Justin Barksdale, Barksdale Safety Solution
Safety Consultant with Sheldon Primus
Justin Barksdale, Barksdale Safety Solution
December 20, 2023
In this episode, Sheldon speaks to a former OTIEC student, Justin Barksdale of Barksdale Safety Solutions. Justin talks about his safety consulting journey and gives tips on how to work your business part-time and even grow to employ workers.
Links mentioned in this episode:
Safety Consultant Podcast: http://safetyconsultantpodcast.com/
Barksdale Safety Solutions: https://barksdalesafety.com/
Safety Training Coalition: https://www.safetytrainingcoalition.com/
CPR / BLS Classes www.getbls.com


Speaker 3 (00:00)
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Sheldon Primus (00:11)
Well, welcome to the Safety Consultant podcast. I'm your host, Sheldon Primus. This is the podcast where I teach you about the business of being a safety consultant. We talk about OSHA compliance sometimes. We talk general safety and health. Talk about your mindset. All those good stuff, right? We're going to make sure that you guys got the tools that you need to get your business going.

Sheldon Primus (00:44)
Come on. Hey, I forgot to mention this. Just in case you guys didn't know, the music that you guys are hearing on the show is mine. Yes, yes, it's my music. I am a producer. It's been a while I've done it, I actually have to work on that a little bit more, get back to my music, my musical roots. So yeah, that's me. I guess I have to... I'm trying to remember where you to get that, but I don't know. You guys might have to look me up. They'll have to figure that one out, how to share that with you guys. I do have something on Disctopia that I have my music on. I should be more prepared, right? Show notes. That's what we need by show notes. We should be more prepared, but that's okay. You guys that are really good with internet, you can look it up real quick. Disctopia is where my music is housed, and it would be primetimeshel. That is the name that I'm using when I'm doing my production. Come on, man, don't laugh at me. Everybody's going to have a name. All right, all right. There you go. So look that up. You'll be able to find it somewhere, I'm pretty sure. I'm giving you guys homework. So welcome, welcome, welcome. We got a great, great interview today. You guys are going to get some really good information that is coming to you. But before I do that, I'm going to go ahead and look up what we've got going on both Chartable and see the audience that we have right now. And then not only the audience, I also want to make sure that I let you know where we are on the charts because you guys have been doing your best to get me going on the Apple and all the other charts and where I could see myself move up a little bit on the rankings. The best way to do that is to subscribe to the podcast. Then when you know somebody, or at least if you know somebody that Hey, you want to get into safety consulting or you want to be a consultant for your company, because that's generally what we all are, right? We're the consultant for our own company for safety and health. I know a show that you should be looking at, and Dude is funny.

Sheldon Primus (03:18)
That's what you're going to say, right? Exactly those words. Dude is funny. All right, go ahead. Practice with me. Dude is funny. All right, there we go. So that's what you're going to end up just sharing it with some people, whoever in your network that you believe is someone who could use understanding a little bit more about safety, especially my OSHA compliance episodes for you people that are US-based and you need to get OSHA compliant. I do a lot of those things as well. So first, let's tell you where everyone is listening from, according to my charts, and saying, welcome to you all. Thank you for listening in Ireland, US, obviously, Ireland, Germany, UK, Vietnam, Chile, Philippines, Spain, Canada, India, Turkey, France, Thailand. It's probably my family. Azerbaijan, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Norway, Zimbabwe, UAE, Belgium, Chechnya, Denmark, Egypt, Netherlands, Portugal, and Russia. Man, I appreciate you guys listening and being part of the show. That is really awesome. And just thank you all. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being part of the show. So let's show you guys where I am on the charts. And the charts is the part where you're sharing with friends, you're telling people about it, you're listening more, you're engaging.

Sheldon Primus (04:58)
And engaging is usually, just truly go to safetyconsultantpodcast.com. You're going to see a microphone icon. You just select that microphone icon, and then you could talk to the show. Another way is to do a rating. Whatever you're listening to me right now. If you take the time and you do a review of the show, that'd be awesome. I've actually got some ratings, so thank you so much for giving me the ratings. I see the ratings. I don't have that many reviews, which is a little bit of sad. If you do have a review that you want to say, especially, just tell me a little bit about how you're feeling about the show. I'll really appreciate that. Apple or any of the other ones. All right, so let's show you where I am on the actual listing right now. Currently, the Safety Consultant podcast, which is Safety Consultant with Sheldon Primus. I think you guys know about that one. You guys know. In the US, I'm actually out of the government market. So that means in government, that's my category. So that means you guys in the US, share the show, please. I want to be in the US ranking with Apple just to boost me up a little bit there. So talk to any of your safety professionals that you know, and they don't have to be consultants. They just have to be interested in the field of safety. And go ahead and help get me listed on the US ranking. And this is the Apple podcast ranking. Saudi Arabia, excellent job sharing the show. I'm 109. South Africa, thank you for sharing. I'm 209 in that market. I'm number 92 in India in your market. Thank you so much. Turkey, I'm number 89 in your government category for podcasting. I appreciate Thank you. Chile, I am 72 in the ranking. Wow, you guys are awesome. Thank you. I really, really appreciate everybody for sharing. Let me go ahead and let you know the top listing that I have currently.

