The Nonprofit Exchange Podcast

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Buy Back Time through Smart Delegation

Mike Abramowitz

Mike Abramowitz

Mike Abramowitz has 20 years of direct sales experience training 5000+ sales reps for $17M sold, has 9 books in the self-help space, and founded PB&J for Tampa Bay. He has scaled his several-figure businesses and nonprofits to be run without him so he can experience the freedom he desires. He’s a busy father and husband who helps other busy entrepreneurs implement systems in their businesses by leveraging automation and delegation to help business operators become business owners and truly experience the financial and time freedom that drew them to entrepreneurship in the first place. He has a podcast called “The Better Than Rich Rich” Show and a community called Automate, Delegate, Systemize.

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The Interview Transcript

0:01 – Hugh Ballou This is Hugh Ballou, founder and president of SynerVision Leadership Foundation. And one of our many programs is the Nonprofit Exchange. That’s where you are. It’s where we interview leaders who have ideas to help us do our better work. Be our better self and build a better organization. And today’s topic is one so important and we all, even those who have been doing this for a long time and teach it, we all struggle with this. So my guest today is Mike Abramowitz, who’s muted. So unmute yourself, Mike, and tell us a little bit, tell people a little bit about yourself and why you do this important work.

0:43 – Mike Abramowitz Thanks you Hugh. I appreciate you for having me and thanks for inviting me to speak. So, yeah, my name is Mike Abramowitz. We’re up in New Jersey and live in St. Augustine, Florida. Now, I help busy, overwhelmed entrepreneurs systemize their businesses so they can buy back time. So they can spend that time on what matters most to them. Why I do that right now is because in my early years in business, I started selling Cutco kitchen knives in my late teens, early college years, paid my way through college, invested in real estate, bought my first home.

1:14 – Mike Abramowitz I grinded after college, working in the business. And the challenge was that I was doing everything because I didn’t like letting go of control. So I had a lot of consequences. My relationship of seven years ended. I had unhealthy eating habits, which was unfortunate. And the big unfortunate part was I invested in real estate and that ended up collapsing. And I lost, I was $130,000 debt with a 400 credit score and broke. And still just grinding, grinding, grinding. So in 2012 is when I realized I went to a Tony Robbins event.

1:49 – Mike Abramowitz I walked across fire. I’m now a seven-time firewalker. And he said at the event, my mess is my message. So on the other end of my mess is my message, I turned the valley of my 20s, figured out what can I do to serve. I spent the next year, 2013, 2014, speaking to the Pinellas County School District, where I was living at the time in Tampa Bay area. I did 300 hours of speaking to craft my first book. And that led into nine books, which led into a nonprofit called PB&J for Tampa Bay, where we provided over 100,000 meals to the less fortunate over in that Tampa Bay area, which was great.

2:24 – Mike Abramowitz It was great, Hugh. I was feeding people, writing books, doing all this stuff, but I had no time freedom. I fell in love with my now wife in 2014, but there was no way I wanted to have the same thing happen, which is How do I stay in a relationship, be a present father, be a present husband, be a successful entrepreneur, and balance it all? So I hired my first, my business coach in 2016, who helped me corporatize and systemize my business. And that’s essentially why I do what I do now is because what he helped me do with my business helped me weather a lot of storms.

2:58 – Mike Abramowitz And I could share some of those storms with the listener, but that’s why I do what I do.

3:03 – Hugh Ballou Amazing, amazing story. And you’ve learned something from each step of the way. Burnout is a national crisis for nonprofit leaders, especially. And you’re speaking to entrepreneurs. We are social entrepreneurs. We’re not working for a big company. We’re doing work that’s important. And so I see people struggle with this. So our topic today is buyback time through smart delegation. Now, in our prep time, you talked about the Time Rich 6. Now, toward the end of this, folks, we’re going to give you a link, and he’s got some free stuff for you.

3:40 – Hugh Ballou But we’ll tell you that toward the end of the interview. But tell us about the Time Rich 6, because they won’t find that anywhere else.

