In episode 64 of the Graduate Job Podcast I am joined by MJ DeMarco, self-made millionaire and best-selling author of The Millionaire Fastlane and his latest book Unscripted. It’s a cracking episode where we explore amongst other things why you shouldn’t do what you love, why getting a job and working for someone else is inherently risky, and why trading time for money is a bad trade off. We also explore the secrets to starting your own business, how simple mathematics holds the key to being able to get rich quickly, and what might be holding you back from being an entrepreneur. Now if you have ever thought about starting your own business or not, this episode and MJ’s message is one you aren’t going to want to miss. As always there will be a full transcript of the episode and links to everything we discuss in the shownotes over at www.graduatejobpodcast.com/fastlane so make sure you head on over there and check them out. Before we start a quick request from me, your feedback helps me to create the episodes you want to hear, so I’ve set up a super simple and very quick survey, as I want the show to best serve your needs. It’s got 5 questions and will take you a minute, so please check it out at http://www.graduatejobpodcast.com/survey. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. But in the meantime, let’s crack on with the show.
More specifically in this episode you’ll learn about:
- Why you shouldn’t follow your passion and do what you love
- What might be holding you back from being an entrepreneur
- Why a job and trading time for money isn’t the best trade
- Why getting a job is inherently risky
- The difference between the sidewalk, the slowlane and Fastlane when it comes to wealth
- How and why it is possible to get rich quickly
- The secret to successfully starting your own business
SELECTED LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- The Millionaire Fastlane – MJ’s brilliant first book. Click HERE to buy now from Amazon
- Unscripted – MJ’s excellent new book. Click HERE to buy now from Amazon
- The Fastlane Forum – MJ’s excellent forum for entrpreneurs
- MJ on Twitter
- MJ on Instagram
- MJ on Facebook (check out the long hair)
Transcript – How to become a graduate entrepreneur with MJ DeMarco
Announcer: Welcome to the Graduate Job Podcast, your home for weekly information and inspiration to help you get the graduate job of your dreams.
James: Hello and welcome to the Graduate Job Podcast, with your host James Curran. The Graduate Job Podcast is your home for all things related to helping you on your journey to finding that amazing job. Each episode I bring together the best minds in the industry, speaking to leading authors, entrepreneurs, coaches and bloggers who bring decades of experience into a byte size weekly 30 minute show. Put simply, this is the show I wish I had a decade ago when I graduated.
And a big hello and welcome to the Graduate Job Podcast for episode 64. 64 episodes focussed specifically on helping you to find a graduate job, we’ve got episodes on specific companies, on interview skills, assessment centres, overcoming fear when applying for jobs, how to find your dream job, you name it, we have an episode on it. If you’re new to the show head over to the website at www.graduatejobpodcast.com where you can find a list of all of the episodes. Now I’ve a very special episode today, it’s a veritable treat for you from one of my favourite authors. It’s different to previous episodes as we explore how to get a job….working for yourself. Yes we look at entrepreneurship with the brilliant MJ DeMarco, self made millionaire and best selling author of The Millionaire Fastlane and his latest book Unscripted. It’s a cracking episode where we explore amongst other things why you shouldn’t do what you love, why getting a job and working for someone else is inherently risky, and why trading time for money is a bad trade off. We also explore the secrets to starting your own business, how simple mathematics holds the key to being able to get rich quickly, and what might be holding you back from being an entrepreneur. Now if you have ever thought about starting your own business or not, this episode and MJ’s message is one you aren’t going to want to miss. As always there will be a full transcript of the episode and links to everything we discuss in the shownotes over at www.graduatejobpodcast.com/fastlane so make sure you head on over there and check them out.
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James: I’m very excited to have todays guest on the show, three years ago I had a list of all the people I wanted to interview and this fellas name was right on the top of that list. He’s an entrepreneur, he’s the founder of the Fastlane Forum and the former CEO of limos.com and he’s also the bestselling author of the brilliant ‘Millionaire Fastlane’ and his new book ‘Unscripted’, which in my opinion is even better. Welcome to The Graduate Job Podcast all the way from Phoenix Arizona, MJ DeMarco.
MJ: Hey James, thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
James: Pleasure MJ, pleasure. It’s good to have you on the show and today we are going to talk about graduate entrepreneurship. But before we do, why don’t you start by going into your background, because I know it’s been a winding road to get where you are today and unlike many authors on entrepreneurship, you have actually walked the walk.
