Billy Friley, founder of Village Ice Cream, shares how prioritizing a healthy mindset helped him serve his employees and customers better. From studying physics and motorcycling across South America to becoming an entrepreneur, Billy’s life experience has taught him how a healthy team can make or break your business.
From Soul Searcher to Entrepreneur
Billy describes himself as a lone wolf. He followed his interests in college and landed an office job after college graduation.
After a few years, he quit his job and decided to motorcycle across South America. He wanted to wake up excited about life and his work. However, early on in his trip he realized that travel wasn’t the answer. So, he changed his plans and made his way to his grandma’s house in Montana, where he tasted huckleberry ice cream for the first time.
He knew right then that he wanted to develop a tradition of thoroughly North American, excellent, locally made ice cream. A few months later, Calgary’s beloved Village Ice Cream was born.
Leaders Are Compelled
Billy never saw himself as a team member or a leader. In fact, he says learning to lead has been an uphill battle — and he wouldn’t want it any other way.
[18:55] “You shouldn’t want to be a leader, you should be compelled to it. And I think that some of us just have certain talents and skill sets that land us in positions of leadership.”
Leadership is a blessing and a burden. Leaders have the responsibility to utilize their power well.
Billy’s leadership style is driven, passionate, earnest, and authentic and he strives to become better at developing others’ talents. He warns that falling into a scarcity mentality makes it difficult to have the energy to focus on developing key employees.
Billy confronts the temptation to adopt a scarcity mindset through regular therapy sessions and meditation. Running a successful business is not possible without support.
[24:51] “A lot of us wear pretty thick armor. As we find empathy for ourselves, as we learn to forgive ourselves, as we learn to know ourselves more deeply, then we can start to truly become phenomenal leaders.”
It’s a huge transition to change one’s focus from avoiding crises to developing people. Leaders must learn to quiet the voice in their own head in order to hear the voices around them.
Focus On Team Health
Billy has found an incredible ally in his director of operations. He has a natural gift for management and hones it by vigilantly studying management philosophy. Billy says one of the most valuable lessons this manager has brought to his team is teaching the staff how to confront their colleagues well.
Fostering this important skill has resulted in a healthy team. And prioritizing a healthy team culture has led to high retention rates, outselling the competition, and attracting great talent.
He emphasizes that just having a great product isn’t good enough. You have to build a business where your employees are treated as customers.
[32:14] “Your only long term, sustainable competitive advantage is your people.”
Learn to Celebrate
Billy shares that if he could change one thing from the past decade, he’d spend more time celebrating.
Take time, step back, and develop appreciation and gratitude for your journey as you’re making it, even if the present moment of the business is stressful. This will help you cultivate a healthier long-term relationship with your business.
Also Mentioned in This Episode:
- The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni