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Welcome to episode #89 of the Morning Upgrade Podcast. In this week’s episode I spoke with Gabe Arnold, founder and CEO of Business Marketing Engine.

Top Talking Points

  • When you know what you want to accomplish in a day, it’s a lot easier to get things done.
  • Starting your day with something hard will make everything else in your day seem easy.
  • The benefits of taking ice baths and how to do them.

Connect With Gabe at businessmarketingengine.com

Find The Books Mentioned on Kindle or Audible

Atomic habits by James Clear.

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Thank you for listening to this episode of The Morning Upgrade Podcast. If you enjoyed my conversation with Gabe, be sure to subscribe to the podcast and please leave a review.

Episode Transcript

Announcer  

Welcome to the Morning Upgrade podcast with Ryan Cote where we feature casual conversations with entrepreneurs about personal development and growth.

Ryan  

Hey, Gabe, welcome to the Morning Upgrade podcast. How are you doing? 

Gabe

Well, thanks for having me on, Ryan. 

Ryan

Yeah, it’s good to speak to you and we know each other we’ve done work together in the past, you know, through content and copywriting services. And so it’s good to have you the, on the show. And I know you’re big into a personal development morning routine, so you’re an entrepreneur, so I’m excited to talk to you. So that’s a good segue into, why don’t you tell my audience of Morning Upgraders who you are, and what you do for a living? And then give me one thing that’s going well in your life right now?

Gabe  

Yeah, absolutely. So, my name is Gabe Arnold. I’m the founder and CEO of Business Marketing Engine. And we help our clients deepen their relationship with their audiences by creating holistic strategic marketing plans that when we then help our clients implement, through creating the right destinations, like websites, mobile apps, you know, whatever destination you want to drive your prospects to. And then we also help create the content and drive traffic with that content. So I’ve been running that agency, or I started that agency 14 years ago. And it became a full-time focus about 10 years ago. And I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 20 years and in various different businesses and things that I’ve been working on. And what I’m most excited about right now is that I’m implementing an operational system from a friend of mine, Alec Scharffen, called Simple Operations. And we’ve been implementing that for about eight months now. And the great thing about it is it’s it really puts me in the passenger seat as the entrepreneur so that I have more time to think strategically and, and grow, you know, grow the business from a strategic standpoint, where, while my general manager is the day to day operation of the business, and that’s, that’s probably been the biggest driver of growth for me this year is is implementing that system.

Ryan  

Is it software or is it just a way that you like a workflow? What does it look like?

Gabe  

So it’s a methodology that Alex is used himself to build companies that he scaled into the 10s of millions, and then he’s helped, I think, probably, you know, probably nearly 1000 other businesses implement as well at this point. And so it’s, it’s an operational methodology where you empower your operator to run the day-to-day things. So that again, you can kind of step up and be more strategic and step up and lead. And there are, as a weekly cadence of very targeted interaction, you know, meetings that you have with, with your team. And then there’s a cadence of planning every, you know, your 90-day targets, I was already doing some 90 Day planning and some things like that, before I joined his program, but using their system, it’s just really structured, and it’s really easy to implement as well. And so it’s been, it’s been awesome, because like I said, I’m, I’ve made almost double what I made last year, both, you know, kind of top line and bottom line, and personally, as you know, as the founder, and I was able to work, you know, under 40 hours a week. So I actually cut down my working hours and my workload, and I still grew the business. So it’s been, it’s been a phenomenal experience.

Ryan 

So far, a lot of stuff I’m starting to think about right now for Ballantine going into 2022, and highly recommend that it’s been very effective. I think the lesson for entrepreneurs listening is that if you pull yourself out of the weeds and the operational stuff, and let other people handle that, it frees you up to focus on the big picture stuff, sales vision, you know, where you’re going, and what’s your head’s not all cloudy, with all the other stuff, all that noise that can be handled by someone else, your minds free to, to think about that stuff. Is that sort of the strategy you’re going for?

