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It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations of a new business. But what are some of the factors that contribute to business growth?

Discover how a small company grew into a global software company by focusing on one big idea: making accounting simple.

What is the secret? “We’ve always focused on one big problem,” Mike McDerment says.

Mike is the Executive Chair and Co-Founder of FreshBooks, the leading cloud accounting software designed specifically for freelancers and growing service-based business owners. Mike spent 3.5 years growing FreshBooks from his parent’s basement after becoming frustrated after accidentally saving over an invoice. As a result, over 24 million people have used the service since its inception in 2003.

– Mike McDerment

Raw and Real Entrepreneurship with Mike McDerment

Topics covered in the interview

Mike’s first business
Where the motivation comes from
How FreshBooks started
How FreshBooks begin to scale
Funding Freshbooks
Quality of character vs proven professional competency
Succession in business

Mike McDerment’s Bio

Mike is the Executive Chair & Co-Founder of FreshBooks, the #1 accounting software in the cloud, designed exclusively for freelancers and growing service-based business owners. Built out of frustration after accidentally saving over an invoice, Mike spent 3.5 years growing FreshBooks from his parents’ basement. Since launching in 2003, over 24 million people have used FreshBooks to save time billing and collect billions of dollars.

Follow Mike McDerment

Show Notes

Read Full Transcript

Susan Sly 00:02
Well, Hey everyone, if you are living in your parents' basement, then this is going to be the episode for you. No, I'm just kidding, but maybe not really. So wherever you are in the world, hey, I want to give some shout out to Germany, Poland, who are now in the top 10. I love you guys. I've never been to Poland, but I've been to Germany many times. Anyway, my guest today is the executive chair and co founder of a company that is really changing how we look at accounting. And I know what some of you are thinking, accounting, Oh my gosh, but don't forget, the number one reason businesses fail is poor cash flow. And why is that? It's because people don't understand their accounting. And being married to an accountant, I think accounting is pretty sexy. Actually, I do. Anyway, this software was designed exclusively for freelancers and the growing service base for business owners. And this gentleman built the basement, it built his business out of the basement. And since launching in 2003, over 24 million people have used his software, FreshBooks, to save time on billing and collect billions of dollars. But one of my favorite things about this gentleman is not that he's a father, not that he's the loving husband, not that he's enduring a renovation, he is a fellow Canadian from my hometown, Toronto, Canada, and Drake as well, who's from Toronto. So Mike McDerment, thanks so much for being here.

Mike McDerment 01:23
You look carefully, there's Canadians everywhere. Yeah, thank you for having me. I'm pleased to be here.

Susan Sly 01:28
Yeah, we're, we are everywhere. So Mike, I want to ask you, just jumping in, you know, there are so many people who listen to the show, whether they're in Nigeria or they're in Christchurch, or wherever it is they are, they're thinking of starting a business. What was the first business you started?

Mike McDerment 01:49
The short answer is the, I will wash your car with my parents' hose in my parents driveway, you know, after school for five bucks business. That was, that was, that was probably the first one. I guess, you know, maybe I hadn't thought about it. But maybe the lemonade stand came before that. I got a lesson in that. My best friend's mother was like, we used all her stuff. We had a cookie tray, and we had lemonade out there. And at the end of the day, she was like, Okay, great. How much did you make? And we were like, you know, I don't know, $7. And she's like, okay, I'll take $5.50 back. Those are my cookies, and my lemonade. You made a buck, 50 split it between yourselves. And I was like, What? Okay, what happened? And she's like, we gotta buy this stuff. So that was, maybe that's, that's an even better answer to that question. All of it true, but that was probably the first one.

Susan Sly 02:42
And when was it? You know, I had Luke Aberley, who's a 12 year old entrepreneur from Alberta on the show, and I asked him this question, because it's a difference when we actually start our first business to when entrepreneurship gets into our blood. So when do you feel that you actually said I want to be an entrepreneur?

