The Profit First System: A Review

The Profit First System: A Review

Putting Your Profit First – A Review of Implementing the Profit First System

I’ve always been good with avoiding massive debt – never had a credit card and always saved to buy things I wanted in cash. Yet I also wasn’t very good at saving money – I seemed to always find something to spend it on.

As a side note, I recently read a fantastic book called Millionaire Mind which explains WHY I am a spender and why you might be too, and how to change your mindset to grow your wealth instead of always getting rid of it so quickly.

As a dog trainer, work fluctuates. While this is normal it can make for stressful times in periods of less work. So the smart thing to do is to “save for a rainy day,” throughout the year. They say you should have an emergency fund that could cover your running costs for three months if necessary.

However every time I started a savings account, I would grow it then spend it, rinse, repeat.

I then saw several entrepreneurs recommending a book called Profit First by Mike Michalowicz and when I see successful people recommending something, I take it seriously, so I bought the book.

Then I didn’t take it so seriously in the beginning. I read a few chapters and I’ll admit it, I got a little bored. I knew the idea was good. I knew the system was good. I knew it would be good for my business… but sometimes the best things for you aren’t the most fun things so I put it off for a bit…

Then I kept seeing people talk about it more and more and how great it’s been for their business and I finally pulled my finger out, finished the book and decided to implement the system into my business.

Isn’t funny how we put things off that we know are good for us?

How Most Small Business Owners Manage Their Accounts

If you’re running like most small businesses, all your income goes into a business bank account and hopefully, you draw your pay from that so that personal expenses aren’t mixed in with business expenses.

Then, when business expenses come up, you hope that you haven’t just spent the required money on a shopping spree and use the same account to pay for those expenses, perhaps sometimes having to put off the payment or wait until the last possible minute because on that day you wanted to go shopping, you had money… but now somehow you don’t.

If you have a good month, you lust over alllll that money sitting in your account and think, “ I feel so rich! What can I buy?”

If you’re somewhat disciplined you might put regular money aside into a savings account.

How The Profit First System Works

As you read through the book, Mike has you do some exercises to calculate how your business is doing and what your allocations should be.

There’s a few variations on how many accounts you’ll need dependant on whether you need to pay staff or how much debt you have. Getting out of debt quickly is a priority.

So everyone’s Profit First set up can look slightly different but there’s one main goal of this system:

Sales – Profit = Expenses

Most people take the expenses out of their sales income and then whatever is left is their profit. Profit First has you do this the other way around to ensure that your business is always profitable BEFORE it spends more money.

Because if your business doesn’t make a profit, it defeats the purpose of having a business in the first place.

The Profit First system is all about making sure funds are allocated to where they need to go BEFORE the expenses come in, but that before you pay expenses or sign up for new ones, you’ve taken a profit.

A typical breakdown of accounts is as follows:

Income account – this is where all your incoming money goes and you disperse the percentages from here when you do you allocations

Operating expenses – This is the account that you pay your expenses from

Owner’s pay – this is the account that you then pay yourself from

Tax – setting aside money for tax – very important (separate bank recommended so you don’t touch it)

Profit – Different to owner’s pay, this is the profit of the business. You can withdraw this quarterly as a bonus to celebrate and use as play money! (separate bank recommended so you don’t touch it)

Materials & Subcontractors – In this account set aside money to replenish stock when you sell stock.

(Have you ever sold stock and spent all the money before ordering replacement stock, only to be left short? Cause same.)

Also recommended is an emergency fund – save up enough money to be able to run your business for 3 months if income suddenly stopped.

When you’ve done your profit first assessment, you’ll know which percentage of your income you’ll need to disperse into each account.

How often? It’s up to you – I chose once a week and now have, “finance Fridays.”

Some people do twice a month and some people do it daily. Find the rhythm that works for you.

You can set this all up yourself based on the book, or you can get a Profit First accountant to help you. I was lucky enough to find Phil from Panic Atax to help me put this system into place. He’s the best accountant I have ever had and working with Phil has made me feel better about managing my money than ever!

If you’re in Australia, check out Phil at Panic Atax and tell him I sent you!