Gabe 

Yeah, absolutely. And like, the transition from starting a business to then scaling, you know, a business, there’s, those are two very different roles. So like, you know, yeah, for everybody listening, like, you know, when you startup, you do, like, do it all. Like when you and I met Ryan, we were doing it all and both of our businesses like, and then when you realize like, that’s no longer effective, and actually distracts you down, there are things that you’re not actually as good at, as you think you are, it was you were probably effective in the startup phase, or like, you got the job done. But there are people that love you know, as an example, there’s people that love doing accounting and bookkeeping, and I hate that stuff. Even though I did it, you know, a little bit, in the beginning, it’s not an effective role for me. And so, just really helps you like raise the level of protection that you get as an entrepreneur, because there’s a lot coming our way. And also just really helps you design a system that increases support and eliminates you from making all the decisions in the business because that’s, like we were chatting about, you know, earlier. You know, when when you’re the go-to person for everything, you’re just creating an incredible failure point for the organization. And so it’s helped me distribute decision making and delegate to everybody on the team so that they can make, you know, the best decisions for the organization and they don’t have to come to me on almost everything now.

Ryan 

Perfect. It’s funny, I was gonna ask you that at some point. Give me something that’s helping your business grow right now. And I think you just answered that question. So that’s, that’s great advice. So tell me your morning routine. Gabe, I know before we start recording, you said, you’ve got that pretty dialed in. So what does that look like for you?

Gabe  

I’ve played like, off and on with my morning routine over the years. But it was really about a year ago that I started with the practice of just journaling and planning my day out every morning. And I got consistent with that. That’s what started to help me, you know, stack on to what was working fairly effectively. And I really, really hyper optimize that at this point. But even before last year, one thing I do want to mention is, that the first thing that really drove me to get into a healthy morning routine is just making a decision every morning to wake up and drink like you know, 24 ounces of water. Because that kicks in your metabolism, it’s you’re obviously dehydrated all night, your mind is not in great shape if you don’t hydrate properly. And so that was the catalyst for everything that I’m going to share here that I do now. But I started with that years ago, probably 10 years ago now at this point. But a year ago, I was like, you know, I wanted to I wrote on my whiteboard, which I still have written up there. It says I am a proactive and an excellent planner because I knew that if I wanted to scale and grow things I would need to really be more effective and planning, planning ahead. And so I started out by journaling every morning. There are a lot of different you know, journaling processes out there, but simple things like writing down, you know, what your intention is for the day, you know, what you’re grateful for, and then a top three things that I want to accomplish. Those are the really key parts of it. I started out with that. And ultimately, what that led me to is like, oh, like I really like this, because now I can see progress every day. Even if I get one thing done. I’m still making progress compared to just kind of aimlessly wandering through my day. And every time that I was able to establish a really small, simple habit in my morning that I just kept stacking on to it. And one of the things that I learned a few years ago that’s been really helpful for me is habit stacking from the Atomic habits. So I started to really play with an optimized like what I can get done in the morning. So it started out with really simple things like, literally took me like five minutes or 10 minutes to wear now. But my routine is I always preface this before I share my routine. This is what works for me. And I know you talked about it too, Ryan, but it’s really important for people to customize your routine so that it works for you. So like be inspired by other people’s, you know, morning routine and what they do. But don’t think that like literally cloning, it is going to work for you, like pull the things out that you like and work for you and then optimize from there. But my morning routine now is I actually have through one of my smart home devices, which I’m not going to say because she’ll start talking right now turn on my lamp in my bedroom at 5 am. Because light really wakes me up in the morning I’ve learned through testing that my actual alarm will go off like five minutes later. So I know it’s time to get up and get out of bed. I then go for a drive around the corner from my house that’s like it’s 30 seconds from my house and I take the mile and a half walk at a park near my house. I come back and sit in my hot tub for 10 minutes and meditate while I’m in there. Then I jumped in my cold plunge tub for three minutes, which is usually at like 48 degrees which is pretty chilly. If you haven’t done that I get back in the hot tub and do daily affirmations of things that I’m manifesting in my life. I stretch in there then I shower or actually what I get out, I get back in the cold plunge for three to five minutes. When I get out, I do 20 pushups and like 40 leg lifts so getting you to know, getting some workout on my core, jump in the shower, eat breakfast with my son and my partner Rachel and then typically after that I come in my office and do some breath work some like breathing exercises because that’s really calming and really really has been helpful to me and then I get ready for the morning podcasts that I do which are called the engine builder show and I stream that life and so I jump out with my team and then after that I go into like a normal kind of cadence of meetings with my team in the morning just to do status updates and things like that but that’s the gist of it. And I essentially ended up having a couple of hours to myself in the morning before I started engaging with my team which is what I really liked about the cold plunge.