Mike McDerment 03:07
Well, that's an interesting thing, at least from my point of view, and I'll give you a bit of a longer one on this because I think, I think I may be like, or other people may be like me. So I think that that washing the car thing was in grade two, the lemonade stand may have been before. That one almost doesn't count, because it's so obvious. Everybody does that for a day, at least. But, but also like in grade two, that parent-teacher night, I drew a video game on the board. I made this like game and instead of asking, like, do you like it or whatever, I asked, how much would you pay for this? Which is may be a sign. Now you might say, oh, Mike, it was obvious to you, you were going to be an entrepreneur. But to be honest, it was not at all. And that what, my experience was growing up is it just didn't seem like an obvious path. There weren't entrepreneurship, at least where I grew up in Toronto, Canada, there were entrepreneurs, many great ones for sure. But it wasn't, it wasn't something that was heralded. I feel like the US, as I travel, entrepreneurship is more heralded than it is in my hometown. There are, I feel like these tech entrepreneurs like Zuckerberg, and what have you have gone and made it again, like a thing to go start a company. When I was growing up, it was like go work for Goldman Sachs or Lehman Brothers. And that's the height of what you can do. And now it's like, go start a company, which I think is, in many ways much healthier. So the long and the short of it is in grade 12, my mom put a book about being an entrepreneur like Entrepreneurship For Dummies in my stocking, and I was, I was like, What is it, like why did you even give this to me? And like I didn't, I didn't see the connection but I think she knew where things were heading before I did and so you know, I think it's a you know, I believe it's not an obvious path for a lot of people but I think it was, you know, my nature from pretty early on.

Susan Sly 05:01
And your mom, clearly it was, she had, she saw something in you that beyond the lemonade stand and beyond the washing the cars but she definitely saw something which was huge. When you, you know and to the point of, and we have people of all ages who listen to the show and watch the show, and it depends on how old someone is to really understand. When I was, when I went to Brockville Collegiate Institute, Mike, in the 80s- Sure. So you do those, the career tests and mine was, I think Secretary was the one that I got. Did you do one?

Mike McDerment 05:38
One of the many ones might have had janitor. There was like really high, they was fascinating to me like there was a range. It was like, well this is what you'd probably like and it was for everything from like probably executive, though I don't really remember too. I do remember janitor and it was like wow, okay, still not really helping me narrow it down.

Susan Sly 05:55
Yeah, and it was, it was such a you know, just to share some stories too. It was, it was a different time because there was this and i don't know i'm curious about this. So when, when I was growing up, I was from an entrepreneurial family. So my dad and my grandmother owned a restaurant and my dad was a serial entrepreneur, he was an engineer, an inventor. My husband on the other hand, his father worked for the government, at one point he ran OMERS, which if you don't know what OMERS is, it's the Ontario Municipal Employees pension and it was at one time the largest pension in the entire world. and he was like this government guy, And so my husband was taught go to school, get good grades, get a government job for $50,000, work until you get a pension, and I was taught you have to make your own way. So what, as you were growing up beyond your mom, what were some of the messages that you were hearing? Because those, the narrative, I think has changed. Now we see a lot of young people starting businesses, but what was the narrative for you?

Mike McDerment 06:58
I don't know that there was much of an narrative for me. I think I remember I have a friend, I'll call her a friend now, she's about 99, and she lived next door to me and she's still with us. Unfortunately not next door anymore but she tells the story of how I came by in my 20s. I was sitting there, we were catching up and I was hanging out with her and she was like, Mike, you could not have told me what you wanted to do. But you had a long list of the things you didn't want to do. And so again, back to trying to figure it out. It was stumbling around knowing you know, like I went to business school for a few years and I had no desire, like I did not want to be in my study groups. Like I didn't really enjoy the culture of business school. I didn't want to grow up and be kind of a middle manager in a bank or you know or even go to like investment. It just wasn't appealing to me. That all felt you know, not like me. And so you know, I think a lot of it for me was finding something that fit and those again, those, what those things were not going to be obvious or sorry, were really not obvious. And my mum interestingly was quite entrepreneurial but more in the you know, not for profit sector, starting things up. So she was she was behaving in an entrepreneurial way but not in a commercially oriented way.

Susan Sly 08:18
That's interesting. Which school did you go to?

