[01:02] Andrew Moon is an MSP who came to a pivotal moment in his career that forced him to reevaluate everything about his business and his life. He ended up selling his MSP in 2014 and starting a new company called Orange Nomad, where he coaches other MSPs on various aspects of running a service provider business and how to bridge the gap between strategy and execution.

[01:37] In recent episodes, we’ve been talking about business protection strategies. In episode 51, I spoke to Wes Spencer at Perch Security about ways you can protect your MSP business from a technology perspective. In Ep53, the last episode, I talked to Justin Reinmuth of techrug about protecting your business with insurance. And in a future episode, I’ll be talking to a lawyer about legal protections.

[01:59] While today seems a little off the theme of protection, the way I see it, it’s really not. Because today we’re going to be talking about protecting and taking care of you, the business owner or leader—your physical, mental, and emotional well being. These are personal things but crucial to your business planning because without them the business can suffer.

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[02:19] I’d also like to bring in some strands from a few other past episodes that I think are relevant here. In Ep 50, I interviewed bestselling author Mike Michalowicz about his latest book, Clockwork. In that interview he spoke about “the hustle and grind” that seems to be expected of entrepreneurs and business owners, and how it can feel like you have to carry the business on your back—but that’s exactly what Mike says you shouldn’t do.

[02:43] Andrew echoes those ideas. In fact, he shares a story about how meeting Mike was the start of a shift for him and evaluation of how he’d been running his business up until then.

[02:50] I also had the pleasure of talking to Arlin Sorensen earlier this year. Arlin is the founder of what were previously known as the HTG peer groups and what are now known as the IT Nation Evolve peer groups under the ConnectWise banner.

[03:02] Arlin has spent years working with MSPs and digging into their challenges and struggles. Something he said really struck me. We were talking about mistakes MSPs make in trying to build value into their business. And he said the biggest mistake he sees MSPs make is believing that hard work is somehow going to translate into value in the business. He said you can’t assume that because you get up every day and go to work and skip baseball games and birthdays and vacation that anyone else is going to see value in that sacrifice.

[03:42] If the business doesn’t benefit from that sacrifice, and you don’t benefit—physically, mentally, and emotionally—is it time to reconsider how you’re doing what you’re doing in the business? This might be a big question for you. Or it might simply be a chance to step back and see where improvements could be made.

[04:27] This is what Andrew Moon and I dig into. Just before we get there, a reminder that if you don’t yet have your tickets for Frankly MSP Live, we now have team packs available. You get $50 off per ticket with the purchase of 2 tickets, $100 off per ticket with the purchase of 3 or more tickets. And you can combine team packs with other promo codes like FRANKLY50, which gives you an extra $50 off at checkout.

MSPs and Workaholic Industry Norms: Interview With Andrew Moon

Andrew Moon, Orange Nomad
Andrew Moon, Orange Nomad

[05:22] Andrew had been running an MSP for about 10 years. He struggled and worked with coaches and worked on marketing. In 2012, he found a business coach and community that helped him realize that the things he was doing weren’t right. He was physically burnt out and was wondering what the next course in life was.

[06:31] He had bought into the industry norm that you have to hustle and grind to be an entrepreneur.

[07:08] Things just didn’t feel right. He started his business when his son was 6 months old, and 10 years later, he didn’t feel like he knew his son at all.

[08:13] He had three virtual support staff and some go-to onsite techs. He ran things a little differently. He did about 30K in MRR. It was profitable and sustainable.

[09:02] His biggest downfall was not taking care of himself and being a workaholic.

[10:48] Other MSPs had the same problems, but nobody wants to talk about it. Why be in business if you’re not having fun and not spending time with your family?

[12:03] Being an MSP is a 24/7 job. There aren’t enough qualified people to go around.

[12:20] The security issues alone keep current MSPs up at night. The expectations of MSPs have dramatically changed since 2004.

[13:14] Meeting Mike Michalowicz helped Andrew change his mindset. He started changing how he did his business. He read Mike’s book The Pumpkin Plan and started implementing its ideas.

[13:48] He started firing clients and getting rid of people that he didn’t want to do business with. He also worked on developing a service that people would pay high dollar amounts for.

[14:15] He started building his business to make it advantageous to sell.

[14:40] Andrew found his passion came from teaching and coaching and helping people. He merged with another company.

[15:21] He took a real vacation and then started designing a life that he wanted to live on his terms. In 2014, he pivoted with a goal of helping as many people as he could.

[16:10] His advice is that it’s okay to challenge the toxic industry norms. Working 80 hours a week is not sustainable. It’s possible to build a business on your terms even as an MSP.

[17:06] Andrew helps entrepreneurs find their why and what makes sense for them.

[18:11] You don’t have to hire local. You need to have systems in place for managing people.

[18:29] Remote teams open up a whole new talent pool. Have a hiring process that allows you to attract the right talent.

[20:56] MSPs should find someone to talk to. Putting yourself out there and getting your life back is important.

[22:20] Building processes and structure to scale and run more efficiently is a solution.

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