MJ: Sure, I have been an entrepreneur my entire life. I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur early on, probably since I was 14 or 15 years old and that all started when I met an entrepreneur who was driving a Lamborghini and he was a young man. When I got the courage to go up to him and ask him, bearing in mind I was 14 or 15 years old so I was kind of shy, and he said he was an inventor and that kind of put me on the path of entrepreneurship as a path to living a great life. So I never lost that identity throughout college and throughout high school because it’s kind of hard to maintain that identity when you are going through school because school teaches you to get a job when you graduate and work for some corporation. So I started many companies in my early years, failed at a whole lot of things. My first successful company was based on the job I used to have which was driving limousines or I think they are called people carriers in the UK and that’s what drove me to discover the kind of niche in that particular industry. I started that internet company with less than one thousand dollars, without any form of training in the internet, I didn’t have computer science skills or training in that respect. I ran that company for about 10 years, sold it actually twice! Once in the ‘.com’ craziness and that didn’t last very long, that company ended up going bankrupt. I ended up buying it back and owned it for another six or seven years and then sold it again. After that I started a publishing company to promote my books and other ventures in writing, which is basically my passion. I wanted to write non-fiction which was based on entrepreneurship and I also had an interest in fiction as well and then I started the Fastlane Forum which is one of the most visited forums for entrepreneurship and discussions. That’s been going on for 10 years now as well and I became a multi-millionaire in my mid 30s and I consider myself semi-retired which I did at 37 years old, and by semi-retired that just means I get to pursue ventures that I don’t have to worry about money. A lot of people kind of notice that my books are terse, they are kind of outside the mainstream and the fact I can do that is because I’m not worried about money, I’m not worried ‘is this going to sell?’. So that’s the kind of freedom you can have when you get rid of this equation that money has to be involved and today I’m on your podcast.
James: Ah super. I know when I was badgering you to come on the show you were hesitant that your message may go against some of my previous episodes that are about how to get a job and the tools and tactics around how to get a job, but the beauty of running my own podcast means I can get on guests who excite me and I always ask myself ‘would I have wanted this information when I was 21?’ and in your case it is definitely a yes. So starting at the beginning for the Graduate Job Podcast, why do you think getting a 9-5 job is a poor trade for people?
MJ: Well because there is a constraint on you. It’s like being in handcuffs. First of all I have always thought that college is a training ground or an indoctrination camp for dependence . Essentially it’s teaching you how to go out and attract someone who is going to feed you and that’s your job because if you don’t have a job you don’t get fed and then you have to go out looking for another job and it’s that type of existence that never appealed to me. I didn’t want to learn how to attract someone who is going to feed me, I wanted to learn how to feed myself. That in essence is a lot of what entrepreneurship is essentially about, instead of serving the company you serve yourself and we get away from this dependence. Another thing I found that was critically important is I wanted to live a great life. I didn’t want to be bound to a 9-5 or a Monday to Friday or a three week vacation every year. I wanted to do what I wanted to do and when I wanted to do it and a job would just not make that possible. Also that kind of life would require a lot of money. So when you are in a job you have an employer that is going to dictate what you can make, so you can do a wonderful job for your employer, I mean really knock it out of the park but your employer is going to say because you did such a good job, instead of paying you £60 a year we are going to pay you £250 next year. It’s an arrangement that is controlled. In my first book ‘The Millionaire Fastlane’, I call it uncontrollable limited leverage and that’s what happens when you get a job, you cannot elevate your income into the stratosphere as opposed with the right business you can. One year you can make one thousand and the next year you’ve made four hundred thousand; that was the appeal of entrepreneurship had to me as opposed to getting a job or I need to go back to school and incurring more debt so I can make 10/15% more. That kind of mathematics doesn’t lend itself to making a lot of money and setting yourself free.
James: As you said, you can have a great year and be pleased making a 3% pay rise which isn’t really going to change the needle.
MJ: Yeah and in fact you hear people say that starting a business is risky, well having your income and yourself tied to a corporate overseer is just as risky because you can come in and they can pull you into the office and they can say ‘sorry some things have changed, we are going to have to let you go’ and then bam you’re, quote, ‘out of business’ just like that.
