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Inherently, we’re all selfish.
Sure, we care about the greater good and it’s fun to work on big projects with others, but ultimately we all have our own goals we want to achieve.
As a business owner, you have big goals. You have aspirations and you’re working hard to put the necessary things in place to achieve those goals.
You’re communicating your vision with your employees and you’re painting the big picture for them so they can get on board.
But if you stop here and share your vision, you’re missing out. You need to help your employees reach their goals.
I was watching a talk by a billionaire at a conference last week and he said the first question he would ask new hires was, “What one, big goal do you need to accomplish in your life before you die?”
Then he followed up with, “It’s my job to do it for you.”
Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins
- Motivate your employees with their own goals, and that hard work will translate to helping you achieve yours.
- Business is like a home—if you take care of it, everybody in there is going to take care of you.
- As humans, we care about ourselves and we are motivated by things that benefit us.
- You have to love business if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur.
- If you want to employ people and bring them on board with your vision, you also need to help them achieve their goals.
- If you want a business that grows, it has to be your life.
- If you’re okay with chaos and putting out fires in the middle of the night, be an entrepreneur.
- Everybody goes through things they don’t enjoy to get to something they want to do.
- 05:51 Sean: Matt, are you in a plateau, or are you growing?
- 05:57 Matt: We’re growing for sure. We’re trying to shut down the business. We’re at that point in the business where I wouldn’t say that it’s booming. I was kind of disappointed after looking at our numbers for what we made—I was hoping for a little bit more profit-wise, because we’re trying to get to a Lambo Goal here. I love what I do, but we have goals and aspirations. I’m looking at my account thinking, “Where are the other zeros?” I know we hustled. Did someone just forget them?
- 07:37 I was kind of disappointed, because I was hoping for more. It’s good. I like to YouTube our topic to hear other people’s perspective and think about what they have to say about plateauing or whatever. One of them brought up a really good point. Whenever you’re starting a business, your back’s up against the wall, and you have bills and you’re in that fearful mindset, you know that you have to hustle to make this happen. If you’re a real entrepreneur, you know you have to hustle to get things going. You hustle and you get things done. You put systems in place, and especially if you’re a one man team, you’re wearing so many hats just to get it done.
- 08:16 You’re Bob the Builder with his golden hammer. You’re getting stuff done. Over the next couple of years, you get into this rhythm. You get a little bit sloppy because you think, “We’re doing good.” You get comfortable. I see a lot of people who get comfortable, because they get to the point they never thought they’d get to, and they’re cool with that. Yet, when they first started, they talked about a goal that was three times as big as that. They start getting into this sloppy rhythm and they get to this plateau. They’re losing their motivation and their vision.
- 09:00 Sean: Matt mentioned searching YouTube. Go to lambogoal.com/youtube—we made a new channel. I have my own seanwes channel, but we’ve got a bigger vision for the Lambo Goal channel. Yes, we’ve got the show, but eventually, believe it or not, we are going to get the Lambos, we’re going to go on trips, we’ll have eight GoPros on each car facing different directions, inside cameras and microphones, and Matt and I will be talking to each other remotely but everything will be recording. Cory gets to edit it all and produce an awesome show. People can go on the roadtrip with us, but it’s also a show. I’m excited. It’s going to be good.
- 09:49 Of course, we’re going to be excited about the Lambos and we’re going to want to have car videos, too, because we’re car enthusiasts. That doesn’t really fit on any other channel, so we decided to make our own. Here’s the deal; to get the username, we have to have 100 subscribers, so we just need you to believe in us, that eventually we will have the lambo videos up there. Help us out, go to lambogoal.com/youtube, and subscribe, so we can get it up to the minimum so we can get the username.
Stay Challenged to Grow
- 10:23 Matt, you were saying that the most common plateau is a result of stagnation from getting comfortable?
Some people plateau because they feel like they’ve arrived and they’re no longer challenged, staying scrappy, and going for something bigger.
- 10:38 Matt: That’s one of the ways that really stands out because that’s what I hear a lot of people saying, but there are so many different ways to plateau. A lot of people also get burned out, which is understandable. A lot of people get comfortable, and they’re making a good living, so they think it’s good. I always ask questions, so I give them a hard time. I say, “Are you sure you want to be making this? Because you could be making this if you made this little effort!” I think it’s really easy. I’ve even done this in my business. We kind of make it a joke about the bell and me opening new businesses, but the reason I do that and the way I structure my money, I always like to have a little burn at my back. Not scarcity, but taking a risk.
