Entrepreneurship makes you realize a lot of things about yourself. It also changes the way you approach problems whether it’s related to business or issues in your personal life.
Today we talk about the sort of mindset changes entrepreneurs go through whether you’re just starting out or if you’ve already been in the game for years.
Much of this comes from both our own personal experiences and observations we’ve made about others we know. We hope you like it!
We’re hoping this inspires some of you to be introspective about your own mindsets when it comes to your entrepreneurial career. Leave us a SpeakPipe message or comment below and start a conversation.
Speaker 1: Welcome to the Empire Flippers podcast. Are you sick and tired of gurus who have plenty of ideas but are short on substance? Worried that the e-book you bought for $17.95 won’t bring you the personal and financial freedom you long for?
Hey, you’re not alone. Join thousands of others in their pursuit of niche profits. Without the bullshit. Straight from your hosts, Justin and Joe from Empire Flippers.
Justin Cooke: Welcome to Episode 77 of the Empire Flippers podcast. I’m your host Justin Cooke. I’m here with my business partner extraordinaire, Joe Hot Money Magnotti. What is going on brother?
Joe Magnotti: Hello.
Justin Cooke: We got a fantastic episode lineup this week. We’re going to be talking about five mindset changes you tend to go through when you become an entrepreneur. It’s a really good episode. We planned this one out really. I think you’re going to dig it and whether you’re an early stage aspiring entrepreneur or actually deep in it, you’ve got a whole team, you’re working on your business, I think you’re going to get some value and some tips out of this so stick with us.
Before we do that let’s go over some updates, news and info. First thing buddy we got one five-star iTunes review.
Joe Magnotti: Hit me up man.
Justin Cooke: It’s from Cali in Canada. Says, “Great podcast on all fronts, five stars. One of my favorite podcasts. Not only is the information valuable but Justin and Joe Hot Money make it very entertaining and easy listen.” Thanks, Cali, really appreciate the five-star review.
Joe Magnotti: Yeah, thanks so much.
Justin Cooke: Next point we want to talk about is this upcoming weekend we’ve got our mastermind/basketball/poker event going on.
Joe Magnotti: Yeah, it’s going to be cool. I’m really excited for it. The two day basketball event, a little poker on Saturday night. We did a little poker last week too so we get a table all to ourselves.
Justin Cooke: That was fun, dude. I had such a good time. I don’t play poker. I haven’t played poker in god, years man. We were there just tearing it up. We’ve got our team, we’ve got our apprentice there. We’ve got our friends and other guys here, other ex pats here in the Philippines we’re all playing a table, knocking it out. That was pretty fun. Plus I won so that’s pretty helpful too. It makes the night a little bit better right?
Joe Magnotti: Yeah, but I think we’re combining our loves this weekend. This basketball/poker should be a lot of fun. We get to meet entrepreneurs from out of town . They’re coming in-
Justin Cooke: We’re bringing them down, baby. We’re putting Davao on the map. We’re putting Davao on the map for ex pat entrepreneurs. It’ll be a lot of fun. I’m really excited about it.
Next point we want to mention is that we just listed a ton of sites. We just listed more than one dozen sites on the marketplace. It’s close to $200,000 worth of total sites for sale and that’s ranging anywhere from about $1000 all the way up to $35,000. We got a little backed up over the holidays where we had people submitting their sites for sale and we weren’t able to list them. Plus, it’s Christmas, right? Who’s spending a bunch of money on websites during Christmas? Probably not going to happen.
We finally got caught up on that. We’ve actually got two premium sites that should be coming out this week or early next. One of them is for about $40,000. We’re making about $2,000 a month on that deal. The other one’s for 80,000 making 4,000 a month on that. Those are pretty interesting listings. They’re in the final phases of that in process so assuming they pass, we’ll go ahead and get those listed probably next week.
Joe Magnotti: And we have one premium up right now, of course. I’m very excited about what’s going on with the marketplace and all the submissions we had. Like you said, we did a little backed up but we’re caught up now and I think if you’re looking for a website, it’s a great place to check it out.
Justin Cooke: There goes Joe’s pitch and that’s enough about us. Let’s get right into the heart of this week’s episode.