James: That’s a great point. In your first book, links to which are in the show notes at www.graduatejobpodcast.com/fastlane you use the description of people being in the sidewalk or either the slow lane or the fast lane and that analogy really stuck with me and I realised at the time I was 100% a ‘slow laner’. Can you run through for the listeners what you mean by each of those descriptions?
MJ: Sure, so basically they revolve around what is your perception and what is your approach toward freedom and toward your financial plan and financial independence. The side walker is a classification of someone who has no financial plan they often live from pay check to pay check, everything they spend often goes towards consumer goods and material items; they are basically working to fund their lifestyles, they don’t save. If they lose their job they would end up on government assistance. An interesting thing about the side walkers is that there is many affluent people who are on the side walk they could be doctors, they could be engineers, they could be entrepreneurs it doesn’t really matter because there is no financial plan and whatever the person makes they spend into their lifestyle. This is why you see a lot of professional athletes and they live spectacularly but once they retire and in a few years they go bankrupt and that’s because they were living on the sidewalk where income equals lifestyle and there are no savings.
The slow lane is the next categorisation and its normally someone who does have a financial plan except their financial plan is based on what the mainstream tells them what their financial plan should be; which is basically to save 10% of your pay check and give it to the stock market, give it to the financial world and they wait 50/60 years and let compound interest work its magic and once you retire in 50/60 years you will retire a multi-millionaire. It’s a deferred life plan where you live poor and then you die rich which does not make a lot of sense because when you want your freedom you want your youth, you want better health; I’m not suggesting you can’t be healthy at 65 or 70 but most of life has already evaporated and that slow lane plan is trumpeted by the mainstream, it’s what I called the stripped plan, it’s trumpeted by the financial industries so they make a fortune managing your money, notice the hedge funders are always filthy rich and the financial firms are always filthy rich because they make a fortune managing your money whilst you sit around for 50 years and wait for it to grow into something substantial.
The third avenue is the fast lane. The fast lane is basically unleveraged entrepreneurship turning leveraged entrepreneurship into a business that has the potential to scale into the millions in either income valuations, and in the book I go through the various parameters to make that happen. Basically as I said before, we are looking at making, instead of four thousand dollars a month we want to be able to expand that to 40 thousand dollars a month. When I owned my internet company five or six figure profitable months were normal, even today as a publishing company owner and administrator of a forum, sometimes making thirty, forty, fifty thousand dollars a month is very probable because I’ve accessed the metrics that has allowed that to happen in this, what I call, fast lane entrepreneurship. See you don’t have to live frugally and patiently when you make that kind of income and you just can’t make that kind of income in a job unless you are a doctor or an engineer with decades of experience or something crazy. So the fast lane is a way to circumvent that through entrepreneurship you can live the life you want to live earlier and when you are younger as opposed to waiting around until you are retirement age. You mentioned yourself that you wished you had this book when you were 20 years old and that’s kind of how I have written it. I was thinking what would I have loved to have known when I was 20 years old and that’s the books I write.
James: Exactly and that’s why I wanted to get you on the show, just so listeners can get an awareness of you and read the books and as I said the books will be in the show notes and I highly recommend them. My copy is very well thumbed. You mentioned getting rich quick there and people have that idea of being sceptical when it comes to getting rich quick but it is actually possible to scale your income as quickly as that. You talk in the book about the differences between getting rich quick and getting rich easy, can we delve into the differences of what the two things are?
MJ: Sure, if you say ‘get rich quick’ you’re going to scare a lot of people, you’re going to be labelled a scammer and all kinds of different things but the truth is it exists and I mean people get rich quick all the time, Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire on the planet so he had to get rich quick and there are many of these stories that happen all the time. What happens is we confuse get rich quick with get rich easy. You can get rich quick just not easy. The point of the fast lane is to identify the linchpins at the critical points of the business structure and improve the probability of that happening. As I mentioned before if you are making an income of thirty, fifty, sixty thousand dollars or pounds a month how quickly will you pay off your bills or your debts? How quickly will you start to acquire wealth? That’s what we are talking about and when you are into a business that has these matrix’s, these unlimited metrics, the scalable metric that becomes possible. The friends in my circle of friends all live in these metrics and I see it in their life. They wouldn’t say they got rich quick but they live extraordinary lives; they make a tremendous income, they travel a lot all throughout the year, they have no one to answer to, some days they are working ten hours, other days they are working one hour the point is it is their decision to make. So don’t be afraid if you hear the words get rich quick because look around, it happens all the time. Thing is we don’t want to set our expectations to realise ‘hey that can happen’ if we put our effort into proper work modalities and the proper work equations then it can happen. Wealth essentially is all about math and we want to be able to access those equations that allow faster wealth to happen. It doesn’t happen by the stock market because you are limited by things, this is very important distinction I make in both my books, is how important math is if our goal is acquire wealth quicker than a fifty or sixty year plan.
