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Sean is back on the seanwes podcast! Today we’re sharing a special episode of our members-only Q&A show, Fired Up Mondays, where Sean joins Dan to tell us what he’s been up to on his sabbatical year.
We also announce an exciting new series starting in the NEXT episode called “Build a Profitable Agency”. We’ll take you inside how we’re building seanwes media from the ground up. You don’t want to miss this!
Aside from these announcements, we cover some great great questions from the Community members this week! Members get to experience Fired Up Mondays every single week, but we’re excited to share this particular episode with you publicly.
Here are some of the questions we cover in this episode:
- How do you use Value-Based Pricing effectively if your value-based price is for a year of work, but you bill in monthly installments?
- How do you handle the disconnect between the value of the year-long work and the billing structure?
- How do you balance long-term investment in your business with your short-term well-being?
- How do you set goals when it’s not yet clear what you’re building towards?
- How do you balance reading, continuing education, and self-investment with doing the actual work?
Links and Resources Mentioned
- IGTV: How the Pandemic Ended Our Nomadic Travel Year
- Course: Value-Based Pricing
- Book: I Will Teach You to Be Rich: No Guilt. No Excuses. No BS. Just a 6-Week Program That Works by Ramit Sethi
- Podcast: 393: Thinking Time: Solve Problems and Clear Your Mind
Note: This transcript of the episode was machine-generated and has not been edited for correctness. It’s provided for your convenience when searching. Please excuse any errors.
Sean: Hey, it’s Sean McCabe. What you’re about to hear is fired up Mondays, which is our weekly office hours inside the community. We stream that live every single week and answer questions from the members, things like that. But obviously we haven’t done the show here. Sean was podcast in a while. I’ve been on my sabbatical year, so we’re going to be doing something new here.
We’ve got a new series coming up on the Shawn West podcast. And since we already shared that with the members. What’s coming inside, fired up Mondays. We thought we’d do something special. And share that with you today, publicly on the Sean West podcast. So that’s what you’re about to hear. It’s an episode of fired up Mondays that we stream every week to the members.
If you want, you can become a member at seanwes.com so you can get access to that live stream. You can access to the community, all $8,000 worth of our courses, our training programs, things like that. dot com. That’s the best way to support the show without further ado. Here’s fired-up Mondays. Welcome to fire it up Mondays.
I’m joined by the one and only Dan Jacobson. How’s it going, Dan?
Dan: It’s going great. How’s it going, Sean?
Sean: Well, it’s pretty good. As you can see. Well, if you listen to the podcast, you can’t see, but if you’re watching, you see the red and orange lights behind me, it is indeed a very fired up Monday. How about you?
Dan: It’s about as fired up as I can get. I’ve been doing this show solo for awhile and it just hasn’t been the same because I don’t have fancy lights in the background.
Sean: Yeah, what the, what the heck are we doing? Are aren’t I on sabbatical year.
Dan: I thought you were, but apparently not. I was wrong. I was totally wrong.
Sean: Yeah. Yeah. well, so I realized I had made this update. That was, I made this update that was. How this is not the sabbatical, how the pandemic ended our travel a year. Cause that was the idea with this sabbatical moved out of the house. No house, no car backpack travel. The world pandemic says no, just like that, Dan. Yeah, it’s just said no. So we ended up in Boise, Idaho, and we thought, Hey, it’s pretty nice here. How about we move here? And so we did. So now we’ve got a new place. I set up my office. I documented that whole process on my Instagram story at Shawn West. You want to see how I built my, my current studio?
That’s all there, but I just kind of found myself like, okay, what do I do now? You know, like I was running, I was running a lot, ran some more. I ran a marathon. But like, what else do you do? You’re just kind of sitting around. So I’m like, Hey, let’s start a media company. What do you say, Dan?
Dan: I guess at that point he was either that, or you had to do like one of those hundred mile runs. Right. So.
Dan: Probably easier to start a media company in like three months.
Sean: So, anyway, I meant to post that the whole, the whole, like how the pandemic ended, our nomadic travel year. I did a recording. I did a video is going to post it as a podcast on the Sean West podcast. And I kind of just forgot to, so sorry about that. But if you’re wondering, like what the heck happened to Sean and his wife and their travel year with this whole pandemic and you missed that, we will put a link.
In the show notes for you to go check that out. But, we, we are, we are resuming the Shawn West podcast actually. So the Sean was podcast is coming back. Dan and I are going to do a new series on building a profitable agency. So this whole, like Sean, with media thing, we, we have a flagship service it’s called daily content machine and we’ve been working with clients and we haven’t really been.
Talking about it publicly as much, but we’ve certainly been doing a lot of work and it’s, it’s been pretty exciting. Things are going well. And we wanted to kind of pull back the curtain and show you what that looks like. Kind of take you inside the machine. How are we running this agency? What’s been going on all, all of these months in 2020.
So we’re going to start a new series on the film as podcast. That’s me. That’s Dan and. Yeah, it’s basically everything you want to know about building a profitable agency.
Dan: It’s I, the thing that I’m most excited about it is the title, which I’m not going to reveal. Cause you know, we got to drop that at just the right time, but Sean told me the title he’d come up with for the series. And, I think I just laughed and laughed and laughed for like 20 straight seconds.
Sean: They’ll they’ll get to hear that. They’ll get, they’ll get to hear that. In the first episode of the series. So I am still technically on sabbatical. So I’m still still on sabbatical. And how is that working? Because if I’m on sabbatical only have one rule for myself, which is no obligations. I can’t be in a place where I have to do something or that kind of negates the rest part of the sabbatical.
But I’ve, I’ve still remained in a place where everything I’m doing is something that I’m choosing to do that just happens to be building an agency that just happens to be recording a podcast. but you know, full disclosure, if I don’t want to record a podcast, Dan, I don’t have to
Dan: Yeah, you can do, you can do whatever you want. So there might be some we call show up and you just won’t be here.
Sean: possible, but I am very, very excited about this. Like I am enjoying this. I am getting a lot out of this sabbatical that I think I’m going to take forward into 20, 21 and beyond because it’s, I don’t think I could have built Sean with media, this agency otherwise, or it would, it would have looked very different.
