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Today, we look back.
It’s the start of a new year, but it’s also the end of an old one. Matt and I share what went well and what didn’t in 2015.
We both had our best years ever but at the same time, we both fell short of our goals. We share our insights so hopefully you can avoid our painful mistakes.
As is always our theme on Lambo Goal, you can expect full transparency and real revenue numbers. We reveal exactly how much each of us made last year, how we did it, and what we could have done differently to reach our goals.
It doesn’t stop there though. If you stay tuned until the end of this unusually in-depth episode, I share my vision for the future. I paint a picture of where I will be in 5 years and exactly what it will look like.
It’s an exciting time and we couldn’t be more enthused for the future and what’s to come in 2016 and beyond.
Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins
- Help your employees reach their own Lambo Goals.
- As an entrepreneur, you have to work on your business, not in your business.
- Get one solid system working in your business and then replicate it.
- Think about the opportunity cost of your time.
- You have to sell to make money.
- Pick a topic, teach, and provide value.
- When you give a lot of free value, the audience will come.
- The value of your time now is worth what you’ll be making two to three years from now.
- Take care of the here and now while you plan for the long game.
- Create processes so other people can learn your standards and replicate them.
- Let your employees make mistakes for you.
- Every mistake is an opportunity to improve your process.
- Write about your year.
- Set big goals for yourself and go after them—success takes time.
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- 07:32 Sean: Matt, how was 2015 for you? What went well? What were some of the wins? Then we’ll follow up with some of the let downs, things you could have done better. I’m going to share real revenue numbers, because that’s the spirit of the show.
- 07:52 Matt: I’ll share what I know now. Our numbers are still being tallied up.
- 07:56 Sean: I know it’s complicated for you because you have a lot of businesses. That’s one of the questions people had, how many businesses did Matt start?
- 08:20 Matt: People laugh, “Oh, Matt opened a new business.” This is how I do it and why I do it. My main business is real estate. Real estate isn’t cheap. If you’ve heard my story, I wanted to buy a franchised Subway. That’s a $250,000 buy in, and I would be making $250,000 every two weeks or so. My philosophy was to start small businesses to bring in cashflow and then continue to grow into bigger cashflow. I would put that money into real estate, because it spits out bigger chunks of money, but not very quickly. This is why I still have small cash flow, why I keep around my lawn and landscape business. It brings in a quarter of a million dollars every year.
Inside Matt’s Businesses
- 09:10 Sean: Do you want to give people a quick run down of a few of the main businesses you have?
- 09:16 Matt: The way I structured it a while back was a little bit different. Now, everything is structured around the real estate. We still have clients, and most of our clients do exactly the same thing. They’re investors, banks, or property management groups. They are all connected to an investment company or individual investors. As opposed to an investor having to look for a contractor who does one thing, I’m like the middle man. I connect those people with the investor. That separates me from a general contractor in that I have a really good reputation and I invest myself, so I know how the game works. I know their budgets. I know that you can only spend so much on drywall, texturing, painting, and flooring.
- 10:19 I’m able to give advice to beginners, intermediate, or even more advanced investors, and that really helps them with their budgets. I’m cash flowing from them, which allows me to invest into things I want, like real estate. That’s kind of what we work with. We do some regular residential clients too. People find out about us through so-and-so at a meeting, because I do a lot of networking.
- 10:51 Sean: That’s either carpet cleaning or landscaping.
- 10:54 Matt: We also own a carpet cleaning business, a lawn maintenance company, a landscaping business, and we have residential as well as commercial clients. Landscaping and lawn care is a separate entity—it’s not under the umbrella of the real estate company. I like to keep it separate, because it’s something I can manipulate myself. That was my original one, so I keep that one under me so no board of directors can control that one. I like it because I can keep growing it, and I know different things about it that my advisors don’t like. My advisors want me to get rid of it because it only makes a quarter of a million dollars. Let’s be honest; if someone walked up to you with a $250,000 check every year, you’d be happy.
- 11:45 I’ll take it. I figured out different ways to grow with it. Now, I’m going to be subbing that company to my real estate, so I’m going to make money off myself. We’ll be able to help investors with their landscaping and stuff like that.
- 12:00 Sean: You have these cash flow businesses that you’re using to support being able to focus mostly on the real estate.
- 12:08 Matt: Real estate isn’t a cheap game, so I had to figure out ways to play the game and cover my costs and my employees’ costs. Anybody that does real estate knows that contractors aren’t cheap or reliable. I’m not a control freak, but I’m a quality guy and I keep quality people around me. That standard of quality is up there, so I expect a lot. Contractors don’t usually think quality, because they’re trying to make the most money and get in and out of projects. My contractors get plenty of work from me. They’ve never complained. They’re not working right now, but during some holidays it’s crazy. We worked three days straight.
- 13:00 You sleep for two hours and you’re back out working. That’s crazy amounts of work, and plenty of money for everybody. That helps with the quality level, and a lot of investors like that because they don’t have to deal with that. One of the biggest pains in real estate is the contractors, so I’ve eliminated that pain and lowered the price point. We have such high volume of projects that we’re having to turn away people. Next year, we’re going to be doing a lot of growth.
- 13:40 Sean: Going into this year, what were your goals with that and how were the results? What went well?
- 13:51 Matt: A lot of things went well. They went better than I thought. Anybody that owns a business knows that the biggest struggle is new employees. My veterans are beasts, but the new employees didn’t understand the quality level. They said, “It’s a house you’re just going to flip. Even if you’re going to sit on it and have renters in there, you don’t need to worry if the baseboards are uneven or if the closet doors are a little to the side.” I said, “But I care.” Part of the reason I had problems with them was because of my age. They still can’t believe this is my operation. That was kind of an issue this year that lead to some projects getting pushed behind because I had to let some people go and hire some more.
- 14:43 The training process takes some of the veterans’ time and it takes some of my time. There was a lot of letting go and a lot of training. I learned a lot this year about how to bring on employees and how to convince them why we’re a good company. That has helped curate the culture of my business, how I want it to be. That helps my business and it also helps them. One thing I learned very late this year was something Sean shared with me from Jeff Hoffman.
- 15:35 Sean: This is for hiring. We talked about this a few episodes ago (Related: e37 Reaching Your Goals by Helping Your Employees Reach Theirs). Hoffman would ask them, “What is a goal you have to achieve in your lifetime before you die?” They would answer, and he would say, “It’s my job to do that for you.”
- 15:52 Matt: I like that. It’s very straightforward, whereas when we hire people, we would basically tell them that’s what we were going to do, but we didn’t tell them directly. This year, we’re going to do that with all of the employees. We’re going to sit them down and get every single person’s goals. We help them in so many different ways, whether it’s with housing, transportation, or medical expenses. We’re there to help, but I want to dig deeper. I haven’t done that with my employees, and they’re still so dedicated to me. They’re very protective of me, and they’re great employees for me. I want to take it to the next level, because right now, it’s all about the Lambo Goal.
I want to help my employees reach their own Lambo Goals.
- 17:05 I don’t want them to feel like this is a one-sided deal, that they’re working so hard for Matt. That was a big takeaway I had from this year, and I really want to improve on that.
- 17:20 Sean: I know it’s kind of complicated, but do you want to share any real numbers?
- 17:25 Matt: This year was really exciting. We got our first seven figure check. It was a combination of selling some homes and service packages. I sold some homes to an investor and packaged in some services for him, and we cleared $1,200,000. I was speechless. We were still negotiating, because it was a lot, and I was trying to squeeze as much as we could out of him this year. We’re trying to grow, and I know what we’re worth, and what we were providing was really high quality. Somehow, we went from $600,000 to $1.2 million. They’re probably going to make ten times that, so it was a win-win for both of us. That was huge.
