In this episode of Training Unleashed, Evan speaks with Anthony Amos, Pack Leader at Bathe to Save, a tour embarking on a 50-state excursion to raise awareness about the benefits of pet adoptions. Anthony is a best-selling author, professional speaker inventor and more. Connect with him on LinkedIn here.
Announcer: Welcome to “Training Unleashed.” The show that will help you design and deliver training that’s off the chain and will make a difference. Now, here’s your host, Evan Hackel.
Evan: I have with us our guest today, Anthony Amos, who’s the founder of the Anthony Amos company, and a person I personally believe to be just an incredible individual.
Anthony: Thanks again for having me. I feel very blessed that you would include me. So…
Evan: You’re being a tad bit modest.
Anthony: Oh, I don’t know.
Evan: Okay. So, let’s go back in time a little bit and let’s talk about rugby and how you played the game.
Anthony: Well, I actually…I played two years professional. I was a captain of a very well known high school in Australia and made the state side and shadow for Australia. So, I was picked up from a professional footie side. It was always my dream to play for a professional footie side and, you know, make the Australian side obviously. But, what happened was in that transition going from playing football on that high level of school then coming into professional, the fun was sort of taken out of it because of the strict rules of how you had to sort of abide by. I’m not a really good rule follower. I guess you’ve known that about me Evan but I think that’s also…I like to break the rules but not get arrested if that makes any sense. So, I break them but I did it within, you know, you know what I mean. I just like to push things a little bit…
Evan: So, you would’ve deflated the footballs if you were Tom Brady?
Anthony: I’m not saying that I was a cheat, no. And I don’t get that. You know, does it really matter if you deflate it that little in this game?
Evan: Let’s get off that topic.
Anthony: Okay, okay, okay. So in regards to that, so being told what to do, I’ve always really rebelled against that. If you leave me alone, I will deliver 10 times what you think I’m going to. So, in the down season, I started a business with my brother called HydroDog. So, I went and bought a…this is such a great story. But it was a really…I was saying to you earlier when you said, “I don’t believe that I take risks in business and in life.” I really believe it’s the uncomfortability factor that drives me because once you go through that, then you grow and then you know something brand new, and that’s my real… Well I should say was my nemesis, that the uncomfortability was a tough part. Not taking a risk. A risk is something that you’re not sure if it’s going to work. I always know if I’ve got something ahead of me that I’ve put my mind to. It can’t fail, that’s just how I roll. But being uncomfortable to get to that point, oh gee, that’s the tough part.
So working through that and understanding that, I had to get uncomfortable, going from renewing a contract with the club I was at or starting a brand new business from scratch. Okay, I decided to jump on board. Bought a hydro bath that’s worth $100, put it in the back of a trailer that was in my backyard like a garden trailer. I don’t want to get it confused with a home, and we then put an ad in the paper and rented a mobile phone, because back in ’94 mobile phones were very expensive. So what happened was, we got the phone and we rang everybody because there’s no wires around these phones. It was just incredible that you could talk to somebody without having it connected to someone. So, we rang everybody, but nobody rang us so we didn’t know what the sound of the phone was. So, I took it home that night and the next morning, it rang and I thought it was the fire alarm because I hadn’t heard it ring before. So anyway, I picked the phone up and go, “Hello, HydroDog, can I help you?” “Yes, I just saw your ad in the paper and wonder if you can wash my dog for me?” It was only $10 and we got her address, put her name down, rang my brother in Sydney. “You’re not going to believe it. We just got a customer. She called through, we got a job.” So, by the time I drove from my house to his, we had another eight dogs booked in, so there’re nine dogs in total. And that’s $90 back in ’94. I mean, even with my football career, that was still something that we’d started from nothing and now we’ve got money in our pocket. I said to my brother, “Don’t forget the shampoo.” We get to our first job, we go to get shampoo out for the dog and he put dishwashing liquid into the hydro bath instead of dog shampoo. So, the first nine dogs were washed in dishwashing liquid.
