Do you ever feel like your business cannot run without you… and, you find yourself wishing for more time with family, friends, or things that matter?
Being able to work less and make more is a common goal and doesn’t happen by accident.
It takes focus, a great plan, working smart, and dedication to make it happen.
In this episode, my guest, James Schramko, gives valuable advice on what you can do to create freedom and set up a business where you can work less and make more.
James is the founder and CEO of SuperFastBusiness, a website that offers online business training and coaching. He has helped his clients grow from high five figures a month to multiple seven and eight-figures. James is also the best-selling author of the book Work Less, Make More.
Listen to the podcast here:
Work Less, Make More With James Schramko [Podcast 253]
How would you like to know a formula for working less and making more? What if I told you that after many years of experience in doing hundreds of millions of dollars in business for him and his lucky clients, he discovered four key profit levers that every business has, including yours, whether you realize it or not. What if with 1 or 2 tweaks, you’d be able to level up your business? Would that be exciting? You’re going to get a chance to do that. We’ve got a unique opportunity to have James Schramko. He’s the Founder and CEO of SuperFastBusiness and SilverCircle. He is a bestselling author, media expert and media contributor. He’s an expert who works with experts. You probably know names like Pat Flynn. We had Ryan Levesque, Keith Krance, Kevin Rogers who’s been on the show, Molly Pittman, Ezra Firestone, and a whole lot more. He’s helped his clients get growth anywhere from high 5 figures a month to multiple 7 and even 8-figures. Is that something that would excite you? If it is, I’m going to encourage you. Grab a pen, grab a piece of paper and jot down some notes. If you never want to miss an episode, go to GrowthToFreedom.com/subscribe. James, welcome to the show. How are you?
I’m fantastic. That’s by far the best introduction I’ve ever had.
I want to dive right in because you’ve got a wealth of wisdom. You have this amazing life. You take multiple days off a week. You’ve created a structure around what you do. Before we go into that, I want to talk about a little bit of why you do what you do. Most people have a backstory of why they’re focused on what they’re doing. Why are you doing what you do?
The same reason anyone does anything. It’s to avoid pain. That’s why anyone does anything. Even if we say that they’re moving towards pleasure, pleasure is the absence of pain. I was learning about this when I spoke to a behavioral scientist on my own show. When I look back, the reason I’ve ended up at where I’m at in life is I had kids young and I needed to make money. When my normal resistance would have been probably to be like any other young adult and watch a lot of TV shows, back then, it was on television with ads and VHS cassette tapes during my age there. I had to go out and get a sales job. In that sales job, I had a real epiphany of what high performance could look like in a business sense.
For the next couple of decades, I went for it head down, bum up, and focused on generating income to support my ever-growing family. I ended up supporting six people and numerous range of animals. As with most people, you scale up your costs as well. Living in an expensive city like Sydney, which is ranked right up there with New York, Paris, and London in terms of real estate prices and food. I felt this sense of obligation. In several years, I’ve started applying the same business fundamentals to how I live my life. I’ve redesigned a lot of the ways that I live my life. That resulted in the discoveries where if we apply some of the same principles that would help a business be profitable, we can re-engineer our life and have a life that’s different from what most people live.
That’s why I thought, “Why can’t I have more days off than everyone else? Why can’t I have Mondays and Fridays off? Why can’t I choose who I work with, when I work, and what projects I want to work on?” I found lots of leverage in all of these things. Basically, life is good but it was certainly a grind and hustle in the early days. What I want to help people with is this message that the best person to be grinding is your local barista and if you apply some of the ideas and concepts, maybe you can shortcut the pathway that I had to take to get to everything I know about it now.If you're not providing a healthy attitude for your team, then they're probably going to leave. – James Schramko Click To Tweet
On this journey, James, you’ve had this amazing success. You’re an amazing influencer to many. You’re an influencer to influencers, and yet sometimes people will go, “That’s me. I want what he has.” I want to take a different turn before we get into some of the breakthroughs and strategies, some of your four levers. What has been your biggest failure as you view it or the biggest mistake that you’ve made in building your brand? What can others learn from that to help shortcut it?
