In this episode of The Moving Mastery Podcast, Louis Massaro shares how to step into your new role as a Moving CEO.
- “When I started my moving company as a 19-year old kid, I was working out of a truck rental yard. There was no CEO talk. It was just hustle and grind, hustle and grind. But when I started to realize that I was building an empire, I needed to take a different approach.”
- “The person that I was, the leader that I was, the business owner that I was, that got me to that level, wasn’t the person that I needed to be to manage the business that I had built and manage the business moving forward, and to be able to scale. And so I adopted the identity and the mindset of being a Moving CEO.”
- “Even if you go 24/7, even if you go 25/8, the reservoir of hustle and grind runs dry. It’s not scalable. So you need to shift the way that you run your business.”
- “In order to shift and scale, you’ve got to set yourself up by stepping into this new role as Moving CEO, to be able to handle things differently.”
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All right guys, welcome back. We are on our final day, final episode, of the Moving CEO Scaling Series. And I got to tell you, this has been a fun 14 days being here with you guys, going through this stuff, and really just bringing myself through this place of growth and expansion. It gets me thinking about what I have going on in my different businesses. These principles are really universal. And when we talk about scaling or moving company, it’s so important that we lay down some of these fundamental truths about what it’s actually going to take to make that happen.
So those of you that maybe are just joining us for the first time, we started off, the overall theme of this series is stabilize, systematize, then scale. Because what happens is too many people rush off and try to grow and try to scale, but they haven’t stabilized their current business, they haven’t systematized their current business.
Today, it’s important that we talk about your new role as moving CEO. The reason is, because I want you to realize, that in order to scale, in order to grow, in order to get to that next level, we’ve got to shift our mindset and we’ve got to shift how we perceive ourselves into that role of moving CEO.
For me, when I started, I was a 19 year old kid, I was working at a truck rental yard. There was no CEO talk. It was this hustle, grind, hustle, grind, hustle, grind. And when I started to realize that I was building an empire and I needed to take a different approach. Because the person that I was, the leader that I was, the business owner that I was, that got me to that level, wasn’t the person that I needed to be to manage the business that I had built and manage the business moving forward, and to be able to scale.
And so I adopted this identity and this mindset of being a moving CEO. And literally changed, started going to the office and slacks and button downs. And I had my whole team in the corporate office there, wearing ties. The whole call center, everybody’s wearing ties. Dispatchers had to be in their polos. And we just really stepped up the level of the business.
And it wasn’t because what everybody wore made such a difference, or what I wore made such a difference. For me, it just signified that switch of, “Okay, I’m a business owner. I own a few businesses,” to, “No, I need to start running my business like a CEO.” Why is it that these major companies can handle so much and have so many employees and so many moving parts and be so profitable? And it’s just a different way of approaching it.
And so what we want to do, is we want to be able to run our business differently. If you’ve ever heard the expression, “What got you here, won’t get you there”. I had to realize that the hustle and the hard work got me to a certain level, and then it was … I was stuck. You run out of hustle and hard work. You only have so much hustle and hard work to tap into, that reservoir runs dry. Even if you go 24/7, even if you go 25/8, the reservoir of hustle and grind runs dry. It’s not scalable. So we need to shift the way that we run our business. And in order to do that, and in order to scale, we’ve got to set ourselves up and we’ve got to step into this new role as moving CEO, to be able to just handle things differently.
And it’s a transition. And you’ve been through transitions before. I mean, throughout your life you’ve always been who you are and true to you, but you’ve had different identities and different transitions. When you went from middle school to high school, you changed a little bit. I didn’t go to college. But if you went to college, you might have stepped up a little bit into that more grown up role. And then you go out in the workforce. And then maybe when you started your own business, you’re like, “I’m a business owner now.”
What I’m saying to you is let’s take it beyond the business owner, to this moving CEO mindset and this moving CEO role. Because it’s not just a mindset, it’s a role. It’s a new function, it’s a new job description, it’s a new set of priorities that you focus on day-to-day in your business. It becomes totally different. Business owner, hustle and grind Louis, was working on much different stuff than moving CEO Louis.
And that evolution, it’s there. So I just want to push you to step into that role. I want to push you to get into that role and start embracing it. And it’s not something that you could watch this video and then all of a sudden you’re, “Hey, I’m a moving CEO,” but you start thinking that way. You start thinking that that’s what I need to step into. And you start to recognize the actions that you take day-to-day.
And after you take that action, you’re like, “Wait, is that how a moving CEO would handle that situation?” And now you start to monitor yourself and you start to watch things through a different lens. You see things differently. You see things more as part of the bigger picture, as opposed to being lost in all the day-to-day details. The dollars are in the details. But it’s a matter of getting those details on point, stabilizing them, systematizing them, and then starting to zoom out.