So, that became a very, very successful business. We sold over 400 franchises in like, a 10 year period, but as you understand in this business, franchises get sold three, four times in…because it’s a mobile service, someone sells and someone buys, some we had to terminate, but we sold over that many. So, we became masters in that domain. It’s still a very successful franchise and when the turning point came was when we created this big blue dog. And the big blue dog goes to your home and washes and grooms dogs. Everybody can jump on hydrodog.com and check it out, it’s awesome. There’s nothing else like it in the marketplace.
So, I remember coming into work one day and said to my brother, “I’m done. I can’t do this anymore.” The franchisees are just murdering, because there were, the really good ones worked really hard but the other ones took a lot of my personal time and we didn’t have anybody else to [inaudible 00:05:09]. “No, no, no, let’s work it out. It’s too much of a successful business.” So, we then turned it into a master franchise which you guys call over here an area rep, and within 18 months, we sold every single state and territory. It was just an incredible business. Now I only have to deal with seven people. So to me that was just a great transition, and it became just a wonderful business model to be a part of/ And I think that’s where all the juice sort of started with the industry and… I was motivating everybody in there because if you came into a room with me and wanted to be a part of something that I thought up and that I created and you wanted to be a part of that with me, oh. I took that as such a privilege that I just gave you everything I’ve got to make sure that you would be successful and that I was available for you. So, I’d get up in the front of the room and, you know, talk about it and people would just, you know, flock to it and love what we were doing.
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Evan: So what I want to do here because there’s a lot more to your story, what I want to do here is stop. The people that are listening to you, most of them are working in a training department or a training in some fashion, whether they’re a facilitator or not. And to be quite honest from my experience, a lot of people in training, particularly in the corporate environment, are pretty frustrated that they can’t get support for training and they can’t get support for change. So, you know, you’re this entrepreneur but I know you speak and you speak about being on fire, having that energy. I mean, that’s what you’re about and how do you then take that as a person? How do you get that energy? How do you become a…how does a person become on fire and how do they ignite that fire at work to be successful and take what you’re talking about and apply it to their daily…their jobs to be more successful?
Anthony: Well, that’s a great question. I never had it being delivered to me that way, Evan. So, I’m going to do my absolute best to bring it from my heart and what works for me. The best example I could ever use is Kevin Harrington is a great mate and we’re in several different businesses together. He’s just a…he’s beast of a thing. When we go to places, I am not joking, he will stand there and people will line up to shake his hand. You know, get a photo taken with him and sign an autograph. It’s…just to watch it is just mesmerizing. So to me, this is how you can look at it. You can be one of those people that are lining up to get that opportunity with Kevin because it’s definitely worth it, I mean, if that’s what you want to get. But if you look at that environment and go, “How can I be different? What is it something here that Kevin’s going to remember me by?” If I’m lined up, I’m just going to be like the rest of the sheep. So, as I say to my kids everyday, “If you follow the crowd, you’ll always end up at the exit.” Do something that no one else is doing. Scan the room, wait for him to leave and be down just before he gets into the cab or be outside before he gets just something to eat, and just say, you know, “Mr Harrington, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I didn’t want to line up like everybody else so you could remember me. This is what my product is and I’d love to take you to lunch.” Now, I did not see anybody in that room do that that day and there was over 100 people in that room. So, I’m guessing you just need to start at looking at the environment and what everyone else is doing and do the complete opposite or do something that no one else has ever done before.
I’ll give you another very quick example. Harvey Mackay, I’m not sure if everybody knows who Harvey Mackay is, but I believe that you need to be introduced to somebody to really get that opportunity to go from what they’re thinking to that, so you’re instantly up in their front face going, “Wow, he was recommended by Evan Hackel. He must be a great guy,” rather than he’s got now your approval. So, it’s a fast track to get to know somebody. What if you don’t have that connection? So, I wanted to get to Harvey Mackay. I want to write a book, “How to catch a Star…”
Evan: Just to stop you for a second here. Kevin Harrington was one of the first original sharks on “Shark Tank.” Big, big infomercials, very famous person but not everybody in here knows who he is. So, I just want people to understand that and Harvey Mackay is one of the first speakers, and correct me if I’m wrong, I can’t remember the name of his book but he was really talking about customer service in a different level. What was the name of his first book?
