E-Commerce Finance – Here’s How to Use Solid Tactics to Help Fulfill Your Own Vision of Freedom – 218
Many online sellers are so excited to jump into e-commerce that they forget to do the one main thing that will allow them to fulfill their dreams. Crafting a financial plan is something that too often comes after sellers are already making six figures and continually raiding their business account to pay day-to-day expenses.
Today on the AM/PM Podcast, Tim Jordan speaks with Nick True, a financial strategist who specializes in helping entrepreneurs create a solid business plan. Before he does that however, he works closely with them to make sure that they’ve taken the time to really think about what their vision of success looks like, then builds a business framework that gets them there.
As a dedicated entrepreneur, if you’re selling on Amazon, Walmart or Shopify, the first instinct is to roll up your sleeves and work harder. There are many stories of seven or eight figure sellers who aren’t making money, simply because of a faulty business plan.
Working smarter, not harder. It’s got a nice ring to it.
In episode 218 of the AM/PM Podcast Tim and Nick discuss:
- 01:45 – What’s the Measure of Success?
- 05:00 – Nick’s Golden Handcuffs
- 07:30 – “Smart Passive Income” Sounds Pretty Good
- 09:30 – A New-Age Clark Griswold
- 12:30 – What Do You Want Your Life to Look Like?
- 15:30 – A Financial Profitability Mindset
- 18:30 – What Do You Really Need to Live? Now, Create a Salary
- 20:30 – Constructing a Vision of Your Future
- 23:00 – Hyper-Focus Helps Create a Business Plan
- 25:30 – Peer Groups Offer Crucial Feedback
- 30:00 – We’re Still Fans of Fast Cars
- 32:45 – Establishing Good Financial Habits
- 37:00 – Don’t “Drift” Through Life
- 38:15 – How to Reach Out to Nick
Enjoy this episode? Be sure to check out our previous episodes for even more content to propel you to Amazon FBA Seller success! And don’t forget to “join” our Facebook Group and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or wherever you listen to our podcast.
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Tim Jordan: When anybody uses the word finance, most people’s eyes glaze over and we want to go to sleep. And today we are talking to a finance guy, but I assure you, we’re not talking about credits and debits and P and L statements. We’re talking about strategies, and we’re talking about an actual framework that our guests, Nick True shares to actually meet the goals and reach the visions that we have for our business. So, it is finance. I promise it’s not boring. It’s actually really good content. Stick around. Tell us what you think.
Tim Jordan: Hi, I’m Tim Jordan and in every corner of the world, entrepreneurship is growing. So join me as I explore the stories of successes and failures. Listen in as I chat with the risk takers, the adventurous and the entrepreneurial veterans. We all have a dream of living a life, fulfilling our passions, and we want a business that doesn’t make us punch a time clock, but instead runs around the clock in the AM and the PM. So, get motivated, get inspired. You’re listening to the AM/PM Podcast.
Tim Jordan: Hello everybody. And welcome to another episode of the AM/PM Podcast. Today, we are talking about money, which seems kind of ironic because this is an entrepreneurial podcast and we should always be thinking about money, at least in some form or another. But today we’re going to actually talk very specifically about money. I remember one of the most impactful, actually couple moments that I’ve had in this e-commerce space that had been impactful. One is when I realized that I am not a successful e-commerce seller until I’m driving six Lamborghini’s and that kind of stereotype. In fact, I once did a marketing thing where I rented a Lamborghini in Vegas and drove around with one of my friends and shot a bunch of footage. And we actually ended up not using it because we thought, man, this is going to tick too many people off. But the second time that I was kind of moved by this concept of money and entrepreneurs is when I was at a funnel hacking live event and Garrett White was onstage and Garrett White, he screams and yells and says a lot of stuff, but he said, one thing that I really liked, he stood on stage and in more colorful language than I’ll use, basically said, you guys are wrong. If you think that success is determined by how many of these sales awards you have and how many cool cars you think you own, and how many videos of you sitting in a private jet, you have like, that’s not it. And he called out all these people in the crowd. He said, all of you that are winning the 10X awards, he said, come up on stage and open your bank account. He said, cause you might look cool holding that award and having all these sales brought promise you, I got more money in the bank than any of you do. And I was like, wow, that’s one, that’s pretty bold statement. Because you don’t know how much people have in their bank account. Anyways, long story short, it’s something that we oftentimes don’t discuss. We talk about sales and I even hate the phrase when someone, Oh, I made a million dollars. No, if you turned a million dollars, you didn’t make a million dollars. Selling a million dollars isn’t creating a million dollars in profit. Big difference. Anyways, I’m going to have to get off my soapbox for a second and introduce our guest, Nick True. Nick is going to be talking about a lot of these things financially related, and I would say most of them apply to most entrepreneurial startup, kind of one-man shop side hustles, all that good stuff. But specifically we’re going to be talking about a framework to help e-commerce sellers today to focus on what’s right. And to make sure that we are profitable and not just churning money. So Nick, welcome to the show.