I was reminded of this as it turns it out because I was renovating a little room I have at the back of my house. We’ve got a little baby and we wanted to get a little bit more space out of this house. I pulled out my toolkit and I started installing curtain rods. We put down some carpet and mounted a ceiling fan. As I pulled out my toolkit, I’m thinking, “This is what I did with my website when I started online.” Back at the end of 2005, I registered at the main. For most of 2006, I was struggling to build a website. Because I’m handy, resourceful and responsible, I would tend to take on a project and I’ll be able to do it myself. I’m capable.
The irony is I work with some experts who are severely incapable of doing certain things, especially building a website, yet somehow they can make millions of dollars because they’re good at something else. For me, the slow part was trying to do a lot of things myself. It’s only in the latter part of my business career, especially even in 2018 where I started paying for things that I would have tended to do myself. Even things like copywriting, for example, that’s one of the more expensive activities to take on which certainly you don’t do at the beginning of your business because good copywriting costs a lot of money. You don’t have money because you’re not selling anything. This is catch-22. I would say I should have spent less time worrying about the font size, style, and pixels on the page and more about the offer. Everything revolves around that offer because once you get the offer, you get the money and the money can help you scale all the other things.
As you’re reading, if you’re in eComm, affiliate marketing, consulting, working with information products or SaaS, James has a lot that he can share with you not because we’re saying it, but because of the track record of success he’s gotten with clients in all of those industries. If you’re not looking to next-level, work less, and make more, tune us out for the rest of this episode. Go find something else. If you are looking for that and you’re looking at someone who walks his talk. Someone that has made the mistakes, help you to shortcut the path, and he’s done it with hundreds, if not thousands of others. You’re then going to want to pay close attention to what James can share with you. James, what do you think makes you a good coach?
I don’t know if you’ve ever read Rocket Fuel, but a lot of entrepreneurs tend to be the visionary type. They’re creative and good at their thing and flawed in other areas. I work with many, I know the type. Sometimes it’s even hard to wrangle them onto a phone call. You might have to go through three assistants and wait a while. Because I came through a background of accounting and I have a reasonable tune for detail, I’m one of the rare salespeople who are good at paperwork. I can be both a visionary and an integrator and that makes me a good generalist. I’m able to move around with a client and spot all their blind spots.
You talked about that at the beginning of the episode. I love the tool called the Johari Window and there are four quadrants. The quadrant that you and I know, there’s the quadrant where you know stuff that I don’t know. There’s the stuff that I know things and you don’t know. There’s the last one, which is where neither of us knows. My value to the client is filling in all the gaps of stuff they don’t know that I do know. As you do this for a while, people like Jay Abraham for example. He’s one of the people I grew up on feeding on his material, are cross-pollinating ideas, building a database of knowledge that you can then quickly apply to someone. My strength is in the knowledge that I possess on what works and what I’ve already seen, the patterns, the things I recognize, then I can move straight for that and fill in that area for the customer. They can double up the amount of knowledge they have at a rapid pace. If you read a book you love, picked up a new technique and then applied it from then on, that’s the same thing. You can install a new module that you didn’t have before.An under-confident person who gets what they want has switched to believing that they deserve it. – James Schramko Click To Tweet
You mentioned Rocket Fuel. It’s valuable when you understand the power of where you’re at as a visionary, integrator or able to be in both quadrants. Before we go into the profit levers that you’ve discovered, let’s talk about an offer. If you were going to help someone, give them advice on looking to construct a good offer, possibly an irresistible offer in their mind. What would be some of the steps you would recommend to be able to do that?
It’s usually research. My work with Ryan Levesque exposed me to his ASK Methodology. I’m familiar with that process of finding out the challenges, measuring and scoring the responses, segmenting them into categories, which is how I came up with the four areas of business that help people. You’ve got to know the customer. That’s the fundamental thing. Even when you engage a copywriter, if they’re not spending most of their time doing the research, then there’s a problem. You’ve got to understand it. Even my first offer that I scaled to six figures centered on my own problem that I was solving. I started sharing that with other people who had the same problem, which was trying to build a website. Knowing the problem intimately is the key to it.