- 18:34 We believe in putting all of our extra money back into the business. We don’t keep extra money and lock it up in the bank. We have rainy day funds for all of the businesses, but we don’t keep $1.2 million in the living room. We re-invest that back into the business, so that was a huge thing this year. We did a lot of learning and we made a lot more money than I thought we were going to make. We didn’t reach our goal that I wanted to reach this year—I wanted to reach $2 million, and we were just shy of that. Last I heard, we made almost $1.8 million, and that’s good.
- 19:21 Sean: That’s awesome. It is good.
- 19:29 Matt: We had a lot of expenses. We learned a lot and there was a lot of growth. It was good and bad. A lot of that money was spent on growth, and I would have liked it to sit in some real estate. We upgraded a lot of the cashflow businesses. I made the choice that I would rather have the cashflow business increase, so businesses like the carpet business, instead of making $30,000 a month, we’re going to try and increase that to $50,000. We’re going to take on some more clients and stuff like that. We threw some extra money at all of the businesses to get them bigger vehicles, better equipment, and more people. A lot of it was re-invested. That was good, but it also made me sad.
- 20:20 I was really hoping we would put that money into real estate so that, next year, we could sell a lot of that and our numbers would be really good. We’re one really big step closer to the Lambo Goal. I think this year went better than I could have hoped. I learned a lot of things that will allow us to at least 10X our money next year. I can’t say that we didn’t have a good year. There was a lot of learning.
- 20:54 Sean: Any other thoughts you want to share on it before I go into my recap of the year?
- 20:59 Matt: I don’t think I made as many connections as I should have. Last year was really good, and I think I fed off of a lot of those connections. This year, I didn’t do that. I was so busy. I didn’t put as much time into my networks as I should have. Usually, I’ll hang out with these guys that are doing what I do. We give each other value, but I didn’t do a lot of that. Next year, I’m going to do a lot of that. I want to go to more conferences next year. I didn’t go to as many as I needed to this year to get that knowledge I need to get to the next level. Right now, I’m going into no-man’s land, and I’m not comfortable with the six to seven-figure line. That was how I felt, but now I feel more comfortable, after I’ve learned some things and talked with some great people about how to handle and grow from this next level.
- 22:09 We have a lot of expenses now compared to when we first started. Now we have to figure out how to balance that and keep growing. That was a big thing. Another thing I told Sean when we hung out this weekend was that I spent a lot of time in the business this year. Every single person I talked to told me two things. They said, “Matt, you need a solid team around you.” Once you build a solid team around you, everything grows a lot quicker. It’s like cloning Matts. I thought, “Oh, okay. That’s going to be a big focus next year.” Another big thing was them saying that I couldn’t be in the business trying to do all these different things. There’s only one Matt, one captain. I asked this guy, a real estate tycoon, “How do you guys get all over the country and do these different deals?”
- 23:25 Sean: He’s got a good team, and you’re wondering how he’s running all over.
- 23:28 Matt: I say, “How do you do deals in Maryland and then you’re doing a deal in New Hampshire, New York state, or California? How are you doing these?” He figures out ways to get it done quickly. Number one, he has a solid team. Number two, he’s not on the ground filling out paperwork or talking to the real estate people making deals. He’s sitting in his office or meeting with people that can make the deals happen. He’s not doing the basic administrative stuff. He’s meeting with people who are going to sell him the real estate or people he’s learning from who are bigger than him. He’s outside of the business working on it, not in the business. That was a big takeaway I had, something I learned from him and Sean.
Work on your business, not in your business.
- 24:28 In the beginning, I thought, “No, I work in the business. This is how I’m able to start so many things.” I was thinking about it, and I realized that I go to almost every job site every single day, and I’m running around all day checking on people’s quality, talking to the customer, and that is something I don’t have to do. I do it because I want at least 99.9% quality, and that was one of the things Clay told me. He said, “You can’t do that, Matt. You can’t grow. The only growth you’ll be able to get is a certain point. If you have a solid team, your growth is unlimited.” That was a huge “aha!” moment for me. I realized that we could have grown 100 times this year.
- 25:17 That was really frustrating for me, because it’s the end of the year and I can’t make any adjustments. On the positive side, next year, I’m not going to go from job site to job site anymore. We’re going to figure out ways for me to still be able to keep an eye on the quality, but I’m really good at getting contracts and meeting with investors, getting the jobs.
- 25:40 Sean: Matt, I see you as needing to get a right-hand man. Establishing a quality precedent is not that hard.
Teach someone what quality is acceptable and have them monitor that.
- 25:58 Matt: That’s problem number one, and that’s a really big one. The second part is that there are relationships I’m constantly putting time into and building. I was telling my wife, some of these projects are way beyond our infrastructure. I basically guilt people to taking me on, even though I’m just a 26 year old punk. They’ll pick my company over some multi-million dollar company because I’ve put in the time to get to know them. I know about their Aunt Betsy and her heart condition, I know their dog and the dog loves me but hated all the other contractors. I build a relationship with them so that it almost guilts them into taking me on and giving me the job, even if I’m charging more or the same as everyone else.
- 27:00 I want to do more of that, but not have to be everywhere and be checking on the quality. My wife makes fun of me because I get dirty every day helping the contractors. I don’t want them to think that I can’t keep up with them. I want them to remember that I’m their boss for a reason—I’m the fastest there. It doesn’t matter because they’re employees, but I like to set the tone. When I get there, everybody moves. As soon as I leave, everything slows down. When I’m there, I’m sprinting. I want to get everything done quick while also remembering the quality.
- 27:44 Sean: Matt, you have to think about opportunity cost. Yes, when you’re there, they are more productive, and that helps out a little bit. When you’re there, though, you aren’t somewhere else, and somewhere else you could be making an even bigger difference.
- 27:56 Matt: I could be making a connection with somebody else that could turn into a huge contract. I accept that now, although I was in denial before. I was really happy with our growth, but if I’ve been given this opportunity, why not capitalize on it? I could help more people. The money is a tool to me. I don’t care if we have a million dollars or a hundred dollars. The only difference to me is that the more money we have, the more we can do with it. The more people we can help, and the bigger we can get. Yes, the quality might drop a little bit and the guys might go a little bit slower. That’s just the way it is, but I’ll be able to take on more projects and ultimately make more money. I can use that for whatever I want.
- 28:49 It can continue to grow the business or start something else. That’s going to be a huge thing next year. I’m going to be working on the business, in the office. I want to reduce the amount of time I’m actually on the job site. I only want to be doing beginning inspection, during a couple of times, and at the end. That’s it. I don’t want to be running around checking on stuff.
Delegate Almost Everything
- 29:22 Sean: I’m going to push it further. I know you have the eye for things, but I see you being valuable at an even bigger picture, higher level than that. Even the person being there at the beginning and the end is something you can delegate. Your vision for the company is much bigger.
- 29:44 Matt: That goes to building a solid team.
- 29:46 Sean: You should have five guys that are the ones who only go out in the beginning and the end.
- 29:52 Matt: That’s going to be huge, building a solid team that can do that. Ultimately, I want to get to the point where, like Richard Branson who works 15 minutes a day, I don’t work every single day because I have to.
- 30:18 Sean: He goes out to his own island. He surfs. He works for 15 or 45 minutes, something around there, a very small amount. The point is that he’s delegated, and he works on only the things he can work on.