And the first thing you’re going to want to do, once you get it stabilized, once you’ve got it systematized, you’ve got to start working towards … not abruptly just do it … but working towards removing yourself from the day-to-day, removing yourself from the day-to-day operations.
And now this doesn’t mean that you’re going to stop going to work, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to just go on vacation, it doesn’t mean that you’re just going to start sleeping in late and hanging out. It means that you’ve got to start looking at each function of the business that you’re involved in and start to, little by little, established ways to remove yourself from those processes and those functions.
And you’re going to do that through processes and through people. Through setting up delegation practices. You need to set up your processes and how to establish those. We’re going to talk about that as well. And, little by little, start removing yourself from the day-to-day.
And so the biggest thing with this, and the biggest thing with delegation that comes with it, is fear. “What if the people don’t do it right? What if I’m not here and people take advantage of me? I’ve tried to delegate before and it didn’t go well. What if they do this wrong and they do that wrong? I’m the only one that could do that.”
And so that will keep us trapped. And I’m telling you this because I want you to be anticipating the things that will pop up for you as you make this journey and as you step up into that moving CEO role, by removing yourself from the day-to-day. It all depends on where you’re at. It all depends on your ability and knowledge of laying out processes and the systems of exactly what to set up, of how long this could take you. This could take you 30 days. This could take you three years. It really all depends on how much of a priority you make it, how much you follow the formula of stabilize first, systematize second, then scale. In order to scale, you need to remove yourself from the day-to-day.
But if you remove yourself from the day-to-day and the business isn’t stabilized and it’s not systematized, you’re just going to have more problems. You’re just going to have more problems. And when we talk about removing yourself from the day-to-day, not everybody has the vision, not everybody has the dream of building a massive company. I know a lot of you just want to enjoy your life. A lot of you just want to be able to go take a day off in the middle of the week and do whatever the hell you want to do. You want to spend time with your family? Great. You want to go party? Great. You just want to be able to actually live life.
And in order to do that, you’ve got to remove yourself from the day-to-day. In order to do that, you’ve got to have systems in place. In order to get the systems in place, you’ve got to first stabilize. And I’m just going over all this because I know not all of you have been here for all 14 days, and I just want you to really understand the process. When we think about something so big, when we think about, “Let’s build a $100 million moving business,” it seems overwhelming. But when we start to really break down the steps and realize, “Okay. This is possible. It could be done. I could do it. But I need to start where I’m supposed to start and I need to follow those steps. And it’s going to take some time. And I need to know that I’m headed to the right place, I’m on the right path. And I just need to do the work.” That’s it. So that’s the first thing, remove your yourself from the day-to-day.
Then you’re going to need a new set of reports, a new set of reports. Because now, when you remove yourself from the day-to-day, you need clarity and insight into what’s going on. And we’re talking about scaling. So let’s say you open another location. Well, if you’re not physically there, you’re essentially removed from the day-to-day anyways. So if you don’t have your systems and your processes set up to be able to run something where you are essentially removed from the day-to-day, that business is going to really hard time doing well.
But now you need to know what’s going on without being there and seeing it and feeling it. All the same tools that you use when you are running your current business, whether you’re working out of a truck rental yard, whether you’ve got a big warehouse, whether you work out of your house, whatever it might be, it’s totally different.
For me, when I was working out of the truck rental yard, that was a different way of controlling and managing what was going on. The reality was, at that point, I was just trying to keep it all together. Then, when you’re in an office, and you’ve got a staff, you’ve got a team, you’ve got people helping you out, you could see, you could hear. Something happens, somebody says something they’re not supposed to say, you’re on it right away. You’re able to hear that. But as you start to have locations that you can’t see and hear and smell and feel what’s going on, you need the numbers to do the talking.
If you guys see this painting behind me, I had this made years ago to remind myself that the numbers don’t lie. The numbers don’t lie. And I’m not a math person. If you ask me to do some type of equation or something, I would need a calculator, I would need a spreadsheet, I might even have to Google the formula to figure it out. You don’t have to be a numbers person. I don’t love numbers, but they’re the language of business. And I knew that in order to do well in business I needed to run things off of numbers and not run them off of my gut feeling.
So I had this painting in my office for years. People would come into my office and say, “Louis, we got this great idea,” or maybe my sales manager, one of my sales managers, or somebody in customer service or a dispatcher, they’d come talk to me about this idea or this problem. And I didn’t have it behind me, I had it over to the side. And I would just point at that picture and he’d be like, “Okay. I’ll come back with the numbers.” Because, without the numbers, it’s hard to manage. And it only becomes that way once you start to see the numbers.