Once you’ve got it, you have to be able to communicate that. You want to make sure that it’s easy for the prospect to understand your communication, that you’ve got layers of proof. Anything that would take the uncertainty and ambiguity out of it, any way you could demonstrate a result in advance would be good. It’s why I love podcasts because people get to sample the goods. I took that from my time at Mercedes-Benz. We knew that someone who drove the car was far more likely to buy the car because the risk is removed. Jay Abraham, Dan Kennedy, they all talk about risk removal. You want any guarantees or trust factors, things like phone numbers, great support that’s responsive. The prospect understanding is what they’re supposed to do after reading this.
Some people leave off their call to action or they don’t follow-up well. I’ve found things like even following people up after they’ve viewed a sales page but didn’t buy, that’s likely to add another 20% to 30% to your sales. They’re not in the buying window, but they’re in the research mode. It gives them time. Having constant communication and I find the better marketing you do leading up to your offer will make the conversion process a bit smoother. It’s more marketing, fewer sales requirements. You don’t have to club them over the head like a baby seal, which is an outdated sales model. I don’t rely too much on the hype with my marketing. Sometimes it’s a valid case for scarcity. If you’re having a live event, for example, or there’s a limited quantity. Every year I do this Maldives mastermind and there are only a certain number of birds on the boat.
That is a legitimate scarcity where once the tickets are sold, there is no capability to get another ticket. That’s a good thing to put into the offer because it’s legitimate and it makes sense. It’s logical. I would say often, the truth or a good story around this offer can separate you from other people in the marketplace as well. There are plenty of brands that have great stories that we all know about where you like the brand and you want to buy from their stuff. It never hurts to have a product that’s amazing and your customers become the best advocates and they do a lot of the selling. You can reduce your cost and effort there as well if you have a fantastic product.
The endorser model works amazing, stories sell. The reality is as you’re reading this, James gave you a blueprint of about twelve different pieces to consider for your irresistible offer. What if you’re missing 2 or 3 of them? It’s like baking a cake. You can have the right idea. You can go, “I want a cake.” If you’ve got 2 or 3 ingredients or you even cook it at the wrong temperature, your cake goes flat like sales. The four profit levers, you’ve got all of us curious. In many years in business, you discovered these four profit levers that every successful business and probably unsuccessful businesses are missing a piece or two. Speak about the four levers and how can we benefit from it?
Upon analysis of thousands of people that I’ve helped, I look for the patterns. One area that matters a lot is the self-effectiveness part. Even though it’s not strictly under the category of business, I would argue that the health and the operational faculty of the business founder are going to have quite a relationship with the business, especially the smaller businesses. The smaller you go down to the point where perhaps you’re an expert solopreneur, it’s going to be the case. Once you’ve gone public and the directors disappeared off to Burning Man, it’s not such a function. In the meantime, if you’re getting good sleep, if you have great routines, productivity, a good leadership style, you can effectively take responsibility, and you can see the business being profitable and growing. That has to happen before it will be profitable and grow.
When I take the limiters off and the restrictors that people are carrying around inside their heads, and we work with Dr. Gleeson, who says there’s their neck-top computer. We rewire the software. We take it from basic or DOS right up to the current operating system of Safari, Snow Leopard, whatever the latest one is, we tune it up. Most people have some self-limiting belief, self-sabotage, or they didn’t even put it there. That’s the thing. Their parents put it in there and they got programmed when they were small and they haven’t rewritten the program yet. It’s definitely a huge pivot point.
That kicks us off. It’s the starting point, the health of the founder, self-effectiveness. As I was doing some prep, you talk about a nuance of the 80/20 Mindset and you call it 64:4. Speak to the 64:4 concept and how we can apply it to help us grow.
The idea comes from Pareto, who is the economist and discovered that most of the wealth is held by a small fraction of the people. Richard Koch talks about it being fractal, which means it can be applied to itself. Perry Marshall is a big fan of 80/20. The bottom line is if you’re 80/20, the top 20% that gets you the 80% of the results, you end up discovering 4% of the things we do, the 4% of the thoughts we have, or 4% of our wardrobe, whichever one you apply. It’s much likely to result in about 64% of the results or the outputs. It’s a rule of thumb. Someone’s going to say, “It’s not exact.” It doesn’t have to be, it’s a guideline. If you definitely apply it to yourself, you’ll see. I bet you have a favorite pair of shoes and then ones that never gets to see the light of day. Even with my surfboards, there are a couple I like the most that I’ll ride more often than the others. As soon as we decide where everything is not even, it made me question, “Why would we work Monday to Friday, 9:00 to 5:00? It doesn’t make sense.” I know that there are certain times of the day and certain ways that I can bundle my activity that gets me a way better result.