- 30:42 Matt: I was trying to run around and be the employee. I was trying to be everybody. That’s a huge thing, when you’re an entrepreneur and you’re first starting out, you have to do that. Getting out of that mindset is a little bit hard for me. We can hire people to do all of those things, but I think I can do it better than all of them. I’ll have to train them, and that takes time. I wasn’t willing to accept that this year because I was afraid of growth and numbers. We reached beyond what I thought, and we were really close to our goal, but we could have taken a little dip and then skyrocketed the numbers if we had that solid team with me stepping out and working on the business instead of inside of it.
- 31:25 Sean: I said that Matt wants to get five guys doing that job, but really, the way to get there is build a solid team. Have one person that does that, make sure that system works, and then replicate it (Related: e10 20 Steps to Building an Empire).
Get one solid system working in your business and then replicate it.
- 35:51 2015 was an excellent year for me. A lot of things went really well. It was our biggest year. It did not meet my revenue goal. 2014 was the third consecutive year that I doubled my annual revenue, and I wanted 2015 to also be double, and it wasn’t. We grossed $430,000 in 2015. I’m pretty happy with that. Last year, we made $320,000 or $350,000, and that was just with me.
- 36:26 Matt: I still can’t get that you went from just Sean to this awesome, huge team.
- 36:33 Sean: Now we have seven, and I’m going to get to that. I wanted to double, and double would have looked like close to $700,000, and we didn’t do that. I know why, but only after the fact. The reason is that I had this arbitrary revenue goal, and all of my other ancillary goals were contradictory. They weren’t compatible with my revenue goal. I had silly goals, all these things I wanted to do for free and give away, and meanwhile I had hired half a dozen people over the course of a year. My expenses are way up, and all the projects I’m focusing on are giving away free value. We pretty much spent all of 2015 where 95% of all of my employees’ time was spent on things that don’t generate revenue. I would have literally made 95% as much money as I did if it was just me.
- 37:29 If I fired everyone, I would have made 95% of the same money. That sounds really foolish. That’s kind of because it was, but I wasn’t goofing around. I’m very long term oriented, so I have this long term mindset. All of this was investing, and as a result, 2015 was a very foundational year. It was a big step in a direction of delegating and freeing myself up to work on the most important things. It’s really hard to hire that many people, train them, and work on processes, so a lot of our year was spent working on processes and getting things up to quality standards. At the end of the day, everyone is working on things that don’t generate revenue. We put out tons of podcasts every week.
- 38:20 When we started this year, there was no network. Now we have half a dozen shows on the network. We edit all of the shows, we do shownotes for all of the shows, and we do newsletters for all of the shows. That’s a lot of work. We have people working on shownotes, editing podcasts, and doing video. seanwes tv is one of the things we’re doing, which is a daily video show. Cory Miller was working on Infusionsoft. He spent pretty much an entire year setting up Infusionsoft. We weren’t even really selling—it was just getting things to where we have a good foundation. Now, we’ve got a bunch of great systems in place that we can replicate. If we want to add another podcast, it’s not a big deal, because we have systems in place.
- 39:08 We’ve built up systems and workflows, and that was a really big investment this year. The reason we didn’t make money is because all of my goals were non-revenue generating. We learned a lesson, and that took going on the Mastermind retreat and having people tell me, “Sean, you’re giving away too much for free. You’re too long term.” I said, “There’s such a thing? Long term is the best!” They told me: You have to earn the right to think long term. You have to cover your short term first. I learned that lesson the hard way. One of the questions we got from people was, “If you go back to the beginning of this year, January 2015, what would you tell yourself?” I would tell myself, “Don’t hire so fast.”
- 40:07 With my first business, I hired too slow. It stagnated and it ended up killing it. It still made money every year, but it stagnated, so I had to sell it. I thought, “I need to correct that and hire faster,” so I went to the complete opposite end of the spectrum and hired too fast. I didn’t know, so I’m calibrating. We ended up with this $30,000 a month payroll and recurring revenue being $10,000 to $15,000. That’s not a great place to be. It wasn’t that I made a foolish decision. It was a very calculated decision. I know what we were making, I know what payroll was, but I also know that we have these big spikes from course launches so it kind of evens out.
- 40:54 We didn’t have seven employees at the beginning of the year. If you do the math on a $30,000 a month payroll, that would end up at $360,000 a year, and we made $430,000 gross, pre-tax. We’re talking six figures in taxes, so you might think that we lost money this year. Basically, we survived this year. We didn’t lose money because we didn’t have as many employees at the beginning of the year—they were gradually added throughout the year. Still, I was being very long term.
If I knew at the beginning of 2015 what I know now, I would have built seanwes more slowly and intentionally, and I would focus more on generating revenue.
- 41:40 What I didn’t do last year is focus on things that would provide value to people that I could sell. I just gave away too much. The relationship marketing model is really great, but I over-invested in that when I didn’t really have the resources to do it.
- 41:58 Matt: Sean and I did the opposite. I made money this year, but my team didn’t grow. I didn’t have the systems in place, and my infrastructure didn’t grow where it needed to be.
- 42:10 Sean: My team grew really fast, but that’s because I have literally nothing to sell. Unless you want to join the Community or you’re interested in lettering, there was nothing to buy. We relaunched Learn Lettering 2.0, and that made $177,000 at the launch. That’s awesome, but that was really all we had. Only toward the second half of the year did I start putting out these other things, like Supercharge Your Writing, Value-Based Pricing, and announcing seanwes conference. There isn’t much out there to buy. We aren’t focused on physical products either.
- 42:49 Matt: This is just a metaphor, but people come into the seanwes store and there isn’t much on the shelf.
- 42:56 Sean: There’s no wonder that we didn’t make money. I have this arbitrary revenue goal and nothing to support it. Meanwhile, I’m hiring the team members, and we’re all focusing on long term. Cory’s full time job is doing videos here. This show is streaming live videos to the Community members. We’ll create a promo video from this, and we’re still doing a seven day a week video show with seanwes tv. None of those things generate revenue for us. That’s his full time job, and I pay him thousands a month. That’s investment. I think it’s a smart investment, it will come back eventually, but it’s so long term. We’re talking years.
- 43:45 What we need to be doing relates to something I talked about recently, when I said that a blog is not a business and a podcast is not a business, they’re acquisition channels. They are places to provide value to grow an audience to whom you also sell goods or servies.
You have to have products to make money.
- 44:07 For me, that’s not actually that hard. Even in a longer podcast, I feel like I’m barely scratching the surface on a lot of things. I want to go in depth, but not everyone listening to a podcast has that time, and we certainly don’t have the time to do that for free. That’s where courses come in. I have a lot of knowledge that can really help people get better jobs, work with clients, etc. I have these plans for next year to get things on the shelf. One of them is Supercharge Your Writing. I’m producing a full course from that to help people grow their business with writing. That was one of the biggest things in 2015, that writing a million words a year has tremendous results.
- 44:54 I was showing Cory Miller this graph I did showing annual income. The first five years, 2008 and 2009, were small, five figures. Then it went up to $125,000 and then $350,000, and then $430,000. Something happened in there, and that’s where I stared writing. I started sharing what I knew and teaching people. Writing is where it all started for me, so I want to help people grow their business with writing, learn how to use it, grow an audience, and sell things. That’s where Supercharge Your Writing comes in, but there’s also a lot of people working with clients who don’t know how to conduct themselves professionally.
- 45:34 I’m going to be doing a course on professionalism next year as it pertains to working with clients, things like client communication, working on your processes, pricing, contracts, licensing, and all of that good stuff. I’ve had so much success with these courses, I’ve obviously been doing my own courses, but the big plan and the reason 2015 wasn’t double the prior year and it was a big investment year was because I was focusing on building out the network and the platform. Part of that is certainly the podcast network, but behind the scenes, I’ve spend about $300,000 building seanwes.com up as an infrastructure. It’s just been for me, but I’m realizing that this infrastructure doesn’t just have to be for the things I teach. I can help other people teach courses on this platform.