I know I would have made myself more integral. To this, this whole machine had I not been on sabbatical. So being on sabbatical has forced me to build this in a way that it works without me. Cause it has to, you know, so it’s been a very positive thing and also it’s been good for me because like you, you know, I can get myself into places where I have to do certain things, even if I don’t want to.
And it’s like, that’s fine, it’s in service of my goals, but. You know, you can get burned out if you kind of just go on autopilot and you keep doing thing, because you said you do a thing, you never take a step back and ask if you should be doing the thing. That’s, that’s kind of where I was in the past few years.
And so being on sabbatical is like a perpetual step back. Like I’ve just had this like level of, not this association. What’s, what’s the word it’s like. Disconnect in a sense, it’s like I’m able to work on this thing without having to work in the thing. And that that’s just been really cool. And even though I am actually working a decent amount, like I’m working quite a bit lately, all of it is me choosing to like, if I, if I don’t want to, like, sometimes I just, I just don’t do work that day or like, Lacy.
And I sit on the porch, you know, and, and drink coffee or whatever, you know, or I’ll go on a run. I’m just having a good time, you know, sometimes I’ll, I’ll like do some cable management in the office, like I’ve got a new, I want to do another camera, Dan. So I’ve got this shot right here with me at the desk.
You got some lights in the background, but then there’s also this camera over here. That’s that has the quad displays in the background. And that’s also a cool shot for doing kind of like a talking head video, but I want a third shot, which is like a beanbag station, so I can go over and just like, fuck Dan shaking his head.
I can just like fall into the bean bag and I’ve got a camera over here and I just swing, another SM seven B microphone around just like right in front of my mouth, sitting back in the bean bag. And then I could record there. What do you think.
Dan: I’m just imagining the series as a result. That’s just going to be like thoughts from the beanbag and it’ll just be pure unadulterated. Shawn hasn’t even thought about what he’s going to say. It’s just going to be a total mess and people are going to eat it up. It will be by far your most popular thing.
And that’ll make you so angry. It’ll be like the thousands of hours of effort that I put into this polished show. And all people want to see is me in my beanbag.
Sean: You’re probably right.
Sean: it’s just a whole different mode though. Like when I, when I sit in the beanbag, it’s just, it’s this reflective mode. It’s a pensive mode and, and what I share there and how I share it is different. So I’m looking forward to even doing some of our, of our work calls in the beanbag.
I’ll be interested to see if you, if you can tell, I mean, if, if the camera’s on, obviously, but speaking
Dan: think I’ll try it.
Sean: speaking of things that. That are newer that may end up doing better than everything else. I’ve spent the last seven to 10 years on. I launched a new side project. Well, I kind of launched it. It’s like a soft launch.
It’s it’s not totally ready yet, but save time.blog. So this is my new little fun project. Save time.blog. And this is just helping you do things faster with your Apple devices. So I’ve accumulated all of these different tips and shortcuts and just ways of doing things faster, whether it’s your Mac, your iPhone, your Apple watch, your, your, what other Apple devices are there?
Dan: of them. Home pod.
Sean: Yeah. just like lots of fun, little ways of doing things fast. They’re more efficiently shortcuts. I was on a show live with Nathan Barry last week and I was trying to show him one. And I was like, okay, so you know, how on your iPhone, if you’ve got the phone that has the little like face ID and the little bar at the bottom, I was like, you know, you can swipe up right.
To change apps. So you swipe up and hold and then you’ve got the app switcher and you can, you can change between the apps while you can also swipe across that home bar. To switch to, to the most previous app. Right. And I was, I was trying to say a lot of people know this, but w just wait until you hear the next tip.
I’m about to tell you, but that was news. That was news to Nathan, that you could swipe across the home bar. So it’s like a lot of people don’t know that. but here’s the cool one. So you’re on your home screen. when you’re on your home screen, you can also, you don’t even see the bar there. Right. But you can also swipe across to get to your most recent app.
Look at that. Even Dan didn’t know that look at his face.
Dan: I’m absolutely baffled right now at the power,
Sean: you know it? Did you know it?
Dan: I think I might’ve known that
Sean: I was just pretending, well, just wait, Dan. There’s more though. That was a beginner one. So there’s just tons of things like that. Gary swipe the other way then it’ll work. Alright. Save time.blog. That’s my new little side project. So
Dan: I’m excited.
Sean: kind of waiting for iOS 14. Cause, you know, updated interface and, and all that.
So it’s coming, but you can subscribe there and be the first hear. So what else we got, Dan, what do we want to talk
Dan: Well, I want to bring, you know, what Garret is. Garret is the King of asking questions too late, but he, he dropped this one in, in response to something you said. And so before we get to the. The actual questions for this episode of fired Mondays, I do want to confront you with Garrett’s question because he said, Sean, you have said before, not to make plans on sabbaticals, but tomorrow you have plans to appear on a podcast.
So is what you’re saying. We can make plans, but then we don’t have to show up or has that part of sabbatical rules changed?
Sean: That’s a good question. Something I’m experimenting with is this idea of a 24 hour, window, like a 24 hour rule, which, which I got from Warren buffet. I was inspired by, by him. If you want to meet with him in three weeks, you can’t just call up his secretary and schedule it. You have to call in 20 days and say, Hey, can I meet with you tomorrow?
And then he’ll say yes or no. And so I really liked that idea for the sabbatical year. because with the sabbatical weeks that I’ve been doing every seventh week, since 2014, the what, what I finally figured out after a couple of years was I shouldn’t schedule things for the sabbatical cause it creates obligations.
Right? And I don’t feel rested and sometimes you get to a sabbatical and you just want to do a whole lot of nothing. So you don’t want to have this big list of things that you have to do. Even if there are things that you thought you’d want to do. So I thought, how do I take that to the sabbatical year?
It’s going to be a whole year. Can I just schedule nothing? And so the experiment I’ve been running with is this 24 hour rule. So I can commit to things within 24 hours. So like Nathan wanted me to be. On the show with him last week. Yeah, I think he had actually mentioned it a week in advance and I told him about this.
I was like, ask me, ask me 24 hours before. And so I had actually completely forgotten about it. and, and when he asked me a week in advance, I thought, yeah, I would love to do that. So I wanted to say yes, but I refrained. And I said, ask me 24 hours before. And he actually did. So it was the day before I had completely forgotten.
