Episode #021 Overcoming your ‘Employee Mindset’ with Savvy’s co-founder Will Hooke.
Will Hooke had many challenges along the road of becoming the co-founder of The Savvy Bookkeeper. In an encouraging podcast episode Will shares his personal story of getting back into the workforce and healing from chronic fatigue, and learning to run a business. If you’ve ever struggled with your health, business or outlook on life, you’ll be inspired with new hope in overcoming your own limitations.
The real message of this story is: “The key to business success is replacing your ‘employee mindset’ with a ‘business owner’ mindset!”
Host: Amy Hooke
Guest speaker: Will Hooke
Topic: Overcoming Your Employee Mindset
Amy Hooke: Good morning everybody. Thank you for coming back again to listen in to The Bookkeepers’ Voice Podcast. And today, I have an extra special guest. So I did promise you last week that I would have my husband William on the podcast. And yeah. So today, what we’re going to do, is we’ll just chat to you. I’m not really going to interview him, because he’s here in the room, sitting beside me. And that might be… yeah. I guess it might feel a little bit weird. I don’t know. What do you reckon? Do you think it’d be a bit weird to get interviewed by me?
William Hooke: We’ll give it a crack.
Amy Hooke: Yes, yes. That’s right. Yeah, so I guess we’ll just chat, and I might ask William a couple of questions. But we’re really just here together, just so that you can get to know us. Obviously, you’ve been part of our community for a while. So you know that William’s been part of the business as well, so it’ll be great for you guys to meet him. So William works at Savvy. So he’s the head of web design, so he heads up the web design team here. So yeah. Do you want to just share with everyone a little bit, what you do?
William Hooke: G’day everyone. My name’s Will. I’m Amy’s husband, and we have two lovely sons together. Yeah. So as Amy said, I’m the head of web design. Essentially, I do lots of things. I do technical things that no-one has any idea that even needs doing.
Amy Hooke: Like? What kind of things do you do?
William Hooke: Okay. So I transfer websites from one host to another. I deal with domain name server records, like Ventra IP or GoDaddy. I change A records, so people can see the website.
Amy Hooke: MX records.
William Hooke: MX records, so emails get through.
Amy Hooke: CNAMEs.
William Hooke: Yes. All of these things.
Amy Hooke: It’s all stuff you guys don’t know about.
William Hooke: So I set up the security application to keep the website chugging along. I see all the naughty robots who are trying to hop into our website from all around the world, whether it’s Canada or Iran or Japan or USA.
Amy Hooke: Russia. Russia, there’s always Russians.
William Hooke: Yes. The Russians seem to send a few bots our way. I get it so that the contact form sends emails to our clients, so whenever a potential bookkeeping client sends off a form to our client, it’s supposed to actually get to them. So that is actually a lot more-
Amy Hooke: Complicated. Yes.
William Hooke: Than you can possibly imagine. So all of those kinds of things. Now basically, I was with Amy from the beginning when she set up the site on Airsquare. So we’re now on WordPress. And so basically, I’ve come in at the ground level. Essentially, being completely ignorant to what really are running multiple sites.
Amy Hooke: Do you mean, you haven’t always know what an MX record is, or how to manage someone’s DNFs?
William Hooke: It might not be believable, but it’s true. That’s right. I did not always-
Amy Hooke: Not that long ago.
William Hooke: I did not always know what all of these things meant. And yeah. I often cried out to Amy, “Amy, can you… This isn’t working. Can you make it work?” So yeah. Essentially, I’ve gone from being very ignorant of how websites actually happen, to making them happen. And then, now, I’ve started getting involved in sales, because I know the product, and because how it works. I feel like I can interact with bookkeepers and basically explain to them why they need a website, the process of going about getting a website. And essentially, we don’t want anyone to have an online brochure with us, that doesn’t make our client look good, and it doesn’t make us look good.
William Hooke: So we want websites that actually get good clients for our clients. That’s really the win-win that we are aiming for. So that’s what I do at the moment.
Amy Hooke: Yeah. And you’ve been working on a cool little project at the moment, which is… I mean, obviously you guys know that we help bookkeepers to set up their pricing. So William’s working on a little project at the moment, where he’s creating some online pricing calculators for people to install on their website, which is nice and fiddly. Again, isn’t it?
William Hooke: Yeah, that’s right. So there’s the full spectrum of how you go about pricing your services. So you could be anywhere from hourly rate to, and then you include one off items, like your BAS lodgement and that kind of thing. And other bookkeepers do pricing packages, where it’s all bundled together essentially. Just like with an iPhone. I don’t need to know what graphics card the iPhone has, or what camera module it has. I just need to know that when I click on the button, it works, and when I take a photo, it looks amazing. And so that’s essentially what happens with a pricing package, is you don’t give the client all the nuts and bolts, you give the result.
William Hooke: The result’s what they really want. They don’t need to know all of the jargon and the ins and outs. However, some clients do want to know that. And if those kind of clients are your ideal clients, we are now making something that is more modular and does help them to go, “Okay. I can see the value in that. And yeah, I want a bit of this, and a bit less of that.” And so yeah. Basically, we’re starting to get more options for our bookkeeping clients, in how they interact with their ideal clients.
Amy Hooke: Yeah. It’s kind of fun, actually, because I think for years, bookkeepers haven’t put their prices on their website, but we are getting a lot of requests from people who are now wanting to display prices in some format on their website. So we’re putting together a whole bunch of different options, depending on how people want to display their pricing. But anyway, without getting too into the technical side of, obviously, I guess in a nutshell, what you can gather is that website designing is as technical, if not more technical than bookkeeping. And there’s a lot of fiddly different things that you just can’t even imagine.
Amy Hooke: But I think, I guess the reason that I got William to come on today, isn’t actually to talk about what he does with websites, but to actually… Now that you’ve heard the complexity of what he actually does, I guess I want you guys to know where William’s come from. Because I don’t know, to me, William’s story is actually very inspiring. And I think it will actually be quite meaningful for a lot of our listeners, because firstly, a lot of our listeners come from blue-collar families. A lot of bookkeepers get into bookkeeping, because they start out doing the bookkeeping for their husband, who’s a tradie, and that kind of thing.