“But it’s MY MONEY”

This was my first objection that I found difficult when I implemented this system. I loved seeing a bulk amount of money grow in one account and knowing it’s mine, I earned that. Thinking of all the things I could use it for…

Except it wasn’t ever truly all mine. Phil explained it to me:

Some already belongs to the tax man. Some will be owed to suppliers. Some needs to go to subscriptions I pay for – all necessary to run the business.

It only took a couple of weeks for me to feel better about this and really get it. Whether it’s all in one account or not, not all of it is mine. Some has to go to expenses and tax whether I like it or not. I may as well be prepared for that.

Now, when a bill comes in, I know which account I’m paying it out of and I know the money is there already, set aside just for that purpose.

By paying myself first, I know exactly how much money I can freely enjoy and not have to worry about the rest. It’s taken care of. Ready to go.

When tax time comes, I have plenty set aside to cover it and to lessen the pain of handing that money over, I get a bonus from my profit account.

It was a bit scary at first, but like most scary things, it’s worth it.

Get the book here and get ready to put your profit first!

The Best Business Books For Dog Trainers – or Anyone!

The Best Business Books For Dog Trainers – or Anyone!

The Best Business Books For Dog Trainers – or Anyone!

As part of my Dog trainer’s business course, I have a module on mindset and the habits that help a person become successful. Success isn’t just luck after all, it’s our hard work and our habits each day that help us to get there.

One habit that has helped me tremendously (and many successful people I know) is to regularly read books by other successful people. Or listen to them. I like to use audio books to listen to books while I do chores or drive to save time. Podcasts are good for this too.

So what are the best business books for dog trainers?

Here are some of my favourite books in the areas of business and personal development. I find that when I am actively listening to or reading books like these every day, I see a noticeable difference in how business and life is going, for the better!

Here’s my list of current favourites:


Secrets of The Millionaire Mind, by T. Harv Eker – If you only read one book from this list, make it this one. This book is about why we think the way we do about money, and how to think about it in ways that make us create more wealth

Profit First, by Mike Michalowicz – Manage your money the smart way and focus on higher profits. I run my accounts this way and it’s a game changer! I’m thinking I’ll do a separate review of this system. It’s been a little complex to set up initially but the benefits are clear.

The Pumpkin Plan, by Mike Michalowicz – Stand out from the competition by focusing on the best clients and making your business unique


The Big Leap, by Gay Hendricks – all about conquering your fears that prevent you from making it to the next level

Grit, by Angela Ducksworth – What makes some people successful while others aren’t? And how do you create it?

The Success Principles, by Jack Canfield – A great read about the principles of successful people

The Miracle Morning, by Hal Elrod – I love this book. All about the morning routine and the habits you can implement in the morning for the most productive days, ultimately leading to massive success

Stealing Fire, by Jamie Wheal, Steven Kotler – A bit different to the other books mentioned here but very interesting – all about escapism and finding ecstaticism and how we all escape in one way or another, and how you can use that for success.

A Mind Of Your Own, by Kelly Brogan – NOT a business book but a very interesting read about depression and anxiety and our health. Listed here because health and your mind are intertwined and it’s a very interesting book

Business & Motivation

The 10X Rule, by Grant Cardone – Go big or go home in this book about how you can find ways to 10X your business and your life

The One Thing, by Jay Papasan & Gary Keller – A well known book about how you can be more productive focusing on one thing at a time, and more successful if you put all your energy and focus into “the one thing.”

Ask Gary Vee, by Gary Vaynerchuck  – Gary Vaynerchuck is well known as a very motivational entrepreneur who likes to swear and is full of passion. This is a great book made up of questions his followers have sent in, and his answers. Gary V is also worth following on Facebook

Think and Grow Rich, by Napolean Hill – A world famous book that has changed a lot of lives. While it’s a bit of an older book with some old school thinking in it, it couldn’t not be on the list. Napolean Hill talks a lot about the law of attraction and habits and mindset for success.

That’s is so far! I also have a “to read list,” of other highly recommended books so I’ll update this post as I go.

What’s your favourite business book that has had a positive impact on you?

Money Mindset: Don’t Feel Bad For Charging For RESULTS

Money Mindset: Don’t Feel Bad For Charging For RESULTS

Do you feel bad for charging money for your services? Are you tempted to give massive discounts or train for free?