Sheldon Primus (07:26)
Right now, I am 23 in Qatar. And of course, I've been told that you could say Qatar, you could say Qatar. But thank you guys so much for ranking me in there. You guys have been really, really excellent. I mean, I appreciate that. And in Chartable, it looks like for the global reach, I'm 180 in my category. In Chartable listing, not the Apple listing, I'm out of Apple. But in Chartable, it's got me US Government at 149. So that's a different category altogether. So I really appreciate you, you guys. Thank you so much. Yeah.

Sheldon Primus (08:11)
All right, gang. So let me tell you a little bit about the episode today. Today, we have a former student of mine, and only for the OSHA classes, he was getting his OSHA just to be able to teach the 10 to 30 hour OSHA classes, and got to meet Justin. And Justin has a company called Barksdale Safety Solutions. Justin Barksdale, I was just really proud to see his growth this year. It has been awesome. I've been taking account of how he's doing, and I asked him to join the show. Open the hood a little. Let us see underneath. Let's see how you're doing. And he was very, very gracious in everything that he's been telling me and in turn, telling you guys in the audience to help get you what you need as far as some confidence in being a safety consultant. Those of you that are currently working and you're trying to think, how can I do this consulting job and my current job at the same time? Justin is a guy just like you then. He's doing this, and he tells us when I asked him a question about how as far as hiring people and getting them into his system, and when did he decide to do that? And he truly said it from the beginning, he needed someone to help him since he was doing a lot of this part-time. So I'm just really, really just amazed at his growth and how everything has been working really well with his company and much, much, much more growth to him and Barksdale Safety Solutions in the future. So get ready to hear something really cool. You guys are going to really enjoy it. Let me know how you like the episode as you leave your reviews on whatever podcast you're listening to me, service-wise, and without any further delay. Let's go ahead and I'm going to introduce to you and let Justin introduce himself to you, Mr. Justin Barksdale.

Sheldon Primus (10:16)
All right. Well, welcome to the Safety Consultant with Sheldon Primus. This week, I have Justin Barksdale. Justin, tell everybody a little bit about yourself and maybe even how we met. How's that?

Justin Barksdale (10:29)
Yeah, thanks, Sheldon. Justin Barksdale with Barksdale Safety Solutions. Met Sheldon earlier this year in one of the OSHA Instructor classes for OSHA General Industry. An incredible guy, incredible instructor, love learning from him and the team there. Really just sparked what I'm doing as a consultant and gave me some things to feed off of. I'm just excited to talk to you again, Sheldon, honestly.

Sheldon Primus (10:58)
Me, too. I just love seeing when people, or students, actually get just motivated. You get going, you're doing it, and then you actually branch off, and now there's Barksdale Safety. Wow. How did it all start? Start with that, and then we'll go with how you got into safety after that. Tell us how you decided with the consulting scene and how to get that going. What did you do?

Justin Barksdale (11:31)
I'll say this, I've been in safety for about 15 years and worked, you know contractor has been working for plant companies and client companies. Really about, I would say five years ago, so 2018, Got an interest in just doing something part-time and wanted to fill my Fridays with... It was going to be an insurance-type gig and started my LLC because of that to earn a little extra income. We're one income family. I was looking for creative ways to use my skills to go out and make a little extra money for the family. That's what sparked getting my LLC and starting this journey. Through the years, I really did very minimal. Then in the last, I'd say, 18 months, I had this just huge interest to just start ramping up and doing more marketing, getting my website where I wanted it. It has just snowballed from there and continues to snowball. We're excited for the growth we've had this year and some of the clients we've served. Just super excited for my team. It's not just me anymore. I have now one full-time employee and other part-time employees where we're just doing a great job for our clients. It's just refreshing to see. You know?

Sheldon Primus (12:54)
It brings its own pressure to you when you got somebody on board and you have to make sure that you got your company set up so you could help them and keep them where they could have their business and supply for their family and all that. I know that's that extra pressure that you get as a boss now, right?

