Chris Ducker – Future Proof Your Business – The Business of You

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Serial entrepreneur, family man, action taker, lover of fine whiskey, the blues, luxury travel and entrepreneurs that want to change the world. Well, that’s how this fella describes himself on his website,but it’s just the start.

This Brit started his first business in 2008, helping businesses across the world working exclusively with B2B clients across a number of different industries, from around our glorious Globe, providing lead generation, appointment setting, customer service and live chat services to small and medium-sized businesses…making a very brief pit stop at a total burnout…writing his first book “Virtual Freedom’, creating the Youpreneur movement, writing another best-selling book called, “Rise of the Youpreneur’“, and calling people like Gary V, Tim Ferriss, Lewis Howes and Pat Flynn…friends. This man is on a mission to help future-proof yours, and every other entrepreneurs business by creating the business of you… Ladies and Gentlemen…Chris Ducker!

MF: Let’s have a little bit of backstory. I said that you started your first business in 2008…tell us how that started and you’ve hit the highs and you’ve hit some lows…just tell us about that very first business that you started.

CD: ‘Live to Sell’ is name of the firm. It’s still up and running now. I have nothing to do with the day-to-day operation of the business anymore. We’ve got a full team of management handling it now but it’s fundamentally a B2B call centre facility…300 plus employees based in the Philippines. It came about really from doing a lot of consulting work.

I was involved in the infomercial business for a couple of years doing a lot of script writing voice overs, you know, the whole kind of “But wait, there’s more if you call in the next 15…” at that kind of stuff and it was fun and enjoyable. I’d created this incredible network of people that I had gotten to do business with over there. But through the course of time I got kind of tired of it or not burn out tired.

Just tired of that kind of rigmarole of marketing, sales, marketing, sales, marketing, sales, event, event and it all sounds very glamorous and everything. At one point, I did Monte Carlo, I did Vegas a whole bunch of times and New York, you know? And you think well, that sounds amazing, but it’s bloody tiring quite frankly. Particularly when you’re doing breakfast meetings, lunch meetings, dinner meetings, drinks meetings, every single day in all those locations it was (genuinely) a tough slog.

YBKS Small Business News for Smart Business Owners Chris Ducker - The Original Youpreneur
Chris Ducker - The Original Youpreneur

We kicked off with 15 people. And we almost went bankrupt after four months

I’m not gonna lie and I just became a little tired of it all and so I just decided that me and the missus, (the good lady Mrs Ducker), decided that we’re going to take a bit of time off for a bit and that’s when the doors to ‘Live to Sell’ swung open for the first time.

We kicked off with 15 people. And we almost went bankrupt after four months.

I realised we had two pay rolls left in the bank… Two payroll periods left in the bank and kind of had to re-look at where we were with everything…

put our heads down…worked solidly for a couple of months and we were lucky to save the business. It obviously continues to flourish and we’ve given birth to two extra businesses out of it.

But that was it. It’s very much a high and a low for the first couple of years and then the lowest of the low was the burnout that you alluded to there in late 2009 going into early 2010. I mean that was serious stuff.

We’re talking Hospital time, acute dehydration, acute, exhaustion, etc, etc. Fast forward a year though by the end of 2010 something pretty remarkable happened. I recovered from that burnout. Removed myself from the business pretty much day to day and started blogging and podcasting. And so now this personal brand is starting to be built.

We’re about doing it right rather than just want to make a whole bunch of money overnight with it

I’m starting to get calls to speak on stages and couple of years later. I get the the call from the publisher in the U.S. to do ‘Virtual Freedom’ and then the keynote invites come inand now I’ve gone from the breakout room with 60 people at an event in LA somewhere to keynoting to 1500 people in Vegas. It was all very surreal and it was very quick in the space of two or three years. 

It bought into play Mastermind events, Live Events, intimate kind of Retreats that I would host over in the Philippines, which was great. Some of the friends that you mentioned there in that intro, came to the Philippines to be part of those events, which were just life changing for anybody that was involved and now, back here in the UK and building out Youpreneur as much as we possibly can.

It’s a slow burner as far as I’m concerned. We’re about doing it right rather than just want to make a whole bunch of money overnight with it. We’re five years in…we have an annual event in London. We have our coaching program of which you’re obviously part of and life is good. There’s a hell of a lot more we could be worried about put it that way.