Speaker 1: This is the Empire Flippers podcast.
Justin Cooke: We’re talking today about the five mindset changes or shifts you go through when you become an entrepreneur. We should say right at the beginning that some of these happen before you transition to being a self-employed entrepreneur starting your own business. Some of these happen during and some are after. Others we’re still working on. None of these are, “Oh, my god, I’ve got it all figured out.” Snap your fingers and you automatically have a mindset shift. It seems to be a change over time.
Joe Magnotti: Yeah, and I’m sure there are other ones that we don’t cover here and maybe very important ones. But, these are the ones that we came up with.
Justin Cooke: It’s based on our experiences and looking at the differences between interns and apprentices we’ve had and us talking to some of the other entrepreneurs that we know and talking about what they’ve seen and what’s changed them. It’ll be really interesting.
The first one we wanted to mention is you start to shut down the third party blame game. You start embracing personal responsibility.
Joe Magnotti: Yeah, this is such an easy one for me because this is really if you’re going to be a successful entrepreneur, one of the first things that’s going to happen to you in sort of a mindset shift.
Justin Cooke: I see this quite a bit on Facebook updates or just you see people doing this where they go, “It’s not my fault. This happened because of X, Y, or Z,” third party. Something else caused me the problem that led to failure, mistakes, whatever. And you see this a lot from employees right? Employees blame partners. They blame other employees. They rarely … not all employees don’t get me wrong. But, I’d say bad employees tend to blame third party rather than take any internal personal responsibility for what happens.
Joe Magnotti: Or they say it’s not my job.
Justin Cooke: It’s not my job.
Joe Magnotti: Not my department.
Justin Cooke: I think that qualifies as well. We were talking about this before the show. I don’t think we know any successful entrepreneurs that have this mindset. Definitely none that we know, like or respect. Again, I’m not saying that comes from every employee. It’s not always an employee mindset. But, it’s more likely with either an employee or a non-successful entrepreneur.
If anything as an entrepreneur you need to lean toward taking more responsibility than you might think required.
Joe Magnotti: Yeah, look, who cares whose fault it was? Who cares what department’s supposed to fix it? If there’s a problem, you just need to jump in there and get it done.
Justin Cooke: Yeah, let’s say that we feel screwed by a vendor. Some third party vendor and we weren’t able to get something done because of that. You really need to ask yourself, “Why did I put myself in the situation where that vendor is able to screw me over? Why did I put my business at risk relying on that vendor in such a way to where it hurt me when they didn’t deliver?”
I think those are the right questions to be asking and not why did this person screw me or why did they not deliver what they said they were going to.
Joe Magnotti: After you fix the problem.
Justin Cooke: Yeah, after you … Fix the problem first. But, still I think that’s a fair question. How can you correct yourself in the future so that this won’t happen again. I’m not talking about the secret kind of stuff. If I believe the guy in the bicycle outside the house is going to fall over, right, it’s going to happen. No, but I think taking some responsibility and trying to head off risks or problems in your business before they happen, the next time around I think it’s just … that’s the way you have to view things.
Joe Magnotti: Yeah, you have to look at it as a series of learning experiences. It’s just going to make you better prepared for the next time.
Justin Cooke: On the flip side, I think that not only can you not just blame other people. Not pass the buck and try to blame third parties or vendors or partners or customers. You don’t get to take all the credit either. One of the best things you can do as an entrepreneur is pass that credit or benefit onto your team, right? Because they are going to get more value out of it than you congratulating yourself in the sunlight. Do you know what I mean?
You might as well pass that onto your team, but take the pain yourself. I think that’s the entrepreneur struggle is that don’t take the kudos. Pass those on but take the responsibility.
Joe Magnotti: Yeah, we’ll talk a little bit about ego later but definitely don’t want that to interfere with the business.
Justin Cooke: Yeah. Second point and I think this is big for you, Joe, and I think for a lot of us, is the business cash flow versus the personal cash flow. There’s a bit of a mindset shift that happens when you’re in a business. It starts off especially as an employee, you’re cash in, you’re cash out on personal expenses, that’s kind of where you’re at. You want to budget yourself and make sure you have enough savings but it’s all kind of in the same pot.