Mike McDerment 08:21
I went to, I did business school at Queen's until fourth year when I left the program and started two businesses. What year was

Susan Sly 08:28

Mike McDerment 08:30
Oh dear, you're gonna date me here, that's just fine. I was, I was a '99. So that would have been whatever that was. I don't even know when that was. What's it, was '99 the start year or the graduating? It's the graduating so probably would have been '90.

Susan Sly 08:42
So I did my last credit at Queens in '92 so I'm going to date myself. So Mike, let's fast forward time. When you had the concept for FreshBooks, what were you, what were you doing at the time? Because so many people have ideas but they don't act on them and I'm very, what I'm really curious about is, what in an entrepreneurs mind, that's why we call it raw and real entrepreneurship, what is it about that person that is je ne sais quio where they are like, I have an idea but I'm actually going to take action. So what was going on in your life? How did you get the idea and what compelled you to say I have to do this no matter what?

Mike McDerment 09:24
Yeah, the motivation. So I, by the way, that was, we'll get to it, but that wasn't really the thing. I'm pretty intuitive. If I look back on my career today, I can make sense of it all. At the time, I couldn't make sense of it. So the starting of FreshBooks was I had through a series of things leaving, you know, business school and fourth year starting two businesses. One of them was an events business. You know, the caterer for that event needed a website, I started building websites to market the events and then I start building it for my caterer. And then I had a bunch of clients and as I just Word and Excel to build them. I saved over an invoice and said, hey, there's got to be a better way. And so getting into this business was an intuitive thing because I was helping build websites and wanted to get into showing our customers, hey, we can build applications for you as well. And so I said, Well, why don't I start? And I saved all these invoice. I was very frustrated, I basically a shrink wrap box of software on my shelf that I knew, even though I went to business school, I would, you know, really not enjoy using. So I said, forget it, I'm going to build something. I'm going to show my clients a- what I can build and give them a simple experience to get their invoice. And that's how we started. So I scratch my own itch, solving the thing for myself, and it was kind of an intellectual curiosity and challenge to me to do it. And that's, that's why I did it. It didn't have like a big vision for where it was going to go or anything like that. And I think if you scratch under a lot of entrepreneurs, they are project people. And the best people that I'd like to hire, they get into a project, they actually do execute on a small scale event and then think about, you know, like, Oh, do I like doing this? And so for me, it was, Hey, I did it. And I really liked doing it. So my vision for what that little thing could be kept growing. And then our clients who got the invoices liked it. And we started to realize, you know, that other people would benefit from this, too. So it is a, again, a very intuitive process for me, but you know, it clicked.

Susan Sly 11:19
I love that. I love what you said, I wrote that down that a lot of entrepreneurs are project people, right? And there's that piece where execution becomes essential. And I sit on a board of a Canadian startup right now. And the, one of the principles that's just you know, it's constant like okay, should we focus on the UX? Should we focus on the UI? Should we do this, should we do this? And I had a meeting with him actually today. And I was like, at some point, you have to step out of the boat and walk, right? And just jump in. And that's what you have to do. So how did you, how did you scale? Because there are a lot of people out there who get a few clients. It's one thing to have a few clients, maybe I have a 10 or 12 clients. But how did you begin to scale?

Mike McDerment 12:08
Sticking with it, is the short answer. We were, after two years, making $100 a month. And we had 10 customers paying us $9.95. And I had the, I still had the services business, and that was kind of you know, what was paying the bills. But I really had, this was a passion project is another way to put it. So loved it, kept working with it. But then we just kept finding ways to improve. We had 1000s of people signing up each month, but very few of them turning into paying customers. And so, oh pricing and packaging was wrong. Well, we didn't know anything about pricing and packaging. So we had to kind of invent that because it was not common to buy a subscription software online in 2004. So that, these are the kinds of things. And we just, we basically just stuck with it, and kept iterating and iterating and iterating and not holding ourselves to account to be on anyone else's timeline for you know, are we there yet and successful or even their definition of success, because commercially, we were a flop. But if you look at the growth of users like this was, you know, it was you know, extraordinarily fast growth happening kind of month over month. And so we knew something was there. We just hadn't figured out how to turn it into a business yet.