And almost every entrepreneur can relate to burn out because here’s a fact. If you don’t build your business properly, it’s inevitable

MF: One of the things that I always I like to cover on the podcast is a reality of being a business owner, and certainly because we’re gonna be talking about personal brand. But you did have a proper burnout and for me, I think that’s that that’s the important balance of entrepreneurial life. It’s not something that we all like to talk about because it’s uncomfortable and I get that. What was the main lessons that you learned from either going into it or coming out the other side of it?

CD: Going into it was and still is a bit of a blur. If I’m to be honest. One morning…I literally couldn’t get out of bed. And so my wife called our corporate or company doctor; once you hit a hundred employees in the Philippines, you have to have a doctor on call the your employees that’s part of government guidelines.

So we called the family / company doctor round. He didn’t like the look of me at all. Particularly more so that day and suggested I get down the hospital do some tests. They admitted me and I was in the hospital for a little over a week. They gave me some diazepam to bring down my anxiety levels and get me to sleep properly. I was on liquids the whole time and all that kind of stuff. Now, I didn’t know at the time but that burnout was actually going to come back to bite me in the butt two years later again as well.

Because the reason why I burnt out was because I was working 16 hour days, six days a week and like a lot of people I was sat behind the desk on a chair or those 16 hours every day. I was tired and exhausted and couldn’t sleep couldn’t function, etc. etc. 

Overcame the burnout per-say, got fit, got healthy, got strong again and then two years later… Bosh! My L5 S1 disk blows at the base of my spine because I’ve been sat down ‘crushing it’ for three years in a row working all these long hours and I have to have invasive spine surgery to fix it.

So it’s interesting because there was a double barrel of that burnout and I think one of the reasons why people can relate to that story so much when I meet people and I talk about the burnout they get it instantly they understand it. And almost every entrepreneur can relate to burn out because here’s a fact. If you don’t build your business properly, it’s inevitable. 

It’s not a matter of when it’ll be or rather If, only when, right? And so the big takeaway for me, although the beginning of it was a bit of a blur, the takeaway for me was very much the fact that I needed to get the heck over myself. Plain and simple. That was like the biggest takeaway and that was before the back surgery.

Like I realised that going into the end of even just 2010, had the surgery in May of 2012, but I had to get over myself, because I was like any other ‘type A’ micro managing pain in the butt, entrepreneur to work for. If I could do it myself I would do it. I didn’t believe anybody could do anything better than me. Even if I was paying them. I’d still end up doing the job for them half the time and so I was just your typical, vulture hanging off your shoulder micromanaging your work. We hired eight people by the way to replace me in 2010. That’s how many hats I was always wearing.

The Groomed Man Sponsors YBKBS Small Business News Features and Interviews https://www.thegroomedman.co.uk

MF: So I’ve been following you for a couple of years and I’ve always been taken by the fact that you have always said, you are future-proofing the business because it’s ‘a business of you’.

Okay, it is a business about you, about your personal brand. When you talk about Youpreneur it’s very much about personal brand. What is a personal brand, but moreover what isn’t a personal brand?

Because the more I sit and I watch people imitate what you’ve done and what people like Pat Flynn, Lewis Howes and Tim Ferris have done… people assume that it’s very easy, but I think there’s a real blurring of lines where it’s getting to a point that it’s very difficult to see genuine personal brands versus somebody who is just there to make as much money as quickly as possible.

YBKBS Small Business News for Smart Business Owners Chris Ducker Youpreneur
The Rise of The Youpreneur - A Very Good Book

They’re not going to do it in your style and that’s where that ‘business of you’ model comes from and it ultimately makes you un-copyable

CD: Well, look what a personal brand is not is exactly that. It’s somebody who you know, perhaps maybe has been you know gifted with the gift of the gab as my old Mammy would say. And they use that as a way to be able to ultimately sell their wares sell their promises and then not deliver on them. And they also nine times out of ten, they don’t have the kind of experience under their belt that not only do they have, a) claim to have and b) can actually genuinely serve the people that end up ultimately buying from them.