When you start off especially as you’re a contractor or you’re making just a bit of cash, you kind of intermingle. Everyone does. Everyone has a bucket of money and the money that comes in you spend on whatever it is you need to spend it on and probably personal expenses too. But over time that starts to change and you start to realize that your business cash flow is different than your personal cash flow. I think it comes down a bit to short term versus long-term thinking.
Short term, can I pay my bills? Can I get everything covered? Whereas, long term you’re thinking more about the business as its own financial entity.
Joe Magnotti: Yeah, look, in the beginning there’s going to be a period of flux where maybe you can’t deal with a set or afford a set salary for the business to give you. That’s why you’re commingling funds a little bit more and you’re using some business expenses for personal expenses, that kind of thing. But, as time goes on you need to get off of that. You need to put you on a set salary and you need to use the proceeds in order to grow your business and look at your business as an independent entity. Almost like a different person.
Justin Cooke: Yeah, absolutely like a different person. Here’s the thing too that becomes interesting when you start to do that. You’re willing to take bigger risks with business cash. You’re willing to take a bit more business cash and spend it on growing the business or buying customers or advertising.
For example, I might kind of freak out if I had to personally spend $5000 on a new marketing expense that we want to try out. That would kind of freak me out personally or it’s half because you’re paying half too, right?
Joe Magnotti: Right.
Justin Cooke: 2500 bucks, I go uh, that’s kind of painful. But, I don’t. I don’t think about it in terms of personal expense because it’s a business growth expense and so that’s a business problem. I worry about the person and whether the business should spend it, but I don’t think about it as cash in my pocket that I don’t have. I think having that separate mindset between your business and personal expenses is going to help you grow the business on its own. It gives the business room to breathe, right?
Joe Magnotti: Right. Because having that extra cash on hand, it not only allows you do that but it makes it so you don’t have to dig into your personal war chest, your personal stockpile and use something that would normally be for the business.
Justin Cooke: That’ something we were looking at in 2014 is aside from being able to cover business expenses and having enough in there but actually having more of a war chest. Mark Cuban talks a lot about this is that especially in a down economy but it’s true all the time. Having enough cash to where you can take advantage of opportunity is a great position to be in.
I talked about that in a post I wrote the other day talking about strategic purchases. You can’t time when a strategic buy or strategic purchase comes along that would really benefit your business. It just kind of happens and you just kind of fall into it. So, having the cash on hand to be able to take advantage of that I think is key and can put you ahead. Do you know what I mean?
Joe Magnotti: I know exactly what you’re talking about. That’s why it’s good to grow these things as quickly as possible by keeping your personal benefit, your personal salary limited.
Justin Cooke: Yeah, really interesting question. We don’t have this fully figured out. We’ve actually debated this and kind of battled on it before. But, how much do you take out as far as cash payment. We’ve done cash payments to ourself where we take out bits of cash and pay ourselves in lump sums. And then how much do you leave in the business is something we talked about this year that we are in agreement in is basically not improving our personal cash or personal payment siltation and basically dumping that money back into business growth.
Joe Magnotti: Yeah, I think that’s great to do for 2014. Hey, if things change in 2015 and we go back to the old way of doing things, that’s fine.
Justin Cooke: Well, hopefully we’ll be in a much better position so the cash will be much higher. We could take out even larger chunks in 2015. That’s probably something we will but if we can invest all business profits basically back into growth this year aside from our personal pay, I think that’ll be really good for our business and give us a really good shot at growth, I think.
Yeah, it’s funny I remember 2013 it was a bit more mixed. We argued about it a bit but it worked out. I think we’re going to be great for 2014 in terms of our marketing spend and growth.
Anyway, third point we want to talk about a little bit is the cost of misplaced focus. This really comes down to opportunity costs or opportunities lost. You mentioned before the show, Joe, you mentioned side projects that can cripple your long-term goals. Cripple the vision or focus of your company. That tends to happen, right?
Joe Magnotti: Yeah. Side projects that are not-
Justin Cooke: Related to the core.
Joe Magnotti: … Yeah, related to the core goal of the company. Those are the ones that they suck away resources. They suck away time. They suck away money. They suck away diversion of interest, all this kind of stuff. You really have to keep everybody on the same goal and on the same ultimate strategy.