Susan Sly 13:20
I love that you're so transparent about the numbers because there are a lot of people who look at startups the way a lot of people are looking at, you know, crypto or meme stocks or whatever. It's like I'm gonna do a startup and I'm gonna make all this money. Two years, you're not even making $500 a month. At what point did you start to seek out funding to scale?

Mike McDerment 13:44
Well, the truth is, we avoided it. So you know, seeing as I were, you know, air quotes contemporaries for and I don't know, if you've got into the business or startup community in Toronto, and the time when you were Kingston for a while sounds like, so Hummingbird was a thing. In many ways Kingston was more successful, because so good startup companies were there. We had a, you know, a vulture capital community in Toronto that I was, I was terrified of. For those of you who are raising money, or thinking about it today, the world is a much better place for entrepreneurs than it was say a couple decades ago. Back then the internet didn't exist, there was this huge information arbitrage between the entrepreneurs and the VCs for, for what like a reasonable deal term would be an all these kinds of things. And so venture capitalists just took advantage of entrepreneurs at every turn. And to be honest, I think, you know, shortchange themselves in the process because they create a dynamics where it's like, okay, here's $300,000, I'll take 60% of your company. And then pretty soon the entrepreneur doesn't have much reason to go on. All of a sudden, they're sort of actually not in control. So no one's listening to their vision for how to get there. And you know, the potential, these companies really gets rewarded and kind of snubbed and shortchanged and nobody has a good experience. The venture capitalist doesn't make money, the entrepreneurs' like I just spent my time and I hate these people and I'm miserable that it may be, they turn that into doing it again and learning from it. But it's, it was a bit of a racket. And so I, we basically kind of avoided that. We did a little bit of angel financing. We almost raised from a, I think a good Angel group, not the vulture capitalists $300,000 for a third of the company. I maintain that we would have gone out of business a long time ago had we done that, because we would have, you know, had this significant stake standing out there from people who, you know, frankly, in the space, they would have been too early because we were too early, the space was not well understood, like all these kinds of things. And so it's funny how these things turn out. But the point is, I didn't rush to it. It was over a decade before we took on, you know, institutional capital, we've since raised, you know, a couple 100 million dollars, all that good stuff. But, but it is, Yeah, it was, it was not, it was it took a while. I put it off kind of as long as I could and stuck to friendlies. So family money, as in like $10,000 from my parents, which they were like, Okay, I guess we're just pissing this away, putting my French and not expecting anything back. And then my best friend's father started to advise and then he put like, I don't know, $40,000 in. And so that, these were the quantums of capital over like, long periods of time. And we were, I used the consulting business to put some dollars in and then eventually you found out somebody from the technology industry, who was an angel investor. So it was, it was, we kind of built up to it. And I actually think that was great, because we wouldn't have known what to do with the capital, if we had it any sooner.

Susan Sly 16:39
Thank you for, thank you for sharing all of that. Because it's, it's that, that grind of how much money do we need, What are we willing to give away for it, Do we do debt based financing, Do we qualify for debt based financing? And it just keeps going, you know, round and round. With Radius, we did 7.1 million in friends and family. And it's kind of this funny thing in Silicon Valley, because they're like you did 7.1 million in friends and family? I'm like, if you're a good person, and you know a lot of people and you can cast a vision, people invest in the founders, more so than the technology at that early stage. And then, you know, the other question I have for you, how did you attract? Because you were, you were capital limited because I believe in my research, like the early iterations of FreshBooks, there was a freemium model, so you're bringing on users, and if people don't understand what that means, there's still capital outlay to support those users who are not yet paying. So how did you attract really good people without being able to pay them really great salaries?