- 46:32 As a way of building an audience, trust, and authority, we have the podcast network. Eventually, people like Aaron, Cory, and Matt are going to be teaching courses on the platform. That’s something we’re working on behind the scenes. Since I have all of that down, I’ve systematized six figure course launches. I’ve done it repeatedly. I’ve got the whole thing down—marketing, building buzz in the beginning, doing the production at a high quality level, launching, and promoting. I’m going to be helping people with that. Obviously, that helps my platform, but there are a lot of people in our audience who want to learn how to do that. I’m also going to be doing a course next year on creating online courses.
- 47:15 I don’t have a name for that yet. I’m going to be working on a lot of these things. There are going to be a lot more things on the shelf next year. I pay Justin a lot of money, and he’s not directly generating a lot of revenue for me. Justin is my developer. He’s working on the chat system that gives the Community members a great experience, but they’re already here and paying for a membership. Having a great experience is good and it encourages them to stay and participate, but it isn’t really directly generating more revenue. You don’t experience that until you get in, but it’s an investment.
- 47:56 This chat system is not only going to be something we can use as a stand alone counterpart to doing live events, which is a big thing we’re going to be doing next year. I’m going to be ramping up the live events, because that’s our bread and butter. The production here is top notch. Cory and I were looking at recordings from just a year ago, and it’s crazy. It’s taken more than a hundred episodes of multiple shows, implementing little things over and over, iterating and getting better and better, to get us to the point where this is a pretty great production.
- 48:42 The only live seanwes experience is inside the Community—no one else gets to experience what they do. There are tens of thousands of people in the public audience, but within the Community, we have hundreds. Giving people on the outside some of that live experience is going to be a big factor for growth in 2016. I’m not only talking about teaching, which I want to do on things like webinars. You go to conferences and you speak in front of 400 people, but I can get 1,000 people on a webinar, no problem. Why am I not just using my own platform to teach and provide value? Pick a topic, teach, and provide value. Let people know about your other courses and memberships. That’s something we’re going to be using this chat system for. When we do live events, we get to use this. It’s a beautiful chat system with awesome functionality.
- 49:29 Using the chat for live events is going to be really big in 2016, and that’s something Justin’s working on. It’s going to be another month before he has that ready. It’s more investment, more investment, more investment, but in the coming years, we also want to repurpose this as a SAS app(Software as a Service). This chat system that I’ve been paying Justin to develop for a year and a half now is going to become available for people to use on their own sites. There was lots and lots of investment in 2015, but not a lot of return. We did okay, we survived, but it was a big investment year for me and a big learning curve.
- 50:13 Matt: Sean got pretty much all the systems in place that he needs for next year to be a huge year, to get things on the shelf. He’ll be able to produce things a lot quicker with everything he’s learned. Everybody on his team has learned a lot and is in a great position and mindset to put a ton of value out there and get a lot of return. He’s also got a lot of long term stuff that’s going to be coming in soon.
This is Only the Beginning
- 50:45 Sean: There are a lot of pieces, and we’ve been working on the pieces to put together into this bigger machine that will generate revenue for us. These are the systems of being able to create shownotes, get teammates to work together, building out Infusionsoft to automate email marketing, and nailing down our video production queue. We’ve been systematizing all of that, to where next year, there will be several courses that carry over from this year, but I’m also making three new courses. It’s not just me. We’ve got other people making courses. Matt’s working on a course.
- 51:22 He’s going to be putting together a team to help him produce his business course. We’ve systematized all this stuff, and it’s lined up to be our first seven figure year. For 2015, I thought I had a good idea for what I wanted it to be, but I had absolutely no plan. This next year, I really do have a plan, and I think it is going to be pretty close to the goal we have set.
- 51:51 Matt: It’s going to be an extremely interesting year. Sean and I have both learned a ton this year. I still can’t believe that the Community and the seanwes team was born this year. Even though he didn’t reach his goal, there’s been so much progress in seanwes.
- 52:14 Sean: The chat system we have now, which people think of as the Community, launched at the beginning of 2015. We started building it six months before, in July of 2014. That was a huge investment then. I spent $50,000 on the chat system, just to make the experience good. We didn’t recoup that money until later in 2015. That’s a lot of money. The Community has hardly even broken even. It’s so much investment, but everything is really young.
- 52:48 Matt: Everything’s a baby. It’s brand new, a lot of investment. Even though seanwes is at such a young place, it made a lot of progress. We can credit Sean for that, directing it through this year.
- 53:08 Sean: This is not to mention all of this behind the scenes stuff that nobody sees. Working on team stuff, team calls, planning course launches, working overtime, and so much stuff. Some days, all I’m doing is calls and chats with all six team members. It’s really crazy sometimes, and people don’t even see this. Meanwhile, on the front end, I’m personally producing ten shows a week that I’m on. It’s not only the behind the scenes infrastructure stuff, but I’ve been putting out way more content than I have ever before, which has grown the audience. The shows are getting bigger, the audiences are getting bigger, and we haven’t even had things to sell that can help them.
- 54:04 Matt: The audience grew tremendously this year. Sean’s reach this year doubled. He put out a lot of free stuff this year.
- 54:17 Sean: Maybe I’m too close to it, because I feel like I don’t see it, but I’m also inside of it. I’m curious what people in the chat feel right now. Do you feel the same as Matt? Does it seem like the audience, the reach, has really grown in 2015? I’m curious.
- 54:33 Matt: There was a lot of investment made.
When you give a lot of free value, people come.
- 54:40 When they’re first just discovering you, they don’t know what you’re about. Then they dig a little bit deeper, they listen to the podcast that has really grown, and they see that seanwes is so much more than just a lettering service. The audience has grown from people coming to Sean to learn about lettering—now they’re coming to him to learn about how to grow their business. Sean’s so much more than the lettering guy I used to remember.
- 55:14 Sean: The chat room is saying, “Big time. I feel your reach has really grown. I feel like it has.” Darryl says, “Heck, I came in this year.” Bryan says, “Since I discovered and joined this year, I guess that’s a yes for me.” I said, “How many heard about seanwes for the first time in 2015?” That has five stars. Garrett says, “I joined seven or eight months ago.” Micah says, “The deeper I get in, the bigger it feels to me.” This is super fascinating to me, because what is my mantra? Show up every day for two years. Two years is the beginning. My first course was in 2014. I started the seanwes podcast in 2013, toward the end. Two years is the second half of 2015, so it’s really only been two years. That’s why, when we reached episode 200 of the seanwes podcast, I titled it This is Only the Beginning.
- 56:54 This is the starting point. Now we’re on the map, after showing up for two years. It’s really interesting to me that Matt’s saying that he feels like the audience has grown in 2015. That’s exciting to me.
- 57:09 Matt: Everywhere—Twitter, Facebook, YouTube. If I mention Sean, or even “wes,” some people say, “The lettering guy!” and other people nail it, “He’s the guy putting out all the courses and teaching us.”
- 57:30 Sean: Eric was saying that he was traveling in India and he found some locals guys to meet up with there, something about business or whatever. Naturally, the seanwes podcast came up, and they had all heard of it. I thought that was pretty awesome.
- 57:47 Matt: That’s what I’m talking about. It’s really gone out there. Sean’s tapping into so many more industries now because he isn’t just the lettering guy. That’s huge, and more and more people are starting to see that. From when I came around, the podcast has grown tremendously.
What Surprised Us in 2015
- 58:28 Sean: Steve says, “What surprised you the most about this year, and what performed beyond your initial projections?”
