S2 E1 Finding Success in Life & Business, Not Only For Veterinary Practices But All Business
Eric Dunavant from ericldunavant.com & Melissa from conciergeelite.com chat about his personal story of how his father's veterinary practice went bankrupt. That inspired him to transition into the financial planning industry, where he now provides coaching to business owners on avoiding similar failures.
They discuss the importance of having basic insurance, savings, and a work/life balance to maintain healthy relationships. Eric shares an anecdote about how his father's veterinary practice initially found success because he put himself first and invested in his family and employees before investing in the business.
They talk about the importance of taking care of oneself and then taking care of one's employees similarly. He emphasizes that it is essential to focus on return on intention, which is different from return on investment. The speaker also has a book and podcast called Redefining Success.
They talk about setting goals for next year and how to do it using the Kingdom ROI Truth map.
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00:38 Melissa Welcome to understaffed. I'm Melissa Brown, and today I have with me Eric L. Dunovant. He's an author, speaker, consultant, and serial entrepreneur. He's been in the financial industry for over two decades. Eric has been featured in various media outlets such as the New York times, wall street journal, and business insider. He's worked with top wealth advisors and received multiple awards and accolades in business and finance. Eric has dedicated his life to his family and the fight against world poverty. Eric's greatest passion is to empower those on the path to abundance, to create transformation that lasts for generations.
01:15 Melissa Welcome to the show.
01:16 Eric Hi, Melissa. I'm so excited to be here. Thank you for having me.
01:19 Melissa Yes, thank you very much. Tell us a little bit about yourself. I talked about your bio already, but tell the listeners who you are.
01:26 Eric Yeah. So my name is Eric El Dunovit. I live in a small community north of the New Orleans area called Covington, Louisiana. I tell people I live in Maybury. It's a town that's about 50 years back in time. I love living here. I've been married to my wife angel for coming up on 26 years this December. I've got three kids. My oldest Clayton, who is a junior in computer science at Purdue. My middle one, Austin, who is a freshman at Rhodes College in Memphis, and my daughter Grayson is a sophomore in high school. I am just living my best life, really helping people. The word I like to use is helping them redefine success for better ROI and that's return on intention. We may get a chance to talk more about what that means, but that's what I get to do and that's who I am.
02:17 Melissa Awesome. We talked before about your personal story about your father, who is a veterinarian. Will you share that with us?
02:26 Eric Yeah. I was raised in a small town in West Texas. I guess I keep gravitating these small towns. I was raised in a small town in West Texas. My dad was a veterinarian, my mom was a stay at home mom. Up until my freshman year of high school, I really kind of had this ideal life. I walked to school, local grocery, I worked at the local grocery store. It was all this just like this is just this ideal. My mom got sick my 8th grade year. She fell and broke her arm and got a staph infection from it. Long story short, we buried my mom the day before I started my freshman year of high school.
03:05 Melissa Wow.
03:06 Eric My dad was really this is where everything starts to get really exposed, because my dad was a really good veterinarian, but not necessarily a great business person. He was so focused on growing his business practice and everything, growing his veterinary practice. He had borrowed money to open up a new business. He had bought a facility that had place for him to do large animal and small animal with more than he had, and so he borrowed a lot of money. He had ignored health insurance. He had ignored life insurance. He had ignored all the things that typically you'd put in to kind of protect a business owner. My mom passes away, so all of her medical bills start coming in. Yeah, he didn't have any life insurance on her. He's gotten the debt from the veterinary practice that he's bought. He's now playing Mary Poppins. To and my sister and I are eight years separated, so I was a freshman in high school, but she's eight years younger.
04:01 Eric Right. He's a man who's been running a veterinary practice, trying to figure out how to raise a seven year old daughter. All of this basically unravels to the point that by my senior year of high school, my dad ended up filing bankruptcy. We lost everything, lost the family home, lost all of that. It really kind of led me on this lifelong passion of really kind of pursuing what caused this, what made this happen, what was it that went on. It really drove me into I started out kind of in the financial planning industry, and that's grown and evolved over a number of years. I still have that practice, but I do a whole lot more coaching and things like that today. It really kind of grew out of this journey of what was it that disrupts business owners, especially that causes them to fall into this place of not I kind of call it this unintended negligence for themselves.
04:55 Eric Like, there's oh, my goodness, insurance is such a cost in our life. Insurance would have been a great investment. Insurance and medical insurance, those things would have been a great investment. Many times as a business owner, you get so many balls in the air. I don't think that we look at the right we don't necessarily have the right viewpoint on the way that we look at things. It was that journey of trying to unpack that, and then as I became my own business owner, trying to make sure that I was paying attention to those same things, it didn't fall into the same trapping.