Mike McDerment 17:45
I think we focused on really loyal people who believed in what we were doing. Yeah, if I look at it you know, my co founders, one was a doctor in computer science, he loved the project, he had some extra time, he wanted some side work. And so side work I think is a key thing if you are really great people and Joe's really great. And then my, another, we had another person who was the Levi user of the, were the three co founders, and Levi joined, he was an electrical engineer, had been working at a consulting company and he was just tired of it. Like he just, it was like, I don't like what I'm doing. This seems you know, like why not do this, these are good people. And so we solved for quality of character over you know, sort of proven professional competency which you know, frankly, I wouldn't have had a clue how to assess at the time anyways. But I have no regrets about that. I think so much of this when you're in a start up is you're going to be in the same room with these people for more than you are with any of your family members. That includes like once you're married and all that stuff. Like it's it's you know, like who do you spend 50 or more hours a week with? Like, nobody. So that's you know, it really matters you get involved with. And our first employees were like, you know, Daniel who's still with us and he was, he had worked for another home based business and he showed up at my parents' house for like two, three years because we were working out of there for a while. So he was you know, comfortable with it. It wasn't weird for him to to join a company and operate in a home where a lot of other people are like where's your office? I can't work for you out of a home. And that was, it's probably less of a thing today than it was back then. But that was very much a thing in sort of 2004.

Susan Sly 19:24
Let me ask you this, because you have now the wisdom. You're in the executive chair position you know, obviously you know, co founding a company that has a massive valuation like unicorn valuation. And we're talking US dollar valuation so for, you know, that's like 1.3 billion canadian. But my question for you is, what does, What does 2021 Mike go back and advise 2003 Mike?

Mike McDerment 20:00
Part of me wonders if it's not the other way around which is a funny thing to say. I'll explain. But we were very first principles everything. Very values oriented you know, you know I would say I was uncompromising in a whole bunch of things and you know get up and like, it's almost like sometimes I want to channel that self because that self was kind of very driven, very nuts you know, maybe a little bit directive but you know, had an answer, knew what he wanted to do, was in many ways, like the intuition was high. And so you know, having said that, if I sit here today and I look back, I'd say, hey, don't change much like, stick to your guns you know, maybe learn how to incorporate other you know, like I think I struggled for years in terms of, not so much leading people because that you know, innately kind of came but I think you know, having them feel included sometimes in decision making and stuff like that that you hear about you know, with founders sometimes in the early days. I can talk to you at length around why I think that happens but I had to learn how to adjust my leadership style to have it you know, be more motivating for others even though you know we didn't have anybody leave. Like it's like, they were brought in and a lot of people still with us, but I think I got sort of better at it over time. So I think that was the thing and it was you know, to be honest, I don't look back and feel like I want to do things you know differently because I don't know that I could have done much better than I did. I think like, I think I was pushing myself on so many levels the whole time that I just had to wait to get to the next one to work on it if that makes sense.

Susan Sly 21:42
It makes perfect sense. Yeah, I love what you said that you really, you really had this foundation that was values based and to that point, a great leader stands on great values. Because in my research on you and what everyone needs to know is you know you can look at layers of someone's background and the news and so on and you go deep enough and you find something, and with Mike there's not. You know, when he says he built the company in a way that was values based and there wasn't you know, recently you decide to step back as CEO. And after 18 years. And that's tough because this is like your child, right, that you co parent with two others. How was that decision for you emotionally? Did you have, was there any challenge with shifting your identity when you made that move?

Mike McDerment 22:39
Yeah, I think surprisingly, little, funnily enough yesterday, I can't even remember the context but somebody asked me like how was dinner, because I was meeting with the, so I was introduced to somebody. I met them for the first time and we had a great conversation. And we were talking a little bit about this whole transition and he asked me you know, how was the first dinner after you kind of announced you know, this thing? And I was like, it was you know, like, honestly, I don't even know how to answer that question because it was, it was no different. I honestly I'm still doing the stuff in the CEO role that was the same. I feel there's been some misinterpretations in the video of like what actually happened which had been frustrating that's probably been the hardest part. Last a bit of time this summer to you know, fake news but you know, outside of that, honestly for me, like listen, I think I was very thoughtful about having like, I believe in succession you know, part of being a leader is being into succession. You don't hand in two weeks and sort of do whatever. And so for me, I got to invite a person into the organization who I worked with closely for two years who I think is better fit to lead the company for the next you know, period of time, call it 3, 5, 7 years and you know, it was easy for me to toss the keys to that individual to have them just keep going, go further and you know, you know, I was privileged to have the board you know, do a lot of work to say Hey, Mike, we want you here as well. And I get to just do all the stuff I love and drop a bunch of the stuff that I didn't like as much. So for me, you know, that's, that is not as much a thing. And I think, you know, for founders who are out there, I think you know, succession planning and getting out of the way and what have you is something that often goes poorly. And I think there are ways to do it and ways to think about it and you know, I'll have more on that in the future, I hope, to share with others in hopes that they can navigate it but I don't think it has to be a jarring you know, identity loss event. If you you know, if you, if you are thoughtful about it, and you know, get things in place.