- 58:35 Matt: I learned so much this year. One of the things I embraced this year was to learn as much as I possibly could, and it blew me away at how uneducated I was. I’m not going to blame the school system, because it was my own fault for not researching and learning more about my industry. My biggest strength is research, and it’s how I’m able to grow so much. I’m really good at researching different things and putting them together. Last year, I didn’t learn enough. I didn’t put my research into getting better myself. Beyond business stuff, I didn’t personally learn how to better myself.
- 59:23 I wasn’t taking care of my health as well as I should have. I wasn’t learning about work-life balance as much as I should have. I wasn’t strong in the knowledge base personally, so I took care of that this year, at least a good chunk. I learned a ton about business in general, and then specific to my industry. I applied a lot of that. Since I applied a lot of what I learned, everything skyrocketed. I learned some turnkey things toward the end of the year, like that I needed to grow my team a lot quicker. Sean grew his team super quick, and I didn’t grow mine fast enough. That was one of the big things. I learned a ton, and we were able to capitalize on that and make some good progress this year.
- 1:00:21 We opened a ton of businesses. It was huge. In the beginning, I was just opening up businesses because it was fun and it was a way to add extra money. By providing these extra add-ons, upgrades, and services, we were able to skyrocket our projections and everything. That was a big deal for me, learning what we were doing in the industry and how we were going to disrupt it. It became a lot more than just bringing money in, but a stepping stone to something bigger. I had the clarity to step back, look at it, and build that out a lot better.
- 1:01:17 Sean: One question was, “How many businesses did Matt start in 2015?”
- 1:01:25 Matt: It was 20, but we sold two. In the beginning, it was all small stuff. Once we put it all together and put it under the real estate umbrella, it was incredible. That’s a whole other podcast—we’ll have to do a webinar on that, because I want people to do what I did. It took money and a lot of time, a lot of overnights. What we did was simple. We basically created a Walmart for real estate. It sounds simple, but it’s really complicated. They’re all pieces to a bigger puzzle. It was very overwhelming in the beginning. Two businesses or even one is more overwhelming than you need.
- 1:02:48 I learned from one of my mentors, who has more businesses than I know at this point, to take one business at a time. Build it up until it’s a specialty. Once it’s built up and you can hit cruise control without it falling apart, you move to the next one. You want to move on to the next one because all of the pieces you have aligning under your vision, and you aren’t going to get to your goal without having all of these. All of these pieces are the foundation for the really big one on top of them that is going to get you to your goal.
- 1:03:33 In the beginning, I thought that we were basically opening a bunch of businesses to make a bunch of money. Now, at the end of the year, I know that they’re all just stepping stones. They are all wonderful, cashflow businesses that are helping me with my foundation, and all of their money gets put into real estate. After we put money into real estate, we’re just increasing the value. Real estate also gives us extra money back to build up the cashflow businesses, the foundation. We make it sturdier. If there are any cracks, we fill them in. That was a huge mindset shift for me. I’m still starstruck at how I didn’t see that before. I’m building these businesses, and I don’t even know why.
- 1:04:26 Now, 20 or 18 sounds like a lot, but we still have a long ways to go. Now that the foundation is set, we can move to level two. Once we get to level two, we can build up the top piece, which is the real estate piece. After that, it’s Lambo Goal and then it’s on it’s own—cruise control.
- 1:04:54 Sean: I’m going to answer Steve’s question, “What surprised you about 2015?” Nothing performed better than my initial projections, but I’ll tell you what surprised me. What surprised me is how easily and quickly you can get to the end of your runway. I don’t know how much people realize that we got pretty close to being done. I hired too fast and I don’t want to fire people, so that meant that I had to work harder, overtime. I did the math, and I worked about 5,600 hours, which is nearly three times what a full time, 40 hour a week job is, in a year. That’s not good, but I had to do that to make money, because I spent the whole year being long term and putting everyone on things that don’t make money.
- 1:06:00 I learned that lesson the hard way. It got to the point where we needed to put a course out there, relaunching Learn Lettering, or by the third month, that would have been it. We wouldn’t have just stopped doing the business, but earlier in the year we would have had to let people go and focus more on revenue. We might have had to stop doing all of the shows. The model that I preach, which is giving value first, is a successful model. Relationship marketing does work, but I was stretching it beyond it’s capacities because, by default, I’m more long term.
- 1:06:47 You can’t just give for five years without making money. You have to survive to be able to see that return on your investment. People think that the value of their time now is based on what they make now, what they’re able to charge.
The value of your time now is worth what you’ll be making two to three years from now, if you invest it wisely.
- 1:07:14 That’s how you need to think of it. What you make now reflects the value of your time two to three years ago. How we’re doing now is because of effort we put in years ago, that other people didn’t understand. I had a long term vision. What we’re going to be making in 2017 and 2018 is because of this year now, when it’s not all glamorous. We’re almost running ourselves into the ground, working really hard, and not making the money we want to be making. Nobody cares. Nobody’s listening to the podcast. There’s no cool blogpost or monthly income reports. The reason we’ll be making millions in 2018 and beyond is because of right now.
- 1:07:56 People don’t know that. They don’t listen or care. It’s not glamorous, so they don’t notice, but that’s the reality of it. What you make now is reflective of the value of your time several years ago. I know this. I’ve seen this play out, so that’s why I say, “Great, I love the long game. I’m all in on the investment.” What I didn’t know, because I’m naive, is that there’s a limit to that. You have to make that money. That was what surprised me this year. We got pretty close to running it into the ground and I had to work overtime to get it back up, so I learned that lesson the hard way. There are people I want to hire. I set goals for myself, specific revenue goals for hiring certain people, and I hit 94% at certain points in the year of that goal.
- 1:08:51 I said, “Sorry, I can’t hire you. I know that means maybe I won’t get to, but I have to be smart.” I learned a lesson the hard way, but now I’m all about taking care of my people. I’m going to do whatever it takes to take care of the people that I have. It’s just like when you have a family. You only have a certain amount of freedom when you have six kids at home. You have to make decisions based on their best interest. That’s why this year was so tough. I put myself in a position where I’m taking care of a lot of people, and I have to make decisions based on that. It can’t be super long term—I have to earn that right.
Earning the Long Game
- 1:09:39 Matt: Sean did a lot of long term things this year. A lot of it is going to pay off in the coming years. He also built a solid team, foundation, and put systems in place. Sean, if we could go back to January, what would you tell yourself so you wouldn’t run out of runway?
- 1:10:10 Sean: What I should have done is hired slower, one at a time, and not been so long term. I should have made products I could sell—solve a problem and get recurring cashflow and revenue up to payroll and constantly meet payroll. Yeah, you can be a little aggressive and take a leap, knowing that you’ll have spikes and it will even out. If my recurring revenue was $25,000 and payroll was $30,000 but I know we have spikes, I would know that we would be fine. I was too aggressive. When recurring revenue is $10,000 or $15,000 a month and payroll is $30,000 and we have spikes? That’s too close.
- 1:10:56 Matt: Sean, you would get it up to about payroll and then you would start working on long term things?
- 1:11:02 Sean: Yeah, I would get it up to payroll by building things that solve problems that I can sell. Stop giving away as much. We give away an absurd amount. We give away ten times as much as everyone else does at ten times the quality, and I was doing more. I kept saying, “We need to do more.” No, we don’t. We give away too much. We need to start putting price tags on things.
- 1:11:26 Matt: I’m with you, Sean. There have been some things you’ve wanted to give away that made me say, “Woah!”
- 1:11:31 Sean: That’s kind of my team’s job now, to tell me to stop giving away things for free.