Justin Barksdale (13:13)
That's right. An it's been really, being a safety professional has been one thing. It's learning the business aspect that has been a growth challenge for me. I'm a very growth mindset person. I believe in continuous learning. We're always learning. We're trying to learn new things. As I consult, I'm learning things, but I'm learning how to run a business and how to make a profit and what does that mean. That has been the challenge, but it's been a great challenge for me. I'm taking it in the bull by the horn, so to speak, and getting after it. It's really helped me clear my head about what kind of key results and the economic objectives do I want to reach in 2024. Some of those things I've been learning and reading about in books. I've read your book, Sheldon. It was like, I had started all this before I met you. It started before I really understood your community and what you've been building around the safety consultant and all of the things you offer for folks. I'm reading this and I'm like, This is exactly what I've been doing for the last five years. It's just now more progressive, more detailed things, and just refreshing that there's other people out there interested in doing what we do to help folks. And at the end of the day, it's about getting people home safely, whether you're doing that for a corporation, or you're doing that as a safety consultant for many corporations, our little small Mom and Pop type shops. That's the exciting part about it for me is the entrepreneurial side of what we do.

Sheldon Primus (14:54)
That's awesome. Tell us your safety journey. How did you actually get into safety? Just so that people know your background before you even got into consulting.

Justin Barksdale (15:03)
Yeah. You know, I was, my whole family were a long line of scaffold builders in the plants. I was the first one to actually go get a college degree. I scaffold built right out of high school. I was in going to be a school teacher, and I was out in a plant doing turnarounds, building scaffolds every moment that I could, just working hard, trying to make my way. I met a safety guy That safety guy really sparked my interest. It was a behavioral-based safety course we went through at the plant that I was building scaffolds in. Then found out that the college I was going to actually had a safety program. I got plugged into that and loved it ever since. From there, I've worked, like I said, for contractors. Then I moved into, I worked for a chemical plant for about four years. Then the power side. I've got a plethora of industry knowledge and seeing different things. In 2014, I earned my CSP. I graduated with a GSP from college and then got my CSP. That's been a game changer for me as far as career You can do a lot of things when you have those credentials and other credentials, obviously. But it's been one to just helped propel me to learn more, to keep pushing me in that growth mindset. And so One of the things I really wanted to make sure that I communicate with you today is I've never stopped learning even from college. Every day, I'm trying to learn something new. I've been doing this now 15 years, and I look back and I'm like, Whoa, how do we get this far? Three children later, and we're running a business now, and just exciting times. You look up, and now the things you've learned from people is just you start taking it. I don't know if that helps, but it's been a journey from industrial hygiene work to just being a plant safety specialist to running programs for corporations. I did all that. I felt like jumping into consultancy is going to be a good thing for me because I do have that background and that plethora of knowledge in many different areas. I can see it from either the contractor from a perspective or a client facility or even into the insurance side of things as some of my jobs we do are insurance-related.

Sheldon Primus (17:40)
Wow, that's a great journey. Do you feel that when you... Well, before I even asked, let's see, how did you decide when it was time for you to go ahead and get your LLC and become your own boss? Was there a driver to get you to make that final decision?

Justin Barksdale (18:00)
Yeah, I think at first it was just, Man, I really wanted to... I started looking into, Okay, if I'm going to do extra work, how does that need to be structured? Looking to LLC and thinking about all the liabilities that go with that. If you're going to do consulting work, you need to have the right insurance. You need to make sure you're covered from that in. Then from a tax implication perspective, it was just the right move to go ahead and have the LLC run it through there, and then the liabilities are on the company versus me personally. Initially, it was just to get to have for later. Now it's been, Hey, we have an LLC, and now other folks are paid from that. Anyway, it's grown, and the need for it has absolutely grown. Sheldon, just last year, this past year, I really worked on defining... In the beginning, it was all about trying to just establish the business structure. Well, this last year, I've been focused on vision and mission and really having that for my small business and knowing where we're going. I'll just share with that real quickly because I think the earlier you do that, the better off you're going to be. When you can clearly articulate the vision and the mission and you get other people on board with that, then your team is a collective team, and you're all coming to work excited, doing the things you do for your client. I think that's helped.