Susan Sly 24:44
Well, and you're a person who's always lead from my research with the philosophy of what's best for the company, what's best for the users, not what's best for Mike, right? And that Mike makes a huge difference. When startup founders come to me, and they ask for my advice, one of the first things I'll say is, what is your exit plan? And they're like, but I'm just starting the business. And I'm like, I don't care. If you don't know what your exit plan is, it means your ego is too attached to this, and when it's time for you to leave stuff down, move, whatever it is, you're not going to be in that position. And then also, we could have a whole discussion on company structure like living in America, there's like an infinite number of ways to structure, in Canada, there's not but you know, thinking about that at the beginning, from how do you attract the right people, whether you use an esop or you know, whatever it is, you're using, how you plan for your succession. And when you find that person, and they might come in early on in your hires, thinking about how do I nurture them, and mentor them, so I can step aside. And I think, as founders that, you know, in my mind, and I love what you said, the greatest day for me is gonna be when I'm no longer needed. And that's why I'm I'm hiring, I'm always like, I want to hire people who are as good as me or better. Because at that point, I won't be needed.

Mike McDerment 26:09
I just want to talk about this, because I think it'd be easy for folks to, you know, sort of take away things that I wouldn't necessarily want them to on this. I you know, by the way, I take a different point of view on this poll, knowing about the exit in the first place, I actually would prefer that people go on the journey, I think the exit will find you if you're doing the right thing, and you build something valuable, you'll have options, I believe, great companies are bought, not sold. And so I personally don't care about the exit. I care about, you know, your commitment level, do you believe in it, why are you doing it? And the exit upfront is almost a negative signal to me, so just for the audience, not to disagree on purpose, but it's good to get a different, a different perspective around it. And then, and then yeah, so and then I also, you know, like, hey, it's been two decades, I don't think there's been a better person to do it, I feel like I'm lucky to find somebody for this phase of the company's development, that's better. And by the way, I don't know, until this point that, you know, it would have been a good choice. And I think a lot of companies lose their way when the founder, you know, if the founder has been leading for a while, or even if not, you know, steps aside and doesn't have the right, you know, person or team in place. And so I, and I think a lot of people, I think, switches flip, it used to be like, Oh, we can replace the founder and put in a manager, but I think that's very wrong. You know, a lot of times the founders understand the market, have a vision for the product in a way that you just can't bring in off the street, they'll know the team in the company and can help like, you know, fit things together. I probably undervalued that as an asset for developing the organization and, you know, sort of being successful, very strategy. So, so I do think there's a lot of value in the founder. And I think, to some extent, you know, I'm chair of another company and founder of another company as well, sort of five years in, there's another CEO, who is one of my co founders there. And, you know, like, he knows, he's like, I got to get the company to another phase before I can go. And I think that's kind of more than mindset. It's, it's like, Hey, you probably need to get to some milestone. And for me, it was kind of around the one we're at right now. I never really saw myself going beyond. You know, that's, that's, that's what it is. I you know, I like, that wasn't the reason how I got to it. But I think about it 10 years ago, I was like, oh, if I get to about this phase, I can't see myself, you know, running a company beyond that phase. So I share all this, because I think this stuff is hard to figure out if you're starting a company. And I would almost go ahead and say, forget about this conversation. If you're starting a company, focus on your customer, focus on your product. And, you know, focus on building a culture that's going to be a good long term thing for you and your, your, you know, your team, everything else is going to sort itself out. An opinion of mine.