05:27 Melissa Right. I think there's some huge learning things that you just said right there. We have a lot of practice owners, practice managers that listen and if we're neglecting the things that we think are not a good investments at the time, we could really be setting ourselves up for ultimate failure.
05:46 Eric Yeah, absolutely. I think that I'm young, I'm not going to pass away. Why would I buy life insurance? We're a pretty healthy family. I'll just figure out how to pay it out of pocket, especially depending on how many veterinary practicing. And I don't know what's changed. The other thing that I found is like, my dad kind of considered himself a part time medical, like human medical. If I got a cold and I needed antibiotic, I think there's of sometimes mental thing of like, well, I don't need health insurance because I can prescribe my own medicine and I can do my own things like this. Again, I don't know how the laws have changed. Maybe they've changed since then, but there was of that going on too, that I think for a lot of your veterinary practitioners, you just need to be careful. Are you really looking out for what could happen?
06:34 Eric What is it costing you to make that choice?
06:37 Melissa Right.
06:39 Eric I think the one thing we don't recognize that I say that a lot of business owners do is especially if you've got married, business owners is you think you're doing things because you've got a vision or things. That you're trying to do. What you actually end up doing without these protections and things in place is creating uncertainty in your relationships, and you don't even realize you're doing it. If I don't have these basics in place, if I don't have basic insurance in place, I don't have basic savings in place, you're just creating unnecessary uncertainty, which can cause features and relationships, which can actually make you not run your practice with as much focus as you would hope to.
07:20 Melissa Yeah, 100% agree. We get so in the day to day operations. We get so. There's no work life balance, any of that. We're not sharing things with spouses or business partners or whatever. At the end of the day, life is precious. I think more and more in my personal life, I'm starting to realize how precious it is and how every day is a gift. If we're not living that way, we're living like we'll live forever. I mean, that is just naive, not only in business, but in our personal lives.
07:56 Eric Well, this is one of the things I tell people. Can I tell you what? I think that I'd be careful. I love Simon Cynic, but can I tell you what the most dangerous book written in the last ten to 15 years, I think, is Leaders Eat Last. Because when leaders Eat last, what you end up with, I like to say, is an unfocused hangry leader. We have built this entire culture and mindset that I take care of my employees. I take care of everyone else before I take care of me. I take care of you. I take care of the clients before I take care of me. That's where your health starts to suffer. It's where your relationships start to suffer. We bought into this culture where what ends up happening is especially again, I go back to just imagining my dad in the veterinary practice and a long day.
08:42 Eric You come home, and at the end of the day, you've gotten nothing left to give your family or anybody that you truly care about, because you've given it all away. You fall into your chair, you spend time sedating, watching TV or on your phone for hours on end until it's time to go to bed and get up and do it the next day. What would happen if we actually started with taking care of us first? What would happen if we made ourselves the priority? What I find and most business owners don't realize this, and I got challenged on this myself. I understand that every single lesson that I talk about or teach is a mistake I've made somewhere along the way or watch my dad make as well, but I even fell into it. I got challenged to a point of where I was working so much and not taking care of myself.
09:25 Eric We don't need to get too much into this. I had somebody asked me at one point, why do you hate your family? Because just the behaviors that I was showing, they were like, you're just the things that you're doing, it looks like you hate your family. It doesn't look like you really love them. They challenged me to really take the time to first invest in myself and then invest in my family and put my business last. You would think that would cause all sorts of upheaval in the business, but it actually made me a better business practitioner.
09:53 Melissa Eric, that one that right there gives me goosebumps just to think about that. Why do you hate your family? And you're like, what do you mean? I don't hate my family. I love my family. Look at all the things I'm doing. Right?
10:03 Eric Well, no, here's the thing. I'm doing this for my family. Don't you understand? I'm doing this for my family. I don't hate my family.
10:10 Melissa Yeah, but actually, look at it. Look at it. Take a good look, guys. Listeners, take a good look. Are you doing it with your family as the center, as the focus, or is it much different than what I.
10:26 Eric Think it starts with? Melissa is this can you make, again, go back to this little loss? Even then, if you think you're serving your family, it's like, well, what are you doing to neglect yourself? Because if you're not taking care of yourself, there's actually a scripture. There's a quote of Jesus, which I think is very valid that comes up at this point. It says, love your neighbor as yourself. Many good people, so many people are good at loving their neighbor. What they're not really good at is they miss the second part of that, which is as yourself. I think if we would take that to heart and how do I love myself and when I love myself? Now I'm not angry now I'm not depleted. I have so much of me to give to my family, to give to my employees, to give to my business.