Justin Barksdale (19:29)
But our vision, and it's simple, we see a world where everyone goes home from work safely and the lives of people are valued. Then what drives that and the mission behind all that, why we exist, is that we exist to educate, equip, and empower our organizations to create safety in their workplace. That looks different depending on the client. We have a lot of our clientele. We have a nice-size CPR, first-aid training business, mostly online. We're doing a lot more in-person. But I have three instructors right now and adding instructors. We're doing a whole plethora of training completely virtually, because through the AHA, we can actually do that still as long as we follow the right guidelines and issue nurses and the health care side of things, those clientele, all through that virtual aspect. That's www.getbls.com. If you I want to check that out later. But you can sign up for our classes and see that we have that there. That's a whole clientele there that we're educating. We're helping them get certified, their two-year certification in First Aid CPR. That's been a big thing for us. The other aspect is we've taken on a couple of clients that are on, I would call a retainer basis, and where we're going in every month doing their safety meetings, doing their fire extinguisher inspections, doing the things that they just don't really have time to do. That's been a big helpful thing. We're getting paid monthly to come in and be their eyes and ears for the management team and to make sure we're checking the compliance box for them, but also denoting things that, Hey, they need to work on, or maybe we can help them with. Then the other aspect we're going to start really ramping up in the next year is our supply side. We're starting to become this one-stop shop for safety. One-stop. I love it because my team is just seeing that, and we're helping our clients depending on the need. It's not a one-size-fit-all kinda thing for us. We go into a client, and we may write procedures for them. We may conduct training. We may do a project. One of the coolest things that we've done, I think, is actually doing new higher orientations and going in and filming the facility and making a customized solution for them and being able to give that where it's It's more their people, and it's not just this voiceover. It's a real live person standing up in front of a camera talking from their plant. We did that for one of our clients at one of their turnarounds. I wish I could show the video, Sheldon. We coined this phrase, burn, burn, burn. What does caustic do to you? It burn, burn, burns. They said that the year prior that my client said that they had 24 caustic burns at this facility. After this turnaround, watching that video, everybody was walking around laughing about burn, burn, burn. What does caustic do to you? They said they had very little. I think it was three that they counted actual caustic burn. So going drastic changes because of the impact that we're making on people to think about things differently. That's just one example. But as you could tell, I'm pretty amped up and excited about the work that we're doing to change lives and to create safety. I want to go back to that. It's all about empowering empowering, educating, equipping, empowering organizations to own it, own safety, and do it with excellence, care about people, and it could be achieved. When you have a leadership team that wants to do that, and you have employees who want to get engaged and helping them become engaged, showing them how to do that. That's really powerful to me.

Sheldon Primus (23:23)
Yeah. Now, let's open up the hood a little so everyone could see underneath. So if you could remember, way back when, when you landed your first client, what was your technique to first attract a client? And then did you have to work on structuring your proposal and all that stuff? If you can just tell us how that was for first attaining the client. Then what does your proposal look like?

Justin Barksdale (23:51)
A lot of my clients have actually been folks I've worked with before, whether past project or for the facility. I just called and I candidly said, Listen, I'm starting to do some stuff on the side. I obviously want to just throw out my services to you if you need an extra hand, an extra set of eyes, and I would make that contact and just build relationship with folks, remind them of what I can do. A lot of the folks said, Man, Justin, let me think about that. I remember distinctively my first new client, a person that hadn't really with me before. Very interesting conversation. I got a call from a guy I know that works there, and he's in leadership there. He knew me but never worked around me and knew what I did. He was calling for some advice. He was calling about label making, honestly. He's like, Man, we got all this Hascom issue, and I know we need these labels, but I know you're a safety guy, but can you tell me more? I said, Do you know I do this on the side? I can probably come in and give you an assessment and do a compliance assessment, tell you all that you need.

Justin Barksdale (24:59)
He said, I tell you what, why don't you write a proposal for us to come in and give us a full-blown compliance assessment, all from a conversation about I have a need. I need you to take a look at my labels. I think it's knowing, just tapping into your existing network, honestly, and asking. It's not going to hurt to ask. Now, I've tried very hard not to be the pushy salesperson. But the fact of the matter is, as a consultant, and especially if you're the business owner, you're going to have to put yourself out there and learn how to build a relationship and understand how to make the sale, close the deal. Those are things I've had to grow in. That wasn't my strong suit in the beginning. But as the more I've done it, and really and truly, all it is, is having a conversation and letting people know that you care, that you have a solution to the problem. That's the reason why I call my company Barksdale Safety Solutions. We have solutions. It's not the same old thing over and over again, but it's multiple, custom, tailored, whatever you want to call it, solutions for whatever problem is out there. I don't know if that helps

Sheldon Primus (26:15)
No, that helps. Because a lot of people, when they first get started, that's a question I get often is, how do I get started and how do I get new clients? So I usually tell them, first start with your friends and family because they already know you. They already know what to expect, and they may actually be looking for something and if you don't ask, you never know. So first start with your network that's close to you. And then after you start getting them, then you could, I like to say, 4X the relationship, meaning ask them, you might come back next year to do something, or if you see a proposal and you're doing a proposal for a Hascom, hey, let's do some training with the Hascom. So now you just 2X'd it. And then do you know anybody that needs some help. You got 3X in that relationship.

