Business owners often hear the advice: “hire help and delegate!” In this episode, Stephanie talks with entrepreneur Dan Martell about why you should hire to buy back your time.
Learn how small shifts in how you think as a business owner can make big impacts on your business—and your happiness! To start, Dan shares why it’s time for lawyers to let go of their inboxes and calendars. We know why you think that is impossible but listen to hear why it is essential.
If today's podcast resonates with you and you haven't read The Small Firm Roadmap Revisited yet, get the first chapter right now for free! Looking for help beyond the book? Check out our coaching community to see if it's right for you.
- . Addicted to the pace of the business
- . Value your law firm as a business
- . The replacement ladder
Welcome to The Lawyerist Podcast, a series of discussions with entrepreneurs and innovators about building a successful law practice in today’s challenging and constantly changing legal market. Lawyerist supports attorneys, building client-centered, and future-oriented small law firms through community, content, and coaching both online and through the Lawyerist Lab. And now from the team that brought you The Small Firm Roadmap and your podcast hosts
Stephanie Everett (00:35):
Hi, I’m Stephanie Everett.
Zack Glaser (00:37):
And I’m Zack. And this is episode 463 of the Lawyerist Podcast, part of the Legal Talk Network. Today, Stephanie talks with Dan Martell about buying back your time.
Stephanie Everett (00:48):
Today’s podcast is brought to you by Posh Virtual Receptionists, Postali, & LawPay. We wouldn’t be able to do our show without their support to stay tuned. We’re going to tell you more about them later on.
Zack Glaser (00:59):
So Stephanie, we just did Lab Con and in Lab Con, we actually gave away a good deal of eBooks for the small firm roadmap. And people that have listened to the show might know, but not everybody knows. You actually did the recording of our audio book.
Stephanie Everett (01:17):
Yes, I know.
Zack Glaser (01:20):
Kind of wanted to ask you about that. We listen to ourselves, you and I listen to ourselves talk a lot, and it’s scary just to be frank. It is weird listening to yourself talk, but we do it a lot. But you had to do it for how many pages worth how many chapters worth of stuff?
Stephanie Everett (01:36):
I know. It was like over 360 pages of content.
Zack Glaser (01:41):
Stephanie Everett (01:41):
And yeah, when the team said, you really need to record it because you are going to understand it. The first time we did the book and we had an audio version, we actually hired an actress, a voice actress, to record the book. And this time everybody was like, you should do it. And I laughed because for that reason I was like, wait, but my voice is terrible. Like what? Yes. And then as our listeners will appreciate one of the team members, but yet everybody listens to you every week on the podcast.
Zack Glaser (02:12):
Right? That’s the thing is we all think our voices are terrible. We’re all our own worst critics, especially attorneys wanting to be perfect. And how many times have we messed things up or said the wrong pronunciation? I pronounce people’s names incorrectly all the time.
Stephanie Everett (02:29):
Oh my gosh. So we discovered there are words in this universe that I am incapable of saying I wish we could have recorded while we were writing it because I would’ve rewritten sections of the book to let me avoid saying certain words. And the editor would listen and would send it back and say, try it this way.
And I’m like, I dunno how to say this word. This is really embarrassing. So also, funny enough, we wrote the word poop in the book.
Zack Glaser (02:59):
Like what you do.
Stephanie Everett (03:02):
Yeah. Every professional book has the word poop in it. And I could not keep but laughing and chuckling every time. I was like, I’m trying to say the word poop professionally on this book, and I would crack myself up and then I would laugh at myself laughing at myself. I was like the cycle. And so I did say to the editor, I was like, do you ever do a blooper reel or something? Because listening. And he was like, no one’s ever asked me that. But I feel like there was so many times where it was so comical. If you had heard me get frustrated, have to restart the sentence a lot, a lot, a lot. So it was, I got through it.
Zack Glaser (03:39):
Absolutely. Yeah, yeah, you did. And it sounds great. But more importantly, it’s an expression that’s out there in the ether out there in the universe. And it’s available.