Justin Cooke: How we handle this … I guess there are other ways to do it. But, what we do over time these side projects start to have an effect on our long-term vision and goals and start to pull us away from those. We tend to revamp and we’ll do it generally quarterly but when our side projects at that point are generally starting to run away a little bit and we’ll chop them. We take all of our side projects to the strategy session and put them all on the chopping block.
We tend to do that regularly. We just chop off projects. Nope, nope, nope, not doing this anymore. It sucks and sometimes we’d kill our babies but I think it protects the business in the long run.
Joe Magnotti: Yeah. I love those sessions and in 2014-
Justin Cooke: You love to chop. You love to chop, oh it’s so painful, man. I hate it. I hate chopping because I’m like, oh, I got this new [inaudible 00:13:45] it’d be great.
Joe Magnotti: Yeah, no, no, good.
Justin Cooke: Yeah, but you learn through that. You learn what’s going to work and what’s not going to work.
Joe Magnotti: But, I hope that we’re able to take one of those quarterly sessions and do it offsite and we do a little island getaway this year.
Justin Cooke: I like that. After reading The Advantage I think it’s called, yeah, man I’m pretty on board. If you haven’t read that book and you’re running a business and building a team, I definitely recommend it. It’s worth checking out.
Another thing I wanted to mention is that with the open path of being an entrepreneur, you have just a gazillion options. We get emails on a weekly basis maybe a couple of times with someone who has an interesting idea. Maybe it’s not a hell yes. Derek Silvers has this funny hell yes or no. It’s either a hell yes or I aint’ doing it, right?
A lot of these aren’t hell yes but they’re probably good ideas and it’s easy to get distracted. We were talking before the show we were working on this a little bit. We were talking about the different … comparing it to games you can play online. You’ve got the final fantasy, the old school final fantasy which I’d say is more like an employee’s path. There is a long-term narrative. There’s a goal that the business is hearing toward. You have few options in the game but you’re heading toward that ultimate path.
Then you’ve got something like Grant Theft Auto where you’ve got this open world. You can do a lot of different things. This is more like the manager or senior manager position, but there’s still a long-term path restoring the game much like Grant Theft Auto. And then the last one is an MMORPG. It’s one of those massive multi-online role-playing games where you can do absolutely anything. The world is completely open.
That’s the entrepreneurial path where you can do whatever you want.
Joe Magnotti: This is a very geeky analogy.
Justin Cooke: I know, man, I know.
Joe Magnotti: But it does work.
Justin Cooke: It does, right? It’s not bad. It’s on.
Joe Magnotti: I see what you’re saying although-
Justin Cooke: The gamers are totally with this. They’re like, “Absolutely, man.”
Joe Magnotti: I have to say my favorite out of those three is definitely Grant Theft Auto. But, I would prefer to be an entrepreneur.
Justin Cooke: Manager Joe over here. Manager Joe. That’s interesting actually. It’s interesting a bit because yeah, if you have … It’s easier with a path.
Joe Magnotti: Yeah.
Justin Cooke: When you actually have a long-term path laid out, as a senior manager or manager in a company, when that vision is kind of provided for you it’s less scary. In Grant Theft for example, you still have the openness to do what you want. You have a budget. You have ways of getting access to more money or resources or people. But, you don’t have the scary and difficult path of having to determine that vision, the long-term story where you do with the MMORPG or as an entrepreneur.
Okay, we’ve absolutely killed that reference. Let’s move into number four.
Basically, this point is about being the brick layer on your entrepreneurial path. What we mean by that you’re the one that’s going to be determining the path that it takes much like we were talking about in the MMORPG example. It’s rewarding. This is a very rewarding position to be in but it’s also extremely challenging. It’s very difficult because there are so many different paths you can take.
Joe Magnotti: Yeah, I was arguing a little bit with you before the show and I didn’t know if this point made so much sense. But, now looking at it again, I definitely think that this may be the most important point of what we’re talking about. That you have to understand that you are going to be the trailblazer. You are going to provide that direction for the company.