James: So this has got me thinking as to what are those equations. So what are the right and wrong equations to getting rich quickly because I would understand the premise that working 9-5 isn’t going to do it.
MJ: So the slow lane is premised of the wrong equations. The slow lane is you are paid for your time. So your employer says you are worth sixty thousand dollars or pounds a year and that is what I am willing to pay you. So your metric, your equation is whatever your employer decides. So you are locked into an equation and let’s say you save 10% of your earnings and you put it into the stock market, well then you are bound by another equation and that is how much is the market going to make this month or this year. Usually a good year in the stock market is 8%, so right there you are limited again by another equation. Although the stock market has been pretty crazy lately, the stock market is not going to make you 400% next year. So you are bound by these equations when you take the avenue of a career and it happens to be tied to a job and it doesn’t have any up-side metric’s, like commissions or say you are a mortgage person and you have an unlimited scale, you are bound by these equations. The equations are limited in the scope of the expansion. So the fast lane moves to entrepreneurship which has unlimited equations and that’s important because say you want to open a store on the corner of Main Street you are still limiting yourself to those equations because your store on Main Street is still limited to the amount of people who come into your store and buy whatever you are selling. We don’t want those kind of mathematical equations, we want better equations. For instance, I am an author and my book is sold all over the world and I could call my printer up and say ‘I need a billion copies’ and they could do it pretty easily. So there is no limited governing of the mathematical equation I am bound by and all my business ventures follow that simple formula; is there an unlimited equation here. I can sell ten thousand books just as easily as I can sell ten million books. So that means my income or my ability to generate wealth is also bound by that same metric, so if I sell ten million books I probably just made twenty million dollars so that’s the kind of mathematics you need to get involved in and it all drives what is your product, is it reputable? Is it scalable? What is the medium/how is it delivered? Is it sold on amazon? Is it sold on the internet? Is it sold in a store? These are all the kind of variables that I discuss in the book in order to get you on the correct equations that could generate quicker wealth for you and your family.
James: That’s brilliant and it makes complete sense. Removing yourself from this limiting factor in time and you mentioned the example of the store and you’ve only got a certain amount of time you can open it, you can only be there a certain amount of hours a day, which leads on to my next question. As a career coach, one of the things the people I coach often ask me is when they are looking for jobs or when they are looking for a job in something that they love doing, or something they have a passion for and often you see people starting businesses because it is something they love doing or they are passionate about and I can feel your blood pressure rising even from across the Atlantic as this is something you talk about in the book as not necessarily the best way to go about it when starting a business is something that you love.