Justin Barksdale (27:02)
Exactly.

Sheldon Primus (27:03)
Then that's usually, it's always cheaper to retain a client than to make a new client. And then the other thing I always mention is from first meeting and handshake to actual sign contract, it may take some time. I usually say it could get up to sometimes nine months to a year, sometimes a year and a half. Are you experiencing that same thing?

Justin Barksdale (27:28)
Yeah, it's planting seeds Then you may not hear anything for months to a year. Then all of a sudden somebody remembers, Hey, remember that Barksdale? I think it's Barksdale Safety, or, Hey, call Justin, he knows. It's just conversations and word of mouth. I had a client The other day, finally, I've had my website for three years, and I worked very hard. I built it myself. I taught myself all that. That was a big lift, in my opinion. I could have paid money to do that. But I had my first client find me online, googled safety consultants, and they found me and inquired online. That was my very first one. That took three years to do. I was amazed by that. People have seen my website and they've commented on it, but this was the first inquiry that I actually have now landed work. That didn't take very long from that very initial conversation. But I will say, and I'll go back to this, not only call your friends and family, but call other consultants. You see them on LinkedIn, you see them in the Safety Consultant Network. Call them up, message them, and ask them, Hey, pick their brain a little bit. Some of them are willing to do that. I'm going to be honest with you, that's what I did. A very well-known guy from the ASSP, don't want to mention his name, but I called him up or emailed him and just said, Hey, can I have 30 minutes of your time? He said, Yeah, let's pick a day. I explained what I wanted. I said, Listen, I just want to ask you, you've been doing consulting for 20 years, how do you do it?

Justin Barksdale (28:58)
I was just looking some of the notes that he gave me, and this was, I think, a couple of years ago before I really got good and going. It's just amazing the other things that you can learn if you really put your mind to it and ask your network, talk to folks. I'll say, Sheldon, I pray about everything we do like I really do. If you're a man, a woman of faith, I just encourage you to do that because honestly, I've gotten work just knowing that God's provided. I just thought I'd throw that in there. But it's amazing when you put your mind on what you're trying to do and you ask. Asking is not going to hurt anything. You don't ask, you don't get, honestly. You may get a thousand nos, but that one call, that one relationship you built or thing you mentioned, somebody could remember. I'll keep this in mind. Everything that I do, people are watching, people are seeing. We try to do things with excellence in everything that we do, whether we're at a meeting and we're representing well, ASSP meeting or online. We want to be professional in every place that people can see because they're going to remember that. They're going to remember your professionalism. They're going to remember how you treated them. That's some of the little basic things that I think about, like how I believe this thing has grown for me. It's still growing, and I'm thankful for that. I want to see that continue and reach our goals and keep going just to help as many people as we can within our little sphere in our little part of the world. There's a lot of work out there, a lot of people that need help in the safety, so it can be done.

Sheldon Primus (30:57)
What's your philosophy when it comes to trying to expand the business through travel? You know that I'm a full-time traveler, and I try to do my best to route things where I'm going to go from a job to a job, and and to have some fun and see things while I'm going there. Was that one of the things you had to figure out is how can you expand the business through travel, or did you just try to stay local?

Justin Barksdale (31:25)
For me, personally, I do try to stay local, but I will say in In the states closest to me, I'm in Louisiana, and I traveled as far as Tennessee and Texas and Mississippi for my clients. Will we go out of state? Absolutely. For me, as a young dad, I've got three children, 11, 8, and 3. They need me home.

Sheldon Primus (31:54)
They need you.

Justin Barksdale (31:54)
They need me home. That's right. Most of our work is is local. Obviously, we're in a very heavy industrial corridor down in the south and south Louisiana, so there's plenty of work. But we do do things nationwide. But at the same time, I love hearing your stories because you get to travel now and see different things. Maybe one day when my kids are growing and going, I might consider that. But that's-

Sheldon Primus (32:22)
That's the plan. That's the plan. When they get growing and they're able to handle their own you're there, you're encouraging them, and then you get to expand and go out and see it. A lot of us, when we first get married, that's the conversation we have with the spouse. It's like, When our time comes, we're going to go travel.

Justin Barksdale (32:47)
It's about just connecting. Whether you want to travel, there's opportunities abroad, there's opportunities within the state, depending on what you want to do and what you want to focus on. I'd say I'm more of a generalist, but we do have some very focused areas that I believe our company is targeted for our clients. We're trying to do our best with that and optimize the services and products that we have. And that's the name of the game. You've got to know what you offer, what you're good at, and do your best to make it happen for your clients. That way, they keep coming back.