Amy Hooke: Obviously, some bookkeepers in our community have had husbands who haven’t had good health and things like that as well. So I think there’s lots of aspects to William’s story that aren’t necessarily related to what he does here at Savvy. But in a way, it is still connected because of the journey that he’s been through. So obviously you can hear that William knows a lot of technical things about websites, but not too long ago, I can’t really guess when it was, I’m guessing two years ago, you didn’t actually know how to use a computer.
William Hooke: Not to any level that you could make money off of.
Amy Hooke: Well, yeah, that’s right. So when I met William, he liked playing video games on the computer. And so I just assumed that he, because he spent a fair bit of time on the computer, I just assumed that he was really good at computers. So when I first met him back in 2012, we just briefly met each other, but we didn’t actually start spending time together, dating, until 2013. And so then in 2013, I knew that he liked being on the computer, and so, I just made the assumption that he’s a bit of an IT guy.
Amy Hooke: And so when I first started my bookkeeping business, I’d give him all these jobs to do. I’d say, “Can you set up this thing on Google? And can you set up all of our devices to synchronize, and set up all our backups and things on the computer?” And then, weeks or months later, I’d think, “How come you haven’t done this yet? I gave you this months ago. Why haven’t you done it?” And then, one day, I found out that he didn’t… The reason he hadn’t done it, was because he didn’t know how to do it. And we had this funny conversation, I think it was when you said… In some passing conversation, William said something about being a humanities guy.
William Hooke: Humanities, going back to high school, humanities would be English, literature, geography, history.
Amy Hooke: History. Yes.
William Hooke: Those were the ones that I was getting good marks for.
Amy Hooke: Keen about. Yes.
William Hooke: So I’m in my late 30s now, and in the ’90s when I was in high school, I thought computers were terrible. I thought these are just so cludgy. They’re not even for playing games on. Who wants to type anything anyway? So I much preferred handwriting.
Amy Hooke: Yes. Very… sorry to interrupt you, but very different to my background. So I was on a computer from around the age of eight, and at 10 years old, I said to my dad, “Dad, you’ve got to get this computer. It’s called a Mac Classic.” And dad bought me my first Mac computer. And then, I taught my dad how to use the computer. So I’ve always been a real computer whiz, whereas William wasn’t exposed to that, on that same level.
William Hooke: And basically, we grew up in the same era.
Amy Hooke: Yeah, we’re the same age. Both born in ’81.
William Hooke: That’s right. And so Amy saw the potential of the technology and was like, “This is amazing.” And I saw the reality-
Amy Hooke: The frustration.
William Hooke: The reality of the technology.
Amy Hooke: Not the reality.
William Hooke: Well, at the moment. It couldn’t do great things. I’m like, “These things are useless.” So basically, I’d play on a games console, because that was dedicated and easy. So no interest in IT. And then, so fast forward to about-
Amy Hooke: But your brother was an IT guy, so you’d go to him.
William Hooke: Well, yes.
Amy Hooke: You’d go to him for help with the computers.
William Hooke: That’s right. So my oldest brother, he was employed as a database administrator for Coles and Myer. He would set up the program to do the most optimal pick runs, so all the store people are at their most optimum and efficient. He worked with RACV, so he-
Amy Hooke: State Bank.
William Hooke: Yeah. And State Bank of Victoria, for people who were around in the ’90s, using banks. Yeah. And basically, I would cry out to my big brother, “Can you do this? Can you do that?” And very kindly, he just kept doing it.
Amy Hooke: Always do it.
William Hooke: And yeah. So basically, I kept myself in a very infantile way of thinking, to do with technology. So around 2008, I bought my first computer. It was a MacBook, and basically, I’d be on the browser. I might be on eBay. I might be on a forum, looking up history, all the kinds of things that I like to do. And I could do that, quite well.
Amy Hooke: And so you mentioned you were a humanities guy, this conversation. I don’t know how, he said something about, “Because I’m a humanities guy.” And I said, “What? What do you mean, you’re a humanities guy? I thought you were an IT guy.” And he’s like, no. And that’s when he explained to me that he only used the browser. Basically, that was the extent of it. Just looking stuff up, surfing the net, or whatever. And I was thinking, oh my goodness.
Amy Hooke: So all of a sudden, instead of being frustrated with him, for not doing all of the jobs that I’d given him to do.
William Hooke: Amy had compassion.
Amy Hooke: Suddenly, I was like, wow. I said to him, “I thought I knew you. You are not even the person that I thought you were. That’s so funny.” I just completely misinterpreted something, and here I was, I found I was married to William Hook, who I’d even listed him on Off The Hook Bookkeeping… I’d even listed you on the website as our IT person. I was like, oh my god, you were.
William Hooke: I was just really-
Amy Hooke: A bit of a junior.
William Hooke: And so, what’s so funny, is… I’ve forgotten what I was going to say.
Amy Hooke: Doesn’t matter. Yeah. That’s all right. We can just keep going, and you’ll probably remember. Yeah, and so, I guess the cool thing about remembering, or finding out that William wasn’t an IT guy, I guess it was sort of a turning point. It’s like, “Well, do you want to become an IT guy?”
William Hooke: Yeah. So I remembered what I was going to say. Yeah, so Amy would put two and two together, and go, “Has my husband got a really bad attitude towards me and the things that I want him to do?”
Amy Hooke: Yeah. That’s what I thought it was, the reason you weren’t doing it. I thought, because you just didn’t care or that you were lazy.
William Hooke: Yeah. Lazy or selfish or all these things. Now, basically, it was like, “I can’t do this.” And it became exposed how incompetent I was, and then when Amy saw that, she’s like, “You’re not lazy and have a bad attitude. You’re just really unable to do anything.”