In fact, most research says as you get older, say in the 40s beyond, you can’t put in more than 20 to 25 hours of productive work in a week anyway. You’re kidding yourself if you think you’re doing 60 or 70 productive hours. Why try and push it? Instead, why don’t you go and see a movie with your spouse, hug your kids, go to a swimming pool, or get some sleep? When you’re feeling sick, run-down, and you can’t overcome an obstacle, sometimes the best thing you can do is crawl into bed and get an eight-hour sleep. You’ll be recharged like a dead battery that’s been plugged into the wall socket. Get back up to speed. This is a powerful concept and it bleeds across to another one of the four lever points.
That is team and scaling because at some point, there’s only so much you can do. Once you’ve occupied those 4% activities, then someone else might be doing the other stuff. They have to pick up. For example, when you do a show like this, in the early days, most podcasters after we hang up the headphones and mics, we’ll pull out the editing software and spend three hours editing a 40-minute podcast. That three hours could be resold at $1,000 an hour as coaching if you could hire someone and you could probably pay $600 a month to have all your podcasts edited. It starts to become obvious that you should get help. When you have those people, this is the real power curve. Show them the concept of 64:4 because I bet you they treat every task equally.You could be your best coach if you give yourself a tune-up in the mirror. – James Schramko Click To Tweet
I’ve seen this myself. We used to have 7 or 8 websites. If a new plugin update came like a security floor, they would start working way through their websites down the list. I’m like, “Where does all our money come from?” “It comes from these two websites.” “We should plug the holes in those ones first and then we’ll go way down the list according to how important it is.” That’s something we ask in our business. Let’s rate the importance of each of these things so that we know the first line of our activity and then in a cascading sequence down. We know for a fact that a lot of the things at the bottom of that list will probably not get done, but it doesn’t even matter. That’s the thing. When you realize that most of the stuff on your to-do list doesn’t even matter if it would ever get done or not, you might as well chuck it away. In fact, I haven’t even run with a to-do this for a couple of years. I don’t even worry about it. Once you get a team, you can allocate tasks to them. Urgent things seem to sort themselves out most of the time.
As you’re reading, what would happen for you if you shifted not only you but your team to a 64:4 approach? You worked on the things that move the dial, the needle-movers we talk about in our programs. What are those needle-movers? What is the one domino that knocks 100 of them? What’s a hinge that swings a giant door? What if you got clarity, certainty, focus on those things? Coming back to the programming that James talked about, what is your programming? Is it a program that you have? James, you spoke about the archetype, the DNA of the creative, visionary genius. There’s a part of that DNA it seems as they typically will be workaholics. They will pride themselves on working 100 hours a week, how busy they are, and how they set the pace for their team. It is a feeling that if they don’t do that, they lose their edge. I’m sure you’ve dealt with this.
Yes, the first into the office and the last one out, that is an example.
Speak to that mindset in that programming, reprogramming idea.
I come not too excited to work for that person because I would find that not aspirational. If I get good at what I do and one day I could have my own business, then I get to come in even earlier and leave even later than I do. That doesn’t make any sense to me. If you’re not providing a healthy attitude for your team, then they’re probably going to leave. You’re going to end up building a psychologically unsafe environment is how the behavioral psychologists call it. I do the opposite of that. In our business, our team can have whatever leave they want, anytime they want as long as they communicate it with each other and we’re always covered. I want them to have a great life. I want them to take their spouse to the movie during a weekday. I want them to take their kids to school. I want them to enjoy the projects they’re working on and never work on stuff they hate. If they hate it, they give it to someone else or we hire someone to do it.