3:46 – Mike Abramowitz Yeah, TimeRidge 6 something I’m building because this is something that I did for myself, but it wasn’t called anything. It’s just something that helped me buy back time for my business. So the TimeRidge 6, go an overview and then I’ll park and give a little bit more specifics. So number one is boundaries. Number two is communication guidelines. Three is systems. Four is playbooks, five is team, and then six is tech. So number one, boundaries. What is a boundary? A boundary is, what are my priorities that I need to protect?

4:18 – Mike Abramowitz People say, my priority is my family, but then they’re at their dinner table checking their social media or scrolling or still on work. So it’s like, if we wanna build a business that is protecting our boundaries, then we need to know what’s considered out of bounds and what is in bounds. So what is time where I’m, working on the business? What is time when I’m working in the business? What is time when I’m present with my family and when I’m not present with my family? So knowing clear boundaries around that is really important.

4:43 – Mike Abramowitz I think oftentimes business owners forget that. So that’s number one. Know what the boundaries are. Number two is what are the communication guidelines that respect those boundaries? For example, what deems an email versus a text versus a live call versus a zoom meeting versus a live in person meeting? How do you want your talent, your clients, and your prospects to communicate with you? Especially for like, for example, PB&J for Tampa Bay when we feed the homeless. How do I want a volunteer to communicate with me?

5:11 – Mike Abramowitz How do I want the shelters to communicate with me? What deems a lot, I don’t want people calling me all the time. Why is that important? Because my direct sales business, I had a thousand clients who bought Cutco for me, all had my phone number. Then I had the people who wanted to start working for me had my phone number. And then I had the current people who work for me had my phone number. I trained over 5,000 people to sell Cutco. You do the math. That’s a lot of people that needed my attention.

5:34 – Mike Abramowitz And I was constantly in reaction or distraction mode because I was the bottleneck. So building out communication guidelines was really important. And I could talk about exactly how to do that, if that makes sense. Number three is systems, which are, what are all the if-thens inside the business? There are four pillars of business. There’s attract, convert, onboard, retain. And that is for the talent, and that’s also for your clients. A track that’s lead generation that then convert is sales or interviewing.

6:07 – Mike Abramowitz Then there’s onboarding and then there’s retaining maximization of the client and maximum and client and talent retention. So all the if then’s it’s like McDonald defying your business.

6:16 – Multiple Speakers It’s like, if somebody wants my attention.

6:19 – Mike Abramowitz then this is how I want them to get my attention. If someone on my team has a question, then I want them to watch this video first. If the video on the Frequently Asked Library doesn’t answer their question, then I want them to book a link on my calendar to book a time with me that’s at my convenience as an example. So just building out a whole series of predictability of if-thens, leads into number four, which is playbooks. Playbooks are the written documentation, the resources to support the systems.

6:51 – Mike Abramowitz Team is the who, and that’s probably what we’ll spend a little bit of time on, which is the delegation. Who are the people that are going to be executing these plays? And then the tech, what is the technology that we’re using to support that? Is it AI? Is it CRM, like client resource management software? Is it a learning management software? An LMS is a project management software. So what is the tech? Boundaries, communication guidelines, Then systems playbooks team attack.

7:16 – Mike Abramowitz That’s 106. This is a general overview hue. And if somebody is listening to this thing, like, what the heck is he talking about? As far as like, this business jargon or whatnot, I try to simplify it as much as possible by using a sports team. The coach is not. Playing the game, the coach isn’t calling the play and then being the quarterback and then being the running back and then the wide receiver. The coach is on the sidelines. And what did the coach do before the game? He created a playbook.

7:46 – Mike Abramowitz And then he has a team of people around him that he tells to go run those plays.

7:51 – Multiple Speakers Create the playbooks.

7:53 – Mike Abramowitz Figure out what plays to call for the situations, all the scenarios, and then have a team around you that can run those plays. That’s an effective way to think about the time bridge six. What are the rules of the game? What’s considered out of bounds, right? Like all that’s the way I want someone listening to really think about that time bridge six. So I’ll kick it back and we can go in any direction you see fit.

8:13 – Hugh Ballou Yay, David Dunworth, co-host and chair of the Cinevision Board of Directors. David, there’s a lot of synchronicity here, right?

8:21 – Multiple Speakers A lot of synergy.

