Billboard Mastery Podcast: Episode 9

Hiring Yourself and Keeping From Getting Fired

It takes discipline to find new billboard locations to build or buy. And it takes effort to rent advertising space. But all of these things are pretty simple to master. What’s at issue is whether or not you will make a good “employee” to your dreams and aspirations. Every entrepreneur knows their most important hire is themselves. So how do you make sure that you take the necessary steps to keep you commitment to yourself? In this Billboard Mastery podcast we’re going to discuss how to hire yourself, manage yourself, and not have to fire yourself. There’s no job loss more embarrassing than when you have to give yourself your own pink slip.

Episode 9: Hiring Yourself and Keeping From Getting Fired Transcript


Hiring, managing, and firing yourself sounds like a very daunting task, but if you want to succeed in life, the person you have to rely on is that one big hire, and that hire is you. This is Frank Rolfe with the Billboard Mastery Podcast. We're going to be talking all about the commitment you make to your future, the future of your family, how to hire you, manage you, and even fire you.

Let's start off with hiring you. So, you want to go into the billboard business. You need one person with a singular focus, the desire to succeed. And guess what? You already got the job. That's right, there's only one person that you can hire in that role and that's yourself. So congratulations, you just got hired. The second thing is you have to make a commitment. Have to make a commitment to yourself, to your family, that you want to do something that actually creates some type of financial wealth, either through a monthly income stream or additionally through the value if you sell those billboards off. And I think we can all do that. I think we all can make the commitment that we want to have a stronger financial now and future.

Also, you want to know that you are going to go ahead and have some goals to hit. So go ahead and make some goals for yourself in hiring you, as to what you're trying to achieve. Are you trying to achieve financial freedom? Are you trying to build an income stream to pay for college? An income stream to pay for just some luxuries? Vacations? What are you trying to do? Create an empire? You need to write that down and let that serve as the inspiration to you. But when it comes to hiring you, you're hired. So, that's already been accomplished.

Now let's move on to managing you. To manage yourself, you have to set baby step action plans. Very simple items. For example, define your territory. Where are you looking for billboards? Typically, it's a four to five hour radius from where you live. Then you want to get all the ordinances of those areas that fall under the areas you desire. What are the hot highways? What are the hot cities? What's going on? You want to learn all about the city laws and also the unincorporated laws of that area. These are all things that you can put into very finite action steps. You take the step, you cross it off the list, starting with most basic and moving onto the most advanced. But that's how you can best figure out how you're doing. It's very hard to manage yourself unless you can look and define what steps you've taken and what steps you've failed.

Also, set aside certain times, certain hours of each week in which you're going to work on billboards. Maybe you say, "I'll work on billboards on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:00 until 9:00, and Saturdays from 8:00 until noon." Set aside some kind of time. It's really hard for you to be your own boss if you have no defined hours of operation. If you don't set aside hours, what you'll do is, you'll always conveniently have something else to do. And you and I both know it's going to be probably something that's more in the pleasure vein than in the actual accomplishment vein. So let's go ahead and set aside a certain schedule of work time.

Also, set some basic goals. What's your goal? Is your goal to build or buy one billboard every quarter? One billboard every month? What are you trying to do? Set those goals, so you can then decide whether you're hitting your goals or not.

Now, the final item, which I find very, very important in managing myself, and I think you would find very important in managing you, is to have either an erasable board. I like that because I'm a low-tech person. Or you could do something that's equivalent on a spreadsheet. But make something that shows how you're doing, what the stats are. When I started my billboard career, I got a little erasable board. They still sell them. You can get them at Office Max. You can even get it at Walmart. Not a huge thing, probably about two feet high, about 18 inches wide. And then I got some little, super thin black tape from a survey store, and I ran those little black tapes all the way from left to right. So, there was a whole pile of lines. And then I ran it vertically.

And basically what I had was, I had a board that had the ability to put in a billboard location name all the way down that board. And then I had a column that had an L, which meant I got a lease, and a P, which meant I got a permit, and a B, which means I got it built. And then I had an LHR, which means a left-hand read of the sign rented, and an RHR, which meant the right-hand read of the sign rented, and an E, which means I had my electricity hooked up. And my whole goal, like a video game, was to fill in each of those blanks, such that I had 10 billboards. That's all I wanted originally, was 10.