You see this a lot at these Live Events where it’s “Come and get your ticket for £49 or $97”, or whatever it is, and you turn up to this live event that’s going to take place, and it’s an entire day and you turn up and you’re ready with your notebook and your pen and you can’t wait to kind of learn from all these experts that are on stage. By the time you’re done, in eight hours you’ve had maybe two hours of content and just one sales pitch after another, after another, after another. These ‘Pitch Fest’ events as they’re known, that’s not what a personal brand is at all. The personal brands and in terms of that I’ve coined, a Youpreneur is somebody who builds a business based on them, but not reliant on them.

The importance of building a team and delegating, and the becoming smart with the people that you bring on board in different roles, all that kind of stuff comes into play. And you can have a lot of impact when you build a business like that, but your personal brand is ultimately, what people say about you when you’re not around. 

When you’re not at that business conference, or in that coffee meeting, or that dinner party, or that that Zoom Mastermind call; when your name is brought up in discussion. What people say about you and how they talk about you, and in what vein they do all those things. That’s your personal brand. It’s your reputation. Ultimately that’s what it is. 

And for us as Youpreneurs, the model of the business of you, is built around the three tiered framework of Build, Market, Monetise.

And so everything we do, every piece of content we create, every coaching call that I do, every guest that I bring on one of my stages, whether it be in person, or virtually, that they are all serving one of those three main pillars of that framework.

When you build this, very uniquely you business, you ultimately become future-proof because although you might have competitors out there within your niche doing, what you do for the same types of people that you’re doing it for, they’re not going to do it in your way. They’re not going to do it in your style and that’s where that ‘business of you’ model comes from and it ultimately makes you un-copyable. Therefore you become future-proof. It’s ultimately the way I look at it. It’s like it’s the last pivot you will ever make in your career and I stand by that that terminology because I’ve seen it happen over and over again.

Chris Ducker in Action on Stage

MF: The ‘Pivot’ seems to be the word of the last 12 months. I would suggest there has been a hell of a lot of pivoting. The personal brand is really interesting as the new app ‘Clubhouse’ has sprung up and there are a lot of those people who are doing the “You can buy my course… It should be three $3000, but it’s only $29.95 if you buy in the next 12 seconds…” There’s even a new thing where you just type in somebody’s name and then put the word ‘scam’ at the end.

So when it comes to Clubhouse, and you’ve always been really, really hot on social media platforms, what do you think about Clubhouse and potential social media platforms that are coming on stream that will help people build their personal brand? 

you’re building your home on rented land

My view on this and not just Clubhouse, but any app that pops up, is that you should certainly check it out. There’s nothing to lose by investing a little bit of time and energy into looking at them as and when they pop up. I want to kind of just preface this by saying that all these platforms tare just that. They’re just platforms.

You don’t own any of them. You don’t own your YouTube channel.

You don’t own any kind of Clubhouse room that you might kick off.

You don’t own your Twitter profile or your Facebook page or that group you’ve got all your paid members in and all the rest of it… the companies own them.

And I just think it’s okay to utilise these platforms, but just understand that if you’re relying on them, let’s use YouTube for an example, there are some people out there that put so much time energy and effort into their YouTube channels and fair play. They might end up getting hundreds of thousands, millions even, of subscribers because their content is that great, but the fact of the matter is that could disappear tomorrow.

They don’t own that. They don’t own that platform. They don’t even own the channel where their video sits on it. They might think they do but they don’t. So it’s not a sustainable business model, not long-term.

Ultimately if you rely on one particular platform, bringing it back around to Clubhouse, and spending hours on that thing every single day, and yes, they might be making sales of their online courses or their coaching programs based off of that platform, you’re building your home on rented land. 

Let’s use Periscope as an example. When Periscope came out, I instantly loved it. I loved it instantly with the first broadcast. I did it with my arm outside of a limo going down Vegas strip showing everybody the Vegas Strip. That was my first ever Periscope broadcast and the little hearts that came up, it was like ‘crack for egomaniacs’ because just we love that instant gratification.

We love that instant gratification of ‘I’m doing something and somebody’s loving it’. So I dived into Periscope because I enjoyed it first and foremost and it opened up a brand new bunch of people into my world and into my community. They were listening. Yes, they could comment and things like that, but ultimately it was pretty one-dimensional.