8:22 – David Dunworth That’s a great explanation that you’ve given about these time-rich six principles. And if you were investing the time in order to get all that stuff ready, I can imagine that your future is pretty well-oiled to run smoothly. That sounds terrific, and I appreciate you sharing that. How do you see non-profit leaders and clergy, though, evolving in today’s society without that strategy? Can you tell us how they can blend that in?

8:58 – Mike Abramowitz Yeah, and there’s probably an MVP, a minimum viable product, and a version of this for everyone. And the first thing that we need to really help this person understand is, again, what are their priorities? If they have so many different priorities and so many different obligations, then they have none. We need to get clear. What is the one thing that matters most? Because if they say, I have all these things that matter to me, it’s like, well, let’s try to narrow that down to one.

9:26 – Mike Abramowitz What’s the one thing for this quarter? What’s the one thing for this month? Even what’s the one thing for this week? We’re going to get really narrow because overwhelmed can be can victimize any entrepreneur because there’s always things we can be distracted by. We need to get really narrow with the focus. What is the one thing? What is the small hinge? That swings the big door? What is the lead domino that builds momentum to knock down all the other dominoes? And the next question on top of that would be for this person is, what is the one thing then, after I figure that out, what is the one thing that only I can do that nobody else can do?

10:03 – Mike Abramowitz What is my superpower that only I can do? And I could assure you it’s probably not Responding to emails it’s probably not managing your social media and it’s probably not booking appointments so that’s probably not the superpower the superpower and the zone of genius for you your your strategic ability is going to be something that is unique to you your unique ability and that’s the only thing that this. A nonprofit person needs to be spending their time on, and then figuring out everything else, how to delegate that, how to delegate that to team, how to delegate that to tech.

10:43 – Mike Abramowitz But before they could do that, from my vantage point, is figuring out those if-thens, and that’s the system, that’s the predictability. And again, if you ask me the question, I could answer it. You know your audience way better than I know your audience. I just know from my experience running, like I said, PB&J for Tampa Bay, I wanted to create predictability. If I put an event on the calendar, people showed up. So I did the third Sunday of the month at 9am. It’s like predictability.

11:16 – Mike Abramowitz If I post that event on the calendar, then people show up. Oh, we need supplies. How do we get supplies? How do we get donations? If I have my assistant put a post up on social media, letting them know to bring supplies with them, then we’ll have supplies. It’s just like it’s so simple. But if we don’t have a process behind what we want, then nothing’s going to happen. How do I have the time and the space to think through those if thens? That’s probably in that unique ability. This person who’s listening needs to spend time to work on the business and not spend so much time in the business.

11:55 – Mike Abramowitz And they got to protect that so they can have the creative space to say, What can I make predictable here? What can run without me? What are the things that other people might be able to do? And what are the things that only I can do? If they can get clear on that one question, or really those two questions, that’s a great starting place.

12:15 – Hugh Ballou Lovely. Good question, David. So, Mike, what are some of the toughest challenges you’ve seen? And along with those challenges, maybe people have excuses, they think, or reasons for not doing some of these things. They’re really excuses or maybe some myths they have about We are in business, as a matter of fact, listeners. This is a nonprofit business, a church business, for-purpose business, so all these principles apply, and actually they’re a lot more difficult in this context than in the business context.

12:46 – Mike Abramowitz The number one thing that immediately popped in my mind, Hugh, is letting go of control of the lower value tasks. So that way they could spend their time in the high value tasks because they want to be in control of everything. The challenge of being in control of everything is some tasks are valued differently. And if you don’t believe me, just go to and type in some of the tasks that you find yourself doing. And you’ll see there’s a dollar per hour rate for some of those tasks.

13:10 – Mike Abramowitz If anything is under $25 an hour, it probably should be delegated. It probably should be offloaded, especially if it could be done in the virtual environment. You could have offshore virtual assistants to do a lot of this work and pair that with AI, where it’s very, I mean, emotional intelligence with AI is very prominent right now. And one of the things that if you want, I’ll give you a gift at the end, you hop on with me, I could show you how to train your AI to be you, so that way you could have an offshore virtual assistant be you in the virtual realm.