- 1:11:36 Matt: I’m all for giving things away. One of Sean’s mantras is Full Price or Free and I love that. We do that. We’ll give stuff away for free, but we do full price as well, because we have to keep the lights on and grow. That allows us to give things away for free. We can’t give things away for free to everyone. I think that’s a really good lesson for everyone to learn.
Take care of the here and now while you plan for the long game.
Hopes for Growth
- 1:12:18 Sean: Cory Miller says, “What kinds of growth did you experience this last year, and are you hoping to repeat that growth or have advances in different areas for 2016?” We are just getting started. There’s going to be a lot of different kinds of growth, and a lot of it has been the planting of seeds that will finally start surfacing. This past year, the Community is just barely starting to break even, and that’s always been a long term thing, like a five year plan. That isn’t super profitable right now. One of our big things is going to be seanwes conference. The first time we’re doing that is next year, and I think that’s going to be a really big deal.
- 1:13:16 It’s really hard to say with a first conference a year out, but we could have hundreds of people there, which I think is pretty significant. I think it’s going to go up from there, so that’s a big one. This year, we had Learn Lettering, which I relaunched. It did really well at the launch, but because I’m trying to do so many things, we launched it and I didn’t get the emails in place. It’s still something I need to do, because I’ve been all over the place. We’ve had 12,000 people sign up for the free course since August, and those numbers are from a month ago. It’s probably more than that. 12,000 people signed up for free. Again, I’m giving things away for free. I charged $99 for the same amount of content before, the same number of lessons a year prior.
- 1:14:07 $99, and I said, “I’m going to give it away for free, because this is what Sean does. That way, it will spread around.” Boy, did it spread. You don’t get 12,000 people out of nowhere. It’s because everyone tells everyone. Who doesn’t want something that’s $99 for free? The plan was to get a bunch of people in, and a percentage of them would upgrade to the full course because there’s so much value in there. The problem is that I never even set up the automation emails. I launched it and focused on that, and we have 45,000 words worth of valuable emails that we can repurpose to upsell people and provide value, and they’re not even in place. 12,000 people sign up and they aren’t getting any emails, so they forget and move on.
- 1:14:55 That’s a revenue stream that has gone away. Next year, we’ll have that in place, and that will continue to be an asset beyond that launch. Really, that was a big chunk of our revenue, and I don’t see it being a big chunk of revenue next year. It will be a base level stream. It should be a $10,000 a month asset. It’s not right now, but it should be, and I think we should get it to that point. Next year is going to be more courses, more streams of revenue, punctuated with live events to both teach and promote the courses, things like webinars.
2016 will be the first year that people besides Sean will be selling courses on seanwes.com.
- 1:15:45 That’s going to be a really big deal, to where I’m no longer building courses, but I’m advising people, helping with the production of their courses, providing the infrastructure, and helping with marketing. The platform will get a 30% cut of those. That’s going to be a really big help.
- 1:16:07 Matt: It’s like we were saying at the beginning of the show, there just aren’t a lot of things on the shelf right now. Next year, it should be a full shelf. Not only seanwes will be putting stuff on there, but also the people on the network. That should really help seanwes grow and build up. It’s going to be a really exciting year next year.
- 1:16:36 Sean: I tweeted publicly in 2015 that I’m going to publish three books in 2016. The first book, The Overlap Technique, is the one I’ve supposedly been working on for two years that keeps getting pushed to the back burner. I was planning on releasing that this winter, and my advisors said to stop. I promised years ago that it was going to be free, and I can’t go back on my word. It has to be the first book and I am going to give it away for free, but they said, “You can’t do that right now. There won’t be a seanwes in 2016 if you keep giving things away.” I’m going to write three books, believe it or not.
- 1:17:21 The first one, The Overlap Technique, will be free. I hope to also make a hardcover version of it that people can buy. If people want to compensate for the value, they can buy the physical book. The tentative plan right now is for me to set aside a month and write all three books in that month.
Let Others Make Mistakes For You
- 1:17:53 Steve says, “What habit did you develop or what process did you change this year that brought the most success and positive change overall?” My answer, without a doubt, is delegation. The amount of things we get done compared to my involvement in doing those things is a really nice ratio. 2014, I was dealing with Superhero Syndrome, and I don’t even recognize that person anymore. I always say that the two things you need to focus on as a business owner are voice and vision. Anything that isn’t your voice or your vision you need to delegate ruthlessly. I do that while maintaining a very high quality standard. I have to earn the slave driver reputation.
- 1:18:46 We have high quality in everything down to the things you don’t even notice until you notice them, like the annotations in YouTube. It says, “Hey, click here, do this.” At the end, there’s this outro where you can subscribe, visit the website, or go to the other video. A lot of people are really lazy about these annotations, they draw them lazily. We zoom in and do them precisely. We have systems for everything. All of this stuff that I used to do, obsess over, and perfect, I was always hesitant to give them up because I knew that no one else would do them up to my standards.
Create processes so other people can learn your standards and replicate them.
- 1:19:34 That’s been the biggest thing for me. Even though the revenue wasn’t what I wanted in 2015, I learned delegation like a pro. That has been a huge asset to me, and I think that’s why next year is going to be huge. I used to do the shownotes myself, and I wouldn’t give that up because I thought no one else could do it. Then, I taught Laci how to do it, and she was finally able to do it on her own. I was proofing every night. I would spend an hour reading word for word and making corrections. We would go over it and I’d show her what needed to be changed. Finally, she was able to do it herself, and I could just do a quick 15 minute proof. Then I stopped proofing.
- 1:20:23 Then it was just her, and we brought on Kristiana to help with shownotes. Now Laci’s to the point where she does as good of a job as I did and she can teach other people. I’m completely hands off with that, and I’ve continued to do that with everything.
- 1:20:40 Matt: This is Sean’s baby, the shiny seanwes. It takes a lot to delegate and accept that it isn’t going to be 100% Sean quality.
- 1:21:04 Sean: The biggest thing was letting other people make mistakes for you. When you’re going to delegate, you think that other people won’t do it as well as you. The problem is that you forgive yourself a lot quicker than you forgive other people. You’ve made tons of mistakes, but you forget because you forgave yourself. Everyone’s going to make mistakes—you need to let people make them for you. We’ve had incidents where the wrong subject line gets sent out to 20,000 people on my list. That’s not great. That’s not a fun experience. We’ve had a lot of those instances. Some people remember them, but most people don’t. The reality is that I’ve messed it up myself.
- 1:21:46 The way you have to think is that you’re delegating the mistake-making. If you were doing it, you would make the mistakes and forgive yourself. You need to delegate to other people and let them make mistakes. Let go of them. It’s just like with kids. If you hold tightly onto your kids and you don’t give them enough freedom to make mistakes in the safest place they’re going to be in their entire life, which is under your roof, they will go out and be crazy and make the mistakes on their own, where the ramifications are ten times as bad. It’s the same with employees. You can’t micro-manage and hover over them.
- 1:22:00 Say, “These are your responsibilities. I’m going to empower you. When you mess up, take responsibility.” We learn from our mistakes. Never be past-focused. I never look back at all. Everything is looking to the future. Take ownership, and the only thing we care about is knowing what went wrong so we can improve processes.
Every mistake is an opportunity to improve your process.
- 1:22:50 Your only goal and your only focus is to improve the process. It’s just like with professionalism. You don’t say, “My client didn’t pay me on time because I didn’t have anything in the contract that said that. I’m going to whine, cry, and tweet about how I have bad clients.” No, you fix the process. Fix the contract and patch the holes. That’s what everything is about. I’ve learned to be better about that. I used to get really upset when we sent the wrong email to 20,000 people. I can’t even picture 20,000 people in my head, and I’m thinking about all of them getting the wrong email from me, the perception of my brand and my name, and it’s not my fault.
