It’s Meet the Author Monday! Each week we meet a new author and get to know a little about them, their writing process, publishing experience, and tips for other writers. Today we’re talking to David Jenyns, author of SYSTEMology. And the format is a little bit different. David wanted to do the interview over video, and I thought that would be really fun!
About David Jenyns:
In 2016, David Jenyns successfully systemised himself out of the business, hired a CEO and stepped back from the daily operations. Through this process he became a systems devotee – founding SYSTEMology & systemHUB. Today, his mission is to free all business owners worldwide from the daily operations of running their business.
Author Interview with David Jenyns:
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Kelly: I’m Kelly Schuknecht. I have KellySchuknecht.com, which is my book review blog. But tell me a little bit about yourself, David, and just the background of your book.
David: Yeah. So the book I’ve, this is my second book. The first book was Authority Content. Second book is SYSTEMology: Create time, Reduce Errors and Scale Your Profits with Proven Business Systems. And it’s, um, a bit of a labor of love.
I think all books for me, I follow a very similar approach. Uh, oftentimes identify a problem that a particular target audience has that I feel quite passionate about. And then, uh, I go through the process of solving it. Usually, I’ll solve the problem for myself first. Then I kind of work with a small group of people. Oftentimes one-on-one to see if what I’ve learned can be transferred. And then the final step. I’ll kind of culminate all of those ideas together, uh, into a workshop.
I run a one-day workshop, and I think of the workshop upfront like it’s a book. So I think about the sessions as different chapters, and then I’ll present it as a way, like a positive constraint to really force me to get it done because people will be showing up and I have to present and be ready.
And then we take the, uh, transcription. Or, uh, we video record it, and then I send it off to get it transcribed. That goes to a ghostwriter. Ghostwriter has first go, then I have second go. And then we kind of get into with the editor and things like that. But, um, yeah, we’re, we’re now, uh, came out in August late last year.
It’s got some really good early feedback and praise and recognition and, uh, yeah, now it’s just a matter of, kind of trying to spread the word far and wide.
Kelly: Yeah. So the workshops that you do you’re so let’s stop there for a second. You’re in Australia, right? Um, so the workshops that you do, are they online, available to anyone anywhere?
David: So it, uh, uh, pre-COVID, um, was, uh, yeah, like a physical location, people would show up. We were like in a little meeting room, and oftentimes I’d have between sort of 30 or 50 people that I’d get into that space. And it’d be a one-day workshop. It’d almost be like just a complete brain dump. I, I call it a workshop. Oftentimes when I think workshop it’s a bit too way, but really it’s more one way. I’m up there just getting the material out, so often have people kind of say, you know, it’s a little bit information overload the way that I do it, but I, I, I do it for multiple reasons. And then we oftentimes take the recording and, uh, turn that into like a little online program that ends up being like the upsell or the backend to the book. So people read the book and then they want to go through the workshop. And then, yes, so that, that way it does kind of go global. But initially, the initial recording is just somewhere local. I’ve not written a book post COVID.
So I don’t know if that would shift then to a Zoom setting, I’m not sure, but there’s, there’s something that, uh, really it’s, it’s I find it very difficult to replicate in a Zoom setting compared to real-world people in there to different sort of energy I get from being in that space.
Kelly: Sure. Yeah. You may have to approach it differently if you do it that way.
Um, I love, I will say I love that you, um, you, you didn’t push to do a video, but you just, you know, it was just a, uh, um, I don’t know, assumption, I think that we would meet on video. And most authors tend to be more behind the scenes and don’t want to do video interviews, so I was very excited that you were the one who introduced the idea. Um, and you seem to be very comfortable at that. You look like you have a podcast mic. Do you have a podcast also?
David: I do. It’s a Business Processes Simplified, and it’s a little bit different from a lot of the other podcasts. What did it aims to do…it’s not like, Hey, tell me about your background and your history. And let’s dig into that. Uh, it’s very much, uh, tell us about a problem inside a business that you’ve been able to solve, and tell us the system for that. So I literally go step one, step two, step three, step four. And then we take the recordings from those podcasts and then they get turned into accompanying systems that then end up sort of accompanying the podcast.
Um, but that, yeah. Yeah. That’s why the setup and the fancy lights in the background. And, uh, yeah, I know what you mean with a lot of the authors I have met though, but I, I think maybe. Cause I used to have as you know, the digital agency. So I’m very familiar with the marketing side of things and being comfortable with content creation, whether it’s podcasts or YouTube videos or articles.
