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Skin in the Game

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Aug. 1, 2019

It’s an age-old phrase that stands as true as the sky is blue in today’s evolving business landscape: “you want skin in the game.” To me, it’s the only way to truly get ahead.

If you think back to our days as kids, we always had skin in the game; whether you were building a fort with friends, playing sports, or setting up that first lemonade stand, you were a partner and shared in a piece of the action.

Even if it was your friend’s idea to build a fort, or the build took place at their house, the intention was to build a fort together that would belong to both of you. In sports, you played a variety of individual roles on a team while contributing to the team’s collective success; when your team was victorious, you shared in that victory. Any of us would-be entrepreneurs likely set up a lemonade stand or a garage sale and, once again, you were a partner in that business: you made what you sold.

Then one day, you enter the working world and 98 per cent of how it works changes: someone makes all the money, builds all the value and they pay you to do the work.  Imagine if building a fort, winning a tournament or having a successful day at the lemonade stand was all for the benefit of someone else? Crazy, right? So why do we accept this in our careers?

You have heard all the experts in business talk about making your money work for you, or making money while you sleep. This is all nice and good, but what they are really saying is, “get some skin in the game.”

In my first couple of VERY short stints as a corporate soldier, I remember this reality smacking me right in the face; I found I was able to contribute to the companies’ goals quite quickly, but I was conflicted with the lack of upside available and the motivation to overachieve. At first, I was shocked at how laissez faire everyone I was working with was about their role. I felt like there was no way I could spend my career working alongside people who are just going through the motions. “They must not be my type of people”, I thought, and as I learned more about the corporate world, I realized they had been programmed into a comfort zone of little upside and “security” - the golden handcuffs of a pension. The system started to make sense, but it sure wasn’t for me… I never lasted one full year at either of my two corporate roles.

So, why is skin in the game so important?

You will have a sense of ownership:

  • I think we were all born with a desire to earn our share and have a stake/sense of ownership in all our endeavours; it makes a massive difference in how you feel each and every day as you pour effort into your craft. It was very important to me from the beginning that our GetintheLoop team members have a sense of ownership in the company. Our team all earn shares in the company as part of their compensation. Our GetintheLoop local owners who help connect businesses across Canada to our platform are invested in the success of their franchise and the company overall, as well. Lastly, our platform powers the marketing efforts of entrepreneurs across Canada, so you could say our ecosystem is all about having skin in the game! 

While I have always wanted our team to feel great, build wealth together and share in the win, I also knew that I could only work alongside hustlers who cared about what they did every day. I had seen what it was like to have “a job” and knew I never wanted to work with anyone who was just doing their job. It wouldn’t work. 

 You will be motivated to go the extra mile: 

  • It’s a fact that with skin in the game, you will go the extra mile as it’s your brand, your upside and overall your win that is on the line with every step forward, every customer interaction, etc. In today’s competitive business landscape, you need to put in long hours, make sacrifices and do things others won’t to get ahead. I think the only way any individual can justify the effort, time and commitment that is needed to really succeed is by owning shares, having a piece and sharing in the win, no matter how big or small.

 You will work with all-stars:  

  • There is a certain type of person who is willing to take the risk to have skin in the game. This can come in the form of a person writing their own cheque to buy or open their business, earning less salary while earning shares, or converting owed cash into equity as part of a longer-term approach to business success. There are two key factors individuals like this have in my opinion that make them perfect to grow with: 

    > They are open to risk

    > They understand the long game 

Someone who is open to risk is inherently more confident in themselves and this person will succeed more often than those who struggle to believe in themselves. Today, you need to evolve, iterate and constantly adjust, and this takes a certain set of skills and a propensity to risk and take chances at a fast pace. 

You need to learn how to play the long game. Anyone who wants to get paid more today, or cares more about security then upside, is focused on the now and not the future. I encourage every entrepreneur who’s building their business to surround themselves with individuals who are comfortable taking risks and understand playing for the long-term success. 

For anyone thinking about quitting their comfortable job, I hope this helps shed a bit of light on some of the reasons why you may be lacking motivation, or struggle to get excited about Mondays.

For entrepreneurs looking to build their businesses, always look for business partners to have skin in the game, structure your organization so that all team members win as the company grows and even target companies to work with that also share a similar mindset to accelerate your growth. 

As someone who has previously partnered with many of Canada’s largest media companies in the past, I can tell you it’s extremely challenging to work alongside a group of folks who do not have shared values and ultimately shared upside in the outcome of a partnership. You feel like you go 95 per cent of the way and the other side just doesn’t care and when you look at their structure, it makes sense. We now focus heavily on partnerships with groups and individuals who have some skin in the game and want to move and succeed at the same speed!

- Matty

The Journey Ahead

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July 29, 2019

Hey everyone,

I’m pumped that you stopped by and appreciate you taking the time to check out my new blog: Love The Grind. You’ll notice when you scroll down that I’ve been writing a couple pieces each year for the past eight-plus years since I started on this crazy journey with GetintheLoop. Funnily enough, I actually wrote a piece in 2012 titled The Grind - suffice it to say, it has been on my mind for a while.