- 1:23:27 I gave it up to someone else, and they messed up on my behalf. Nobody knows who sent that—it’s signed with my name. It looks bad on me, and that’s the hardest part. That’s the part you don’t want to give up, but you have to let other people make those mistakes for you. You make the mistakes, you learn from them, and then you’re free because someone else is doing it.
- 1:23:48 Matt: Whoever you’re delegating to, most of the time, won’t make the same mistake. The process gets better, better, and better, and more hands off in your favor.
- 1:23:57 Sean: Ultimately, you get to the point where you delegate so much that you even delegate the handling of mistakes, learning from mistakes, and the improving of the processes to where, eventually, it’s someone’s responsibility to talk to the person who made the mistake. You never even know, because you don’t need to know. One of the best things I ever heard was from this big business owner with tons of employees, and he says, “I don’t ever want people to come to me with problems. If someone comes to me with a problem, I’m not listening to them or thinking about it. I’m thinking about how to replace them. I want people to come to me with solutions. Figure it out yourself, or come to me with two solutions you can’t choose between and I’ll help you pick the best one. I want problem-solvers.”
- 1:24:52 All of my employees listening, take note. Don’t come to me with problems, or I’m going to figure out a way to replace you. I want problem solvers, critical thinkers. Come to me with solutions, and I’ll help you pick the best solution. It’s your job and your responsibility to fix the problem.
- 1:25:10 Matt: It’s great that you empower them, Sean, because it allows them to think for themselves and stand on their own two feet instead of waiting on you and your direction.
- 1:25:18 Sean: Go make mistakes! The more immature version of me would be disappointed and upset when mistakes are made, but now I expect them. I also expect people to learn from them. That was a big lesson from 2015 for me.
Write About Your Year
- 1:25:47 I want to give people some homework here. It’s the beginning of a new year, and I want people to take a moment to reflect on their year. Think about it. It’s too easy to keep going and not be conscious of what’s changing. You’re not going to notice what’s changing unless you’re reflecting and keeping track of things. Number one, at the very least, every single person needs to write about their year because you’ll forget. Write about it, everything that went well, everything you learned, everything you’re going to do better. Log it, because you’re going to forget. You won’t be able to compare your growth.
- 1:26:52 Matt mentioned that my reach has grown, my audience has grown. I don’t notice because I’m in it. To me, it feels like I’m spinning my wheels, but I don’t see how far we’ve come and how much we’ve learned until I look back and see. You’re not going to remember unless you write it down. That’s my call to action for everyone. Spend a few minutes and write that down. It would be great if you shared it publicly, so it can help other people. Hopefully, this episode has helped people. Matt and I could have had this conversation privately, like we used to before this show. That’s what this show is—it’s the conversations Matt and I would have anyway.
- 1:27:31 We’re sharing it. You’re getting benefit from it, so I hope you see the value of sharing things publicly. If you’re self conscious about that, at the very least, write it for yourself, even if you keep it private. That’s going to be tremendously valuable to you.
- 1:27:50 Matt: Let’s say we were in 2018, going back to be able to look at 2015 would be awesome. If I’m still making some of the same mistakes from 2015, there’s a problem. Maybe it would help me identify them a lot quicker if they’re all written down, the pros and cons of what happened that year, especially the lessons learned. I’m definitely going to do that.
The Lambo Goal
- 1:28:21 Sean: Matt and I have been saying that we’re hoping 2017 will be the Year of the Lambos. We don’t really know. This year for me was $430,000, but that’s gross revenue. That’s not a ton of profit, everything’s reinvested. We have payroll. The ultimate goal is to have ten times what it costs to buy a Lamborghini in cash. That is our Lambo Goal, so that means $4 million. I think next year could be the first seven figure year. If we’re on track, next year needs to be a really good year and the year after that needs to double it. We’ll see. I think we’re on track. Maybe it’s 2018. We’re not going to cry about it, but that’s what we’re hoping for.
- 1:29:10 Matt: It’s fun either way. I’ve come to enjoy the journey, and I like that we’re documenting, so when we come to that point we can look back.
- 1:29:22 Sean: This show is going to be around for years. I would say that 80% of our listeners won’t hear any of these episodes for years. When you tally up the number of total listens to this show, 80% of them are going to be years into the future. I don’t care if this show is popular now. People will notice when we have cool cars. They think, “Oh, this is awesome!” That’s when they’ll notice. The people who listen now have the inside scoop. They’re early to the game. You get to hear it as it’s happening, but we’re doing this purely to log our progress so we can look back. Matt, if we didn’t do this show, we would not remember any of these challenges.
- 1:30:11 I don’t remember having struggles with Superhero Syndrome. Now, I think, “How can I delegate everything?” If I hadn’t done episode 76 of the seanwes podcast, I wouldn’t even remember that I struggled with giving up things. Chronicling the journey gives proof to people. That’s why we’re transparent here, why we’re sharing real numbers. The whole point of this show, as I’ve always said, is to roll back the clock. This is for the people who only hear about us after we reach the Lambo Goal, and they think, “Another one of those guys who thinks it’s all about cool cars and money, trying to get attention.” Go back. Look at the blood, sweat, tears, and struggle, what it really takes to get to this point.
Set big goals for yourself and go after them.
Success takes time.
- 1:31:10 Matt: Let’s say we set a date to reach the Lambo Goal—obviously, we’ll try and push our hardest, but this is also to tell people that this is realistic. This isn’t a game where you play all night and you win. It takes a lot of the grind, but you’re also constantly learning and pivoting. It changes as you learn. You heard in this podcast about things we learned that we could have done better, things that would have really helped our income stream for both of us. This is a great way for people to get ahead of the game and learn from our mistakes so they don’t make them. Maybe they’ll get to their Lambo Goal quicker. Once we get to the Lambos and we actually have them, it’s going to be great to tell people, “Go back, because you can have one of these too.” They can watch the journey.
- 1:32:04 Sean: Our audience will be 100 times what it is now when we get the Lamborghinis, because people are generally surface level. It’s not really interesting to hear about the struggles of business, but a cool car is interesting. This is our goal, this is what we want, and we know that’s going to attract attention. That’s a byproduct, but we’re hoping to provide something a little deeper for people who come in because the car attracted their attention. I think cars are cool too and I like Lamborghinis too, but there’s something deeper here. I’ve always done this show for years in the future. It’s for however long it takes us to get there so it lends credibility to what we say then.
- 1:33:03 If we never did this show and we say, “Let me tell you about the times before we had the Lambo,” then it’s all conjecture. People have to figure out if they really believe us or if we’re just surface level. This way, it’s hard proof. It lends credence to the message we’re going to share with people then, which is that it’s about bigger things, dreaming bigger and hard work. That’s why I wanted to do this show.
- 1:33:31 Matt: We do share some real things here, our struggles. We provide solutions, and I think that what we provide could help shape and mold someone who is hungry enough to get to what we call the Lambo Goal. It’s great to share this show with people, because there are a lot of nuggets in here from what we’ve learned in our journey and what we’ve learned from mentors. We put that all together and share it with people. That’s really valuable. Growing up, I didn’t have that, and I think I could have excelled a lot quicker if I had all this knowledge. Once we get to that point and we can pass this along, it’s going to be really awesome.