I want to create a workplace where I’m setting the tone, but on the other side, I’m saying, “Build your work around your life and make it sustainable.” You’re not going to get to your gravestone and say, “I wish I spent an extra twenty hours a week in the office.” It’s not going to happen. You can’t take all the toys with you. It’s about living while you’re living. I would say, “Why can’t we move to more of a semiretired way of living? What would we do when we retire in the traditional sense? Why don’t we start that now, build it into our life and flip the thing?” You’ll get to the point where I am where you’re starting to plan appointments around tide charts. I look forward to waking up every day because I know I’m going to do a joyful activity and it’s all going to fit in and I’m not taking on more.The person staring back at you in the mirror is responsible for what's going to happen in the future. – James Schramko Click To Tweet
The best thing is if you stack it with one of the other levers, which we could talk about it. You can make it all work. That’s the way that you set up your business model. Things like pricing, your business model, your strategy come into play. One of the mistakes that I made early on is I focused heavily on a one-time sale product. I’d have to go and get new customers constantly. Every time I made a sale, I made $49.25 commission initially. They were thrilled with what I was doing. They moved me from 25% to 50% commission. I moved up to $98-something commission on a $200 product, and then I maxed out. I became the biggest seller of this product on the planet and maxed out the market.
Two things there, strategically, I had a onetime sale product and I was in a market that had a market capsize that I couldn’t go past. I was only serving people who wanted to build a website on their Microsoft platform computer by themselves and there’s only a limit to that. I switched that and I started moving to recurring solutions. I make the sale once, but I keep delivering solutions ongoing. I went into a market size that’s massive and that gave me to scale. When you go into a big enough market and this is quite counterintuitive because everyone’s saying, “Niche.” I say, “You don’t have to do much.” You have to understand the problems that are out there and solve them. You can do that in a big market and then you can add a product on top.
10% of your customers will pay ten times more. That means if you have 1,000 customers paying $100, you probably have 100 customers who would pay $1,000 and you’d have ten customers who would pay $10,000 and you’ve got one customer who would pay $1,000. You stack those products on top of each other and let people buy whichever one they want upfront and that’s important. Don’t run them through the bottom floor level and make them work their way up because your $100,000 customer does not want to go through your free eBook and listen to free podcasts. They want to come to your house. They want you to show them exactly what to do and have your teamwork on it and then they go home with it done. If you can provide that, then you’re done. People say, “I don’t know if that will work.” Say, “Have you ever been to a restaurant? There is a market of people out there who want to turn up, have everything done for them, do the fun bit, go, and let them all wash up.” There is a market. DIY is high-ticket. The business model, pricing and strategy side of things are pretty important.
As you’re reading, can you see the wisdom? You might be saying, “Who is this again?” I want to give you some insight. He built and sold a seven-figure SEO business within a few years of launching. If that weren’t enough, he’s also sold well over $10 million of his own stuff, his own products and services. He was also the number one salesperson in Mercedes in all of Australia. He’s got some of the best experts in the world who turn to him for guidance, wisdom and advice. What could he show you? What if you applied a handful of the things he shared? We’re just scratching the surface. Think about that. If people want to go deeper with you, James, where can they go to get in touch with you? You’ve got many resources as well.
Based on this topic, I do have a book called Work Less, Make More and that’s on Amazon or Audible. It’s easy to access that, Kindle, print copy or audio version. I would say go to SuperFastBusiness.com. Even if you feel you’re at the higher level because there’s a little questionnaire there which would help you figure out what your biggest challenge is and which level you’re at in business. The chooser on that site will pop you to the right solution and there are six different pathways you could go depending on how you answer it. That’s something that is important to make sure you’re only offering the right solution to the person at the right time. That’s the fourth thing because I know you’re going to get someone say, “Dan, what’s the fourth one?” It’s sales and traffic. You’ve got to make a good offer and then you need to let people find that offer. Doing a show like this is one of my preferred mediums because I’ve figured out that I can talk better than I can type. I’d much rather chat. That’s why I do podcasts as well because for the last several years, I could talk into the microphone and share ideas. That gets me enough customers because they’re able to hear what I’m talking about and see if they like it or not. That’s the test drive and then they come to my site and with a little bit of a guided help, they can end up with the right solution, which should be relevant for them if they select accurately.
