Years after enthusiastically launching your small business, you’ve hit a wall. Feeling like every day is the same as you frustratingly face the same challenges, you hopelessly drift away from a growing and sustainable business. The more you give, the more your company takes. What you believed would be a vehicle to help you fulfill your hopes and dreams has mercilessly done the opposite. And for the first time, you’re seriously considering selling the very company you’ve given everything to see succeed. Is there a future running your small business? In this episode of the Rocket IT Podcast, freelancer, entrepreneur, and marketing guru, Jason Scott Montoya clears the air around this dilemma; giving you some insight into what it takes to ensure your organization thrives.
In This Episode, You’ll Hear More About…
- The key differences of running a business and freelancing
- Determining when to step back and evaluate the success of a business
- How a passion for storytelling can guide a career
- The benefits of a IDEMA Framework (Ideate, discover, execute, maintain, and audit)
- Why it is important to reach for low hanging fruit
- How to improve key concepts and craft truly unique solutions
- The difference between an organization’s mission, purpose and its values
- How to relaunch a stagnant business
- The formula for a strong business foundation
- Why it is important to take ownership of your mistakes
- Relating personal short-term needs with long-term business goals
- The Jump: From Chaos To Clarity For Your Striving Small Business
- Path Of The Freelancer: An Actionable Guide On How To Flourish In Freelancing
- Clip from Extra Role in Movie – American Made
- The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It
- Permanent Record
- Faith for Exiles
- The Jordan B Peterson Podcast
For More Information
Matt Hyatt (00:00):
Hello and welcome to Episode Six of the Rocket IT Podcast. I’m your host Matt Hyatt. And today I’m excited to introduce an entrepreneur whose passion for small businesses and entrepreneurship is truly inspirational
Intro music (00:26):[music playing]
Matt Hyatt (00:27):
Having built and run his own marketing firm before becoming a freelancer. Jason Scott Montoya has developed a fresh perspective about the best way to build a great small business. Today we’ve asked Jason to join us and share his insights. Welcome, Jason.
Jason Scott Montoya (00:41):
Thank you very much, Matt. I appreciate you having me on the show and I look forward to sharing what I’ve learned and experienced throughout the journey.
Matt Hyatt (00:48):
Awesome. All right, Jason. So you and I are friends. We’ve known each other for a long time, right?
Jason Scott Montoya (00:52):
Yeah, it’s been a while, I think through the Gwinnett Chamber many years ago. I don’t know, 2010 or nine or somewhere around that 10 years ago.
Matt Hyatt (01:00):
So when I met you uh I remember that you are running a marketing firm that was widely known in our community as Noodlehead Marketing. Is that right?
Jason Scott Montoya (01:11):
Yes, that’s correct. Noodlehead was a nickname that I had in from high school. I’ve got long, curly hair. And so that stuck with me. And when I started the company, it seemed like a great way to sort of an iconic way to represent what, who I was and what we were doing.
Matt Hyatt (01:28):
So the other thing that I remember about that, Jason, and I hope you’ll forgive me for this, but my recollection was this is a really young guy that’s running a business and you’ve had employees. I, you had a, I remember there was another person with us that was a member of your team. She was excited about what you’re doing. So she was engaged. And I thought, man, this guy has accomplished a lot at a very young age. So do you mind telling us how, how did you get started? Did you start it at a young age or just one of those guys that just looks young or,
Jason Scott Montoya (01:57):
Yeah, well, I do, I do definitely look young. So I remember you know, on many occasions people have underestimated how, how young or how old I am. Right. And I love telling people that I have five kids. You know, because that doesn’t tend to manage. Yeah. So, but yeah, when I was I’ve always been very ambitious since as young as I can remember, you know, I remember, you know, trying to, I think part of it was I was a problem solver. I always wanted to find a solution to help me get to where I was going. So I remember in junior high you know, I, my parents at we, they didn’t give me money for lunch, so I had to bring a sack lunch, but I always wanted the pizza. So I found a way to collect money from all my friends who would buy pizza.
Jason Scott Montoya (02:40):
And I said, well, if we buy the box, we get a discount. So you all get your pizza. And I get a couple slices plus a little extra, so I’m profiting from the transaction. So so yeah, that’s a, you know, always, you know, kind of thinking that way. Essentially I could see further beyond what maybe my abilities always were. So so a fearlessness allowed me to do a lot of that, but I lacked some of the wisdom and experience to really ground that in a way that that could help me grow in a sustainable way. So I had to, I had struggled with, you know, having a lot of success, but then also failing to really steward that well and, and going through this cycle of up and down in the rollercoaster that ensued.
Matt Hyatt (03:20):
Now I’m curious, did you come from an entrepreneurial family or how, how did and not everybody graduated high school and decides I’m going to go start a business?
Jason Scott Montoya (03:30):
Yeah, definitely. So I’m a multi my father was a business owner. In fact, he recently sold his business to, to Nashville to be nearby us and him and my mom. So my grandfather was a business owner, my great grandfather, my great, great grandma. I mean, so really it was a responsibility of yours. You don’t really have any choice. But my, for whatever reason, my dad really wanted me to go to college. My uncle who was, he was an entrepreneur as well and spent a lot of time with him. I ended up in high school interning with him and learning 3D animation and working on projects for Discovery Channel, whatnot. Well, he, he didn’t have a college education and neither did my dad, but my dad really wanted me to go. I saw a path towards entrepreneurship as well. Why don’t I just go right in?
Jason Scott Montoya (04:19):
Why do I need to go to school? So it was kind of this challenge of wanting to jump right in, but I ended up doing both. I went to college and I started a business. So which was a lot to do and, and in retrospect, Mmm. Yeah, a lot of the stuff I learned, one of the biggest things that college helped me with is really a, it was a giant speed bump. It slowed me down, which is probably what I needed at the time. Yeah.
Matt Hyatt (04:44):
That’s interesting. I would say, it probably was pretty tough to build a business, especially an employer business. Yeah. There’s a big distinction there, I think. Yeah. And try to attend school at the same time. Exactly. And just start out of the gates with team members?
