Skip to main content

It’s About Time!


I’m sitting in a virtual classroom for a sales training session led by Keith Strauss, owner of Sales Concepts, Inc. in Westlake, OH. Keith is leading a compelling discussion about building rapport, understanding what’s important to your clients and prospects, and establishing empathic connections, not just for sales but for deepening relationships.

(We decided last year to offer Keith’s training to our employees. A number of them have jumped in with both feet. Keith’s been knocking it out of the park.)

Keith asks the group a question – how do you know what’s important to you?

My partner Lou Licata says this:

Everything I do goes into one of two buckets.  It either gives me energy or it sucks energy from me.  My job is really simple:  increase the former and decrease the latter.

Every once in a while, Lou says something crazy-profound like that – something that seems so basic and obvious it actually pisses you off.

An entrepreneur’s life is dodgeball. There’s a never-ending avalanche of data to review, people to meet with and talk to, issues to solve, all coming at you with no regard for your priorities, your calendar, or your projects. It’s a constant deluge of demands on your time.

Using Lou’s framework, though, time-management because totally binary.

It’s relatively easy to know whether something gives you energy or sucks energy from you. You always know.

But what if you can’t do less of the energy-sucker. Someone’s gotta do it and today that’s you.

Now you have another binary choice.

Changing How I Think About It

There are a lot of ways to change how you think about something. My favorite comes from Mo Gawdat’s Solve for Happy. Totally mind-blowing. The basic equation is:

Happiness is equal to or greater than

your perception of the events of your life


your expectation of how life should be. 

In other words, have high, positive perceptions and low expectations. If you believe that the events in your life are positive, that events happen for you and not to you, and you’re grateful for all of them, and you expect nothing different from life, that’s when you are happiest.

(Solve for Happy by Mo Gawdat is one of the most amazing books I’ve ever read, and has become the one I now “gift” the most. Utterly fascinating.)


Stop Doing It

Changing your mindset is not that easy. It takes a long time, a committed dedication to mental habit-formation, to effectively rewire your brain to see the positive in anything, and to expect nothing. Not easy by any means.

So what if it sucks energy from you and you can’t change your mindset about it?

The universe of options is still fairly small:

(This framework comes from The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss.)

You’ve got three options. Just pick one.

I can tell you this – there’s always a way to do one or more of these. It doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Delegating it just means finding the human (often a good virtual assistant), a new hire, or a consultant. Automating it is often an app. Eliminating it is the easiest of all. Just cross that baby off your list.

Here’s what the whole thing looks like:

Lou’s framework is elegant – a series of if-then statements that turns every person or event into a series of logical steps that ends in more positive things in your life and fewer negative ones.


A Twist

I’ve added a few bells and whistles to the business ownership part of Lou’s model, but we get to the same place.

In my formulation, everything I do in business should satisfy these three points:

  • I’m great at it.
  • It brings me joy.
  • It makes me money.

It’s impossible for everything you do as an entrepreneur to meet all three. It is possible, though, to inventory your professional activities to determine which ones meet the expectations, and to what extent.  For anything that is weak in all three, you delegate, automate or eliminate them.  You then replace them with activities that satisfy all three, not just a little but a lot.

My framework looks like this:

I review this list on a quarterly basis (because new things add themselves to your list constantly). My goal is to end up spending my day completing tasks that score a 3 or 4 across the board in all three questions.

Here’s why:

  • If I’m great at it and it brings me joy but no money, then it’s a hobby and I should do it when I’m not working.
  • If I’m great at it and it makes me money but brings me no joy, I’ll be miserable and will eventually burn out.
  • If it brings me money and joy but I suck at it, someone else should be doing it so I can do things I’m great at (which is then more likely to make me and those around me happier).

In the end, we get to the same place – delegation, automation, or elimination:

In the end, it’s all about being deliberate in how you spend your time. That’s an essential element of entrepreneurialism. There’s only one of you and a million things for you to do. Choose wisely.

How to Make Employee Handbooks Work For You


Ohio is an at-will employment state, so you may question whether your business needs to put in the time and effort to create and maintain an employee handbook. After all, you can terminate employees for any reason, right?  

Not so fast. This oversimplification may lead to costly disputes. If you craft them well, employee handbooks can provide substantial protection against employee lawsuits while giving your company broad leeway to conduct your business as you see fit. 

Click here for a quick overview of why employee handbooks can benefit employers like you and ensure you’re not unwittingly creating an enforceable contract with your employee handbook. 

Proprietary Manufacturing

Gertsburg Licata Acquisitions is a full-service advisory firm facilitating middle-market mergers and acquisitions. We are currently looking for proprietary manufacturers that might be interested in an M&A deal! Areas of interest include air filtration, oil and gas, exhaust parts, consumer products (especially plastic components), hydraulic filtration, metals stamping, plastic molding, and fabrication. Interested in learning more? Our GLA team can walk you through the process and help you reach your goals.

To find out more details or set up a consultation, contact us here.

See our Full List of Engagements

Seeking Financial Advisors!

Our client, a Cleveland-based Registered Investment Advisor, is looking for two experienced advisors to join its Northeast Ohio wealth management and investment firm! If you are passionate about helping clients pursue their unique life goals and bringing in new client relationships then look no further. Here are the current positions we are recruiting for:

Corporate Retirement Plan Advisor

Looking for a Corporate Retirement Plan Advisor with 3 or more years of experience advising corporate retirement clients. The ideal candidate has a documented track record with clients and is active within their community and professional organizations. In this role, the advisor will strategize with the management team to develop innovative methods of growing the firm and be enthusiastic in personally creating new client relationships. Series 7, 66 license and Insurance License or one will need to be acquired shortly after hire. CRPS, CFP, CPA, or master’s in taxation is a major plus.

Financial Planner/Wealth Advisor

Looking for a Financial Planner/Wealth Advisor to serve as the head advisor for established client relationships and assist with acquiring new firm relationships. The ideal candidate has 3 or more years of experience managing client relationships as a wealth advisor, a CFP, or in the process of obtaining a CFP certification and has experience with planning tools such as Riskalyze, Morningstar, and eMoney. CPA is a plus.

If interested, please submit a resume and cover letter to [email protected] and reference the position in the subject line.

To find out more about these positions and Gertsburg Licata Talent, click here.

Found Money


Did you know that most states (if not every state) have a Division of Unclaimed Funds that is searchable with the click of a button? Basically, if a company or person is holding onto money or property but can’t find the owner, the holder can deposit it with the state and effectively wash their hands of trying to hunt you down. The state holds onto it for you, collects interest on it, and presumably keeps it if you never pick it up.

A common example is unearned insurance premiums. You pay for a year’s worth of insurance, then switch insurance companies halfway through the year but have to pay the new one before the old one returns your money. If they can’t find you (maybe because you switched dorms or moved houses), it sends your unearned premium to the state where it sits until you look for it.

When I first started practicing law over 20 years ago, I used this as a marketing tool. I typed every client or prospect into the online database and recovered thousands of dollars for my clients, thereby appearing resourceful and helpful instead of the young legal whippersnapper I actually was.

If you live in Ohio, you can search for (and claim) your unclaimed funds here. (Click “Launch”, type your name below the “start your search” button”, click on your name if you found it there, then click “on the claims cart” in the upper right corner, and voila, your claim form magically appears). If you don’t live in Ohio, or if you spent any significant amount of time in another state, here’s the national list of Unclaimed Property administrators.

(If you just found some money, you’re welcome. If not, set a reminder to check back in a few years. I’ve come back to this several times and found updates for myself.)

How Can We Help You?

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.