Sheldon Primus (33:32)
When it was time to start refining the way you approach business, such as getting your website, also making sure you've got your vision statement and mission statement as you recently did, What was the catalyst to that? Why did you feel the need to get from just a regular safety consulting seat that is a one-off event, or maybe not one-off, but at least something that you would consider as just going from client to client to something where you're envisioning a bigger organization. What was that change like for you?

Justin Barksdale (34:12)
I've been afforded the opportunity within my roles in the corporate positions or the companies that I've worked for, and I've only worked for a handful of companies, and that's always been the company's drivers. I've been involved with the leadership trainings where we talk about key results and we try to get everybody to think about accountability. I think having those backgrounds really drove me to understand that if I'm going to go into business for myself, I've got to make sure that I have some sort of vision, whether this is going to be a large company. I would say right now, my vision internally for us, not that when we tell everybody, but I'll tell everybody today, is right now, I want to be up to 5-10 people and us rocking it for our clients. Doing a certain threshold of revenue a year. Those things have come as I've learned to be a business owner, and I've learned about where I want to be. That has really began to just As we grow, I've had to refine that because I need to know where we're going. I need to lead where we're going. I've learned those things just by the corporations that I've been in and understanding that those principles.

Justin Barksdale (35:30)
I'm currently reading a book called How to Grow your Small Business by Don Miller. It's a really good book. I've enjoyed it. It's really helped me start framing, I've always talked about key results, and the company's got to have key results, and the CEO of these Fortune 500s got to be on the same page about things. And if everybody's not on the same page, how do we know where we're going? And that's often a problem within corporate America. They don't know where they're going. They don't know how their business grows. They don't know how their business works. I've heard all that. Well, for my small business, I've got to know, Hey, what is our products? Where are we going? What are we doing? Who are we helping? And so taking that experience I've had and just incorporating it here, I think, has really been good. I really like Don's approach. I've really changed some of our internal things. We recently started talking about economic objectives as it relates to our mission. I've done that before in corporate America. But for me and our company, to see it grow for 2024, I'll just give you one. We're going to train about 1,200 people in first aid CPR. That's our mission. Our measure of success is that we train at least 1,200 people in 2024 and certify them, whether it's BLS, HeartSaver or whatever. That's our mission. That's our economic objective. I have a number that's tied to that on what that profit margin looks like. If we go beyond that, that's great. But I think as you start to get established, if you have a company already and you're like where I am, I think you got to start thinking about those things. When it's just you, you got a goal. I want to make this much this year. Well, it's not just about me anymore. It's about company growth. It's about my employees and taking care of them and those things. I began to put some pen to paper around what are our economic objectives? How many retainers are we going to try to lay in this year, how many? That becomes like now things we're reaching for. We've got to get up every day and everybody's focused on those things. Don talks about having your top three streams of revenue or the ones you want to be your top three, to have those as a part of your economic objectives in your mission statement. Anyway, I've said a lot about that, but I'm really excited about it.

Sheldon Primus (38:03)
Now, that means that it's connected with you. It's something that you're going to do. It's something you're motivated on. It's a vision. You probably have it on some vision board, if you would. And so that means that it's an entity now to you. It's alive. It's your baby. And that's good. Tell us about your... What about when you decided that just Justin may not be good enough and that you did the math that says, I probably need to start hiring. And how am I going to structure that? Is it 1099? Is it W2? And all that stuff. How did you start dealing with when you knew that it was time to grow? And what are some of the questions that you needed to answer before you can make that decision?

Justin Barksdale (38:53)
I'll be honest with you, that's recently just happened where we're really now in the last six months have I have one full-time employee. I'm still doing mostly part-time stuff, but running it from the background. I think for me, it was really early on. I would take on projects that I couldn't get done by myself and knew I could do with the help of another part-time person or different things. That's growing, evolving, and changing as we need. Now with our CPR business growing like it was, that was really the time. I've landed some jobs in the last six months, though, where we staffed a 6-9 week turnaround with a couple of people. Having them that many weeks out the year and those things, that's how I knew. But we're still growing. We're not where I want to be yet, but we're giving it everything we've got, and we're going after it every day. I think you can't be scared to take on projects that you may need a little extra help from. You just have to think about how much you're going to pay somebody else, and what's What's it going to cost you, and figure out, we talk about profit margin. What's the profit margin going to be? I'm open and candid about with some of my guys that are more of my leadership, who I have working with me now are my leadership guys. If we grow to where, if, when we grow to where I want to be, they're going to be the ones in those intimate conversations about, Hey, we've got this client. We're going to do this project. It's going to be X amount of dollars. Those are the people I'm surrounding myself with. As we go, I feel like for a while we'll probably have mostly part-time help until we decide to hire some more people. But it's just an everyday ever-changing, depending on what we get and who we're helping. The vision's there, the mission's there, and we're going to keep working it. If that takes more people, then you just got to do it. Be transparent with people, and that's all you got to do. The folks I have, we worked out their rates and they're compensated. It was a casual conversation. It wasn't just a, Hey, I'm hiring. The folks I hire right now, the people I know and I trust, and that will eventually, if we get big enough, it'll be something that we have to consider in our hiring processes, and we've already talked about that. But for now, we're just grassroots trying to start this thing from the very bottom.