And I put every prospect on that board. So I might have with an L because I had a [ground 00:05:50] lease, but maybe I didn't get the permit. So the deal died and I crossed it off. Others, I got the lease and then I got the permit, and now I got the sign built. And I get my LHR rented and my RHR rented and my power hooked up, and bingo, there's one out of my 10 done. And that's how I managed myself. I could look at that board. And that board was brutal. If I didn't have that many stripes on it, I knew I was failing. If however, I had two or three completed and 20 more in the pipeline that I was working on, then I felt good about myself. So I think those kinds of erasable board things that you can look at and they can tell you the score, just like looking at the score at a football game, it's right there for all the world to see, or at least for yourself to see, is a very, very good method of motivating yourself.

But let's move on to firing you. Let's say you hire you. Okay, that's a given. And you're managing you, but not doing a very good job of managing yourself. And so you say, "You know what? I need to fire myself. This just is not working out. I'm not getting the job done." Well, first off, you've got to be that tough on yourself. Just like any other job, if you're in no fear of ever getting fired, you're not going to perform to your full potential because you have no accountability. So, no one is there telling you, "Oh, you're doing a bad job," but you are. And it's not really helping you by not having someone tell you that.

PBS did a study a while back on if it's better to be a tough coach or an easy coach. And here's how they did the test. They took 10 top college athletes in basketball and they had them each shoot 10 free throws. One time with a coach who was very tough on them, screaming at them, telling them you're doing a terrible job. And the other one, a super nice coach who just said, "Oh, do your best. It's okay. Maybe you can do it on this shot." Here's what they found. Statistically, it was overwhelmingly obvious that the tough coach did a better job and had higher attainment of free throws than the easy coach did. And their guesstimate on that was that people are simply more focused when they got a tough coach.

So be a tough coach on yourself. Don't be afraid to tell yourself, "Self, you're not doing a very good job. You're not doing the hours of operation you promised you would. You're not working and following those erasable boards. You're not following our basic steps of action. So, Myself, I'm going to have to fire myself if you don't do something." And don't feel bad about vowing to yourself for redemption, just like you would at a job you didn't want to lose. If the boss said to you, "Man, you're doing a terrible job," and you don't want to lose that job, you'd say, "Wait, I'll do a better job. Give me one more try." And when you make that new vow, do not let yourself down again.

Do all the steps I've described. Set up those baby step action plans, follow it with an erasable board, set certain hours aside, and do the work. It's a big problem for many people to do things we don't like to do. I used to hate reading books when I was in high school, elementary, and middle school. I just didn't like book reports. Reading a book, and on topics that didn't interest me particularly, it was tough. Did you ever have to read some of those books that are made by Jane Austin or something? I mean, they're not something that I would read ever of my own choosing. It was really hard for me to read it, so I'd cheat all the time. I wouldn't really read the book, I'd kind of just make it up. Just kind of wing it. Well, winging it is not going to work for you when you're trying to actually build a billboard portfolio. That's not going to happen. So make sure you don't procrastinate. And if you're not doing a good job, tell yourself, "You're not doing a good job," and vow to deem yourself and follow that vow.

Remember that in life, you don't get a second shot. There is no do-over. You can't at the very end of your life say, "Wait, wait, let's rewind that tape. Let me start up again. Give me a few years to get my act together." Time doesn't allow you to do that. So you have to take action now. You can't take action later, it won't do you any good. Now, that's not to say regardless of age you can't go ahead and turn over a new leaf now. Come up with a plan, come up with some goals, hire yourself, manage yourself and be a success. But remember that you have to take this all very, very seriously. This is it. This is your life. This is your story. At the end of the movie, what are they going to say? What did you actually accomplish? Hopefully, if you've done a good job of hiring yourself and managing yourself, you'll be very proud of your accomplishments. You'll pat yourself on the back. You'll say, "Good job."

And you know what's also important is just giving it the old college try, even if you don't succeed at a level that you had hoped. Even if you wanted to get a portfolio of 50 signs in your lifetime and you topped out at 30, it's the actual taking of the action that's important. That's really the key item, is that you actually take the effort, take the risk, take the gamble, spend the time. And here's the deal, if you do those things, if you spend the time, if you take the correct steps, you almost always persevere.

This is Frank Rolfe with the Billboard Mastery Podcast. I hope you enjoyed this. Back against soon.