He had even asked me before, he’s like, Hey, I want to be on the show tomorrow. And I was like, Hmm. Sure. And so we did it, and then he only, it was only on the show that he told me. I had actually asked you a week in advance. You said to ask me the day before. I kind of forgot about that. it’s a little bit silly.
It’s a little bit tricky when, you know, like I have people asking me to be on podcast interviews and I’m like, ah, I would, I really want to. But I can’t commit in advance and they want you to like, schedule on their Calendly for next month and all that stuff. And so for now, I’ve just been saying no, and if someone’s so dedicated that they want to ask me within 24 hours and they’re okay.
If I say no, then I will probably do it. So as of right now, we’re, we’re around 24 hours to tomorrow’s show. So I can pretty safely commit to that and say, I definitely want to do that. But basically anything outside of 24 hours, I try to not do like hard commitments, if that makes sense.
Dan: Yeah, it does. You need, you need something, right? You need some way to preserve like the restful property of a sabbatical, but if you’re taking a whole year off, You know, there are lots of things you’re finding you legitimately want to do, but if you didn’t give yourself, if you either just said no to absolutely everything, you might not be happy with that.
But at the same time, yeah, it would be super easy to just be like, Oh, I really want to do this, this sabbatical or this podcast episode in a month. But you were, you were talking about this before. I think it was on that show. You did with Nathan and it was, and you were like, You know, give your future self a gift, right?
Like future Sean will be glad that you didn’t pass. Sean, didn’t say yes to this.
Sean: I I’ve, I’ve been perpetually glad. It just feels great to like, not have a bunch of things that you have to do. Even if past, you thinks you w you would want to do them. Cause like, you’re, you’re just constantly cursing past you. Why did you do this to me?
Dan: Oh, yeah. All the time.
Dan: Darn past Dan, always making commitments for me. Yeah.
Sean: So anything else like upcoming, we want to give people a preview on, or should we just kind of get onto the normal fired-up Mondays answer some questions here.
Dan: I mean, I think we’ve covered a lot and people can tune in tomorrow for way more about the whole digital cloud, the whole daily content machine. If I can remember its name,
Sean: Yeah. So when you say tomorrow, that’s for people listening alive tomorrow, we are recording live the first episode of our build a profitable agency series. That’s going to go on the Shawn West podcast. And if you do want to continue, listening live, say we share this recording publicly somewhere. that’s.
That’s something that members have access to. So the cool thing is, since you’re listening to this live as a member, you get to ask us in real time, actual questions about the agency. What about this? What about that? And we’ll answer your question. So you can always do that because you’re a member.
Otherwise, that series will go out publicly on the Shawn West podcast. So. that’ll be like every week.
Dan: Yep. So that’ll be, so the first episode will go live a week from Tuesday. In other words, September 8th. It’s always good to look at your calendar when you’re doing a live show. Sean, I don’t know if you know that
Sean: That’s a good idea. And actually, Dan, the show goes out on Wednesday, so it’ll be the ninth.
Sean: There’s a good try. It’s
Dan: It’s been a long time since we did the Shawn West podcast and I’ve forgotten how everything works. I remembered my microphone. At least
Sean: what questions do we have from people today?
Dan: we have a ton of amazing questions. So, Jeremy who just joined up or recently. was right there with, with the first question he was ready and he said he was talking about delivering prices for longterm projects. He’s been using value based pricing for a while now. And as an accountant and tax preparer, he says, I think of the timeframe of it.
Project is a fiscal year, but I’ve always billed monthly. That makes the pricing and billing structure seemed like a fixed rate, subscription pricing model for the client. But I see it more as an, an installment agreement on a single yearly price. And he says, I think this creates a disconnect between the value of the year long work and how I get paid for it.
So I’m struggling with how to present the price in a way that reinforces the value provided. But it doesn’t cause sticker shock. If you were, if you were to quote them that year long price.
Sean: Yeah, I think there is a little bit of a disconnect there. If, if that’s the way you’re doing it, I think the best way is just to be upfront and explain, like, this is a, this is a yearly price. And we break it into installments. Like, I think that’s the best you can do, but I have to agree that just the, the nature of the arrangement does create a disconnect.
It does make it difficult for them to think that this is a value priced project over the course of 12 months, as opposed to a monthly fixed rate. Right? Like. I think that there’s always going to be that tension. If that’s the billing model that you have. I’m not saying that, you should change, although let’s just, let’s just explore that.
Right. I haven’t thought through it, but I’m thinking out loud. What if you were to charge the client, a yearly rate, but you break up the payments like 50% upfront, 50%. at the end of the year at tax season or whatever, or maybe you break it up into quarterly, quarterly payments, right? You pay the first payment upfront, even though we’re not going to start our arrangement together until next month or October 1st or wherever you pay the first quarter upfront, you pay the second quarter here.
Third quarter here, final quarter here. Maybe corridors helps break up. the association with the monthly. Rate being a fixed thing. So they think more in terms of, I have four payments for this total amount, which is itself value priced that might help I’m thinking out loud a little bit. Dan, any thoughts on that?
You’ve been through value based pricing, which is a course that we have inside the Sean West vault 72 lessons. It’s a big course talks about the difference between. Hourly pricing and flat rate pricing and what we call value based pricing. So hourly incentivizes the worker to take a long time, to make more money flat rate incentivizes the worker to cut corners and get it done sooner to make more money value pricing aligns the incentives between the client and the professional, to make them both.
The client’s success when the client’s successful, the professional is successful and benefits accordingly. So you’ve been through this program. What do you think about Jeremy situation with this whole like value pricing, the service over the course of a year, but paying in monthly installments.
Dan: Portraying it as an installment plan, but the actual price is the value based price that you’re going to pay for a year is probably the right way to go. It would be very difficult. It seems to me, it’d be very difficult to establish a monthly rate that the client still thinks of as being a value, like a value based on the value of the project, because it’s just so natural to treat months.
Anything you pay for monthly, it’s just an expense, right? Your rent, your internet, bill, your groceries, your Netflix subscription. Your accountant. So if you’re gonna go the value based pricing route, I like the idea of coming up with a value based price. And one thing that you take away from the course is that because the price is based on is always a fraction of the calculated value.
