The Journey to 1000 Millionaires with John Hewitt

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Show Notes:

πŸŽ™ Ever wondered how someone builds a billion-dollar empire? 🌟

πŸ—οΈ Hear it straight from a franchising legend, John Hewitt, on “Think Business with Tyler”!

πŸ‘” From tax prep pioneer to mentor for business growth, John unpacks his journey.

βœ… Get his game-changing advice


Welcome back to another episode of Think Business with Tyler! I’m your host, Tyler Martin, and today we have a very special guest, none other than John Hewitt, a titan in the world of franchising with a staggering 54 years of experience. John is the founder of billion-dollar companies such as Jackson Hewitt and Liberty Tax and now oversees eight diverse businesses under the umbrella of Loyalty Brands.

In today’s episode, John Hewitt and Tyler Martin, we dive deep into John’s journey of scaling businesses from the ground up, the critical balance of income and expenses, and the paramount lessons he learned along the way, including some he generously shares in a book he’s offering to our listeners for free.

John candidly reflects on his major misstep of delaying franchising with Jackson Hewitt, a decision that initially slowed growth. As a successful entrepreneur, he shares his wisdom on delegation, a challenging but essential skill he taught his employees, and he explains how following a proven system is the bedrock of creating 1000 millionaires – and also why some businesses fail.

We’ll also get personal with John, touching on his large family, early experiences with computers, and his take on the complexities and competitiveness of the tax industry. It’s a packed episode filled with insights and stories from a man who carved his career path from college classes to building outstanding retail chains.


In the early 1980s, John Hewitt was at a major crossroads when he was persuaded by a colleague to take a leap of faith into entrepreneurial waters. After a year of contemplation, in 1981, Hewitt made the bold decision to leave his stable job and venture into the fledgling world of personal computing. With vision and ambition, he embarked on the pioneering project of developing one of the first tax software programs for the Apple computer.

At the time, the notion of personal computers was still novel, as there were fewer than 200,000 PCs across the entire United States. The general public was wary, if not outright fearful, of these new machines, perceiving them as complex and intimidating. Despite the challenging atmosphere and pervasive skepticism, Hewitt pressed on, convinced there was a market for his vision.

Fate seemed to smile upon Hewitt when he stumbled upon an opportunity in Virginia Beachβ€”a tax service company that was up for sale following the death of its founder, Mel Jackson. Seeing the potential in this acquisition, Hewitt saw it as a sign that his foresight was about to pay off.

John Hewitt’s story is marked by a momentous decision to follow a groundbreaking idea, an early dive into technology that many were yet to trust, and a fortunate turn of events that led to the foundation of what would become a significant venture in the realm of tax preparation software.

So, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and let’s get ready to Think Business with the one and only, John Hewitt!


John Hewitt built the first tax software for an Apple computer with his father in 1981.

Despite his extensive background in tax franchising, John Hewitt is also involved in a mobile dog grooming business under Loyalty Brands.

Hewitt has a personal milestone on the horizon as he’s about to become a great-great-grandfather.


Entrepreneurial Success: “So I founded a billion dollar company, one of the only less than 1000 people in the United States that have ever done that. And they have 6000 offices. They’re the 23rd largest retail franchise chain in the country. But I sold that, left that in 1997 and started liberty tax.

And I had a three year non compete, but it didn’t cover Canada because there never have been any Jackson units in Canada. Having grown up in Buffalo, I knew the canadian tax system. So we opened Liberty tax in Canada and within three years became one of the top 100 retail chains. So now I built one of the top 100 retail chains in US and in Canada.”

Early Roots of Tax Software Innovation: “In 1969, I did my first text runs with an atom machine pulling the head. And I was great at multiplication addition. I can do it in my head faster than anyone. And so it was good for me because I love math. And secondly, it was good because it’s helping people.”

Identifying Natural Leaders: “I can remember back to being four years old, and I was the leader of the game, leader of my brother was a year and a half younger, and my best friend, and I was the leader in the neighborhood. So I’ve always been a leader, and I’ve always wanted to help people. So it just came naturally. I was blessed.”

Understanding Flat Tax Systems: “And I’ve never spent a second worrying about flat text because I understand that. Let me give you example of a flat tax, right? Let’s pretend. And the most common example is a sales tax, right? So let’s say instead of an income tax, everyone pays 10% sales tax on everything they buy.”

The Impact of Tax Changes on Different Income Groups: “Instead of paying zero, you’re going to pay $3,500 a year. Instead of paying zero, you’re going to pay $3,500.”

Innovation in Pet Care Industry: “But the one that’s surprising that I’m just unbelievable surprised with is zoom and grooming. I mean, the pet industry is just exploding and our fastest growing company is a mobile dog grooming.”

The Difficulty of Founding a Billion-Dollar Company: “Well, I don’t want to underestimate how difficult it is because in the history of the United States there’s been 700 million people and only 1000 people founded a billion dollar company.”

Balancing Business Growth and Structure: “If you have too much structure and not enough income, you go bankrupt. If you hire people too soon and your expenses outpace your revenue, then you go bankrupt. If you have too much income and haven’t hired enough people, you collapse because you have horrible service, you can’t support your growth.”

Entrepreneurial Success and Lessons Learned: “When you think about that, if you run something for 15 years and you get to start all over again, if you now don’t do it a lot faster and a lot better the second time, you’re an idiot. There are so many lessons I learned…”

The Art of Delegation: “And I just kept lecturing on how to delegate, how to delegate.


Scaling With Income Balance
John Hewitt, with his prolific background in building billion-dollar companies, elucidates the critical need for a keen focus on balancing income and expenses to successfully scale a business. He stresses that profitability isn’t solely about increasing revenue; it’s equally about managing and reducing costs effectively. By understanding this, entrepreneurs can ensure sustainable growth and avoid the pitfalls that come with unchecked expansion.

Embrace Franchising Early
Reflecting on the growth journey of his tax service companies, John Hewitt underscores one of his major setbacks – the delay in adopting a franchising model. By sharing this personal lesson, he urges entrepreneurs to consider franchising sooner to catalyze business expansion. Proper franchising can dramatically accelerate growth by leveraging the efforts and investments of franchisees.

Mastering Delegation
Hewitt dives deep into the art of delegation, which he deems essential, especially for businesses reaching the $1-20 million revenue mark. He candidly talks about the learning curve involved in letting go of operational control and trusting others with key aspects of a business. Hewitt’s advice is clear: mastering delegation is crucial for scaling up and focusing on strategic growth.

Following Proven Systems
John Hewitt credits the creation of millionaires to adhering to proven systems and methodologies. His conversation with Tyler Martin highlights the stark contrast between the success rates of business owners who follow these systems and those who don’t. Hewitt’s lesson is clear: employing established systems can significantly enhance a business owner’s chance of success, while deviation often leads to failure.


Loyalty Brands

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