Amy Hooke: Well, yeah. It was just a lack of… more a lack of knowledge than a lack of desire or anything like that. But I think, so I didn’t know that you didn’t know how to do it. And you didn’t know that I didn’t know that you didn’t know how to do it. And so, yeah. It was just a bit of a funny situation, but it was like a light bulb moment. And so, I think, obviously I said earlier that William and I, we met in 2012. We started dating in 2013. We got married in 2014, and then, yeah, I started the bookkeeping business in late 2014, early 2015. So I was pregnant with our first son, and so that’s when I started the business.
Amy Hooke: And around, leading up to that time, so when we first got married, William was unemployed. So you’d been… It was quite funny. We’d had a conversation, it was another one of those light bulb moments. But I remembered, I’d said to William, because William had actually chronic fatigue. So when we first met, he had chronic fatigue. He hadn’t had a job for a while, but he’d been studying. So you’d done your VCE, which is a high school certificate. So, William and I, it’s actually quite funny, our similarities, but we both left high school in Year 10.
William Hooke: Yeah. So I barely passed Year 11. It was a bit of a shamozzle. And I didn’t do anything for the next year. And then, mom said, “Okay. You either go back to school or you get a job.” And I had a bad experience with school, and so, I thought, “Okay. I’ll get a job.” And I never had any ambition for any kind of a job. I just wanted to be a boy forever, I suppose. And mom’s dad was a fitter and turner, and dad’s dad was a fitter and turner. I was like, “Okay. Must be genetic.” That’s the most wacky thinking ever.
William Hooke: But I ended up doing fitting and turning apprenticeship at a place that made cherry-pickers, insulated cherry-pickers for working on power lines, and doing that kind of thing. And that was my introduction to the workforce, back in about 2000.
Amy Hooke: Yeah, that’s right. So then when you and I were talking, so I think at the time, you’d had chronic fatigue when we met. And then, when we got married, I guess you still technically had, you were still unwell. But after we got married, we lived on my dad’s farm for almost a year. And so you started, yeah, so William started working with my dad on the farm, and just gradually… Your health really started to improve.
William Hooke: Well, actually, yes. So I finished high school in, let’s say, 2010.
Amy Hooke: No.
William Hooke: 2011. And then, I got into-
Amy Hooke: But at TAFE, not actual high school. Yeah.
William Hooke: That’s right. And then, so I got into a degree, and I started that, and then that’s when chronic fatigue happened. So then that was my first year stuffed up. And then, the next year, I went back again and it really wasn’t happening. And I thought… And so, then I meet Amy. And it’s like, “Okay. So what do I want? Do I want to provide for my wife, or do I want to do this degree?” Because Amy said, “Look, I can work if you need me to work. Do you actually have a passion for this degree?”
William Hooke: I’m like, “Not really.” And the degree I was doing, was an Arts Science degree. And so it would give me, again, generic university training. It wouldn’t actually equip me for a specific job. So I was wanting direction. It was like, this isn’t going to give me direction anyway.
Amy Hooke: I was like, I’ll give you some direction.
William Hooke: So then, this guy that we met, his name’s Dave. He was working at Big W.
Amy Hooke: That’s right, yes.
William Hooke: And so, essentially he got me an interview. Now, I don’t know if he pulled any strings or anything like that, but he certainly got me the interview. And I became a… What do they call it?
Amy Hooke: Shelf replenishment.
William Hooke: Replenishment. So basically, at the end of the day, the store’s a bit of a mess, and stock’s depleted. So I would fill that up. Now, I would do three shifts each week of three hours.
Amy Hooke: For three hours.
William Hooke: So that’s nine hours.
Amy Hooke: In total. And you were struggling.
William Hooke: In total, and I was absolutely exhausted. So that just shows you how-
Amy Hooke: Bad, the health situation was.
William Hooke: That’s right. So I had that job for about six months. And so then I went to my father-in-law’s farm. It was about 118 acres. And from about 9 years old, until my late 20s, mom and dad, who I lived with until I met Amy, mom and dad lived on five acres. And I was told by someone who lived up in Echuca, Moama, which is near the New South Wales, Victoria river. He said, “That’s not a farm. That’s a hobby farm.” So I’d taken that to heart, because he was a country boy.
William Hooke: Then when I get to my father-in-law’s form which is 118 acres, I’m like, it’s the same thing. It’s just obviously a bigger scale.
Amy Hooke: Bigger.
William Hooke: But it’s all the same thing. So you’re chasing sheep and you’re herding chickens. You’re digging trenches, and you’re fixing fences, and you’re keeping foxes away. I know how to do all of this stuff. As time went by there, my health improved, step by step. I was quite feeble for a time, but it was slowly but steadily coming back.
Amy Hooke: Yeah. You were probably working 30… You might have been working 30 or more, maybe 40 hours on the farm, every week.
William Hooke: Yeah. I wouldn’t say full-time.
Amy Hooke: Maybe not full-time.
William Hooke: And it was 30 hours over the seven days. So it wasn’t 30 hours over four days.
Amy Hooke: That’s true.
William Hooke: So it was fairly leisurely, in that regard. I just loved it. And my father-in-law and I put up fences, and caught-
Amy Hooke: Big steps. Pathways.
William Hooke: Steps. We had lambs, so we got rid of their tails and all that kind of stuff. I was doing all this stuff, that I’d grown up exposed to. And I had a confidence that I could do it, because it’s like, I’ve done this before, even though it was a long time before. There was a familiarity and that built my confidence back up.
Amy Hooke: Yeah. And it was pretty amazing, because from what I know about chronic fatigue, a lot of people don’t really recover from it. And doctors are pretty puzzled by it, as for how to treat it.
William Hooke: Well, that’s right. They call it a syndrome, because you display symptoms. They don’t call it a disease, because they don’t know what the cause is. So they go, “Well, you’re displaying these symptoms, so you have chronic fatigue syndrome.” It is a mystery to them.
Amy Hooke: Yeah, yeah. So that was, I guess, before we got married. So I think you’d finished… So the last time you’d worked, was it 2014? 2004? Or 2008?
William Hooke: No, no.
Amy Hooke: Eight.
William Hooke: Yeah. I’d had intermittent labour hire work, which is casual work through an agency. But it was always, if I got two weeks out of a job, that was a long time.