Stephanie Everett (03:52):
If you like to listen to audiobooks, I would love for you to listen to it. And I’ll just share, not to get too cheesy, but the very end as I’m reading the conclusion, I tear up. So not only do I crack myself up, I
Zack Glaser (04:07):
Just running the gamut.
Stephanie Everett (04:08):
Yes, there’s a lot of emotions poured into this thing because it is, it’s a part of us, it’s our story. And there was something really, what’s the right word? I’m grateful for the experience, and I’m always so, so appreciative when people come up to me or have a conversation with me and tell me that a piece of it touched them, something resonated with them. That story you told mattered. I saw myself in that story. And so thank you for that. And I just feel so grateful for having that chance to connect with people in this way and for my team pushing me to record it so I did it.
Zack Glaser (04:46):
Absolutely. Well, there’s some things that you have to do yourself, and there’s some things that you don’t have to do yourself, which is what you and Dan Martell are talking about in the following episode.
Stephanie Everett (04:56):
Great segue. So let’s check that conversation out.
Dan Martell (05:03):
Hi, I’m Dan Martell, CEO of SaaS Academy, serial entrepreneur and author of Wall Street Journal, bestselling book. Buy Back Your Time.
Stephanie Everett (05:12):
Dan, I have been looking forward to this conversation. This is a place where a lot of people get stuck, and I know we’re going to talk about a lot today, but maybe to kick us off, why do we need to think about it in terms of buying back our time?
Dan Martell (05:24):
Yeah, I mean, Stephanie, it’s an awesome question and I really appreciate it. Back when I was starting as an entrepreneur, literally entrepreneurship saved my life. There’s a whole backstory, but I ended up getting in a lot of trouble as a teenager, ended up in jail twice by the time I was 17. And luckily for me, there was this guard, Brian, that spoke belief about my potential into me at a moment in my life where I had zero self-worth. Eventually, I got released to a rehab center where I did 11 months of therapy and learn how to write computer code, which is a crazy story in itself. At the end of that program and my life changed and I just became an entrepreneur. I think I was always entrepreneurial, even prior, just unfortunately nothing legal or productive. My dad always joked, my dad used to say, he is like, if you could just find something you’re passionate about that isn’t illegal, I think you’d do okay with your life.
Turned out he’s pretty right. Since then, I’ve built a bunch of software companies that I’ve exited. I became a multimillionaire at 27. Today I coached some of the coolest software CEOs and non-software CEOs in my private practice. And what happened for me is, as I was building companies, I kept growing and failing. At 17, I started a company called Maritime Vacation. That one burnt to the ground by the time I was 19. Learned a lot of good lessons. Did another company right after two and a half years of essentially trying and failing and trying and failing, John Maxwell’s got this great book, says, sometimes you win, sometimes you learn. So I just got a lot of shots on goal learning how not to shoot on goal. And what happened was when I was 23, almost 24 out of desperation, I just finished reading the book, the E Myth, the Entrepreneurial Myth of Michael Gerber and decide I’m going to hire a business coach.
And prior to that, I never had a coach. I never had anybody, honestly, didn’t even have a mentor. I just kept trying and trying. And I wasn’t even reading business books prior to that, which is kind of silly. And Bob, it was his name. He was a certified coach. Bob literally taught me how to build a business. I was a hard worker. I was willing to show up, do the work, whatever he told me. He always joked that I had the fastest knowing doing gap. As soon as he told me something, I didn’t even want to talk anymore. I was ready to just, okay, can we finish the call? I’m going to go do that thing. And within the first year, we built almost a million dollar company. And over the next four years built a very, one of the fastest growing companies in Canada.
And unfortunately, I was so fearful, Stephanie, of taking my foot off the gas. I just didn’t know what part of the thing I was doing, which was actually move the needle versus everything else was just noise. And I was so scared that if I took my foot off the gas, I’d lose my edge and I’d be back where I ended up with my previous two companies. And unfortunately, I ended up getting in a relationship with a woman and we got engaged and everything was pointing to white picket fences and children, all that fun stuff. And one Sunday afternoon, I come home and I find my fiance in tears in the kitchen in a house we had just moved into about seven weeks before the wedding. And she takes the ring off and she just says, I can’t do this anymore. And she leaves me. And that just reset my whole identity of who I was, what I was doing it for.