The reason why I’m not such a fan of Clubhouse is because it’s very hard. It’s hard to get on there and replicate what I did with Periscope. For example, there’s no visuals, and I think because of that people are not paying attention as much as they would if they were watching a video of you on their phone. They might be doing other things like housework, walking the dog, working out, whatever it might be. The other thing is that Clubhouse is very reliant on a whole bunch of people getting involved and talking and I do that enough.

Listen to me, if you’re running an eight-figure business, what the heck do you want Clubhouse for?

There’s also the added question of how much do you give away for free? Clients pay me to learn from me, to have access to me, my connections, my content, my framework. If I start giving a whole bunch of that away in open conversations for free, on a public app like Clubhouse, for example, I’d be a little upset if I was a paying client, so I’m just very aware of all of these things, but most importantly, more than anything else is that I’m aware that I need to get people back to my ‘home’.

So I will use these platforms to spread my message and my mindset, my thoughts, but I’m not interested in relying on one particular platform to bring in any money at all. For me, if I can utilise it great, but I’m not going to rely on it and then let’s not go down this rabbit hole… but there’s a whole bunch of people on there claiming to run 7- figure businesses 8-figure businesses.

Listen to me, if you’re running an eight-figure business, what the heck do you want Clubhouse for?

Come on, keep it real! Number one. If you are running an 8-figure business, you’re probably too busy to get on the Clubhouse in the first place and number two, even if you’re not that busy, what are you gonna gain out of being on Clubhouse?

And don’t say friends because we’ve got enough of them already. So you just have to be very, very careful with who you pay attention to and who you learn more than anything.

MF: It’s really interesting because before we did this interview, I’ve been online mentoring some first year business students at Peter Jones Business Academy and five or six of them were all starting clothing businesses. I just simply dropped in a question, “Where would you like it to be in 12 months time?”

And they said, “We’d like to open a shop…”

So firstly I thought that was quite fascinating that they’re still thinking about High Street retail. But every single one, to a man or woman said that they’re going to start their business by selling on Etsy, or eBay, or Amazon. So I asked, “What happens if they switch them off?” And they were all stumped. And it comes back to investing as much into your website. You need to invest as much into your website to get them back to that because if Amazon, or eBay, or whoever, get taxed to the hilt, they’re only going to pass it on to you.

Hell I could walk in to Walt Disney tomorrow and I could unveil a build, market, and monetise framework for one of their Parks. Should they ever ask…

CD: Yeah, it means if you sell something on Amazon or on eBay, make sure and you know you if you do not do this, you do it at your own future financial peril. Include a postcard in there or even a handwritten note that says, “Thank you so much for ordering from us via eBay, just in case you didn’t know, we also have member-only discounts on our website. You can become a member for free. By hopping on this page and giving us your email address and we’ll keep you up to date with anything new that comes through the door, anything new that we create, anything new that we’re selling, any new promos, etc, etc.’ Just do that.

It will take you 10 minutes more when fulfilling every order but if it’s pre-printed it takes you five seconds…just these are things you must get people back to your website. You must. And whether you’re building a business based around you, that personal that business of you model or not, our framework of build, market and monetise that can be adapted and adopted by any business. It doesn’t matter what they’re selling product service physical digital tangible.

Hell I could walk in to Walt Disney tomorrow and I could unveil a build, market, and monetise framework for one of their Parks. Should they ever ask…

MF: What else are you seeing at the moment?

CD: I don’t know about you, but the one thing that I see a lot of right now, is imposter syndrome. People are seeing somebody like a Gary Vaynerchuk iand what they’re doing on all of their social media platforms and saying, “Oh, you know, I want to make videos like that.” Gary has 30 people working on his personal brand.

You’re not going to be able to do that. Do you. Do what Gary would say…”Do you; don’t do Gary.”

And understand that no matter where you are in your journey right now, you are exactly where you are supposed to be currently on your journey. You cannot compare your eighth or ninth step to somebody else’s 80th or 90th. If you do that, you’re only going to end up hurting yourself in the long run. 

MF: We are going to wrap up with one last question. We’ve been in lockdown for nearly 12 months. I’m sure you would have been much you would have much preferred to have been locked down in the Philippines than you would over here in a cold, wet, typical UK winter, but how different you think we’re going to come out of lockdown compared to when we went in?