And for those of you that might feel like, “Wow, Louis, that’s overwhelming. I don’t know what reports to look at. When I see the numbers, sometimes I pull reports, what do I do about them?” Just know that it’s something new. For me, it was something new. When I first started running reports, looking at numbers, figuring out metrics and KPIs and key performance indicators, I didn’t get it, I didn’t understand it. But I had no choice. I didn’t learn this until I already had several offices set up. And I’m like, “Oh my God, how do I know what’s happening over there? How do I know if things are getting done the way they’re supposed to get done?” And the way of trying to manage it any other way was just insane to me.
Next thing you’re going to need to step into your new role as moving CEO, new meetings, new meetings. You want to get to a place where you can run your business off of meetings and numbers. You meet with the key players in your team so that you could stay in the loop in what’s going on, and you have the numbers to be able to see what’s happening and what’s going on. And then these meetings essentially revolve around the numbers, they revolve around any assistance that your ops manager might need, or your general manager might need, or your partner in one of your other locations, or your franchisees, or your movers.
This isn’t a, you got to be at some big level. The sooner that you could get yourself to step into the moving CEO role, if you’re still on the truck yourself, step into this role. You don’t have to go announce it to everybody. You don’t have to say, “Guys, I’m moving CEO now.” It’s not about that. This has zero to do about what’s on your business card and what your title is. It’s more to do with how you conduct yourself and how you manage your business, and framing it for yourself that way.
I wish I had learned this earlier, much earlier, day one early. So no matter where you are, don’t think that you have to get to some level in order to be and step into this moving CEO. There’s a reason people will be like, “Louis, you didn’t spend all this time, you weren’t on the trucks.”
You know why I wasn’t on the trucks? I went a few times when it was absolutely necessary. But I knew, at least at that point, that I had to remove myself. If I kept throwing myself on the truck every time that we were short a mover, I wouldn’t get resourceful and find out other ways to make sure that that didn’t happen again.
So I just say that because some people will be like, “I’m not at that level.” You’re at that level. You’re at that level. The sooner that you start thinking that way, the better. And no matter what, somebody will always have something to say. I had six locations and a long distance division that I just opened up. Took over the second part of the warehouse, put another office next door, just for the long distance division. And caught employees talking behind my back, saying, “He thinks he’s running a Fortune 500 company. Doesn’t he know this is just a moving company?” Shortsighted.
But you can’t care. Somebody’s always going to have something to say about you. Somebody’s always going to look at you and try to pull you down, back down to their level so that they’re more comfortable. I don’t care if you’re just thinking about getting a moving company, getting started. I don’t care if you’re on the trucks. I don’t care if you’ve got one office, two offices, five offices. No matter what you do, people will try to pull you back.
And I don’t say that in a pessimistic way. I say that because sometimes people will feel uncomfortable stepping into this moving CEO role. And I’m here to tell you, if you’re watching this, there’s a reason you’re watching this, there’s a reason you’re here. Step into this role. And you might not get there today. It might take you a few years to get there. But I knew, early on, that I had to start removing myself from the day-to-day. I knew that if I would go on the trucks every time I was short a mover, how am I ever going to scale this business? Who’s going to man the ship?
So you’re going to have your new meetings. You’ve got your new reports and you’ve got your new meetings. Next thing you need to do, is you need a new schedule. We talked about it in stabilize your tech and your time, block time. So your schedule becomes everything for you now. Your calendar, if you will. Because you’ve now removed yourself from the day-to-day. So you don’t just show up to the office anymore and wait for problems and wait for fires. And just sit there with your fire extinguisher, looking to put stuff out. And open up your email and play email ping pong with people, back and forth. And let people come to you with stuff and then go home at the end day, “Oh man, that was a good day. I got a lot of stuff handled.” You’re working on stuff that is going to make a big impact, and you’re letting other people handle those other issues. You’re removing yourself from the day-to-day.
So now you’re like, “Well, what do I work on? What do I do?” Well, now you’re going to work on business development. Now you’re going to work on growing the business. Now you’re going to work on managing the business from a higher level. Think about it like you’re up in the owner suite at the football game and you’re no longer down on the field.
So you’ve got your reports. You’ve got your meetings strategically set up; daily, weekly, monthly meetings. And so now you’ve got to make sure that your schedule is built around those priorities, your calendar is built around these priorities. So you start to create blocks. “Okay. I know this meeting, it’s an important meeting. I need to have it once a week. When am I going to have it? Thursday’s at 11:00. Perfect. It’s on the calendar. This meeting, I need to have it once a month. Perfect. On the calendar. This report, I need to review it once a day. When? Put it on the calendar.”