I used to make up this excuse that I’m doing it for our future. Why don’t you understand, et cetera. So I went from that and honestly almost resolving that maybe I just got to be okay with someday, there was two options. Either I’m going to be the quintessential rich uncle, never in a relationship, no kids, or I got to really work on myself to figure out how can I show up in a way that because I was crazy driven, but I allowed myself almost. It was like I swapped my addictions. I went from abusing substances to getting addicted to the pace of the business, the pace of the work. And I would use it as excuses for just stupid. I mean, I went to my best friend’s birthday party and I’m in his living room with my laptop closing deals, sending contracts, reviewing resumes, and in my head I’m thinking, I’m the best friend in the world.
I’m here and I’m so busy. And he’s thinking to himself like, Dan is silly. What is he doing? So I went from that to learning a completely different way. After I kind of got through that trauma, honestly, I worked with a therapist and worked through a lot of beliefs and just habits that I had that just were not productive, that I thought really was my edge and my success was in spite of all that stuff. And that’s what I’ve learned since then. And I moved to San Francisco, kind of the heart of Silicon Valley as a software entrepreneur, and that’s where I learned a different way to build and scale companies. And the whole concept of the buyback principle started to materialize. This is almost 13 years ago. And the idea is simple is we don’t hire people to grow our businesses. We hire people to buy back our time because if we do the second, we get the first. But if we do the first, we don’t always get the second. And I’m on a mission, Stephanie, to help entrepreneurs build companies they don’t grow to hate. So I think that’s actually the number one risk to a business owner is that they get to a place where they grow their business, they’re successful, but what they’re experiencing, they hate and they decide to either shut it down, sell it, or sabotage their own success. And that’s why I wrote the book.
Stephanie Everett (11:03):
Your story hits in a lot of places and it reminds me, I mean, I was just telling my daughter who’s 12 the other day, I was like, I’m not always the smartest person in the room, but I always think I’m the hardest worker. I’ve got this work ethic like nobody’s business. And I was trying to inspire her, but it’s reminding me that that’s what we do. Sometimes we think I just got to work hard and I just keep at this and I’ll work so hard at this business. I’m going to create this successful thing. And I think when I read the book, it just reminded me, and it’s so silly to say, but your hard work isn’t always paying off the way you think. If you could switch your brain and realize where you really should spend your time and your effort, the impact is so much more that it’s hard for us hard workers to allow ourselves to think that way.
Dan Martell (11:49):
And the reason why is because it’s a known thing, right? When I wake up and I jump into my inbox first thing in the morning, and I’m not recommending this, I’m just saying, when I used to do that, I felt the dopamine hit. Like emails are there, I respond to the emails, I’m doing business. I’m an entrepreneur, the business is happening and this is my job. But the truth was, as you mentioned, there’s a difference between being productive and just being busy. And when I step back from what is the true purpose of a business, this is really going to mess with people listening to this, but I’ll be honest with you, I had to really ask myself, when we’re creating these companies, what is the North Star? I’m a software guy, so I’m always measuring things. What’s the metric? And I realized that it’s your personal net worth increased, right?
Your P N W, which a lot of people never measure. And I would just, if anybody’s listening, they’re an entrepreneur, go download a P N W template. Most of us had to fill ’em out to get loans from the banks or whatever it is, and use that as your North Star. Because if you realize that what’s valuable to what’s the purpose of a business is to increase our P N W, then it means that what’s valuable is increasing the equity or the value of our shares in our companies, which when you start and you’re small, is worth zero to anybody else, not something people would buy. So it’s like as fast as we can get our businesses to a place where it would be attractive to a buyer, that’s when we start unlocking the true efficiency of waking up and doing work. It should all be in the service of increasing the equity value in the business, not profiting cashflow.
Even those things are super important. And you obviously can’t pay for groceries with equity or IOUs. You need cash. But if you actually thought about the core principle of getting up and working, it’s not responding to emails or delivering value to a customer. All those are important. It’s creating a machine that generates an outcome in a predictable nature that somebody else would find valuable. And if we look at our P N W or personal net worth and on there is our business. We have a primary assets called our company, and right now it’s not worth anything. It’s zero. But we could get it to a couple hundred grand, we can get it to a million, we can get it to 3 million, we can get it to 5 million. That’s where the game that we think we’re playing, you can get clear. Like if somebody asked me to go play cricket and they didn’t tell me the rules of the game, I’m pretty sure I would suck at cricket.