What two things you think are going to be strikingly different?

CD: I think the two things that come to mind immediately are things that we’ve also talked about a lot internally as a business as well.

Number one. We do a lot of lot of in-person events including the Youpreneur summit which was our big conference in London every year. I think we’re a long way away from being able to hold big heavily social type events such as that. I think realistically, at least a couple of years away from it.

If I’m to be honest, we will have events come back at some point this year. I think they will be very small. I think they’ll be very intimate. I believe that that gives a lot of people the opportunity to bring in more of a ‘high-end’, ‘exclusive’ type of events. They’re going to have to be socially distanced and if you’re running events like that and you’re not putting in the place that thing in place to run your event socially distanced, I think that will come back to bite you on the butt quite frankly.

So I think from from an in-person live event live learning kind of environment, it’s going to take us a while to get back to where we were before. The flip side to this I would like to think, is that there are a lot of businesses that were quote-unquote in the “old style of doing business”, the brick-and-mortar style of business or maybe they were relying on the Etsy’s and the eBay’s and the Amazon’s and things like that to sell their wares.

I believe wholeheartedly actually that the vast majority of those businesses if they’re run by the types of individuals that excite me that I want to be around. I think a lot of those guys are going to be embracing the digital and the online and the virtual way of being able to build, market and monetise their businesses in the next 18 months two years. And that in amongst it self will actually end up creating more opportunities. Not only here in the UK, but also globally; period.

But it’s not going to happen overnight and I think people have to stay positive. They’ve got to stay super excited about the opportunities that are coming their way and if they do that, it will only trickle down to the people that they come into contact with.

If you’re going to be negative and upset and down in the dumps about things that will that will have a ripple effect. But if you’re if you’re loud and proud, and saying that you’re excited and you’re rocking and rolling and making things happen, then that in amongst itself will be enough hopefully to attract the right people into your own ecosystem and that can only be a good thing.

Chris Ducker, was talking to Marc Ford. He can be found at www.chrisducker.com

 

Latest News

What is this 'culture' thing anyway? And what does it mean for small businesses? ybkbs small b business news and features
Business Management
Jess Amy Dixon

What is This “Culture” Thing, Anyway? (And What Does it Mean for Small Businesses?)

Chances are, if you follow business news at all (and we assume you do if you’re reading this platform!) you will have heard a lot about Brewdog in the last couple of weeks. 

Without rehashing the whole situation, here’s an executive summary: dozens of former employees signed an open letter accusing the craft beer firm and its co-founder James Watt of fostering a “culture of fear.” Ex-staff members claim they were bullied, treated like objects, and that the company’s culture was “toxic.” You can read more in this excellent piece by Kalyeena Makortoff and Rob Davies for The Guardian.  But following this sage got me thinking: what is this “culture” thing we hear so much about, why does it matter, and how does it pertain to small business owners? 

Read More »
Lockdown Extended. What Now for Small Businesses, the Self Employed and Hospitality? YBKBS Small Business News for smart business owner
Business Finances
Jess Amy Dixon

Lockdown is Extended. What Now?

Yesterday, 14th June, the Prime Minister confirmed that the current lockdown restrictions (with some small exceptions) will be extended through until at least the 19th July. This is unlikely to be welcome news to many people. Most of us were looking forward to returning to full normality next week, and now have to wait a little longer. So what now for the self employed and small business owners?

Read More »
Calls For The Right To Disconnect - A message to the self employed? - YBKBS Small Business News for Smart Business Owners
Business Management
Marc Ford

Calls For The Right To Disconnect – A Message To The Self Employed?

Employees are finally getting what many self employed business owners have almost taken for granted – working from home. But there is a growing realisation for the employees and employers that will not only be familiar to the self employed small business owners, but what potentially happens next could effect them for years to come.

Read More »
Small Business to Create 1.2 Million UK Jobs in 2021/2022 YBKBS Small Business News fro Smart Business Owners
Business Growth
Marc Ford

Small Business to Create Over 1.2m UK Jobs

With optimism coming from the vaccine rollout programme, UK SMEs expect to be hiring 1.2m staff over the next year.