- 11:37 I have to step it up every single day. I can’t get comfortable, because of X, Y, and Z, whether that’s the way I structured the money or because we have a new business and we have to push it to cover overflow.
- 11:48 Sean: I was listening to a talk by a multi-millionaire, I think a nine-figure millionaire. His advice was, “Stay broke.” Exactly what you’re saying, Matt.
- 12:02 Matt: My employees make fun of me. They say, “Matt never has money.” Do I though? We can go pull out money, but do we really want to? We want Lambos. We don’t want to keep working every single day. I was hearing a podcast, and I think John Lee Dumas was interviewing somebody and the episode was called The Baby Factor. That also happened to me. When you have a baby, you go into overdrive. Something clicks in your mind, and it’s like, “We’ve got to get something done.” I always think we need that little motivation, whatever it is you have to do to force you to jump out of bed every single day and hit the ground running because you have something burning.
- 12:56 There’s a reason why you have to jump out of bed, even if you’re secure in that. With my business and my employees, we always say, “We can stop jumping out of bed and hit the snooze button, but we wouldn’t get to our goal.” Plus, we set different things in place that push us every single day. My employees hate this, but I will purposefully overbook their day to make them hustle. They know it, and they hustle, but they hate me for it. They say, “Matt, we can’t even hit the snooze button.” From the moment they get up, brush their teeth, and get into their work clothes, etc, they have exactly an hour and eight minutes to wake up and get to the first job. After that, every minute counts. There’s a burn there.
- 14:03 There’s a constant feeling of, “We have to get this done, otherwise we’ll fall behind.” Most people will say, “Oh well, we’ll get it done later on.” There’s no light, first off, but that work could get pushed to tomorrow, and eventually it could build up to a whole week of extra work that you don’t want to do because you want to hang out with your family. I know that sounds kind of cruel, but my employees have agreed that they want to work as much as possible.
- 14:41 Sean: How is the plan to stop working in December going?
- 14:52 Matt: Sean, you asked me, “Do you think your business is plateauing?” Part of me wishes it was, and part of me doesn’t want it to because we want to get the Lambos. We’re in this period right now where people are referring us like crazy, and there are these big projects—bigger projects than we would have ever thought of. A dream of mine is to buy a ton of land and develop it from the ground up. We’re talking big money. Everything I saved is going to be all gone soon, so I’m not getting comfortable. We’ve gotten the opportunity to do some of that stuff already. This was my ten year plan.
- 15:37 It’s pretty exciting how quickly stuff is starting to develop. Big ticket projects are coming, in the millions, and we technically don’t have the infrastructure or the manpower to take on so many of these at one time, but because of thinking creatively, we’re able to get them done. In a previous episode, we talked about digging a 100 foot hole—you have to think outside of the hole in order to get this stuff done (Related: e35 Digging the 100ft Hole). We’re knocking out a ton of stuff. To answer your question, Sean, no. We’re still working.
- 16:15 Sean: You know it’s about to be Christmas?
- 16:18 Matt: Thursday is our deadline. The house is pretty much done. There are some detail things that need to be finished, and then the outside needs to be done, but this is a multi-million dollar home. It’s 5,000 square feet. The pool is massive. We’re also waiting on a couple of other companies that we sub out to. Thursday is the end of the year thing. I’ve been setting these deadlines every week, saying, “We’ve got to get it done, otherwise no Christmas break!” Everybody says, “Oh no! I already bought Nick his bicycle.” I say, “Well that sucks for Nick. He’s going to have to learn how to ride it with training wheels.” Everybody thinks I’m so cruel, but business is business. I’m sorry.
- 17:19 In personal life, I’m very kind. Thursday is our final day of working, and then we’ll be done until next year, January 4th. I’ll still be working, because I have to strategize for next year. It’s not working a ton, more sitting in the massage chair and looking up numbers, figuring out what I want to do, and scheduling some meetings with partners, assistants, and talking it over and seeing what everybody thinks. If they like it, put it on paper. We set these little goals, like we talk about in the podcast. Everything I say here we actually do.