Stephanie, imagine somebody said, Hey, let’s go play this game called soccer. We’re not going to tell you how it works. Here’s the ball, go crazy. You’re like, well, what team am I on? What’s the point? I’m assuming? Should I kick the ball that way in the net? And I feel like sometimes people are playing the game of business, but they’re never taught what the rules are, what the purpose is. And I’ve just defaulted to that. Everything I do in my life is designed to increase the equity in every company that I’m involved in, my primary company or other investments I make. So then when I look at my calendar and I look at my time, sure, we want to buy back our time, but then we should fill it with things that are going to improve our skills to be able to add value to these assets to the company that makes the company more valuable. Does that make sense?
Stephanie Everett (15:05):
It does. But I think some of our listeners who are mostly attorneys are going to say, but I’m an attorney. I started this business to practice law. For some people, they started it as a job. If we’re being honest, they just thought, I don’t like my boss, or I want to be my own boss. I’m going to go practice law on my own. And I don’t think all of our law firms actually kind of start with that idea of I’m building this thing. It has value. They should know by now, they’ve been listening to the podcast enough to know that you are building a business. It does have value. We’ve had tons of episodes about that. And you can sell your business and how to value your business, but it’s still a part of our brain that we have to unlock for some people.
Dan Martell (15:45):
Yeah, see, and I love that question in that reframe. This is why I’m so excited about sharing this message because I think most of us had this entrepreneurial seizure as Michael Gerber talks about in the book, the E-Myth where we wake up, we’re a technician, we’re a plumber, we’re electrician, we’re a lawyer. And we go, I think there’s a better way to do this. I hate my boss. I just want to go off on my own. I want to be accountable to myself and my destiny and my future. And we all start these companies as a technician of a doer, not realizing that the skill of an entrepreneur, whether we call ourselves that or not, and trust me, my first few companies, I never used the word c e o or entrepreneur. I was the director of the business. I don’t know why identity wise, I just felt it was kind of an inflated title I didn’t earn yet.
But at some point we need to understand what is the game we’re playing, which is to build the business, to be the c e o, to actually act like an entrepreneur. And that’s what the entrepreneur means to create enterprise. And the way we do that is looking at our time completely different. I actually had one of my lawyers back in the day, he was like our first, call it like a family practice, those quintessential small town lawyers did everything, legal, estate planning, wills, real estate, all that stuff. I remember I was working with him on my first apartment I ever bought when I was 21, and we just kept working together. So incorporated these companies and kept chatting with them and set up my trust and my holding companies. But I got, so the business started to grow. The contracts need to be reviewed that he couldn’t respond at the speed the business needed.
And I begged him to raise his prices, right? And this is a couple of years into my final successful company sphere. And he goes, I can’t do that. I’ll lose all my customers. And I said, well, I hear what you’re saying, but my gut tells me you won’t lose ’em all. You’ll probably lose the ones that aren’t willing to pay you what you’re worth. And if you don’t, you’re going to lose me. And I’m probably 40% of your business right now. And he literally could not get his mind wrapped around this concept. So much fear, so much anxiety that we ended up going with a national firm. In hindsight, it was actually the right move because we had way outpaced even his skill level. It was actually a little immature for me to be working with a lawyer that hadn’t had the experience of the stuff we were doing.
But to me, that’s why I’ve always had a real affinity with the small business owner, the guy that’s starting off with a couple employees that has an aspiration to do well for themselves, provide for their family, but it usually comes on the other side of them realizing the game I’m playing, practicing law is actually not the game to build my practice. It’s part of it for sure. But if I keep playing that game, then it’s going to cause a lot of pain in my life because doing both at the same time, that’s where it really gets tough. And understanding how to build the repeatable systems in the process of the SOPs and hire properly and be a leader to your other lawyers. I mean, that’s what a good partner does. They recruit talent, they support the talent, they coach the talent, they help them build their book of business. And as you know, that’s what creates a successful law practice that could be attractive to a buyer at some point.