If so, you’re not alone. But you should be confident in charging a higher price if you want to because you are helping people. If you can get them results, think about what that is worth to the client. Think about how happy they are at the end when their dog is now transformed into a well mannered family member.

That means a lot to people and in many cases is life changing!

Think about why you might feel bad, is it because we live in a society where we grow up hearing that money is bad and that if you want it, you are greedy?

Some people ARE greedy. They rip people off on purpose and are in it just for the money without caring about results or the happiness of the client.

But I know that isn’t you, or you wouldn’t be reading this.

Let me tell you about my experience with raising my rates.

I used to charge really low because hey, who would pay more in this area? (another one I hear all the time that isn’t true)

I got clients all the time that cancelled last minute, didn’t do their homework, didn’t seem to care and didn’t get results. Is that the kind of client you look forward to working with?

Do you know what happens when you see a client and don’t get them results because THEY didn’t do their homework? They blame you.

Unfair. But it’s the way it is.

I remember giving an acquaintance a lesson for free. I gave up over an hour of my time helping her and got the dog to stop pulling on the leash. All she had to do was be consistent in what she learned and stick to the prescribed equipment of a training collar rather than a harness.

I then saw her down the beach a few weeks later with some other people. The dog was back on the harness lunging and barking at her friends and acting totally out of control. She was not doing a single thing I had instructed.

And then do you know what she said to her friends?

“Oh meet Tenille, she is our dog trainer!”

Her friends laughed as her dog was clearly NOT trained.

I spoke up.

“No I’m not your trainer. We spent one session together and you have not kept up with a single thing I taught you.”

But usually, you won’t be there to speak up.

Another time I gave a free class pass to a friend. Someone else could have paid for the spot but I gave it to her for her new pup. She came to one class and never returned.

There was no pressing reason to keep up with training for either of these people. Life got in the way, they got busy, training got pushed aside.

And the truth is, while I knew these people personally, they weren’t the client type I would usually get. Neither of them were the type of people that would spend money on dog training.

Now imagine you see someone and they pay you a price over a thousand dollars for training. Are they going to do their homework? You bet your ass they are. Otherwise their money is spent for nothing.

So I changed the way I priced my services and charged for results.

People still signed up.

The quality of client went up.

Every client did their homework and therefore got better results.

And every client was a joy to work with. Because it’s unlikely someone invests in working with a person that they don’t like, trust or click with.

Here’s today’s live video replay on the topic:

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Limiting Beliefs In Your Business

Limiting Beliefs In Your Business

Today we spoke on Facebook live about limiting beliefs in your business, particularly those that stop you from taking action and running your business the way you should.

We also discussed living life outside your comfort zone and how pushing through your fears is the only way to get to where you want to go.

Watch / listen to the live stream recording below:

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Dog Trainers: Should You List Your Prices On Your Website?

Dog Trainers: Should You List Your Prices On Your Website?


Last week I released a free PDF download about how to price your services and it was a great hit.

A great question came up​​ from Sarah. She asked – should I list my prices on my website?

So I thought I’d write my thoughts and experience on this and create a discussion in the Facebook group​​

The short answer is: it depends.

The long answer is that I generally advise NOT to list your prices. Here’s the reasoning on why you might list them, and why you maybe shouldn’t…

The goal of your website is to get the prospective client to contact you and ultimately book your services.

Hopefully they firstly want to contact you because your website has made it clear that you can help them. The second reason they want to contact you is to find out more information.

The reason you want them to contact you for more information rather than give it all out on your website is so that you can have a conversation with them and explain the benefits and WHY it’s worth the price.

If the prospect can see the price right away, they are likely to make a decision based on that aspect alone.

Do you want people to choose to work with you based on your price compared to the price of others, or based on something else? Like, I dunno, that you’re an awesome trainer that can get them results?

By having a conversation with them, you can first explain how you work, what the benefits are and why you’d be a good fit for them, making them see why they want to hire you before basing their decision on price.

So based on this, are there any situations you would want to list prices on your website?

​​For some people​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, they are so busy and have so many enquiries that they don’t feel the need to try to get more work and want to cut down the number of people contacting them. If this is you, placing the prices on your website will cut down your enquiries for the reasons mentioned above.

But I’m guessing you’re happy with more enquiries (and therefore customers) rather than less 😉 ​​