Ryan

Is that what is that is it a literally a hole in the ground that you built that has cold water or is it something different?

Gabe  

I was looking at that and I’ve cold plunge like in Glacier streams and like lakes in Montana and like I’ve actually liked a cold plunge in the actual cold you know cold bodies of water and I’ve looked at all the different or I’ve heard of all the other ones are like no people make them out of like ice chests and stuff like that. But I ended up buying one from a place called the cold plunge.com And what I like about that is it’s always cold it’s always ready to go. It doesn’t matter what temperature is outside warm or hot because I like right now it’s cold You know, where I live here in Cleveland, Ohio, but in the summer, you know, can get in the 90s, you know, even over. Up close to 100. And this one is just like, it’s like a large bathtub, you know, bigger than your normal bathtub is a large bathtub, you fill it up, and it keeps it to exactly where he calls it or he said to whatever temperature you want, and it’s got Jetson purifiers in there and stuff. And so it’s been, it’s been awesome. So it’s like it’s ready anytime I want to jump in. And so I, I always do it like twice that kind of back to back hot, cold, hot, cold in the morning, but then sometimes in the afternoon or at night, I’ll do that as well. Because it just, it’s super, it’s one of the most calming, and like mentally clearing things I’ve ever done in my life. That’s one of the reasons I do it.

Ryan

Wow, I’m gonna take a look at that thecoldplunge.com. Okay. And you mentioned Atomic habits. I’ve read that book. It’s really good. He had a really good interview too on. Although if you’re familiar with Eddie, my lead, he’s got a business personal development podcast, but he was on with Ed, my lead shout when he gave a really good interview. It’s been an hour long. So if you enjoyed the book, you would enjoy that interview as well.

Gabe  

Yeah, I’ll check that out. Thank you.

Ryan 

So do you think I know it’s hard to like, know, for certain, but you said your business is growing? And you clearly have a very dialed-in morning routine? Do you think there’s a correlation between the two? I know you said you’re doing things with like your systems and processes. So it’s not always just a singular thing that’s helping, but how much of a role do you think your morning routine plays in the success of your business?

Gabe  

I credit, probably half of half if not more of a to my morning routine, honestly. Because I know that when I sit down and plan in the morning, and I like said even then I’ve like time, I time, everything I do, because I don’t know how long it takes me. Like, it usually takes me like six to eight minutes to plan in the morning. It’s not, it’s not super time-consuming. But I know that doing the planning drives my outcomes of the day. And also just setting an intention for the day. One of the intentions I wrote down this morning is to be present for myself. And I think just like setting an intention like that, like another one I raised like, you know, that I write almost every day, but like, you know, just serve and support my team at the highest level. And you know, and our clients too. And when you set an intention for the day, it’s a lot easier to actually act upon that because you’re, you’re being conscious of it. So planning, you know, I kind of did some math on that, because I talked to that I spoke at an event about a couple of weeks ago. But like I’ve accomplished 800 important things for my business this year. And I have them all written down. Like they were, you know, in my top three things that I knew I need to get done. And some days I get one or two done. Some days, I get farther into my to-do list and get six or eight things done, which is not as common, but there are very few days that go by that I don’t get, you know, one or two things done off my top three. And so really being intentional about that means I can incrementally move the needle every day. And then when you stack all those up, it’s significant. Just like what I tell people, when I’m coaching them in sales is like when we have a salesperson count on like, if you send one proposal a day, you’ll be a millionaire as a salesperson, it’s not like it’s just one proposal. But it’s just the consistency factor. So the consistency factor definitely has a massive impact on the business. And then the intention around like both health and mindset also has a massive impact. So I only recently added in the morning walk because I was working out some of the time during the week. And then so I was doing my push-ups and stuff like that. And then my leg lifts since I was doing something but like, well, if I walk a mile and a half a day, I can do that for the rest of my life, it doesn’t matter what age I am, or what, you know, technically what shape I’m in, it’s gonna, you know, it’s something that will last forever. And so those little incremental builds really help. If you keep yourself healthy physically, then you can run a business, if you’re super sick, you can’t show up to work and like, do anything productive. And then the last thing like kind of around the question is cold plunging every day. It’s an intense experience, it’s highly recommended. It’s one of the best things I do in the morning. And it’s very intense. And so like, if I can get into freezing cold water, it’s so cold that it like stings and like feels like it’s like burning cold when you first get in. If I can get in and do that twice in the morning for three to five minutes each time, then there’s really nothing else that’s gonna go on and on the day that can bother me that much. Like I’ve already done, like, I’ve already chosen positive adversity for myself first thing in the morning. And so if I can do that, then there’s really not a lot else that’s going to come my way it’s gonna bother me.