The client’s calculated value that they’ll get from the engagement. So this, this price is a no brainer. Anyway, if that’s the case, then it’s not a matter of trying to convince the client that they should pay you an amount. Let’s, they should already be sold on the amount. Now you’re just giving them an option that might fit their cash flow better, which is to pay for it, say monthly or quarterly one example that occurred to me, whether this is a great example or not.
I don’t know, but it did remind me of the fact that, Adobe’s creative cloud is okay, is available monthly and it’s available annually. However, the way they do the annual survey description, they still bill you monthly. You know, so that they tell you, they, they, in fact, I, I can’t even think of what the annual price is.
All they tell you is pay annually and it’s
Sean: in fact, it is a commitment. Now you are committing to pay annually and if you try and cancel, it’s like, well, you have this annual. Commitment. And fortunately that makes your effective monthly rate, this which is lower than the month to month rate, but you are committing to the annual another thing I was going to mention, Dan is, you know, Jeremy is he’s, he’s an accountant, right.
And we’re actually thinking of hiring Jeremy to do our accounting for Shawn West. And just, just to like give you an idea, Jeremy, of what we’ve been dealing with. Like the accountant we’ve been working with for many, many years. They, I could not tell you at what times and at what points exactly that they bill us.
And I couldn’t tell you how much it’s going to be before I see it. It’s just like, Oh, here you go. Here’s an invoice suddenly for X, thousands of dollars. That’s my experience. Now. I’m not saying like, you want to create a poor experience for people, but. I guess I’m trying to give you perspective on what a lot of us deal with and even put up with, right?
So like realize almost anything you do is going to be better than the experience I’ve been having. And great. I am a little bit of a, of an odd case in that I understand valuation pricing, cause I teach it and stuff. But if you were to come to me and say, I’m basically telling Jeremy how to get me as a client, and say, this is the, this is the, the price, right?
Like after you’ve gone through this discovery and you give me a price for the year and you say, these are the installments, and this is the, the payments. That’s how I would see it. I mean, even if it was down to like, I will accept payments in monthly terms. I’d be fine with that too. And I still see it as, okay.
Jeremy services, X thousand. see, I’m already putting his service in the thousands. Dan. I could have said X hundred now I have to pay thousands. I’m just
Dan: You backed yourself into a corner
Sean: I’m just kidding. Of course, but, but actually point point case in point point in case case in point case in point, I’m trying to remember the turn of phrase.
Dan: It’s a point in case. Yeah, go ahead.
Sean: Thank you. Thank you for being so helpful case in point. Wait, you want a business owner like me? Who just goes? Yeah, of course. It’s thousands. And I literally don’t even know how many thousands. It also doesn’t sound like I care. In a good way. Right. And I like not in a negligent way. And like, of course it’s thousands, it’s a valuable service.
Tell me what it is and in what installments I need to pay and I’ll get you the money. Like our last accountant. I said, Hey, you know, we’ve moved, we’re moving on after this year’s taxes. And, you know, so he knew that, but he, he invoiced us and seven minutes later, I said, thanks, paid. And he’s like, I’m really gonna miss you as a client.
It’s like, well, that’s, that’s, that’s how it should be. That’s how the arrangement should work. That’s the kind of business owner you want to work with. It’s like you invoice and they pay and it’s like, you shouldn’t act so surprised that you got paid as an accountant.
Dan: That’s I hate these stories, but it, I, I hate the mindset that so many people have adopted where it’s just, they do valuable work. And then they think that the way that works is I do a bunch. I pour a bunch of time and effort into doing valuable work and then hope that someone lets me pay my rent.
Like that is not how it should work. You know, that’s not how it, that’s not how it has to work.
Sean: Do we have any other questions for today?
Dan: We have several actually. So
Sean: Okay. You were, you weren’t lying when he said there’s a lot.
Dan: I wasn’t, I was not lying.
Sean: show today.
Dan: it is, yes, we should have said that right up front big show today because it’s fun to say. Paul Paul said, what are a few methods for balancing short and long term investment in profitability concerns? Do you have a checklist? And by way of context, Paul added, sorry, I’m just trying to summarize this.
He’s struggling with knowing how much to think of short term needs in the face of potentially longer, larger rather longterm rewards. In the next three to six months, I know we anticipate some expenditure, but that kind of thinking leaves me vulnerable to emergencies and can turn a small disaster into a big one.
Paul says he’s tempted to go long because of the extra value. But that also means I tend to treat myself poorly and live like a peasant rather than life being pleasant. That was well done. Wow. Well, do you think Paul was a writer or something like that with a turn of phrase like that? What resources and advice do you have that might help me feel better about my ambitions or strike.
A healthier balance. Is there a magical percentage to save rather than trying to shovel all the excess into an emergency fund? I know it comes down to choice, but my choice inclination is hell on wheels aggressive and it doesn’t feel quite right. Any tips for regulating ambition. So this, this sounds like Paul, Paul’s worried maybe that he’s a little too long game and he’s sacrificing the short term quality of life a little bit
Sean: It’s almost like I’m the perfect person to answer this question. I have the, the answer for you in a single sentence. And, but this is only because I was in the exact same place you were in essentially short term circumstantial scarcity and just kind of getting by each month. While investing nearly a hundred percent into the long game into the longterm and was struggling as a result.
And it wasn’t until I went to my very first mastermind retreat, which was in 2015 that upon sharing my situation, I received the following advice and it was a single sentence and it was burned into my brain and stuck with me. Cause it was like, Well, no one ever told me this. I don’t know if, if the sentence will have as profound an impact on you as it did me, because obviously there was all of the context in the conversation building up to the point where I received this one sentence, but I’ll share it, share with you anyway.
it is you have to earn the right to play the long game. Now the reason this was so impactful to me is because I, I consider myself chronically long game just naturally, like in any conversation I’m having with someone, my context is I’m thinking five to 10 years in the future. And most people aren’t. So I found out the hard way talking to Lacey, you know, throughout our, 10 plus years of marriage.
Now that I would say things about like, What I wanted to do or what, you know, plans and stuff. And I’m talking about years from now, and she’s thinking I’m about to do these things and starts getting like concerned. And like, it took a while to realize for us to both realize we were, we were talking about very different contexts.