In my company, we set goals and try and reach them so we don’t plateau.
- 18:30 Sean: I’m wondering if we should call an audible and make this episode more of an intervention. Matt, you don’t remember, but at one point you were saying that you were going to take November, December, and January off.
- 18:51 Matt: I actually had said that I was going to take off October, November, December, and January. October is my birthday month, so I wanted to take off that, and November through January.
- 19:11 Sean: January is almost here. It’s about to start over, Matt. So, no break? We just had an episode on accountability partners and discipline (Related: e36 Accountability Partners & Discipline). What do you want me to do for you, Matt? Where do you want to be?
- 19:45 Matt: I really did want to take the break, but at the same time, we’re pretty much done with our 2015 contracts. This job that we’re doing right now is something for another investor that I think will lead to what I ultimately want, and that is to develop my own subdivision or maybe my own town here in San Antonio. It was kind of an, “I’ll bail you out if you help me out in the future,” like a hall pass. He had his own crews, and he’s like an older me. He could have taken care of this home himself, but his crews wanted a break, and it’s an older company, so they wanted to kind of stop for November, December, and January, like I was saying, so they did.
- 20:54 They literally hit the pause button and said, “Alright, we’ll see all the customers next year.” He got in touch with me and we went to lunch, and I joked that he should throw me the project. This is a really big, fancy project, and it would be a really neat opportunity. I would be breaking that threshold from regular homes into luxury and more high end homes. This is at a place where celebrities and really wealthy people live. I’ve never done a home in there, or anything with this price tag. I know that opportunities like this will come, and we’re always saying that you can’t say yes to anything. The little “yes man” was on my shoulder, and the not-nice man was also there. Yes, this would throw off my schedule.
- 22:07 To be quite honest, I went to everybody. I said, “Look, we don’t have to do this. Opportunities will come so we can get to the six and seven figure projects, but we’re talking about $1.1 million in a month.” That’s where we want to get to eventually, but we don’t have the manpower and the infrastructure to do it quite yet. I’ve done that purposefully, because we’re still in the learning phases to get to that point. This job was a big opportunity.
- 22:51 Sean: It’s an opportunity that’s in line with where you want to be, and it’s here right now.
- 22:57 Matt: Pretty much. It was for somebody that isn’t a mentor, but he’s a good friend that is doing what I want to do. He lives this life that I would eventually like to get to. He basically doesn’t do much of anything. He has people in place that do everything, but he’s the one reaping all of the benefits. He’s taught me to put different systems in place, and he was serious about taking time off.
Getting Your Employees On Board
- 23:39 Sean: When you take on this extra big job, are the employees getting extra, too?
- 23:47 Matt: They’re all getting bonuses. I went to everybody, my partners, my managers, and my employees. I said, “Do you guys want to do this?” We didn’t have to—everybody was still going to get bonuses and everybody’s getting overtime. Everybody’s balling right now, they’re doing really well. People that were making $50,000 last year are probably peaking out closer to $80,000. Everybody’s doing great. People are good. These are people who were working construction and making $25,000 or $30,000. They’re happy. They feel like they they owe me, too.
- 24:47 All of them say, “Matt, we would have never thought we would be making this kind of money with the same work we were doing at so-and-so’s place.” I’m thankful for them, because they don’t realize how much they’re making me. I went to all of them and said, “Look, you don’t have to do this. I’m happy with where we are. I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t quite make as much as we wanted to this year,” because we have an internal goal to get to the Lambo Goal. We didn’t make as much as I thought, so I told them, “This would put us where I wanted us to be and give us an opportunity to work on something new, learn from it, make some mistakes, and so on.” I would be able to get into this other investor’s head and ask him questions on how everything is supposed to be and how he would do it.
- 25:42 Not only would I be getting to where I needed to be on paper, but I would also learn from a master himself. I would also make some mistakes, and people don’t want to make mistakes, but I’ve learned that if you make mistakes, you don’t do them again.
I’d rather make mistakes now when I have someone to go to who can pick me up when I fall.
- 26:02 Everybody agreed. They all said, “Let’s do it. It’s a challenge, and I really would like to buy Nick the $500 bike as opposed to the $100 one.”