11:06 Melissa And it's a totally different mindset. That's probably where your mindset disruption comes in. It is. It shakes up what we think we know or what we think we're working for.
11:18 Eric I would tell you that most business owners don't realize this, but life is upside and down. If you do things backwards from what everyone else is telling you to do, you'd probably have more success. And that's not a business equation. It's just an equation of focus on your faith journey. Focus on yourself, focus on your family. Actually everything you need to know in business will actually come to you much faster.
11:40 Melissa Excellent. I love that. I love that. You've got so many good key points. It's like, I want to stop and make sure everybody's hearing them because they're so good. They're so good. Now, you talk about culture. Culture. Maybe we can go in our lives, but really culture in our business as well and how we invest in people. It's a good point, but I want to make sure we're all remembering we invest in ourselves.
12:05 Eric Yeah, but I think that it's a lesson for how you invest in your employees.
12:11 Melissa Okay?
12:13 Eric This is why, because how many practices or how many businesses see the employee for what they're giving you from eight to five rather than the whole life and the whole picture of the employee versus what if you flip the script? What if you actually created an environment that said to your employee, what? You are important. How are you as my employee, taking care of you? I'm emphasizing me. How are you taking care of you? How are things going at home? One of the things I think that was a hard lesson for me to learn, but I found so much value in is when I know what's going on at home. Some days it's like, man, Johnny was so unproductive today. No. His daughter's sick, and he got in a fight with his wife before he came to work. Yeah, but you don't know that because they are a product of the eight to five versus, hey, are you taking care of you?
13:11 Eric Hey, what's going on at home? Now, I can look through a lens of seeing my employees for who they are as human beings, right? I think as we learn to take care of ourselves with this kind of upside down script. We actually have to take care of our employees the same way with the same upside down script to see their value. Their value, at the end of the day, isn't what they produce for the business. The value is everything else. Because they're so valuable for that, they're an incredible producer for our business, right?
13:39 Melissa And that's exactly what I talk about. How we invest, are we investing personally into their lives? Are we looking at the things that are around them outside, just like you said? That nine to five. What's going on? What makes you happy? What drives you? What are the things that get you up in the morning? All of those things. Because when we find what people are passionate about or finding what's going right and what's going wrong in their lives, everything else is going to follow.
14:06 Eric Absolutely.
14:07 Melissa Everything else.
14:08 Eric Absolutely.
14:09 Melissa And that's really about growing people, right?
14:12 Eric It really is one of our key themes, and this may be the same key theme for you and you've echoed on before, but is to know and grow your people, but to know and grow them. We're a faith based company, so this fits into what we do know and grow them spiritually, knowing grow them physically for their fitness, knowing growth them for their family, and then lastly, knowing grow them financially. How do you speak into all areas of their life and walk life alongside with them as they live it? And again, I come back to this. Until you're doing that for you, I don't know that you can ever know how to do that really well for the people that work for you. To bring a culture in that you're not bringing into your own life or your own self would be really hard to do.
14:59 Eric Which is why I really emphasize this kind of starting with this idea of how are you taking care of you? Because you can't give someone something you don't even have for yourself, right?
15:10 Melissa That's it right there. Now, you said you had a business. Talk to us about your business. What you got going on?
15:19 Eric Because it's a lot going on. What I'm really passionate about right now because of my faith is walking alongside faith based business owners, specifically that are men, because I know how to talk to men. Because a lot of times we get stuck in where we are and are thinking, I've unstuck myself. In that I like coaching and walk alongside. Because what I've found is when I can help a faith based, more specifically, typically Christian business owner kind of get their focus right and help them understand how to flip the script, it changes generations. It changes their marriage, it changes their kids, it changes their employees, it changes their business. To be able to speak into those lives and those families, if you really get down at the end of the day. I am about two things, which is generational prosperity and impact. What can you do to create and prosperity is not just money, right?
16:28 Eric Prosperity could be wisdom. Prosperity. What could you do to create prosperity for generations, for your current generation and the generations that come after that? How are you making an impact as a family, as a business owner today? Again, then you carry that on for multiple generations. That starts by helping them flip the script on the way that they're living their own lives, to free them up, to even see something that's different. Because what I keep finding, and we're not going to have enough time to get into this, but let me just make this quick statement. The entire world tells us that the answer to what we want is found in return on investment. The problem with return on investment is it's based in fear and greed. That leads you into a place of scarcity and constantly trying to protect everything that you've built. What I believe, what I've found and what I now know to be true, is that true life and true success is found in what I call return on intention.