And I think what I’ve found from consuming a lot of content over the years in various formats, from books to videos, to courses, to just in person and vice from people. Is that it seems as though the vast majority of people are not long game minded, Paul, like you and I like w w they are not thinking five years from now, most of the time they are thinking about now.
And the problem with that is most of the advice you hear is geared towards people who are thinking about the moment, you know, the short term gratification, not the delayed gratification. And so it’s like, Hey, think about tomorrow. You know, Don don’t make any rash decisions. Like you’re going to be around tomorrow.
Make sure you don’t hate yourself today. Like you got to think long term is a problem for you and me. Paul is all the advice we hear is like, think longterm, think longterm, think longterm. And so it, it seems like a positive thing that that is our natural tendency. We never had anyone tell us you can be too longterm oriented.
No one ever told me that. Cause that was always positioned as a good thing with a positive connotation. And so it wasn’t until I heard the sentence, like, you know, the other guys were just like, kinda like incredulous, you know, I’m in the situation that I was and struggling as I was with my short term expenses, because everything I was doing and all, all the, all the stuff I was investing with, like long game, long game, long game, and it’s kind of like planting a bunch of seeds in a field that you rent.
That will bring you in an incredible harvest this fall, but you are able to afford the rent on the field and the acreage so that you’re around to receive that harvest. That’s what it means when, when they say you have to earn the right to play the long game, how do you earn the right to play the long game by covering your short term expenses?
The best thing you can do for the longterm. Is invest now in covering the short term expenses. That means any number of things, you know, to borrow from my overlap book concepts. you need the foundational piece that I call the day job. Which is the thing that pays 100% of your bills. You need a single thing that covers 100% of your bills, not a little bit here and a little bit there, not 80% from a part time job and 20% from your side hustle, a single thing that covers 100% of your bills.
Additionally, you want, some savings, a little bit of a nest egg. A good rule of thumb is six months of expenses. Six months of expenses in the bank. If your expenses are $3,000, that’s $18,000. If your expenses are $5,000 a month for your family, that’s $30,000 until you have $30,000 in the bank in your savings account, you should not be investing in the longterm.
You should not be worrying about, you know, getting good returns like in five years or whatever you need right now, you need to make sure that you will be around in five years, because if you can’t pay the bills, if you can’t cover your expenses, if you can’t take care of your family, if you can’t survive an emergency, then it doesn’t matter that investment’s gone.
The fee, the, the seed, you, the seeds you planted in the field. They belong to someone else now because you couldn’t make rent on the property. So you have to earn the right to play the long game. In a nutshell, cover your short term expenses, build up a nest egg, set, some savings aside, and then, and only then should you invest in the long game?
Dan: There’s another, there’s another thing I want to touch on just because of what Paul was saying. about, well, what was the turn of phrase he used? I loved it. I tend to treat myself poorly and live like a peasant rather than life being pleasant. And so Sean’s talking about, you gotta last, you, you got to survive the short term in order to be able to still be there for the long term.
And I know Sean, you’re talking, you’ve, you’ve experienced this and you’re talking about it in terms of your business, right. And like the sort of revelation that, that your, your mastermind group brought you to was. It’s great to be trying to build this awesome business for the future. But if you go out of business before you ever get there, it was all for nothing.
But I want to shift that a little bit from like business to lifestyle. And this is the other thing. If you, if you’re not living, if you don’t like the lifestyle you have, and you’ve put yourself in that position, because you’re so dedicated to building up for the long term, you got to be careful. You don’t burn out.
You know, you gotta be careful that you don’t. You don’t put yourself in a position where, you know, you’re, you’re investing everything in this business that someday going to give you the life of your dreams. But if you don’t like your life right now, there’s every chance that you might never get to that, that long game point and, and a big reason.
Why is burnout a big reason? Why is, you know, you do this for five years where you’re eating, you know, the stereotypical ramen noodles for dinner every day. And eventually you’re like, what am I doing this for? And the whole thing, just, just collapses. So. You, you need to cover your short term expenses and you want to build up a nest egg, but at the same time, what should those short term expenses be?
So some people live very, very simply there’s this there’s this whole movement, there’s this fire movement, right? Which stands for financial independence retire early. And there are the, there are people who will live so far below their means that they can put, say 70% of their income in savings for.
10 or 15 years and retire in their thirties or something like that. And I’ve occasionally thought about that. I’m kind of too old to retire in my thirties. My thirties are almost over anyway, but I don’t think I’d really, I don’t know if I’d want to live the lifestyle that would be required to do that.
So this ends up, you know, there’s a great deal of like know yourself. In here, Paul. So if you, if you’re, if you’re running up against, I don’t really like the way I’m living, but I need to live this way in order to build this thing for the future. Reevaluate that. Cause I would say, you know, you need to be comfortable being comfortable with your life now is as important as being able to pay your bills now, because the inability to do either of those things is going to burn you out long before you get to your longterm.
Business dreams, you know?
Sean: That’s a really good, it’s kind of, it reminds me of Rameet SATs, hating on the latte thing. Cause there there’s this advice that’s like, Hey, do you know, don’t spend $4 on a latte and he’s like, If you don’t spend $4 on a latte over the next, however many years, it’s like a few thousand dollars, you know, it’s, it’s not a big deal.
Like that’s not accurate. Your problem. Your problem is, you know, you need to make more income. You need to increase your income, you know, create some additional flows. you know, the other things, right. But. It feels, it feels like, Oh, I can just kind of sacrifice and live like a peasant and not buy my latte and eat ramen noodles.
And then like, then I’m good. Right? It’s like, okay. You know, I like the, I like the train of thought, which is, Hey, let’s not arbitrarily increase our expenses and lifestyle creep and all of that. Like, that’s, that’s good, you know, but at the same time, Have the latte because actually you may be dead tomorrow.
Like I was, so Lacey, ordered a bike and then she broke her ankle. So she had to have surgery and then she’s got her ankle in this boot and you know, but she ordered a bike and the bike arrived and long story short, like I said, sabbatical year moved out of the house, no house, no car. We moved to Boise.
We have a house. We still don’t have the car, but it’s fine. We’re downtown. We can walk a lot of places. We get groceries delivered. It’s great. However, the bike arrived at the shop. It wasn’t delivered because that was going to be like another hundred dollars. And it was like, ah, no, we’ll pick it up from the shop, but I had to ride it home from the shop.