Initially, I started to write about the things I was learning and the challenges I was going through on my journey as an entrepreneur. Over time, my content has turned into pieces on entrepreneurial struggles, tips for business owners and the odd rant where I speak from the heart on things I am seeing on a day-to-day basis.

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Today, GetintheLoop works with over 1,000 business owners and our platform has  become an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs everywhere to build their own business - in the business of helping their local business communities. This is a mission my team and I couldn’t be more excited about.

I wanted to launch this blog to add further value to the ecosystem we are building with GetintheLoop and to share stories and learnings along the way. I have been extremely lucky to have been mentored by some amazing entrepreneurs over the years and find myself loving the opportunity to mentor other entrepreneurs and assist them on their journey in any way I can. This blog is a great tool for me to try and do that with a little bit of scale and have some fun while doing so.

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What to Expect:

Why: Love The Grind is a message our team has embodied for years. My journey as an entrepreneur has taught me lots - and I mean a lot - but let’s face it: I still have a ton to learn. Love The Grind is all about enjoying the journey that is entrepreneurship. It’s an understanding of the struggles we must go through, the sacrifices entrepreneurs make and the passion and commitment we have as individuals to succeed. Nothing comes easy, but nothing that comes easy is ever worth it anyways. #EarnIt

What: I’m going to talk about my learnings as we scale GetintheLoop and trends I’m seeing in digital marketing. You can expect to see a few videos (I’m really liking video) and If we can make it happen, you might even see a podcast hitting the streams at sometime in the near future.

When: I will be doing my best to write a piece a week, if not more, and will be keeping everyone up-to-date on our journey through my social channels, as well as my newsletter.

Follow along, join the newsletter, tell your friends and also feel free to reach out on anything you would love my feedback on. I’m excited to see where this goes and hope I can add value to your day and your future plans as an entrepreneur.

- Matty

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Local businesses need a voice

Jan. 15, 2019

At a very young age, I knew I wanted to be a business owner. I was attracted to the ability to earn lots of money and be in control... be my own boss you could say.

I started like many entrepreneurs by opening up a lemonade stand and then I moved onto shoveling driveways and mowing lawns. I started to run my own hockey camps age 19. I quickly learned that running a business is challenging and stressful, but it’s also rewarding.

One of my first “career” roles was at the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). At BDC, they focus on lending solutions and consulting for small business across Canada. It took me about eight minutes into the role to know that working at a government bank was not for me, but the opportunity to help small business owners and get under the hood of so many companies and industries was necessary if I wanted to succeed on my own in the future. I was excited about that!

During my 11 months at BDC, I would study businesses financial statements, their margins, the traits that made successful business owners and I worked to deeply understand their challenges. One thing that I kept focusing on and was drawn to was the businesses’ need to attract customers. Every business needs to operate efficiently; you need great products, fantastic service and you need to have a margin. None of this matters, however, if you can’t find ways to attract new and repeat customers.

The big problem and opportunity that has been created by mobile phones and the digital world we live in today is that small- to medium-sized businesses have lost their local voice. For as long as anyone can remember, you got the word out about your business through word of mouth, your local newspaper or, if you were able to afford it, you could put your ads on the radio… and for decades, this worked.  

Insert: Disruption in the local advertising landscape

In a matter of years, everything changed. Word of mouth went digital and now takes place on social networks and through digital communication like text and video. Advertisers, however, are charging a premium for traditional services. Consumers no longer open their local paper, turn on their local radio station for music or tune into their favourite local show. We now follow our news through our phones online (I use Twitter) and we listen to Spotify or iTunes for our music. Our favourite personalities or hosts are no longer local, but global through podcasts and digital streams like YouTube. I am stating the obvious, but where does that leave the local businesses that need a voice.

It leaves local businesses looking for an affordable channel to connect and interact with their future customers.  

When I first started GetintheLoop, or at the time “The Golf Loop”, it was a first step in trying to solve this conundrum local businesses have been left with. From very early on, we worked with golf courses to help them attract new customers through text messages and e-mails, helping create a meaningful and immediate connection to a new local customer base. After two years of learning and listening to businesses in a variety of industries having that same challenge, I decided this would become our mission and vision for GetintheLoop: to create a platform and community that gives small business their voice back and we have been building ever since!

We have worked with over 1,000 businesses on their local marketing strategy and continued to evolve and adjust based on their feedback. The GetintheLoop platform was built to help a business tell its story, build its brand, highlight its products and services while using offers, unique experience and events to solve the biggest problem in business: customer attraction!

We grew to a team of over 30 strong and have heard from many of our customers the difference we have made in helping start their business, grow their business or, in some cases, help save their business. The biggest challenge we have faced? How do we bring GetintheLoop across North America and one day the world as quickly as we can. because we know it’s needed!

Insert: Disruptive digital franchise

GetintheLoop Local: A franchise opportunity we created to empower entrepreneurs in each community to own their own business by helping give a local voice BACK to small- and medium-sized business across the country.