Stephanie Everett (19:07):
Yeah, for sure. Let’s take a quick break, hear from our sponsors when we come back. I want to dig into some of the specifics.
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Stephanie Everett (21:34):
Alright, I’m back with Dan. And we’re talking about this concept of buying your time back and you’ve set it up so nicely for us, but there’s still some people- and in the book you do a great job, by the way, this is a fantastic book. Everybody should read it because what I love is you just spoonfeed us. Here’s the task. You get off your plate first, stop doing these things. And guess what guys? No surprise, it starts with your inbox and your calendar. And I know so many people are like, but I couldn’t possibly get rid of those. I have to manage my inbox. I have this fight. It truly is a fight. I have fights like this with lawyers a lot that we coach and work with because they think I have to do this. I have to be the one. There’s sensitive things. There’s all the things. So I just want them to hear it from somebody else’s mouth, not mine.
Dan Martell (22:21):
Yeah, no, I’d love to share the strategy. I mean, at the end of the day, I sat down, I would get asked by thousands of entrepreneurs every year, right? My wife’s an entrepreneur, my brothers my best friends, my community that I live in. They’d all see me live this very different life, right? Where I get incredible productivity out of my day. But at the same time, I was wake surfing, I wakesurf every morning for about two hours. I hike with other entrepreneurs. I’m always there with my kids mountain biking. They see this, but they don’t understand how can you run two eight figure companies as the CEO and still seem like you’re on vacation every day? And the reason why I wrote this book is to help people understand the path, right? Just like you said, Stephanie, every chapter was deliberately sequenced in order to slowly work through some of the limiting beliefs or a lot of the limiting beliefs around other people can’t do it as good as me, or I can’t afford to hire talent right now.
Or what if somebody makes a mistake and I lose my most important contractor? You’re asking me to have somebody else sell for me. How could they do that? Why would somebody want to buy my services, but talk to somebody else? That’s just such a foreign concept for a lot of entrepreneurs. So I built this framework called the Replacement Ladder. And the replacement ladder is essentially five hires. And my argument is, every entrepreneur, even if you’re starting with yourself today, you are five hires away from building a company you don’t grow to hate from growing your revenue and increasing your free time, which sounds like this internet marketing pipe dream. I get how silly it sounds, but the math works out. And the way it works is level one, we have to hire an executive assistant, an EA, somebody to take care of all the administrative nature of our work, but the two key outcomes, and there’s a way to do it that makes it work, and there’s a way to do it that just falls on its face.
The two key outcomes is your inbox. All emails, like every first pass of any message sent to you needs to be processed by somebody else. I believe that your inbox is nothing more than a public to-do list of strangers on your time off the internet. I mean, think about that. If I had an office on Main Street, U S A, would I allow a stranger to just walk off the street, come in and start selling me their unsolicited services? Or when I have somebody like a secretary sitting outside at the desk and stopping the person and saying, Hey, excuse me. What do you need Dan for? Well, I want to talk to him about my new whatever electrical thingamajig. And they’re like, well, let me write it down and we’ll get back to you if there’s an interest. But yet today with technology, there’s ways to use it where it enhances our lives and other ways where it absolutely distracts us.
So the inbox is key. Having somebody else filter all emails coming to you. And in chapter six in my book, I literally break down the email structure, the folder structure, the agenda to have with your assistant. And then the other part is the calendar. I don’t manage my calendar, my executive assistant, she’s the c e o of my inbox and my calendar. And to the degree that we have these core principles, she is able to design my week, my days, so that they are just, when I’m working, I’m absolutely working, doing nothing else. And when I’m not, I’m not. And take care of all the routing behind the scenes while I’m on this podcast, maybe my next meeting got canceled and there’s now an open 60 minutes. Well, I don’t want an open 60 minutes. I want to pull forward work that could have been done tomorrow or the next week, pull it forward to today to free up my calendar to make it more efficient.