Cause again, her ankle. So I’m riding her bike home from the shop, you know, I’m on the sidewalk. you know, I’m going down the paths and things like that. It was like three or four miles or something. It’s pretty nice. And there’s just this part, like really close to our house. I am like a block, literally a block from our house and there’s no sidewalks here.
It’s just like residential roads, you know, crossroads and stop signs and things like that. I had the right of way. And you know, I’m riding on, in the right part of the road. On the right side as we do in the U S and I have the right away, no stop sign. There’s a cross street with a stop sign. Car comes up, you know, suburban or something like that.
And, I don’t know if the lady just didn’t see me or what, but even if she didn’t see me, she should have stopped. Anyway, she did not stop. She just kind of rolled this stop sign, like. I don’t even know if she really slowed down at all, but I’m going through the intersection, you know, I’m, I’m looking to the right.
I’m like, I feel like I’m making eye contact, which is a good idea when you’re on a bike or you’re running because you know, like when you’re on a motorcycle, you know, you’re not as visible as a vehicle, so it’s good to make eye contact. She just didn’t see me. And so she came within a few feet of me like, and, and stopped.
It was like very, very close. I might’ve been able to reach out and touch the car. One block from my house almost got hit riding the bike. Lacey ordered that she couldn’t pick up herself because she broke her ankle because she stood up from the couch too fast and got dizzy and then fell the wrong way.
Like the craziest freak accident, like stuff happens. You could die tomorrow. That’s the point of the story? Dan’s like, where is he going with all of this? There was a point promise.
Dan: I was afraid. This was going to be the point of this story.
Sean: The point of the story is you could die tomorrow. So by the latte, lattes, not your problem by the latte and increase your income.
Dan: yeah, I, I was joking about hating. I love that point of the story. I’m I’m all about the reminders. We don’t know, we can’t predict the future. So it’s, it’s wonderful to build for the future, but you’re also, you also have no guarantee that you’ll ever get the future. You have no guarantee you’ll live to see it, but even if you do live to see it, you have no guarantee that circumstances out of your control might, keep you from the outcome you want.
So that, and here’s, here’s what I’ve noticed about trying to like reduce expenses. The little things. Yeah. Unfortunately the little things just don’t make that much difference. I I’m a big fan of lattes and I actually do come pretty close to buying a latte every day, sometimes. And I, back in February, before everything shut down for a while, I think I visited like a different coffee shop every single day.
And I would just rotate between them. Cause there’s a lot of them in my neighborhood and I added it up and I think I dropped something like $300 that month. On lattes. And so you might think $300 in a month. That’s ridiculous. What if you took that and put it in your savings account instead, and saved up six months of income?
I guess I could, but at $300 a month, it would take me like three years to save up six months of income, which isn’t to say I shouldn’t do it. It’s just to say that. I would probably be better off trying to figure out how to make a thousand dollars more a month in income and save that, then try to like carve off these pieces of my lifestyle that I happen to really enjoy in, in the name, in the name of savings.
So you have other questions, so we should move on. But since you brought up Rameet Satie, he has a great book about this called I will teach you to be rich. And it’s kind of my favorite system because it’s very systematic for figuring this out. Like how much should I say of how much should I spend on stuff?
How do I do this in a way that I both meet my savings goals and don’t hate my life. I would say check that out. If you haven’t before, It’s it’s a, it’s a good way to balance enjoying today and also planning for tomorrow. I think I landed that plane, Sean.
Sean: Nice job.
Dan: Thank you. should we move on? Cause we got two more questions.
This is just going to be an Epic and Epic show, but it’s our, you know, it’s, I’m excited about this. Like our first fired up Mondays with Sean and, and I just want to keep it going all day. Maybe not all day. Michael said I’ve heard of the smart method. So this is for setting goals and Sean off the top of your head.
Do you remember what the smart and smart goals stands for?
I’m so glad I could do this to you life.
Sean: spicy. No, no, I think I’m just going to disqualify myself.
Dan: Aye. You think, and I’m, I might get some of this wrong, cause I’m doing it off the top of my head. I think it’s smart, measurable, actionable R and T someone in the chat. Remind me what these, what these are, but it’s a method for setting goals. So Michael said, but I’ve had a difficult time setting goals that I can see clearly goals that help with direction.
Part of it probably has to do with not getting specific enough. I’m still not clear on what it is I’m building. Perhaps there’s a podcast episode or two, I could go back and listen to. But what is your process for setting and reviewing?
Sean: Yeah. So Michael, just going, going back to the overlap book, the first few chapters of the book are about identifying what you’re passionate about. So finding passions, then what I call auditing passions, because you’ll first have these ideas of passions. I think I want to be a circus juggler. Maybe you actually do.
But right now it’s an idea. Okay. So you need to audit that passion idea. How do you audit that idea? You, what I recommend is spending two to three weeks doing that thing every single day and just see if you like the act of doing it. So we’re trying to differentiate between the idea of something and the act of doing it.
Now, why two to three weeks, it’s not a magic number or anything like that. It’s more that. The way, you know, you’re passionate about something is when you face and then overcome resistance. So at first you’re like, I want to be a writer, you know, and maybe you enjoy writing, but write until you don’t enjoy it.
Right until it’s not fun. And then see what you do. Do you quit? Do you give up? If so then you’ve disqualified. This as something you thought you were passionate about. No problem. You’ve narrowed it down. You’ve learned things about yourself, but it wasn’t something that you were passionate about the act of doing.
So you want to differentiate between those two things. Face resistance. And then if you overcome it, you know, when you’re on the other side of resistance, then you know, you’re passionate about something. Now you’re asking about goals. The reason I bring up passions is you first need to figure out what you are passionate about doing, not about thinking about doing, but about actually doing what, what act of doing are you passionate about then when you have that and, you know, quantifiably.
I am truly passionate about this and not just when it’s fun and easy, but even when it’s challenging, I’m going to see it through kind of like the whole Steve jobs thing, where he’s like, you know, you have to have passion and people have kind of poked at that as being cliche. But I think the point is it’s not always going to be fun and passion.
We’ll see you through passion will help you be unreasonable when it counts. You know, other people would, would reason with you and say, look, it’s just not working. Give it up. And you’re like, no, I really believe in this. And you keep going anyway. That’s passion. When you have that setting goals become so much easier.