Nick True: Hey, thanks for having me, man. And I’m so glad you opened up with that. Like that I’ve been to a lot of conferences myself until a lot of those same types of events and it’s nice and a breath of fresh air. I’ve been to the conferences where you walk in and a couple of big name folks have their Lambo sitting right out front of the hotel and it’s not what it’s all about. So, I love that you opened up with that. That’s awesome.
Tim Jordan: Yep. I know that right now, we were talking right before the show, you’re technically homeless. Right? Kind of? And we can talk about that second, but you didn’t start off as a finance guy when you were bringing on a share your finance wisdom, but that’s not how you started off. Give us the quick rundown of where you start off in your professional career, how you got to being on this podcast, talking about finances for e-commerce sellers. And you can go ahead and explain what I mean of actually being homeless.
Nick True: Sure. So, I have sort of the most stereotypical, sort of what you’re supposed to do story, I grew up in a nice middle class family. I was told my whole life you’ve got to go to college. And so I did thing. I got the grades in high school, got into a good school in Tennessee, just a normal kind of public school. Worked my butt off. There, got a degree in mechanical engineering and took an internship my sophomore year and works that same internship all the way through. And then when I got out, took a job with that company and I had quote “made it” right. I came out making 70K a year. I was like a 22 year old engineering guy. And I had my golden handcuffs, took me about two months to figure out that I hated this. And I did not at all want to do this for a living, and the backstory even more than that is my dad’s a business owner. He builds houses for a living on his own construction business. I had taught piano lessons. I had worked for him. I had tutored math and did ACT prep, everything that I’d ever done to make money. I sold bread to the neighbors, like everything I’d ever done to make money until that engineering job I was doing. And then all of a sudden I was working for somebody else. And I did not like it. So, that sort of led me down this path of, okay, I got to figure this out. Right. I cannot do this for the next 20, 30, 40, 50 years. A lot of the guys that I’m seeing at this firm and really I’ll tell you like, so the– one of the real stories is– so I just graduated and I was going on a camping trip with my wife, we’re big campers as I’ll get to. And we were going on a camping trip. It would have been Memorial Day. So, we’re going on a camping, a weekend trip long weekend for Memorial Day, I’m working out of Chattanooga, Tennessee. I’m packing up the car. I took off work a little early that day to pack up. As I’m loading the car, I get a call from a client in California. We had one of our biggest clients was in Southern California. And they say, Hey, Nick, the power plant, we’re having some issues. It was in power industry. So it’s very like, they call you go. And they said, we need you out here tomorrow on a Saturday, on a holiday weekend. And I was just like, are you kidding me right now? But, so I ended up pushing back. I said, listen, I can’t come tomorrow. I’ve got this thing planned, but I’ll come out on Monday. And so I ended up flying out on Memorial Day, we cut the trip short, I go out there and I do the thing. And like that weekend was when I was like, I’m not building a career doing this. I need freedom. I need control over what I’m doing. We don’t even have kids yet, but I can tell, like, I’m not doing this with kids in the future. And so that’s what started me down this path of like, I got to figure something else out. Shortly after that, I came across a podcast called Smart, Passive Income. And, I found some folks who were living in an RV and traveling the country and working remotely. And that sounded intriguing to me and my wife who at the time was going to graduate school for physical therapy. Also like sort of that traditional do the thing, get the grades path. And over the next couple of years, we worked really hard to start a personal finance business. So, I had always been into personal finance, like I said, I had done some tutoring and teaching a piano lesson. So, I knew I liked teaching. I knew I liked education. And so, I started a blog in 2015, all about just sort of personal finance topics. And it took me a couple of years to get things going. But in late 2017, I was able to leave my job. We bought a 2007 Airstream 27 foot travel trailer. And we bought a big F 250. My wife took a job as a travel physical therapist and we hit the road over the next six months. The business started doing much better, and we were able to let my wife quit her job in March of 2018. And she started working with me full time, doing kind of all the behind the scenes, graphic design, video editing, podcast editing, all that stuff for the business. And so, the past two years we’ve been just working on our business, that’s a combination of helping people with their personal finances and helping business owners with their cashflow planning and their business budgeting, which ultimately can combine personal finance. And that’s when I work with people on the business side, most of the time we’re doing both because your business that most people, unless you are Elon Musk, or somebody like that, who’s got this mission where you’re trying to put people on Mars. Most people, their small business, their e-commerce business, they’re doing it to build some sort of lifestyle for themselves. And we have to get clarity on that lifestyle first. And so that’s why a lot of what I do ends up being both personal and business and helping those people in both aspects. So, that’s kind of where we’re at now for the last three years, we’ve been traveling the country in our RV and working remotely from the Airstream. And, we’re actually in the process of settling down a little bit, looking for a house to buy and trying to find somewhere near the beach. So, that’s kind of what’s going on with us.