Amy Hooke: That’s right. And we had a conversation in your driveway, so I remember saying something about, you haven’t had a job. Yeah. I said, you don’t have a job or whatever. I was sort of confronting you a little bit about, what are you going to do, and which direction you’re going to take. And you said, “I’ve had a job. I worked at this company.” And I said, “Yeah. When was that?” And you said, “2008.” And I said to you, “Do you realize that was…” Was it six years?
William Hooke: Yeah. Four or five years ago.
Amy Hooke: Six years. I said, “You know that’s six years ago.” Because yeah, no. It would have been 2014. So I said, “Yeah. Do you realize that was six years ago?” And all of a sudden, your face, you were like, oh my gosh. You didn’t actually realize that so much time had passed. And so, William’s what would have been considered long-term unemployed. And yeah. Obviously, when people have been unemployed for such a long period of time, it is very difficult to get back in.
William Hooke: Well, that’s right. So each day just goes by one at a time.
Amy Hooke: And you get comfortable with not-
William Hooke: Not working.
Amy Hooke: Not working. You get used to it. Whereas for me, because my background was so different. So I left home when I was 15, because of the unstable environment and that kind of thing. Whereas William’s family ultra, super stable, very quiet family. Very calm sort of people. Whereas my family’s the complete opposite, loud, crazy, all over the place. Yeah, whereas your family’s just stable and consistent and orderly and whatnot. And so, we’re like polar opposites.
Amy Hooke: So for me, as someone who’d moved out of home at 15, I wasn’t exactly a world of compassion for you. The view I took of you, was, “Hey, look at you. You white, middle-class, man, living at home with mom and dad, in this cushy environment.” So I gave you a bit of a butt kicking.
William Hooke: That’s right.
Amy Hooke: I didn’t really, I felt sorry for you because I knew you were sick, but I sort of didn’t feel sorry for you. I was like, come on. I’ve been living out, since I was a kid, basically. Suck it up, sort of thing. I wasn’t very-
William Hooke: And the problem is when you have grown up in a safe environment, you actually don’t realize how safe it is, and how cosy it is. And so, everyone goes through hardship, but the thing is, when you’re exposed to very little hardship, those small things seem big to you. And it’s like, “Someone said something mean to me at work today,” or, “Boss won’t buy me this equipment to get the job done,” or all those kinds of things. Essentially, I was a very selfish person.
William Hooke: And the thing is, so not necessarily maliciously selfish. You could say I was more self-focused, or self-absorbed. So I really didn’t have much of a clue about other people, what was going on in their world, and yeah. Basically, I was really in a bubble. But when you’re in the bubble, you don’t realize. And when people look down on you for being in the bubble, you think, “Well, you’re a jerk.” You really, you don’t have any… It’s a bit like you’re blind. You really don’t know what’s going on.
Amy Hooke: Yeah. So along came me, who was, I’d been working hard for a very long time. And so when I started the bookkeeping business, I would just work and work and work. And I don’t work like that now. I don’t push myself to work on weekends and outside of business hours. And so when I first started the business, I was hoping William would help me. And so the way I perceived, I guess, because of his upbringing and everything, it looked to me like he didn’t care, or he was lazy, or he didn’t try. But as we started to go through this journey, it’s actually been quite amazing, that as William started to recover in his health, so you took…
Amy Hooke: After we finished at the farm, you ended up taking, there was a factory packing job. And from there, you went back into your trade, basically.
William Hooke: Yeah. So I spent five weeks doing packing in the city. These people supplied Officeworks, all the stores around Melbourne and Tasmania. And after doing that for five weeks, I’m like, “I don’t want to do this anymore. I want a job where I get paid better money, don’t have to drive 40 plus minutes-“
Amy Hooke: And use your skills.
William Hooke: Yeah, that’s right. And essentially, I had a job where they made things for public transport. And that job didn’t last very long. There was-
Amy Hooke: Fair Work situation.
William Hooke: Yeah. But that really didn’t work out very well at all. But what happened, one of my old labour hire employers, this guy had been saying that I could get a job at Ingham’s, the chicken processors, for years. Kind of like a bolt out of the blue, he called up and said, “Do you want a job here?” And I was thinking, “You’ve been offering this job to me, that’s never materialized for a long time.” But it happened. And that got me back in with people who were doing maintenance fitting, which has become my trade.
William Hooke: And that really helped grow my confidence. So then, yeah, as I was saying, that job making stuff for public transport fell away. But then I got a job, not just on Saturdays with Ingham’s, but I got a job with-
Amy Hooke: Visy.
William Hooke: … Visy Board, doing real factory maintenance, Monday to Friday and some Saturdays. I thought, wow, Visy. I’ve made it.
Amy Hooke: We were amazed that you got… You had these two jobs, two of the top companies in Victoria.
William Hooke: Yeah, that’s right.
Amy Hooke: We were like whoa.
William Hooke: A lot of people know these companies. Basically, I’d gone from no employment to working-
Amy Hooke: Three hours of Kmart, well, Big W.
William Hooke: To working for these name brand people. So that was really amazing.
Amy Hooke: But even though it was amazing, so we thought, “Wow. William’s gone from being unemployed to having chronic fatigue, to only being able to work three hour shifts. Now he’s working…” You were working-
William Hooke: 50 hours.
Amy Hooke: 50 hours a week. You were doing overtime every week, and you were on pretty good money and that kind of thing. But it wasn’t it. It was like one of those things, where it’s, wow, he’s gone from this to this. Two of these fantastic companies, but you weren’t satisfied there.
William Hooke: Well, essentially, I thought that basically this job with Visy was going to be fantastic. So it’s a multinational company, the workers there get paid a lot of money. It’s a wealthy company. What I came to realize, just in the same way as working on my father-in-law’s farm of 118 acres, was just like working on mom and dad’s hobby farm of five acres, this job that I had with this big old Visy, which I thought was going to be magnificent, it was just all the same struggles and frustrations that I’d experienced during my apprenticeship and labour hire stints, and that kind of thing.