Anthony: “Swim with the Sharks and Show not how to be Eaten.” Yeah, something like that.
Evan: Yeah, anyhow please continue. I just wanted to get people to get that.
Anthony: And this is great. This is what can really be powerful for these people listening is that he…when I googled it, who else wrote about a shark? There’s nobody else who actually wrote a book on this, so I can’t wait til you go home and read this book, by the way. I read it and I get inspired and I think, “Shit, where did I get that language from? How do I know that information?” But I actually read it to myself, and I looked up and there was Harvey Mackay swimming with the sharks. Twenty five years ago I was just a kid when he wrote the book. I sent out for the book and I got a cassette tape. The cassette tape [inaudible 00:10:26] had to search the house for one of those old walkman things so I could actually listen to it on that side. So, I listened to what his message was. It was actually very valuable. I loved it and he talked about how he would talk to his secretary to get a meeting with the CEO and if he went over 300 seconds, he’d pay a check to the charity. He also loves sports and I thought to myself, “I”m gonna listen. I’m gonna follow what he’s saying.” I’d sent a way back to my professional footie side and got a fully signed jersey. I sent that to him. I sent a check to the Salvation Army for $500 because I know I’m gonna go over 300 seconds when I see him, and put it into a package, wrote a big note and sent it through to him.
So, I ring up about a week later. Greg happens to be his assistant. He said, “Oh my God, you’re the Aussie that sent [inaudible 00:11:11]. You are the talk of the office.” In a couple of weeks time, I ring back and he said, “Harvey’s doing this whole new program right now. He hasn’t got time to see you but I’ll send you a photo.” He sent me a photo. Harvey Mackay’s got the jersey on going like this with his thumbs. Now, what’s the chances of Harvey Mackay when I was a kid thinking he’s gonna put my signed jersey on one day and have thumbs up? That still blows me away today.
The point what I’m trying to say is, anybody could’ve done that but I was the first person to ever do that with an Australian football jersey and giving him a check to his charity. So, we’re meeting soon. It’s just a matter of him with his schedule, but you don’t wake up with that creative thinking on what is everybody else doing and what can you do that is completely different? But you’ve got to be… This is what Kevin always talks about with me is that when he talks to me on the phone, I’m always on fire, and let me tell you why. You’ve got two options when somebody’s ringing you. One, don’t answer the phone if you’re in a crappy mood or two, take it as a privilege that this person’s taken out time of their day to speak to you. That should be like, “Wow, they could’ve rung anybody else but they’ve rung me.” So if you’re always talking to me, I’m always upbeat. If you don’t get me, it’s because I’m either busy or I might be dealing with an issue and when you talk about dealing with these issues, this is what I love teaching my kiddies. If you pretend that your attitude is like a highway. So, going down the highway means you’re on fire. If you go on the off ramp, that’s when your attitude changes whether you’re mad, sad, glad or whatever it is, and you go down the off ramp. The secret is don’t get stuck in the neighborhood, get back up on the on ramp as quickly as possible.
So when the kids see me get cranky because you’ve got to discipline the kids, obviously, I don’t smack them, I’ve just got a hell of a voice that I scream at them and then once they get the job done, I’m back on fire again and I get, “Dad, how can you do that?” So I’ve been teaching them that if you have to really flip into a serious mood, don’t stay in that mood all day. That is the death of your personality by hanging on to something. You’ve got to switch it around and just have that mindset that you’re on the highway, that you’re on fire, and that your off ramp is it going into a mood that you don’t want to be in, but the secret is not to get caught up in the neighborhood. Get back on the on ramp again and you’ll be right. It does take a little bit of practice.
Evan: So, I just want to share this with the audience because it says a lot about you. You and I have calls about something, right? And then we end up talking for an hour and the conversation always changes, because both of us when we talk, are looking for opportunity for new discovery. Right?