Tim Jordan: Like a new age, Clark Griswold.
Tim Jordan: That’s exactly right.
Tim Jordan: This year, I drag my wife camping for the first time and she said, I’ll never go camping. And she actually enjoyed it. And two weeks later, she insisted that we buy a popup camper. Now I’m the guy with a minivan hauling a popup camper and kayaks on the roof and straight up inner Clark Griswold vibes. I love it. So, I appreciate you telling your story. It’s interesting, even though you don’t sell on e-commerce and we’ll get to this later, you support and you help a lot of e-commerce sellers. There’s so many people that I come across that like their stories, the same nine to five job had to walk away. I couldn’t do it now. I do find it interesting that you must have been so bored with engineering that a job in finance was actually more interesting. If that’s the upgrade, man, I can’t imagine what the engineering job must have been like.
Nick True: Hey, that’s true.
Tim Jordan: So, let’s talk about– you help a lot of e-commerce sellers and I’m sure that you see a lot of problems. You see a lot of people make, I would say even dumb mistakes, right? Because in the e-commerce space, we’re not, when I say we, I mean like as a group, not everybody, but generally e-commerce sellers, don’t start off treating like a real business. Generally what happens is we start doing a side hustle and it escalates and it snowballs. And eventually we look around and go, Oh crap. I did 2 million in sales over the past two years. And I’ve never even thought about getting QuickBooks or having the accountant, you know? So, we’re like reactionary. So, we train ourselves when we fix our financial problems when we start documenting reporting correctly only when there’s a need like, Oh, crap, it worked now I have to backtrack, right. And that’s how you got started in e-commerce. Right. So, you basically put up a free content on YouTube and e-commerce sellers started coming to you in large numbers saying, Oh, this content is great. I needed this, I needed this, I needed this. So, that’s when you pivoted and started focusing on e-commerce seller support, is that right?
Nick True: Yeah. So, it is that. What happens is most of the time, you’re exactly right. We get something going and we don’t think we need to manage the money or do the thing. And so we just kind of rock and roll. And so that’s exactly what happens. And then eventually they realize, wait a second, I did 2 million in sales. And like, I have been actually– my bank account doesn’t see that. I did 2 million in sales, but why don’t I have any of that in my personal checking account? Why can’t I start taking some of the time off for the vacations, the whatever that I want to, and it’s because rightfully so in some ways they’ve been so focused on building that business, that they haven’t really brought their head up out of the sand to look around and say like, what is it that I actually want? And so, I put out, like you said, I put out free videos on YouTube talking about budgeting and cashflow management and managing your money. And then, some people had found me and said, Hey, you know, I’ve heard you trying to do this or that. And I saw your videos, but that just looks way too complicated. Can you help me out? Right. And even though I hadn’t done any e-commerce stuff prior to some folks coming to me and asking, Hey, can you help me with this sort of e-commerce stuff. That’s sort of where that came from. But yeah, I mean, if I had to boil it down to one key issue that I see over and over again, it’s just the fact that they never sat down and said, okay, here’s what I want my business to deliver for me in the next two years, three years, five years, like this is what I want my life to look like. I want to be taking home this much money. I want to be living in this city. I want to be able to live this way. I want to have whatever going on, what needs to happen in my business to pull that off, what revenue, what profitability, what needs to be happening to make that a reality. And that’s the biggest issue. And that’s what my wife and I did with the Airstream. It was like, okay, two years from now, we want to be in an Airstream, travelling the country. How much money does that cost? How much money does it cost? What are we going to spend to do that? Okay, great. If that’s how much it costs, how much does our business need to make to make that happen? And instead there’s a lot of vanity metrics, just like you said, whether it’s the sales of the funnel hacking live and getting up on stage, like none of that matters, what matters is not the top line revenue or the vanity metric of how many SKUs you have, or how many products you’re moving, what matters is, does your business help you live the life that you want, not the one that anybody else wants. And so, that’s the consistent thing that I end up, people come to me for finance help. And we ended up having to do a lot more vision and mindset and sort of like clarity on your future because although finance is “boring”. To me, money is just a tool. That’s why I was interested in it. Money’s just a tool that allows me to do everything that I want to do. I’ve got some big dreams and some big goals that I want to accomplish in my life over the next couple of decades. And money is the tool that lets me make that happen. It’s not the end goal in and of itself.