Jason Scott Montoya (04:58):
So, when I, I started, you know, in a way I kind of started out as a freelancer after moving here, ended up working with the guy who had IT, ironically in IT, a, a support company, residential and did that, you know, contract basis. And, but it was very entrepreneurial in the way that we set it up. kind of a revenue sharing type of model. And in fact, the, I remember the, when I first interviewed for the position, I had the long curly locks of hair and I came in and he said, you know, I think you’d be a good fit, but I just, I just can’t hire you with that hair. So I went to the salon that night, chopped it all off and came back the next day and he hired me. So, anyway, I forgot what the question was there. I was gonna move back around.
Matt Hyatt (05:50):
Well, we were talking about the employer business. You know, like I said, when we met. Okay. Which I think was a few years at least. Yeah. Into your journey. You, you had a team. Yeah. And so I was curious if you started that way.
Jason Scott Montoya (06:03):
My wife and my cousin were the first two employees and then I had an intern. Wow. And and that actually goes back as a young as I can. I can remember, I’ve always been a an organizer of people. So whether it was an event, a movie, whatever, it was growing up, church, I was inviting people, I was bringing people into seats. So that was something I was naturally gifted at. Love relationships, love people and, and am good at fostering those. And so yeah, building those relationships and recruiting people that, that was almost second nature to me. And so finding, you know, with my wife, really what, where that happened is, yeah. She was working at a company or a, a church actually. And and I said, well, I need some help.
Jason Scott Montoya (06:47):
So yeah. Will you quit your job and worked for me. And my cousin had moved out here and he was a designer. And at first he was going to go look for a job and he said, well, I’ve got some projects you want to work on these. And he eventually those projects grew and he never found another job. And so there we were. And then I had someone that I knew reached out to me. I think a friend’s son was looking for an internship opportunity and I said, sure, we’ll take them. And so we had our first intern and the four of us worked out of our house or it was a condo. Is a little condo in Norcross and that’s where it began.
Matt Hyatt (07:20):
So very cool. Yeah. So looking back if you are giving advice to fellow entrepreneurs, is that a good place to start with hiring your spouse and your family, your cousin and your friend?
Jason Scott Montoya (07:34):
I it was very difficult. Um it was very challenging. So when I, when we moved to Atlanta, I had never moved. I had never lived away from my parents. So I went from living with my parents, still living on my own. Oh my goodness. I had never been married. It was the first time I had gotten married. So I’m 21, almost almost 21. And I’m, so I’m moving across the country, getting married, starting a business, going to college, eh, you know, I, I probably could have done that a little bit differently. But yeah, I try what most people do in their lifetime. I did in a weekend and, and, and that was very challenging. So it was a and it was also hard because we were working out of our home. So just to have that separation between, you know, home and work, there wasn’t any eventually, you know, things grew and, and the only private space, me and my wife had left was one room, you know, the rest of it been taken over by the business. So it was, it was challenging our relationship, you know, we had our own stuff that we had to work through as a newly wed couple. And then you had the business on top of that. And then, you know, as a young person not wanting to upset people or wanting people to like you, you know, that can be challenging working with family and, and then friends. Cause, you know, business sometimes means conflict and issues and we’ve got to lean into that. And I often didn’t.
Matt Hyatt (08:56):
Very cool. Oh, you know what a, that’s a big part of it, right? Is having experienced trying to learn from it. Exactly. So let’s talk about that just a little bit. Yeah. yeah. What I want people to sort of understand where we’re going with this conversation. And so in the time that I’ve known you you have this this business here in our community and and you were growing it and you were doing a lot of exciting things. So yeah, I think you were pretty forward thinking and a lot of what technology can do in the areas of marketing and communication. Exactly. good at incorporating technology into strategies for businesses. But since I’ve known you that business, I was eventually closed. You sort of reinvented yourself as an entrepreneur. You’ve written at least two books, two books. You’re a prolific blogger. Yeah. And so I see your articles online quite a bit. And your most recent book I think is a reflection on what you’ve learned over that time and talks about how, how do we build a, an effective business? And you call it a jump. Yes. The jump from chaos to clarity for your striving small business. Striving aren’t all small businesses striving small business? Absolutely. So walk us through that a little bit to give us a, the a hundred foot view of from there to here. Yeah. And what has your attention right now?
Jason Scott Montoya (10:20):
Yeah, so in my seven year journey at Noodlehead from 2007 to 2014, there were a lot of lessons learned along the way and for such a short period of time. You know, there was, there was a lot to learn, but about halfway through that journey, I kind of hit a point where I, in many ways my business was defined by outside forces. Clients, team members other people, people I looked up to or people that spoke into my life for ill or for good. But essentially them saying, this is what your business should look like. This is what you should do with your business. This is what I need you to do for me as a client for you know, for your business. So and often, you know, they’re like, if it’s a client’s like, Hey, I could you do this new thing.
Jason Scott Montoya (11:04):
You know, we did a lot of marketing, but we ended up becoming a full service firm. Meaning we did everything, which was too much for a small team, but, but a lot of that was clients. You know, one client would ask for something that we didn’t do and we say, sure, we’ll do that if you’re willing to pay us. And so, yeah. Well, I got to, this point was several years in, it just wasn’t working. It was chaotic. So I started asking myself, if I were to start this company over and I were to reboot my marketing company, just start a new, a new marketing company, what would that look like? And so I thought through that and it came up with the answer to that was very intentional about it. And and we changed the company towards that. And so that was from, you know, 2010 to , 2013 and then I got to another point where I said, you know after accomplishing that, do we keep doing this and just do it in perpetuity?
Jason Scott Montoya (11:55):
This is the type of business I want to run for the next a few decades. And I asked myself the second question again, neither of these questions were as clear at the time as they are to me now. But really the second was if I could do anything I wanted vocationally, what would I do? Would it be to start and run a marketing company? And I couldn’t enthusiastically say yes. And so I knew if I couldn’t be all in, I, I, I couldn’t continue it. And it was a small company. So there wasn’t, it wasn’t enough to sell it, so it was really shut it down. And so then there’s kind of the reality of, okay well I do have, you know, so three kids at the time and, and a wife and you know, financial obligations. So I can’t just, you know, just go do what I really want to do.
Jason Scott Montoya (12:42):
I had to figure out a transition plan. And so, I did freelancing really became, it came, it sort of found me. I had customers and people I knew from my network started reaching out to me. In fact, I think you were one of those in the first few months and I had, you know, a handful of projects on my plate and I was a freelancer. And so for about eight months, that was in 2014. By the end of 2014, those projects never stopped coming. And it was, yeah. And it was interesting because then the surprise you yeah. Cause then cause a Noodlehead,
Matt Hyatt (13:14):
I thought it was kind of a temporary stop gap until your next time.
