8 Miles from Civilization with Clayton Oates

In This Episode




Clayton grew up on a sheep farm. One thing you want to do when you grow up on a Sheep farm is get as far away as possible.

They were 8 miles from civilization.

Clayton would wander in the hills with his dogs.

He was a social guy – not interested in academics.

Got good enough marks for some opportunities.

His mom suggested accounting!

By the time he went to University, he was not interested in accounting.

Clayton’s father suffered from mental health conditions – home life was challenging.

Mom was the breadwinner.

University was an escape.

By this time Clayton knew he didn’t want to do accounting. He wanted to learn about business.

This would be his ticket to enabling a future lifestyle, because he was incredibly lazy.

This is why Clayton looks for better ways of doing things – to free up time.

Accounting was the secret to getting the foundation for how business works.

Doing accounting was like “ticking that box.”

His parents friends’ seemed successful, but looking back now he realizes they weren’t – but they all had their own businesses.

Business = Freedom?

Business is building relationships.

How can I double down on THAT?

Clayton re-took 8 subjects during his 5 University years.

The social aspect was much more interesting. It taught Clayton that the world was a much bigger place.

His first job was making cookies at Mrs. Fields Cookies.

First accounting Job was Price Waterhouse.

Clayton met the recruitment manager for PW at University talking about football. 

Clayton was hired based on his ability to network and socialize. This skill got him a job in a big accounting firm, where his role was the relationships.

The realization was that he was a great “connector” and that’s what he had to double down on.

That was the key – Clayton figured out his strength and doubled down on it.

Connecting with clients.

Mark Manson – the Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck



We’re all wrong!

We’re just less wrong about certain things.

Stop thinking that we have control, and that we’re entitled.

The “Oh wait I hadn’t considered that” syndrome.

We get sent messages and we don’t pay attention.

Instead we start coming up with the reasons why it won’t work.

Price Waterhouse was a great experience because it was a strong ethically based business.

Clayton was a cog in the wheel.

The turning point was meeting his wife Jacinta.

She lived 1,000 miles away, so off Clayton went to be with her.

He left Melbourne to be with her and get out of accounting only to find out that the only jobs available in his new home were in accounting!

He found himself at a firm that was implementing value pricing and a real service based operation. He was able to focus on the part that he loved – the customer service piece.

Now we were going from paper based systems to computer.

He had an Apple IIC and the realization that he could join the two together – accounting and technology was amazing.

Clayton suggested to the partners that they set up a software advisory system.

They said go for it!

They put 100s of small businesses into this program.

“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

-Steve Martin

Technology is the catalyst and the creator to establish better connections!

The partners invited Clayton to buy into this segment of the business.

Then a big firm bought the one he worked at, and they had no interest in this technology stuff.

So Clayton took it with him.

He was realizing that most small businesses don’t work. The owner does.

Clayton started getting a lot of questions from owners and he started documenting the answers. This was “QA.”

Every Friday he wrote hints and tips on how to get more out of QuickBooks. He did this for 551 weeks and documented the answers “the QA Way.”

Clayton built a team.

  • The team would look after the clients.
  • The clients would look after or build the business.
  • The business would look after the owner.

How can I invest now to buy back time?

The team changes.

People, processes, and technology

What are my types of income?

  • Active Recurring
  • Passive Recurring
  • Subscriptions
  • Controllable
  • Non-controllable

What about the struggles?

Clayton says he still sometimes wonders if he should go get a job.

Overcoming inertia.

Had to get the confidence.

Then there was a shift to the cloud.

We built a desktop based business.

This was a new idea. We had to adopt.

We forgot about helping others and doubling down on making a difference for others.

Beyond achieving lifestyle which is incredibly selfish, it’s actually about contribution.

If you haven’t lost your biggest clients yet, it will happen.

And it will happen again.

This is The Universe telling you, “I believe in you!”

If you have a lot of “bread and butter” you will be eating bread and butter for the rest of your life.

Life is not happening TO you. It’s happening FOR you.

-Tony Robbins

The Go Giver

What you get is in direct proportion to the value of what you give times the number of people you can give it to.



The value may be as simple as a conversation.

There types of businesses people create

  • To sell
  • To keep
  • To resent

Create a business that YOU would want to buy!

Quarantine the profits!

Clayton has retained all of his profits for the last 15 years.

A mentality of expansion rather than retraction.

Expand the revenue circle.

You can hire sales people to build a sales funnel and bring in 500 new clients, but what about looking at the existing 100 and the 5 other services you offer that they aren’t using?

Give it all away.

Best Buy – The best way we make a living is based on people who think they can do it themselves.

If you help enough people get what they want, then you’ll have everything you want.

  • Zig Ziglar

Ask yourself, “What can I suggest to someone for how to improve their process?”

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