Tim Jordan: And I know that when we talk about like financial experts in the space, everybody thinks accountants. And I know there’s a big difference. We won’t get into it, but there’s a big difference between your tax accountant and your bookkeeper and your financial strategists. There’s so many different facets. And today you’re going to share with us some tactical advice, some tactical information. I think you called it a framework. The acronym used dream. For those of you that are listening, this isn’t going to be like a boring segment on how to balance your P and L and credits and debits. And we’re not getting into that. We’re going to go more on the financial strategy. Like the financial profitability mindset is we talk about this. Is that a fair statement, Nick?
Nick True: That’s a hundred percent fair.
Tim Jordan: Okay. So let’s jump into your DREAM strategy, right? And this is an acronym, five letters, dream. You’re going to give actionable insights on all of those that hopefully we can remember. So, let’s start off with number one.
Nick True: Yeah. So, the first one is obviously the D and it stands for determine your starting point. And more or less most people listening to this, probably have this done already. It’s just a matter of actually looking at it. This is the more boring part where you need to talk to your accountant or look at getting QuickBooks up and running. If you’re not doing it and you need to actually know, okay, what is my current situation? What are revenues right now? What are my cost of goods? What are all the operating expenses that I’m paying? And then what am I currently paying myself, if anything, and what’s that bottom line profit number, right? We have to assess where you’re currently located. I always liken it to, right now, I’m in an RV in Southern Alabama. Okay. So I know where I’m starting. And if I wanted to plan a road trip to San Diego, California, I could do that because I know where I’m at. A lot of business owners, they have sometimes have a dream of where they want to go, but they don’t even know where they’re currently located. So that’s like me saying, Hey, Tim, meet me in San Diego. But you not knowing what city you’re currently located in. And that’s where a lot of business owners are. So, that’s the D. You got to actually just figure out, okay, where am I at? Where am I starting? Which is more or less, what’s my inflows or my outflows, what am I currently doing? And then we can work from there.
Tim Jordan: And what are some of the biggest mistakes that you see people making by looking at their starting point incorrectly?
Nick True: Yeah. So I think, it’s easy to get focused on the wrong numbers, right? And so, the main things that I’m looking at, right, when I get started is obviously what’s our top line revenue. What are our cost of goods? What are we paying for our products? What are we having to do? And then we’re going to subtract those out and just figure out, okay, what’s our revenue after cost of goods, but before we pay anybody else, ourselves, or any of our operating costs, any of the software that we’re using, any of that stuff. And so top line revenue, cost of goods, the gross revenue after that, and then how much are we actually paying ourselves? And then the last one is obviously the profit. The biggest mistake I see here, Tim though, is, especially when you are at that sub million, 2 million level, the business may not be in a place where you’ve historically paid yourself a set salary. And so what’s going on is that if you are living fully off your business, but you don’t have this stuff organized, what’s happening is you’re just operating the business. And then whenever personal bills come up, Oh, crap, the rent’s due. The mortgage is due, my car payments due, whatever it is, you’re just sucking money out of the business checking account. And either paying yourself, or sometimes even just doing a straight up transfer to your personal checking. And you’re just taking money every other day, you’re logging in, Oh, I need money to pay this log in, take a couple of hundred bucks log in and take a thousand bucks log into that. That right there will absolutely kill you and crush your any long term planning that you have. And so out of the gate, what you have to do is you have to get super clear on like, what do you need to live monthly? Which a lot of people don’t even know cause they don’t track our personal expenses. What do you need to live? And then how can we get you on a set salary as quickly as humanly possible so that we can start building some form of stability? That’s what I want you to really focused on in that starting point is knowing your personal number and then at least understanding your business numbers so that you can put yourself on a regular salary. Because when you’re just logging into that bank account and pulling that out, every set every other day, it’s extremely stressful. It’s ridiculously time consuming and it doesn’t for you up to do the stuff that you do best, which is ultimately how we grow the business.
Tim Jordan: Got it. All right. Second one, R.