- 26:24 Sean: We have completely shifted the Break Through Business Growth Plateau to the next episode. We’re doing an audible. We can do the other show second. Right now, I want to zoom in on this. I’m curious, because we have a question. Someone is asking, “Are your employees only motivated to reach their goals because of the pressure you lay on them, or do they naturally and genuinely believe in the goal and want to help reach it?”
- 27:02 Matt: I honestly think that they genuinely want me to, because they all like feeling like they’re a part of something. It’s not like they’re getting paid minimum wage to help me to get to this goal they wouldn’t be able to reach at the pace they’re going. They’re getting paid well. Where some of them used to work, they were getting paid $30,000, and now they’re getting paid $50,000, $60,000, or even $80,000. Some are even over that. They like that. Also, they’re learning, too. I always encourage them to go start their own thing. They’re making this good chunk of money, so they can go to the bank and get a decent loan, or they can use their own money to start their own business. I’m cool with that.
Make Your Employee’s Goals Your Goals
- 27:54 Sean: I want to contrast that idea with another one that I heard at a conference. This guy is a billionaire, and he shared this idea that I thought was really interesting. I want to get your thoughts on this idea. He said that the first question he asks a new hire is, “What is a big goal that you have to achieve in your life before you die?” They think about it and they tell him, and he says, “It’s my job to do that for you.”
- 28:24 Matt: I never thought of it that way.
- 28:26 Sean: This guy says, “Growing up, we lived in a trailer. It was always freezing cold and miserable. I want to buy my mom a house. That’s my big goal.” The other guy says, “Alright.” The billionaire founder guy is at his desk while everybody is getting up to leave to go home for the day, and he’s still there working. They ask, “What are you doing?” And he says, “I have to achieve your goals.” He stays and he keeps working, and eventually, he helps the guy buy a house for the guy’s mom in Florida. They fly her out, the son, the mom, and the founder. They’re going through the house, and the mom is mad. Why is the mom mad? She says, “Son, why are you showing me your boss’ house? I don’t care.”
- 29:35 The guy says, “No no, come into the master bedroom. I want to show you something.” She goes in there, and they had moved her entire bedroom, exactly as it was set up, in there, and in that moment she realized that it was her house. I think this guy’s thing was to make a place that nobody ever wants to leave. I have big goals. One of those goals is the Lambo Goal, and that’s the primary goal right now, but I think the way to get there is to help your people accomplish their goals.
Motivate your employees with their own goals and that hard work will translate to helping you achieve yours.
- 30:35 Matt: I think that’s why I’ve had so much success with my employees. I could have never, ever done what I’m doing right now, at scale, without my employees. Not only do we pay them well, but I don’t really go into detail about what we do for our employees.
- 31:02 Sean: I’m listening to you talk about the employees helping you achieve the Lambo Goal, and I know you and where you’re coming from, but I’m hearing from the listener’s perspective. I want you to talk about what you do for the employees.
- 31:17 Matt: When they come on, I will be asking that question from now on—”What is your goal?” I am so much into the Lambo Goal and believe that that is why, every single day, I feel that burn and I have to get going, so I try to transfer the same vision into the employee. Whether they fight it or not, all of the veteran employees live and breathe Lambo Goal. Some are talking about getting it tattooed. I tell them to calm down, because it’s a lifestyle, not a title. We are really generous. I had an employee come from up north, and he was broken and broke, literally. He had just gotten a divorce, he didn’t have a car, he was living with his aunt, and he had nothing.
- 32:13 We service some of his aunt’s properties, and he was sitting out there by the gate, working on some yard stuff at her house. I had seen him when I was going to talk to her, so I started asking, “What’s up with this guy? Who’s he?” She said, “That’s my nephew. He’s looking for work.” Long story short, we ended up hiring him part time so he could get a little extra money, help his aunt out, and get a job in construction. That’s what he did. We hired him for the commercial landscaping crew, just to ride the mower, because his aunt lived on four acres and he was really good with the zero turn. I put him on the commercial for him to knock it out quick.
- 33:03 It was a part time gig, and this was back in February. Remember, this guy is broke, living with his Aunt. In April, he came to me and said, “I would like a full time gig.” I said, “Well, we’re good right now. In May, it will start picking up again and we’ll start getting more contracts, and we can go ahead and bring you on full time.” He was a little hurt, like anyone would be, but he agreed. That month of April, he worked his socks off. I’ve never seen anyone work quite like that—it reminded me of a younger me. So, we hired him. Two weeks later, he had a full time gig. He was in charge of the entire crew of veterans who had already been working for me for three to four years.