William Hooke: It was all the same thing, but things were bigger and more structured. And that was really disappointing. And so, I was there for six months. And basically, I wasn’t happy there, and my supervisor and my boss weren’t happy with me. And so I left, and I went to a place where I was getting paid a lot more money. But this place was really small, they did plastic recycling. And I thought I was going to get a good maintenance fitters job, and basically, I was just doing welding all the time. And welding things that weren’t going to last. So the boss and his, let’s say, the factory supervisor, they had come up with this idea, because they didn’t want to pay money for renting metal bins, putting the plastic in. So they wanted to build their own.
William Hooke: So they never consulted me, this plan was already underway. And it’s like, this isn’t going to work. These things are way too flimsy. The forklifts are going to smash them. And again, so I was feeling really disappointed. And so even though I was making a lot of money and only working 40 hours a week. Again, I was really disappointed. And so, then we went to the USA. I actually, my back got hurt, flying over there. So the trip is about 13 hours, I think it’s from Sydney to LAX. And yeah, hopped off the plane, felt fine, lifted the luggage. The cases were only 20 kilos each, but within a few hours, my back went. And my back went stiff as a board.
William Hooke: And I was in so much pain, that I couldn’t lie down, I couldn’t stand up. I had to sleep propped up, sort of leaning against the wall. So I lost my job at that plastic manufacturers. They were frustrated with me, because of my frustration with them. And basically, things weren’t working again. And then what happened, so I was unemployed for about 20 more weeks. And obviously that was frustrating for Amy. And then I got another job with Visy, but Visy Recycling. Now that was just for a stint, it was for 12 weeks. So I was doing so much money, so much work on a Saturday with penalty rates, it was like, this is amazing.
William Hooke: I was getting paid, I was grossing a couple of grand every week. This is amazing. But then, the conditions that I was working under, it was not pleasant at all. And after a few weeks, I’m like, “I don’t really want to work here, even though I’m getting paid all this money.” The health and safety was not satisfactory. So then I did my first stint with Amy, and it didn’t work.
Amy Hooke: What were you doing? I can’t even remember.
William Hooke: I can’t remember, but as-
Amy Hooke: No. He was going to study bookkeeping for a little while, weren’t you? Remember, you were looking at bookkeeping courses?
William Hooke: Only temporarily.
Amy Hooke: And I remember I asked you, do you like actually filing and organizing people and stuff? And you’re like, no. And I was like, yeah, I didn’t think so.
William Hooke: Yeah. And so, business wasn’t going that well. It was like, okay, I’ve got to go out and get a job. And I had a little stint at a place that made rubbish trucks. And the leading hand didn’t like me, so he sacked me. He said one thing to me and a completely different thing to my employment agency. So basically, yeah. I got sacked. I was like, this is terrible. So finally, it was kind of starting to dawn on me, it’s like, “Maybe all of my bosses aren’t the problem.”
William Hooke: And when I say that, they were a problem. But maybe it wasn’t just them who was the problem. Maybe I was contributing to the problem. So instead of letting them be free to be mismanage me, their business, et cetera, these were all facts. I was very angry and frustrated with them. But basically, I’d come to the realization that my attitude was quite… sorry, was very wrong. And I wasn’t going there to serve them, I was entitled. I wanted my pay check at the end of the week. I wanted everything set up right, and it wasn’t.
Amy Hooke: Well, you didn’t really understand what it was like to run a business yet.
William Hooke: Well, correct. That’s right. But so I’d started to get a bit of an inkling about it, with that first time that I was with you. And then, I think I need to do my part to change. So I got a dye setting job. Now, I didn’t even know what dye setting was. But essentially, a dye setter… A factory will make a something, a widget, it might be something for a car manufacturer, it might be a foil container for cupcakes. Basically, they pump out these units, and the dye setter would basically run the machine so that it would put out the product well, and an operator would run it.
William Hooke: So they’d be responsible for setting everything up right, setting the dye, I suppose you could say. And then hand it over to the operator. And the dye setter would float around to all the different machines, tuning them, fixing jam ups, et cetera. And this was amazing for me. But then, what happened was, so even though this was actually the best company that I’d ever worked for, so they had everything set up to a far greater degree, than I’d ever experienced, even with a multinational company. They had really skilled people. They had people that had worked there for-
Amy Hooke: 30 years.
William Hooke: For decades. Lots of people had worked there for a long time. And the other newest dye setter, I think he’d been there for eight years. So he was nearly up for long service leave. After a while, I was starting to think, so I changed my attitude. I was actually there to help and to serve the company, instead of having the company serve me. But part of what was happening was, you’d need to be dye setting for four years, to become good. It’s almost like doing an apprenticeship again.
William Hooke: And yeah. We’ll call him the leading hand, he wanted me to be at that level of four years, even though I’d only been there for half a year. And remember, I’d never been a dye setter before. So I was doing an okay job, but I was not doing an exceptional job. And the dye setters there, all of them were exceptional. All of them were very good, and I could see that I was going to have to put in lots of effort for years, to become competent. And this was just for wages. I’m like, this isn’t working.
Amy Hooke: Well, you sort of felt, yeah, where is this going? And do I really want to be here?
William Hooke: Yeah, that’s right. Do I want to put in four years of effort, just to get back to zero, essentially. And so then I came back to Off The Hook for the second time, but I had changed. And so when Amy talks about the employee mindset, I had the employee mindset. I was entitled. And I didn’t realize that I was entitled. And the same way that I was in a bubble living with mom and dad into my 30s until Amy came along, I had that same mentality and attitude in my employment. And now, it was really starting to dawn on me, yes, so all these things my bosses had done, I believed I’d correctly assessed, that they were doing this wrong, and they ought to be doing this and that.
William Hooke: But then, I would let that judgment and condemnation of them hang out. Instead of going, “Okay, yes. They need to address these things.” I was never addressing what I was in charge of and responsible for, which was me. And so, basically on this second stint with Off The Hook, I should say Savvy, yeah, that really, I’d finally go into that business owner mindset. These years of being around Amy and being frustrated with her drivenness for the business, it was finally starting to conk into place, and it was finally conk into place, these people who were my managers and bosses in the past, I was actually starting to get empathy with them, or I should say, for them, because we had an employee.