Nick True: So, the R is to refine your vision. This one is a little bit more of the mindset, the vision stuff that we’ve been talking about, which is okay, you’ve got some clarity now around where you’re at, what you’re paying, what your operating numbers are. Now we need to go high level. Where do you want your business to be in three, five, 10 years? This doesn’t mean that you have to know every single little bitty thing, but you have to be able to answer questions. Where do you want to live? What do you like? What do you want your life data look like? How many hours a week do you want to work? Right? Do you want to be fully supported by your business? If so, do you want to work 10 hours a week? Do you want over a hundred hours a week? What do you want this thing to look like? Do you want to have a big team? You want to have a small team? How much time do you want to spend, like with your family, just sort of life stuff. And this is not business of at first, it is a lifestyle because the business drives your life. The business supports your life. We’re not doing, I mean, we are doing this for fun, but like, it’s not solely for fun. We’re doing this to try and build some dream life that we have. That’s why we call it the dream acronym. And so, the vision piece is both on the personal side and then on the business side, because we say, okay, here’s the personal side for me and my wife. Here’s a few of things that are like on our dream list. And the next three years, we want to have a solid house. We want to own two rental properties. We want to be saving for a rental property on the beach and we want to start planning adoption. And so, those are some things in our personal life that we’re going to need money to be able to do. We know that. So, now what does our business need to be able to do to pull that off? And so now in the business side, now I’m doing my vision for the business side and my favorite book in this area. If anybody listening wants to find a book on this, my favorite book for the vision stuff is called the Vision Driven Leader by Michael Hyatt. And he outlines four key areas. And this book, your team, your product, your sales and marketing, and then the impact, the impact is your actual metrics, revenue, numbers of employees, number of products, that kind of thing. And so in the next couple of years, where does your business need to be? How big is the team going to be? What kind of products are you offering? Are you offering 50 SKUs? Are you offering five, right? Are you offering– what are you doing on the sales and marketing side? What’s your main strategy and then the impact, what sort of numbers are you doing? And that vision and the business should be directly supportive of whatever the vision is in your personal life. And this is the piece that everyone skips over because it seems like, Whoa, it seems more of mine than whatever. I just need to go like make money. But you may realize that you’d actually don’t need to build as big of a business as you think you do to get the vision that you want. And so you may realize that you can actually achieve that vision a lot quicker than you think. If you sit down and nail that down, or you may realize that actually the vision you really want, you’re not currently on that path and what you’re doing right now, isn’t going to help you get there. And so we need to make a change. And so that’s why this R is all about getting extremely clear and refining what that vision is.
Tim Jordan: Got it. And, E.
Nick True: So, the E this is the more tactical. So, the E is to establish your plan. So at this point, we know where we’re starting, right? If we use this road trip metaphor, we know where we’re currently located. Now, we have a vision. We know where we want to be, that E is okay, what are the steps in between now? I’m a big fan, especially when businesses are small, because it requires so much pivoting. So many things change so fast. I’m a big fan of not doing yearlong, annual planning. And so in my business, me and my wife, we worked together and we sit down and we do six week sort of sprints. And then we reassess. And so what we focus on is we know where we want the business to be in three years, that’s the refining your vision. And then we hyper-focus what the E, and say, okay, what are we focused on in the next six weeks? All right. And so, we will choose a couple of goals based on increasing revenue, based on increasing our sort of conversion points, or based on decreasing expenses to try and increase profitability. And we will look at our plan, okay, what’s the plan? What’s our goals for the next six weeks? What are we going to hyper focus on? What projects are we going to implement? There’s a sort of more your traditional business planning, or we sit down and we typically will take one or two days every six weeks and do this and plan the next six weeks. That’s the way we do it. And that’s the way I like to do with my clients is because, especially when businesses are so small, things just change so often. And so having that regular six weeks sort of assessment to get back on track has been extremely beneficial.
Tim Jordan: And with establishing your plan, do you suggest for people to get somebody to help you do that? Because at least for me, there’s, a lot of times I’ll put together a plan and it’s full of fallacies, like it’s full of problems, but I don’t necessarily recognize that. If I am sitting down to put together a plan and I’ve never run a business before, it’s a type of venture I’ve never done before. How do I go about finding someone with more experience that can point me in the right direction as I’m putting this plan together?