MJ: Yeah, I call it the ‘Wonder Twins of epically bad life advice’ and it’s called do what you love and follow your passion. I mentioned earlier in my story that I failed a lot, I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur but I failed a lot in my early business dealings and that’s because that’s what I was doing. I was following my passion, I was doing what I loved. Here’s the thing…the market doesn’t give a shit. The market doesn’t care what you love and what your passions are. The market only cares what are you going to do for me? How much does this cost? And when can I get it? So you have to approach the market very selfishly because the market is selfish, so you can’t be selfish yourself. The argument I get back is ‘well I don’t want to do something that I don’t have a passion for’, well work generally is not supposed to be passionate, even today there is a lot of work that I do that I’m not terribly passionate about. I have to deal with amazon on a daily basis, I’m not passionate about that. I don’t want to be famous so doing podcasts isn’t something I’m particularly passionate about but I do it because I know it’s a part of my meaning and purpose. A good example I used about this idea that you should ‘follow your passion’ is that there are millions of blogs out there that are just dead, they have one or two posts on them and then the author abandons them. Well isn’t it safe to say that all of those authors who started blogs, which are now dead, started that blog with passion but yet now it’s dead. So if following your passion was enough to create a market need then all those blogs would be active but they’re not, and the difference is the passion comes from the market when it receives your offer and it receives your value and enjoys what you do. To further out that example lets say you did start a blog because you are following your passion and after your first blog post your article that you’ve written was shared a million times and it got millions of likes and comments up the ying yang. Do you think you’ll do another article? Of course you will because you saw the world valued your work and that drives your passion. Steve Jobs and his speech at Stanford University commencement ‘do what you love’. I know he didn’t mean do what you love figuratively, he meant that once the world appreciates your work you are going to love what you do. Do you think Jobs’ would be up there saying that if he was a perennial failure? No Apple, never created a Macintosh, never did anything, just had one failure after another. Do you think he would still be saying ‘love what you do?’ Of course not, he loved what he did, he loves what he does because the market loves what he does, it appreciated his value, it appreciated what he contributed to society. So my argument is quit following your passion, quit doing what you love and give the market what it wants. When the market appreciates what you do, then you will also love what you do, you also will feel that passion. When I get people telling me ‘your book changed my life’ ‘I started a business and I’m driving ten million dollars in sales this year’ that generates an incredible amount of passion for me. Yet when I wrote the book there were many times when I was not passionate about writing it. So there is a very important distinction here, that if we want to engage the market with something that it wants and demands it isn’t necessarily what we are passionate about.
James: Some listeners MJ are going to be banging the tables going ‘yes I get it’, there are going to be others who get it but aren’t ready to make the leap and there will be some people who have probably turned off. But for those that get it where should they start? Where should they start with starting their own business?
MJ: Well everything starts with value. Too often entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs approach the market with the wrong premise and their premise is ‘I want to make money’ or ‘I want to travel the world’ or ‘I want to be my own boss’. Those are all great things but they are the wrong premise. The proper premise is to attack the market based on a value equation or what I call a value array. Anything you have purchased recently in your life is because the company that your purchased from demonstrated some kind of relative value and relative value is how you start a business. If you look at any kind of offering you are making a subjective analysis based on the price, the design, the labelling, the features, all these things are going through your head when you say the value is up here so I’m going to give this company my money. So to start a business, it’s not as complicated as people think, what you want to do is reverse engineer the value array down to its minute components and anytime you can skew value in those value components, you create yourself a business opportunity. Sometimes you only need to skew value in one or two attributes in order to create a business. The most skewed attribute is price and I don’t recommend that because then it becomes a commoditised situation where you are lowering your market and lowering your profits. There are literally tons of different value arrays you can skew value on you can offer better service, you can offer better website design, there are so many things, you can offer better pictures on your website. The amount is infinitesimal because again when we are looking at objects to buy we gauge, we do this subject analysis in our head and we say ‘there is something about that other company that I don’t like’ and that could be something as simple as there is no telephone number on the website or the pictures are blurry or something. When we start to reverse engineer one or two attributes we learn to start skewing one or even two of them, that’s when we learn how to create business opportunities in almost any industry because the world is not perfect. If you think that the world is perfect then there are no more business opportunities left out there. As long as the world is imperfect there is always going to be opportunities for businesses to be created to create value.
James: I love that point and as you mention in the book, when you come across something and you think ‘that service was crap’ or ‘that X was crap’ you immediately start thinking how can I improve it, what can I do differently, where can I create the value to create a better business. Straightaway you’ve got a possible option of something you can explore.
MJ: Yes and the best example of value skew is Uber. Uber has disrupted the taxi business and the people carrying business because they didn’t skew value on one attribute. They skewed value on every attribute convenience, pricing, online services, the information you see of your driver, all these different factors and attributes skewed to be better than the taxi industry and that’s why they are a billion dollar company. Normally companies only start with one or two attributes to skew, well they skewed all of them and now they are this huge company all over the world because of the value skew.
James: They are very good. Thinking about the listener who might just have graduated, MJ, who are possibly looking for a job at the moment, is entrepreneurship something that needs to be all or nothing, 100% trying to start a business or would you recommend initially doing something on the side, a little side project, or side hustle to get started? So have a job with money coming in and then then when it gets to a certain critical mass you can go into the business full time.