17:24 Eric Return on intention is about peace, prosperity and impact. I just talked about prosperity and impact, but the other fact that I know is that when you pursue return on intention, you end up with better return on investment. So, again, I could go on and on, but that is really where my passions lie and what I'm excited about.
17:46 Melissa Return on intention. Yes, return on intention. I love it. We talked about ROI before and how the biggest driver one of the things that holds us back from investing is fear.
18:03 Eric Yeah.
18:04 Melissa It's one of the things most people will not invest into other people or in their own lives for fear. They fear and what they're going to find. They fear what they're going to have to fix. They fear all of those things. Right. They fear their own insecurities.
18:21 Eric That's it.
18:22 Melissa Why do we not invest in our lives? Why do we not invest in others? Why do we not have that return? It's fear.
18:31 Eric It is. When the world talks to you about return on investment, the language and the approach that it uses is based in fear.
18:40 Melissa Right?
18:41 Eric You may want to get unstuck from that. The problem is that the DNA of the people that you are plugging into, more times than not, are using the fear or agreed to speak to you. So it leaves you stuck.
18:53 Melissa Yeah, absolutely. Now, you have a book.
18:57 Eric I have two books.
18:58 Melissa Okay.
18:59 Eric I wrote a book a number of years ago called What If we've been doing it all wrong? Which is on this idea of kind of return on intention versus return on investment. Probably the book I'm most excited about right now, my wife and I, earlier this summer, came out with a book called I Crashed in Backwardsville. Kids book about a fast turtle who crashes in the town of backwardsville and meets some slow cheetahs. It is about this entire idea of living life backwards and upside down. It's written for kids. I think parents will get the lesson, but it's the one I'm most excited about, because finally, we're really kind of tapping into the idea of the fast turtle, is that the rest of the world is telling him he needs to be fast, but he was created to go slow. We look at our own lives, we think we're supposed to go fast.
19:58 Eric What if were created to go slow?
20:00 Melissa I need this book not for my kids, but for me. I need it. I need a copy of it. Okay, great. You have a podcast as well.
20:13 Eric I do. It's called Redefining Success. I love capturing. Melissa, I believe you're going to be on soon. I don't remember the exact date, but capturing stories of people who have understood that the rest of the way the world is talking to us about what success is not what success really is. And so that's what we do. We tell stories from other business owners who've been on this journey and the hard knocks that they've learned and the lessons that they've learned along the way of what success truly is and how to live a life of success from more of an upside down standpoint.
20:49 Melissa Yeah. Love it. Okay. What else, Eric? Anything else you want to leave us with? Tell us about?
20:54 Eric Well, I'll tell you one last thing. So if you go to EricL 360. Com right now, and I don't know when this is going to broadcast, but it's going to be up for a while. It's getting towards the end of the year. I think we're all thinking about 2023. What am I going to do for next year? How am I going to set my goals? What I've got available right now is a download that I call it's the Kingdom ROI Truth Map. Let me tell you what that means. It's a fancy name. When you start setting your goals, you've got to know where you are today. What's the truth of the world that I'm living in today? It's an entire workbook that'll probably if you do the workbook and do the work, it'll probably take you about half a day to go through. It's a set of questions and things like that to take you through on your faith journey, on your fitness journey, on your family journey, on your journey inside of your business, really, where are you?
21:45 Eric And it's the beginning of the steps. It's everything that I use and use with the eight and nine figure business owners that I consult with. It's the tool that I use with them to help them get ready for 2023. We're offering that as a free download right now for anybody who wants to go get it to get the foundation and kind of get started and think about what would it look, how would you set better goals if you were being honest with yourself about where you are right now?
22:09 Melissa Oh, that's excellent, EricL. 360. Com, correct. We will have that link for you guys in the information on this podcast. Thank you so much, Eric. So many nuggets of gold there. I'm going to have to come back and listen again and I'm looking forward to talking with you again on your podcast and taking your brain again. I love it. I love the stuff you talk about. Guys, if you guys need some mindset, disruption, if you need somebody to shake things up in your life, please reach out to Eric. Thank you so much for being here. I appreciate it.
22:43 Eric Melissa, thank you. It's been a lot of fun.
22:47 Melissa Thank you.
22:49 Melissa Make sure to subscribe and like our podcast. If you'd like more information on today's topic or any other products, connect or service featured on this, make sure to drop us a line and say hi or visit anytime. Melissa b conciergeelite.com.