- 34:12 The next month, my wife helped him find a home, an apartment. We worked out a deal with him, that he only had to pay half the rent and the other half would be covered by the company. He could get on his feet. He was very thankful. We put him up in some luxury apartments close to where I live, and the guy had never seen anything quite like it. We’re talking about real granite countertops, marble floors, a premium carpet that felt so good that he was sleeping on it. The padding was as thick as a mattress. We didn’t just put him up in the slums. We helped him out with some debt that he had by giving him an advance. We bumped his pay so he could pay it off quick and put some money back into savings.
- 35:08 Another thing we do for the employees is that we have this program, this company that takes money from their checks and puts it into a savings account. Each one of our employees goes through a personal budget, accounting, or banking thing with our accountant and the assistants. None of them know how to use money. They don’t know what a budget is, and they scoff at budgets. We get them to learn about money and how it is a tool.
You don’t want your employees to get attached to money, but since it’s right next to oxygen, they have to know how to use it if they’re going to grow.
- 36:09 Sean: You’re finding ways to invest in the employees.
- 36:13 Matt: Right, because I have to pay the accountants to counsel them. If they have any questions about taxes, their money, checks, savings, credit cards, or any of that, they go to the accountant, and it’s paid for by me or the company.
- 36:34 Sean: I think all of that is awesome.
- 36:51 Matt: I’m just taking an example from one of my employees. Every employee is different. Who was it that said that about the goals? I’m going to remember him as the billionaire guy. Basically, that’s what we do with every single one of our employees. What is your goal? We help them get to that goal. At first, everybody says, “I would like to make more money.” Everybody says that, so we teach them, “There’s a whole lot more to life than just making more money. When you die, sure, your kids can have it, but you want to have more things than that.”
- 37:33 We go down to the foundation, to mindset. I’m at a lot of the jobsites, so I’ll talk to every one of them. I know everybody’s story. I know about their Aunt Betsy, I know what their dog’s names are, and this is coming from a person who has a really hard time remembering things because there’s so much stuff that goes into my brain every single day. I actually listen to them, and I think that’s really important. Whenever they have a complaint or a concern, I listen. I don’t always do what they think is best. Sometimes they’re right and I’m wrong, but I let them know that I’m the boss. Whenever anybody has made a mistake, it’s my fault.
- 38:23 I’m still learning. I’m still young. If anybody makes a mistake, it is my fault, and I take responsibility, because either I didn’t know or I didn’t learn my lesson the last time. There’s a lot of trust there, with the employees. Even if I don’t listen to them, they think, “Maybe Matt knows something that I don’t.” That one employee is now doing really well. He has a car, his apartment, money, savings, and he’s talking about starting his own side business and toning down his hours with me, which is fine, because I’m going to sell out work to him because he’s excellent at what he does. It’s a whole lot more than my favorite Santa Claus, Amazon. I’ve heard really bad things about the way they treat their employees.
If you take care of your home, everybody in there is going to take care of you.
- 39:34 That’s how I think of my employees. I take care of them as best as I possibly can without spoiling them and hurting them in the sense that they won’t be able to fend for themselves or think on their own two feet.
Keeping Employees For Life
- 39:55 Sean: Matt was not bragging. He was initially holding back. He said, “I don’t talk about all the things we do for the employees.” I pulled it out, because I want to paint a well-rounded picture. I know the listener is hearing Matt say, “We’ve got the Lambo Goal, and these guys are working hard because they want to help me get to the Lambo Goal.” They’re only hearing the one piece of it, but behind the scenes, Matt has invested in them, given them a place to live, education, the tools, resources, and motivation, and all of this stuff. That’s why he has loyal employees. It’s not just that they want to help Matt get to his goal, but he’s invested in them.
- 40:52 I think that is a really great way to keep people for an extended amount of time. The billionaire guy’s advice is the way to keep people for life. It’s just the Rule of Reciprocity. If you invest in someone, they are going to feel obligated to you. They’re going to want to pay you back and work hard, but eventually, that debt is paid. Maybe it’s five years, they stick with you for five years and they’re a hard worker. After that, the reciprocity is essentially fulfilled and expired. You would need to keep investing in them, which you should.
