We had a newborn at the time, and there were financial stresses, and those sorts of things.

“But I did went through a process of taking a day out of my diary each quarter over the course of the year, and by the end of the year, I was no longer consulting anymore. Problem was, we got to May that year and I was booked up to Christmas and couldn’t really look after any of the clients that I was seeing because there were no spaces in the diary to put them in. If anyone wanted to get in with me, they couldn’t.

“I started to really feel like I really wasn’t helping anyone here. I was making people upset. People had to wait. I wasn’t really able to treat them very well. Like I said, I should have done it in six months.”

But as Daniel invested more in his people, he was able to break through.

“As a business owner, you really need to take care of your team,” he said.

“It really is all about your team. The more I was able to invest in my team, the more they were able to look after the clients. The better the clients were looked after, that looked after the business. The business sort of looked after me, which was great. In that time, not only did I replace my income, but the business grew by 20% as well.”

Daniel sold his podiatry business and launched Clinic Mastery, where he now teaches the lessons he’s learned about growing his clinic.

“You have to get your ego out of the way,” he said.

“Understand that there are other people that can do as good a job as you to help people. Putting yourself out of the way is a big part of the process. It’s quite confronting as well. What if that client likes my team member more than me? And what if that team member leaves and takes that client with them? What am I going to be left with? There’s all these ‘what ifs’. There’s a lot of fear that goes into that. But the more you can create a system that actually helps to nurture and keep you connected with your team, the less likely that’s going to happen.

“Business is a process of in and out. Money in, money out. People in, people out. You’ve got to understand, yes, your team will leave and people will probably follow them at some stage as well. The thing is, you’ve got a responsibility to make it, while they’re there, as good as possible for them. I really like the quote that you can either train your team and they leave, or don’t train them and they stay. Which one do you do?”

Daniel now has the freedom to play golf three times a week but more importantly focus on giving back.

“I think (success is) really just being able to choose what you do with your time,” he said.

“Being able to wake up in the morning and go, ‘Yup, this is what I’m going to do today’. Or being available to be there for someone.

“(A quote) said, ‘You make a living by what you get, you make a life by what you give’. And that giving thing … I mean, it’s a biblical principle as well. He that’s responsible with little, will be made responsible for lots.”

Listen to the full podcast interview here.

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