I think it’s, um, something that authors really need to master because most authors, they get so focused on writing the book and they create a tremendous book, but then. They think the work is done once it’s written, but really you’re probably only a third of the way there. I think marketing just for the launch and then even consistently beyond there, like, I think you need to get out there and raise awareness for it because the world is a noisy place. And if you don’t do it, no one will.
Kelly: Yeah. Well, and so you actually reached out to me about doing a giveaway for your book and, and, uh, so this is the book that I had. You’ve mentioned two books, but I’ve got some technology, um, and that I’ll be reading, reviewing on my blog and also doing a giveaway for it.
Um, I often get requests from authors to, uh, review books and I don’t, I don’t, uh, take up every author who asked me to do them, but yours really stood out to me. And as I was mentioning to you earlier, what, what stood out right away was, um, when I got a copy of, it was, uh, at the top, it mentioned that you have a foreword by Michael Gerber who wrote The E-Myth and then it has the E-Myth series.
Um, and I don’t want to give away what’s in your book, but would you mind telling any part of your story with Michael Gerber?
David: Yeah, definitely. So it was, uh, almost like the stars aligned for that opportunity for me to work with Michael. Uh, I was in the digital agency, and, uh, we’d kind of got to this point where I’d been working in it day-to-day for about 10 years. And then my wife and I found out we were pregnant and then I just thought to myself, Oh, I don’t want to be that dad who’s always too busy. Cause I was working incredibly long hours in the digital agency, mornings, nights, weekends. And I thought, Oh, I’ve got to change something.
And I kind of intuitively knew that systems and processes would provide a really important part, but for some reason, I had a lot of baggage. I kind of thought, Oh, the digital agency is different. You know, Google’s always updating their algorithm. Things are changing and moving so quickly. What’s the point of doing a system or a process if it’s just going to be out of date. Um, but, but I thought I’ve seen others build agencies that have scaled beyond them, so it must be possible.
And, uh, finding out we were pregnant was enough to really push me. So I spent about the next nine to sort of 12 months heavily systemizing and got it to a point where I hired a CEO and she started running that business. And then, um, I had a SaaS program, which was like a side hobby for me, um, called SystemHub to store businesses systems and processes in the Cloud.
And it was always the side project. And I thought, Oh, I really want to make this my thing. Cause I kind of had started to lose the passion with the agency side of things. Uh, and then I get an email out of the blue from a lady called Luz Delia Gerber. Didn’t know her first name, knew the surname, and the website was Michael Lee Gerber companies.
And I went and had a look at that and it was clear that it was Michael Gerber. For people who are in business or have been in business for a while, his book is more well-known oftentimes than his name. So the book, the E-Myth, which, uh, many site is pretty much him being the godfather of business systems for small business.
And, uh, I…All her email said was “Call me.” So I knew where they were based. They were on the…
Kelly: I can’t believe you did it. I can’t imagine getting that email and calling that person, but you did it.
David: It literally, I need to get out and get a screenshot of it because all it said was “Call me,” and then it was a phone number and then her signature. And that was it.
So I could tell it, I knew that they’re on the West Coast in the States. So it was my early morning, her afternoon and called her. And the long story short, she said look, “Michael has just turned 80 and he’s written the final book in his E-Myth series called Beyond the E-Myth, and for the first time, we’ve decided not to go through HarperCollins.
We’re going to self-publish so we can fully maintain the rights and we need to do some sort of launch. And she said, I happened to see you launch your first book, Authority Content. And she said, I really liked your book launch. And, uh, would you be interested in doing it for me and Michael? And I said, look, I don’t do book launches.
This is not my thing, but you know, I’ll make an exception for Michael. Um, I even went one step further and then I volunteered for the position. I said, I’d be happy to do it just for the chance to work with Michael. And then I worked really heavily and closely with him for pretty much three months solid.
I, the agency was running really, really well. And, um, it meant I could, you know, fully lean into this project. It was a bit of an opportunity of a lifetime. They didn’t know what I was doing with SystemHub or any of the SYSTEMology stuff. They contacted me through the agency, but I knew there was perfect alignment there.
So, um, I just thought, well, let’s just follow this and see what happened. The book launch was really good success. It was Michael’s first book to become an Amazon bestseller within 24 hours. So we, we got everybody excited and built up to the moment and the book launched really well. And he got a huge number of book reviews, and then he invited me over to the U.S. He runs an event called the Dreaming Room. And I flew over to the States to attend that. And I had a couple of colleagues that I had got to help me with the book launch. So they came over and we rented this Mac Daddy Airbnb house, hanging off the rocks in La Jolla and attending, uh, Michael’s workshop in this swanky hotel.