Jason Scott Montoya (13:18):
What I, you know, do what I go work with someone. Right, start a new company, whatever, you know, I probably need mostly towards them, just traditional employment.
Jason Scott Montoya (13:27):
But freelancing happened and it continued and I was making money at it and I realized, you know, all the things I learned in business, I could apply it to freelancing and I could be a business of one. I’m a solopreneur in that way. And so but the, the, the contrast to Noodlehead Marketing was Noodle had with the staff, with the team, with the overhead, with all the things that go with having a company. Mmm. Yeah. Every month starts over in terms of, you know, how much money, the income, the expenses always carry over. But the income starts over in a lot of ways. So but I was always having to sell to go find prospects, sell, sell them on their services and bring in the deal and then do the next one in the next one. But with freelancing it was, it was the opposite.
Jason Scott Montoya (14:12):
It was coming to me and, and so that was very different. So in 2015 really at the end of 2014 and into 2015 decided, you know what, I’m going to lean into this, this is working. I’m going to embrace it. I’m going to figure out how to master it. So the end of 2015 I had other freelancers that were seeing what I was doing, the success I was having, and they started asking questions, how do you, how do you get over this obstacle, this challenge, whatnot. And so I started mentoring other freelancers and ended up doing that for about a year. It took about a dozen freelancers throughout the process and a lot. And it kind of morphed into the book and, and they helped me make the book better. And that was my first book, “Path of the Freelancer”, which published in 2017 the year after that.
Matt Hyatt (14:54):
So that’s really where the fame started.
Jason Scott Montoya (14:57):
Yeah. Well I mean I was, I was on a movie with Tom cruise.
Matt Hyatt (15:02):
I’ve seen that. That really you were a cop?
Jason Scott Montoya (15:05):
Yes, I was an ATF agent. So when that, when that trailer came out, I made the trailer and then in the movie. So that was, that was fun. But yeah, so, Mmm. I part,
Matt Hyatt (15:15):
I feel like we’re going to have to add that as a resource in the podcast notes to link to the segment clip.
Jason Scott Montoya (15:22):
So and that kind of gets to the heart of what I love, which is storytelling and movie-making. And you know, I remember in high school after Saving Private Ryan came out, I watched the behind the scenes of, of Steven Spielberg story and that inspired me to want to make movies. And so that whole storytelling angle and so writing was a, was a way for me to move in that direction.
Jason Scott Montoya (15:45):
And this first book was a way for me to take that first step and it would allow me to tell my story, but also share systems that were working for me as a freelancer also to help other freelancers. And that was kind of at a moment where I had some successes or freelancer. Things were steady. I had published my first book and now I was able to start thinking about my end game and where I want this to go.
Matt Hyatt (16:08):
And you’re blogging throughout? Yes. So that’s a newer development.
Jason Scott Montoya (16:12):
Yeah. So I started blogging at the end of my company three months before I started freelancing. Wow. I did it several times a week. I didn’t realize it been that long. So it’s, it’s almost six years now. And I bet you’re getting good at it and it’s, it’s great to look at the old post and go, I am, I am getting good at it.
Jason Scott Montoya (16:31):
You see the difference. Right. Which is awesome to see that progress as we grow. But one of the things I realized when I I wish I would have done 10 years ago or at that point 10 years ago, so, so 16 now what’s blog regularly and what I realized and really building a personal brand blogging. And the reason I felt that way was because I had done a lot of different things. I did Noodlehead Marketing, but I also, you know, I did a political news side, I did a satire website. I’ve had all these different side projects if you will. And so, but every time I did went from one thing to the next, so it was always starting over and, and it just, it’s really hard to start over in life. So if I had done this thing where I built this personal brand personal platform and in that case it would have been a blog.
Jason Scott Montoya (17:19):
And even if it was just, you know, a few times a year update it and I had done that 10 years before and then I just kept that up. It would have been this this resource to help me with whatever I was doing and it will allow me to transition between one project to the next more seamlessly and to carry any kind of audience or connections or relationships or projects with me in that journey. So I really, I also saw it more practically that by Blogging regularly. It would, it would allow me to connect with people would be interested in working with me. I, you know, whether they’re employing me or, or freelancing, which would I continue to do that. And so blogging kind of evolved from kind of this resource, something that I wanted to just keep active to something that would help me grow my freelancing to something I did it for its intrinsic value in terms of helping me process and share ideas. Hmm. But also because I just love writing.
Matt Hyatt (18:14):
And have you always love writing or is that something that yeah, I developed over time.
Jason Scott Montoya (18:19):
I think there was always a passion for it. I always kind of look back, you know, I remember in, in high school I used to write these emails and just tell these crazy stories and I would just email people that I knew and family and friends.
Matt Hyatt (18:32):
And we didn’t have yet. I remember, yeah, we passed notes.
Jason Scott Montoya (18:38):
I guess that was what it was. So I would just tell these crazy stories and I would pull my, I was funny cause I’d pull my friends into them. So they would be, I would take a friend and their name and I’d put them in the story and this would be their story, but it would be completely fictional and it was just fun stuff. So I always did that kind of stuff, you know, journaled and wrote stuff and, and made things like that. But it was never like, I never thought of myself as a writer. Never really, you know, practice it or even did much of it in school. In fact, my dad used to have me write book reports for $5. We read the book and then if we did the report, we could get $5.
Jason Scott Montoya (19:15):
So I would write these book reports, but I was doing it for the $5 because I love to write pretty cool idea, but it got me, got me going. So nice. So he, so he helped to fund my, my writing journey I suppose.
Matt Hyatt (19:27):
So you’re developing your blogging platform and you’re developing your personal brand on the internet. You’ve got your first book out. Yeah. Somewhere we’ve skipped from three children to five children. Exactly what happened next.
Jason Scott Montoya (19:43):
Yeah. So you know, things continued to go, you know, steady. A big milestone for me was you know, graduating college in 2008, but I also as a result of that, got a lot of student loan debt. So this year that’s a big topic. So we had when we paid it off a few months ago, which we finally did, and freelancing and entrepreneurship.