Evan: We’re not limited by the conversation. So, we allow ourselves to divert and we look for an opportunity and I think so many times people look at conversations with people as literally functional. And certainly a lot of times at work, you have functional conversation but when you’re talking with somebody who’s bright or intelligent, there can be so much more. And if we took this idea to the workplace and the people that you work with and for, you know, when you’re talking to them, look for the opportunities to explore their thoughts, their insights because that’s what you always do. You always ask all these questions and these questions bring new ideas as opposed to that functional just, this is what we’re talking about. Be curious, explore, and that’s what I love about our conversations because we always leave with bunches of ideas of things that we should be talking about and doing, which I think is really cool.
Anthony: And I love our conversations, and what you’re bringing out right now is so critical to being on fire and I’ll tell you why. If you and I were having a conversation and as you’re talking all I’m thinking about is butting in and giving my answer, butting in and giving my answer, butting in and giving my answer, I’m not even listening to what you’re saying. What’s so important is, is to get into a habit, listen to every single word that person is telling you from their heart. They’re pretty much telling you what they want you to hear, so just shut out everything else and forget that you even have an answer to this right now. Listen to…because by the time you’ve finished that conversation, your answers might have changed because it went from the beginning and now you’ve heard the end of it, now you’ve got a different answer. So, get it out of your head that you’ve got to give an answer whilst someone’s talking because you’re not listening. Let them finish then come up with a very intelligent answer of the knowledge that you’ve just been given rather than just listening to words waiting for you to, you know, I don’t know, show your ego and wanna give your answer. That’s where it really starts, Evan, is if you listen to people intently and give an intelligent answer at the end, you’re gonna be very much appreciated as well.
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Evan: Your life story is one of the most fascinating in the world. Why’d you come to the United States, and tell the story about catching a shark.
Anthony: All right, so…this is really putting… I really like to be able to tell the story with obviously vigor but honesty as well, and sometimes the honesty might sort of go the other way but I’m gonna do the best I can. Coming over from Australia, obviously when the economy turned upside down, we had a lot of developments that were in place. Now, funding went into liquidation so it put us into a very difficult position so we brought HydroDog to the U.S. Found my business partners, got it all up and running, everything was ready to go and then when I went back to Australia for a funeral, I came back and said, “Listen, we’re not going to franchise anymore. We’re going to corporatize.” Like, “No, you can’t. I’m a franchise guy. All we got to do is duplicate what we did in Australia.” “We think we’re leaving too much money on the table.” Long story short, 18 months later they ring me up and say that, “Listen, we’re liquidating the company. Would you like to buy it back?” “Hold on a second, let me think about that.” So, I was just so excited. Not that they, you know, got into trouble, but that I’d told them not to do that because I already went through that process in Australia. We franchised because employees nearly sent us broke. When it rained, they didn’t get out of bed. When they got drunk on Friday night, they didn’t go to work on Saturday. When a lady got pregnant, she’d just walk away from the company.
So, I knew all that stuff. But let me tell you something that’s really awesome about that. I started to wear my HydroDog shirt around the house three months after we went through the buyer. After we went through the buyer, I said, “I want to get this company back.” In a year and a half to the month, they ring me and say, “Listen, do you want buy back?” So long story short again, I bought it back pennies on the dollar and it’s going to be getting towed behind this big RV, which I’ll talk about in one second. I’m rebirthing HydroDog into America.
So, getting that Kevin Harrington really did change my life and the reason that it did, it put me into some unbelievable circles and the Rolodex that he’s got very, very quickly would’ve taken me a lot longer than what he did, or if ever with some of the contacts. But, we went to a mastermind group and were doing a mastermind with 10 people, and you all slept over. It was a mansion. It was a 28,000 square foot mansion, beautiful place. I was invited to go along. Met this other guy who sort of found me fascinating. I was sort of like, had the accent I guess, and I was new to town and he wanted me to… This would be a great story as well. So anyway, we get there and there’s nine of us already there, and the last guy turning up was a billionaire in his day but through the economy, he then became a multimillionaire. So, he sort of lost his billionaire status and he wasn’t very happy about that. He sort walked into the room a little bit, sort of thought he was better than everybody else. So, we just managed to get around each other, have our day, did our mastermind then at the end of the night, we all had a few drinks and we ended up wrestling on the floor of this mansion together. And it wasn’t like a violent wrestle, it was just like a fun wrestle and it was absolutely hilarious. Everyone just thought it was fantastic.