Otherwise, you won’t do it. Because the reality is, only reactionary problems and situations catch our attention and make us act. Things that are needle movers, things that will actually make a big impact, they’re important but they’re not really urgent, like viewing a report. It’d be very easy … “I’m going to review the report today or this week at some point,” … to just not get to it because it’s not urgent. The report’s not screaming at you like, “Hey, pick up the phone, answer the email. I’m knocking at your door.” The report’s there, just … And maybe you don’t have the reports ready? Chances are, you don’t have these reports ready yet.
So you’ve got to have this stuff on your schedule. Your meetings and when you’re going to review your reports. And then your entire day, your week, your quarter, your year, it’s all revolving around this. Meaning, those blocks are taken, everything else you want to do, you’ve got the rest of the calendar. We’ve only got 24 hours in a day. Every single one of us only has 24 hours in the day.
And that’s the thing, that’s the paradox here. It’s like, we work hard, we grind, we work hard, we grind. And it only gets us so far. It’s so true when they say, “Work smarter, not harder.” The problem is nobody teaches you specifically what that means.
And the paradox is that all this hard work that you put in, yeah, it’s great, you get the momentum, you get going, you get your business to a certain place. And for a lot of you, that’s really far. I was on pure hustle and grind. I got to multimillion dollar, several location business. Some of you on hustle and grind, maybe you could get to 20 million. A lot of people on hustle and grind only have a really hard time even breaking that first million.
And when we switch to a different place, where we’re stabilized, we got systems, we’re able to delegate, we say to ourselves, “I have to fight for my time. And before I just insert myself, before I just get on the truck, before I just pick up the phone, I have to look for other ways to not put myself back into the day-to-day. I have to step into this role of moving CEO.” You’ve got to have a place where you’re looking to go.
And where you want to go, is you want to go to a place where you can run your entire business off of numbers and meetings. And then, from there, your mind is free to think, to strategize, to improve what’s going on, to see things exactly for what they are and not be in the trenches, just with the stress and the other people and the everything that goes on. And so if you’re not there, it’s okay, it’s okay, if you know you’re going to go there. You’ve got to know where you’re headed.
At any given time, you’ve got to be able to manage two businesses. You’ve got to be able to manage your business today as it is, and you’ve got to be able to manage the business that you’re becoming. Does that make sense? The business today, as it is, you’ve got to manage that wherever you’re at. You’re on the truck, you got to be on the truck. You’re dispatching, you got to be dispatching. You’re still in the office, essentially acting as your own general manager, you’ve got to do that. You’ve got to manage the business today. But then you’ve got to manage the business that you’re becoming and you’re moving towards, and you’ve got to start taking the steps to do that.
That requires being very proactive, but it also requires seeing what that is. And no matter what you want to do, this is the scaling series, you’ve got to get yourself in a place where you have removed yourself from the day-to-day. You’ve got the reports to know what’s going on, by looking at those reports. You have the meetings so that you could stay in touch with your people. They feel your presence, you know what’s going on, you hear it from them; on your schedule, on the time that you chose. Not when they’re running in your door, knocking on your door, coming in your office, interrupting you. Calling you nonstop all day, all night. You got to take control of your time. You got to take control of your schedule.
And so the thing to do is not to say, “But Louis, I’m not there. I don’t know how to do it.” I didn’t know how to do it either. But I knew that there was people out, there that that’s how they ran their business. If they could do it, why can’t I do it? The number one moving CEO mindset is, “If they can, I can. If there’s people out there doing it, I could do it. If Louis could do it, I could do it.”
You just got to figure it out. And figuring it out can be messy. Figuring it out can feel very uncomfortable. You’re going to have to figure it out. You’re going to have to do the work. You don’t have to do it alone. You’re in the moving business, you don’t have to do it alone.
I mean, it’s insane not to look for the better way. And it’s insane, in the world that we live, the speed of information, the speed of information, the speed of the scroll, the speed of the scroll. You go on TV and it’s like, “Oh my God.” Not only is there a million choices on cable, but then there’s like, “Oh, there’s Netflix. Oh, Prime’s got a TV too.” There’s so much information. The speed of information is nuts. You’ve got to slow down the speed of information and focus on the depth of information.
If you have an area that you need to master in your business and in your life, don’t skim 100 videos on YouTube. That could be a good start. But look at where you could go deep, get depth. That’s the key. That’s the key to get into that next level. That’s what I’ve luckily learned how to do in my life and in my career. And that’s why I do what I do …