Jason Scott Montoya (20:07):
Wow. good. Wait, thank you. Uwe’re what helped us do that. Ironically, you know, I had wanted to go into entrepreneurship first, you know, just go right in. But I went to school first and again it was that speed bump as well as the student loans. So,ubut it was entrepreneurship that that turned it around. So a hundred, we paid off $155,000 in 10 years. Wow. Be both me and my wife’s student loans combined and that’s what the interest and everything. Uwe borrowed like around $90, so about $60 grand of it was interest. Wow. And so,uas students, we don’t tend to realize how much that interest accumulates as we’re paying it off.
Matt Hyatt (20:44):
So I hesitate to ask. But the burning curiosity to do it anyway. Yes. A worthy investment?
Jason Scott Montoya (20:52):
Mmm. You know, not, not in the educational sense, I think in the life lessons, yes.
Jason Scott Montoya (20:59):
But in terms of the school itself I have I have a bit of regret for, for going down the road. I would have done it if, if I would have been intelligent through the whole process, I would have done it differently. Not to say that about a lot, but not borrowed as much. Maybe maybe still go to college, but do it in a, a bootstrapping kind of way. So even if there was debt, it was, it was a minimal, I went to a fancy art college and that was highly expensive. So, and I went for a degree, which is in 3D animation and that is everyday I use every day. So we’re kidding, yeah, so it’s not something that I got a practical benefit from. So, if, so the other aspect is maybe getting a degree in something that was more relevant to what I ended up doing. Now, again, I love storytelling and film and animation. So maybe there’s a redeeming a conclusion to that story in my future, but, but for now it is something that that is a bit of anguish as well as it a positive.
Matt Hyatt (21:59):
So it’s still a huge deal. Yeah, that’s a lot of that for anyone. Yes. Particularly for a young growing family. That’s a lot. Yeah. You paid it off, you conquered it. Yes. Congratulations.
Jason Scott Montoya (22:11):
Yes. Thank you. And,uironic, interestingly enough,uthe way that I would have gone about it, it was, would have been different if it was me,uas an individual. But I am married and so we meet my wife both have different goals and aspirations and she wanted to own a home. Our van transmission went out. So there was a lot of other things that happened during that time that, that extended it.
Jason Scott Montoya (22:31):
But we also bought our first house during, you know in 2017. And so I love, we’re in Sugar Hill, the Gwinnett area. And so having that, no, I wouldn’t take that back to have paid the student loan off earlier, you know, in retrospect, but because of how it’s unfolded, it was just different than I would have probably chosen. But I’m grateful for how it’s unfolded. And so really in the last and this kind of goes to the, it kind of ties into the second book is the last, you know, now six years have been really rebuilding our lives, rebuilding my vocation. By moving, buying a home, paying off our debts, kind of closing out the past and rebuilding, you know, building the future for both me, my, my marriage and my family in our community. And so The Jump is symbolic for me in a lot of ways that it represents The Jump that I’ve made with The Jump being your new book.
Matt Hyatt (23:27):
Correct. Yeah. Yeah. Very cool. Yeah. Tell us a little bit about it. Yeah. You obviously we don’t want to give away the end, but tell us what what does The Jump about?
Jason Scott Montoya (23:37):
Yeah. So the book The Jump, it’s, it’s a, it’s a couple of things for me. But in, in a simple form, it’s me writing a letter to so young, Jason. I was just starting Noodlehead Marketing. Here are the things I wish. Yeah, I would have known the weird things, the stories I wish I would have heard and the things I, the things I sh I needed to have known to, to make that journey more fruitful than it was. Obviously I can’t travel back in time so I, I can’t go get, give this to myself, but I can share it with the next person, others and that might be in that same place or maybe certain parts of it. It might appeal to them and off. You know, a lot of the work that I do is I work specifically with small business owners, helping them, you know, to grow their business. And so this is a resource for me to, to use with them. Whether they’re they do work with me or whether they, maybe they can’t work with me for whatever capacity or money or whatever the reason might be. But this is a resource that I can share. So the book the heart of the book is, you know, there’s a couple of different facets. One is really asking ourselves, is this the business we want to be in? Can we be fully committed to this? The idea of this striving thing is when we’re doing something that we love and that we’re fully committed to is even, even though it can be hard and challenging, we, we tend to find a way.
Jason Scott Montoya (24:56):
We don’t ask, should we continue? We ask, how do we overcome this problem? Right? And so that’s a huge mindset and commitment that, that changes how our business rolls out. And that was one of the things I couldn’t get to with my marketing company was I knew this was going to be a challenging journey to continue the business too, sustain the team to build the client base. Is this what I want to give that to? That’s what I’m willing to do. And I, and I couldn’t get there. And then the second part of the heart of the book and that has to do with in a lot of it with my own journey is we can’t change our business until we change ourselves as the leader of that business.
Matt Hyatt (25:34):
That’s good. Well, you know, having run my own business for many, many years at this point, I know there are plenty of times when you sort of look in the mirror and say, gosh, what am I doing this for? Cause that’s not always easy, right? Yeah. Sometimes it’s very, very difficult. There are many aspects of running a business there are quite challenging. Yeah. And so I get it asking from time to time introspectively or in the mirror or maybe even if we’re super brave to our spouse. Yeah, what am I doing? Is this, you know, is this the right decision? So, but it sounds like you developed a framework for kind of how to think that through and find a path board potentially. And then I also can relate with the idea of, okay, well I’m totally committed. Like I’m in for our being an entrepreneur for running a business, but I’ve got this big problem and that big problem. And there’s another one across the hood that looks like it’s going to be, you know, right down the path here just a little bit. Yeah. Should I continue down this path or is this time to the today they call it pivot. You have to pivot to something different. That’s, you know, that can be a, a pretty big question and sometimes there isn’t a clear answer. Yes, I know that, you know, certainly I’ve asked myself that question from time to time and fortunately have arrived back, I know I’m on the right path and just going to have to push through here. But that’s not always true for everyone. So that’s great. So I know one of, one of the ideas that you’ve developed I’m not to, I’m going to botch the pronouncing pronunciation, is it? IDEMA? I call it, IDEMA, IDEMA tell us about IDEMA. What are you doing when you talk about that?