Susan Sly 29:02
Yeah, I love that. I love that perspective. It's focusing on the right things. I do want to clarify why I mentioned the exit from a US perspective as a Canadian living in the US. Up until recently with tax changes, how someone was structured, would determine how they exited here in the US, as I'm sure you're aware. So if you were like a Delaware C, the founders would get the QSBS treatment, and their first 10 million on the exit would be tax free. Those rules are going out the door. So for US based startups, the one of things I ask is, do you want to, do you intend to eventually sell or do you intend to have your employees assume the company somehow or do you want to take it public? Because that's what I meant from a structural standpoint, but I 100% agree with everything you say, but that's why I asked that because it Canada, there aren't the same structures, I guess so. But to your point, I think that the summary is you've got to stand on your values, like you said, you've got to attract and surround yourself with the right people. And, you know, as you illustrated having this, this strong humility, because, you know, we see a lot of founders who don't. And that's never good for the company. Right? So rapid fire. Let's finish this off. I'm going to throw some, some questions at you. Um, is there a book that you read that you know, someone who's, you know, sort of at that stage where they want to get their business going, that you would recommend?

Mike McDerment 30:35
Usually, it's once you're going s little bit, I often recommend The E Myth by Michael Gerber. It's a good book to help you just think about the various roles. Like it's not one person, it's a team and how do you get that kernel of a team and there's some strengths you need. I think it was one of the best ways to realize you need to compliment yourself with people. And there's certain kinds of people you need to comliment. By the way, it start with knowing who you are and which role you play and then finding other people to do those other roles. I think that's an invaluable lesson from that book.

Susan Sly 31:08
I love it. That's one that comes up a lot. So next question I have for you, Canadian question. If you had to pick a choice like it was a mandatory, either/or BeaverTail or Poutine?

Mike McDerment 31:26
These days I go Poutine, which is- me too. Yeah, BeaverTail is all sugary and whatever and, though it says the greasy gravy, potatoes and cheese, yeah.

Susan Sly 31:38
Okay, last question for you. Favorite Canadian song.

Mike McDerment 31:46
I'll just throw a catalog out there. It'd be Neil Young for me.

Susan Sly 31:50
All of Neil Young. Yeah?

Mike McDerment 31:53
We could, I mean, pick an album, we can talk track by track. But yeah, Niel's in my top three artists, you know, all time and is Canadian, and is a legend. And there's another Canadian that probably most people think is American. So there we go.

Susan Sly 32:11
I think that Neil Young, great choice, I'm still standing by the Tragically Hip, because I have such a long history with the guys, also a great Canadian. But either way, you will not go wrong at a cottage party with Neil Young or the Tragically Hip. Anyway, Mike, I want to thank you so much for being here. And I want to encourage everyone to go to, and the software is incredible. And I love what you're doing not just for your company, but for small business owners. It's just tremendous. So thank you so much for that. And if people want to follow you on social, I know you have many different handles. You're, the FreshBooks is on Instagram, on Twitter, you're Mike McDerment and on Facebook for FreshBooks, but what is the preferred if they want to drop a comment after the show? If

Mike McDerment 33:08
you want to get to me probably at @MikeMcderment or @freshbooks on Twitter or you know, you can probably find me one way or another through FreshBooks. Give us a call, you can talk to a live person on service and maybe try the software out if you're interested as well. That's, there's a free trial there if you're looking for billing or accounting software as a small business owner.

Susan Sly 33:29
Yeah, and we'll definitely put a link in the show notes. So Mike, thank you again so much for being here. I know it's late in Toronto. I'm wishing you the best of luck with your renovation. We just lived through a year-long renovation and I had to say stop. I'm done with that for a minute and before we continue on because I didn't want, were living in the renovation. So anyway, thanks for everything, wishing you the best of the rest of the year. And for everyone, if you want to drop a comment and Mike and I would love to hear from you please go ahead. And if this show has been helpful, we'd love for you to share it. So with that, God bless. Go rock your day, and we'll see you in the next episode.

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Author Susan Sly

Susan Sly is considered a thought leader in AI, award winning entrepreneur, keynote speaker, best-selling author, and tech investor. Susan has been featured on CNN, CNBC, Fox, Lifetime, ABC Family, and quoted in Forbes Online, Marketwatch, Yahoo Finance, and more. She is the mother of four and has been working in human potential for over two decades.

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