So anyway, go to bed, wake up the next morning and I was late. I never wake up late for a meeting but I was really hungover and my wife said, “Anthony, before you go downstairs, do you remember what happened last night?” I’m thinking like, “Oh no, I wrestled.” She said, “Yes, I know. Do you think it’s gonna be okay?” I said, “These situations happen to me all the time. They always end up working out so let’s see what happens.” So I go downstairs and I push the kitchen door open and it goes, “Aaah,” and everybody’s in a circle with this guy teaching… They all look around at me, “Hi everybody” and he goes, “Come over here, I want to talk to you for a second,” and left the group. I was like a little kid at school with the principal and thinking, “What’s gonna happen next?” So I get over there, I sit down opposite him in a chair and he leans over and he goes, “Thank you so much for what you did last night. You’ve made me feel normal again around all these people and they’ve accepted me.” This is just great and I’m like, “Yeah, but you know, that’s just what we do in Australia. That’s the type of thing we do to get to know each other.” And he said, “Yeah, yeah…”
Anyway, so the long story short, he did an event and…He’s known Kevin for years, 30 years. So, he’s gone to Kevin and said, “Oh, you’ve got to meet this guy. He’s unbelievable. He’s a great Australian and he’s got this business of a big blue dog,” and when I went to meet Kevin, he had [inaudible 00:20:43] and he shook my hand and said, “Buddy, listen here, we’re going for dinner tonight. We’ll put a deal together. You seem like a great guy.” I was just like, “Gee, this is incredible.” So, I did my research on Kevin, realized who he was. He was this huge, big…he was still on “Shark Tank” at that time, and we had dinner and the rest is history. Now we’re involved in seven different businesses together and we’re doing some really, really cool stuff together which is really exciting.
So, fast forward to now, okay, so we get over here. We get what you would call a normal life, you know, nice home, kids are at school, great friends, everything’s going along great, businesses. And in the middle of the night, the Mrs wake me up and says, “I’ve got it.” And I’m thinking, “Shit, I’m going to get lucky here.” She said, “No, no, no, let’s go around the country. Let’s do the 50 states and put the big blue dog behind the RV.” And I thought, “This is genius.” So, straight away I got into action, put everything into place, and we’ve now got a 40 foot RV. The big blue dog is now going onto a transit van instead of trailer. We’re going to tow it around the country. We’re going to be washing dogs, raising money and saving awareness with euthanasia so we want adoption to be a really big thing on our trip. And in that 50 states, we’re going to do 300 cities. We’ve got celebrities that we’re working on right now to come on aboard. Obviously Kevin’s very close with Paula Abdul. We’re sort of going to be doing something with her and Beth Stern is a part of the North Shore…what’s it called…the North Shore Animal League, and she’s going to be like, the spokesman. So, I actually had that conversation today. So, all of these little things are starting to piece together and the whole idea for me when somebody asks me about it… We’re doing this for the dogs is, honest to God, we are just so in awe that we’re getting so much attention and the kids love it. But think about what we’re doing for our kids. We’re saying, “Listen, let’s take you out of school.” They’re actually doing school yeah back to Australia, and make it more of a social conscious for you to get out there and do something bigger than you. To give back, washing the dogs, watching these people save lives. I mean that’s just priceless, that’s really why we’re out there for the next year and a half.
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Evan: Tell everyone what your home is normally like, and what your home for your wife and your kids is going to be like for the next year and a half?
Anthony: So, I don’t understand the first part of the question.
Evan: Well, I mean your wife and kids have this big, beautiful home.
Anthony: Ah, right.
Evan: And now you’re in 200 square feet for the next 18 months.