Ryan  

It’s so true. I do cold showers in the winter here in Jersey, it’s like, stabbing me in the back. Do you know?

Gabe 

I did those sort of a couple of years before I got the towel. And yeah, once you get used to that you’re like, yeah, there’s not really much else that’s gonna happen to it. It’s gonna bother me that much if I can deal with it.

Ryan 

Those 15 minutes flew by like I have so many questions I want to ask you, but I will end with this last question here. You seem like you’re very structured. You’re very dialed in as long as I’ve known you you’re very level-headed, just like, it seems like nothing bothers you. And that’s probably not the case. But at least that’s my impression of you. Can you leave us, leave us with some tips around mindset like the cold plunges, like you said, they’re very calming. So there’s something, I’m sure with mindset there. But anything else you do to really dial in your mindset?

Gabe 

I would say, the biggest thing that in some senses, I feel like I was born with this, which I don’t really credit very many things that but as I, the older I get, the more I reflect on my childhood, and like being a young adult, I’ve always thought like this. The biggest thing is the stoicism kind of philosophy, or the stoic view of life is that we’re all going to die. And I’ve always viewed my life as like, this could be my last day, and I have no guarantee of it, it could be my last day. And I’m also planning and aiming to, you know, at the same time, I have the intention to live to be 120. But if today is my last day, then what should I really get wound up about? unless somebody’s actually bleeding or dying? It’s not an emergency to me. And it’s something that can be solved. And also, not only just not reacting to emergencies, but being just responsive and proactive about things. But also thinking like, if this is the last opportunity, that I get to talk to somebody or do something, then I’m going to be a lot more intentional about what I say and how I show up. And so knowing that we’re all going to die, and knowing that this could be your last day on earth, and what decisions would you make, I think, with that kind of frame, we would be more intentional about our businesses, because they should be there to provide for our family and our teams. And, you know, we would be more intentional with personal relationships, that we tell people we care about them, and that we say things that maybe we’re afraid to say, in a positive but confrontational way, because it could be the last chance that we have the same. And so knowing that this is my last shot at life today is my last shot at life. And I really believe that every day, it helps me stay a lot calmer, but also be a lot more direct and be more persistent and things that I want to accomplish.

Ryan 

Yeah, that’s a huge takeaway for everyone listening. I love that frame. I think about that those things too. Like is today my last day. And for me, it’s like it’s straddling the line between like, advancing my professional life and also having fun and being present for my kids and my friends and all that, like straddling that line. Sure. Right. You don’t know Is today your last day? So I love that frame. Thanks for sharing. Yeah, absolutely. To get what’s the best way people can reach out to you if they want to connect with you.

Gabe  

You can find me anywhere on social media just search for Gabe Arnold that’s on Facebook the most but I’m on LinkedIn and Twitter, or probably the other two places. And then if you want to see what we’re up to and what we’re working on, you can visit businessmarketingengine.com

Ryan 

Perfect. Thanks, Gabe. And thanks, everyone for listening. 

Gabe

Thank you so much.

Ryan  

Thanks for listening to the Morning Upgrade podcast. Please subscribe and review. And don’t forget to visit us at morningupgrade.com for more content.

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