And that is such a beautiful way to live your life because I really believe we should be doing things that light us up that make us the most money. And anything that doesn’t do that, anytime you work on that stuff, you’re literally swimming upstream. You’re working against yourself. So that’s the most critical part of level one of the replacement ladder. Level two is the delivery side. And you know what I love about lawyers is paralegal is part of the business model. It’s not something that’s foreign. It’s built into every lawyer typically hires somebody to help them do first drafts of contracts and all that stuff. And the lawyer does all the account management. So the delivery side is level two, and the key there is onboarding new customers, following up with customers, supporting the customers. Those are the key outcomes. Level three, marketing as a lawyer, how do we get new business?
What is our process, our system that we’ve documented to get more business? And that could be word of mouth. Well, how does word of mouth work? Well ask for referrals. Well, when should you ask for a referral? Probably after you work with a new customer and get them a successful completion of a project that they’re happy with, then you could say, Hey, instead of spending all my time marketing, I’d love one or two other business owners just like you that you trust that you think I could serve. If you don’t mind making an introduction, I’d love to get to know them, see if there’s an opportunity. That’s a system who owns a system? You’re assistant, whoever. But we have to document that. That’s the marketing side. That’s level three. Level four is sales, right? Which is a crazy one for lawyers. I know. And I have an accountant friend, Greg.
He wrote an incredible book called Simple Numbers. Yeah. And they’re an accounting firm, no different than a law firm and any new opportunities that come into him through his speaking, through his webinars, whatever, he wrotes ’em to a sales guy, Mike. And I’ve sent so many people to Greg that I always say, I’ll introduce you to Greg, but I know he is going to loop in Mike. And now I just send people to Mike because he’s the person that has first contact with all the customers that he talks about, expectations, what they do, what they don’t do, how they do it, what makes ’em unique, then gets ’em as a customer. And then that way Greg is freed up to go do the really high end accounting stuff that his team needs him for or be out there speaking and running webinars with partners and generating demands, writing books.
That’s level four. And then level five is leadership. When you get to that level, when do we hire people that have professional management in any one of those other core areas of the business to start buying back the HR type stuff to help us with our teams, to really, to me, I look at my calendar and I go, what am I spending my time with? What are the things I don’t enjoy doing that I could pay people the least expensive stuff to hire out of my calendar. And today, not to brag, but I hire CEOs who run companies. So there’s always another level for every entrepreneur, but it always starts with our calendar. And I think if you follow those five levels from admin to delivery to marketing, to sales to leadership, that every entrepreneur is about five hires away from living a completely different work life to building a business that actually could be bought by somebody because it has a predictability to the business that grows and onboards customers and delivers the value and is well run.
Stephanie Everett (29:09):
Yeah, it sounds so simple, and it is.
Dan Martell (29:12):
It’s simple, not easy.
Stephanie Everett (29:13):
Yeah, it is. But what do you see as the biggest mindset blocker that gets in people’s ways from just getting started on this?
Dan Martell (29:23):
It’s everything. Stephanie and I should probably do a video of the 200 beliefs that stop entrepreneurs from growing because I’ve heard them all. But I mean, it’s fascinating to me because nobody can do it as good as me, which I agree. You have perfect context, perfect information, an expectation that somebody else could do it as good as me would just be silly. And I think it’s actually what stops a lot of entrepreneurs that they have that level of expectation. My rule is 80% done by somebody else is a hundred percent freaking awesome. So the other thing I remember one time I was working with a female entrepreneur and she had an incredible business. They were over 10 million a year, and she had built her team out and she was really good at delegating and outsourcing, and we were talking about bringing some of those best practices, which is the last chapter of my book, the Buyback Lifestyle into her home.
And she eventually got on board, hired a house manager, and started buying back her time at home so she had more time to spend with her kids to go to the gym to go on date night, all that stuff. And yet there was this one part of the task that she couldn’t let go of, which was paying her own bills, which is fascinating. She had a whole accounts payable department in her business, but when it came to her personal affairs, she couldn’t give it to the house manager. And I remember we dug in on that and the belief that she had was, well, if my kid’s private school doesn’t get paid, then they’re going to think I’m a bad mom. Or if the cleaning lady doesn’t get paid, she’s going to look at me as somebody that doesn’t know how to manage her own home.