Anthony: This is one of those…this is where the mindset comes in of being on fire. I’m not kidding when I say this. So, this is not a risk. There is so much support behind this trip. Most people think, “Oh, that’s a bit of a risk.” No, that uncomfortability of getting to a place of a four and half thousand square foot home full of all of our stuff, to reduce that down to 200 square foot was the most stressful and uncomfortable process I’ve ever been through all of my life. It was murderous. But I have come to realize after taking all of these uncomfortable positions in my life, with this being the biggest one ever, I’m now comfortable being uncomfortable. I’ve got to that point. It’s like getting that card out. I don’t need that card anymore. I’m now comfortable being uncomfortable. So, anything uncomfortable that comes to, you know, in front of me, I know what’s on the other side of that. So, I don’t have that…I wouldn’t say it was a problem but it was definitely one of those things where it was, “Oh God, I’ve got to go though this to get to that.” Now it’s like, “Bring it on, I’m ready, let’s go.”
Evan: Which I think is amazing and I think it’s amazing you’re raising money for charity as well as you’re promoting your business and you’re tying it all together. I can honestly say that my wife would think I was nuts if wished to do the same.
Anthony: My wife thinks I’m nuts, don’t worry about that.
Evan: But what I want to now do is take this conversation to the business world for a second.
Anthony: Okay, yep.
Evan: I find that people in business don’t wanna risk being uncomfortable. They accept good and they don’t try for great, and the company’s cultures are, you know, people are unwilling to take risk to go to that kind of next level. And I think the difference between really great companies isn’t the CEO that runs them, I think it’s the people that are in there. Now the CEO can take credit for the hiring of the people and the culture, but having really great people and that really great people make the difference. You take this and apply it to training. If you’re going to be successful, I mean like you take HydroDog, your franchisees needed to know the system, they need to know what to do and if they weren’t well trained, they weren’t going to do well. And in the real world of corporate business, it’s the same thing. It’s do people understand [inaudible 00:25:58]? Do they understand a corporate culture? Do they understand the products they’re selling? Do they understand why they’re selling? Do they understand why their customers would want to buy them? Do they understand how to sell them and, you know, the training department, the people that are listening to us right now, in a lot of cases they get, for lack of a better term, minimized. They’re not…they’re, you know, the first to go when the economy goes. That they’re…that people aren’t valuing what they’re doing, and the point I’m trying to make here is that it takes sometimes being uncomfortable to stand up for yourself. To say, “Hey, this isn’t about you. This is what we can do,” and not just accept the culture of how things are. Does that make sense to you?
Anthony: It absolutely does, and I’ll tell you where it starts. It starts with being congruent with the people that you’re working with, and I’ll give you a great example. You and I are so congruent and we laugh our bottoms off every time we’re together because it’s fun, but we’re really good at business. We don’t take life too seriously, and there’s just some magic there every time we’re in each other’s presence. They’re the people that you just, my God, you want to be around. So I’ve got this sort of a three-prong rule, is that first of all, you’ve got to be congruent, then you’ve got to add the value. Like, you adding all this value to me, I’m so blessed that this is happening. And the third thing is waking up in the morning, you’ve got to feel that excited, you want to go and have coffee, that you want to have lunch with this guy. So, in those environments, if there was more emphasis put on the people that are with each other being more congruent with each other, that would absolutely slice all of this down to about 85%. There’s no question. But what happens is, they get in there and they go, “Oh okay, well here’s somebody that’s qualified.” Okay, they’re qualified, but do they get on with the group of people that we’re about to put them in with? It only takes one person in a group of five to ruin that efficiency and that timeless wave that they can ride together, with somebody saying, “I’ve got to go and see Dave today. He’s such a pain,” and that’s where their day starts. If they went and said, “Oh, I cannot wait to see Dave. He’s so nice. He always gets me a cup of coffee and we’re so congruent with each other.” That’s the biggest thing that I see that could make almost an instant change.
Evan: You’re being incredibly generous to share your insights and your passions. So, I want to thank you, and if you’re not energized now by Anthony and his energy, I don’t know what to say because I know I am. So again, Anthony thank you very much. Thank the audience and everyone for listening. We appreciate it and everyone have a great day.
Anthony: All right. Happy days everybody. Thanks for having me mate.
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