Jason Scott Montoya (27:20):
So IDEMA is an acronym. And it stands I’ll just walk through the five stages and then I’ll come back and explain it. But I stands for Ideate. D stands for discover, E stands for execute. M stands for maintain an a stands for audit. So IDEMA is those five stages now. The, the, this idea was actually born out of desperation, most great ideas and frustration and pain and suffering. So one of the things in our company that that we struggled with was we were really, we were really good at living in the wild West as I kind of think of it, you know, we could out here on the East coast, but just operating without system, just kind of gunslinger and figuring things out, problem solving, making upset clients happy, you know, you just kind of reactive, but you just sort of make things work, through sheer will.
Jason Scott Montoya (28:14):
And and so people that came to Noodlehead and people that stuck around were those that can handle that kind of chaos, but it was not sustainable for me as the leader for the team to follow. So in fact we had on several occasions, but I remember one time I was at Disney World and one of my employees called me. We had a, we had hired a project manager and she’d been there for a few months and really, really helpful and a good mentor. Essentially he, she, she called me and said so and so has left. She said she can’t take it anymore and has quit. And it was just too much, too chaotic too. We were too a disorganized, she just couldn’t operate it. So there, the, the, those sort of catch 22 was the person we needed to help us get organized, was repelled by us.
Jason Scott Montoya (29:03):
We couldn’t retain them. And so we finally realized we got to buckle down and get ourselves at least somewhat organized so that person will stick around long enough to work with us. So, so out of that desperation we said, let’s map out the trajectory or the pathway of an idea of every project that comes through here. And IDEMA was born. So he said, well, everything starts out as an idea. And then we have to plan out that idea and then we have to build it and then we have to sustain it. And then we have to evaluate it on a kind of a recurring basis. So that was what we came out of it. Now, what we realized, we had recently done StrengthsFinder at the time. And so we all mapped out those of us that were left our different strengths and we realized that as a team we could become an effective project manager.
Jason Scott Montoya (29:48):
We didn’t have to go, essentially this project manager I think was sort of the white whale from Moby Dick. You know, this thing we’re chasing that we could never get. But we realized as a team, you know, you’re really good with ideation and discovery. You’re really good with execution, you’re really good at maintenance and keeping things going and you’re really good at evaluation. So we’ll, we’ll do this like a relay. You do these letters, I’ll do these letters and you do these leaders and together we’ll be a project manager. And we went from needing a project manager to no longer seeking one, because as a team we were able to fill the gaps.
Matt Hyatt (30:18):
That’s really cool. Yeah. Very nice. So you, that was really of happened on or, or you didn’t really happen on it, you had to invent it out of sheer necessity, but while you were still running the business and do you still use it today as a freelancer?
Jason Scott Montoya (30:34):
So so the framework works for one person too. Yeah. Yeah, it works. A lot of my systems are built around that. One of the things when I read the E-Myth that I struggled with, I said, what’s Michael Gerber? Yeah, it’s a great book, systems and processes and people products. But I always struggled with this idea of what holds it all together, what keeps it all, you know, together. And, and that’s for me where this framework really did that. And as a creative person a lot of project management systems and ideas, they, they just didn’t work for me. But this was a sort of a, a project management framework that worked for creative people. And it was simple enough in the sense that it’s broad application, it’s really a mindset and then a, an undergirding framework that can then be applied across the board. So a lot of what I do now may not have like literally IDEMA in it, but the way that I, that I move my projects forward, they, they follow that framework either directly or indirectly or, or explicitly or, or or undergirding. So
Matt Hyatt (31:41):
Now you’ve done a good job of sort of illustrating yeah. How that looks in your book. And it is a, in fact, it’s a, it’s a never ending story, right? It’s not just IDEMA, it’s idea cycle that we go through over and exactly. So I’m thinking, you know, myself, that’s really what this podcast is about. How can I, how can I get better? Right? But, you know, I think of myself with you know, I’ve got an amazing or a terrible idea about every four minutes and you know, some of them take off and most of them wither and die. But I’m imagining that over a short period of time, I’m going to have 19 different things that are at some stage of this process. Is it actually something that you schedule and really think about, you know, as part of example of measure and a and analyze is the last one, right? So assessment, assessment. Yeah. So is that something that do on a scheduled basis or is it more of just got a feel for how things are going?
Jason Scott Montoya (32:45):
Yeah, so the way the beauty of the framework is that it can be scaled in, in simplified or complicated to the degree of the, the, the business. So a more sophisticated audit process is going to be, we’re relevant to a company that has a lot of maintenance stuff going on, right? Because they’re doing stuff regularly. But you don’t want to get to the point where you just doing it and you don’t even realize what you’re doing, what’s working, what’s not. Right. So you need a more comprehensive audit process. But each what happens is, is people or companies, they, they have different deficiencies in the areas and they have different kind of traps that they fall into. So for example, the ideate stage, really the first thing you got to start doing that I do that is you need to idea capturing system.
Jason Scott Montoya (33:30):
Okay. So that might be from employees, from you as the leader. You know, for my blogging I have Evernote and every new idea I have for a blog, I put it into the idea repository. And so that just grows and grows and grows. Now when I think about that idea further, I might start to discover it, right? Then I can start to outline it and they put it into the, the discovery folder, right? And then I start to discover that and build out things, find links at ideas and concepts. So with ideate but at some point you’re going to have, let’s say you got a hundred ideas. Okay, we only have the bandwidth to move forward with three. So you see, so each in the, in the framework between the stages, what we want to do is we want to identify, we want to know what they are, but we want to prioritize them.
Jason Scott Montoya (34:12):
So we’re going to pull three ideas from the repository into discovery. We’re going to plan these three projects out, but we may only have the bandwidth to do one of the three. So we picked, we gotta, we gotta discover them. So we plan them out and we really, what we’re looking for is which of the three has the most potential. Right? Right. And when we figure out which one has the most potential, then we start to build that. Now as we’re, we’re building that at some point, you know, as part of the discovery, but also as part of the execution, we need to figure out what is it going to take to keep that idea going, that project sustaining it and, and going on and on and on. So that’s where the maintenance stage comes in. And you have a system that keeps it going.