5 Years From Now
- 1:34:41 Sean: We’re looking at the next year. I already know what I’m going to accomplish. I’m going to have more courses out. We’re going to have courses that are not my own on the platform, which will really signify that seanwes is bigger than just me. That was one of my goals at the end of 2014 for 2015—suddenly, I realized that seanwes could be this much bigger brand. It didn’t have to be something that just represented me. I like to use the example of Disney. When you hear Disney, you don’t think Walt Disney. You think of the company and what they’re about, the movies they make and that kind of thing. That’s what I wanted for seanwes, and I think 2015 was a good step in that direction. 2016 is going to start to solidify it. I’m going to write books and we’re going to have the conference.
- 1:35:31 I’m really excited about all of these things, but here’s where I want to take a turn. I want to look five years into the future. I’m going to ask Matt what his vision is, if he’s even thinking that far. First, I’ll share mine. In the next few years, I think we’ll reach the Lambo Goal. Five years from now, things are going to look pretty different. That will be the end of 2020. You know how I take Small Scale Sabbaticals, a week off every seven weeks? I’ve said that I do want to take a full sabbatical. I started in 2014, so the seventh year would be 2020. If this pans out, I would take off 2020. I don’t know what that looks like.
- 1:36:25 Matt: What do you envision going on if you do take that year off?
- 1:36:29 Sean: The main thing is, whatever my regular obligations are, freeing myself up from that to where I don’t have those obligations and I can do whatever I want. Whatever I want may look very similar, but it may look very different. Maybe it’s traveling, maybe it’s writing. Maybe I spend the whole year, which isn’t even a long time now that I think about it, producing music. Maybe I produce three or five albums. That would be awesome. Maybe I still podcast, because I really enjoy podcasting. Maybe we do videos. Maybe we do a Lambo tour for the whole year. It could be anything.
- 1:37:13 In 2020, I see seanwes being a lot more established. Only a few people realize that seanwes used to be one person or that it had anything to do with lettering. Lettering was the thing I curated that was proof of concept, that lead to bigger things and replicating. At this point, at it’s core, seanwes is still a media company, but it’s a much more significant entrepreneurial learning community. There’s a wide array of courses available. There are still shows with certain personalities on the shows, but when you go deeper, there’s a selection of courses.
In five years, people will know seanwes as the place they go to learn how to grow their business and everything about entrepreneurship and media production.
- 1:38:15 The hub of seanwes will be the centralized Community. I can’t even imagine the kind of features we’ll have inside the Community, but that’s punctuated every year by the big seanwes Conference event, which I think will continue to grow. I think it will be pretty significant five years from now. Now that we have the Lambos, I see that becoming a much more significant part of the front-facing side of what we do. It naturally will attract attention. Yes, we have the die-hards who have believed in us all along, but most people need the proof. They need to see something in front of them to care or believe. Once there is that tangible thing, that’s going to quickly grow. I see us having a significant YouTube channel, which we just started.
- 1:39:06 Right now, there are 38 people subscribed. Go to lambogoal.com/youtube and subscribe to that channel. We barely have any videos there right now, but I think this will be the most significant thing five years from now. Suddenly, for everyone, that’s where they start to see it. I see us using that attention for good, to go deeper. It’s not just about cool cars and money, but now that we have your attention, let’s share a positive message. Let’s help people grow their business. I envision myself focusing on very much having fine-tuned voice and vision. I am literally doing nothing but voice and vision. Right now, I make featured images. I proof things. I manage all kinds of stuff, but at that point, I’ll have finely tuned voice and vision.
- 1:40:11 I’m showing up and everything is set up and ready to go, ready to record. My time is hyper-focused. By this point, I’ll have everything I need and everything I want, and I enjoy what I do. I see myself focusing on giving back and helping other entrepreneurs grow their businesses, offering my platform to them, offering my advice and my services. I’ll shift toward mentorship, one-on-one, helping people and leading groups, using our platform for good.
- 1:40:49 Matt: My vision is kind of the same as everything Sean said. It’s why we do what we do. I think this is even great for me, selfishly. I’ll listen to previous podcasts and it makes me think. I want people to know that Sean and I are constantly learning. We aren’t claiming to be perfect people or perfect business people. We’re publicly sharing what we’re learning, sharing our journey. I think this is going to be huge for people in the future. Thinking back, Sean showed me Rob Dom’s video on how to buy a Lamborghini.
- 1:41:47 Sean: Shout out to Rob Dom way in the future. Maybe we bring back this video clip. I googled “How to buy a Lamborghini” just for fun, to see what would show up if someone searched this. I found Rob Dom. He’s a Lambo guy, and he’s used his platform to share positive messages.
- 1:42:14 Matt: That changed my vision and changed my lifestyle. I hope we can go a step further than Rob. I like how he figured out a creative way to get his Lamborghini and how he’s set up in life, but when people see that video of us, I want them to have resources. I want there to be this podcast, where they can go back and figure out by watching our journey how they can create solutions for their own path.
- 1:42:51 Sean: It’s an entrance point. How many people say, “Got my Lambo,” and that’s it? There are so many of those videos, but I want this to be the entrance point for people. I want them to say, “Woah, these guys have been sharing everything, with real revenue numbers, for five years now? There are hundreds of episodes of value I can go back to? There’s a Community of people who think bigger?” That excites me.
- 1:43:22 Matt: If they’re just starting out, there’s free content for them so they can get on their feet. Once they get going, they can start buying courses. At the same time, if they’re already going, they have a Community they can engage with, and they can also engage with us. Sean and I will have a lot more time to focus on that.
- 1:43:42 Sean: Ed in the chat says, “I know for me, being a part of this Community, I take ownership in representing it well. Unbeknownst to me, I’ve become a brand ambassador for seanwes and the Community. With everything I’m telling people about the Community and the value I’m getting, I’m stepping up my game to make sure what I put out are a reflection of those things. Even though I may not be a staff member, I do take it upon myself to help grow this thing, both directly and indirectly. I’m really excited to see what this all looks like five years from now.” First of all, thank you so much, Ed Williams. I think he’s going to be doing awesome in five years—he’s got a website called GeekyDreamer.com.
Entrepreneurship Is Not for Everyone
- 44:25 Matt and I have talked in our podcasts before about the issue of entrepreneurship vs. employees. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. Not everyone is cut out for it, but the people who are know they have what it takes. Not everyone wants to be that number one guy. Some people really enjoy what they do, and I always say, don’t start a business if you really enjoy what you do because you’re going to spend 80% of your time on business and not doing the thing you love.
- 1:44:52 Gary Vaynerchuck talks about being a number two or number three guy and how that’s a valuable asset. I also see that yes, we are helping people grow their business, but there are a lot of people that refer to themselves as “unemployable.” People work at seanwes because there’s something special about how we operate here. Even though they consider themselves unemployable, they’ve made an exception to work at seanwes because it’s a unique place. I want to empower people to do what they love and what fulfills them, give them a platform and resources to do it, and give them the freedom to work wherever they want, on their own hours.
- 1:45:32 By the way, there are paid sabbaticals every seven weeks to do whatever you want and further your education. There’s something unique about what we do here, and a lot of people believe in that. I’ve never been about numbers, so I don’t have a goal for a number of employees. The way I hire isn’t, “We really need someone to fill this position, so I’ll find someone for that.” I hire proactively, not reactively. When we have the resources, I hire people. I find people and I say, “I want that guy. I believe in that guy. I want to give him the resources and say, ‘Do your thing.'” I see the seanwes team growing, and I have no interest in hiring anyone outside the Community. These people get it—they have the right mindset.
- 1:46:27 I’m talking about people like Ed. I’m not saying that Ed wants to work for seanwes, but if he did, those are the kinds of people I have my eye on. The people I’ve hired have been in the Community for a year, and I’m watching. I’m seeing them apply the advice and help other people. Next year is going to be a big year, but it’s going to be a big next five and ten years, too.