And, um, The event itself was really, really great. And then at the end of that event, um, he had a two day mastermind cause he’s 80. He’s thinking about the legacy, like what happens next with his body of work and Luz Delia said, Oh, do you want to stay on? And she said also, um, you know, we were hoping to get Tony Robbins to come and do like the emceeing for this little mastermind in, uh, Michael sweet. And it was the who’s who in business. But you said at the 11th hour, um, we lost the emcee, so I stuck my hand up and I said, Oh, would you like me to emcee the room? And she said, yeah. Okay.
So here I am three months earlier, having not even spoken to Michael and I’m standing in front of, uh, the audience of, you know, 20 people probably get 20, 25 people in his presidential suite at this hotel up the room, trying to mastermind and think, okay, well, what is Michael going to do with his work as he kind of starts to step back? And I just remember pinching myself going, what on earth has happened here? How did I end up here?
Um, and I do, I feel it’s given me a new appreciation for what the business systems do, which is it’s all about creating space and the opportunity. Like if I was so heavily working in my business, there’s no way that I would have been able to follow that opportunity. When Luz Delia messaged me and said, Hey, can you work on this full time, uh, for the next three months? And I said, at no pay and then drop everything and fly over to the States. Like, um, that was only made possible by building a business that could work without me. So I was that’s really kind of even got me even more pumped up about what we, what we do with SYSTEMology. Cause I feel that’s, that’s the missing piece for a lot of business owners who are trying to, um, and it doesn’t have to be the opportunity of a lifetime. It’s just oftentimes opportunities pop up for business owners.
Some of them they might see, but some of them, they might not see because they’re so busy in the thick of it. Um, so that’s my, my little Michael story and we, we keep in touch. He’s a huge supporter of what we do in SYSTEMology. I’ve had a few people who’ve read the book and had commented the foreword almost feels like it’s like he’s passing the baton on. Like the way it’s kind of written about, uh, digging into each other’s work.
So I feel I’ve got a, um, really sort of step up to this moment because I feel that is, it’s not really a, a great advocate for, uh, business systems, but specifically for small business, like there’s Six Sigma and some of these bigger methodologies, but they’re all built for, you know, or automotive companies and companies with a hundred plus staff and it just doesn’t work on the micro level. And most business owners, they don’t, and they don’t even like systems and processes and they think, ah, You know, they try it and it doesn’t work. So they abandoned it and never follow it through. And when I think what they need to do is they have to fall in love with what the business systems can bring, not, you know, fall in love with the idea of writing systems and processes.
Like I don’t, I don’t like writing detailed systems and processes, but I love what getting a good systemized business, uh, can, can deliver to the business owner and the rest of the team.
Kelly: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And yeah, in my work, you know, as a, I mentioned to you that I’m actually a director of marketing. And so I totally understand, you know, not as a business owner, but just even in my department alone, just having processes in place, the systems in place. And we work really hard, um, at my company putting those things in place so that, um, there’s just consistency for the well, and it basically like we call it the blue, I think it’s called the blue book, uh, that Michael Gerber talks about in his book. Having that manual, that people can pull out and go through everything. So it’s a consistent, um, delivery for the clients. And you know, that, that if you have turnover in your staff or whatever, that, that those things get. Um, passed on and not lost. Um, and as an owner, you don’t end up having to jump back into, um, fill those holes or, you know, figure things out, but you have the right people in place, the right processes in place, the right tools. Um, yeah. I love that.
David: It’s also quite, uh, rare, uh, for somebody in a creative industry to have that as well, because for some reason, the creative people are the ones that oftentimes, you know, really go, no, no, no, we, we don’t want to remove the creativity by systemizing it out.
So it’s a little bit counterintuitive. Cause if, once you get. Systems and processes, right. What ends up happening is it ends up creating space cause in the back of your head, you don’t have to think, uh, did, did we set up that project, right? Did the client fill out the questionnaire correctly or did, did we invoice them? Like all of that sort of stuff.
If you just get all of that down, um, it actually allows you to do more creative work. So really good to hear you guys from a creative industry. And I know. You had mentioned some of your, the other people on the team have sort of really bought into the E-Myth way of doing things, which I think ends up being a huge competitive advantage.
Kelly: Yeah. Yeah. Well, and that’s so we, we love that book. Yeah. Um, what I caught from what I’ve read of your book so far is that you get really into the, the how to, not just the reason why, but here’s how to do it. And I think that, um, I love The E-Myth, but I’m super excited to read your book and, and, uh, you know, read through how you explain the four steps, uh, to, to actually mastering that. Right.
