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The Four Factors That Separate 8 and 9 Figure Contractors From the Rest

(Number four will cause some controversy and offend a lot of contractors)

Benji Carlson was our guest for episode 7 of the Growth Minded Contractor podcast. 

Since Benji has interviewed 1,500+ contractors while working at the Breakthrough Academy…

And worked directly with over 400 of those businesses…

He has a really unique insight into how different patterns of behavior and thinking affect success in this industry – at a massive scale.

Now for starters, a lot of this is a conscious decision because Benji notes that there are two main types of contractors, each with different definitions of success.

First you have the lifestyle contractors who want to make multiple 6 figures, have everything running smoothly so that they can have enough time to play golf, travel, go fishing, or spend time with the family…

And if they can do that they are incredibly happy!

Then, you have the goliath type contractors who want to be the best, win all the awards, conquer the market and grow to 8 or 9 figures per year in revenue.

Now, it’s worth mentioning that neither of these options is necessarily right or wrong, and that what success means to each person is going to be different. 

That being said, no matter the specific end goal, almost all of us are wanting to grow our business to the next level…

So, even if you are focused on growing more of a “lifestyle business”, these four ingredients shared by the highest earning contractors, can be crucial to know…

Because by focusing on these areas you’ll be able to increase your revenue, which will allow you to hire more staff and help you create more freedom in your business.

So without further ado, let’s dive into the list:


  1. Clarity of Vision

After hundreds of interviews, there’s one thing that Benji immediately notices in the highest earners:

They have a crystal clear vision for their business over the next 5 years.

When he asks them what their business is going to look like in a few years time, they respond with something that feels like a novel.

They know exactly how big their company is going to be, how many people are going to be on their team, what software they are going to be using, what challenges they are going to face along the way, and so on…

Whereas 60 to 70% of contractors will have a vision that sounds far less detailed and specific. 

Like wanting to increase revenue, be more organized, move to a bigger office or eventually hire a general manager.

So, if you want to see how you stack up, here’s what you can do:

Grab a pen and paper and write out your vision for the next 5 years…

Then see how many exact specific details feature in your vision and note the length of your overall description.

If this looks more like a short general description versus a highly detailed novel, this could be something that is currently holding back the progress of your business.


  1. Comfort Level With Tough Conversations 

Another thing that Benji has noticed is that people who really grow are able to have tough conversations with their staff and partners.

For example, if a team member is not meeting a certain standard, it’s about being able to confront them about it, show them evidence of how they’ve been falling short, and tell them clearly what needs to happen for them to meet the required standard.

Benji says that if someone isn’t in the habit of doing this consistently with people, then this can be a huge obstacle to growth. 

So, if you want to do a self-audit here, grab a pen and paper and ask yourself this:

Has someone been failing to meet a standard in your business over the past few years where you did not directly confront them about it until the standard was met? 

I’d invite you to really think about this and be honest with yourself… 

Because this could highlight a series of fantastic opportunities for revenue growth and general improvement within your business.


  1. Decisiveness 

Another big thing that Benji has noticed is that the big earners don’t contemplate decisions for months and months.

Because while one guy is thinking about whether or not he wants to take the plunge on a $4,000 marketing program…

The highest earning contractors will have already bought it, gone through the program, applied it in-house, and figured out how to get it to work in multiple different scenarios. 

Benji notes that it seems like these high earners are less afraid of making wrong decisions because they know they are still going to get it right a lot of the time.

And by making decisions at a far faster pace, even with these mistakes they are going to be ahead due to the sheer volume of action that is being taken. 

So if you want to self-assess your decisiveness, think about the last 5 big decisions you’ve had to make in your business, and ask yourself:

How much time was there between first hearing about the opportunity and then actually taking action on it?

And if you had to, how could you have cut this decision making time in half? 

Now, with all that being said, Benji also found one final factor that he believes truly separates the big earners from the rest:


  1. Drive To Be The Absolute Best

When it comes to all three of the factors we’ve mentioned, for the contractors who will go on to actually build an 8 or even 9 figure business, there’s one that really underpins all of them:

An obsessive and relentless drive to be the absolute best.