William Hooke: And our employee knew how to do a finite set of things, and didn’t know how to do other things. And I’m like, “Why aren’t you driven to find out all these other things to do?” And with this employee, I was seeing, hang on-
Amy Hooke: It’s me.
William Hooke: That’s exactly who I was.
Amy Hooke: Yes, back in-
William Hooke: A year before, two years before. And it was really starting to blow away the fog, or the cobwebs, whatever you want to call it.
Amy Hooke: Yeah. That’s right. And so obviously-
William Hooke: You know when there’s this transition of being a teenager to an adult, in my mid 30s, I was finally becoming adult. I’d stopped being a 30 something teenager, and I started to become an adult.
Amy Hooke: Well, it kind of makes sense, because I mean, if you live at home with your mom and dad, you’re only going to grow to a certain level. If you don’t leave home, you can only experience certain things. And so I think, even with us living together, so you’d never applied for a lease before, whereas I’d been doing this stuff since I was 15. So I was thinking right then, “You’ve got a lot of catching up to do.” But at the same time, like William mentioned before, I had the opposite problem. I was so driven, that I just couldn’t stop.
Amy Hooke: I feel I missed the first year or so of our son’s life. And I thought, when our second son came along, so I just thought, wow. People must think… I thought people probably thought, you’re pretty amazing to be able to manage being a mom and be so, managing this business and everything. And then, I started to realize, no. People probably actually think I’m a bit crazy, to let that period of the kids being little… And so when our second son came along, I felt, I really felt convicted, I can’t work this way anymore. So for me… For William, it was speeding up and learning how to serve people and not want others to serve him, whereas for me, I just couldn’t help myself.
Amy Hooke: I just wanted to do everything for everybody. And then, I just couldn’t stop. And there was nothing left over for me or for William and the kids. So now, with our second son, I’ve started to make that transition of only working… I nearly always only work during business hours now. Occasional, I think I do a Saturday morning to work on our SEO, but I really only work about 30 hours a week. Yeah. So now, William’s working… I guess you work 40 hours a week, ish, for give or take, depending on what’s going on. Yeah.
Amy Hooke: I wanted, I always wanted to work. I always imagined that when I got married, I’d run a business with my husband. So I had that vision in my mind, but I didn’t want to push you. So I wanted you to work for me, but I wanted you to make the decision for yourself. And so you went in and out of these different jobs, and you came back and forth a couple of times. And then, I guess, the last time, it was like you’d really decided and you’d enrolled in the web design course. And-
William Hooke: Also, so our growing up was very different. So obviously, my family was structured and orderly, and Amy’s was the opposite of that, whatever that is.
Amy Hooke: Very the opposite.
William Hooke: Okay. And so with my dad, he was an insurance claims assessor, a loss adjuster. And what would happen, essentially, he’s the meat in the sandwich. So he’s got the insurance company wanting to make sure that they’re not paying anything that they don’t have to, and you’ve got people making claims. And so, some people do want to claim more than what they’re entitled for. But so these people, yeah. So essentially, I’m saying some people are being greedy and thieving and over-claiming.
William Hooke: But then you’ve also got other people who are completely ignorant about their insurance policy. And so when they go, for example, my house has been flooded. And then the insurance company’s saying, “No. This damage wasn’t caused by a storm, which is what your policy covers you for. The storm caused a flood, and the flood’s what caused the damage. And your policy doesn’t cover you for this.” So you can image, this person’s had their house extremely damaged by water, and they’ve been paying their insurance excess for years, in good faith. And basically, they’ve discovered that they’re completely exposed and without protection.
William Hooke: And so, obviously they’re going to be feeling frightened and vulnerable themselves. And so, dad has to mediate between these two parties. He’s got to watch out for the shifty over-claimers, and obviously he’d also be interacting with the police for arson and that kind of thing. And then you’ve got, we’ll call them Johnny Ignorant, who didn’t know what their insurance policy was. And then you’ve got normal people, who are just traumatized and frustrated by having a loss.
William Hooke: And so, dad’s job was really hard. And he didn’t want to talk about work after work. His job was really hard, and once he’d get home, he just wanted to be at home. He just wanted to be-
Amy Hooke: He really kept his work life separate.
William Hooke: Correct. And so, I had zero idea about the business world. And also, I’m the youngest of four children. I’m quite a bit younger than my next sibling. She’s eight years older than me. And so you can see, when you’ve got three older siblings who are all capable and competent, and dad’s quite a server, a doer. It would just be easier for them to do it. And so, basically, I was in this bubble of no idea. Now, come to-
Amy Hooke: Yeah, whereas with me-
William Hooke: Well, I’ll let you tell your story. So again, Amy-
Amy Hooke: When you were saying that-
William Hooke: Amy’s story is completely different. Her family is… I don’t know what you’d say. Well, I get to talking…
Amy Hooke: I think – nobody’s… sorry. Actually, when you were telling that part of the story, it actually made me realize, there is even more similarities of oppositeness. We had this-
William Hooke: In so many ways.
Amy Hooke: So many ways. So my dad was the opposite. So where William’s dad kept work life completely separate, my dad was the complete opposite. So we were dad’s employees from a young age. So I worked for my dad, even as… I started going into the office with my dad, probably eight or 10 years of age. I’d go in and just help out on school holidays. And I loved being in the factory. I loved being in the office. I don’t know if I liked the office or the factory better. So dad ran a factory where there were people sorting out second-hand clothing and things like that.
Amy Hooke: And I loved being the factory. I loved being around the workers in the factory. They were a different… They were different people to the people that were in the office. They were different people to potentially people my dad was friends with and things like that. And so I really liked the… I just always loved the factory workers. I loved the music that they listened to in the factory, and I loved the way they talked. And they were really, they were all buddies with each and stuff like that. Whereas I felt, maybe some of the middle-class people that were in the office, or maybe friends with dad or my grandparents and things like that, people that I’d been exposed to through my family-
William Hooke: Bit more distant.