And that fear was scarier than a vendor or a partner or an employee not getting paid because she could always say, well, that’s the business. It’s not me, but in their home. So it’s fascinating how at every level, there’s always new devils, and I always help my clients work through those. As you grow, it doesn’t matter what level you are in your business, new levels, new devils, and you have to self-reflect and ask yourself, why couldn’t I have a partner that works with me? Well, I don’t trust ’em. They’re going to mess me over or they’re going to take advantage of me. Okay, perfect. Let’s work through that. Why? Where have you seen that to be true? And if you had to put some principles or rules or strategies in place to help counteract that, what would those be? Well, I’d want this, this, and this.
Perfect. So we already know the antidote to your fears. So then why aren’t we moving forward? And as long as we agree that you’re going to do 1, 2, 3, and four, that you’ll be able to, that’s the thing, even with the inbox, Stephanie, a lot of people go, I could never have somebody else look at my emails. I’ve got friends sending me stuff. I’ve got family members, I’ve got my wife or my husband, and I go, here’s the deal. Everybody should know that you have somebody manage your inbox. Just like if I had an office, I would say, Hey, there’s somebody else that’s going to answer the door. When you come to my office. Don’t run in half naked screaming. The person that answers the door is going to see you. So when I hire an executive assistant, I always sit them down, they sign an agreement, the lawyers will appreciate this.
And it’s essentially a non-disclosure non, there’s all these rules, the information that you get exposed to, it’s bind by blah, blah, blah. I do a lot of investment deals, a lot of stuff with public companies. There’s some serious information that if that person shared with the wrong person could get me in a lot of trouble. But we have the agreement in place. They know that there’s a strict nondisclosure, do not share unless somebody asks. And you get approval for certain types of information. And then as emails come through, we just work through together the appropriate response and the appropriate kind of candor to use, and what messages should just skip her inbox or skip the main inbox and then just come to me directly. But for the most part, I think we stopped on all that because look, even if my wife messages me, sends me an email saying like, are you in town next Thursday?
She could wait for me to get to that email, which might be three or four days, or my assistant can go, no, unfortunately Dan’s traveling and just sign off as Ann. Now we’ve gotten even smart word. Now my assistant has a meeting with my wife every week. Today actually is their meeting day. And they sit down and they go through and they coordinate the calendars because she’s a busy entrepreneur as well. We’re going to get to a point, which is pretty cool, Stephanie, where the assistants work together and kind of tell us what’s going on, which will be a magical, magical day as a systems nerd. But I think that there’s, my philosophy or my kind of perspective on this is I’m not the first entrepreneur ever to have to do this. Somebody else has figured out how to do it. If that’s true, then my job is to go find the people that have done it or the content that’s produced around teaching people how to do it, and then just go model them, modify, go do exactly what they say.
If people are wondering how to do it, I wrote a whole book on it, chapter six, seven and eight will teach you the whole process. Go try it out. It’s like I had one client where they didn’t want to get a cleaning person in their house. They felt awkward about having a stranger in their home, which I get. So I just said, Hey, just try it for a month, $500 budget, get some cleaning done, get some meal prep done. Try it out 30 days, have the stranger. Turns out it was one of the best months they ever had. Mom was out playing with the kids every day after work. Dad was going to the gym again with his buddies, and everybody felt de-stressed. Best $500 investment they ever made in their family by allowing themselves to at least try the strategy to free up their time.
Stephanie Everett (34:49):
Love, love, love that. So we need to wrap up. I could sit here and talk to you all day, but one of the values here on our team is to stay curious. We’re always learning. We’re always learning personally and professionally. So I would love just to find out what are you learning right now?
Dan Martell (35:06):
Yeah, so what’s fun for me is probably two years ago I started rereading the greats to write my book, buy Back Your Time. So I went back How to Win Friends, Dale Carnegie, good to Great Think and Grow Rich, and just like Psychology of Success, just pretty much books that were written prior to 1950. And over the last two years, I’ve just kept that trend, right? So a lot of those success books back in the day, there’s not a lot of management stuff, but there’s a lot of mindset stuff, a lot of beliefs, energy for a lot of people that read my book and they see the strategy and the systems and the tactics, which that’s kind of where I came from as a software developer. What you may not pick up on is the fact that I’m incredibly spiritual. I definitely believe in universal knowledge and energy and God and celebrate whatever God the other people want to celebrate.