Justin Cooke: You have to. No one else is going to do it for you. And there would be a million things that try to distract you. Whether it’s your friends, peers, even mentors sometimes that are trying to do you right.
I remember before I moved out to the Philippines I had a mentor saying, “No, you should stay in the U.S. If you want to do the outsourcing thing you can be here on the ground to talk to clients and stuff.” No, that wasn’t the path for me to take. I couldn’t go with that. I wasn’t on board.
Joe Magnotti: Yeah, and even if you do it the right way, in the beginning you might be making pennies.
Justin Cooke: Oh, my god, absolutely. Think about this. There have been blog posts I wrote that I toiled on or whatever, spent hours and I wrote it and it probably got us two subscribers over the next 12 months. That’s absolutely working for pennies. But, every time I’m writing a post or we’re doing a podcast, we’re going with the hopeful opportunity of it being worth thousands of dollars to us in the future.
Here’s the funny thing about being the bricklayer is that a lot of the work you’re going to do as an entrepreneur is based on feel or gut. There are a lot of different strategies that tell you, “Here’s how you break down and reconstruct being an entrepreneur. It’s to go out test the market. It’s iterating on your product.” There are some good things there and there some basic conversion to CRO strategies you can apply to your website and all these things. But, a lot of time it’s based on gut and how you think you can drive the industry forward.
Joe Magnotti: And you need-
Justin Cooke: But no one talks about that. It seems like everyone talks about it has to be scripted or you have to write the path. You have to have a blueprint built out. But so many people act on gut you’d be surprised.
Joe Magnotti: Yeah. I think it’s easier to talk about tactics than talk about the subjective things like guts and other emotions like courage and perseverance. Those are huge in this point. You really need that in order to stay the path especially in the beginning.
Justin Cooke: Yeah, and you’re going to … It’s not a straight and narrow. You’re going to get veered off. You’re going to be distracted by side projects and you’re going to put a few bricks that are out of place. But, as long as you’re the one laying the path and no one else is determining for you, I think you have a better shot at reaching your goal.
Our fifth point that want to talk about and this is pretty personal because we’ve both had to do this at time. The fifth point giving up your ego for the bigger picture. This has to do with being stuck with an idea and believing very strongly in it but knowing that you’re okay giving it up if it means the bigger picture, the bigger goal for the company or the business.
Joe Magnotti: Compromise. I think that’s one of the things, Justin, that make sour partnership work very well is that sometimes we don’t agree but we come to some sort of mutual understanding where we’re able to get things done.
Justin Cooke: Yeah, I agree with you but I think we need to be clear on what compromise means. Compromise doesn’t mean that I want my way and that’s the left or whatever. You want your way to the right and so we meet in this crappy middle position where we both kind of get what we want. No. You have to be … That’s not good, right? You have to be willing to dump your ideas or battle for your ideas until you come up with an idea that’s better.
You don’t want to take the middle, boring road. You need to put one and one together to make three or four.
Joe Magnotti: Yeah, I guess maybe compromise is not the right word.
Justin Cooke: No, no, no, I think it’s fair. I think hashing it out.
Joe Magnotti: Yeah.
Justin Cooke: You need to hash out your arguments to get to the better point.
Joe Magnotti: Right. But, swallowing your pride and letting the other guy “win” when he has the better idea, he knows that just because he won, again, “won” this round it doesn’t mean that next time he’s going to stomp all over you and say, “Hey, remember when I won the last one?”
No, you can’t be like that. You have to be able to swallow your pride. Keep things emotionally stable and say, “Next time we have to evaluate it on an objective level again.”
Justin Cooke: A personal win is shit. A business win is everything. If we can get a win for our business, I don’t care if I lose. I don’t care if you lose or win it doesn’t matter. If our business can do better out of it and we can do better out of it because of that, that’s a win for me.
I’d say swallowing your pride can be difficult. Especially when you believe something very strongly. We do talk about this. I could veto this or I could veto that. We try to use that pretty sparingly because that’s a power play. We would only use that generally if we’re convinced that it’s a really bad idea to go down this path. We’ll choose a different one.
An example of something that I think that we had to give up a little bit was when we did a brad switch from AdSense Flippers to Empire Flippers. We were stuck on AdSense Flippers for a while. We said no that’s our brand name. That’s who we are. We’re sticking with it.