Sheldon Primus (41:48)
Yeah, you got to. That's everybody's starting point, right? Yeah. Let me ask you another one, just one more question so I could squeeze this one in. I hear I this one a lot, so I'm going to give you what my usual answer is, and then let's also hear what your philosophy is. So I get this question a lot, either on Facebook groups or people catch me after a class or something, and they're thinking about consulting, one of the things that brings fear to them is, how are they going to price? And some of the times with the pricing, they're trying to figure out what's market value. So they always ask, how do I find out what my competitor is charging so you could charge similar to the competitor. But I flip it around a little to say it's not more about your competitor, it's what you're bringing to the table is usually what I tell them. I said, You might be more than your competitor, but you're looking at your experience, you're looking at your insurance, you're looking at if you need to get a sub or whatever, and you have to reflect that, especially if it's travel and per diem and all that stuff. So your pricing may not be what the market is. Are you going to still be good enough, feeling good enough that the dollar figure that you depend on is equitable to you, as opposed to matching what a competitor is doing because you don't know if they're underselling. So that's usually my conversation with the philosophy. And I always tell them, Start with what you were normally thinking about with your hourly salary and never charge hourly. But I say, think about it first and how much time it's going take for you to do this actual job and think of it in that terms first, and then start adding in with travel and per diem and any other things that's going to cost you for services and get that number. And then add a multiplier to it, or put a multiplier to it, I should say. Not add, because that's two different math functions. But I'll put a multiplier to that and then sit with that number for a little while and see how you feel. Usually, my multiplier is three times that number. Whatever you say, give it a 3x after you finish that. And that's putting in the profit margin, if you would. And at that point, sit with it a little. So that's my philosophy, and I've been candid about that, and in a few episodes already. So talking to another professional at this, what do you usually tell when people say, Man, how do you price this 10-hour class? Or how do you price the site safety for a job? So go ahead, and I'll let you get an answer to that one.

Justin Barksdale (44:30)
It's a constant conversation on this, just even internally to the folks working with me is, what do we charge for this client? And we like to have going rates for each person and how much time it takes. It really depends. I'm still growing in this, not the best. I think I messaged you the other day and asked you, Hey, you shared before, what are you charging for OSHA 10? I was benchmarking because I have a client asking for that. You have to consider volume. You have to consider quantity. You have to consider work that they're going to give you after that job's over with. You can't bid jobs on promises and prayers, don't get me wrong. But at the same time, it does come, what are you valued at? Sure, they can hire somebody else, but what is your work valued at? I think when you show folks the work that you can do and the value that you do bring to the table, the price will work itself out. I have been confident in that. Have I overpriced something and realized it later? Yeah. Have I underbid something? Yeah. You're going to have bumps and bruises along the way. At the same time, I think it's a journey. If you're entrepreneurial-minded and you're growing and you're learning how to do those things, you'll find that That smooth spot that you need to be in that works well for you and your organization that you're trying to build. But to bring that home a little bit, it really does go back to what you said, Sheldon. I look at everything, how much time is that going to take us? What's the material is it going to cost? It starts to become easier when you do repeatable things, such as an OSHA 10 or a CPR first aid class. We know what our profit margins are. We know what discounts we can give. We've come up with pricing sheets. We've done all that. But it really comes down to... And we've lost jobs. I'm going to be frank about that. We were too high. Somebody didn't want to do it that way. Anyway, you can't be afraid of the fear of failure. You're going to lose jobs. You're going to have folks that are just going to go with somebody else. They feel more comfortable, whatever. But the ones you do land, remember, a lot of times, if you do a good job, they're going to come back. They're going to come back to that will, they're going to use you again, and then they're going to tell other people about you. It's creating a snowball effect there. I guess that's just my experience with it. Pricing things out is always going to be something that I'm going to be involved in as we grow as the owner, because I've been doing it the longest. I know what our services cost. I I know what I've got to pay this person, and I know what it's going to take to... You figure those things out. You just got to just step back, do the numbers, put the multiplier on it, and not be afraid. And go after it.