Jason Scott Montoya (34:49):
Like this podcast, you know, you’ve got a system that you have to maintain to keep the podcast going. When that dies, we called that system Chris Swinson, he’s the expert. So and then at some point, you know, after a hundred episodes or maybe 50 or whatever the number is, you know, you’ve got to look at this podcast and go, is this doing what we set out to do? So companies often can skip stages. Maybe they go from right from idea to execution without even planning anything or they plan it in their head and they don’t tell anyone. And some might start an execution. A lot of, I know a lot of companies, and this was one that I was chronically a perpetrator was just building all kinds of things, stopping at 80% and then doing the next thing. And you’ve got like these half built things have anymore moving over to this new shiny thing. And that’s where I think we really got to think through in the discovery stage, what I call the, the formula for intentionality. What’s our purpose? Why are we doing it? It’s our mission. How are we going to do it? That’s our vision. What do we hope to accomplish? And then within what guardrails values, guidelines within that. So vision helps us finishings we’re not no longer passionate about, right. Okay. This is a vehicle to help me get to this destination. Yeah. When I’m, when I, it’s like a marathon. When you get to the end of the race, yeah. You don’t feel like finishing, but you have a goal. We have a finish line and that’s where that really helps.
Matt Hyatt (36:11):
So I’m going to ask you more about that and just a minute. But I’ve noticed when you’re explaining your process and how you execute things, you often use the word we, yeah, we did this word. We’re going to do that. Yeah. I, you may not know. I ran my business as an independent consultant for, for years. And so I used to joke, people ask how big, how big is your company? I said, well, there’s three of us, me, myself, and I. Is that what you’re doing right there? Or have you now on your journey reassembled, a team of sorts to to work with you?
Jason Scott Montoya (36:48):
Yeah, so a lot of clients I do work with it. There might be another freelancer that we brought on board or I’m working with the client, so I’m a, unless it’s like my blog, I’m like, I’m usually working with someone. So there is a we there. And even, you know, in my blog, I mean I remember when I, the first year I blog I had my cousin Sam, he would actually read them and provide me feedback or some editing.
Jason Scott Montoya (37:13):
Yeah. So even though he never really wanted anything out of it or got anything out of it or even received anything, you know, sometimes I put a note on in the blog, like satisfaction. He had lots of satisfaction, but it was a week I couldn’t have done it without him. And so I think I’d probably default to the, we because I recognize even how independent I can, I am on how independently I can do something. There are probably at least as something that someone else has is contributing to that. I’m not even, I’m aware of or seen. Right.
Matt Hyatt (37:48):
So cool. Yeah. Okay. So let’s jump back into Mission values. Yeah. I think you said purpose. Did you say purpose? So those, those ideas have been huge. Yeah. And in my business, yeah. And have really served as guidelines or mileposts yeah. They’ve kept me on track. Yeah. And we, I ended up going back to them almost maybe even daily basis, maybe even more frequently than that. You know, what are we trying to do through our blood, right? Yeah. But I didn’t start with those. Yeah. Yeah. I bet. I was years into the business before we figured out. Yeah. Our values. And what was the purpose of the business? I joke sometimes and the kind of joke, true thing of the original purpose, the businesses. Matt Hyatt needs a job. That’s a, that’s not really a rallying cry for the rest of the team here. We had to come up with something different than that. So you got to have long lasting. Yeah. So tell us about that. Is that something you started with? Is that something that you develop later? How did that happen?
Jason Scott Montoya (38:54):
It came along later. And the reality is to your point, that’s the, that’s the origin story of most entrepreneurs and their businesses, unless they start it later in their life. But even then, sometimes it doesn’t happen. So so it doesn’t come up. It should be the first thing we start with, but it’s usually like not. So sure. So it’s very challenging. But I think what happens is we kind of stumble and fail and struggle and that’s when we finally see the value of it. And so then we start to tap into it. You know, Simon Sinek was, was one that kind of introduced the whole concept of start with why and purpose. I was familiar with purpose and, and that was something that I knew about. But he contextualize it in business. Hugely helpful.
Matt Hyatt (39:44):
Yeah, I agree with you completely. You know, I’ve heard it many times and probably read it. I’m sure Herbert touched on it and in his book. But it wasn’t until actually the YouTube video, the Ted talk that went viral. Exactly. where it really hit home, I was like, Oh my gosh, this is, this is critical.
Jason Scott Montoya (40:03):
It was like talking to me, but I always see. And so with that was, that was helpful. But even even that and other things that were out there and things that were introduced to me, I always struggled with like, what’s the difference between purpose and mission and vision, core values and what are they and how do they interface together. And so no one, I would do research or ask people and no one really asks that question or no or no one really answered it in a satisfactory way. And people had different definitions and nobody was defining what these things are. And, and so that’s where I kind of sat down and said, okay, I’m going to define these, you know, purposes why. And it’s the starting point, right? Mission is how, okay, vision is where, so each one’s a question and then core values are within than what guidelines. And so those four questions and then I put it into this, that’s the formula, the formula for intentionality.
Jason Scott Montoya (40:55):
So purpose plus mission within core values equals the vision. Hmm. And so it’s sort of a kind of an audit process for identifying these pieces. So in other words, you know, we could have a purpose and a mission and core values that don’t actually equal the vision we’re after. We might have to pivot like you said earlier. And so but purpose is actually as an entrepreneur tends to be easy to come upon in terms of cause purpose is what helps us launch things. And there’s a lot of emotion and excitement, but it’s the vision that a lot of visionaries actually struggle with is they have too many visions, they can pick one. And so they need to pick one and define it and then, and then that helps them have that focus that they’ve, they’ve lacked or that I found that I lacked in my journey.
Matt Hyatt (41:44):
I totally agree with you and that’s really good stuff. And I’m curious, I know, I’m guessing many of your readers are probably not coming, I’m guessing most of them are probably coming to have already to start a business. Yeah, I’m already deep end of this. And so what’s your, no, quickly, what’s your recommendation there? Is this a team exercise? Is this, every entrepreneur needs to go rent a cabin in the mountains for a week to figure it out? You ask. Yeah, yeah. Spouse or how, how do you do it?
Jason Scott Montoya (42:18):
So so I, I do understand that and when that’s one of the challenges that I faced when I had the marketing company Noodlehead we were bringing the system IDEMA and all of these interesting ideas and concepts and stories that were just transformational in our business. But we would tell them with other, tell them to others and it would just, it was very hard to communicate that and and to get them to buy in and then, and then get them to proceed.