Renewed optimism is the driving force behind these hiring plans, with an added desire for SMEs to grow their workforce diversity and prioritise employee wellbeing.

Read More »
When is it he right time to quit? YBKBS Small Business News for smart business owners
Business Management
Jess Amy Dixon

When Is It Time to Quit?

“Don’t quit” is popular advice for anyone who is trying to start or grow a business (or, frankly, achieve any other goal.) And I think it’s good advice… up to a point. Giving up too quickly or not persevering through difficulties is pretty much a guarantee of failure. Setbacks are a part of life, and certainly a part of business.  But when is there a right time to quit?

Read More »

Listen to Our Latest Podcast

More Feature Articles

What is this 'culture' thing anyway? And what does it mean for small businesses? ybkbs small b business news and features
   

What is This “Culture” Thing, Anyway? (And What Does it Mean for Small Businesses?)

Chances are, if you follow business news at all (and we assume you do if you’re reading this platform!) you will have heard a lot about Brewdog in the last couple of weeks. 

Without rehashing the whole situation, here’s an executive summary: dozens of former employees signed an open letter accusing the craft beer firm and its co-founder James Watt of fostering a “culture of fear.” Ex-staff members claim they were bullied, treated like objects, and that the company’s culture was “toxic.” You can read more in this excellent piece by Kalyeena Makortoff and Rob Davies for The Guardian.  But following this sage got me thinking: what is this “culture” thing we hear so much about, why does it matter, and how does it pertain to small business owners? 

Lewis D Chaney Talks about saying LESS but being heard MORE YBKBS Small Business News Platform for smart business owners
  

Get To The Damn Point! How to Say Less and Be Heard More

It’s business and self employed 1:01. You’ve said it about them; they’ve said it about you. Well, maybe we just said it to ourselves, murmuring slightly with an un-noticed eye roll, or have at least thought, “Just get to the damn point already!”

eKitchenette - Serving the food industry the CoVid era and beyond ybkbs small business news for smart business owners
  

eKitchenette: Serving the Food Industry in the COVID Era and Beyond

In challenging times, innovative solutions are called for. And for three local entrepreneurs from Leicester, the pandemic inspired them to come up with a creative way to support local restaurants and food businesses. 

Thomas Edde, Ali Datoo, and George Martin founded eKitchenette, an app that combines influencer marketing and online ordering to build a trusted community of food business owners, influencers, and consumers. I met Thomas via Zoom this week to learn more about the business and the team’s journey so far.

Vilma Jackson : Meet the Performance Artist Paving The Way for Deaf Creatives
  

Vilma Jackson: Meet the Performance Artist Paving the Way for Deaf Creatives

Multi award-winning Deaf performance artist Vilma Jackson has launched a new chat show featuring an all-star selection of Deaf panellists. The first episode of The Vilma Jackson Show was released on 11 March, and the second will follow soon. Episode 1 showcases the wide array of talent that exists within the Deaf community and the barriers Deaf people face, while the second will address the wider debate around diversity, inclusion, and equality as they apply to the Deaf community.

The Man Whisperer, Kenny Mammarella-D’Cruz where we talk about male mental health business, masculinity in the business world and his very unique perspective of lockdown and how it helped him, help men in business during it. YBKBS Small Business News for Smart Business Owners
  

Kenny Mammarella D’Cruz: Words of Wisdom from The Man Whisperer

Talking about mental health and struggles can be challenging, and this is often particularly true for men. Unfortunately, we live in a culture that does not encourage men to open up about their feelings.  But one man is on a mission to change that. As we mark the one year anniversary of lockdown this week, editor Marc chatted with Kenny Mammarella D’Cruz, also known as The Man Whisperer, about his vital work in the area of men’s mental health.

  

Founder Anneka Hicks Speaks Out: “Why I Left Excluded UK”

Founder Anneka Hicks has stepped down from Excluded UK to create a new venture dedicated to tackling the mental health fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here she tells us why she’s stepped down from the group she founded, the toll it’s taken on her personally and fighting for the 3 Million self-employed and small business owners excluded from financial help from the UK Government.

Business Coach, Author and Consultant. Has worked with BBC TV and Radio and Channel 4 on business matters. Trusted by Mercedes Benz, Hitachi Capital. Keynote speaker.