13:47 – Mike Abramowitz They could respond to your emails as you. They could put up social media content as you. They could respond to your email, right? So I think it’s really important to keep that in mind. So that letting go of control of the low-value task. How do I let go of control? Is I again, there’s a great resource great book. I mentioned buy back your time by dan martell He says the 1080 10 principle I do the first 10 get things started you do the middle 80 and then come back to me and then I’ll take care of the final 10%.

14:21 – Mike Abramowitz So it’s not, I have to offload the whole thing. I just offload the middle 80% and the better you can get as the business owner in starting something, offloading something and then finishing something. Right now, I have about 12 or 13 who’s doing things, doing the middle 80% for me. I started the 10%, they’re right now doing the middle 80% for me while I’m here hanging out with you, you. That’s what we want the business owner to do. And then it comes back to my desk and I do the final 10% and that final 10% might turn into another starting 10% that I need to start something new, offload the middle 80% for them, and then it comes back to me.

14:59 – Mike Abramowitz So that type of process is really important. And the last thing Dan Mortell says in his book is 80% done by someone else is a hundred percent awesome. So you also want to think about letting go of control of these lower value tasks that are below your target dollar per hour or below your genius level. Even if it’s 80% done as good as you can do it, that’s good enough. That’s good enough. Let go of that control. Truly, you need to be able to spend your time on only things that you can do that nobody else can do, would be my suggestion.

15:35 – David Dunworth Now, you had mentioned in your talk, I think you said there was like a dozen other people that are doing that 80% for you in one way or another. Is that right? How do you foster the collaboration and the community engagement and the cooperative action in that type of situation?

15:56 – Mike Abramowitz So this is that working on the business zone of genius that I would really encourage a listener to think about. So for me, I had to put on my hat and I say, okay, what is the priority right now? I’m in charge of brand development and sales. Hence why I’m here. Like, that’s what I’m focused on for our company. I want more people to know. These skills and these tools and these things that I’m talking about to help our brand, because that’s good for us. So if I’m running a nonprofit, you might want to be in charge of brand development too.

16:24 – Mike Abramowitz You want more people to know you exist. And how do you get more people to know you exist? That’s what you want to strategize. So for example, me, I want to get on podcasts. So I built a process on how to reach out to podcast hosts, what to say to those podcast hosts, so how to curate the list of podcast hosts, what to say to them, and how to invite me onto their show. Built up a process, somebody else is executing on that process. I have social media content being put out right now. Well, what is the story I want my content to tell?

16:56 – Mike Abramowitz So I premeditate, what is the story? What is the objective of that content? And then how can my team run it through AI to curate this content? How can I give them access to my Google Photos so they could pull the images that make sense and post that on my behalf and on my social media, my LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook? Then I want active lead generation, so outreach, outbound messaging that’s happening for me to prospect. Okay, who do I want them to message? This is, by the way, how I raised awareness about my books.

17:27 – Mike Abramowitz It was like, who do I want to message about my weight loss book? Well, let me join over like a weight loss group on Facebook, message all the people in the group, letting them know, hey, I have a weight loss book. All the profits are going to feed the homeless. I figured you might want to check it out since it’s something you’re focused on. Would you be interested in picking up a copy for 99 cents on Amazon Kindle? Right. Outreach, right? Figure out that process, figure out what we want to say, have somebody do that for me.

17:51 – Mike Abramowitz These are just examples on under the umbrella brand awareness and brand development that I’m focused on that probably is relevant to almost anyone that’s listening. Then on the back end, after I have a conversation, what is the follow-up? I want someone to be in my email inbox, sending out follow-up emails, thanking people. I want them to send out emails to people I’ve done business with in the past or people who might have an interest in my product and services, trying to book up appointments for me and get my schedule, and my calendar filled in.

18:22 – Mike Abramowitz So these are just examples of what some of those who are. Then I have someone taking videos and video editing and putting them on YouTube and Reels. I have someone else creating graphic design and images for workshops that I do. These are, again, multiple, multiple examples of the if-thens, the scenarios, and then plugging in someone else into that system that can do it for me as me, just not by me.

18:47 – Hugh Ballou I’m gonna share with people your website and you have a private link for a gift that you have, which is really good stuff, but you’ve already given us a whole bunch of stuff that we can think about. But before I go to the website, I encounter people like I’m sure you do say, oh, that’s great, but I don’t have time to sit down and do all the planning because I’m too busy doing the work. So how do you respond to those people? Because the one thing they need the most is what they’re denying doing.