- 41:33 What I like about the billionaire’s advice is, yes, they do want to help you get to your goal and your employees believe in your long term goal, but inherently, we all have our own goals. I don’t mean this negatively, but we’re all selfish. We care about ourselves, and we are motivated by things that benefit us. That’s a natural state, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The best way to keep people is connected to his first question. “What is a goal you have in your life that you have to achieve before you die? It’s my job to get you there.” If you are an entrepreneur and you’re starting your own business, you’re the man. You’re the guy or the girl who will get yourself to your goal, because you don’t have a boss.
If you want to employ people and bring them on board with your vision, you also need to help them achieve their goals if you want them to be loyal to you for life.
- 42:33 To put Cory on the spot, what are your goals, Cory? Do you feel like I am aware of those and cognizant of them and helping you get there? Third, what can I do better to help you achieve your goals? Fourth, how does all of that affect your motivation, your desire, and your enthusiasm to work here vs. somewhere else?
- 43:32 Cory: My goal is to keep creating films. I’m starting to do that. It could look like anything, honestly. I would definitely say that Sean’s aware of it. How is he helping me? His approach of sabbaticals is a good time to pursue what I want to pursue.
- 44:12 Sean: I have a friend, and I don’t know if he listens to this show, but he was talking about how he had these goals and all these things he wanted to learn and educate himself about. I know that Aaron Down likes to learn on sabbatical. He said, “I just don’t have time outside of work. I can never get ahead and learn new things.” I wanted to hire this guy just so I could give him sabbaticals.
- 44:44 Cory: The fourth question was, “What could you do better?” I don’t know. That’s a hard question.
- 44:51 Sean: That’s good. I’m glad it’s hard. Thanks for being on the spot there for a minute. I’ll pass it back to you, Matt. What do you think? What’s going through your head?
- 45:10 Matt: I always ask myself, “Do you think we’re doing enough for the employees?” We have this whole internal program where we’ll buy a car for them, and we’ll act as their bank. There are some conditions for the vehicles, like we require them to hang onto it for so long and we don’t want them to give them away. We want the cars to be for them. They work for us and they’re helping our company, so we want to help them. If they want to help their family with their vehicle or their money, that’s fine, but we try and help that person. They can help other people however they see fit.
Not Everyone Should Be an Entrepreneur
- 46:17 Sean: You want to achieve your goals. The best way to get there is to help other people achieve theirs. Get it to align, where enabling their goals also furthers yours. That’s basically going to be the title of this episode, your goals and your employees goals. I’ve had a lot of people ask me, “Sean, you’re so entrepreneurial and you’re telling people to go do their own things. How does that conflate with having any employees?” Two things. One, I don’t think everyone is either cut out to be an entrepreneur or wants to. Like Gary Vaynerchuck always says, some people are the number two or number three guy. There’s nothing wrong with that. You need to be self aware and know who you are.
- 47:11 If you’re a number one guy and you’re in a job and you hate it, you don’t want to stay there. If you’re a number two or number three guy, maybe you actually enjoy the work that you do. You enjoy being a developer, artist, or whatever. If you enjoy something, go be the best employee ever. Give a ton of value, show initiative, and go above and beyond, and people will recognize that. If you want to start a business, you better love business. 80% of your time is going to be spent on business, not doing the thing that got you into the game.
- 47:49 This is my awareness of the different types of people. I also recognize that some people, even if they don’t want to start their own thing, they still have entrepreneurial, creative tendencies. We offer that in the context of seanwes. We have sabbaticals, where if you want to record an album, make a film, go travel, or make your own app, here’s a week every seven weeks to do what you want, to educate or better yourself. Also, with this platform on seanwes, I’m helping people produce courses. I’m giving them all of my infrastructure, resources, and knowledge, helping them establish themselves as authorities and, eventually, sell something.
- 48:39 The platform does keep some of the money because of the time that we invest, but it’s a really fair deal, and it’s an ideal situation for a lot of people. That’s my answer to that question I’ve gotten a few times.