I want to encourage you if you want to go deeper with what James is sharing with you. Number one, go get his book, it will give you a good foundation regardless of what level you’re at. That’s Work Less, Make More on Amazon. I want to encourage you, go to SuperFastBusiness.com. Check out what he’s got available even if you’re running a business, coaching, training, info products, SaaS, eCommerce or affiliate marketing. Go there and go through his process. You’re going to see genius at work, truly. Ideally, even the process of it, you will learn for your business how to create, go to scale and create customization along the way. It’s brilliant what you will see and what you will find. Go to his website. You’ve got hundreds of clients at a given time, you’re working with at a time with your different platforms. What would you say would be 1 to 3 of the biggest breakthroughs you’ve discovered, stumbled into either yourself or through clients in the last few months relevant?
One is that you already have enough customers to do well with sitting in your database or in your social sphere. That’s where my first port of call when I’m helping someone, I find out what they’ve already got. I was speaking to a lady. She had a 7,000 database and I said, “You can do better than that.” She went out to her social media and she offered them something. I checked in on her, she had 3,000 opt-ins for that. She was sitting on it. It gets much better than that because we found the right solution for her and she’s gone and checked the trademark with a lawyer that I recommended and she can get the one she’s been dreaming off since she was a little girl. She’s rolling forward with that. It’s going to explode.
The other thing I would say is people put far too long a time frame on stuff for it to get done. When I hear as a coach someone saying, “By the end of the year or by the end of 2020 or whatever,” I’m going, “Hang on a minute. What’s going on here?” They’re doing reverse Parkinson’s Law. Because they’ve put such a long time frame on it, it pulls the pressure down and they’re probably not going to do it until the last night before the homework is due. I like to compress the time a bit by questioning their rationale behind why it’s going to take long. After using Toyota’s Five Whys approach, after I said, “Why is it going to take long? Why this? Why that?” We get to the bottom kernel of the truth and it’s either not important enough for them or they don’t know how to do it. Whichever one of those it is, if we don’t solve it, it’s not going to happen. I hear people, when they say, “I’m going to do this. I’m going to do that.” I’m like, “Show me, don’t tell me. Let’s get to it.”
The third thing, we did touch on it and I don’t think it could be overemphasized, is it all comes back to our own belief system. Something I had learned from Vishen Lakhiani in the Dominican Republic. I went to one of his events. I spoke at an event called Centerpreneur that he ran back then. He said something in his presentation that it doesn’t even matter if you have a different belief system to someone else. Your belief system is relevant for you and it works. If you believe a certain thing, then it is true for you. An extension of that is if you have an understanding or a strong sense of where you want to be, who do you need to be to get that result? What beliefs would have to be true? Why don’t you adapt to that belief system to then therefore get it?
You’ve probably seen an under-confident person who seems to be able to get what they want because they switched to believing that they deserve it or they want it and they transitioned seemingly from nowhere. It’s because their belief system has been upgraded. I’d say it is the iceberg. Everyone’s talking about getting new customers and traffic on the top of the iceberg. That’s the business conversation going on. Below the bottom of the iceberg, it’s what’s going on inside. The best tool for that sometimes is a mirror. You could be your best coach if you give yourself a tune-up in the mirror. You don’t have to speak out loud. People think you’re a bit weird, but that person staring back at you is responsible for what’s going to happen in the future.
As you’re reading, when was the last time you gave yourself a tune-up in the mirror? What if you shifted your beliefs of whatever that is that you want? Not what your wife wants, your spouse wants, your kids want, your dog wants, your team wants, it’s just you. You’re operating on your own. What’s the most important thing you want? What beliefs would you have to adapt to be able to make that true? You can do it. If you want to go deeper with what James can share with you, I want to encourage you to go to SuperFastBusiness.com and go deep with what he has to share. You have five kids. You have a sixteen-year-old. What has your sixteen-year-old taught you about being better at business?