Um, so you, I know again, I don’t want to give away your book, but, um, tell me about, do you have a success story from anyone that you would worked with where…
David: Quite a lot, like the way that I always develop these methodologies. There’s a moment in time when I do do the one-on-one work.
So, um, when I was first testing out SYSTEMology I worked with yeah, probably a good 30 or 40 companies where I was doing this SYSTEMology process and that’s what really helped me to craft and perfect it. So, yeah. Stories, um, one that always sticks out because actually I just recently interviewed her, Jeanette from Diggity Doggety Day Care.
Um, she was working in that company for about eight years before she really got heavy into systemizing. She decided she wanted to sell that business over the course of 12 months. She’d systemize it. Then she’d attracted the attention of a big corporate here in Australia, um, that wanted to take her concept and use her store as the franchise prototype.
And they gave her a very high multiple when she sold out and they cited two things, they said one was the financial performance and the second with the systems. They said, we could, we can see now how this could be rolled out. So there’s quite a few stories like that on exiting.
Um, but then, I mean, I love the other stories like there’s this guy, Gary. He owns a company called Eco Solutions. They do like bushfire management here in Australia, and he hadn’t taken a holiday for five years. He’d had a small team, but everything was bottle-necking through him. And he went through the SYSTEMology approach, um, started to capture his best practice. Uh, brought on a couple of, uh, extra team members, like administrative team members, and then sent me a message.
Um, I think it was probably after about 18 months and he said, um, I was able to double my net profit, improved his, um, oh, what was it? Yeah. Doubled his sales and then improved his net profit from like 80 to 30, uh, sorry, from, from 8% to 30%. And the best one he said was I took my first holiday, uh, in, in five years where he went away with his family.
Um, and then there’s. Yeah. Or like, we’ve worked with so many different industries, everything from immigration companies to, um, digital agencies seems to be a big one, I think because of my, uh, history. Um, I think, uh, yeah, it’s accounting firms are another big one. I find people with finance backgrounds tend to sort of resonate with the systems approach. I have quite a few accountants that have started now teaching their clients SYSTEMology. I had someone just, uh, over Christmas, they bought a bunch of the SYSTEMology books and sent it out to their clients. So it’s, I’m just starting to hear some more of the stories come in now that are at arms reach for me.
Most of the stories that I’ve had to-date are the ones that I worked with one-on-one, but now I’m starting to get the stories from, Oh, I read the book and then I applied the ideas. Um, so that’s, that’s always exciting.
Kelly: Yeah. Yeah. That’s awesome. I mean that, it’s, it’s really great to know that your work is impacting so many other businesses and other people and owners, you know, who, they just get so stuck in the day to day that it’s really hard to step out of that and to, to see how working on the business instead of in the business, really benefits them in the long run. It’s so hard to do when you’re in the middle of it.
Just I just want to talk to you a little bit about the writing process, the publishing process, kind of what you’ve gone through.
And, and, um, you’ve had the two books. Have you, did you self-publish both of those books?
David: Self-published both, but I’ve got a lady who, she’s almost like a hybrid type person. Like she’s has worked in the big publishing companies. She sort of does some freelance things on the side and she helps with, you know, lining up the editor and doing all the submissions through to Amazon and organizing the studio for doing the audiobook. And she just kind of made sure that everything went really, really smoothly.
Kelly: Yeah, I was going to ask you about the audiobook. So I’ll come back to that in a second. But so with, with all of your, you know, SYSTEMology, creating the systems, hiring the right people, doing all those things, what is the writing process like for you? How do you, do you sit down and do the writing and find the time for that?
David: It’s, it’s definitely slow and painful. I don’t, um, uh, I wouldn’t say I enjoy the process, but I kind of feel like it has to be done and I enjoy the feeling of once it’s done. So I think if I was just looking at a blank Google Doc and I had to write 50 or 60,000 words, I would find that really challenging.
So I kind of find my little hack, that idea I mentioned of the workshop, like working with version one, after the ghost has done it, I find infinitely easier. I can then hop in there. I do end up pretty much rewriting it, like, uh, like I’ll take chunks of what they’re doing, but, you know, by and large, like I’m going through sentence by sentence and really just making it right.
And then coming from the marketing background as well, and you know, writing a little bit of copy, um, it makes me very particular when I’m writing my copy as well, and I can’t not do that, unfortunately. That’s also why it, it takes some time. I think, I mean, probably coming up from when first getting the idea.