Amy Hooke: I just felt a bit more drawn to the blue-collar workers. And obviously some of you have heard my story on the first podcast, after mom and dad split, mom was on a disability pension, and we really lived in quite a lower-class area. Yeah, that kind of thing. So I guess I always felt more, I actually felt a lot more drawn to working-class people, lower-class people than I really… Yeah. I didn’t like middle-class people much at all. So really, that’s one contrast there.
Amy Hooke: Whereas William had not… I remember you meeting some people that I knew from back in my days and things like that, and William’s like, “Who on earth are these people?” I’d been friends with people that had been in jail, or off drugs and all sorts of things, whereas William’s like, “Who’s this guy?” So we had that opposite like that. But back on the topic of work, so dad, there was basically no boundaries at our house between dad’s work life and home life. We were always involved in dad’s businesses. And so I started going into dad’s office, because I told my dad I wanted to be an accountant when I was 12 years old.
Amy Hooke: So dad said, come into the office and work with our accountant. So I was in there, entering checks into MYOB and doing bank reconciliations when I was about 12 years old, on school holidays. And then I was, I guess, a bit later in my teens, I started doing accounts receivable, I used to call people and ask them to pay their bills and all that kind of thing. So yeah. For me, I was heavily involved. And my dad was an entrepreneur. So he had that one business there, but he was in the recycled clothing business, and he had op shops and all sorts of things. When I was 16 years old, so my dad let me start my own op shop. That’s the kind of environment that I grew up in, where dad not only talked to me about work, but he goes, “Yeah, you can just use my money.”
Amy Hooke: And he just let me and my sister, I think I was probably 16, and my sister might have been 14. And he just let us start our own op shop. It did end up being a bit of a failure in the end, because the only people that came into the op shop were all our young teenage friends who didn’t have any money. So they used to just come in and hang around the shop. For me, I started business at a very young age, obviously with the help of dad’s money. Dad used to let me try things and stuff up. I remember, I stuffed up a massive t-shirt order, because I miscalculated the import duty or something.
Amy Hooke: And I made dad lose quite a bit of money and stuff like that. And he wasn’t even angry with me. He was like, yeah. I guess he understood that that’s just part of the business world. So I’ve been exposed to the business world, ever since I was a little kid. Yeah.
William Hooke: Just polar opposite.
Amy Hooke: Just a completely different world and a completely different experience. So for me, running a business just seemed like a natural thing to do. Whereas you’d thought it would be good to have your own business, but you never saw the connection between where you’re at and how you would actually get to do it. And then, now here you are. You’re a business owner.
William Hooke: That’s right.
Amy Hooke: You’re not just my employee. You’re actually a business owner, in your own right.
William Hooke: Yeah, that’s right. Even with me doing sales calls, it’s like, okay, well, we need money to pay this bill. And it’s like, okay, well, I’m just going to wait here until some money comes into our bank account.
Amy Hooke: That was the-
William Hooke: I was very patient. I waited a very long time for that to happen.
Amy Hooke: I was very patient.
William Hooke: And it just didn’t happen. I was waiting and I kept-
Amy Hooke: I can tell you.
William Hooke: … asking Amy, do we have-
Amy Hooke: That was the best day.
William Hooke: … any money for this? And she’s like, no. Do we have money for that? No, we’ve got to pay this bill.
Amy Hooke: Yeah, he’d be asking me, can I have money for this, can I have money for that? And I’d go, why don’t you get on the phone and start helping us sell some of our services?
William Hooke: And I started to think-
Amy Hooke: And he’s like, oh, yeah. That’s a good idea.
William Hooke: I actually have to do this. It’s not just going to happen. And it will seem funny to all of you people listening to this, even if you’re a bookkeeper employee, because you’re involved in the engine room of the business, in the office, that’s how the business gets run. And so, you are exposed to all of this. But I thought, we’ve got a good product. Our product is effective, et cetera. Why aren’t people just buying our stuff? And it’s like, it doesn’t actually work like that.
William Hooke: So here’s the short version of this podcast. I’d gone from a very entitled mentality and I would say, I would be fairly extreme in my entitlement. I was quite ignorant of it too. I wasn’t trying to be a jerk or trying to be selfish, but honestly, I probably was. To outsiders, they would have had in their view, good reasons to be angry with me and annoyed with me. So I’ve gone from that, I’ve gone from being an employee who’s expected things provided for me. So when I was working, it wasn’t as though I was just stuffing around, that kind of thing. I was working, I would 60 hour weeks in my apprenticeship, build stuff for boss, all those kind of things.
William Hooke: But I really didn’t have any idea of the pressure and the constraints and the issues that all my bosses and managers and supervisors were under.
Amy Hooke: Until you saw your wife going through it.
William Hooke: Yes. And that’s the other thing. So seeing Amy deal with bad clients, seeing people not paying-
Amy Hooke: That’s in the bookkeeping business, by the way. We have great clients with Savvy but.
William Hooke: Sure.
Amy Hooke: Finding my niche, finding my niche.
William Hooke: Well, and again, that’s it. I was shocked at these people who would engage Amy’s services, but really treated Amy badly. And I’m like, what’s going on here? So basically, I’ve gone from very insulated, very self-absorbed and I’ve been shown all of these things that I honestly was ignorant and naïve of. And I am really blessed to have Amy, that Amy and even my father-in-law through the opportunities that he gave Amy. This was all, exposed me to a brand new situation, and I’m doing all right now.
William Hooke: But because I’ve been put into this greenhouse, I’ve had the opportunity to expand and grow, whereas if I hadn’t have had that, I would have been the same entitled, frustrated employee. And why I’m saying this is, because there’s many husbands out there, who might be able to wear the same hat as me, grumpy, entitled, frustrated, and wondering what’s boss’s problem. Why isn’t boss doing this? Why isn’t boss giving me what I want? And there are bad bosses out there. But also, these husbands might be like me, not actually addressing what they can control, which is themselves, their attitude, serving and all that kind of a thing.