Sheldon Primus (47:47)
All right. I did say one last question, but I'm squeaking in one more because it just came out. It just popped in my brain. One of the big things that you always see with consultants, especially when you first get started, is the highs and lows. You get money, and then where does the money go? You get money, where does the money go? To smooth that out, especially now that you have your team that's working with you, what's your philosophy to get off that seesaw that goes up and down and up and down? Is there a way that you've learned to even that out work-wise?

Justin Barksdale (48:26)
Yeah, I think that's a constant thing, too. We're learning in that We're small grassroots. But one thing I've learned just reading this new book from Don Miller, How to Grow a Small Business, is get your operational checking account. Know what you need to have to run the business. We have low overhead here. To be honest with you, it's really low. But business is eat cash, and he said that. That's not my saying, it's his. You have got to know that it's going to take money to make money. I'm going to be honest with you, for some of the projects, and I've been early on, and I would just pour back into the business to get it going, especially as I've been part-time. Maybe not taking anything, I've just been pouring it in so that I can flip and make more money. That's the thing I think you have to think about when you're getting started is, are you willing to go a little while part-time and build up a good nest egg of things that you need to keep cash flow? Cash flow is your number one killer in business. We're working actively to create revenue streams that are constant cash flows, whether they be retainer services or online. We have our online training platform. It's www.Safetytrainingcoalition.com. It's on my website. If you want to check it out, that's Barksdalesafety.com. But you can see Safety Training Coalition. We've created it where there's an annual fee for the users of that. We're building course content to where folks can build that. But thinking of products, thinking of services where you can charge a monthly thing versus just one-off projects. I was looking the other day, just a little bit into my business. We currently have about eight streams or buckets of revenue. I was thinking about that and I said, How cool is that? A year ago, I don't know if I had... I couldn't tell you if I had three, two or what. But now I've compartmentalized it into eight. I know the things that we're trying to do to grow the top three. The rest we're going to continue to grow. But those things I think are important as you start off is, what do you want to do? What do you want to help people with? Just going back to that is, make sure you got cash flow. Make sure you're staying ahead of that. It's a challenge. I'm not going to sit here and pretend it's easy. It's certainly an everyday thing that we consider. You may have been in safety for 30 years. I want to start your consultancy. But when you run a consultant business, you got to understand it's a business. It's not just all your money, unless you're just part-time for yourself. When you're trying to grow it like I am, it's a business. And there's business money. I have my personal checking account, and I have the business's checking account, and I have an amount I pay myself. So it's structuring things like that and professionalizing your business, as Don Miller says in his book, I think has started to help me really grow things. Anyway.

Sheldon Primus (51:38)
All right. Well, thank you for truly being able to open that hood up for us and let us see inside that engine that's been driving your organization. So please go ahead and give us the website again. And if there's a number or email that everyone could reach you so that they could get some help, at least get get to talk to you a little and see what way they could use your services.

Justin Barksdale (52:05)
Sure. And so our website, the major website is www.Barksdalesafety.com. That's barksdalesafety.com. There's links to our other websites that we have on that website, so I'll spare the details on that. But you can email me at justin@barksdalesafety.com. Justin@barksdalesafety.com. We I answer it. It may be even in time, it may be a day or so, but I'll answer it, especially knowing that there's other folks that may need help or just want to talk. I appreciate you, Sheldon. I'll just say this, that you've been that guy for me. I can just text or message. It may be a day or so, but you get back to me. I think that's important to do when you're in business is just get back to people. So thank you for having me today. And I really appreciate this opportunity to just share a little bit about what I'm doing. And really just thankful there's a lot of people like you trying to help people like me get started. So that's a good thing.
 
Sheldon Primus (53:18)
No problem. I'm glad to help. And yeah, I'm with you. Just leave a message. I'll get back. It may take a little because of class or whatever, traveling, but I'll get back to you. So Justin, thank you so much for being part of the show. And honestly, it's been so good having you as part of my reference page and my networking group. It's been awesome for it. Thank you, man.
 
Justin Barksdale (53:42)
Hey, appreciate you.
 
Speaker 3 (53:50)
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Speaker 3 (53:58)
The views and opinions expressed on this podcast or broadcast are those of the host and its guests and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the company. Examples of analysis discussed within the past hour are only examples. They should not be utilized in the real world as the only solution available as they are based on very limited and dated open source information. Assumptions made within this analysis are not reflective of the position of the company. No part of this podcast or broadcast may be reproduced, stored within a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical, electronic recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of the creator of the podcast or broadcast, Sheldon Primus.