Small business is at the core of our economy and makes up over 70 per cent of all employment in Canada. It’s up to all of us to continue to support our business community by spending with local retailers, avoiding that big Amazon order and spreading the word about all the great businesses and business owners in your area. It's not just important; it’s imperative. I encourage everyone to focus on ways to spend their money at local businesses and we will do our part by growing as fast as we possibly can to soon give businesses a local voice in every community across North America.

Positivity – It’s Powerful

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Jan. 2, 2019

Happy New Year! I hope you have taken some time to recharge, get focused and gear up for an exciting 2019.

I spent a lot of time over the holidays reflecting on the past few years both in my professional and personal life. I find it valuable to reflect on the past year's successes, but also changes. Change brings opportunity; reflecting on what your biggest asset is when it comes to change can help position you better for those opportunities.

I didn’t have to look too far to realize that my strengths are positivity and optimism. I genuinely believe the best will happen, always. That’s not to say that everything I do turns out positive, but my approach, the energy I put in and the outcome I visualize are always positive and I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t want to be thinking the same way!

I wanted to start 2019 by writing about all of the opportunities we have in front of us and our reasons to be positive. I challenge you to take this approach with you to see what you can achieve in 2019.

So, here goes:

People are Important

One of the biggest changes I have made in the last year has been a dedicated focus on surrounding myself with positive, optimistic individuals. Life comes at you fast, there are ups and downs and the last thing you need is to be associating with anyone who hinders your ability to believe in the best. Focus on removing negative individuals from your life and make room to meet and spend time with the positive people in your life. This has been one of the biggest differences in my energy and focus. I spend my time learning and growing with people who think like me, and less time with negative energy vampires in my life.

Every Interaction Counts

They say that 93 per cent of your communication is non-verbal. It’s all about your energy, your body language, your tone and how you carry yourself. I challenge everyone to make a conscious effort to engage, say “hello”, and give a high-five or thumbs-up. The more energy and radiating positivity you can bring to each interaction you have, the more you will have the same energy returned. Make time to say hello and become that energy everyone is looking for; you won't believe the difference it makes in your own mood and outlook!

Social Media

As much as social media is the future, it should also start to become a part of your past. I am not suggesting that you completely unplug from social media, but I plan to continue to focus more on opportunities to unplug, disengage and bring balance.

Your interactions and the people you associate with shape your social media experience much the same as in-person. Un-follow those negative people on your Facebook and delete friends that constantly post about negative news. Create your own social media experience, following positive friends and inspirational leaders who you relate too and use it as an opportunity to learn.

I use social media as a tool to educate myself by following industry leaders and other profiles that I relate to. Take back control of the time you spend on social media and the people you follow.  I am POSITIVE you can turn your social media time into a desirable feed of uplifting and forward-thinking interactions, but this is only done by removing the negative interactions.

Surround yourself with positivity. These are just a few of the pieces I have on display in my house… there’s more!

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Enjoy the Journey

This was one of my biggest weaknesses from age 16–30. Like so many others, I have been in the rat race we call striving to succeed. I left junior hockey early because I needed to start university. I left university early because I needed to play pro-hockey. I left pro-hockey early so I could start a career, and then I did nothing but focus every minute of every day on GetintheLoop and its success. I have been driven by the “what’s next” for over half of my life.

It was about 18 months ago when I looked back and realized how much I've actually enjoyed being “in the grind”. I have been in control and living out my dream every day, but never stopped to notice it. I was always looking for the next milestone, the next achievement.  

I am sort of a millennial, but only older. Today, I see so many people striving for more, to earn more, get that next title, that next date, that next car, or the bigger house. This is all good in my opinion as we need goals, and I celebrate bigger and better. The problem? We feel like we need to get to the next level because where we are at, is not good enough. WRONG. Each and every step of life is a gift and we need to focus on enjoying every day and every step, as you will never be in this place again.  

Embrace that even the hardest challenges are opportunities to learn, to improve and all of a sudden they are seen as positive steps on your journey. With the right attitude, a lot of hard work and a bit of luck, you're going to end up where you want to be, but make sure you take time to appreciate where you are today.

Believe and Think Positively

You have to believe great things are ahead. First of all, why wouldn’t you? What’s better than waking up every day with the belief that today will be a great day. Almost all of the exciting or positive things that have happened to me in my life came out of nowhere. The path, once complete seemed obvious, but the whole time I was going down the road I didn’t know exactly how it would happen; I just believed, stayed positive and worked hard. Your next big win, goal or achievement could be so close; you have to believe it will happen and staying positive will be a key to getting there.

Like with anything in life, to be good at it you have to work at it. Turning your attitude and your approach to a positive one is no different. Take time to focus on it, surround yourself with people, signs, sayings and whatever else it takes for you to replicate and emulate a positive attitude day-in-and-day-out. It’s amazing what the power of positive people can bring. Join the movement of positivity, hustle and growth that I plan to focus on as we head into 2019. Here is to another fantastic year!

- Matty