- 48:58 Matt: I don’t think that we undermine people who don’t want to be an entrepreneur. There’s nothing wrong with being a number two. I have plenty of employees that have the potential to go and be and do their own thing, but they like our goal, the company’s goal, and they also like showing up, doing the best they can, and going home without having to worry about fires, madness, or chaos that a business owner has to take care of after hours. Whatever you, as the listener, feel comfortable living your life as, you should do. If you’re okay with chaos and putting out fires in the middle of the night, be an entrepreneur. Be the best entrepreneur or business owner that you can be.
You have to love business if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur.
- 50:03 Sean: If you love the thing that you do that got you into the game, if you love that so much that not doing it frustrates you, you will remain frustrated if you run your own business. Like Matt said, websites going down and fires that need to be put out will literally be your job. You could stay small, like the show we were going to do about plateaus. Today’s show was going to be about plateaus, but I decided to call an audible and go with this topic. We’re going to do that on the next show. You could stay small and fudge the rules a little bit, but if you want to grow, the more you grow, the more you’re focused on working on the business, not in the business.
- 51:01 If you don’t love business, it’s not going to go well. Dealing with things like the website going down or things not working, that is your job. That becomes your life. If you don’t enjoy the challenge of getting past those stresses, you’re going to have a bad time. An entrepreneur learns to see things as challenges to overcome and not as stresses. If running a business is feeling really stressful, you might want to consider doing the thing that got you into the game at some company or business.
- 51:37 Matt: There is nothing wrong with that. I have people who could be number ones, and they’re my number twos. They make really good money, they’re doing what they love, and they get to go home and enjoy themselves with their families. They’re cool with that. When they first started with me, they said, “I’m just here to learn, make some money, and go do my own thing.” I thought, “Wow, that’s blunt, but okay. You’re good, so I’ll take you.” Now, they’re sitting comfortable in thousand dollar chairs. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t make it as an entrepreneur even if you tried multiple times, one time, or you haven’t even tried. It’s a big deal. There’s nothing wrong with being a number two under a business or a company and being the best that you can be.
- 52:25 I wanted to say that, because a lot of family and friends are always saying to me, “If we aren’t entrepreneurs, we aren’t as good as Matt.” I never said that I am better than anybody. This is just what I enjoy doing, and it just so happens that it’s called being an entrepreneur and that it’s a little bit harder than showing up at a bank or working for the government.
Entrepreneurship is a Lifestyle
- 52:44 Sean: It’s literally a lifestyle. If you want your business to succeed and not plateau, yeah, you can build a $100,000 business by yourself and have it be a lifestyle business and pretty much work eight to ten hours a day. If you want a business that grows, that’s big, it has to be your life. I don’t care if anyone disagrees, because they don’t know. Anyone who knows firsthand agrees. If you want your business to grow beyond five and six figures, it takes effort. Maybe, eventually, you can have a board of people who help you, and you can remove yourself a little bit, but in the early days, it’s your life. It’s the hustle.
- 53:33 Matt: When I show up to family reunions, I wear a shirt: “Being an entrepreneur is a lifestyle, not a title.” Every single time, I know I’m going to get under fire about work-life balance. Most people think that I have no work-life balance, and maybe I don’t. I’m doing what I think has to be done to get my business to where I think it needs to be, and because I’m actually in it, I know how much work needs to be done to get to where we need to be.
- 54:10 Sean: Here’s what I like to tell people. You have a vision of the big picture, so every piece of what you do in a day isn’t fun, but you know it’s getting you to where you want to go. That’s why you enjoy the process of the hustle. Other people say, “That’s not for me. I would never do that.” Actually, you do. Even if you go on vacation and you take a trip to Hawaii, who likes going into the airport, into TSA, and getting patted down and herded around like cattle? Who likes that? Nobody likes that.
Everybody goes through things they don’t enjoy to get to something they want to do.
- 54:56 Matt: People get comfortable. In my family, I’m the second entrepreneur to be successful in the family, so it’s still scoffed at. Being an entrepreneur is kind of new, especially now, when it’s so accepted. You’re like a celebrity if you’re an entrepreneur, it’s crazy. When I first started, people said, “You don’t want to be an entrepreneur. You need to go to school to get an education, get a job, get a student loan, get a car loan…”
- 55:32 Sean: I was reading this thread on Reddit the other day, something like: what advice do you hear from people over 30 that’s garbage? They were saying, “You have to follow your dream and do your own thing. A desk job is the worst thing ever.” They were arguing that, actually, it’s not. This thread was continuing, and this one guy was saying that entrepreneurship is glamorized now and everyone who’s young is told to follow their dream. This one 28 year old guy said, “That’s not the message I got. I’m 28, and when I was growing up, people said to go to school. Be a doctor. Be a lawyer. Do something stable. Get a degree.” It’s more in the past five to ten years that it’s become something that’s pushed. People that are a little bit younger than us are getting the brunt of that. Maybe ages 16 to 26, in that range?