It’s, it’s just so much simpler because you have passion because you have direction until you have an audited passion, something you were quantifiably passionate about. Don’t worry about goals. I absolve you of it. Any worry or concern about what your goals are or should be? We figure that out. Yeah. After, you know what it is you want to pursue.
Dan: I know Michael is quite young recently out of university, and there is so much pressure. I remember this from a decade and a half ago to have the whole rest of your life figured out when you’re like 25, 24, 23, 22, you know, well, what are you going to do? You got to set your goals. You got to figure out well, what’s next.
You got to. You know, figure out your career. And I think we want to, I think we want to be proponents of, well, you don’t have to figure it. You don’t have to have that all figured out or rather the way to the way to think about your young at your young adulthood is it is the process of figuring this out.
So I remember being in my mid twenties and just worrying all the time about how it seems like I should be further along. You know, I remember ranking myself, unrealistically, highly on skill on some skills when I was in a job interview. And the interviewer very politely pointed out that I was like, you’re not really a seven or eight out of 10 on this.
You’re more like a two or a three. And when he, and when he, and when he, but this is the thing when he saw the horrified look on my face, he quickly added, but that’s what I’d expect. Cause you’re like two years out of university. And I was like, Oh, I’m not actually supposed to be an expert at this yet. So I think the, you know what you were saying, Sean, about just like Michael, you should just treat this time as an, as a huge laboratory of just experimenting to try to figure out what you’re passionate about, because there’s really, I don’t think there’s any expectation that you should know yet.
And if you have some idea, you know what Sean said is exactly right. There’s a big, big, huge says the guy who was still working on that first novel difference between thinking you want to do something. And finding out whether or not you actually want to do it, right. It’s easy to love the idea of being a movie star or a travel writer or something, but you actually have to like try, I was going to say, you have to try like getting on planes and traveling, which doesn’t feel like a very timely example, but you know what I mean?
You actually have to try the thing, build a cabin out of logs. If you think you want to be a woodworker, you know, you have to try this stuff. And then find out if you’re passionate about it. Like, I don’t think you can pick, I think I’m passionate about being a race car driver. And then let me go try to do that.
No, I think you find out that you’re passionate about something by doing it a lot and finding out that you just want to do it more and more and more, even when it’s not that much fun.
Sean: To look like we have our life figured out
Sean: because we think other people do and we think we should. And if you feel like you don’t have your life figured out, here’s what I would say to you. You’re not behind. You’re also not alone, but you’re not behind. You’re a wizard. You’re right on time. You arrived precisely when you mean to however long it takes you to figure out what it is you want to do, what you’re passionate about, what you want to do with your life.
That’s perfect here. Here’s the problem. Social media brings to the top examples of people who are doing things really well, right? Oh. He shot to 2 million subscribers on YouTube in a year. And she got a hundred thousand Instagram followers and it’s like, it seems like everyone’s just succeeding and they are, they’re all doing incredible work and making beautiful art and films and whatever else it is that you want to do.
And why aren’t you, why haven’t you figured it out by now? I don’t know whose voice that is. It’s not mine, but that voice is in your head. And someone, someone put that there. But it’s, it’s like you’re behind. Come on, figure it out. It’s the, it’s that voice. When you were in high school of like, what do you want to do with your life?
What do you want to do with your life? What are you going to go to school for? What are you? And it’s just like, I don’t know, but you can’t say you don’t know because then you don’t have your life figured out. No one wants to look like they don’t have their life figured out, but everyone feels that way.
You’re not behind. You’re not behind. Take your time, take your time. Try things out. Carve out some space for yourself. What, what would you do if you weren’t behind? What, what would you do if you had all the time in the world, try that, see what you like the act of doing, because here’s the other problem.
All of these people that look like they’re doing super well. I know I’ve felt, I felt like I’ve been behind. I look at these other people who are younger than me and I, I started, I’ve been working in my own business since age 17. I’m almost 32. I feel behind. Other people look at me and they’re like, what, what are you talking about?
Like, you’re the person who makes me feel behind I’m 48, I’m 52, you know, just talking on the phone with the guy who, who joined membership recently and he’s in his sixties, you know, I’m trying to get them on zoom and stuff. And he’s like, here’s my phone number? And I’m like, ah, I don’t want to give out my phone number, but like, you know what, I set up a Google voice and I called the guy cause like, that’s, that’s that works better for him, you know, instead of playing.
Tag on Instagram messages or whatever, but, so I’m on the phone with the guy I’m out on a walk. I’m talking to him, he’s in his sixties. And you know what I’ve noticed about people in their sixties. They tell you they’re in their sixties because they feel old. They feel like it matters. They feel like they need that disclaimer.
Right. And you know what I would say to people in their sixties is like, don’t worry about it. Like you’re young. You’re you’re as young as you think you are, it’s it’s age is just a number. How, how are you acting? Are you still willing to learn this? Guy’s building websites, he’s developing, he’s learning to code like it’s, it’s awesome.
You know, but it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter what age you are. You are on time. You’re not behind. So.
The problem. The problem is with all of these examples of people who are young and succeeding, and they seem like overnight successes and you want to be them because they make you feel like you’re behind. Here’s what you don’t know, fast forward, five years. Are they still around? Is that one freak thing that they happen to get right at the right time that made them super successful overnight.
Going to still be around or was it a flash in the pan? Maybe they peaked early. You’re you were so desperate. You, you wanted to change trade places with them so badly. Well, had you traded places, you would have been irrelevant in five years, wouldn’t you rather take the longer, slower route to build something sustainable?
Anyway, take your time. Take your time. You’re not behind.
Dan: I keep thinking. Cause you know, book writing is my thing that I, you know, wish I was decades ahead on. I can’t stop thinking about this guy whose name, unfortunately escapes me, who didn’t start writing books until he was in his sixties because among other things, he was too busy being like an advertising company, director and all this other stuff.
And so the teachers, me two things, one of them is. Like you got time, you don’t, you know, like you don’t have to do this stuff. You don’t have to do everything now. A and B there’s this idea of like your second act and your third act and your fourth act like I’m on my second career. I had a first, like I had a whole career already and I’m on my second.