MJ: Well I recommend whatever works for the individual. Some people will be better at burning the boats and saying I’m going to start something and I’m not going to get a job. When I started what was best for me was I had jobs, but they were menial jobs, jobs that I could have got straight out of high school, so they didn’t require a lot of mental energy. There is a danger in getting a normal job because it’s very mentally taxing and so when you get home there is no mental energy left for the business so it’s a very dangerous propositions to get a job that is a decent paying job because then not only is your time taken away, and you have no energy when you get home but then lifestyle entraps you. You might get a newer flat or newer car and expenses start to build and then you need the job and you like freedom to pursue anything else because you’re trapped into it and that’s how the scripted trapped life begins. But it’s different for everyone. I would want to make the note though if you have goals to be an entrepreneur, then you need to identify as an entrepreneur. Meaning you don’t say you work at Lockheed Martin but I want to be an entrepreneur because that identity advocates that you are the status quo and you’ll never get out of that job because you have already identified yourself as an engineer who works at Lockheed Martin who wants to, future reliant, wants to be an entrepreneur. You have to identify as an entrepreneur and instead say something like ‘I am an entrepreneur who temporarily works at Lockheed Martin’ that way your current situation isn’t reflected of the status quo which means you are going to work to get out of that situation to match your identity. That’s one of the things that has always helped me in my life, I have always identified as an entrepreneur, even though I had jobs. I had a dozen different jobs before I struck some success but I always identified as an entrepreneur. That ensured that my daily actions would reflect an entrepreneurial mentality and I would always be moving forward to that identity rather than saying ‘I’m happy in my job as an engineer and I would like to be that someday’ because that is a status quo identity and doesn’t encourage any kind of change. So it’s a very important distinction in how we identify ourselves.
James: You have two degrees, MJ, you say you’ve always identified as an entrepreneur, you mentioned, by your own definition, you worked in low paid menial jobs taxi and delivering pizzas and that sort of stuff. How did you keep pushing yourself forward after what must have been a difficult time after graduating twice and your friends all working for big companies, how did you keep yourself going without chucking it in and getting a job?
MJ: Well I knew the equations I was latching onto, I had favourable odds and favourable metrics. I also had the right expectations. Entrepreneurship is like baseball, you just don’t go up to the plate, like someone in your audience right now, saying this sounds good I’m going to try it. This is not something you try, it is something you live. You don’t go up to the baseball plate, look at the pitcher, take three swings, strike out and say ‘I’m done’. That’s not how you become a baseball player. You have to continually get up there, you have to continually swing. As I said I have made multiple swings so I had the right expectations, I knew this doesn’t happen on the first swing. You strike out and you hit some foul balls and eventually you hit a single, then you hit a double or a homerun. Point is you need to live this as an identity, as a lifestyle because if you are just thinking to yourself ‘I’d like to try it’ you shouldn’t even try it because that’s like saying I want to be a baseball player so I’ll go up to the plate and just swing once and see what happens. You’ll never become a baseball player like that, you have to continually practise like it’s a lifestyle or an existence and make it your career even though you may have a job doing something else. You have to identify as an entrepreneur.
James: Do you think entrepreneurship is for everybody?
MJ: No, not at all. There will be some people on the call that will think ‘this is not for me’ and that’s fine. But there are also some people that are in jobs and they’ve done everything they’re told, they’ve got a business degree and they got the job and they’ve been doing it for two years and they’re thinking ‘seriously, this is all there is’ and those are the people I am talking to. There is another option here and this is something you may want to look into but I don’t think everyone wants to be an entrepreneur. Some people just aren’t wired for it, it doesn’t appeal to them and that’s fine. The world needs employees as much as they need employers. I’m not here to convince everyone that this is for them but for the people who have that inkling that there is something else, then yes.
James: So often you have that inkling in your stomach and you know it’s there and you keep supressing it, what do you think the key reasons are why people supress it and don’t act upon it?
MJ: Well we live in a scripted world, and a scripted world is all about the same thing. Which is you go to school, you graduate and then you get a job and the whole world revolves around that normality, including the media, our educational institutions and our government. So when you are encircled by the incredibly scripted dogma its so hard to escape this dogma your friends are doing it, your parents have done it, so it’s all around you and it’s incredibly difficult to escape it. First, it’s about acknowledging that you live in a scripted world that you don’t want to comply to and you are going to fight to get out of it. Once you start fighting to get out of it you will start to attract other people who subscribe to the same type of unscripted philosophy. The people in my life are a good mix of people who are unscripted people and people who have jobs, they are all particularly happy people and that’s what life is about. You want to surround yourself with people who are happy, in order to be entrepreneurs, you need to be happy.