- 56:40 Matt: Oh yeah, no doubt. All the time, I get people who message or call me. They’re 16 or 17, and they want me to invest in their businesses and help them get going. I say, “Aren’t you supposed to be in school? Alright, give my assistant a call and we’ll get something on the books.” With podcasts like this and other great ones out there, entrepreneurs can be shaped more into what they really are, real entrepreneurs. None of this glamor celebrity stuff. Going back to the work-life balance thing, if you’re truly an entrepreneur, you’re honest with yourself, and you love what you do, when you work, it’s not work, even if you are putting out a fire.
- 57:47 Sean: It’s about fulfillment. A lot of people think that fun equals fulfillment. I like fun things. I still want to play shuffle board and I like the idea of playing video games, even if I don’t do it. What I do, even though it’s work, fulfills me, because I’ve aligned what I enjoy doing with what gets me results. That overlap is the hustle. When I think about fun things, like video games or leisure reading, that sounds amazing and I would love to do those things. It is fun, but after I’ve done it, the level of fulfillment and satisfaction doesn’t compare. The lasting fulfillment of fun doesn’t compare to hard work and doing things that I enjoy but also fulfill me.
Business is a Game
- 58:47 Matt: It’s weird. You have to have done it to know what it feels like. You almost get addicted to it, because you wonder if you could do better. It’s almost like a challenge.
- 58:59 Sean: It’s like a real game. I want to do an episode on this, “Entrepreneurship: The Game.” There’s game-ification of things. If I played games, and I’ve done this, I have to be the best. Whatever I do, Matt, I have to be the best. I have to be an expert at it. I will get all the achievements, all the badges, everything. That’s really bad. At the web firm, we had a designated XBox break in the middle of the day. This was what we did. We had our own Minecraft server where we played with other people, and we had designated breaks in the day for that. We worked a lot, till 6pm from early, and afterwards, we would play Minecraft. We built worlds, incredible worlds, underground and above ground with connected tunnels. It was amazing.
- 1:00:17 But that’s where it exists. It’s on some file somewhere. No one gets to benefit from that. It doesn’t serve me. It’s not an asset. It doesn’t bring joy to anyone. It just sits there. It gives you that sense of satisfaction, to get those achievements, but in the end, it’s empty. It’s not anything real or lasting that continues to provide value to you. It is not an asset. I’ve found that there are so many similarities to real life, entrepreneurship, and growing a business to playing a video game. Let’s build this new feature on the site—it’s like getting an achievement, except that feature’s still there, people get to use it, and it’s providing value to the world, which also turns into revenue. To me, that’s way more fun.
- 1:01:10 Matt: Being an entrepreneur is almost like you are in a game. Certain things come up, and you’re in a low valley, and then you do a great job on a project and it’s a high point in the game. There are always these lows, mediums, and highs throughout the game, and eventually, you get really good. Instead of wracking up points, you’re wracking up coins in the bank. It’s funny, because I reference what I do as the game Monopoly. I land on people’s property and I have to pay them. People land on my hotels, and they have to pay me. We’re going to build another hotel. That’s how I do things—whenever I get money, I put it right back into the business.
- 1:01:56 I land on other things, and we have to sell a house, literally, so we can pay somebody. It almost is a game. Like Sean was saying, it’s so much more satisfying for me, and it sounds like for Sean, too, to play this game, even with the fires and things that go wrong, having to make tough decisions or take risks. If something goes wrong, guess who gets to deal with those consequences? You do and it’s real life.
- 1:02:44 Sean: Games are kind of fun. I enjoy that challenge, because if I did bad, the results are bad, and it’s on me. If I did great, that’s because I worked hard, and it feels good. It’s not like I rolled a six or a five, whatever the luck of the draw was.