The sixteen-year-old is by far the most persistent and strong mentally of the crew in terms of seeking the outcome. He’s got a strong relationship with online gaming and he will create his world around that activity happening. I’ve even had other people tell me, “This kid is off the charts in terms of commitment to that.” He’s been one of the biggest challenges as a parent because the first few, I still had a job for a while. This one, he was only probably five when I quit my job. For the last several years, he sees dad hanging out at home, do a bit of computer work. That’s his norm. He’s grown up with technology and I’ve probably overdone it with this one.When you think you know everything and you think you're better than everyone else, that's when you'll hit the iceberg. – James Schramko Click To Tweet
He’s a hard one to wrestle into anything. Unless he wants to do it, he’s not going to do it. He has the fiercest, stubborn, determined mindset of any human I’ve ever met. That’s what he teaches. He’s redefined the limits for me. I coach people for a living. I’ve read a lot of books on mindset and behavior. I know a lot of techniques, but this kid still challenges me. If you think about it, he spent much time in an online strategy that he can out-maneuver and he’s got a wicked sense of strategy. I remember I had a mastermind at my house a few times and a couple of my customers wanted to play at the time a game called Call of Duty, which was popular. It had a four-quadrant screen so four people could play at once. My son, who was probably about nine at the time, the only rule was that he could just use a knife, no guns. I remember within about 35 seconds, he’d slain everyone else with a knife. He’s too good at it. What that’s taught me is that any extremism where you’re too invested in something and you start to miss out on looking out for those around, you’re being conscious of your environment, it can be hard to get back from.
You also have a newborn in the family. What has your newborn taught you about being better at business too?
By far, the lesson there is I’ve spent every single day of her life from when she was in the womb, every single day I’ve been present. I didn’t have that opportunity with the first four. This time around, it’s different. We have such a bond. We go swimming every day. That has taught me the value of that human connection and being present for your family. When I was young, scared, and trying to make money to support the first round of kids, I was in shock probably for a good several years. It kept coming, the obligations. I’ll start to get nightmares and the stress was probably a little bit like the stress symptoms that people come after they come from war. It was being in that aggressive, difficult industry with much pressure. I’ve learned to let it go. I’ll prioritize around family first and that relationship means everything to me. She’s taught me that it’s important to put those things first and build your life around that. To be fair, many years ago, it wasn’t practical. There wasn’t the internet for me to do that. I can definitely do it and there are no excuses. As most people reading this, there are a lot more options available to you for parenting and business at the same time.
What’s something I should have asked you that we didn’t get a chance to cover?
If I have a favorite expression, sound bite, or something I regularly use to tune myself.
What would that be?As soon as you start becoming an investigation machine with a bit of curiosity, you'll see the results come through. – James Schramko Click To Tweet
I would say something that one of my most difficult bosses taught me and he said, “Question everything.” He was a massive contrarian. Everything he did in business was contrary. He would rather have empty premises than a bad tenant. He said that it was arrogance and ignorance that brought down Mr. Smith in the Titanic. When you think you know everything and you think you’re better than everyone else, that’s when you’ll hit the iceberg. He taught me to own the racecourse, take control of assets, and don’t be subjective to other people’s whims. Anyone who’s bleating about Facebook shutting them down or YouTube’s banned them or whatever and that’s going to take their business down, then they haven’t applied the ownership side of things there.
There are a lot of valuable lessons from that guy, but the core essence is question everything. That’s instructive as to how you might go about shifting your mindset too. Why do I work Monday to Friday, from 9:00 to 5:00? Why am I even doing this business model? Who are my best customers of these 100 customers? Which ones would I want more of? Which ones would I want less of? What would have to happen for me to do that? Why not start now? As soon as you start becoming an investigation machine with a bit of curiosity, you’ll see the results come through.
It’s such good wisdom. If you want more of this wisdom, go to SuperFastBusiness.com. Also, get his book on Amazon, Kindle, and a whole lot more. Your family life is important. If you were going to turn to your wife, James, and you were going to thank her for how she shows up for you to allow you to be you, this builder, this creator, this innovator, what would you thank her for?
I would thank her for being tough. She’s a super-strong person and she makes me a better person. I’ve definitely lifted up some notches being around her because she’s a little bit more particular than I am in some ways. I’ve got to meet that standard. She raises the standard on the things where other people get sloppy. Even little things like being organized, tidy or following up. If she asks me to do something, I’ll do it straight away. You don’t get a warning shot after that. You get taken out. We’ve all got that. There are guys out there with books like ex-Navy SEALs and stuff that have books on discipline, resilience, and so forth.