You know, all up, including working with some clients, running a little workshop and all, or the whole book part, it’s really like a three or a four year exercise that once the book is transcribed though. And, um, we’ve got the first edit that’s, you know, probably about a year process, I would imagine kind of little bit of backwards and forwards. Um, yeah, it’s, uh, It feels good once it’s done. That’s for sure.
Kelly: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Um, so you mentioned audiobooks. So you have audiobook versions of both of your books?
David: I just did the second book. I feel like I would’ve liked to have done the audiobook for the first book on release, like in, in hindsight, I feel like it needs to all be done together.
Like just as I’d written it, I went off the back of this one and I did the audiobook and because my mind was so in it, you know, my world at that time was SYSTEMology. So then reading the book it comes through and I, um, I mean, I always enjoy audiobooks infinitely more if it’s read by the author. So I wanted to be an author who read his own book. So that’s, um, uh, and I felt like I missed that window with the first book I kind of had moved on and, and haven’t been able to go back and motivate myself enough to record the audio for that one.
Kelly: Yeah. Yeah. So you actually came to me originally, uh, as a friend, colleague, I’m not, I’m not sure your relationship, but of Allen, um, Dib…Is it Dib or Dibs with an s?
Kelly: Okay, I said it right. Um, so what other authors have you connected? So, you know, Michael Gerber, you know, Alan Dib, what other, um, authors are you connected with? Um, and you know, what did you, how did they help you become a better writer?
David: Yeah, Allen Dib is great. Definitely want to give him a shout out. Not only has he written an excellent book, he’s really helpful. He actually lives two streets away from me. Like the, the little pocket of, uh, Melbourne, uh, Australia based authors. We come and live in. We live in Mount Martha. Um, but, uh, yeah, a few other authors that we had another good friend, Pete Williams, he’s written a book called Cadence and, um, Mike Rhodes, he’s got The Definitive Guide to AdWords.
There’s quite a few authors just sort of, uh, in my space, uh, and you kind of just pick up from them what’s working and what’s not. So I think, um, the reason I kind of jelled really well with Alan’s work is, uh, and it’s clear that The 1-Page Marketing Plan is a system. And as I said, it’s not common to see a systems thinker, um, in a creative space. So he’s, he’s systemizing what is oftentimes seen as quite creative. And then that’s also why it’s quite unique. So, and he’s all about, you know, how do we turn this into a system and a process? How do we make it consistently happening? You know, Dave, if you want to market your book, you’ve got to get on podcasts and you’ve got to get book reviews.
Get the system in place for that and just keep doing it wax on wax off. So that’s yeah. That’s, I mean, that’s how we ended up connecting as well. It’s just part of our approach now for building the book is getting influencers and people in the space to read the book and then comment on it.
Kelly: Yeah. I love…so Alan, I think, was the very first author who reached out to me a few years ago. He said, Hey, can I send you two copies of my book? And here’s why I’m going to send you two copies. I want you to read it and review it and keep a copy. And then I want you to do a giveaway. And I was like, Oh, I love that. Like, so I did that. I read his book. It was great. Um, and I, I did a review for his, but then I did a giveaway and, um, I honestly had not done that again, until I heard from you with the same, you were like, you know, I know that you read Alan’s book, would you be willing to read mine? And, um, I just think that’s a really great marketing tactic. Um, because book reviewers know other readers and other book reviewers. And so it’s a great way to spread the word. Um, and so, yeah, it’s fun that you, uh, that we connected through Alan and I did really love his book
Tell us what’s your in, in Australia, what is your favorite place to visit? If I were to go there on a vacation, where would you tell me to go?
David: I’m a little bit biased, but come and visit Mount Martha. We’ve got nice beaches down here. I do. Yeah, we’ve got, uh, I lived down on the peninsula. I feel very lucky with where we are, like, we’ve got, uh, a lot of, a lot of good things going down here in Melbourne, on the peninsula in particular.
Kelly: Nice. Well, I’m jealous. Cause it’s right now where I am it’s snowing. I mean, it’s pretty, but it’s a different, it’s a different kind of pretty. It’s uh, I’m ready for summer.
David: Yeah. That happens every year. So, it’ll come back.
Kelly: Well, thank you so much, David, for reaching out. Um, and for being willing to go, to be in this interview with me, I really appreciate it. And I know authors, um, will learn a lot from your experience and the stories that you share as well as business owners who will learn a lot from your methods. So I really appreciate you taking the time out. What time of day is it where you are by the way?
David: 9:30 am so just getting started for the day.
Kelly: Oh, that’s not bad. Well, I’m just finishing up for the day, so we’re, that’s, that’s better than I thought. So, um, yeah. Thank you so much.
David: Pleasure! Thanks for the opportunity.