19:15 – Mike Abramowitz Yeah, and that’s step number one in the time of six, which is the boundaries. If someone says, I don’t have the time, it’s like, well, we all have 168 hours. Every single human, that’s the one common ideology that everyone has is 168 hours in a week. It’s just how do we spend those hours? And whatever we’re, think about it this way. If someone ever says, I don’t have the time, but they have a doctor’s appointment middle of the week and they have to plan around it, as an example, they could adjust things For circumstances, if they arrive if an emergency happened with their kid as an example, it’s like, oh, I have to change up my schedule to accommodate.

19:51 – Mike Abramowitz They can accommodate emergencies on demand. Well, just do that for working on your business time, because if you don’t make that a priority, there will be consequences in the future. And the consequences are what I experienced. My relationship ended. My health was compromised. My finances eventually go compromised because we couldn’t grow. I was stagnant at $50,000 to year $75,000 for many years because we couldn’t grow. I was constantly in the business. I didn’t have time to work on the business because I was under that same disillusionment.

20:28 – Hugh Ballou And we can’t blame anybody else for that, like we want to. But one more question. We could have a three-hour interview if I ask all my questions, but we’re going to end here at a normal time in about five, six, seven minutes. But there’s a gap. People say, oh, that’s easy for you because you got the right people to delegate to. So here’s a couple of things to clarify. Tell us, you’re here, you need to delegate, You want to be here with a team of people that actually have the skill sets to do what you’ve asked them to do and understand your directives for the results you want because you’ve got the strategy.

21:01 – Hugh Ballou So how do you fill that gap from having nobody to having the right people?

21:06 – Mike Abramowitz It’s a loaded question. I’ll do my best to answer it effectively and efficiently as possible. So here’s the short answer. I found three ways that have worked for me. One is low cost of dollars, but a high cost in time. And that’s going to like Fiverr, Upwork, one of these online sites. They’re task-based type of sites where you say, I have this project, I have this task. You find someone, you find them to do the task. That’s how I built my books. They’re great. They work. But the challenge is you have to do test projects.

21:39 – Mike Abramowitz You have to make sure they’re available. Make sure they’re qualified. Make sure they can speak good English. So high time, low cost. Flip side of that, I went to a company and hired, I paid $2,500 find me a good person. And it was like a talent scout found me a really good designated executive assistant who was awesome, but I didn’t have any tasks to give her. I didn’t know how to train her. I didn’t know how to pay her. I didn’t have systems. I didn’t have playbooks. So I paid all this money for someone to be on my staff that I didn’t know how to give stuff to.

22:07 – Mike Abramowitz So then as she started getting into the rhythm, she became bottlenecked with all of my stuff I needed her to do because she was only one person doing the job of 15 people. So then option number three is go to and place ads, run them through interviews, onboard them and train them, pay their taxes, put a bring them on a team, which is what I did. And then the problem on that one is when they quit, I had to do the whole thing all over again. So there’s not an easy way to bring on really good talent.

22:37 – Mike Abramowitz It’s not a one-stop shop unless you either hire been there, done that, which are experts, which cost a lot of money, or build out predictable, simple systems that you could plug in lower-wage workers into a predictable system. The benefit of the predictable system is, and a lower wage worker, is it’s a lot easier to find low wage talent than it is to find expert talent at an affordable rate. If you build a business based on the expert talent and that expert talent is sick or doesn’t work out or leaves or quits, Now you’ve got to go find another expert talent, which is a lot harder to find than a lower-level talent in a predictable system.

23:20 – Mike Abramowitz Hence, coming back to full circle, why the business owner needs to make sure they protect the time, make sure it’s a priority to work on their business, to build out the predictability, so that way lower wage workers can work for them. The services that we created is to install a designated team of virtual assistants into their business to solve this problem. So my team that works for me is who also works for our clients. So that is a service that we provide because of the problem we saw in the marketplace.