Joe Magnotti: Yeah, so many people gave us advice in 2012 to-
Justin Cooke: You need to grow. You need to be bigger. You need to be bigger than that. You need to focus on more. We were like, “Yeah, we will eventually.”
Joe Magnotti: Yeah, I think that it just took us a little bit of time to come to the conclusion that that was a good brand change. If we had done that earlier. If we had swallowed our prides a little bit better and done that change in 2012-
Justin Cooke: We could have been further along with the marketplace. We could have been further long with our products, with creating new products. That goes back to our point about misplaced focus, right, number two, where I think that definitely cost us.
I think that this is one of those constant learning experiences. There are times where your ego gets in the way of your business. I think learning to swallow your pride and give up your ego is really important if you want to be a successful entrepreneur.
All right, man, that’s it for this episode. Let’s get into our tips, tricks and plans for the future.
Speaker 1: You’re listening to the Empire Flippers podcast with Justin and Joe.
Justin Cooke: Our first plan for the future is actually something we were talking about over the last week or so. We’ve been talking about a new apprentice position. We’re in I’d say dire need, that’s maybe a strong word. But, we really need someone I think to take over the sales or account manager role in dealing with the brokerage sites.
Someone that can do some white glove, some love to both the buyers and sellers. Manage that transaction. Look for new sellers. Court new sellers to bring in interesting sites. I think that would be a really good position for us to bring on.
Joe Magnotti: Yeah, right now that’s a combination of me, our head manager of our local team and the apprentice that we have right now, right?
Justin Cooke: It takes work away from you which is a good idea and it takes pressure off the manager right now which I think is a good idea. And it lets Vincent focus on business growth rather than doing some of the vetting and getting more into the operational side. I’d like to keep him out of that so he can focus on business growth.
Anyway, the point is that we have a new apprentice position coming out. We should have it posted in a couple of weeks. I think we still need to work out a couple of the details and what the role’s going to entail. But, as soon as we have more information about that we’ll put a post on and we’ll let you know.
Joe Magnotti: Yeah, but if you are interested in the position, please let us know. Email us or put it in the comments. I would like to hear some feedback from you guys.
Justin Cooke: Yeah, it sounds good. Second point I want to mention is I read a really interesting article on how to read income reports. It was interesting. This guy wrote this article about the voyeuristic aspect of reading an income report. And then also talked about how it can be demoralizing.
If you’re just starting off and you’re making 150 bucks a month on your new pursuit, and you read something like Pat Flynn’s or our monthly report you’re like, “Oh, my god, what the hell is going on?” What he recommended was going back and looking at some of those early income reports. Looking at the early monthly reports and seeing, “Yeah, they didn’t start off with 40, 50, 60, $70,000 of revenue. They started off with 1200 or 500 or whatever so that helps.
We actually recommend doing that if you’re going to start a podcast too. If you’re going to start a podcast, go back and listen to early episodes where most likely hosts you dig were donkeys and they made mistakes and it wasn’t as good as it probably was later on.
Another interesting thing I thought about that was he talked looking at the different profit streams and seeing how they make their money. Where their focus is and what’s growing. We started doing that on our monthly reports recently where we looked at our different … we graphed out our profit streams over time so you can see what’s working, what’s not over the last 12 months. I thought that was pretty interesting.
Joe Magnotti: Yeah, I was going to ask you, do you think this is going to make you a better writer of income reports now?
Justin Cooke: I don’t know. It’s interesting because I should have the next income report out for us next week. Yeah, I think so. Hopefully, I’ll be able to put even more useful information in there based on that post. Anyway, I’ll link to that in the show notes if you want to check it out, you can go check it out.
Well that’s it for Episode 77 of the Empire Flippers podcast. Thanks for hanging with us. Make sure to check us out on Twitter @empireflippers and we’ll see you next week.
Joe Magnotti: Bye, bye, everybody.
Speaker 1: You’ve been listening to the Empire Flippers podcast with Justin and Joe. Be sure to hit up empireflippers.com for more. That’s empireflippers.com.
Thanks for listening.
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