It’s important to have a little more discipline in your life. There are too many fat people wandering around watching Netflix, winching about the government, and not being the best they can be. In fact, one of my other sons who are eighteen, did something one time. He got himself into a little bit of a jam. When I was coaching him through it, I solved it for him with a series of questions. It involved him being somewhere late at night with not enough funds to get to where he needed to be. I had to coach him through the solutions, but then I said, “You can do better.” That’s my way of saying, “Next time, plan a bit better. You’re in this position because you’ve allowed this position to occur. You can do better than this.”
He agreed and thanked me for it. That’s what I say, “Let’s raise our standards as humans personally and professionally.” I commit fully to my customers. I want them to get a result because I want a fantastic product that comes from working with great brands. I know what a great brand can bring, a brand like Mercedes-Benz, they’re such a good brand in terms of the product they make that people would revere it and desire it. It’s even safe and well-engineered. It’s good for people and that flows across to, “I want that standard in my team. I want it for my personal life.” I would thank her for that, for bringing a good standard into the mix.
Thanks for taking us and giving us a glimpse into your personal life in many different ways and perspectives. As you’re reading, I hope you’re getting a ton of value from what James has shared. What are 1 to 3 action steps you hope our readers take from our time?
If you have been making notes then I would say go through them, but then circle a couple that you think would have the most impact. Measure it by the impact. The impact might be a concoction of urgency and importance, the Eisenhower Matrix. Think about what’s going to move the needle the most. That’s one of your phrases, Dan. What’s going to get you a bigger result? Where’s the 80/20 in the notes? Of that, what is that 64:4? Which one thing, if you did that, would make a difference?
What I’d do is put the notes aside. I’d put them in a drawer or something. Put the one thing on a Post-it note and stick it onto your computer screen. Unless that’s done, don’t go and get the rest of the notes. Once you’ve done it, chuck away the Post-it note, pull it out of the drawer, and do the next one. This is how Woody Allen makes a feature film every single year. He puts his ideas on a scrap of paper, sticks them in his drawer, and once a year, he tips them out on his bed. He goes through them, picks one, puts the rest back, and goes and makes a movie. I like that idea. That’s why I don’t make a to-do list anymore. If it’s important enough, I already know that I should be doing it and I’m delaying it. I have to have the discipline to do it.
That is such great advice. As you’re reading, just do it. What’s that one thing that you can apply if you are like, “I got so much wisdom here, I’ve got to come back to this.” Here’s the deal. What would happen for you if you apply one big needle-mover idea from what James has shared with you now? How would it shift the game for you? More importantly, what if you don’t take action with at least one needle-mover from this episode? What is it going to cost you? It could cost you quality family time. It could cost you the ability to be present with a little one if you’ve got little ones or be present with someone you care about for that matter, even if you don’t have little ones and a whole lot in between. I want to encourage you, take action at least with what James has been sharing with you. We love feedback. If you have any feedback, feel free to post that down below. You can go check this out on iTunes and leave some comments there. Let James know how you enjoyed this episode. You can do that at GrowthToFreedom.com/subscribe, which is our iTunes link. James, it’s been an absolute pleasure and privilege to be with you. Thank you.
It’s been great here. It’s also good to witness such a great show host. You have good questions. I’ve enjoyed this immensely. I can see you’re contributing a lot to your audience and that’s what the world needs more of. This is positive.
Take action with what James has shared with you. Seize the day. Make it a great day. We’re going to see you next time.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Ryan Levesque – past episode
- Kevin Rogers – past episode
- Rocket Fuel
- Work Less, Make More – Amazon
- Audible – Work Less, Make More
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About James Schramko
James is based in Sydney Australia and has started, developed and sold multiple successful businesses.
A passionate father, investor, surfer, husband, coach, mentor and lover of freedom, James excels in making the complex world of business simple so that your quality of life can improve.
When James started online he was a General Manager working with Mercedes-Benz commanding a large team of employees in a multi-million dollar business by day and an online marketer by night.