Unfortunately.. there’s no exercise you can do for this! 

Benji believes that this is something that is baked into your personality from a young age, and if you didn’t have this by the age of 15…

You probably just won’t be able to manufacture this bloodthirsty drive for total domination as an adult.

However, even if Benji is right on this, I think there are still some really great lessons here that any contractor can use to increase their revenue…

Because even if you are a lifestyle-oriented contractor, having a crystal clear vision, being more decisive, and being willing to have tough conversations are all changes that will certainly help you become more profitable and reduce your working hours.

And this is best shown by Breakthrough Academy’s exceptional results from working with both types of contractors…

Because within 12 months inside the program their clients on average are able to increase net profit by 40% while reducing their work week by 8 hours!


Here’s How Breakthrough Academy Helps Contractors Work Less And Enjoy More Profits

These impressive results are achieved by doing a few things:

First, the guys at BTA take that vision piece we talked about earlier and they help you get it on paper in the form of an incredibly clear strategic plan.

With this, they reverse-engineer that vision into specific, measurable targets that need to be hit to get there, such as annual revenue goals.

This is the very first and most important step because it adds a distinct sense of direction to their coaching and advice, while providing a solid foundation for all decision making. 

From here, they help the business owner dial in their financial tracking so they can quickly access all of the most important business data through a simple dashboard. 

This is because Benji and the BTA team are big proponents of always using data and numbers when planning or making decisions.

Of course you can still use intuition to make a gut call on something but when you can quickly see things like:

  • How much of your overhead budget you are currently spending
  • The profits generated on completed jobs
  • Your current cash flow forecast

And much more..

You immediately have a much better insight into what’s actually going on in your business, which leads to more informed, higher quality decisions than just going off of “gut feelings” alone. 

Finally, another thing that BTA really helps businesses with is building systems that make them great at attracting and keeping top-level talent. 


Combating The Current Labor Shortage By Turning Your Business Into A “Talent Magnet”

There’s a shortage of talented workers right now which is difficult and frustrating for business owners, but there are a lot of actionable steps that BTA can help you take like: 

  • Building your brand as a great employer to work for.
  • Creating a compelling employment offer.
  • Setting up a digital hiring funnel that uses paid ads and landing pages (so you can collect new job applications on autopilot).
  • Conducting behavioral interviewing and having a proper onboarding process (so you can make sure that new hires integrate well with your current team).

Ryan also adds that he believes there isn’t so much a labor shortage that’s happening right now as there rather is a leadership shortage.

In fact, it’s a leader’s responsibility to create an attractive work environment and a compelling vision that’s going to attract the right people to work there. 

But aside from these processes which can be implemented…

Benji says that many business owners are actually shooting themselves in the foot before they even start hiring because of their mindset.

He notices that many business owners see the perks offered by remote online jobs such as digital marketing and feel like what they are offering can’t compete with this.

But there are many amazing benefits that contracting offers such as: 

  • Being able to work with your hands (and the satisfaction that comes with that)
  • Working with a tightly knit team
  • Being able to beautify people’s homes and businesses
  • Being a bought-in member of the community you live in and serve
  • Getting to be outside and stay fit

Meanwhile, that online digital marketer might be making $32,000 per year, never leave their dark living room, and feel depressed all the time. 

So, what you have to offer as a job opportunity is probably far more compelling than you think.

And if you take pride in what you do and really own it, you will be surprised at how this affects your hiring process and the talent you can attract. 

So, I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Growth Minded Contractor podcast. 

If you want to make sure you don’t miss another episode just click here to subscribe now

And if you want to check out our full list of past episodes just click here

Finally, if you’re interested in learning more from Benji and the Breakthrough Academy team…

You can either click here to apply to directly work with Breakthrough Academy.

Or you can hear Benji and Igor Trninic – one of the founders of Breakthrough Academy – speak at our upcoming Transform Conference event in Dallas, Texas this October…

As well as getting to meet them in person and ask them your business questions!

These guys are just two of dozens of incredibly knowledgeable speakers you can learn tons from at this event, while networking with hundreds of other growth-minded contractors from all over the country. 

Click here to learn more about the Transform Conference now

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