James: What about the people who don’t support your goals and try and actively or passively hold you back?
MJ: This may not be a popular thing to say but, get rid of them. Life is short and this is your life to live so you want people who support you and if getting a job is what you want to do and they support you then that’s great but if you are going to step out and go on your own and they don’t support you. I mean, this is tough enough as it is you don’t need people in your life who are going to be against you. So if these people don’t support you and they don’t contribute to your happiness but rather your misery, there is no reason why you should not be able to say ‘you know what I am going to distance myself from this person because they are not good for my life’. We do the same with television, I stay away from political TV here in America because it’s just terrible and it’s not good so I just don’t tune into it. Likewise if I had a buddy who constantly was talking about politics and I’d tell him to shut up about it and he wouldn’t comply, I’d just not hang out with that person anymore. So essentially it’s like turning off the TV, and our friends can be the same way, so called friends can be the same way, we just have to turn them off.
James: I’ve just got the latest copy of your book in my hands MJ ‘Unscripted: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Entrepreneurship’ let me just read some of my favourite quotes of MJ. One from you ‘you might not be the sharpest pencil in the box, but don’t fret, you are surrounded by pencil sharpeners, the world is already yours but only if you are willing to go get it’ and another quote you took from The FastLane Forum and the contribution said ‘the internet has largely rendered the college and education system irrelevant for those who want to learn anything, open your browser and go and get it’. I love the idea that there is so much out there and you don’t have to stick with what you were taught at university that you can get the knowledge for yourself that is going to allow you to create a fascinating business.
MJ: Absolutely and they are some amazing quotes you’ve just selected. Just the other day, I can’t remember who I was talking to, but I said ‘every success in my life has not come from what I learnt at college but has come from what I have learned after’. We live in an amazing time where all the knowledge is out there and for the most part it’s free if you just want to apply yourself and go get it. It wasn’t like that 50 years ago, you just couldn’t go do that 50 years ago because the knowledge wasn’t there, it wasn’t available, it wasn’t accessible. Today there is no excuse. It’s there, you just need to go and get it, determine what you need to get and then apply it and that’s why it is just amazing that more people cannot see this and they think just because they have graduated that the education has stopped but I can tell you if the education stops after you graduate then you are going to live a pretty mediocre and ordinary life and that’s not what we want.
James: You talk in the book about how you moved from Chicago, the cold windy city down to Phoenix where you are at the moment, and I’m surprised in the UK how people don’t take advantage of the opportunities they have to move. If you’re not happy with the weather or the opportunities in the UK then you can move to Europe or Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa all fairly easily. Why did you make the change from Chicago down to Phoenix MJ?
MJ: In order to be successful you need to be in the right environment. I believe I was seasonally depressed in Chicago with Vitamin D disorder because the sun would never shine and so it was very important for me to get into an environment where I would want to succeed. I knew I needed sunshine so Phoenix was a great choice for me. It’s very important, again, because you only have one life and you’re not going to get the time back so if you have the opportunity to move somewhere that is a different location or somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, then go do it, because that motivates you to work even harder. If I lived in a city or town that was just miserably cold or dark or dreary, I don’t think I would want to work and so it is important to recognise what environments work for you and once you recognise it, its important to put yourself in that environment so you can foster your success. Make the probabilities work for you. If you are living somewhere that is killing you then you are skewing the probabilities for yourself. I always talk about probabilities and that matters because in the end the universe is written in the language of mathematics and we can hack our lives when we access these mathematics.
James: Speaking of cold, dark and depressing places, I think you just ticked off most of the UK there. Also speaking of time, time is running away with us so maybe just one more question before we move to our quick-fire questions. What would you say to someone who agrees with what you are saying, it really resonates with them but they’re scared, they’ve got that fear holding them back. How can they overcome that fear?