William Hooke: And if I can do it, I’m just regular. I’m not a super duper human. I’m just a normal human being. And so I’ve been exposed, I’ve had the mirror shown to me for a long time. And I’m starting to realize, and I have realized what I need to do to change. And so if I can change, other people can change.
Amy Hooke: Yeah. And I think that day, I walked out to the kitchen, so we work from home. We have separate offices, because I’m always yapping on the phone and that kind of thing. So I’m a bit of a distraction. So William’s got his own office, just across, you can see… The kitchen’s got a window that goes through to the back room. And so, I remember the day I stuck my head up, and said, what are you planning on doing today? And then he turned around and he said, well, I guess I’m going to be making some sales calls today.
Amy Hooke: And I remember, that was a big turning point, for us, together, as a married couple, who run a business together. That was the day that I felt that you stepped into the role of being my business partner. Before that you were my employee, and yeah. It felt like, that day, that you said, yes. I’m going to start making sales as well, taking a bit of that pressure off of me. That’s what made me realize, like you’ve levelled up, at that point.
William Hooke: Yeah, definitely. And this is the way that real life works. There’s a few people who are exceptional and who can nut things out and have those eureka moments. But most of us, we actually need to see someone else do something. And that’s why they have apprenticeships and internships and traineeships. Monkey see, monkey do works. And it’s actually how most of us learn things. And so, if you haven’t been exposed to it, don’t feel bad. But once you get exposed to it, it’s like, hang on, I can do that. If Will can do it, and he was entitled and had an employee mindset, and he’s changed, I can change too.
Amy Hooke: Yeah, definitely.
William Hooke: Yeah. Essentially, be encouraged. You can go from someone who’s been long-term unemployed and had chronic fatigue, to running your own business. So there is a degree of basically, dropping your pride and your beliefs, and going, is this actually true, what I’m believing. And what I’m believing, does this actually help me? Is this really getting me where I want? Let’s say, as an employee, your boss buys budget coffee, and boss has got an BMW or something like that. And you think, that’s a bit stingy. If it’s-
Amy Hooke: Your boss doesn’t have an BMW.
William Hooke: Well, let’s just say this. So when I did my apprenticeship, I got money for tools, and I was getting paid $5.18 a hour, the first year of my apprenticeship, and I ended upon $14.50 in my fourth year. And I got a tool allowance. And I’m like, “You think I’m going to buy tools? You’re dreaming. You’ve got this business that’s worth heaps, and you can’t even provide me with tools? Is this some kind of a joke?” And so, I didn’t buy tools. And then, when I got into labour hire, tada, you have to supply your own tools.
William Hooke: So the moneys are better, but part of that is, you have to have a standard set of tools to be able to do the job. And if you don’t have those tools, you can’t do the job. So you miss out on the better money. And so obviously I bought enough tools to do that, so that wasn’t changing my mindset. Then when I was working at Visy Board and these other places, these people wouldn’t just buy enough tools. They’d buy really good tools, and they’d have battery operated tools. For construction workers, this is all normal. But for fitters, this isn’t what you did.
William Hooke: And I’m like, “Why are these people doing this?” And it’s because they actually enjoyed what they were doing, and they had a far better, a far superior way of thinking. And so I’ve gone from really being clammed up into a far better way of thinking, and going from ways of thinking that I thought was right, that didn’t help me, into ways that helped me, by helping someone else. And so, I guess it’s just that maturing and changing.
Amy Hooke: Yeah, that’s right. And the example that you gave with the tools is good. I think those guys that you explained too, they treated, even though they’re technically employees, they treated it like they’re the owner of their own business. And there was, I mean, we followed this business coach a couple of years ago, and his business coach used to say, you’re the CEO of a brand called Y.O.U. Which was a bit, it’s pretty cheesy, but at the same time, there’s truth to that. Even if you’re just a solo person, the difference between the employee mindset and the business owner mindset, is worlds apart.
Amy Hooke: But you don’t have to be a business owner to have that mindset. You can be employee and have that mindset and vice versa as the opposite. You can have business owners that still, like you were when you first started, having the employee mindset and not understanding that it’s not about you, it’s about the people that we’re here to serve, and the people that we… I mean, I’ve spent my waking hours thinking about how I can improve the businesses and the lives of the bookkeepers in our community, and now that William’s… now that you’ve reached a point where you’re actually getting on the phones and speaking to people, you get to be a part of that too now.
Amy Hooke: And you start to, I guess, the more that you get out of that, because you think that being selfish is going to be… If you can get everything that you need for yourself, then you’ll be happy. But it’s actually as you start to reach out and do things for the wider community, you can… it’s way more fulfilling, it’s way more fun. And yeah. So that’s what we’re doing together, isn’t it?
William Hooke: Yeah, that’s right. And back to my role, with bookkeepers, I feel that we actually really offer bookkeepers something that they’re not necessarily very strong in, with the websites. And so the website gets their business plan out of their head onto paper. Without trying to be unkind, if your business plan is in your head, it’s not actually a business plan. And so we get it out onto paper, actually onto the website. And then this helps the bookkeepers to interact with their potential ideal clients.
William Hooke: Bookkeepers are excellent typically at bookkeeping. But this marketing, this sales, this business planning, this pricing strategy, this is something that a lot of bookkeepers need help with. And so we are providing strength in an area that they’re weak in. It’s like, that’s really cool, that we can actually buddy up with people in this.
Amy Hooke: Yeah. People that have… People that are lacking the skill that we have. I guess, it’s the missing piece of the puzzle. The bookkeepers that we work with, we become a part of their team.
William Hooke: Yes. That’s right.
Amy Hooke: Either long-term or short-term, it doesn’t really matter.
William Hooke: That’s right.
Amy Hooke: But yeah, it’s been an amazing journey to watch William. At times, it’s felt that it’s taken a long time.
Amy Hooke: But when you have those leaps in your growth, it makes up for lost time, in a way. So yeah. So anyway, thank you all for listening in. And thank you William for coming out of the other office into having a podcast with me today.
William Hooke: No worries.
Amy Hooke: All right. Well, we’ll catch you all next week, and we’ll see you then.
William Hooke: Ta ta.