What follows are my most important lessons from 12 years of developing Edmonton's #1 rated accounting on Facebook.
The one most important rule is consistently and intensely focusing on difficult
hard-to-replicate skills that deliver value to people – day-in-day-out. Specifically, we need a singular professional focus to produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality
I was never destined to become "the accountant". It was only after I was bullied in school and my attempt to escape pushed me into
mathematics and programming BASIC with a Commodore VIC20 when I was 11 years old.
- Throughout my life, I have been blessed with a schedule that maximized focused skills and dedicated hours. While other kids were playing, I was making programming,
skiing, yodeling in a choir and getting black belts.
- I always graduated at the top of my class throughout my schooling and earned a Master of Science Degree in 2004. If I could do it again, I would recommend
software engineering at an elite school (top 20) or if it's not an elite school then you are better off skipping school altogether and exhaustively learning code online
or learning a trade.
- I spent my time using the tools at my disposal – analytical math to try to solve problems: I developed mathematical optimization algorithms precisely correct volumes
and rates of administration for intravenous medications. I travelled the world looking for worthwhile problems to
solve. All problems can be reframed as a function of time, and I sought to reduce the time. This exposure to quality experience gave me a substantial head start and allowed me
to start my career and later business at a much younger age than I might otherwise have been able to.
- I began my career at the Swiss global company, Roche, and then I worked for the Reformed Church Uster in Switzerland. Reuniting with the Protestant work ethic and
virtues was a refresher on my Swiss upbringing which emphasized discipline and responsibility. When you have nothing, you must trade time for money while you develop useful
- With my brother studying at Yale, I was alone in Canada without the guidance of my Götti. At first, I did not know what to do. But surrounded by low-T-drones, I
knew what NOT to do.
- To be typical is a choice. A bad one! Working focused 12+ hours per day, I knew there would be a 0% chance that I would end up typical. No excuses, for no role
models, I had plenty of anti-role models. I worked 80 hours a week for the first 3 years. This was enough time to work out for an hour every day and go out one night a week
max. This gave me better skills than my peers since I had twice as much work experience in the same time frame. It is hard to take it easy in your 20s and then pick
it up in your 30s. It does not work because of brain plasticity and you risk developing bad habits.
- I incorporated my firm in Canada’ s largest hydrocarbon processing region in 2006, on the premise that Alberta’s mass affluent would be best served by
Swiss innovation and exclusivity free of the inefficiencies inherent to other firms. My vision was to have the best accounting service in Canada. I determined that the only way to reach this
goal was to commit myself entirely to one activity: saving business owners' money. Only a truly focused approach can enable an accounting firm to offer, believably
and legitimately, a responsible, firstclass service and a relationship of the same impeccable quality.
focused skill x dedicated hours = success
- In addition to all the time spent honing skills, minimum 60 hours/per in my 20s the other advantage is there was no time left over to burn
the money. I embraced minimalism and strived to save 50 - 90% of all the money earned.
- When my business income exceeded my day job, I leased out an office space making sure that it was less than 8% of my gross monthly revenue. The
presence that comes with rent is one of the best advertising your money can buy and should be taken into account in determining the budget. The more inaccessible your location, the more you
should spend buying web traffic. I spent as much as I could buying traffic. Margins decreased at one point but the only thing that matters is volume. I analyzed conversion
rates and adjusted targeted demographics accordingly 30+ purchases for every 1,000 visitors meant I was on track.
- $10K spent on marketing/month resulted in $5K profit/month. Did I cut the marketing to increase margins? NO! I spent as much as I could until my business
could afford to spend $10K/week and still profit $5K/week I had vinyl decals advertising my accounting service installed on my coupe. It is one of the most
cost-effective forms of advertising. The more time you spend on the road, the more you should spend on vinyl vehicle lettering.
- Earning, fun, and negative visualization – don’t spend time on anything else. Typical accountants trade their time for money. Rather than trading
my limited time for money from my clients, I INVESTED my time into building a system that will give me future economic benefits. Our clear and comprehensive year end
package, our efficient procedures leveraging technology and innovation all give on going benefits.
- The aforementioned focus, dedicated hours, a lifetime of continuous learning/practice may sound like a lot of work but it leads to a more satisfying life.
The only way it is rewarding and sustainable is by maintaining balance and treating yourself reasonably. If everything about you is only average how can you expect your output to
be anything but average?
- My clients demand me to be the best, so I obsess over quality and aim for superiority in all things important to me.
Dopamine and testosterone are powerful chemicals that make you faster and more accurate at identifying problems. I keep my levels elevated by being grateful and positive every day.
- I bought a juicer. It is hard to work as much as you need to work and be fit without juicing. Digesting food is tiring on the body, so juicing takes
the work away from your body and delivers the nutrients more efficiently. People on the internet say juicing is bad blah blah you throw away the fiber, but you will
still eat 2 good meals a day + use a blender for the prewashed mixed greens + frozen berries from Costco + protein powder.
- I bought four German luxury vehicles, five Swiss watches, and paid off my dream home. But between these items, I realized I wasn’t really interested in “stuff”. Working for “stuff” is not the way to go through life – cars and technology get old and
outdated. No one can take my skills from me. Money is only a by-product of being skilled at a craft vs. competitors that are so focused on making money that their short term
actions are destroying their longterm goals. Still, I can’t deny that the money I made gives me the time and ability to explore what I really want in life.
- Still, it is wrong to take sole credit for my successes since my fool-proof formula was just to connect with winners (both customers and employees) and add value to
their lives. Credit also goes to Trudeau, Trump and mainstream media which eliminates my competition by causing them to burn valuable attention rather than focusing on creating value.
After 12+ years our blog is still the least influential financial blog on the internet, and our 120 customers is a tiny fraction of millions of small business
corporations in Canada. We are not driven by money and popularity, rather we are driven by legacy, greatness, and hyper-focused on adding value.
To protect our clients from ever-increasing fraud and audits, we have redundant security elements in place including the same
encryption technology used by Swiss Banks and the most secure layer (SSL) Certificate Authority. However, with over 40,000 employees, the CRA will be the reason your information is
compromised. What ultimately protects our clients is the fact there are only 3 humans working in our office (all family), so we build
genuine relationships with our clients which keeps them safe.
Today we are focused on building wealth in Alberta which is easiest done with:
- B2B trades (technology, CNC, construction, engineering etc.)
- Subscriptions (online/consumable product/gyms/country clubs)
- Single-idea restaurants
- High-end salons