And I imagine I’m probably going to have three or four or five or six more. Hopefully, you know, if I live long enough, So I think that’s another thing to keep in mind is that whatever you’re hoping. Well, I gotta find my passion. It’s all it’s focused on one. It’s always, I got to find the one thing, the one thing, but like, like life is long too, you know, there’s that idea like wildlife is short, but also like, hopefully life is pretty long.
You’re gonna almost certainly do more than one thing. What do you, Sean, like, what are you going to be doing when you’re in your sixties? You might, you might just be writing books or you might be fly fishing cause you’re just retired or who knows, or you’ll be a university professor. Cause it turns out you love teaching so much.
You’ll who knows. So this isn’t, you know, this is another reason you just don’t, you’re not behind and you don’t have to get everything right. As fast as you can just. You know, you got time to figure things out, but we, I could go on about this topic forever, but we do have one more question, Sean. This is like the most Epic fired-up Mondays we’ve had in maybe ever. Okay. I’ll lay it on you. It’s another question from Paul. What priority is reading? Continuing education and self investment in your entrepreneurial scheme? Is it better to work with the skills you have and only invest during breaks or downtime? Or how much new input is enough to motivate you further without becoming a trap or cutting into your work time.
He says, self-help can be addicting as can learning and doing is our real goal. But I know there’s value in reinvestment. If you have any resources for balancing the two methods that you practice or habits you’d like to share. So Paul’s questions today are all about balance. How do you bounce the short game with the long game?
How do you balance learning and growing and investing in yourself with actually. You know, doing the thing that you need to do.
Sean: Well, I can speak for myself and say, it’s, it’s one in the same to me. Like I, I learn as I do. And I learn in order to do and hopefully to do things better, more efficiently, or maybe to do the right things because you can certainly spend a lot of time learning how to do whatever it is that you’re doing efficiently without asking yourself whether or not what you’re doing is what you should be doing.
And learning will listening to other people, forces you to take a step back and think about things differently than you have been. So the sabbaticals is one way that I’ve found by taking off every seventh week to take a step back and evaluate, wait, whether or not I’m doing things the way I should be doing them, as well as whether I’m doing the things I should be doing.
But learning, listening to podcasts, watching videos, reading books. Also has that effect. And that’s something that I do every day throughout my day. I like to fill in. So I’ve said this before Dan people get the wrong idea. What I, what I’ve said is I like to fill in the gaps with learning. So if I’m on a run, maybe it’s a podcast or an audio book, or maybe, you know, I’m watching videos or maybe I’m reading articles, you know, maybe it’s on the iPad.
Maybe it’s on the desktop. Maybe it’s in the bean bag. Maybe it’s in bed. Maybe it’s at the breakfast table or wherever I like to fill in the gaps. and so what people assume from that is that I have no gaps leftover, which is not the case because I do also have thinking time. And I do thinking time differently in different ways.
Sometimes it’s a shower. It, a lot of ideas in the shower, it got a waterproof notepad. Sometimes it’s on a run. I either won’t listen to something or listen to lyric LIS music, and I will save notes and thoughts using Siri and my LTE, Apple watch. Other times it’ll be the bean bag. You know, a few weeks ago, I literally sat in the bean bag for an hour and a half and just thought like no phone.
No, nothing just sat there for an hour, half, hour and a half and thought so I have those times, right? I have my thinking time. We have an whole whole episode on thinking time. I don’t remember what episode number. Maybe Dan can find that. but when I don’t have that set aside thinking time or sabbaticals or whatever, I’m filling in the gaps with learning.
Now, I’m not here to tell you what the proper balance is for yourself. I’m just saying that’s what I do. However, what I’ve also noticed is. A lot of prominent people, be it, the Warren buffets or the bill Gates or the whatever, you know, the, the CEOs of big companies that we know a lot of these people who would fit a stereotypical definition of success.
So, you know, you have to decide for yourself what the life you want. Looks like they read a lot. They learn a lot. I think, I think some of them spend upwards of four hours a day. Reading. Now they also have to take into consideration context, right? Just because successful people do this thing does not mean that if you do this thing, you will be successful, right?
Because maybe they spent a bunch of their early years, not reading books and just doing things and working in building, which got them to the point where they make enough money to read four hours a day. You have to keep all of this context in mind. So, None of what I’m saying is prescriptive, but hopefully it kind of creates for you a mental space in which to think about this topic and decide for yourself, Dan, any, any thoughts to add anything on that topic?
Dan: All right. That was you covered it pretty well. The one thought that popped into my mind is that,
Sean: Oh, I see that you capture it’s episode three 93 of the Sean West podcast, thinking time, solve problems and clear your mind.
Dan: that’s right. I did a quick dip in the archives. that’s a good episode. I’m definitely guilty of the, it becomes a problem when like, learning about stuff takes the place of doing the thing, because those, those activities can feel productive. And of course a certain amount of them are important and necessary.
So I guess you need to do a little self evaluation, Paul and me and everybody, are you actually getting things done? Like, are you actually shipping? Because if you’re not, then maybe you’re doing, you’re doing, you’re putting a little too much time into the learning and the reading and the, and the planning and the fantasizing about how someday I’ll actually do this thing.
Sean: It’s a great teacher, just getting in there and doing it. You can read books on tennis like that. Doesn’t help you build the muscle memory of the swing as though ideally you’re out there doing, but you’re also reading and you also have a coach and you’re applying this theology and concepts to the actual act of doing.
Dan: Yeah, it’s there, there’s a, there’s always going to be a category of things that you can’t learn in, in whatever you’re
Sean: theology like a religious thing. Was I thinking like,
Dan: that was, I think you, you were thinking
Sean: got to correct me, Dan. Like people think this is a podcast, but really this is where I just learned the right words to say. So I need you to help me.
Dan: yeah, this is great. This is actually the grammar podcast. The Sean Sean was grammar podcast. It’s a new service we provide where we teach taught. We teach Sean how to speak. And apparently we used to teach me how to speak to that’s what I get for trying to stick it to you. I think, I think that’s it. I think that’s all the questions.
Sean: It’s good show.
Dan: An excellent shell.
Sean: Cool. Well, that’s gonna do it for fired up Mondays. Whenever you’re hearing this, go have a fired up day. We’ll talk to you soon.