23:53 – Mike Abramowitz The short of a hue is just to make sure I capture the listener. Why did I create this? It’s because when my son was born, I shared this with you briefly. My son was born on December 31st, 2020 at one pound, four ounces. He was weighing in. He was measuring 23 weeks. He was born at 26 weeks. I did not know how long we were going to be in the hospital with him, but it ended up being for eight and a half months. And during that time, my business ran without me. It still produced a quarter million dollars in profits and six figures of revenue.

24:22 – Mike Abramowitz We still provided meals to less fortunate. It was run by my operator, Tyler Condon, who was running it for me. And my wife had to leave her corporate job, become a full-time medical mom, and I had to replace her income. How did I replace her income? By teaching business owners on how to systemize their business the way I did. And that’s really what I’ve been doing since the Q4 of 2021. I didn’t get into this because I wanted to. I got into this because it’s necessary. There’s too many business owners that become bottlenecks of their machine.

24:51 – Mike Abramowitz And it doesn’t have to be that way for you. So that’s why I do what I do.

24:59 – Hugh Ballou You’re such a wealth of information that folks, you’ll see the transcript on the website and the, and the, and the and the podcast content. So Mike, let’s go to first and tell people what they’ll find here. Then we’re gonna go to the special link you shared with us.

25:19 – Mike Abramowitz So this is mainly just a link to our podcast. It’s actually, we’re going through a rebrand right now. So not much that you would really, that’s super up-to-date and relevant here outside of our podcast, but slash 90-day plan is really the, the main site right now that I’m directing people to because this is what I’m doing for market research to learn more about what the marketplace’s needs are because we are currently rebranding to build on behalf of everyone who’s listening to this show right now.

25:53 – Mike Abramowitz I want to know what your needs are and that’s what essentially we’re going to be offering. We already have our services and whatnot that we can talk about that’s right there on services. But frankly, if you want to learn more or get directly to me, book a conversation, I’d love to have one. I’m not going to be doing these forever, but I am doing them right now because it’s helping me figure out what are your pain points, what are your problems. So that way, because we’re such a new company, we can continue to build on behalf of you as the user, as the individual who needs help in the marketplace.

26:28 – Mike Abramowitz And that’s essentially what we’re doing right now.

26:30 – Hugh Ballou And you’ll find that at with a slash 90-day plan. It’ll be in the notes. You go to the and you’ll find the notes. So, Mike, this has been an information-rich interview, and we could talk all day and explore a lot of these good topics. But what do you want to leave people with after this? Their heads are full of stuff, but what do you want to leave them with, a challenge or a thought?

27:02 – Mike Abramowitz I had my initial thought, which I already shared, which was know what your time is worth, offload the low-value tasks and do the high-value tasks. But I’m going to change my thoughts real quick to know what season you’re in. I think this is actually relevant because if you are in a winter season right now where you’re weathering a storm and there’s a lot of uncertainty your way, and you’re like, but Mike, you don’t understand. I was there when we were in the hospital. It’s important to know how to navigate an unpredictable season.

27:25 – Mike Abramowitz That’s different. Than other seasons. So in a season of unpredictability, just weather the storm with an MVP. Do as minimal viable product as you can because spring always follows winter. Once you get into the spring season, be intentional with the seeds that you’re planting. If you plant apple seeds in the spring, you’re going to get apples in the fall. So make sure you’re intentional What seeds are you planting in the spring for your business and your nonprofit? If you’re in a summer season, that’s the season of grind.

27:50 – Mike Abramowitz That’s the season of work on your 1 thing. Don’t get distracted by chasing the shiny object during the summer season. This is the season for you to just work on the 1 thing that you already set out to do during spring is that I’m going to plant the seed, take care of that 1 seed. Fall season is the season of evaluation. Fall season is, all right, let me enjoy the fruits of my labor. Let me enjoy those apples that I planted. And while I’m enjoying these apples, now I can strategize and think about what are the next seeds I want to plant for spring?

28:17 – Mike Abramowitz And also, how do I conserve my resources for an unpredictable winter season that might come my way?

28:24 – Hugh Ballou Mike Abramowitz, thank you so much. It’s been so good having you today, and you’ve given us so much to think about. Thank you for being our guest today on the Nonprofit Exchange.

28:36 – Mike Abramowitz Thanks, Hugh.

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