Jason Scott Montoya (42:47):
So we would, we, we actually were successful in a lot of ways in that regard. But those five stages, we would help companies through the I stage and the D stage and the E stage. But as we got to the E stage and then the M stage, yeah. Once he started talking about maintaining things, if someone really wants to just build things, it’s hard. It’s hard to get there. So what I ended up learning in, yeah. As, as I shut down the company, there was a lot of lessons I learned in that process about ending well and transitioning that that I was missing as part of the puzzle and that I got and took into this new journey. And so one of them was how do you take this framework, this process, and you apply it in a very practical, chaotic situation. Like you’re saying, how do I get to from chaos?
Jason Scott Montoya (43:33):
Yeah. To this order you’re talking about. So I came up with this process and this is towards the end of the book this five phase process for moving your organization. And it’s very practical and it’s a very cash flow oriented. So it essentially you follow stage one and then it’ll help. It’ll fund phase two. You know, it’s very literal. So the first part is low hanging fruit. Yeah. And I define that as high impact, low effort. What are the things I can do to generate cash right away or generate a sale or get a client to increase what they’re doing with me. So I want to increase, you know, those activities and do them as effectively as I can. So there you have to have a little bit of insight as the business owner to know where those are. Now I would, I would, yes.
Jason Scott Montoya (44:24):
That as a business owner, you’ve been doing it long enough and you’ve had enough success that you could probably find those. You’ve just forgotten what are you lost track of them. So low hanging fruit is the first thing. Then the second thing is what I call simplify everything. So often our failure comes from over complicating things, doing too much over-committing. So how do we cut that back to the things? What’s actually making me money? What’s actually serving my clients? What’s actually Mmm. Helping my team and remove everything else. So it’s a kind of a ruthless audit process to get as clean and mean as possible, you know, or lean and mean. So I love it. Then we do the simplify everything second because the third stage is to make what’s left better. And we only have certain amount of resources. So we want to make sure that we can focus that.
Jason Scott Montoya (45:13):
So whatever’s left makes the cut. We make those better. And maybe it’s you know, something with maybe your website or, or it’s a project or, or a system you have or a team member, how do you make them better? So so you make what stuff better. And then the fourth stage is identify and fill in the gaps. So what’s now that you’ve know, simplified, you made those things better. What’s actually missing? You need to add some products or services or add some team members or add some whatever, a campaign. And then the last stage is called master maintenance. Hmm. And so master maintenance is where we, we’ve taken all these things, we’ve made this transition and now we have things we have to keep going. So we don’t want to neglect those, so we need to make sure that we master that process.
Jason Scott Montoya (45:56):
We have systems and tools in place to help us do that accountability structures. And then at that point it’s helpful too, to move into an IDEMA cycle. Right. And then actually when you have new ideas, take them through this process. Right? But through this transitional process, there’s going to be a lot of rogue, Wild West-ing, and it’s just a matter of sheer willing your way forward to survive, but you build enough margin that then you can start to do things the right way.
Matt Hyatt (46:21):
Gotcha. You know what? So good, Jason, I appreciate your sharing that with us. I, I, I am reminded of a couple of things. Number one is I know in the early stages of a business, we might not yet know what, how are we going to make money? Like we have some general ideas, I want to focus on marketing or I want to focus on IT.
Matt Hyatt (46:43):
Yeah, whatever it might be, but we might not know what the specifics are of what actually generates revenue. Yeah, yeah. What is it that we’re going to pay for and write a check for. And so early on in a business, a lot of businesses are like, if, if you’re willing to pay for it, I’m willing to do it. Yeah. You touched on that earlier. You know, you’ve got a customer that project one kind with you and there said, Hey, can you do this other thing? I’m like, well, I’m hungry. Yeah, yes, yes I can. And you know, you’ve kind of figure it out. And you know, we all hope that one of those turns into the next great thing of, Oh my gosh, I could do this, this one thing. And this other customer would have this other customer need it. And so we see that a lot with particularly with newer businesses, but in some cases, older businesses have just never matured past that point. There’s still I’ve just gotta I gotta pay the bills and so I’m going to take whatever the next project survival, no matter what perpetually, and that can be chaotic for teams, right? But there is a, an in my industry in the IT business we have heard about this concept of operational maturity and I’m, we’re more than just heard about, we studied this and it’s something we work on quite a bit and what we’ve learned is that most businesses as they began to mature operationally speaking are probably going to do exactly what you said they’re going to call. Yeah. A lot of the things that maybe don’t make sense for the business and maybe even get down to just one or two core products or services more focus on those things and we’re going to get really good at it.
Matt Hyatt (48:21):
Yeah. We’re going to streamline our processes. We’re going to have the right people in place. Our sales process are going to be oriented those door, there’s one or two things and everything that’ll run like it’s on our rail, right? Yeah. And then hopefully the business continues to grow and mature and then over time we can add ancillary services that make sense that are compatible and align, right? Yeah. They’re aligned. That’s a great word. So that we can continue to build market share and build a business and do things we want to do. So I love it. Yeah. Thank you. You’re right, right on track with that. Now there was something, I have my notes here that I wanted to make sure I ask about, but I want to make sure that we’re not covering the same material, but you have written on what we need to do to restart a stagnated business.
Matt Hyatt (49:07):
Is, is that it is that, Hey, we just need really begin again on our purpose and values and, and simplify and move on or is there more there?
Jason Scott Montoya (49:16):
Um well that would definitely cover a broad range of businesses in, in their stages. There is a particular we talk about operational maturity in, in that maintenance stage. I IDEMA is what I think of. And when you talk about stagnant, there isn’t, there is a type of stagnant that is a successful amount of stagnation. So what we’re doing is working, we’re making money. People are, are regrowing even maybe but we may be kind of gaining weight, maybe like we’re, you know, like thinking about we were eating a little bit too much, drinking too many sodas, and now we’re starting to gain weight and we’re starting to, to balloon up, right? So I’ve got to recognize that our comfort in our success actually be causing our long-term downfall. So what happens is the world is changing and it’s even technologically, it’s even changing faster than it used to. So what we’re doing, maybe working, but, and with the people we’re working with, but if things are changing around us at some point, we won’t have moved along with it and the world will have moved on and we’re still in the past.