It’s not any denomination. So I just read a lot of books on that. Wallace Waddles is one that comes up, even some Bob Proctor, because Bob was really good at synthesizing older books into new language because some of those older books are actually, they were probably written great at the time, but I can’t get into them. I mean, just the flow of the sentence structures are so either verbose or big words. And I’m all about answering this one question. And I think if you’d like, we can leave on this because I think it’ll really support people. But before I answer that, let me just share this. I know a lot of people probably are thinking about the executive assistant or really delegating the inbox and stuff. I want to give your audience something special. So if anybody wants my internal Google Doc of my systems and processes I use every day with, and my executive assistant, if you find me on Instagram, just follow me.
That’s kind of the fair trade. Follow me on Instagram and then just shoot me a private message and just say, EA executive assistant, and I’ll send you the Google Doc direct link. It’s sanitize. I took out all the personal information, but I’d love to give that to your audience that are listening. So just find me on Instagram, Dan Martel, two Ls in Martel. But here’s what I believe. I believe every human is here to do two things. One, become the best version of themselves, become their greatest self, become what I call the 10.0 version of themselves. And that is, if you think of all the best moments in the past 10 years where you showed up powerfully and confident and joyful and funny and whatever it is, these best moments, if you compress them all into one day, that person is the 10.0 version of yourself.
Strive to become that. And every day we wake up. I mean, another way to say it is become the person you needed most in your darkest times. And as you are on path of doing that, then share that process with others. Share your success principles with others. It could be your kids, it could be your family, your immediate family. It could be your team members at work, it could be your friend group, it could be your community. And if you want to be so bold, Stephanie, I think you’ll appreciate this maybe with the world, right? Because in today’s world with social media, we all have a voice. And I just think that at the end of the day, business for me has always been the ultimate personal development program. It was this cool way of me getting better, and in doing so, having an uncapped compensation plan kind of awesome. So every day I wake up to try to be the 10.0 version of myself, and that’ll probably never be a place I end up just a desire and a direction. And then to the degree that I have the time on my calendar and I try to do as much as I can, I share that process, I share that person, I share those success principles with anybody that wants to follow along. And I just think that’s a cool place to live from, and the business is a vehicle to enable that.
Stephanie Everett (39:00):
Awesome, beautiful. Thank you so much for being with me today. This has been amazing.
Dan Martell (39:06):
Absolutely. My pleasure.
The Lawyerist Podcast is edited by Britany Felix. Are you ready to implement the ideas we discuss here into your practice? Wondering what to do next? Here are your first two steps. First. If you haven’t read The Small Firm Roadmap yet, grab the first chapter for free at Lawyerist.com/book. Looking for help beyond the book? Let’s chat about whether our coaching communities, are right for you. Head to Lawyerist.com/community/lab to schedule a 10-minute call with our team to learn more. The views expressed by the participants are their own and are not endorsed by Legal Talk Network. Nothing said in this podcast is legal advice for you.
Dan Martell is a serial entrepreneur, investor, and coach who has helped thousands of entrepreneurs around the world build successful businesses. He has started and sold several companies, including Clarity.fm, a platform that connects entrepreneurs with expert mentors, and Flowtown, a social media marketing platform. Dan is also an angel investor, with a portfolio that includes companies like Intercom, Udemy, and Unbounce. Despite facing personal struggles in his youth, including addiction and a criminal record, Dan has turned his life around and become an advocate for mental health and addiction recovery. He is a sought-after speaker and has shared his story and insights at events like TEDx and the Fortune Leadership Summit. Dan is passionate about helping entrepreneurs achieve their goals and has developed a range of resources to support them, including his podcast, “The Growth Stacking Show,” and his coaching program, “SaaS Academy.” He believes that anyone can succeed if they are willing to put in the work, and he is dedicated to helping others unlock their full potential
Last updated August 30th, 2023