Liz Illg started her entrepreneurial journey in 2013 when she bought her first business. She had no experience in owning or managing a business but her determination led her to success. After only four years, Liz had grown her brick-and-mortar storefront to three locations in the Phoenix region.
After being told by several peers that buying the business would be a “bad idea” and that it would be impossible to succeed in her industry, Liz had a different vision in mind.
By 2020, Liz had expanded that business, Puff & Fluff Grooming and Pet Sitting to six locations and had created impactful operational systems that allowed the shops to run on autopilot.
With a proven track record for starting and scaling businesses, Liz would constantly be asked by other business owners, “how did you do it?”
And in 2019, Illg began Liz Illg Consulting.
In only one year into her consulting business, Liz had worked with over 100 clients, grown her company to a small team of talented freelancers, and tripled her digital business’ revenue.
Now, Liz has successfully started and scaled 10 businesses in the brick-and-mortar and digital space.
Liz Illg’s purpose is to serve ambitious small business owners with guidance, advice, and support through their growth and entrepreneurial development.
Where did the idea for Liz Illg Consulting come from?
When I first started consulting businesses, I became known in my local community with my name. I built my client base through word of mouth referrals and because people became so familiar with me, I decided to use my name for the business.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I’m a creature of habit and I thrive in my everyday routine. Every morning, I wake up at around 6:30 AM, I brew my coffee and enjoy it on my outdoor patio, read books, and watch the sunrise over the Phoenix mountains.
After my morning routine, I’ll go on my daily neighborhood walk, where I start counting up my activity and steps for the day. When I’m back home from my walk, I’ll usually make myself a healthy breakfast, get ready, and head to my home office.
I spend my workdays on Zoom calls with my consulting clients and networking with other digital business owners and staying active on social media and email.
I end every day with a walk around my property and an iced cold kombucha.
Balance is something that I’ve worked on over the years as an entrepreneur and I feel most fulfilled when I’m living a healthy lifestyle and setting business goals, constantly.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I get genuinely excited when I’m able to bring my ideas to life which is why I became a business consultant. We live in a world of endless opportunity and I work every day to help business owners find their breakthrough or act on their brilliant ideas.
I’ve built a dream team of talented and trustworthy individuals that share their skills with my clients and me. I learned early on in my career that I couldn’t be a business visionary on my own. I understand that I can’t do everything and that’s okay. If I have a crazy idea, I have a team that can help me in areas that I’m not skilled in.
So if there was a short answer on how I bring ideas to life, it’s this: I believe my ideas, I communicate the vision well, and I trust experts to help me.
What’s one trend that excites you?
In the last year, business owners have really gone through some intense change and have had to think outside of the box. I’m starting to see more and more entrepreneurs tap into support communities or work with professionals to help them navigate their challenges and I’m excited about that.
One of the biggest roadblocks I see my clients deal with in their businesses is them getting in their own way. They see a problem arise, they work hard to fix it, but maybe they don’t know how to see the problem from another viewpoint.
Lately, I’ve been calling these instances, “blind spots.” When business owners have “blind spots,” working with external entities can help them see their way around their struggles and empower them to leap over hurdles.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Not holding onto any one thing for too long!
Because I’ve been a business owner for such a long time, I know how heavy responsibilities can feel. There are always a million things that need to be done, problems that need to be solved, and projects that need to be started.
Every day, I braindump all of my thoughts and get them on paper. When I get the thoughts out of my head and into my journal, I’m not holding onto them all day or all month.
In the past, I would hold onto all of my tasks, responsibilities, and ideas, and soon my head would start to clog up with all of the things. When I would overload my mind, I felt overwhelmed, discouraged, and exhausted.
Now that I braindump daily, I have a clear mind, I’m motivated to get things off my to-do list, and I can end my days with peace of mind.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Celebrate every moment no matter how small it may seem.
I’ve accomplished a lot in my 34 years of life and I’d like to think that I’ve done it all because of my go-getter, determined attitude. There have been so many moments in my journey that I didn’t soak in enough because I had my eyes set on a bigger and better future.
I’ll forever be striving for greatness and thinking big, however, the small accomplishments are equally as important and I would remind younger Liz to cherish those times too.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
One thing that I’ve done to scale my businesses time and time again, is to invest in my businesses, constantly. I think some of my peers and clients would almost cringe if they saw how much I was investing in my own companies.
It’s taken me a long time to learn that it truly takes money to make money and so I encourage every entrepreneur to put money back into the business they’re building. I know that in the early years, penny-pinching is everything because you need to support yourself and make a living but once you start seeing a lot of money come into your business, be prepared to invest it.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I have a daily routine that I stick to and it helps me stay mentally, physically, and spiritually aligned with my work. If one area of my daily life is imbalanced, it completely messes up my flow and so I have the rituals that help me stay healthy and inspired.
For any entrepreneur, I would recommend spending time working on all of the areas of your life instead of focusing solely on your business, so that you can be healthy, sharp, and motivated to conquer the world.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Give your team members a voice and empower them to be leaders.
I meet with my team quarterly for brand strategy and I’m always amazed at how brilliant their ideas are. When we’re in our meetings and a team member shares an idea that’s been on their mind and everyone applauds it, their faces light up. Almost all the time, we accept the ideas and move forward with their recommendation.
When people feel like their ideas are valued and their voice is heard, they’re going to feel confident in making decisions and reach higher.
Because my team feels valued and confident, they’re helping me grow my business with their ideas and dedication to my clients.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I think the biggest failure I’ve ever had was not properly preparing and training my team members for the jobs I gave them. Successful businesses create operational systems and role expectations for their team members and there was a time where I didn’t provide that to my team.
Seeing my team miss the mark because of a lack of direction saddened me and motivated me to create a system that supported everyone.
By creating systems and operational procedures, I empowered my team members to do their work, and because they were hitting the mark and feeling accomplished, I felt accomplished, and the team’s energy was completely improved.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’ve always wanted to connect with other serial entrepreneurs in a forum of some kind that’s strictly for conversation and strategy sharing.
If there was a platform for high-level executives and CEOs to converse, navigate high-level decisions and challenges, and strategize together, I’d be a member in a heartbeat.
Many of the platforms that exist are geared to up-and-coming entrepreneurs and are focused on helping them get their start. I’d love to see a members-only platform specifically made for established and successful CEOs and entrepreneurs.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought an Amazon Kindle early this year and it was a fantastic investment. I love to read and I take so much inspiration and knowledge from the books I read, so getting a device that allowed me to store my library in one gadget, was a game-changer.
I’m usually reading about self-improvement, business mindset, and nutrition.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I couldn’t live without Slack. My team and I have been using Slack for a little over a year now and it’s a true life-saver. Gone are the days of lengthy email threads and lost conversations!
I keep to-do list’s in Slack, communicate with my team members in private and group threads, and send files easily without clogging up anyone’s email inbox.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber is one of my favorite entrepreneur books. Today, I’m a balanced, organized, and supported business owner but I haven’t always been that way. I learned so much from this book about working ON my business and less IN my business.
What is your favorite quote?
“The best way to get something done is to begin” ~Anonymous
- Celebrate all of your accomplishments regardless of how big or small they are
- Creating balance in your daily routine will help you stay healthy and motivated
- Get out of your own way!
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.