Jason Scott Montoya (50:27):
And at that point it’s very hard to make the shift towards adapting the company and switching a little too late. Right? So I think that audit process in terms of companies that are in that maintenance stage that are getting they’re, they’re getting bloated in a lot of ways. They need to integrate these audit processes and they need to integrate what I call the catfish effect. So the, the documentary at the end of the story of this this guy who realizes everything, he thought it wasn’t actually what it was. The end of this film, this guy talks about these they used to, they ship Cod from China, I guess they use the United States and they would, they would be dead or mushy when they arrived. So I started putting catfish into the containers and the catfish would nip at him and keep him moving. Hmm. And they would, they would be healthy and great for, for eating. And so those organizations have to introduce catfish into the, to the mix. And the people have to do it for themselves cause you don’t want to, you know, you want the morale to be good, but you want people to invite that accountability in those audits to go, we’re going to do this because we want to become better. We want to build a culture of continuous improvement and we want to continually get better and also adapt with, with the marketplace and the culture and the time, the things that are changing. So I don’t know if that answers your question.
Matt Hyatt (51:48):
Awesome. No, I love it. So I’m curious, so you’ve, you’ve obviously been you’ve reflected a lot. You’ve you have matured along the way. Yes. Am I right? And that you’ve spent about the same amount of time as a, as running Noodlehead as now as that being a freelancer?
Jason Scott Montoya (52:08):
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So I’m six years, so that’s in a year it’ll be the same and that’s kind of crazy to think you know, how much, how long I’ve, I’ve been after it and how long I was in and and it’s, yeah, it’s an interesting,
Matt Hyatt (52:22):
Now having both of those experiences looking forward into your future, what do you think the future holds for you? Are we going to continue down the freelancer path? Do you see another employer organization down the road? Conquer them all, do both? I don’t know.
Jason Scott Montoya (52:36):
Yeah. So I think what I, what I look at this next year is it’s kind of a bit of an audit for myself, right? So here’s what I’ve been doing for the last six years. I think it’s a rest and rejuvenation as well in the sense that you know, we have rebuilt and we’ve, we’ve transitioned and I kind of needed a break from that, right? So, but I have a lot more flexibility with the only debt we have is our house. And, and my income is still what it was. So we have got this, this margin. And so it’s a game changer. So now I’ve got options. I’ve got a lot more flexibility and options to, you know, writing these books. You know, writing another book. You know, I’ve got several books in mind.
Jason Scott Montoya (53:18):
Like I said before, kind of entertainment film-making. Storytelling is something I’m exploring with. I think probably what I, what I would say is experimenting, trying different things, exploring different things. I’ll continue to freelance, you know, be a consultant with small businesses. No, I imagine it’s going to be another five or 10 years. But you know, we’ll see how the other stuff shifts and transitions. You know, as I, each year as I continue to work with, with clients, you know, I increase my rates a little bit so I have a little bit more margin to write. I can blog and I can work on my other books. And as those continue to grow, my digital platform grows, then you know, then if once that starts generating an income of some sort, then then I’ve got more options there as well. So, so yeah, it’s open-ended right now.
Matt Hyatt (54:06):
So Its still have options and that sounds like a, it sounds like things are going really well. That’s, that’s exciting. All right, so let’s do a little bit of a lightning round because I am curious about some of these questions. Tell me what are you reading right now? Okay, so guys, where’s your attention?
Jason Scott Montoya (54:21):
So I’ve got two books I’m reading. One is called “Permanent Record” by Edward Snowden. It’s telling you his story. So my neighbor asks me my neighbor, We’re going to start reading books together. And that’s the book he bought. So I said, sure, I’ll read. And then I got another one called “Faith of Exiles”. Oh. Never heard that one. So in, in, in America specifically Christianity has declined in terms of the number of people that are saying they’re agnostic or atheistic. That number is climbing. And so this book is looking at people that haven’t, that have retained their faith and what is it about them that’s different than those that are, that have fallen away from their faith and contrasting that. And really it’s, it revolves around these five disciplines that, that they’ve their family or their parents or their, or their community has sustained or that they have and that they’ve taken ownership of in their own life. So exploring that.
Matt Hyatt (55:16):
Yeah. Cool. So yeah, two books at a time. I am guilty of having three or four books on the nightstand, one next to the easy chair. There’s probably a couple of my desk in there and I’ve read 10% of all of them. Okay. So maybe you’re a, you’re a visionary in that sense. Definitely haven’t done need to too many books or something. Do some more reading favorite podcasts, any anything you listen to regularly?
Jason Scott Montoya (55:43):
I’ve got a lot of podcasts on my lists. But I love the, I love to listen to Jordan Peterson’s podcasts. He does his lectures on those and, and those are great. Just a lot of leadership podcasts. So yeah.
Matt Hyatt (55:57):
Cool. Yeah. Very cool. And lastly, you, you are in fact available for consulting and support. How can our listeners get in touch with you? What’s the best way to learn about you?
Jason Scott Montoya (56:11):
You can visit my website at jasonscottmontoya.com. That’s JasonScottmontoya.com. I got M O N T O Y A. Yeah. Yeah. I’m, I’m on all the social channels as well. On my, you can check out my blog. If you go to the homepage, it’ll kind of direct you to the different books. If you’re interested in freelancing or marketing or blog, there’s a services page. If you’re interested in working together, you can look at that. And yeah, that’s my website’s the best place to go is my home base and get an idea who I am and what I’m doing and, and how the things I’ve created could help you and your business.
Matt Hyatt (56:44):
Awesome. Jason has been a real pleasure to have you on the show. I’m glad that he came out and visited with with us today. We’ve learned a lot. Without further ado, I think it is time to wrap things up. For myself and behalf of our listeners, thank you for joining us today. To our listeners, Thank you for tuning in to the Rocket IT podcast. We hope you enjoy today’s episode. Finally, a quick plug for Rocket IT. We work with businesses, nonprofits and municipalities in the area IT strategy, information, security and support. To learn more about how Rocket IT can help your organization get the most from your IT investment, visit rocketit.com. Again, should you have any questions about today’s discussion, email us at email@example.com or catch us on any of our social media channels.
Jason Scott Montoya (57:31):
Thank you. Thank you very much, Matt. I appreciate it.