Nick True: Yeah. So, you’ve got obviously two main options. I recommend both for different reasons and at different points. So the first one is, if you literally don’t know anybody and you’re just starting, then you establish a plan and ideally if you have the money available, then it might be worth investing and hiring a coach for a time period to help you with that. I’ve hired different business coaches on and off throughout, over the last few years. And I’ve got one right now that I’m working with for the next year. And it’s been extremely beneficial to be able to bounce ideas off of them, and make sure that what I’m doing makes sense. And so, the way you source that though, the way you source that coach is by nailing down that vision step. I know I keep harping on this, but it is by nailing them that vision. Because if you know, Hey, what Tim’s doing with the AM/PM Podcast, like that’s actually very similar to what I would like to do. I wonder if Tim does coaching, let me see if that’s something that he, Oh, no, he does. Oh, great. Or, no, he doesn’t. Well, let me ask him and see if he knows somebody else that maybe is a good fit that I could hire. You don’t just go willy nilly and shotgun approach and find a coach. You need to nail down what it is you’re actually trying to do, and then go hire somebody who’s done what you’re trying to do. The other way to do this, if you don’t have the money is to try and find some peers. And so this is where mastermind groups and that nature come in because you do need feedback. I’m very lucky in that my wife and I worked together these days. And so, it’s helpful to have us to be able to bounce ideas off each other and plan together. But even when I have a plan for my six weeks, I go and present that to the mastermind group that I meet with every other week. And I ask them to poke holes in it. And I asked them to say, Hey, what are you seeing here that doesn’t make sense? What are you seeing here that does. And then obviously what the people that work with me, I take a look at it and help them with that as well. So, it’s definitely helpful to get outside feedback. And again, the nice thing is with doing it on a six or a 12 week cycle, that hyper-focus, as you don’t have to plan a whole year with a petroleum projects, you typically are just focusing on one or two main projects and then whatever the sort of maintenance work that’s required in your business. And so, it allows you to quickly assess every six weeks and go, okay, did that work, did that help move the needle on the things I’m focused on? Oh, it didn’t. Okay, great. What do I need to do this next time to be different?
Tim Jordan: A, step number four. Or I don’t even know if this is steps, like, is this sequential or is this like just different?
Nick True: No, it’s definitely sequential. It’s designed to go through it. So A is to actualize the dream. This is where we’re going to revisit and actually get into the meaty part of the numbers in your business.
Tim Jordan: When you say actualize, I’m picturing myself like, telling myself I’m cool in the mirror in the morning, like actualizing myself in. Cool. That’s not what you’re talking about here, right?
Nick True: No. Because here’s the deal. How many plans have you made that you didn’t stick with?
Tim Jordan: I could not even begin to fathom what that number would be, but it’s high.
Nick True: Exactly. And that’s why we have this step because the establishing your plan. That’s great. How many people listening to this have made a plan? They’ve listened to this podcast. They’re like, Oh man, I’m going to do that. And they make a plan. They don’t do anything. The A, the actualizing your dream. Look in the mirror and tell yourself whatever it is, literally, what step do I need to implement next to work towards this dream, becoming a reality. We’ve got the vision, we’ve got the dream. We’ve made a plan for the next six weeks or 12 weeks or whatever cycle you and I operate on. Actualizing it is, okay. Here’s, here’s the budget. Here’s the starting point. We already, we looked at that at the D. We know the plan. What’s the next thing that I’m going to actually do. And so this is where we will go visit your financial numbers. And we will either cut expenses, right? When we realize we need to cut, because that’s what we need to do right now to get more profitable, or we’ve realized, man, we got to make sales like now, like yesterday. So, what step are we doing tomorrow to make this happen? And so the actualizing, your dream is like the super nitty gritty. And that’s the reason it’s in here to remind you, like, we’re not just planning for planning sake at the end of the day. If you don’t actually take action on anything, nothing’s going to happen. And so that’s where the actualizing is. It’s a combination of tweaking the financial numbers, looking at the budget, cutting things, adding things, hiring someone new to help you, whatever step makes the most sense where you’re at in your business. And then also refining your actual steps for today. Right now this second, this is where we actually start making the dream the reality. And I know it’s sort of hokey and we even went back and forth on using this dream acronym, but that really is what we’re trying to do. It’s not about the Lambo and unless the Lambo is your dream, literally it is. But for most people it’s not.
Tim Jordan: Yeah. I think your point is it’s about your dream. Not someone else’s perception like, so yeah, we pick on the people about Lambos, but let me say this. Like, if you want to have– my buddy Manny Coats. He was talking about his wish list of cars. He was talking about the big garage that he has now, and he wants to fill it up. But look, that guy, you’re not going to see him buying those cars just to flex and try to gain other people’s respect because of that. It’s because he’s done very well. He can afford it and he likes fast cars. Right? Like, that’s fine. So, I just want to want to tell everybody that, you know, if you’ve got a nice car, we’re not picking on you, we just want to make sure that what you’re actualizing is focused on what you want, not what you think other people want or what you think other people want to see, because that’s a big problem. And frankly, we see that all the time, even in just the careers that we choose, you had people patting you on the back, telling you great job. You became an engineer and you were miserable when you walked away. There’s a lot of people that kind of raise their eyebrows, like what’s wrong with this guy? And this same thing with me when I walked away from my normal job, man, I had people just like refused to talk to me. I had family members calling in interventions, but it’s because I stopped worrying about what they actualized for me and started focusing on what I actualize for myself and my own family.