MJ: Well they just have to do it. What is the worst that can happen? Life is all about failure so what is the worst that can happen? I had jobs, and the idea that my friends were teasing me because I was delivering pizzas and doing jobs that I could have done at 16 years old, yeah, I feared that but my demand to live the life I wanted to live was far stronger than those fears. So you either want it better or you don’t want it bad enough. Fear should not be an obstacle, it should be a motivator because I fear waking up at 6am Monday to Friday for the next fifty years to do a job I absolutely hate. I fear that, so that fear was far greater than my fear of failure. It was far greater than having a menial job that didn’t pay well. It was far greater than being teased by my friends. It was far greater than doing all these things. So you have to align all these things and I’m not suggesting you quit your job and then you can’t put food on the table for the family. I’m suggesting that there is a way and if you find it you will do it, if your fear is properly allocated to the proper fear, meaning the fear of doing that job for years as opposed to doing the right thing.
James: That makes sense and also if you are going to do it you might as well do it young when you don’t have any responsibilities or any mortgage or any kids
MJ: Sure it gets harder as you get older as those responsibilities mount.
James: Now is the time to seize the opportunities and check out both of MJ’s books which will be in probably linked to in the show notes over at graduatejobpodcast.com/fastlane. Now talking about books MJ, what kind of books would you recommend our listeners read, what has had a big impact on you?
MJ: Well I started doing this, the book that is going to get you over the next obstacle, that’s the book you should be reading. If you have a problem in front of you, then that’s the book you should read, the book that is going to solve that problem. If you have the equation one plus on equals…and you don’t know the answer then you should read a math book, does that make sense?
James: Yes, because no matter what problem you’ve got someone has written a book about how to get over it.
MJ: Exactly so that’s the book you should read because a lot of entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs take action and they think reading books is action but it’s not so yeah, reading books is great but I recommend reading books that will solve the problem in front of you right now.
James: That’s a good answer I like that one and moving on to websites. Is there one website you recommend people should go and check out?
MJ: Of course the fastlaneforum.com. That’s my forum, there’s over 20 thousand entrepreneurs there. I am there every single day contributing and helping, there are multiple billion dollar entrepreneurs there to help other people find their way. A good portion of them are aspiring entrepreneurs still navigating their way into the business world. It is perfectly free and again I’m there every day helping people out.
James: Brilliant. So listeners make sure you are not browsing the internet every day checking the Daily Mail sidebar of shame and click on the fastlane forum where you can get inspired. Finally MJ, I normally ask my guests what one tip would you give to help people find the job of their dreams, but I will tweak it today, what one tip would you give people to help them start their own business?
MJ: Provide value. If you provide value the market will gravitate to you and give you money and if it gives you money you can have financial freedom, you can have time freedom, you can have all the freedom you want in the world if you provide value because the market will gravitate towards value.
James: That’s a great point to end on. Thank you, MJ for being on The Graduate Job Podcast. What’s the best way for people to get in touch with you and the work that you do?
James: Perfect. MJ, thank you so much for appearing on The Graduate Job Podcast.
MJ: Thanks James, I really appreciate it. It was fun.
James: Listeners – wow. There you go. I hope you enjoyed that one as much as I did. Thanks again to MJ, it was a pleasure to have him on the show. I first read his book the Millionaire Fastlane back in 2014 and I’ve been wanting him on the show ever since. I highly highly recommend that you get yourself a copy. Buy it through the amazon links in the show notes and help support the show. Digest the episode and his messages and let it sink in. Once you do realise that trading time for money isn’t going to give you the life you probably want, then you will start to see the other options which are open to you and you can make changes accordingly. As Zig Ziglar apparently said, ‘the first step in solving a problem is to recognise that it does exist’. Read MJ’s books, and get yourself moving from the sidewalk to the Fastlane, and getting yourself unscripted. So that brings us to the end of episode 63, its been a busy summer with weddings and trips so I’ve not been as prolific in the old podcast department, but don’t you worry, I’ve got some cracking episodes coming up with some great guests and I promise to get them back on track and more regular. Make sure you drop me a note and say hello with my cunning email address, email@example.com. I do enjoy it when people drop me a line. And if you would like to support the show, please do leave me a itunes review like Sophie did this week when she said ‘Loving the show, it’s giving me a boost and ideas for companies I want to apply to’. Thanks Sophie for taking the time to leave a review. It’s easy listeners so pull your finger out and do the same, you made it to the end of the show didn’t you. Join me next week when I will explore how to pivot your career after uni. It’s a goodie…..well it will be when I finish recording it. All that’s left to say is I hope you enjoyed the episode today, but more importantly, I hope you use it, and apply it. See you next week.