Nick True: You’re spot on. And one thing on the car thing too, cause I don’t want it to sound like I’m ripping on them. I grew up, my dad is a huge car guy. Okay. We rebuilt a 69 Mustang together all through my high school.
Tim Jordan: Was it a fastback though? Because, if it wasn’t a fastback, I have no respect.
Nick True: So, here’s what the problem, it was not a fastback. And here’s why that was a good thing because if it was a fastback, dad would not have given it to me. He would have kept it for himself. So, he’ll have a fastback one day, but he rebuilt a 79 trans am, Smokey the Bandit, big bird on the front, like the whole thing, T tops and everything. And then we rebuilt that Mustang together. And he told me that if I put in my money and my hard work that he’d give it to me when we were done. And I just sold that Mustang three months ago. And that was a really tough decision because there’s a lot of years of like memories of that with my dad and building that. But at the end of the day, I recognized that for me, my dream isn’t muscle cars– I love muscle cars because it’s what my dad loves. And because it means so much to me and the memories that I have with him, but objectively speaking, I did not want the money that was tied up in that car to be there and I wasn’t going to use it to its fullest potential. And so I ended up selling it and I’ll go use it on something else that fits more in my wife. I mean, we spent a ridiculous amount of money on this Airstream and making it what we want and my dad wouldn’t have done that, you know? And so, it’s sort of to each their own, for sure.
Tim Jordan: All right. M, step number five in this dream strategy you have.
Nick True: So, the M is the last one is more of a reminder of this whole thing being a process. So, the M stands for make it a habit, which basically just means this is not a onetime thing. We go through this cycle like clockwork either every six weeks or every 12 weeks, once a quarter or twice a quarter. And we repeat these five steps. And so the whole point is to set this up as a framework that you repeat and make a habit. And so, every single cycle we’re going, okay, where are we starting it at this cycle, we’re day one as Jeff Bezos would say, like, where are we at right now? Where’s our starting point for this new spot. Great. Do we need to look at the vision again? Has the vision changed? A lot of times it doesn’t, but sometimes it does. Let’s retreat, refine that vision, make sure it’s good. Then let’s establish the plan for the next cycle, then let’s figure out, okay, what’s that next step? We’re going to actualize this thing and then we’ll repeat it and make it a habit next cycle. And so, that’s really the M is just making this whole thing, a five step routine that you run over and over and over and over and over again, because one, your business changes. And so you have to pivot with it. And then two, your own vision changes, because as you grow up, as you have been running your business, as you get married, as you have kids, as your kids go away, your vision for your life changes, and you need to make sure that your business is constantly supporting whatever that new vision is. And so, that’s the whole point is we left the nine to five to not be in golden handcuffs and change to something that we hate. Let’s not go create something that we hate to handcuffed us. And that’s what a lot of people have done.
Tim Jordan: Man, that’s one of the biggest problems I see in, and I’ve been in other businesses before I was an e-commerce and, people get two years in and they feel like they’re vested. They’ve got to stay there. And you’re more miserable being your own boss than with one job than just throwing in the talent, trying something different because, and here’s the thing is like entrepreneurs have pride. We have this like, Oh, we can, well, it’s not necessarily pride. We have ambition. We have confidence that eventually, sometimes leads to pride. We can do this, we can make this happen. Other people. And sometimes we’re sitting on just a completely dead business, but we can’t get out of our own way and drop it. So, we do have to continuously rinse and repeat and recycle this and reevaluate and review because man, I can’t tell you how many times I– in my first business construction business, I was early twenties doing a few million dollars a year in sales as a part time job. I was a full time firefighter at the same time. And I remember thinking one day how cool it was that I had 72 tires to be responsible for. And it was the trucks and the dump trucks and the trailers and the tractors and the loaders. And I was like, man, this is awesome. I got this equipment. Now, the next day I wake up and go, Holy crap, I got 72 tires to get nails in him. And they go flat and I got to replace him and the brakes and the liability insurance and auto insurance. And this engine blew up on this truck. And after six years, I just took what wasn’t being held by lien. Because I still had tons of debt for all the stuff that I’d bought, and sold everything that I had just to pay off the debt. And after seven years, I’ll walk away with never having paid myself a dime and with zero money to show for it. And if I had just been reviewing this process at year two, I would have realized either Tim, you got to walk away from this or, Ooh, this isn’t working. You need to change what you’re doing. And looking back now, 10 years later in hindsight, there’s some changes I could have made where I could have been wildly successful. And one day, if the e-commerce thing, something crazy happens and people stop using e-commerce, I’m going back to construction because I’ve gone through this dream strategy so many times in hindsight thinking, what should I have done differently? I promise I’ll nail it this time. And we have to do that in our businesses and kind of pull ourselves out every once in a while and evaluate, and I can’t stress enough, the importance of having those mentors, having those coaches, having those people that hold you accountable, but also just look at things with a different perception and different view and say, Hey, you’re spot on. Or, Hey, I think you’re missing something here.
Nick True: You’ve spoken to something that I see every day. Like so many people who just have spent decades in a situation where they just never thought about it. There’s this great quote in a book that I mentioned earlier from Michael Hyatt, where he says, you will never drift to a place that you would have previously chosen. And when I read that, that quote just really hit home to me because that’s how most people live their life. They just drift through life. Well, I saw somebody who’s doing this business, so I’ll start that business. And, Oh, I saw this on drift over here. And if you actually sat down to think about where you would like to end up that place, you’ll never drift there. You will never get there by accident. And so we have to sit down and make a plan and make it happen.
Tim Jordan: I agree. Side note. I don’t– those of you that are watching YouTube. If you see my hands, you see this nasty black stuff. I keep looking at screen going over there. I kid you not this morning. I was up at 6:00 AM. This is gasket maker for a 1963 FE 390 engine. I’m rebuilding because I also am into muscle cars. I have been for like 10 years, rebuilt a bunch. And right now my thing is building engines. So, anybody that’s looking at YouTube thinking, I’m getting pen all over myself. I promise I’m not a three year old. That’s a little hobby action going on. So, Nick. If someone wanted to find out more information, find out more content, find out more of the strategy stuff. Tell us how we can find you. I know you’ve got your YouTube channel. I know you’ve got a couple of places. Just spit off some stuff here that people can follow.
Nick True: Yeah. So, if you want to check out the YouTube stuff, you can literally just type in Nick True, or Mapped Out Money. That’s the name of our website into YouTube. It’ll pop right up. My wife and I do a podcast together. Uh, that’s a little bit more on the personal side. So, if that’s interesting to you, then check that out. It’s called the Mapped Out Money Podcast. If you want to work with me directly, if that’s interesting, you can send an email to [email protected], or if you go to mappedoutmoney.com/ampm, you can just sign up for like a 15 minute call where we’ll hop on and we’ll talk through the string framework for you. And then, I want to hear more about your business, what you’re doing and I’ll help you kind of think through this strategy and if you want to work together, then of course, we can do that and I can tell you about it, but I would just love to hop on a call with you if that’s helpful for you. So, that’s kind of the main spot.
Tim Jordan: And for those of you that missed that last one with the AM/PM. What was that one again?
Nick True: Yeah, it’s a mappedoutmoney.com. So, mappedoutmoney/ampm.
Tim Jordan: Awesome. I love when people put together custom links and landing pages for different audiences, that’s pretty slick stuff. I appreciate you taking time to that. So for those of you listening, I hope you found something valuable here. I know I have, I don’t know if you guys know what I’m doing here, but I always have this pen in my hand, in this paper. It’s I make notes for myself. And the entire time I listened to these things, I have a stack of these that every once in a while, you never, every couple of weeks, I go through and review the notes myself. And I implement a lot of this stuff into my actual game plan. So, those are your listening. This is not fluff. This is not filler. We’re not just trying to put two beautiful bearded faces on YouTube or whatever podcast you’re listening to. Obviously our faces, aren’t going to apply to a podcast, but you guys know what I mean. This is about actionable content. And I get as much listening to these interviews and talking to people as you guys do as well. So, Nick, I appreciate you taking the time to edify me and edify all of our listeners and those of you that want to hear more. You’ve got the links. Now you’ve got the information to track him down. If you’re watching on YouTube, give us a thumbs up, hit that subscribe button. If you’re listening on a podcast, review it for us because the only way that we can get this podcast shown to more people on your Spotify, your iTunes, your Google podcast, pod bean is if you leave reviews and just drop a little quick note, Hey guys, thanks for the content. And that’ll help us get this shared. So Nick, I appreciate you being on. I appreciate the good content. I’m going to be down to your neighborhood in about a week or so. So I’ll wave as I drive through Fairhope, Alabama. And if I see a beautiful gold stream, I’m just going to pretend it’s you.
Nick True: That sounds like a plan, man. I hope you enjoy.
Tim Jordan: All right. Thank you all for listening. I’ll see you on the next one.